Volkswagen reaches settlement deal for 30L diesel vehicles in Canada

first_imgTORONTO – Volkswagen has reached a $290.5-million deal to settle claims in Canada covering 20,000 3.0-litre Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesel vehicles that were caught up in an emissions cheating scandal.The agreement was reached by Volkswagen and Canadian class counsel in consultation with the Commissioner of Competition.In addition to the proposed class settlement, which is subject to court approval, Volkswagen Group Canada has agreed to pay a $2.5-million civil penalty.If approved, cash payments will be made to roughly 15,000 owners and lessees of model year 2013-2016 Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche 3.0L diesel vehicles who receive the recall for an emissions repair as well as an extended emissions warranty.Payments will also be made to owners and lessees of affected model year 2009-2012 vehicles, as well as additional options that include buyback, trade-in, early lease termination or, if approved by the U.S. EPA and available by recall in Canada, a modification to reduce emissions.The agreement follows a settlement deal last year covering Volkswagen and Audi vehicles with 2.0-litre diesel engines.last_img read more

Canadian auto sales continue strong start with recordbreaking February

first_imgRICHMOND HILL, Ont. – DesRosiers Automotive Consultants says new light vehicle sales continue to defy expectations this year as February saw record sales for the month.The consulting firm says, combined with a record result in January, sales in the first two months 2018 were up 3.8 per cent compared with the same period in 2017.February sales on their own climbed two per cent with a total of 125,530 vehicles sold, up from the previous record of 123,033 in the same month last year.The overall increase came as the split between passenger cars and light trucks continued to grow.Car sales dropped six per cent compared with a year ago, while light truck sales rose 5.6 per cent compared with February 2017.FCA remained the volume leader for February with 18,831 vehicles sold with Ford 330 behind.last_img read more

Government of Canada confirms support for largest private investment in Canadian history

first_imgKITIMAT, B.C. – On Monday, the Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, confirmed that the Government of Canada will be investing $275 million to support LNG Canada.According to the Government, this investment will go towards the development of the major liquefied natural gas complex in Kitimat.Morneau says the Federal Government is proud to support this $40 billion project as it will get Canadian resources to new markets, grow the economy, and create many employment opportunities for those in the middle-class. “The Government of Canada is proud to support this historic $40 billion project that will get our resources to new markets, diversify our trade, grow our economy and create middle-class jobs for Canadians, including First Nations and other communities in northern British Columbia. It’s a vote of confidence in Canada’s resource industry and is good news for Canadians right across the country.”Out of the $275 million investment, $220 million will go towards highly energy-efficient gas turbines, with the additional $55 million going towards the replacement of the Haisla Bridge in the District of Kitimat.The investment in the LNG Canada facility will create 7,500 direct construction jobs and at least 300 permanent jobs in the new facility once completed.last_img read more

India may not have elections if Modi reelected may go China way

first_imgNew Delhi: India may not see another election if Narendra Modi is re-elected as prime minister, Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot has claimed, suggesting that the country may go the way of China and Russia. Gehlot also said both democracy and the country were in danger under Modi, who he said would do anything to get back to power. People felt he could even go to war with Pakistan to achieve this goal, the Congress leader said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Dubbing Modi a good actor , Gehlot said he could do much better in Bollywood and would have left his indelible mark in acting. He also alleged that he was a “master in marketing false promises”. “If people re-elect Modi, then there is no surety on whether elections will be held in the country or not. ‘Chunav honge bhi, aur nahin bhi honge…jaise China, Russia mein hota hai’ (Elections will be held in the country and yet not be held, like what happens in China, Russia),” Gehlot said during an interaction with PTI. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K He was suggesting that polls will be held on the lines of those in China and Russia, where only one party rules and who becomes the president or the prime minister is decided beforehand. His remarks come in the wake of a fierce battle emerging between the opposition Congress and the ruling BJP ahead of Lok Sabha elections starting April 11. The Congress and the BJP are locked in a war of words while trying to win this crucial election. “This man can do anything to win elections…People felt he could even go to war with Pakistan, which is not a good thing….The personality of Modi ji that has emerged before the country is that he can go to any extent before and after elections…to win elections, Gehlot said while attacking Modi and added that none including Amit Shah know what is in his mind”. Taking a swipe at what he termed Modi’s acting skills , the senior Congress leader said, If Modi ji was in Bollywood, maybe he would have left a different mark in the country and abroad, with his mastery in acting, oratory skills and antics.” Claiming that the “truth is on our side”, Gehlot said truth shall finally emerge victorious. He asserted that people in the country are far wiser as they can differentiate between falsehood and truth and public conscience will side with the truth, which is on their side. The veteran Congress leader also accused the prime minister of misusing Indian embassies in garnering the support of NRIs outside the country during his visits abroad. The reference was to the prime minister’s public events during his visits abroad. Gehlot alleged that they were organised with the active support of Indian embassies that drew widespread support from the NRI community. There should be tolerance in a democracy, he said, alleging that BJP leaders have “no tolerance as they don’t want anyone from the opposition to question them”. “It is not in their DNA,” he said. The Rajasthan chief minister hit out at Modi over his style of functioning and said he has focussed on targeting opposition leaders by misusing agencies instead of governance during his rule and that is why he had no result to show . Gehlot, who has held several key positions in the Congress during his almost five-decade political career, also attacked Modi over the use of language, saying it did not behove one who held the top post of the country’s prime minister. He accused Modi of having failed to fulfil the promises made to people before assuming power. He also targeted the RSS, BJP’s ideological fountainhead, dubbing it an extra-constitutional authority that was trying to impose its people on every institution in the country.last_img read more

