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After Indiana’s despicable “religious freedom” measure - which gives business owners carte blanche to discriminate against LGBTQ persons
Sydney (AFP) - Prince Harry will begin a month-long attachment with the Australian Army on Monday, officials said, spending time on bush patrols, working with an indigenous regiment and possibly flying helicopters.
The 30-year-old, who will be nudged down to fifth in line to the throne by the birth of his brother Prince William's second child this month, has already announced he will leave the British military in June after his Australian swansong.
Upon arrival in Canberra, the royal will lay a wreath at the Australian War Memorial before reporting for duty to Australian Defence Force chief Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin.
Captain Wales, as he is known in the British Army, will be embedded with a number of Australian army units and regiments in Sydney, Darwin and Perth.
"He is expected to take part in a range of unit-based activities and training exercises," the Australian Defence Force said in a statement.
"These will include urban training exercises, regional bush patrols, flight simulation and aviation activities, joint fire exercises and indigenous engagement activities.
"Captain Wales will also take part in routine activities, such as physical training, first aid training and pack marches."
The prince, who has flown Apache helicopters for Britain, has reportedly asked to fly choppers in Australia, although a Defence Force spokesman said his credentials would need to be checked first.
Harry, who graduated from the elite Sandhurst military academy and served twice in Afghanistan, will also spend time with wounded and ill service personnel, whose rights he has long championed.
During the attachment, he will travel from Australia to Turkey to attend the Gallipoli centenary commemorations on April 24 and 25.
A captain commissioned in the Household Cavalry, Harry currently has a desk job organising commemorative army events in London.
"After a decade of service, moving on from the army has been a really tough decision," he said in announcing his departure last month.
"The experiences I have had over the last 10 years will stay with me for the rest of my life. For that I will always be hugely grateful."
Harry earned a reputation as a wild-child in his youth with party-going high jinks, but has since tried to carve out a more mature role for himself, with his devotion to military service playing a major part.
He came to Australia during his gap year in 2003, where he worked as a "jackaroo" on a cattle station.
Lausanne (AFP) - Rollercoaster talks with Iran stretched deep into the early hours of Thursday as the country's foreign minister told world powers to "seize the moment" to clinch a ground-breaking deal with Tehran to curtail its nuclear programme.
"We are a few metres... from the finishing line, but we are well aware that the final metres are the hardest," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters, as he arrived back in Switzerland to rejoin the negotiations.
The stakes were very high, he said, adding at issue was the question of non-proliferation, and "Iran's reintegration into the international community."
Fabius was re-joining US Secretary of State John Kerry and their counterparts from Germany and Britain, as well as political directors from Russia and China.
A US official confirmed Kerry held four hours of late-night talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU deputy foreign policy chief Helga Schmid, adding to days of already bruising negotiations.
In back-to-back talks, the top US diplomat then went straight into a meeting with Fabius and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at 1:20 am (2320 GMT), before just a few minutes later resuming negotiations with Zarif and Schmid.
"Iran has shown its readiness to engage with dignity and it's time for our negotiating partners to seize the moment," Zarif told reporters earlier.
Iran had shown it wants "an entente" with the world, but it "will not accept submitting to force and excessive demands," Zarif said.
After 18 months of intense negotiations, it remained unclear if the six world powers and Iran will pin down the main contours of a deal to put a nuclear bomb out of Iran's reach.
The aim is to turn this into a comprehensive accord backed by specific technical commitments by June 30 when an interim deal struck in November 2013 -- which saw Iran freeze certain nuclear activities in return for minor sanctions relief -- expires.
Success would end a 12-year-old standoff. Failure may set the United States and Israel on a road to military action to thwart Iran's nuclear drive.
The White House said the talks were still "productive" and progress was being made.
"But if we are in a situation where we sense that the talks have stalled then yes, the United States and the international community is prepared to walk away," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
- 'We will come to a conclusion' -
Despite missing Tuesday's midnight deadline, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had raised hopes of "an agreement in principle on all key aspects of the final settlement" before leaving on Wednesday.
Iran's chief negotiator Abbas Araghchi had also appeared hopeful, saying he believed "that at the end of the day we will be able to come to a conclusion and a resolution for all issues."
He said there were two main sticking points -- a mechanism for lifting crippling sanctions against the Islamic republic, and the country's research and development of new nuclear machinery.
