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Cinema 4D Video Tutorial: An Introduction to V-Ray Materials

first_imgLearn how to create V-Ray materials in this Cinema 4D video tutorial.While the built-in renderers in Cinema 4D may be powerful, V-Ray offers users the ability to render more realistic textures at faster speeds. If you’ve spent time working with the V-Ray renderer in Cinema 4D than you know that there are hundreds of individual controls designed to give you the most customization possible.All of these controls can be confusing, especially if you are new to the rendering process. Thankfully we’ve found an awesome tutorial covering the basics of creating V-Ray materials in Cinema 4D. In the following video tutorial created by Kamel Khezri he demonstrates advanced features in the V-Ray material editor. The tutorial covers:Creating texturesWorking with lightsSelecting transparencySetting reflection mapsV-Ray is a third party plug-in, but widely considered an industry standard. If you are interested in learning more about V-Ray we recommend checking out the official website.This video was first shared by Kamel Kherzri on his Vimeo channel. Thanks for sharing Kamel!Want to see more Cinema 4D video tutorials? Check out the Cinema 4D section of the PremiumBeat blog.Have any other tips for working with advanced V-Ray materials? Share in the comments below.Bonus: Check out these FREE V-Ray Material ResourcesV-Ray MaterialsFlying Architecture MaterialsV-Ray Materials UKlast_img read more

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Tiny Orang roars on tiger density

first_imgOrang, the tiger reserve in Assam with the smallest core among 50 nationally protected areas, has presented wildlife scientists doing a census with a surprise: a high density of 28 big cats.The count was revealed during phase IV of the all-India tiger estimation programme of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).Spread over Darrang and Sonitpur districts and notified in February 2016, Orang Tiger Reserve is the 49th in the country. It has the smallest core of 78.28 sq. km., and the cat density was revealed during a census done between January and March 2017. Kamlang Tiger Reserve in Arunachal is the 50th and latest to be notified.Density is calculated based on the number of tigers per 100 sq. km. “If we calculate density of tigers for 100 sq. km., it comes to 35.44. Thus, Orang has the highest density nationally,” Sunnydeo Choudhary, the reserve’s field director, said.Estimates in 2013 had put the number of tigers here at 17.Four males foundMr. Choudhary said 24 camera trap images (17 females, four males and three as yet unidentified big cats) were taken during the exercise and the NTCA’s statistical model put the number of big cats in the reserve at 28.Preliminary estimates of prey, which is important to sustain higher tiger numbers, revealed a good population of hog deer, wild boar and wild buffalo. Tigers also feed on cattle that stray into the core from settlements outside, officials said.Describing the data as “very significant and interesting,” Kamal Azad, a biologist at NTCA’s regional office at Guwahati, said the presence of 30 to 35 cats in Orang should lead to a deeper study of tiger ecology in the landscape. “Whatever we know about tiger ecology is from reserves such as Corbett and Kanha. It has not been studied in the Brahmaputra flood plains like Kaziranga and Orang,” Mr. Azad said.A Wildlife Institute of India and NTCA report last year titled The Status of Tigers, Co-predators and Prey in India, said the density in Kaziranga National Park was 12.72 per 100 sq. km., followed by Jim Corbett National Park (11) in Uttarakhand and Bandipur National Park (10.28) in Karnataka.Core-buffer divisionOrang’s buffer area is 413.18 sq. km., but experts say the boundary between the core and buffer is sharp and not contiguous forest as in other reserves of Assam. Agni Mitra, regional director of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and tiger biologist said the tiger reserves from Uttarakhand to Nepal, parts of Bihar and north Bengal and in Assam in the ‘Terai arc landscape” sustains grassland and a good prey base.last_img read more

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Duped in Bitcoins purchase, U.P. man threatens to blow up U.S. airport

first_imgAn 18-year-old man was apprehended by the Uttar Pradesh ATS for allegedly making several calls to the Miami airport in the US and threatening to blow it up, an official said Saturday.Legal action was initiated against him, IG ATS Asim Arun said. The accused had purchased Bitcoins worth ₹1,000 but someone duped him, following which he lodged a complaint with the FBI, an American intelligence and security service, but did not get a desired response, he said. So the accused made several calls to the Miami airport and threatened to attack it.“I will come with AK47, grenade, suicide belt and kill everyone,” the man, whose identity was not disclosed, said in his calls. The FBI talked to the man but he continued making threat calls using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) from October 2 till October 31, the IG said.He was traced on the basis of IP address and during interrogation, he confessed, Arun said. The man will be chargesheeted in court. Section 41A of the CrPC does not require arrest, he said.last_img read more

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Gabo, Estrella likely out of Mila’s Lechon

first_imgMOST READ Read Next LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PBA IMAGESMila’s Lechon brass isn’t willing to wait for another loss to take action as it is set to drop Leo Gabo and Andoy Estrella from its roster in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup.Mighty Roasters coach Jesse Ricardo shared that the team management are now exploring their options following their 48-65 defeat to Perpetual on Tuesday.ADVERTISEMENT Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Brave Busmen fall to Tianjin in Champions League playoff Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon Citycenter_img The two have been vital in the Mighty Roasters’ maiden campaign in the developmental league as they lead their camp in their 67-96 defeat to JRU last Thursday.Gabo paced Mila’s Lechon in the defeat with 14 points, three rebounds, and two assists, while Estrella got 13.Ricardo shared that the move to replace the two will leave a huge hole in their camp, but he feels that it’s just right to give chance to other players who are willing to show dedication for Mila’s Lechon.“That’s going to have an effect on us because we’ve been with them for two months,” he said. “But there are other players willing to play for us and we’ll give them the break.”ADVERTISEMENT “That’s what we’re talking about, to find another guard,” he said. “We’re already looking for replacements for those two guards.Gabo and Estrella were absent for the tiff as the Mapuan backcourt prioritized their commitment with Quezon City in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League over Mila’s Lechon. The Capitals will have a game later in the day against Bataan at Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium in Malolos.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutWithout the pair, Axel Iñigo shouldered the bulk of the playmaking load for the Mighty Roasters, playing for 36 minutes at the point and finished the game with 13 markers, five assists, and two rebounds. That performance, however, wasn’t enough as Mila’s Lechon dropped to the cellar at 0-2.Ricardo couldn’t hide his disappointment on the two following the defeat, saying, “It’s their choice if they chose that one. We can’t do anything about it.” Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding View commentslast_img read more

