WASHINGTON — From power restaurants in Washington and a belt-buckle maker in Colorado to a brewery in California, businesses that count heavily on federal employees as customers are feeling the punishing effects of the government shutdown.In many cases, it’s forcing them to cut workers’ hours and buy less from suppliers — measures that could ripple through the larger U.S. economy.“It’s a fog with no end in sight,” Michael Northern, vice-president of a company that owns three restaurants in the Huntsville, Alabama, area near a huge Army base that houses some 70 federal agencies, including NASA. He said business is down 35 per cent. “People are just going home and nesting, trying to conserve resources.”Western Heritage Co. in Loveland, Colorado, which makes buckles for uniformed employees of the National Forest Service and other outdoor agencies, has seen sales plummet 85 per cent this month and laid off 12 of its 13 workers.In the nation’s capital, Clyde’s Restaurant Group, which owns the Old Ebbitt Grill restaurant down the street from the White House and 10 other dining spots, reported a 20 per cent drop in sales and is cutting hours for waiters and kitchen staff.So far, the broader economic impact of the shutdown is not clear — because, well, many agencies that compile such data are closed.The Labor Department, which is open, said Thursday that the number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since 1969, a sign the job market is still strong.But most economists are forecasting slower growth in the first three months of this year. Analysts estimate gross domestic product shrinks 0.13 percentage points for each week the shutdown lasts.Those estimates reflect the loss of government spending and lost paychecks for federal employees. What is not known is how much the shutdown will reverberate through the rest of the economy. When waiters at restaurants that serve federal employees lose income, for example, will they also cut back spending? And will that then harm other companies?Among the hardest hit are the owners of restaurants, hotels and gift shops near federal agencies and national parks around the country.In Mariposa, California, just outside Yellowstone National Park, tourism has dropped sharply and most of the 6,000 county residents who work in the park have not been paid for a month.“For my business personally it’s been absolutely devastating,” said Hanna Wackerman, owner of the 1850 Restaurant and Brewing Company. “Usually January is a pretty busy month for us. With the new snow being in Yosemite, that tends to bring new tourists to the park.” Instead, business is down 80 per cent, she said.Mike Lynch, owner of Western Heritage, saw online orders collapse almost immediately after the government shut down Dec. 22. The company sells buckles, keychains, commemorative coins and badges to employees of the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies. It also sells patches and some clothing.Most of the purchases are discretionary and customized. For example, if a BLM employee is retiring, co-workers might order a plaque from Lynch’s company. His online orders went from thousands of dollars a week before Christmas to just $78 in the first week of January.On Jan. 7, Lynch laid off nearly everyone, leaving one person to answer the phone “in case someone wants to buy something.” They were the first job cuts in the company’s 43-year history.With business so slow, Lynch isn’t ordering any of the bronze, silver or pewter he uses and isn’t replenishing other inventory.Larger companies are also affected, though it is typically easier for them to weather the impact. Airlines like Delta and Southwest, for example, are losing tens of millions of dollars in business, but that’s out of billions in revenue.David Moran, director of operations for Clyde’s, the restaurant chain in Washington, worries what will happen if the shutdown extends into February, when events like Valentine’s Day typically give a boost to business.“My fear is that it is getting worse, because people are getting panicky,” he said.___Associated Press Writers Martin Crutsinger, David Koenig in Dallas, and AP Videographer Haven Daley contributed to this report.Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press read more

“I feel the power of nature, and at the same time, a sense of vulnerability,” Mr. Ban told reporters from the Polar ice rim yesterday. “This is a common resource for human beings, and we must do all we can to preserve this Arctic ice.” Witnessing the impacts of climate change on icebergs and glaciers first-hand, he said that he was informed by scientists that global warming is altering the Arctic faster than any other area, with glaciers melting at a rate of 150 cubic kilometers per year. “We must stop this from further happening,” the Secretary-General stressed. “Unless we fight climate change, unless we stop this trend, we’ll have devastating consequences for humanity.” With fewer than 100 days remaining until the start of the climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, where nations are set to wrap up talks on a new agreement to slash greenhouse gas emissions, he is convening a high-level gathering in New York on 22 September to shore up political will. “We do not have any time to lose,” Mr. Ban underscored. “We must seal the deal in Copenhagen in December, a deal which will be comprehensive, equitable and balanced, so that both industrialized and developing countries, and all citizens of the world can live in an environmentally sustainable way.” Reaching an agreement – intended to go into effect when the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012 – in the Danish capital is “the moral and political responsibility required of the leaders of the world,” he added. The loss of ice in the Arctic, the Secretary-General told reporters who accompanied him on the Norwegian vessel, the Svalbard, to the Polar ice rim, is happening at a rate 30 years ahead of schedule. “Our foot is on the gas pedal, and it is time we put it off,” he said.In the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard today, the Secretary-General visited the Global Seed Vault, which was established early last year to protect seed samples from the threats of climate change, disease and disasters. Located near the village of Longyearbyen – some 1,120 kilometres from the North Pole – the vault houses duplicates of unique varieties of the world’s most important crops. Permafrost and thick rock ensure that even without electricity, the genetic material stored in the vault will remain frozen and protected. One of the greatest global challenges is “how to feed a growing world population in the context of climate change,” Mr. Ban said at the vault. The seeds stored in the facility, he said, are part of a larger long-term strategy to boost food security in the face of global warming. “Sustainable food production may not begin in this cold Arctic environment, but it does begin by conserving crop diversity,” the Secretary-General noted. “This gift to humanity and symbol of peace will continue to inspire and serve for generations to come.” While in Norway, Mr. Ban met with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, as well as with King Harald V. He also attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial of Trygve Lie, a Norwegian who was the first elected UN Secretary-General. Climate change will again be the focus of the Secretary-General’s remarks tomorrow when he addresses the World Climate Conference in Geneva, where he also plans to meet with several world leaders on the event’s sidelines. The week-long gathering, which kicked off on Monday, aims to boost access to climate information to help the world’s poor and promote development. 2 September 2009Standing on rapidly melting polar ice, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appealed to the world for urgent measures to be taken to combat climate change to protect the planet for future generations. read more

