first_imgNew Delhi: The National Housing Bank’s direction to housing finance companies to desist from providing loans under subvention scheme will lead to increase in interest cost for homebuyers and aggravate the liquidity crunch faced by real estate developers, according to two apex bodies of the realty industry. Worried over frauds by builders, the National Housing Bank (NHB) has asked housing finance companies (HFCs) to “desist” from offering loans under interest subvention scheme wherein real estate developers pay pre-EMIs (equated monthly instalments) on behalf of homebuyers for a certain period. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe direction has been issued by the NHB in view of several complaints of frauds allegedly committed by certain builders using subvention schemes. When contacted, CREDAI President Satish Magar said, “It should not have been done. This will increase the interest cost for homebuyers as builders were paying EMIs on behalf of customers for certain period. There was not much harm from this scheme”. He, however, ruled out any negative impact on housing sales and liquidity situation of developers. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostBut, NAREDCO President Niranjan Hiranandani is of the view that this move will further affect the project funding. “In the aspect where it seeks to control frauds, it is obviously welcome, although the side effect will be further drying up of project funds,” he said. The real estate industry is “desperately” looking for the government support to come out form the liquidity crunch, Hiranandani said. He stressed the need for alternative funding sources for the developers. Anarock Chairman Anuj Puri said, “This will definitely put even more strain on many developers’ already precarious liquidity situation.” In order to attract more buyers for their projects and also raise funds for their construction, Puri said many real estate developers had resorted to offering various subvention schemes. “In these schemes, the developer basically took it on himself to repay the home loan amount on behalf of the buyer for a certain agreed period. In some cases, buyers were also taken for a ride if they didn’t read the terms and conditions carefully,” he added. Gulam Zia, executive director (valuation & advisory, retail & hospitality) of Knight Frank India, said the transaction volumes may come down in metro cities in the absence of the subvention scheme. “Subvention schemes are offered by reputed and A-grade developers on whom financial lenders had enough confidence. About 10-12 per cent of home loan market in top-8 cities were subvention schemes,” Zia said, adding that it was one of the most important schemes used by developers to induce purchase by homebuyers for under-construction properties. Ozone Group CEO Srinivasan Gopalan said, “This is good in the long run for developers. However, we do not appreciate any abrupt change overnight. This throws the entire planning out of gear.” He added that the subvention scheme had a lot of advantages to the customer as well as the financial risk on construction delays was wholly on the developer. Bengaluru-based Salarpuria Sattva group Managing Director Bijay Agarwal said buyers who were attracted to properties merely based on lucrative schemes would be discouraged. “In the long term, this maybe a good initiative from the government. It may bring stability among homebuyers and stop speculation,” he added.last_img read more

Companies in this story: (TSX:HBM)The Canadian Press TORONTO — Hudbay Minerals Inc. shares plunged 10 per cent in early trading after it reported a net loss in its first quarter blamed on lower realized metal prices and sales volumes.Shares in the Toronto-based mining company, which reports in U.S. dollars, fell 88 cents to C$7.88 by 9:45 a.m. ET after it said it lost US$13.4 million or five cents per share in the quarter ending March 31.That compared with a profit of $41.4 million and 16 cents per share for the same quarter a year earlier.Hudbay says its copper-equivalent production in the first quarter fell by six per cent compared with the same period in 2018, primarily as a result of lower production in Manitoba following the closure of the Reed mine.But, it said, it had record copper recoveries at its Constancia mine in Peru and record throughput at both the Lalor mine and the Stall concentrator in Manitoba.Last Friday, Hudbay announced a settlement agreement with activist investor Waterton Global Resource Management on a slate of 11 board of director candidates, including one joint nominee and two Waterton nominees.Hudbay board chairman Alan Hibben is to step down once a new chairman is selected, but will stay on the board until the company’s 2020 annual meeting. read more

India’s Janatha Party President Subramaniam Swamy has said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa not only solved the problems faced by his country but also that faced by India by defeating terrorism.President’s spokesman Bandula Jayasekera quoted Swamy as telling the President at a meeting yesterday that by defeating terrorism he had achieved the greatest victory of the 21st century. He said that President Rajapaksa should be decorated and be given the highest award by the Indian government.Subramaniam Swamy is in Sri Lanka to attend the three day defence seminar in Colombo which ends today. read more