Britain to tackle Islamist extremism

first_imgBritain has announced plans to classify “Islamist extremism” as a distinct ideology as part of efforts to tackle radicalized crime influenced by “hate preachers,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday.Cameron’s remarks came amid the ongoing trial of two men charged with the murder of soldier Lee Rigby on a busy London street last May. A court heard that one of them said it was an “eye for an eye” and revenge for what they considered to be Britain’s wars against Muslims, according to Reuters news agency.Both men have pleaded not guilty. “This summer we saw events that shocked the nation,” Cameron, who is in China on a trade trip, told reporters.“These tragedies were a wakeup call for government and wider society to take action to confront extremism in all its forms, whether in our communities, schools, prisons, Islamic centers or universities.”“Islamist extremism” would, for the first time, be classified as a distinct ideology to guard against it being confused with traditional religious practice, he said.Britain, home to around 2.7 million Muslims, will aim to tackle violent ideologies that claim Islamic justification but by doing so in a way that does not alienate the Muslim population, Cameron said.The new definition would make it clear that “Islamist extremism” was a distorted interpretation of Islam that betrayed the religion’s principles and tried to sow division.“There are just too many people who have been radicalized at Islamic centers, who have been in contact with extremist preachers, who have come across material on the Internet who haven’t been sufficiently challenged,” Cameron said.“I want to see an end to hate preaching in Britain.”As part of the plans, the prime minister said he would implement recommendations he had received from a task force he set up after Rigby’s murder.Britain will also draw on techniques it has used to fight online pornography to make it easier for people to report material deemed extremist and work with Internet providers to create filters to allow people to block such content.Source: Al Arabiyalast_img read more

RDA Sells Its Direct To Consumer Business

first_imgRDA recorded revenues of $242 million for the first quarter 2012, down from $284 million in the same period 2011. The company booked a net loss of $8 million, down significantly from 2011’s first quarter loss of $82 million. Reader’s Digest Association announced today that it made good on its efforts to dispose of its Lifestyle and Entertainment Direct business—part of a process the company has been going through to dispose of non-core assets, simplify its operation and zero in on only its best performing products.The sale is a small one, Mosaic Media Investment Partners picked up the division for $1.1 million in cash, but it was part of a plan hatched last year to sell off the group along with Allrecipes.com and the Weekly Reader, both of which were sold in early 2012 for $175 million and $3.6 million respectively. RDA also sold Everyday With Rachael Ray in October 2011. The Lifestyle and Entertainment Direct Business is a direct-to-consumer sales operation that primarily sold fitness, books, music and DVD products. Also included in the deal was Saguaro Road Records.  last_img read more

California Sunday Brings December Issue East in the Form of an Art

first_img“We love opportunities to bring the print magazine to life,” says Jacqueline Bates, photography director for California Sunday Magazine, adding that in addition to the gallery show, the magazine has posted audio accompaniment to each of the issue’s stories on its website. “It really makes for a more multilayered reading experience. It’s less linear, and you can also listen to the audio on your phone as you walk through the exhibit.”Published bimonthly, California Sunday dedicates one issue a year to a single theme (last year’s was the lives of teenagers), and because photography has always been an essential aspect of the magazine, Bates says the team decided to make this year’s themed issue an “all-photography” one. Text in the issue, which features work from 34 different photographers, is minimal—mostly confined to captions and credits.Elisabeth Gambrell, Gerlach, Nev. — Katy Grannan“We knew we wanted to make an issue told entirely through photography,” Bates adds. “In a year when wildfires, rising housing costs, and controversial immigration issues have dominated the news, ‘Home,’ and how people come to find and define it, has never felt more important.”The 34 contributors to the issue are a mix of both up-and-coming and established photographers and artists, such as Jim Goldberg, whose work can be seen in the Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery in Washington. Another contributor, Taylor Kay Johnson, is a recent graduate introduced to California Sunday when her California College of the Arts class worked with the magazine on an Instagram takeover last year.Mary Dambacher, Taos, N.M. — Ahndraya Parlato &Gregory HalpernThe subjects of each feature, themselves wide-ranging in both geography and circumstance, are divided into sections organized by distance, says Bates, from those who are “Far Away”—long-distance firefighters, a family separated at the U.S. border—to those who are “In Between”—a high school student in San Diego who visits his deported mother in Tijuana—to those who are “Home”—a pair of formerly homeless men on move-in day at a San Francisco housing complex.For the cover story alone, “we assigned 19 photographers across 10 states, and from there allowed them to wander and look for stories of ‘Home,’” Bates continues. “We met a Bay Area transplant who made a sanctuary out of his sailboat, a mother who built a bathroom from scratch for her and her daughter, a DACA recipient who just purchased his first house, and many others.”All of this—a feature well whose subjects range from Alaska to Mexico and a coinciding gallery activation in New York City—beg the obvious conclusion that California Sunday envisions an audience that expands well beyond the Golden State. (Case in point: I recently purchased a copy at a magazine shop in London.)“From the very beginning, we made stories for a national audience of curious, creative people,” publisher Chas Edwards tells Folio:, noting that the magazine’s stories often focus on the broader American West, in addition to Asia and Latin America. “Among our digital readers, New Yorkers are the second biggest group after Californians, so we’re always eager to find ways to get closer to our New York fans.”Roscoe Mitchell, Oakland, Calif. — David BlackDebbie Austin, Portland, Ore. — Lauren Angalis FieldBut the business sense behind the gallery exhibit isn’t just about the prospect of picking up a few more East Coast customers for the magazine’s $39.99-per-year print subscriptions. The entire project, including both the exhibit and the December issue, is sponsored by the Google Pixel 3—the same smartphone that shot the November covers of Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Glamour, GQ, and W as part of a promotional partnership with Condé Nast.In addition to behind-the-scenes photos shot on the Pixel 3 depicting the December issue’s production, the integration includes displays of photos taken on the phone at the Aperture exhibit, custom ad inserts in the issue that blend in with the look and feel of the editorial.“We love it when we find a sponsor that’s willing to work with us, specifically our Brand Studio team, on a program that delivers new, compelling experiences to our community of readers and fans,” adds Edwards. “These are opportunities to support the journalism and storytelling we do, and at the same time deliver added goodness to our audience.” The California Sunday Magazine may still be a baby by national magazine standards—especially compared to the legacy institutions against which it has become a regular competitor for National Magazine Awards each March—but it’s accomplished quite a bit in its four years of existence.It’s most recent achievement, and perhaps its most financially impactful, was securing an acquisition by Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective, whose other media-related investments include funding for nonprofits like The Committee to Protect Journalists, The Marshall Project, Mother Jones, and ProPublica, as well as a majority stake in The Atlantic.In a statement announcing the acquisition, Powell Jobs called California Sunday and its sister brand, the touring stage show Pop-Up Magazine, “unique journalistic platforms that help foster empathy and better understanding in the world.”Those values of empathy and understanding are on display this month—literally—at the Aperture Foundation in Manhattan, at which visitors can take in “At Home: In the American West,” a gallery exhibition featuring over 90 photographs in an extension of the magazine’s December issue cover story.last_img read more