20 February 2012The top United Nations official in South Sudan has urged warring ethnic communities in the country to find peaceful solutions to their disputes and to serve as an example to other groups about how to turn challenges into opportunities. Hilde F. Johnson, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan and the head of the UN peacekeeping force in that country (UNMISS), yesterday travelled to the town of Aweil in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state to attend the opening of a three-day peace conference between the Misseriya and Dinka Malual peoples.The Misseriya and Dinka communities have repeatedly clashed in the past, particularly in the border areas between Sudan and South Sudan. The peace conference, organized by the United States Agency for International Development, is aimed at devising recommendations for how the communities can co-exist as neighbours.“Don’t let politics get in the way of your peace,” Ms. Johnson advised participants at the peace conference.She said that while the absence of clear demarcated borders between Sudan and South Sudan was one of the region’s key challenges, “these challenges can be turned into opportunities.”Ms. Johnson called on ethnic communities to “make your own peace, demonstrate that soft borders can work, implement your agreement and be an example to other communities in both countries.”The Special Representative also pledged the ongoing support of UNMISS and the broader international community, whether in logistics, transport or “quiet advice,” to any peace initiatives in the region. read more

“Impunity for sexual violence against women is extensive and perpetrators of such crimes are rarely brought to justice,” the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Yakin Ertürk, said in a statement at the end of a weeklong visit.“In the case of conviction, sentences are lenient and allegations that testimonies are sometimes obtained under torture overshadow these positive efforts. The victims’ distrust in the justice system and the lack of protection for women who report that they have been victims of violence also contribute to the high rate of impunity,” she added.She commended Mexico for ratifying most international human rights instruments and welcoming numerous Special Rapporteurs on fact-finding missions and noted that most of the authorities and representatives from civil society recognize the problems related to high levels of violence against women in society at large, including within indigenous communities and migrant populations.She also welcomed a number of steps taken to address the problem such as mechanisms to provide better protection and prevention of the occurrence of violence, including telephone hotlines and the building of shelters, and called for the establishment of such shelters by law in every state with adequate legal and financial backing from municipal, state and federal governments.But, she said, “gender-based discrimination results in ill-treatment of women and girls, impedes their development and curtails their access to services. In this regard, the high rate of maternal mortality and deaths due to illegal abortion are particularly alarming.”Ms. Ertürk said she had received “disturbing reports” that violence against indigenous women was often dismissed or justified within the context of cultural specificity. “While it is important to promote cultural diversity, this should not contravene women’s human rights,” she added.On violence in Ciudad Juarez in Chihuahua State, where the human rights non-governmental organization (NGO) Amnesty International USA reports that over 370 women have been murdered, at least 137 of them after being sexually assaulted, since 1993, Ms. Ertürk welcomed recent federal and state efforts to install a transparent approach to the investigations.“It is however important that these efforts are not limited to the murder incidents in Ciudad Juarez but expanded to include cases of murders, disappearances and other forms of violence in Chihuahua City and in the whole state,” she added. “Indeed, it is now time to move from commitments to achieving concrete results.”During her visit from 20 to 26 February, Ms. Ertürk met with representatives of federal, state and municipal authorities, NGOs, and victims and families of victims of violence against women. read more

TORONTO – Tim Hortons hopes a refreshed look for many of its stores and a new leader atop its executive team this summer will boost the brand as it endures an underwhelming economy and heavy competition from other coffee restaurants.On Thursday, the Oakville, Ont.-based company delivered a cautious outlook for the year and fourth-quarter results which showed notably weaker transaction growth at stores that have been open for more than a year.“A challenging economic climate and the resulting intensified environment continues to pose challenges for everyone in our industry,” said Paul House, interim chief executive in a conference call with analysts.“In uncertain times, consumers can become more hesitant to spend money and in the restaurant sector we continue to see competitors relying more heavily than usual on promotions and discounts, and we too have been somewhat more promotional in a low-growth environment.”The coffee, doughnut and fast food company plans to renovate about 300 of its franchised stores this year, or roughly double the amount it has most other years. Each store is refreshed about once a decade, the company said.Some stores will also have their drive-thru lines revamped to process more vehicle traffic in less time.For 2013, the company is targeting diluted earnings per share in a range of $2.87 to $2.97. Same-store sales growth, a key industry metric of locations open for at least a year, is targeted at two to four per cent in Canada and three to five per cent in the United States.Tim Hortons also announced it would increase its quarterly dividend by 23.8 per cent. Starting with the March payout, the quarterly dividend will rise to 26 cents per share.The company plans to buy back up to $250 million of its shares, a move that tends to push up per share earnings over time.“We expect to continue to grow the chain in a healthy manner despite the current headwinds,” said chief financial officer Cynthia Devine.“We have strategies in place designed to expand and enhance our system, strengthen our relationship with our guests and deliver high-quality, solid value menu items.”In its outlook, Tim Hortons (TSX:THI) did not account for a $9-million charge it expects to take in the first quarter, and other expenses it will face when ushering in a new CEO this year, it said.“The board has made significant progress in its external CEO search,” the company said in a release.“Although the process is not yet complete, the board currently anticipates appointing a new CEO by early summer.”House has held the top position at Tim Hortons since May 2011 when Don Schroeder made a surprise exit from the CEO position.In the fourth quarter, net income dropped 2.5 per cent to $100.3 million or 65 cents per share. That compared with $103 million or 65 cents per share a year earlier.Average analyst expectations had been for earnings of 72 cents per share, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 was up 4.1 per cent at $811.6 million, with much of the increase tied to higher-priced products like the introduction of its panini sandwiches and single-serve Tassimo coffee line.House said both products contributed “significantly” to the sales results in the period, though when analysts pressed him for specifics, he declined to disclose the details.“We won’t qualify that,” he said of the new product sales.But higher priced items certainly were a major contributor during the period, since overall sale-store sales growth showed that customers were making fewer transactions in the period.Same-store sales growth was halved from a year earlier growing at 2.6 per cent from 5.5 per cent at the same time last year.The company said the profit was five cents per share lower than it would have been without $9 million of reorganization expenses recorded in the quarter tied to both termination costs and professional fees.Part of the costs were also related to the hunt for a replacement for House, who held the interim CEO job for nearly two years.For the full year, Tim Hortons net income was up 5.2 per cent to $402.9 million or $2.59 per share — below the company’s 2012 guidance.Shares of Tim Hortons fell 2.95 per cent, or $1.50, to close at $49.30 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. by David Friend, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 21, 2013 5:45 pm MDT Tim Hortons plans renos, refreshed drive-thrus as economy pressures sales growth AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

