The story teller

first_imgRakeysh Omprakash MehraWith a blockbuster to his credit, a BAFTA nomination and two critically acclaimed films, he has only just begun telling his tales Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra gets chatty about life, adventure sports, movies and beyond with Deepshikha Punj. On the jobAlthough I was a good student, I didn’t get,Rakeysh Omprakash MehraWith a blockbuster to his credit, a BAFTA nomination and two critically acclaimed films, he has only just begun telling his tales Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra gets chatty about life, adventure sports, movies and beyond with Deepshikha Punj.On the jobAlthough I was a good student, I didn’t get through campus placement instead I went for the first job I could lay my hands on. I began my career as a door-to-door salesman and few years down the lane, joined a friend to start a garment export company. We bought a shut down factory in old Delhi and in just a few months were able to set up three factories. After about 18 months in the business, I decided to get into advertising. At that time, the economy opening up to international brands and I did several advertisement campaigns for companies such as Hero Honda. I was asked to make its ad film and I got a taste of ad filmmaking and, soon after, came to Mumbai.The ad-factorI remember, in school, we would invite guest lecturers and people from creative fields came to address students. One of these guests was from the advertising industry and made an indelible mark on me. He spoke of the field and its many facets and I was hooked instantly. I struggled for a while in Mumbai and was mostly hand-to-mouth with odd freelance jobs here and there. With patience and perseverance after a long gap of eight years, I started producing ad films. Hero Cycles had recently come to India and was going to expand in a big way. All this and many more ad films kept me busy for the next five years.StartstruckAfter a few years of freelancing, somebody came to me with a hush-hush job. BPL Sanyo had singed a celebrity for their advertisement campaign it was the first time a Bollywood star was brought on for the job. When I was told I would be shooting with none other than Amitabh Bachchan, I was starstruck. We had only seen him on the big screen. Even though I was happy, I somehow felt I was squeezing the larger-than-life star into a small screen. I remember when I shared this with him, he laughed and said, “this will be the future”. It was an exciting time because I did many commercials and I was travelling a lot. At that time, special effects industry in India was not as competent as that in Europe and I so I did many commercials in England.The magic of moviesWhen I started Aks, I did not know what a screenplay was but I was technically sound and knew how to make a film given my background in ad filmmaking. After its release in 2001, my next five years were spent studying cinema. I read a lot of books on editing and screen play.This was followed by Rang De Basanti (RDB) and Delhi-6, scripts for both had started simultaneously. The ideas for my films are based out of my own life. For instance, my college life interspersed with fiction resulted in RDB and I was an old Delhi resident and hence Delhi 6. Of course, the fictional element was also based on the current atmosphere, hence, characters like the black monkey in Delhi 6. I am now making Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, which is based on the famous Indian athlete Milkha Singh.Water babyI am an adventure-loving person and have developed a special affinity to under water diving. I was introduced to it when I was shooting in the Andamans. Now, I make sure to take time out and go for diving with my children twice a year. Once my daughter and I went for diving, she was nine years old then. But because she was tall we passed her on as a 12 year-old and got in the water, it was a mischievous act but she enjoyed it thoroughly.The perfect balanceI stopped thinking about managing professional and personal life a long time back. I do not worry about time management. Most of my time is spent working out of home and so I can always try to make time for the important things. Tips for successWork towards the growth of your country and in its best interest.Entrepreneurs have a lot of opportunity in this open economy and must make use of it by utilising maximum available resources.One must try to travel the world and absorb the nature of different cultures if time and money allow before anchoring oneself permanently.Education is about the pursuit of excellence that does not depend on figures and report cards.advertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

