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Feeding the gods: Hundreds of skulls reveal massive scale of human sacrifice in Aztec capital

first_img 0 The priest quickly sliced into the captive’s torso and removed his still-beating heart. That sacrifice, one among thousands performed in the sacred city of Tenochtitlan, would feed the gods and ensure the continued existence of the world.Death, however, was just the start of the victim’s role in the sacrificial ritual, key to the spiritual world of the Mexica people in the 14th to the 16th centuries.Priests carried the body to another ritual space, where they laid it face-up. Armed with years of practice, detailed anatomical knowledge, and obsidian blades sharper than today’s surgical steel, they made an incision in the thin space between two vertebrae in the neck, expertly decapitating the body. Using their sharp blades, the priests deftly cut away the skin and muscles of the face, reducing it to a skull. Then, they carved large holes in both sides of the skull and slipped it onto a thick wooden post that held other skulls prepared in precisely the same way. The skulls were bound for Tenochtitlan’s tzompantli, an enormous rack of skulls built in front of the Templo Mayor—a pyramid with two temples on top. One was dedicated to the war god, Huitzilopochtli, and the other to the rain god, Tlaloc.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Eventually, after months or years in the sun and rain, a skull would begin to fall to pieces, losing teeth and perhaps even its jaw. The priests would remove it to be fashioned into a mask and placed in an offering, or use mortar to add it to two towers of skulls that flanked the tzompantli. For the Aztecs—the larger cultural group to which the Mexica belonged—those skulls were the seeds that would ensure the continued existence of humanity. They were a sign of life and regeneration, like the first flowers of spring.But the Spanish conquistadors who marched into Tenochtitlan in 1519 saw them differently. For them, the skulls—and the entire practice of human sacrifice—evinced the Mexica’s barbarism and justified laying waste to the city in 1521. The Spanish tore down the Templo Mayor and the tzompantli in front of it, paved over the ruins, and built what would become Mexico City. And the great rack and towers of skulls passed into the realm of historical mystery. Some researchers also argue that killing captives or subjects both establishes and reinforces hierarchy in large, complex societies. A 2016 Nature paper, for example, linked human sacrifice to the development of social stratification in dozens of traditional Austronesian cultures.Many researchers say that, for the Mexica, political power as well as religious belief is likely key to understanding the scale of the practice. Theirs was a relatively young empire; during their 200-year reign, they conquered territory all over central and southern Mexico, sometimes facing tremendous resistance from local communities (some of which would later ally with the Spanish against the empire). Spanish chronicles describe Tenochtitlan’s sacrificial victims as captives brought back from wars, such as those fought with their archenemy, the nearby republic of Tlaxcala. Subject peoples in the Mexica Empire were also sometimes required to send individuals as tribute. “The killing of captives, even in a ritual context, is a strong political statement,” Verano says. “It’s a way to demonstrate power and political influence—and, some people have said, it’s a way to control your own population.””The more powerful a state was, the more victims it could dedicate,” says Ximena Chávez Balderas, an INAH bioarchaeologist who spent years studying the remains of sacrificial victims in offerings in the Templo Mayor; she is now Verano’s doctoral student at Tulane. The religious significance and political messaging of human sacrifice “go hand in hand,” she says.Over two seasons of excavations, INAH archaeologists collected 180 mostly complete skulls from the tower as well as thousands of skull fragments. Now, those finds sit in a lab next to the Templo Mayor ruins, being painstakingly examined by a team led by INAH anthropologist Jorge Gómez Valdés. Cut marks on the skulls leave no doubt they were defleshed after death, and the decapitation technique appears clean and uniform. “[Mexica priests] had extremely impressive anatomical knowledge, which was passed down from generation to generation,” Chávez Balderas says. Sacrifice city For the Mexica, human sacrifice was key to the health of the world. Recent finds show that a vast rack of skulls (reconstruction below) stood in a temple at the heart of their capital, Tenochtitlan. (An interactive version of this graphic is also available.) 1587 AZTEC MANUSCRIPT, THE CODEX TOVAR/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) archaeologists collected nearly 200 skulls from the tower flanking the tzompantli. Isotope and DNA studies, now underway, are expected to reveal that victims came from all over Mesoamerica. By Lizzie WadeJun. 21, 2018 , 2:00 PM Km Nearby, the researchers also found skulls apparently stuck together with mortar—remnants of one of the towers flanking the tzompantli, where most skulls once exhibited on its posts ended their postmortem journey. The team spent a second season, from October 2016 to June 2017, excavating the tzompantli and the tower. At its largest, the tower was nearly 5 meters in diameter and at least 1.7 meters tall. Combining the two historically documented towers and the rack, INAH archaeologists now estimate that several thousand skulls must have been displayed at a time.Other Mesoamerican cultures also engaged in human sacrifice and built tzompantlis. But, “The Mexica certainly brought this to an extreme,” says Vera Tiesler, a bioarchaeologist at the Autonomous University of Yucatán in Mérida, Mexico. In her work at the Mayan city of Chichen Itza, founded some 700 years before Tenochtitlan and more than 1000 kilometers away, she found six skulls with holes in their sides that she suspects were once displayed on the posts of a tzompantli. However, the holes in each skull were less regular and uniform than those in the Tenochtitlan skulls. “That makes me think it was not a standardized practice yet,” she says. “Tenochtitlan was the maximum expression [of the tzompantli tradition].”Human sacrifice occupied a particularly important place in Mesoamerica. Many of the region’s cultures, including the Maya and the Mexica, believed that human sacrifice nourished the gods. Without it, the sun would cease to rise and the world would end. And sacrificial victims earned a special, honored place in the afterlife.Ritual killings in traditional cultures elsewhere in the world, including Asia and Europe, point to additional roles for the practice, and may help explain why the Mexica took it to such an extreme. “All premodern societies make some kind of offering,” Verano says. “And in many societies, if not all, the most valuable sacrifice is human life.” Social scientists who study religion have shown that costly offerings and painful rituals, such as the bloodletting ceremonies the Mexica also practiced, can help define and strengthen group identity—especially in societies that have grown too large for everyone to know everyone else. Some of the skulls displayed on the tzompantli were transformed into masks; this one’s nose is an obsidian blade like those used in human sacrifice. Aztec road system 16th century lakes Modern Mexico City urban area Mexica-era settlements Templecomplex 5 m 14 m 36 m The Mexica expertly decapitated victims and carved standardized holes in the sides of their skulls so they could be mounted onto the posts of a rack called the tzompantli, which heldthousands of skulls. (GRAPHIC) C. BICKEL AND A. CUADRA/SCIENCE; (MAP) ADAPTED FROM “CARTA GEOGRÁFICA DEL DISTRITO FEDERAL” (1899) AND “CARTA HIDROGRÁFICA DEL VALLE DE MÉXICO” (1900) Gomóz Valdás found that about 75% of the skulls examined so far belonged to men, most between the ages of 20 and 35—prime warrior age. But 20% were women, and 5% belonged to children. Most victims seemed to be in relatively good health before they were sacrificed. “If they are war captives, they aren’t randomly grabbing the stragglers,” Gómez