TORONTO – Toronto politicians are set to decide on measures that would redesign part of a major thoroughfare to better serve pedestrians and cyclists, a vote that comes as the city grapples with a spike in pedestrian deaths.City staff have recommended councillors approve a proposal to widen sidewalks on a 2.7-kilometre section of Yonge Street in a northern part of the city.A staff report said the road has inconsistent sidewalk widths, lacks pedestrian crossings or medians, and doesn’t have dedicated “cycling facilities.”It also recommended adding bike lanes to the road, but Mayor John Tory said he supports an alternative measure that would see the bike lanes added to a parallel street — something the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee has also supported.The staff report had further recommended reducing lanes of traffic on the stretch of road from six to four, though the public works committee and Tory support an option that leaves all six lanes intact.The staff report suggested the changes be implemented as part of a complete overhaul of that stretch of road, which hasn’t been upgraded since 1975.City council, which is meeting Monday through Wednesday, was set to vote on the proposed measures as Toronto police statistics show 11 pedestrians died this year by March 19, compared to seven at the same time the previous year.Cherise Burda, director of Ryerson University’s City Building Institute, said adopting the proposed measures is the right move for the city.“If you narrow a road and you put a number of different users on the road, you’re going to improve the safety because you’re making a street more of a shared opportunity and more of a complete street,” she said. “People are looking, people are slowing down, there’s more going on on the street.”Burda added that the measures would be a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to change what happens at street-level on that stretch of road.Dozens of activists who support the proposed changes to Yonge Street laid down outside Toronto City Hall on Monday evening in a “die-in” to protest traffic deaths in the city.“I’m a bicyclist and a driver and a pedestrian and a transit user and I’ve had near accidents … where I’ve felt my life is in danger,” said Barbara Leiterman, one of the protesters outside city hall. “It’s important that children and elders and everyone feel safe using our streets.”Kasia Briegmann-Samson, a spokeswoman for Friends and Families for Safe Streets, which organized the die-in, said she’s disappointed the city hasn’t taken more action.“Look how hard we have to fight to get one safe, complete street being built. … The city should be falling over itself implementing complete and safe streets across the city,” she said. “The fact that it’s even being debated is appalling.”— With files from Peter GoffinNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly attributed information on proposed redesign measures to a city committee.
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it will be up to the country’s ethics watchdog to decide who is telling the truth in the SNC-Lavalin affair — himself, or former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould.Yesterday, Wilson-Raybould detailed what she described as a relentless campaign, including veiled threats, from Trudeau, his senior staff, the top public servant and the finance minister’s office, for her to intervene and order a “remediation agreement” for the company to help it avoid criminal corruption charges.Speaking in suburban Montreal this morning, Trudeau says he totally disagrees with how Wilson-Raybould described discussions she had with him and others about the case.The prime minister says the ethics commissioner, Mario Dion, will settle disagreements over what happened.Trudeau says there is “no doubt” talks didn’t cross any legal lines and that Canadians expect their government to look for ways to protect jobs and expand the economy while respecting the rule of law. As for Wilson-Raybould’s future as a Liberal, Trudeau says he is still mulling over whether she will be allowed to remain in caucus.The Canadian Press
LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment After criticism led to its cancellation, SLĀV’s famed director Robert Lepage says the scrapping of the Montreal International Jazz Festival show is a “direct blow to artistic freedom.”The show, performed by lead singer Betty Bonifassi, is described as “a theatrical odyssey based on slave songs,” but critics are calling it cultural appropriation.In a statement released Friday on the Facebook page for Ex Machina, Lepage’s production company, the director said that if it were up to him, the show would still be running. Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisement Advertisement In many of his other shows that addressed injustices involving “specific cultural groups,” Lepage says he was never accused of cultural appropriation or racism. (Christian Côté/Radio-Canada) Twitter Advertisement
Kenneth Jackson APTN National News OTTAWA – Bruce Carson certainly used his influence to help an Ottawa water treatment company attempt to secure lucrative contracts with First Nations but in doing so never did business with the federal government a judge ruled Tuesday finding the former senior aide to Stephen Harper not guilty of influence-peddling.Carson wasn’t successful in securing funding for the company but if he had it would have been with First Nation communities and not the federal government, therefore there would be no fraud on the government.