Some Lawsuits Involving Indian American Family in Alleged Cheating in National Geographic Bee Competition Dismissed

first_imgLawsuits against an Indian American family whose sons allegedly cheated during a regional National Geography Bee competition in 2016 remain pending.However, parts of the lawsuit, stemming from a January 2016 competition at Oak Brook, Ill.-based Forest Elementary School during which two sons of Dr. Rahul Julka and Komal Julka were accused of cheating on the bee, were dismissed by two federal judges, the Chicago Tribune reported.Read it at India West Related Itemslast_img

Why We Travel To India

first_imgFor us, immigrants, travel is our raison d’etre. It makes our existence possible. We take it for granted, gripe about its vicissitudes and admire its force to bring us together, to transform our world. Immigrants travel because we want to go home or try to grasp in our infantile charms the idea of home. Immigrants have the sickness of displacement caused by travel. Many of us never traveled anywhere until we migrated here and now we find it is part of our reason to exist.The non resident in Non Resident Indian is about not being home. So we travel to visit home, family, town and country. We also travel for leisure. Those who observe are also observedThat first visit home is memorable. There is such joy to be home again. The air, the smells, the sights and the people, they all look and feel familiar. The home cooked meal hasn’t quite tasted the same in the U.S. The favorite dishes at your favorite eating joints are delightful all over again.This joy of rediscovery cannot be captured in words. A secret unfolding takes place inside you. One of the first things I did on my first visit home was to order bhajias from a local restaurant; no onion ring has ever come close. I recall a friend who longed for a real cup of tea, which he found only at an Iranian restaurant, which have all since vanished. “Double tea with less water” was his formula.The script of such travels back home is familiar to all of us. There are variations to be sure; but sooner or later, you become unsure if you are glad to return, fully anyway.A few days into my visit, I was on a long bus ride, overnight for almost 10 hours. An hour into the journey, the TV monitor on the bus began blaring the sounds of a Hindi movie. No one could conceivably sleep in the middle of that ruckus. Yet, my fellow passengers seemed oblivious, at least on the face of it, and some were even engrossed in the film, which they had likely seen several times before. Suddenly, the jolt of discomfort hit me. How could one possibly listen to that and how could the driver be so inconsiderate at this hour. What would have been a normal experience before I left was now a discord in my life. Once the anger has subsided though, there was an appreciation for things different, an awareness of how you live in two worlds.Two worldsWe have to remind ourselves that we live in two worlds. Living here too long doesn’t help. No amount of poetry can quite rescue us from that itch. We settle into this complacency, knowing that this world is too comfortable and what we left behind has changed dramatically. What good will returning do?Yet, almost for therapeutic reasons, we return home – to find our coordinates in two places. We realize that strange and alien as some things might look there, it is still our world. NRIs frequently become impatient with service in restaurants, in hotels, with bureaucracy or even become indignant at times over a little discomfort. Everything about India becomes irritable. All the same, this venting is good, because it reminds us in our “enlightened” perspective that we are growing up as an NRI.Living in a cocoon can be stifling. Even living abroad in the United States, does not help because myopia sets in. The wisdom we immigrants develop as a result of traveling back and forth is unmatched in value. It is beyond any other gifts we have and well beyond any gifts we can give ourselves. Think of the writings of the Nobel Prize winning Non Resident Indian author V. S. Naipaul, who had very little to say about India that was praiseworthy in his Indian trilogy – An Area of Darkness, India: A Wounded Civilization and India: A Million Mutinees Now. After repeated trips, his criticisms have mellowed. He has become a lot more tolerant of a country that proved too complex for his lashing tongue.We travel for the sake of nostalgia – to live in the past that we once did. These trips are also part of our growing up. Travel gives us new eyes, as the French critic Marcel Proust once said. It is the same country, the same people and the same home. Much of it worn and changed over time, but it holds the essences of our memory. We now see things from a different perspective. When you live in India, you take the slums of Mumbai, the stark poverty or the secret hideouts of your childhood for granted. We hardly even think about them. Separate yourselves over distance and time and your have wider, wiser eyes. Now there is a global worldview with which you see the same slums and poverty. The lyrical charms of your own hideouts are clearer, but with critical detail. We discover new things in familiar places because we travel.Wisdom is never without its bias. As immigrants, we have the power of foreign currency. We know our way around. We can afford things we never did before. Spending is a lot easier now. And yet, we want to be normal, save a little change and pretend to be someone else. It is not uncommon to hear stories of NRIs who want to pass as “natives,” conceal their money and still enjoy the privilege of being better off.We are pardesis in a desi land. But “native” Indians have developed an uncanny skill in detecting and outing NRIs with pretenses. Once at a historic site that imposes different fees for foreigners and for native Indians, I tried to get away by claiming that I was indeed a resident of India. I tried my Hindi and Marathi on the man behind the ticket counter . But he didn’t want to have anything to do with it. He insisted that I cough up the special entrance fee in dollars that “foreigners” are asked to pay. What did he have to do with demanding more money; he was a government servant after all, I thought. But he unmasked me quickly and rebuked me warning that I was not the first one to run this trick by him. Seems like quite a few NRIs try to “look local.”We also travel for leisure. Have you heard of the running gag that there is always an Indian in any country and in any place you are traveling? Given our robust share of the world population and our growing purchasing power, we are now everywhere. Go to the ski slopes in Austria, an aboriginal village, Disney world, or a remote tourist site in Brazil and you will find a visiting Indian there. We are entering the class of leisure travelers. A whole industry drives this, of course, preying on our desires to be somewhere and curiosity to see the world. Travel for leisure has a different flavor, a different slant than the travel for necessity, one that takes you home. In both cases, you travel because you can. In the former though, it is because you have to, for emotional, family or psychological reasons. But travel for leisure is made possible by surplus income. It is an expression of power and means. That form of travel, more than any other, is an intrusion. We travel to visit those who cannot travel and enjoy their environment for our pleasure. The travel industry, by definition, is exploitative of the places it promotes, without regard or respect for those who live there.Consider the jewel of India’s travel industry, one of the wonders of the world, the great Taj Mahal. For all the romance and glamour associated with this monument, traveling to the Taj and seeing it are instructive experiences. Clearly, it is the most popular tourism site in India. People go there to be in the presence of one of the greatest monuments in the world. The environment around it has lost any identity of its own. You can witness the foreign currency pouring in from all corners. The city of Agra, with it splendorous past resembles a waiting room, adjoining a great, historic place. It has been drained of its own culture and people. The entire highway leading from Delhi to Agra, once a prized countryside, showcases how a distinctive region can lose its charms because it is leading to the Taj. Everyone is hawking something. Everyone attempts to speak languages they cannot. As you get closer to the city, the skyline is crowded by an oil refinery. Stories about how pollution is ruining the marble of the Taj are plenty in themselves. The city of Agra is enveloped with smell, thick and polluted air and you have to strain to see local people anywhere. Those who live there are clearly surviving by adjusting to the tourist economy.It does not appear that any of the money that the Taj brings (the fees for foreigners are hefty) or that the hotel industry generates goes to reducing the environmental damage. We are talking not simply of pollution, but also cultural damage. It is as if you are entering a prison and seeing only the prisoner. The surroundings have lost their historic and local cultural character. Is this how tourism promotes itself? Arrogance and indifference allow for such negligence for the distant visual pleasure that the Taj provides. If you take in all the experience, the Taj becomes only a building, a monument without life. And this is not just the case with the Taj Mahal. The local economies of many places around the world have been displaced by the economies of travel and tourism. But don’t expect inquiring minds to probe these issues in the travel sections of Western newspapers and travel magazines. The