RBI admits growth slowdown places forecast lower at 69

first_imgMumbai: With the headwinds to growth rising from all around, Reserve Bank governor Shaktikanta Das Wednesday admitted the economy is in a slowdown mode, but termed it as cyclical and not structural one, and exuded confidence growth will pick up the momentum fast.The admission of the rising headwinds to growth led the monetary authority to slash the lending rates by an unprecedented 35 bps to 5.40 percent in the fourth successive rate reductions since he assumed power in December. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalNone of the macro-indicators have been promising since the past many months-plunging auto sales which hit a 20-year low in July, plummeting IIP growth which hit a 57-month low in June, falling exports and the continuing bloodbath in the markets, coupled with trade wars and increasing challenges to global economy all point to the gathering clouds. The statement also comes amid many key personalities, including engineering giant Larsen & Toubro chairman AM Naik expressing concerns on the growth front. “Our understanding is that at this point, it is perhaps a cyclical slowdown, not really a deep structural one. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostNonetheless, we have to recognise that there is room for certain structural reforms to be undertaken,” Das told reporters at the customary post-policy presser. He, however, exuded confidence that growth numbers will move up faster going ahead driven by the measures being taken by the government and the central bank, and partly due to the base effect. Based on his interactions, Das said the government is planning more measures to revive growth, and also pointed out to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s statements on sector-specific booster doses on the anvil. Attributing the slowdown to both demand as well as investment slowdown, Das said, “both demand and investment put together are having a dampening effect on growth.” The RBI itself has reduced its growth estimate downwards to 6.9 percent for FY20 from 7 percent it had projected in the June policy. At present, Das said both urban and rural demand has been hit which is evident in the slowdown in sales of two- wheelers and tractors in rural areas and passenger cars in cities. However, he said RBI is hopeful of a revival and pointed out to the estimate of the growth number hitting 7.5 percent in the last quarter of the fiscal.last_img read more

Feds relent offer briefing on India trip by PMs national security adviser

first_imgOTTAWA – Justin Trudeau’s national security adviser is offering to give an unclassified briefing to MPs on a Commons committee about the prime minister’s trip to India, in addition to a more in-depth classified briefing to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.Scheer agreed Tuesday to the government’s offer of a classified briefing from Daniel Jean — but with strings attached. He said he wants journalists and Conservative MPs to be able to sit in on the non-secret portions of Jean’s briefing.After weeks of refusing to have Jean publicly talk about the trouble-plagued trip, the government announced late Tuesday that it has effectively agreed to Scheer’s conditions.Privy Council Office spokesman Paul Duchesne said a letter has been sent to Scheer “indicating that we will work with his office to co-ordinate the classified briefing for him on matters related to the national security of Canada as soon as possible.”Since Scheer has agreed to a secret briefing, Duchesne added that Jean has written to the chair of the public safety and national security committee “to offer an unclassified briefing at the earliest practical opportunity should that be the wish of the standing committee.”Conservatives last month tried twice to force Jean to appear before that committee to testify about his assertion that rogue factions within the Indian government helped to sabotage Trudeau’s trip. They were blocked both times by the Liberal majority.During the India trip, Jean told a background briefing with reporters travelling with the prime Minister that rogue forces within the Indian government were ultimately the ones responsible for the Jaspal Atwal affair. He gave similar briefings to reporters in Canada that same day.Jean gave the updates as an unnamed senior government official but was publicly identified by the Conservatives after the trip was over.Atwal was invited to a pair of receptions with Trudeau despite having been convicted three decades ago of trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister in the name of Sikh independence. After his appearance at the first of the receptions in Mumbai, Jean said the government was made aware of his identity and an invite to a second reception in Delhi was rescinded.The damage was done, however, as photos of Atwal posing at the first reception with Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, and Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, were given to the media.Jean’s working theory was that Indian agents who fear the global rise of Sikh independence orchestrated the controversy in an attempt to embarrass Canada and undermine the entire trip.Jean suggested Atwal was closely connected to members of the Indian consulate in Vancouver, and said it was strange that the ban on Atwal travelling to India was lifted by Indian authorities after more than three decades.There was nothing in the way of actual evidence given to support the theory.The Conservatives, however, say they believe Jean disclosed classified details in those briefings to the media which is why the government refused to give the same briefing publicly to Conservative MPs.The government insists otherwise but, until Tuesday, had offered only a full briefing — complete with classified information — to Scheer, who is eligible to hear such details as a member of the Privy Council.Until now, Scheer has refused that offer, but he changed his mind Tuesday.last_img read more

