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US gets tougher on Russia new sanctions accusations

first_imgWASHINGTON – In its toughest challenge to Russia to date, the Trump administration accused Moscow on Thursday of an elaborate plot to penetrate America’s electric grid, factories, water supply and even air travel through cyber hacking. The U.S. also hit targeted Russians with sanctions for alleged election meddling for the first time since President Donald Trump took office.The list of Russians being punished includes all 13 indicted last month by special counsel Robert Mueller, a tacit acknowledgement by the administration that at least some of Mueller’s Russia-related probe has merit.Trump has repeatedly sought to discredit Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election, but the sanctions appeared to rely on the special counsel’s legal conclusions in deciding who should be named. The sanctions freeze any assets the individuals may have in U.S. jurisdictions and bar Americans from doing business with them.The named Russians — 19 in all — are unlikely to have any assets in the United States that would be covered, making the move largely symbolic. But it could help inoculate the president from persistent claims he’s afraid or unwilling to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin or to fight back against efforts to undermine America’s democracy and domestic affairs.“We’re going to be tough on Russia until they decide to change their behaviour,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. At the same time, she left open the possibility of better U.S.-Russia co-operation, arguing that “if we can work together to combat world threats on things like North Korea, then we should.”U.S. national security officials said the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and intelligence agencies determined Russian intelligence and others were behind a broad range of cyberattacks starting a year ago. Russian hackers infiltrated the networks that run the basic services an Americans rely on each day: nuclear, water and manufacturing facilities like factories.The officials said the hackers chose their targets methodically, obtained access to computer systems, conducted “network reconnaissance” and then attempted to cover their tracks by deleting evidence of the intrusions. The U.S. government has helped the industries expel the Russians from all systems known to have been penetrated, but additional breaches could be discovered, said the officials, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security information.The officials described Russia’s operation as ongoing.The U.S. accusations and accompanying sanctions mark a stepped-up attempt by Trump’s administration to show it’s adequately confronting Russia over hacking, election meddling and general efforts to compromise Western democracies and infrastructure. Trump on Thursday also joined the leaders of Britain, France and Germany in blaming Moscow for the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy who was living in England.The sanctions prompted a swift threat of retaliation from Russia’s government, which said a response was already being prepared. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov suggested the Trump administration had timed the action to taint this weekend’s presidential election in Russia, in which President Vladimir Putin is expected to win an overwhelming victory.“It is tied to U.S. internal disorder, tied of course to our electoral calendar,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying by the Russian state news agency Tass.Altogether, 19 Russians were cited. Also sanctioned were five Russian companies, including the Internet Research Agency, which is accused of orchestrating a mass online disinformation campaign to affect the U.S. presidential election result.The U.S. Treasury Department announced the sanctions amid withering criticism in the U.S. accusing Trump and his administration of failing to use its congressionally mandated authority to punish Russia. The sanction targets include officials working for the Russian military intelligence agency GRU.The sanctions are the first use of the new powers that Congress passed last year to punish Moscow for interfering in the election that Trump won over Democrat Hillary Clinton.Yet Russia hawks in Congress deemed it too little, too late.“Even more must be done,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona called the action “overdue.”And Democrats homed in on the fact that the list of Russians hit with sanctions included all of those indicted by Mueller. That shows the administration believes the investigation is legitimate, they argued.Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the sanctions prove that Mueller’s “investigation is not a ‘witch hunt’ as the president and his allies have claimed.” He said, “It’s more clear than ever that the president must not interfere with the special counsel’s investigation in any way.”The Treasury Department said the GRU and Russia’s military both interfered in the 2016 election and were “directly responsible” for the NotPetya cyberattack that hit businesses across Europe in June 2017, causing billions of dollars in damage by disrupting global shipping, trade and medicine production. Treasury said that the attack caused several U.S. hospitals to be unable to create electronic medical records for more than a week.Among those affected were Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is known as “Putin’s chef” and who ran the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, and 12 of the agency’s employees. They were included in Mueller’s indictment last month.The Russian agency “tampered with, altered or caused a misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes and institutions,” specifically the 2016 U.S. presidential race, the U.S. said.___Reach Matthew Lee on Twitter at http://twitter.com/APDiploWriter and Josh Lederman at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAPlast_img read more

King Mohammed VI 50th anniversary of Moroccan parliament a historic moment

first_imgRabat – King Mohammed VI said on Monday that the 50th anniversary of the Moroccan parliament is a “historic moment” in the political evolution process of Morocco, which, thanks to this institution, has succeeded in consolidating the foundations of a representative democracy.In a message addressed to members of the House of Representatives and of the Chamber of Advisors, the Sovereign said the establishment of the parliament, 50 years ago, had “embodied the shared will of the king and the people”, just like other major events and causes that punctuated Morocco’s history since independence.The Royal message, read out by speaker of the House of Representatives, Karim Ghellab, further said that the anniversary “is a historic moment in the process reflecting the political evolution of the State and the Moroccan people, at large and the Moroccan political elite, particularly”.The Sovereign further underlines that the Parliament has accomplished, during half a century of existence, its mission of law-making and control, while emerging as a space for the training of national political elites and a framework of debates, exchange and diverging viewpoints, both with the Government or between the majority and the opposition. The King also recalled that the 2011 constitution has granted the Moroccan parliament a privileged status among the national institutions as a full-fledged legislative power, increasingly open to women’s participation in political life and in public affairs management , in keeping with the Sovereign’s will to increase women contributions in all walks of life, particularly in the political field.last_img read more

UN Human Rights Council appoints experts to probe Syrian violence

Sergio Pinheiro of Brazil will chair the independent commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Syria since March, when the pro-democracy protests began. Mr. Pinheiro, a former professor and human rights expert for the Council, will be joined by Yakin Ertürk of Turkey, who is currently a professor of sociology and former UN official dealing with women’s issues, and Karen AbuZayd of the United States, who most recently served as head of the UN agency assisting Palestinian refugees. The Geneva-based Council decided three weeks ago to dispatch a commission of inquiry after considering the report of a fact-finding mission by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The report outlined a litany of Government abuses ranging from murder, enforced disappearances, deprivation of liberty and the torture even of children to an apparent “shoot-to-kill” policy against protesters with snipers posted on rooftops.As the Council opened its 18th session today, UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay told the 47-member body that, according to reliable sources on the ground, the number of those killed since the onset of the unrest in mid-March has now reached at least 2,600.In addition to investigating the alleged human rights violations, the commission is tasked with establishing the facts and circumstances that may amount to such violations and of the crimes perpetrated and, where possible, identifying those responsible to ensure that perpetrators of violations, including those that may constitute crimes against humanity, are held accountable. The commission is due to make public its findings to the Council as soon as possible, but no later than the end of November. 12 September 2011The United Nations Human Rights Council today appointed three experts to probe alleged abuses in Syria, where the number of people killed since the start of the Syrian Government’s crackdown on protesters earlier this year has now reportedly reached at least 2,600. read more

Markets update at midmorning

On the markets at midmorning (ET):The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 77.90 points to 15,135.52, after 90 minutes of trading.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 63.48 points to 21,350.51. The S&P 500 index added 5.22 points to 2,424.92 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 6.13 points to 6,150.48.The Canadian dollar was trading at 77.01 cents US, up from Thursday’s average price of 76.83 cents US.The August crude contract was up 42 cents at US$45.35 per barrel and the August natural gas contract was down five cents at US$2.99 per mmBTU.The August gold contract was down $3.30 to US$1,242.50 an ounce and the September copper contract was unchanged at US$2.70 a pound.