New York Times does ask the question: Why we travel? But it proceeds to answer it purely from the perspective of travel as consumption. You are likely to get tips on how India is “made easy” or “how to survive in Delhi for 36 hours,” along with suggestions for places where you can get poolside cocktails.There are reasons (and evidence) to believe that travel actually causes more harm than good upon the places it promotes and the people it needs. Travel may help some people living around the places we visit. But it is marginal at best and it is still patronage. Consider if the money that the Taj brings or what is brought in Rajasthan goes to those who live there. Or imagine Cancun’s surroundings with all that money brought in for the people alone. Think of the economy of Goa! Would they really have all the problems of shortage in funding in public works or education if they were supported by all the money brought in from tourism? We patronize people, not help them. This is why the most popular tourist spots are surrounded by poverty and a shoddy environment if not squalor. The much ballyhooed NRI class in India, it is said, has spawned a new economy in India, entirely meant to please us, from the shopping malls to regular hangouts. We know well that there is a new India now for us NRIs, mindful of our privileges and resources. How else do we explain the emerging shopping malls, copycat Western hangouts and places of comfort all designed to cater to this moneyed class.It is possible to go to India (or anywhere, for that matter) and live in luxury, sleep in five star hotels, smell the sterile air of air-conditioned rooms, cars and cabs, visit the places you wanted, meet the people you could and return intact from that experience. How different is it from the times of the British, who had servants waiting on them in their plush mansions, with their luxuries of cricket and hill stations and promenades in designated places. They turned their arrogance into patronizing, which is exactly what modern travel allows you to do. When you are a traveler, take a good look at yourself from the eyes of those who live there. It would be akin to Dutch filmmaker Bert Haanstra’s film, Zoo. In it, we see the whole experience of visiting a zoo from the point of view of the caged animals. Think of how the world appears to them.From the perspective of the locals, we are the picturesque, we are a sight to behold. We appear clownish, with our Bisleri bottles, our hot new sneakers, our hats or sun tan lotions. We have the look of being lost; everything exotic is a purchasable commodity. We could be sold anything. People who live in tourist areas, those who make a living from us, have skills far beyond what we can imagine.Our own pleasures for travel become so important. We arm ourselves with cameras and keep clicking any and every strange sight in our reach. The camera is as intrusive as a gun and given its omnipresence, even more dangerous. All you have to do is invite strangers into your home and let them take pictures of your abode and your family. Imagine this feeling upon those we visit. And yet, we take it for granted that when we travel, we ought to carry a camera. Each person and object that offers a sight out of the ordinary is worth capturing. We celebrate visiting a place by the number of pictures we take. Each image in our album is a robbery. Perhaps the locals should start taking pictures of the tourists so it puts them at unease and makes them aware of a camera’s aggression.With the right disposition, travel can be a humbling experience. You are suddenly aware of different worlds and hopefully it reduces your arrogance and the position of luxury you occupy. The great American writer Mark Twain once warned: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Travel can make us humble in our knowledge and about our place in the world. And India certainly demands humility.Humility in TravelYou know the tales of people who packed their bags and assumed a visit to India is a little variation from that to rural Texas or the outskirts of Cancun and gotten the shock of their lives. India can be unforgiving to the uninitiated. It is a country with extreme contrasts and nothing ordinary here works quite the same way there. Those who think the U.S. is diverse country between Los Angeles and New York, with the lovely Mississippi delta shaping the middle character, are gravely mistaken to assume this is diversity. India defines diversity. Language changes with each leg of travel and food with each passing day. Sights and sounds are distinct and there is poetry in that richness. For what we consider order, there is a deeper boredom. Surprise is held in each encounter and if you are ready to see the country, the culture and the people on their own terms, not as showcases for tourism, you will experience life that is varied and complex and forever charming. But all this requires humility, a judgment that does not use the yardsticks of one’s own confinement to read the other. Nothing quite humbles you as much as India. To the uninitiated, it is a culture shock. Its variety is bewildering and its complexity intimidating. For those with empathy and pity, there is nothing that India offers other than a deepening of stereotypes and prejudices. When you travel to India, even as a returning Indian, there will be many things that appear “strange” or alien. The odd rituals in temples, the wayward strangers walking around without aim, the rickshaw-wallahs who haggle over little amounts of money, the slow speed of bureaucratic paper between two points, the long lines for railway and bus tickets, the slow traffic, everything requires that you come to terms with what you are seeing. A wise traveler defers judgment. He indulges in his experience and lets the world unfold before him. India offers unlimited joy and there are “strange” surprises at every corner. A recent trip provided a strong lesson in humility to me.I missed a flight in India and had to make my way quickly to Khajuraho to meet up with others in my group. I caught a plane to Gwalior and then drove in the night for almost seven hours. It became one of the most memorable journeys, full of lessons and moments of reflection. First, it would not have been possible without the benefit of my foreign currency to rent a car and drive that quickly so late in the night. The driver was, as always, a man of the world, familiar with all the tricks and tales about people who travel to India. He crisscrosses the North each week, taking travelers from one place to another. Wise and cautious, suspicious of strangers, but fully willing to open his heart to them, he engaged me in conversation throughout the trip.As is commonplace in India, he needed tea (with extra adrak, or ginger) every two hours and enjoyed stopping, just because he felt like it. There was a longer break for almost 40 minutes for tarka dal and rice at a roadside dhaba. Clearly he was tired as he had been on the road for over 14 hours already, but determined to make the most of his new customer-acquaintance-listener. He warned me a few times to watch for bhoot (ghosts) on the road as he saw a few himself. It was an intense journey.I got into the car as an NRI, mindful that it was an odd hour, and the journey was long. It was also a road little traveled at that hour. With each passing minute, it became clear that the reasons for travel are really about humility and trust of strangers, not about leisure and not about money or souvenirs.After some four hours on the road, he spotted on the side of the road a small hut that seemed like a home. It did not appear to be a dhaba. But he must have known the residents and told me later that the person there stays awake most of the night to offer tea to his driver friends. A younger son, about 9-10 years old, would run to the trucks or cars with tea and a pot of water. The driver declared it was time for his tea, but I declined any more caffeine at that hour. He took the car aside, reclined his seat and went to sleep. His snooze lasted for 20 minutes, while the car sat in a remote farm. When he woke up, he turned on his lights and right on cue the little kid came by with tea and water. All of us chatted a while about ordinary things.Among the many stories I heard while driving, some of which may have been embellished, were about travelers to India. The driver believed that all travelers who come to India are running from something. It could be something personal or just some artificial idea that India offers solace to lost souls. It was not the first time I heard that belief.What the driver meant was that travelers wear too many masks. They pretend to be what they are not. Some of them pretend they are not NRIs, while some others do. Some pretend to know a lot while few do. Some want to be at home there, but few try. He was particularly skeptical of those who think they know a lot about India from the Internet, especially those who make online reservations in the belief they are getting the best deals. Some come laden with prejudices and return with deepened impressions. Very few, he said, come to India to be Indians.Just as I was trying to figure out what he was saying, we rolled in front of the touristy hotel in Khajuraho where I was staying. The contrast between the two worlds grew starker than ever. I was entering a world with fewer surprises, with people just like me staying there. The pretenses there were glamorous and comforting. I asked him if he wanted to stay, get some rest and then drive back. He declined with a simple answer: he would sleep better in his car. The experience told me what travel is about and what it isn’t.How hard it is to travel! I am not talking simply about the difficulties at the airports, delays and lost luggage. But it is hard to defer judgment, to diminish your arrogance and even more difficult to be humble. The people we met in the dark of the night had more to offer in our experiences than the tourists in hotels.The next day, I was at the Khajuraho temples, another great monument on the list of many travel destinations in India. The temples were gorgeous and profound. Their surroundings were dry, but the grass in the compounds was green. The area had not seen rain in months, but each segment of the lawn in the tourist areas was generously watered.It was easy to identify the NRIs and foreigners from the locals. The moments for the former were filled completely with the selfish consumption of pleasures.This is not about coming home enlightened, I thought. It is not about traveling because I can. It is not about patronizing them with your gestures or foreign currency. Travel is not meant to cleanse you and give you a break from your crises. It is certainly not about seeing the world for the extra thrills you can afford.It is about seeing the world from other perspectives. It is about how ridiculous you look as a traveler to your own land. It is about them worrying about their next day while you wonder about yours. It is about this upside down world that makes them wonder why you come searching for a place they cannot leave.  