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CanLit community celebrates success of The Handmaids Tale after Emmys

first_imgTORONTO – When Margaret Atwood took the stage with the team from “The Handmaid’s Tale” at the end of Sunday’s Emmy Awards, Mike Hamm cheered on the CanLit legend from his Halifax home while the Los Angeles audience gave her a standing ovation.The manager of Bookmark II bookstore in Halifax is a “huge” fan of the Toronto-based author and has recently seen a spike in sales of Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel that inspired the series that won eight Emmys, including best drama.“I think we’ll see a definite sales surge with the Emmy win,” Hamm said Monday in a phone interview.“I’ve been a lifelong fan. I’ve read everything that she’s written. They were thanking her from the stage and I was thinking, ‘Oh, she’s got to be in the audience,’ and it was very nice to see her get up on the stage with them.”Booksellers say it’s not unusual for an older novel to make such a huge comeback — “The Great Gatsby,” for instance, has surged to the top of bestseller lists with various adaptations — but it doesn’t often happen with a Canadian title.Many say “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which was on Hulu in the U.S. and is currently streaming on CraveTV after airing on Bravo in Canada, is relevant today because of its added resonance in the Trump era.With its look at a totalitarian theocracy that makes women property of the state, it speaks to current concerns about women’s rights, although Atwood has been quick to point out that the series was in production well before U.S. President Donald Trump was elected.“It shows us that books speak far beyond their moment in time,” celebrated Canadian author Madeleine Thien, who won last year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize, said Monday after announcing this year’s long list in St. John’s.“I feel like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is so pertinent right now,” added fellow acclaimed Canadian novelist Lisa Moore.Atwood makes a brief cameo and was a consulting producer on the series, which was shot in Toronto and has been greenlit for a second season.Indigo Books and Music Inc. and publisher McClelland & Stewart first saw a spike in sales of “The Handmaid’s Tale” book after Trump was elected in November.“Since then, we’ve seen sales substantially up and it’s been our number one selling fiction title since April,” Krishna Nikhil, Indigo’s executive vice-president of print, said Monday in a statement.McClelland & Stewart said sales of the book have been “astonishing,” noting it’s shipped over 150,000 copies this year (that includes e-books and the two different print editions).“It’s been an unbelievably strong title all year and I expect that it will just continue to be selling very strongly as we move toward the second season of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and off the great news of the Emmy win,” said Jared Bland, publisher of McClelland & Stewart.Hamm said his store also first saw a surge in sales for “The Handmaid’s Tale” after the election, when they responded to readers’ requests for a display of books on totalitarianism.“If we have a popular book, we’ll reorder it weekly in the single digits. But with a book like this, it’s in the double digits every week,” he said.“People who have been fans of Atwood all their lives are coming in to buy a copy to re-read it even.”Sales of the book also took off at Ben McNally Books in Toronto when the series was announced.“We don’t sell a lot of copies of anything, so for us to sell more than five copies of a book in a week, it’s pretty unusual, and that’s been pretty consistent,” said store founder Ben McNally.“There are serious women’s rights issues afoot and a bunch of younger people who are really seizing this initiative here.”The 77-year-old Atwood will remain in the spotlight with the Sept. 25 CBC premiere of “Alias Grace,” an adaptation of her 1996 novel that profiles a convicted Canadian “murderess” and also speaks to how women are treated in society.“The book is a Heather’s Pick, and sales are already trending up,” said Nikhil.“We have a very beautiful television tie-in edition of ‘Alias Grace’ that we’ve put in the market and sales have been really strong so far,” said Bland, adding that he expects that trend to continue.last_img read more

Those opposing IndoLanka deal branded as traitors

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday branded as “traitors” those opposed to a proposed trade deal with India, a day after the opposition criticised the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) as an attempt to “foreignise” the economy, the Press Trust of India reported.Wickremesinghe once again took on the trade union and other professional organisations. “Those who are against this are traitors because they want us not to find employment for the youth,” he said. Wickremesinghe said it was a misconception that the country would be flooded with Indians who would invade limited job opportunities in Sri Lanka in the IT sector. “In the previous CEPA deal there were provisions for goods services. Here we only seek technology and goods, no services,” he said. He said investment by the Chinese in Sri Lanka would be useless without having a vast market as that of India. “We need to tap into bigger markets to create employment. My government has the mandate to create jobs,” he said. The opposition had demanded that the shortcomings in the existing FTA should be sorted out before concluding the deal saying the agreement would be advantageous to India and inimical to Sri Lankan economic interests.Alleging the ETCA would “foreignise” Sri Lanka’s economy, the opposition wants that the agreement include goods, trade in services and investment. They also said Indian companies are under no obligation to recruit Sri Lankans. In recent weeks the doctors’ trade union and several other employees’ organisations have taken to the streets to protest the ETCA with India. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Stabilization force would give Lebanese Government time to organize – Annan

“Obviously it’s a Council decision,” Mr. Annan told reporters in Brussels, where he is attending a pledging conference for the African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan, as he replied to questions about the proposal he first made yesterday with British Prime Minister for an action-oriented package of measures for ending the violence in Lebanon that included “a multi-national force of well-equipped troops that can go in quite quickly.”Today, he said he hoped the Security Council would provide the new force with a different mandate that would allow it “to operate in the south and help stabilize the situation whilst it gives the Government of Lebanon time to organize itself.” He added that he hoped that this would allow the Government “to extend its authority throughout the territory including the south, and then give also time for them to sort out the question of the disarmament of the militia.” The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has been deployed in the area since 1978, when it was created to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore peace and security, and help the Lebanese Government restore its effective authority in the area. Israel completed its withdrawal in 2000. In addition to his remarks on the stabilization force, Mr. Annan reiterated his call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, as he shared the podium with European Union High Representative Javier Solana, whom he thanked for having gone to the Middle East to meet with the UN team led by Vijay Nambiar which is currently speaking to the parties.“The situation is very urgent, and it is imperative that the international community acts to end the fighting,” Mr. Annan said. read more