Valdés says. The mix of ages and sexes also supports another Spanish claim, that many victims were slaves sold in the city’s markets expressly to be sacrificed.Chávez Balderas identified a similar distribution of sex and age in her studies of victims in smaller offerings within the Templo Mayor itself, which often contained skulls from the tzompantli that had been decorated and turned into eerie masks. Her colleagues also analyzed isotopes of strontium and oxygen that the teeth and bones had absorbed. The isotopes in teeth reflect the geology of a person’s surroundings during childhood, whereas isotopes in bones show where a person lived before death. The results confirmed that the victims were born in various parts of Mesoamerica but had often spent significant time in Tenochtitlan before they were sacrificed. “They aren’t foreigners who were brought into the city and directly to the ritual,” Chávez Balderas says. “They were assimilated into the society of Tenochtitlan in some way.” Barrera Rodríguez says some historical accounts record cases of captive warriors living with the families of their captors for months or years before being sacrificed.Samples for isotopic analysis as well as ancient DNA studies have already been taken from many of the tzompantli skulls, Gómez Valdés says. He, too, expects to find a diversity of origins, especially because the tzompantli skulls display a variety of intentional dental and cranial modifications, which were practiced by different cultural groups at different times. If so, the skulls could yield information that extends far beyond how the victims died. “Hypothetically, in this tzompantli, you have a sample of the population from all over Mesoamerica,” Vázquez Vallín says. “It’s unparalleled.”Bioarchaeologist Tiffiny Tung of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, who studies human sacrifice in the Andes, says she is excited to see what the INAH team can learn from the skulls about sacrificial rituals and the genetic diversity of Mesoamerica just before the conquest. “We can go down literally to the individual person and tell that person’s story. And then we can pull back and tell the story … about these big communities,” she says. Once imbued with a sacred, but silent, role in the city where they died, those victims may finally speak again. Some conquistadors wrote about the tzompantli and its towers, estimating that the rack alone contained 130,000 skulls. But historians and archaeologists knew the conquistadors were prone to exaggerating the horrors of human sacrifice to demonize the Mexica culture. As the centuries passed, scholars began to wonder whether the tzompantli had ever existed.Archaeologists at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) here can now say with certainty that it did. Beginning in 2015, they discovered and excavated the remains of the skull rack and one of the towers underneath a colonial period house on the street that runs behind Mexico City’s cathedral. (The other tower, they suspect, lies under the cathedral’s back courtyard.) The scale of the rack and tower suggests they held thousands of skulls, testimony to an industry of human sacrifice unlike any other in the world. Now, archaeologists are beginning to study the skulls in detail, hoping to learn more about Mexica rituals and the postmortem treatment of the bodies of the sacrificed. The researchers also wonder who the victims were, where they lived, and what their lives were like before they ended up marked for a brutal death at the Templo Mayor.”This is a world of information,” says archaeologist Raùl Barrera Rodríguez, director of INAH’s Urban Archaeology Program and leader of the team that found the tzompantli. “It’s an amazing thing, and just the kind of discovery many of us had hoped for,” agrees John Verano, a bioarchaeologist at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, who studies human sacrifice. He and other researchers hope the skulls will clarify the role of large-scale human sacrifice in Mexica religion and culture—and whether, as scholars suspect, it played a key part in building their empire.The discovery of the tzompantli began the same way all the Urban Archaeology Program’s digs do: with a planned construction project in the heart of downtown Mexico City. Whenever someone wants to build in a seven-block area around the Templo Mayor, Barrera Rodríguez’s team must excavate first, salvaging whatever remains of the colonial and especially Mexica city beneath. The finds are often significant and surprisingly intact. The Templo Mayor itself came to light in the 1970s, when INAH archaeologists were called in after city electrical workers stumbled on an imposing circular statue of the goddess Coyolxauhqui, who was killed and dismembered by her brother Huitzilopochtli. LakeXaltocan Mortar andfill center Ring ofsacrificedskulls LakeTexcoco LakeXochimilco Sierra Nevada Iztaccihuatlvolcano Skull rack Skull tower SierraChichinautzin 2 Tzompantli The Mexica built their capital city on an island in the now-drained Lake Texcoco. At its apex, the city had a population of about 250,000 and was the seat of an empire that stretched to southern Mexico. The temple complex in the middle of the island was the political and religious heart of the city state. The island capital of Tenochtitlan Most sacrifices in Tenochtitlan were performed inpublic at the top of the Templo Mayor. The sacrificesplayed a vital role in the Mexica’s cosmology,and may have also helped the young empire control conquered populations. 1 Templo Mayor Built from skulls and mortar, towers at least 1.7 meters tall and likely taller flanked the tzompantli. These were built in phases, with skulls on the outer rings facing out ward, and those on the inner rings facing inward. 3 Two towers RAÚL BARRERA RODRÍGUEZ Archaeologists have now discovered and excavated the remains of tzompantli. A codex written after the conquest by a Spanish priest depicts Tenochtitlan’s enormous skull rack, or tzompantli. MOSTARDI PHOTOGRAPHY/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO 20 Feeding the gods: Hundreds of skulls reveal massive scale of human sacrifice in Aztec capital Much of the temple had survived to be discovered. The Mexica built it in seven phases between 1325 and 1521, each corresponding to the reign of a king. Each phase was built over and around the earlier ones, embedding the Templo Mayor’s history within it like a set of Russian nesting dolls. Although the Spanish destroyed the temple’s final phase, the smaller temples from earlier reigns were paved over but left relatively unscathed. Those ruins are now part of the Templo Mayor Museum. But many structures that surrounded the ruins remained hidden beneath the dense colonial city—and now, the modern megalopolis.So when Barrera Rodríguez got the call to excavate a site just a few buildings down from where Guatemala Street dead-ends into the Templo Mayor complex, he knew the dig could lead to a major discovery. Starting in February 2015, his team dug about 20 test pits, unearthing modern debris, colonial porcelain, and, finally, the basalt slabs of a Mexica period floor. Then, he remembers, “Hundreds of skull fragments began to appear.” In more than 2 decades of excavating in downtown Mexico City, he had never seen anything like it.Barrera Rodríguez and INAH archaeologist and field supervisor Lorena Vázquez Vallín knew from colonial maps of Tenochtitlan that the tzompantli, if it existed, could be somewhere near their dig. But they weren’t sure that’s what they were seeing until they found the postholes for the skull rack. The wooden posts themselves had long since decayed, and the skulls once displayed on them had shattered—or been purposely crushed by the conquistadors. Still, the size and spacing of the holes allowed them to estimate the tzompantli’s size: an imposing rectangular structure, 35 meters long and 12 to 14 meters wide, slightly larger than a basketball court, and likely 4 to 5 meters high. From their knowledge of the eras of the Templo Mayor, archaeologists estimate that the particular phases of the tzompantli they found were likely built between 1486 and 1502, although human sacrifice had been practiced in Tenochtitlan since its founding in 1325. HÉCTOR MONTAÑO/INAH last_img read more

