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Eritrea among10 countries cited for extreme media censorship Watchdog

first_imgWashington DC: Eritrea is the world’s worst country for press censorship, a media watchdog said Tuesday in a report which also cites extreme measures in nine other countries including North Korea, China and Saudi Arabia. Under the three worst regimes — Eritrea, North Korea, and Turkmenistan — the media “serves as a mouthpiece of the state, and any independent journalism is conducted from exile,” said a report by the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USOther countries on the list of the 10 worst regimes for media “use a combination of blunt tactics like harassment and arbitrary detention as well as sophisticated surveillance and targeted hacking to silence the independent press,” the report said. Saudi Arabia, China, Vietnam, and Iran were cited for “jailing and harassing journalists and their families, while also engaging in digital monitoring and censorship of the internet and social media,” the group said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe rankings were based on factors including restrictions on privately owned or independent media; criminal defamation laws; restrictions on the dissemination of false news; blocking of websites; surveillance of journalists by authorities; license requirements for media; and targeted hacking or trolling. “The internet was supposed to make censorship obsolete, but that hasn’t happened,” said CPJ executive director Joel Simon. “Many of the world’s most censored countries are highly wired, with active online communities. These governments combine old-style brutality with new technology, often purchased from Western companies, to stifle dissent and control the media.” The report covers 10 countries where the government tightly controls the media, including Equatorial Guinea, Belarus, and Cuba. It noted that in other countries including war-ravaged nations such as Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, conditions for the media are “extremely difficult, but not necessarily attributable solely to government censorship.” In Eritrea, the report noted, the state retains a legal monopoly of broadcast media and journalists’ alternative sources of information, such as the internet or satellite broadcasts of radio stations in exile, are restricted via government-controlled internet services. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has stepped up the use of radio signal blockers and advanced radio detection equipment to prevent people from sharing information, CPJ said. The group said Saudi Arabia’s already-repressive environment for the press has “suffered sharp deterioration” under de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the report. China has the most sophisticated censorship apparatus, according to CPJ, which noted that Chinese internet users are blocked by the “Great Firewall” and that authorities monitor domestic social media networks and conduct surveillance of international journalists.last_img read more

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Some of the states and storylines worth watching as US voters head

first_imgWASHINGTON – States and storylines for Canadian observers to keep an eye on Tuesday as voters in the U.S. head to the polls for midterm elections:WOMEN: He’s not on the ballot, but Donald Trump might as well be — which is why Democrats have been focusing their campaign efforts on college-educated white women, arguably the most motivated segment of the American electorate after two years of a famously divisive and misogynist president. Add to the mix the against-all-odds confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in spite of high-school sexual assault allegations from the credible Christine Blasey Ford, and you have a powerful voting bloc capable of — and widely expected to — overturn the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Can Trump’s all-out effort to mobilize his base, comprised heavily of non-college-educated men, break up the so-called Blue Wave?MICHIGAN: Thanks to term limits, change is coming to Michigan regardless of the outcome. Former Democratic Senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer is battling rival Bill Schuette to succeed the term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, while some polls suggest Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat, is facing a challenge from Republican challenger John James. Michigan is one of eight states bordering the Great Lakes that belong to the 2008 Great Lakes Compact, an interstate agreement with Ontario and Quebec to monitor the quality and quantity of Great Lakes water. “Usually it’s a relatively bipartisan issue, but it could be impacted by who wins the gubernatorial races in particular,” said Capri Cafaro, executive in residence at American University’s School of Public Affairs and a former state senate Democrat in Ohio, another signatory.MARIJUANA: Also on the ballot in Michigan — as well as another key border state, North Dakota — are measures to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana. The drug remains illegal at the federal level, which is why crossing the border has become more complicated for Canadians working or partaking in the newly legalized pot industry. But as legalization looks poised to spread to more and more states, it can only help expedite action on the federal front, which some observers, including former Trump spokesman Anthony Scaramucci, expect the president to take after the midterms.TURNOUT: While midterm elections typically generate less voter interest than their presidential counterparts, 2018 is already bucking the trend. In the 37 states plus Washington, D.C., where some form of early voting is allowed, more than 31.5 million ballots had already been cast as of Saturday, with 22 states and D.C. exceeding turnout levels from 2014. In closely watched Missouri, for instance, projections anticipate turnout of 55 per cent, the highest in nearly 25 years.OHIO: One of the most critical elements of Donald Trump’s remarkable 2016 victory was his ability to flip blue-collar Ohio, long a critical battleground that the Republicans won by eight points two years ago, thanks in large measure to his “America First” trade mantra. Whether Democrat challenger Richard Cordray can wrest the governorship away from opponent Mike DeWine — two-term Republican Gov. John Kasich has reached his term limit — depends largely on whether Cordray’s focus on workers’ rights can overthrow working-class fondness for the president.NAFTA/USMCA: It’s not a ballot issue for Americans, who have long since moved on. But with the deal still requiring ratification in all three countries and Section 232 tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum exports still in place, there are more than enough loose ends to keep stakeholders near the edge of their seats. Few experts anticipate any problems in Congress even if the Republicans lose the House; it’s less an issue of ‘if’ than of ‘when.’ And ‘when’ is important, given the ongoing impact of tariffs — deferred, to a degree, by a strong domestic economy — and U.S. farmers keen to have access to export markets in Mexico and Canada.WISCONSIN: When Canadians contemplate all their recent NAFTA angst, the dairy-drenched border state of Wisconsin often springs to mind — and gratitude to Trump for a U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that provides better access to export markets could well play a role Tuesday. But Wisconsin is intriguing for a different issue, one near and dear to Canada’s heart: health care. Republicans like Gov. Scott Walker, a Trump ally and a vociferous critic of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, have been desperately trying to convince voters they won’t eliminate Obamacare’s protection for people with pre-existing conditions. Walker is in a pitched battle with Democratic rival Tony Evers.TEXAS: Deep in the heart of this traditionally Republican bastion is one of the marquee matchups of the 2018 midterms: the Canadian-born Republican senator and Trump tormentor-turned-ally Ted Cruz versus young upstart Democrat challenger Beto O’Rourke. Cruz has a fairly comfortable lead in the polls, but the very fact that O’Rourke has given Cruz a scare underscores the fact that Democrats, fuelled in part by O’Rourke’s surge and energized young and Latino voters, are challenging Republicans all over in the increasingly progressive Lone Star state.last_img read more

