3D pre-compose in After Effects with this free script from Andrew Kramer.Andrew Kramer’s done it again. This time he’s giving away a free script specifically designed for 3D pre-composing. This may not sound very sexy but it will definitely save you time if you do a lot of work within AE. Instead of going back and forth copying and pasting lights and cameras in each pre-composed composition, you can now simply select which properties to transfer across pre-compositions.If this all sounds like gibberish to you check out the following tutorial created by Kramer explaining how to use his new 3D Pre-Compose script. The tutorial covers:Problems with Pre-ComposingUsing ScriptsWorking in 3D SpaceIntegrating Element 3D with the New ScriptTo download the free script visit the Video Copilot Blog.This script and tutorial was first shared on Video Copilot’s blog. Thanks for sharing guys!Want to learn more about After Effects? Well you’re in the right place! Check out the After Effects section of the PremiumBeat blog where you can find hundreds of After Effects tutorials, tips, and articles all designed to help you become a better motion graphic designer.Have any other uses for this After Effects script?Share in the comments below.
Heavy rains continued to lash most parts of Himachal Pradesh, with Shimla recording the highest rainfall in a day in the last 68 years, the Meteorological (Met) department said.“As per the rainfall recorded today, Shimla witnessed 118.6 mm rains during the last 24 hours. This is the highest rainfall in the city in a day in the last 68 years as per the data available with our department since 1951,” Met department director Manmohan Singh said.“The previous highest rainfall in Shimla was at 108.4 mm, recorded on April, 15, 2005,” Mr. Singh said. The weatherman said that the rainfall in Shimla occurred due the formation of cumulonimbus clouds and moisture incursion from both the Arabian sea and the Bay of Bengal.“When monsoon shifts from south to north close to foothills, such heavy rain occurs,” he said. Heavy rainfall occurred at isolated places in Bilaspur, Solan, Sirmaur and Una districts. During the last 24 hours, 109 mm rain was recorded in Dharampur followed by Berthin 93, Jhandutta 85, Bharwain 74, Pachhad 72, Baijnath and Kahu 68 each, Bilaspur-65, Kasauli-60, Arki- 52, Banjar 48, Dehra Gopipur, Mandi and Gohar-45 each, Ghumarwain and Bangana-44 each, Naina Devi-40, Aghar-39, Solan and Sarkaghat and Sunnibhaji-27 each, Amb-25, Gaggal-24, Paonta Sahib, Rajgarh and Jogindernagar 22 mm each. Rainfall is likely to occur at isolated parts of the state tomorrow, Singh said, adding that scattered rains will take place in the state from July 5 to 7.
Despite official intimations of the withdrawal of monsoon, heavy showers pummelled Pune and other parts of western Maharashtra on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.Apart from causing waterlogging at several areas in Pune city, the latest bout of rain caused the Aandhali dam in Satara district, situated in the rain shadow region of Mann-Khatav, to fill to capacity after nearly a decade.While the rains stayed at bay on polling day, heavy showers commenced after midnight and continued into the wee hours of Tuesday. Heavy waterlogging was witnessed once again in Katraj, Kondhwa and Sahakar Nagar, leading to massive traffic snarls. In Lohegaon, a bus ferrying 23 labourers got stuck in the middle of the road due to a technical snag. However, its passengers were rescued with the help of the fire department.Rainwater entered a number of residential societies, inundating parking lots and basements and half-submerging parked vehicles.The city recorded over 42 mm rain and the India Meteorological Department had forecast more showers on Tuesday evening.With rains pelting Satara district, especially Phaltan tehsil, for the past three days, a number of rivers like Banganga swelled, causing authorities to issue high-alert warnings to residents living in low-lying areas.
Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu and former World No. 1 Saina Nehwal received first-round byes at the World Championship starting in Glasgow, Scotland from August 21.Two-time bronze medallist PV Sindhu will open her campaign against either Korea’s Kim Hyo Min or Egypt’s Hadia Hosny in the second round and is likely to meet China’s Sun Yu for a place at the quarterfinals.The 2015 World Championship silver medallist Saina will take on the winner of the match between Switzerland’s Sabrina Jaquet and Ukraine’s Natalya Voytsekh and is expected to clash with Korean second seed Sung Ji Hyun for a place in the pre- quarterfinals.India’s top male shuttler Kidambi Srikanth, who clinched two successive titles at Indonesia and Australia and reached the finals at Singapore Open, will open his campaign against Russia’s Sergey Sirant.Among other Indians in men’s singles, 15th seed B Sai Praneeth, who won his maiden Super Series title beating Srikanth at Singapore, will face Hong Kong’s Wei Nan, while Ajay Jayaram will take on Austrian Luka Wraber in the opening round.Sameer Verma, playing his maiden World Championship after being given a direct entry in the main draw, will square off against Spain’s Pablo Abian.In women’s singles, national champion Rituparna Das will meet Finnish shuttler Airi Mikkela in the opening round, while Tanvi Lad will fight it out against England’s Chloe Birch.Rio Olympians Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will be up against Korean pair of Chung Eui Seok and Kim Dukyoung, while Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will face Japanese combo of Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe in the opening round of men’s doubles.advertisementIn mixed doubles, 15th seed Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy got a bye and will face either Chinese Taipei’s Lu Ching Yao and Chiang Kai Hsin or Yogendran Khrishnan and Prajakta Sawant.In women’s doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki are pitted against Indonesia’s Ririn Amelia and Malaysia’s Anna Ching Yik Cheong in the opening round.
TORONTO – Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei says Canada holds a very important role in welcoming refugees as other countries close their borders.The outspoken artist was in Toronto to accept the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship and promote a documentary that showcases the plight of displaced people around the world.Ai praised Canada for having a “very open attitude” in its refugee record, and bemoaned a global far-right movement that has demonized immigrants.The prolific and provocative artist is known for large-scale installations that deal with freedom of expression, human rights and technology.He’s lived much of his life in exile. His political criticism of the Chinese government resulted in his detainment for 81 days and the loss of his passport for two years.Ai bemoaned the U.S. administration’s plans to cap refugee admissions to 45,000 in the coming year, but says it reflects a broader antagonism in the West that must be confronted.The anti-immigrant stance trumpeted by U.S. president Donald Trump is an unfortunate product of our democracy, says Ai.“He is a true product of the West, of democracy,” Ai said Thursday as he met with several reporters, taking the time to post tweets and Instagram on his smartphone between chats.“We have to admit that. By admitting that then we see what is the potential danger.”Ai says the U.S. has a particular responsibility to offer safe haven to those fleeing war, hunger and persecution.“For the U.S., such a powerful nation and as a kind of leader in the democratic world, to set up this kind of bad, bad example, to limit even less than half of the previous administration promised, which is not a big number even, that means they are withdrawing their responsibility,” said Ai, who’s upcoming film “Human Flow” reveals harrowing tales from various refugee camps around the world.“I think all those far-right movements really show the nations which lack in the confidence and lack understanding of what humanity is about. To just simply push people away and to refuse to accept people who are in danger … is such a shame.“We can see very bad cases in the past of what happened and we better learn something from our past.”
Grammy Award-winning artist LeAnn Rimes is spreading the joy this holiday season to children in need.Rimes is kicking off her holiday Christmas tour and teaming up with Save the Children to support the agency’s child sponsorship program.“Save the Children is a wonderful organization that gives children hope for a better future,” said Rimes, who sponsors a child in Haiti through Save the Children. “I couldn’t think of a more appropriate partner for this holiday tour or a better time to ask my fans, who are always the most generous and kind people out there, to give a little to those who truly need it this holiday season and throughout the year.”Rimes will embark on a 10-city holiday concert tour on Friday, Dec. 5. Starting out in Rutland, Vt., she will perform fan favorites and songs from her newly released ONE Christmas: Chapter 1 holiday album, which is available on digital platforms and in retail stores across the country. For a full list of tour dates and locations, go here.Fans will have a chance to add the gift of child sponsorship to their shopping list for friends and family at any one of the Save the Children booths at the holiday concert venues. For $1 a day, child sponsorship makes a lasting change in a child’s life through nutrition, health, education and more.“Child sponsorship helps children living in poverty in the United States and around the world, not only during the holidays but all year round, and we are grateful that LeAnn Rimes is sharing the message with her fans,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. “Child sponsorship lifts communities from poverty by giving children a healthy start and an opportunity to learn that every child deserves.”Prior to taking her show on the road, Rimes will premiere her new holiday songs on NBC’s TODAY show on Dec. 2, and at NBC’s 82nd annual “Christmas in Rockefeller Plaza” live-broadcast tree-lighting concert in New York City on Dec. 3 (8-9 p.m. ET). Check local listings.