Try something new

The Brock University Winter 2010 Learning and Leisure Guide is available.Is your house making you sick? Do you want to demolish your debt? How about turning the year’s resolutions into lasting changes? And exactly why would you want to join Facebook or start your own blog?Discover the answers to these questions this winter in one of Continuing Education’s new courses.Instructor Art Weaver will offer three more hiking classes this term. Several new computer courses have been added. Sign up online at brocku.ca/continuing-education or call 905-688-5550 x4775 for more information.To download the guide (2.7 MB), click here:• Leisure and Learning Guide, Winter 2010

Canadian toy maker Spin Master files patent suit against Mattel over transforming

TORONTO — Canadian toy maker Spin Master Corp. is suing industry giant Mattel, Inc. in California in the next stage of a high-stakes battle to defend its rights to a patented mechanism used in its Bakugan transforming robots.The Toronto-based company’s claim, filed Tuesday, asks a U.S. district court to recognize the validity of its patents and seeks an injunction preventing Mattel from using the patented mechanisms used in its Mecard transformable toys.It’s also asking for unspecified compensation for losses that it claims will result from Mattel’s launch of the Mecard toys.“Spin Master will suffer and is suffering irreparable harm from Mattel’s infringement of Spin Master’s patents due to, among other things, lost business opportunities, lost market share, and price erosion,” according to court documents.Toys ‘R’ Us liquidation expected to hit toymakers‘My kid needs one’: How a US$60 plastic egg with Canadian roots cracked the holiday toy marketSpun off, sold or transferred?: Toys ‘R’ Us Canada faces an uncertain futureMattel Inc. has not filed a response to the allegations with the court and has yet to reply to requests for comment.Spin Master’s Bakugan toys were launched in 2007 in conjunction with a Japanese-Canadian anime series called Bakugan Battle Brawlers and, according to the Toronto company’s claim, global sales reached more than US$1 billion.Last year, Spin Master announced plans to refresh the Bakugan brand, with a reboot of the anime series slated for release in the 2019-20 timeframe.It claims that Mattel launched the Mecard line of transforming toys in the United States in late March or early April this year, although the toy line and associated anime series were available earlier in South Korea.In March, an article by Lauren Orsini in Forbes business magazine declared that Mecard could be the “the next ‘it’ toy from Asia” on a scale comparable to Pokemon and Yokai Watch, judging from its success in South KoreaSpin Master alleges that the Mecard toys infringe on at least two U.S. patents, one issued in 2013 and the other issued this year in January. None of Spin Master’s claims has been proved in court.The company says three other patent suits were filed last year by Spin Master against Mattel in Canada, Mexico and Australia.Records from California Central district federal court show Spin Master also filed a similar suit in February against Alpha Group US LLC, alleging that its Screechers Wild! line of transformable toys infringes on one of its patents. read more

Mens Basketball No 13 Ohio State survives close call with 6459 win

Ohio State redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop makes a free throw in the first half of Ohio State’s 64-59 win against Nebraska on Jan. 22. Credit: Edward Sutelan | Assistant Sports EditorThe No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes (18-4, 9-0) held off the Nebraska Cornhuskers (14-8, 5-4) 64-59 at home Monday to extend its unbeaten streak in the Big Ten.Ohio State and Nebraska shared their touches, resulting in six lead changes in six minutes. The Buckeyes went on a 13-9 run with under four minutes remaining in the game, putting the Buckeyes up 55-54. The Buckeyes took the lead on a layup by redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop and ran out the clock to ice the victory.Both teams got off to slow offensive starts. The leading scorer at the half was Nebraska junior guard James Palmer Jr. who had 11 points. Palmer finished the game leading all players with 34 points while shooting 61 percent from the field.Ohio State tied its lowest scoring half of the season with 24 points. The other time it scored 24 points in a half came in a 67-66 loss to Butler.This was a close one for the Buckeyes, who were only leading 18:23 of the game. For a team that has dominated the conference, the inability to put distance between itself and its opponent  was a situation it had not seen yet so far in Big Ten play.“This might not have been always enjoyable to watch, but this was a heck of a game to coach in, and a heck of a game to play in,” Holtmann said. “Highly competitive, two good teams going at it. We came into this knowing it was going to be a challenge. I expected this to be a game that would go down to the last two minutes.”At the half, Nebraska was shooting 29 percent from the field. The Buckeyes were 9-for-25 from the field, shooting 36 percent. Both teams struggled from behind the arc shooting, with Ohio State making just 14.3 percent and Nebraska making 27.6 percent of 3-point shots. Junior guard C.J. Jackson scored with 1:36 remaining in the first half to put the Buckeyes up 21-20. The Cornhuskers added a quick basket, but Jackson hit a 3 to put the Buckeyes up 24-22 at halftime.The two teams stayed close after the break with Nebraska hitting all three of their first field goals to open the second half.Four minutes into the game, the Buckeyes had just two points and freshman center Kaleb Wesson had two fouls. The Buckeyes were 1-for-5 from the field and 0-for-2 from behind the arc. The Cornhuskers were 1-for-6 from the field and 0-for-4 from 3. Sophomore forward Andre Wesson went into halftime with two fouls. Ohio State and Nebraska combined for 16 fouls within the first half.But despite this being a hard-fought game for the Buckeyes, they were still able to come away with a win by making the necessary adjustments at halftime.“We just weren’t making the correct plays, the correct reads because they have such a good defense,” senior forward Jae’Sean Tate said. “They like to double.  That really made us uncomfortable in the first half whereas in the second half they kind of did the same thing but we were able to slow it down a little bit and get the dub.”Ohio State trailed 12-5 with 13 minutes remaining in the first half, but went on a 12-4 run in seven minutes that was topped off by a two-handed dunk by Bates-Diop. This play gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the night.  With 11:42 left Palmer was able to drive past Wesson to tie the game at 38. Bates-Diop immediately responded, putting the Buckeyes up 40-38. He finished the game with 20 points and six rebounds. read more