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Sri Lanka continuing conflict sparks UN concern over fate of children

Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, said in a press release that she is worried about children who are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and child combatants used by the LTTE.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that around 230,000 people have been displaced due to intensified fighting in northern Sri Lanka during the second half of 2008.Ms. Coomaraswamy urged the rebel group to allow children and their families to move away from conflict areas, and called on the Government to provide assistance in a way that respects their fundamental rights.“Any camp set up for IDPs has to meet international standards,” she said. “The Government of Sri Lanka should work with international and local humanitarian actors to ensure their safety and security.”Additionally, the Special Representative appealed to the LTTE to immediately release its child fighters.She voiced hope that the Government will take part in talks on how to spare their lives, stressing that both authorities and humanitarian partners should prepare to separate these children and reintegrate them back into their families.“We must not forget the children. They are the next generation and they must be protected as much as possible.”Last week, the UN humanitarian chief said he is increasingly concerned for the well-being of tens of thousands of civilians caught up in the conflict raging in the northern Vanni area of Sri Lanka.“As fighting surrounds the areas towards which families have been displaced, and with few choices about where to move, they are increasingly susceptible to harm due to the fighting,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said in a statement.“While they have had access to basic food, in large part due to the Government and the UN assistance transported through the lines of fighting,” he said, “they have few, if any, reserves and the conditions of their basic shelter, water and sanitation are increasingly inadequate as many have been displaced multiple times over the last months, weeks and days.” 21 January 2009A senior United Nations official today expressed concern over the fate of thousands of children caught up in the conflict in Sri Lanka pitting Government forces against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). read more

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Girls less likely than boys to be freed from DR Congos ranks

12 February 2010Despite efforts to end the use of child soldiers in the war-torn east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), youngsters are still being recruited within the ranks of both the rebels and the national army, with girls at particular risk of becoming sex slaves and less likely to be released, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said. Despite efforts to end the use of child soldiers in the war-torn east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), youngsters are still being recruited within the ranks of both the rebels and the national army, with girls at particular risk of becoming sex slaves and less likely to be released, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said. “Used as combatants, labour and sex slaves, victims of months-long violence and rape, girls are all too rarely freed by the armed forces and groups,” UNICEF said in a news release in Goma, eastern DRC, marking the International Day against the use of Child Soldiers, noting that only 20 per cent of freed children under the agency’s care were girls. While welcoming Government efforts, including the adoption of a law punishing recruiters of child soldiers with 20 years in prison, UNICEF noted that children were still being recruited or forced into the national army and armed groups. In a message marking the Day, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, UNICEF Eminent Advocate for Children, noted that nearly 250,000 child soldiers are serving in various conflicts around the world. “Oblivious to danger in the face of death, easily impressionable and vulnerable, children are the expendable pawns in a deadly game orchestrated by adults,” she said. Since 2004 more than 36,000 children in the DRC have been rescued from armed forces and groups, mostly in the east. In 2000, nearly 6,000 youngsters were freed, but only 1,222 of these were girls. “The place for children, whether boys or girls, is within the family, never within an armed group,” UNICEF Country Representative Pierette Vu Thi said. “All children, and especially young girls, associated with armed forces and groups are traumatized by their experience and need very special care. It is vital that they return to a child’s life as quickly as possible.” Earlier this week the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) reported that the number of women raped in eastern DRC topped 8,000 last year. Although the mainly Rwandan ethnic Hutu rebel militia, known as the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR), which has been operating in the DRC since 1994 Rwandan genocide, are thought to be responsible for most rapes, members of the national army are also guilty of sexual abuse, it added. read more

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Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne promises housing affordability measures very soon

TORONTO — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says her government will introduce a package of housing affordability measures “very soon” that she believes will have a swift impact on the hot Toronto-area housing market.When asked if the package would include measures that may have a swift cooling effect on the market, such as a tax on foreign buyers or real estate speculators, Wynne says there’s a need for action that will have an impact “fairly quickly.”The premier wouldn’t provide any details on the package, but says her Liberal government recognizes the complexity of the market and will be judicious in its approach.Correct this housing market if you dare — but the market will do it betterSeven ways to cool Toronto’s red-hot housing marketOverheating housing could drag down economy, RBC warnsMeanwhile, Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown is calling for longer-term measures to address housing supply shortage.Brown has asked the government to establish a panel of experts to develop housing market measures.The average selling price for all properties in the Greater Toronto Area in March was $916,567 — a 33-per-cent jump from the same month last year. read more

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Meeting at UN States parties to antiracism treaty elect nine committee members

