ESPN Names The “Worst” Team In College Football For 2018

first_imgGenera view of Reser Stadium.CORVALLIS, OR – SEPTEMBER 09: A general view the satdium during the game between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Corvallis, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)We’re less than three months away from the kickoff of the 2018 college football season. Who’s excited?Everyone should be.The best part of the season approaching is that basically every program is optimistic. No one has lost yet. Hope is abundant.Not everyone should be optimistic, though. Some programs are bound to have terrible years.One of those programs, unfortunately, is Oregon State.ESPN is predicting Oregon State will be the country’s worst Power 5 team in 2018. It’s not close, either.The Football Power Index is projecting Oregon State will go 2-10 during the 2018 season. The Beavers are not favored to win any Pac-12 game.Oregon State is set to open its 2018 season on Sept. 1 at Ohio State. The FPI gives them a 1.2 percent chance to win that game.You can view the full projections here.last_img read more

Public told to leave drones at home if they go to Abbotsford

first_imgABBOTSFORD, B.C. — Police and organizers of the Abbotsford International Airshow urge the public to leave their drones at home if they plan to attend the show this weekend.A joint news release from Abbotsford police and the airshow says drone detection equipment will be used during the show and if a drone is spotted, police will be notified.The statement says drones have been detected at several airshows across Canada over the last year, causing significant safety risks to pilots, aircraft and anyone attending the shows.Airshow spokesperson Jadene Mah says spectators must be able to enjoy the experience without having to worry about the consequences of a drone-related accident.Transport Canada classifies drones as aircraft and the person operating the craft as a remote pilot.Flying a drone near an airport or in close proximity to other aircraft is illegal.The Abbotsford airshow continues until Aug. 11 and features the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, a CF-18 Hornet demonstration and heritage planes.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Morocco-US Military Exercise ‘African Lion’ to Take Place in April 2016

Rabat – The next Morocco-United States military exercise named “African Lion” will be held from April 18 to 27 in southern Morocco.The 2016 armed forces maneuvers will be conducted with the goal to establish a Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF), while performing exercises that meet “Peace Operations under UN mandated processes and procedures, according to FAR-Maroc military website.Joining the Moroccan and American armies, other partner countries’ military forces will participate in the operation, among them Germany, Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Tunisia, Mauritania, and Senegal. According to the same source, the exercises will “support specific USAFRICOM LOEs associated with the Theater Campaign and Security Plans, exercise selected MARFOREUR/AF and subordinate unit mission essential tasks, and improve U.S. Military interoperability with Royal Moroccan Armed Forces and Multi-National/Regional Partners”.“African Lion” will be different from 2015’s joint cooperation maneuvers, in which there was a massive deployment of U.S. armed forces. The 2016 Morocco-US cooperation will be limited to smaller-scale exercises, the same source noted.The new CJFT will establish the framework for larger-scale, more complex maneuvers planned for 2017.In addition, “African Lion” will consist of workshops on “intelligence, humanitarian assistance, law of war, and public affairs that build into crisis action planning based upon an established scenario with themes ranging from gender based violence to natural disaster.”The 2015 “African Lion” was conducted last May in Agadir and included American combat equipment, such as amphibious assault vehicles.According to the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS), “African Lion” 2015 supported and sustained U.S., Moroccan and German Bundeswehr Armed Forces during their joint and combined training engagements. read more

UN health agency helping Republic of Congo tackle polio outbreak

5 November 2010The United Nations health agency is helping the government of the Republic of Congo tackle an acute outbreak of poliomyelitis which has killed 58 people and caused 120 cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). The United Nations health agency is helping the government of the Republic of Congo tackle an acute outbreak of poliomyelitis which has killed 58 people and caused 120 cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). The UN World Health Organization (WHO) says that with Congo having recorded its last case of indigenous polio in 2000, the outbreak is believed to be due to imported poliovirus. Investigations are ongoing to determine definitively the origins of the virus. Half the cases have been reported in the past ten days, with the first case occurring in early October. Two cases have been confirmed to have been caused by wild poliovirus type 1 and laboratory testing continues. The Government of Congo has alerted the public to the outbreak and launched an emergency response plan, with support from key partners such as WHO and the UN Children’s Fund. At least three nationwide vaccination campaigns are expected, targeting the entire population.With new cases being reported every day, WHO says it is expected that a multi-country campaign will be required to cover bordering at-risk areas. The agency also says that it is important that countries across central Africa and the Horn of Africa strengthen AFP surveillance, in order to rapidly detect any poliovirus importations and facilitate a rapid response. WHO adds that given the recent progress achieved in Nigeria – with a 98 per cent reduction in cases this year compared to the same period in 2009 – very high priority is being given to rapidly controlling persistent transmission such as in Angola and stopping new outbreaks such as Congo. read more