Sandwich generation faces financial pressures by caring for young and old BMO

by The Canadian Press Posted Aug 12, 2014 2:00 am MDT ‘Sandwich generation’ faces financial pressures by caring for young and old: BMO TORONTO – A new poll suggests more than half of Canadians aged between 45 to 64 belong to a “sandwich generation” that’s feeling financially squeezed by the needs of their children, aging parents — or both.The survey conducted for BMO Nesbitt Burns found that 55 per cent of those recently polled in this age group say they’re currently looking after children, parents, in-laws or other relatives.About one-third of the 800 people who responded to the Pollara online poll said they are caring for a senior.Thirty-nine per cent said they worry that the demands of a being a caregiver will have a negative impact on their financial goals, such as saving for retirement.“There’s a sense among those in the sandwich generation that they’re getting squeezed and are being forced to balance a plethora of financial priorities, from paying down their mortgage to saving for their child’s education to saving for retirement,” Sylvain Brisebois, regional manager at BMO Nesbitt Burns, said in a statement.“The stress that comes with caring for children and aging relatives, balancing a career and generally keeping up with daily tasks can make it hard to focus on the future and saving for retirement.”The study also found that those polled in this age group are behind with their savings plans. The average amount that those polled want to have save by retirement is $818,000; but the average amount that has actually been saved as of date is just $258,000. Only 40 per cent say they have a financial plan in place.Pollara conducted the poll for BMO between July 29 and 31. The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Despite real progress in mediation efforts UN can do more Ban tells

“I am pleased to report that we are making real progress,” Mr. Ban told a meeting of the General Assembly on mediation, noting that with the support of Member States, the UN has worked hard to enhance its readiness to implement and support mediation processes.In a report to the Assembly one year after it adopted its first resolution on mediation, Mr. Ban writes that the UN has field presences with mediation capacity closer to actual and potential conflict zones, and is able to quickly deploy political officers as well as electoral, constitutional, security and other experts to conflict areas. The world body’s network of political missions and regional offices works alongside regional and sub-regional organizations, as well as with governments which have a key interest in resolving conflicts. In addition, the UN’s conflict prevention and mediation efforts are flexible and relatively inexpensive, involving small civilian operations calibrated to meet the specific dynamics involved, and have achieved impressive results, he notes.“The United Nations has come a long way in adapting mediation to contemporary challenges. While progress has been made, there is potential to do much more,” he says in the report, highlighting the need to better link national and local capacities to the mediation efforts of the international community, as well as to further promote women’s participation in mediation processes.The report also includes the UN Guidance for Effective Mediation, which draws extensively from the Organization’s own experience, as well as the insights of Member States and others and which will be launched at a special high-level event on 27 September. The Guidance outlines eight key “mediation fundamentals” that require the mediator’s consideration for an effective process. These are: preparedness, consent, impartiality, inclusivity, national ownership, international law and normative frameworks, coherence, coordination and complementarity among mediation efforts, and the development of quality peace agreements. “The result is a foundational document for UN mediation efforts and for all interested in the peaceful resolution of disputes. I am pleased that the General Assembly is encouraging all mediation actors to make full use of it,” Mr. Ban told the 193-member body.He added that mediation can only succeed where there is a commitment to solving a conflict through dialogue and real leverage to back it up.“Regrettably, some of the tragedies before us show once again the terrible price that is paid for the absence of international unity or political will from the parties,” the UN chief said. “And while not all conflicts may be amenable to mediation, we must remain engaged and constantly look for opportunities for dialogue. “Our commitment to resolve disputes and conflicts peacefully is a central tenet of the Charter of the United Nations, and mediation is a key tool,” he added.Ahead of the meeting, Mr. Ban attended the screening in the General Assembly Hall of a documentary on the theme of forgiveness and reconciliation, at which he said the greatest barriers in life are not walls around buildings, but walls around hearts. “And yet, societies cannot grow until those walls come down,” he stated. In his remarks to the meeting on mediation, the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, stressed the importance of benefiting as much as possible from the comparative advantages of different actors, since every situation is unique. “This requires seamless cooperation among all,” he said. Mr. Al-Nasser noted that dialogue among civilizations offers a complementary approach to preventing and peacefully resolving conflicts.“Today, it is no secret that some disputes are either emanating from cultural or religious differences, misperceptions and misunderstandings, or gets deepened due to different methodologies and ideologies. “On such situations, the role of the Alliance could be particularly critical,” he said, referring to the UN Alliance of Civilizations, which was launched in 2005 through the initiative of Spain and Turkey, under UN auspices, to promote better cross-cultural relations worldwide.The President added that some past and current crises have shown that if mediation and other peaceful means are used at a timely and early stage, it will be cost-effective, lead to saving innocent lives, and alleviate the suffering of civilians, particularly women and children. “It is necessary that we learn from our experiences and employ mediation in a more efficient manner, because it is the best way out in a crisis situation, if used as a preventive measure,” Mr. Al-Nasser said. read more