It is part of sight-seeing when you become a sight yourself.One marvels at the attraction with Mehndi among foreigners. It has certainly become a part of the Indian chic. Think of the women artists who swarm around Western tourists at India Gate in Delhi. Their intrusive and exemplary skills in hawking their services to strangers are nothing short of amazing. If you are not likely to be a customer, it is easy to watch them in action. They scramble for any exposed white skin that comes into their vision on unsuspecting visitors. Sleeves that are not covered with clothing are raw material to transform into elaborate designs in no time. Partially bare backs are better, because they have less sensitivity to touch. But really, these are small considerations; all they need is a gullible customer. If a customer is absorbed in sight-seeing, looking around at the joyous crowd that gathers there, it is possible that before they are even aware, there is already a design at works on their arm.If you are amused by the artist armed with a little cone filled with Mehndi in one hand and a handful of printed designs on the other, then that amusement may not last too long. Before you know it, your blank skin has been painted over with an attractive Mehndi design. Savvy capitalists these women are. Prices are not to be haggled over here. There isn’t enough time for it. First the street artists know that you will pay what they ask because it is bound to sound like a cheap deal to you. Then they will always offer a package deal if you are willing to make a canvas out of other parts of your body.Their skills are admirable. In  short time, with that little cone and no assistant around (but plenty of competition), they can make an artwork out of the most boring bodyscape. If you insist that it was done without their permission and that they have to remove it, that is an equally gracious task, although they will not miss naming a price for that too. The best option in that sunny space is to give in, sit down and choose your own design.It is part of sight-seeing when you become a sight yourself. Vehicles with soulRiding an auto rickshaw can be a terrifying experience to the uninitiated. This tiny little three wheeler rides the roads as if it is in a contest in improvisation. It is a powerhouse on the road if you measure power by the efficiency of getting from here to there. The “auto” as it is called, can seat three, four or even five on a tiny seat. If you are willing to sit next to the driver, on that small protrusion on his seat, then you are the sixth or seventh passenger. The numbers that can be accommodated depends on the size of riders.  On the busy and crowded Indian streets, an auto rickshaw is extraordinarily nimble. For city travel, no vehicle matches a rickshaw. Try not to boast about the dexterity of a bicycle; the auto rickshaws can outwit them. It is hard to see if anything intimidates a rickshaw. And yet, if you are not used to it, if your nervous system cannot take the shock and awe of Indian roads, it is better to walk or consider some other mode of transportation. It can out-maneuver almost anything. The control on the front wheel is temperamental, so the two back wheels simply try to cope. The net result is a rollicking ride that shakes, tumbles, tilts, but mostly lands on its three feet. You cannot simply sit back there as if you are being led by an orderly machine. You have to participate, make sure your instincts are tuned to gravity and the forces of acceleration and movement.  And if you are game, what is terrifying turns exciting, like a rollercoaster, except that on this one, you actually go from one place to another. They are best suited for back alleys and side roads, those not found on maps, and seem to go anyplace they find a direction.Apparently, the auto rickshaw was China’s gift to the world and is found in many regions, from Italy to Thailand. But there is nothing like an Indian rickshaw. Like other unpredictable patterns of transportation on Indian roads, this one moves with careful alacrity.  In towns that take their personalities seriously, the insides and outsides of rickshaws could be read as walls of poetry, worship or simple witticisms that will make you chuckle or turn you into a devotee.One gets the feeling that rickshaws never die. They just keep running. If you return to the same town, 10 years later, you get the feeling that all the rickshaws are still running. It has to be the most demanding vehicle that has a soul of its own.Airports: India’s dullest placesIndian airports are visually and spatially some of the most unattractive places in the country. With long lines, hordes of passengers and increasing delays, Indian airports are places you cannot wait to get out of. Suddenly the crammed space on the plane looks attractive. Unlike some train stations in the country, which exhibit grandeur, Indian airports are products of an age where efficiency and profit matter more than character or history.The airport interiors are not distinctive, except now there is growing hunger to claim every inch of space for advertising. Smaller stalls, billboards, McDonald’s and Subways compete for our attention. Indian airports are not great places for dining, which is ironic for a country that offers great food on every street corner. Among the more intriguing features of Indian airports are idols of worship and panels of outlets for charging cell phones. Here you see an embodiment of what India is about; an instantly devotional place where gods are everywhere as well as a place committed to technology.  We have not yet discovered the shopping potential of airports, which Europe and the U.S. have grasped so well.Airports are depressing places anyway, especially if you are stranded. The lack of distractions to kill your boredom makes Indian airports only that much duller. Western Gaze: (Tips from a Western traveler)Your bags are loaded, the 15-hour plane ride is touching down and you are brimming with anticipation of what you will discover. But wait!  Are you prepared to confront a different world as soon as you emerge from the airport?  Would you turn away from a desperately poor child or a woman cradling a baby in her arms? It is a rapid lesson in world poverty, in the situations that tourist books gently warn you about, but rarely prepare you for. Their solitudeIndia can be disorienting for the first time traveler.As a foreigner, or a “gora,” you will be stared at. Not a quick, furtive look, but a studied stare that engulfs you. Men are subjected to it, but women even more so. It is not an experience you are likely to encounter in the West. But the motive is not physical attraction, but a visual rarity. The best way to fend off such advances of the gaze is to interrupt it, either by guarding what they are looking at or distracting them. It is instructive to be the other in another world.If the onlookers are armed with cameras and these days, with the proliferation of cell phones, almost everyone is, you will be photographed. It is one of the most intriguing and beguiling experiences for a Westerner in India. Dashiell DavisIf you are a woman, objectified enough at home, as a Caucasian you will be more inviting on Indian streets. There is widespread perception that women from the West are easy prey. Groping and fondling them is quite common, especially when they are most vulnerable. The problem intensifies in closed environments, such as clubs, where women, particularly Western ones, are easy targets for harassment. It is best to be on guard at all times.Then there are street merchants, the constant peddlers. They are very persistent. Even a furtive glance will suffice, but a longer glance is an invitation to a hard sell. How deep is capitalism intertwined with such gazes! Some are constrained by the tables they sell their wares on. Those without tables must be the nimblest capitalists anywhere.  Their goods travel with them and they are persistent salespeople. Heavy-footed mall shoppers beware. Either you run, or learn to negotiate in person for their wares. Persistent beggars hover close to your skin. There is no limit to how much you give and no easy way to resist.A visit to India is not a trip you will ever forget, but nothing in the world will quite prepare you for it.– By Dashiell Davis Related Itemslast_img read more