Deon Grants Wish Comes True Retires as NY Giant

Deon Grant had his mind set on one thing upon entering the NFL back in 2000—making sure he retired from the game as a New York Giant, so he could be one for the rest of his life.Grant, the defensive leader of the Giants Super Bowl XLVI champions, officially announced his retirement on Wednesday.In a statement provided by the Giant ball club, Grant said, “The Giants are a connection in my heart that I knew that I was supposed to be there. The last year that I signed there to go to the Super Bowl I could have signed with a bunch of teams, but I wanted to sign with the Giants. The way that the owners opened the doors and signed me back and the general manager (Jerry Reese) and the coaching staff … we did each other a favor, but it definitely solidified my career for me.”Grant, 34, played with the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks before signing with the Giants in 2010. After undergoing several surgeries to his shoulder, ankle and hand, he knew he’d had enough.Yet this might not be the last we see of the Giants’ safety, Grant hasn’t completely given up on the game and hopes to someday return as a coach.“I still study the game a lot,” he said. “I study the game because I think that’s going to be a place where I land on my feet as far as coaching. I do a lot of charity work, I have other businesses running for me, but my main thing right now is getting back into that whole football swing of things.” read more

3 Games This Week Could Tell Us Who Will Make The College

Rivalry week, college football’s cancel-all-plans showcase in late November, is perennially viewed as having top billing on the sport’s calendar — chock-full of postseason implications in addition to bragging rights. But this year, there might be a challenger to rivalry week’s throne: There may be no more pivotal slate of games this season than that of Week 10, with three games on the Nov. 3 docket with critical consequences for the College Football Playoff.Our playoff model simulates every game of the season, extracting the likelihood of each outcome as well as the probability of every team to reach the final four. To help you prepare for Week 10, here are the games that matter most, as defined by their potential cumulative effect on the entire nation’s playoff chances. TeamCurrent Playoff %winslosesWeighted Difference* Kentucky6.8-0.6+1.30.8 31.4 Georgia32.2-1.6+3.72.3 Alabama66.8+12.2-27.817.0 Change in odds if Alabama… * Difference in playoff odds is weighted by the chance of each outcome — win or lose — actually happening.† Total swing includes every game in the country — not just those listed here. No. 4 Notre Dame (8-0) at Northwestern (5-3)Favorite: Notre Dame (70.7 percent)Total potential CFP swing: 31.4 pointsThe stakes: Few teams can challenge Northwestern for the national lead in inconsistency. The Wildcats have pirouetted to double-digit victories over two ranked opponents and come within fourth-quarter scoring drives of losses to upset-minded-but-inferior Nebraska and Rutgers. After dropping three of its first four games — including home losses to Duke and Akron — Northwestern responded by winning four straight Big Ten contests to occupy the driver’s seat of the Big Ten West.Notre Dame has handled its business — and still had to watch as one-loss LSU was ranked ahead of it on Tuesday night. Through no fault of its own, Notre Dame’s victories over then-No. 7 Stanford and then-No. 24 Virginia Tech haven’t exactly aged well. Now under the guidance of dual-threat quarterback Ian Book, Notre Dame’s offense has improved substantially, and Brian Kelly is shepherding one of his top defenses since his arrival in 2010.Considering that no team with three losses has qualified for the College Football Playoff in its four-year history, Northwestern faces long odds. But because of the imbalance in the Big Ten, the Wildcats have a clear path to the Big Ten championship and a resume-boosting opportunity to play a top-tier opponent, likely either Michigan or Ohio State, at the end of the season. So a loss this weekend would serve as a death knell, but a win keeps those slim hopes alive at 1.4 percent.Every team on the outside looking in is pulling for Northwestern, who could provide a huge odds boost to the other contenders with a win. Notre Dame controls its destiny, with a win improving its odds to 61.1 percent. But a loss would drop the Irish’s chances to 23.3 percent, suggesting that even with only one loss, it would need serious help to maintain its spot in the top four. Oklahoma35.3+0.6-1.40.9 Ohio State23.9+0.7-1.50.9 TeamCurrent Playoff %WinsLosesWeighted Difference Change in odds if Georgia… * Difference in playoff odds is weighted by the chance of each outcome — win or lose — actually happening.† Total swing includes every game in the country — not just those listed here. Georgia32.2%+12.4-30.1+/-17.5 No. 1 Alabama (8-0) at No. 3 LSU (7-1)Favorite: Alabama (69.4 percent)Total potential CFP swing: 43.6 pointsThe stakes: With both programs having two weeks to prepare, the Crimson Tide and Tigers will clash in a matchup that has often decided the SEC West division. This year’s installment pits one of the best LSU defenses in recent years against potentially the best offense Alabama has ever fielded.After losing to then-No. 22 Florida in Gainesville, LSU rebounded with consecutive wins over ranked opponents: a 36-16 disposal of then-No. 2 Georgia and a 19-3 thrashing of then-No. 22 Mississippi State. Four wins over ranked opponents charmed the College Football Playoff committee into putting the Tigers third in the first iteration of its rankings.1The Tigers are at No. 4 in the Associated Press poll.Behind Heisman front-runner Tua Tagovailoa and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley’s run-pass option attack, Alabama’s point margin is plus-252 in first halves this season, nearly 100 points better than any other team, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group. In most seasons, it would be absurd to label a team as two-touchdown favorites against the third-ranked team in the nation, a team with a 1-in-5 chance of reaching the playoff — but that’s how good Alabama is. It’s been 21 years since LSU was this big of a home underdog.Even though the Tide have been unquestionably the most dominant team this season, a loss would still hurt — dropping their likelihood of reaching the playoff by nearly 30 points. An LSU win would give the Tigers nearly coin-flip odds (49.8 percent) of reaching the playoff, and it would provide a bump for Georgia (from 32.2 percent to 35.9 percent) and Kentucky (from 6.8 percent to 8.1 percent) because it would likely mean that neither of those SEC East leaders would face Alabama in the conference championship game. Should Alabama win, the Tide’s odds of reaching the playoff would spike to 79 percent. A loss for LSU would drop the Tigers’ chances to 7.1 percent, effectively removing the team from contention. Michigan26.6-2.0+4.82.8 Georgia32.2-0.9+2.11.2 TeamCurrent Playoff %WinsLosesWeighted Difference* Kentucky6.8-6.7+16.29.5 Alabama66.8-2.7+6.43.8 LSU20.2-0.8+1.81.1 Change in odds if Notre Dame … Ohio State23.9-0.5+1.10.6 Notre Dame50.0%+11.1-26.7+/-15.6 36.0 Total † Neil Paine contributed research.Check out our latest college football predictions. How Notre Dame-Northwestern swings the playoff picturePotential changes in College Football Playoff probability for selected teams based on the outcome of the Nov. 3 Notre Dame-Northwestern game Oklahoma35.3-0.6+1.40.8 LSU20.2%-13.0+29.6+/-18.1 Total† How Alabama-LSU swings the playoff picturePotential changes in College Football Playoff probability for selected teams based on the outcome of the Nov. 3 Alabama-LSU game Alabama66.8-0.8+1.91.1 How Georgia-Kentucky swings the playoff picturePotential changes in College Football Playoff probability for selected teams based on the outcome of the Nov. 3 Georgia-Kentucky game Total† No. 6 Georgia (7-1) at No. 9 Kentucky (7-1)Favorite: Georgia (70.8 percent)Total potential CFP swing: 36 pointsThe stakes: For the better part of three decades, Kentucky has served as the doormat of the SEC East, while Georgia has routinely contended for conference championships. So while it’s no surprise that the loaded Bulldogs have a 1-in-3 chance of returning to the playoff, few preseason prognosticators would have guessed that the Wildcats would be relevant this late in the season. But here we are, with coach Mark Stoops crowd-surfing in locker rooms as his team rattles off victories. The winner of Saturday’s ground-and-pound clash is guaranteed a spot in the SEC title game.Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm, who last season led Georgia to the national championship game as a true freshman, has withstood ample criticism and an eye-gouging in his sophomore campaign. As it stands, the Justin Fields experience is on hiatus. Across the field, Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson is largely tasked with getting the ball to Benny Snell Jr. ad nauseam. The sophomore has attempted only 153 passes this season — one more than Tagovailoa, who largely sits the second half of games.Saturday should be a blistering defensive fight. Kentucky has held seven consecutive opponents to fewer than 20 points, a feat last accomplished by the Wildcats nearly six decades ago. Both teams rank in the top 20 in opponent adjusted quarterback rating and in the top eight in defensive efficiency, according to ESPN Stats & Information.Whoever loses this game will see the near-annihilation of its playoff hopes: Kentucky’s odds would drop to 0.1 percent, and Georgia’s odds would drop to 2.1 percent. A win would improve the Wildcats’ odds to 16.2 percent, while Georgia’s odds would spike by 12.4 points to 44.5 percent. Kentucky toppling Georgia would greatly benefit just about every other team in the running: Alabama’s odds would jump to 73.2 percent, Notre Dame’s to 51.1 percent, Oklahoma’s to 36.7 percent, Ohio State’s to 25 percent and LSU’s to 22 percent. LSU20.2-1.1+2.61.5 43.6 * Difference in playoff odds is weighted by the chance of each outcome — win or lose — actually happening.† Total swing includes every game in the country — not just those listed here. Oklahoma35.3-1.1+2.81.6 read more