ATHENS, Greece – A special court acquitted Greece’s former finance minister George Papaconstantinou of felony charges of breach of faith and doctoring a document Tuesday in a case concerning Greeks with bank accounts in Geneva, and found him guilty of a lesser misdemeanour charge.Papaconstantinou, 53, received a one-year suspended prison sentence.He had faced a possible sentence of 10 years to life imprisonment over the felony charges after being accused of removing the names of three of his relatives from a list of Greeks with accounts at HSBC bank in Geneva.The former minister had vehemently denied the charges against him. In a majority ruling, the panel of 13 judges found him guilty of doctoring a document but reduced the count to a misdemeanour.“After a very thorough and detailed procedure … was clearly demonstrated in court was that Mr. Papaconstantinou had no intention of harming the Greek state and of course did not harm it,” his lawyer Vassilis Dimakopoulos told reporters after the trial ended.“This lack of damage and any self-interest confirms my client’s reputation, which the defence was proud to uphold.”The bank account list became known as the Lagarde List, named after Christine Lagarde who was France’s finance minister at the time and who sent the information to Papaconstantinou in 2010. It was an extract of a list of HSBC Geneva account holders leaked by former bank employee Herve Falciani.Successive Greek governments have come under criticism for not investigating all the names on the list to determine whether those on it had evaded taxes.Papaconstantinou served as finance minister from late 2009 to mid-2011 and was the minister who negotiated Greece’s original international bailout, under which the country in May 2010 began receiving rescue loans from other eurozone nations and the International Monetary Fund in return for pushing through reforms to overhaul its economy.The case was heard by a special court set up to handle trials against politicians. Of the 13 judges, eight called for a guilty verdict on the document- tampering charge, with three of them calling for a felony count and the other five a misdemeanour.The remaining five judges had called for an acquittal.___Follow Becatoros at Court: Greek ex-finance minister Papaconstantinou guilty of misdemeanour in Swiss bank case FILE – In this Feb. 25, 2015 file photo former Greek finance minister George Papaconstantinou arrives in court at the start of a criminal trial against him on allegations he removed relatives’ names from a list of Greeks holding Swiss bank accounts in HSBC. A special court acquitted Greece’s former finance minister George Papaconstantinou of felony charges of breach of faith and doctoring a document on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, in a case concerning Greeks with bank accounts in Geneva, and found him guilty of a lesser misdemeanor charge. Papaconstantinou, 53, received a one-year suspended prison sentence. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Elena Becatoros, The Associated Press Posted Mar 24, 2015 11:00 am MDT read more

The key deliverables reached by the so-called International Syria Support Group, which has thus far held two rounds of talks in the Austrian capital, Mr. de Mistura said, included a future political roadmap on a political process in Syria, and also on aspects related to a nationwide ceasefire connected to a political dialogue to take place in Geneva.“This is an opportunity for the Syrian opposition to come and be as inclusive as possible and as prepared as possible,” he told reporters at the UN Headquarters on being asked about the list of participants in future talks. Mr. de Mistura emphasized that while the possibility of establishing a ceasefire is not guaranteed, he was hopeful that certain countries who “have the capacity of influencing those who are fighting,” in Syria are part of the peace talks and added that these countries “have an interest in seeing a ceasefire taking place.”“We already have the list from the Syrian Government. There are more than 40 people. We know who will be leading them at the Geneva discussions but it is extremely important to have a cohesive, comprehensive and well-inclusive opposition [group],” said Mr. de Mistura stressing the need to include the opposition parties in the discussions.Speaking about the failure of local ceasefires, Mr. de Mistura said that without the influence of foreign sponsors, the ceasefires are unlikely to hold.However, he added that while the ongoing peace talks aim to establish a ceasefire throughout the country, the regions now controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), such as Raqqa and Palmyra, will likely not be a part of the ceasefire.When asked about the disagreements over President Bashar al-Assad’s role, Mr. de Mistura emphasized that the Vienna talks included plans of not only establishing a nationwide ceasefire in Syria, but also the formation of new non-sectarian governance structures, a new constitution, and conducting elections that go beyond parliamentary polls. “That’s quite a package that even a disappointed opposition could look at with interest,” he said.Lastly, the UN envoy dismissed the recent comments made by President Assad in an interview stating that no political process will be allowed unless Syria is liberated from terrorists.“Every time there is a political process starting and the possibility of a ceasefire there are going to be a lot of statements which are in fact preparing, prepositioning [and] positioning the sides. What matters is what happens in Vienna meetings and the negotiations,” said Mr. de Mistura.Just before Mr. de Mistura addressed the press, Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly said that in light of recent developments in Syria and the region, it is crucial that the United Nations enhances the level of its engagement and contributes to restoring sustainable peace and stability. “We are very hopeful that momentum can now be created.” read more

Artist Danek Mozdaenski takes in his sculpture of Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock after it was erected in front of the Schmon Tower Monday. It was a journey 4,000 kilometres in the making, but one that goes back much further than that.To a round of cheers and applause, the 3,500-pound bronze statue of Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock, created by Canadian artist Danek Mozdzenski, was lowered onto a concrete stand in front of the Arthur Schmon Tower Monday afternoon at Brock University.More than 1,000 students and staff members came out to celebrate the final result of years of planning and months of construction.Students gathered to greet The General.Mozdzenski, a well-known sculptor from Edmonton, AB, watched carefully as construction crews raised The General off of the flatbed truck that carried him from a foundry in Oregon across the continent to Niagara.Like a proud father showing off his new child, it was Mozdzenski who gave the all-clear to the crowd that had gathered, allowing them to touch the bronze masterpiece.At Mozdzendski’s request, the 15-foot-tall statue was cast by Valley Bronze, a well-established foundry in Joseph, Oregon, located about 530 kilometres east of Portland. The renowned artist stayed hands on during the casting phase, spending about two months working with staff at Valley Bronze and watching his creation come to life.Finally, last Tuesday, The General’s 4,000-kilometre journey home on the back of a flatbed transport truck began, and he arrived safely in St. Catharines Sunday afternoon.It was Mozdzenski himself who carefully cut the protective wrap off of the statue Monday morning, and then gave him a quick polish before the big reveal.The entire project was the result of a generous $1 million-donation in 2013 from local businessman and Brock University supporter David S. Howes. Sadly, Howes died after a lengthy illness on Jan. 12. read more