Welcome to France: Strikes and rotting trash

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares PARIS (AP) — Uncollected trash rotting on the streets of Paris. Strikes on trains that go to the national stadium, and on planes that should be carrying fans. With the eyes of Europe and the world turning to France for the European Championship, the host nation isn’t putting on its best face.A tug of war between the Socialist government and labor leaders over changes to French workplace practices is ensnaring fans hoping for a month of fine football and a great time.Already Thursday, strikes threw train services to the national stadium into disarray before the opening game it hosts on Friday night.For Friday, railway and Metro authorities promised extra trains to bypass the strikers and carry 70,000 people – as many as with any normal match – to the stadium in the hours immediately before and after the game, to and from central Paris. The remaining 10,000 of the 80,000 spectators are expected to come by road.Trains will run every six minutes on the RER B line, bracing to carry 30,000 and every 10 minutes on the RER D, for 20,000 people, the SNCF rail authority said. The Metro expects to carry 20,000 fans to and from the game.Strikes are also planned from Saturday on the national air carrier, Air France. In swanky Paris neighborhoods, overflowing garbage containers spewed stinking bags of trash onto the streets, uncollected by strikers.With kick-off just a day away, both the government and labor leaders warned fans to brace for hardship.“The strike, clearly, will disrupt the Euros,” said Beranger Cernon of the left-wing CGT union, leading strikers at the Gare de Lyon, one of Paris’ main rail hubs. “We will continue to strike.”Using the arrival of the European Championship to ratchet up pressure on the government is the latest step in an extensive protest movement against a labor bill that will loosen workplace protection. Recent weeks have also seen violent demonstrations and fuel shortages. At least two million foreign visitors are expected for the 24-nation tournament, Europe’s biggest sports event since terror attacks in Paris in November and in Brussels in March.People have lunch past overflowing rubbish bags in Paris, France, Thursday, June 9, 2016. After a rough couple of months which have included protests, fuel shortages, rail strikes and once-in-a-generation floods, France’s capital is facing a new challenge : Piles of uncollected trash. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)The government’s minister for towns, youth and sports accused strikers of “guerrilla” tactics and of making France look bad and suggested that Paris’ bid for the 2024 Olympic Games could be undermined as a consequence.“Ruining the party ruins the image of France,” said the minister, Patrick Kanner. “Ruining France’s image weakens France long-term.”A big question was how 80,000 fans would get to the opening game, France against Romania at the Stade de France at 9 p.m. on Friday night.The giant stadium on Paris’ northern outskirts, in Saint-Denis, is hosting a total of seven games, including the July 10 final. Organizers generally recommend that spectators take public transport to get there, with two overland lines and one underground Metro line serving the arena.But strikes made that difficult Thursday on the eve of the match.While the Metro line to the stadium was running normally on Thursday and will have extra trains for the game, the two overland lines were severely disrupted.The strikes are having smelly repercussions, too, with trash collection disrupted in half of Paris’ 20 districts since Monday, City Hall said.Just one of six trash-collection centers in the French capital was operating normally and one-third of trash-truck drivers were refusing to work, City Hall said.Air France said 20-30 percent of its flights would be cancelled on Saturday, day two of the championship, because of a pilots’ strike.CEO Frederic Gagey told reporters the carrier offered a new proposal in a long-running dispute over working conditions, but unions rejected it.There was a silver lining: Heavy rains that caused extensive flooding, raised the Seine River in Paris to danger levels and played havoc with the tennis schedule at the French Open last week has given way to welcome sunshine. Clouds but no rain are forecast for the skies above the Stade de France on Friday night.last_img read more

José Mourinho earns his sharp retort to Manchester United fans’ boos

first_img Quick guide José’s home truths Manchester United’s Anthony Martial rises to occasion to sink Spurs A sense is that Mourinho’s request for fans to have more faith in him and his players is an apt move: all the Portuguese wants is for United to succeed, and the fans can be a telling factor in this. Chelsea (Nov 2014)’At this moment it’s difficult to play at home because playing here is like playing in an empty stadium’ Read more Share on Messenger Manchester United (Aug 2017)’They were very quiet. It was easy to know that was a goal because it was the first time I really understood the stadium was full’ After the dire 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield Town and 0-0 draw at Liverpool, the Spurs result has United back on track. As Nemanja Matic said: “We dropped points there and it was important for us to win again to show we want to fight for the title, that we have quality and I am happy we did it. It was a big result, against a great team. Tottenham, the last few years, play really good football, they have a great manager, the idea of their football is good.“I think that the title, you win in the let’s say ‘small games’ but also if you want to be first you have to win games like this, especially when you play at home you cannot drop points. It’s important for us, it’s a lot of pressure on us but we managed to score and to win.”United got their goal following the booed switch of Martial for Rashford. Mourinho is paid to make these decisions, and for them to work. Maybe Saturday will help to convince supporters to trust the way he works a little more. Read more Hide Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter Was this helpful? Share on Pinterest Play Video 1:41 José Mourinho and Manchester United fans: a healthy, vibrant relationship or something more dislocated?The question arises because of his criticism of supporters following the 1-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Saturday. When Jonathan Moss, the referee, blew for full time Mourinho put a finger to his lips and gestured to the nearest camera. Share via Email Some people speak too much, says José Mourinho – video Share on Facebook José Mourinho Rashford is a local boy, so is particularly adored by the home faithful. Jeers that accompanied his removal were understandable, especially as he was among United’s best performers. Mourinho acknowledged the point.“They [fans] pay the ticket they can do what they want,” he said. “They can boo a player that doesn’t deserve to be booed, they can boo a player who is working like an animal, even though the game is not going in his direction. They can boo – they pay their tickets, they can boo the manager.”Mourinho is a serial moaner about atmosphere, which further underlines how he is following form. After a 2-0 EFL Cup win over Hull City at Old Trafford in January, he compared the atmosphere to “the theatre”. Liverpool were up next and the 55-year-old wanted their fiercest rival to be entering a cauldron.Old Trafford is rarely a bear pit, though. Sometimes, maybe, but there is difficulty recalling a match-long vibe of heightened emotion and noise. Saturday offered an illustration. When a Lukaku header hit a post suddenly the stadium came alive – showing how sleepy it had become.Old Trafford does generally boast a loyal crowd. It required a relative age before the support turned on David Moyes and Louis van Gaal during their unhappy tenures. So, considering United appear genuine title contenders for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, Saturday’s reaction was jarring – especially as the Stretford End had earlier been quick to regale Mourinho when their Spurs counterparts sang a ditty that abuses him. Manchester United Manchester United (Jan 2017)’The fans – they also have to do better … So my invitation is don’t come to the theatre, come to play, play with us’ Tottenham Hotspur Thank you for your feedback. Manchester United (April 2017)’Did the supporters know it [how much the players were struggling]? Because if they know it, and they think about it, they would be more supportive of the players’ Marcus Rashford José Mourinho’s game of chicken will pay off until the opponent does not blink Show features Share on LinkedIn The reason was unhappiness at fans booing Anthony Martial’s introduction for Marcus Rashford and also for their muted backing of Romelu Lukaku. Mourinho could shush fans, inform the press that supporters need to “relax a little bit”, and criticise to MUTV their treatment of Lukaku, because his team had just claimed a vital victory over a title rival. United and Tottenham entered the match level on 20 points, five behind Manchester City. By Saturday evening Mourinho’s men retained the same deficit but Spurs were eight points behind following City’s win at West Bromwich Albion.Mourinho could also upbraid fans because his decision to swap Martial for Rashford was sweetly vindicated by the Frenchman being the scorer of the 81st‑minute winner and Lukaku providing the flick-on for this.The manager’s public utterances are often described as a diversionary tactic. This, though, can be an over-complicated reading of a someone whose every word and antic is exhaustively analysed.Certainly on this occasion the questioning of the Rashford-substitution boos and Lukaku’s poor reception was not to deflect attention given United were victorious. So, the reason may be simple: Mourinho was being Mourinho, a man whose stance is that he has the right to have a say on everything – including his own fans – just as they do about his team. Topics Reuse this contentlast_img read more