Twitter Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook “Sesame Street” turned Feist’s song “1234” into a memorable counting lesson.CreditCreditSesame Workshop Advertisement One of the most popular “Sesame Street” songs is “1,2,3,4,” a take-off on Feist’s 2007 indie hit. With a Muppet cast that includes Elmo, Rosita, some penguins and vacation-ready chickens, it’s the appearance that the Canadian singer-songwriter gets recognized for the most, she said. The “Sesame” version of the song, released in 2008, has over 240 million YouTube views; the original has about 13 million.Whenever she’s traveling, a breathless parent will stop her for a photo. They say, “Do you mind, my 3-year-old has watched it 7,000 times,” Feist said. “And I say yes, but I always joke: You notice me because you’re a grown-up — the 3-year-olds are really only interested in the puppets. And without fail, the kids are just sort of looking at me like, who is this weird lady in the airport?” Login/Register With:
“This is a critical moment in the life of the Responsibility to Protect. In the six short years since its endorsement by the World Summit, this doctrine has gone from crawling to walking to running.“Our job is to keep it moving and on track as we move from words to deeds,” Mr Ban said in remarks at a ministerial round table on the subject held on the margins of the annual general debate of the General Assembly. “Let us do our utmost to ensure that this umbrella of protection covers all who need it,” he added.Agreed at a summit of world leaders in 2005 and sometimes known as ‘R2P’, the principle of the responsibility to protect holds States responsible for shielding their own populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and related crimes against humanity and requires the international community to step in if this obligation is not met. Mr. Ban noted that the principle “has arrived,” as can be seen the international community’s collective actions in Côte d’Ivoire and Libya, as well as in its diplomatic efforts. “Our challenge now is to keep all [UN] Charter-based options open, and all of our collective tools sharp,” he told participants. “We need to strengthen ties with our regional, sub-regional and civil society partners. “We need to share information and assessments about States under stress. Effective prevention requires early, active and sustained engagement. “We also need to look at our development, capacity-building and peace-building programmes through the lens of atrocity prevention to be sure they are healing fissures within societies, not deepening them,” said the Secretary-General.He added that it is a sign of progress that the debates now are about how, not whether, to implement the responsibility to protect. “No government questions the principle. Tactics, however, will – and should – be the subject of continuing scrutiny.” 23 September 2011Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the need to ensure that the principle of ‘responsibility to protect’ – safeguarding populations from genocide and war crimes – becomes a reality for all the peoples of the world that need it.
VANCOUVER — Norsat International Inc. (TSX:NII) says its securityholders have voted to approve a controversial takeover of the company by Chinese company Hytera Communications Co. Ltd.The Canadian satellite communications firm says its securityholders voted 72.53 per cent in favour of the offer of US$11.50 per share.The deal has been the focus of a debate over national security risks and the federal government’s willingness to approve a Chinese takeover of a Canadian technology company.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada consulted the U.S., a major Norsat customer, before concluding that Hytera’s takeover doesn’t pose any national security concerns.Norsat says the deal is still subject to approval by the B.C. Supreme Court as well as other regulatory approvals and certain other closing conditions.U.S. investment fund Privet Fund Management LLC, a major Norsat shareholder, had made a rival bid for the company and voted against deal.