The Haters Are Losing The War On Kickers

The differences here are pretty depressingly drastic for punt haters. In the 2002 and 2003 seasons, the average punt from 60 to 90 yards out (the part of the field where end zone locations don’t come into play) netted 37.3 yards, while in the 2014 and 2015 seasons those punts netted an average of 42.7 yards. That’s a 5-plus-yard difference on every punt!So perhaps punt coverage has gotten worse? Nope. If you look at raw punt distance, punts have gotten 4.7 yards longer on average (47.8 vs. 43.1). Although 2015 punters set records at virtually every distance, the absolute margins are smaller when you get closer to the goal. For kicks 30 to 60 yards from the end zone, the gain has been 2.4 yards — but those yards may mean more if they help trap an opponent in dangerous territory. (The value of a single yard only really spikes at both end zones and the outer reaches of field-goal range.)Note that I have not fully modeled punting improvement’s impact on fourth-down decisions as I have with kicking8Mostly because it’s more complicated. When you’re at the 40, the difference between 30 net yards and 32 net yards is greater because trapping an opponent close to its goal line is valuable (which, of course, is yet another reason why kicking a field goal and fourth and goal at the 1 is one of the worst plays in sports). Expected points models may help clear this up, but in some ways using the current models begs the question, since these models make assumptions about punting. — yet — but it’s bound to be significant. Factoring in 10 years of kicking improvement was enough to swing many borderline fourth-down decisions in favor of kicking. Of the 40 situations I looked at, 11 had differences of less than two-tenths of a point — which is probably about the amount that midfield punts have improved. If a fourth-down model doesn’t adequately account for these highly predictable improvements, it could be getting many “go or no” calls wrong.The punting expectation curve is relatively easy to model with a polynomial linear regression, which means we can find the expected distance of each punt and then compare a punter’s results with that expectation.The punter of the year isn’t even a close call. The 6-foot-5, 236-pound Johnny Hekker of the St. Louis Rams led the league with a 47.9-yard average punt and netted his team 271 yards relative to expectation in the process.On the other end of the spectrum, the Jets’ Ryan Quigley averaged 43.8 yards per kick and lost his team 297 yards relative to expectation.Football player of the year (who actually uses feet)If we convert those punting yards into points as we did with kickoffs above, we can get down to business and calculate each kicker’s complete value added from kicks.Note that some punters also kick off and some kickers kick off, but there are (presently) no kickers who also punt. So for this chart I’ve plotted value gained from kickoffs vs. value gained from punting and kicking combined. Bubble sizes correspond to the total value the player added or cost his team, in expected points: The average attempt distance has seen a steady increase, which might logically result in a decrease in efficiency, but the continued improvement of kickers has outpaced the increase in distance.This includes them making 65 percent of their kicks from 50+ yards — second only to the 2013 kickers — despite taking a record 160 such attempts. Here’s how they performed over each distance category:The 2015 kickers struggled a little bit from middle distances of 40 to 50 yards. And by “struggled,” I mean they had top-five all-time seasons but didn’t set records.From 55 to 59 yards, they made 13 of 19 attempts, or 68 percent — the best rate of all time for that range. In the four seasons from 2002 through 2005 (the first four years of the data shown above) they made 13 of 42 such attempts, or 31 percent.To better compare seasons, I’ve created an adjusted field-goal percentage that accounts for the distances of each kick and gives us that season’s expected make percentage for a baseline kick from the 30-yard line (about a 48-yard attempt):4The average kick is much shorter than that, but that’s about the sweet spot for a distance with lots of attempts where performance over time varies the most. It’s also a spot that requires both distance and accuracy and is around the area of the field where kicker improvement has the biggest impact on fourth-down decisions. Over time, athletes get stronger and faster, come from a broader talent pool, are better trained, and benefit from ever-growing institutional knowledge of their chosen art. This is most readily apparent with such individual skills as swimming, running and jumping — or kicking a football.One of the biggest stories of the 2016 NFL wild-card round is how the Minnesota Vikings almost toppled the two-time defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks, only to see their hopes dashed when kicker Blair Walsh shanked an easy 27-yard field-goal attempt that would have given the Vikings the lead with 22 seconds left in the game. The aftermath was dramatic, and once again, the NFL kicking game was thrust into the spotlight for pretty much the only reason it ever is: A kicker screwed up. Perhaps lost in the hubbub is that this was the only field goal missed all weekend.1Kickers made 24 of 26 attempts, including extra points (which are no longer gimmes). Such is the plight of the NFL kicker: They do their jobs remarkably well week in and week out, but get attention for it only when something goes horribly wrong.But not at FiveThirtyEight! We will acknowledge greatness in its many forms.Last year around this time, we published “Kickers Are Forever,” my ode to NFL kickers and the eerily steady progress they have made over the past 80-plus years. In that article, I showed how the kicking improvement has been reliable and has changed things like the fourth-down math. In the offseason, the NFL decided to make kickers’ jobs harder by moving the extra point back from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line.Predictably, this led to some missed extra points. This combined with a down week or two early in the season, and the notion started to emerge that kickers were having a bad year, sucking in some prominent commentators. We debunked the idea of a “Kick-pocalypse” at the time, but given my interest in everything kickers, I’ve once again taken a dive into the numbers to see if the kicking train has actually been in reverse, or stopped, or even slowed.Spoiler: It has not. Indeed, not only was field-goal kicking in the 2015 regular season almost exactly as good as we said it would be, but kickers were the best they’ve ever been at kicking off and punting — with dramatic effects on the game.2These are not as athletically “pure” as field-goal attempts — meaning the results of a kickoff or punt will also depend on a number of factors not in the kicker’s control (such as special teams units). One thing that I mentioned in my previous article is that — with no natural offset like defense to offense — the improvement in kicking has played a central role in the offensive increase we’ve seen over the past decades. However, it seems like the natural offsets are actually kickoffs and punts, which have somewhat counterbalanced the improvement in kickoffs by giving offenses longer fields. I’ve also identified the best players at the different aspects of the kicking game, and I have some awards to hand out to the best of the best.Field-goal kickers have improved almost exactly as predictedYes, field-goal kickers missed 71 extra points this season, after missing only eight last season. This 94.2 percent is the lowest since 1979. No, this is in no way bad or unexpected. Historically, it is quite high for 33-yard attempts — though for kicking, “historical” is not always a good frame for comparison. So to be clear, it is perfectly in line with projections for 2015 kickers.Kickers also made 84.5 percent of their non-extra-point kick attempts — essentially tied for the second-best all time.3This season finishes a hair behind 2008, when kickers made 84.5 percent exactly; in 2015 they made 84.4985 percent — about 1/100th of a single made kick behind. This, despite the fact that they attempted longer kicks than ever. Here’s a plot of field-goal percentage vs. attempt distance over the past 14 seasons: The rate of touchbacks has been increasing pretty steadily, both before and after the rule change, reaching an all-time high of 57.4 percent in 2015 (not counting onside kick attempts). The average starting field position has clearly flattened, as we would expect, though 2015 still set a record: The average opponent starting position was 21.7 yards from the team’s own end zone, beating last season’s previous best of 22.0.Still, those couple of yards here and there on kickoffs add up. For example, the Colts��� Pat McAfee (aka “The Boomstick”) had touchbacks on 67 of 74 (non-onside kick) kickoffs (91 percent). That’s close to 25 more touchbacks than we would expect from an average kicker. As a rule of thumb, a typical touchback is worth about 4 yards,5This season, the average non-touchback return came out to the 24-yard line. meaning McAfee’s touchbacks alone were likely worth in the neighborhood of 100 yards, or the equivalent of 6 to 8 points over the season. That may not sound like much, but any player (especially a non-QB) who can get his team half a point or so above average per game is doing great.To get a clearer picture of which kickers are most valuable, we can compare each kickoff to league expectation to find total yards saved and then convert those yards saved to point equivalents.6Using a rough conversion of 15 yards per point. (The full results are in the table below.) If you combine kickoff value with field-goal value, Gostkowski’s lead as place-kicking champion widens: Add in the 11.6 points the Patriots earned on kickoffs (not counting onside attempts, which would help Gostkowski even more as the Patriots recovered both of their attempts this season), and Gostkowski earned 23.8 points for them above expectation. Second place is Buffalo kickoff specialist Jordan Gay with 10.8 points above expectation (all from kickoffs).Don’t look now, but punters are also changing the gameFinally, let’s turn to the most reviled of all football plays: the punt. Why teams voluntarily give up possession all the time instead of fighting tooth and nail to keep the ball — particularly with good field position — is an ongoing mystery. But they are getting better at it. Indeed, in recent years, the improvement in punting is perhaps even more marked and consistent than it has been with kicking.7Unlike with field-goal kicking, this rate of improvement seems to be more recent. The average yards per punt appears to have hovered around 40 from the ’50s through the ’80s. In a big surprise to me — and a big loss for those of us who despise the punting game — punters and kickers seem to affect the game similarly. They each claim five of the 10 players with the highest value added this season,9Gay has been both a punter and kicker (and is identified as both by but handles only kickoffs in the NFL. with punters taking four of the top five spots. Although most coaches are probably costing their teams points by punting too much instead of going for it, the ones with better punters are costing their teams less.That doesn’t mean punters have quite caught up to their place-kicking counterparts, at least at the very top. Johnny Hekker — the league’s most valuable punter, as well as a guy who admits he’s more comfortable with his Pokémon deck than he is tackling people — falls 3.3 points short of Gostkowski as the most valuable overall. Therefore Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots is our 2015 NFL Football Player10Who actually uses his feet. of the Year.Finally, here, for your perusal, is a sortable table of value added by all punters and kickers this season: By this metric, kickers had their second-best season of all time (trailing only their miraculous 2013 campaign) and were within a fraction of a percentage point of their projections — well within the margin of error.Using our field goal expected value model, we can see what kickers scored the most and fewest points relative to expectation. I’ve included the results for all players below. Our champion for 2015 was the New England Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski, who ran 12.2 points above expectation by making 33 of 36 field-goal tries (for 9.2 points above expectation) and all 52 extra points (for 3.0 points above expectation). Under the new rules this year, 30 NFL kickers missed extra points; Gostkowski still hasn’t missed one since 2006 — his rookie season.The worst kicker was Tampa Bay rookie Kyle Brindza, who missed six of 12 field-goal attempts and two of eight extra points before being cut in October. He ran 12.0 points below expectation on just 20 kicks overall.Touchbacks are the new blackAnother area where kickers can provide significant value, and where we also see creepily constant improvement, is in kickoffs. Of course, kickoff results depend somewhat on special teams kick coverage (though hang time and location matter as well), but one mostly objective metric we can track is frequency of touchbacks (note that the large shift from 2010 to 2011 is a result of the NFL moving the kickoff spot up to the 35): Source: ESPNCORRECTION (Jan. 13, 7 p.m.): The original version of this post contained several points that were based on a critical calculation error discovered by a reader, Jason Hahn. In determining the best kickers of 2015, we attempted to exclude onside kicks, but because of an error in how we filtered our data, onside kick recoveries by the kicking team were treated as a touchdown instead of being ignored. After a recalculation, Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots becomes the most valuable kicker, not Johnny Hekker of the Rams, who moves to second place. In earning kickoff points above expectation, Jordan Gay of the Bills takes second place, not Mike Nugent of the Bengals. The touchbacks kicked by Pat McAfee of the Colts were worth 6 to 8 points over the season, not 8 to 10 points. The rate of all touchbacks reached a high of 57.4 percent in 2015, not 56 percent. The Patriots earned 11.6 points on kickoffs, not 7.7 points. These and other smaller errors have been corrected in the text of the article and in the charts and tables. read more