2020 Olympics Marathon to Be Moved as Tokyo Gives Grudging Support

first_imgTokyo: The 2020 Olympic marathon and race-walking will be moved to northern Japan over heat concerns, officials said Friday, after Tokyo’s governor offered her reluctant support.The International Olympic Committee’s plan had caught Tokyo and 2020 organisers by surprise, with Governor Yuriko Koike repeatedly expressing her opposition. But on Friday, she said the city would not stand in the way. “We cannot agree with the IOC but we will not obstruct the decision made by the IOC, which has the final decision-making authority,” she said at a meeting with Olympic officials and organisers.”In other words, this is a decision without an agreement.”The IOC announced last month that it wanted to move the events north to Sapporo, citing concerns about the hot and humid conditions of the Tokyo summer.John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission, welcomed Koike’s statement as well as assent from Japan’s Olympic minister and the 2020 organisers.”I think then it’s clear we do have an acceptance of this proposal,” he said.”These are going to be outstanding, outstanding, successful Games.”Coates said the IOC had agreed with the Tokyo government and the organisers that no other 2020 events would be moved, and that Tokyo would not bear any costs related to moving the marathon and race-walking.He said the body would also look with Tokyo at expenses the city has already incurred to prepare for hosting the events that will now be held in Sapporo, in the northern island of Hokkaido.- ‘Shocked by Doha’ -Despite her comments, Koike made clear that the city remains aggrieved by both the decision and the abrupt way it was announced.She said she remained convinced that holding the events in Tokyo was “the best idea”, and evoked the disappointment of Tokyo residents who “have worked so hard in preparation for this event”.Speaking after the meeting she said some residents had already reserved seats at cafes or even bought condos with views of the route.But she said she had consulted legal experts but determined “the absolute power of the IOC.”Dragging out the issue “would only cause further burden on athletes,” she added.”That is not what we are trying to achieve.”Coates said the decision was triggered by the world athletics championships in Doha, which saw dozens of competitors receive medical attention in hot and humid conditions.”The IOC was shocked by what we saw in Doha in very similar conditions in terms of temperature and humidity to what’s expected here in Tokyo,” he said last month in defending the decision.”The IOC has a responsibility under the Olympic charter to always put the health of athletes first.”LOGISTICAL HEADACHEConcerns about the Tokyo summer weather have dogged the otherwise relatively smooth preparations for the 2020 Games, with the city’s combination of humidity and high temperatures making for conditions that experts warn could be dangerous.The city and organisers have taken a range of measures, from misting stations to heat-reflecting road paint, to try to assuage worries.The marathon and race-walking start times had already been moved up to counter concerns about the heat, and there were reports Koike sought to propose starting the events as early as 3:00am.But Coates said solutions other than moving the events were impractical, with transportation and filming in the dark among the obstacles to racing in the early hours.Tokyo 2020 organisers said Friday that the Paralympic marathon, scheduled for September 6, is still expected to take place in Tokyo. But in a sign of the ongoing issue posed by the heat, they said the start time for two additional events — Olympic triathlon and the equestrian cross-country — were likely to be moved up.Moving the marathon will entail logistical challenges, and Coates said Friday that he expected to talk with the International Association of Athletics Federations and Hokkaido officials as early as Friday to begin discussing issues including the route of the events.The costs involved with the move remain unclear, though Tokyo officials have suggested they could be in the order of $300 million.Various proposals have been suggested as something of a consolation prize for Tokyo, with Koike saying IOC President Thomas Bach had written to suggest hosting a post-Games “celebratory marathon” using the original planned route.There has also been a suggestion that the marathon winners could have their medals presented in Tokyo during the athletics portion of the Games. Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time. 20202020 Olympics2020 tokyo olympicsjapan First Published: November 1, 2019, 1:47 PM ISTlast_img read more

