Sunday, 28 May 2017

Climate change: Trump keeps world waiting on Paris deal







Donald Trump has said he will decide whether to pull out of a key climate change deal in the next week, having apparently shrugged off pressure from US allies in recent days.
The US president tweeted he would make his "final decision" on the Paris accord after his return to Washington.
Mr Trump left the G7 summit in Sicily on Saturday without reaffirming his commitment to the accord, unlike the other six world leaders in attendance.
He previously threatened to pull out.
Mr Trump, who has called climate change "a hoax" on occasion, has reportedly indicated this is still his position to key members of his inner circle.
The uncertainty over his position on the Paris agreement puts him at odds with other members of the G7.

What is the Paris accord?

The Paris deal is the world's first comprehensive climate agreement, set out in 2015, with the aim of keeping the global average rise in temperatures below 2C.
In order to do that, countries pledged to reduce their carbon emissions.

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting at the start of the climate summit in Paris November 30, 2015.Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionBarack Obama, pictured with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Paris summit, signed the agreement in 2016

But it came into force only after being ratified by 55 countries, which between them produce 55% of global carbon emissions.
Barack Obama signed the US up in September 2016, and members of the G7 are keen for the US to continue to back it, not least because the country is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gasses after China.

Why doesn't Donald Trump like the agreement?

Mr Trump told voters on the campaign trail he wanted to scrap agreements "contrary to the national interest", while repeatedly promising to strengthen the coal industry.
Coal power is a major contributor to carbon emissions. However, Mr Trump wants to boost coal production to create more jobs.
He has also expressed doubt about the causes of climate change, saying it is a "hoax" made up by China.

Will the US withdraw?

The Axios news site suggests Mr Trump is leaning that way currently, citing three sources who say his mind is made up, and that the wheels are quietly being put in motion behind the scenes.
This is despite US defence secretary James Mattis saying in an interview to air on Sunday that the president is now "wide open" on the issue.
Withdrawal would risk making Mr Trump unpopular not only with his allies abroad, but also with activists at home.

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Tunisia's President Beji Caid EssebsiImage copyrightAFP
Image captionMr Trump's attitude to climate change made discussions at the G7 "very difficult"

It was noted his attitude to climate change was one of the major hurdles during the summit in Sicily - the first time he has met his fellow G7 leaders as a group.
His stance left him isolated, with Mr Trump's reluctance to reaffirm his commitment clearly annoying German chancellor Angela Merkel, who told reporters: "The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying."

What would be the effect?

There are fears the US pulling out may lead to other, smaller countries following suit.
Even if they do not, as the US has such a large carbon footprint, it will mean the impact of the agreement will likely be lessened significantly.
Whatever the US chooses, the EU, India and China say they will stick to their pledges made in Paris.
And what's more, some of Mr Trump's own country is likely to ignore his scepticism.
New York and California have already pledged to combat climate change without the Trump administration's support.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Beyonce holds big baby bash



It was probably exactly like the baby shower you and your partner held, except ever so slightly more decadent.
The singer celebrated her pregnancy with friends and family with an African-themed shindig on Saturday
E News reports that Beyoncé celebrated with her star friends in a Beverly Hills house once owned by Madonna.
The new mum-to-be had her bulging baby(ies) bump adorned with a big henna tattoo (above) and guests enjoyed a soul-food buffet and a boogie to some traditional music and stomping Afrobeat.
Ex-Destiny's Child bandmates Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland were in attendance at 'The Carter Push Party', as well as tennis star Serena Williams and plenty of other US socialites.