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Space laser will map Earth’s forests in 3D, spotting habitat for at-risk species

first_img By Gabriel PopkinDec. 5, 2018 , 1:20 PM BRUSINI Aurélien/hemis.fr/Hemis/Alamy Stock Photo Tallying up the biomass in a forest—and monitoring changes to it—is no easy task. You can cordon off a patch of forest and use tape measures to assess tree growth, hoping your patch is representative of the wider forest. Or you can turn to aerial or satellite photography—if the pictures are available and sharp enough. But even the best cameras can’t see past the forest canopy to the understory below.On 5 December, scientists gained a new tool for this tricky business when NASA’s Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) was launched on a SpaceX rocket. The instrument, the size of a large refrigerator, will be attached to the International Space Station, where it will begin to gather data on the height and 3D structure of tropical and temperate forests. The campaign will help scientists understand whether forests are slowing or amplifying climate change, and identify prime habitat for valued species. “We’ve wanted this data set desperately,” says Ralph Dubayah, a geographer at the University of Maryland in College Park and the project’s principal investigator.GEDI will harness a technology called light detection and ranging (lidar). Like its cousin radar, lidar sends out pulses of electromagnetic energy and measures the reflections. But whereas radar uses radio waves, GEDI’s lidar uses laser light, firing 242 times per second in the near-infrared. The focused, high-frequency radiation offers sharp resolution and can penetrate dense forests, bouncing not only off the treetops, but also off midstory leaves, branches, and the ground. Dubayah and his colleagues will combine GEDI data with ground measurements and statistical models to produce maps of tropical forest carbon that, at 1 kilometer resolution, should vastly shrink the errors of previous maps.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Countries that want to use the carbon stored in their forests to help meet Paris agreement climate targets may use those maps to gauge progress, says Naikoa Aguilar-Amuchastegui, director of forest carbon science at the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C. Researchers tracking forest degradation, due to the selective logging of individual trees and fuelwood harvesting from the understory, are eager for the data, too. Those activities are invisible to imaging satellites such as Landsat, says Laura Duncanson, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “GEDI gets you that third dimension,” she says.The 3D maps could also identify the rich structure and variety of forests that harbor at-risk species such as the orangutan, says Scott Goetz, an ecologist at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and a mission deputy principal investigator. The maps could find priority areas for conservation, and even help plan habitat corridors for wildlife migrating because of climate change.The finely tuned laser will also resolve the heights of treetops and the ground more precisely than previous instruments—crucial for monitoring the health of the carbon-dense mangrove forests that shroud tropical coastlines, says Goddard research scientist Lola Fatoyinbo Agueh. Knowing how high the mangroves sit above the water could determine whether they will keep pace with sea level rise or die back, releasing stored carbon—a key input for climate models, she says.GEDI’s perch on the space station—chosen to keep its cost below a $94 million cap—comes with a drawback, however. Its view will be confined to latitudes between 51.6° north and south. That means it will miss the boreal forests of North America and Asia. And it will likely get booted after 2 years to make room for a Japanese instrument. The short mission will make it harder to answer an urgent question: Are tropical forests overall a carbon sink, capturing some of the emissions from vehicles and industry, or a source? That depends on whether forest growth is sequestering more carbon than deforestation and degradation are releasing. But seeing such a trend requires years of continuous data, says Wayne Walker of the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts. “Nothing’s better than a long-term record.”GEDI also can’t distinguish tree species, which vary in carbon density. Dubayah is using species-specific measurements from about 5000 field plots to calibrate the GEDI data. But with more than 40,000 tree species in the tropics, that’s just a start, says Oliver Phillips, an ecologist at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, who runs a large tropical forest plot network. “A large ground effort is needed to get maximum value from this,” Phillips says.Researchers may be able to work around some of these limitations. Alessandro Baccini, a remote sensing scientist also at Woods Hole, hopes to train machine-learning algorithms to extend carbon estimates into the past and future by using GEDI’s carbon maps to calibrate long-term forest-cover data from imaging satellites. He adds that by combining data from GEDI and ICESat-2, a NASA lidar satellite launched in September that primarily measures ice sheets but is flying over the whole planet, investigators could construct a global carbon map—one that includes the boreal forest. Still, Baccini wants more. “Why can’t we have a proper mission designed for vegetation that is global?” he asks. Space laser will map Earth’s forests in 3D, spotting habitat for at-risk species The GEDI laser will penetrate tropical forest treetops to map the understory’s 3D structure.last_img read more

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Indian Cricket’s Angry Young Man Turns 27: Happy Birthday Virat Kohli

first_imgBack in 2008, when the Indian team still boasted of a star-studded batting line-up, a temperamental 20-year-old made his one-day international debut after an impressive performance at the U-19 World Cup. (Live: India vs South Africa , 1st Test  Day 1 ) A nervous Virat Kohli made only 12 against Sri Lanka in Dambulla but he was earmarked for greatness. He is well on his way to cricketing immortality now and he is only 27.Also read: Captains Steve Smith, Virat Kohli mark beginning of hostile era”I’mleading for the first time in India, and it’s my birthday, too. It’s a doublyspecial day for me,” Kohli said after winning the toss and asking SouthAfrica to field in the first of a four-Test series that started in Mohali onThursday.As the years flew by, Kohli’s career took wing – over the next seven years, the dashing batsman from Delhi made the ODI format his own, smashing 23 hundreds and 34 fifties and is arguably the best batsman in the world in 50-overs cricket. In 2011, Kohli got the chance to show his mettle in Tests too and he did not disappoint. After a slow start, Indian cricket’s latest poster boy established himself firmly enough to be handed the coveted number four spot after Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement two years ago – 11 hundreds and 11 fifties from 37 Tests are no mean numbers.Kohli has in fact been touted to break Tendulkar’s record of 100 international hundreds by none other than the Master Blaster himself. At 27, Kohli is almost half-way there. But this glittering career has not come without its share of controversies.advertisementKnown for his short fuse, Kohli has often landed in trouble with the authorities. Back in 2012 on the tour of Australia, where he got his maiden Test hundred, Kohli let the Aussie spectators get the better of him in Sydney. Fielding in the deep, Kohli was subjected to constant sledging – after ignoring those barbs for a while, he could not hold himself back anymore and responded with a middle-finger gesture. The photograph went viral and it made for ugly viewing. The ICC docked him 50% of his match-fee.Also read: Virat Kohli excited ahead of first Test at home as India captain Kohli has also had run-ins with India and Delhi teammate Gautam Gambhir in the Indian Premier League, twice! In 2013, Kohli, skipper of Royal Challengers Bangalore got into a nasty confrontation with Gambhir, who captains the Kolkata Knight Riders. The two again faced off in 2015. Then there was the incident where he abused a journalist, who he thought had written a demeaning article – as it turned out it was a case of mistaken identity.However, despite the controversies, Kohli has been a darling of the crowds all over India. He scores his runs with a style, plays with passion and leads with charisma. At a time when Indian cricket was recovering from Tendulkar’s retirement, Kohli breathed fresh life in the game and took charge of the batting-order, scoring hundreds at will against all kinds of bowling attacks.Also read: Kapil Dev chooses Dhoni over Kohli Perhaps no other Indian cricketer has endorsed glamour as much as Kohli has over the past half-a-decade. After the era of Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, the Delhi lad with his tattoos and spiked hair dominated the media’s attention – in no small measure due to his relationship with Bollywood heartthrob Anushka Sharma. The two have been seen together on several international tours – Anushka also makes it a point to be present for India’s matches whenever she can. A Kohli hundred and a kiss blown towards the diva in the stands – the cameras just love that.In spite of the controversies and the flashy lifestyle, Kohli’s devotion to the game remains unhindered. That is precisely why he was the automatic choice to take over as Test captain after Mahendra Singh Dhoni retired from the five-day format in dramatic fashion. On his 27th birthday, having led India in six Tests already, Kohli gets to lead his team in front of a home crowd. Will Team India deliver a special birthday present?last_img read more