Baseball Script flips on Ohio State with command woes sinking Buckeyes against

Ohio State sophomore infielder Conner Pohl (39) takes a swing at a pitch in the fourth inning of the game against Ohio University in April 10. Ohio State won 4-0. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe final game of the midweek series between Ohio State and Campbell on Wednesday afternoon started eerily similar to the first game on Tuesday. With sophomore right-handed pitcher Jake Vance on the mound, the second straight game with an underclassman starting pitcher, the Buckeyes allowed Campbell to score early, with three runs in the first three innings.But, despite a comeback attempt with a three-run eighth inning, junior right-handed pitcher Ryan Feltner allowed five runs in the ninth, giving up a grand slam to second baseman Christian Jones, with Ohio State (31-16, 11-7) dropping the second game to Campbell (27-20, 17-4) 13-8 on Wednesday. With Feltner coming in for his first relief appearance of the season, Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said the usual starting pitcher, who had started 12 games this season for the Buckeyes, held their best shot to continue the momentum his team put up in the bottom of the eighth. “We scored the runs to get within two and I felt like, ‘Man, let’s bring Feltner in there and put another zero up and give ourselves a really good shot here in the ninth inning,’” Beals said. “That certainly didn’t work out.” Beals said the 6-foot-4, 195-pound pitcher was overthrowing, uncorking two wild pitches and hitting two batters, and not pitching for location in his 0.1 innings of work. He walked one batter and gave up two hits.The Buckeyes came in with more of an aggressive approach offensively. After walking 12 times in Tuesday’s contest, Ohio State walked five times and recorded 11 hits, but left seven runners on base. Sophomore third baseman Connor Pohl, who had three hits in five at-bats including a two-run home run, said he saw Campbell pitchers attack the Ohio State offense more. “Yesterday, they were really going away, away, away for me, going fastball away and curveball down and away,” Pohl said. “Today, they were trying to go inside a little bit too, so they were trying to attack hitters more.” On the mound, the Ohio State pitching staff struggled with control. With six walks, including four walks by Vance, the Buckeyes hit eight Fighting Camel batters, the most the staff has hit in a single game this season. Command issues were widespread among Ohio State’s pitchers in Wednesday’s loss. “They didn’t command the baseball, 14 free bases” Beals said. “I don’t know if there’s any explanation for it mechanically because it was not just one guy, it was everybody. I don’t know if the wind blowing out, they are trying to be too fine, trying to do too much with the ball, not trusting their stuff.” Vance could not get a groove going in his start, allowing his fourth home run of the season in the first inning. He left after three innings of work, giving up three earned runs on three hits. Unlike Tuesday in which the Ohio State bullpen saved the game with seven scoreless innings, Thomas Waning and Curtiss Irving did not have the same success. Both pitchers combined to give up five earned runs on six hits in four innings. With a three-run deficit in the fourth inning, sophomore left fielder Tyler Cowles hit his fifth home run of the season, cutting Campbell’s lead down to two. He finished the day with two hits in five at-bats, adding on a double and a run in the sixth inning. Stopping play due to a 35-minute lightning delay, the Ohio State offense showed a little bit of life in the eighth inning, loading the bases with one out. The Buckeyes scored three runs to bring the game to within two runs. Even with the two-run home run in the ninth inning, the deficit for Ohio State proved to be too much, falling to the Fighting Camels by five runs. The Buckeyes will begin a three-game series with Purdue at Bill Davis Stadium at 6:35 p.m. Friday. read more