The unusual suspects British Columbias middleclass gang problem

first_imgSURREY, B.C. — At the end of a tranquil cul-de-sac in a pleasant neighbourhood, a tall stucco house overlooks a well-kept lawn and lush flowerbeds. The home is in the Metro Vancouver city of Surrey, where the average price of a detached property is $1.1 million.Before an officer from the RCMP’s gang enforcement unit knocks on the door to conduct a curfew check, he notes that the alleged gang boss didn’t purchase the home with drug profits. This is his family’s house, where he grew up and still lives in his mid-20s.“Gangs in Chicago and other U.S. cities, they’re usually geographically based. They keep a watch of the block, or they’re a bunch of new immigrants to a country. It becomes a unity thing, like survival. These kids don’t have that issue,” Const. Ryan Schwerdfeger says.“Some may be new immigrants to Canada, but their parents sold property back home and they live in $1 million-plus homes and their parents buy them whatever car they want.”Police officers say the gang conflict in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland is unlike any other in North America. Many young members come from middle- to upper-class homes. They aren’t driven by poverty, but instead by their desire to belong, to be protected or to emulate the gangster lifestyle flashed by other teens on social media. Some become trapped in gangs once they join, while others just meet the wrong friends and find themselves caught in the crosshairs.Police are struggling to contain the deadly gunfire and families are left broken and confused. In fact, the situation is so different in B.C. that some say many of the groups toting guns and dealing drugs are not really “gangs” at all. But to end the violence, experts say, it must be understood why kids are jumping into the fray — and why it’s so hard for them to leave.When losing friends starts to feel normalFrom an early age, all of Ary Azez’s friends were involved in the gang lifestyle in Surrey. The 22-year-old now works for an anti-gang group called Yo Bro Yo Girl Youth Initiative, and he casually mentions that his friends “who are still alive” are still involved in drug dealing.He’s lost seven friends in shootings or to overdoses.“After a while, it’s like, ‘Oh. Too bad,’” Azez says with a shrug and a slight laugh.“It doesn’t hurt as much anymore. In the beginning, it was really tough, when it’s the ones who are really close to you. After that, it’s like, ‘Oh, you got stabbed, no way,’ and then you just continue with your lunch.”Azez grew up middle-class, but he says joining a gang wasn’t necessarily the clear-cut “choice” that police sometimes make it out to be. In his experience, each high school represents itself.“If you go to the school, you’re basically a part of the gang,” he says.“You could be one of those kids who stays indoors and plays chess with the nerds, or you could be with the cool kids outside smoking and hanging out on the block. On the one hand, you did have a choice. But on the other hand, it’s clear that no one really wants to be on the inside.”Azez was kicked out of school before he became too deeply entrenched, he says, allowing him to take a step back and observe how “stupid” the lifestyle was. He also started to notice the impact on his family, after hiding his behaviour from them for a long time.“We’re not coming from broken families, where we’re missing parents, or from foster homes, or we’re poor. We have a family. We have a nice house. We have cars,” he explains.“All of a sudden, when you’re bringing outside drama that doesn’t really belong in that environment, it really crashes down.”On a high school field, teenagers enrolled in Yo Bro Yo Girl practise kabaddi, an Indian sport. One young player, 18-year-old Jaskirat Dhaliwal, remarks that kids need money to join gangs.“I’ve seen kids who are loaded and then they get in gangs,” he says, shaking his head. “To hang out with people and go around, you need money. You have to spend on people.“There’s a guy here who pays $700 for his gas every month. That’s crazy … You’ve got to buy stuff for the fights. That’s stupid. I’d rather buy my knee pads and my mouth guard.”Kids looking for protection or a sense of belongingThe conversation about B.C.’s gang conflict has largely focused on Surrey, often perceived by outsiders to be a rough part of Metro Vancouver. But other than a few troubled neighbourhoods, Surrey is an average suburban community, where the median household income in 2016 was $68,060, higher than the provincial average of $61,280.Outrage over gang violence in Surrey has reached such a fever pitch that a new mayor was elected last year on a promise to replace the RCMP with a municipal police force. Previous mayors have also tried to curb the gunfire, including in 2017 when then-mayor Linda Hepner convened a task force on gang violence prevention, which produced a report last year.The report highlights that gang crime is not limited to Surrey. Of 46 gang-related homicides in B.C. in 2017, six occurred in Surrey, seven in Abbotsford, six in Richmond and five in Vancouver. The report also notes that, unlike other regions, B.C. gangs span socio-economic classes and are multi-ethnic. The highest proportion of gang-related murder and attempted murder victims from 2006 to 2015 were white, while 25 per cent were South Asian.The task force also shed light on the complex reasons why kids are joining gangs. They might be experiencing trauma or domestic violence, substance abuse at home, lack of parental supervision or have delinquent peers or siblings. Or they might be getting bullied at school and turn to a gang for protection, or just to feel like they belong somewhere. And some might simply be lured by the promise of profit and luxury.“What we’re seeing is surprising to us and unexpected,” says Joanna Angelidis, director of learning services for the Delta School District. “It seems to be that it’s young people who you wouldn’t necessarily expect would become involved in gang life,” she added.“So what we’re thinking is that it’s young people who are maybe looking for a feeling of connection or inclusion and they’re looking for that in ways that are clearly unhealthy or dangerous.”Debate over whether “gang” is the right wordSeveral hours into his patrol, Schwerdfeger makes a remark that seems surprising for a constable with the words “Gang Enforcement Unit” printed on his bulletproof vest.“In my personal view, I wouldn’t say we have a gang problem in Surrey,” he says.He explains that while the city has some notorious gangs, including the Red Scorpions and Brothers Keepers, many don’t have names and are more accurately described as “drug trafficking groups.”“When I think of gang, I think of Crips and Bloods, you know, Chicago, L.A., like real gangs. I don’t usually give too much credit to these kids to call them gangsters,” he says. “For the most part, they’re all just boys that sell drugs.”Schwerdfeger says unlike the Hells Angels, where members all hang out and move as a group, these organizations operate more like businesses where each member has a specific function that they might perform largely in a silo. He compares it to a Walmart, with a general manager, floor manager, shelf stocker and greeter.When he talks about the Lower Mainland’s gang landscape, he’s quick to mention the work of Keiron McConnell, a veteran police officer and Kwantlen University professor who travelled to Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, Hobbema, Alta., and London, England, to observe gangs for his PhD dissertation.While gangs in each city had some unique aspects, McConnell broadly found marginalized males living in impoverished, graffiti-cloaked neighbourhoods. B.C.’s clean streets and suburban homes stood in stark contrast.The Criminal Code definition of a criminal organization — a gang — is a group of three or more people that commits crimes for profit. But McConnell’s dissertation rejects the idea that B.C. has a “gang problem” and says the term is misleading and problematic because it connotes bandanna-wearing youth fighting for turf and suggests street-based outreach could work.McConnell accepts that police and media have adopted the label “gang” and it’s stuck, but says it’s important to note how different its meaning is in B.C.Quitting gang life can be difficult and dangerousEntering a gang may be a choice for some youth in B.C., but leaving is not so simple. The youngest, newest members typically do the most dangerous work as dial-a-dopers, risking robbery, assault or even death from desperate addicts or rival groups, say police.But sometimes when a dial-a-doper expresses interest in leaving, his own crew will set up a robbery so he must pay back the loss with “tax” that never goes away, explains Schwerdfeger.“Now they’re working because they have to,” he says. “Or these guys come to their front door and try to collect from the mom and dad. They don’t care.”— Follow @ellekane and @amysmart1 on Twitter.Laura Kane and Amy Smart, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