Rapp submits report on Sri Lanka

Serious concerns have also been raised regarding the process of questioning witnesses before the LLRC. The POE report describes as “non-confrontational” the line of questioning used when dealing with members of the security forces and issues related to violations of IHL.[4] The POE report goes on to relate that in some cases, commission members appeared to lead respondents with questions that contained the answers. The POE report also claims commission members failed in some cases to pursue important lines of questioning of government officials that could have revealed specific information relating to culpability for violations of IHL and IHRL.[5] The report draws attention to open questions regarding allegations of violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) but it is not meant to be a legal determination confirming any of those allegations, Stephen Rapp’s office said. G. Establishment of NFZs 2 & 3 The report highlights a number of allegations of violations by the GSL it describes as credible, including: large-scale shelling of “No Fire Zones,” systematic shelling of hospitals, and summary execution, rape, and torture of surrendering LTTE cadres and civilians fleeing the conflict zone. The report also highlights a number of allegations against the LTTE it describes as credible, including: using civilians as a strategic buffer, forced labor (including of children), and summary executions of civilians attempting to flee the conflict zone.[2] The serious allegations in the report regarding the conduct of both sides, if proven, would indicate violations of IHL and IHRL. With respect to LTTE attacks against civilians, the LLRC concluded that the LTTE was guilty of “grave violations of core Principles of IHL.”[14] Specifically, the Commission found that LTTE cadres used civilians as human shields, shot at civilians attempting to escape to safe areas, forced civilians to provide support services, used military equipment in civilian areas, and forcibly conscripted child soldiers.[15] The POE report found credible allegations for all of these same crimes.[16] The LLRC report contemplates “framing charges against LTTE cadres,” but fails to make specific recommendations about investigating and prosecuting LTTE crimes.[17] Accountability for violations of IHL and IHRL by both sides of the conflict is important to ensure justice for victims, to prevent a resurgence of violence, and for rebuilding Sri Lanka. The GSL should therefore fully investigate abuses committed by the LTTE and hold individuals accountable for such crimes. E. Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Although initially given six months to report, the GSL extended the deadline for the LLRC report twice, each time for an additional six months. The LLRC commenced public hearings on August 11, 2010, and finished in March 2011. According to the LLRC website, the Commission held 41 field visits and 149 public sittings. As with the two previous reports, our assessment of investigations undertaken by the Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) and international bodies is mindful of Sri Lanka’s pertinent international obligations. For example, Sri Lanka is a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the 1949 Geneva Conventions. In addition, Sri Lanka is subject to relevant customary international law obligations, which in the area of international humanitarian law include the principles of distinction and proportionality, which are intended to protect innocent civilians from harm. The principle of distinction holds that civilians and civilian objects (such as hospitals and schools) shall not be the object of direct attack, though civilians lose this immunity if they directly participate in hostilities. The principle of proportionality prohibits attacks that may cause incidental loss of life, injury, or damage to civilians that would be excessive in relation to the direct military advantage anticipated. The civilian population must not be used to shield military objectives or operations from attack, and parties must take all practicable precautions, taking into account military and humanitarian considerations, to minimize incidental death, injury and damage to civilians. II. Efforts at Accountability The POE Report briefly discusses allegations of sexual and gender-based violence by GSL security forces during the final days of the conflict. The Panel pointed to several videos that strongly suggest that women were raped or otherwise sexually assaulted before being executed, but did not make any definitive conclusions due to a lack of evidence.[35] The POE indicated that this lack of evidence is likely partially due to strong cultural stigmas in Sri Lanka that cause reports of sexual violence to go underreported.[36] Based on its assessment that the LLRC was “deeply flawed” and did not meet international standards as an accountability mechanism, as well as other obstacles to accountability such as “triumphalism” and the eroded independence of the Attorney General and domestic courts of Sri Lanka, the POE recommended a series of steps to implement the joint commitment on accountability between the UN Secretary General and Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa. The report recommended that the GSL should immediately commence genuine investigations into alleged violations of IHL and IHRL committed by both sides in the conflict and that the GSL should issue a public, formal acknowledgment of its role in, and responsibility for, extensive civilian casualties during the final stages of the conflict. The report also recommends that the Secretary General immediately establish an independent international mechanism to monitor and assess the extent to which the GSL carries out an effective domestic accountability process, as well as to independently investigate credible allegations. The LLRC recommends full investigations into the conscription of child soldiers by the LTTE and other political parties. Notably, the report calls for the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), the GSL, and UNICEF to fully implement the 2008 Action Plan between the parties to release and reintegrate child soldiers. The LLRC also calls for large-scale projects to reintegrate, educate, and provide counseling for former child soldiers.[52] H. Enforced Disappearances The following sections evaluate the LLRC’s establishment, mandate, composition, and activities compared to standards outlined by the Department of State in its August 2010 report to Congress.[3] The LLRC report concludes that Sri Lankan security forces did not deliberately target civilians in the NFZs. The report states that although civilian casualties occurred “in the course of crossfire,” “there appears to have been a bona fide expectation that an attack on LTTE gun positions would make a relevant and proportional contribution to the objective of the military attack involved.”[18] The LLRC concluded that returning fire into the NFZs was not a violation of the IHL principles of distinction or proportionality because “Security Forces were confronted with an unprecedented situation when no other choice was possible and all ‘feasible precautions’ that were practicable in the circumstances had been taken.”[19] According to the LLRC, making determinations about the units responsible for the contested shelling would be nearly impossible.[20] Despite the purported impossibility of investigating shelling in the NFZs, the LLRC nonetheless concluded that the LTTE was responsible for the majority of civilian deaths in the NFZs. The LLRC did not make any recommendations to investigate who was responsible for the shelling of civilians in the NFZs, but does call for compensation to be provided to all affected parties. The LLRC’s characterization of the government’s role in food distribution contrasts with allegations that the POE found credible. According to the POE report, the GSL purposefully underestimated the number of civilians that remained in the conflict zone so as to justify sending less food and medical supplies into the zone (e.g. the government estimated that only 10,000 civilians remained in NFZ-3, whereas the UN estimated that 100,000 remained). The POE report also states that the Ministry of Defense systematically deprived persons in the conflict zone of humanitarian assistance by imposing extensive restrictions on convoy participants.[40] The GSL based its restrictions on the belief that the materials would be used to benefit the LTTE, but denial of items such as surgical equipment would have increased the suffering of wounded civilians and wounded LTTE belligerents and could only have had a humanitarian purpose, according to the POE. I. Legal Framework Like the LLRC report, the POE report found a number of credible allegations of enforced disappearance. The Panel reported 32 instances of alleged disappearances in May 2009 alone, many of which involved groups of people rather than individuals.[45] The report recommended full investigation into and potential prosecution for allegations of enforced disappearance by the GSL during and immediately after the conflict.[46] An independent and impartial investigation into reports of enforced disappearance and any resulting prosecution and punishment would bring justice and closure to those affected by missing family members, and the GSL should immediately begin the investigations called for in the LLRC report. At the end of the conflict with the LTTE, the GSL created a series of “No Fire Zones” (NFZs) aimed at providing civilians trapped in LTTE territory a safe haven into which government forces would not fire. On January 20, 2009, the GSL unilaterally declared the first NFZ (NFZ-1) located about 800 meters from the frontline. Even though the LTTE did not recognize any of the NFZs, the government claimed that it would continue to recognize the humanitarian spaces. Within days of establishing NFZ-1, however, government forces began shelling within the safe area, reportedly because they had taken fire from LTTE forces within NFZ-1. A pattern soon developed in which the LTTE would use NFZ-1 to fire on GSL forces, and then GSL forces would respond with heavy shelling into NFZ-1. Once it realized that NFZ-1 was not protecting civilians and was being used by the LTTE for cover, the GSL created a second NFZ (NFZ-2) on February 12, 2009. The same pattern of violence emerged in NFZ-2, however, and the government established a significantly smaller third NFZ (NFZ-3) on May 8. B. Humanitarian Operation Factual Analysis: July 2006-May 2009 B. Shelling of the No Fire Zones (NFZs) C. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) On May 15, 2010, President Rajapaksa issued a proclamation establishing an eight-member commission under the Special Commission of Inquiry Law of 1978. Pursuant to this law, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission was charged to “inquire and report within six months on the following matters that may have taken place during the period between February 21, 2002 and May 19, 2009: K. Child Soldiers Ultimately, both the LLRC and POE reports indicate that much uncertainty surrounds the extent and origin of shelling against hospitals and other humanitarian objects during the finals months of the conflict. The LLRC did investigate several instances of such shelling, but its conclusion that attacks against hospitals simply represented a “confused picture” neglects the fundamental need to fully investigate potential violations of IHL.[32] As these allegations implicate grave breaches of IHL, they merit full investigation and, if appropriate, prosecution of the responsible individuals. Adequate Mandate and Authority: The handful of incidents noted in the LLRC report stands in stark contrast to the vast number of credible allegations examined in the POE report. While the GSL’s public statements indicate it maintained a policy of “zero civilian casualties” and the only civilians killings occurred during crossfire, the POE estimated that civilian casualties range from 10,000 to 40,000 for the final months of the conflict.[12] Based on verified reports from civilians, seasoned aid workers, and doctors in the conflict zone, the POE concluded that in many cases, GSL security forces shelled areas it knew to be principally occupied by civilians.[13] In addition, the Department of State’s 2009 Report to Congress listed 208 instances of harm to civilians or civilian objects, which strongly suggests that the LLRC’s conclusion that only three allegations of attacks against civilians deserve further investigation is a gross underestimation. These instances, as well as those allegedly perpetrated by the LTTE in both the LLRC and POE reports, merit further investigation. Hence, the notable gap between LLRC and POE findings regarding civilian casualties suggests that the GSL should establish an accountability mechanism to ensure that all allegations, not just the three identified in the LLRC report, are fully investigated. The members of the LLRC included former Attorney General C. R. de Silva, former Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Justice Karunaratne Hangawatte, former Legal Advisor at the Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs Rohan Perera, former Foreign Secretary and Sri Lankan Permanent Representative to the UN HMGS Palihakkara, former Secretary to the Treasury C Chanmugam, former Deputy Legal Draftsman Manohari Ramanathan, former High Court Judge M.P. Paranagama, and senior attorney at law M.T.M. Bafiq. There was no information that indicated that the GSL consulted with affected communities in selecting the commission members. Despite the high percentage of women and Tamils among those giving testimony, only one of the eight commission members was female (also the sole Tamil commissioner), and only one was from the Muslim community. An important question the LLRC raises but leaves unanswered is why the GSL created a second and third NFZ after becoming cognizant that the LTTE would exploit such zones to launch attacks, to which the GSL would respond, putting civilians in harm’s way. The LLRC report recognizes a pattern in which the LTTE exploited the NFZs and civilians there to attack GSL forces and then force civilians to follow them to the next NFZ. This tactic of using human shields was expressly recognized in both the LLRC and POE reports. The LLRC report concludes, “The conclusions to be drawn from these representations is that the conduct of the LTTE, in gross violation of IHL obligations on the protection of civilians, radically transformed the very character of the NFZ and made it an integral part of the LTTE’s combat operations to achieve their military objectives.”[41] Despite its knowledge that the LTTE used NFZ-1 and the civilians therein as part of its military strategy and that the GSL would respond to attacks from the NFZ thereby harming civilians, the GSL unilaterally declared NFZ-2 on February 12, 2009 and NFZ-3 on May 8, 2009. The matter of the original, shorter version of the video is covered in detail in the Department of State’s second report to Congress of August 2010. In summary, the GSL commissioned four experts to evaluate the authenticity of the footage, and ultimately found the footage inauthentic based on a number of factors. Philip Alston, the then-UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, commissioned a separate, independent group of forensic experts to analyze the video. A January 2010 report by these experts concluded that there was strong evidence to suggest the video was authentic. Then-SR Alston contended that the video necessitated an impartial investigation into the question of whether war crimes had been committed. On December 16, 2011, the GSL publically released the LLRC’s final report. The GSL issues the entire report in English but only the executive summary in Sinhala and Tamil. The report makes significant observations and recommendations with respect to the origins of the conflict, land reforms, restitution, and other efforts to reconcile the various ethnic communities of Sri Lanka. In particular, the LLRC calls on the GSL to enact a uniform policy aimed at the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs), to take steps to prevent harassment and attacks on media personnel and organizations, to ensure their freedom of movement and, to investigate alleged crimes against journalists, to prioritize compensatory relief in addition to economic development projects, and to undertake reconciliation projects to reunite the population of Sri Lanka. The report also suggests that the government investigate specific allegations of direct attacks on civilians, launch a full investigation into reports of enforced disappearances and abductions, fund an independent investigation into the veracity of the Channel 4 videos, and investigate allegations of detainee abuse, torture, and summary execution. The Commission’s findings and recommendations regarding international humanitarian and human rights law issues are examined in greater detail in Section III. The US State Department Office of Global Criminal Justice (GCJ), formerly the Office of War Crimes Issues (WCI), led by Ambassador-at-Large Stephen Rapp, has submitted a report on Sri Lanka to the U.S Congress.Rapp, who visited Sri Lanka in February this year, has noted in the report efforts taken by the Sri Lankan government and the international community to investigate and hold accountable violators of international humanitarian and human rights law. In the report the Office of Global Criminal Justice notes that the LLRC Report fails to critically analyze or investigate the “white flag” incident, in which high level LTTE leaders were allegedly shot despite assurances from the GSL that they could safely surrender. The LLRC report does not address allegations of sexual and gender-based violence at the end of the war. In its concluding statements, the LLRC expressly remarked that “The Sri Lankan experience has in fact given rise to a debate as to whether, by unilateral declaration of a No Fire Zone, the Government unwittingly provided the LTTE an opportunity to consolidate itself amongst the civilian enclave for strategic purposes.”[42] The LLRC does not make any recommendations regarding the GSL’s decision to unilaterally create NFZs 2 and 3. Likewise, the POE report does not expressly address this issue, although the POE report does detail the creation of the NFZs and the significant civilians casualties incurred in NFZs 2 and 3. More needs to be done to investigate how and why the GSL decided to create NFZs 2 and 3 after it concluded that the LTTE used NFZ-1 as part of its military strategy and thereby endangered thousands of civilian lives. The Report: Sri Lanka has no witness protection laws, and there is no information that indicates that the LLRC developed a discrete program for witness protection. According to the recorded testimonies on the LLRC’s website, the commission did allow and take in camera testimony at the discretion of the witness. Meanwhile, experience in other countries has shown that, absent such a program, witnesses, especially those victimized by recent conflict, are unlikely to come forward due to fears of arrest, personal harm, or harm to their families. A number of Sri Lankans informed Department of State officers that they, or people they knew, had declined to appear before the LLRC out of fear of retribution. Additionally, those that come forward publicly in Sri Lanka also run the risk of being branded LTTE sympathizers, heightening the likelihood of reprisal. Reporting by the International Crisis Group (ICG) and other international organizations appears to confirm that some individuals who testified before the LLRC have since received threats by the military. The ICG has also described other situations in which the format of the hearings and the presence of security officials could have served to intimidate individuals appearing to provide statements. The Department of State has received credible first-hand information regarding efforts by the GSL to cause witnesses to alter the retelling of events related to international humanitarian law violation allegations, as well. Adequate Resources: While the circumstances surrounding the distribution of food and medical supplies into the conflict zone remain uncertain, the civilians who perished or were otherwise harmed in the Vanni because of a lack of humanitarian aid deserve a complete investigation into this matter, and the GSL should instigate an independent and impartial investigation into the government’s possible role in depriving civilians of humanitarian relief. Government Response: The LLRC Report also fails to critically analyze or investigate the “white flag” incident, in which high level LTTE leaders were allegedly shot despite assurances from the GSL that they could safely surrender. While the circumstances surrounding the incident remain uncertain, the POE concluded that the LTTE leadership intended to surrender.[33] However, the LLRC only mentioned the above incident in a few short paragraphs, citing testimonies from a general and a government agent dismissing the allegations.[34] The Department of State does not take a position regarding the allegations concerning the “white flag” allegations but notes that the discrepancy between the POE and LLRC reports merits further investigation. On August 1, 2011, the GSL released a report produced by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense entitled “The Humanitarian Operation Factual Analysis: July 2006-May 2009.” The report provides a detailed analysis of the types of atrocities committed by the LTTE, describes the organization’s structure and components, and describes the various failed negotiations with the LTTE and its failure to abide by cease-fire and other agreements with the GSL. The report also describes what it characterizes as the GSL’s “civilian rescue operation” during which it defeated the LTTE. In that context, the report outlines the military procedures used to safeguard civilian lives and protect civilian rights, including institutional frameworks, training, monitoring of alleged violations and investigations/prosecutions. The report does not, however, address any of the alleged violations of IHL or IHRL identified by the POE or available in the public domain. Moreover, while the report contains a table summarizing major offenses committed by Sri Lankan security personnel between 2005 and 2010, the table identifies no recorded offenses for the year 2009, the period during which most of the allegations in the POE report fall. A. Civilian Casualties The extended video investigated by SR Heyns contains additional executions and shows the faces of some soldiers. SR Heyns commissioned three experts to analyze the video, including an audio and firearms expert. As a result of that analysis, SR Heyns concluded that the extended video was authentic, and that it “…provides credible evidence that serious crimes have been committed within the context of the Sri Lankan civil war, which should together with any other available evidence be examined systematically and professionally by domestic investigators, as well as by an independent, international investigational body…” The LLRC report concludes that the Sri Lankan security forces did not deliberately target hospitals and other humanitarian objects in the NFZs. For instance, the report examined an attack against the Vallipunam Hospital and IDP camp nearby on January 21, 2009, which killed over 40 civilians. The LLRC concluded that the origin of the shells could not be accurately determined, but did note that the LTTE were positioned 500 meters away from the hospital.[25] The Commission also believed GSL statements that all patients had been moved from the Anandapuram Hospital before being fired upon by SLA forces, even though reports from aid workers and doctors indicated otherwise.[26] Finally, the LLRC found no definitive evidence that the GSL was responsible for the shelling of Puthukkudiyiruppu Hospital (PTK). The report relies on the testimony of two doctors from PTK stating that no shells hit the hospital and that they did not know from where the shells came. On the other hand, the report also mentions the testimony of a government official being treated at PTK who testified that he and his father-in-law were injured in a direct hit to the hospital and the shell likely came from government forces.[27] The GSL strongly opposed the establishment of the POE, and described it as “an unwarranted and unnecessary interference with a sovereign nation.” The POE and GSL were unable to come to agreement regarding the modalities of a visit of the POE to the country. The POE did receive written submissions in response to a set of questions provided by the POE to the GSL, and engaged with the GSL in a face-to-face dialogue. The LLRC’s recommendations fall short of fully acknowledging all credible allegations of intentional attacks on civilians by the GSL and LTTE. The LLRC report does not call for investigations into allegations of deliberate attacks on civilians in the Vanni other than the three instances briefly discussed in the report. For other civilian casualties, the report concludes that they “appear to be due to cross fire, the LTTE’s targeted and deliberate firing at civilians, as well as due to the dynamics of the conflict situation, the perils of the geographical terrain, the LTTE using civilians as human shields and the LTTE’s refusal to let hostages get out of harm’s way.”