Facebook pages get facelift with new page layout design

first_img Comment Facebook 1 Facebook’s layout has shifted from three columns to two and removed a lot of clutter. Screenshot by Steven Musil/CNET If you think your Facebook page looks a bit different today, you’re not alone.The social networking giant appears to have rolled out a new page design on Tuesday, eschewing the previous three-column layout for one that incorporates only two. On the right is static information about the page, while the left side contains the feed of recent posts.Facebook tinkers with its design from time to time, but this is a pretty radical departure from the site’s previous appearance. In addition to the column change, the content on pages appears less cluttered, with plenty of eye-appealing white space and an increased emphasis on thumbnail images. It wasn’t immediately clear how widespread this rollout is or how different types of pages will see a face-lift.  Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Share your voice Internet Tech Industry Tagslast_img read more

Area 51 raid event to see them aliens removed by Facebook

first_img Sci-Tech Internet Over 2 million people signed up for the Facebook event. David Becker/Getty Images In July a tongue-in-cheek Facebook event was created to coordinate a raid on Area 51, the classified military base in Lincoln County, Nevada. It became an online sensation. Over 2 million Facebook users signed up, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert gave it a spot on their respective talk shows, and the US Air Force strongly advised citizens against raiding the facility. But now, the Facebook event page has been taken down.It appears as though Facebook took the page down on Aug. 3 for violating community standards. Mathew Roberts, the event creator, posted a screenshot on his personal Facebook page of the notice Facebook had sent him saying it had taken down the event because it “went against” Facebook’s “Community Standards.””I never got any reason behind the event being removed,” Roberts told CNET. “I created a sister event which amassed about 15,000 people before being taken down for no reason.”After starting the Facebook event as a joke, Roberts is now planning an actual Area 51 festival in Nevada to take place Sept. 20, the day the facetious raid was to go down. He says he created another Facebook event, this time for the real festival that would take place somewhere that’s not a highly-classified military base, but this too was taken down by the social network. “I think it’s pretty reckless of Facebook, especially because I’m trying to direct people away from storming the base,” Roberts said. “And now I’ve lost my entire audience.” Roberts expects around 20,000 people to attend the festival. Facebook has been contacted for comment.The now-deleted Facebook event came with a brief description: “We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry,” it read. “If we Naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let’s see them aliens.””Naruto run” refers to the main character in the eponymous Naruto anime.The Facebook event created the Area 51 meme, which became a fixture on Twitter and Reddit throughout July. You can see some of our favourites below. Area 51 is a highly classified zone around 150 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada, a detachment of the famed Edwards Air Force Base. No one really knows what the base is used for, but it’s speculated to be a location for aircraft development, and as such Area 51 has become synonymous with alien conspiracies. The most popular involve alien spaceships or aliens themselves, all allegedly kept within the classified zone.The location reportedly received its name when, in 1951, the remains of the alleged Roswell UFO (said to have crashed in 1947) were brought to the base. In 2013, the CIA issued a 355-page declassified report detailing the birth of Area 51 and the U-2 spy planes developed and tested there.Originally published Aug. 5, 7:30 p.m. PT. Update, 9:38 p.m.: Adds comment from event creator Mathew Roberts. Facebook Comments 7 #Area51 let’s see them aliens pic.twitter.com/0zmL8dFdoy— Ash (@taintdchinadoll) July 12, 2019 Share your voice The greatest alien encounter movies, ranked 41 Photos My motivation to study Vs. My motivation to get into Area 51 pic.twitter.com/lF7TbFb5RU— College Student (@FactsOfSchool) July 13, 2019 Tags screen-shot-2019-07-12-at-3-46-10-pmEnlarge Image Reddit/AnonEnigmalast_img read more

