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How the Team Behind Thor: Ragnarok Crafted an Epic Action Film

first_imgLet’s take a look at how the filmmakers behind Thor: Ragnarok demonstrate the power of collaboration when creating a movie.Image via Disney/Jason Bolin.It’s safe to say that Thor: Ragnarok was a massive success — in every way. The fans got what they wanted: a fresh, fun, entertaining take on a beloved character thanks to the filmmaking prowess of Taika Waititi. The film is making tons of money at the box office, and was a critical darling. So who is to take credit for an expensive Marvel monster such as this? The director? The DP? The star? In short, this project was a collective effort that relied on the creative sensibilities of truly talented editors, artists, and master filmmakers. Let’s take a look at what went into making the God of Thunder a fun time at the movies.EditingImage via Marvel.To fill the role of Editor, Waititi, Victoria Alonso, and Jesse Torres picked an unlikely candidate: a traditionally comedy based duo, Zene Baker and Joel Negron. Having worked on past projects like Observe and Report, Pain and Gain, and Neighbors, the duo hadn’t yet tackled a Marvel movie. Given the light-hearted nature of the film, choosing these two made perfect sense for what Waititi and crew were going for. On the actual edit, Baker reflects on the freedom and workflow that came with the job, praising the collaborative efforts of his partner and the director.Reflecting on the test-screening process, Baker fills us in on crucial information that editors should keep in mind:You’re trying to make something with its own characteristics. But as you get into these types of movies, they’re invaluable, especially with the comedy aspect of it. You learn really quickly which jokes are gonna tank. There are some jokes that you hate that turn out to be gangbusters and you’re like, ‘Okay, so I’m not right about everything, and I’m not wrong about everything.’ I’ve reached the point now where, comedy wise, they’re invaluable. Story wise, you can get that diamond in the rough who’s like, ‘I don’t understand this story point,’ and if enough people say the same thing, you have to really examine it.This tidbit is an excellent example of why you should trust your instincts, but understand that your first and final cut might still need revisions. Letting someone else take a look at your work is always a good way to reflect and change anything that doesn’t quite hit — regardless of the type of video you’re working on. Baker goes on to talk about the process of reshoots, and how going back to shoot more for your project doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing:You want to make the best possible movie you can, and sometimes it requires additional photography. You can make a scene so much better with just one little thing. You can literally shoot for five minutes to make one scene aces, and then put a few days into another scene. We’re all carefully debating everything, throughout the process.Visual EffectsImage via Marvel. Crafting the look and feel of the film was always going to be challenging due to the approach Marvel was taking with the re-vamped franchise. Along with the tone, editing, and writing, Taika and the lot knew they had to push the boundaries for visual effects and portraying action (after all, this is an action movie).For a particularly stunning flashback scene, one of the film’s central characters rides into battle on a winged horse towards Hela, the Goddess of Death. The scene is a spectacular blend of slow-motion and visual and practical effects. To create the effect in the scene, Waititi’s own friend and fellow actor Stuart Rutherford and VFX artist Carlo Van de Roer designed a rig to move light at 10,000 feet per second, accurately capturing an image in 360 degrees like never before. In a recent interview with SYFY Wire, Van de Roer detailed the setup:We shot with a Phantom Flex4K at about 1,000 frames a second, and what happens is you get this moment where time slows down to an incredible soup. You get into really thick, slo-mo action, but then, almost impossibly, the light actually does a full 360 degree loop around the actors in that moment.Image via SYFY Wire.Another prime example of how Thor: Ragnarok approached its themes and story expertly is the blend of practical and visual effects into one seamless feeling of retro nostalgia mixed with a visually stunning space opera. You can see this in the design of Hela’s wardrobe. The headdress is the work of Ironhead Studios, and it is a perfect example of how to expertly blend practical, old-school costuming with new age effects — if you have the right vision and right team working together.The headpiece is a modular, 3D-printed, to-scale prop that appears several times throughout the movie. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll recall the helmet moving and shifting as Hela prepares for battle each time. So the costume blends practical effects and CGI.While on set, the VFX team was well aware of Taika’s sensibilities regarding heavy VFX work, so they worked with his strengths and came up with a solution to get the most out of their indie director. Jake Morrison, the VFX supervisor, talked to Art of VFX about the film and explained the process:It was clear that Taika wasn’t going to allow for an army of technicians to run in and reset mocap markers, camera, etc. after a take so myself and our VFX Producer, Cyndi Ochs, worked hard to make sure the technology was as invisible as possible to Taika. We even went so far as to build the motion capture cameras into the sets themselves to ensure that all of the performances happened together, rather than trying to capture one half of a performance on the set and then a second half in a separate motion capture volume.There have been several interviews with the VFX artists at various studios behind Thor: Ragnarok that have provided some insane details about the creation of the world and the characters.Andrew Hellen – Method StudiosDave Hodgins – Digital DomainKevin Souls & Raphael A. Pimentel – Luma PicturesAlexis Wajsbrot – FramestoreDirectingImage via Art of VFX.The film’s indie-darling director, Taika Waititi, has brought us some classics already, from What We Do In The Shadows to Hunt for the Wilderpeople. While these are relatively smaller features, they feel grand in scope and demonstrate the indie filmmaker’s sensibilities for controlling tone with comedy and action. Waititi has said in interviews and late night bits that his method for pitching the Ragnarok role was to simply edit together a reel featuring various clips and stills to Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” Well, it worked, and if you’ve seen the film, you know the decision to go with this aesthetic and song choice worked wonders. Waititi’s approach to filmmaking is both inspiring and motivating.In this clip, Waititi breaks down the similarities and differences between shooting an independent feature and shooting a megaton superhero flick — with a little sarcasm thrown in. While shooting a standard conversation between Thor and Loki, Waititi describes the simple “lazy” setup and finding the balance between improvisation and sticking with the script. In regard to his directorial style, the New Zealand maestro gives us one last gem:The direction I gave to them was to stand still and know your lines, and say them fast.There you have it. The secret to directing a mega-blockbuster hit. But the charm doesn’t end there. The cast and crew have been interviewed and showcased all over the internet, and they have offered up plenty of incredible behind-the-scenes stories, as well as insights into the production. One of the many reasons the film has done as well as it has is partially due to the team behind the film praising the creative process and freedom they had while working on a film like this. The takeaway is this: whatever role you’re playing, be open to new ideas and new perspectives.Lastly, I’ll leave this Academy conversation with Waititi and the film’s editor, composer, costume designer, and writer.last_img read more