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Granit Xhaka stripped of Arsenal captaincy after emotional outburst towards fans

first_imgWedding bells for Arsenal star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and singer Perrie Edwards? Xhaka, 27, blamed death threats to his family for his furious response, saying he had reached “boiling point”. “My feeling of not being understood by fans, and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last weeks and months have hurt me deeply,” he wrote on Instagram. “People have said things like ‘We will break your legs’, ‘Kill your wife’ and ‘Wish that your daughter gets cancer’. “That has stirred me up and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium.” Xhaka had only been confirmed as captain by Emery in September after the Spaniard took a dressing room vote to decide on the skipper after the departures of Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech. Catch up on all the latest sports news and updates here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever London: Arsenal manager Unai Emery confirmed on Tuesday that Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the club captaincy after an emotional outburst towards supporters. The Swiss international swore and threw the captain’s armband to the floor after being booed as he was substituted against Crystal Palace 10 days ago. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who led Arsenal for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Wolves, will take over as captain. Xhaka was not included in the squad for the Wolves match or Wednesday’s visit to Vitoria Guimaraes in the Europa League. “I was speaking with him this morning and also I decided he’s not one of the captains in our group and I decided that and I told him this morning,” Emery said. “He accepted my decision. “We have now Aubameyang, Hector (Bellerin), (Alexandre) Lacazette and (Mesut) Ozil – they are the four captains, and first is now Aubameyang.” “I needed to take one decision, and now it is closed,” Emery added.Related News Arsenal star Granit Xhaka’s wife makes her Instagram private after death threats EPL: Saturday shock and thrillslast_img read more

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s shot at redemption in T20 cricket

first_imgIn the recent past, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is known for his finishing prowess in the limited-overs format, twice failed to get India over the line in the Twenty20 internationals. On both occasions, India needed nine runs from six balls with Dhoni on strike. In the first instance, Zimbabwe clinched the nail-biter by 2 runs while in the second, Dwayne Bravo denied Dhoni two runs on the last ball and West Indies won that match by one run.India will play their first T20 since the West Indies series loss, in August last year, when they host England in a three-match rubber starting Republic Day in Kanpur. (Stats: England have edge over India in T20 Internationals)Dhoni, who has played 73 T20 internationals out of which he has captained India in 72 of them, will be playing under another captain for the first time since December 2006. Dhoni made his T20I debut under Virender Sehwag but was named skipper after that game against South Africa. In his first assignment as captain, Dhoni led India to 2007 ICC World Twenty20 triumph.However,times have changed now. Virat Kohli is the new skipper and Dhoni, who has never scored a fifty in the shortest format, will be keen to show off his hitting prowess, having shed the burden of captaincy.Dhoni, who averages 35.87 with a highest score of 48 in T20Is, will most likely bat high up the order. Like Virat Kohli said, Dhoni will have the “freedom to express himself” but the 35-year-old will have to produce something different. (Great to make a comeback but priority is to justify my selection: Parvez Rasool to India Today)advertisementWith the likes of young wicketkeeper-batsmen  Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan, Dinesh Karthik and others waiting in the wings for that one opportunity, all eyes will be on Dhoni during the T20 series against England.Dhoni made an immediate impact after stepping down as India captain by scoring a hundred under pressure in the second ODI against England in Cuttack. Dhoni had joined Yuvraj Singh, who on his comeback struck his career-best 150, after India were reduced to 25/3 in the 4.4 overs. Dhoni too slammed a hundred — 134 off 122 balls, studded with 10 fours and six sixes, as the duo put on a record 256-run stand for the fifth wicket to power India to a massive 381/6. India held their nerves to beat England by 15 runs. (England hopeful of injured David Willey’s participation in T20Is vs India)Even at the age of 35, Dhoni is trying to do everything he can to match the fitness levels required to play international cricket. However, he will be eager to reclaim the lost strength that has abandoned him in recent years.last_img read more

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India can host the Olympics

first_imgInternational Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach’s short visit to the Capital was thoroughly packed. At the end of a long day, where he met sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the newly elected executive board of the Indian Olympic Association and also some athletes, he had wonderful words to offer.Praising the performance of the Indian athletes at the Gold Coast CWG, Bach said his visit could not have come at a better time.”Congrats to the IOA and the athletes for winning 66 medals at the Games. India will tap on the great potential with regard to elite sport,” he said. Bach said India could build from here on and do well in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.This was Bach’s second visit to India and he showered lavish praise on the hospitality offered. He is a lawyer by profession and won a fencing gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Bach knows what it is to have a strong sporting culture, so he talked of a “four-partite working group.”The IOC, Olympic Council of Asia, IOA and the sports ministry would devise a roadmap for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics so that athletes can gain from it. This will involve Indian athletes getting guidance from international experts.Bach’s meeting with the officials of the sports ministry and the IOA in the morning revolved around good governance to winning clean medals. At the same time, the IOC made it clear it was all for autonomy of the IOA.IOA president Narinder Batra said as a fall-out from the Gold Coast CWG, he had told the sports ministry the “no needle policy” must be applicable to all national camps in India. “There should be no use of syringes in national camps. We are all for clean sport,” said Batra.advertisementAs reported earlier by Mail Today, Batra said India would bid for the 2026 Youth Olympics, the 2030 Asian Games and the 2032 Olympics.”One day, India can host the Olympics Games,” said Bach and quickly added the window for it was not open now. He felt India had the potential to host the Olympics.Even though the meeting with the sports ministry did not talk of hosting big ticket sporting events, sources in the IOA told Mail Today appropriate clearances would be taken from the highest level in the government.In an interactive session with the media, Bach made it clear the future of Olympics was exciting. With Paris set to host the 2024 Olympics and Los Angeles the 2028 Games, talks on possible host cities for the 2032 would come up for discussion later.As per current rules, should India want to host the 2032 Games, the official bid will be six years before, in 2026. There will be plenty of lobbying before that but given the state of flux in global politics, it makes sense for India to first host the Youth Olympics.Talking about eSports being a part of Olympics, Bach said “It is not enough to show physical activity in a sport but it needs to be consistent with the root of sport — faster, higher, stronger.””Of course, the IOC wants the Olympic Games to stay relevant to young audiences and include sport that can be held in centres of the host city in the midst of people, not just in stadia,” he said.Earlier, Batra assured the government all support in matters of good governance, transparency and in implementing the sports code.last_img read more