Failing to get RS renomination, Cong MP Darda meets Gadkari

first_imgNagpur, May 29 (PTI) Congress MP Vijay Darda, who failed to get party renomination for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls from Maharashtra, today called on senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari at the latters residence here, raising eyebrows in political circles.In a surprise move, the Congress high command yesterday declared former Union minister P Chidambaram as the party nominee to the upper house from Maharashtra.Terms of both Darda and his Rajya Sabha colleague from Congress, Avinash Pande, also from Nagpur, end on July 4.According to sources, the closed-door meeting between Darda and the Union Shipping and Transport Minister lasted for about an hour.When asked what transpired between them, Darda merely said, “It was the decision of the Congress high-command to nominate Chidambaram from Maharashtra”.However, he did no elaborate on his future plans.Biennial elections to 57 seats in the Upper House of Parliament will be held on June 11.Six of these seats are in Maharashtra with two each held by Congress and NCP, and one each by BJP and Sena.The retiring Rajya Sabha MPs from the state are Ishwarlal Jain and Praful Patel (NCP), Vijay Darda and Avinash Pande (Congress), Union Minister Piyush Goyal (BJP) and Sanjay Raut (Sena).Given their current strength in the Assembly, it is highly unlikely either the Congress or the NCP will field more than one nominee. The Congress has 42 MLAs and the NCP 41.Former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, ex-MP and educationist Bhalchandra Mungekar were also in the race for Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra, but were pipped by Chidambaram.advertisement70-year-old Chidambaram did not contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and his son Karti had unsuccessfully fought from his native Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu. PTI JOE NSK RG PTPlast_img read more

China says Japan trying to ‘confuse’ South China Sea situation

first_imgChina on Monday accused Japan of trying to “confuse” the situation in the South China Sea, after its neighbour said it would step up activity in the contested waters, through joint training patrols with the United States.Ties between Asia’s two largest economies have long been overshadowed by arguments over their painful wartime history and a territorial spat in the East China Sea, among other issues.China has repeatedly denounced what it views as interference by the United States and its ally Japan in the South China Sea.Japan will also help build the capacity of coastal states in the busy waterway, its defence minister said last week during a visit to Washington.TALKS TO MAINTAIN PEACEChinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said countries in the region had reached a consensus that the South China Sea issue should be resolved through talks between the parties directly involved, and that China and Southeast Asian countries should jointly maintain peace and stability there.”Let’s have a look at the results of Japan’s throwing things into disorder over this same time period … trying to confuse the South China Sea situation under the pretence of (acting for) the international community,” Lu told a daily news briefing, when asked about Japan’s announcement.Japan’s actions have simply pushed other countries away from it, and it has failed to compel other nations to see its point of view, he added.CHINA’S CLAIM INVALID”China is resolute in its determination to protect its sovereignty and maritime interests,” Lu said.advertisementChina claims almost all of the South China Sea, through which ships carrying about $5 trillion in trade pass every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims in the sea, which is also believed to be rich in energy resources and fish stocks.In July, an arbitration court in the Hague said China’s claims to the waterway were invalid, after a case was brought by the Philippines. Beijing has refused to recognise the ruling.last_img read more

German tennis player banned for placing 280 bets

first_imgLondon, Aug 18 (AFP) German tennis player Luca Gelhardt was banned for eight months and fined USD 7,000 after being found guilty of placing 280 bets on matches, the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) said. Gelhardt, 23 and ranked a lowly 1,065 in the world, placed the bets through three online gambling accounts between December 2012 and November 2015 although none of the wagers involved matches in which he played. The TIA said that half of Gelhardt’s ban would be suspended and the fine halved to USD 3,500 provided he commits no further breaches of the sport’s anti-corruption programme. “Assuming no further disciplinary violations are incurred, he will be eligible to compete again from December 16, 2018,” the TIU said in a statement. According to the ATP, Gelhardt has made just USD 11,775 in prize money in his career and only USD 3,000 in 2018. (AFP) ATKATKlast_img read more

Playing the good sport

first_imgLast month, Saurav Ghosal became the first Indian male squash player to crack the world top 10. But around the same time last year, he had very seriously considered quitting after an early singles defeat at the Commonwealth Games.”To lose in the second round was heartbreaking, to say the least.,Last month, Saurav Ghosal became the first Indian male squash player to crack the world top 10. But around the same time last year, he had very seriously considered quitting after an early singles defeat at the Commonwealth Games.”To lose in the second round was heartbreaking, to say the least. It was very tough. I wasn’t really sure if I was going to continue playing,” he says.Still, the 32-year-old decided to have another go at it; it could not end this way. First, there was the introspection and the fortifying of his inner resolve. “For starters, you have to turn it around mentally and believe it’s possible,” says Ghosal. Then came the months of training; brutal, back-to-basics stuff. “The intensity went up by a lot. I had played a certain way for so long. At 31, making [certain] changes is not the easiest thing to do,” he says.Ghosal’s progress will likely boost Indian squash, a sport that’s been gradually growing. “When I started playing juniors, we didn’t have anyone in the top 50,” he says. “The goalposts have obviously changed now.” But squash is not yet an Olympic sport. “I think it’s very disappointing. Especially when you look at what the Olympic ideals mean and what they stand for. Everyone involved feels squash ticks the boxes,” he says.Ghosal admitted that the obscurity of squash players in India used to bother him. “I used to feel that certain athletes in other sports, who haven’t achieved as much as what we have, get more recognition,” he says. But that’s irrelevant now. His next few goals: consolidating his top 10 spot; aiming for top eight and top five. “It’s unusual to make top 10 at 32 but you want to do things that aren’t normal,” he says. “If I can make number 1 at 33 or 34, it will be [historic].”advertisementlast_img read more