“I disagree with Crown counsel that because INAC was the funding agency and served as an advisor to First Nations, that a three-way business relationship was created between the government, First Nations communities and third party suppliers such as H20 (Professionals Inc.),” said Justice Bonnie Warkentin.Warkentin said that view would be “paternalistic” and “most unwelcomed by First Nations communities. They have long asserted their right to autonomy and indeed this is enshrined in our Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”She said it would be like comparing First Nations to charities that receive money from the federal government.The RCMP charged Carson with influence peddling in 2012 after a 2011 APTN National News investigation sparked former Prime Minister Stephen Harper to call in the Mounties to investigate.The APTN investigation uncovered Carson had been trying to use his contacts in the federal government and Harper’s cabinet to land an Ottawa water company funding to supply First Nations, plagued by toxic drinking water, treatment systems.He did so for his fiancée Michele McPherson, who was connected to the company.“It is abundantly clear from his conduct that Mr. Carson was attempting to influence government officials within INAC, Cabinet Ministers and their staff as well as high ranking members of the AFN to promote H20’s water treatment systems,” said Warkentin.But Carson was told any business would have to be with the communities themselves, and not the government.Warkentin said she would have found Carson guilty if the government had authority to “approve or purchase” H20’s water treatment systems.“The evidence supports only one conclusion and that is that First Nations communities were autonomous from the government with respect to any business transactions with H20,” she said.The Crown and RCMP politely declined to comment on the case. Crown attorney Jason Nicol said he had to review the judge’s decision.Carson also didn’t want to comment but when was told it’s been a long five years he said “we’ll agree on that.”Outside the court, Carson’s lawyer Pat McCann said it was the right decision.“It’s what we’ve been advancing all along,” said McCann, adding the Crown was trying to put a square peg in a round hole.Carson still faces illegal lobbying and influence peddling charges in a spin-off RCMP investigation that alleges he was trying to lobby the government for organizations looking to profit from the tar sands.That case is still making its way through the court.Kjackson@aptn.ca
Fez – Morocco will further expand its extensive road network with three highway projects that will facilitate transportation and shore up the economy. The first project concerns a 143-km highway linking El Jadida to Safi in western Morocco.Construction, which started in 2011 and is expected to be completed by December 2016, is still underway with 40 percent of the project done. The El Jadida-Safi highway has an estimated cost of MAD 500 million, according to a communiqué released by Morocco National Highway Authority (ADM).The project is an added value to Morocco as it will connect the Doukkalah-Abda region with other neighboring regions, spur the dynamics of economical development facing the city of Safi and help attract more investment projects. The highway will feature six interchanges with closed toll collection systems, such as the highway linking Casablanca to El Jadida.The second project concerns Rabat’s belt highway which requires a budget of MAD 862 million to finalize it. Morocco’s capital ring road aims to give transit traffic the ability to bypass Temara, Rabat and Salé, saving time and avoiding accidents.Rabat’s peripheral road project will also connect the highways that converge toward Rabat-Salé from the South (Rabat – Casablanca Highway and its extension towards El Jadida and Marrakesh), from the East (Rabat – Fez highway) and from the North (Tangier – Rabat highway).Morocco’s National Highway Authority is also on its way to begin an upgrade project for the Casablanca-Berrechid Highway into a three-lane divided road.The highway upgrade will reportedly encourage activity in agriculture, retail, manufacturing and natural resources processing.According to the same source, Morocco aims at expanding its highways to 1800 km, which will serve logistics, construction, mining and industry.
The largest ever heroin stock detected by the authorities in Sri Lankan history was seized in a car park in Colombo.The Police said that 294.49 kg of heroin was seized in the car park in Kollupitiya by the Special Task Force (STF) and the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB). Two suspects were arrested and two vehicles were also seized.President Maithripala Sirisena later inspected the heroin which was seized by the STF and PNB. (Colombo Gazette)
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A woman who was sexually exploited by several men in Rotherham from the age of 11 and made pregnant when she was 12 believes her “child was the product of pure evil”, a court heard.There were chaotic and emotional scenes at Sheffield Crown Court after two of six men jailed for sex offences relating to the woman and another victim shouted “Allahu Akbar” – translated as “God is greater” – as they were led from the dock.As their supporters began shouting down into the packed courtroom, one of the victims shouted back “justice is served” as police moved into the public gallery.Both victims had watched as Basharat Dad was jailed for 20 years and five other men, including two of Dad’s brothers, were given prison sentences of more than 10 years for offences against the women between 1999 and 2001. Judge Wright paid tribute to the woman, saying: “As a result of what happened to her, her childhood and adolescence was taken from her.”She remarkably transformed her life from thereon, putting her own child first. Hers is a tale of the most astonishing dedication and bravery.”The court heard how the girl was plied with alcohol and drugs from the age of 11 when she began being sexually exploited by a number of men.The sentencing marks the end of a series of three major trials after Professor Alexis Jay’s shocking report on child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham described how more than 1,400 children had been groomed, trafficked and raped in the town over a 16-year period. Although five men were arrested, there were no prosecutions at the time after the victim told police she could