Leave trendy decoration off our meals diners and celebrities tell foliagefixated chefs

first_imgTwice in two days…….unnecessary foliage 🤢 pic.twitter.com/DQpKox6Crr— judy murray (@JudyMurray) August 10, 2017 Pet hate. Unnecessary foliage on food. Ffs. pic.twitter.com/rzQNekpSNq— judy murray (@JudyMurray) August 9, 2017 Judy murray It has become a staple part of modern dining; the trendier the restaurant, the more foliage you are likely to have decorating your plate.But the use of fashionable foods for embellishment appears to be sticking in the craw for many diners, who have appealed to chefs to desist, complaining it ruins their enjoyment of a meal. Among the critics of unnecessary edible decoration is tennis coach Judy Murray, mother of Olympic champion Andy Murray.  Nicola Knight, a food analyst for the Food Network, said: “I am with Judy, I am a coriander and parsley hater. “Now you will often see a handful of rocket and with more ethnic dishes coriander.”I think people are noticing it more when there are added ingredients. If it something that is going to change the flavour of the dish or something that is not easy to remove then maybe they should mention it on the menu.” Jilly Dougan runs an edible garden but said herbs being used purely for decoration was a waste. She said: “Generally herbage for the sake of it is a waste of the herb. People do eat with their eyes but using a whole sprig of rosemary to put it in the middle of a burger is a waste of rosemary.”We grow our own things but it has to add to the dish.”However Ms Dougan, whose husband Simon runs the award-winning restaurant chain Yellow Door, added that among the chefs who use edible decorations are Michelin star winners. She added: “I’m not saying that Judy Murray doesn’t know a good dish from a bad one, but them I’m not sure she would.”center_img But Jane Milton, a food industry expert, does not expect the humble parsley to be banished from plates any time soon. She said: “I don’t know why people are unhappy about it. It’s an issue when they’re using something fattening but things that are a green colour makes sense. I personally would rather have some pea shoots or something on top of [a dish] than not.”She added: “Herbs added to dishes can massively reduce the amount of salt needed for the dish. There are a lot of ancient herbs now coming through – there’s black mitcham peppermint which has been brought back in the last couple of years. For next year there’s different types of thyme being used by people, you’re already seeing lavender. They are decorative but I think they’re still quite carefully chosen to add to the dish.” Ms Murray, who regularly posts pictures of her meals at trendy restaurants on social media, has taken to highlighting dishes where she is served with apparently extraneous greenery. The 57-year-old recently said that what she termed “unnecessary foliage” on dishes was a pet hate of hers.She recently Tweeted a picture of a dish she had received covered with bunches of parsley, writing: “I just don’t see the point of parsley”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. It is a thought shared by diner Sylvia Smith, who said: “I have loathed beetroot with a passion since an unfortunate incident at school. I carefully choose food that I know I will like only to find this trendy vegetable ruining a perfectly good meal.”If it isn’t mentioned on the menu please don’t include it.”Louise Broughton wrote to the Telegraph to ask: “Why does seemingly every chef in Britain these days presume that all of their customers like black pepper – or even worse, chili – in or on their food? I loathe both. I have no problem with the use of either – but please, if possible, do ask me first.”last_img read more