At least 18 dead in China karaoke lounge fire

first_imgMap locating Qingyuan in China where a deadly blaze broke out at a karaoke lounge. Photo: AFPA fire tore through a karaoke lounge in southern China on Tuesday, killing 18 people and injuring another five, as authorities sought an arson suspect who had reportedly blocked the entrance with a motorcycle.The fire started after midnight in a three-storey building in Qingyuan City, Guangdong province, and was put out shortly before 1:00am local time, according to the police.A preliminary investigation found that it was caused by arson, the Qingyuan public security department said on its Weibo social media account.The suspect got into an argument, then used a motorcycle to block the building’s door and lit the fire, state broadcaster CCTV said, adding that he was on the lam.The police said that “in order to quickly catch the suspect”, it was offering a 200,000 yuan ($32,000) reward for information leading to the arrest of a man identified as a 32-year-old with burn marks on his hips.The police statement did not describe the location of the fire but state media said it occurred in a small KTV house, or karaoke lounge.Unverified videos from the scene posted by local media show flames leaping from the building on a tree-lined street at night, with fire trucks and a crowd of onlookers on the road.The five injured people are receiving treatment in a hospital, state TV said.Karaoke is a popular activity in China, with even shopping centres featuring booths where people can sit and sing their favourite songs.Larger KTV lounges proliferate as well, often spanning across multiple floors in a building, with narrow corridors linking dozens of individual rooms together.The lounge where the fire occurred was smaller, with only one corridor for entry and exit, state TV said.Merrymakers often go for a buffet dinner and sing and drink with a small group of friends in the private rooms late into the night.Deadly fires are common in China, where safety regulations are widely flouted and enforcement is often lax.Common firesA blaze that killed 38 people at a nursing home in 2015 sparked soul-searching about safety standards in China. Courts jailed 21 people, including firefighters and government staff, over the fire last year.The legal representative of the Kangleyuan Nursing Home was sentenced to nine years in prison for constructing an illegal extension to the property, while the contractor was given a six-year sentence for using flammable materials to build an extension.In the days following the accident, China’s top safety watchdog said the facility had poorly-designed fire exits, while safety checks, fire and electricity management, and the emergency response system were all found lacking.More than two dozen people were killed in two fires in Beijing’s migrant neighbourhoods late last year.The first blaze, which killed 19 people in November, prompted authorities to begin tearing down unsafe buildings in the capital, driving hundreds of thousands of down on their luck residents out in the middle of winter.last_img read more

Mandelas legacy cherished by some challenged by others

first_imgNelson Mandela. Photo: WikipediaA black and white photo of Nelson Mandela in boxing attire greets visitors to the gym where the liberation hero trained in the 1950s before delivering the knock-out blow to apartheid decades later.“He used to train here, I feel strong… Physically and mentally I get some strength,” said gym-goer Kgotso Phali, 18.The red and white walls of the gym, located in South Africa’s Soweto township, smell of fresh paint.The Donaldson Orlando Community Centre (DOCC) has been restored to its former glory to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mandela’s birth.Mandela, South Africa’s first black president known locally by his clan name “Madiba”, died in 2013.“People had to carry passes-all these things are gone now. We are free,” thanks to him, said Andy Zameko, who said he was proud to work out in the same gym as Mandela.Mandela would visit the gym several times a week to train and forget the ordeal that was the fight against the white supremacist regime.“The walls of… the DOCC are drenched with sweet memories that will delight me for years,” Mandela wrote to his daughter Zindzi from his cell on Robben Island where he was imprisoned for 18 years.A copy of the letter, dated 9 December, 1979, is displayed on a wall in the gym.Nearby, young musicians seek to catch the attention of passing tourists in front of Mandela’s former home which has been transformed into a museum.“(He) makes us united. Now we are all united. (Blacks) can perform in theatres like the Joburg Theatre now-it was not the case before,” said guitarist Vincent Ncabashe, 49.‘Not living his dream’Others recognise the achievement but are disappointed in the post-apartheid reality.“Madiba is so inspiring for me,” said hip-hop singer Thobane Mkhize who sported a striking bouffant haircut.“But we are not living his dream,” said the 24-year-old musician.“The parliament is like a (sitcom), it is no longer a parliament because politicians are busy with corruption. Instead of being united, we are busy looking at the colours of the skin,” he added.“There was need for a figure to reconcile black and whites,” said Genevieve Assamoi, a 45-year-old from Ivory Coast.“He was crucial in ensuring that blacks did not take revenge on whites and to allow the whites to feel safe.”“Without him, we would still be stuck in the same place,” said policeman and father-of-three Mpho Ngobeni.‘He did his best’At a nearby petrol station in Soweto, two white men in khaki outfits completed the purchase of a car from two young black men-an unusual scene in the sprawling black-majority township.“The white people also got a chance (to stay in South Africa),” said Kaelen Viljoen as he struggled to hide the handgun clipped to his belt.The 22-year-old had also brought along a baseball bat, perched on the front seat of his 4X4.“I always have a weapon with me and I would not have left it at home when I came here,” said Viljoen, visiting Soweto for the first time in his life.“We called a lot of guys and we were very worried to come here, because he said there are a lot of black people here, and white people driving around here, is going to be a big problem.“(But) after we met the guys we bought the car from, we actually love it, they are very friendly.”Maxwell Huis, 44, a homeless father-of-two said the reality delivered by Mandela was starkly different to that which he had promised.“He sold the black people to the whites. There should have been a civil war-it would have changed things,” he added as he foraged for wood to burn.Mtate Phakela, 19, sees Mandela’s legacy very differently.“He gave us a revolution without a war. He gave us the idea of freedom through peace,” said the teenager.“But we are not economically free.”Economic divisions still plague the country with the median monthly salary for whites at around 10,000 rands ($753, 638 euros) but just 2,800 for the black community.“He did his best,” continued Mtate. “The people who came after could have done better to free us economically.”last_img read more