OSU freshman guard D’Angelo Russell (0) dribbles the ball up the floor during a game against James Madison on Nov. 28 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 73-56.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / For The LanternThe Ohio State men’s basketball team moved up two spots to No. 12 in the Associated Press poll Sunday despite losing its first game of the year last week.OSU coach Thad Matta said he is hoping that his team will continue to improve each game.Seeming to do so are the young Buckeyes such as freshman guard D’Angelo Russell who was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday.Matta said that the young players in particular have stood out in the early part of this season.“These guys are just out here playing. They are not trying to calculate or figure anything, worried about this or that. They are just playing basketball,” Matta said Tuesday. “When all of our guys play that (way) they appear to be better. That is how this team has to play that is when we play our best basketball.”Not only have the young players been contributing early on in the season, they are playing almost as many minutes as the seniors on the team.Russell, along with redshirt-freshman guard Kam Williams, and freshman forwards Jae’Sean Tate and Keita Bates-Diop combined are averaging 19.9 minutes per game while the rest of the Buckeyes are averaging 20.45.Tate said Tuesday that Matta told the young players they would be given an opportunity to contribute, and added he is just trying to take advantage.“Coach told us coming in that we had a special class. It’s a young team still, even with the seniors. In practice, we keep showing coach that we can play those minutes.No matter what their position or year, Matta said all players need to step up as the season progresses, and the production starts with the coaches.“We owe it to our guys to bring the best out of them regardless of what class they are in,” Matta said. “I have never really bought the term ‘gamer,’ so you have to show us (coaches) in practice what you are capable of doing.”Senior center Amir Williams said Tuesday that the upperclassmen are not feeling sorry for themselves despite sharing a significant amount of playing time with the freshmen and added he feels they all need to come together, especially on the floor.“I feel like we can definitely be playing better as a team,” Amir Williams said. “We got a couple guys who are just trying to get themselves together still on the offensive end and defensive end.”Wednesday, the Buckeyes are set to take on High Point University (6-2) which is tied for the early lead in the Big South Conference standings.Despite not being a power conference team, Matta said he expects a challenge from the Panthers.“I view this team as a team you could see in March in the NCAA tournament winning their conference,” he said. “(They have) a transfer we played against from South Carolina. I think our guys…respect the fact that they’ve got to battle.”The guard Matta referenced, Panther redshirt-senior Brian Richardson, played against the Buckeyes as a freshman member of the Gamecocks on Dec. 17, 2011, a game OSU won, 74-66.While Richardson only appeared in that game for three minutes without scoring a point, the High Point guard is now averaging 11.1 points per game as a redshirt-senior for the Panthers.The Panthers are led by redshirt-junior forward John Brown who is averaging 19.6 points per game to go along with 5.6 rebounds per game.The Buckeyes and Panthers are set to tip off Wednesday at 7 p.m. from the Schottenstein Center. read more