first_imgOF ALL THE new technology revealed in the last few years, few have received as much attention or scrutiny as Google Glass.The company’s answer to wearable tech has been followed closely with some looking forward to its arrival while others are concerned about the problems it may had the opportunity to try out a pair this week and find out how it really works. Here’s what we learned.How does it work?It’s best to think of Google Glass as a more convenient extension of your smartphone. Most of the actions you can carry out with your phone, you can do here. There are four main features that you need to be aware of.Touchpad: Located at the side of Google Glass, the touchpad lets you activate the device and cycle through options. While it is voice activated – you say “Ok Glass” when it’s on and you simply ask it to perform an action.There are three main gestures you need to work it:Tap to activate or select an optionSwipe forward or back to cycle through menusSwipe down to go back an actionCamera: Google Glass has a 5MP camera – the same quality you would get from a current low-end smartphone – and can record video at 720p.There is also a camera button located just over the touchpad if you just want to take a photo or record a video without going through the menu, but it takes a moment or two for it to boot up, much like a smartphone.LED screen: Google Glass uses a Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS), LED illuminated display to show you what’s happening. The screen will take up roughly one-fifth of your vision meaning you can still see what’s happening in front of you and make out what’s on screen.Speaker: Located near the end of the device, any app that might have extra detail or text involved (The Guardian app for example) can be read out to you at low volume. You can connect headphones to it, if needed.You do need a phone to work it though, by downloading the MyGlass app for either iOS or Android, you connect it via Bluetooth and start using it.last_img read more

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Prime Minister George Papandreou made his first public attempt on Thursday to diffuse the government’s dispute with taxi drivers, which is threatening to become an embarrassing distraction for PASOK. Speaking to MPs from his ruling party, Papandreou said the government was committed to opening up so-called closed professions but that it would listen to what those affected by the changes have to say. “The liberalization of the closed professions will happen with rules and dialogue,” he said. He added that the government was prepared to listen to any suggestions the cabbies may have. This was a much more conciliatory line than the one taken by Transport Minister Yiannis Ragousis in recent weeks. Ragousis announced a total liberalization of taxis just weeks after his predecessor, Dimitris Reppas, had announced a deregulation plan that would have placed a limit on the number of taxi licenses that would be issued. Ragousis has since held fruitless talks with the cabbies, who have protested by closing access to roads, ports and airports. On Thursday, about 2,000 taxi drivers demonstrated at the port of Piraeus, preventing coaches carrying cruise passengers from leaving for tours of Athens. Some drivers also threw oil on the road in what they said was an attempt to ensure that they were not pursued by motorcycle-riding policemen. Since cabbies started their protests almost two weeks ago, more than 5,500 have been charged with offenses by authorities. Papandreou called on taxi drivers to tone down their protests and suggested that New Democracy was encouraging them to cause as much trouble as possible for the government. Government spokesman Ilias Mossialos later referred to Thymios Liberopoulos, the head of the taxi drivers’ union (SATA), as a “close associate” of ND leader Antonis Samaras. Liberopoulos wrote to Papandreou asking for a meeting with him but will instead have to settle for talks with Ragousis.last_img read more

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The shortest bus route in Victoria, the 509, is being axed by Public Transport Victoria on September 30. The ten-minute bus ride has been popular with the elderly community of Brunswick, many of which are of Greek and Italian decent. The bus route has struggled in recent years to get more than one passenger a trip, but has been a lifeline for elderly commuters who use it for their shopping during the week. The two kilometre route across Mellville Road and Sydney Road has been in operation for over 60 years, and is solely serviced by Hope Street Bus lines, a small two bus company. Owner Joe Piccolo is devastated and is at odds with what will happen to him, the company and the drivers. “The whole line is devastated at the moment,” Mr Piccolo told Neos Kosmos. “When I got the letter, I didn’t want to say too much because lots of people aren’t going to take it lying down. They’re disheartened, their livelihoods are gone,” he said When Mr Piccolo got the news, the outpouring of sympathy was heartwarming. He says many of the regulars were offering support and anything that could help. Many of the passengers have started a petition to keep the bus line intact and are hoping to bring it to Brunswick MP, Jane Garrett’s office. Mr Piccolo employs three bus drivers and a book keeper, and regrets that he cannot keep them on. 509 Bus driver Menelaos Hatzigeorgiadis is ashamed that the government isn’t keeping the route. “I am upset that the government can’t find a few dollars to keep the line going. I am very upset, but what can I do? They should be ashamed,” he told Neos Kosmos. Mr Hatzigeorgiadis has been driving the Hope Street bus line for more than four years, and has struck a strong rapport with the passengers. “I know everybody, mostly by name,” he said. The bus has become a bit of a social club, and with the strong migrant community of Brunswick, many backgrounds easily chat and interact between stops. In between conversations in Greek, Italian or Chinese, everyone stops to greet the new passengers in English. In true community camaraderie, Mr Hatzigeorgiadis doesn’t adhere to the bus stops all the time. He’s become a bit more of a private taxi service, willingly picking up people who hail him on the road, even outside their house. “Anybody that hails us we pick them up,” he said. A sentiment the elderly passengers really appreciate. The drivers wait patiently for them to hop on board and take their seats. Public Transport Victoria said two other bus routes on nearby streets a few hundred metres north and south of Hope Street would continue to run services. They believe they “offer the same connections to intersecting tram routes, but run for longer hours with better connections to trains”. For owner Mr Piccolo, the future seems bleak. The government hasn’t agreed to compensate him and will be closing more routes. He feels like more sensitivity should have been shown to the bus line’s role in Brunswick and in people’s daily life. “It’s a community bus line. It’s still a little bus line that does a lot of good for the area,” he said.last_img read more