not say which of a number of men she had had sex with was the father.But Judge Sarah Wright told the court that DNA analysis on defendant Amjad Ali has shown “that it was 60 million times more likely that you were responsible for her pregnancy rather than an unknown male”.Judge Wright said Ali was not one of the five men named by the girl.She told him: “I have no hesitation in finding that you had sexual intercourse with her when she was heavily under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs such that she was unable to remember you.”The victim, in an impact statement read to the court, said: “There’s evil and truly evil people in the world. I feel my child was the product of pure evil.”The woman, who listened as prosecutor Sophie Drake read out her words, said: “I was drawn into a world of fear, rape and horrific abuse. I lost my childhood at the hands of those men.”She described how she was shunned by many in her community. She said: “No one understood. No one wanted to understand. I felt lost, isolated, trapped, ashamed and completely worthless.”I was completely owned by these dirty old men who would do with me whatever then wanted, whenever they wanted.” There’s evil and truly evil people in the world. I feel my child was the product of pure evilvictim in impact statement read to court The three trials – based around two unrelated families and their associates – have resulted in 18 people being jailed for sentences totalling more than 280 years and are the last following South Yorkshire Police investigations.The National Crime Agency (NCA) has taken over all historic Rotherham CSE investigations with a team of more than 100 working on more than a dozen inquiries.Last year, the NCA said it had engaged with 133 victims and survivors but investigators were confident that Prof Jay was right when she said the total was around 1,400.The agency said it was looking at hundreds of potential suspects.Basharat Dad, 32, of Rotherham, was found guilty of six counts of rape, five of indecent assault and one of false imprisonment and jailed for 20 years.Nasar Dad, 36, of Rotherham, was found guilty of one count of rape, inciting indecency with a child and false imprisonment and jailed for 14 years and six months.Tayab Dad, 34, of Tinsley, Sheffield, was found guilty of rape and jailed for 10 years.Matloob Hussain, 42, of Rotherham, was found guilty of sexual intercourse with a girl under 13 and jailed for 13 years.Mohammed Sadiq, 40, of Rotherham, was also found guilty of sexual intercourse with a girl under 13 and jailed for 13 years.Amjad Ali, 38, of Worksop, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty last year to sexual intercourse with a girl under 13 and was jailed for 11 years. The defendants who have been given jail sentences at Sheffield Crown Court: (Top row left to right) Tayab Dad, Nasar Dad, Basharat Dad, (bottom row left to right) Matloob Hussain, Mohammed Sadiq and Amjad AliCredit:South Yorkshire Police/PA
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedElderly Fly Jamaica crash-landing victim succumbs to injuriesNovember 17, 2018In “Business”Fly Jamaica pilot did not declare emergency – Preliminary reportNovember 20, 2018In “latest news”Second lawsuit filed against Fly Jamaica over crash landingDecember 3, 2018In “latest news” Former Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee has described the recent theft of several items from the Fly Jamaica aircraft that crash-landed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri on Friday as an act of international notoriety that puts Guyana in a bad light.The former minister expressed his disappointment at having to learn about the “wholesale theft” of personal properties belonging to the crew and passengers of the crash-landed Fly Jamaica aircraft allegedly committed by ranks of the Guyana Fire Service.“What is even (more) appalling is the fact that fire fighters, who are internationally recognised as first responders, are expected to uphold humanitarian goals and practices in life-threatening situations where persons’ lives are at risk or (are) endangered due to natural or man-made disasters,” Rohee said.“For Guyanese first responders under the guise of fire-fighters to act in such an irresponsible and disgraceful manner is to bring the noble service of fire-fighting into disrepute. To steal from crew members and passengers at a time when they had to ‘run for their lives’ from a crashed passenger airplane is a crying shame and a grave embarrassment to our country and people,” Rohee declared.Rohee described it as a despicable act which has once again brought into sharp focus the much debated question of trust and respect for ranks of the disciplined services. “This time it is the Guyana Fire Service that has reignited the public confidence debate, not because of acts of heroism or magnanimity by its ranks, but because of acts by its own ranks that have damaged (its credibility) irreparably,” he stated.The former Minister said that by defaming their badges, which serve as a symbol of public faith, and by sullying the public’s trust in the Fire Service, the ranks involved in petty theft while aboard the crashed aircraft abandoned the lofty ethics of the Guyana Fire Service.He added that the incidents of theft perpetrated on the international aircraft by ranks of the Fire Service must have brought home to Chief Fire Officer Marlon Gentle the need for more intense screening of applicants, and rigorous, on-going training for recruits to the GFS.“Strict supervision of junior ranks by a senior, experienced officer at all times, especially in operational situations as the one involving the Fly Jamaica (aircraft), is of critical utmost importance. Finally, it is imperative that ‘the fire fighter’s prayer’ be drilled into the heads of every new recruit, so that he or she, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, and under the most difficult circumstances, will at all times uphold the noble ideals enshrined in the said prayer,” he concluded.