[9] The LLRC report details the technological capabilities of the GSL to detect and distinguish civilians from the LTTE, including GPS and special reconnaissance missions into the Vanni, and concludes that the “the military strategy that was adopted to secure the LTTE-held areas was one that was carefully conceived, in which the protection of the civilian population was given the highest priority.”[10] The LLRC report states that the Commission is concerned about the number of reports alleging enforced disappearances during the conflict and after surrender or arrest. The report found credible allegations of abductions of at least 12 people in the Batticaloa district, 100 in Mannar, and 6 in Jaffna. The Commission found a “clear duty of the State to cause necessary investigations into such specific allegations and where such investigations produce evidence of any unlawful act on the part of individual members of the Army, to prosecute and punish the wrongdoers.”[43] This impartial tone of the report’s findings on the missing turns more partisan, however, when it concludes that such investigations are necessary “to clear the good name of the Army who have by and large conducted themselves in an exemplary manner in the surrender process and when civilians were crossing over to cleared areas, which conduct should not be tarnished by the actions of a few.”[44] Witness and COI Protection: On April 12, 2011, the POE submitted its report to the UN Secretary General, which he then shared with the GSL.[1] On April 13, 2011, the GSL issued a statement that decried the report as “fundamentally flawed” and “patently biased.” On April 25, 2011, the Secretary General’s office made the report public. D. “White Flag” Incident Reports from the POE and the UN directly contradict the conclusions of the LLRC with respect to civilian casualties in the NFZs. The POE report concludes that credible allegations suggest that the GSL deliberately or negligently targeted civilians within the NFZs.[21] For instance, in one incident on January 24, 2009, civilians and medical workers reported that hundreds of civilians died at a UN hub amidst intense shelling coming from government positions. LTTE cadres reportedly never fired within 500 meters of the UN hub, and because of GPS and reports to the GSL by the UN and ICRC, the government security forces were aware of the hub’s location. In other reported incidents, GSL forces shelled food distribution lines, hospitals, and IDP encampments known to the GSL.[22] In another incident, the POE report found that 140 civilians were killed on March 26 in Ambalavanpokkanai by artillery fire from government positions.[23] The report also states that the civilians were capable of being identified by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) often used by the GSL. Furthermore, the POE report states that the Sri Lankan Security Forces repeatedly used Multi-Barrel Rocket Launchers (MBRLs) and other large artillery, which are used to shell large areas of land rather than return fire on specific locations, against targets in the NFZs.[24] The LLRC Report directly addresses the Channel 4 videos and concludes that its authenticity cannot be verified through available forensic information. The LLRC Report raises questions about the footage’s authenticity stating that the Commission “finds that there are troubling technical and forensic questions of a serious nature that cast significant doubts about the authenticity of the video and the credibility of its content.”[50] The Report commendably calls for the GSL to “institute an independent investigation into this issue.”[51] While the GSL has said that the Army court of inquiry would investigate the Channel 4 videos, the State Department is not aware of any action by the GSL to implement the LLRC’s recommendation of establishing an independent investigation into the Channel 4 videos. F. Supply of Humanitarian Relief C. Attacks Against Humanitarian Objects In submitting the LLRC report to Parliament, Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva, on behalf of the government, stated that the proper way to respond to the report was to establish a mechanism to gather information, investigate accusations, and refer possible charges to the Attorney General. President Rajapaksa has not publicly commented on the LLRC Report. However, the GSL has informed the Department of State of three entities within the government created to respond to the LLRC. The first is a cabinet sub-committee created to address the recommendations within the LLRC report regarding demilitarization, land reform, and freedom of expression. The second group is a board of inquiry within the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) that will address demilitarization of the North and other general reforms to the military. Finally, a five-member court of inquiry led by a Major General in the SLA has been established to investigate the specific allegations of serious violations identified in the LLRC report. News reports have indicated that this court will also investigate the Channel 4 video. This court will refer any cases it finds credible to the Attorney General for prosecution. Sri Lankan officials also made clear to Department of State officials that individuals can bring additional allegations to the SLA court of inquiry or the Attorney General. The Department of State is not aware of any formal action plan to implement the LLRC’s final recommendations from November 2011 or its interim recommendations from September 2010. In its report, the LLRC expressed its fear that its recommendations would suffer the same fate as past recommendations by Sri Lankan COIs and go unanswered by the GSL. The LRRC concluded that its recommendations should be “implemented expeditiously.”[6] Whether domestic, international, or hybrid, investigative processes should operate consistent with best practices derived from extensive experience in order to be both credible and effective. There are several key criteria for evaluating the adequacy of a COI, including: independence and competence; adequate mandate and authority; witness and COI protection; adequate resources; a public report; and a timely and transparent government response. On May 23, 2011, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (SR) Christof Heyns released a report to the Human Rights Council 17th session that, in part, dealt with a video aired by Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. The video in question, provided by Channel 4 on November 30, 2010, is a longer version of the video aired by Channel 4 on August 25, 2009, that purportedly depicted Sri Lankan soldiers summarily executing bound prisoners. All but one of the members of the commission previously worked for the GSL, raising concerns about their independence and impartiality. Two of the commission members were senior government officials during the last months of the conflict, one of whom, Hewa M.G.S. Palihakkara, as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN, publicly commented on behalf of the government on events surrounding many of the allegations raised. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the LLRC served as Attorney General during the period when the 2006-2009 Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Violations of Human Rights was in operation. That commission was charged with investigating sixteen allegations of serious human rights violations. The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) identified significant concerns regarding independence of that commission due to the role of the then-Attorney General, the later-Chairman of the LLRC. These factors have fostered the perception that commission members had an interest tied to that of the government in a particular outcome of the commission’s work. The LLRC report nevertheless concludes, “The Commission is satisfied, on a careful consideration of all the circumstances, that shells had in fact fallen on hospitals causing damage and resulting in casualties. However, the material placed before the Commission points to a somewhat confused picture as to the precise nature of events, from the perspective of time, exact location and direction of fire.”[28] The Commission called for “expeditious grant of appropriate redress” but only as a “humanitarian gesture” to “instill confidence in the reconciliation process.”[29] On June 22, 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed a three-member Panel of Experts (POE) to advise him on the nature and scope of allegations of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law during the final stages of the conflict, and the implementation of a commitment made in a joint statement by the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary General on May 23, 2009, to address accountability. The POE consisted of former Attorney General of Indonesia Marzuki Darusman, former South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission Commissioner Yasmin Sooka, and American law professor Steven Ratner. I. Arrest/Detention Policy A. The Panel of Experts (POE) The LLRC acknowledges that food and medical supplies became scarce with the intensification of the conflict, but does not surmise that the GSL purposefully underestimated the number of civilians trapped in various combat zones “for the purpose of starving the civilian population as a method of combat.”[37] The report states that amounts of food aid were determined by the government in consultation with the World Food Program (WFP) and other humanitarian organizations and, therefore, these circumstances do not “warrant any possible inference that there was a deliberate intention to downplay the number of civilians in the NFZs for the purpose of starving the civilian population as a method of combat.”[38] However, the LLRC report also concludes that “the issue of medical supplies to civilians in the conflict areas during the final days of the conflict is a matter that requires further examination, given the humanitarian considerations involved.”[39] Another report done by the UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) for the Panel of Experts used satellite time-series imagery to conclude that the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) established and maintained capabilities to fire substantial quantities of artillery munitions into areas heavily populated with IDPs, specifically NFZ-2 and NFZ-3. The UNOSAT report found that that the SLA repeatedly rotated the fire bearing of heavy caliber howitzers towards NFZ-2 and later NFZ-3. The report also states that the SLA erected mortar batteries along the western shore of Nanthi Lagoon without viable military targets except for locations clearly falling with NFZ-2 and NFZ-3, both of which remained populated with tens of thousands of IDPs. UNOSAT also found over ten specific air strike impact craters identified immediately adjacent to IDP tent concentrations, a functioning hospital, and within NFZ-2, contrary to denials by the Sri Lankan Air Force. The LLRC report recognizes that significant civilian casualties occurred during the final stages of the conflict. In particular, the report details the testimony of witnesses reporting eight attacks by GSL Security Forces against civilians that the witnesses describe as intentional. Those allegations include: three reports of shelling civilians; two reports of the Navy targeting civilian boats; one report of the Army forcing civilians to retrieve the body of an Army soldier while under fire; one report of 35-40 civilians dying when a food line was shelled; and one report of the Army shelling 40-45 expectant mothers. Regarding these specific instances, the report states, “[T]he Commission stresses that there is a duty on the part of the State to ascertain more fully, the circumstances under which such incidents could have occurred, and if such investigations disclose wrongful conduct, to prosecute and punish the wrong doers.”[7] However, the Commission’s final recommendations only call for further investigation into “observation 4.359 vi. (a) and (b) and any reported cases of deliberate attacks on civilians.”[8] The relevant sections of 4.359 to which this recommendation refers list two reported attacks by the navy and the incident involving the forced retrieval of an Army soldier’s body, meaning that the report does not ultimately recommend investigation into the other five instances reported by the Commission. The POE was not a commission of inquiry and thus did not undertake fact-finding, nor did it reach factual conclusions regarding disputed facts or establish culpability for alleged violations. Therefore, the work of the POE did not directly result in a process to hold accountable the individuals alleged to be responsible for violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. However, by undertaking an assessment of the allegations against the GSL and LTTE in the public record “[i]n order to understand the accountability obligations arising from the last stages of the war…,” the POE established a strong case that such a process is needed. While the LLRC heard testimony a number of times and in a number of locations, those hearings may not have provided adequate opportunities for victims to testify. Although the LLRC allocated at least 56 days for sittings in Colombo and 22 days in the North and East of Sri Lanka, the State Department received several complaints from people in the North who wished to testify but were unable to do so because of the rushed sittings of the LLRC in those areas. Such persons often were told to make written submissions to the Commission, although in some cases witnesses lacked resources to do so or were illiterate. In addition, while the LLRC may have had adequate resources to conduct hearings, its staff had no investigators or lawyers with experience investigating IHL violations. The Secretary-General transmitted the POE report to the President of the U.N. Human Rights Council and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights on September 12, 2011. In the announcement regarding the transmittal, the UN also announced the Secretary-General selected UN Population Fund Executive Director Thoraya Obaid to undertake the review of UN actions recommended by the POE. The UN has not completed that assessment. The Department of State is aware of approximately 228 detainees under investigation remaining in GSL custody and an additional 892 detainees remaining in rehabilitation facilities. The government has permitted international humanitarian organization access to some detention facilities where former LTTE combatants are detained, including the Boosa detention facility where approximately 200 detainees are held. The government does not provide access to any detention facilities operated by military intelligence, stating that none existed. International humanitarian organizations have also only been permitted to visit detainees in rehabilitation as they are released. In contrast to the LLRC report, the POE report concludes that “Virtually every hospital in the Vanni, whether permanent or makeshift, was hit by artillery.”[30] The Panel found that the PTK Hospital was shelled every day from January 29 to February 4 most likely by the 55th Division of the SLA. The GSL claimed that no hospitals remained in the Vanni, but the POE report found that the UN and ICRC continuously updated the government on the whereabouts of medical facilities and make-shift hospitals in the region. The POE report also mentions that testimony by government doctors from these hospitals may not be accurate because they initially claimed that government forces repeatedly fired on their facilities but later changed their stories to reflect the GSL’s position.[31] D. Assessment of the LLRC as a COI III. Evaluation of the LLRC Findings & Recommendations Regarding Accountability In mid-September 2010, the LLRC provided the GSL a set of interim recommendations that dealt with five topical areas: detention; land issues; law and order; administration and language issues; and socioeconomic and livelihood issues. Particularly relevant to the question of accountability were the recommendations relating to detention and administration and language issues. Although the GSL established an Inter-Agency Advisory Committee (IAAC) to facilitate the implementation of the interim recommendations, LLRC’s final report notes that the GSL has not fully implemented its interim recommendations. Independence and Competence: The LLRC report makes a number of important recommendations regarding the GSL’s detention policy that the government should implement as soon as possible. The report notes several instances in which LTTE detainees remain in detention without charges and in which next of kin were either not notified of a detainee’s whereabouts or not allowed to visit. The report states that all next of kin should have the right of access to detainees. The LLRC report also states that no person should be detained outside authorized places of detention and that law enforcement authorities should follow legal provisions when taking persons into custody, such as issuing a formal receipt of arrest and providing details of the place of detention.[47] In an important recommendation, the LLRC concludes that “The failure or refusal by the Police to record an arrest, detention and transfer or to record complaints of abductions and failure to investigate the same would constitute a criminal offence and steps should be taken to prosecute such wrongdoers.”[48] The LLRC also recommends that an “Independent Advisory Committee be appointed to monitor and examine detention and arrest of persons taken into custody under any regulations made under the Public Security Ordinance or the PTA.”[49] All of these recommendations are important in ensuring that the rights of detainees are protected. The LLRC makes laudable recommendations about law enforcement procedures for detainees and their next of kin as well as calls for investigations into allegations of violations of those laws. The United States recognizes a State’s inherent right to defend itself from armed attacks, including those by non-state actors such as terrorist groups. In the context of a non-international armed conflict—that is, an armed conflict that is not between states—common article 3 of the Geneva conventions of 1949 provides basic treatment protections to all individuals not taking part in hostilities, including civilians and detained members of the Armed Forces. Its core requirements are that individuals not taking part in hostilities must be treated humanely and without “adverse distinction” based on race, religion, or similar criteria. To this end, the article prohibits murder; cruel treatment; torture; the taking of hostages; outrages upon personal dignity; and the passing of sentences without judgment by a court providing recognized guarantees. Sri Lanka is neither a party nor a signatory to the Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, which includes more detailed rules relevant to non-international conflicts than those set forth in, article 3. J. Videos Showing Evidence of Summary Executions The Department of State does not take a position regarding the allegations concerning the “white flag” allegations but notes that the discrepancy between the report of the UN Panel of Experts and the LLRC reports merits further investigation. There are a variety of ways in which a government may undertake effective investigations and other accountability processes. While some international law conventions call for criminalization of certain human rights violations and serious violations of IHL, other routine administrative and special investigative processes, such as commissions of inquiry (COI), can play an important role in establishing a factual record of events. Although COIs and other investigative bodies are often implemented at the national level, in some instances governments seek international participation to bring specialized expertise into, and help foster public confidence in, so-called “hybrid” investigations. Fully internationalized processes undertaken without the relevant government’s consent have generally been pursued by the international community only when the State concerned lacks the capacity, political will, or both, to undertake an independent, credible, and effective inquiry. In the case of serious violations of IHL and human rights, including the type of atrocities alleged to have occurred in the final months of the conflict in Sri Lanka, however, such commissions do not obviate the need for criminal investigation and, if appropriate, prosecutions. This conclusion, however, does not consider whether the government security forces properly used the capabilities examined in the report, whether attacks were directed at LTTE forces rather than civilians, or whether those attacks were proportional. The report also calls for a professionally-administered household survey in all parts of the island to determine the full scale and circumstances of death and injury to civilians in order to resolve the “unverified sweeping generalization of a highly speculative nature as regards casualty figures.”[11] In late February 2012, the GSL Department of Census and Statistics published “Enumeration of Vital Events, 2011, Northern Province, Sri Lanka,” a report of a census the department conducted in June and July 2011 of households in the former conflict region. Amongst many figures on population statistics during the last five years of the conflict, the report noted 7,934 deaths in the Northern Province in 2009 due to non-natural causes, with an additional 2,635 persons reported as untraceable. These figures, however, have been widely criticized by international non-governmental organizations, such as the International Crisis Group, as misrepresentative and not in conformity with professional standards. The facts and circumstances which led to the failure of the ceasefire agreement operationalized on February 21, 2002 and the sequence of events that followed thereafter up to May 19, 2009;Whether any person, group, or institution directly or indirectly bear responsibility in this regard;The lessons to be learned from those events and their attendant concerns, in order to ensure that there will be no recurrence;The methodology whereby restitution to any person affected by those events or their dependents or to heirs, can be effected; andThe institutional administrative and legislative measures which need to be taken in order to prevent any recurrence of such concerns in the future and to promote further national unity and reconciliation among all communities, and to make any such other recommendations with reference to any of the matters that have been inquired into under the terms of this Presidential Warrant.”Secretary Clinton welcomed President Rajapaksa’s establishment of the commission in her press appearance with Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris during his May 2010 visit to Washington and outlined U.S. expectations that the commission would follow established best practices. The evidence gathered by the POE and UNOSAT indicates that the LLRC report does not adequately address the responsibility for shelling in the three NFZs. While the LLRC report concludes that it is difficult to ascertain the origin of artillery attacks, the government nonetheless has a duty to investigate the alleged abuses committed by Sri Lankan armed forces in the NFZs. Experiences in other post-conflict settings in relation to the use of force demonstrate that ascertaining the origin of shelling in the NFZs is not as impracticable as the LLRC suggests. A more thorough investigation potentially could determine what violations, if any, occurred, who committed them, and the extent to which officials in the government knew about or authorized such violations. In terms of addressing accountability, the LLRC’s mandate was, at least initially, unclear. Based on the phrase, “and to make any such other recommendations with reference to any of the matters that have been inquired into under the terms of the warrant” and verbal assurances by the GSL, the United States government interpreted the LLRC mandate to be sufficiently broad to allow it to address allegations of violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law. On March 4, 2011, in response to U.S. Senate Resolution 84, the Sri Lanka Ministry of External Affairs further clarified the mandate of the LLRC, stating that the Commission’s mandate included consideration of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. The Ministry also stated that the Attorney General would have the power to institute criminal proceedings based on the LLRC’s findings. The LLRC report also makes an important accountability recommendation regarding the prosecution of recruiters of child soldiers: “In instances where there is prima facie evidence of conscription of children as combatants, any such alleged cases should be investigated and offenders must be brought to justice. In this regard, the complaints of alleged recruitment of children by illegal armed groups/groups affiliated with the LTTE or any political party should be investigated with a view to prosecuting the offenders to ensure that the practice would not occur in the future.”  (Colombo Gazette) read more