Not about bringing Netflix to rural Ireland Naughten says broadband plan ready

first_img‘Not about bringing Netflix to rural Ireland’: Naughten says broadband plan ready to go ‘for months’ The former minister took part in a heated debate on RTÉ’s Saturday with Katie Hannon this afternoon. Denis Naughten resigned from the government last year. Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie Saturday 11 May 2019, 3:01 PM May 11th 2019, 3:01 PM Short URL 15,376 Views Denis Naughten resigned from the government last year. FORMER COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER Denis Naughten has said that the timing of the government announcing it had approved the national broadband plan was “very unfortunate”.In an often heated debate on RTÉ Radio One’s Saturday with Katie Hannon, Naughten defended aspects of the plan and said that it had been “ready to go” since he resigned as minister last October and was replaced with Richard Bruton. The independent TD stepped down as minister after it emerged he had a number of meetings, including private dinners, with businessman David McCourt outside of the procurement process.McCourt was the chairperson at Granahan McCourt, the last remaining consortium left bidding for the National Broadband Plan contract, worth up to €500 million.The National Broadband Plan, first announced in 2012, aims to bring high-speed internet to parts of the country – smaller towns and one-off homes – that are unlikely to be viable business prospects for commercial providers.Less than three weeks before the local and European elections, Cabinet approved the plan. However, the government has been heavily criticised for the high cost of the plan – put at €2.97 billion and has been under pressure to say why the taxpayer will have to pay the most for the plan with the private bidder set to own the infrastructure afterwards.Speaking today, Naughten said that he was “aware of the figures” being talked about when he was minister.But he also defended the plan, and said it would be essential in delivering foreign direct investment and jobs, as well as being a support to the health service. “I think it’s important we explain, there’s a misconception it’s about bringing Netflix to rural Ireland,” he said. “It’s not.”Naughten also said that contractors could have been laying down fibre cables as early as January as things were “ready to go” from last October when he resigned. He said the government’s timing to announce the broadband plan – coming just prior to an election –  was “unfortunate”. Minister of State John Paul Phelan said that it was necessary “given the circumstances” in which Naughten resigned to take some time to ask questions as to whether this was the best route. He said that it was one of the most important topics in the minds of constituents coming into previous elections and it was essential the government take the decision it has to approve the plan.Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan, while agreeing that broadband for rural Ireland is essential, accused the government of announcing it now “purely for electoral purposes”.And, given the warnings from senior civil servant Robert Watt over the project’s value for money and risk to the taxpayer, O’Callaghan said: “I’m astonished the government sees themselves as being able to go ahead with it.”Phelan added that one of the mooted plans from the opposition – financing the ESB to conduct the work – would be illegal under EU procurement laws. Sinn Féin are set to bring a Dáil motion proposing the appointment of ESB to deliver broadband next week. center_img Share9 Tweet Email 44 Comments By Sean Murray Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie https://jrnl.ie/4630003 Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Funeral Service Held For Slain DallasArea Police Officer

first_img Share WATERMARK COMMUNITY CHURCH LIVESTREAMDavid Sherrard and his wife, Nicole, in a photo shown during his funeral service Tuesday afternoon at Watermark Community Church in Dallas. The service was livestreamed by the church.Mourners sang and prayed during a service Tuesday to honor a Richardson police officer who was fatally shot while answering a disturbance call.The funeral for 37-year-old David Sherrard was held at Watermark Community Church in Dallas. He worked for the police department for more than a dozen years and was the married father of two daughters. Police Chief Jimmy Spivey called Sherrard a “true hero.” He is the first officer to die on duty in the department’s 63-year history.  Authorities say Sherrard died Feb. 7 at a hospital hours after he was shot while entering an apartment. Police say another man, identified as Rene Gamez, was found shot dead at the scene.The suspect, Brandon McCall, eventually surrendered and remains jailed without bond on capital murder charge. Investigators are trying to determine what prompted the disturbance.Officer David Sherrard (37 years old) was shot and killed in the line of duty yesterday evening (02/0718). He was a 13 year veteran and member of our SWAT Unit. He exemplified the professionalism, heroism, and strong character inherent in all RPD officers. #RichardsonBlue pic.twitter.com/A0seiGwOeE— Richardson Police (@RichardsonTX_PD) February 8, 2018last_img read more

This Steampunk Victorian Home on Wheels is Filled with Remarkable Oddities

first_imgThe sci-fi worlds of Jules Verne, Hugo Gernsback, and H.G. Wells were initially inspired by the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century, while their books sparked the imagination of future generations. Fans of these authors are usually prone to develop peculiar interests in science, technology, and invention.For example, in 2006, a team of steampunk enthusiasts created a self-propelled Victorian house. The design was inspired by Verne, Wells, and Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, published in 1992, which briefly mentions a mobile Victorian home on tank treads.Neverwas Haul. Photo by nicolas will CC BY2.0This colorful house, “The Neverwas Haul” is a three-story home construed of 75 percent recycled materials and it is filled with a considerable assortment of curiosities collected on the numerous trips made around the world. One such item is a camera obscura from the 19th century.The engine is built on top of a fifth wheel travel trailer which brings its size — 24 foot long and 12 foot wide — to fit the legal highway height and width.Major Catastrophe (AKA Shannon O’Hare ) at the helm of Neverwas Haul. Photo by nicolas will CC BY-SA 2.0The initial idea was for it to function on steam and a boiler was installed, but unfortunately it didn’t work well. Instead it now has a single cylinder diesel engine which drives a hydraulic pump, and it is maneuvered using a wooden ship’s wheel.Originally, The Neverwas Haul was created by the Academy of Unnatural Sciences of Berkley, California, for the Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert where it perfectly fits among the hundreds of peculiar oddities exhibited each year.Neverwas Haul. Photo by Peter Kaminski CC BY 2.0The vehicle has three main sections: the engine room, the parlour, and the command deck with the controls for operating. Additional cargo is placed in the engine room where there is enough space for six people. This Victorian house has also a bar and a library.It is kept alive by frequent travels and reconstructions. The original design never changed, but worn-out pieces are regularly replaced.The Neverwas Haul. Photo by DBerry2006 CC BY 2.0The captain who commands the wooden wheel is Shannon O’Hare, along with Kathy O’Hare on board. Shannon wears a 1927 U.S. Navy officer coat and is also known as Major Catastrophe. He has more than 25 years of experience in designing theme-park constructions all around the U.S.The Neverwas Haul. Photo by DBerry2006 CC BY 2.0For the Neverwas Haul, Major Catastrophe was assisted by a team of twelve other people in the construction that lasted for six months.The creators imagined the concept for the Haul as the home of Irish Gypsy women who move around with their families while their husbands roam the lands exploring, fighting battles, or even selling their horses to buy alcohol.Neverwas chandelier. Photo by Caitlin Childs CC BY-SA 2.0Instead, it travels around with the will of Major Catastrophe — maybe to very unusual places where modern engines can’t go — where he collects all the strange objects with which his Victorian home is filled. When the Haul is not stationed and exhibited for amusement, it travels towed, with the two top stories paced down so that the engine can be transported safely. It usually moves at a speed of about five miles per hour.Neverwas Haul. Photo by Peter Kaminski CC BY 2.0Interestingly, the Haul had a predecessor – a wooden Victorian clock tower built a year earlier. It all started when a group of people gathered together to build various steampunk engines.Read another story from us: How the Sleek Nazi “Car of the Future” Backfired on Them…LiterallyBefore this, the Burning Man Festival didn’t have a steampunk section. Because of the popularity of The Neverwas Haul, O’Hare and his team have created several similar structures, including a steam-powered carriage, named The Parlour Car – a replica of the famous San Francisco cable car.last_img read more