a month ago​Cleverley delighted with straightforward Watford boss Sanchez Flores

first_img​Cleverley delighted with straightforward Watford boss Sanchez Floresby Ansser Sadiqa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveTom Cleverley only has positive words for his new manager Quique Sanchez Flores.The Spaniard took over from Javi Gracia, who was sacked after a miserable start to the season.Flores has managed at the club before, and got off to a decent start with a 2-2 draw against Arsenal.”He’s not bombarded us with information,” said Cleverley to reporters. “He’s just got his ideas across, very black and white about the basics of how he wants to set up and play. It has been a good, positive week.”The most pleasing thing was how solid we were defensively in the second half.”It has been a problem of ours this season and we were really solid at the back in the second half, from a good shape and that helps us get numbers forward.”We need to be consistent with performances like that now and if we do that we won’t be long where we are now [in the table]. About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Worker Falls to Death at HHI Shipyard

first_imgzoom A 39-year-old man died after falling from a scaffold while working on a shipbuilding project at a yard owned and operated by Hyundai Heavy Indistries (HHI), The Korea Herald reports.The man fell off the scaffold on Tuesday afternoon while working on a project for Norway’s energy company Statoil and was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead a couple of hours later.The unfortunate man suffered injuries to his face and neck, and multiple fractures to his extremities.This is the eighth fatality this year recorded at shipyards managed by HHI or its subsidiaries, according to The Korea Herald, with alleged poor safety conditions being identified as the main reason for the fatal accidents.HHI was heavily criticized for subcontracting hazardous jobs to outside firms and failing to take responsibility for the work-related accidents.According to Park Hye-young, a labor attorney for the Solidarity for Worker’s Health, the latest death was a preventable one.“It is appalling that workers still have to die due to dangerous working conditions despite a series of similar kinds of deaths at Hyundai Heavy Industries’ shipyards,” Park was quoted by The Korea Herald as saying.“This just shows the company’s indifference to workers’ deaths. Workers for subcontracting firms are exposed to bigger dangers because they have no labor unions to represent them.”The accident coincided with a partial strike organised on Tuesday by the unionised workers at HHI who are opposing the company’s restructuring plans.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

Asylum claims dipped last month but numbers remain up over last year

first_imgOTTAWA — New statistics released Monday show a slight dip in the number of people intercepted at the Canada-U.S. border last month trying to cross unofficially to claim asylum.Last month, 1,762 people were stopped by the RCMP as they crossed into Canada from the U.S. at informal border points, down from 1,874 in July.But the statistics also show that the total number of asylum claims lodged in Canada so far this year is higher than in the same period in 2018.The government says it has processed 39,705 new claims for refugee status so far in 2019, which is about 5,000 more than had been processed at this point last year.Statistics released Monday also show Ontario continues to lag just behind Quebec in the total number of asylum claims processed so far this year.The surge of asylum-seekers has become a lingering sore spot in federal-provincial relations, with the Liberal government promising hundreds of millions of dollars to both provinces to ease some of the strain on housing and social services.The flow through informal entry points has been blamed on the Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S., which doesn’t allow people coming into Canada from that country to lodge refugee claims at official border spots.What to do with the agreement is a point of contention for the main federal parties in the current election, and expected to be part of at least some campaign platforms.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Behind the scenes of APTN Investigates

first_imgAPTN InFocusHave you ever wondered how an investigative news story comes together? How journalists get to the bottom of complex topics and uncover things that otherwise, wouldn’t come to light?On this addition of APTN’s InFocus, host Melissa Ridgen sits down with the APTN Investigates team to discuss some of their favorite moments and the work behind the camera that audiences don’t get to see.Celebrating its 10th year on the air, APTN Investigates has continually dug deep into stories that mainstream media sometimes misses, or just ignores.The program has won 21 journalism awards in those 10 years, making it one of the best-performing investigative journalism units in the country.Producer, Holly Moore was working with mainstream news agencies when she decided she wanted to cover stories that were more meaningful and do work that would have an impact.“One of the biggest crimes in this country are crimes perpetrated on Indigenous people and there is really is a high level of accountability possible,” Moore said. “So I started to see that Indigenous investigative journalism — (APTN was) the only one doing it.”“You think about the content and my theory is if you’re going to be an investigative journalist in this country, this is where you should be looking for stories.” Moore said.” If you’re truly interested in holding powerful forces to account and you’re interested in giving voices to voiceless people, then everybody should be working”The work of an investigative reporter can be long and tiring. Tracking down leads, confirming tips and navigating government red tape.Christopher Read, the newest member of the investigative team, said it can be a challenge.“In terms of knowing how long to go down a certain rabbit hole before deciding it‘s not going to pay off, especially when you’re looking into a story that happened 40 plus years ago, you can spend a lot of time just calling every person with a certain last name in a phone book in a certain area, that kind of thing,” Read said, of how the process can be complicated.@APTNInFocuslast_img read more

Volunteers hailed at appreciation event

Students Rob Wilkinson (Community Health Sciences), Scott Plugers (Accounting) and Natalie Meza (Popular Culture) were among the volunteers who attended a recent appreciation event.Brock volunteers have contributed more than 65,000 hours in the past year, and those hours were celebrated recently at an appreciation event held by Student Life and Community Experience (SLCE).The April 8 event featured refreshments and displays of some of the good work Brock students and staff have done in the community. That includes everything from preparing meals to gardening, said Kristen Smith, manager of student and community outreach.National Volunteer Week is April 10 to 16. For more information on volunteer opportunities, visit Student and Community Outreach.