first_imgMicrosoft Silverlight 5 sera peut être la dernière version !Cette cinquième version, qui devrait sortir d’ici peu, serait selon certaines rumeurs, l’ultime version du plugin de Microsoft.Selon le site Tom’s hardware, Silverlight pourrait continuer à être utilisé dans le futur en tant que plateforme de développement pour des marchés de niche et des plateformes particulières  comme la Xbox 360 ou les Windows Phone. Microsoft, qui se tourne de plus en plus vers le HTML 5, n’utiliserait plus le moteur d’exécution multiplateforme notamment car Internet Explorer 10 et Windows 8 abandonneront les plugins. La fin de Silverlight n’intéressera pas forcément la ménagère, ni même l’internaute moyen. Mais, il suffira d’attendre les prochaines versions d’Internet Explorer et de Windows pour voir si le choix (supposé) de la firme de Redmond sera judicieux ou non.Le 10 novembre 2011 à 13:08 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

first_imgThree people were injured, one seriously, in a one-vehicle crash on Interstate 205 near Northeast 18th Street and Burton Road early Friday.State troopers said drugs or alcohol were involved, and the driver, still hospitalized Friday night, is suspected of vehicular assault on her two passengers.The crash happened around 2:30 a.m. when a northbound 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser driven by April L. Delaney, 33, of Vancouver veered to the left, a Washington State Patrol bulletin said.The car went through the median, struck a tree, continued across southbound lanes and hit a concrete barrier on the southbound right shoulder.Delaney was transported by AMR Northwest ambulance to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center with scratches and bruises. She was listed in satisfactory condition Friday night, a nursing supervisor said.Also in the car was Mindy A. Saunders, 30, of Portland, who was sent to PeaceHealth with multiple skull fractures. Her presence and condition at the medical center could not be confirmed Friday night.A second passenger, Melvin W. Birgans, 30, also of Portland, went to the medical center with a head laceration, the WSP bulletin said. He was treated and released, a hospital employee said.last_img read more

first_imgHigh CourtThe High Court on Wednesday asked former home minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Altaf Hossain Chowdhury to surrender to a lower court within four weeks in Barapukuria coalmine graft case, reports UNB.The HC bench of justice M Enayetur Rahim and justice Shahidul Karim passed the order after dismissing the rule issued following a petition for quashing proceedings of the case against him.There is no legal bar to run the trial proceedings of the case following the HC order, said Korshed Alam Khan, lawyer of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).Earlier on 28 May, the Appellate Division dismissed a leave to appeal petition filed by BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia challenging a High Court verdict that cleared the way for running the trial proceedings of the case.On 17 September last year, the High Court (HC) rejected a petition filed by Khaleda Zia for quashing proceedings of Barapukuria coalmine corruption case against her.On 26 February 2008, the ACC filed the case with Shahbagh police station, accusing Khaleda Zia and 10 of her former cabinet colleagues of taking Tk 1.59 billion in kickbacks on the Barapukuria coalmine deal awarded to the highest bidder, instead of the lowest one.Responding to a petition filed by Khaleda, the HC on 16 October 2008, stayed the case proceedings and issued a rule asking the ACC to explain why the case should not be quashed.The Appellate Division later upheld the stay order as well, leaving the corruption case in the cold.Khaleda, however, managed to secure a permanent bail in the case on 15 January 2012.Following a petition of the ACC, the HC revived the case on 2 March of that year.On 23 August, the HC turned down two petitions filed by Khaleda seeking all records of and the final report on Barapukuria coalmine graft case from the authorities concerned.last_img read more