The 170 States which have signed the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination today elected nine members of their 18-member monitoring committee to replace those stepping down this month.At the beginning of their 21st meeting, those elected to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) included Ambassador Jose Augusto Lindgren Alves of Brazil, law professor Linos-Alexander Sicilianos of Greece, law professor Nourredine Amir of Algeria, Danish Institute for Human Rights executive director Morten Kjaerum, former Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmoud Aboul-Nasr of Egypt.The others were former Foreign Minister Agha Shahi of Pakistan, Senior Advocate General Régis de Gouttes of the French Court of Cassaton, law professor Patrick Thornberry of the United Kingdom and Human Rights Director in the Government of Togo Kokou Mawuena Ika Kana Dieudonné Ewomsan.The other nine committee members will serve until 19 January 2008.The members also elected Paulette Bethel of the Bahamas as the meeting’s chairperson, as well as Paul Badji of Senegal, Muhammad Anshur of Indonesia and Marija Antonijevic of Serbia and Montenegro as vice-chairpersons.Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s representative, Bacre Waly Ndiaye, Director of the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told the delegates that since their previous meeting in January 2004, the number of States parties to the Convention had increased from 169 to 170, with the ratification by Comoros.Among its many activities in the past two years, the Committee had issued four opinions and decisions in connection with communications received from individuals or groups alleging violations of their rights under the Convention, he said. read more

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Bonn Financing for lowcarbon climateresilient future takes center stage at UN climate

The urgent need to raise the finances to meet the funding goals of the Paris Agreement, especially to support action by developing countries, took center stage Monday at the UN Climate Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany. “We need all financial players – public, private, domestic, international – and including markets and regulators, to work together effectively to mobilize at least $1.5 trillion in climate finance that is needed every year,” said Eric Usher, Head of Finance Initiative at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). As part of ‘Finance for Climate Day’ at COP23, high-level representatives from across the sector highlighted their efforts to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement of keeping the average global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 Celsius. They stressed that every dollar invested in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change gets double the bang for the buck because it directly supports the international community’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to the UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, finance for climate is flowing at a greater pace than ever, with vibrant and growing markets for renewable energy, electric vehicles, green buildings and climate-smart agriculture seeing aggressive growth, backed by exponential advances in innovative green financial instruments, indices and markets. Equally, the finance sector is recognizing to a much greater degree where and how climate change presents risks to its existing investments and the need to adjust their portfolios away from carbon-intensive assets to reduce that risk. However, much more is needed to secure finance and investment at the scale required to deliver a fully de-carbonized and climate-resilient global economy by 2050. “The potential for climate friendly investment in areas such as clean energy and climate-smart agriculture is enormous,” said Laura Tuck, Vice-President Sustainable Development at the World Bank. “The key is to get the funding to flow so that everyone everywhere can benefit from low-carbon and climate resilient investments.” Peter Damgaard Jensen, CEO of the Danish Pension provider PKA and Chair of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) said at a press conference that “it is extremely important that there is a significant increase of investor awareness and action with regards to supporting the transition […] to a low carbon economy.” “Strong investment signals from policy makers across carbon trading, energy, transport and buildings, are essential to unlock the necessary capital,” he added. Members of African civil society and members of Parliament spoke today on the urgency of climate finance as a prerequisite to ambitious action in African countries. “Africa is the continent that pollutes the least,” but “it is Africa which suffers the effect of climate change,” said at a press conference Roger Nkodo Dang, President of the Pan-African Parliament, which is the legislative body of the African Union. In an interview with UN News, he added that developed countries have a duty to provide additional support to Africans for their green development. “If you tell us ‘do not cut the wood,’ we say, ‘you bring us electricity,’” he said. “It’s not a favor; it’s a compensation.” read more

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South Sudan UN migration agency and partners reach more than 140000 people

Following an outbreak in February, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has also been leading a reactive measles vaccination campaign in Aweil East, which reached more than 83,700 children last month.“Children are extremely vulnerable to outbreaks of measles and other contagious diseases,” explained Derebe Tadesse, IOM Migration Health Officer. “The measles vaccine will save lives. With just one dose, 85 percent of children over nine months and 95 percent of children over twelve months of age are immune.”Since the start of the conflict in 2013, protracted displacement and poor health conditions have contributed to yearly cholera outbreaks in South Sudan.In 2017, IOM reached more than 469,800 people with oral cholera vaccination campaigns in Unity, Warrap, and Eastern Equatoria. With an estimated 5.1 million people in need of emergency health care assistance, IOM continues to work country-wide to provide aid to vulnerable populations affected by the conflict. read more

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Baseball Buckeyes blank Bobcats pick up seasons first shutout in 40 win

Ohio State sophomore Jake Vance throws a pitch in the third inning of the Buckeyes’ 4-0 win against the Ohio Bobcats at Bill Davis Stadium on April 10. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorIt was a hand-wringing 40 degrees in Bill Davis Stadium Tuesday night, but Ohio State sophomore Jake Vance’s fastball blazed by six opposing hitters for strikeouts in 5.2 innings of shutout work.The Buckeyes (21-10, 3-3 Big Ten) preyed upon the advantageous start and hunted down a 4-0 win against the Ohio Bobcats (15-15, 4-5 MAC), blanking an opponent for the first time this season.In just his third start of the season, Vance picked up most of his strikeouts with burners high in the zone, but counted on his offspeed pitches to help set up the fastballs.“[His] changeup is probably the most effective pitch,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said. “That just makes the fastball look even better.”The Buckeye bullpen followed Vance’s start with 3.1 shutout innings. Redshirt junior reliever Thomas Waning threw 2.1 innings, then gave way to Andrew Magno and Yianni Pavlopoulos, who combined for an inning of work to blank the Bobcats for the first time this season.No player on either team tallied more than a single hit and neither team managed a run in the first four innings.Senior third baseman Noah McGowan finally got his team on the scoreboard with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. He roped the seventh pitch through the left side of the infield to score the game’s first two runs.“The kid wasn’t throwing many fastballs, just off-speed stuff,” McGowan said. “[I was] just trying to really see pitches up, and get something I could barrel up.”Despite his team securing the win, Beals was not pleased with Ohio State’s offensive performance.“Just been really disappointing to me our offense is coming off arguably one of the best weeks in a long time,” Beals said. “Then we go to Iowa, and this, and play in freezing cold weather and it slowed our offense down.”Ohio State made a laundry list of defensive changes for the game, deviating from its normal alignment at every infield position and in center field.One of those switches involved sophomore Conner Pohl, who flipped spots with McGowan on the corners and started at first base. He hit an RBI single in the fifth inning to give the Buckeyes a 3-0 lead.Ohio State redshirt junior catcher Jacob Barnwell knocked in the game’s fourth and final run with a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning.Senior Cory Blessing started on the mound for Ohio and pitched three shutout innings. Freshman reliever Eddie Kutt picked up his first loss of the season after giving up three runs in five innings. read more