Could Rikers Island spell relief for congested LaGuardia Airport

first_img Share Tags: Airports, New York City Monday, April 10, 2017 Could Rikers Island spell relief for congested LaGuardia Airport? The Canadian Press center_img NEW YORK — Travellers stuck in endless delays at New York City’s cramped and congested LaGuardia Airport can feel like prisoners. Now there’s a plan to liberate them by closing the city’s most notorious jail.A commission that helped persuade city officials to eventually close New York’s violent jail complex on Rikers Island said the 400 acres could be redeveloped as a new runway and terminal extension for LaGuardia. The island sits just off one of the runways at LaGuardia, which is squeezed onto a narrow strip of land at the edge of Flushing Bay.That idea is being met positively by some who say it would help improve air service and increase capacity at an aging airport that is among the most ridiculed in America.Last year it had by far the highest rate of late-arriving flights among the nation’s big airports. And then-Vice-President Joe Biden highlighted its wear and grime in 2014 when he quipped that a visitor who didn’t know better would think he had arrived in a Third World country.“This for us, we think would be a dream come true,” said Joseph Sitt, a real estate developer and chairman of the Global Gateway Alliance, a group that advocates for improvements to the region’s airport system.But skeptics scoff at the $22 billion estimated cost of the plan, pointing out that LaGuardia is already in the beginning stages of a multi-year, $4 billion overhaul. They also say it would increase noise over nearby neighbourhoods and wouldn’t solve the bigger problem of New York’s congested airspace.More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youth“All this needs is $22 billion of new, imaginary funds,” said Robert Mann, an aviation consultant who lives nearby, in Port Washington, New York. “If it wasn’t for the hideous amounts of money involved and the huge impact on the surrounding communities, I suppose it would be a good thing.”Mann also questioned the wisdom of the proposed east-west runway, which would be a different orientation than the two existing runways at LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport, and could make flying in and out of the area even more complicated than it is already.Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the city would develop a plan to shut Rikers over the next decade, replacing a centralized jail plagued by violence and abuse with smaller jails in each of the city’s five boroughs. His decision came just days before the release of recommendations by an independent commission that had been looking into the jail’s place in the city’s criminal justice system.In its report, the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform said a third runway for LaGuardia could increase flight capacity 40 per cent and a new terminal that could be used for an additional 12 million passengers.The $22 billion cost includes the expense of demolishing the jail, cleaning up polluted soil and the construction of nearly $11 billion in other types of public infrastructure on the island, including a wastewater treatment facility, a solar field and a public greenway.More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaA second concept floated by the commission would drop the airport expansion but include many of those other infrastructure projects, and cost about $15 billion.The commission noted there are constraints for what can be done with Rikers Island. Being next to LaGuardia limits the height of what can be built there. The island is now accessible only by a single, long causeway.The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the airports, had no comment. The Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment, as well. A spokeswoman for the mayor said that a decision on what to do with the island after a closure of Rikers is years away, but that nothing is being ruled out.New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo broke ground last year on a LaGuardia’s redevelopment project that includes a new 1.3 million-square-foot, 35-gate central terminal, expected to be finished by 2022.Asked about the possible use of Rikers for a LaGuardia expansion, Cuomo’s administration pointed out a redevelopment is already underway. But Cuomo has expressed interest in the idea, saying in September to a civic group that he was “very intrigued” by the idea. He publicly supported the closing of the prison, on humanitarian grounds. << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bylast_img read more

Fijis Unique Resort Wins Best Luxury Accommodation

first_imgSource = Likuliku Lagoon Resort (L to R) Tony Whitton, owner of Likuliku Lagoon Resort; Sala Rasari, Resort Manager; Daniel Anania from Pure Fiji, and Tulia Seru, exec housekeeper Likuliku Lagoon Resort has been awarded “Best Luxury Accommodation” in the annual AON Fiji Tourism Awards for Excellence announced last week.Group GM of Likuliku, Steve Anstey said, “We are delighted to be recognised once again on a local level by our industry peers. Being a 100 per cent Fijian-owned resort with strong ties to local community and country, we are particularly proud to receive this award given our mandate to ensure that guests who visit Likuliku experience quintessential Fiji in all its forms.”Likuliku was also recently named in the 30th Anniversary edition of the prestigious USA magazine “Islands” as one of its Top 20 World’s Greatest Escapes – the only Fijian resort to be listed and also received the honour of being featured on the front cover.The resort has also been the recipient of Australia’s Luxury Travel Magazine annual Gold List Award for “Best Overseas Resort” in 2010 and 2011 and is vying for the award again in 2012.Since opening in 2007, Likuliku has welcomed nearly 90,000 guests from all over the world and has also welcomed back over 1,500 return guests with some couples up to their 10th stay. The clearly dominant factor in the success of the guest experience at Likuliku has been the staff, whilst a unique approach to cuisine has set new benchmarks in Fiji dining. Executive Chef Ihaka Perimandates that the majority of his ingredients are locally produced and procured – including from the Resort’s own garden, ensuring not only absolute freshness, but a connection to the Fijian culture through the variety of cross-cultural indigenous ingredients combined with an innovative, modern and unique South Pacific style. Situated in the Mamanuca group of islands in west Fiji, Likuliku Lagoon Resort is located 25km/16miles from Nadi International Airport. Guests can arrive at Likuliku by helicopter, seaplane, private speedboat, or fast catamaran transfer.There are 45 bures, all air conditioned and offering mesmerising views of the coral lagoon and ocean, with the over-water bures suspended over the magnificent Lagoon’s reef edge. The beating heart of the resort is the Central Facility housing the magnificent Fijian canoe house designed reception, signature restaurant, guest lounge, boutique and main bar. Guests can relax in the horizon-edge pool, rejuvenate in the gym or spa or watch the sun set at Masima Island Bar in the middle of the Lagoon in a very special piece of paradise.Prices start from AUD$425*per person per night inclusive of all meals and non-motorised activities. Stay seven  nights and receive free return helicopter transfers for two*.*approx rates only – check daily FOREX rates. Conditions apply.Whatever the season, Honeymooners staying a minimum of five nights will receive a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne upon arrival and a one hour Serenity Couples Massage.last_img read more

Rayavadee in Krabi Thailand a member of Leading

first_imgRayavadee in Krabi, Thailand, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, has announced a worldwide summer offer for new bookings received until 31 July 2018 for travel to the resort from now until 30 September 2018.Bonus nights are capped at a maximum three nights i.e. applicable for 2 + 1, 4 + 2 and 6 + 3 respective paid and bonus nights.The Worldwide Summer Offer is based on contract rates across all room categories and includes daily breakfast, an additional bed and third person occupancy.This offer can be combined with contracted offers.Rayavadee features award-winning architecture, fine dining options, a relaxation spa and a fleet of speedboats for excursions to surrounding islands.Bookings can be made through preferred Thailand wholesalers or email Svetlana Jovanovic at The Unique Tourism Collection on svetlana@uniquetourism.com quoting Summer Offer. KrabiLeading Hotels of the WorldRayavadeesummer offerthailandlast_img read more