British Columbia to eliminate medical service plan premiums in 2020

first_imgVICTORIA – A premium long viewed as a financial irritant in British Columbia that is paid by individuals and families for health care will be eliminated on Jan. 1, 2020.The provincial government had already announced it was cutting medical service plan premiums in half on Jan. 1, 2018, and in the provincial budget it took the next step to eliminate them.The government says once the premiums are eliminated, an individual will save up to $900 a year and families up to $1,800 annually.To cover the loss of revenue, the government will introduce a new payroll tax on Jan. 1, 2019.That means businesses with a payroll of more than $1.5 million will pay a tax of 1.95 per cent, those below $500,000 will be exempt, and employers whose payrolls fall in between will pay a lower rate.The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia said the new tax will be a concern for businesses.“While this tax may not impact the coffee shop around the corner, it will impact many businesses within British Columbia,” said Lori Mathison, the organization’s president and CEO.The government says it collected $2.6 billion in premiums in the 2016-17 fiscal year, and the new payroll tax will provide $1.9 billion in revenue in 2019-20.Finance Minister Carole James said by eliminating the premium, it is falling in line with the other provinces.“B.C. is an outlier in Canada as the only province that levies unfair, regressive MSP premiums that penalize families and individuals,” she said in her budget speech to the legislature on Tuesday.The government says the premium cost a person earning $45,000 a year the same amount as someone making $250,000 annually, and the 1.95 per cent tax rate on payroll to help recover the loss of revenue is the lowest in Canada.James said the premiums were “complex and expensive” for businesses to administer.Eliminating them, she said, “will take some pressure of people’s pocketbooks. And it will make our tax system more fair and progressive.”last_img read more

Dahlia Hosts 2nd Annual Morocco Swim Trek on Nov. 29-Dec. 4

Rabat – The second annual ‘Morocco Swim Trek’ will take place in the lagoon of the Moroccan city of Dakhla, from November, 29th to December, 4th, organizers said.The Morocco Swim Trek is an international open-water swimming event for amateurs and professional swimmers.This year, the roving race will cover a distance of 30 kilometers. Each day, participants will have to swim a different distance over a different stretch of water, from a new starting line.

TimorLeste UN marks ten years since historic vote for independence

Timorese turned out in huge numbers on 30 August 1999 to vote in the popular consultation on their future. The result – announced five days later on 4 September – was an overwhelming choice for independence over autonomy within Indonesia. UN administrators moved in soon after the vote, which was followed by widespread violence in which 1,500 to 2,000 people were killed, and helped shepherd Timor-Leste to its eventual independence as a State in 2002.Speaking at today’s ceremony, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, highlighted the unique nature of the relationship which has developed between the Timorese people and the UN over the last decade. “Rich working relationships and great friendships have been developed over the past ten years between Timorese United Nations staff members, and international staff members and UN Volunteers from all over the world,” said Mr. Khare, who serves as head of the UN mission, known as UNMIT.“A special element of this unique relationship, developed over the last ten years, is the long working relationship so many Timorese people have developed with the United Nations – with the peacekeeping missions, as well as with the UN agencies, funds and programmes,” he added.During today’s ceremony, attended by President Jose Ramos-Horta, 100 Timorese UN staff members who have served the world body continuously since 1999 received awards in recognition of their service.It was just one of a series of events held this week around the country to mark the occasion, along with the inaugural Tour de Timor cycling race, peace festivals and concerts. 4 September 2009The United Nations mission in Timor-Leste today marked ten years since the historic UN-organized referendum that led to the independence of the South-east Asian nation. read more

Refugee group Alarming that only 27 of funds received

COPENHAGEN — A leading advocacy group for refugees said Monday that with half of 2019 gone, humanitarian organizations have received only 27% of the money needed to provide relief to people affected by crises worldwide this year.Norwegian Refugee Council secretary-general Jan Egeland said “the current lack of funding is alarming.”Egeland said a total of $26 billion is required this year to provide relief for around 94 million people in need. However, donor countries have contributed only $7 billion, or $2 billion less than for the same period last year, he said, citing the U.N.’s financial tracking service.The Norwegian Refugee Council said the crisis in Cameroon is among the most critically under-funded, with less than 20% of the appeal covered so far this year. It also singled out the Democratic Republic of Congo “struck by a toxic cocktail of conflict, mass displacement and Ebola,” and also said, “even funding for Syrian refugees is drying up.”“Let’s not be fooled into believing that the amount needed is too high or the job too difficult. It is a question of priorities,” Egeland said. He said the world’s total military expenditure last year increased to “a whopping $1.8 trillion,” citing figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.“The cost of closing the humanitarian funding gap and providing people with basic support equals to just about 1% of this,” he said in a statement.The Associated Press read more

Security Council condemns heinous bomb attacks in Libya

According to reports, the Friday morning attack which came in three separate waves, killed at least 45 people and injured scores of others. It started when one bomber detonated his vehicle near a gas station and was followed by two car explosions near the home of Libya’s Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Government’s security headquarters.In a statement to the press this morning, the 15-member Security Council expressed deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims of “this heinous act” and wished a speedy recovery to those injured. Council members stressed again that ISIL must be defeated and that the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out. Perpetrators of these reprehensible acts of terrorism must be brought to justice, they emphasized. Such “acts of barbarism” by ISIL do not intimidate Council members but rather stiffen their resolve, members emphasized as they pledged support to global and regional effort to counter ISIL, Ansar Al Sharia entities, and other groups associated with Al-Qaida. This resolve is already stated in Security Council resolutions 2170 (2014) and 2199 (2015), they noted.All those responsible for such attacks must be held accountable, the Security Council stressed, as it urged all States, in accordance with international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with Libya and all other relevant authorities.Council members further recalled that ISIL is included on the Al-Qaida Sanctions List and is thus subject to the asset freeze and arms embargo, as stated in resolution 2161 (2014). Hence, any individual or entity that provides financial and material support to the group, including the provision of arms or recruits, is eligible to be subject to sanctions measures. To that end, members underscored the need for full implementation of resolution 2199 (2015), adopted on February 12, to cut off ISIL’s support networks.Lastly, the Council reaffirmed the need to combat, in accordance with the UN Charter and international law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. All acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of motivation, members concluded. read more