Global powers want Iran to scale down its nuclear programme to extend the "breakout" time needed to assemble enough nuclear material to make a bomb.
Iran denies wanting the bomb and its negotiators are under strict orders from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to refuse any curtailing of its programme without sanctions relief.
Global powers have always refused an immediate lifting of all sanctions, preferring instead a phased suspension to enable them to be put back in place if Iran violates the deal.
If the outlines under negotiation fall short of firm commitments by Iran, US President Barack Obama could find it hard to fend off attempts by his Republican opponents to pass fresh sanctions on Tehran.
Iran's negotiators are also under pressure from domestic hardliners not to give too much away -- while also delivering on President Hassan Rouhani's promise to win the lifting of sanctions.
US Republicans fear that Iran will still be able to get the bomb -- a concern shared by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose country is widely assumed to have nuclear weapons itself.
Netanyahu, in his fourth broadside in as many days, warned against a bad deal that would "endanger Israel, and the Middle East and the peace of the world."
You probably lean heavily on your smartphone for internet access these days, but for some Americans it's not a nice-to-have convenience... it's their only way of getting online. Pew Research Center's latest survey estimates that 7 percent of Americans depend solely on their phone for internet service, and have no practical alternatives. About 10 percent have a smartphone but no home broadband, and 15 percent have just a limited number of options beyond their handsets.
Like in other other corners of the world, a lot of these users are going phone-only out of economic necessity. Roughly 13 percent of Americans making less than $30,000 per year are relying almost exclusively on their phones, while a mere 1 percent of those making $75,000 and up are doing the same. For the lower income bracket, it's a double-whammy -- it not only limits what they can do online, but increases the odds that they'll hit their phone plan's data cap than those with more choices, at 51 percent versus 35 percent. They're also more than twice as likely (48 percent versus 21 percent) to cancel or freeze service due to budget problems. While cellular data can provide internet access that would otherwise be out of reach, it's clear that US broadband pricing still keeps many people offline more frequently than they'd like.
[Image credit: Getty Images]
Source: Pew Research Center (PDF)
Mexico City (AFP) - An explosion and a fire erupted on an offshore oil platform operated by Mexico's Pemex on Wednesday, killing at least four workers, injuring 16 and forcing 300 to be evacuated.
Eight firefighting vessels with water cannons were deployed to battle the blaze as smoke billowed skyward at the Abkatun A-Permanente platform on the Gulf of Mexico's Campeche Sound.
The blast took place at 3:40 am in the dehydration and pump area of the platform, located off the coast of eastern Campeche state, the ASEA energy safety agency said in a statement.
"The fire is under control but has not been extinguished," a Pemex spokesman told AFP.
Pemex issued a statement saying that the fire "did not cause a spill into the sea" but that an oil leak occurred and was being contained by specialized ships.
The company said 16 people were hospitalized, including two in serious condition. A total of 45 people received medical attention, but most were released with minor injuries.
Some 300 workers were taken to other platforms in the area, while the injured were transported to Pemex's general hospital in Ciudad de Carmen.
AFP obtained a video taken from a boat showing huge flames and smoke engulfing much of the platform in the middle of the night.
Pemex director Emilio Lozoya said there will be little impact to production as the fire occurred on an oil processing rig, not a producing facility, and that the crude would be shipped to other facilities.
- Investigation ordered -
Pemex said one of the dead was a company employee, while another one worked for Cotemar, a contractor. The two others had yet to be identified.
President Enrique Pena Nieto expressed condolences to families of the victims and ordered an investigation, which ASEA said it would lead.
The Campeche Sound, some 85 kilometers (53 miles) from the coast, contains the two biggest shallow-water oil deposits in Mexico, with 200 platforms extracting 78 percent of the country's crude.
Analysts said the accident contributed to a rise in crude prices on Wednesday, with the US benchmark surging $2.49 to close at $50.09 a barrel and London prices rising $1.99 to $57.10.
- History of accidents -
The fire is latest incident to hit the state oil firm in recent years.
In 2007, two Pemex platforms collided in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 21 workers and causing a large oil spill.
In January 2013, a gas buildup caused an explosion at the company's Mexico City headquarters, killing 37 people.
A natural gas plant explosion killed 30 people near the northeastern state of Tamaulipas in September 2012.