Garbage not collected from section of Manning flats

However an angry resident in the area assaulted one garbage collector and a few others then supported him and assaulted two others who came in the garbage truck. Garbage has not been collected from a section of the Manning flats at Matha Road in Narahenpita following an assault on garbage collectors.The assault took place earlier this week when one person attempted to dump polythene into a garbage truck along Mangala Patha in Matha Road. The garbage collectors had said they cannot collect polythene based on instructions given to them. The garbage collectors later said they will not return to Mangala Patha and since then garbage has not been collected in the area, the residents said.

East Timor donor countries meet to raise funds for new defence force

The purpose of the two-day conference, is to present a progress report on the development of the ETDF and to request further assistance in structuring, developing and equipping the new force. The meeting, chaired by UNTAET chief Sergio Vieira de Mello, will focus on support for advisory services, training and logistics, and on equipment, material and financial donations. In his opening remarks, ETDF Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak said that the structural transformation of Falintil into the ETDF had been achieved. To the East Timorese who feared that the dissolution of Falintil would erase a symbol of East Timor’s resistance, Taur Matan Ruak said, “Today, the population knows that history cannot be eliminated or re-written and that in this new political context ETDF [represents] one more step towards the building of the new nation of East Timor.” Taur Matan Ruak stressed that the ETDF would be a professional and non-partisan force that would submit itself to the democratically elected political power, and that it would not become involved in any future action of a police nature.Last week, 247 ETDF inductees were the first graduates of a basic training course conducted in Aileu. In opening remarks at the beginning of today’s conference, Mr. Vieira de Mello described the Aileu graduation as “a very emotional confirmation that things are moving forward and we are meeting our goals.” The next basic training, for 348 inductees, is scheduled to begin in mid-July at the ETDF’s new headquarters at Metinaro, near Dili, which will be inaugurated by the UNTAET chief tomorrow.In other news, emergency shelters arrived in Lospalos yesterday for an estimated 44 families whose houses has been completely destroyed by the flooding that swept the area early last week, the National Emergency Operation Center (NEOC) said today. The families were living in a school and church in Lospalos town, in emergency shelters set up by UN specialized agencies and the peacekeeping force. read more

Egypt Ban calls for fair trial standards in judicial proceedings against rights

Case number 173, commonly referred to as “the case on foreign funding of civil society”, is expected to resume on Wednesday in Cairo. In March, UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressed grave concern over the closure of hundreds of non-governmental organizations in Egypt and the prosecutions of numerous rights defenders for their legitimate work, urging the Government to end such repressive measures. “Defendants in the case must be able to benefit from all due process and fair trial standards,” indicated a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson. The UN chief also underscored the important role that civil society plays in ensuring that States meet developmental, social and civic objectives and obligations. He stressed the need for human rights defenders and civil society in general, as well as the media, to work without undue restrictions. “The Secretary-General notes that the Government of Egypt has accepted a number of recommendations under the second Universal Periodic Review cycle to promote and protect the rights to freedom of association, as well as to adopt a new non-governmental organization (NGO) law that is compliant with the Egyptian Constitution and international human rights,” the statement added. read more

Newmont to develop major new gold mine in Suriname

first_imgMerian will operate under the banner of Suriname Gold Co (Surgold), a wholly-owned entity. Initial development will include upgrading roads and preparing the camp, mine and mill sites. Surgold expects to employ 2,500 people during project development and 1,300 during full operation, and will launch processes to facilitate local employment and procurement once the Right of Exploitation is granted. Project highlights include: Newmont Mining will invest in developing the Merian gold mine in Suriname with, it reports, “strong local support for the project and expected all-in sustaining costs of between $750 and $850/oz in the first five years.” The new mine is expected to begin production in late 2016, pending receipt of the Right of Exploitation from the government of Suriname. Gold reserves of 4.2 Moz at an average grade of 1.22 g/tEstimated average annual gold production of between 400,000 and 500,000 oz/y in the first five years, and 300,000 to 400,000 oz/y for the life of the operation (11 years)Estimated average costs applicable to sales of between $650 and $750/oz in the first five years, and between $725 and $850/oz for the life of the operationEstimated average all-in sustaining costs of between $750 and $850/oz in the first five years, and between $825 and $960/oz for the life of the operationTotal capital investment of approximately $900 million to $1 billionNewmont’s Mineral Agreement in Suriname covers 500,000 ha, with exploration continuing to show promising results. The total capital investment is approximately $900 million to $1 billion, and the government of Suriname has the option to earn a 25% fully-funded equity ownership stake, including all project capital and operating expenses and an initial earn-in contribution. Newmont expects to fund its share of development through available cash balances and projected cash flows. The Merian project includes the development of three open pits, a processing plant and the associated infrastructure such as waste rock disposal areas, a tailings storage facility and a worker accommodation camp. Merian consists of a series of saprolite and fresh rock orebodies containing gold.  It is located some 66 km south of the town of Moengo, and 30 km north of the Nassau Mountains in an area of moderate relief, with elevations up to 100 m above sea level. Merian contains gold reserves of 4.2 Moz and is expected to produce an average of 300,000 to 400,000 oz/y of gold at competitive costs over a mine life of 11 years. Higher grade ore and throughput in the early phases will boost annual production to an average of 400,000 to 500,000 oz/y of gold in the first five years and reduce the payback period. “We have forged a more efficient approach to developing Merian while upholding our leading safety, technical, social and environmental standards,” said Gary Goldberg, President and Chief Executive Officer. “This decision marks an important milestone in our portfolio optimization process – we have divested nearly $800 million in non-core assets to help fund the next generation of lower cost projects in our portfolio. Equally important, we established community agreements and are working with experts to minimize our impact on the environment – getting it right from the beginning is critical.”last_img read more

Two dead in apparent homicidesuicide in Amboy

first_imgThe Clark County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit is investigating what appears to be a homicide-suicide at an Amboy residence.Deputies responded about 7 p.m. Saturday to 24707 N.E. 419th St., for a report of a possible homicide. Upon arrival, they found the bodies of two males; both appeared to have been fatally shot, according to a news release issued Sunday morning.One of the males appears to have died from a self-inflicted injury, the news release states.The investigation is ongoing, according to the sheriff’s office, and the names of the deceased are being withheld until family members have been notified.last_img

Cyclists set off on 270mile ride to honor Floridas fallen officers

first_imgMIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) – Cyclists pedaling for a cause took off from Miami Gardens, as they set off on a 270-mile ride to honor fallen heroes.The 21st annual Florida Tour de Force bicycle ride got underway on Monday. The charity ride aims to honor and raise money for Florida’s law enforcement fallen heroes.This year, Miami-Dade Police Maj. Ricky Carter, who lost both his legs in a motorcycle accident, is riding for his fellow brothers and sisters in uniform.“It’s a lot of officers who go through difficulties and hardships, particularly in South Florida,” said Carter, “and a cause like this is very important, because is gives us an opportunity to help those officers to give them the assistance that they need so they can keep fighting for their communities.”The riders’ five-day trek to Orlando will end Friday.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Gigantic artsy LED light bulbs join the GE lineup

first_img 0 reading • GE’s king-size, vintage-style LED light bulbs let you lose your lampshade CNET’s LED Buying Guide makes sense of the light bulb… Aug 31 • Best smart light bulbs for 2019 (plus switches, light strips, accessories and more) 17 Photos Light Bulbs 13 LED smart bulbs that are worth the cash CNET Smart Home GE Aug 31 • The best coffee grinders you can buy right now Following a trend set by Philips and Ikea last year, GE Lighting is introducing a new lineup of large-sized, vintage-style LED light bulbs that are basically as big as your head.Available across the US at Lowe’s, the bulbs range from $26 to $38 apiece and come in a variety of shapes and colors, complete with your choice of three different filament styles.Here’s how GE describes the lineup:GE’s new large-sized vintage-style LED light bulbs come in a variety of shapes and colors, and with different filament options for the inside, too. GE Lighting Globe: Available with spiral or weave filaments in clear, amber or smoke glass. These globes measure approximately 1 foot tall and 9 inches in width and diameter. MSRP: $32-$35 Elongated Tube: Choose from spiral filaments in clear, amber or smoke glass. These tubes measure approximately 11.6 inches tall and 3.3 inches in width and diameter. MSRP: $26 Oversized Pear Shape: Select from clear, amber or smoke glass with spiral or weave filaments. These bulbs measure just over a foot tall and 7.7 inches in width and diameter. MSRP: $30-$34 Retro BT56: Available with spiral or weave filaments in clear, amber or smoke glass. These bulbs measure approximately 15.5 inches tall and 8.5 inches in width and diameter. MSRP: $35-$38ge-large-vintage-led-light-bulb-pendantsGE is also offering vintage-style pendant fixtures for the bulbs at $15 each. GE Lighting GE is also offering hanging pendant fixtures for the bulbs, with a matching vintage aesthetic of their own. Available in four styles, they’ll cost $15 each.As for brightness, the new bulbs are listed as 25-watt and 40-watt equivalents, so don’t expect them to put out any more than a few hundred lumens — good for an artsy accent light, but not bright enough for one of them to serve as the primary light source for a room. Color temperatures vary based on the color of the bulb’s glass, with the amber-tinted bulbs putting out a warm, yellowy glow at 2,000 K and the smoke-tinted bulbs putting out stark white light at a temperature of 5,000 K.As for the filaments, they’re actually light-emitting diodes (LEDs) arranged into thin strips to mimic the look of the incandescent light bulbs of the past. It’s an effective trick that makes for admittedly striking designs that combine old-school aesthetics with new-age efficiency.ge-large-vintage-led-light-bulb-amber-spiralEnlarge ImageThe amber-tinted bulbs put out a warm, candlelike glow. GE Lighting This isn’t GE Lighting’s first foray into vintage-style LEDs, a newly established section of the rapidly changing lighting aisle that seems to connect with consumers who appreciate the nostalgic designs. GE’s previous batch of faux-filament bulbs earned high marks here on CNET for their attractive appearance and strong dimming performance. Dimming will once again be key, as any hint of flicker can turn an exposed bulb into an eyesore. GE Lighting cites the “overwhelming response” to those regular-sized bulbs as the motivation for the new large-sized versions. I asked the company if it could elaborate, and a spokesperson pointed to Nielsen Scantrack data that shows a 20% increase in vintage lighting sales thus far in 2019 versus the same period last year.We’ll be sure to grab a few and test them out for ourselves in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. Aug 31 • Alexa can tell you if someone breaks into your house Aug 30 • Battling bot vacs: iRobot Roomba S9+ vs Neato Botvac D7 Connected GE 5W Vintage Style LED Light Bulb • Review • GE’s new vintage-style LED bulbs nail the nostalgia factor Share your voice 2:31 CNET Smart Home Tags Now playing: Watch this: See All Post a commentlast_img read more