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Commentary What we learned from the Ohio State Spring Game

Saturday afternoon marked the beginning of a new era of Ohio State football. For the first time, Urban Meyer took the field at Ohio Stadium as head coach of the Buckeyes in front of a crowd of 81,112 people for the 2012 LiFE Sports Spring Game. The intrasquad scrimmage finished with the Scarlet team defeating Gray, 20-14. The final score from the two sides of the divided roster does not carry much relevance, but the performances on the field presented OSU fans with a glimpse into how the team will look this fall. Both offenses and defenses had their ups and downs, but there were a number of aspects from both teams that stood out in the four 10-minute quarters Saturday. 1. Michael Thomas could be the playmaker OSU lacked last season at wide receiver. Thomas enrolled during Winter Quarter as an incoming freshman, but he looks ready to begin making an impact in the passing offense from the team’s first game this fall. Thomas was sensational Saturday, finishing the game with 12 receptions for 131 yards. Last year’s leading receiver, rising sophomore Devin Smith, had 14 receptions and 294 yards for the entire season, and he played in 13 full games. Thomas has good size at 6-foot-2 and is an effective route runner who has the lateral agility to be a difference-maker in space. Even when matched up against the Buckeyes’ best cornerback, rising redshirt sophomore Bradley Roby, he was making receptions on Saturday. 2. The offense should emphasize passing over rushing. Last year, OSU had more than twice as many rushing attempts as passing attempts. The Spring Game indicated that should change this fall. The two teams combined had 55 passing attempts and 443 total passing yards, compared to only 35 rushing attempts and 89 total rushing yards. Meyer said after the game that OSU passed so much during the Spring Game because that’s what the team needed to work on. Regardless, the Buckeyes should pass more often, pairing a more experienced rising sophomore Braxton Miller under center with a more aggressive offensive game plan. 3. The Buckeyes plan to use the no-huddle offense this season. One of OSU’s deficiencies last season was their lack of a hurry-up offense. With an inexperienced freshman quarterback and an inefficient offensive system, the Buckeyes often drove down the field methodically, even late in a game. This year, expect OSU to be able to run an efficient no-huddle offense. The Scarlet offense, led by Miller, came right out of the gate with this strategy, and drove 80 yards to score quickly in 2:17. If Miller can do this with the full OSU offense this fall, the Buckeyes will have much more success at scoring late in games when they need points, and keep opposing defenses on their heels. 4. Ryan Shazier is ready to be a star of the OSU defense. While rising senior captain defensive end John Simon should rightfully earn the majority of attention as the star of the OSU defense, opponents will also have to prepare for Shazier, a rising sophomore outside linebacker. In Shazier’s first start last season against Penn State, he had 15 tackles. He also started the final two games of the season in which he had 18 total tackles. On Saturday, he stood out once again as a playmaker on the defense. He had eight tackles, including two for loss, and was consistently around the football when he was on the field. OSU is well-known for its history of great linebackers. With three years of eligibility remaining, Shazier has the time and talent to be the next great at the position. 5. The defensive line is the strength of the team. Simon barely played Saturday, and rising junior defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins did not play due to a knee injury. Even without the two best defensive linemen on the field, defense dominated the line of scrimmage. The two teams combined for nine sacks on Saturday. Six-and-a-half of them came from defensive linemen, including two from rising sophomore Steve Miller and one-and-a-half from rising redshirt junior Adam Bellamy. Granted, many of these sacks came against reserves on the offensive line, but they nonetheless showed that the defensive line is deep with talent. read more

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Morten Soubak is the new Hypo NO coach

Austrian eternal champion and four times Women’s EHF Champions League winner, Hypo NO has announced the name of new coach just two weeks after winning the Cup Wnners Cup 2013. New head-coach is Morten Soubak, who will have dual function as he staying at Brazilian NT bench. Danish coach will have “easy task” to get more information about the current roster as eight Brazilian players are member of Hypo…He will replace Andras Nemeth on the bench… ← Previous Story Hapoel Rishon Lezion is the new Israeli handball Champion! Next Story → Claus Uhrenholt is new BSV Silkeborg coach handball coachhandball transfersHypo NoMorten Soubak read more

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Meet the man attempting to become the first Irish person to row