first_imgISIS legitimated its crimes in Paris because it saw the City of Light as the “capital of prostitution and obscenity”. I personally have no issue with legalised prostitution, if the workers are not exploited – and I tend to like some obscenity. I am happy for people who believe in god, white horses, mystical trees, stone circles and crystals and I support their right to pray where and how they wish. In fact, I like elements of religion, such as music, art, texts, mysteries and I love religious, pagan and non-pagan holidays such as Christmas, Vesak, and Eid Al-Fitr – great occasions to be with friends. But, as secularist the polis is superior to the church, mosque or temple in guiding our civic laws. My mild hedonism is built on art, good booze, food and cigars (now and then), travel, music, theatre, parties, friends and my family. I love cities that support my liberty. So, when Islamic religious nuts attacked Paris again, I was angered. Within hours of the attacks some progressives expressed indignation across Twitter and Facebook over what they perceived to be western media bias in not giving the Beirut massacres a week earlier equal weight to the Parisian one. Their argument being: the West, (whatever the West is), cares less over the deaths of non-Westerners inflicted by Islamic terror groups. Interestingly, few of those arguing this referred to Paris’ cultural diversity. And we should know that many more Muslims living outside the West die at the hands of these theocratic terrorists. The relativist approach elevates ISIS and like-minded groups by coating them with a revolutionary image and providing legitimacy for their stated causes. Seventy years ago socialists, liberals, centrists and conservatives joined forces to fight fascism and Nazism. ISIS feeds off the creation of polarity. It thrives on angry anti-Muslim rhetoric by reactionaries and even ordinary folk. They seek sectarian division, they crave exactly what Western fascist thugs do – cultural superiority and racist policies. New Matilda’s Chris Graham, in ‘Paris Attacks Highlight Western Vulnerability, And Our Selective Grief And Outrage’, asks us to consider a French citizen’s life only if it is counter-balanced by an immediate reflection on Kenyan or on Beirut victims of terror. Mali had not occurred yet when Graham published his piece. Graham was worried about the western media’s perception of people from the “brown part of the world”, as though Middle Eastern, Turkish, African people are all ‘brown’ and he’s clearly already determined what ‘white’ is. I wonder if Graham puts those of us from Greek, Italian or Maltese background in the ‘brown’ or ‘white’ box. My Aunty Georgia is browner than my mate who’s blond and Egyptian. Theatre maker Lee Lewis a few years ago called for more diversity on Australian stages and wanted more “third world looking people” in theatre. After 40 years of multicultural policies, a range of ethnic and Aboriginal advocates, service organisations, and non-Anglo artists and activists trying to break through one of the most monocultural industries in Australia – the arts – we now have a bunch of well-meaning, self-described ‘white’ Anglos patting themselves on the back for seeking more diversity, as though none of the non-Anglo voices since the 1970s mattered. Anyway … back to Paris. Parisians are African, Arabic, Turkish, Vietnamese, Chinese and so on. The terrorists were European citizens. If Graham had raised the deeper issues of French and European approaches to integration and multiculturalism in comparison to the relative success of Australian, American, Canadian models, I would be more agreeable. Many of us were disgusted, angered and felt helpless for the victims in Lebanon, Kenya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mumbai, Bali, Belsan and other non-western places. My stomach knots when I view, read and hear about the horrors in Syria and the gruelling and dangerous journeys so many refugees have to make. If I had my way I’d have all refugees here. I’m sure we’d benefit from their skills, languages, creativity, personal experiences, entrepreneurship and good looks. Graham writes: “…bombings in Lebanon drew no tweet from Malcolm Turnbull, no social media statement from Barack Obama, no live media blogs from Western media, no wall-to-wall media coverage.” Yet President Obama, President Hollande, Prime Minister Turnbull and Opposition Leader Shorten did reference Kenya, Lebanon and Turkey when discussing Paris. But they may not have done it just as the bodies were still piling up in Paris. I am not sure if Graham has raised concerns over the fate of ‘brown’ Christians in the Middle East since the Arab Spring. There was silence from progressive, liberal and conservative camps when Muslim Brotherhood supporters incinerated Coptic Churches in Egypt and ISIS in Iraq and Syria was literally crucifying ‘brown’ Orthodox Arabs. I saw little discussion of colonialism, racism or western arrogance, yet Arab Christians have been in the Middle East and Ethiopia before Christianity (Judaism Lite) reached the Roman Empire through Greece, and Islam came almost 1,000 years later. Until the nationalist post-colonial movements of the Middle East, Christians, Jews and Muslims had lived in relative peace with each other, if not always harmoniously. Graham’s argument is a code for the axiomatic; ‘terror is natural payback for past colonialism’ by the West of the Middle East. There’s much to blame on French, Italian, British, Turkish (many on the Anglo left have forgotten the Ottomans), colonialists and other settlers for some of the mess that is the current Middle East. Various American administrations have also exacerbated conflicts. What of the rest? What of the 300 million culturally, religiously and demographically-diverse Arab and non-Arab people who make up the Middle East? Are they simply fodder for the relentless roll of historical materialism? What of that luminous start of liberal democracy so viciously extinguished by religious and later military forces after the Arab Spring? Does Graham think nothing of that? Historical injustice (real and perceived) does not explain the rape, torture and slaughter of innocents by ISIS and like-minded fanatical groups. History relieves no one of ethical agency. That Paris secured more coverage in the western media may also have something to do with the fact that the city occupies a central place the political, social, philosophical history of the modern West. It’s the hotbed of revolution! And yes, France also spawned fascists, Vichy, the National Front, the sort of goons Daesh wants to enrage in its attempt to create division. We forget that Beirut was referred to as the ‘Paris of the Middle East’ – and with good reason – before it was subsumed by a civil war aided by Syria/USSR/Muslim on one side and Israel/USA/Christian on the other. It was a sophisticated, liberal, open, commercial, multi-faith and multicultural city, as were many of the centres of the Middle East. On the Tuesday after the massacre, at 9.00 am on ABC News, the federal Minister for Justice Michael Keenan linked the downing of the Russian jet over Egypt with the Beirut bombings and Paris, as did the Australian prime minister and President Obama. The bombings in Kenya and Lebanon and the bombing of the Russian passenger jet attracted substantial attention in Anglo-American-Australian media, but attracted far more attention in Middle Eastern, African, Eastern European, Russian and European media. In a globalised digital media setting and a culturally-diverse world, The New York Times, Le Monde, RT, BBC, RAI and Al Jazeera occupy a level playing field. CNN Arabic and BBC Arabic exist for a reason – they communicate to a large and important language market. There’s a cultural hierarchy innate in the arguments espoused by Graham and others like him. He seems to regard the Anglo-Western media as more important than non-Anglo-American-Australian media. When the Turkish, Middle Eastern, European media focused on Turkish victims of terror a few weeks ago Graham wrote nothing. I saw no article from him, or others, on why Turkish media did not immediately conflate the suicide terror bombings with the Charlie Hebdo massacre. When Kenyans and tourists were murdered at the Westgate Shopping Centre in 2013, did Graham condemn Kenyan and other African media for not immediately conflating those deaths with western deaths at the hands of terrorists? Over two weeks in South Africa this year my perspective of the world increasingly became more African. The media’s foci were on Africa, while Europe, Britain and the USA were relegated to pages six or eight, while I saw more Chinese media, RT and Al Jazeera than BBC or CNN on TV. Finally, we should recognise the attacks on Paris for what they are; an attack on secularism, liberalism and freedom. Rousseau’s human rights and France’s revolution stimulated the ideology that shook off colonialism and hereditary power across much of the modern world – especially most of the colonised world seeking independence. It was these revolutionary values that gave succour to the American Revolution, the Irish Republicans and gave Algerian revolutionaries independence from France. The Algerians fighting the colonial French forces used the French constitution to legitimate their cause, as did the Vietnamese fighting the French first, and then the Americans. De Gaulle was both a hero to colonial settlers, or ‘Pied Noir’ as he was to the Algerian people seeking independence from their French colonial masters. France, as the home of revolution, modern human rights and republican ideals, could not sustain antiquated forms of colonial oppression, especially as the leaders of these ‘brown’ or non-white revolutions were educated in Paris. The people gunned down by these Daesh recruits, like all their victims in the Middle East, need to be mourned. No death is more important than any other. I also consider the horror of the families of the young men and women who join this fascist clerical movement. President Hollande, when talking of defeating ISIS, spoke of the French values of liberty, fraternity and equality as the pillars of its society. He also talked at length about embracing cultural diversity and engaging with the French Muslim population. He argues that this cultural cohesion was the real enemy of ISIS. Our PM, Malcolm Turnbull (thank god Tony is out), also praised Australia’s multiculturalism and asked the Muslim communities to be partners in the fight against extremism. I guess Graham may have missed much of this.* Fotis Kapetopoulos heads Kape Communications Pty Ltd, a cultural communications consultancy. He was Multicultural Media Adviser to Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu and former editor of Neos Kosmos English Edition.This article was first published in Crikey Daily Review. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