Episcopal bishops object to samesex spouses disinvitation to global conference

first_img which toes did you get? lol More accurately the Episcopal Church gave the 526 to 70 vote at Lambeth in 1998 the one finger salute, and the then Archbishop of Canterbury refused to deal with it.As a result 200 bishops failed to show at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.If he waffles this time, the Anglican Communion’s de facto disintegration will likely become de jure. Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,LONDON (RNS) — Three bishops from the Episcopal Diocese of New York have written an open letter to their clergy and parishioners to express their dismay at a request by the archbishop of Canterbury that two gay bishops not bring their spouses to the Anglican Communion’s Lambeth Conference in July of 2020.The letter also explains why, despite consideration of boycotting the meeting, all three New York bishops will attend. “We have concluded that we cannot in conscience remove the voice of the Diocese of New York from the larger conversations at Lambeth,” the letter reads, “regarding sexuality and the inclusion of LGBTQ people in the full sacramental life of the church.”The Lambeth Conference convenes bishops from the worldwide Anglican Communion once a decade in Canterbury, England. The issue of homosexuality has dominated the last two gatherings, exposing deep differences between bishops from the global South and the U.S. and Canada.The Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool smiles following her ordination and consecration ceremony on May 15, 2010, in Long Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)One of the two sitting bishops affected by Archbishop Welby’s decision, Mary Glasspool, is an assistant bishop in the New York diocese. The first lesbian to be named a bishop in the Anglican Communion, she is married to Becki Sander. Kevin Robertson, suffragan bishop since 2016 in the Toronto diocese of the Church of Canada, married his longtime partner, Mohan Sharma, in December. The husband of Rev. Thomas Brown, slated to be consecrated as a bishop in the diocese of Maine in June, will also not be invited.The letter was signed by Glasspool as well as Bishop Andrew L. Dietsch and the diocese’s suffragan bishop, Allen K. Shin.The archbishop of Canterbury reportedly contacted Glasspool before Christmas to inform her of his position and express his regret at the pain it may cause.Robertson told Religion News Service he was profoundly disappointed but not surprised to learn that Sharma was not invited to the conference. He said he was grateful to have had a 20-minute meeting with Archbishop Welby in London last month. “The archbishop said to me that if he invited same-sex spouses to the Lambeth Conference there wouldn’t be a conference at all. I think he felt that it would be a step too far for some of the bishops if they were to attend.”The decision came to public attention when Anglican Secretary General Josiah Idowu-Fearon posted the news on the communion’s website in mid-February. “The invitation process has needed to take account of the Anglican Communion’s position on marriage which is that it is the lifelong union of a man and a woman,” he wrote, citing Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference.“Given this,” the post said, “it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference.”Idowu-Fearon said it was up to individual provinces to appoint their own bishops, and, therefore, all bishops currently serving in the Anglican Communion were being invited to the conference, an allusion to the fact that Gene Robinson, the former bishop of New Hampshire and first openly gay and partnered bishop in the Anglican Communion, had been barred from the last Lambeth Conference in 2008.Simon Sarmiento, chair of the Church of England advocacy group LGBTI Mission, said, “It is bizarre to invite same-sex married bishops while excluding their spouses. This action fails on every count. It will be seen in England as pure homophobia, and it will do nothing to appease those bishops who refuse to view same-sex relationships as anything other than sinful.”“I wonder who the archbishop would uninvite if he was serious about the Anglican Communion’s opposition to homophobia,” Sarmiento added.The decision has provoked soul searching among some liberal-leaning bishops. Paul Bayes, the bishop of Liverpool, announced on Twitter that his wife would decline her invitation to the conference in an act of solidarity with gay spouses.“I deeply regret that in the fractious complexities of our life as a worldwide people this act of exclusion has taken place,” said Bayes. “It is a grief to me and to my wife and to many others. Despite this I aim to attend the conference, alone, in the hope of a common future.”The New York bishops stressed that they are attending as representatives of their flocks. While the letter says the topic will “occupy some of our time” when the American church’s bishops meet in North Carolina later this month, they wrote, “We go to Lambeth so that you will be at Lambeth.”Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby listens to debate at the General Synod in London on Feb. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)Many bishops belonging to the traditionalist Global Anglican Future Conference, known as GAFCON, have already decided to boycott the conference to protest the fact that Episcopal Church USA, the Church of Canada and the Scottish Episcopal Church have voted to allow same-sex marriage in recent years. No bishops from Rwanda, Nigeria or Uganda will be attending Lambeth 2020, and many from other African, Asian and South American provinces are also expected to stay away.Canon Andrew Symes, executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream, which calls itself a “voice for orthodox Anglican faith,” said the archbishop of Canterbury faced an unavoidable dilemma once the Episcopal Church approved same-sex marriage.“Despite promises that there would be ‘consequences’ for this, they never materialized,” Symes said. “The liberal churches continued their program, causing further division with those with more conservative views.”Symes continued, “The problem is not primarily with individuals, but a church leadership culture which has gone against what the Anglican Communion has decided and developed a different understanding of Christian teaching.“Not inviting spouses addresses the problem in the wrong way and penalizes individuals. This situation is inevitable when large, powerful churches disregard the historic teaching from the Bible which they have inherited, and the democratic view of the Church as a whole.”Bishop Robertson said he will also attend the conference, but no decision has yet been taken about whether Sharma will accompany him to Canterbury. “He would be peering in from the outside, and that would be difficult for him and for me and for many other people.”The New York delegation’s letter makes it clear that all three bishops’ spouses will go to England, even though Sander “will not be permitted to participate in the Lambeth conversations and activities,” the letter reads, adding, “Margaret Dietsche and Clara Mun are also planning to go to England, to stand with Becki.” Tagsbishops Church of Canada Episcopal Church homepage featured Justin Welby Kevin Roberston Lambeth Conference LGBT LGBTQ Mary Glasspool,You may also like Bruce Patterson says: March 5, 2019 at 3:23 pm March 4, 2019 at 9:05 pm March 4, 2019 at 9:28 pm Mark Connelly says: March 4, 2019 at 2:44 pm RidingTheLine says: By: Rosie Dawson Rick Brant says: Man wants to sincerely give up sexuality in general and doesn’t want to back slide. Helene Gates says: Christ taught that homosexuals would not see the Kingdom of Heaven – in several places. He does not throw Christians in Hell. Mark Connelly says: Mark Connelly says: Spuddie says: Bill Paca says: Share This! You brought the church to me; you are the person doing the preaching. And I don’t want your preaching but you climbed on your soapbox anyway. Thanks for being the hypocrite. irondrake says: March 4, 2019 at 2:18 pm It is a typically conservative response to shut down the conversation by saying to enemies, essentially:We refuse to engage with you in any way, shape, or form, including socializing with you and breaking bread with you, unless and until you submit entirely to our way of thinking. We will also use any power at our disposal to ban your very presence from our midst until you do. You’re welcome to join us once you’ve come around to our way of thinking.Somehow I can’t imagine Jesus endorsing this – after all, he dined with prostitutes and tax collectors. Sandi in EL says: Alexandra says: Rick Brant says: Mark Connelly says: You are a lost soul! irondrake says: March 1, 2019 at 4:04 pm I dare these three fake Episcopal bishops from New York to show up in this forum. Oh no, no snarkiness from me, even though these guys are faker than a 3-dollar bill and should be made to pay the processing fees for their own Excommunication. I just want them to show up and RidingTheLine says: Gosh why would Religious leaders not be welcoming such people?https://www.medinstitute.org/2016/08/the-consequences-of-heterosexual-anal-sex-for-women/ irondrake says: March 5, 2019 at 10:14 am March 1, 2019 at 4:14 pm Spuddie says: Rick Brant says: No. I have always treated all those who are unwilling to repent of their sins the same: barred from the Chalice.Sorry if equal treatment for all offends you. I’d love that, too, but the bible is the last thing they want to discuss. Thankfully, I will not need to rely on you or include you in the loop for the status of my soul. So far, you seem to be on very good terms with evil rather than good. Feel free to troll someone else with your Bible-thumping. Too bad that you don’t know your Bible as well as you think you do. Art says: “Chris” who? Let’s stick to Paul telling you to not telling me anything. Why do you ignore his misogyny in favor of his homophobia? You mean the whole concept of treating people as human beings and not looking for excuses for malicious action towards them. Its called being civilized and honest. I can see why that is at odds with a religion whose primary figure demanded as one the most important actions for his followers to “love thy neighbor”. /s Spuddie says: Ben in Oakland says: Susan Humphreys says: March 4, 2019 at 1:56 pm Susan Humphreys says: Some are way ahead of you.I know a guy who plans to renounce all sexuality soon as he hits 80. The Catholics did NOT teach that until 1950.This is your fourth correction on it by two different posters.Nor did Archbishop Pell say it was fabricated. March 5, 2019 at 5:10 pm March 1, 2019 at 4:48 pm March 4, 2019 at 11:09 am March 4, 2019 at 11:11 am Sandi in EL says: Rick Brant says: TimTripod says: Mary Mag wasn’t a prostitute. To be fair no spouses should be invited.On the otherhand….the same sex spouses should still go to the conference. ONLY by seeing and meeting and talking with others will the prejudice be erased. Shawnie5 says: There had to be one male and one female each.The theological position is that deity – by whatever means – made a first male and a first female with souls and with the capacity for life in the spiritual.Obviously genetics does not speak, and cannot speak, to that. Sure, I believe in primeval parents — genetics indicates that.Literal six days? No. March 4, 2019 at 7:40 pm March 4, 2019 at 12:40 pm Not quite my question. 96% of our DNA is shared with chimpanzees. Because haters gotta hate. I guess without someone to say “God hates you!”, there really is no point to having a religious belief for you. I saw a film clip of the man – he is straight out of satan’s den! To think that twit was in charge of a “church” – no wonder they are as heretical as they’ve turned out to be. I hear that some segments of the church are fighting back finally, and was glad to see that. March 5, 2019 at 8:51 pm March 4, 2019 at 5:48 pm JD says: It has been well known that I am an Atheist Mr. Brant. Where have you been? Shawnie5 says: March 2, 2019 at 7:22 pm Genetics points to all life being made up of the same essential “stuff.” Interestingly, a hydrogel of clay — pretty much as Genesis indicates.https://cornell.app.box.com/v/clay RidingTheLine says: March 1, 2019 at 4:20 pm e_monster says: nope. Try again. They are not members of Christ’s church would be on reason. Homosexuals are not Christian RidingTheLine says: RidingTheLine says: D.M.S. says: Sandi in EL says: Sandi in EL says: Mark Connelly says: March 3, 2019 at 5:38 pm March 3, 2019 at 6:55 pm March 2, 2019 at 5:36 pm March 1, 2019 at 4:52 pm Christ didn’t actually say anything on that topic. That would be you folks claiming after the fact that every word of the Old Testament belongs to Jesus so that you can weaponize them against other people. Nice. Totally hypocritical but nice. Try sending flowers next time. Sandi in EL says: Spong was satanic RidingTheLine says: still no scripture, eh? show me where he said that and I’ll show you where you are wrong March 2, 2019 at 8:09 pm Not quite relevant. Genetics point to primeval parents and so does Genesis. Then what was it that the 70 Hebrew scholars worked on for the Greek-speaking Jewish diaspora? What did they read in the synagogues?The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh. Spuddie says: Photos of the Week August 30, 2019 I have never done that. What I do is say that LGBTs need to repent of their sins, SAME AS EVERYBODY ELSE.You really don’t like equality, do you? Instagram apostasy stirs controversy over Christian ‘influencers’ August 30, 2019 Sandi in EL says: March 4, 2019 at 12:28 pm By: Rosie Dawson March 2, 2019 at 2:52 pm You appear to have crossed your wires.In fact they did get their way, 526-70:https://disqus.com/home/discussion/religionnews/episcopal_bishops_object_to_same_sex_spouses_disinvitation_to_global_conference/#comment-4360284282It is the Americans in the Episcopal Church doing the “Wah, wah, wah!” Yes the theological position is not a theory or hypothesis – just speculation. March 5, 2019 at 4:30 pm March 1, 2019 at 6:02 pm The bible didn’t exist when jesus was alive, assuming he was. Rick Brant says: March 4, 2019 at 9:13 pm I make it a point to treat all people the same.You always have a problem with that. Now you are making things up – as you often do.The only thing I advocate is that unrepentant LGBTs be barred from approaching the Chalice – just like any other person who refuses to repent of their sins. And I know of non-LGBTs who have likewise been barred from approaching the Chalice, so don’t even try that “No other alleged sin gets your attention” nonsense. Thank you for confirming my previous post, Ms. Humphreys. irondrake says: floydlee says: March 1, 2019 at 5:01 pm Mark Connelly says: Rick Brant says: RidingTheLine says: Shawnie5 says: March 4, 2019 at 2:44 pm Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email March 4, 2019 at 1:40 pm lol.I suggest you tell him that God is not mocked. We just have to keep telling them what Christ said because, as I’m sure you know, sincerity is not what will get them into Heavem The theological position is based on the belief that Christ died for all men, which would be rather unnecessary if mankind did not need saving.The entire New Testament rests on there being an Adam and an Eve.An example of speculation would be considering the application of that to sentient beings not descended from Adam and Ever. RidingTheLine says: Jim Johnson says: Sandi in EL says: March 5, 2019 at 2:27 pm Rosie Dawson,159 Comments Click here to post a comment March 1, 2019 at 3:44 pm March 4, 2019 at 1:57 pm March 4, 2019 at 2:10 pm That is all you have done here. But why be honest when you can be passive aggressive. 