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Kolkata couple to watch ninth football World Cup in a row

first_imgFootball is a passion for the city couple Pannalal (81) and Chaitali (71), which has taken them to eight World Cups previously and the 2014 Brazil edition will be no exception either, though this could be their last.It all began in 1982 when the football-crazy couple, who live in a narrow bylane at Kidderpore in the south-western part of the city, when they spent one summer at their friend’s place in London and decided to go to Spain to watch the World Cup.”Such was the excitement that we have not been able to miss any World Cup since then,” the Chatterjees, who leave Kolkata on June 17, said.The next time around their fervour reached a different height after witnessing the Diego Maradona’s hand of God goal and bumping into Pele, two of their fondest memories till date.”It’s difficult to explain in words how much we love the sport,” the Chatterjees, who have been to Mexico, Italy, then America, the fifth was France, then Germany, then Japan-Korea, then South Africa and now Brazil, he added.A former Kolkata Port Trust employee, Pannalal gets a small pension of about Rs 7,500 and have a saree business as they save money every month to meet their expenses every four years.The couple say they always take the Tricolour with them and keep them flying high, but regret they feel embarrassed when curious spectators ask them when India will play football.”We have no answer to their queries… But we tell them we are proud Indians and have come here to watch the World Cup,” Pannalal said.advertisementArdent supporters of Brazil, it will be a dream come true for them to witness the extravaganza this time.”Brazil is the the Mecca of football. This was our only wish to watch World Cup in Brazil. We don’t know whether we will be able to go the next time,” he added.last_img read more

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Euro 2016: Romania face selection dilemma for crunch Swiss game

first_imgRomania coach Anghel Iordanescu must decide whether veteran left back Razvan Rat can repel the danger of Xherdan Shaqiri in what could be the defining confrontation of his team’s Euro 2016 clash with Switzerland on Wednesday.The Romanians were crestfallen to lose 2-1 to hosts and favourites France in the dying moments of the tournament opener on Friday, Dimitri Payet’s long-range stunner ending their stout resistance. (Full Euro 2016 coverage )Iordanescu’s team, which conceded just two goals in qualifying – the best defensive record in the preliminaries – were surprisingly enterprising going forward versus France and should pose even more problems to the Swiss, who beat Albania in their opening match, in their next group A encounter.But Rat’s form will surely be a concern. The 35-year-old recently returned from a shoulder injury and struggled to cope with the exuberance and trickery of France’s Antoine Griezmann in the first half, while substitute Kingsley Coman’s pace was equally troubling to the Rayo Vallecano defender late on.Shaqiri, with 17 international goals in 54 appearances, boasts similar qualities to both those French attackers, and will fancy testing Rat’s possible shortcomings.Should Iordanescu, in his third stint in charge of the national team, opt to drop Rat, he could select 22-year-old Steliano Filip.A downbeat Iordanescu had warned after the France defeat that his players were exhausted and it would be difficult to rouse them psychologically to face Switzerland, which suggests he will freshen up his line-up for the Parc des Princes encounter.SELECTION DILEMMAOther selection dilemmas include whether to persist with young striker Florin Andone, second-top scorer in Spain’s second division this season, or instead start with Denis Alibec, a substitute at Stade de France.advertisementLikewise, speedy winger Adrian Popa may give way to the more experienced Gabriel Torje, but Nicolae Stanciu’s place seems assured after his sparkling creative display.The Swiss, seeking to advance to the knock-out stages of the Euros for the first time, were efficient in defeating debutants Albania 1-0.Centre back Fabian Schaer’s early header proved decisive, although keeper Yann Sommer also made two outstanding saves to preserve their slender lead.The Swiss line-up is likely to differ little against Romania, with coach Vladimir Petkovic preferring a settled team. Of the 11 players that started against Albania, eight played in at least eight of Switzerland’s 10 qualifying matches.That means Granit Xhaka will attempt to boss proceedings from midfield, Shaqiri will drift in from wide right and Stephan Lichtsteiner and Ricardo Rodriguez will surge forward from full back.A win over Romania, or perhaps even a point, will all but ensure Switzerland’s progress to the next round. Yet defeat could still put their place in jeopardy, with France, who thrashed the Swiss 5-2 at the 2014 World Cup, to come in their final group game.last_img read more

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Photo: Ohio State Sent A Valentine To The Mother Of 2016 4-Star LB Brendan Ferns

first_imgOhio State sends Valentine to mother of recruit.There’s a reason why Urban Meyer is one of the country’s best recruiters. The Ohio State coach and his staff are thorough – ridiculously thorough. The Buckeyes’ recruiting staff sent a Block O Valentine’s Day card to the mother of Brendan Ferns, a four-star linebacker in the 2016 class considering Ohio State. Here it is: Ohio State coaches with a smart mailer. Sent valentine cards to mom of 2016 Brendan Ferns. pic.twitter.com/yPQjNWoSZn— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) February 14, 2015Ferns, a 6-foot-3, 223-pound linebacker out of Saint Clairsville, Ohio, is ranked the No. 2 inside linebacker in the country by 247 Sports’ Composite Rankings. He is reportedly considering OSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma and West Virginia, among other schools. [11W]last_img read more