Sri Lanka will receive a loan of one and a half billion US dollars from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to boost foreign exchange reserves and avert a balance of payments problem, a Government minister said on Monday, according to the Reuters news agency.Sri Lanka’s finances are under scrutiny after ratings agency Fitch last week downgraded its sovereign rating by a notch, to “B+”, spurred by a ballooning fiscal deficit, rising foreign debt and sluggish growth prospects. The loan conditions, such as revising taxes to increase the government revenue, have yet to be finalised, however, he added.Talks with the IMF are due to begin this month, but could drag on, as both sides have to agree on the conditions tied to the assistance programme. Last week, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said an IMF programme by which the government commits itself to taking steps to fix its finances would help lure back investors. The government was originally looking for a loan of $2 billion from the global lender, said junior finance minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. “We continue to believe that negotiations will be slowed by the government’s unwillingness to accept unpopular IMF conditionalities,” Sasha Riser-Kositsky, Eurasia Group’s South Asia analyst, said in a note.There would be no flexibility on reducing the fiscal deficit, said a source at the global lender who has knowledge of Sri Lanka’s loan discussions, but who declined to be identified in the absence of authorisation to speak to the media.Sri Lanka’s reserves have fallen by a third, to $6.3 billion by January, from their October 2014 peak, mainly because of outflows of $1.3 billion in government bonds since January 2015. “But now we will get about $1.5 billion in a number of disbursements,” Abeywardena told Reuters. “This is to boost foreign exchange reserves.” “What we are trying to do is to get minimum cover from the IMF,” he said. “It is important for investor confidence.”The IMF gave Sri Lanka a $2.6-billion bailout package in 2009, when it faced a balance-of-payments crisis soon after the end of a 26-year war.The IMF has long urged the government to cut the fiscal deficit, estimated to have shot up to 7.2 percent of GDP last year, as well as add tax payers and spruce up the tax system. Central bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran told Reuters last week an IMF loan could help drive down the cost of borrowing for the government to between 6 percent and 7 percent from 8.5 percent, as investors would interpret it as a vote of confidence in the $79-billion economy.The island nation’s total outstanding debt rose 12 percent to 8.27 trillion rupees in the first nine months of 2015, while foreign debt increased around 5 percent to 3.27 trillion.The government has promised farmers tax cuts and subsidies, to help consolidate its position since taking office last year.
This means that in total more than 3.7 million Afghans have returned from Pakistan and Iran since 2002, when the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) began its current repatriation programmes after the fall of the Taliban regime, making it the largest repatriation operation in the world.“This unprecedented number of people returning to their homeland is a testament to the desire of Afghan refugees to participate in the rebuilding of their country,” High Commissioner António Guterres said in Geneva. So far this year alone, the total number of Afghans returning from Pakistan with UNHCR assistance surpassed 200,000. In Iran, UNHCR has helped nearly 800,000 Afghans to repatriate since 2002, with another 400,000 leaving on their own. Under the repatriation programme, each returning Afghan receives a cash grant for transport assistance ranging from $3 to $34 per person, depending on the destination. They are also provided with a cash grant of $12 in place of food and non-food items distributed previously.Meanwhile the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that the second major phase of Afghanistan’s child soldier demobilization and reintegration campaign got underway in the west of the country this week, with an expected 3,500 children likely to benefit from the initiative in the coming three months.The nationwide programme, which relies heavily upon the support of local communities and is backed by UNICEF, began in February 2004 and has so far assisted just over 4,000 former child soldiers in a country that has been torn by more than 25 years of war and civil strife. Adding another tool to UN efforts to help rehabilitate the country, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has produced 10,000 board games in both Dari and Pashtu to teach disadvantaged children about key events in the peace process, such as the new constitution and elections, as well as highlighting environmental issues, health, and education. Called The Road to Peace, the game is being distributed by UNAMA’s Office of Communication and Public Information (OCPI) primarily to 10-14 year olds affected by the war, including former child soldiers, underprivileged children and refugee families.
The figures, released by the Nepalese Government Ministry of Home Affairs’ National Emergency Operation Center, and included in the latest situation report released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today are the latest available and are expected to rise as search and rescue efforts continue and the total number of people affected by the disaster is determined.“Time is of the essence for the search and rescue operations,” said Under-Secretary-General of Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, “The actions of the Government of Nepal and local communities themselves have already saved many lives. Teams from India, Pakistan, China and Israel have started work, and more are on their way from the US, the UK, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the European Union and elsewhere.”The situation report says that 35 of the 75 districts in Nepal are reported to be affected by the earthquake, with the most affected districts being Dhading, Gorkha, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk, Kavre, Nuwakot, Dolakha, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, and Ramechhap.Ms. Amos said UN agencies were working with humanitarian partners in Nepal, supporting the Government and other partners. The World Food Programme (WFP) was providing food items, The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was sending tents and healthcare supplies and the World Health Organization (WHO) had distributed medical supplies to cover the immediate needs of 40,000 people.She added that a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team was on the ground helping to coordinate response effort, adding that the Organization would continue supporting the people of Nepal in the weeks and months