first_imgHis family and friends, on the other hand, are not quite so assured about the prospect of him being away for a couple of weeks.“I think they still think I’m mad to be honest. They’re very supportive but they’re also very apprehensive. I’d say there’d be a few tears on the start line — put it that way. To be honest, a lot of people don’t understand the extent of it. ‘My girlfriend said sure you’re not rowing the whole Pacific, you’re only doing half of it. ‘You can’t please everybody. But it’s a mixed reaction overall.”Yet such arduous challenges are not exactly unique to Cavanagh, as someone who spent their youth competing in a series of track and cross-country events. “One of the reasons I wanted to do this as well. I’d been running up for two or three years at a decent level. And as any runner will know at any level, it’s all about pushing yourself as far as your body will let you. That’s essentially what the challenge is — your body and your mind. It’s just a case of pushing to the limits.”Moreover, as the only Irish participant, achieving this goal would be particularly unique and significant from Cavanagh’s perspective.“There’s never been an Irish team to ever row the Pacific and no Irish person has attempted it before. There’s only 18 people who’ve ever crossed it in fact. It shows the enormity of the challenge that lies ahead for us. There’d be a lot of New Zealand crews and UK crews as well, so we’re up against the best in the world. But we reckon we’ll definitely be able to put it up to them on the day.“The current world record is 64 days. That was back in 1997 and it was by a solo participant as well. So we reckon we’d smash that in half. Other crews will obviously go under it as well. But our aim is to be the first crew over the line and to ideally get under the 30 days. But we really don’t know. No four has ever done it before. We don’t know how long it’s going to take. You could be lucky or unlucky with the conditions that you’re in.” Yet despite his enthusiasm, the process from thereon in was still less than straightforward.“The only problem I had at that stage is that I didn’t have a crew, I didn’t have any money and I never rowed before,” he explains. “I found out about the first Pacific Race the following year, which was last year, and when I talked to an ocean-rowing friend of mine — Aodhán Kelly is his name — I asked him what it was like and he said ‘the Pacific is a different kettle of fish altogether’ and that kind of sold it to me more than any brochure ever could. And ever since then, I was hooked on it.“I had no interest with the rowing up until a few years ago.  I came from an athletics background. The majority of people who do these races — I don’t know if naivety is the key, but they tend to not be experts.”His next step was selecting teammates to accompany him on this arduous journey and perhaps somewhat surprisingly given how daunting it sounds, he was spoiled for choice when it came to selecting crewmates.YouTube credit: Paul Gleeson(Paul Gleeson rowed across the Atlantic in 2005)An ad request that he persuaded an “adventurer similar to Bear Grylls” — Alastair Humphreys — to promote, prompted over 350 responses within a week.“Eventually I Skyped whoever I narrowed it down to. One of the members of the crew party came over to Dublin. We went out and had about eight pints in Temple Bar. And then the next day, we were rowing an ocean together. Like any Irishman’s decision, it involved a few drinks,” he laughs.“Then we went over to the UK and met the other guys. When I was doing the selection process, the main thing was to be able to get on with them. If they’d never rowed before, they could have learned to row — it can be worked on. You can get fitter over the eight months [before the race starts]. So it was all about making sure four people gel, given the amount of time you’re going to spend together.“The lads are all English, so my main thing over the course of the race is to make sure they don’t do as many miles as I do and I’m sure it’s vice versa. It’s a good rivalry to have.”Given that Cavanagh was a relative latecomer to the sport, it’s hardly a surprise that the initial familiarisation process was quite painstaking.“The first time I went out was in a boat that ‘couldn’t capsize,’ and I was about two inches from capsizing it, so I thought ‘Jesus, this isn’t for me at all’. But with a bit of perseverance, it does get a lot easier, and the ocean-rowing boats are a lot more stable than the four rowing boats would be. They’re made not to capsize, and people are generally shocked when they see the size of the boat. They’re expecting a massive cruiseliner, but they’re quite small. They’re only designed and built from carbon fibre. So they’d withstand any bad conditions.” “The seed was implanted,” he tells TheScore.ie. “I was hooked on rowing ocean after that. It grew over the next couple of years. It started with going on eBay and buying a rake of ocean-rowing books. I became kind of a land expert if you will, and I made the decision then to not only commit to row the ocean, but aim to win it as well.” Moreover, while Cavanagh may still be relatively inexperienced as a rower, he is hardly under-prepared for the challenge.“We do a lot of safety courses in the lead up to the race, so we’ve got mandatory courses like a VHF Sat Nav courses, safety courses, self-riding for the boat. In terms of safety courses,  there isn’t much riding that you can do. The worst case is that you just batten down the hatches. You have a sea anchor, which is just like a parachute. It expands and fills with water. We throw that out overboard and wait for it. That’s where you literally can’t row and you row backwards when two people are rowing. You call it a day and put the anchor out and just wait for it to pass. But there isn’t too much preparation you can do for something like a hurricane.”YouTube credit: Discovery TVSurprisingly, given the magnitude of the task in which 30 teams from around the world will compete, he is relatively calm about what lies ahead. And even more interestingly, there is at least one challenge he would baulk at.“The solo entrants — people say I’m mad to do it in the first place — but I think they’re the mad ones, going 18 hours a day, sleeping for six, and getting back up and doing it again.“The only scary part for me is that I’m not scared. I probably should be. Or maybe I will be on the start line. Or maybe after three or four dark nights on your own when you start thinking something’s gone wrong here. There could potentially be sharks, but main factor for me is the weather conditions being really bad and turning the boat over. You could have a freak wave out of nowhere that might knock you off the boat.“Also, the really tight spaces — it’s more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge. It’s about how you deal with getting back up after two hours sleep and doing it again. You don’t have to be the fittest person in the world to compete and that’s one of the things that I want to show Irish people.  I don’t want people to think that I’m this superman who’s done a million challenges. I’ve done marathons and the likes, but this is my first big challenge. And I just want to show people that it’s a mental challenge. If you think you have it, then you probably do.” And while this challenge sounds quite spectacular, there are plenty of less-than-glamorous elements to it as well.“Our toilet system is a bucket-and-chuck-it system for those that don’t know,” he says. “There’s not really a private area that you can go to. That’s something one of the lads is looking forward to least.”Yet, although this may sound extremely unsavoury, toilet etiquette is probably the least of their concerns.“Ideally, what will happen on the boat is that two people will always be rowing and two people will always be sleeping or tying a knot. It’ll be a minimum of four weeks so you’ll be spending the four weeks with three other pretty smelly men in a really small cabin.“Onboard, we’ll have dry-packed food. It won’t be five-course meals or anything. It’ll be ration packs that we eat. We have a water-maker on board. From time to time, we’ll have a secondary one, which is basically just a hand-pumped one, so it takes about an hour to make 20 litres. It’s quite a manual process — you’re just pumping water. And the race itself is from California to Hawaii. It’s just one race — we don’t stop moving for the 4-6 weeks.”(British rower Jim Shekhdar with his daughters, Sarah and Anna, and wife Jane — in 2001, the 54-year-old rowed his way in to the record books after completing the 274-day journey from Peru to Brisbane, Australia to become the first person to row across the Pacific Ocean unaided – Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/Press Association Images)One of the biggest challenges for the crew will be coping with the array of weather conditions they’re likely to encounter.“It’ll be incredibly warm during the day in the cabin,” he says. “So one of the biggest challenges we will have is trying to sleep. So you’ll be fairly knackered after your shift trying to sleep in the warm conditions. At night time then, they can have pretty bad storms. You might even get caught in a hurricane. They’ll even have cases on the VHF where you have to be on alert for shark attacks. There’s a couple of different factors.” The €100,000 that the crew are hoping to raise will be divided among three charites — Cancer Research UK, Dogs in Distress and Aware, with the latter being particularly close to Cavanagh’s heart.“I know people close to me who’ve suffered from depression, so it’s a fairly important charity. And I know what we wanted to try to do was target charities, who were not necessarily struggling financially but where 30 grand would make a massive difference to them, as opposed to someone else where they might get two or three million a year in sponsorship already.” There is such a restriction on weight that the crew won’t even be affording themselves the small luxury of alcohol on board, hence Cavanagh is planning on having “a Chinese and a few bottles of beer” as his last meal before setting out to sea.And when he finishes? “I’ll get off the boat and sit down, have a bottle of beer and a cigar and think why the f*ck did I sign up to this,” he laughs. “Whose idea was that?”For more details on how to donate, you can visit pacificrow14.comKeane and O’Neill take centre stage together on Gift Grub for the first time>Column: Why I ran the New York City marathon> WHEN MOST PEOPLE enjoy a book, they might recommend it to a friend or reserve a special place for it in their memory, yet Philip Cavanagh’s experience of Little Lady, One Man, Big Ocean was altogether more extraordinary. In fact, it was life changing.Before he read the book, he says he had no interest in rowing whatsoever. Fast forward a few years later and he is set to try to become the first Irishman to attempt, with three crewmates, to row 2,100 miles across the Pacific Ocean in a world record time. In addition, Cavanagh and his crewmates are also hoping to raise €100,000 for charity ahead of this unenviable task.Given that the duration of the event is roughly 40 days and he’ll have to fight potential pitfalls including torrential weather, possible hurricanes, shark attacks, sleep deprivation and seasickness, my first question is simple: what on Earth possessed him to undertake this challenge?In response, Cavanagh recalls how he received the aforementioned book — about Paul Gleeson, another Irishman who successfully rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in 2005 — as a seemingly innocuous Christmas present. However it didn’t take long for him to become obsessed with its subject matter. Naturally, he is now considerably more confident and adept in a boat and despite the fact that the race won’t get underway until June 2014, his training is already at an intensive stage.“I’m training seven times a week,” he says. “Ideally it would be 10 or 11 sessions a week, but with a nine-to-five job and a girlfriend, it’s difficult to juggle everything at the moment. It would be a mixture of weights, cardio, running, rowing on the machine — the key would be getting out on the water itself, so the currach at the moment is going up and down the Liffey in the evenings and then down the Irish Sea at the weekends.” And having to cope with such pressure will undoubtedly result in several tense moments, however Cavanagh explains that the crew are determined to handle such circumstances in as positive a manner as possible.“I’ve said to the other lads, we’ve only really three rules on board — with the tight space that we have, there’s no negativity on the boat because you can’t go anywhere if you have a fight with somebody. The second rule is don’t be late for your shift. It’s important that you’re not two or three minutes late where those 60 seconds on the boat are golden — that’s all you have. Then the third rule is do not miss your shift. You find you get to the point where your bartering — you get to the point where you say ‘I’ll give you this if you do five minutes.’”last_img read more