Tender for construction of Athenss first mosque launched

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram A tender for the construction of the first official mosque to go into operation in the Greek capital was launched on Monday by the Infrastructure Ministry, with the building slated for completion six months after a deal is signed.The new mosque will be located on the premises of a former naval base in the central Athens district of Votanikos.It will have an area of just over 1,000 square meters and the capacity to accommodate 300 people in the men’s area and 50 people in the women’s area. It will be surrounded by a park.Members of the Greek Orthodox Church and other groups have protested its construction. Source: Kathimerinilast_img read more

Victoria still embracing multiculturalism but numbers sliding

first_imgLate last year released findings from the 2013 Victorians’ Attitudes to Race and Cultural Diversity Survey suggested Victorians overwhelmingly continue to welcome multiculturalism, despite a fall in numbers.Accordingly, VicHealth and its affiliates – the University of Melbourne and Deakin University – found 78 per cent of Victorians were in favour of cultural diversity, but close to 40 per cent were at issue with at least one ethnic group. The survey also suggested groups faced with social backlash may be more susceptible to mental health issues, particularly increases in depression, anxiety, and stress, coupled with lower self-esteem, which can lead to alcohol and drug abuse, obesity and self-harm. Deakin University researcher Professor Yin Paradies told Neos Kosmos whilst the figures were overall positive, comparatively research conducted in 2006 showed acceptance levels were in decline. “We’re finding a worsening across a number of outcomes in terms of people’s attitude towards certain ethnic and racial groups in society and a slight reduction in acceptance of cultural diversity in Australia as a beneficial thing to the nation,” he said.It is believed deteriorating global security issues, asylum seekers and financial conservatism following the global financial crisis have led to increased prejudices against ethnic groups.“We’re seeing an intensification of nationalism around the world, which does relate to the fears of terrorism security around the world, and also financial problems. People hunker down in a way when you have these difficulties on a global scale and we get this sense of ‘us and them’ that develops more strongly and a sense of ‘we don’t want our way of life to be eroded’, and some of the findings in our survey find that people are concerned about migrants impacting on Australia’s way of life and taking jobs.”“About 50 per cent say migrants need to be more like Australians no matter who they are and they need to leave some of their baggage, so to speak.”Professor Paradies said Muslims were most susceptible to criticisms that they don’t complement Australian society.“You get the sense that these things can get better over time but there is the potential for them to get worse.“It’s difficult for individuals to say ‘I’m not racist’ – all of us have a racist thought or inclination at some point in our life. For colonial histories like Australia’s it’s unavoidable there’s historical weight and baggage to our nation and the way it was created that leaves those racist undertones and it’s a lot of work to overcome. It’s a matter of tracking that over time and to try to make it better, and in recent years we haven’t seen a lot of that.”Media-led campaigns pushing greater integration may serve as the key to combating stereotypes and prejudices, he said. “I think there are a few key ways to combat these issues and one of them is better representation of ethnic diversity in the media, better reporting, more balanced reporting, some more courageous political leadership where we have a sense of politicians wanting to tell better stories of both the advantages and disadvantages of cultural diversity, not engage in tactics which sometimes create more fear, which happens in Australia.” Chin Tin, chairperson at the Victorian Multicultural Commission, shared Professor Paradies’ view that overall more needs to be done to tackle racial segregation.“It came as no surprise that eight out of 10 people agree that different cultural groups benefit Australia. Multiculturalism is one of our greatest assets, and our way of life in Victoria. “[But] the survey tells us that there are areas that need improving – the commission is aware of this through its own research and projects, and is working with communities and government to help change misconceptions and negative attitudes, and increase awareness.”He said Greek migration to Victoria could be used as an example for other immigrant groups. “As an established and settled immigrant group, the Greek community can serve as a model for newly settled immigrant communities in our state, and proudly take on a leadership role in promoting harmony and unity within Victoria’s diversity.”Further intercultural education for young schoolchildren was also suggested. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Over 5000 births of healthy children thanks to Crete Fertility Centre