first_imgSharp persiste et signe en trois dimensions.Avec le 102SH, Sharp s’implante encore un peu plus comme un acteur incontournable de la 3D sur mobiles. Mais le petit dernier de la série Aquos ne se résume pas à cette caractéristique. Revue de détails.Un écran 3D de 4,5 pouces (11,25 centimètres de diagonale), capable d’afficher une résolution de 720 par 1280 pixels, 1 GB de mémoire vive, un APN/Caméra avec capteur de 12 Mpixels, compatible paiement à distance, Bluetooth 3.0 et Wifi N : le 102SH sait allier fonctionnalités et esthétisme.À lire aussiArchéologie : le vrai visage de Cléopâtre reconstitué en 3DPlus original : il est également résistant à l’eau, puisque relativement submersible, d’après le communiqué de presse de Sharp. Les 32 GB de mémoire de stockage, fournis par sa carte SDHC vous permettront donc de prendre photos et vidéos de vos vacances au bord de l’eau, voire dedans !Si Sharp n’en est pas à son coup d’essai dans le secteur (il avait, entre autre, fourni à Orange le SH-12C) , il faut bien dire qu’avec le 102SH, la firme semble avoir réalisé un coup de maître : elle devient un des leaders mondiaux du terminal 3D.Sa sortie est prévue en décembre dans l’archipel nippon. Le 29 septembre 2011 à 19:23 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

first_img Self-awareness is important for survival, however, some AI devices today are still struggling with the concept. Despite this challenge, engineers have built a robot that can imagine itself, operate on its own, and detect self-damage.On Wednesday, Columbia University engineers introduced their self-aware robot, which can learn what it is from scratch without prior knowledge of geometry, motor dynamics, or physics, said a Columbia University press release.The engineers, which published their research in Science Robotics, found that after approximately 35 hours of intense computing, the robot was able to create a self-simulation and internally use it to adapt to different scenarios, handle new tasks, and repair itself.Unlike other AI devices, the robot doesn’t require human-provided models and simulators or a long trial-and-error process to operate on its own. “If we want robots to become independent, to adapt quickly to scenarios unforeseen by their creators, then it’s essential that they learn to simulate themselves,” Hod Lipson, a Columbia University mechanical engineering professor, said in the press release.For the research, Lipson and his Ph.D. student Robert Kwiatkowski tested a four-degree-of-freedom articulated robotic arm. In the beginning, the robot moved randomly and collected roughly 1,000 trajectories, each compromising 100 positional data points. Then, the robot used this deep learning information to create a model of itself. These first self-models weren’t on point though: The robot didn’t know how its joints were connected.However, after less than 35 hours of training, the robot produced a self-image that was accurate to within approximately four centimeters. Next, the self-model conducted a pick-and-place task in a closed loop system that allowed the robot to pick up objects and deposit them into a receptacle with 100 percent accuracy. With the closed loop system and an internal self-image, the robot completed the pick-and-place task with a 44 percent success rate.The self-aware robot writing with a marker. (Photo Credit: Columbia University Engineering/YouTube)Engineers also used the self-modeling robot for other tasks, such as writing words with a marker. They tested the robot’s repair detecting skills by 3D-printing a deformed part that simulated damage. This was a success as well: The robot sensed the change and re-trained its self-model to resume the pick-and-place task with minimal disruptions.Lipson explained how self-aware robots could be used for more tasks in the future, because they wouldn’t only be confined to the AI category.“We conjecture that this advantage may have also been the evolutionary origin of self-awareness in humans,” Lipson added. “While our robot’s ability to imagine itself is still crude compared to humans, we believe that this ability is on the path to machine self-awareness.”More on Geek.com:This MIT Robot Learned to Play Jenga Through Vision and TouchSophia the Robot Has a Cute Little Sister That Teaches Kids to CodeThese Ocean Robots Spent a Year Collecting Data Under Antarctic Ice Review: ‘Daemon X Machina’ Has Big Robots, Small Fun on Nintendo SwitchThis Robot Is Equal Parts Lawnmower and Snow Blower Stay on targetlast_img read more

first_imgA sinkhole threatening a Camas fourplex prompted the evacuation of 18 people Monday morning.Police, fire and road crews were called to Southeast Russell Street and Southeast Seventh Avenue, after people noticed the beginnings of a sinkhole, Camas-Washougal Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Ervin said.The sinkhole hadn’t opened or caused any damage, he said, but the tenants were evacuated so officials could assess the risk.The Red Cross responded to aid those affected, which it said included 10 adults, eight children and several pets.last_img read more

first_img Posted: July 27, 2019 KUSI Newsroom KUSI Newsroom, SAN DIEGO KUSI) – A young man is in critical condition this evening after being stabbed in the stomach in City Heights.The man was stabbed shorty after 3 p.m. off Wightman St. in the Cherokee point neighborhood.The victim’s name has not yet been released, and police are still looking for the two suspects of the stabbing.The victim is currently in surgery with life-threatening injuries. Stabbing in North Park leaves man in critical condition July 27, 2019 Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

first_imgCHINA (WSVN) — Police officers in China were called to remove a massive King Cobra from a car’s glove compartment.According to Chinese Media, the car’s owner discovered the snake when he returned from buying a few items at the market.The reptile was coiled under the driver’s seat when police arrived, but when officers tried to wrangle the animal, it fled to the center console behind the glove compartment.Officers were eventually able to capture the snake.Upon inspection, the snake measured 9.1 feet and weighed 9 pounds.Officers reportedly decided to hand the cobra over to the local wildlife preservation department. Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