Euro 2016: 10 Spain players tested for doping

first_imgSpain says 10 national soccer team players have undergone doping tests at its European Championship training camp in western France.The Spanish soccer federation says UEFA officials showed up Saturday morning at the team’s hotel at Il de Re to conduct the tests.The officials collected blood and urine samples from the 10 players, whose names were not released.The federation says the tests were conducted “without any incidents.”Spain will face Italy on Monday in the Euro 2016 pre-quarterfinals at Stade de France.last_img read more

Alabama Wins Epic Title Game

first_imgGLENDALE, AZ — Welcome to the epic national championship club Alabama and Clemson.Your game is a unanimous choice to join the short list of some of the most dramatic, exciting, fantastic finishes to a college football season.With one big play after another — by both teams — Alabama beat Clemson 45-40 on Monday night in the College Football Playoff title game.An instant classic. And no doubt, this one will last for a long time.The game was a thrill-a-minute. Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry ran for three touchdowns, including a 50-yarder to open the scoring. A daring on side kick with the score tied 24-all led to an Alabama points explosion, with quarterback Jake Coker throwing for two long touchdowns to tight end O.J Howard. Oh, and Kenyan Drake returned a kickoff 95 yards for another score.Clemson didn’t flinch. Dual-threat quarterback Deshaun Watson threw four touchdown and had 478 total yards — 403 passing. He was virtually a one-man show in keeping the Tigers ahead for a while.In the end, it was too much Alabama, and the Tide won their fourth national crown in the past seven years. When the game ended, the entire crowd of 75,765 — the majority of them Clemson fans — stood and cheered. Not only for their team, but for the fabulous game they had just witnessed.Here’s a few other epic games that belong in the club:NOTRE DAME 10, MICHIGAN STATE 10 (1966)A tie is an epic? When it comes to this one, it tops the list. Ara Parseghian’s Notre Dame team came into the game unbeaten and ranked No. 1. Duffy Daugherty’s Michigan State team also was unbeaten and ranked No. 2. The game, sometimes referred to as the “Game of the Century,” ended in controversy as Notre Dame, playing at Spartan Stadium, elected not to try for a score on the final series. The not-so-Fighting Irish ended up No. 1 in the final AP poll. The game featured Terry Hanratty getting knocked out of the game after a sack by Michigan State’s Bubba Smith. The Irish had the ball with 1:01 left after rallying to tie the score, and needed about 40 yards to get into Joe Azzaro’s field goal range. Parseghian chose to run out the clock. Alabama finished the same season 11-0-0.MIAMI 31, NEBRASKA 30 (1984 ORANGE BOWL)Miami, which considered shutting down its program due to lack of interest several years earlier, pulled off one of the greatest upsets to win its first national title. Led by gawky yet efficient quarterback Bernie Kosar, Miami built an early lead and the hometown crowd rocked the Orange Bowl. The potent Cornhuskers needed a trick play — a “fumblerooski” TD by lineman Dean Steinkuhler — to stay in the game. They pulled within a point with less than a minute left, but instead of kicking the extra point that would have assured a championship, coach Tom Osborne decided to go for the win with a 2-point try. Turner Gill’s pass was swatted away by Ken Calhoun, and Miami benefited when higher ranked teams lost in earlier bowl games and rose from fifth to No. 1 in the final AP poll.OHIO STATE 31, MIAMI 24, 2 OT (2003 FIESTA BOWL)Miami was poised for another perfect season. They were a unanimous No. 1 choice riding a 34-game winning streak. Ohio State also was unbeaten, ranked No. 2, but appeared to be no match for the speedy ‘Canes. Led by freshman running back Maurice Clarett, though, Ohio State outplayed Miami for much of the game. But it was a still debated pass interference call in overtime that gave the Buckeyes another chance, and they won 31-24 in double OT. With his team down 24-17 and facing fourth down in OT, Craig Krenzel’s pass into the end zone was called incomplete by one official, but another ruled interference against Miami. Ohio State then tied it, and won it in the second OT for its first national crown in 34 years.TEXAS 41, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 38 (2006 ROSE BOWL)This game was like Alabama-Clemson for excitement, but had an even wilder finish. It was a No. 1 vs. No. 2 game, and USC was loaded — with two Heisman winners in running back Reggie Bush and quarterback Matt Leinart. Like Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Texas QB Vince Young piled up over 400 total yards, but his Longhorns came out a winner when he scored on fourth down in the closing seconds.FLORIDA STATE 34, AUBURN 31 (2014 ROSE BOWL)The Seminoles stormed to a 21-3 lead behind Heisman winner Jameis Winston, but Auburn caught up and the lead went back and forth with the Tigers going ahead 31-27 with 1:19 left. But Winston led them to victory — and the national title — with a short TD pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds to go.___TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Brazil to Play U.S. and El Salvador in Friendlies