first_imgWhen it comes to assisted reproduction technologies (ART), Crete Fertility Centre in Heraklion, Greece has been leading the way since 1993, offering quality services at the highest standards.Clinical and scientific director of the IVF Unit, Dr Mattheos Fraidakis, along with a team of highly-qualified professionals, are known to never lose focus of the specific needs of couples who have sought care at Crete Fertility Centre.His clinical activities range from 5,000 births of healthy children following successful IVF programs, to successful reproductive surgery operations, hysteroscopic and laparoscopic operations and impregnation of people with special needs. The unit has one of the highest success rates in Europe, in women who have carried out IVF fertility treatments in egg donation programs.“During 2015 we performed 257 embryo transfers and our success rate was 62.3 per cent, which translates into 160 successful pregnancies. “Twenty-five years of experience in the field of IVF and egg donation is the basis of the high standards of care and attention to all the details made available to the patient, as they take this important step in their life to start a family,” Dr Mattheos Fraidakis explains.Crete Fertility’s lab and medical equipment are the newest available in global Assisted Reproductive Technology and are on par with European and American standards for hygiene. Meanwhile, Crete Fertility Centre offers a wide variety of egg donors from all walks of life, and since there are plenty of women who wish to donate their eggs anonymously there are no long waiting lists for treatment. Besides Crete Fertility’s medical expertise being of the highest calibre, treatments are more affordable than most European IVF clinics, making it an attraction for patients from all over the world.“The cost of treatment is much lower that the costs in Australia and USA, which, when considered in the context of choice of donor characteristics and no waiting, is much appreciated,” Dr Fraidakis tells Neos Kosmos.Familiarity, cultural, ethical and societal factors are also of predominant importance when having any medical treatment, especially fertility treatment. The hospital setting at Crete Fertility Centre provides not only a classical Greek welcome, but also one which has an international flavour for patients who travel from Italy, France and Hungary as well as other continental European and Scandinavian countries.“Our 25 years of experience has shown that a lot of couples, motivated by their strong wish to have a baby, while hindered by restrictive legislation in their own country, seek Third World countries, exposing themselves to avoidable risks due to inconsistency and clarity in standards of health care and hygiene as well as failure to conceive. Lack of a robust and transparent ART legal framework has been known to complicate the experience many couples have had abroad in unfamiliar cultures and societies,” he explains.Meanwhile, the Greek legal framework for assisted reproduction services is one of the most progressive worldwide, establishing Greece (and Crete Fertility Centre) as an ideal destination for couples from abroad seeking treatment not available in their own country. The country’s legislation assists couples to realise their dream of having a baby, using egg or sperm donation, until the age of 50 for women and without age limit for men, in contrast to other European countries such as France. In addition, there is favourable legislation for couples considering host surrogacy as a treatment option.“Greek patients from all over the world often look to their homeland for their medical care, and this is especially the case when starting a family,” Dr Fraidakis says.“So it is not surprising to learn that more than 200 healthy babies have been born in Australia after egg donation treatment of Greek women who live in Australia, where there is a large expatriate Greek community in most cities, especially in Melbourne and Sydney. They travel these great distances because of confidentiality, great attention to the important details of the characteristics of the anonymous egg donor and excellent standards of patient focused care.”Browsing through the testimonials on the website, one comes to realise that it is this aura of the patient-centred approach which has attracted women and couples to seek advice and treatment in Heraklion rather than the mega-centres, where waiting rooms can so often seem to be full of stressed couples. “Women prefer the more personalised approach of a ‘boutique style’ ART centre such as Crete Fertility Centre, which provides international-level, innovative fertility treatment while staying true to its unique ethos, which is so important,” he emphasises.“It is for these and other reasons that women travel from as far afield as Australia and the USA to benefit from the very special and sensitive atmosphere which exists at Crete Fertility Centre while receiving care to start their family.”On the other hand, each advance in reproductive technology which has been added to the treatments provided at Crete Fertility Centre is well understood by all members of the multi-disciplinary team, doctors, nurse practitioners, embryologists and counsellors, led by Dr Fraidakis whose insightful personality and manner has inspired his team to put the couple and their needs at the forefront of priorities. “Treatment is provided with the knowledge that the Crete Fertility Centre team has worked together for the last 20 years,” the director of the clinic adds, ensuring that there are no misunderstandings about which treatment the patient wishes to have and what will be provided to the highest standards.These technologies include egg and embryo donation, IVF, IUI, ICSI, PGD blastocyst culture and cryopreservation, to name a few, which in themselves sound daunting, but are conducted in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere which is unhurried, personalised and efficient, without the couple feeling as if they are part of a protocol-driven or mechanical process going through different steps without explanation. This is especially so in relation to blastocyst development, embryo biopsy and genetic diagnosis (PGD), when couples can anxiously await news of daily embryonic growth or PGD results. “PGD and CGH Array are some of the latest technologies which are available to ensure that greatest care is taken to identify the embryos which are most likely to be normal and so lead to the birth of a healthy baby,” he explains.“At least 100 PGD procedures per year are performed by the Crete Fertility Centre medical, scientific and paramedical team.” Patient support at Crete Fertility Centre is multi-disciplinary not only in offering the best in medical technology strategies for the couple during their treatment, but in providing counselling and psychology expertise supplementing the highly complex clinical experience before, during and after procedures, whether successful or not. Counselling is not mandatory and is provided at no extra cost from the Crete Fertility Centre.“Infertility is undoubtedly a stressful state from the diagnosis level, not to mention when the couple decides to deal with it therapeutically. Negative emotions such as anger, sorrow, guilt and disappointment often overwhelm the couple,” Dr Fraidakis says.“Stress, insecurity and physical fatigue during the assisted reproduction process can all become obstacles in the therapeutic process and directly effect the results of the effort. We firmly believe that providing a multidimensional synthesis of services, covering all aspects of the fertility process and minimising physical and emotional cost guarantees the best possible results in our common effort with the couple.”In addition, acknowledgement of the benefits of complementary care such as meditation, acupuncture and other traditional remedies such as aromatherapy provides added value to medical care, the technological nature of which can be softened by incorporating mindfulness and other strategies to enhance not only the patient experience but also pregnancy and live birth rates. “Our job, however, does not end with a successful childbirth,” he emphasises. “In co-operation with various organisations, such as the Logopedists Society of Athens, we will provide continuous feedback and support on various issues, not only to couples that face infertility, but to young parents as well, to sustain and develop in an excellent manner the gift of life they took home with them from Crete Fertility Centre.”  To find out more about the treatments offered at Crete Fertility Centre, go to www.fertilitycrete.gr Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Les premières images dun doigt de glace de la mort dans les

first_imgLes premières images d’un “doigt de glace de la mort” dans les eaux de l’AntarctiqueDes caméramans de la BBC sont parvenus à enregistrer des séquences d’un phénomène inhabituel désigné par les scientifiques sous le nom anglophone de “Brinicle”. Les images présentent une effrayante colonne d’eau salée en dérive sous les eaux de l’Antarctique, gelant tout ce qui croise son parcours. Pour la toute première fois, Hugh Miller et Doug Anderson, caméramans de la BBC, ont filmé sous la surface de l’océan australe, l’évolution d’un processus hors du commun. Baptisé “brinicle” par les scientifiques, le phénomène désigne une colonne d’eau fortement salée, plus dense que le reste de l’océan qui l’entoure, et plus froide que la glace. À lire aussiPourquoi l’eau des océans est-elle salée ?La formation en question diffère notablement de la glace solide et dense observable en surface, plutôt assimilable à une éponge imbibée d’eau de mer. Sa structure extrêmement redoutable pour l’environnement sous-marin lui vaut son surnom de “doigt de glace de la mort”. A la dérive sous la surface de l’océan austral,  le “brinicle” évolue comme une rivière, gelant tout ce qui se trouve sur son passage. Etoiles de mer, oursins, et tout organisme du plancher océanique se retrouvent petit à petit pris au piège sous une toile de glace meurtrière. Pour pouvoir capturer le phénomène sur le vif, l’équipe de la BBC a disposé une plate-forme de plusieurs caméras sur la plancher de l’océan Austral, près de l’île volcanique de Ross. “En explorant les alentours de cette île, nous sommes tombés sur une zone où  trois ou quatre “Brinicles” s’étaient déjà formés et un était actuellement en cours” se souviens Hugh Miller. Il ajoute : “Ça a été un peu la course contre la montre car personne ne savait réellement à quelle vitesse il pouvait se former”. Contre tout attente, l’opération s’est avérée un succès. Les images enregistrées ont été montées en accéléré afin de rendre compte pour la toute première fois, du fascinant spectacle retraçant le macabre phénomène naturel. Découvrez la vidéo de la BBC montrant le “Brinicle” sur Maxisciences Le 24 novembre 2011 à 15:34 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Trump Displays KnockOff Game of Thrones Poster at a Cabinet Meeting