first_imgen.wikipedia.orgSumitomo, a Japanese conglomerate, has submitted a bid of Rs 2,238 crore for a three-acre plot at Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla Complex. Under the deal, an acre of land costs about Rs 745 crore which is the costliest last deal ever in India. The reserve quote for the plot was Rs 3.44 lakh per sqm.According to reports, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) said that Sumitomo was the only bidder for the plot and added that they are processing the bid. The bid is expected to come from Sumitomo’s real estate company trying to invest in rent-yielding office spaces. Investors like Blackstone, Brookfield, GIC and Qatar Investment Authority have poured investments to scale large profits. Mumbai Monorail/MMRDASumitomo has paid an insane price, but it is obvious it wants a presence in a prime commercial enclave like the BKC, reports The Times of India.Sumitomo is allowed to have a built-up area of about 10 lakh sq ft. MMRDA officials have given them permission to use a floor space index (FSI) 4 on the plot.The Japanese giant has plans of building a commercial office complex. Focusing on the angles of economic and business ties with India, Sumitomo is planning to house all its businesses having an Indian footprint under one roof.The Maharashtra government has been trying to manage the BKC area as a commercial hub since 1977. Pointing out at the accessibility of railway tracks, airport and the LBS Marg in the area, the government claims that it is the best location for an alternate centre of business.The largest land deal before Sumitomo’s bid was in 2010 when the Lodha Group bid Rs 4,050 crore for MMRDA’s 6.2-acre plot in Wadala. The break down per acre was about Rs 653 crore.last_img read more

first_imgA boy carries bread on his head to sell on a hilltop overlooking Kabul on 20 April 2015. — A Reuters file photoThe Taliban told “American invaders” to leave Afghanistan in an announcement marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, assured the people of a bright future under Islamic rule and said it had already liberated “vast areas” of the country.The Taliban, who announced a surprise three-day ceasefire over the Eid holiday, except against foreign forces, also denounced the US relocation of its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, which “further exposes the absolute hatred of American officials towards Islam”.Taliban leader Sheikh Haibatullah Akhunzada said in the statement that Afghans’ salvation lay in “American and other occupying forces” leaving and repeated a call for talks with the United States.“If the American officials truly believe in a peaceful end to the Afghan imbroglio, then they must directly present themselves at the negotiation table,” Akhunzada said.“We also assure our nation (of) a bright future for our country accompanied by peace and prosperity, Allah willing,” he added.The Taliban are fighting US-led NATO forces, combined under the Resolute Support mission, and the US-backed government to restore sharia, or Islamic law, after their ouster by US-led forces in 2001.“The American invaders have not desisted from any brutality and severity in pursuit of subduing our nation. They bomb our villages, cities, mosques, madrassas and other events, murder innocent civilians, forcibly displace them and torment thousands of Afghans through unimaginable torture in prisons,” Akhunzada said.Resolute Support said in response it was hopeful that the Taliban stick to their ceasefire “and we hope that pause leads to dialogue and progress on reconciliation”.“Considering more than 90 per cent of the casualties in Taliban high-profile attacks in Kabul this year are civilians, which is up from more than 80 per cent in 2017 and 60 per cent in 2016, peace for Afghanistan is overdue,” spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Martin O’Donnell said.The Taliban banned cinema, TV and music during their five-year rule, deeming them un-Islamic, and insisted that women wear all-enveloping burqas. They inflicted harsh punishments for those who did not adhere to their interpretation of Islam.But observers say life in Taliban-ruled areas now is much more relaxed, with music and TV permitted, girls allowed to go to school up to the age of 11, and women allowed to wear less restrictive dress.Akhunzada said the Taliban had established “exemplary peace” in areas they control.SIGAR, a US Congressional watchdog, said in a recent report that the government controlled areas with about 65 per cent of the population and controlled or influenced 56.3 per cent of districts, the second lowest level since 2015, the first year after most international forces left Afghanistan.last_img read more

first_img Share Cornyn was in serious contention to replace ousted FBI director James Comey, setting off a scramble and speculation around the state over who might succeed him in the U.S. Senate. Cornyn’s announcement came a day after the Washington Post and other media outlets reported that President Donald Trump had disclosed classified information in a recent meeting with Russian officials.When asked by reporters Tuesday afternoon if the information revealed in the Post report led Cornyn to his decision, he said “no.”At first blush, it appeared Cornyn could be an easy bet for Senate confirmation. He is a popular senator who is well-liked among Republicans and less of a lightning rod to Democrats. But the rancor in Washington since the dramatic Comey firing escalated over the last week, to the point that even a congenial figure like Cornyn was considered problematic because he is a partisan Republican. Day by day, most Democrats and at least one Republican senator called for a less political appointee. Trump’s firing of Comey last week set off a firestorm, particularly after Trump confirmed suspicions that the FBI’s investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia played a part in his decision.In the immediate aftermath of the Comey firing, Cornyn appeared reluctant to consider the idea of running the FBI, telling reporters “I’m happy serving my state and my country.”He then sat for an interview for the position on Saturday.That initial change of heart, according to a source familiar with his thinking, was due to his former Senate colleague and friend, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking him to not rule out the job, and out of an interest in stabilizing the FBI and Department of Justice.In the Senate, Cornyn will remain majority whip. And ambitious Texas Republicans will have to wait a while for another shot at the U.S. Senate. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is up for re-election in 2018, but there is little chatter of a strong primary challenger at this point. Cornyn is up for re-election in 2020.  Shelby Knowles for The Texas TribuneU.S. Sen. John Cornyn speaks at the Texas State Rifle Association General Meeting in Round Rock on Feb. 25, 2017.John Cornyn withdrew from consideration to be the next FBI director on Tuesday, saying the “best way I can serve is continuing to fight for a conservative agenda in the U.S. Senate.”  “Now more than ever the country needs a well-credentialed, independent FBI director,” he said in a statement. “I’ve informed the administration that I’m committed to helping them find such an individual.”last_img read more