first_imgRIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil will play two friendlies on U.S. soil next month, one against the hosts and another against El Salvador.The Brazilian football confederation announced Friday that the matches will be held on Sept. 7 and 11 respectively.The clash against the U.S. will be in New Jersey and the game against El Salvador is in Washington DC.They will be Brazil’s first two matches since its World Cup quarterfinal elimination against Belgium in July.The two games will also be the first since coach Tite extended his contract until the end of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.Tite will announce his squad next Friday. The matches are part of Brazil’s preparation for Copa America, which it will host in 2019.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Lingering colonial hangover

first_imgLexically, any conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch amounts to sedition. This has to mean that criminalising sedition is a method of keeping secure an established authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not necessarily aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. The discussion digresses a little here: if there is any resistance to a law, the law must be considered afresh. The common people will make their resistance known–it is no secret that the affluent and the powerful will find ways to dodge the law if it is any kind of impediment in the way of their interest. It hereby concludes that the preventive application of sedition law cannot be for someone who can circumvent laws; meaning thereby that it is potentially an instrument of harassment for an ordinary citizen exercising their fundamental right to freedom of thought and expression. Essentially, sedition is a kind of state-endorsed censorship. The matter of sedition sprang back into light with Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai saying that the law is necessary to ‘effectively combat anti-national, secessionist, and terrorist elements’, when he was responding to a written question posed by TRS MP Banda Prakash who had asked if the government was mulling to scrap the sedition law which, he said, “is a colonial-era law applicable on free citizens of the Republic”. It turns out that the Centre has no plans to scrap this law, as of now. As per official data, 179 people have been arrested on the charge of sedition during 2014-2016 but only two were convicted. The Home Ministry had earlier written to the Ministry of Law and Justice to request the Law Commission of India to study the usage of the provisions of Section 124 A (Sedition) and suggest amendments. In August last year, the Commission published a consultation paper recommending that it is time to re-think or even repeal Section 124A from the IPC. Anti-national, secessionist, and terrorist elements cannot all be spoken of in the same breath. Indeed, it is time we get past this colonial hangover.last_img read more

BC Coroner investigating death of FN foster child

first_imgAPTN National NewsPort Alberni, B.C. — The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating the death of a seven-month old First Nations infant, RCMP said.The baby boy was found unresponsive in his crib Wednesday by his foster caregiver who immediately called an ambulance, said RCMP Sgt. Kevin Murray.The boy was transported to a Port Alberni, B.C., hospital and medical staff failed in attempts to resuscitate the child.An autopsy was done on the child Friday and there was no evidence he died as a result of foul play, Murray said.The parents of the infant lived in Port Alberni.RCMP said the boy’s father was from Ahousaht First Nation, which is also the home community of Assembly of First Nations national Chief Shawn Atleo.last_img read more

Government of Canada invests in safety at North Peace Airport

first_img“Our Government recognizes that local airports are major contributors to the economic growth and social well-being of smaller communities. In addition to supporting travel and tourism, local airports are key connectors for business, health care, social services, and emerging resource development sectors. These investments will improve access to safe, efficient and accessible air transportation options, and will help us deliver on our promise to build safer, healthier and stronger communities across Canada.”The funding for the new grader comes from Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program and to date, the North Peace Airport has received more than $16.7 million in ACAP funding for 15 safety projects.For more information on the ACAP funding, you can visit the Government of Canada’s website. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Government of Canada has announced that it will be making an investment in safety at the North Peace Regional Airport.According to the Government, it will be purchasing a grader for the Airport, valued at $223,728, which will assist with the essential clearing of ice and snow from runways, taxiways and the apron.Federal Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, says his Government recognizes that local airports are major contributors to economic growth, adding that these investments will allow access to safe, efficient and accessible air transportation options.last_img read more

Rabat Town Council Receives Golden Shield of Social Responsibility

Beirut – The Arab organization for social responsibility and lasting development awarded on Tuesday its golden shield to the Rabat town council, on the sidelines of a conference on lasting development challenges at the local level held in Beirut.In addition to Rabat, several other Arab town councils, from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Egypt and Sudan also received the distinction.President of the Arab organization for social responsibility and lasting development, Pierre Moukarzel said Rabat was rewarded for its action in social responsibility. The conference called for promoting cooperation and exchange of expertise, developing training services extended by the Organization and establishing a cooperation network in training. read more