How tough is it not to consider Patrick Peterson f

first_imgHow tough is it not to consider Patrick Peterson for that role?“He’s kind of the guy you got in the back pocket when you try to make (a long return) happen, but you really like to find a younger guy to do that job.”Does that also allow Peterson to just focus on being a cornerback?“It’s really no focus for Pat. He catches them in his sleep. He catches them one-handed, two-handed. Now just putting him out there in space, you get rusty at that as far as catching it and making that guy miss.”Is John Brown in that mix when he’s healthy?“Yeah, whenever we get him healthy enough. He was really doing well last year. And he wants to do it—that’s the other thing, you want to do it. You’re coming to me, ‘Let me return kicks, let me return punts.’ Not say, “Hey, have you ever caught punts? No.’”Have you seen punt returners get the yips and start looking up field at the players coming after them?“Not the good ones. And they come in all sizes. You go back to Cleveland with ‘Ice Cube’ (Gerald McNeil), (Dante) Hall at Kansas City. And you got some big ones. It’s just a rare, rare knack to return punts.”Has it been frustrating for you at all to not find someone beyond Peterson? GLENDALE, Ariz. – Head coach Bruce Arians, now in his fifth year with the Arizona Cardinals, meets the media each day during training camp.Here, in this space, we’ll highlight many of the key topics and personnel conversations he has with reporters following the morning walk-through.“Alright, I’m really looking forward to today,” Arians said. “I really enjoyed the outside practices. The last practice was extremely competitive—a little too competitive because we got too many penalties down the field with our DBs (defensive backs) but it’s what you’re looking for. I’d rather say, ‘Whoa!’ than ‘Sic ‘em!’ Put the pads back on today and see how it goes. “Oh yeah. Tramon (Williams) is coming on fast. He’s learning what to do—he’s learning our defense. He knows what to do. He’s played 10 years. Brandon (Williams) has really stacked some really good practices together and I thought he played well the other night other than the one—he’s going to get ball. When you press-coverage as much as we do, you’re going to get a ball thrown on you but he also got an interception that was huge. It was great for his confidence. But he’s had a consistent level of practice since then.”The success this team has had in recent years, how much do you think that’s played a part in some of the free-agent additions?“If you have opportunities, one team looks like they’re going to win and one says, ‘Hey, it’s going to be a tough, long year’ you take the one that you think you have the best opportunity to make the team. If it’s winning, yeah, I think that always weighs into it.”What stood out to you about Budda Baker in the Hall of Fame Game?“Very decisive and when he’s decisive, he’s fast. He’s not afraid stick it up in there and hit and tackle. Extremely good tackler. He broke up a couple of passes. Just continue to grow and don’t try to put too much on his plate too soon.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact People have called him a ‘football junkie.’ Have you seen that?“Oh yeah. He’s always asking Ty (Mathieu), everybody. He’s right next to Antoine (Bethea) all the time, and Tyvon Branch. He’s a sponge.”Nelson’s catch-rate was right around 45 percent last year, was that a function of him being a deep threat or can that number be improved?“He’s got to improve in press, man-to-man. He struggles with Pat because Pat’s so big. He can’t use his speed because he can’t get away. That’s the one thing. Route runner he’s fine. He’s just got to get stronger in press, man-to-man against big corners. He’s fine against little corners. He eats them up.”Follow Craig Grialou on Twitter Do you expect a race to get some of those players who get cut?“That’s normally the thing. You start claiming them off waivers. If you’ve had injuries and you’re looking for guys, that’s the best way to do it.”What to you think of your two punters?“I’m not real pleased with it yet right now. It’s too inconsistent, both guys. They did not, neither one, kickoff as well they’re capable so, again, we’ve got four more games. We’ll look at it.”Finding that consistency, is that the challenge with younger punters versus more experienced ones?“I’m not sure any of those guys are out there. We’ll look at them for another couple of weeks and if we have to make a change we’ll make a change.”How important is it for you to have an experienced linebacker like a Karlos Dansby?“When you’re filling out your roster, you don’t want to have to put rookies in positions through injuries to have to play right away. You’d rather have a veteran and bring that guy at a pace so he doesn’t fail. If you can fill the fourth spot at inside backer or outside backer with a veteran player and then the fifth guy is a young guy, you’re better off.”Do you feel you have the depth behind Bethel to push him in competition? “Injury-wise, John Brown (quad) will go part-time today. D.J. (Humphries, hamstring) we’re going to give another day. I don’t think there was anybody else that was new.”How about the persistence of Kerwynn Williams? Every year it seems he’s on the bubble fighting for a roster spot.“Yeah, Kerwynn is one of those guys that if you just give him his opportunity he does great with it every time, and you’re kind of stupid if you don’t give him one because every time he does—I’m sure he’ll do a great job with the punt return/kick return job right now. He’s extremely competitive but he’s extremely reliable, too.”What are one or two of the attributes that a punt returner must have?“First, you got to have great hands. So many guys can’t do it because they can’t catch them. And you have to be fearless. If you can just make one guy miss—that’s the key, just make one guy miss, you’re going to make yards. So, if you can stretch the field, make one guy miss and you have those three things, it’s pretty much all there is to it. It doesn’t really matter, speed.”Why can some guys return kicks but not punts?        “They can’t catch them. And then you get a left-footer—Andre Ellington was doing great all camp last year. We threw that left-footed Jugs (machine) out there, he couldn’t catch them. It just ruined his confidence. And we’ll face a left-footer early this year, so we’re going to have to get ready for it.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelocenter_img Top Stories “Yeah, because we thought we had some guys. J.J. (Nelson) kept breaking a finger, breaking a thumb. He fumbled and broke his shoulder. He was great at it in college and right now we’re just putting him on the back-burner.”What do you still need to see from Justin Bethel at cornerback?“Just what he’s doing. If he plays at the level he’s playing at right now, he’s going to have a great year.”Are you moving Harlan Miller back to corner?“Harlan goes back-and-forth because that’s his way to make the team; be a position-flexible guy. He’s playing corner again right now.”Are there specific things you look at Bethel when he gets in a game situation?“Biggest thing is body language. You saw that in practice last year. Frustration. He couldn’t practice all of camp last year on the foot and then he’d get in the games and he’d be frustrated because he knew he could do it and his head would fall. Now, it’s totally different.”How do you feel about just one cut-down, from 90 to 53?“I love it because there’s another week for a young guy to make an impression in practice and they’re going to play that fourth game. The other thing is, you’re going to always have injuries. We went to Denver two years ago and had one tight end. He got hurt in the first quarter so we played four wideouts the whole game. I’m not putting the starters back in the there. If it’s a lineman, you have to and you don’t want to have to put those guys back in but you always want to give those guys another tape because everybody evaluates it to clear waivers or to get on to a practice squad. Once you get on a practice squad you’re in the league. People study that all the time.” (AP Photo) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 0 Comments   Share   Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellinglast_img read more