Serena Loses In First Match After Giving Birth But

Serena Williams from the U.S. returns the ball to Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia during the final day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Serena Williams lost on her return to competitive tennis after giving birth, going down to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.“I don’t think I am going to rate my performance,” Williams said. “I have plenty of comebacks, from injuries, from surgeries, but I’ve never had a comeback after actually giving birth to a human being. So, in my eyes, I feel it was a wonderful, wonderful match for me.”Williams struggled with her serve and Ostapenko won 6-2, 3-6 and then 10-5 in a super tiebreaker, but the American still impressed to take a set off the No. 7-ranked Ostapenko after nearly a year away from tennis.Williams said after the 67-minute match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship that she is still undecided on her title defense of the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 15, but delivered a warning to rivals.“I don’t know if I am totally ready to come back on the tour yet. I know that when I come back I definitely want to be competing for championships,” Williams said. “I am definitely looking forward to getting back out there.“I am taking it one day at a time. I am going to assess everything with my team before deciding.”The 36-year-old Williams took time off after winning the Australian Open last January while pregnant. She gave birth to her first child, a girl named Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., on Sept. 1. She married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in November.Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, a record for the professional era.“Knowing that I have won 23 Grand Slam titles and several other titles, I don’t think I have anything more left to prove. But I am not done yet,” Williams said.Despite winning her opening game when she broke Ostapenko, Williams was nowhere near her best in the first set, before fighting back and winning the second.After the initial break, Ostapenko latched onto the weak serves of Williams, and several unforced errors helped, as she stormed back into the match to go 4-1 up with two breaks.Williams struggled with her serve in the second set too, but went ahead 3-0 with a couple of early breaks as she started to hit more confident shots, including several crowd-pleasing double-handed passing shots. Another break in the ninth game delivered her first set of the comeback.“In the beginning, it felt a little tough. But as the match moved on, I was less afraid. I knew I was not going to fall over and break,” said Williams.“The more I played, the more confident I felt that I would be able to go for shots that I was afraid to go for in the first set.”In the super tiebreaker, Ostapenko raced to an 8-2 lead before quelling a brief recovery by Williams.Williams said she was delighted with the way she competed.“For me, it is all about physical, how I am feeling physically … I am just proud being out here and playing in Abu Dhabi and to be able to just compete. I have had a tough few months and I am just excited to be able to play again.”It was the first time a women’s match had been played in the traditionally men’s only exhibition event.South Africa’s Kevin Anderson defeated Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 7-6 (0) in the men’s final. read more

Two rogue police officers who sabotaged child abuse cases ditched work to

Two rogue police officers who sabotaged child abuse investigations have been jailed after a court heard how they ditched work in order to have a four-hour lunch at a Chinese restaurant.Former detective constables, Sharon Patterson, 49, and Lee Pollard, 47, forged documents, concealed evidence and lied about investigations out of laziness and “cynical disdain” for vulnerable victims, the Old Bailey heard.In March the pair, who were in a relationship, were found guilty of misconduct in public office, despite blaming police cuts for the chaos within the sex offence unit in north Essex, where they both worked.During the trial, the jury heard how on one occasion, Patterson had ditched her work in order to get a manicure, and on another the pair had disappeared for a four hour lunch at a Chinese restaurant.Mitigating, Jacqueline Carey told the court that Patterson had “soldiered on” in a child abuse unit “in crisis” and “crippled by the loss of staff”.She said the mother-of-three was now virtually penniless, with career prospects that were “limited to say the least”.Craig Rush, for Pollard, said: “It was not a failing police department, it was a failed police department.”In a world where public expenditure is pared to the bone there are consequences, and one of those consequences was that this police department had by 2013 failed.” But Jailing Patterson for 18 months and Pollard for two years, Judge Nigel Lickley QC told them they had shown “contempt” for victims, by shutting down investigations rather than put in the work.He told them: “People relied on you to do your job to the standard expected. You abused that position for your own selfish purposes.”Patterson broke down in tears as they were sent down from the dock.The misconduct came to light in 2014 after a victim complained her signature had been forged – and misspelled – on a statement taken by Patterson.While the defendant was on long-term sick leave, the case was reassigned and resulted in a conviction.Pollard had destroyed four indecent photographs of a complainant in another case while it was still being investigated, the court heard.He also failed to investigate an allegation of sexual touching by a teenager – then lied by claiming no further action was to be taken, on CPS advice. 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. read more

Komatsu buys MineWare dragline and shovel monitoring company

first_imgMineWare, a spin-off company of Mining3 (formerly CRCMining), and global leader in advanced dragline and shovel monitoring technologies has been acquired by Komatsu. MineWare was established in 2005 out of the Mining3 research program which produced the Universal Dig and Dump (UDD) technology. Developed in conjunction with the University of Queensland’s Mining and Mechanical Engineering School, UDD’s innovative rigging and control system technology represented the first major change in dragline technology for decades and offered massive step-change performance improvements.From that initial inception, MineWare developed their core technologies into market leading products. They include the Pegasys dragline monitor, Argus rope shovel and hydraulic excavator performance monitoring systems, and the dragline DTM technology. Kevin Greenwood, COO of Mining3, and outgoing Director of MineWare said, “MineWare is a genuine success story for Australian mining research; ideas germinated via university research, supported by the mining industry, and successfully commercialised into a global business.”“We believe the acquisition is positive on all levels. It will enhance MineWare’s global reach and provide improved integration capability with other mining technologies, enabling the business to grow more sustainably. Komatsu will add world-leading technology to its product range and have the capability to expand on MineWare’s offerings utilising their advanced development team. Mining companies will benefit through MineWare’s improved reach, and capability to deliver and support its products globally. From an Australian perspective, this acquisition demonstrates a commitment by Komatsu to significant ongoing mining technology development within Australia, further strengthening our global leadership in the Mining Equipment, Technology, and Services (METS) space.”MineWare stated it was business as usual but with the benefit of Komatsu’s backing and reach. “MineWare will work with their existing partners and continue to deliver products for incorporation into mining equipment sold by all leading manufacturers.” MineWare’s CEO, Andrew Jessett, will continue in his current capacity under Komatsu’s ownership, however, Mining3 ceases to have MineWare board representation and any direct involvement in its business operations.Komatsu is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of mining and earthmoving equipment and is a member of Mining3. Mining3 is an industry-led research organisation focused on delivering innovation to the global mining industry. Incorporating researchers from major universities and research organisations, Mining3 works with mining companies to develop and deliver transformational technology. Having formed numerous spin-off companies and technologies that are being utilised in the mining industry, Mining3 believes that it is successfully closing the gap between research and industry.last_img read more

SG Flensburg with four newcomers 65 mil budget and 5000 season tickets

The third team of the German handball, SG Flensburg, presented the roster for the upcoming season in which Ljubos’ jungs will have some different look. The EHF Champions League winners from 2014 signed promising youngstars who missed the right track in the last two-three years, but one of the best world’s coaches Ljubomir Vranjes thinks that their potential could be refreshed in the best possible way, especially in the cases of Rasmus Lauge and Petar Djordjic.The two other newcomers are Kentin Mahe and Henrik Toft Hansen, both from HSV Handball.– Last two years have been really tough for my players. Now, we will have more options in our game – said Ljubomir Vranjes during the official presentation of the team.– Of course, we want to win in every single match – concluded Swedish head-coach.SG Flensburg will have budget about 6.500.000 EUR for the upcoming season. Club’s officials announced that 4.780 season tickets are already sold.– Our goal is 5.000 season tickets sold – said Dierk Schmäschke, SG Flensburg secretary general.PHOTO: SG Flensburg ← Previous Story Barca kid Joan Saubich on loan to PAUC Next Story → Klemen Cehte to Al Shabab SG Flensburg read more