first_imgYouTube takes a 30% cut of membership fees. The program has been available on a handful of top channels via a “Sponsor” button during the trial phase. Over the next few months, it will be expanding to channels worldwide with more than 100,000 subscribers under the new name Channel Memberships.“There’s a subset of those huge audiences who are superfans who would love to be closer to the creators,” said Dhawan.YouTube channel owners can customize many different elements of their Channel Memberships, including designing their own emoji and badgets, and offering an array of content and merchandise bonuses to paying fans. “It’s a blank canvas,” Dhawan said.While for now the $4.99-per-month Channel Membership can’t be changed initially, YouTube does plan to add the ability to add different subscription tiers. For example, for $1 monthly, fans might be able to get a membership badge next to their name. For, say, $20 per month, a YouTuber might provide even more exclusive features — like private livestreams.YouTube also touted early results from Channel Membership trials. Travel vloggers Simon and Martina signed up 1,000 paying fans in 30 countries in six days for their members-only miniseries. Comedy creator Mike Falzone launched his sponsor program in January, and has more than tripled his YouTube revenue, according to YouTube, while musician Wintergatan now makes over 50% of his YouTube revenue from Channel Memberships (and plans to use the extra income toward funding a world tour).For the new merchandising option, YouTube has partnered with San Francisco-based Teespring, to let YouTubers design, create and sell about 20 different products. Those products can be featured on a “shelf” underneath videos. Initially, the ecommerce program will be available only the U.S. creators with 10,000 or more followers.Creators set the prices for the items they produce; Teespring keeps a portion of the revenue in addition to production and shipping costs, while Google takes “a small amount” of each transaction, Dhawan said. YouTube is unboxing new ways for creators to rake in more cash, and it’s adding a new way to turn video premieres into anticipatory appointment-viewing events.First is paid Channel Memberships, letting YouTubers offer access to exclusive content, members-only emoji and badges, and other perks for $4.99 monthly. It’s an expanded version of the “sponsorship” program it adopted last fall, after ending its fairly unpopular channel-subscription plan (which basically put an entire channel behind a paywall).The Google video platform also is rolling out a merchandising feature, giving creators a way to sell T-shirts, phone cases, stickers, mugs and other products directly from their YouTube channels. And it’s launching YouTube Premieres, a tool for promoting live and on-demand videos at a scheduled day and time — complete with a countdown timer. YouTube plans to work with other merch companies in the future. It selected Teespring as the launch partner because “they gave us the broadest reach among creators and had the ability to scale,” according to Dhawan, while Teespring also extended better revenue-sharing terms to YouTuber creators through the program than Teespring’s standard deal.Another new feature is YouTube Premieres, aimed at driving up engagement by turning videos into TV-like scheduled events. YouTube already allows on-demand videos to be pre-scheduled. What’s different with Premieres is that YouTube automatically creates a public landing page, which creators can then use to promote an upcoming live or recorded video release.“It’s YouTube’s take on appointment viewing,” said Kurt Wilms, YouTube’s lead for live video and Premieres. “It’s the single biggest change to the upload flow since YouTube’s inception.”Creators who are releasing YouTube Premieres post-VidCon are set to include: Simon & Martina , Leroy Sanchez, Jackson Bird, Los Polinesios, Ari Fitz, ZerkaaPlays, Theskorpionshow, Laura Kampf, Vintage Space, Yammy, R.LUM.R., JacksFilms, Corridor Digital.Premieres also will be really useful to entertainment and media companies, Wilms expects. For example, a movie trailer can be scheduled with a premiere date and time, and studios can promote the URL of the landing page leading up to the reveal.The minute someone schedules a Premiere, the page will be live, with a countdown timer in the lower left-hand corner over the video’s thumbnail image. At the scheduled premiere time, YouTube will kick off a standard two-minute countdown video.The Premieres feature unlocks new forms of monetization, too. The Super Chat paid-messaging features, which has been available only on live streams, is now available in prerecorded VOD. (Creators can choose whether or not to leave up the replay of the chat in the post-Premieres debut version of the video.) In addition, Channel Memberships perks (including members-only live chat and emoji) are now available in VOD via YouTube Premieres. For now, however, there’s no way to restrict access to Premieres videos to paying Channel Memberships users. YouTube is considering adding that down the road, Wilms said.— Ricardo Lopez contributed to this report. Neal Mohan, YouTube chief product officer, unveiled the new features Thursday at Vidcon 2018, the Viacom-owned confab for digital creators and their fans.“We’re working on new ways to help creators strengthen those bonds,” Mohan told a packed ballroom at the Anaheim Convention Center. “That’s why we’ve been working alongside them… Together we’ve experienced the biggest music, sports, science, culture and gaming events unfold live on YouTube in the last year.”Mohan said live-streaming of events like the British royal wedding last month and the launch of the SpaceX rocket attracted millions of people. The new YouTube Premieres feature for creators, Mohan said, is expected to create more real-time interaction between viewers and creators. “It’ll be like the entire audience around the globe for that video will be together,” he said.The goal with the initiatives? As YouTube faces intensifying competition from Facebook, Instagram and others, Google wants to help career YouTubers build bigger fanbases and make more money from their channels.“A lot of creators already are selling merchandise, doing influencer marketing, and fan-funding. We saw these things already happening,” said Rohit Dhawan, alternative monetization lead at YouTube. “So we’re going after the lowest-hanging fruit to make it much easier for them to do it on YouTube.”The results in some of YouTube’s early tests have been huge. For example, Joshua Slice of Lucas the Spider three weeks ago began selling a plushie of his popular animated arachnid (pictured above) — and moved more than 60,000 stuffed spiders in 18 days, netting him over $1 million in profit.According to YouTube, the number of creators earning $10,000 or more annually is up 35% year-over-year and those bringing in at least $100,000 annually is up by 40%. (It doesn’t reveal actual numbers.)YouTube creators have long had the ability to generate revenue through ad-revenue sharing, and a “tip jar” for followers to buy premium chat messages during live-streams.Now it’s letting YouTubers cater to their biggest fans with Channel Memberships, which it has been testing with a few creators in the past few months. Under the program, subscribers pay a monthly recurring fee of $4.99 (currently, the price point can’t be altered) to get unique badges, new emoji, members-only posts in the Community tab and access to unique custom perks offered by creators, such as exclusive live streams, extra videos, or shoutouts. ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Popular on Variety last_img read more