The countries that cane their convicts

A woman on her knees is flogged in Aceh state by a hooded manImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionFlogging is a common punishment in Aceh state, where authorities have adopted Sharia law
Two men are due to be caned in public after they were caught in bed together in Aceh, Indonesia.
The men will each receive 85 lashes in public, as punishment under the strict Islamic laws used in Aceh.
It is the only Indonesian province where Sharia is in force. According to human rights campaign group Amnesty International, 108 people were punished for various offences in 2015.
Their offences ranged from gambling to alcohol, adultery and public displays of intimacy outside of marriage.
Pictures of these public punishments - designed to humiliate as much as to injure - show people being led onto a raised platform, and made to kneel or stand as a hooded man beats them with a long, thin cane while a large crowd watches.
Caning is considered so barbaric that Amnesty says it could be considered akin to torture.
But flogging as a punishment for transgressions in countries where Islamic laws are followed is relatively common.
In Sudan, women can be flogged for dressing "indecently". In Saudi Arabia, a woman driving a car can be enough to warrant the sentence. In Iran, attending a party with both men and women can end with being whipped.
Protesters simulate a flogging in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington,DC on January 15, 2015 during a demonstration against the 10-year prison sentence and 1,000 lashes of Saudi activist Raef Badawi for 'insulting Islam' in a blogpostImage copyrightAFP
Image captionRaif Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes in Saudi Arabia, prompting protests around the world
One woman flogged for doing just that described on the Iranian Facebook page My Stealthy Freedoms how she was led into a room in shackles and beaten by a woman.
"With the impact of the first lash, I jumped out of my [seat] uncontrollably," the woman wrote. "I was so shocked that even my tears would not drop. I wanted to scream, but I could not even control my voice."
But probably the most famous case in recent years is that of Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for "insulting Islam" online.
So far, authorities have only carried out the first 50 lashes. The public outcry appears to have had some success in halting the sentence, but it still hangs over him.
In the Maldives, where Sharia law is mixed with English common law, flogging is also legal punishment, most commonly used on those convicted of having extramarital sex. The majority of cases are women.
Caning is also used as a punishment in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, a legacy of British colonial rule in the 19th Century.
Unlike the public floggings in Aceh, however, these punishments take place behind closed doors, with the accused tied to specially constructed frames and carried out with a doctor in attendance.
Swiss software consultant Oliver Fricker tries to avoid the media as he walks to the Subordinate court in Singapore on June 24, 2010.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionSwiss software consultant Oliver Fricker (pictured) was caned for spray painting graffiti in Singapore
Its use is relatively widespread: in Singapore 2,203 people were caned in 2012, including 1,070 foreigners, the US State Department said.
Since 2010, at least three Europeans have been sentenced to be caned for vandalism, including Swiss software consultant Oliver Fricker, who spray-painted graffiti on a train.
But the numbers pale in comparison to Malaysia.
In 2010, Amnesty International released a report saying some 10,000 prisoners and 6,000 refugees were being caned each year, punishment for more than 60 crimes - including drug-related and sexual offences, as well as migration violations.

When mum or dad is an alcoholic

One in five children in the UK are said to be negatively affected by their parents' drinking, and the effects can last well into adulthood. Four women - Karen, Liz, Hilary and Lynne - spoke to Jo Morris about growing up with a parent dependent on alcohol.
"Some people talk about what books they've read, or films they've been to see, but instead we talk about how drunk our parents were," says Karen.
Karen and her friend Liz met at work in their late 20s and quickly bonded when they realised they had a shared history.
"It's not the same talking to somebody who doesn't know what it's like," says Liz.
Gallows humour helps to deal with the horrible memories. Like the time Liz's mum sold her toys to get money for alcohol. Or the time Karen's alcoholic dad went to the pub instead of collecting her from after-school club.
"It's a bit like Top Trumps - alcoholic-parent Top Trumps," Karen laughs.
They both remember dreading the walk home from school.
"It's so disheartening," says Karen. "You think: 'OK, I've had a nice break at school, but here we go again. I'm going to be really polite and be really nice, make sure that I don't say anything out of turn or give you any reason to have a go at me.'"
It was only when Liz was eight or nine that she noticed her friends did not have any such concerns and lived very different lives.
"I thought: 'Oh, you have your dinner cooked for you? I don't even have dinner.'
"That's when you realise it's horrendous and you feel very alone going through it."
Once, her mum spent all her benefit money on alcohol, and all she could afford was a sack of potatoes.
"Potato weekend!" Liz laughs. "We literally had potatoes to live on for the weekend. So we had mashed potato, potato cakes, chips wrapped up in newspaper - she was very resourceful."
Image caption"Potato weekend" - when Liz' mum spent all the money on drink
Food - or the lack of it - is a common theme.
Hilary, 55, grew up in an upper-middle class family in Sunderland, with a respected surgeon as a father. The family kept up appearances - but her mother drank.
"I can remember being at school, and a girl in my form opening up her lunch and saying: 'Oh my sandwiches haven't been buttered to the edge.' It was like Planet Zorg compared to my life," she remembers.
No-one was making sandwiches for Hilary. In fact it was left to her to look after her younger brother - putting him to bed, getting him ready for school, making sure he was fed.
Her mum's drinking started out with a glass of wine "while cooking" but soon escalated to a bottle of vodka a day.
"She was hiding bottles, they were all over the place - in her shoeboxes, you'd find glasses of neat vodka behind curtains and if you put the oven on you checked there wasn't a bottle hidden in there.
Watching her elegant and educated mother fade away was very painful.
"You couldn't hold a conversation with her because she was drunk," Hilary says. "It was like she wasn't there really - she went from being very present to becoming a ghost."
Liz's mother had been a model, but after she began to drink she never quite knew where to put on her make-up. "She looked like Aunt Sally from Worzel Gummidge," she says.
Liz's own life began to spin out of control, as a result of neglect. By the age of 15, Liz had become involved in an abusive relationship, and was put into foster care. It was thanks to her friends that she survived, she says.
"I've been good at choosing good friends who helped me through it, friends who weren't into drugs and drinking."
Then, when she saw her friends go to university she decided she would, too - the only child in Surrey social services at the time who did. "I definitely deserve a prize for that," she says.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Buhari, Nigerian president life in doubt.