first_imgAsked about the “Sanctions are Coming” poster of Pres Trump on the conference table at the Cabinet meeting yesterday, Conway couldn’t explain why it was on display. pic.twitter.com/uIGhh3r7mb— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) January 3, 2019Trump’s Game of Thrones-inspired poster appearance comes on the heels of the recent government shutdown, which is in its 13th day. The shutdown has impacted roughly 800,000 federal workers, including those who work at U.S. national parks.More on Geek.com:Blind, Burrowing Amphibian Named After Donald TrumpTrump’s ‘Space Force’ to Fight Cosmic EnemiesTrump Admin Quietly Shutters Critical NASA Climate Research Program Yesterday, during Trump’s cabinet meeting, there was a “Game Of Thrones”-inspired poster which had ‘Sanctions Are Coming’ written across it. How ridiculous is that? I found another poster that is forever more appropiate. pic.twitter.com/EEbh1ezmNw— Alvin Vigil (@DiscoAl_66) January 3, 2019 Westeros citizens, brace yourselves: “Sanctions are coming,” according to President Trump’s latest Game of Thrones – inspired poster.On Wednesday, Trump attended a cabinet meeting to discuss the stock market, North Korea, and the border wall. However, those weren’t the only important highlights of the meeting. Trump’s knock-off Game of Thrones poster stole the spotlight, and the internet wasn’t pleased about it, Design Taxi reported.pic.twitter.com/nk2vKvHuaL— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2018On Nov. 2, Trump debuted the Game of Thrones-style poster on his Twitter account. Similar to the Game of Thrones‘ slogan, Trump took “winter is coming,” and transformed it into a political meme within seconds. On Wednesday, Trump placed the same poster right in the middle of the cabinet meeting table. Twitter users immediately noticed the piece of paper, and vented their frustrations on the social media platform.Why is the “Sanctions Are Coming” poster on the table? pic.twitter.com/Be4vjHk8s1— Evan Rosenfeld (@Evan_Rosenfeld) January 2, 2019 @realDonaldTrump actually printed a poster of himself & put it on the table during an actual government meeting #sanctionsarecoming. This dude is bonkers. @HBO & @GameOfThrones need to take a shower. #ImpeachTrump just for being an idiot. What more do you need? pic.twitter.com/6ZOh4JJ4YC— AshleySchaefer (@Cudagras) January 2, 2019center_img Stay on target The Best ‘Evangelion’ OP Parodies of All TimeDear Microsoft, Don’t Help ICE last_img read more

Short recordsetting heat wave comes to an end high of 79

first_imgPORTLAND — After a very hot (and in some cases record-setting) weekend across the region, a solid band of clouds greets the day Monday and with it marine air that well help to cool off the metro area for at least the next three days.Monday morning starts off with plenty of clouds and lows in the high 50s to low 60s, many will welcome the break and chance to cool off those living spaces.The weekend brought record-setting temps in the metro area including Saturday’s 98 degrees breaking the former record of 96 (1992) and Sunday’s 101 which tied the record at the Portland airport set in 2006. Hillsboro broke a heat record Sunday with a high of 100, Vancouver did too with 101. Well, that’s enough of that.Some areas in the Cascades, the foothills and in Lane County could see a thunderstorm on Monday. The chances for thunderstorms decrease after noon.Increased marine cloud cover and even cooler temperatures are forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday will start out with a strong cloud cover and it could be mid-afternoon before it burns off to partial sunshine. Tuesday’s high is expected to be 76 degrees.Wednesday should be partly sunny after morning clouds and a high of 75 -much more in line with June averages.last_img read more

ASA AllStars Recruiter Tournament Begins Round Three

first_imgWhile the NCAA Final Four is this weekend, the ASA All-Stars Recruiter Tournament is still going on as it enters the third round. The tournament began in December and will conclude at the end of September. Each of the rounds is two months and round three began on April 1 and will end on May 29.The All-Stars Recruiter Tournament continues to be a successful tool in member recruitment. During the first two rounds of the tournament, the participants have recruited or renewed more than 1,000 soybean producers. The tournament began with 144 of ASA’s top recruiters in five groups based on their state’s respective membership level. There will be a total of five winners and each bracket winner will receive a $1,000 gift card.“These next few rounds will be challenging for our top recruiters as planting season begins,” said Bob Worth, ASA Membership and Corporate Relations Chairman. “I am confident these dedicated recruiters will meet this challenge and continue to help ASA membership grow.”For Round Three brackets and more information about the ASA All-Stars Recruiter Tournament click here.last_img read more