Your next assembly lines may have Baxter robot doing pickup w Video

first_img Credit: Rethink Robotics The company offers Baxter with two kinds of grippers to choose from. Electric parallel grippers enable Baxter to pick up objects of varying sizes. Vacuum cup grippers are meant for hard-to-grasp objects, such as smooth, nonporous or relatively flat items.While Baxter is not the ideal choice for tasks that require an extremely strong or fast industrial robot, Baxter is smart enough to adapt to changes. The robot uses vision to locate and grasp objects, and can be programmed to perform a new task just by holding its arms and moving them to the desired position. The robot can continue to work even after missing a pick-up or dropping a part. It can visually detect parts and adapt to variations in part placement and conveyor speed. If Baxter drops an object, it knows to get another before trying to finish the task. What is not at all mindless about Baxter is its design in that, for an industrial robot, Baxter enjoys an incredible lightness of non-being. Baxter has thick, round arms, but they are not heavy. The arm moves in a fluid motion. “When you hold the cuff, the robot goes into gravity-compensation,” said Rodney Brooks, the company founder, “zero-force mode,” as if the arm is floating. Credit: Rethink Robotics Baxter signs British flu vaccine deal Explore further Citation: Your next assembly lines may have Baxter robot doing pick-up (w/ Video) (2012, September 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-09-lines-baxter-pick-up-video.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img More information: www.heartlandrobotics.com/inde … php/products/baxter/ Another differentiator is that, while Baxter is smart, it does not require a high learning curve. One of the argued barriers to industrial adoption of robots has been training requirements to operate industrial robots. The disadvantage has been in the thought of requiring employees to train in programming and in interacting with new robotic equipment, eating up time and financial output. Rethink’s team claims Baxter units can be retasked in a matter of minutes. “No custom application code is required to get it started. So no costly software or manufacturing engineers are required to program it,” according to the company. Baxter is taught via a graphical user interface and through direct manipulation of its robot arms. Nontechnical, hourly workers can train and retrain Baxter right on the line.As for safety, the designers gave Baxter sensors to detect people within contact distance and trigger the robot to slow to safe operation speeds. If Baxter’s power supply were cut, its arms would relax slowly. Employees would have time to move out of the way. Baxter is based on the vision of roboticist. Rodney Brooks, company founder of Rethink Robotics, which started in 2008. Baxter’s first shipments will start next month. Credit: Rethink Robotics © 2012 Phys.org (Phys.org)—Rethink Robotics is introducing Baxter to the manufacturing sector with a note: Baxter can ignite a revolution in breaking down costs and safety barriers holding back automation in American manufacturing. The Boston-based company says the $22,000 (list price) robot is a fraction of the cost of traditional industrial robots “with zero integration required.” Baxter has been expressly designed to work on assembly lines to perform menial tasks. Baxter has two arms, each with seven degrees of freedom, and a reach similar to that of a human, to take over the mindless menial tasks. It can load, unload, sort, pack, unpack, snap-fit, grind and polish. last_img read more

CID arrests 2 Bangladeshi nationals for intrusion

first_imgKolkata: The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has arrested two Bangladeshi nationals from near the Indo-Bangladesh border at Swarupnagar in North 24-Parganas on Wednesday night. Acting on specific information, a team of CID’s Barasat unit raided the area and arrested the duo. They are originally residents of Khulna. During interrogation, the investigators came to know that they were trying to go to Mumbai. The CID officials are yet to ascertain their real motive behind illegally intruding into the country. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe duo has been identified as Urmi Seikh and Nayeem Seikh. Both are teenagers. The investigating officials are also probing to know if the duo was a part of any international smuggling racket. They are looking into the possibilities of the duo being involved with any anti-national activities.After being interrogated, the two Bangladeshi nationals were arrested on charges of illegally intruding into the country. During the investigation, CID had been trying to know if the accused had any past record of entering into the country illegally from Bangladesh, or if they have any connection with the extremist groups operating from Bangladesh.last_img read more