Mexico passed a sweeping energy reform bill last year, opening the sector to foreign investors to reverse falling production and modernize aging infrastructure.
Pemex, which provides a third of Mexico's tax revenue, posted a $17.7 billion loss in 2014.
The government will hold its first auction in July for shallow-water projects on the Gulf of Mexico.
Abuja (AFP) - President-elect Muhammadu Buhari vowed to rid Nigeria of the "terror" of Boko Haram after his historic election victory marking the first democratic transfer of power in Africa's most populous nation.
The 72-year-old former military ruler also pledged reconciliation with political opponents who fear a return to his autocratic regime of the 1980s, and a government representing "all Nigerians".
"I assure you that Boko Haram will soon know the strength of our collective will and commitment to rid this nation of terror and bring back peace," Buhari said in an acceptance speech after his dramatic win.
"We shall spare no effort until we defeat terrorism."
Boko Haram, whose rampage through northeastern Nigeria has left more than 13,000 people dead in six years, is Buhari's most pressing security problem.
He also promised to address a culture of political impunity and the "evil" of rampant corruption, but said there would be no witch-hunt and his beaten opponent Goodluck Jonathan had "nothing to fear".
"Our long night has passed and the daylight of new democratic government has broken across the land. Democracy and the rule of law will be established in the land.
"Let's put the past behind us, especially the recent past. We must forget our old battles and past grievances and forge ahead."
- Trailblazer -
Buhari's victory wrote a new chapter in Nigeria's often turbulent political history, after six military coups since independence in 1960 and 16 years of unbroken civilian rule by Jonathan's Peoples Democratic Party.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon and US President Barack Obama led the congratulations for Buhari.
But it was Nigeria's unprecedented democratic transfer of power that won the most plaudits internationally.
"The last few days have shown the world the strength of Nigeria's commitment to democratic principles," Obama said, while his top Africa diplomat said Nigeria had raised the bar for the continent.
"Nigeria is a trailblazer," Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield told AFP.
"They have sent a huge, huge example across Africa that democracy and change of government can work and it can work in a free and fair election."
The US President later telephoned both President-elect Buhari and outgoing leader Jonathan, praising both for their role in the historic democratic power transfer.
Obama spoke to the men separately to "commend them for their leadership during Nigeria's election", the White House said.
Buhari had praised Jonathan for his statesmanship in conceding defeat before the final result was declared, helping to defuse the potential for poll-related violence and lengthy legal wranglings.
In a statement, the heads of international election observation missions including the African Union and the European Union congratulated Nigeria and its people "for their commitment to a peaceful response to the election results".
- Challenges ahead -
Buhari's victory by 2.57 million votes, confirmed early Wednesday, came after a gripping weekend contest hit by glitches with new voter technology, claims of irregularities and Boko Haram fears.
Political violence which has blighted the aftermath of previous votes in the country of 173 million people failed to materialise.
Instead Buhari supporters thronged the streets, many chanting "change, change" and brandishing wicker brooms, his party's symbol, with which they have pledged to sweep away years of government corruption and waste.
In Kaduna, a flashpoint state in the north central region where many of the 1,000 people who lost their lives after the last elections in 2011 were killed, there were jubilant scenes.
Muslims in the religiously mixed state brought cows, chickens and sheep to slaughter, but some reflected on the huge challenges that lie ahead for the incoming president.
"Today it's like we've gotten our freedom," student Muhammad Sani Albari told AFP.
"We have been ruled for the past 16 years by the... PDP. They have been ruling us and no jobs, no good roads, no hospitals, no infrastructure.
"There is nothing here to talk about."
- God's will -
Celebrations extended into a second day in Buhari's home town of Daura in northern Katsina state, but residents said they were not expecting any special favours from their favourite son.
"Buhari never gave Daura any preferential treatment when he was head of state or when he was chairman of the PTF (Petroleum Trust Fund)," said resident Ahmad Tijjani.
"I'm sure he will not do it now."
There was disappointment in Jonathan's home town of Otuoke in the oil-rich southern Delta region, where near total support for the president was not enough for him to cling on to power.
"Since it is the will of God that Buhari should win, we have no choice than to accept," said Elijah Ateki, chairman of the Otuoke community development committee.
"We are not going to cause any trouble over it because we cannot question God and the voice of the people."