by Lindsey Bahr The Associated Press Posted F

first_img by Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press Posted Feb 12, 2019 11:36 am PDT Review: Learning to love the rom-com in ‘Isn’t It Romantic’ AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Even when done well, the romantic comedy is easy to pick on. They’re so earnest and full of clichés and unrealistic fairy tale standards. Intelligent women have been taught that there should be a healthy serving of self-hatred with whatever enjoyment you might glean from a well-done makeover montage. You don’t have to look much further than the phrase “rom-com” (like chick-lit) to know that. The dismissive term seems to have been thrown at the genre to take it and its fans down a few pegs, as if to say, no no, silly girl, that’s not cinema or literature or even art.This is the world we and Natalie, the heroine at the heart of “Isn’t It Romantic ,” live in, where these addictively appealing and occasionally great films come our way that we have to relegate to guilty pleasures or couch with disclaimers. And it can get rather exhausting that the justification always has to come back to a comparison to Nora Ephron, the only purveyor of rom-coms who has undeniable crossover film snob appeal.And that’s kind of the premise of “Isn’t It Romantic” in which a rom-com hating woman played by Rebel Wilson bonks her head and ends up in one herself. It’s written by Katie Silberman (who wrote the great “Set It Up”), Erin Cardillo and rom-com veteran Dana Fox (“The Wedding Date,” ”What Happens in Vegas”) and directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson.Natalie is introduced as a young girl glued to the television in a run-down apartment where her mother is off to the side making an ice cream and boxed wine float. On the screen is a young Julia Roberts in a bubble bath in “Pretty Woman.” Natalie’s mother tells her not to expect anything like that out of life. They don’t and never will look like Roberts and so the fairy tale is out of the question. Pretty harsh, but her mom is right, “Pretty Woman,” unlike so many great romantic comedies, is actually evil.Cut to adulthood and Natalie is a normal, messy adult. Her apartment is small and dirty. Her hair is a little frizzy. Her clothes are ill-fitting. Her co-workers at the very ordinary looking architecture firm where she works treat her like an assistant and she can’t seem to see that her friend with the 90s Jim Carrey haircut, Josh (Adam Devine), is in love with her.Much like Amy Schumer’s underappreciated and thematically similar “I Feel Pretty,” it takes a traumatic head injury for her to wake up in rom-com land, where Manhattan smells like lavender, cupcake and wedding shops adorn her city street, her apartment is palatial and clean and looks like a magazine spread, a handsome billionaire named Blake (a wonderfully goofy Liam Hemsworth) wants to date her and everyone is very, very nice (except her best friend at work, Whitney, played by Betty Gilpin, who has turned into a rival).It’s an enjoyable surface-level experience that hones in on all the generic rom-com tropes you love to hate. Natalie now falls down all the time, but it’s adorable! She wakes up with full hair and makeup (glossy lips, fake eyelashes, perfectly applied eyeliner and all). The man down the hallway in her building has turned into a magical gay best friend who is always, inexplicably there to freak out over minor developments in her love life. Everything is moving exaggeratedly fast too and it’s all scored to a fizzy blend of 90s and early 2000s rom-com music staples, from “Lovefool” by The Cardigans to Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles.”“Isn’t It Romantic” stays pretty surface level, which makes for a fine and pleasurable viewing experience, but doesn’t exactly do anything to show that rom-coms would be better if the best friends had more of an inner life, for example. In fact, it just kind of redeems the formula in some ways. It’s fun to join a world with unrealistically glamorous jobs and apartments and wardrobes and cities, especially when there’s a good story to go along with it! And also that you can never go wrong with an upbeat song and dance scene. No guilt necessary.I suppose if there is a message to be minded from “Isn’t It Romantic” it’s that perhaps in all of our skepticism and jadedness about rom-coms, we became ashamed to want nice things, both in entertainment and life.“Isn’t It Romantic,” a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “language, some sexual material, and a brief drug reference.” Running time: 88 minutes. Three stars out of four.___MPAA Definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.___Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahrLindsey Bahr, The Associated Press This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Priyanka Chopra in a scene from “Isn’t It Romantic.” (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP) last_img read more

Friends remember enormously talented Toronto mus

first_imgFriends remember ‘enormously talented’ Toronto musician Adam Litovitz Adam Litovitz poses in this undated handout photo. A funeral service will be held Friday in northwest Toronto for musician, composer and writer Adam Litovitz, whose diverse talents and thoughtful, whimsical spirit touched many in the arts community. Canadian filmmaker, musician and broadcaster Sook-Yin Lee, his close friend and collaborator, tweeted a link to details for the service at Steeles Memorial Chapel. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Sook-Yin Lee *MANDATORY CREDIT* AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Presscenter_img TORONTO — A funeral service will be held Friday in northwest Toronto for musician, composer and writer Adam Litovitz, whose diverse talents and thoughtful, whimsical spirit touched many in the arts community.Canadian filmmaker, musician and broadcaster Sook-Yin Lee, his close friend and collaborator, tweeted a link to details for the service at Steeles Memorial Chapel.“I am so blessed you were in my life,” Lee wrote on Twitter, referring to Litovitz as “a pure light.”His obituary on the funeral home site says Litovitz died on Sunday. He was 36.Toronto Police had reported Litovitz missing and later confirmed he had been found dead and that there was no criminal investigation.Litovitz and Lee created many arts projects together, including dance performances and their band JOOJ, which released a self-titled debut album in 2015.They also worked together on her feature films, including the romantic comedy-drama “Year of the Carnivore” and the supernatural drama “Octavio is Dead!”For “Year of the Carnivore” they shared a 2011 Genie Award nomination for best original score with Buck 65.For “Octavio is Dead!” Litovitz and Lee shared a 2019 Canadian Screen Award nomination for best song for “Ghost of Love (Onakabazien Remix).”Litovitz, who was born in Toronto, was also a poet, story editor and writer on films. He was the son of Allan Litovitz and the late Malca Litovitz, a poet.Toronto-based cartoonist Chester Brown, who was close friends with Litovitz, said he was “enormously talented” and “impressed everyone who met him.”While he had been battling depression and was questioning his career in recent months, he remained a gentle spirit, Brown added in a phone interview.The word “gentle” is a common one Litovitz’s friends and colleagues have been using to describe him in their tributes on social media.“The only times I can remember ever seeing him angry were when someone, say in print or verbally attacked Sook-Yin or one of his friends,” Brown said.“But if someone would attack him, he would not react in anger to a situation like that. He would just be reasonable. Very mild-mannered, sweet-tempered, intelligent, bookworm, very well-read.” by Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 20, 2019 11:08 am PDTlast_img read more