Muslims in Chinas Little Mecca fear eradication of Islam

first_imgThis picture taken on 2 March, 2018 shows ethnic Hui Muslim men praying at Nanguan Mosque during Friday prayers in Linxia, China’s Gansu province. Photo: AFPGreen-domed mosques still dominate the skyline of China’s “Little Mecca”, but they have undergone a profound change-no longer do boys flit through their stone courtyards en route to classes and prayers.In what locals told AFP they fear is a deliberate move to eradicate Islam, the atheist ruling Communist Party has banned minors under 16 from religious activity or study in Linxia, a deeply Islamic region in western China that had offered a haven of comparative religious freedom for the ethnic Hui Muslims there.China governs Xinjiang, another majority Muslim region in its far west, with an iron fist to weed out what it calls “religious extremism” and “separatism” in the wake of deadly unrest, throwing ethnic Uighurs into shadowy re-education camps without due process for minor infractions such as owning a Koran or even growing a beard.Now, Hui Muslims fear similar surveillance and repression.“The winds have shifted” in the past year, explained a senior imam who requested anonymity, adding: “Frankly, I’m very afraid they’re going to implement the Xinjiang model here.”Local authorities have severely curtailed the number of students over 16 officially allowed to study in each mosque and limited certification processes for new imams.They have also instructed mosques to display national flags and stop sounding the call to prayer to reduce “noise pollution”-with loudspeakers removed entirely from all 355 mosques in a neighbouring county.“They want to secularise Muslims, to cut off Islam at the roots,” the imam said, shaking with barely restrained emotion. “These days, children are not allowed to believe in religion: only in Communism and the party.”‘Scared, very scared’More than 1,000 boys used to attend his mid-sized mosque to study Koranic basics during summer and winter school holidays but now they are banned from even entering the premises.His classrooms are still full of huge Arabic books from Saudi Arabia, browned with age and bound in heavy leather. But only 20 officially registered pupils over the age of 16 are now allowed to use them.Parents were told the ban on extracurricular Koranic study was for their children’s own good, so they could rest and focus on secular coursework.But most are utterly panicked.“We’re scared, very scared. If it goes on like this, after a generation or two, our traditions will be gone,” said Ma Lan, a 45-year-old caretaker, tears dripping quietly into her uneaten bowl of beef noodle soup.Inspectors checked her local mosque every few days during the last school holiday to ensure none of the 70 or so village boys were present.Their imam initially tried holding lessons in secret before sunrise but soon gave up, fearing repercussions.Instead of studying five hours a day at the mosque, her 10-year-old son stayed home watching television. He dreams of being an imam, but his schoolteachers have encouraged him to make money and become a Communist cadre, she said.Fear for the futureThe Hui number nearly 10 million, half of the country’s Muslim population, according to 2012 government statistics.In Linxia, they have historically been well integrated with the ethnic Han majority, able to openly express their devotion and centre their lives around their faith.Women in headscarves dish out boiled lamb in mirror-panelled halal eateries while streams of white-hatted men meander into mosques for afternoon prayers, passing shops hawking rugs, incense and “eight treasure tea,” a local speciality including dates and dried chrysanthemum buds.But in January, local officials signed a decree-obtained by AFP-pledging to ensure that no individual or organisation would “support, permit, organise or guide minors towards entering mosques for Koranic study or religious activities”, or push them towards religious beliefs.Imams there were all asked to comply in writing, and just one refused, earning fury from officials and embarrassment from colleagues, who have since shunned him.“I cannot act contrary to my beliefs. Islam requires education from cradle to grave. As soon as children are able to speak we should begin to teach them our truths,” he explained to AFP.“It feels like we are slowly moving back towards the repression of the Cultural Revolution,” a nationwide purge from 1966 until 1976 when local mosques were dismantled or turned into donkey sheds, he said.Other imams complained authorities were issuing fewer certificates required to practise or teach and now only to graduates of state-sanctioned institutions.“For now, there are enough of us, but I fear for the future. Even if there are still students, there won’t be anyone of quality to teach them,” said one imam.Local authorities failed to answer repeated calls from AFP seeking comment but Linxia’s youth ban comes as China rolls out its newly revised Religious Affairs Regulations.The rules have intensified punishments for unsanctioned religious activities across all faiths and regions.Beijing is targeting minors “as a way to ensure that faith traditions die out while also maintaining the government’s control over ideological affairs,” charged William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International.Violent and bloodthirstyAnother imam said the tense situation in Xinjiang was at the root of changes in Linxia.The government believes that “religious piety fosters fanaticism, which spawns extremism, which leads to terrorist acts-so they want to secularise us,” he explained.But many Hui are quick to distinguish themselves from Uighurs.“They believe in Islam too, but they’re violent and bloodthirsty. We’re nothing like that,” said Muslim hairdresser Ma Jiancai, 40, drawing on common stereotypes.Sitting under the elegant eaves of a Sufi shrine complex, a young scholar from Xinjiang explained that his family had sent him alone aged five to Linxia to study the Koran with a freedom not possible in his hometown.“Things are very different here,” he said with knitted brows. “I hope to stay.”last_img read more

Former President George HW Bush Hospitalized in Maine

first_img Share APThis file photo shows former President George H. W. Bush attending the funeral service for his wife Barbara, which was held in Houston on April 21, 2018.Former President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized in Maine on Sunday for low blood pressure and fatigue, according to a tweet from his spokesman. This is the second time this year the 41st president has been in the hospital. Bush was hospitalized in Houston on April 22, just hours after a funeral for his wife, Barbara Bush, and was released earlier this month.President @GeorgeHWBush was taken to Southern Maine Health Care (@SMHCHealth) today after experiencing low blood pressure and fatigue. He will likely remain there for a few days for observation. The former president is awake and alert, and not in any discomfort.— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) May 27, 2018last_img read more