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Former Alabama Star Reveals What Jokes Nick Saban Tells At Practice

first_imgNick Saban reacting during an Alabama game.ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 03: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on in the second half against the Florida Gators during the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on December 3, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)Alabama head coach Nick Saban usually looks pretty angry on the sideline, no matter how his team is playing (and they’re usually playing incredibly well).The Crimson Tide head coach has a lighter side to him, though, and he apparently brings it out a lot at practice.Former Alabama running back Josh Jacobs, who rushed for 11 touchdowns in 2018, revealed some jokes Saban tells at practice.The former Crimson Tide star shared some insight on Saban during an appearance on Mike Florio’s PFT Live.From the interview:What people don’t understand about him is he’s actually very funny. He’s definitely a players’ coach. I remember one day at practice I was just catching a lot of balls—and you know he works with the defensive side so he’s always on the offensive players. Whenever we do something good, he just gets mad, gets to cussing out Eddy. And that’s one of the longest referees we’ve ever had there. He’s just funny, man. He gets to slamming the hat on the ground and all of that, it’s just funny. …I was one of the rare lucky ones. He never really yelled at me. He used to joke with me and say a couple of things, but besides that he never … Like if I was catching a lot of passes that day, he would try to say something like, ‘Hey Josh, you keep catch all these passes, how about you hold deez?’ or something like that. Just something funny for a coach to try and translate and get to know to each player.Nick Saban making a “deez nuts” joke at practice is pretty great.Saban, though, doesn’t use social media and claims to basically never go on the internet. So, how’d he even find out about the joke in the first place?We need answers.last_img read more

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MoroccoCote DIvoire King Mohammed VI launch projects of over 8000 lowcost

first_imgAbidjan – The ongoing commitment of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to promoting South-South cooperation as a development tool serving the people of sub-Saharan Africa was shown once again on Tuesday through real estate projects of over 8,000 low-cost housing units, launched in Abidjan by the Sovereign, who was accompanied by Prime Minister of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Daniel Kablan Duncan.These projects are in line with the royal speech on the occasion of the opening session of the Ivorian-Moroccan Economic Forum, in which the Moroccan monarch said that Africa does not need assistance as much as more mutually beneficial partnerships. “Our continent needs human and social development programs more than humanitarian aid,” the King said.The projects, which reflect the determination of the King to allow the countries of the African continent to benefit from the highly appreciated Moroccan experience in the fight against unhealthy housing, involve the construction of 7,500 housing units in the Locodjoro neighborhood (Commune of Attécoubé ) and 530 other units in the city of Kumasi. Part of the efforts of the Ivorian government to address the structural deficit in housing, these two projects, carried out by the Moroccan real estate group Addoha, will cost a sum of 2.2 billion dirhams and will cover a total area of 29 hectares.The Locodjoro project (26 ha) includes the construction of an integrated city that combines tradition and modernity with 7500 low-cost housing units and community services (a shopping mall, schools, a cultural center, a business center, a police station), and green spaces.Located in the heart of the city of Kumasi, the Kumasi project (3 ha) provides for the construction of 530 affordable apartments and a school.These projects will enable the Abidjan population, particularly those with limited incomes to access decent housing at favorable conditions.These two real estate projects symbolize the historical relations of friendship and brotherhood between the two countries, as well as the unwavering commitment of Morocco to supporting the economic and social development in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, as part of win-win cooperation.On his arrival, King Mohammed VI was greeted notably by the Ivorian Minister of Housing and Urban Development, the Mayor and MP of the City of Kumasi, the CEO of Addoha Group, and the employees and managers of the projects launched.1 dollar= 8.18 dirhamslast_img read more

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Press Freedom Morocco Ranks Near the Bottom

Rabat – Morocco was ranked 133rd in press freedom out of 180 countries by the latest World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).Morocco slipped down two places from 2016.The index said that this low ranking resulted from authorities’ use of political and economic pressure to deter local independent media outlets from covering sensitive subjects. The report added that even international media members have become targets. The index, released annually since 2002, pointed out that Morocco expelled a growing number of foreign reporters in 2016 for lacking official filming permits.Topped by Norway and bottomed by North Korea, the index said that in Western Sahara, where the Polisario Front continues to abuse human rights, journalists are threatened and prosecuted when they attempt to report human rights violations.According to the RSF, which published a corresponding analysis, two recent international major events, the Brexit campaign and Donald Trump’s rise to power in the United States, were marked by high-profile media bashing. The United States ranked at 43rd, falling two places, and the United Kingdom at 40th.In Africa, Namibia topped the list, ranking 24th followed by Ghana at 26 and Cape Verde at 27. read more

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Tahoe residents oppose new homes in path of wildfire danger