🙂 Thankfully, you are not on the heavenly pre-selection committee for who gets saved. Mind your own heavenly business. Baizuo says: Ah, well, that’s too bad. 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EXPLORE >>>>> http://shorty.karevn.com/uhC March 2, 2019 at 3:26 pm Mark Connelly says: News Rick Brant says: March 1, 2019 at 3:54 pm March 2, 2019 at 7:25 pm I decided that I needed to block you. Bye now. March 3, 2019 at 11:31 am March 5, 2019 at 8:19 pm March 1, 2019 at 5:03 pm March 5, 2019 at 11:42 am March 2, 2019 at 8:55 pm According to Anglican Ink, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby pleaded privately with the three bishops in “same sex marriages”: “if I invite your spouses to the Lambeth Conference, there won’t be a Lambeth Conference.” In 1998, after a titanic struggle with the Communion bureaucracy, the Global South pushed through Resolution I.10 on Human Sexuality by a vote of 526 to 70. https://churchsociety.org/issues_new/ethics/sexuality/Iss_ethics_sexuality_lambeth-1-10.aspwhich included these words:“…* while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex;*cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions; …”The Episcopal Church then departed from the standard of teaching on human sexuality accepted by the Communion with Resolution 1.10 by consenting to the episcopal election of a candidate living in a same-sex relationship, and by permitting Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions. The episcopal ministry of a person living in a same-sex relationship is not acceptable to the majority of the Communion.The Primates went on to specify a number of conditions that would indicate a sign of repentance by the Episcopal Church, failing which it should not be invited to the Lambeth Conference of 2008.When the Episcopal Church fudged all these conditions, the Archbishop of Canterbury invited all the Episcopal Bishops (except Gene Robinson) to Lambeth anyway. This repudiation of the Primates’ demands led directly to the 2008 Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem and the absence of more than 200 bishops at Lambeth later that year.That provides some background as to what is at stake for the Anglican Communion – survival. RidingTheLine says: RidingTheLine says: I think that is highly open to debate. Nor is it particularly relevant. The source you cite is founded for Joel McIlhaney, a known ideologue on the subject of sex, A promoter of abstinence only education, which is known not to work, and funded by James Leininger, a millionaire founder of conservative and faith based causes. But most important, it is an article about the consequences of anal sex for heterosexuals, and has nothing to do with the question at hand. Moreover, I suspect that a good many of the problems with it have more to do with unprotected sex and/or with multiple partners and/or not doing it right then an actual problem with anal sex itself. But it’s still irrelevant, unless you are planning on establish a police state to make sure everyone does only what they are supposed to do. Be reasonable and compromise: Do things my way. March 3, 2019 at 8:34 am Art says: March 1, 2019 at 6:59 pm March 4, 2019 at 12:58 pm March 4, 2019 at 2:50 pm Share This! March 5, 2019 at 11:48 am March 1, 2019 at 2:47 pm Gosh! why would you refer to an article about anal sex, especially among hetrosexuals? His “lack” of existence is nothing more than a figment of your perverted imagination, steeped in zany atheism from childhood forward, unable to conceive of anything bigger than your personal experience. Art says: Oooh, Ben wants to discuss the Bible (except for 1 Cor.6:9-11, of course.)But that’s kewl. No complaints from me. Genesis 1-2 is clear on why gay marriage is wrong, and Jesus Himself even affirmed its historicity and exclusively gender-complementarian explanation of human marriage.Wanna disprove it? Hmm? March 4, 2019 at 11:10 am As Amazon burns, Vatican prepares for summit on region’s faith and sustainabilit … August 30, 2019 Sandi in EL says: RidingTheLine says: March 2, 2019 at 5:28 pm March 2, 2019 at 5:51 pm March 3, 2019 at 3:15 pm “…pants and bedrooms…”I did not bring up the subject.“So ready to judge…”Judgement belongs to the Lord, and He has judged homosexual relations to be sinful.I had nothing to do with it; the Lord did not ask my advice on the matter. One that comes to faith under a turn or burn narrative will, in turn, believe that Christianity is defined as obeying a purification code (albeit cherry-picked among the scriptures). So the gospel (good news) to them is all about not being tortured forever in the afterlife. The only escape is to be open to being educated. Unfortunately, many aren’t.The problem is that Christianity becomes more about toeing a religious or doctrinal line to them rather than loving one’s neighbor. And so loving one’s neighbor is then reduced to the terms of warning others (ie those that don’t believe the way they do, or those who commit select ‘sins’ they don’t approve of) about hell – not necessarily the hell as descriptive of its Jewish context in which Jesus gave it – but rather in the context of merely how they view it. They’re a product of what’s taught within their own tribe. Many of these same folks can’t fathom any distinction between what the biblical writers actually meant vs. their own contemporary understanding of it. They’re wholly unaware of any difference. To them, God’s view is defined, not by what the Bible says, but rather what THEY THINK the Bible says. So ultimately, God morphs into whatever goes on inside their head. That’s the danger. And so THEIR IDEAS about God actually becomes their God. That’s why they presume to have the authority to assert things to others. They actually believe their words are of God, which is why you can’t have a reasonable discussion with them. Their opinions (which to them are synonymous to God’s truth) trump rationality, logic, and science. And when those things bring tension to their beliefs, they attribute it to the devil’s work rather than grappling with it. It’s dishonest on their part (dishonest both to themselves and others), but they refuse to deal with it. And it’s sad, because it casts a bad light upon those of us who cling to the words of Jesus and at least attempt to base our faith on the practical aspects of loving our neighbors. I suggest you try watching real news rather than rightwing nut sites. I don’t see how “seeing and meeting and talking with others” should make any difference. Even if they are really nice people -and I have met some really nice homosexuals – their sexual preferences are still sinful. No amount of “seeing and meeting and talking” changes that bottom line. March 5, 2019 at 11:42 am March 2, 2019 at 5:27 pm Worse, they think that they are guarding “God” from the “unworthy” as they define it for everyone but themselves. They literally believe that their poop doesn’t stink. March 3, 2019 at 12:01 pm March 1, 2019 at 7:00 pm How sad for you. Just think of the look on his face when he realizes he’s going to spend an eternity burning in hell for his heresy. March 4, 2019 at 1:58 pm ““Despite promises that there would be ‘consequences’ for this, they never materialized,” Symes said. “The liberal churches continued their program, causing further division with those with more conservative views.”Umm, i’m pretty sure it’s the conservatives who have threatened to take their chasubles and go home. “All other learning has progressed, yet some prefer to keep religious knowledge frozen, never to develop.”Those are the folks who think religious knowledge is contingent on revelation from God.Since God stopped speaking with the death of the last Apostle, that puts those folks at a disadvantage to you, who can make it up out of whole cloth right out of whatever. March 5, 2019 at 5:41 pm March 4, 2019 at 1:50 am March 5, 2019 at 5:07 pm “We’re going to calmly and reasonably discuss the role of gays in the church at this meeting. By the way, No Gays Allowed.” LOL Shawnie5 says: That need to judge others as if you were Jesus is why casting pearls in front of you is such a bad idea and why I don’t. Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email It does and it has as proven by the changes in attitudes towards homosexuality and same sex marriage in the US and a few other countries. Homosexuality isn’t a sin but saying it is is. Ben in Oakland says: I would love to see more Protestant denominations, like the Anglican church, take steps in the same direction as the one taken by the recent UMC General Conference. It’d be so nice to see a trend towards churches upholding the words of the Bible for a change. Jesus himself held the Bible in such high regard and it’s nothing short of disturbing to see so many Christians in the Western world nowadays deciding they know better than He did. March 4, 2019 at 7:03 pm D.M.S. says: March 4, 2019 at 10:48 am March 4, 2019 at 10:57 am March 2, 2019 at 5:11 pm Richard Rush says: Amen. Rick Brant says: Not me.“The fool says in their heart: ‘There is no God’. “(Psalm 14:1)I don’t say that.Neither do I reject His Word.Sounds like you do, Ms. Humphreys. You want to get into other people’s pants and bedrooms to judge them while simultaneously declaring to everyone that you don’t have a clue and don’t want one. That’s almost cute in a really creepy, pervy way. Sandi in EL says: How would that be sad for anyone but him? Mark Connelly says: Jim Johnson says: Rick Brant says: Rick Brant says: Art says: March 4, 2019 at 3:46 pm Mark Connelly says: March 2, 2019 at 2:10 pm Art says: TimTripod says: LOL! I love how completely spineless you guys are when it comes to expressing your bigotry and malice. Its as if you think people are fooled by “God makes me hate them”. Shorter version of your rantAdvocating treating them as less than people. From being unworthy of belonging in a church with yourself. Something you do for no other forms of “sinners”. ” And I know of non-LGBTs who have likewise been barred from approaching the Chalice, so don’t even try that “No other alleged sin gets your attention” nonsense.”A flat out lie. You have never treated any other form of “sin” with the same zeal to attack, defame or revile as you do here. All you are saying here is that your belief is used as a pretext for hating others as well. It appears the only appeal to your kind of belief is the shameless way it is employed to avoid responsibility for acting like a terrible person to others. Spuddie says: March 1, 2019 at 4:54 pm March 4, 2019 at 11:41 am March 4, 2019 at 10:21 am sure, sure Bill Paca says: I get the impression that he’s been sleep-deprived and overindulging in certain recreational, uh, substances. Make that “is”.He is unfortunately still around. Sandi in EL says: March 1, 2019 at 6:56 pm March 4, 2019 at 3:47 pm March 4, 2019 at 5:39 pm 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, read it. There you are proclaiming your ignorance of the Bible to be exclusive expertise. Nice. Bill Paca says: March 4, 2019 at 11:26 am Coming from someone who relies on alternet.org and religioustolerance.org for news and “deep thoughts”, that is screamingly funny. RidingTheLine says: There you go, finding wiggle room for yourself in very clear, unambiguous language while taking very unclear language in the Bible to condemn others. That’s exactly what I expected from you. Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,About the authorView All Posts Spuddie says: March 1, 2019 at 7:01 pm Nobody is saying “God hates you.” You are hallucinating again, Spud. Ben in Oakland says: RidingTheLine says: March 4, 2019 at 11:20 am Spuddie says: Rick Brant says: Baizuo says: March 3, 2019 at 8:58 am March 4, 2019 at 9:20 pm Passive aggressive behavior from anti-gay bigots in church leadership?Why am I not surprised here? March 4, 2019 at 12:27 pm Art says: Typical holy hypocrite. Creepy need to get into other people’s beds and bedrooms. News flash. No one wants you there. It’s not Dancing with the Stars for pervs like you. March 4, 2019 at 3:49 pm March 4, 2019 at 3:37 pm March 5, 2019 at 5:16 pm Bill Paca says: Ben in Oakland says: Share This! March 4, 2019 at 7:41 pm Here is Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong’s suggestions for reforming Christianity:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Shelby_Spong#%22Points_for_Reform%22_of_ChristianityThe inherent structure of their church makes it impossible to correct this sort of heresy. Share This! Spuddie says: March 2, 2019 at 3:12 pm Obviously not enough. “…not a theory or hypothesis – just speculation.”Or revelation. LOL! That was worthy of Tater but not of Ben. Tsk, tsk… You are another one who doesn’t know that Christ is God? You would need to belong to Jesus to make that assertion March 1, 2019 at 5:27 pm Sandi in EL says: March 2, 2019 at 2:06 pm “God” doesn’t exist Mr. Brant. “He” is nothing more than a figment of your perverted imagination. March 5, 2019 at 7:12 pm RidingTheLine says: March 4, 2019 at 1:46 pm again, they are not Christian Sandi in EL says: Shawnie5 says: March 4, 2019 at 5:26 pm March 4, 2019 at 1:19 pm Rick Brant says: Art says: Mark Connelly says: March 3, 2019 at 1:43 pm He does. Baizuo says: March 2, 2019 at 6:17 pm Because sin remains sin.Without the notion that there is a right and a wrong beyond your personal preferences, you will never understand religious beliefs. Sandi in EL says: TimTripod says: March 4, 2019 at 9:17 pm March 1, 2019 at 4:42 pm March 4, 2019 at 2:02 pm March 5, 2019 at 11:47 am Brian Curtis says: LOL! That is why you attack their membership in a church, employment, raising families, housing, public recognition and any legal protections. You treat them as less than people in order to justify personal bigotry. You treat no other group anywhere close to the same. No other alleged sin gets your attention this way. In fact you are more than willing to make cheap excuses for such things. You are simply lying in order to pretend your personal prejudice is beyond criticism. Typical spineless appeal by conservative Christian. Susan Humphreys says: Susan Humphreys says: March 1, 2019 at 4:17 pm Nope. No, I treat LGBTs as fully human, and as fully needing to acknowledge and repent of their sins as anybody else. You treat them as different than everybody else, as if they get a special exemption and don’t need to repent.So I’ll see your LMAO and raise you a ROF. Spuddie says: March 4, 2019 at 2:41 pm March 4, 2019 at 11:13 am Ben in Oakland says: March 6, 2019 at 10:06 am No. I’m showing yours. You don’t know that Christ is God? Sandi in EL says: March 4, 2019 at 12:59 pm Chris said all things on