Tracing the journey of Sufism

first_imgSufi music has the power and the magic to calm one’s soul and make one transit into another world. However, there’s more to Sufi than being just the music of God. In order to reveal the facets and trace the journey of Sufism through music, an interactive performance titled ‘Sounds of the Sufis’ will be held on March 19 at Main Auditorium, India International Centre. The performance, which will trace the journey of Sufism from 8th Century AD to its impact in the present times on our everyday lives, includes narrations and mesmerising live music that cover the lives of the pillars of the Sufi thought, from Moinnuddin Chisti to Amir Khusrau to Kabir to Meera Bai and many others.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’By picking up pieces from their own lives, the performers explore the essence of Sufism reflecting research, interaction with scholars and a strong personal interest. The performance touches upon the lives and messages of 11 mystics and involves compositions in six regional languages including Kashmiri, Urdu, Farsi and Punjabi. The narratives are performed in English and Hindi, creating a rare ambience for introspection, indulgence and appreciation.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe event will be presented by The Looking Glass.  Anuraag Dhoundeyal, co-founder of The Looking Glass is also a singer, composer and a performer; and he has had years of training in Hindustani Classical singing and has to his credit both, international and national performances. His expertise lies in creating interactive performances that engage the audiences in experiential ways. Through ‘Sounds of the Sufis’, Anuraag lets his singing do the talking as he adds a distinct characteristic to Sufi with his soulful rendition of their poetry. As an educator, Psychologist and a storyteller, Priyanka Patel has been integrating arts and psychology to create environments that help individuals interact deeply with themselves. She has been training students, teachers and parents, helping them build life skills through workshops. In ‘Sounds of the Sufis’, she engages with stories and narrations to trace the experiences that celebrate humanity through love, selflessness and authenticity. Karan Chitra Deshmukh, who is a Tabla player and a multi percussionist, has been enthralling audiences with his drumming skills. He has been a technician and has assisted the esteemed Karsh Kale whilst also performing with him on several occasions along with being part of the MTV Coke Studio and Unplugged. Karan brings the rhythm to the ‘Sounds of the Sufis’ adding crispness to it with his dynamism.last_img read more

Central forces proactive in Bengal Trinamool peeved

first_imgKolkata: The streets, lanes and alleys of various pockets in West Bengal, including the eastern metropolis, are now filled with the sounds of heavy boots of the central paramilitary forces, as the troopers hold route marches, go door to door warning possible miscreants and asking people whether they are facing threats in connection with the polls. All these activities have angered the ruling Trinamool Congress, and its leaders have gone ballistic against the forces. A former minister has even warned of “mass revolt”. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Bose The troopers, who started arriving in the state on Friday — 27 days before the first phase of polls on April 11 — have been visiting vulnerable pockets in the metropolis and the districts in a bid to instil confidence among the voters. The state has a history of political violence, and the panchayat polls last year saw spewing of much blood, with ruling Trinamool Congress winning around 34 per cent of the seats uncontested amid allegations that candidates of other parties were forcibly not allowed to file their nominations. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata The 10 companies of troppers from the Border Security Force (BSF) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) have now been deployed in Malda, North Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Birbhum, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas and Kolkata districts. At Ultadanga in the city’s northeastern fringes, a trooper was seen sternly telling a woman that if her son tries to play any mischief, strong action will be taken. “Koi dadagiri nehi karega (no one can bully) the trooper said. In West Burdwan district’s Andal, that comes under the Asansol constituency represented in Lok Sabha by BJP’s Babul Supriyo, the troopers carried out a route march, enquiring from people whether they were fine. “Is everything okay? Hope you are not facing any problem related to the polls,” a trooper asked an old man Ranjit Dutta. “Is anybody trying to terrorise you?” he asked again. The footages aired on television led to a political slugfest. Trinamool Secretary General Partha Chatterjee alleged the forces were trying to terrorise voters. “Do they have any such rights? We don’t have anything against the deployment of central forces. Their duty is to ensure free and fair polls. For this, they have to depend on the local administration,” he said. Trinamool MP from Barasat Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar took exception, saying she would look into the legal provisions to find out if the commandant exceeded his brief. “Telling people that there should be no disturbances two months before the polls is not the duty of the paramilitary forces,” she said. City Mayor and Trinamool leader Firhad Hakim warned if the troopers visit houses and issue threats, “we will bring it to the notice of the Election Commission”. He alleged that some of the troopers have arrived with “a commitment”. “They have to remain neutral. But if the forces or some of their commandants have come with a commitment, that’s improper. We will draw the attention of the Election Commission,” he said. Going a step ahead, Trinamool legislator Sujit Bose warned that the forces and the commission would have to bear the responsibility if there were “resultant problems”. “The paramilitary forces have to follow certain rules. They can’t go beyond their mandate. If they do so, and insult slum dwellers, then they and the Election Commission will be responsible for the resultant problems,” Bose said. But the sternest warning came from Trinamool leader Madan Mitra. “The way the central forces have started terrorising people, and the way they are creating pressure on the local administration, if there is a public revolt, they won’t be able to tackle it,” he said in Barasat of North 24 Parganas district. On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party mocked the Trinamool. “The central forces are only asking people to cast their own votes, and not to be afraid. Why is the Trinamool all worked up at such a small thing? “Actually they are afraid that if people cast their own votes, it will be the end of the road for the Trinamool in this state,” said state BJP Vice President Jay Prakash Majumdar.last_img read more