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Into the city

first_img Next Into the cityFour fun things to look forward to, including an exciting weekend getaway.advertisement Simply Mumbai Mumbai March 20, 2019 ISSUE DATE: April 1, 2019UPDATED: March 20, 2019 17:55 IST Wine and Malt LoungeRaising a Toast/ Wine and Malt LoungeFrom being an exclusive residents-only space, the Wine and Malts Lounge at the Taj Mahal Palace has now thrown open its doors to walk-in guests as well, offering Mumbai an extensive collection of wines and whiskeys from the world over.The wine list has someRaising a Toast/ Wine and Malt LoungeFrom being an exclusive residents-only space, the Wine and Malts Lounge at the Taj Mahal Palace has now thrown open its doors to walk-in guests as well, offering Mumbai an extensive collection of wines and whiskeys from the world over.The wine list has some of the best that you can find with rare Grand Cru Burgundies, classified Bordeaux wines and classic cabernet from the Californian Rutherford vineyards. The menu has an interesting blend of complex classics and wines that are topping popularity lists around the world. For lovers of single malts, they have the legendary Scottish brands sitting alongside brews from lesserknown whiskey regions such as Ireland.Look out for Chateau Margaux 1990, Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1977, Glenlivet 21 years Archive and the 21 year-old Balvenie. At Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Apollo BunderWeaving a Tale (April 19 to 21) Vasutra Celebrate the unsung craftspeople who spend long days weaving beautiful textiles with Vasutra, an exhibition that will showcase works by weavers from all over the country.Each participant has an interesting story of reviving a languishing design technique This fundraiser will help revive ancient Indian textile design language and support the artisans and weavers. At 159-161, Coomaraswamy Hall, Kala GhodaWeekend Retreat /Mansion House At a 20-minute speed boat ride off the Gateway of India, the Mansion House makes for a quick getaway from the city when you want a dose of clean air, solitude and the sea. The 25-room hotel is designed like a stately mansion and has large lawns with airy cabanas where you can curl up with a book, a coffee lounge and verandah restaurants that serve gladly customise multi-cuisine menus especially if you are in a big group. It overlooks the calm Saswane Lake but if you want to be by the sea, the white sands Varsoli Beach is a short drive away and offers sports like banana boat rides and quad rides. At Saswane, Alibaug themansionhousealibaug.comadvertisementQuirky concoctions/ Illuminati With a picture-perfect decor and a strong emphasis on artisan cocktails and an Asian-European menu, Illuminati is what you should pick on your next night out in Bandra. The part fine-dining restaurant and part lounge, that transforms into a nightclub, has an interesting bar menu with cocktails named Secret Society, Manhattan, The Eye and Mad Dog that are worth a try. In the food, go for the spiced edamame hummus, confit duck leg with Majool date puree, Japanese noodle salad, crispy falafel squares and a decadent Bourbon flambeed hot chocolate. At Inspire BKC, Bandra Kurla Complex.You’ve reached your article limitSign in to keep reading India TodaySign inSign up NOW to get:Premium content on Aaj Tak HD ChannelUnrestricted access to India Today magazine contentGet real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Tags :Follow Gateway of IndiaFollow Wine and Malt LoungeFollow Illuminatilast_img read more

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MS Dhoni fireworks in 2020 T20 World Cup? ICC’s tweet is a hit among cricket fans

first_imgMS Dhoni fireworks in 2020 T20 World Cup? ICC’s tweet is a hit among cricket fansMS Dhoni led India to their first T20 World Cup triumph in 2007. After 15-years of cricketing career, Dhoni continues to be in fine form in the shortest format of the game. And so, ICC asked if fans want to see Dhoni fireworks at the 2020 World Cup.advertisement india today digital New DelhiApril 28, 2019UPDATED: April 28, 2019 17:16 IST MS Dhoni is in fine form in 2019 IPL. (Reuters Photo)HIGHLIGHTSICC tweeted to ask fans if they wish Dhoni to play at the 2020 T20 World CupDhoni is the highest scorer for Chennai with 314 runs in 11 matches in 2019 IPLDhoni has played an unbeaten 84-run knock for Chennai against RCBMS Dhoni is said to have the best understanding of the T20 game in the business. He is credited for his quick decision-making abilities in the shortest format of the game and for his ball-to-ball calculations.With all this, Dhoni had led India to their T20 World Cup glory in the inaugural season of the tournament in 2007. Now, at a time when Dhoni is gearing up for the 50-over World Cup, ICC on Sunday asked fans if they wish to see more fireworks from Dhoni at the 2020 World Cup event too?Do you wish to see fireworks from @msdhoni’s willow at the 2020 T20 World Cup? https://t.co/scukR5WLtKICC (@ICC) April 28, 2019Well, fans had an obvious response to the question. Have a look what they had to say!pic.twitter.com/wJ84f4YamdBelanWali (@BelanWali) April 28, 2019I wish to see him fire like INDIA ‘S BRAHMOS MISSILE in world cup pic.twitter.com/PSQCSjm30pDr Dheeraj Prajapati (@DrDheerajPraja1) April 28, 2019Of course is this a question to ask??????Nabakrishna (@nabakrishna007) April 28, 2019please @msdhoni dont retire till 2020 t20 world cup ….we want to see u there #msdianAkhilesh Muley (@akhhi11) April 28, 2019For Thala Dhoni pic.twitter.com/hXGdATC1SZAnshuman Mishra (@AnshumanM19) April 28, 2019There have been speculations that the 2019 World Cup will be MS Dhoni’s last international appearance and he is expected to announce retirement from all formats of the game after that. But seeing Dhoni’s form in the IPL, it looks like he still has some years left in him.advertisementThe Chennai Super Kings captain played an unbeaten knock of 84 against Royal Challengers Bangalore and almost single-handedly took his team home. On another occasion, he won the game for Chennai with his 58-run knock against Rajasthan Royals.He has been the highest run-scorer for Chennai Super Kings this season with 314 runs from 10 matches.People have questioned Dhoni’s form over his ups and downs in the game in the last couple of years. However, Dhoni quashed all questions with his impressive knocks in India’s tour of New Zealand and Australia this year.Dhoni smashed fifty-plus knocks thrice in a row to help India register 2-1 win over Australia–their first ever bilateral ODI series win Down Under earlier this year.Also Read | From fairy tale beginning to 6 losses in a row: Kolkata Knights Riders’ woes at IPL 2019Also Read | IPL 2019: Unadkat credits Steve Smith’s backing for match-winning spell vs SRHAlso SeeFor sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAnita Jatlast_img read more

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Puget Sound Alliance Exceeds 3 Million TEUs in October

first_imgzoom The Northwest Seaport Alliance, a marine cargo operating partnership of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, saw container volumes surpass the 3 million mark in October, a 5 percent increase year to date.Containerized exports fueled the growth, posting a 9 percent gain over October 2014. Import volumes declined slightly, signaling the end of the peak shipping season when retailers increase inventories ahead of the holiday shopping season.Through the period of January-October 2015, imports rose 4 percent to 1.208,091 TEUs, and exports grew 9 percent to 1.102,194 TEUs.Domestic volumes to Alaska and Hawaii remained flat, up 1 percent to 748,769 TEUs.Auto imports also continued to post gains in October—up more than 6 percent year to date to 154,291 units—as the 2016 models began arriving.Meanwhile, year-to-date breakbulk cargo volumes and grain, log, petroleum and molasses exports continue to be impacted by a weaker export market.last_img read more