RENO, Nev. — During her career as a flight attendant, Laura Haneveld had a checklist to remind her what to do in the event of a fire.“The most important thing on an airplane is fire, whether you are on the ground or whether you are up in the air,” Haneveld said. “I’m very attuned to how quickly fire can take over and how you don’t think clearly.”Now retired and living in California’s Olympic Valley near Lake Tahoe, Haneveld still keeps a fire checklist.Only this time it’s to remind her and her husband, emergency room physician Ed Haneveld, what to take if they’re escaping a forest fire.“Forty years ago, we had a much healthier forest, now we are dealing with an unhealthy forest,” Haneveld said. “I see the potential for a real disaster.”That’s among the reasons Haneveld and many other Sierra Nevada residents oppose a proposed redevelopment plan for Squaw Valley Resort that would add about 1,500 bedrooms and additional retail and resort amenities to the valley over the next 25 years.The proposed redevelopment, along with another controversial plan for hundreds of homes near a two-lane highway near Truckee, comes as Californians are already reckoning with the dangers posed by development in fire-prone areas.Although even the developers acknowledge there are scenarios in which wildfire could burn through faster than people could evacuate, local officials have approved development plans over the objections of environmental groups and hundreds of residents who spoke out against the plans.Both are being challenged in court, and in one case a judge called the evacuation plan insufficient.“We are adding people, buildings, we are not adding any more ability to get out of here,” Haneveld said.The geographic features that make the scenic valley attractive to residents and tourists contribute to her evacuation worries.The main redevelopment area is approximately two miles west of California Highway 89 via the curvy, two-lane Squaw Valley Road.Most homes in the valley are on the north side of the road and the northern, southern and eastern ends are forested.In the centre, Squaw Valley Creek runs through a meadow, which rises toward the resort and ski area. Exposed-rock terrain towers up to 3,000 feet above the valley floor.From the ridges, skiers and snowboarders can enjoy views of Lake Tahoe to the east. In 2014 those same ridges would have provided a panoramic view of the King Fire, which started about 35 miles to the southwest near Pollock Pines and burned to within about eight miles.Haneveld’s greatest fear is there will be thousands of residents and visitors crammed into the valley when the next fire arrives and their attempts at evacuation will result in gridlock.“I think it is more the feeling of being trapped that is frightening,” said Haneveld, who recalled the stories of people fleeing the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, seeking refuge in a stream in November 2018.“I’ve certainly thought of that as a last-ditch effort, getting to the Truckee River,” she said.And it’s not the only controversial development that would put more traffic on roads in the forested, mountain terrain between Lake Tahoe and Interstate 80.Another would add several hundred homes and commercial properties near Northstar California Resort.The proposal, called Martis Valley West, generated similar complaints from people who worry that additional development in hilly terrain with narrow roads and heavy traffic would compromise residents’ ability to evacuate during a fire.“The biggest issue around here is there just simply is not room to safely build these monster developments,” said Robert Heinz, who lives on Dollar Point near Tahoe City.Heinz said he and his wife keep a packed bag at the ready in the event of a fire. But they worry their readiness would do them no good if traffic were at a standstill.“Depending on which way the fire is coming we would probably go in the opposite direction, but so would everybody else,” Heinz said.Critics say the projects show state and local governments need to pay closer attention to how developments will affect the ability of people to evacuate in the event of a disaster before approving new building.“We need to have a better way to capture suitable areas to develop in or non-suitable areas that can be taken off the table,” said Alexis Ollar of Mountain Area Preservation, a Truckee, Calif., based group that’s suing to block the Martis Valley development.Backers of the developments accuse critics of weaponizing deadly California fire disasters to stoke anti-development fears even as developers take steps to ensure their projects are suitable for fire-prone areas.“We have to learn to adapt and not live in fear,” said Ron Cohen, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. “I don’t believe in withdrawing from the mountains because of fire.”Ed Morgan, chief operating officer of Mountainside Builders, the developer behind Martis Valley West, said the project is already scaled down from the original proposal by about 1,300 units and shifted entirely to the west side of Highway 267 near Northstar, leaving more open space to the east.“I understand there are some groups that want nothing, but this is private property that has certain rights to develop with county plans,” Morgan said. “You don’t just walk away from that.”Both projects are in areas scientists and land managers call the wildland urban interface, or WUI.And while WUI areas don’t always correlate with greater risk of fire destruction, they do in California. That’s because the state, which is the most populous in the U.S., has vast amounts of mountainside land with overgrown vegetation that dries in the summer close to densely populated communities.In California, 75 per cent of buildings destroyed by wildfire are in WUI zones, according to recent research. In states such as Washington, which is wetter, and Montana, which is sparsely populated, that figure is less than 25 per cent.“There are a lot of buildings and there is a lot of woodland vegetation and they are close to each other, and there is a lot of fire,” said Anu Kramer, a wildfire scientist at the Silvis Lab at the University of Wisconsin who conducted the research. “When those things come together that is when you are going to see a lot of destruction.”Jennifer Montgomery, director of the California Governor’s Forest Management Task Force and a former Placer County supervisor, said the confluence of development, fire-prone terrain and congested infrastructure is a statewide problem.“It is not a question that is unique to Tahoe, it is a question that is broadly applied to the state of California,” Montgomery said.Montgomery was the lone vote on the Placer County Board of Supervisors against the Squaw Valley plan, although she said her concerns were more about congestion in general than fire evacuation specifically.“We need to have a significantly more robust public system that moves people in and out and stops the insane reliance we have on single-family passenger vehicles,” Montgomery said.__NEW HOMES, BUSINESSES AND A WATERPARKAlthough the two proposals are from unrelated developers, their development timelines and proximities to busy highways between North Lake Tahoe and Interstate 80 raise similar concerns among critics, particularly when it comes to fire safety.Combined, they would add about 1,500 housing units and more than 330,000 square feet of commercial space.The Squaw Valley proposal calls for the redevelopment of about 93 acres at the base of Squaw Valley Resort.Located at the western end of Olympic Valley, the resort was the home of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games and, more recently, is known for attracting elite skiers and snowboarders.The resort’s 25-year redevelopment plan calls for an additional 850 units supporting nearly 1,500 bedrooms, nearly 300,000 square feet of commercial space that would include restaurants, retail and a 90,000-square-foot Mountain Adventure Camp with a waterpark and other year-round amenities capable of hosting 1,200 guests.If development plans come to fruition, additions to the resort plus growth in the surrounding community could increase the number of people in the valley from about 5,800 to nearly 9,500, at full capacity. That’s in addition to day visitation, which peaks in the winter during ski season when fire danger is low. Although amenities in the proposed development are designed to attract visitors throughout the year.According to the plan, both new and existing visitors and residents would access homes and the resort via Squaw Valley Road, which connects to California Highway 89 at the east end of the valley.The proposed Martis Valley West development is located along Highway 267 about seven miles northeast of Olympic Valley as the crow flies and about 20 miles by road.Currently undeveloped, the proposal calls for up to 760 homes and 34,500 square feet of commercial space.Once built, people driving out of the development could choose to take 267 north to Truckee or south over Brockway Summit to King’s Beach.Although the Placer County Board of Supervisors approved the plans, both development proposals remain tangled in litigation from environmental groups.In the case of Squaw Valley, Placer County Superior Court Judge Michael Jones rejected arguments by the environmental group Sierra Watch that the county performed inadequate analysis of the project and violated California’s Brown Act, which covers the public’s right to participate in government decisions.Sierra Watch is appealing the rulings.In the case of Martis Valley, Jones ruled in favour of environmental groups on the issue of fire evacuation, while rejecting their other arguments against the plan.“The (environmental impact report) identifies the area as a very high fire hazard severity zone but then fails to present a sufficient analysis to address the impacts of the Project on emergency procedures,” Jones wrote.Both the environmental groups and the developer are appealing aspects of Jones’ Martis Valley ruling.___‘RECIPE FOR CATASTROPHIC DISASTER’Environmental groups, and some residents, accuse both projects’ developers and the county of overlooking or downplaying the impact new development could have on people’s ability to evacuate during a wildfire.In Squaw Valley, developers and officials acknowledge it’s possible a fire could approach faster than thousands of people could drive out on Squaw Valley Road. Or, depending on the direction, a fire could block access to the road.In those scenarios, officials and the developer say residents and visitors would need to take refuge at the resort.Allen Riley, chief of the Squaw Valley Fire Department, said the acres of bare pavement and village area would be sufficient harbour for people to survive a quick-moving fire, although evacuation would be the first choice.Under the redevelopment plan, much of the surface parking is slated to be used for structures, including parking garages, that could be used for shelter after construction is completed.Riley cited communities in Australia as well as Rancho Santa Fe and Pepperdine University in California as places where shelter-in-place strategies have worked.“Certainly, our first option is to have enough time, enough heads-up, to evacuate the valley,” Riley told the audience at a public meeting about fire safety. “We’re comfortable in saying that we have an area (at the resort) that can work as a really good safety zone if needed.”Critics say that’s not good enough.Isaac Silverman, an attorney for Sierra Watch, rejects the idea that shelter-in-place is right for Squaw Valley just because it has worked in parts of Southern California and Australia.“Those are scrub chaparral environments, they’re not conifer forest environments,” Silverman said. “There’s a particular kind of firestorm that’s created in a forest.”With Martis Valley the concern centres on the capacity for 267 to handle traffic during an emergency.Although the project plan calls for emergency and seasonal secondary access roads to the development, those roads would also connect to 267, a highway that’s already crowded with traffic between Lake Tahoe and Truckee.According to project documents, it would take an estimated 1.3 to 1.5 hours to evacuate the development, enough time for a fast-moving fire to burn through.“In other words, the Project’s location and design are a recipe for catastrophic disaster,” environmental groups argued in court papers.A potential increase in traffic also worries residents near the lake who would might also need to evacuate.“You’ve got a narrow, tree-lined canyon from Kings Beach over 267,” Heinz said. “It would be an absolute death trap.”___DEVELOPERS: DON’T BLAME US FOR BIGGER PROBLEMSDevelopers behind the projects acknowledge they’re looking to build in high fire hazard areas with traffic problems.But they argue the problems will exist with or without the new development, as will solutions.Cohen said he’s planning to co-ordinate drills in Squaw Valley that will test the community and the resort’s readiness to shelter-in-place during a disaster.He said the resort already has access to ample amounts of water and personnel who could help direct people during an emergency.“The correct approach for this place, development or not, is shelter-in-place,” Cohen said. “I think there are people in Paradise who will tell you they should have had that. If there had been shelter-in-place … fewer people would have died in their cars.”The city of Paradise did have two designated gathering points for residents, and some rode out the firestorm in the Paradise Alliance Church. The second spot was a parking lot beside a senior centre, which burned. At one point, with the road out of town blocked, firefighters also began directing residents to a grocery store parking lot, where they survived.Eight of the Camp Fire’s 85 fatalities occurred in vehicles and two other bodies were found near vehicles, while the majority of human remains were discovered inside homes, according to Butte County’s final count. Wildfire and public safety experts generally agree that early evacuation is always the first and best strategy in the path of wildfire.At Martis Valley, Morgan said developers are satisfied with their evacuation plan despite the court ruling it was inadequate.On appeal in court and during an interview the developers pushed back against the notion they don’t have an adequate plan.“Of course, in the wake of the Camp Fire and other recent disasters, no one disputes the seriousness of the wildland fire threat, or the need for serious planning to prepare for such disasters,” Martis Valley West attorney Whit Manley wrote. “The (environmental impact report) served its function by ensuring the debate was fully informed.”Benjamin Spillman, The Associated Press read more