first_imgMichael Stravato for The Texas TribuneJeremy Boutor removes personal items on an air mattress from his home in a neighborhood along Eldridge Parkway, flooded by waters released from Addicks Reservoir on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, adding to flooding from Hurricane Harvey.The U.S. House of Representatives passed a major disaster relief bill Monday evening, concluding a series of dramatic delays in Congress and sending the legislation to the desk of President Trump.The $19.1 billion bill, which Trump is expected to sign, would allocate funding to nine disaster-affected states and two territories, and also release more than $4 billion to Texas that Congress allocated more than a year ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. After meeting unexpected resistance in the House that stalled the vote for 11 days, the bill at last broke through Monday by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin of 354-58.The bill passed in the U.S. Senate just before the Memorial Day recess but hit an obstacle when it reached the House floor. Most members had already left Washington for the holiday. Backers of the legislation had hoped to push it through on a voice vote before the recess. These efforts were thwarted by U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, an Austin Republican, who drew national attention for his blocking of the vote by using a procedural objection. Two other conservative House members later made similar objections, ensuring that Congress couldn’t send the bill to Trump until after the recess.The resistance in the House appeared to come as a surprise to Senate Republicans, including Texan John Cornyn, whose contributions were instrumental in breaking the Senate logjam and applying pressure on the White House to take swift action. A key provision of the bill is a White House “shot clock,” implemented by Cornyn, which would require the Office of Management and Budget to release more than $4 billion in disaster aid owed to Texas within a 90-day window.Given the bipartisan support for natural disaster relief, securing relief funding has proved surprisingly difficult in recent years. The new bill was pushed through Congress only after the Trump administration dropped demands that the package exclude disaster aid for Puerto Rico and include allocations for the Department of Homeland Security to address the migrant crisis at the border.And for Texas, the forestalled success of the new bill caps a prolonged struggle by the state’s delegation to secure aid promised over a year ago. After Congress approved more than $16 billion in disaster relief funds in early 2018, efforts by Texas representatives to secure the state’s share have been frustrated by bureaucratic hurdles in OMB and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Most recently, U.S. Rep. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, a Houston Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, a Friendswood Republican, introduced a bill with similar language to Cornyn’s provision demanding that HUD release the long overdue $4 billion to Houston-area districts still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.Local advocates for communities still recovering from Hurricane Harvey expressed frustration at yet another delay in the federal funds. Hurricane season started on June 1 and coastal communities in Texas are already seeing flooding amid strong recent storms.Even with the addition of Cornyn’s “shot clock,” the wait for disaster relief funding will continue. If President Trump signs the bill immediately, OMB will not have to release its funding until late summer, after the worst of hurricane season has already passed.This post was originally published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.  Sharelast_img read more

first_imgWell! This is a lot better than anyone had any reason to expect.The Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg comedy movie “collective,” if you like, could easily be the most underappreciated yet popular filmmaking team working right now; in as much as their movies are generally popular and make money yet somehow manage to still feel like they’re being undersold. They make really funny movies (Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, This Is The End, Neighbors, The Night Before etc,) that movies make money and that audiences more or less seem to find widely funny; but they also do such a good job at affecting this loose, goofy, “we’re just wacky stoners making shit up as we go!” vibe that it’s easy to miss that there’s real insight and talent there.Case in point: Sausage Party looks and feels, deliberately, like a one-joke stoner premise: “Hey, what if we did one of those Pixar-type cartoons where a bunch of inanimate objects talk and have human emotions and personalities, but like… in our version they SWEAR and FUCK and get high!?” And if you want to take it as just that it more than fits into that definition and in that context it’s funny as all hell. In fact, going by joke-to-laugh ratio and in terms of sheer originality it’s easily the best Pixar spoof anyone has pulled off yet and probably the funniest genre-spoof period that anyone has pulled off since maybe the Naked Gun movies. It is, simply stated, piss-your-pants funny – both in that I laughed almost hard enough to do that AND in that it’s the sort of humor where “pissing your pants” would be an actual punchline.Now, what’s key to understanding how Sausage Party is not only funny but kind of brilliant is that it is, emphatically, a genuine spoof. Maybe not exactly a “satire,” but definitely a parody – specifically, a parody of the PIXAR animation brand and their go-to formula of projecting human voices, personas, and insecurities onto inanimate objects or talking animals. The premise even sounds like a typical Pixar setup (if they made a movie about groceries): The story takes place almost entirely in a supermarket where the food is all “alive” in an anthropomorphic sense, and the hero is Rogen as a hotdog named Frank who discovers the previously unknown truth that the humans who buy the food are taking it home to eat it and tries to warn everybody – in particular his girlfriend Brenda, who is of course a hot dog bun.The film’s main joke, then, is to take this premise and pack it full of all the quote-unquote “adult” stuff i.e. sex and body functions and concepts of race and gender as it relates to the “humanity” of the characters that Pixar and their imitators generally make an active point of avoiding. We’re conditioned, after all, to think of “bathroom jokes” as inherently juvenile, but the TRUE function of scatological humor as a tool of satire is to highlight the absurdities of fiction by zooming in on the stuff that fictional works leave out for effect. For example: King Kong instantly becomes a comedy if you so much as mention that he’s probably taking Volkswagon-sized gorilla shits all over New York (“Look out below!”)So just “a Pixar movie, but we’re taking the humanizing part all the way to the edge” is already a damn funny setup (to say nothing of wildly overdue considering how oppressively that aesthetic has come to dominate Western animation). But where Sausage Party rises to near-greatness is in recognizing that the other half of the Pixar and/or Pixar-influenced aesthetic is that it can never “only” be a talking car movie or a talking fish movie; it has to be some big poignant metaphor for fatherhood or growing up or some other neuroses of its animators. In that spirit, Rogen and company have decided that their one-joke talking food comedy is also a movie about religion – and in doing so, they elevate Sausage Party goes from being a funny distraction to something like an inheritor to the mantle of “Golden Age” South Park – i.e. back before South Park was just two middle-aged Broadway millionaires complaining about Millennials not laughing at their “politically incorrect” jokes.The “big idea” they’ve arrived at is that the food actually all think that the human shoppers are GODS taking their purchases off to some sort of grocery heaven; and since only fresh undamaged items gets bought the food has developed a full-blown theology where even though they’d all like to get out of their packages and explore and party and fuck (mostly fuck, since it’s a comedy) they suppress those desires because that’d make them “unclean” and no longer favored by the gods – meaning that Frank’s journey becomes not just telling everyone the truth but figuring out how to best impart a radical new doctrine of rejecting the “gods,” the afterlife and living for the moment.Subtle it’s not, but it’s probably the most effective comedy argument on behalf of atheism/agnosticism since The Invention of Lying. It would almost verge on being pretentious if the actual jokes weren’t purposefully aiming to be as lowbrow, schticky, and “Dad-jokey” as possible – basically wall-to-wall food puns, visual humor about food that looks like genitalia and how they’d fuck if they could, and just about every worn-out racial and ethnic caricature you can imagine from Jewish bagels to gay fruit to Salma Hayek as a horny lesbian taco to the German sauerkraut forming a fascist movement to exterminate “The Juice” – yeah, it’s like that.It’s the kind of stuff that feels like it should be super-offensive – and it’s certainly not MY place to tell anyone how they will or should react to it – but it’s also pointedly lacking any semblance of the show-offy self-righteous “punching-down” sensibility that you sometimes get from the usual suspects in Western animation. Just like how the atheism allegory is funny because they’re deflating the high-minded metaphor-mongering of the Pixar formula but also allows for some genuinely clever swipes at organized religion; gags like the Kosher food and the Halal food fighting over aisle territory or a bottle of “Firewater”-branded whiskey being a Native American shaman are mostly trading on the sheer shock-value of wheeling out old-time ethnic caricatures but also manages a knowing swipe at the real-world tendency to project ethnicity onto food products (and packaging.)Still, questions like those are fodder for the thinkpiece mill, which will surely be at work in the coming days. The bottom line for now is that Sausage Party is fucking hysterical – easily the funniest movie of the summer.3 ½ stars, believe the hype.last_img read more