Image: Department of Health THE BOARD OF the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group plans to review the status of the new National Maternity Hospital project, in light of recent developments.In a statement, the group said it would review plans to build the new maternity hospital at the St Vincent’s Hospital site, in light of the controversy surrounding the development.“In view of the controversy and misinformation that has arisen in recent times regarding the project, and the views expressed by the Minister for Health and other members of the Oireachtas, the board of St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group will review the status of the project in light of the current situation,” said Jimmy Menton, Chairperson of St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group.“Pending this review, the Board does not intend to make any further comment.”There was strong public opposition to the development this week after it was revealed that it the new maternity hospital would be owned by religious group Sisters of Charity.Tens of thousands of people signed a petition is protest at the move, calling for the Sisters of Charity to be prevented from becoming owners. A protest was also held at the Department of Health yesterday.The religious group owes €3 million in pledged redress costs for survivors of institutional abuse.The board of the new NMH is to be made up of nine directors: four nominated from St Vincent’s Hospital Group, four from the current NMH, and one international expert in obstetrics and gynaecology.‘No interference’Yesterday, Health Minister Simon Harris said that there would be no “religious interference” in the running of the new National Maternity Hospital.He said three key criteria had to be put in place before the hospital progressed beyond the planning stage.These include “clinical, operational and financial independence, with no question of religious interference”, and that no private entity or religious order can profit in any way.He said that he had discussed this matter with the HSE Director General and was confident that these would be addressed.A Department of Health spokesperson said earlier this week that identity and ethos of the current National Maternity Hospital would be retained following the move.The new company will have clinical and operational independence in the provision of maternity, gynaecology and neonatal services, without religious, ethnic or other distinction, as well as financial and budgetary independence.This independence will be ensured by special powers held by the Health Minister, the spokesperson said.The National Maternity Hospital is being moved from Holles Street to St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin 4, with a large development taking place there.The Sisters of Charity own the land at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin 4 where the new hospital is being built.The news was first reported by the Times of Ireland last month, and garnered political reaction after being reported by the Irish Times on Tuesday.‘We badly need it’Speaking to TheJournal.ie at the Irish Medical Organisation annual meeting, president of the IMO Dr Ann Hogan said that the new hospital was ’badly’ needed.“The thing is, we badly need it,” she said.The maternity hospitals, in Dublin in particular, are just bursting at the seams – increasing number of births, increasing complex medical conditions, and we really need a modern 21st century hospital and that’s the most important thing.Hogan said that governance was the most “important thing” in considerations of the new hospital and that the minister had assured that it would be independent.“At the end of the day, the funding for what goes on in that hospital is coming out of the public purse and the minister will have the final say,” said Hogan.With reporting by Órla RyanRead: Ex-hospital master to Simon Harris: ‘Ask nuns about their plans for €300m hospital’Read: Health Minister: ‘I have heard people say that nuns will be running the hospital. Not true’ Apr 21st 2017, 6:09 PM 23,572 Views Share Tweet Email2 165 Comments By Cormac Fitzgerald http://jrnl.ie/3352296 St Vincent’s Healthcare Group to review plans for National Maternity Hospital The development has been mired in controversy this week. Friday 21 Apr 2017, 6:09 PM Short URL Image: Department of Health Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
Borussia Dortmund manager Lucien Favre expects Jadon Sancho to get even better given his incredible progressThe 18-year-old winger has enjoyed a stellar breakthrough campaign at Dortmund this season and made his England debut over the recent international break.Sancho’s impressive displays at Signal Iduna Park earned him a new long-term contract at Dortmund last month.Speaking ahead of their Bundesliga game with VFL Wolfsburg on Saturday, Favre hailed Sancho and his special achievements.“Of course he has a lot of potential. He’s only 18, and he’s already playing with the England national team,” said Favre, according to Daily Mail.Report: Dortmund hammer four past Leverkusen George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund put four past Bayer Leverkusen.Borussia Dortmund leapfrogged Bayern Munich to claim second place in the Bundesliga. After handing out a 4-0 thrashing of…“At the age of 18, that’s something special, you don’t see it very often.“Of course he can still improve a lot, that’s quite normal and he knows that. But he’s already very good.”He added: “He knows that he still has to improve. He just has to keep working hard, keep working calmly, and needs to have a lot of fun.”Sancho has scored five goals and provided eight assists in 14 games across all competitions this season.