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DPR Korea independent panel making headway into reviewing UNDP activities

7 December 2007An independent panel announced today that it is making headway reviewing allegations about the activities of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) that are not being considered by an existing probe by the UN Board of Auditors. The External Independent Investigative Review Panel – led by Miklos Németh, the former Prime Minister of Hungary and a current member to the Advisory Council of Transparency International – “is making substantial progress,” it said in a statement.The three-person Panel said has collected information and data, studied many documents provided by different sources, interviewed individuals both within and outside UNDP and has established a comprehensive investigation of all issued covered by the Terms of Reference.The Panel, whose creation was announced in August, will also examine documents from the agency’s DPRK office, which are en route to New York and will be kept in a secure area upon their arrival.Although the original intention was for the body to submit a report by the end of this year, it announced today that due to the “significant work still ahead of the Panel, it has concluded that it will not be able to complete its task before the end of this year.”Instead, it will finish its work and submit its final report at the end of March 2008, at the very latest, today’s statement said.In January, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ordered the Board to audit amid allegations aired in the media that funds used by UN agencies to help in humanitarian efforts in the DPRK were being channelled improperly to the Government in Pyongyang, including to its nuclear programme.The first phase of the Board’s investigation into the operations of UNDP, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) found there had been no large-scale or systematic diversion of UN funds.But the Board said that its second phase will not cover the full range of allegations and issues raised specifically about UNDP’s work in the DPRK, and the Panel led by Mr. Németh was created as a result.That body’s other two members are Chander Mohan Vasudev, formerly Permanent Secretary of Public Expenditure in the Indian Ministry of Finance, and Mary Ann Wyrsch, former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees who is also currently the Chair of UNDP’s Audit Advisory Committee. read more

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Transat AT selling Jonview Canada tour business to Japanese company for 44M