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Man held for duping SBI customer by posing as bank official

first_imgKolkata: A man has been arrested at the Bidhnnagar Cyber Crime police station for allegedly duping a State Bank of India (SBI) customer by posing as the manager of the bank. The accused identified as Kiritkumar Tribhoandas Shrimali of Kutch in Gujrat has been remanded to seven days police custody.According to sources, Subir Kumar Bhadra of Dankuni in Hooghly had a bank account at the Bikash Bhavan branch of SBI. On November 2, he searched for the concerned person’s phone number of the bank branch on Google. There he found a mobile number and when he called up on the number Shrimali received the call and identified himself as the bank manager. According to the statement of Bhadra to the police, he had some work related to his bank passbook. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaWhen Bhadra told him about his requirement, Shrimali said he would help him on the basis of some information. Bhadra had to give him some details regarding his ATM card and account. Shrimali asked him to tell his ATM card number and other numbers related to the card. After that he asked Bhadra for a One Time Password (OTP) which he had received on his mobile phone. After providing him with the details, Shrimali allegedly told Bhadra that soon his work will be done. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersAfter the conversation concluded, Bhadra found that three messages informing him about withdrawal of money from his account had been sent to his mobile number from the bank. He understood he was duped. Immediately, Bhadra lodged a complaint with the Bidhannagar Cyber Crime police station. After the case was lodged sleuths tried to track Shrimali’s mobile number which was switched off. Thus police were not able to trace him. Recently, after his number got activated and sleuths tracked him down. On Tuesday night he was arrested.last_img read more

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Heckle heard around the country offers sneak peek at 2019 campaign narrative

first_imgOTTAWA – The Prime Minister’s Office is refusing to say precisely when — or even if — Justin Trudeau knew he was dealing with an alt-right activist when he denounced her questions about the cost of “illegal immigrants” in Quebec as intolerant and racist.Nor were members of Conservative rival Andrew Scheer’s staff willing to discuss Tuesday whether their leader was aware of the woman’s background when he issued a statement late Monday deriding Trudeau’s response as dodging a legitimate policy question.But with such details as close as the nearest iPhone, suggesting otherwise stretches credulity, said Chris Mathers, a former RCMP officer and security consultant who was once part of the detail that protected the prime minister’s official residence.“There’s no doubt that lady was a plant in there … to try and embarrass the prime minister, because she’s one of these fringy types,” said Mathers, noting that PMO security officials routinely monitor intelligence for any potential threats or disturbances at public events.Given that she belonged to a social media group that openly discussed plans to attend last week’s event, it is unlikely the prime minister’s security detail or PMO officials were taken by surprise, he added.If alerted to an organized effort to potentially cause a disruption, security officials “would have informed (the PMO), anyway,” Mathers said.During a campaign-style rally Thursday southeast of Montreal, the woman shouted questions in French at Trudeau, asking him when the federal government would repay Quebec for costs it has incurred as a result of an influx of “illegal immigrants” coming over the Canada-U.S. border.The Quebec government has demanded Ottawa pay the full costs of social services provided to so-called irregular migrants who have crossed into Canada between established border crossings over the past couple of years — costs the province says have reached $146 million so far.The prime minister responded to the woman by accusing her of intolerance and racism and saying her sentiments were not welcome. She has not responded to requests for comment.The retort seemed disproportionate at first. But questions about how much Trudeau knew of the woman have persisted as more details emerge about her apparent ties to anti-immigration activist groups such as the Front Patriotique du Quebec and the Storm Alliance.Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen doubled down on the racism angle Wednesday when he referred to the woman as a neo-Nazi sympathizer.“I’m very proud of the fact that the prime minister called out racism when it reared its ugly head,” Hussen said in Nanaimo, B.C., where Liberal ministers are gathered for a cabinet retreat.“When someone in authority does that, it makes all Canadians feel like they belong, that they’re not being shunned, that they’re not being bullied by a known member of a neo-Nazi group.”Scheer’s late-day statement accused Trudeau of using “name-calling and personal attacks to shut down legitimate criticism.” It came long after the woman’s alt-right ties were already being reported online and in news reports.“This is a calculated Liberal strategy to avoid being accountable for their record,” Scheer said. “Instead of demonizing critics, Justin Trudeau should confront the problem.”Scheer spokesman Brock Harrison defended his leader’s narrative, citing the case of Ontario cabinet minister Lisa MacLeod, who was called “un-Canadian” earlier this summer by Hussen for pressing the issue of the cost of irregular migrants.“A vast majority of Canadians believe Justin Trudeau has no idea how to handle the border situation and it’s not in any way out of bounds to ask him questions about it,” Harrison said.“Mr. Scheer is only defending every Canadian’s right to ask their government a legitimate question about its record without getting personally smeared.”“Name-calling and attacking are his standard tactics when he is losing a debate on the facts,” Scheer’s statement said. “People who have questions about the border crisis are racists. If they are concerned about the costs, they are un-Canadian. If they oppose the carbon tax, they are deniers.”But Bernie Farber, chair of a newly-formed non-profit organization the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, warned Scheer away from defending the rights of those linked to groups with neo-Nazi and white supremacist ties.“This has got nothing to do with free speech — she was engaging in hate speech, that’s what this is all about,” Farber said.“I think Mr. Scheer should be careful of who he chooses as a champion for free speech. You don’t want to choose the alt-right, you don’t want to choose white supremacists and white nationalists and anti-immigration racists as your flag-bearer for free speech.”Fringe anti-immigrant movements are on the rise in Canada, Farber warned — emboldened by divisive rhetoric and attitudes south of the border and evident in recent attacks in this country, most notably the Quebec City mosque shooting last year that killed six Muslims during their prayers.“I think Canadians have to shake themselves out of their complacency that we’re not the United States, or that we’re better than the United States,” he said. “In many ways we are, but in many ways we have lots of responsibility in terms of ensuring an anti-racist milieu.”But with the Liberals and Conservatives jockeying for election position heading into 2019, the growth of populism means immigration will be a key campaign theme, said Jack Jedwab, head of the Association for Canadian Studies and the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration.Trudeau and the Liberal party have positioned themselves as defenders of multiculturalism and enemies of anti-immigration discourse.Conservatives will likely try to do the same — but could have a harder time, Jedwab warned.“Some people in some parts of the Conservative constituency will clearly see this issue as an opportunity to score some points, so there’s going to be a bit more of a delicate balance in that regard,” he said.“(Scheer) is going to have to walk a fine line — and I think the Liberals can smell that, and they’ll act accordingly.”— Follow @ReporterTeresa on Twitterlast_img read more

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ICC expands scope of Ivorian war crimes investigation back to 2002

In a press release issued yesterday, the ICC said that three judges serving in one of its pre-trial chambers authorized an expansion of the investigation to cover any alleged crimes committed between 19 September 2002 and 28 November 2010, the date of the presidential elections.“The chamber considered that the violent events in Côte d’Ivoire in this period (including the events since 28 November 2010) are to be treated as a single situation, in which an ongoing crisis involving a prolonged political dispute and power struggle culminated in the events in relation to which the chamber earlier authorized an investigation,” the press release stated.“Concentrating on the most significant of the samples of incidents, the chamber concluded that there is reasonable basis to believe that, in the course of these events, acts of murder and rape that could amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity were committed.”Last October, the ICC first authorized prosecutors to investigate alleged abuses committed in the aftermath of the 2010 election, when the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down despite losing the United Nations-certified election to Alassane Ouattara.Deadly violence followed until Mr. Gbagbo was captured in April last year and in November, after the issuing of an arrest warrant, he was transferred by Ivorian authorities to ICC custody in The Hague in the Netherlands, where the court is based.Cote 23 February 2012The International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced that it will expand the scope of its investigation into possible war crimes in Côte d’Ivoire, currently limited to the period after contested presidential elections in late 2010, to as far back as the start of the West African country’s civil war in 2002. read more