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Deal done for Corks new event centre but it could end up

first_img http://jrnl.ie/3847393 Deal done for Cork’s new event centre but it could end up costing the State more money The Irish Examiner reports that than an extra €10 million of public money has been pledged. Short URL Monday 12 Feb 2018, 11:55 AM 17,837 Views Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Image: Youtube/Irish Examiner CORK POLITICIANS ARE seeking clarifications on plans for the much-discussed event centre in the city after reports that additional public money is to be invested in the project.The Irish Examiner reported this morning that a funding deal has been agreed that could see work starting on the project later this year.The report says that the State is to invest an extra €10 million on top of the €20 million it’s already pledged into the project. The new investment will be for “supporting public infrastructure” around the site.Private investors are also said to be increasing their funding by up to €10 million.Plans for the 6,000 capacity venue and conference centre are being spearheaded by construction firm BAM and entertainment company Live Nation.Both companies had previously been seeking an additional €12 million in State funding for the project.It’s envisaged that the event centre will be developed on the old Beamish & Crawford brewery, which was founded in 1792 but has long since closed.Speaking today about reports of the funding deal, Solidarity TD Mick Barry said that authorities need to explain what is meant by the “support infrastructure” the State will be pumping money into.“This ‘support infrastructure’ add-on means that the cost of the project is now €73 million plus €10 million with the State providing €40 million of the €83 million total.  The taxpayer will now be covering half the cost of an event centre which will be owned and controlled by private interests,” he said.Barry added that he would be attempting to raise the issue in the Dáil tomorrow and argued that the delayed project “underlined the case for a State construction company”.Labour councillor Peter Horgan has complained that there has been a “culture of secrecy” surrounding the project that needs to end.“If a deal has been done, then the public need to know the nuts and bolts of such a deal. The people of Cork want this to happen. They need this to happen but not at any cost or at the cost of democratic accountability,” Horgan said.TheJournal.ie has asked BAM for a statement on its position with regard to the funding of the project.Read: ‘If you must build something there, it has to be world class’ – the saga of the €250 million Cork city skyscraper >Read: ‘They don’t want it slipping through their fingers’: Just what is happening with the Cork Event Centre? >center_img An artist’s depiction of what the site could look like. Image: Youtube/Irish Examiner 36 Comments Feb 12th 2018, 11:55 AM Share52 Tweet Email6 By Rónán Duffy An artist’s depiction of what the site could look like.last_img read more