MONTREAL — Transat A.T. Inc. has signed a deal to sell its Jonview Canada tour business to Japanese travel company H.I.S. Co. Ltd. for $44 million.Jonview Canada sells tour packages for international visitors to Canada.The company employs 180 people in Toronto and Montreal, along with 120 seasonal guides.Transat says the sale is part of its strategic refocusing around its leisure travel operations in Canada and development of its hotel division.Chief executive Jean-Marc Eustache says the sale will accelerate development of those key sectors.The sale is subject to the approval of the Competition Bureau and other usual conditions. It is expected to close on or around Nov. 30. read more

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UN peacekeeper presence increased following attack on Côte dIvoire military checkpoint

UN peacekeeper presence increased following attack on Côte d’Ivoire military checkpointAddressing a news briefing at UN Headquarters in New York, the spokesperson said that unidentified gunmen opened fire from a vehicle at an Ivorian armed forces checkpoint in the village of Iribo, 90 kilometres from Abidjan, on 25 August. One Ivorian soldier, two attackers and one civilian were killed in the ensuing gun battle. The incident comes in the wake of the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 2062, in July 2012, in which it requested that the peacekeeping operation in the country – the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) – reduce its military presence by the equivalent of one battalion. However, the recent outburst of violence has prompted the UN to examine the mission’s deployment in the country, the spokesperson told reporters. “UNOCI and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations are carefully re-assessing current threats and risks and operational requirements,” the spokesperson said, adding that “based on this assessment, the UN Mission will develop a plan for the responsible reduction of its uniformed personnel to ensure that it can respond to the evolving situation and effectively implement its mandate.” This latest incident follows a series of recent attacks against military bases and installations in the country which have caused numerous casualties. On 5 August, an unidentified armed group attacked the military camp of the Forces républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (known by the French acronym FRCI) in the Abidjan neighbourhood of Akouédo around 3:30 a.m. The attack left seven soldiers from the national army dead and seriously injured another dozen troops. The group reportedly took arms and ammunition from the armoury before leaving the camp. The other attacks targeted a police station and a checkpoint in Yopougon, Abidjan, and an FRCI camp in Abengourou, in the east of the country. There were reportedly no casualties in Abengourou, but five FRCI elements were reportedly killed in the checkpoint attack in Yopougon. UNOCI was established in 2004 by the Security Council to facilitate the peace process in the country, which was split by civil war in 2002 into a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south. In the aftermath of the post-election violence that followed the 2010 presidential polls, the peacekeeping mission is assisting the West African country with a number of key tasks, including the restoration of law and order, national reconciliation, the holding of legislative elections, and economic recovery. read more

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World economy to strengthen as job growth remains stubborn – UN report

“More than five years after the financial crisis, the world continues to struggle with getting the global economic engine back to running at full capacity,” said Pingfan Hong, Chief of the Global Economic Monitoring Unit for the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). “Compared to pre-crisis trends, we have not sufficiently boosted output, trade and employment to their potential levels,” he added. Global growth has been revised slightly lower from the forecasts presented in the 2014 report. Growth of world gross product (WGP) is now projected at 2.8 per cent in 2014 and 3.2 per cent in 2015, up from 2.2 per cent in 2013. However, this pace of expansion is still low compared to the growth path before the 2008 global financial crisis.The report warns that risks and uncertainties for the world economy include: international spill-overs from ongoing adjustment in monetary policies by developed economies; vulnerabilities of emerging economies; remaining fragilities in the euro area; long-term unsustainable public finance for many developed countries; and geopolitical tensions.While the report notes that economies of developed countries are likely to grow at 2 per cent this year and 2.4 per cent in 2015 – faster than in the two previous years, but still relatively weak – growth in North America, Japan and Western Europe will be impacted by trade imbalances, high unemployment, and ageing populations.The report goes on to note that the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region will also face a “challenging international environment” and, in addition, many countries are confronted with domestic challenges and risks. Several large CIS economies stagnated in early 2014.For example, growth in Russia, which has a strong influence over the region, was already disappointing in 2013, and the crisis around Crimea and the possibility of economic sanctions targeting broader sectors of the Russian economy have led to a massive outflow of capital and further weakening of business and consumer confidence, says the report.Globally, according to the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), employment grew by 1.4 per cent in 2013, a similar pace as in 2012, but stubbornly slower than the rate of 1.7 per cent in pre-crisis years. The global jobs gap – comparing the number of jobs today with the number that would exist using pre-crisis trends – widened farther to 62 million in 2013.As for developing economics, the report states that Africa will continue to see solid growth of 4.2 per cent this year, although political problems in a number of countries have led to a downward revision compared to the previous forecast. In Libya, for example, disruptions to oil output and exports will be a major drag on growth, underpinning a significantly lower growth rate for North Africa than previously forecast.East Asia is expected to see robust growth as exports to developed countries strengthen and domestic demand in most economies remains firm, while in Western Asia, internal instabilities and lower oil exports continue to shape the economic picture. The report underscores that the economies of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen have been hampered by continuing political instability, social unrest, security incidents and geopolitical tensions. The war in Syria has been taking a “particularly heavy human toll” and led to the widespread destruction of crucial infrastructure.Economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to continue at a subdued pace in 2014, amidst increasing difficulties in some of the largest economies. The report says the region is expected to grow moderately by 2.6 per cent in 2014, although with mixed results across sub-regions. In Mexico and Central America, economic growth is strengthening, benefiting from the pick-up in activity in the United States. By contrast, growth in South America is decelerating markedly from 3.2 per cent in 2013 to 2.1 per cent in 2014. Argentina is experiencing a noticeable slowdown, amidst decreasing business confidence and persistent inflation pressures, while Venezuela is likely to enter into recession. Brazil’s economy continues to expand at a very moderate rate of 1.7 per cent in 2014, with meagre prospects for investment demand and increasing pressure for fiscal consolidation.Long-term unemployment has been rising in developed countries, which could lead to higher levels of structural unemployment. Across developing countries, a main challenge remains the level of informal employment, which, on average, reaches between 40 and 50 per cent in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. In the outlook, global employment is expected to continue growing at a slow pace. “As the number of jobs lost in comparison with the pre-crisis employment trend continues to increase and structural unemployment remains a major problem, policymakers need to implement more supportive macroeconomic policies and active labour market policies,” said Matthias Kempf, the UN’s team leader for the report. read more