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Lankan arrested in Singapore

Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officers had directed a departing Malaysia-registered lorry for checks at the cargo zone of the Tuas Checkpoint. The lorry was driven by a 54-year old Malaysian man. While checking the vehicle, officers noticed that the driver’s cabin was partitioned by a curtain. As soon as they drew this curtain, they saw a lady curled up within the cramped space. A Sri Lankan woman was arrested in Singapore after she was found in a vehicle inside a cabin.The immigration offender was found crouched behind a partition curtain in a vehicle by immigration officers, the Straits Times reported. The driver and the 29-year-old woman from Sri Lanka were arrested. They are currently being investigated for immigration offences.Under the Immigration Act, penalties for overstaying or illegal entry are a jail term of up to six months and a minimum of three strokes of the cane. Those who attempt illegal departure can be fined up to $2,000 and jailed up to six months, or both. read more

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UN agency calls for greater efforts to end forced labour in Myanmar

Myanmar had taken steps to address the problem after a 1998 ILO commission of inquiry reported that forced labour was a “widespread practice” in the country. In October 2000, the Myanmar authorities adopted, for the first time, a framework of measures banning forced labour and criminalizing the practice. A recent four-week ILO mission to the country, in findings released today, concluded that the impact of the legislation had been limited. “In particular forced labour is practiced in its various forms (portering, building of military camps, agricultural work, etc.) in areas affected by military presence and especially in border areas where fighting may still be ongoing,” the agency said. The report identifies a number of obstacles which might explain the limited result, including the de facto impunity of the military from criminal prosecution and the authorities’ lack of alternative arrangements to carry out public works in the absence of forced labour. In response, the report calls for economic modernization in Myanmar, a consistent effort to eliminate forced labour there, and the engagement of the international community in this campaign. The ILO notes that “the eradication of forced labour represents not only the discharge of a fundamental moral and legal obligation for Myanmar but also offers an historic opportunity for this country to accomplish its modernization.” read more

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UN envoy for Sudanese peace confers with senior Eritrean officials

Mohamed Sahnoun discussed the Sudanese peace process in Asmara today with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Foreign Minister Said Abdullah, a UN spokesman reported.The envoy, who is touring the region, previously met with the First Vice-President of Sudan, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, the Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), John Garang, the chief Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediator, Lt. Gen. Lazaro K. Sumbeiywo, the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Alpha Oumar Konaré and Ethiopia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Tekeda Alemu.Mr. Sahnoun, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Adviser for Africa, is scheduled to remain in the region until 18 March for further meetings.Last October the Security Council, in a Presidential Statement, asked Mr. Annan “to initiate preparatory work, as soon as possible, in consultation with the parties, the IGAD facilitators and the International Observers, on how the United Nations could best fully support the implementation of a comprehensive peace agreement.”An estimated 2 million people died as a result of the fighting which, along with natural disasters, has left Sudan with the largest number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the world – 3 million to 4 million. Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have also fled across international borders. read more

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Clothing brands must work with Bangladesh to prevent another disaster – UN

“The international brands sourcing from Bangladesh have a responsibility to conduct human rights due diligence to identify and address their own impacts on human rights,” said Pavel Sulyandziga, who currently heads the five-strong UN Working Group on business and human rights. “If they are linked with negative impacts on human rights through their suppliers, they have the responsibility to exercise their leverage as buyers to try to effect change.”Last month, the Rana Plaza factory building collapsed on the outskirts of Dhaka, the capital, killing more than 780 people, mostly female workers. The garment industry employs some 3-5 million workers in the country. “International clothing supply chains are increasingly complex and addressing systemic issues is not an easy task, but the scale of the efforts must be commensurate with the challenge,” Mr. Sulyandziga said.The expert noted that several of the factories operating in the building had reportedly been audited in the past. However, these audits either overlooked or excluded altogether the structural problems with the building.The Working Group stressed that the Government of Bangladesh has the duty to protect human rights from violations by business actors, and that it must take action to ensure a thorough investigation of how the affected factories were allowed to operate, bring those responsible to account, ensure reparations for victims, and take strong action to improve protection for workers’ rights.“We strongly urge international clothing brands sourcing from Bangladesh to address human rights risks in their supply chains with the involvement of workers, other relevant stakeholders, and human rights experts, and to share publicly what they are doing to mitigate their risks,” Mr. Sulyandziga said.He urged brands to address how buyer behaviour and pricing strategies may prevent investments in safer factories and living wages for workers, and called on the international garment sector to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. read more

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Time to update your BUSU contact list

If you’ve tried emailing someone in the Brock University Students’ Union recently, you may have noticed the email bounced back.In October, the Students’ Union switched from @busu.net email addresses to @brockbusu.ca to coincide with the launch of its new website. The @brockbusu.ca addresses more closely align with the University’s @brocku.ca addresses.Chris Green, BUSU General Manager, said as of May 1, the old @busu.net email addresses were no longer valid, meaning some people who hadn’t yet updated their contact lists were having emails bounce back.The name format of first initial.last name remain the same, so if someone is trying to reach Green, for example, the address would be cgreen@brockBUSU.ca.A full staff directly can be found on the BUSU website. read more

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Where Do The Rockets Go From Here