Facebook sets aside 5 billion in anticipation of an FTC penalty for

first_imgYesterday, Facebook in its first quarter financial reports revealed that it has to pay a sum of  $5 billion, a fine levied by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This penalty is “in connection with the inquiry of the FTC into our platform and user data practices”, the company said. The company, in their report, mentioned that the expenses result in a 51% year-over-year decline in net income, to just $2.4bn. If they minus this one-time expense, Facebook’s earnings per share would have beaten analyst expectations, and its operating margin (22%) would have been 20 points higher. Facebook said, “We estimate that the range of loss in this matter is $3.0bn to $5.0bn. The matter remains unresolved, and there can be no assurance as to the timing or the terms of any final outcome.” In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the FTC had commenced their investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices last year in March. This investigation was focussed whether the data practices that allowed Cambridge Analytica to obtain Facebook user data violated the company’s 2011 agreement with the FTC. “Facebook and the FTC have reportedly been negotiating over the settlement, which will dwarf the prior largest penalty for a privacy lapse, a $22.5m fine against Google in 2012”, The Guardian reports. Read Also: European Union fined Google 1.49 billion euros for antitrust violations in online advertising “Levying a sizable fine on Facebook would go against the reputation of the United States of not restraining the power of big tech companies”, The New York Times reports. Justin Brookman, a former official for the regulator who is currently a director of privacy at Consumers Union, nonprofit consumer advocacy group, said, “The F.T.C. is really limited in what they can actually do in enforcing a consent decree, but in the case of Facebook, they had public pressure on their side.” Christopher Wylie, a Research director at H&M and the Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower, voiced against Facebook by tweeting, “Facebook, you banned me for whistleblowing. You threatened @carolecadwalla and the Guardian. You tried to cover up your incompetent conduct. You thought you could simply ignore the law. But you can’t. Your house of cards will topple.” Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, mentioned in a tweet, “Facebook must be held accountable — not just by fines — but also far-reaching reforms in management, privacy practices, and culture.” Debra Aho Williamson, an e-marketer analyst, warned that the expectation of an FTC fine may portend future trouble. “This is a significant development, and any settlement with the FTC may impact the ways advertisers can use the platform in the future,” she said. Jessica Liu, a marketing analyst for Forrester said that Facebook has to show signs that it’s improving on user data practices and content management. “Its track record has been atrocious. No more platitudes. What action is Facebook Inc actually taking?” “For Facebook, a $5 billion fine would amount to a fraction of its $56 billion in annual revenue. Any resolution would also alleviate some of the regulatory pressure that has been intensifying against the company over the past two and a half years”, the New York Times reports. To know more about this news in detail visit Facebook’s official press release. Read Next Facebook hires a new general counsel and a new VP of global communications even as it continues with no Chief Security Officer Facebook shareholders back a proposal to oust Mark Zuckerberg as the board’s chairperson “Is it actually possible to have a free and fair election ever again?,” Pulitzer finalist, Carole Cadwalladr on Facebook’s role in Brexitlast_img read more

From 707s and 747s back in the day to A330s now TAP

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: TAP Portugal Posted by Share Travelweek Group center_img TORONTO — TAP Portugal is anticipating a strong performance for its return to the Canadian market, with new five times weekly Toronto-Lisbon flights starting June 10.It’s been years since TAP flew out of Toronto and the carrier had Montreal flights at one time too. Through the 1970s, 80s and 90s TAP did good business out of Toronto and Montreal to Lisbon on 707s and 747s, at that time serving a sizeable VFR market without much onward traffic. Why did TAP Portugal pull the Canadian flights all those years ago? For the same reason any airline shuts down routes: they stopped being profitable.Now TAP is back and Carlos Paneiro, VP Sales North & Central America says he looks forward to rounding out TAP’s network on this side of the Atlantic with Toronto, the carrier’s fifth gateway in North America and (so far) its only Canadian gateway.The Toronto service will run Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with flights arriving in Toronto at 10 p.m. and departing for Lisbon at 11:55 p.m. TAP is using A330s for the route, and the planes have been retrofitted with upgrades, says Paneiro. There are 244 economy class seats (with a minimum 31” pitch) and 25 lie-flat business class seats.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterPart of the reason TAP pulled its Canadian flights back in the 1990s was because the airline didn’t have a network for onward travel. Now Paneiro says he anticipates that about 60 to 70% of passengers onboard the Toronto flights will be outbound Canadian passengers, and of those about 50% will take advantage of TAP’s network to fly beyond Lisbon to Europe (where TAP has 52 gateways) and Africa (15). TAP also has a growing presence in Brazil, with 10 gateways.The airline’s ‘TAP Portugal Stopover’ program should also generate interest with Canadian passengers, he adds, offering 24, 48 or 72-hour stopovers in Lisbon at no extra cost. Launched last summer in the North American market, it’s been a popular proposition for the U.S. market, with about 40,000 U.S. travellers spending some extra time in Lisbon before heading onto other TAP network destinations. TAP is part of the Star Alliance as well.TAP’s new District Sales Manager for the Canadian market, Liliana Vieira, is already on the road meeting with agents. Vierira has 20-plus years of experience in the travel industry here, mostly with airlines.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoMore information is at flytap.com. Friday, April 7, 2017 From 707s and 747s back in the day, to A330s now: TAP Portugal gets ready for its Toronto returnlast_img read more