Gardeners urged to search for foam on their garden plants to stop European

How the spittle looks on plants Volunteers will need to report their name, the location the spittle was seen and when, and most importantly the species of plant on which it was found. This information will help researchers understand how Xylella might enter and spread in the UK.While it is not yet found in the UK, the bacteria is causing worry for ministers and horticulturalists because if it does spread from Europe, it affects over 500 different plants, so is harder to wipe out than a host-specific pest.The disease is already established in areas of Italy, France and Spain and has resulted in the death of millions of olive trees in southern Italy. There are worries that it could come to the UK because of the plant trade, and decimate our forests.The bacteria affects popular garden plants and trees including lavender, oak, oleander, rosemary and flowering cherry. It prevents water from being transported from the roots to leaves.Gerard Clover, Head of Plant Heath at the RHS, said: “Xylella remains our number one concern but is not an issue bound by the garden fence. Understanding how and where the disease’s primary vectors move is fundamental to understanding how we can stop the devastation of our gardens and environment should it arrive.”Alan Stewart, Principal Lecturer at the University of Sussex, added: “Records of spittle submitted by the public will help us to build up a picture of where spittlebugs are found, what plants they feed on and how much they move around. This information will be essential for deciding how best to respond should Xylella arrive in the UK.” How the spittle looks on plants Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Each volunteer is being asked to report sightings of spittle, whether in their garden or on plants elsewhere, online through a site called iRecord  after registering. Gardeners have been urged to look out for white foam on their plants as the RHS puts plans in place to stop a European pest which is responsible for the destruction of millions of trees in Italy.The Royal Horticultural Society and Defra have identified Xylella fastidiosa as one of the most pressing concerns when it comes to UK plant health — they fear the disease, which decimates trees and popular garden plants, could come to the country imminently.If found in the UK, all host plants within 100m would need to be destroyed and there would be immediate restrictions on movement of specified plants within a 5 km radius for up to five years – striking a death knell for surrounding nurseries and garden centres.The plant charity, which is working with University of Sussex and Forest Research, needs thousands of volunteers to help map the distribution of spittlebugs, one of the chief carriers of Xylella, that can be found in gardens, meadows, grasslands and woodlands from April to late June.These bugs, which when infected spread the disease from plant to plant, all produce whitish, frothy blobs of spittle on leaves and branches. This helps them to be spotted by horticulturalists. read more

Bartica resident charged for marijuana possession

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedTriumph man charged with trafficking narcotics refused bailSeptember 9, 2014In “Crime”Gold miner charged for ganja possessionAugust 10, 2018In “Court”Bartica resident charged with possession of marijuanaJuly 29, 2013In “Crime” A Bartica man was brought before Magistrate Judy Latchman and was remanded to prison after he was charged for being in possession of over one pound of marijuana.Junior Stevens, 31, entered a not guilty plea when the charge was read to him.That charge stated that he, on June 11th at Fifth Street, Bartica, was found to be in possession of 554 grams of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.Police Prosecutor Shawn Gonsalves told the Court that on the day in question, the Police who had the defendant under surveillance, saw him putting a bag into a nearby shop. When the bag was checked by Police, the illegal substance was found and as such he was arrested and charged.However, the Attorney representing the accused contended that his client was on the beach on the day of his arrest when he was approached by Police Officers and questioned about a bag. He reportedly told ranks that he knew nothing of the bag.The Attorney told the Court that his client was taken into Police custody at gunpoint after which he was asked to open the bag which contained the illegal substance but refused to do so. As such, he was arrested and charged.Magistrate Latchman refused bail and the accused is scheduled to reappear on June 27 2017. read more

STRUGA 2014 Vardar begins with 13

← Previous Story Nikolaj Markussen and Kim Andersson return to handball courts! Next Story → Qatari El Jaish with the new “general” – Zoran Kastratovic! RK Vardar Skopje began the season of highest expectations with easy victory over Russian squad HC Sankt Petersburg 35:22 (16:13). Timur Dibirov was the leader of the team with 7 goals.In the second match of the evenning, Polish team Azoty Pulawy beat French US Creteil 30:25.

Deputy Education Minister quits for personal reasons

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Deputy Education Minister Costas Koukodimos resigned from his post this week citing personal reasons while reports indicated that his struggling businesses in Pieria, northern Greece, were the actual reason for his departure.In a letter to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Koukodimos said his reasons for quitting were “purely personal.” He said he would continue to back the government and Samaras’ “huge effort to regenerate the country.”As Koukodimos is not giving up his seat as a New Democracy MP, the coalition’s representation in the House will not be affected.Education Minister Andreas Loverdos said the resignation was “unexpected” though he admitted he had been aware that Koukodimos had “personal issues.”Loverdos described the departure as a “great loss,” particularly for school sports, in which the two men had “an excellent cooperation.”Source: Ekatimerini.last_img read more

Music in the Making Its All About The Mendelssohn Family

first_img X On this week’s episode of Music in the Making, it’s all about the Mendelssohn family. You’ve no doubt heard some of Felix Mendelssohn’s famed compositions…but what about his sister, Fanny? She, too, was an excellent composer, though her aspirations were thwarted by her gender. This week, we’ll hear music by them both.Bettmann/CorbisFanny & Felix MendelssohnFelix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Fantasie in F-sharp minor, op. 28Anton Kuerti (piano)2/3/2002Moores Opera HouseBoth Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn were precocious children who revealed their musical talent early on. Their family fostered their skills; both received piano and counterpoint instruction. Felix was encouraged throughout his life, becoming a successful composer. We’ll hear the first movement of his Fantasie in F-sharp Minor, originally known as the “Scottish” sonata, which became a particular favorite of his sister’s—she borrowed a melodic phrase, quoting it in one of  her own later compositions. This episode originally aired Sunday, February 4th, 2018. Catch Music in the Making every Sunday at 7:06 PM on Classical. Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel: Sechs Lieder, op. 1Ruth Tomfohrde (piano), Timothy Jones (baritone)2/10/2008Moores Opera HouseWhile Felix’s career was encouraged, his sister’s was deemed unacceptable due to her gender: her father wrote “Music will perhaps become his profession, while for you it can and must only be an ornament.” Despite this, she continued to compose, and eventually even published a set of lieder in 1846 under her own name and without her family’s approval.Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 80Kyung-Sun Lee (violin), Kristen Yon (violin), Ivo-Jan van der Werff (viola), Norman Fischer (cello),11/26/2012Duncan Recital HallFanny’s life came to an abrupt halt at the age of 41, when she died from a stroke. Felix was overwhelmed with grief, and dedicated his sixth string quartet to her, describing it as his “Requiem for Fanny.” Felix himself would pass away soon after, and the siblings were reunited in death—they were buried next to one another in Berlin. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share Listen 00:00 /53:00last_img read more