ahead. People affected by the earthquake are in need of food, water, emergency shelter and healthcare, with many having slept in the open in makeshift tents for two nights.The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said the earthquake, as well as nearly 60 aftershocks that followed, caused “vast devastation across much of the country,” adding that at least 940,000 children live in areas severely affected by the quake and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistanceIn a report on the agency’s website, UNICEF stressed the heightened vulnerability of children when access to safe water and sanitation was limited and said children may have become separated from their families.The report said staff and supplies were mobilizing to meet urgent humanitarian needs, with a focus on water and sanitation, nutrition, education and child protection. Two cargo flights, with a combined 120 tonnes of humanitarian supplies including medical and hospital supplies, tents and blankets, were being readied for urgent airlift to Kathmandu.Martin Sajdik, the President of the Economic and Social Council, expressed his sadness at the loss of life and sent his condolences to all those affected by the disaster.“The full scope of the disaster is not yet known but we all know that its cost goes well beyond the damage to property and has immense economic and social impact on Nepali society,” he said. “As a “least developed country”, Nepal can ill afford these setbacks on its path to sustainable development.”He stressed that the tragedy in Nepal underlined the need to make disaster risk reduction a critical component of the post-2015 development agenda and to improve mitigation efforts to minimize the impact of such disasters.“The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, adopted recently at the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, stressed that: ‘It is urgent and critical to anticipate, plan for and reduce disaster risk in order to more effectively protect persons, communities and countries,’” he said.He said priorities were assessing the damage, delivering urgently humanitarian assistance and ensuring that development gains are not lost, and he called on the international community as a whole to come to Nepal’s aid and focus on long-term recovery.
Early this morning, a vehicle belonging to the peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) struck an improvised explosive device or mine about 30 kilometres south of Tessalit in the Kidal region, according to a news release issued by the mission. Two peacekeepers and one civilian were seriously injured; the vehicle, part of an escort of a logistics convoy, was damaged. Also today, unidentified armed men targeted positions of the Malian Armed Forces and the National Guard at Gourma Rharous, located about 120 kilometres east of Timbuktu, according to the mission. MINUSMA deployed its attack helicopters to the site in support of the Malian Forces and facilitated the medical evacuation of the wounded by air. “There is hardly a day when reports of abominable acts of terrorism committed by the enemies of peace and the enemies of this country and its people are not received,” said Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of MINUSMA, calling the attacks “cowardly.” “Their real target is the failure of the peace process and their goal is to impose the reign of violence and chaos,” he said, adding that the UN remains more committed than ever to support the Malian authorities and the country’s defense and security forces. Mr. Annadif also stressed the need for all Malian parties to redouble their efforts to advance the peace process.
The adoption of the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, marked a crucial step towards the development of international human rights and international criminal law as we know it today: it was the first human rights treaty to be adopted by the General Assembly, and signified the international community’s ‘never again’ commitment, after the atrocities committed during the Second World War.Secretary-General António Guterres was clear about the importance of the historic convention: “In the aftermath of the Holocaust and Second World War, the world came together and adopted a convention to prevent genocide and punish those who commit this heinous crime,” he said.“Seventy years later, the prevention of genocide remains a cardinal task for our time. That is why I launched an appeal for every country to ratify the Genocide Convention. I urge the 45 remaining States to do so without delay.”Of those yet to ratify the convention, 20 are from Africa, 18 from Asia and 7 from the Americas: the Secretary-General’s appeal states that ratification would demonstrate a commitment to the most fundamental principles of the United Nations, and provide the basis for action by States to prevent genocide.The International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime was established in 2015, on the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on Genocide, on 9 December 1948, and 10 years after the historic UN World Summit, which saw the international community take a unified stance on a range of crucial issues, including the acceptance of collective responsibility to protect civilians against genocide and other crimes against humanity.The adoption of the Genocide Convention marked a crucial step towards the development of international human rights and international criminal law as we know it today: it was the first human rights treaty to be adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, and signified the international community’s ‘never again’ commitment, after the atrocities committed during the Second World War.“In the aftermath of the Holocaust and Second World War, the world came together and adopted a convention to prevent genocide and punish those who commit this heinous crime,” said the Secretary-General. “Seventy years later, the prevention of genocide remains a cardinal task for our time. That is why I launched an appeal for every country to ratify the Genocide Convention. I urge the 45 remaining States to do so without delay.”Of those yet to ratify the convention, 20 are from Africa, 18 from Asia and 7 from the Americas: the Secretary-General’s appeal states that ratification would demonstrate a commitment to the most fundamental principles of the United Nations, and provide the basis for action by States to prevent genocide.The International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime was established in 2015, on the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on Genocide, on 9 December 1948, and 10 years after the historic UN World Summit, which saw the international community take a unified stance on a range of crucial issues, including the acceptance of collective responsibility to protect civilians against genocide and other crimes against humanity.