Biolchini says the company is “financialliy solid” and debt-free. “This is an admirable position to cherish and protect during these adverse political and economic times,” he adds. “During the past 15 and a half years I have had the pleasure of working closely with PennWell’s outstanding management team to diversify our business and accelerate our growth and profitability,” says Biolchini in an email to Folio:. Biolchini will continue to be invovled with the company, having been elected as chairman of the board of directors and will remain on the executive committee. Now in the fourth generation of family ownership, it started in 1910 by publishing a single weekly magazine covering international petroleum news and technology. This flagship, Oil & Gas Journal, is still published weekly and is the most widely read petroleum industry publication in the world. PennWell, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a major b2b media company that operates in the energy and emergency services markets, among others, with more than 320 profit centers, including 150 print and online magazines and newsletters, and 60 conferences and exhibitions. Biolchini and other PennWell executives have been active in the American Business Media unit of SIIA over the years, with Biolchini currently serving on the association’s board. Bob Biolchini, CEO of 105-year-old PennWell Publishing, is retiring after 15 years as chief executive and being replaced by COO Mark Wilmoth.
New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday told the Rajya Sabha that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not made any request to US President Donald Trump regarding mediation with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. “I would like to categorically assure the House that no such request has been made by Prime Minister Modi,” Jaishankar told the Upper House. Also Read – Ratul Puri’s ED custody extended by 4 more days Advertise With Us Jaishankar said, “It has been India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross-border terrorism.” The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally, Jaishankar told parliamentarians. Also Read – Inter-departmental coordination can help win fight against malnutrition: UP CM Yogi Adityanath Advertise With Us President Trump, during a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, had claimed that Modi had requested him to meditate on the long-pending issue. “So, I was with Prime Minister Narendra Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, would you actually like to be a mediator or arbitrator? Did I say, where? He said Kashmir because this has been going for many, many years. I was surprised at how long it has been going on,” Trump said at the White House, with Khan seated next to him. Advertise With Us Soon after Trump’s comments, the Ministry of External Affairs had also said that no such request was made, adding that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. “We have seen @POTUS’s remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India & Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM @narendramodi to US President,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet on Monday.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir hands over party letter to GM Siraj nominating him as a candidate for Bogura-6 by-polls. Photo: UNBBNP has finally kept trust in its former MP GM Siraj by allocating the party election symbol ‘Sheaf of Paddy’ for him to contest the by-election to Bogura-6 parliamentary seat, reports UNB.BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday handed over a party letter to GM Siraj at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office nominating him as the candidate of ‘Sheaf of Paddy’ for the by polls. Siraj, also BNP’s Bogura district unit convener, got the party’s letter just a day before the schedule for the distribution of symbols by the returning officer. On 30 April, the parliamentary seat was declared vacant as Fakhrul did not to take oath of office though he was elected MP from the constituency in the 30-December polls.The by-polls to the Bogura-6 constituency will be held on 24 June, according to a schedule announced by the election commission on 8 May.As per the by-polls schedule, the deadline for the submission of nomination paper is 23 May, while the date for scrutinising nomination paper is 27 May and the last date for the withdrawal of candidature is 3 June.The eight-hour balloting period will begin at 9:00am instead of 8:00am in the by-election while Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used in all the polling stations of the constituency.