Rewatching Samurai Jack Episode 6 Jack and the Warrior Woman

first_imgAfter 12 years away, one of the best, most critically acclaimed cartoon series of all time, Samurai Jack, returns to television later this year with original series creator Genndy Tartakovsky at the helm. To help you get ready,’s Aubrey Sitterson is rewatching the entire series in order.In the previous episode of Samurai Jack, “Jack in Space,” we watched as our eponymous hero had a very real possibility of triumph dangling in front of him. With the help of some enterprising astronauts (and some fuzzy science), Jack expected to be able to travel back into time, where he would confront his nemesis and, as they say in the show’s intro, “Undo the future that is Aku!” But, due to Jack’s overriding sense of honor, chivalry, and the value he places on defending the defenseless, he ultimately missed out on achieving his goal. In episode 6, “Jack and the Warrior Woman,” the titular samurai once again has victory snatched from his grasp, but in a way that is far, far more crushing.Set in a version of the Middle East that manages to be both romantic and futuristic, “Jack and the Warrior Woman” catches up with Jack as he attempts to locate a powerful artifact, a gem capable of, you guessed it, transporting him back in time. But when a group of robotic assassins burst in, it is only through the aide of a mysterious green-skinned woman that Jack is able to escape from town and continue his search for the gem… with a new ally by his side.The appearance of the warrior woman, named Ikra, is important, as even beyond her green skin, she appears and feels, for lack of a better term… evil. Cloaked in a spiky black dress, wielding a pure black sword, and with a sardonic grin constantly plastered upon her face, by looks alone, you might understandably assume that her purpose was a nefarious one. This, combined with comments from a soothsayer that Jack was visiting, as well as a few other subtle hints throughout the episode all contribute to the impression of Ikra as villain.But despite all that, Jack – who has already been proven to be an excellent, fair judge of character – seems to not only trust Ikra, but identify with her, especially after he hears that she too watched her father imprisoned and abused by the demonic Aku. As the two travel across the desert in search of this powerful gem, one capable of defeating their nemesis, they both willingly and eagerly come to one another’s aide, and for the first time in the series, Jack seems to have found an equal. Instead of seeing her as a rival, however, Jack looks warmly upon Ikra, going so far as to share what, for the stoic samurai, likely constitutes an intimate moment.This is all just a cruel set-up, however, as upon obtaining the gem, Ikra smashes it, revealing herself to be none other than the shapeshifting Aku. This is a massive, crushing blow to Jack for a few reasons, including, most obviously, the loss of yet another way to travel back in time and accomplish his goal. But the development is made more damaging because not only was Jack robbed of his triumph, but he was also robbed of something else, something that for six episodes we have yet to see him possess: A friend.That would all be bad enough, but “Jack and the Warrior Woman” twists the knife even more, proving itself to be the most depressing episode of the show yet. What makes this loss so much more upsetting and catastrophic than that seen in “Jack in Space” is that the entire thing… was Jack’s own fault. It was Jack that trusted Ikra, that traveled with her, that saved her from trouble, that allowed her to place her traitorous hands upon the object of his quest. In the past we’ve seen Jack take damage and get beaten up, we’ve even seen him catapulted into the future by Aku, but this is the first time that we’ve seen him thoroughly, decisively outclassed and defeated. For a character whose sole traits are his nobility and competence, this is a profoundly upsetting development.Even outside of the sympathetic distress that all good stories elicit from their audience, however, “Jack and the Warrior Woman” is an effectively nasty dig at the morale of the viewer. Though we, watching at home, saw repeated clues indicating that Ikra was not who she claimed, we also saw Jack, who has already been established as wise and fair, welcome her as a trusted companion. Thus, viewers pushed down their gut instincts in favor of trusting in their hero, a trust that is later revealed to be ill-placed.Good storytelling is all about setting up expectations so that they might be denied, subverted, and/or delivered upon. “Jack and the Warrior Woman,” while definitely not as fun or funny as previous episodes, is the best example of this storytelling theory to be found in Samurai Jack thus far. Audiences expect to see Jack get the gem and his triumph over Aku, but that expectation is denied. They expect to see him work together with Ikra, but the expectation is subverted with the revelation of her true identity. And finally, most impressively, they initially expect Ikra to be revealed as evil, an expectation that is denied, re-setup, and denied again before being eventually delivered upon in the episode’s final moments.All of this works together to produce an episode of Samurai Jack that manages to deny audiences everything that they want, even when giving them exactly what they expected to happen. It’s a stunning bit of storytelling sleight of hand, and an impressive departure from the show’s constantly fluctuating formula.Join us next time as we discuss episode seven of Samurai Jack’s first season, “Jack and the Three Blind Archers.”Aubrey Sitterson is a Los Angeles-based writer whose most recent work is the Street Fighter x G.I. Joe comic series from IDW, available at your local comic shop or digitally on Comixology. Follow him on Twitter or check out his website for more information.last_img read more