PGE to pay 1 billion to governments for wildfire damage

SAN FRANCISCO — A California utility blamed for igniting several wildfires that killed dozens and destroyed thousands of homes has agreed to pay $1 billion to local governments.Attorneys representing 14 local public entities announced the settlement with Pacific Gas & Electric on Tuesday to cover “taxpayer losses.” The fires include a 2015 fire in Butte County, a series of 2017 fires in Northern California wine country and the 2018 fire that destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 85 people.PG&E Corp. filed for bankruptcy earlier this year citing billions of dollars in expected losses, mostly from lawsuits filed by individual fire victims, businesses and insurance companies. A judge overseeing that case must approve the settlement announced Tuesday.Pacific Gas & Electric did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The Associated Press read more

UNAIDS welcomes creation of new womens superagency

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) today welcomed the creation of a new single UN body to promote women’s rights, noting that more than 60 per cent of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are female, as are three out of four young people.“This is a historic opportunity to advance the rights of women and girls,” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said. “UNAIDS will work closely with the new agency to promote women’s access to health and development.”Seeking to improve system-wide coherence, the General Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution to merge the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW) into a new consolidated body headed by an under-secretary-general.“Gender inequalities, sexual abuse, violence, conflict and poverty often increase women’s vulnerability to HIV,” UNAIDS said in a statement, noting that in Asia nearly 50 million women are at risk of becoming infected with HIV from their intimate partners. “Protecting women from becoming infected with HIV and treating women living with HIV can turn back the epidemic. Stopping women from becoming infected and increasing their access to treatment also directly contributes to reducing the number of children being born with HIV and becoming orphans,” it added. Working alongside the new agency, the UNAIDS Secretariat will support strengthening the capacity of women’s organizations to deliver critical maternal and child health services to women and girls at grassroots level. It will also leverage the AIDS response as an opportunity to stop violence against women and girls in all settings. 16 September 2009The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) today welcomed the creation of a new single UN body to promote women’s rights, noting that more than 60 per cent of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are female, as are three out of four young people. read more

Dismay in Tamil Nadu over failed IndoLankan talks

After the meetings, the Indian and Sri Lankan sides agreed that a lasting solution to the fishermen issue should be found at the earliest but made no serious efforts towards the direction, they felt. The Lankan side only seemed to be crushing the livelihood of Indian fishermen, they alleged.Pointing that they were making sincere efforts to switch over to deep sea fishing, the leaders said a lasting solution could be found only if the fishermen were given one or two years to phase out bottom trawling in the Pak Bay.Stating that there was no assurance from the Lankan side, they said only if the trawlers were released, those fishermen could opt for tuna long liners. It was also unfortunate that the Sri Lankan side, while acknowledging India’s recent initiatives to end bottom trawling in the Palk Bay, had not changed its stance that it would continue to prevent illegal fishing in Lankan waters and arrest Indian fishermen who trespassed.“We had high hopes that India will prevail upon the Lankan side and secure the release of fishermen and boats and give time to phase out bottom trawling in the Palk Bay only to be disappointed,” the leaders said. “It is very unfortunate that the Lankan side ended the meetings after making a vague statement that it would take up the issues relating to the release of fishermen and trawlers at an appropriate forum,” fishermen leader P Sesu Raja said. Fishermen leaders in Tamil Nadu have expressed dismay over the failure of the third meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group (JWG) and the ministerial meeting that followed to work out a time frame for the release of fishermen and more than 130 trawlers detained in Sri Lanka and to end bottom trawling in the Palk Bay, The Hindu newspaper reported.The leaders regretted that the meetings held in New Delhi on October 13 and 14 to discuss fishermen issues and the release of the apprehended fishermen and their trawlers detained in Sri Lanka for more than a year ended without arriving at any tangible decisions. After the recent release of fishermen and 42 trawlers, impounded by the Lankan navy in April 2015, the fishermen had high hopes that the JWG, set up to address their issues, and the ministerial level meeting would work out a time frame for the release of fishermen and their trawlers but the meetings turned out to be a formality, he rued. read more