Geek Pick: Ikea Sonos Symfonisk Is A WiFi Bookshelf SpeakerGeek Pick: Fi Smart Dog Collar Sniffs Out Your Pet Geek Pick: Shark Ion Cleaning System S87 Is a Pricey, Powerful Robot VacuumGeek Pick: Geeni Spot Smart Wi-Fi Plug Is a Superb SocketGeek Pick: LaCie Mobile Drive Offers Big Beautiful Storage Stay on target One nifty consequence of the internet of things trend is all of these classic appliances modernizing their designs to keep up with the rest of your slick smart home devices. This fifth-generation Ecobee Smart Thermostat is a stylish little 4.2-inch rounded square that’s one big touch display surrounded by microphones and speakers and sensors.AdChoices广告After connecting to your HVAC equipment like air conditioning, heating, vents, and humidifiers, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat gets to work controlling your home climate. Using the room sensors, the 1.5GHz quad-core CPU can calculate how to heat or cool specific areas to maintain consistent temperatures while not wasting power. The range is longer than before and can be extended. The sensors detect whether or not people are also in the house and takes that into consideration.There’s a variety of ways to control the thermostat, too. Connect it to your home network with dual-band Wi-Fi, 2.4 or 5GHz. Use the mobile app to set up and receive notifications on different temperature routines. Integrate those routines with other third-party scheduling apps like IFTTT. And the voice control features, along with Amazon and Apple support, turn temperature control into a another task for Siri or Alexa. It even plays music, if you need a speaker in a pinch.For more on the Ecobee Smart Thermostat check out the extensive review on our sister site PCMag. For more on smart home products check out our thoughts on Amazon’s smart Echo Wall Clock and smart Echo Microwave.More on Geek.com: The ravages of climate change are turning the planet into an increasingly boiling hellscape. Meanwhile, the ravages of capitalism are leaving more and more people unable to waste money on inefficient air conditioning energy drain. If you can afford it though you can stay cool with the new $250 Ecobee Smart Thermostat with voice control.
Like most athletic phenoms, Mike Tyson showed signs that he would become a dominant force at an early age.In a rarely seen fight from the Tyson archives that we spotted while down a Tyson rabbit hole, an unknown 15-year-old Tyson faced off against some tomato can named Joe Cortez in the 1981 Junior Olympic title fight. At 15, Tyson looked like a full-grown man, and laid out Cortez flat on the canvas with a devastating first round KO.You feel bad for Cortez like you feel for kids in LeBron’s high school highlights. Dude never had a chance. Watch the replay to see a better angle of Tyson turning the lights out.
Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailA major road is blocking following an accident in South Cheshire this morning. The accident has taken place between the A533 (The Hill) and B5079 Crewe Road (Wheelock Roundabout) between Sandbach and Crewe. The collision is believed to have taken place at around 00.30am tonight. The road is currently blocked in both directions. We have no further information at this stage. For the latest traffic and travel news from across South Cheshire, Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, visit our dedicated channel here.
Facebook Comments Jessica Jana Johnson, 25, disappeared while traveling in Costa Rica on Feb. 20. Courtesy OIJUPDATE: An official for the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) said Wednesday morning that Jessica Jana Johnson had reappeared Tuesday after an alert went out about the missing persons case. The 25-year-old U.S. tourist had been missing since Feb. 20, according to an OIJ statement.The official said Johnson’s family asked that the OIJ not share any other details about the case. Related posts:US man missing since May, last seen in San José Costa Rica beach drowning victim identified as US tourist Update: Missing US tourist found dead in Costa Rica Missing US hiker Cody Dial’s passport found with human remains in Corcovado National Park
THEO PANAYIDES finds that the maths whiz charged with overseeing the facility in Limassol expected to draw in hundreds of thousands of extra tourists has had a successful life, built on rising to a series of challengesJust beyond MyMall, right on the edge of the city, land is being cleared for City of Dreams Mediterranean, the casino resort that’s projected to lure an extra 300,000 tourists a year to Limassol. A few minutes and a couple of streets away, a temporary casino – a ‘mere’ 33 tables and 242 slot machines, though still a multi-million-Euro investment – is due to open in a few days, presumably to whet our appetites till the main event opens in 2021. And a few minutes down from that – at the intersection of two main roads, in a building with a security guard who takes my name and makes me sign in – is the second-floor office where Craig Ballantyne, the casino’s ‘property president’, ponders this massive project, chatting cheerfully and sipping a cappuccino.Craig is beefy, shaven-headed, with unblinking grey-blue eyes and a Scottish accent that’s survived all these decades away from Dundee – and he loves to talk. “I love having an argument,” he tells me – but he also loves to talk about himself, and his life in casinos. The various adventures he’s had don’t go unrecorded; “I write all these things up, for posterity”. After 40 years in the business (he’s now 67), he’s writing his memoirs, though he still hasn’t settled on a title. “‘Casino Myths and Other Things’,” he offers vaguely, in the spirit of a work in progress – and the second half of that title could admittedly use some work. The first half, however, sounds like a winner.Casino myths loom large in our conversation. “There are many myths about casinos,” he points out wryly. The myth of ‘dealer signature’, for instance. The myth of patterns, and good luck coming in waves. “I’ve lost five times in a row, this time I’m going to win so I’ll increase my bet,” he says, in the voice of the inveterate gambler. Roulette players will invariably bet on red after three consecutive blacks, or on 17 after 29 if it happened to come after 29 the last time. Gamblers consult the display boards in casinos, showing the last few numbers, like a seer consulting her runes – despite the obvious fact that probabilities don’t change, whatever you choose to bet.