first_imgNo related posts. A former National Liberation Party presidential candidate and current campaign manager of San José Mayor Johnny Araya, Antonio Álvarez Desanti, denied on Monday that he had acquired more than 600 hectares of protected land in Panama in an irregular deal.Panama’s daily La Prensa reported Monday that more than 2,000 hectares of protected land owned by indigenous Ngäbe Buglé people were sold in “suspiciously fast” transactions.Desanti, a Liberation candidate for lawmaker in upcoming 2014 elections, allegedly bought 685 hectares in which he plans to invest some $40 million, according to La Prensa, which added that the properties were first acquired by Panamanian lawyers Elvisilda Martínez and her husband, Francisco Castillo, at costs as low as three cents per square meter. They then allegedly sold and registered the land in record time.Ngäbe people in the area told the newspaper they were tricked into signing documents that listed them as investors in development projects. The documents they actually signed were for sale of the land.Many local residents said they spent several years unsuccessfully trying to obtain property titles for the land, yet the lawyers managed to do it in record time and at extremely low price, turning a profit of millions of dollars.The 685 hectares in question are owned by a corporation called Desarrollo Ecoturístico Cañaveral, chaired by Antonio Álvarez Desanti and his wife, Nuria Marín.The Ngäbe Buglé region is a protected area for its high biological value, as it has a rich biodiversity of plants and animals, including various endangered species. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_img How do cataracts affect your vision? Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories The China International Peace Research Center launched the prize in 2010 in an apparent attempt to counter that year’s Nobel Peace Prize which went to jailed Chinese dissident writer Liu Xiaobo. He is serving an 11-year prison sentence for co-authoring an appeal for political reform.Liu’s win enraged the government and Chinese nationalists, who accused the Nobel committee of interfering in China’s legal system as part of a plot to bring the nation down in disgrace.The nominees for the 2012 prize are former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, his successor Ban Ki-moon, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Bill Gates, Chinese social activist Wang Dingguo, Peking University Prof. Tang Yijie, Chinese rice researcher Yuan Longping, and the 11th Panchen Lama. The Panchen Lama is the second-highest Tibetan religious leader after the Dalai Lama, but most Tibetans do not accept him because he was appointed by Beijing.The award’s sponsors are professors and academics who say they are independent of the Chinese government.The 2010 prize went to former Taiwanese Vice President Lien Chan for having “built a bridge of peace between the mainland and Taiwan.” 4 must play golf courses in Arizona (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) BEIJING (AP) – Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Thailand’s prime minister and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are among those nominated for a Chinese alternative “peace prize.”Organizers of the Confucius Peace Prize announced the nominees Sunday for the accolade that last year went to Russia’s Vladimir Putin for enhancing his country’s status and crushing anti-government forces in Chechnya. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