Most actively traded companies on the TSX

TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (16,448.84, up 49.61 points).The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings. (TSX:TGOD). Health care. Down 58 cents, or 16.52 per cent, to $2.93 on 8.5 million shares.Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU). Energy. Up four cents, or 0.1 per cent, to $38.37 on 6.7 million shares.Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE). Energy. Up two cents, or 0.17 per cent, to $11.52 on 6.6 million shares.Stornoway Diamond Corp. (TSX:SWY). Materials. Down 0.25 of a cent, or 16.67 per cent, to 1.25 cents on 6.2 million shares.Crescent Point Energy Corp. (TSX:CPG). Energy. Up 22 cents, or 4.92 per cent, to $4.69 on 5.5 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Down 17 cents, or 2.25 per cent, to $7.40 on 5.4 million shares. The Canadian Press Companies in the news:Bank of Nova Scotia. (TSX:BNS). Up 58 cents to $71.02. The top executives of Canada’s biggest banks are signalling slower growth ahead amid looming trade tensions and America’s falling interest rates, but the lenders remain confident they’ll be able to adapt to the changing environment. CIBC chief executive Victor Dodig told the Scotiabank Financials Summit Wednesday that the prospect of more countries moving to negative interest rates is an issue and questions loom over whether trade wars can worsen. He added that “you can’t keep your blinders on”  but CIBC will manage by adjusting its business and investment spending accordingly.Interfor Corp. (TSX:IFP). Up 26 cents or two per cent to $12.96. Interfor Corp. plans to permanently close its Hammond sawmill in Maple Ridge, B.C., affecting more than 100 workers. The Vancouver-based company says the closure is part of a reorganization of its forestry and woodlands operations amid tight supplies of logs for processing. It says the shutdown will be complete by the end of 2019, after the mill’s remaining log and lumber inventories have been processed and shipped. Interfor chief executive Duncan Davies says the company, which has 18 mills across North America, will seek jobs for the affected workers at its other operations or at outside mills. read more

Thai government standing fast against Uber offers taxi app

BANGKOK – Thailand’s government is cracking down on private car-hailing services such as Uber and plans to introduce its own taxi app to appease passengers.Thai transport officials said Thursday that services using private vehicles to transport passengers, such as Uber or Southeast Asia’s GrabCar, are illegal because the vehicles aren’t registered for public transport.Thai authorities have threatened repeatedly to shut down private car ride-sharing services, and recently have cracked down by fining individual drivers.Services using smartphone apps that call licensed taxis —such as GrabTaxi, part of the same company that operates GrabCar — are legal.The government plans to introduce its own cellphone app, TAXI OK, for passengers to call government-endorsed taxis featuring GPS tracking systems and closed-circuit cameras. It will also have an up-market variation called TAXI VIP.“With this project, we’re improving taxi standards by building trust, confidence, and safety,” said Sanit Promwong, director-general of the Department of Land Transportation.Most transport apps in Thailand allow users to call both taxis and private vehicles. The only exception is Uber, whose Thai operations rely solely on private vehicles.Uber issued a statement saying it would continue to seek to have ridesharing legalized, saying it believes “it is time to amend the existing legal framework to accommodate this much needed new technology and realize the full benefits it is bringing to riders, drivers and cities.”The recent crackdown saw the authorities run sting operations by masquerading as ordinary passengers. They would ask the vehicle’s driver to drop them off at a Department of Land Transport office, where the driver would be fined up to 2,000 baht ($57) for improper registration.Last year, the government halted Uber and Grab’s motorbike taxi services, and last month, Uber vehicles were banned from picking up passengers at Bangkok’s main airport.The ride-sharing services have continued to flourish, however.“I never use regular cabs, especially at night,” said Vasuda Emharuedhai, 27, a legal secretary in Bangkok. “I don’t trust them and I feel a lot safer in Ubers.”Some called the Thai government old-fashioned for cracking down on ride-sharing.“Don’t reject services that benefit the public good by using ‘law and order’ as an excuse,” said former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij in a post on his Facebook page. He charged that cracking down contradicts government rhetoric claiming it wants to step up the use of technology in everyday life.Uber has faced similar problems with regulators in many countries such as China, France, Spain and Mexico, who say its cars and drivers do not have the correct permits to transport passengers. by Dake King And Kaweewit Kaewjinda, The Associated Press Posted Mar 9, 2017 7:22 am MDT Last Updated Mar 9, 2017 at 8:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Thai government, standing fast against Uber, offers taxi app read more

UNmandated human rights inquiry on DPR Korea documents widespread systematic abuses