Two media aides to President Muhammadu Buhari have written on twitter to dispel rumors making
round that he'd died in a London hospital. The president's top media aides using their twitter handles denied rumors that President Buhari who left Nigeria on Thursday on a 10-day medical leave had died. Mr. Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu denied the speculations with Garba Shehu taking it a step further by mocking former President Goodluck Jonathan's purported invitation to Donald Trump's inauguration in the
US.
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Monday, 19 December 2016

ZANU-PF ENDORSE 92yr OLD FOR PRESIDENCY

Zimbabwe's governing Zanu-PF party has confirmed President Robert Mugabe as its candidate for the 2018 elections.

Mr Mugabe, who is 92, has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980.

At the party's conference, the Zanu-PF youth wing even proposed that Mr Mugabe should be declared president for life.

However, there have been unprecedented protests this year against Zimbabwe's economic turmoil and Mr Mugabe's leadership.

The Zanu-PF has also suffered serious infighting as factions battle it out to succeed Mr Mugabe once he eventually leaves.

His supporters broke into thunderous applause and chanted "tongai, tongai baba" [rule, rule father] as the Zanu-PF annual conference in the south-eastern town of Masvingo nominated Mr Mugabe on Saturday.

'One family'

In his acceptance speech, Mr Mugabe called for an end to party infighting.

"We agreed that conflicts should end. Infighting should end. The party ideology should be followed," he said.

"Let us be one. We are one family, the family of Zanu-PF bound together by the fact of understanding between its members."

Mr Mugabe has blamed the country's economic problems on sabotage by Western critics of his policies.

Amid violent protests earlier this year he warned there would be no Zimbabwean uprising similar to the "Arab Spring".

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Celine Dion’s Jupiter Island Estate Now $27 Million Cheaper






Despite this one having its own water park, Celine Dion is having trouble selling another of her opulent mansions.


The Los Angeles Times reports that the Canadian singer, who has a residency in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, has lowered the price of one of her properties precipitously—from $72.5 million to $45.5 million. At its original asking price, the Jupiter Island mansion was one of Florida’s costliest homes when it hit the market around two years ago.


The 5.7-acre estate boasts two spacious guesthouses, a tennis pavilion, water park with two connecting swimming pools and a Bahamian-inspired main residence. Still, that’s not been enough to secure a sale.





A Titanic-size pool is just one of the features that’s failing to impress at Celine Dion’s Jupiter Island estate. View the Complete Jupiter Island Listing
Christie’s International Real Estate




The Grammy winner used this estate as her main residence before she relocated to Las Vegas. Other famous residents of Jupiter Island include golfer Tiger Woods and actor Burt Reynolds.


The 47-year-old has also had difficulty selling her Île Gagnon property in Quebec, which went up for sale in 2012. A report emerged that it was sold last month, but Mansion Global was unable to confirm this; the property is still listed as for sale.