that issue “I think that is highly open to debate.”Heterosexual bowels and sphincters differ substantially from homosexual bowels and sphincters? March 4, 2019 at 2:49 pm Rick Brant says: Elagabalus says: March 4, 2019 at 7:00 pm You are still blathering away. Why is Paul’s homophobia okay with you when he told you as a woman to be quite and let us men folk talk? March 4, 2019 at 9:25 pm March 4, 2019 at 3:15 pm We aren’t gathered in His name, Riding. We are gathered by RNS.You shot yourself in the foot Sandi in EL says: March 4, 2019 at 3:24 pm March 2, 2019 at 6:33 pm March 4, 2019 at 11:25 am March 2, 2019 at 2:54 pm You may get the privilege of a personal relationship with Jesus, rather than a love affair with hatred. March 4, 2019 at 6:49 pm Spuddie says: RidingTheLine says: March 4, 2019 at 9:08 pm March 4, 2019 at 3:44 pm March 4, 2019 at 9:12 pm March 4, 2019 at 5:26 pm Thanks, I thought he was gone You have always chosen to treat gay people with malice and hostility in a way you treat nobody else. You only treat that specific “sin” in such a fashion. Bearing false witness is evidently not sinful to you. Sorry if you expect such pitiful dishonest talk to be taken seriously. It is laughable. What annoys you most seems to be that I won’t let you off the hook for bigotry by letting you call it “God’s will” or “denouncing sin”. I am not denouncing religious belief, Christianity or God. Just your obviously dishonest petty excuses for your personal beliefs and prejudices. Catholicism March 1, 2019 at 4:28 pm It has been well known that I am a Christian, Ms. Humphreys.So it may be asked: Where have YOU been. Sandi in EL says: no need to wiggle – it was in the first sentence that you quoted……lol……this is getting fun! irondrake says: March 2, 2019 at 2:12 pm March 4, 2019 at 3:52 pm Sandi in EL says: March 4, 2019 at 1:48 pm No. That is not true. Jesus never said a single word on that issue. Paul ran at the mouth; the Old Testament talks about pagan practices. According to Paul, you should keep your opinions to yourself. According to him, you should not be telling us men folk anything. Yes, I sure do believe in being civilized and honest. That is why I treat LGBTs the same as everybody else. But I guess you don’t like that. Have you blocked me yet? “it never validates the assertions with any reasoning, evidence, or logic.”It is not a philosophy text.“And, If homosexuality cannot be shown to cause harm to other people, or even to themselves, there is no legitimate reason to oppose it, despite the assertions of ancient ignorant bigots who claimed that they were speaking for a god, or more preposterously, quoting a god.”Nor was it a Libertarian text, which appears in the 17th century as a development of anarchism.The notion that every man is an island free to do as she and he wishes, and not a member of a society, is quite modern.“Unlike religion, homosexuality has never ever caused any harm whatsoever to anyone, so there cannot be any legitimate objection to people living in accordance with that innate orientation.”There are solid arguments that homosexual behavior damages the society in which it takes place.Since, as an LGBT advocate, those arguments would be dismissed out of hand by you, I won’t bother recapping them.“Actually, the earth and humanity would benefit from more homosexuality and less heterosexuality because ….”.If your parents were homosexuals, you wouldn’t be here. Whether that would be a benefit or not I suppose depends on perspective. Ben in Oakland says: RidingTheLine says: Bill Paca says: Art says: 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 March 4, 2019 at 5:40 pm The first sentence betrayed you. If you can prove what you asserted, then try. But don’t shoot yourself in the foot again Genetics points to common ancestors, not primal parents. At least the kind of genetics that isn’t taught in Baptist sunday school. I’m sure you haven’t the faintest idea what those statements even mean. God doesn’t need that from you and no one else does either. Susan Humphreys says: Ron McPherson says: Well, since you want to discuss the bible, here’s a question for you. You’re the best sola scriptorum defender I know.Is the story of Adam and Eve and The Fall in Genesis a literal retelling of fact, as floydlee has stated, as the Baptists think now and the Catholics taught until 1950, or is it an allegory and a myth fabricated for religious purposes, as Cardinal Pell so charmingly put it? Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email March 5, 2019 at 2:28 pm RidingTheLine says: Bill Paca says: Sandi in EL says: March 1, 2019 at 7:19 pm Sandi in EL says: Let’s put 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 out there:New International Version 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. Footnotes:a 1 Corinthians 6:9 The words men who have sex with men translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts.New Revised Standard Version9 Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. Susan Humphreys says: Sandi in EL says: Mark Connelly says: Dorothy called. She wants her Brainless Straw Man back. Funny you don’t have any authority to demand such things. Do your own research; I have done mine. RidingTheLine says: Funny how that is not your place to declare for anyone but you. Since you presume to make that declaration for others all you do is declare yourself against Christ, not for him. God doesn’t need you to babysit Him. March 4, 2019 at 11:20 am Ben in Oakland says: I don’t see any scripture references LMAO! If you didn’t bear ill will, you would be bearing none at all. Veracity has never been a strong point. Your “I treat all people the same” is a flat out lie. Your entire argument here has been about why you are completely unabashed in your desire to treat LGBT people as less than human. You made your position clear. No sense in trying to lie to me and others now. March 4, 2019 at 11:18 am Since you deny a deity, and sin, you’re hardly in a position to say what is or is not sin, are you? March 4, 2019 at 9:20 pm floydlee says: irondrake says: March 5, 2019 at 1:37 pm March 4, 2019 at 1:20 pm Republicans and some Religious nuts have really bought into Goebbel’s dictum.The Bible is merely the work of men. ONLY a fool would accept it as the “word of “God” and as unassailable.Are you a fool Mr. Brant? So ready to judge falsely. So interested in other people’s pants and bedrooms. doing so, which is which is why I talk to you, Riding IS TRANSLATION: We Hate Gays. Sandi in EL says: Another p rain who doesn’t understand what a straw man is. You probably misuse “ad hominem” as well. March 4, 2019 at 8:52 am Spuddie says: RidingTheLine says: I doubt that………but it’s your lie tell it anyway that you like.Bible-bashing is that what your master Satan had you do for him?And you’re still Satans minion.Thanks for being so truthful right up front, that rare.Take care. March 4, 2019 at 10:28 pm March 5, 2019 at 2:49 pm March 5, 2019 at 4:42 pm RidingTheLine says: p rain? March 4, 2019 at 10:47 am March 3, 2019 at 1:42 pm The first sentence betrayed you; only in churches, my friend. Try again. March 5, 2019 at 2:32 pm March 5, 2019 at 10:08 am March 4, 2019 at 1:53 pm Bill Paca says: March 5, 2019 at 8:12 pm March 1, 2019 at 4:15 pm March 3, 2019 at 8:28 am http://mediafactwatch.com/2019-01-23-remaining-credibility-establishment-media-is-now-shot-to-pieces-after-fake-news.htmlThe Democrats and the anti-religious nuts are living Goebbel’s dictum. March 1, 2019 at 4:08 pm March 5, 2019 at 4:49 pm March 4, 2019 at 3:24 pm That’s quite amusing. Really. irondrake says: March 1, 2019 at 4:56 pm March 4, 2019 at 1:21 pm Compassion International’s Roadshow Tour combines music and ministry Sandi in EL says: RidingTheLine says: Sandi in EL says: That conveys nothing relevant to the discussion. March 4, 2019 at 9:19 pm Sandi in EL says: Sandi and others like her like to think they’re driving souls to Christianity. But they cannot comprehend that their blatant bigotry and homophobia drives people away. March 2, 2019 at 3:03 pm Sandi in EL says: Rick Brant says: Joseph Jaglowicz says: Shawnie5 says: And, as homosexuals walked away from the church, so Christ allowed the young rich man to leave also, when he could not follow that which Christ wanted, And yet, somehow, He managed to quote it and refer to it dozens of times.Your statement is like someone saying “The U.S. Constitution didn’t exist in 1800” because it didn’t have all the amendments then that it does now. RidingTheLine says: Ben in Oakland says: No, but he IS “far out”. Rosie Dawson March 3, 2019 at 6:43 pm Art says: irondrake says: But he did not endorse prostitution or extortion by tax collectors.His stock phrase was “Go, and sin no more.” Share This! March 4, 2019 at 11:39 am March 5, 2019 at 4:29 pm News • Photos of the Week RidingTheLine says: Chalk up the greater acceptance of LGBT in the West to the relentless propaganda emanating from the mass media, educational institutions, big business, and governments.They follow Goebbels’ dictum: “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.”The Scripture and 2000 years of Christian moral teaching maintain that homosexual relations are sinful. The statement “Homosexuality isn’t a sin but saying it is is.” is therefore demonstrably false. You probably believe it from having repeated it so many times I can vouch for the sincerity of some.No I don’t know what to do about them either. Is there really that much difference in that part of the anatomy? He said they were sick and in need of a Physician. Are you prepared to acknowledge the same? No, you don’t. You single out LGBT people for attack. You make excuses for sins of those within your own circle of support. Sin is something for other people, never yourself. “You really don’t like equality, do you?”Said the person who is always the first to support discrimination, ostracism, and revile people and claim it is “God’s will” as an excuse. When have you stopped lying and reviling? There you go, making the usual holy hypocrite rush to judgment. Bet that I have put more time into Bible study than you have. Back in my religious days I never lost a Bible-bashing debate with anyone. Then, I cam to my senses and realized that it was just a bunch of nonsense from a past era that had caused more harm than good. You are evidence of that. March 1, 2019 at 5:15 pm March 4, 2019 at 11:03 am March 2, 2019 at 2:08 pm All of these texts reflect how people viewed and understood the world in their time. All other learning has progressed, yet some prefer to keep religious knowledge frozen, never to develop. I understand the view that God is unchanging. I don’t understand the idea that people’s understanding of God ought never to grow and evolve. March 4, 2019 at 11:14 am Thanks for putting Corinthians 6:9-11 “out there.” As always, when the Bible asserts that homosexuals are sinners, an abomination, wrongdoers, and “shall be put to death,” it never validates the assertions with any reasoning, evidence, or logic. And, If homosexuality cannot be shown to cause harm to other people, or even to themselves, there is no legitimate reason to oppose it, despite the assertions of ancient ignorant bigots who claimed that they were speaking for a god, or more preposterously, quoting a god.Unlike religion, homosexuality has never ever caused any harm whatsoever to anyone, so there cannot be any legitimate objection to people living in accordance with that innate orientation.Actually, the earth and humanity would benefit from more homosexuality and less heterosexuality because 1) it would reduce the vast number of unwanted/unintended pregnancies, and 2) it would provide more adoptive parents to care for the unwanted/unintended children still being produced, and 3) there would be some reduction in the release of greenhouse gases which exacerbate global warming. Therefore, the Bible should be ignored on the issue of homosexuality because the assertions contained in it have no basis in rational thinking and evidence.And furthermore, advocating the full social acceptance of gay people strengthens family bonds, and thus it is the authentic pro-family position. It is the anti-gay crowd who are actually anti-family by doing everything they can to tear families apart. A statement made notwithstanding any comment you have made here or elsewhere on the subject. You attack LGBT people for its own sake. Because you feel you can do so without consequence. How spineless. Thanks for admitting that you aren’t dragging Jesus around behind you like your personal hall pass. But still go away. Sooner better than later. Susan Humphreys says: Nope. Good thing that I don’t need guidance from a self-blinded guide, like you. March 5, 2019 at 7:58 pm Mark Connelly says: Sandi in EL says: Please go “bless” someone else. “In church” is wherever “two or more” are gathered in his name, so every time you climb on your soapbox to preach to anyone, you are taking “church” with you. Sunday school is dismissed. Go away. Consider my sandals dusted in your direction. JD says: Sandi in EL says: Especially if you’re an Episcopalian. Mark Connelly says: To be fair no same sex spouses should be invited. The structure of the Episcopal Church makes it nearly impossible to reverse course.Think of it as a triennial Democratic Party Convention, with the nominee already nominated in closed door sessions, and at least one Debbie Wasserman Schultz at each diocese picking off the potential competing nominees with dirty tricks.When parishes started exiting, they rigged up the Dennis Canon to try to keep that from happening.No, that ship has sailed.The Anglican Communion is not really a church. It is a group of completely independent churches in communion (although not really anymore) with the Archbishop of Canterbury.Unfortunately the last five – 1974–1980 Donald Coggan, 1980–1991 Robert Runcie, 1991–2002 George Carey, 2002–2012 Rowan Williams, 2013–present Justin Welby – have been towers of Jello, so even that means less every year. RidingTheLine says: Take a breath. March 4, 2019 at 1:01 pm To the episcopal homophobes: “Wah, wah, wah. If I don’t get my way, I’m taking my marbles home.” The future church of inclusion is not coming.It is here. Get used to it. Or burrow into your cocoons and pretend, unlike Jesus, you are not here.“I was a stranger, and you welcomed me” (Mt 25:35). RidingTheLine says: March 4, 2019 at 12:54 pm It was more like God took a time out when the Holy Spirit came, but it’s a new Day, a different time. March 3, 2019 at 7:16 pm By: Rosie Dawson RidingTheLine says: I’m fairly sure anal has the same impact on anyone who engages in it. It has been obvious that you are a Christian Mr. Brant. You have made that blatantly clear with your remarks! I have been right here.,Miniature Washington Cathedral to be created with Lego bricks March 2, 2019 at 7:11 pm It is amazing that you declare your ignorance in every word as if if ignorance was expertise. Why do you bring up a pervy topic just to show how little you actually know? It would be smarter for you to just stay out of other people’s pants and bedrooms that to show everyone how clueless you are on your own shock topic. March 5, 2019 at 2:30 pm last_img read more