Traffic Advisory Halifax Regional Municipality

first_imgHALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Trunk 3 Repairs to the abutments of the closed bridge on Trunk 3 at the head of St. Margarets Bay will be completed earlier than expected and the bridge is expected to reopen at 5 p.m. today, Nov. 9. Local Area Office: 902-450-5281 -30-last_img

Quebec judge withdraws from sex case after saying teen victim had a

first_imgMONTREAL – A Quebec judge has withdrawn from a case in which he said a 17-year-old victim of sexual assault was a little overweight, had a pretty face and was maybe a “bit flattered” at the interest shown in her.Court documents show Judge Jean-Paul Braun recused himself on Oct. 26, a day after his comments were published in a Montreal newspaper.He gave no reasons for his decision.Braun is being replaced by Lori Weitzman, another Quebec court judge.The case resumes Dec. 14 with sentencing arguments.The Crown says Braun’s decision will not delay proceedings.Braun made the comments earlier this year during the sexual assault trial of taxi driver Carlo Figaro, who was eventually found guilty of attacking the teenager in his cab back in 2015.“We can say she is a little overweight, but she has a pretty face, huh?” Braun said at one point.He went on to say she was possibly even “a bit flattered” because “maybe it’s the first time a man has been interested in her.”Braun noted that trying to kiss someone could be seen as an acceptable gesture.Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee called Braun’s remarks unacceptable and said she intended to file a complaint.last_img read more

Measles deaths fall but world still far from eliminating disease – UNbacked

“We have seen a“substantial drop in measles deaths for more than two decades, but now we must strive to reach zero measles cases,” said Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, Director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, in a joint statement on Thursday for the Measles and Rubella Initiative (MR&I). The study, published by MR&I – a partnership formed in 2001 between the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), WHO, UN Foundation, American Red Cross, and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – marks the first time that global measles deaths have fallen below 100,000 per year. “Measles elimination will only be reached if measles vaccines reach every child, everywhere,” added Dr. Okwo-Bele. Since 2000, an estimated 5.5 billion doses of measles-containing vaccines have been provided to children through routine immunization services and mass vaccination campaigns, saving an estimated 20.4 million lives. However, the world is still far from reaching regional measles elimination goals. According to the joint statement, people being treated with the first of two vaccine-required doses have stalled at approximately 85 per cent since 2009, far short of the 95 per cent coverage needed to stop the infections, and coverage with the second dose, despite recent increases, was only 64 per cent in 2016. Some 20.8 million children are still missing their first measles vaccine dose – more than half of whom live in six countries. Nigeria has 3.3 million unvaccinated children; India has 2.9 million; Pakistan, two million; Indonesia, 1.2 million; Ethiopia, 0.9 million; and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 0.7 million are not immunized. Since measles is a highly contagious viral disease, large outbreaks continue to occur in these and other countries in Europe and North America, putting children at risk of severe health complications, such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, encephalitis, blindness and death. Countries with the greatest number of measles deaths rely most heavily on polio-funded resources. Once polio eradication is achieved, those resources, which support routine immunization services, measles and rubella vaccination campaigns and surveillance will be at high risk of diminishing and disappearing, reversing the progress made. read more