Google+ has only been available for about a day, and the user-base is so small that most people using the service probably already know one another. That hasn’t stopped the Chinese Government from blocking what they perceive to be another threat to state-managed media. The government has already squashed access to Google+, even though it’s invitation-only and there’s no indication any of their citizens were even using it.China already blocks most outside social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and FourSquare. Still, the move comes quickly, even for the Chinese government, which is known to not waste time when it comes to blocking media that it can’t control.All of this takes place at a time where the Chinese government is very sensitive to Google and its market maneuvers, and Google has been tiptoeing around the Chinese government while trying to do business in the country.Google recently applied for a mapping and surveying license in order to expand Google Maps in China. The license is normally a routine matter, but it raised eyebrows internationally because the Chinese government could use the opportunity to punish Google for calling China out publicly over a recent string of Gmail hacks.Google announced that its security audits had determined that the culprits behind a series of Gmail attacks and breaches of accounts belonging to pro-democracy activists, US politicians and officials, and other users had originated from China. China responded by denying the claims, saying that Google was being used as a “political tool” to support the interests of the west.In front of this tenuous backdrop, Google is moving forward and launching new services. Google+ will likely not be available in China anytime soon, but it may eventually be a moot point: a Chinese firm will reproduce the service for a Chinese audience eventually anyway.Read more at TechCrunch
Ukraine conflict: 35 killed in worst fighting since 2015 US president Donald Trump was to hold his first talks with Ukraine’s leader today. File photo of Poroshenko (left). Source: Sean DaveyAvdiivka remained without electricity on Saturday and with only sporadic power supplies to heat homes against freezing temperatures and limited supplies of water.The giant plant provides electricity for much of the region and has been the target of previous deadly rebel attacks.Plant spokesman Dmytro Murashko told AFP that work brigades tried and failed again Saturday for the second day running to repair broken power lines after shelling halted their earlier efforts.Friday was one of the bloodiest days with nine civilians killed — two of them inside the town.The call to withdraw heavy weapons was made under the coordination of mediators from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).It provides for the “withdrawal by 5 February 2017 into permanent storage sites of all weapons regulated by Minsk agreements to the distances defined in them and beyond the respective lines.”Broken peace dealThe Minsk deal was signed in February 2015 and defined a step-by-step solution to one of Europe’s bloodiest conflicts since the 1990s Balkans wars.It has since been repeatedly broken – prompting Wednesday’s meeting of negotiators to call for the warring sides to ensure “strict adherence to (a) full and comprehensive cessation of fire”.The 33-month conflict began shortly after Ukraine ousted its Russian-backed leader in February 2014.Moscow responded by annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in March 2014 before allegedly plotting the eastern insurgency to keep Ukraine under its thumb.Washington’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley on Thursday condemned Russia’s “aggressive actions” in Ukraine – a surprising attack given Trump’s supportive stance towards Putin.Russia denies any responsibility for the conflict and blames the United States for igniting three months of massive street protests that turned Ukraine toward the West.- © AFP 2017Read: US State Department reverses visa ban after judge halted Trump’s orderRead: Louvre reopens 24 hours after machete attack Local residents speak with OSCE monitors in Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine, yesterday. 58 Comments 10,703 Views US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump was to hold his first talks with Ukraine’s leader today as a surge in fighting killed dozens and refocused global attention on bloodshed in the EU’s backyard.The phone conversation comes with the death toll at 35 following a week of clashes between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed insurgents in a level of violence unseen in the eastern Ukraine war zone since 2015.The separatist militias underscored the intensity of the fighting in saying that the Ukrainian army had opened fire against their positions nearly 15,000 times in the past week.Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will try to use the call to win assurances of Washington’s continued diplomatic and non-lethal military support that came under former president Barack Obama’s administration.It also follows Trump’s phone conversation with Putin on 28 January that both sides described as constructive.The rebels along with Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday signed up to calls for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the flashpoint town of Avdiivka by tomorrow.But the demand for the shooting to stop has not halted the violence and so far there is little sign of the big guns being pulled back around the Kiev-held industrial town of 25,000 at the centre of the fighting. Ukrainian servicemen give food to local residents at the humanitarian aid center in Avdiivka. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesPower plant outOvernight and early Saturday in Avdiivka passed with relative calm compared with previous days.But the Ukrainian army said one of its soldiers had been killed in the area.Kiev military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said the separatists “had pulled their tanks up to” Avdiivka this afternoon in apparent preparation for another battle.A rebel military commander was also killed in a car bombing in what appeared to have been an internal dispute over power and unrelated to the ongoing violence.Most residents of this blue-collar town work in a major coke plant that has been heavily damaged by the shelling. By AFP Feb 4th 2017, 5:35 PM Short URL Saturday 4 Feb 2017, 5:35 PM Local residents speak with OSCE monitors in Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine, yesterday. Image: AP/Press Association Images https://jrnl.ie/3223101 Image: AP/Press Association Images Share Tweet Email Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
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ASA ramped up its call for approval of three outstanding soybean traits by the European Union this week, saying that the tools are a critical part of the industry’s ongoing quest to meet sustainability and consumer demand goals, and that continued delays pose serious issues both for farmers and industry.In a letter to European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis Tuesday, ASA expressed deep concern with the EU’s delayed authorization of three new soybean traits: Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant RR2Xtend and Vistive Gold high oleic traits, as well as Bayer CropScience’s isoxaflutole-resistant Balance Bean trait. All three traits received positive opinions from the European Food Safety Authority in May and June of last year, and have awaited approval for five months following an Appeals Committee ruling in January.“The Commission’s lack of action in providing final authorization for these soy events has already caused unnecessary uncertainty, disruption and cost in the agricultural supply chain. Immediate authorization by the European Commission is needed to avoid substantial additional unnecessary costs and possible disruption to the essential supply of feedstocks needed by the EU’s livestock, poultry and feed industries, which are more than 70 percent dependent on imports of vegetable protein,” the letter stated.ASA also cited repeated assurances over the course of several months from EU officials that approval of the three traits was imminent as providing a false sense of security for farmers looking to utilize the traits to meet sustainability goals and comply with the food industry’s ongoing move away from trans fats in the American marketplace.“As the threat of resistant weeds continues to move across soybean country, and the specter of increased input costs coupled with a down farm economy looms over so many soybean farmers, we need more options in the marketplace. We are not benefited by new products that are stuck in a malfunctioning approvals pipeline,” said ASA President Richard Wilkins, a farmer from Greenwood, Del. “Add to that the ability of high-oleic soy to help answer the growing market for cooking oils free of trans fats, and you see the real value in these three traits.“The European Commission must abide by the timelines set out in in its own regulations, as well as its obligations under the World Trade Organization, and give these traits the approvals that it has said are forthcoming,” Wilkins added.A full copy of the letter is available here.
Called to a Sifton home for a 3:30 a.m. for a domestic disturbance, police officers returned at 10 with a search warrant and confiscated $210,000 worth of marijuana.Approximately 140 plants in all stages of production were removed from the home at 13907 N.E. 89th Circle, according to a news release from the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force.The incident began with a middle-of-the-night call of two residents arguing. While on the scene, sheriff’s deputies noticed that part of the 1,100-square-foot ranch house with an attached garage had been converted to a marijuana growing operation.After the search warrant was obtained and the plants were seized deputies arrested a suspect, John C. Melick, 47, on suspicion of manufacturing marijuana.
Several cases concerning employee status have taken place in the US as drivers for two taxi platforms dispute their classification as independent contractors in favour of being classed as employees and receiving the benefits that this affords.Lyft has proposed a revised settlement agreement for the Cotter v Lyft class action case, which includes more than 163,000 drivers in California. The settlement offer includes a $27 million (£18.7 million) payment to drivers.Under the agreement, drivers would continue to operate as independent contractors. The settlement only applies to Lyft drivers based in California, but the organisation plans to make terms of service and product changes nationwide if the new agreement is approved.Uber has been the subject of similar class action lawsuits, making a settlement offer relating to the O’Connor et al. v Uber Technologies case in California and Yucesoy v Uber Technologies in Massachusetts. The taxi organisation has agreed to a settlement that will pay plaintiffs $84 million (£58 million). It will also continue to classify drivers as independent contractors under the agreement.