Mamata reveals statistics showing rise in states financial performance

first_imgKolkata: Bengal’s financial performance has reached new heights because of a sharp rise in plan expenditure, capital expenditure, tax revenue collection, spending in social sector and several other parameters.This has happened at a time when the state government has to repay Rs 56,000 crore as loan to the Centre – a burden that the erstwhile Left Front government had left upon the Mamata Banerjee government. As per figures revealed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after chairing an administrative review meeting at Nabanna Sabhaghar, the state plan expenditure has increased 6 times and the capital expenditure has gone up 11 times since 2010-11. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata”Our plan expenditure that was Rs 11,837 crore in 2010-11 has gone up to Rs 71,113 crore in 2018-19, while the capital expenditure has shot up to Rs 23,787 crore from Rs 2,225 crore. The social sector expenditure has increased four times from Rs 6,845 crore to Rs 31,060 crore, while that in agriculture and allied sectors has risen from Rs 3,029 crore to Rs 28,302 crore,” she said. The physical infrastructure sector expenditure has also increased five times since 2010-11 from Rs 1,758 crore to Rs 9,553 crore in 2018-19. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in state”In comparison to the 2017-18 financial year, the state plan expenditure has increased by 23 percent, the capital expenditure by 25 percent and physical infrastructure sector expenditure by 48 percent. Tax revenue has risen from Rs 60,818 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 65,341 crore in 2018-19, while GST collection has also gone up 23 percent in 2018-19 in comparison to the 2017-18 fiscal,” she added. Banerjee also announced the constitution of a Monitoring Cell on Programme Implementation in the CMRO to fasttrack redressal of complaints or grievances regarding government schemes. According to the Chief Minister, the state government is facing non-cooperation in proper implementation of its beneficial schemes like Khadya Sathi and Kanyashree from a section of officers, particularly those who have been working in the government level from the days of the erstwhile Left Front government. “When we assumed office (in 2011) we had not removed any government officer. Some of these officers are still showing non-cooperation in implementing government schemes. So, we are forming this monitoring and grievance cell so that I can personally monitor such cases,” she added. Colonel Diptanshu Chaudhary will be heading the cell, which will examine the authenticity of the complaint and will address the problem in seven days. If it cannot be solved in seven days, the CMRO will intervene directly and address the same. Banerjee announced a toll free number 18003458244, an SMS number 9073300524 and an email id:, which people can use to register their complaints. She made it clear that she will not tolerate any money laundering through these beneficial schemes and will act tough. “We are strengthening our economic offence wing by including civil officials in the team for crackdown on such offences in a more efficient manner,” Banerjee said.last_img read more

Want to Run Faster This OldSchool Concept Might Hold the Answer

first_img How fast can you run a mile? Ten minutes? Six? A group of researchers want you to lower your time to four minutes — by wearing a jetpack.Yeah, by strapping on an 11-pound jetpack backpack. (Say that a few times fast.)Created by researchers at Arizona State University, the project is called 4MM, because its goal is for a person to able to run a four-minute mile. Specifically, they want people in the military to be able to move faster on foot.Related: WATCH: This Guy Flies Over Denver Wearing a Jetpack”If you think of Navy Seal or an Army soldier that has to get in somewhere quick, do whatever the gotta do, but maybe get out of there just as quickly, these devices can not only help soldiers accomplish their goals but save lives as well,” says Jason Kerestes, an Arizona State graduate who helped develop the 4MM.Check out the 4MM in action:In trial runs, the test subject improved his mile time from 5 minutes and 20 seconds without the jetpack to 5 minutes and two seconds with it. That doesn’t sound like much of an improvement, but we should note the extra weight of the pack and that the person exerted less energy, the group says.Maybe the 4MM project defeats the purpose of the jetpack since, you know, you don’t actually fly anywehere. But if they can create a lighter version then perhaps it can have some real-world applications — especially in the military, like the researchers suggest.Related: Move Over James Bond. Here Comes a Jetpack for the Rest of Us Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now 2 min read Enroll Now for Freecenter_img This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. September 12, 2014last_img read more

Amazons New Robots Pack 700 Boxes Per Hour

first_imgMay 13, 2019 This story originally appeared on PCMag This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Enroll Now for Free 2 min read Robots in Amazon’s warehouses are taking on a new role of boxing up orders, and they do so much more efficiently and quickly than the human workers they replace.As Reuters reports, Amazon has been experimenting with a new type of automated packaging robot that can 3D scan the goods included in an order as they travel down a conveyor belt. Those goods are then placed in a custom-size box the robot creates that’s perfectly sized to fit.Each robot packer can handle up to 700 orders per hour, and unlike their human counterparts, do not require regular breaks, never go home, and can’t get sick. Worryingly for workers, one robot at a warehouse means 24 human roles are no longer required. If the same robot was rolled out to each of Amazon’s U.S. facilities, that would be 1,300 roles removed.Each robot packer costs $1 million plus running expenses, which sounds like a lot until you consider Amazon will recoup the money spent in just two years. Those savings come from employing fewer people, but also the efficiency and low maintenance costs such a machine enjoys.The loss of roles in packing at Amazon does not necessarily mean a loss of jobs. An Amazon spokesperson commenting on the machines, said, “We are piloting this new technology with the goal of increasing safety, speeding up delivery times and adding efficiency across our network … We expect the efficiency savings will be re-invested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created.”Earlier this month, Amazon’s director of robotics fulfillment made it clear that full warehouse automation is nowhere near ready to happen. We’ll apparently be enjoying warehouse roles for at least the next decade. Even after that it sounds as though the roles are simply changing rather than disappearing completely. What will the Amazon worker of 2029 be doing exactly, then?last_img read more

Launch of of exciting new Darling Harbour pavilion

first_imgFor bookings or for additional information contact:Adam SherarAustralian National Maritime MuseumT: +61 2 8241 8309E: all media enquiries please contact Momentum2Caitlin Maxwell, Senior PR | W) (02) 9212 2000 or M) 0415 316 554Lyn Tuit, Principal: | W) (02) 9212 2000 or M) 0405 160 275Source = Australian National Maritime Museum Launch of of exciting new Darling Harbour pavilionLaunch of of exciting new Darling Harbour pavilionFrom November 10, a fabulous new waterfront pavilion will be available for venue hire in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, just in time for the festive season.Named after Captain Cook’s majestic vessel and its on-site replica, the HMB Endeavour, the Endeavour Pavilion is an exciting new addition to the wharves of the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM). In addition to its prime waterfront location overlooking the stunning harbour, the Endeavour Pavilion also offers all-inclusive event packages, with everything from venue hire to catering and furniture looked after on site.The venue offers guests a unique setting for a function with a wow factor, with the Pavilion nestled elegantly amongst historic vessels, set against the spectacular backdrop of the Sydney skyline.The Endeavour Pavilion is a bespoke marquee from White Umbrella. It can be arranged to suit any event from cocktail parties, Christmas parties, product launches and award ceremonies, to large sit-down lunches or dinners. With four furniture ranges to choose from, the space can be tailored to suit the theme of any function, from modern and edgy, to classic and refined. Clients can specify their furniture selection and how they would like the space to be configured, whilst the Pavilion is fully equipped with lighting and sound.“This new generation of event planning takes away the hassle of coordinating all the necessary extras, thereby saving organisers time and money,” said Matt Lee, ANMM’s Assistant Director of Commercial and Visitor Services. “It also minimises the risks associated with using multiple suppliers – particularly during the festive season,” he added.The Endeavour Pavilion’s comprehensive event packages include catering from award-winning catering and corporate event specialists, Laissez-Faire. Based at ANMM, Laissez-Faire is renowned for working with premium and local seafood and beef suppliers, artisan cheese producers and quality local fruit and vegetable growers, developing inspiring, seasonal menus that bring the best produce to every event. Laissez-Faire is committed to providing unforgettable experiences through innovative and creative cuisine and outstanding service. Guests attending events held at the Pavilion will enjoy the level of expertise and professionalism that can be expected of an established venue, within a contemporary new setting.The incredible versatility of the Endeavour Pavilion makes it the ideal venue for all Christmas cocktail events, corporate lunches and dinners, and other end-of-year celebrations. It can accommodate up to 200 guests seated or 350 cocktail, with packages starting at $140 per head, all-inclusive. Guests will delight in the fresh, seasonal menus on offer from Laissez-Faire, including a Christmas-themed canape menu featuring fresh, bite-sized takes on the classics, such as shaved turkey on rosemary toasts with cranberry compote. Plated menus offer a full three-course selection, including the quintessential Christmas pudding and summer berry trifle desserts.The Endeavour Pavilion will be available for hire from November 10. The venue’s affordable, all-inclusive packages and its proximity to the CBD make it the perfect option for any last-minute Christmas bookings. ANMM will also be offering guests the opportunity to complete their event with a visit to one of its fascinating exhibitions, or to climb aboard the HMB Endeavour moored alongside the Pavilion.last_img read more