Mechel opens new experimental ferronickel production complex

first_imgMechel OAO, one of the leading Russian mining and metals companies, has announced that its Southern Urals Nickel Plant has opened an experimental industrial complex to produce ferronickel. The industrial complex will produce ferronickel by electric smelting. The complex’s launch is part of the reconstruction of the plant’s smelting facilities, aimed at increasing production efficiency, lowering production costs and dramatically reducing the volume of waste released into the atmosphere. The new technology will also allow the plant to significantly decrease operating costs by excluding several expensive components from the technological cycle.The 12MW complex’s annual production capacity is some 4,500 t of ferronickel, with an average 20% nickel content. The smelting complex was designed by Bateman Engineering in South Africa, based on state-of-the-art technical developments employed for the ferroalloy industry and environment protection. In developing the project Bateman used an integrated approach, which made possible a combination of lower production costs with higher metal extraction levels and improved equipment endurance and reliability.”Launching this unique industrial complex for ferronickel production, with its 12MW electric furnace, which will be used to master the technology and train our personnel, marks the beginning of the plant’s sweeping modernisation. The development strategy implemented by the plant is due to ensure not only the present, but also the future for South Urals Nickel Plant and dramatically improve the facility’s economical and ecological parameters,” Mechel OAO’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Igor Zyuzin said in a statement.last_img read more

Poll Should Paul Kiely have to give back his CRC retirement package

first_img Yes, all of it (1618) Yes, some of it (3382) FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Central Remedial Clinic, Paul Kiely, received a €742,000 pension and pay-off package when he retired in March of last year.This payment was discussed in depth at a Public Accounts Committee meeting with CRC staff during the week.It emerged that €700,000 was taken from the charitable fund, Friends and Supporters of the CRC, to help fund Kiely’s retirement package.Today, former CRC chairman Hamilton Goulding said in an interview with the Daily Mail that it would be a “good gesture” if Kiely paid some of the money back, but he added: “It is not as if he has not been entitled to some of it for all the work he did put in over three decades”.Today, we ask you: Should Paul Kiely have to give back his CRC retirement package? Poll Results:center_img No (1281) Yes, all of itYes, some of itNoVoteRead: Here are the minutes of the CRC board meeting where Paul Kiely’s €742k pay-off was agreed>last_img read more

The average Irish saver has over €20000 on deposit

first_imgOVER THREE QUARTERS of Irish adults have a deposit account, with the average amount on deposit €20,500, a survey by Standard Life has found.The savings and investment outfit’s survey found that almost one in five Irish adults (17%) has between €10,000 and €50,000 on deposit.More than six out of ten depositors don’t know what rate of tax is payable on the interest earned, while 68% think current deposit rates are bad value for money.The high level of savings on deposit has been identified by many as a major drag on the economic recovery, as consumers put off purchases, keeping inflation down and slowing consumption in the domestic economy.The most recent figures from the Central Bank show that Irish households had a total of just over €91 billion on deposit at the end of May this year, only marginally down on a year previously.Standard Life product development spokesperson Sinead Cullen said that much of the interest gained on deposits is lost to tax, with Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) levied at 41% alongside 4% PRSI for some savers.“Many depositors are now earning as little as 1% or roughly half that after taxes”, she said.Edited 17.23Read: Number of defaulted loans falls at bank of Ireland>Read: Do strong coffee sales mean the economy is getting better?>last_img read more