This Isnt The First Time Austin Has Faced A String Of Attacks

first_imgGABRIEL C. PÉREZ/KUT NEWSOver the last three weeks, a bombing spree in the Texas capital city shared eerie similarities to a string of Austin killings from 1885 that continued for over a year.“The idea that these were crimes aimed at minority residents, in a weird way pacified people in Austin in 1885,” Skip Hollandsworth says. “And you can see it in the same fashion in the last three weeks.”Hollandsworth is the author of a 2016 book called The Midnight Assassin about the Austin serial killer in the 1880s. He’s also executive editor of Texas Monthly magazine.He says once the current series of explosions reached an upper class white neighborhood, though, everything changed. “Everybody was terrified of opening packages. They would not ride their bikes down city trails. There’s just been this sense of foreboding and fear and prickly panic.”He says these explosions lasted for three weeks, but the 1885 case stretched on for a year.“The Austin killings in 1885 became a precursor for what was to come in American society, which were these loners who felt a need to draw attention to themselves and loved the idea of creating mayhem,” Hollandsworth says. “So every city that’s had to deal with such a killer has had to deal with the same set of factors: ‘When will he strike again? Why is he striking? What can we do to stop him? And how do we stop it from ever happening again?’ And the answers are still as murky and mysterious today as they were 138 years ago.”Written by Christopher De Los Santos. Sharelast_img read more

Watch Dogs closed beta briefly shows up on Xbox One

first_imgAfter earning quite a bit of excitement during the Microsoft and Sony launch events last year, Watch Dogs is a game many people are waiting to get their hands. And it looks like a lucky few are about to start exploring this world through a closed beta.Between the explosions, the open world gameplay, and the all-powerful smartphone that seems capable of hacking the entire planet, there’s a lot of reasons to be excited about Watch Dogs from what we’ve seen so far. It has all the makings of a compelling thriller with an exciting story and a powerful graphics engine. All it needs now is to be here already so we can play it.While May 27 is still a little while away, it looks like closed beta versions of the game are about to start up soon to give a select few a sneak peek into the world of Watch Dogs.There’s been no public mention from Ubisoft about a closed beta, but seeing the game show up on the Xbox Live store, even if only for a couple of hours, spells it out pretty clearly. Like Titanfall, the beta will be available to download from the store if your gamertag is whitelisted by Ubisoft.If history is any indicator, we’ll see a closed beta followed by an open beta in the weeks leading up to the launch of the game. Keep your eyes peeled, Watch Dogs fans, and you’ll probably get your invite within the next couple of days.last_img read more

Lyft introduces Amundsen  a data discovery and metadata engine for its researchers and

first_imgYesterday, the team at Lyft introduced a data discovery and metadata engine called Amundsen. Amundsen is introduced to increase the productivity of data scientists and research scientists at Lyft. The team named it Amundsen inspiring from the Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen. The aim is to improve the productivity of data users by making their lives simple with this data search interface. According to UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), the data in our world has grown over 40x spanning the last 10 years. The growth in data volumes has given rise to major challenges of productivity and compliance issues which were important to solve. The team at Lyft found the solution to these problems in the metadata and not in the actual data. “Metadata, also defined as ‘data about the data’, is a set of data that describes and gives information about other data.” The team solved a part of the productivity problem using the metadata. How did the team come up with Amundsen The team at Lyft realized that the majority of their time was spent in data discovery instead of prototyping and productionalization, where they actually wanted to invest more time. Data discovery involves answering questions like “If a certain type of data exists? Where is it? What is the source of truth of that data? Does it need to be accessed? And similar types of questions are answered in the process. This the reason why the team at Lyft brought the idea of Amundsen inspired a lot by search engines like Google. But Amundsen is more of searching data in the organization. Users can search for data by typing in their search term in the search box. For instance, “election results” or “users”. For ones who aren’t aware of what they are searching for, the platform offers a list of popular tables in the organization to browse through them. Image Source: LyftHow does the search ranking feature function Once the user enters the search term, the results show in-line metadata and description of the table as well the last date when the table was updated. These results are chosen by fuzzy matching the entered text with a few metadata fields such as the table name, column name, table description and column descriptions. It uses an algorithm which is similar to Page Rank, where highly queried tables show up above, while those queried less are shown later in the search results. How does the detail page look like After selecting a result, users get to the detail page which shows the name of the table along with it’s manually curated description which is followed by the column list. A special blue arrow by a column indicates that it’s a popular column which encourages users to use it. On the right-hand pane, users can see who’s the owner, who are frequent users and a general profile of the data. Image source: LyftFurther classification of metadata The team Lyft divided the metadata into a few categories and gave different access to each of the categories. Existence and other fundamental metadata This category includes name and description of table and fields, owners, last updated, etc. This metadata is available to everyone and anyone can access it. Richer metadata This category includes column stats and preview. This metadata is available to the users who have access to the data because these stats may have sensitive information which should be considered privileged. According to the team at Lyft, Amundsen has been successful at Lyft and has shown a high adoption rate and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) score. Users can now easily discover more data in a shorter time. Amundsen can also be used to store, and tag all personal data within the organization which can help an organization remain compliant. To know more about this news, check out the official post by Lyft. Read Next Lyft acquires computer vision startup Blue Vision Labs, in a bid to win the self driving car race Uber and Lyft drivers strike in Los Angeles Uber open-sources Peloton, a unified Resource Schedulerlast_img read more

AFTA roadshow putting agents in the loop

first_imgThe Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has launched a national roadshow to brief agents and the industry on the formation of the new accreditation scheme.Lead by AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury and the Accreditation Scheme general manager Gary O’Riordan, the workshops aim to explore the draft criteria for the TCF replacement as well as provide attendees with an update on the implementation and timing.The dates for the Industry Consultation Workshops are as follows:Adelaide – 6 August, Canberra – 8 August, Brisbane – 12 August, Gold Coast – 13 August, Melbourne – 20 August, Hobart – 21 August, Sydney – 22 August, Darwin – 27 August and Perth – 29 August.Mr O’Riordan said the focus over the coming months was to ensure that there is communication and engagement with the industry so that “we end up with an accreditation scheme that delivers for the industry, as well as for consumers”.Source = ETB News: N.J.last_img read more

Australian Luxury making the mark on International scale

first_imgAustralian Luxury making the mark on International scaleTwo Australian luxury resorts have been nominated in one of the most prestigious industry awards, the Virtuoso Best of the Best awards, which recognise the world’s top properties and hoteliers across 100 countries.“Australian properties are really meeting the mark when it comes to offering exceptional quality and luxury, so it is no surprise these properties are stand outs in such a strong international field,” Virtuoso Asia Pacific Managing Director, Michael Londregan said today.“Australia’s strength as an international luxury destination is undeniable, we offer an unrivalled experience which ticks the boxes of what now defines ‘luxury travel’ – authenticity, natural experience, quality food and experiential engagements.“That two of our best luxury products have been chosen in a short list of 50 hotels, resorts and spas for a total of 5 major awards, is testament to Australia’s ability to meet the travel needs of the most discerning visitor.”Gaia Retreat & Spa on the NSW North Coast has been in nominated for ‘Best Spa’ category, while newly opened Lizard Island Resort on the Great Barrier Reef has been nominated in the ‘One to Watch’ category.  Both properties will compete in a field of five and have been nominated from a list of more than 1000.  “Words cannot express how thrilled we are to be a nominee for Virtuoso Best of The Best 2015, we feel incredibly blessed and honoured,” Gaia Retreat & Spa Directors, Olivia Newton-John & Gregg Cave said.“It is a true testimony to our wonderful team who come to work with heart, giving our guests the distinction of tailored personalised attention.”Executive Director Delaware North Parks & Resorts Australia, Greg Magi, was equally delighted to have their newly refurbished Lizard Island recognised as ‘One to Watch’ amongst the worlds best resorts.“We are thrilled that Lizard Island has been shortlisted as one of the world’s top luxury destinations. It recognises there truly is nowhere else like it, and confirms it is a key property to watch this year,” Mr Magi said.“Following a $50million renovation and refurbishment, Lizard Island is delighted to welcome guests from all over the world.  We are confident Lizard Island’s new Saltwater Restaurant, Driftwood Bar and Wine Cellar, and fully refurbished suites will delight both new and returning visitors to the island.”Mr Londregan will join representatives from the two nominated resorts, along with more than 80 other Australian products and luxury travel advisors at the annual Virtuoso Travel Week event which will be held in Las Vegas’ Bellagio Resort and Casino in August.“Virtuoso Travel Week is a truly amazing event that brings together the best of the high end in luxury travel from across the globe for a number of industry forums including more than 400,000 face-to-face meetings, inspiring destination showcases and the final night’s Hotels & Resorts Dinner where the Best of the Best winners will be announced.”The 27th annual Virtuoso Travel Week will take place from 8-13 August and brings together thousands of member travel advisors who are industry leaders in creating luxury travel experiences, and the world’s best travel providers. See all the nominees hereSource = Virtuosolast_img read more

Iconic Samui resort to benefit from major renewal project

first_imgSource = Centara Hotels & Resorts Iconic Samui resort to benefit from major renewal projectIconic Samui resort to benefit from major renewal projectCentara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand’s leading hotel operator, announced it will completely upgrade and refurbish one of its most popular properties, Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, starting this June. The classic resort on Chaweng Beach will retain its colonial-style charm but benefit from major improvements before re-opening in 2020.“Even a hotel with the fabled history of this one benefits from refreshed design and innovative additions,” said Centara CEO Thirayuth Chirathivat. “When you are one of Samui’s most famous properties, you don’t rest on your laurels. Delighting our guests requires creative thinking and continuous improvement.”The resort will stay open only until 1 June 2019, then close for the renovation work. Centara plans to redesign all rooms and suites, add luxury villas, and introduce exciting new dining concepts and services. The objective is to retain the unique, classic charm of the existing hotel, but transform it to a new level of luxury.Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui has been welcoming and delighting guests for 23 years, during which time it has witnessed the development of the surrounding town and island into one of Thailand’s most popular holiday destinations. Thanks to its prime location, first class Thai style hospitality and exceptional facilities, it has stood the test of time consistently winning a host of international awards and proving one of the true Grande Dame hotels of Samui.last_img read more