In a 400-page set of linked reports and supporting documents, culled from first-hand testimony from victims and witnesses, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has documented in great detail the “unspeakable atrocities” committed in the country, says a press release from the Geneva-based body. “The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world,” the Commission – established by the Human Rights Council in March 2013 – says the report, which is unprecedented in scope.It finds that, since 1950, the “State’s violence has been externalized through State-sponsored abductions and enforced disappearances of people from other nations. These international enforced disappearances are unique in their intensity, scale and nature.” With a one-year mandate, the Commission was tasked with investigating several alleged violations, including those concerning the right to food and those associated with prison camps; torture and inhuman treatment; arbitrary detention; discrimination; freedom of expression, movement and religion; the right to life; and enforced disappearances, including abductions of nationals to other countries. Along with its chairman, Michael Kirby, a retired judge from Australia, the panel comprises Sonja Biserko, founder and president of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, and Marzuki Darusman, former Attorney General of Indonesia and the current UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in DPRK. The are expected to brief the press from Geneva later today. Describing crimes such as “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, forcible transfer of populations, enforced disappearance and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,” the report adds: “Crimes against humanity are ongoing in the [DPRK] because the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place.” The Commission found that the DPRK “displays many attributes of a totalitarian State” and spotlights that there is “an almost complete denial of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as of the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, information and association,” and that propaganda is used by the State to manufacture absolute obedience to the Supreme Leader and to incite nationalistic hatred towards some other States and their nationals.State surveillance permeates private lives and virtually no expression critical of the political system goes undetected – or unpunished, says the Commission, detailing that the key to the country’s political system is the “vast political and security apparatus that strategically uses surveillance, coercion, fear and punishment to preclude the expression of any dissent.” Military spending – predominantly on hardware and the development of weapons systems and the nuclear programme – has always been prioritized, even during periods of mass starvation, the report says. The State also maintains a system of inefficient economic production and discriminatory resource allocation that inevitably produces more avoidable starvation among its citizens. Violations of the rights to food and to freedom of movement have resulted in women and girls becoming vulnerable to trafficking and forced sex work outside the DPRK. Many take the risk of fleeing, mainly to China, despite the high chance that they will be apprehended and forcibly repatriated, then subjected to persecution, torture, prolonged arbitrary detention and, in some cases sexual violence. “Repatriated women who are pregnant are regularly subjected to forced abortions, and babies born to repatriated women are often killed,” the report states. While the Government did not respond to requests for access to the DPRK and for information, the Commission obtained first-hand testimony through public hearings with about 80 witnesses in Seoul, Tokyo, London and Washington D.C., and more than 240 confidential interviews with victims and other witnesses, including in Bangkok. Eighty formal submissions were also received from different entities. The report includes a letter sent by the Commissioners to the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, containing a summary of the systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations that “entail crimes against humanity.” The letter states that the three-member panel would recommend referral of the situation in the DPRK to the International Criminal Court “to render accountable all those, including possibly yourself, who may be responsible for the crimes against humanity referred to in this letter and in the Commission’s report.” Among wide-ranging recommendations to the DPRK, to China and other States, and to the international community, the Commission calls on the UN Security Council to adopt targeted sanctions against those who appear to be most responsible for crimes against humanity, stressing that sanctions should not be targeted against the population or the economy as a whole. The Commission is scheduled to formally present its findings to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 17 March 2014. read more

Wrestling team prepares for NCAA Tournament

Senior captain Colt Sponseller has had many goals since he joined the Ohio State wrestling team, none bigger than winning a National Championship. Entering his final NCAA Tournament, Sponseller has one opportunity left to make his dream a reality. “It’s my ultimate goal. It’s the goal I have had in mind since I came here to OSU,” Sponseller said. “To come out there and … go to nationals and win would be the icing on the cake.” In his two previous attempts in the NCAA Tournament, Sponseller has not lived up to his goals. In his final season as a Buckeye, the 2011 tournament is Sponseller’s final chance to reach the pinnacle of college wrestling. “It’s the last chance I have,” Sponseller said. “It’s one of the most important things in my life, and you’ve got to make it all count when it comes down to it.” Sponseller has been wrestling at OSU for the past four years. He has made two NCAA Tournament appearances and has failed to finish as an All-American or better. Coach Tom Ryan said helping Sponseller reach his goal is one of the most important things for his team at the NCAA Tournament. “We have one senior; it’s very important that he reaches his goals, which is to be a National Champion,” Ryan said. “It’s important that our senior goes out the right way.” Sponseller will compete as the No. 5 seed in the 165-pound bracket. Sponseller is not the only Buckeye going to the national tournament. Sophomore captains C.J. Magrum and Ian Paddock, and freshman Nick Heflin will also wrestle for a National Championship. They all qualified because of their finishes at the Big Ten Tournament. Freshman Peter Capone, 197 pounds, received an at-large bid into the tournament field. “I think it would be very good experience, and I definitely think I could win some matches,” Capone said. “(An All-American finish) would be the goal and I would just wrestle as hard as I can.” Magrum, who is unseeded, is coming off an impressive showing at the Big Ten Tournament, finishing fourth in the 184-pound weight class. After wrestling six matches during the weekend, Magrum, as well as the other Buckeyes, will return to the gym and begin preparing for the final tournament. “The first thing I need to do is heal up and get some rest,” Magrum said. “Then we’ll come back for a few days, then tapper down and get ready for NCAAs.” Magrum said the tournament is more about a mindset than physicality. “I think the NCAA Tournament is more mental than anything,” Magrum said. “Anyone could show up on any given day an All-American.” Heflin, who was disappointed with the runner-up finish at the Big Ten Tournament, said he will focus on the little things to have a better performance at the NCAA Tournament. “I need to keep just working hard, come in for morning practices, watch some tape on (Edward) Ruth’s match,” Heflin said. “Do all the little right things. Sleep right, eat right, just prepare perfectly.” Heflin will be the No. 10 seed at 174 pounds. After a disappointing regular season, Ryan said he still expects his team to perform well in the NCAA Tournament and expects to bring home a group of All-Americans. “I’d say a top-10 team performance would be good for us, with the season we’ve had,” Ryan said. “And we’ve got some of these underclassmen to step up, because they’re the leaders of the future and the leaders of next year’s team. It’d be nice to come home with a bunch of All-Americans and guys that are some underclassmen, ready to lead.” To accomplish this goal, Ryan said he expects his athletes to go after their opponents, while sporting a strong defense as well. “We need to wrestle tough. We need to be ready prepared mentally and physically and go after people,” Ryan said. “You need incredible defense and you got to pressure your opponent. So, if you do those things … we have a good shot at placing some people on the podium.” The 2011 NCAA Division I Championships will take place March 17-19 in Philadelphia. read more