Loeil et ses défauts photographiés comme rarement

first_imgL’oeil et ses défauts photographiés comme rarement Chris Barry, un photographe ophtalmique australien a été récompensé pour les clichés impressionnants qu’il a réalisé de l’oeil et de certaines de ses affections. Les clichés ont de quoi surprendre, il est en effet très rare d’observer le globe oculaire d’aussi près. Tellement rare, que l’Australien Institute of Professional Photography a décidé de récompenser son auteur. Chris Barry, un photographe ophtalmique a reçu le prix du concours pour la catégorie “Science, environnement et nature”. En quelques clichés, l’Australien révèle de manière surprenante la structure minutieuse de l’oeil, et plus particulièrement lorsqu’il est atteint de certaines affections ou anomalies. À lire aussiL’haemolacria, quand les yeux se mettent à pleurer du sangTraumatisme de la cornée, dysgénésie de l’iris ou décollement de la rétine se transforment alors en de fabuleuses et mystérieuses images colorées. Des photographies qui ont pour certaines été “difficiles à capturer” avoue Chris Barry cité par le New Scientist.   Découvrez ces surprenantes images d’oeil en photo sur Maxisciences  Le 15 juillet 2011 à 18:32 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

MovieBob Reviews Glass

first_imgStay on target Once upon a time, with the eyes of the world upon him at an important crossroads in his life as an auteur filmmaker at what felt very much like a major turning point in a tumultuous career; M. Night Shyamalan stepped up with Lady In The Water and delivered unto a nervous and eager viewing public… a meandering and almost aggressively anti-satisfying (yet none the less bizarre and intensely personal) deconstructionist narrative-essay in the form of an unwieldy “elevated” genre feature that was partly about his favored themes of working through loss and trauma, partly about the practice of storytelling itself and the reasons for the stories we tell ourselves but mostly about how EVERYONE WHO HAS CRITICIZED HIM AND HIS WORK IS A MEAN WRONG EVIL PERSON OPERATING IN BAD FAITH AND NARROW-MINDED IGNORANCE WHOSE CRITICISMS ARE AN ACTIVE SYMPTOM OF EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD AND HOLDING BACK TRUE VISIONARIES LIKE HIM FROM BECOMING THEIR TRUE SELVES ROBBING US OF THEIR TRUTH!Now, 13 years and an… interesting subsequent filmography later, Shyamalan has returned to that same basic crossroads with Glass the long-awaited sequel to Unbreakable which is also a sequel Split (which of course turned out to be itself a stealth sequel to Unbreakable.) He’s rested, tested, been through the fire, seen his peaks and valleys, and thus the resulting film this time is:…a meandering and almost aggressively anti-satisfying (yet none the less bizarre and intensely personal) deconstructionist narrative-essay in the form of an unwieldy “elevated” genre feature partly about his favored themes of working through loss and trauma, partly about the practice of storytelling itself and the reasons for the stories we tell ourselves but (wouldn’t you know it?) mostly about how EVERYONE WHO HAS CRITICIZED HIM AND HIS WORK IS A MEAN WRONG EVIL PERSON OPERATING IN BAD FAITH AND NARROW-MINDED IGNORANCE WHOSE CRITICISMS ARE AN ACTIVE SYMPTOM OF EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD AND HOLDING BACK TRUE VISIONARIES LIKE HIM FROM BECOMING THEIR TRUE SELVES ROBBING US OF THEIR TRUTH!!!Although he didn’t cast himself as Self-Help Jesus-in-waiting this time, so… that’s progress, perhaps?In any case, I have a feeling it’s going to be very difficult for any movie this year to be more frustrating than Glass; partly because it’s simply frustrating for all of the regularly banal ways that Shyamalan’s films tend to have been regardless of quality ever since he had that “Two great, one pretty damn good” hat-trick right at the beginning with The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs: It’s too long, it’s stilted, it’s remarkably pretentious and self-serious but also leaves you with a mounting sense that the more it wants you to take it all seriously, the less serious you should actually be taking it. More specifically, though, it’s frustrating because BEING frustrating — setting up expectations and leaving them hanging, disappointing the audience and the characters, being unsatisfying, dashing hopes, confounding logic, seeming to go in more agreeable but also conventional directions, but only for the purpose of then not going there in order to make a statement about why not — seems to be the entire point of the film; in which case it’s something of a challenge to work out which frustrating aspects are there by design (regardless of success) versus which frustrations are the result of design “flaws,” which, in itself, is another level of frustration. Granted, it’s hard to have too much sympathy for the “disappointment” of anyone who actually remembered the general tone and thematic arc of Unbreakable, and yet somehow still expected the follow-up to Night’s moody thought-piece deconstruction of the superhero genre (set in a thoroughly realistic world without costumes, capes, mutations, kryptonite, etc., but where maybe people who are just a little bit stronger, faster, smarter, and more intuitive than an ordinary human could maybe exist if someone just nudged them to find out) to somehow morph into a conventionally-cathartic, hero-versus-villain superhuman showdown between David Dunn and “The Horde” WITHOUT Night pulling all the rugs out from under them; but it’s still shockingly audacious just how willing and enthusiastic he is get busy not delivering exactly that. Instead, he gives us our first superhuman clash right away in Act I; revealing that, yes, Bruce Willis’ super-strong sad-sack David Dunn has in fact been operating as a full-blown, superhero “The Overseer” since we last saw him in Unbreakable and that he’s set his sights on rescuing four kidnapped girls from James McAvoy’s “Horde” from Split, an extreme D.I.D. afflictee, whose alternate personalities are all in thrall to a “higher” persona called The Beast, whose emergence triggers an actual physical transformation in their host, and grants him superhuman strength based on the “powers” of various animals. But no sooner had they locked horns (and revealed that, yes, Shyamalan intends to continue Unbreakable’s motif of shooting fights scenes that emphasize how awkward, exhausting and kind of absurd such actions would look in reality) than they’re both grabbed up and tossed into a secure mental hospital along with David’s mentor-turned-nemesis “Mr. Glass” (Samuel L. Jackson) … at which point it becomes crushingly clear what the majority of Glass is actually going to be — and what this is all actually about for its director.The hospital, it turns out, has been tricked-out to specifically house all three of them under the care of a therapist (Sarah Paulson) specializing in treating people who believe themselves to be real-life superheroes, which she describes in terms of “delusions of grandeur.” This is of course anathema to Glass, a brilliant but psychotic comic book devotee who not only believes superheroes and supervillains can (and should) exist in the real world but who was (in Unbreakable) revealed to have carried out acts of mass-murder attempting to kick-start necessarily-traumatic “origin-stories” to create them; but it’s also clearly a scab that Shyamalan is keen to pick at for deflating obvious allegorical reasons, i.e. how dare any narrow-minded know-it-all presume to try and browbeat exceptionally-gifted people into doubting their giftedness simply because of a few setbacks?Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, and Bruce Willis in ‘Glass’ (Photo Credit: Jessica Kourkounis / Universal Pictures)Paulson’s angle is that she believes “thinking you have special powers” is psychological disorder she can cure all three men of either by therapy or (because we need a ticking clock) high-tech lobotomy, and so we have our main storyline and metaphor: An extended series of extremely gloomy arguments about whether or not it’s insane, arrogant or both to entertain the possibility that you or anyone else might be special or unique and also why it is mercurial auteur filmmakers can’t seem to do superhero-deconstructions without eventually going all Howard Roarke. Naturally, we’ve already SEEN all of these people do the very things Paulson’s character now insists they perhaps just imagined or exaggerated in the earlier movies so there’s never any real doubt (how could there be?) as to what Glass or its writer/director’s answer is going to be on the question of “Should I consider that my assumed strengths are not exactly as I’ve perceived them?” But you can, at least, see where this is a logical place to go in terms of exploring the characters further in preparation for a climax where they can collide as more fully-understood beings. From a dramatic and structural standpoint, this makes sense. Unfortunately (or not, depending on how much of Glass’ bat-shit off-the-rails nonsensical third act is intentionally so — Night has said his first cut was about three-and-a-half hours long and, honestly, that feels a little short) while the filmmaker’s seeming disdain for the sound and fury and “problems solved with fisticuffs” of the modern comic book movie remains readily apparent throughout, he also seems to have been sincerely bitten by the Cinematic Universe bug. So while the film’s very long, fairly uneventful middle section is indeed mostly about watching David, The Horde, and Mr. Glass’ therapy sessions; it’s more of a highlight reel than an in-depth record — because Night ALSO has a pair of brand-new twists cooking (one medium-sized, one jumbo) designed to not only further retroactively tie the three characters together, but to tie the “whole wide world” of the three films into a grand unifying “big idea” story conceit that requires the narrative to repeatedly cut away from its main focus to supporting characters like David’s son, Mr. Glass’ mother, and Anya-Taylor Joy as the lone survivor from Split, pouring through comic books and Google searches for clues to set up a BONKERS succession of reveals within reveals that either needed to be explained a lot more or a lot less to have “worked” in any context… but probably still wouldn’t have, since this is all still caught in a push-pull between Shyamalan’s low-key mischievious desire to needle audiences for hoping he’d make a “fun” superhero movie while also issuing his manifesto condemning anyone who ever tried to tell him he’d lost that Sixth Sense Midas touch.In other words, if (as I’m given to suspect was the case) Shyamalan’s intent with Glass was in part to deliberately set-up and deliver a gigantic “let down” for the audience — in part as “commentary” on the ubiquity of the superhero genre as presently constituted but also as setup for a gigantic out-of-nowhere “reveal” that ranks as a “You’ve GOT to be KIDDING!” all-timer even for a filmmaker who’s more or less made “You got to be kidding!” his personal brand for almost two decades — I’m effectively at a loss for how to approach it in a critical context: How do you gauge whether or not something fails to deliver if “not delivering” is what it’s setting out to do? When is failing at failing not simply “succeeding?”Well, alright then, M. Night. if you were trying to “defeat” movie critics with the same basic techniques James T. Kirk uses to defeat computerized brains? You may have finally won. I have no idea if Glass simply doesn’t work (or does work and just isn’t a thing you should’ve done) but it’s clear that you’re going to be always at least be worth paying attention to — and that’s not nothing.More MovieBob Reviews on Geek.com:MovieBob Reviews: ‘Vice’MovieBob Reviews: ‘Destroyer’MovieBob Reviews: ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ MovieBob Reviews: ‘Shadow’MovieBob Reviews: ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ last_img read more