“It could be birthdays. It could be all the 9s – 9, 19, 29 – because these are your favourite numbers.” Craig managed a casino in the early 00s where a player won €4.2 million over the course of a week – “and actually the guy’s game was so, so simple. He played nine numbers, maximum bet”. The player never varied his bet, regardless of whether he was winning or losing, and he played a section of the wheel, choosing nine numbers that were next to each other. Then he’d place his bet and leave the rest to Chance, or God or whoever. A casino is a place of magical thinking.Craig himself is nothing like that. I take it you’re not very spiritual, I hazard near the end of the interview, when I’ve gotten to know him a little; “Nope!” he agrees, and laughs uproariously. His front teeth show when he laughs, his round, bobbing face giving him the look of a jovial rabbit – but it’s clear he’s nobody’s fool, and I’m guessing he’s not always amiable. (I do overhear him talking to subordinates later, and catch a glint of steel in his voice.) One of his many challenges, he recalls at one point, was the Mont Parnes casino in Athens, a case of a joint venture which was 51 per cent state-owned: “The union was very strong, but the performance of staff generally was very weak. So I had to change the mentality. And I believe I transformed it, in less than two years.” I assume he did that by firing people? “No, by doing the right things,” he retorts firmly. “I mean OK, there were some terminations, but only for the right reasons”. The union couldn’t protest, because he was always careful to follow the letter of the law. “Must – follow – the law!” says Craig, knocking on the table for emphasis.That’s always been his style: firm, logical, above all methodical. One of his hobbies is cooking (he only has a handful of hobbies, the others being golf, snooker and classical piano), and his most successful dish is his beef bourguignon – “basically because it’s 49 steps,” he explains, and laughs again. “I know that sounds crazy, I suppose you could say I’m a little OCD when it comes to setting things out. I’m the same in business. I look at the KPIs [key performance indicators], I look at the analyses, I look at what every member of staff does, and I determine performance based on that”. Craig is the type of person who keeps a mental spreadsheet of his life so far: “When I was at school – the secondary school in Linlathen – we used to have positions in school, and from all the terms I can remember I was 3rd, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st. And then I was the dux of the school,” he concludes, ‘dux’ being a Scottish term for ‘top student’.His record spoke for itself. “I was very good at maths when I was young,” he recalls, with fine understatement. The Royal Bank of Scotland offered him a job right out of high school, without a degree (he did attend Dundee Commercial College during his time in banking), then he joined Ladbrokes, the betting company, in his early 20s – a job that suited his flair for complex mental arithmetic. “You could have six horses winning or coming placed, so you were betting on winning and placing for six horse combinations. And then you multiply them up by doubles, trebles, quads, fives and sixes,” he rattles off, by way of example. Ladbrokes moved him to their new casino division a few years later, by which time he’d also shown himself to be an excellent manager: “So, from 1976 on, I was a manager”.42 years later, that’s still what he does – though not in Britain; even now, “most of the casinos in the UK, you can fit inside your house,” he quips dismissively. So where has he worked? “I’ll try and do them in chronological order,” he says, pausing to lay down the sequence in his head: “So – Poland, Russia, Ukraine, then Romania, Kenya, Lebanon, Egypt, South Africa, Greece, Russia, Cyprus”. Poland was also where he met Gosia, his second wife; they’ve been married since 1998. (He also has a daughter, in her 30s, who lives in Canada.) His second stint in Russia was actually in Vladivostok, working for Hong Kong billionaire Lawrence Ho who needed an experienced veteran to spearhead his Russia operations. Ho is the chairman of Melco, the parent company behind the City of Dreams franchise – which explains why Craig is now here, tasked with setting up the first CoD casino outside the Far East.Those countries all sound quite… challenging, I point out delicately. Never mind placid places like the UK, he’s never even worked in a gambling mecca like Las Vegas; would he have liked to? “Not necessarily. Not in the middle of a desert, thank you.” Macau – where Ho owns a number of casinos – is more his speed.Maybe he could try it after Cyprus, I suggest.