FHFA Prices Rise 06 from December to January

first_img March 22, 2013 427 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies FHFA Home Prices Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2013-03-22 Krista Franks Brock Share Home prices rose another 0.6 percent in January, according to the “”Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA’s) House Price Index,””: which measures the prices of homes owned or guaranteed by “”Fannie Mae””: and “”Freddie Mac.””:[IMAGE]January’s gain continues a persistent monthly trend of rising prices started in January 2012. The past 12 months of rising prices have resulted in a total gain of 6.5 percent. [COLUMN_BREAK]The monthly increase recorded in January is just slightly above December’s downwardly-revised increase of 0.5 percent. While prices continue their upward trend nationally, one-third of the nine U.S. Census Divisions recorded price declines in January–the East South Central Division, the New England Division, and the Middle Atlantic Division. The greatest decline occurred in New England, where prices fell 0.7 percent over the month. On the other hand, two-thirds of the Census Divisions experienced price increases in January–the greatest among them being a 1.6 percent increase in the Pacific Division. The Pacific Division was the only division to experience an increase greater than 1 percent for the month, though the Mountain Division came close to the 1 percent mark with a 0.9 percent increase. On a yearly basis, all nine Census Divisions recorded price increases. The Pacific Division again posted the greatest increase, with prices 13.7 percent above their year-ago levels. The smallest increase on a yearly basis took place in the Middle Atlantic region, where prices are up just 0.4 percent from last year.center_img FHFA: Prices Rise 0.6% from December to January in Data, Governmentlast_img read more

Senate Group Introduces Bill to Dissolve GSEs

first_img Share June 25, 2013 386 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Politics Senate Banking Committee Service Providers 2013-06-25 Tory Barringer in Secondary Marketcenter_img Senate Group Introduces Bill to Dissolve GSEs A bipartisan group of senators introduced on Tuesday legislation to replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a newly created agency.[IMAGE]Citing the overwhelming presence of the GSEs in today’s mortgage marketplace, Sens. “”Bob Corker””: (R-Tennessee) and “”Mark Warner””: (D-Virginia) unveiled a new piece of legislation designed to wind down the enterprises and rebuild the private mortgage sector.Also involved in the unveiling were Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska), Jon Tester (D-Montana), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), Jerry Morgan (R-Kansas), and Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina), all members of the “”Senate Banking Committee””: legislation would dissolve Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac within five years of passage and transfer appropriate utility duties and functions to a “”different, modernized and streamlined agency.”” The transfer would be done with a fiduciary duty to maximize returns to the taxpayer as the GSEs’ assets are sold off.In addition, the new bill requires private market participants to hold 10 percent of the first loss of any mortgage-backed security (MBS) that purchases a [COLUMN_BREAK]government reinsurance wrap. It also sets up an infrastructure for splitting up credit investors–who are willing to take on the risk of loss–from rate investors, thus keeping mortgage rates competitive while mitigating the risk of loss to taxpayers.Another proposed transitional step is to eliminate the enterprises’ affordable housing goals, replacing them with “”more transparent and accountable”” counseling and rental assistance programs.””Our new access fund–paid for not by taxpayers but through a small assessment on only those loans that go through the government platform–is dedicated to the sustainability of homeownership and to providing decent rental opportunities, while making it very clear where the money goes and putting in place strict criminal penalties against misuse,”” the senators explained in an “”op-ed published on Politico””:, the bill would establish a new corporation–mutually owned by small banks and credit unions–created to protect local banks and credit unions from being “”gobbled up by the mega banks as soon as Fannie and Freddie are dissolved,”” thus ensuring direct access to the secondary market for institutions of all sizes.Initial reactions to the proposed legislation have been positive so far, with Mortgage Bankers Association chairman Debra Still calling it a “”significant milestone”” in the development of a long-term plan for the role of government in the mortgage market.””Some might say this goes too far, others not far enough. But regardless of where your political sensibilities are, you cannot think the current system works,”” the opinion piece reads. “”As memory of the crisis fades, the GSEs will again entrench themselves deeper and deeper into our system of housing finance. Soon, the path of least resistance will be to simply reconstitute Fannie and Freddie as they were. That would be totally irresponsible.””last_img read more

Daydream Island Resort has announced it will incre

first_imgDaydream Island Resort has announced it will increase its renovation investment by $14 million to a total of $100 million to finalise refurbishment plans ahead of the island’s reopening later this year. The initial investment of $50 million announced in May 2017 was subsequently increased to $65 million just one month later, and rose to $86 million by November that year.The island has undergone extensive construction for the redevelopment of the resort, which will see the return of the Living Reef and an expanded food and beverage offering with three restaurants and five bars across the island. The increase in investment will provide funding for a spectacular pool landscape featuring an absolute beachfront pool, adjacent infinity pool and central lagoon style pool with an attached kids area. An adult’s only area and a series of cabanas will join the three new pools to become a central hub for guests and a main feature of the resort.Daydream Island will have a soft opening from 29 September 2018 with all resort facilities operational by 1 November 2018. To book contact the reservations team at australiaDaydream Island Resorthotels & resortslast_img read more