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The Irish Constitution still makes reference to womans place in the home

first_img Short URL The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.Three different reports, as well as the 2013 Constitutional Convention, recommended the abolition or reform of the clause.The article has been used in legal cases around gender discrimination and recognition of work done in the home.As Gerry Whyte of the Trinity College Dublin Law School explained in a 2013 submission to the Constitutional Convention:In L v. L (1989) Judge Barr in the High Court argued that Article 41.2 obliged the courts to have regard to work done as a home maker in calculating a wife’s share in the matrimonial home. Wednesday 8 Mar 2017, 6:07 AM The Irish Constitution still makes reference to woman’s place in the home Dublin Rathdown deputy Josepha Madigan wants a referendum on Article 41.2.1 of Bunreacht na hÉireann. 32,776 Views Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article A FINE GAEL TD wants any mention of women’s role within the home removed from the Irish Constitution.Dublin Rathdown deputy Josepha Madigan wants a referendum on Article 41.2.1 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, which deals specifically with the role and rights of women.It reads:In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. Share136 Tweet Email5 Mar 8th 2017, 6:07 AM 54 Comments By Paul Hosford Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland And:In DT v CT, (2002) Article 41.2.1º was cited by two members of the Supreme Court, Judges Denham and Murray, in support of the view that, in deciding whether proper provision had been made for a spouse for the purposes of the divorce jurisdiction in Article 41.3.2º, regard had to be had to the work of a spouse caring for dependants, the family and the home.Whyte adds that the article was unlikely to be used to force the state improve financial supports for women.Given that tax and social welfare matters directly affect public expenditure, and that decisions on public expenditure are regarded as the preserve of the Oireachtas and the executive, it is unlikely that the courts would use Article 41.2.2 to impose additional financial obligations on the State to support mothers in the home.Madigan said the clause was an anachronism that is not reflective of today’s Ireland.Until 1973 the marriage bar restricted the employment of married women, often resulting in termination of employment. There was never an economic rationale behind the marriage bar, 1973 was far too late for its abolition- but 44 years later it is ludicrous that the backwards thinking behind the bar remains enshrined in our Constitution.“Our Constitution should not narrowly define our roles in society. I would like to see this anachronistic Article consigned to history. Modern Irish women and modern Irish families deserve more than the archaic notions of the 1937 Constitution.”Orla O’Connor from the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) said the clause has more symbolic power than real.The Article is completely outdated and doesn’t reflect the society we have or want. It’s the symbolic nature of it. The Constitution should be about espousing the qualities and values we want. It is in the background on many policies and attitudes in society.The NWCI is committed to a referendum repealing the Article, but says its priority is a referendum on the Eighth Amendment.The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on Monday called for the amendment of Article 41.2 of the Constitution to remove”stereotypical language on the role of women in the home.”Read: ‘When you have a certain body type it’s easy to feel exercise isn’t for you – and that’s a problemRead: Public asked to lay flowers at graves of Magdalene women today http://jrnl.ie/3275347 last_img read more

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Two Rare Viking Burial Ships Unearthed in Sweden

Two Rare Viking Burial Ships Unearthed in Sweden

first_imgStay on target In what is being called a “sensational” find, archaeologists have unearthed two Viking burial ships in the Swedish municipality of Uppsala.Burial ship sites of this kind is extremely rare in Sweden. Only 10 such discoveries have been made in the Scandinavian country, according to experts.One of the burial ships (or “boat graves) found in Uppsala, Sweden. (Photo Credit: Arkeologerna, Shm)“This is a unique excavation, the last burial ship was examined 50 years ago,” said Anton Seiler, an archeologist with Arkeologerna, which works with Sweden’s historical museums.The two graves were accidentally discovered near the grounds of a vicagare in Gamla Uppsala during an excavation last fall in preparation for the construction of an extension to the site by the Swedish Church. Archeologists investigated the find this past June.A skeleton of a man, buried with a horse and a dog, was found in one of the burial ship sites. (Photo Credit: Arkeologerna, Shm)In one “pristine” grave, archaeologists found the remains of man buried in the stern of the boat together with his horse and dog. Iron fittings, most likely from horse equipment, were found with the remains. Weapons, including a sword, spear, and shield, and a richly ornate comb, believed to belong to the man, were also found in the grave.Archaeologists believe the other “less intact” grave was damaged when the basement of the vicarage was constructed. They also unearthed  boat rivets of iron and parts of wood from the planks that constituted the boats. The damaged boat was likely the larger of the two, measuring about 23 feet long.A shield and a comb was found in one of the burial ship sites. (Photo Credit: Arkeologerna, Shm)These types of burials, where individuals were placed in full-sized boats, typically dates back to the Vendel Period (around 550-800 AD) or the Viking Age (800-1050 AD), when it was more common to cremate the dead. The burials were not available to the common folk. They are thought to have been reserved for individuals with high status.Researchers are hoping to analyze the ships, especially the “untouched” one, to learn more about the burial rituals.Archaeologists work on the skeleton of a horse found in the burial ship site. (Photo Credit: Arkeologerna, Shm)“It is exciting because it is very rare to investigate boat graves,” Seiler said. “Now we have [more opportunities] than before for scientific analyses, which will give exciting results and generate completely new findings.”Parts of the new discovery will be exhibited at Gamla Uppsala Museum and Stockholm’s Swedish History Museum. More on Geek.com:Dracula’s 15th-Century Cannonballs Discovered in BulgariaSecret Chamber Discovered in Roman Emperor Nero’s PalaceGeo-Radar Detects Viking Ship Buried Underground in Norway Amazing Hoard of 1,000-Year-Old Coins Discovered by Metal Detectorists7th-Century Skeleton From Merovingian Era Unearthed in France last_img read more