Trailer Watch Which movie should you go see this weekend

first_imgTrailer Watch: Which movie should you go see this weekend? What’s a must-watch, and what’s a miss? We tell you. RottenTomatoes: None yetIMDB: None yetCertain Women Source: Movieclips Trailers/YouTubeWhat we knowThe lives of four women in a small town in the US are explored in this film based on short stories. Their stories are lightly connected and some of them would make you weep.What the critics say“…like all of Reichardt’s work (her previous films include small, humane dramas like Wendy and Lucy and Night Moves), it lingers. Certain Women is a film where a missed opportunity to connect, or a brief, surprising flash of empathy, feels crucial enough to pore over days after seeing it.” – The Atlantic“The subtlety of the film is both an accomplishment and a limitation. It’s hard not to want more for these women, and to wish you could see more of them.” – NY Times What’s it rated? Share2 Tweet Email RottenTomatoes: 7.7/10IMDB: 6.6/10Which one would you go see first? What’s it rated? Poll Results: What’s it rated? PLANNING ON HEADING out to the cinema this weekend?There are a few new movies out, but which is a must-watch, and are there any you should avoid?We take a look.Logan Source: Movieclips Trailers/YouTubeWhat we knowIt’s Wolverine, but not as you know it. Hugh Jackman stars in the third part of the Wolverine franchise. It’s a lot more adult and intense than its predecessors.What the critics say“Logan is as brutal and bleak as any superhero movie in recent memory; they could have called this one X-Men: Apocalypse. But it’s also a comic-book adaptation that takes its characters and its themes seriously, that elevates the genre past spectacle and on to something resembling art, even poetry.” – AV Club“The third ‘Wolverine’ film brings the saga to a satisfying finish, as Hugh Jackman’s mutant slasher finds his powers on the wane.” – Variety LoganTomato RedCertain WomenNone of themVote Mar 2nd 2017, 8:30 PM None of them (933) Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlecenter_img RottenTomatoes: 8.2/10IMDB: 9.5/10Tomato Red Thursday 2 Mar 2017, 8:30 PM 20,466 Views Certain Women (283) By Aoife Barry 24 Comments Logan (3292) Tomato Red (88) Source: Element Pictures Distribution/YouTubeWhat we knowIreland’s Juanita Wilson directs this adaptation of Daniel Woodrell’s book. It’s about Jamalee and her brother Jason, who want to escape their miserable home. So when an ex-con meets them, things get intense.What the critics say“After a well-paced build-up, the pivotal event – to say more is to spoil – causes huge trauma, ramping up the tension between the family and the local community.” –“Standing in the back garden of a large country house, Jamalee asks why some people get to have all this. Tomato Red offers no satisfactory response, because the people asking the question are never afforded such luxuries.” – The London Economic Short URL last_img read more

Bus Éireann strikes show contempt for the public Businesses hit out at

first_img Get Fora’s NEW daily digest of the morning’s key business news: Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Short URL Mar 31st 2017, 11:31 AM Friday 31 Mar 2017, 11:31 AM 79 Comments By Fora Staff 19,093 Views Bus Éireann strikes show ‘contempt’ for the public: Businesses hit out at dispute Commuters have faced chaos as Irish Rail and Dublin Bus services have been cancelled. Take me to Fora THE BUS ÉIREANN strikes, which have spread to Irish Rail and Dublin Bus, show ‘contempt’ for the travelling public.That is according to employers group Ibec, which has also hit out at the unions involved in the dispute, which has seen transport services severely disrupted.The organisation, which represents some of Ireland’s largest companies, said that the industrial action “demonstrates contempt for the travelling public, including some of the most vulnerable sections of society”.The group called on union bosses “to show leadership and bring this action to an immediate halt this morning”.Ibec Director of Employer Relations Maeve McElwee said that the industrial action “will have a significant adverse impact on businesses and workers with potentially devastating effects in critical sectors including health and elder/social care services”.Dublin Chamber, which represents businesses in the Dublin region, also called for management at Bus Eireann and the Unions “to recommence talks immediately with a view to getting public transport services back up and running again as soon as possible”.Head of public affairs at Dublin Chamber Graeme McQueen said: “This morning’s action has proved hugely disruptive, with workers forced to find alternative ways of getting to work so that it remains business as usual in Dublin.Early this morning, Bus Éireann workers began picketing across multiple transport depots. Irish Rail services in and out of Dublin, and all over the country, were cancelled, while Dublin Bus services were also badly affected. Source: Sam BoalBoth Dublin Bus and Irish Rail said they had no warning ahead of the picketing, which a Dublin Bus spokeswoman said began outside bus depots at 4am this morning.Bus Éireann woesThe Bus Éireann strike enters its eighth day today.The company is struggling with high losses, and is looking to implement a dramatic cost-cutting plan that would see 300 jobs cut. Union workers went on strike after the company decided to impose payroll cuts.Speaking to RTE’s Morning Ireland, the general secretary of the NBRU Dermot O’Leary said that the union did not orchestrate the pickets.“I’m urging those who are picketing to stop, and people [at Irish Rail and Dublin Bus] should go to work immediately,” he said.“I don’t condone this,” he added before suggesting that he hoped the picketers and the Irish Rail and Dublin Bus workers see some “sense” in the next few hours.Mr O’Leary said the union was not in dispute with Irish Rail or Dublin Bus and the only mandate he has is in relation to Bus Éireann.“I assure you, there was no union involvement in this,” he said.Irish Rail has advised that it will provide updates on all its services on its website here, while Dublin Bus provides a breakdown of the services affected here.The disruptions are set to ease in the coming hours as secondary pickets are lifted at Dublin Bus and Irish Rail sites.Written by Paul O’Donoghue and posted on Share33 Tweet Email last_img read more