Football Ohio State defensive line setting the bar high

Ohio State defensive linemen look on during the second half of the Buckeyes game against Nebraska on Nov. 5. The Buckeyes won 62-3. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorThe Ohio State football team has a fully loaded defensive line ready to not only control the line of scrimmage, but also dominate it.“We’ll be as good as anybody in America at defensive end,” Coach Urban Meyer said.Meyer referenced Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, redshirt senior Tyquan Lewis, redshirt junior Sam Hubbard, sophomore Nick Bosa, senior Jalyn Holmes and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones as the five premier defensive linemen on the team. With such high-profile players returning who have already played significant snaps, a concern is the possibility of complacency. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case for this unit. Lewis said the goal is to be the best defensive line all-time. “We’re all elite players, so we continue to push one another to the next level,” he said. “That’s what helps us become better and better — it’s a lot of competition between all of us.”Defensive line coach Larry Johnson said this unit is the best collective group he has had in a long time. He emphasized the closeness of this group by citing the collective bond and love that they share. He said Lewis and Holmes demonstrated this bond by forgoing the NFL Draft to return for their senior seasons. “The most important thing about these guys (is) they’re unselfish — they’re very unselfish players,” Johnson said. “They don’t care who starts, they don’t care who plays, as long as they play.”Honorable mention All-Big Ten defensive end Holmes said that the guys on the defensive line do not want to let each other down. He continually emphasized that winning is much more important than playing time. “We have that bond and we got that chemistry, Holmes said. “And we (are) playing for something bigger than ourselves.”Johnson referred to the depth of the defensive line and mentioned the improvements he has seen in redshirt sophomore defensive end Rashod Berry, sophomore defensive tackle Robert Landers, redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jashon Cornell, redshirt freshman defensive tackle Malik Barrow, sophomore defensive end Jonathon Cooper and Honorable Mention All-Big Ten, redshirt senior Michael Hill. Honorable Mention All-Big Ten defensive end Hubbard played with former Buckeye defensive linemen Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington, who both started as rookies in the NFL this past season. He said that this current defensive line could be even better as a whole.“I’ve played with a lot of great individuals. I don’t think, collectively, there’s been this much talent at his position since I’ve been here,” Hubbard said. “We have four guys who could start on any team in the country and we’re all playing together.”Along with Jones, Meyer said the staff has been thinking of ways of putting the five premier linemen on the field at one time, which would move a defensive end to linebacker. Per Johnson and multiple players, Hubbard has been practicing at the position during spring practice. Nick Bosa also emphasized the importance of getting all of the talent involved.“We have so many good players,” Bosa said. “It’s criminal to not have them on the field.” read more

Good news Qualcomm announces 100 new jobs for Cork

first_imgAT LEAST 100 new jobs will be created in Cork as IT giant Qualcomm develops operations in Ireland.The new incorporated global technology delivery centre was officially opened by IDA Ireland and the Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton this evening.Vice President of Engineering, Kevork Kechichian, told that the firm came to Cork for the local talent.“The type of research that goes on in the universities here aligns with what we are looking for,” he said, adding that the positions will be filled with local people.“We were looking for specific talent,” he continued. “Ireland, in general, showed up and we started looking at Limerick, Dublin and Cork.”Qualcomm develops 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. It employs about 30,000 people globally.Qualcomm is also in discussions with IDA Ireland on the potential establishment of a Security and Encryption R&D centre through Qualcomm Mobile and Computing (QMC), a business unit of Qualcomm Technologies.Jobswatch: Harvey Norman and Carphone Warehouse to create 80 new jobs‘Do I get the brown envelope?’: Minister meets mixed reaction on Dublin canvassRead: The technology sector is open for business, but there’s a shortage of suitable candidates>last_img read more