Cuba cruise calls flights exempt but new Kempinski blacklisted

first_imgCuba cruise calls, flights exempt but new Kempinski blacklisted << Previous PostNext Post >> Source: The Associated Press Thursday, November 9, 2017 Share Tags: Cuba WASHINGTON — While Canadian travellers are still flocking to Cuba’s beaches in record numbers, American travellers with Cuba on their wish list are even less likely to go now that President Trump’s administration has handed down specific travel, commerce and financial restrictions for the island.Now off-limits to U.S. citizens are dozens of Cuban hotels, shops, tour companies and other businesses included on a lengthy American blacklist of entities that have links to Cuba’s military, intelligence or security services.Blacklisted hotels include the Manzana Kempinski, which opened with great fanfare this year as Cuba’s first to meet the international five-star standard.Most Americans will once again be required to travel as part of heavily regulated, organized tour groups run by U.S. companies, rather than voyaging to Cuba on their own.The stricter rules are the implementation of Trump’s revised Cuba policy announced in Miami back in June. They mark a return to the tougher U.S. stance toward Cuba that existed before former President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro restored diplomatic relations in 2015.“These measures confirm there is a serious reversal in bilateral relations which has occurred as a result of the decisions taken by the government of President Donald Trump,” said Josefina Vidal, the top Cuban diplomat for North America.However the overall impact on American business with Cuba will be limited. Trade is sparse as it is and many American travellers already stay at hotels not on the no-go list.Cruise ship calls and direct commercial flights between the countries will still be permitted.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterThe rules are designed to steer U.S. economic activity away from Cuba’s military, intelligence and security services, which dominate much of the economy through state-controlled corporations. The goal is to encourage financial support for Cuba’s growing private sector, said senior Trump administration officials, who briefed reporters on a conference call on condition they not be quoted by name.“We have strengthened our Cuba policies to channel economic activity away from the Cuban military and to encourage the government to move toward greater political and economic freedom for the Cuban people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.The new policy maintains several categories of travel to Cuba that are permitted despite the embargo, which carries on decades after the Cold War’s end. Americans can still travel on educational and “people to people” trips as well as visits designed to support the Cuban people by patronizing privately owned small businesses that have popped up across the island in recent years.But those travelling to support Cuba’s people must have a daylong schedule of activities designed to expose them to Cubans and steer dollars toward citizens, such as renting rooms in private homes. Those on organized, “people to people” or educational visits must be accompanied by a representative of the U.S.-based group organizing the trip.Vidal, the Cuban diplomat who was the public face of Cuba’s opening with the United States during the Obama administration, said the policy would harm Cuba’s economy, American citizens and U.S. businesses. The rules were also quickly denounced by travel groups and proponents of closer U.S. ties to the island.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthThe rules come amid deep strains in the U.S.-Cuba relationship stemming from invisible, unexplained attacks that have harmed more than two dozen U.S. government personnel in Havana since 2016. The attacks led the Trump administration to order most of its diplomats to leave Cuba in September and issue a sweeping travel warning urging Americans to stay away.Officials insisted that the new, tougher rules had no connection to the attacks. The U.S. first complained to Cuba’s government about the attacks in February, four months before Trump announced his broader policy intentions.Some exceptions will accommodate Americans who already plan to visit Cuba. Those who booked “people to people” trips before Trump’s June announcement will be exempt, along with Americans who organized education trips before the rules start on Thursday. Business deals already reached with entities on the prohibited list will be allowed to proceed.It’s unclear how aggressively the U.S. will police the new rules. Officials said they would use information obtained from several U.S. agencies to catch violators, who could be subject to penalties and criminal prosecution.The blacklist bars business with the large military-run corporations that dominate the Cuban economy. These include GAESA and CIMEX, holding companies that control most retail business on the island; Gaviota, the largest tourism company; and Habaguanex, which runs Old Havana.With files from The Associated Presslast_img read more

Peertopeer sharing company BitTorrent has taken

first_imgPeer-to-peer sharing company BitTorrent has taken the surprising step of launching an original online drama series that puts it in competition with the likes of Netflix and Amazon.The platform behind the BitTorrentprotocol is best known for allowing users to transfer huge amounts of data over the internet, which has lead various legal issues over illegal file-sharing of media content.However, the firm is now seeking to be seen as a legal distributor of premium content, and has launched its first original web series, according to AdWeek.Children of the Machine is an eight-episode sci-fi from Marco Weber (Igby Goes Down) and takes place in a futuristic society in which androids rule over humans.The male-skewed series, targeted at the largely-male BitTorrent user base, will be available via BitTorrent Bundle, a service that allows IP owners and artists to release content direct to market.The pilot and an ad-supported version of the show will be available for free, with a US$4.95 version skipping theads. For US$9.95 users will receive the series plus bonus content.Six weeks after the pilot is released, the rest of the series will be made available at once, a la the Netflix ‘binge’ model.“This is a science fiction show catered to the typical tech-savvy, male-dominated audience,” said Weber. “We’re not trying to launch a romantic comedy, so the concept of this show moved us toward BitTorrent.”IP owners using BitTorrent bundle gain 90% of the sales revenue, as well as data on the downloaders. There are more than two million legally licensed pieces of content on the site, according to AdWeek.last_img read more