Popular bra myths busted

first_imgEvery girl wears bras, all-day, every day. So naturally, there’s a lot of talk about what’s good and what’s bad with it, how to take care of your bra, which is the perfect bra for you (your size) and much more. Be it from ill-informed relatives or bragging friends at sleepovers, many people thrive on myths. Read this article to find the most popular bra myths get busted.Big boobs can’t help but spill over cups: Just because you have bigger boobs doesn’t mean you have to deal with boob spillage. It’s normal to have a little peek-a-boob on the side of your bra. However, you shouldn’t be spilling excessively over all sides of your cup. A lot of spillage is the result of wearing a cup size that’s too small. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf You don’t have to wash your bra that often: How come no one ever says that about underwear? To be honest, your bra needs to be washed after every wearing, just like with your panties, or the dirt and oils from the skin can break down the elasticity in the fabric. In any brand’s lingerie care rules, you will find more about how to take care of your delicates. White shirt? You can only wear a white bra with it: This is the most silliest myth at with almost every girl has stuck with since school! It’s actually the contrary. A white bra would probably stick out worse than a dark coloured one. You should stick with shades closer to your skin tone like nudes, pale pinks or light browns. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive The underwire can cause cancer: There is no scientific proof for the claim that a bra can cause cancer. Be it dark colours or underwires, there is no way that your bra can trigger breast cancer. So, ladies, feel free to wear your sexy bra every day (in every single colour of the spectrum). Your bra is the same size for every brand: Since it’s quite a task to figure the perfect bra size, we all take comfort in thinking that the same should work everywhere. However, different brands have different sizes for different bras. These sizes are determined on the basis of the model’s body type. And each brand has its own ‘fit model’. So, it’s always good to measure yourself and check. (Inputs by Lakshmi Subramaniam, Senior Product and Design Manager, Zivame.com)last_img read more

Epic Game Store opens promises free games throughout 2019

first_imgEpic Game Store opens, promises free games throughout 2019 by Martin Brinkmann on December 07, 2018 in Games – 9 commentsEpic Games launched the company’s game store today; interested gamers can head over to the official Store front on the Epic Games website to browse what it has to offer and download the client to the local system.The company announced the Store earlier this week as a direct competitor to Steam and other game stores available for PC.It appears that the Store is only available for Windows for now; the download link offers a Windows version when you click on it.Installation requires elevation but holds no surprises. An update is downloaded on first start to bring the Store to the latest version.You can play around with the Epic Store application without account; just click on sign-in later to browse what the Store has to offer without signing in.An account is required, however, for most activity including buying games, adding free games to the account, or playing games.Account creation is straightforward. The Store supports email and password accounts, and accounts from the Playstation Network, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Facebook, and Google at the time of writing.Users who have an Epic Games account already, e.g. because of Fortnite, can use it to sign-in to the Store.PromotionEpic Games announced that it will give away a free game every two weeks in 2019; means, anyone who installs the Epic Games Store on their device may grab these games free of charge and add them to their account.The promotion starts on December 14, 2018 with Subnautica and is followed on December 28, 2018 by Super Meat Boy. The two games are fairly popular and have been well received.The StoreThe Store itself holds just a few games right now. You can grab a free copy of Unreal Tournament or Fortnite to start playing those games by Epic Games right away. Only five additional games are available for purchase right now with more being listed as “coming soon”.The Store has its own Mod Editors section that users can download to their devices, and a section for Unreal Engine which users can install as well.Lots of basic features are missing right now; Search is missing, and there are not categories or tags to browse games of interest. Game pages lack information about recent updates, supported game modes, or hardware other than minimum and recommended PC requirements.A friends system is supported, however.Closing WordsI’d consider the Store beta for now as it lacks many features that most gamers expect from a games store. Still, free games is always attractive and it will certainly increase sign-ups for the Store when the promotion starts.Epic Games has enough pull thanks to Fortnite being the game right now.Now You: Will you install the Epic Games Store on your devices?SummaryArticle NameEpic Game Store opens, promises free games throughout 2019DescriptionEpic Games launched the company’s game store today; the company will make free games available every two weeks on the Store.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more

Over 100000 have knocked on the door of 37 countries to demand

first_imgShare this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Activists join together to demand end to sodomy laws in 37 countries A petition with 104,115 signatures was delivered to the Commonwealth headquarters in London today (11 April).It is calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality in countries like India, Kenya and Barbados.The thousands of people made the call before heads of Commonwealth countries arrive in London for a summit next week.To coincide with this, a protest will take place on 19 April at 1pm in front of Marlborough House, London.37 countries still have a gay sex ban‘It’s outrageous that in 2018 Commonwealth leaders are still refusing to even discuss LGBT human rights,’ Peter Tatchell, whose foundation helped to launch the petition, told Gay Star News.‘It’s never been on their agenda in six decades. Millions of LGBT people live in countries where being gay is a crime. That’s a violation of the Commonwealth charter and international law.‘The fact the Commonwealth colludes with homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination is truly appalling.‘This petition is to tell the Commonwealth leaders that time’s up on blocking the debate and refusing to remedy the gross persecution of LGBT people in 37 member states.’Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, co-founder of UK Black Pride, told GSN it’s important to question why these sodomy laws exist.‘This is about colonialism,’ she said.‘For me rejecting an MBE was not down to “I didn’t care”, I rejected it because LGBT people in Commonwealth countries are still tortured, persecuted, criminalized, imprisoned – they lose everything. GAYSTARNEWS- Over 100,000 people have knocked on the door of 37 countries to demand an end to their gay sex bans.center_img ‘How could I possibly elevate an award over people I set out to serve?’‘Britain should apologize’S Chevlan, a LGBT asylum rights barrister, was born in Sri Lanka.For the past 16 years, he has worked with many people from Commonwealth countries who have fled persecution on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity.‘Britain should apologize,’ he told GSN, adding it should avoid ‘neo-colonialism’.‘[The government should] ask the activists how they want to address the inequalities in their countries,’ he added.‘Listen to the activists, create the safe spaces, and take their directions on what they want us to do. We want to provide solidarity.’Demands for Commonwealth’s 37 countries that ban homosexualityThese are the four demands of the petition to the leaders of all Commonwealth nations:Decriminalize same-sex relationsProhibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identityEnforce laws against threats and violence, to protect LGBT+ people from hate crimesConsult and dialogue with national LGBT+ organizationsThe petition is supported by: The Commonwealth Equality Network, Kaleidoscope Trust, Peter Tatchell Foundation, UK Black Pride, African Equality Foundation, Equality Network, African Rainbow Family, Movement for Justice, House of Rainbow, Out & Proud African LGBTI, Micro Rainbow, Africa Advocacy Foundation, Rainbow Across Borders, African Eye Trust and Manchester Migrant Solidarity.Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Read the full article on Gaystarnews:  :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/over-100000-have-knocked-on-the-door-of-37-countries-to-demand-end-to-gay-sex-ban/last_img read more