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UNESCO chief appeals to parties in Libya to stop destruction of cultural

In a press release, UNESCO reported that a group of gunmen stormed and vandalized the renowned Karamanli Mosque on 7 October, located in the capital, Tripoli, removing ceramic tiles, marble decorations and severely damaging the floor. Days later, the UN agency noted, the historic Othman Pasha Madrassa was damaged and looted while another attempt to vandalize the Darghout Mosque was thwarted by local volunteers. “I firmly condemn the recent attacks on cultural and religious heritage buildings in the old city of Tripoli. Looting and illicit trafficking of cultural objects can only deepen the wounds of the Libyan society, struggling for normalcy and recovery,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova declared in the statement, adding that she commended the citizens and volunteers for protecting the Darghout Mosque. “These attacks cannot be seen as isolated or collateral damages. They take place in a global context of repeated and deliberate attacks against cultural heritage, in Libya and elsewhere, threatening social cohesion and fuelling violence and division within society,” she added.In recent weeks, the North African nation has been embroiled in some of the worst fighting since the 2011 uprising that ousted former leader Muammar al-Qadhafi. The Libyan parliament convened for the first time in early August of this year, welcomed by the UN as a move toward peace. However, protracted battles between opposing armed groups continue to take their toll on civilians and the country’s cultural heritage.According to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), intensified fighting between rival armed groups in Libya has forcibly displaced nearly 290,000 people across the country, including 100,000, who urgently need food, health care and adequate shelter, especially now that winter is approaching. Against that backdrop, UNESCO urged all national and international partners “to reinforce actions and vigilance in order to protect Libya’s cultural heritage in the current context of rising unrest and insecurity” and reaffirmed its engagement with Libyan authorities to reinforce emergency measures for cultural heritage protection against looting and illicit trafficking. UNESCO has had experience in coordinating actions to preserve heritage in times of conflict, most recently in Mali, Iraq, and Syria. In Libya, the agency will soon implement an emergency and risk preparedness training course to enable the authorities to carry out rapid assessment, documentation and monitoring of heritage. read more

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Mens Lacrosse Reigning NCAA runnerup No 8 Ohio State opens season against

Ohio State freshman attackman/midfielder Tre Leclaire rips a shot on frame against Furman on Feb. 5 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Credit: Gene Ross | Senior Lantern reporterSpirits are high and confidence is soaring as the No. 8 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team gears up for its season opener on the road against Cleveland State at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Buckeyes are looking to prove they still have what it takes to get to the national championship following an exodus of impact players, including Major League Lacrosse draftees midfielder Jake Withers and top-scoring attacker Eric Fannell. Sophomore attack/midfielder Tre Leclaire, last year’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year, will be counted on to remain healthy and take an even larger role on offense.While the team has big shoes to fill on offense, defensemen Erik Evans, Ben Randall and Matt Borges are all returning starters and should help stabilize the backend of last season’s team.Players are also eager to show off the new talent the team added in the offseason.“We gained Jackson Reid, he’s a freshman from Canada – slick, great hands,” senior long-stick midfielder Freddy Freibott said. “We’ve got Justin Inacio up on the faceoff X, he’s been a major impact player. Evan Riss has been a fantastic force at [long-stick midfielder].”The Buckeyes also added former Ohio State men’s basketball strength and conditioning coach Dave Richardson to the staff in the same role. Richardson has not only been instrumental in the team’s physical growth, but has helped the team make progress off the field.“Our saying, ‘BOOM’ – brothers on one mission – he’s brought that to our team,” senior short-stick defensive midfielder Brendan Barger said. “He’s been an incredibly positive new thing that we have this year. We’re definitely getting a lot stronger and a lot faster too so we always appreciate that.”High praise for Richardson is a sentiment shared among teammates, and players are enthusiastic to see how it translates to the field.However, the Buckeyes said they still have work left following preseason scrimmages against The Hill Academy and No. 1 Duke. “I don’t think we’re in a very comfortable spot right now, I mean, we’re constantly trying to get better and our coaches are doing a great job of pushing us and getting us out of that comfort level. That’s where our growth is,” senior midfielder Bo Lori said. “It hasn’t been a comfortable preseason but that’s how we like it around here.”Attitudes appeared to change following Saturday’s scrimmage against Duke. Barger said he thought his team stacked up well against the top-ranked Blue Devils.The team begins its season in Cleveland Saturday when it faces the Vikings. read more

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Buckeyes rely on defense to start 30 in the Big Ten