Mike D’Antoni has seen a number of close misses throughout his career, with his teams coming up just short of clearing the highest bar to claim an NBA championship.Having been through that pain before, the Rockets coach knew that this most recent playoff exit — in which Houston lost to Golden State in six games — would rank right up there with the other heartbreaks. “This one’s gonna leave a mark,” he said shortly after his club was ousted on Friday by the Warriors, who took the series despite playing the final five quarters without injured superstar Kevin Durant. “This is not just something you get over with. I’m definitely not gonna get over it in this press conference, or tomorrow, or the next day.”Regardless of how long it takes D’Antoni and the Rockets to move on from their playoff elimination, at some point Houston will have to decide whether it’s time to try a different route — in either strategy, roster construction or both — or to simply stay the course.Some will undoubtedly argue that Houston is due for a change at this point, after having been bounced from the playoffs by the Warriors for the fourth time in five seasons. After all, the Rockets have long been the NBA’s biggest outlier in terms of strategy. No offense takes more 3-pointers, and no defense is more liberal in how often it switches — a strategy that hurt Houston on the defensive glass in Games 5 and 6.But for as unsatisfying as it sounds in the wake of yet another loss to the same team, there may not actually be anything intrinsically flawed about the Rockets’ construction. They lost this year’s series by a total of 11 points over six games, with every game decided by 6 points or fewer — the first series in NBA playoff history to hold that distinction. Along the way, the Rockets also got to the line more often and snagged more rebounds. Houston shot more efficiently than Golden State and limited the Warriors’ fabled shot-making ability for most of the series. As much as James Harden and Co. are hearing it for not “stepping on the throat” of the Warriors late in Games 5 and 6, Houston played Golden State relatively evenly during these past couple weeks. The Rockets were just a few toss-up plays away from wins that would have left us with a totally different narrative about their season.The challenge for general manager Daryl Morey — perhaps one he is uniquely suited to face — is figuring out how much of the Rockets’ playoff malaise is simply an artifact of winning bias (our tendency to explain things through the lens of the final outcome) and how much of Houston’s actual process does need to be changed. The cruelly ironic way the team lost last season, when the most prolific 3-point shooting team in NBA history missed 27 consecutive threes in a Game 7, already put to the test any belief that Houston’s luck would eventually even out. (We estimated the odds of that cold streak at 1 in 72,000.) Then there’s the seeming improbability of a player as great as Chris Paul — who, for the record, played a terrific game Friday — making only one conference final (and no NBA Finals) in his career. At a certain point, you have to wonder whether this is simply the unluckiest team ever or if variance ceases to be an adequate explanation for a team repeatedly coming up short.After this latest crushing loss, there are a few factors that might be legitimate areas of concern for the Rockets. For one thing, the rate at which Harden gets to the free-throw line has declined in each of his past four postseason runs, by an average of 17.1 percent, even as the league’s free-throw rate has increased in the playoffs by an average of 5.4 percent in the same span. 2017-18.502.345-31.3.252.2676.0 2015-16.518.450-13.1%.276.283+2.5% 2016-17.575.528-8.2.271.2855.2 Harden still scored a ton of points this postseason, but with his trademark ability to draw fouls lessened, he went from an otherworldly combination of offensive efficiency and volume to a more terrestrial class of Hall of Famer.Relatedly, the Rockets may also need to take a hard look at how backcourt-centric their offense has become. They got 79 percent of their scoring from guards or guard-forwards against Golden State, with $90 million big man Clint Capela notching only 8.8 points per game and rarely justifying his presence on the floor. (His plus/minus per 100 possessions in the series was -15.2.) The rigidity of Houston’s roles makes it easier for the team to fill a roster around the famously ball-dominant Harden, but it may also make the Rockets more susceptible to matchup difficulties in the playoffs. It doesn’t help matters when those supposed 3-and-D role players, who helped fill out a top-10 defensive unit during the regular season, can’t do much to slow down the opponent at the other end of the court — which was certainly the case in the fourth quarter of Game 6, in which Stephen Curry logged 23 points.Houston suffers from its lack of bench depth, which could get even worse next year if Austin Rivers signs with a team that has more financial flexibility. Then there’s perhaps the most obvious issue: that the Rockets may need more creativity and firepower than Harden and an aging Paul can provide on their own as efficient 1-on-1 specialists. Houston tried to address this by signing Carmelo Anthony, but that experiment lasted only 10 games before the front office decided to cut bait. Still, finding a third high-level player who can create his own shot — or a fourth, depending on how you feel about Eric Gordon — would make a world of difference. But the Rockets likely lack the cap space or assets to obtain one.Because of these deficiencies, it might feel futile for the Rockets to simply run it back again with a similar group and a similar game plan. But if they do, as things stand now,1We still have to see what the L.A. teams do with all their cap space. The Lakers could become interesting if they sign a star free agent to pair with LeBron James, while the Clippers — who have no All-Stars on their roster — have a good thing going and plenty of cap space to offer, too. the Rockets would probably remain the Western Conference team with the best chance of knocking off the Warriors next season. The team doesn’t have much financial wiggle room to improve around its core, having committed $107 million to its top four players — Paul, Harden, Capela and Gordon — for 2019-20. But one underrated advantage of staying the course for Houston is that Golden State itself could be weakened if Kevin Durant leaves via free agency this summer. Even for a dynasty with unusual staying power, the Warriors can’t dominate the West forever.For now, however, the Rockets are looking like this decade’s version of the ’90s Utah Jazz, a talented team that couldn’t quite get over the hump against an all-time dynasty. And the fear of that close-but-no-cigar stagnation continuing figures to leave both D’Antoni and Morey thinking of tweaks that would allow Houston to take the next step.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Harden FT rateNBA FT rate Harden’s foul-drawing prowess is muted in the playoffsChange in free-throw rate (FTA/FGA) between the regular season and playoffs for James Harden and the entire NBA, 2015-19 Source: Basketball-Reference.com Avg..511.424-17.1.265.2795.4 2018-19.449.371-17.4.259.2808.1 YearReg SeasonPlayoffs% ChangeReg SeasonPlayoffs% Change From ABC News: read more

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Anglo American opens six new schools in Chiles earthquakehit area

first_imgAnglo American has completed the construction of six modular schools in Chile that will benefit 4,500 schoolchildren in the areas most affected by the earthquake that hit the centre and south of the country on February 27, this year. Anglo American has built the schools as part of its $10 million donation announced a few days after the earthquake.The last two of the six schools have been inaugurated at Yungay and Cocholgüe in Chile’s eighth region by John MacKenzie, CEO of Anglo American Copper, Miguel Ángel Durán, Anglo American Chile CEO, and Joaquín Lavín, Chile’s Education Minister.John MacKenzie, CEO of Anglo American Copper, said: “A few days after the earthquake in Chile, Anglo American made a strong commitment to the country’s reconstruction, focused primarily on education. With the inauguration of these schools, we’re completing the hard work that has enabled over 4,500 schoolchildren not to lose their school year”.Schools were previously inaugurated at Caleta Tumbes, Quirihue and Constitución, the latter by Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera. The schools have been built with high quality, durable materials resistant to extreme weather conditions and are also fully equipped with furniture, computer rooms, libraries and study materials.Yungay – the largest modular schoolThe new school at Yungay, fully built and equipped by Anglo American, is the country’s largest modular school built after the earthquake. It will cater to 2,000 schoolchildren from pre-kindergarten to the last grade of secondary education. More than 2,700 square metres in size, the school includes 34 classrooms, workshops, a computer room, library, dining room and teachers’ room, among other amenities. There are also green areas and a children’s playground outside.The centre of Yungay, located in the province of Ñuble in Chile’s eighth region, was the area most damaged by the earthquake, particularly the adobe houses, the buildings around the main square, the church and the only two state schools in the town. Schoolchildren from both schools will move to the new facilities built by Anglo American.last_img read more

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Verizon Wireless confirms 22 million iPhone 4 sales

first_imgThe numbers are in. Verizon announced their first quarter results on Thursday and the big question on a lot of people’s minds is how many iPhones did the wireless carrier activate during the quarter?In January, after much speculation and rumor, Apple and Verizon Wireless finally announced that the iPhone was coming to the carrier ending the monopoly AT&T had since 2007. The two companies picked the memorable date of 11.1.11 to make their announcement. That announcement was followed up by an official pre-order launch of the Verizon iPhone on February 9th, though Verizon subscribers got a chance to pre-order early on February 3rd at 3am marking the most successful first-day sales in Verizon Wireless’ history.In the absence of official Verizon Wireless numbers, companies like Chitika Insights did their own estimates of what kind of market share the Verizon iPhone had been able to grab since its launch. According to their own statistics, they believe Verizon Wireless has been able to grab as much as 10% of the iPhone market.Luckily, we don’t have to estimate or guess any more. Verizon Wireless reported that it has activated 2.2 million iPhone 4 devices during the first quarter. That number is helping the company to drive increased data revenue, which was up 22.3% year over year, and new smartphone sales which now account for 60% of total phone sales. That’s an increase of 11% from the previous quarter and 24% year over year.Read more at Verizon Wirelesslast_img read more

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