“Oh no, that’s me finished!” he replies, and gives another of his great rabbit laughs. “This is definitely the last one!” He’s 67, after all, and has worked crazy hours, six days a week and often seven, for nearly 50 years; “I’ve never had my holidays, not really”. He’s retired twice already, and twice changed his mind. People ask why he keeps doing it, and they have a point. Note, however, that his hobbies – golf and snooker, both of which he plays to a high standard – are individual sports; he’s never been terribly keen on team sports like rugby and football. “I think I like being challenged as an individual – and I think that’s why I took the challenge of Cyprus from Lawrence… People say ‘Why aren’t you retired, Craig? You’re 67, you’ve made enough money’. But I like the challenge.”The emphasis on unaided, individual success is significant. Craig Ballantyne, after all, is a man who’s been successful all his life. He never had that shimmer of self-doubt which afflicts most young people in their 20s; from school dux to maths whiz to casino manager, his path has been clearly defined. But there’s something else too. Craig was born with a talent for numbers, and numbers have their own special character. Numbers mean logic; numbers mean transparency; numbers – notoriously – don’t lie. His preference for personal challenges and a kind of stubborn individualism is reflected, indirectly, in his work, much of which has been spent standing apart from the crowd – protecting his casinos against corruption (the opposite of transparency) and relying on cold mathematical logic, as opposed to magical thinking.His 40-plus years in casinos appear to have been a constant battle against crooked dealers, corrupt employees and larcenous customers. In Poland, he once made a citizen’s arrest of a man who’d stolen chips from a gaming table, having marked the chips with UV then traced the man from Warsaw to Poznan. In Kenya, “I woke up to a Kalashnikov in my face one morning, I was arrested by the immigration authorities because I’d fired the food and beverage director” (who happened to be friends with the son of then-president Daniel arap Moi). Also in Poland, he foiled a complicated blackjack scam “which was worth in excess of six million – and that was what we call an unshuffled slug of cards,” he explains, and laces his hands around an imaginary deck to show me how cards can be shuffled in a way that keeps one section of the deck the same.Craig can do this, despite not being a professional cardsharp (he can also spin a ball better than most dealers; you pick up a lot after 40 years) – but his main weapon was always the numbers, indeed that’s how he first became suspicious of the scammers, “because I looked at the analytics and the game margins didn’t look right”. Craig is hard-nosed, and immune to casino myths. In a place where people believe that betting money on their son’s birthday will somehow invoke Lady Luck, this assertive, down-to-earth, even somewhat dour Scotsman is the last redoubt of rational thinking.What’s he like as a person? Is he conservative? “I’d say yeah, I’m very conservative I think. I’m a great believer in ‘everything in moderation’.” He likes to drink, but stops after a couple of whiskies. He’ll light a cigar now and then, but that’s all. He used to bet but doesn’t anymore, partly due to having been burned by the stock market. He doesn’t enjoy a wild social life; “I want to be low-key… I’m not [casino mogul] Steve Wynn and all these guys”. He’s also, he insists, law-abiding, whether it’s rooting out corruption or following AML (anti-money laundering) regulations. If a customer changes €100,000 into chips then comes back to the cash desk and returns the chips, asking for an electronic transfer, Craig will decline; “I say no, you came in with cash, you get cash”. These days, legal guidelines for casinos are almost too robust, he notes – then goes off on a rant about double standards, and bookies being allowed to advertise while casinos aren’t. Like he says, he loves an argument.What about the claim that casinos enable gambling addiction?“I’ve been in this business for more than 40 years. How many times have I seen a serious addict in my life?” He holds up the fingers of both hands, though it’s unclear if he actually means ‘Ten’ or ‘Not many’.Yeah, but you can’t really know, I point out. Maybe someone makes a relatively small bet, but that’s all the money they have in the world.“I’m not in the business of – let’s say, creating social problems,” he replies smoothly, “I’m in the business of providing a legal service in the right way… I’m not interested in having people addicted to gaming, where they destroy their business, their family and everything else. In fact, I’m probably more moral than most people – certainly most governments! When I was in Poland, to give you a small example, I actually reduced the hours of gaming by six hours.”He would say that, of course. Craig Ballantyne has been tempted to try other things over the years – open his own restaurant, most notably – but casinos have been his life, and he’ll always stand up for them. Meanwhile, City of Dreams Mediterranean looms large on the horizon, not just a resort but a “holistic” resort, not just a casino but also a 500-room hotel, 22 high-end villas, four restaurants, 11 bars, an amphitheatre, a wedding chapel, outside areas totalling 52,000 square metres, MICE facilities (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions) totalling 9,600 square metres. It’s going to be huge, certainly by Cyprus standards if perhaps not by Macau ones – and this smart, veteran manager is here to set it up, putting the numbers to work one last time before retirement. “The reality is, my job’s very hard,” says Craig, and laughs again. “You want my job, come and get it!” Another casino myth exposed, obviously. 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