first_imgAsian travellers seeking more adventureAsian travellers are planning to expand their horizons this year, according to findings in the latest TripBarometer study published by TripAdvisor. These findings are summarised in the new PATA Connected Visitor Economy Bulletin, highlighting six key travel trends for 2016.The TripBarometer study, conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor by independent research firm Ipsos, shows that 76 percent of Asian travellers want to ‘try something new’ this year (compared to 69 percent of global travellers). One in four Asian travellers will travel solo while 21 percent will opt for a cruise and one in five will look for adventure travel experiences.Indonesian travellers are the biggest thrill-seekers, according to the TripBarometer study, with 30 percent planning to book an adventure travel holiday in 2016. Indian and Thai travellers (each 29%) are also set to take a more adventurous trip.Global economic uncertainties appear to be having minimal impact upon travel budgets. The study finds that one in three global travellers is planning to spend more on leisure trips this year. Although inflation contributes to rising travel costs for some, nearly half of those planning to spend more (49%) state that it’s because they and/or their family members deserve it – for Asian travellers, the proportion is higher with 52 percent saying they will spend more because they feel they deserve it. Thirty one percent of travellers globally believe that such spending is an important contribution to maintaining good health and wellbeing.This year Baby Boomers (65 yrs+) will spend, on average, US$8,700 on travel; Generation X travellers (35-64 yrs) are budgeting US$5,700, and Millennials (18-34 yrs) will be allocating a more modest US$2,900. Other key trends extracted from the study:A rise in ‘TV tourism’ with travellers increasingly influenced by what they have seen on their TV screensThe need to stay cool and connected has never been greater and travellers questioned placed air-conditioned rooms and in-room WI-FI at the top of their ‘must-have’ requirements. Globally, 63 percent state that aircon is essential when choosing leisure accommodationTravellers to South America could face increases in room rates as property owners seek to recoup investment and refurbishment costs. However, travellers will welcome the finding that only 39 percent of Asian hoteliers plan to charge more in 2016Accommodation owners will continue to monitor closely traveller reviews published on review websites such as TripAdvisor with 59 percent globally (69% in Asia) planning to invest more in online reputation managementThe PATA Connected Visitor Economy Bulletin is published regularly by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).The TripBarometer study, by TripAdvisor, surveyed 34,026 consumers who are TripAdvisor website users or members, and 10,756 representatives from accommodation properties in 32 separate source markets. PATA Connected Visitor Economy BulletinSource = PATAlast_img read more

first_imgSource = Southern Ocean Lodge Southern Ocean Lodge offers bonus staySouthern Ocean Lodge offers bonus stayAward-winning Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island’s remote south coast is offering event organisers a bonus two-night stay* on confirmation of an ‘Exclusively Yours’ special events package.Ideal for corporate retreats or special celebrations, the exclusive-use package offers a range of experiences to create a tailor-designed group stay at Australia’s acclaimed luxury retreat. Event planners will be able to test the itinerary first-hand and in advance with the new two-night stay bonus deal.Available for sole-use bookings over two or three nights between May 1 and September 30, 2018, the ‘Exclusively Yours’ packages include savings and bonuses for corporate incentives and meetings, and celebratory events such as special birthdays and intimate weddings.A minimum booking of 15 suites is required, giving guests access to the full range of accommodation at the 21-suite retreat, at the entry-level Flinders suite rate. Event organisers can tailor their own bonus inclusions, in addition to the superb local dining, South Australian wines and signature experiences already provided. Special bonus events include:A two-night Exclusively Yours stay includes a bonus five-course ‘Taste of KI’ degustation dinner, providing a showcase of the fine artisan foods produced on Kangaroo Island. It also includes a complimentary sunset drinks and canapes event at Remarkable Rocks, with its sculpted rock formations and endless horizons creating an unforgettable outdoor dining experience.A three-night stay on the package includes complimentary return flights between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island, an eight-course ‘Feast of KI’ degustation dinner and a complimentary sunset drinks event at Remarkable Rocks. It also includes Kangaroo Island wine tasting with a local winemaker as well as a credit of $50 per person to use towards treatments at the Southern Spa or any of the bespoke experiences on offer such as quad biking, kayaking or guided wilderness hikes.Baillie Lodges Managing Director James Baillie said the Exclusively Yours packages offered the perfect tools to tailor-make an unforgettable event at one of Australia’s most spectacular locations.“The package offers a superb opportunity to have Australia’s most renowned luxury lodge all to yourself. We hope event planners will enjoy their own free two-night stay at Southern Ocean Lodge and experience the itinerary they’ve created first hand,” Mr Baillie said.*Conditions apply, details available on enquiry.For full details and bookings contact Baillie Lodges by phone 02 9918 4355 or email also read more