Foles Eagles fly into Super Bowl rout Vikings 387

first_imgPHILADELPHIA — With one quarter remaining, Eagles players on the field and sideline already were dancing.A bit later, after their stunning and resounding 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings earned them the NFC championship, they listened as nearly 70,000 made the Linc shake with “Fly Eagles Fly.”Hey Philly, you’re in the Super Bowl.“It was electric. The fans are awesome,” All-Pro tackle Lane Johnson said.“We’re going there to prove we belong,” added Brandon Graham of the meeting with the AFC champion Patriots in two weeks.And maybe it’s time for everyone to put aside Carson Wentz’s injury. Nick Foles might be good enough to win the Eagles their first NFL title since 1960.Foles was on fire Sunday night against the stingiest scoring defense in the NFL. Next up after their most-lopsided playoff victory: the Eagles’ first Super Bowl appearance since 2005, against the team that beat them then.Foles replaced the injured Wentz in Game 13 and finished off a rise from last place last season to first in the NFC East. There were plenty of doubters entering the playoffs, but the former starter in Philadelphia (15-3) under another regime has been brilliant.“I just think you’ve got to keep going at it,” Foles said. “And we all believe in each other. I’m blessed to have amazing teammates, amazing coaches. Everyone here that’s a part of the Philadelphia Eagles organization is first class.”last_img read more

ASA Urges Additional Resources to Keep Inland Waterways Functioning

first_imgThe American Soybean Association (ASA) has joined with the National Grain and Feed Association, other producer groups, processors, and input suppliers, alerting the Congressional Appropriations Committees about the urgent need for additional resources to dredge and repair inland waterways that have been damaged by historic high water levels.”Agricultural producers, processors and exporters rely on the entire Mississippi River system and share concern about the impact recent floods in the Midwest will have on the river system,” said ASA First Vice President Steve Wellman, a soybean producer from Syracuse, Neb. “More than 60 percent of U.S. soybean exports moved to world markets through the Port of South Louisiana via the Mississippi River and its tributaries.”A modern and efficient inland waterways transportation system is vital to maintaining U.S. agricultural competitiveness in the world market. As the U.S. system continues to face delays and closures attributable to low drafts and crumbling locks and dams, competitors are increasing expenditures on their own transport infrastructures, thereby eroding the competitive advantage long enjoyed by the United States.”With the current record flooding extending from South Dakota through Iowa and Nebraska, the Corps is also going to need funds for repairs due to flooding on the Missouri River,” Wellman said. “Commerce has already been slowed by the high currents that are accumulating silt on the river bottoms, and river pilots continue to impose draft restrictions, one-way traffic, and daytime only hours as a result of the high current situation.”The river and its tributaries comprise more than 14,000 miles of navigable waterways—making it a natural distribution system that covers a wide stretch of the continental United States. About 413 million tons of domestic and international cargo is moved annually on the Lower Mississippi River. Louisiana ports exported about $13.4 billion worth of agricultural products in 2009, including grain harvested in the Midwest and shipped via barge for export to world markets.”ASA is asking Congress to help keep this vital artery functioning by ensuring the Corps of Engineers has the resources it needs to maintain and modernize navigation on the Mississippi River and tributary system,” Wellman said. “ASA will also take this message to the Administration asking that it submit the necessary emergency funding request to Congress.”last_img read more

House of Cards Robin Wright demands same pay as Kevin Spacey

first_imgSomething for the weekend: Actress Robin Wright (pictured) has spoken out about her fight to be paid the same amount as male co-star Kevin Spacey for her work on the popular Netflix drama House of Cards.Appearing in all 52 episodes of the series, as well as receiving a few directing credits for the show, it has been reported that Wright was earning $420,000 (approximately £287,133) an episode in 2015. Spacey was reportedly earning $500,000 (£341,877) in 2014.In the show, Wright plays First Lady Claire Underwood opposite Spacey’s President Frank Underwood.According to the Huffington Post, Wright discussed the pay issue at an event at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York.Wright said: “I was like, ‘I want to be paid the same as Kevin’.”“It was a perfect paradigm. There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal. And they are in House of Cards.“I was looking at statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time. So I capitalised on that moment. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public’. And they did.”The Employee Benefits team looks forward to pay for more female stars following suit…last_img read more