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Major Publishers Sue Audible Over Audiobook Captioning

Major Publishers Sue Audible Over Audiobook Captioning

first_imgStay on target Marvel Comics to Get Audiobook TreatmentAudible for Dogs Keeps Your Pets Company Seven major book publishers are suing Audible over a new captions feature that transcribes and displays the text of narrated performances.The Association of American Publishers (AAP), on behalf of its member companies, has filed a complaint asking the U.S. District Court to squelch Audible’s machine-generated function.The suit, filed on Friday in New York, claims “willful copyright infringement,” and highlights Audible’s alleged efforts to “take for itself cross-format features” without authorization from, compensation to, or quality control by intellectual property owners.In this case, that includes Chronicle Books, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishing Group, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster.“We are extremely disappointed by Audible’s deliberate disregard of authors, publishers, and copyright law,” AAP President and CEO Maria Pallante said in a statement.Introduced in late July, Audible Captions aims to enhance the literary experience by allowing listeners to follow along with “a few lines of text.”“We developed this technology because we believe our culture, particularly in under-resourced environments, is at risk of losing a significant portion of the next generation of book readers,” Audible CEO Don Katz wrote in a summer announcement.A sentiment with which I’m sure the AAP agrees.It’s the underhanded way Audible approached the feature that publishers are not on board with.“In what can only be described as an effort to seek commercial advantage from literary works that it did not create and does not own, Audible is willfully pushing a product that is unauthorized, interferes and competes with established markets, and is vulnerable to grammatical and spelling inaccuracies,” according to Pallante.“It is a disservice to everyone affected, including readers,” she said.Audible, of course, disagrees with the claims of copyright violation.“We are surprised and disappointed by this action and any implication that we have not been speaking and working with publishers about this feature, which has not yet launched,” the firm wrote in response.“Captions was developed because we, like so many leading educators and parents, want to help kids who are not reading engage more through listening,” it continued. “It is not and was never intended to be a book.”Audible already provides simultaneous text and audio via “Immersion Reading” (read along with the ebook as you listen to the audiobook)—which the AAP said operates lawfully, and without errors.More on Geek.com:Audible for Dogs Keeps Your Pets CompanyPornhub Adds Closed Captioning for PornJ.D. Salinger Works Finally Released as E-Bookslast_img read more

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Texas 10 Most Wanted Man On Run Since 2006 Caught In Mexico

Texas 10 Most Wanted Man On Run Since 2006 Caught In Mexico

first_img Share Photo via the Texas Department of Public Safety37-year-old Freddie Alaniz was caught Monday in Cancun, Mexico.A man on the Texas 10 Most Wanted list facing sexual assault and murder charges has been captured in Mexico after a dozen years on the run.The Texas Department of Public Safety says 37-year-old Freddie Alaniz was caught Monday in Cancun, Mexico. He’s been transported to San Antonio.DPS records show Alaniz in February 2006 was arrested in Zavala County on a charge of sexual assault of a child, then released on bail.Alaniz later that month was arrested in San Antonio and charged with aggravated assault for allegedly stabbing a man during a fight. He was again freed on bail. The victim later died.Zavala and Bexar counties in 2006 issued warrants for Alaniz.He was added to the Texas 10 Most Wanted list in 2014.last_img read more

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TIC236 protein found to link outer and inner membranes of chloroplast envelope

TIC236 protein found to link outer and inner membranes of chloroplast envelope

first_imgA team of researchers with the Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, in Taipei, has discovered a protein called TIC236 that serves as a link between the outer and inner membranes of the chloroplast envelope in plant cells. In their paper published in the journal Nature, they describe their study of the means by which proteins are imported into chloroplasts and what they learned. Danny Schnell with Michigan State University has written a News and Views piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue. More information: Yih-Lin Chen et al. TIC236 links the outer and inner membrane translocons of the chloroplast, Nature (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0713-y © 2018 Science X Network Explore further Journal information: Nature Credit: CC0 Public Domaincenter_img Heredity matters: Ancestral protease functions as protein import motor in chloroplasts Chloroplasts are a type of organelle inside plant cells—they are involved in metabolic activities, including assisting with the photosynthetic process. In this new effort, the researchers have isolated one of the proteins involved in transporting other proteins from the cytoplasm, where they are made, into a chloroplast. Chloroplasts have two membranes called TOC and TIC that proteins must pass through in order to do their work.In their effort, the researchers sought to find the answers to two major questions: How do protein complexes that are known to exist at the boundaries of the membranes help transport other proteins through the membranes? And how did the TOC/TIC system evolve?In taking a close look at chloroplasts, the researchers discovered that there was a previously unidentified protein located at the TIC—they named it TIC236. They found that TIC236 served as a link between the TOC and TIC. Normally, it is fixed to and interacts with the inner membrane, but part of it also extends into the area between the TIC and the TOC, where it interacts with another protein that does roughly the same job for the TOC, called TOC75. Thus, the two proteins serve as intermediaries.To answer their second question, the researchers suggest that their discovery of TIC236 adds credence to theories that propose that plants came into existence when a bacterium was consumed by a host cell, leading eventually to the development of chloroplasts. They offer a side-by-side comparison of a plant and bacterium cell, showing the similarities, which now includes TIC236. Citation: TIC236 protein found to link outer and inner membranes of chloroplast envelope (2018, November 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-tic236-protein-link-outer-membranes.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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