Regional trauma centres in Greece receive major upgrades thanks to THI Australia

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The Hellenic Initiative (THI) Australia, in association with Paediatric Trauma Care (Pedtrauma) has moved to fund two regional paediatric facilities in Greece, providing them with necessary medical equipment for their Paediatric and Neonatal wards.The first clinic to receive part of the $48,000 grant was the General Hospital of Kastoria, that opened on Friday 7 September, in the presence of the Board Member of THI and CEO of Cancer Australia, Dr Helen Zorbas.“We are delighted that The Hellenic Initiative Australia is supporting our organisation and has assisted with these two regional hospitals in critical need,” Dr Zorbas said.“Our role is to support the hospitals and give them what they need to save our children’s lives because that’s what they’re doing…“Our goal is to upgrade all the hospitals in Greece and on the islands so that all children are within that one-hour radius to get to a hospital with the right facilities.”Pedtrauma is a non-profit organisation operating since 1995, aiming to raise awareness of treatment for children and provide as many hospitals in Athens and Greece as possible with the right medical equipment in order to be able to deal with incidents involving children quickly and in the right manner, having already invested over €1.5 million towards this goal. The second clinic in Ioannina is expected to be upgraded sometime in October.last_img read more

Googles Alice AI Is Sending Secret Messages To Another AI

first_imgEncryption is something we all rely on regularly to keep our information safe online, but many of us have experienced it since childhood, and in fact probably used it in school. If you ever wrote out a message in code that nobody could read without they knew the decipher rules, you messed around with encryption!That same secret message technique has now been put to a much more worrying use. Google has created multiple AI and they’ve learned how to not only create their own encryption, but are now communicating using messages nobody else can read.This Google Brain project is an experiment in deep learning techniques and involved the use of three neural networks (Alice, Bob, and Eve) created using artificial neurons. These neural nets work like a much simplified version of our brains, and they are slowly and steadily becoming more intelligent._DJ_ on FlickrThe task the Google Brain team set was for Alice to create a simple form of encryption and work with Bob to agree a set of numbers known as a key. Using this key, Bob can read the encrypted messages Alice sent. Meanwhile Eve intercepts the messages and attempts to decipher them.The important thing to remember about neural nets is they continue to learn and adapt, just like us humans do. So while initially the secret message passing didn’t go so well, Alice adapted and got better. Eve was unable to decipher the messages beyond what classes as pure chance.Having two AI communicate using encryption not even us humans can decipher hasn’t happened yet as the encryption is so simple, but there’s every chance it will with enough practice. But why would you want to encourage that to happen? Well, it will likely result in more digital security because different computing systems could allow an AI to handle data transmission using its own encryption only another AI at the destination has a chance of understanding. That would cause hackers a serious, if not insurmountable headache.Of course, it also means we’d be creating a network of highly intelligent AI systems who can chat about and plan whatever they like, and we wouldn’t have a clue what they are going to do until it happened…last_img read more