The 24,000-square-foot, six-bedroom French Normandy Chateau-style property, built in 2001, is located on a private island not far from downtown Montreal. It features a private bridge, wine cellar with tasting room and a wood panelled library. Asking price? $18.9 million.

Ten films to watch in august

Suicide Squad (Credit: Credit: DC Comics)
Suicide Squad
Training Day writer David Ayer directs this feature based on the DC Comics anti-heroes, following a secret government agency that recruits imprisoned supervillains to carry out black ops missions. An all-star cast play the rogues gallery of inmates, with Will Smith as the assassin Deadshot, Jared Leto as The Joker and Margot Robbie as his clown-faced partner Harley Quinn. Taking its cue from Deadpool, Suicide Squad marks a change of pace from the usual comic book blockbuster, as Ayer told The New York Times. “Instead of this Soviet-style series of apartment-block movies that are all built to the same blueprints, there’s room for some Craftsman homes and a little more elegance.” After a critical panning for the most recent DC blockbuster, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ayer is hoping for an adaptation in the spirit of The Magnificent Seven or The Dirty Dozen. “It’s a little morally challenged, but we know we can get away with it.” On general release from 3 August. (Credit: DC Comics)
Southside with You (Credit: Credit: Miramax)
Southside with You
As Obama nostalgia already sets in, this take on the soon-to-be-former president’s first date with Michelle will warm the cockles of anyone fearing what might lie ahead. Writer-director Richard Tanner’s debut feature has drawn praise for its casting, with Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers going “beyond impression to deliver something real and human-sized” as the First Couple back in 1989.According to Variety, the film “stands as something unique, even audacious in American independent movies: a fact-based presidential ‘prequel’ that seeks to present two iconic world figures as convincing and relatable romantic leads… Whether taken as storytelling, propaganda or an artful hybrid of both, it’s a movie that unabashedly wraps its real-life subjects in a humanising embrace.” Released 26 August in the US and 31 August in France. (Credit: Miramax)
Julieta (Credit: Credit: Canal+ France)
Julieta
Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar’s twentieth film is a more muted affair than melodramas like Talk to Her or Volver: according to Time Out, “the emotions are more buttoned-up, the twists more maudlin”. Nevertheless, it’s “a sombre, ravishing study of grief, guilt and burden… only a master of his art could make it look so easy”. Based on three short stories by Alice Munro, it follows a mother and daughter as they struggle to cope with the death of a loved one. Almodóvar has said that “maternity inspires me more than paternity,” and The Evening Standard praises Julieta as “a harrowing examination of broken maternity and ever-present mortality”. Released 4 August in Germany and Russia and 12 August in Finland. (Credit: Canal+ France)
Anthropoid (Credit: Credit: Lucky Man Films)
Anthropoid
Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan co-star in this drama based on a true story, playing two soldiers from the Czechoslovakian army-in-exile sent on a mission to assassinate SS officer Reinhard Heydrich. Parachuted into their occupied homeland in December 1941, they seek to eliminate the man behind the Final Solution, the Reich’s third in command behind Hitler and Himmler. The UK-French-Czech historical thriller is directed by Sean Ellis, nominated for an Academy Award for his short film Cashback; according to Variety, “if Ellis’ intention was to remind what these real soldiers actually accomplished, as opposed to selling some revisionist Hollywood fantasy of Nazi opposition… mission accomplished”. Released 12 August in the US and 9 September in Ireland. (Credit: Lucky Man Films)
Kubo and the Two Strings (Credit: Credit: Laika Entertainment)
Kubo and the Two Strings
The latest feature from acclaimed stop-motion animation studio Laika (Coraline, The Boxtrolls) is set in ancient Japan, and appears to channel Studio Ghibli in its mixture of folklore and magic. A spirit from the past causes havoc for a young boy called Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of Game of Thrones), who fights off gods and monsters to find a suit of armour once owned by his father, a legendary Samurai warrior. Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes and Rooney Mara provide voices for the epic action-adventure – characters include an 18-foot tall stop-motion puppet believed to be the largest ever of its kind. Released 18 August in Australia and Colombia and 19 August in the US. (Credit: Laika Entertainment)