The Buckeyes got a very important victory on Saturday: 31-13 over Wisconsin. The win was anything but conventional, but it did solidify the Buckeyes as the leaders of the Big Ten.“It was a little bit different ball game than I think any of us anticipated,” coach Jim Tressel said in his weekly press conference. “We knew Wisconsin was a heck of a football team, and we knew we were going to have our hands full.”Once again, the defense led OSU to a comfortable victory by several scores, but offensively the Buckeyes have more questions than answers.OSU (5-1, 3-0) now prepares for the Purdue Boilermakers (1-5, 0-2) on Saturday.Defense comes up big yet againAll season, the Buckeyes’ defense has made plays when necessary. Saturday wasn’t any different.Senior captain Kurt Coleman returned from a one-game suspension and wasted little time returning to form. His 89-yard interception return stopped a driving Badger team and shifted momentum into the Buckeyes’ favor for the remainder of the game. His 14 tackles were also a career high.“The funny thing about it, I was joking with my teammates and they were telling me that because I missed a game I needed to have double the production, and it just so happened that I happened to have double the production. It was a great feeling to come back and help this team, especially in that kind of fashion. I was just happy to be out there playing with my teammates again.”Tressel said the Badgers played up to his expectations, but the Buckeyes “came up with some plays that are game changers.”“Obviously, Kurt Coleman’s play and the pressure that was put on the quarterback, his being where he was supposed to be, and then I thought the execution on the interception return was outstanding,” Tressel said. “You always say when an interception is thrown, if you can block the intended receiver and you can block the quarterback and then get everyone else running down the sideline, you have a chance, and they did that just as you would hope they would do.”OSU got another interception for a touchdown in the second half. With the game still in doubt, junior safety Jermale Hines put the Buckeyes up two touchdowns with a 32-yard interception return.The defense will look to control Purdue’s high-powered offense on Saturday. The Buckeyes have held all but one opponent to under 20 points, including back-to-back shutouts of Toledo and Illinois.Pryor takes a step backAfter having nine touchdowns in the last three games, quarterback Terrelle Pryor saw his production drop significantly against the Badgers.The sophomore completed 5 of 13 passes for only 87 yards with one touchdown and an interception. His one bright spot for the afternoon came right before halftime, when he led the Buckeyes 88 yards for the go-ahead score. A run of 27 yards and a touchdown pass for 32 yards to DeVier Posey were the highlights of the drive.The offense struggled to find a rhythm because of three touchdown by the defensive and special teams. However, OSU would have liked to see more consistency from its quarterback.The problems on offense do not begin and end with one guy, Tressel stressed. The lack of production was an offensive problem, not just a problem with his quarterback.“I think the thing you do with any of us is understand that when things go just right, I probably didn’t do it by myself, and when things didn’t go the way you’d like, it probably didn’t have everything to do with me,” Tressel said.No Boom, only ZoomThe depth at running back is quickly depleting for OSU. Daniel “Boom” Herron did not play against Indiana on Oct. 3 but returned against Wisconsin. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, he re-injured his ankle and most likely will not be available against the Boilermakers.Freshman Jamaal Berry, who was a prized recruit for the Buckeyes this season, has also been injured. Whether he will make an impact this season remains to be seen.“I’m the eternal optimist. I keep waiting for Jamaal Berry to be healthy because when he’s been healthy, he’s been very, very good,” Tressel said. “Right now, it’s Brandon and Jordan.”Small finally makes large impactSenior wide receiver and returner Ray Small has spent his fair share of time in Tressel’s doghouse. The Glenville product, who many thought would be the next Ted Ginn Jr., has not lived up to expectations, and it was unsure whether he would even play this season.However, when he took a Badger kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown on Saturday, he put defenders and past troubles behind him. He said there is no better feeling than making an impact again.“It means a lot. I play the game as if it’s my last play, no matter if it’s practice or if it’s the game,” Small said. “This year I came in and take it a lot more serious.”Small said he has no regrets and would love to have another big game this weekend to show how far he has come. read more

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The system behind Six Strikes might be severely flawed at identifying piracy

first_imgRecently, the Copyright Alert System (CAS) — otherwise known as the Six Strikes program — debuted across various major ISPs, perhaps striking fear into the hearts of many a pirate. The system works by providing warnings and punishments through a graduated scale, eventually leading to punishments involving throttling bandwidth or hijacking your browser. While attempting to curb piracy isn’t some kind of fiendish goal like many pirates would have you believe, what was worrisome about the system is if it would incorrectly identify someone as a pirate, and accidentally punish them. Unfortunately, according to one report, this is quite possible.MediaFire user David Sutherland received a DMCA letter that stated he was caught hosting illegal files on his account. The letter said he was hosting pirated TV shows, including Downton Abbey, Grimm, and The Office. Almost comically, the letter said that the file in question that could have been one of the listed pirated shows was called “Cantha Cartography Made Easy 2009.tpf.” This is actually a mod for Guild Wars — not even close to pirated content. The scary part is that the group that identified the game mod as a pirated TV show, DtecNet, is a division of a company — MarkMonitor — that is responsible for monitoring the Six Strikes program. As pointed out by Techdirt, the Center for Copyright Information — which is a party responsible for the CAS — has a page on its website dedicated to MarkMonitor’s anti-piracy methodologies. Unfortunately, the page is totally blank, save for the title.While Sutherland’s situation doesn’t prove that DtecNet slings piracy accustations without reason, it certainly isn’t a good sign for the CAS when a company that is responsible for monitoring the Six Strikes program can’t (or didn’t bother to) tell the difference between a legal file and an illegal one, especially when they’re two completely different files to begin with.There aren’t any devastating Six Strikes horror stories just yet, but Sutherland’s situation shows that said horror stories could easily happen.last_img read more

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Conservative takes helm in Nicosia

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Cypriot president-elect Nicos Anastasiades was busy appointing a new cabinet on Monday after winning Sunday’s election runoff with 57.5 percent of the vote, defeating his Communist Party rival Stavros Malas who garnered 42.5 percent.The crucial post of finance minister went to Michalis Sarris, a right-winger who held the same position when Cyprus entered the eurozone in 2008 and now heads Cyprus Popular Bank. The position of foreign minister was given to Yiannis Kasoulidis, an MEP who has served in the post in the past and ran against outgoing President Dimitris Christofias in elections in 2008.Anastasiades, who leads the Democratic Rally party, faces tough talks with officials of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund with whom Nicosia launched exploratory talks last November. Those talks failed to yield an agreement but the aim is for a deal to be signed soon. The finance ministers of Germany and France, Wolfgang Schaeuble and Pierre Moscovici, welcomed Anastasiades’s election on Monday in a joint statement and pressed for a swift resumption of talks. “Discussions should resume shortly with a view to reach an agreement before the end of March,” they said, stressing the need for “a significant financial, fiscal and structural adjustment in Cyprus.”After his victory, Anastasiades stressed the European nature of Cyprus, which remains divided into a Turkish-occupied north and a free south following a Turkish invasion in 1974. “Cyprus belongs to Europe,” he said, adding that Nicosia would be “absolutely consistent and meet out promises.” He is to be sworn in Thursday, assuming power on March 1.last_img read more