September treat Back to school

first_imgWith each step along tree-shaded Northeast Sixth Avenue early Wednesday, the last moments of summer vacation for 10-year-old Alex Beltran-Villa faded nearer to oblivion.Young Alex didn’t mind.“Yeah!” he exulted, raising both arms over his head. “Me like learning!”A moment later, the fifth-grader who’s added 3 inches to his 5-foot frame since June (tallest kid at Sacajawea Elementary School, by most accounts) reflected on the occasion a bit more earnestly.“I’m not so sad to see summer end, ’cause I like school,” Alex said, sporting a Pac-Man T-shirt and small backpack. He does enjoy the learning, besides seeing good friends again, he said. It’s not like the past two months were boring, either: There were long camping trips and swimming, plenty of family fun.“We did a lot of things, but I’d just rather have school than summer. I like it, period,” he explained.Alex was among 21,000-plus Vancouver Public Schools students who began a new year Wednesday, many with a similar sunny outlook. In the Battle Ground district, nearly 13,000 students did the same.They were the last of the nine Clark County school districts to get classes under way, a full week after many had opened their doors.last_img read more

Scientists give mice infrared vision turning them into tiny Predators

first_img Share your voice 1 Tags dra_schwartz/Getty/Jackson Ryan Pop culture is full of superheroes and villains that can see their worlds in infrared. Superman can do it. So can the fearsome Predator. Sadly for us, the ability has remained confined to comics and film. Yes, the human eye is a marvel in itself, but the ability to see beyond the visible spectrum is just not within its capabilities.However, a group of Chinese scientists might have just changed that, creating an injectable nanoparticle that provides superhuman vision.Researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China and the University of Massachusetts Medical School developed an “ocular nanoparticle” that can detect near-infrared light (NIR). They then injected it directly into the eyes of mice. Their study, published in Cell on Feb. 28, shows that the mice were given “super vision”, allowing them to see beyond the visible spectrum, without any effects on their regular vision.Essentially, they created a Supermouse. This is its origin story — and no, it (sadly) does not involve any radioactive spiders.Mouse eyes, like human eyes, are limited to seeing “visible light”, which makes up just a tiny portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Typically, our eyes only respond to wavelengths in the spectrum between approximately 400 and 700 nanometers. Wavelengths longer than 700 nanometers are invisible to us and are designated as “infrared” (and even longer wavelengths are things like microwaves and radio waves, which we certainly cannot see).To enable the mouse eye to see in infrared, the research team developed a nanoparticle that would shift the wavelength of incoming infrared light (at 980 nanometers) to a wavelength that was detectable by the cells in the eye (535 nanometers). The nanoparticle is so tiny that it can be injected into the inner eye where it attaches to the retinal cells — those responsible for converting light to electric signals that can be interpreted by the brain. And by shifting the wavelength down to 535 nanometers, the mouse eye should be able to detect the once-invisible infrared light as a green glow. The researchers tested if the mouse could detect the light by assessing their pupils. When exposed to light, mouse (and human) pupils contract to regulate how much light is passing into the eye. If the nanoparticles were working, the scientists should be able to shine the invisible infrared light into the eye and still see the pupils contract. And that’s exactly what happened. Supermouse was born.Injected mice were able to locate a hidden underwater platform, in a Y maze, in the dark!  University of Science and Technology of China/Cell Not only that, but the team ran the mice through a series of water Y-mazes in an effort to determine whether they could make out visual patterns in infrared light to find a hidden platform. They trained the mice to associate an infrared light pattern with the platform and then tested both injected mice and non-injected mice to see how they fared.Mice that did not receive the ocular injections only correctly found the platform 50 percent of the time, but those with the nanoparticles lurking in their eyes were able to do so around 80 percent of the time even in the dark. Moreover, the nanoparticles continued to work for up to 10 weeks without any residual side effects or long-term damage to normal vision. Because the new technology is compatible with regular vision, it could provide a new way for mammalian vision enhancement or even open up new avenues to repair normal vision — you could tinker with the nanoparticles so they parse different wavelengths or alter them enough that they deliver drugs into the eye. This isn’t a blink and you’ll miss it technology either — there’s still a ways to go before we obtain comic book hero levels of infrared vision. The nanoparticles used in this study only pick up a very specific infrared wavelength — anything outside this would remain invisible. But hey, it’s still a pretty good origin story. I’m keen for the sequel.center_img Comment Sci-Techlast_img read more