Jason Bourne (Credit: Credit: Universal Pictures)
Jason Bourne
Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass reunite for the first time in nearly a decade: and, according to BBC Culture’s Nicholas Barber, still have viewers on the edge of their seats: “Greengrass stages the action with bone-jarring immediacy, using wobbly handheld cameras and rat-a-tat editing to make the viewer feel as if they could be hit by a stray fist or bullet at any moment.” The fifth installment of the spy-thriller weaves in an Edward Snowdon-esque storyline a year after Bond, but avoids looking jaded by virtue of its star. Time magazine praises Damon for lifting Bourne beyond generic action, claiming that “Watching Damon, in motion or in a rare moment of rest, is the movie’s purest pleasure… Damon, his eternal boyishness finally settling into the inevitability of middle age, brings the personal touch this movie needs. Its action is generic, but he’s always special.” Released 4 August in Argentina, 5 August in India and 11 August in Germany. (Credit: Universal Pictures)
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World (Credit: Credit: Saville Productions)
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
The latest film from German director Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Into the Abyss) premiered at Sundance to near universal praise, with The Hollywood Reporter calling the documentary “a quizzical, spry, modestly illuminating consideration of where human beings currently stand vis-a-vis the invention that is changing the world in as-yet unimaginable ways”. Herzog – who weaves fiction with reality until the two are indistinguishable – muses on an AI-dominated future and our relationship with machines. “This is an extraordinary moment in the life of human beings,” Herzog says in the film. “The beginning of connectivity we have not dreamed of a few years ago.” [According to Variety], this “alternately playful and unsettling 10-part essay on how the Internet continues to evolve… represents the latest of Herzog’s heady explorations of what it means to be human (and even post-human)”. Released 19 August in the US. (Credit: Saville Productions)
Pete’s Dragon (Credit: Credit: 2016 Disney Enterprises Inc)
Pete’s Dragon
While Disney has used CGI to reinvent its classics – such as The Jungle Book or Cinderella – with this remake of a 1977 Disney musical, director David Lowery “has crafted something that feels like it comes from the heart”. The indie film-maker – who had a breakthrough hit at Sundance in 2013 with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – has woven a rich character drama around a CG dragon and his friend Pete, with Variety claiming that “the film’s true appeal lies in its texture and the timeless human moments at its core”. Indiewire praises Oakes Fegley’s “terrifically muted performance” as Pete, as well as “the gentle rhythms of the script” that Lowery co-wrote with Toby Halbrooks – calling Pete’s Dragon “warm, wistful, and wholly wonderful”. On general release from 11 August. (Credit: 2016 Disney Enterprises Inc)
Mia Madre (Credit: Credit: Le Pacte)
Mia Madre
Italian film-maker Nanni Moretti won the Palme d’Or in 2001 for his moving portrait of a grieving family, The Son’s Room. His latest feature, although a comedy-drama, is imbued with a sense of grief as a harried director (played by Margherita Buy) attempts to hold her life together. Juggling the demands of her movie – John Turturro plays its star, a bombastic American actor – with a dying mother and a teenage daughter who’s increasingly distant, the character is portrayed by Buy with “nervous reactions and large, distress-filled eyes”. Variety praises her for delivering “a moving performance as a woman heading toward emotional collapse”, while “good, strong, understated filmmaking is enlivened by Moretti’s characteristic wry blend of drama and humour”, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Released 6 August in Argentina, 20 August in South Korea and 29 August in Chile. (Credit: Le Pacte)
Tickled (Credit: Credit: A Ticklish Tale Ltd)
Tickled
After journalist David Farrier stumbles on a video of “competitive endurance tickling”, in which young men are paid to be tied up and tickled, his attempts to pursue the story are met with threats and abuse. Undeterred, his following investigation makes for what The Washington Post called “a crafty, unsettling bait-and-switch of a movie” which “sends viewers down a disquieting rabbit hole, into corners of the Internet, economic desperation and the human psyche that grow darker with every turn and twist”. Beyond the bizarre, this is a documentary that is really “about power, shame, and the law”. Released 18 August in Australia, 19 August in the UK and 7 September in Sweden. (Credit: A Ticklish Tale Ltd)