first_imgVirginia Reaches Settlement With 11 Big Banks Over RMBS Fraud Claims Big Banks residential mortgage backed securities RMBS Fraud Claims virginia 2016-01-25 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News, Secondary Market It is now more than seven years since the housing crisis hit, and settlements over claims of residential mortgage-backed securities are still alive and well.Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs settled for $5.1 billion with U.S. Department of Justice, the New York and Illinois Attorneys General, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), and the Federal Home Loan Banks of Chicago and Seattle. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has a lawsuit pending against Royal Bank of Scotland over sales of toxic RMBS to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which some analysts expect will reach a settlement this year in the multibillions.The latest RMBS settlement occurred in Virginia when the Commonwealth’s attorney general, Mark R. Herring, announced that 11 financial institutions have agreed to collectively pay more than $63 million to resolve claims that the banks misrepresented the quality of certain RMBS they sold to the Virginia Retirement System (VRS). The case is a landmark one for the Commonwealth of Virginia—it is the largest non-healthcare-related recovery ever obtained in a suit alleging violations of the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.“This case breaks new ground for Virginia, recovering millions for Virginia taxpayers from banks that we alleged had misrepresented the products they sold to the Commonwealth,” Herring said. “Today’s settlement, which represents significant relief to VRS, taxpayers and pensioners of the Commonwealth, is one of the largest of its kind in the nation.”The attorney general alleges that the misrepresentation of the quality of the RMBS sold by the 11 financial institutions to the VRS harmed not only the VRS but the taxpayers and pensioners of the Commonwealth. As part of the settlement, the defendants admitted no liability, and the claims were dismissed with prejudice.One of the 11 institutions was Royal Bank of Scotland, which agreed to pay $10 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia as part of the settlement. Last year, RBS was a defendant in the FHFA’s lawsuit against Nomura in which Nomura was found liable for deceiving the GSEs in the sale of $2 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities. Nomura was ordered to pay $839 million.In June 2014, RBS agreed to pay $99.5 million to settle a separate FHFA suit claiming that the bank sold more than $2 billion worth of faulty mortgage-backed securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 2005 and 2007. Several large financial institutions have settled with the U.S. Justice Department and state regulatory agencies to resolve claims of mortgage-backed securities fraud: Citigroup for $7 billion in July 2014, JPMorgan Chase for a then-record $13 billion in November 2013, and Bank of America for a record $16.65 billion in August 2014.Below is a breakdown of the 11 institutions to settle with VRS and the Commonwealth of Virginia and the amount each agreed to pay as part of the settlement:Countrywide Securities Corporation and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. (combined): $19.5 million in totalRBS Securities Inc.: $10 millionBarclays Capital Inc.: $9 millionMorgan Stanley & Co. LLC: $6.9 millionDeutsche Bank Securities Inc.: $5.6 millionCitigroup Global Markets Inc.: $4.75 millionGoldman, Sachs & Co.: $2.9 millionHSBC Securities (USA) Inc.: $2.5 millionCredit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC: $1.2 millionUBS Securities LLC: $850,000center_img January 25, 2016 624 Views Sharelast_img read more

first_img Comments   Share   “Yeah, it’s part of it. I did it on purpose. But I was mad I missed the practice because it was a good one, and obviously we got a lot of good work done. Watch the tape and move on to today.”Did you watch the tape at the hospital or today?“Today.”How are you feeling now?“Fine. Just fine.”Carson Palmer joked that they’d have to strap you down to keep you away from practice, was there any of that?“No. I’m going to listen to the doctor, but I told him I’m going. He can be there with me.”You’ve learned to delegate responsibilities, do you think that helped in a situation like this?“Yeah, I think those guys are more than ready to handle the practice. It was all scheduled — I was just going to be an observer, anyway. Yeah, I think that’s helped a bunch.”Were the pains sudden or was it something that was coming up?“It kept building and building.”You spoke in an interview a while back about how you put your life in perspective. Did this throw you back into that mindset?“No. I knew that was there — it was a possibility after the colonoscopy. No, it’s not like the stress I had at Temple. Nothing like that.” SAN DIEGO – Head coach Bruce Arians, now in his fourth 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, though Wednesday’s press conference was different from any other he has done.Arians, of course, left Qualcomm Stadium Tuesday night before practice and went to a hospital due to stomach pain. He stayed at the hospital overnight but was back with the team at the hotel Wednesday morning and took some time to chat about his situation. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact How are you feeling?“Much better. A little bout of diverticulitis and I’ll go to practice today and see how it goes. I’m too old not to listen to doctors anymore, so I have a tendency to push it. But we’ll go out today, see how long we stay. It’s nothing serious.”Can you take us through what happened?“Just a bunch of stomach pain and doubled over, which is what it does to you. I thought it was a kidney stone at first, but I’ve been diagnosed with diverticuli at my last colonoscopy. Good thing I do those every two years.”Did the doctors make any recommendations for you going forward?“Change diet a little bit and basically that’s it. Drink a lot of fluid and change diet. No big deal.”Did you second guess anything you had eaten the last couple days?“No, no. I’ve been on a pretty strict diet, anyway. So it was odd that it happened.”Were you worried that it was something serious?“I thought it was a kidney stone at first, but I wasn’t sweating or have any kind of chills or fever, so it wasn’t that. They diagnosed it right away.”Before leaving for this trip you talked about taking the team on the road to face the unexpected, is this part of it?center_img Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Cardinals coach Bruce Arians talks with the media on Aug. 17. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelolast_img read more