But others in the Christian south raised fears of marginalisation by Buhari, a northern Muslim, laying bare Nigeria's religious and ethnic faultlines that he will have to work hard to overcome.
Niger Delta militants, who wreaked havoc in the maze of creeks and rivers of the Delta in the 2000s, have threatened to take up arms again if a government amnesty that paid them off is not renewed later this year.
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Another story of sexual harassment in a restaurant, another case of it being ignored and—wait, what? They closed the entire restaurant after the Massachusetts Attorney General came after them? And they're still going forward with a discrimination complaint? Holy crap.
konstantin grcic's collaboration with LAUFEN has come to fruition in the form of 'VAL', a collection of washbasins, storage trays and a bathtub which exhibit architectural lines and extremely thin walls, combined with textural surfaces.
The post LAUFEN presents VAL saphirkeramik collection by konstantin grcic at ISH appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.
In today's Daily Roundup, you won't find any cheap jokes or fake stories having fun at your expense. It's all serious news and wholesome fun! Read about PlayStation's push into original programming with a new series called Powers, get the details on Ex Machina, a movie about super intelligent AI, and learn how the makers of Eve Online are making a big bet on virtual reality.
Powers is the first series to come from Sony PlayStation's original programming push, a partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment, and it's not rated "E" for everyone. With comic books as its source material, the racy superhero cop drama from creator Brian Michael Bendis is a custom fit for the PlayStation user base, especially users that pony up $50/year for Sony's PlayStation Plus subscription service. And it's that particular demographic the PlayStation group is keen to pursue with any future projects.
Alex Garland is no stranger to science fiction. As the writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, he's given us his own unique spin on the zombie apocalypse and a last-ditch effort to save the Earth (by nuking the sun!). Now, with his directorial debut, Ex Machina, Garland is taking on artificial intelligence - and in the process, he shows the limits of the Turing test, the most common method for determining if something is truly sentient.
It's been a very rough 18 months for the makers of Eve Online, CCP. The company has lost money, canceled the long-delayed World of Darkness MMO, laid off well over 100 employees and said goodbye to two high-profile execs. It also hasn't released any financial statements or subscriber figures since revealing a drop in revenues in June 2014 - in this case, no news is unlikely to be good news. But there's a plan to turn things around at CCP.
Earlier this year culture critic Anita Sarkeesian outlined her plan for the coming months, and those included new episodes of her YouTube series Tropes vs. Women in Games. Some would take a different approach, though, including a look at positive depictions of women in interactive media. The first of those videos went live today and it's all about Superbrothers Sword and Sworcery's protagonist, The Scythian.
Tidal windmilled its way into music streaming relevance this week when it relaunched under the stewardship of its new owner, Jay Z. Apart from strong celebrity endorsement, Tidal's main selling point is a $20 premium tier offering lossless (non compressed) audio/music. To convince you over to that pricier package, Tidal has a test: listen to five songs, switch between the regular and high quality versions, and pick which one you think warrants the extra $10 a month.
Hey there Verizon subscribers, remember that whole "super cookie" ordeal from not too long ago? Well, it looks like it's time to put that mess behind us because the ability to wholly opt out of said tracking system is finally available, according to The New York Times. That's right, the undeletable, unique identifier header is basically a thing of the past once you either opt out on Big Red's website or call 1-866-211-0874.
For its crazy 2020 asteroid capture mission and other projects, NASA is developing next-gen "Hall effect thrusters" to corral an asteroid and put it into the moon's orbit. At the same time, the European Space Agency (ESA) is trying to improve its own Hall thrusters to power future missions. If you're wondering what the heck they are, Hall effect motors are a type of ion thruster that produce a tiny 0.7 pounds of force, or the weight of 54 US quarters, according to NASA.
Filed under: Misc
Mr. T is part tough guy, part motivational speaker and all larger-than-life, and even though he has played some iconic roles during his thirty plus years in showbiz he simply hasn’t been in enough stuff.
Maybe it’s his immutable style, or his gruff method of delivering lines, but whatever the reason Mr. T is a hard hire for projects with scripts sadly missing the stage direction “Mr. T enters and talks about pitying fools".
Luckily we're about to have more T on our TV, because the mohawked macho man is coming back in a new show on DIY Network called I Pity The Tool, where he'll tackle the world of home renovation.
From Clubber Lang to installing concrete countertops, now that's what I call a range of roles!
-Via Boing Boing
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