There is no excuse Detained US student suffered extensive brain damage in

first_img Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Short URL DOCTORS TREATING OTTO Warmbier, the US student released by North Korea in a coma this week, said the 22-year-old had suffered severe brain damage, as his father lashed out at the reclusive regime.Warmbier experienced extensive tissue loss in all regions of the brain, doctors said, but he showed no signs of physical trauma and medical tests offered no conclusive evidence as to the cause of his neurological injuries.His father, Fred Warmbier, hit out at Kim Jong-Un’s authoritarian state which kept the family in the dark, with little to no news for much of the young man’s imprisonment.It was only a week ago, after a US diplomatic effort, that they were told he had been in a coma since shortly after being incarcerated in March 2016 for stealing a political poster from a hotel.“Even if you believe their explanation of botulism and a sleeping pill causing the coma, and we don’t,” Warmbier told a news conference at the family’s home city of Cincinnati, Ohio, “there is no excuse for any civilised nation to have kept his condition secret and denied him top-notch medical care for so long.”“I call on them to release the other Americans being held,” he urged, referring to three US citizens still in North Korea.Doctors at the UC Health University of Cincinnati Medical Center said the young man was able to breathe on his own, but his neurological state was best described “as a state of unresponsive wakefulness”.Neurologist Daniel Kanter said.He has spontaneous eye opening and blinking. However, he shows no signs of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surroundings.The medical team said Warmbier’s severe brain injury was most likely, given his young age, to have been caused by cardiopulmonary arrest cutting the blood supply to the brain.But they could not definitively say what could have caused such an event, saying they had found no signs of a botulism infection, the explanation given by the North Korean regime for how the young man fell into a coma.‘Trump call’In a one-line statement earlier on the state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korea said it had released Warmbier “on humanitarian grounds”.The university student had been on a tourist trip when he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years hard labour, a punishment the US decried as far out of proportion to his alleged crime, accusing the North of using him as a political pawn. Fred Warmbier, father of Otto Warmbier. Source: John Minchillo/PAHis release came amid tensions with Washington following a series of missile tests by Pyongyang, focusing attention on an arms buildup that Pentagon chief Jim Mattis this week dubbed “a clear and present danger to all”.A State Department spokeswoman told reporters in Washington that Warmbier’s release followed “quiet diplomacy”, at US President Donald Trump’s suggestion.In May, State Department special envoy Joe Yun met with high-level representatives from the North Korean foreign ministry on the margins of separate discussions in Norway to talk about detained American citizens.And at a further meeting in New York on 6 June, Yun learned of Warmbier’s medical condition for the first time, said spokeswoman Heather Nauert, outlining the release effort.Over the next five days, and after consulting Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson instructed Yun to travel to North Korea to negotiate Warmbier’s release.While there, Yun met with the three other Americans being held, who include two men who taught at a Pyongyang university funded by overseas Christian groups, and a Korean-American pastor accused of espionage for the South.“There are three other Americans currently being held in North Korea. We hope that they will soon be able to return home,” Nauert added.Washington has stepped up pressure on China and other foreign powers to enforce existing UN sanctions on North Korea, and has deployed increased military assets of its own in the region.Fred Warmbier expressed gratitude for the US administration’s efforts in his son’s favour, and said he spoke personally with Trump late on Wednesday. Otto Warmbier is loaded into an ambulance after being carried off of an airplane at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati. Source: Sam Greene/PA“He was very candid and it was a nice conversation,” he said, adding that Trump expressed concern for the family’s wellbeing.Warmbier’s evacuation also coincided with the arrival in Pyongyang of flamboyant retired NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman, a former contestant on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” reality show.Fred Warmbier echoed the message of US officials, who have said Rodman played no role in the release.“Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with Otto,” he said. “It’s a diversion, I’m sure.”The student’s father also criticised the previous administration of Barack Obama for not having done more for their son.He said officials had counseled the family to not speak out about Otto’s detention, to avoid antagonizing the North Korean regime.“We relied on this false premise that they would treat Otto fairly and let him go,” Warmbier said. “The results speak for themselves.”© – AFP, 2017Read: London fire: ‘There is a risk we may not be able to identify everybody’ Jun 16th 2017, 7:47 AM By AFP 37,225 Views 30 Comments Image: Kim Kwang Hyon ‘There is no excuse’: Detained US student suffered ‘extensive’ brain damage in North Korea He was arrested for allegedly taking a poster from a North Korean hotel. Share223 Tweet Email Image: Kim Kwang Hyon Friday 16 Jun 2017, 7:47 AMlast_img read more

These Japanese Chocolate Are Infused With Sake Wasabi and Seaweed

first_imgStay on target Launchpad Blaze Postpones JAXA’s Cargo Ship Launch to ISSJapan’s Hayabusa-2 Probe Packs Up Space Rock Cargo From Asteroid Ryugu When you think of chocolates and the things that go well with them, things like marshmallow, peanut butter, caramel, or stuff like that comes to mind, right? How would you feel about sweets including traditional Japanese foods, like green tea, cherry blossoms, and the like? Or if you’re feeling adventurous, how about sake or green tea and sweet black beans?That’s what Tokyo candy manufacturer Edogoshiya is working on currently, with an entire line of delicious chocolates coming down the line just in time for Valentine’s Day. Edogoshiya’s Ikimachi Chocolate series has some pretty weird flavors, but it has a few appetizing ones as well. For instance, the Sencha Green Tea Leaf and Sakura Kuromitsu sound pretty good — they’re just matcha and cherry blossom and brown sugar syrup flavored, after all.AdChoices广告The weirder ones out there are Sake and Puffed Rice, as strange as that sounds, as well as Hojicha Kuromame, which is roasted green tea and sweet black beans. Or maybe you want Wasabi Nori, or dried seaweed in your chocolate, or the Miso Fusuma Wheat Bran. Delicious!Gold Powder doesn’t sound appetizing, but it sounds pretty harmless, while Yuzu citrus is the least offensive out of all of these flavors—-after all, orange goes well with chocolate.The Walnut and Chestnut chocolate is pretty normal, but the Mitarashi Rice Dumplings and Kinako, and Milk Azuki aren’t particularly great-sounding. Finally, the Strawberry with Brown Rice variety is probably pretty tasty, even though it’s brown rice — puffed, most likely.If you live in Japan and need something different and unique to share with your loved ones on Valentine’s Day, you might want to look outside of the box and grab one of these varieties to share…and maybe you’ll find something you didn’t even know you liked eating in the process. Yummy!center_img Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more