first_imgThough recreating an entire open-world game map sounds like a daunting challenge, Sir_Bumfrey says it isn’t as difficult as it may seem. In fact, it may get easier over time given how New Vegas was designed.“I have to recreate all the buildings from scratch, but the good thing about New Vegas is that many of the buildings are actually exact copies of others on the map. Essentially the more of the world I build, the quicker I can build.”Despite doing all of this work to bring New Vegas into Fallout 4, this mod isn’t supposed to be a complete recreation of the game.“The aim of this mod is not to recreate New Vegas in Fallout 4 but to use the same location as a setting for another quest mod. That being said, I would be willing to get some of the base New Vegas quests into there just for fun. And if anybody wants to take it further, they can use the map, which I will release as a modders resource once it’s more or less finished.”It appears that Sir_Bumfrey and his friends still have a lot more work ahead of them. Hopefully, they will release more videos in the future because this is truly fantastic stuff. There are some Fallout fans who consider Fallout: New Vegas to be the best entry in the series. Though that game is indeed great, it hasn’t aged well over the years. Thankfully, a group of modders have gotten together to update New Vegas with the engine from Fallout 4.This ambitious project is being led by a modder named Sir_Bumfrey. As he explained on Reddit, he is in charge of handling the world design of the mod. He has tasked his friends with creating quests and handling scripting. The project is still in its earliest stages, but so far, the towns of Goodsprings and Primm have been finished. See how they are coming along in the video below. Stay on targetcenter_img Hands-On: With Doom, Fallout, and Skyrim, Bethesda is All in on VRThe Best Fallout Funko Pops! last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: With Bengal standing fourth in the country in terms of listing of companies in BSE SME platform, the Mamata Banerjee government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), to create awareness among Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) entrepreneurs in the state, about benefits of Initial Public Offer (IPO) listing.It may be mentioned that till now, 18 companies from Bengal have been listed. The number is expected to go up by another 10 to 15 in the next six months. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeWith the 18 companies, Bengal stands as the fourth ranking state in the country to get companies listed to BSE, after Gujarat, Maharashtra and Delhi.Moreover, two companies from Bengal have gone to the main board from the SME platform.In the State MSME Conclave, the MoU was signed with an aim to spread awareness among MSME entrepreneurs about the benefits of listing. As per the MoU, the state Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Textiles department, in collaboration with chambers of commerce and industries, business associations and BSE, will take up hand-holding workshops and seminars to create awareness. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedApart from getting listed to the SME platform, there will be further encouragement in tapping domestic capital markets to leverage alternative options for access to capital for expansion and growth and gain visibility at the national level. BSE will provide intellectual and manpower support in such awareness programmes.Understanding the importance of MSME enterprises for the growth of the country’s economy, BSE had launched the SME platform in March 2012 and at present, BSE SME is having a market share of 70 percent. Ajay Thakur, Head of the BSE SME platform, said: “The awareness about the benefits of listing on SME exchange is less. There has been a myth that only large companies can get listed. Bengal being the largest hub of SMEs, will benefit immensely because of this MoU, which will facilitate the SMEs of the state in coming on BSE SME Platform and raise funds, which will further help them in unlocking their value, help in marketing and brand building. This will also help in creating strong balance sheets and increasing transparency in the company.”At the same time, there are around 6 companies in the SME platform of National Stock Exchange (NSE), which have also had an MoU with the Bengal government on Tuesday. The number of companies to get listed to the SME platform of NSE is also expected to increase in the next few months.last_img read more

first_imgBeat the winter hair-related blues with interesting, do-it-yourself recipes using castor, coconut and jojoba oils, says an expert.Jojoba oil is indeed a blessing as it is rich in important vitamins and minerals. And guess what? It suits all skin types. It is light, non-sticky, odorless, and has a long shelf life. This amazing oil offers a plethora of benefits. Read on to know more.* Three-oil warm massage: Take equal portions of castor oil, extra virgin coconut oil and jojoba oil and mix them. Warm the oil mixture in a microwave for 30 seconds and add an egg yolk, mix all the ingredients well and massage the mixture on your hair length. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfCastor oil and extra virgin coconut oil help in replenishing dry and dull hair, whereas the egg yolk helps in improving the texture, leaving the tresses soft and shiny.*Banana voluminising mask: Even if you have fine hair, sometimes dryness can occur, specially in winter. To make sure that you hair look hydrated, mix one mashed banana with a few drops of jojoba oil and one eggwhite. Apply this mixture and keep it on for half an hour before rinsing it with warm water.* Oil massage and towel wrap: Simply apply jojoba oil on your hair whenever you know that your hair feels dry and rough in winters. Massage the oil into your hair, section by section starting from the scalp to the ends, pack in a warm towel for 15-20 minutes. Rinse, wash and condition as usual.last_img read more

first_imgApplication Update Service Helper new Firefox system add-on by Martin Brinkmann on November 04, 2016 in Firefox – Last Update: April 16, 2018 – 20 commentsApplication Update Service Helper is a new system add-on for the Firefox web browser that is pushed to all Firefox 50 or newer versions of the browser.System add-ons work in many regards like regular add-ons that users install manually. They are installed and maintained independently from the browser core which is the greatest advantage.This enables Mozilla to push updates to the browser without having to ship a new version of Firefox. The effect is that updates reach user systems faster and without service interruption.Updates may modify preferences of the browser among other things.One downside of system add-ons is that users don’t have control over them in Firefox. While you can go ahead and delete the respective directories on the local system, there is no option currently to disable them directly from within Firefox.Application Update Service HelperThe new Application Update Service Helper system add-on, aushelper@mozilla.org.xpi,  has been designed by Mozilla as a direct response to the Firefox Websense updating issue.Similar to what we did for Websense, we intend to have a built-in add-on (that can be updated via GoFaster if needed) that allows us to add special markings in the update ping for whatever reason necessary.The add-on allows Mozilla to change update related information directly in the browser. As you may remember, Mozilla changed the updating URL of Firefox to block users from being upgraded to a new version to avoid Websense compatibility issues. This was a makeshift solution back then as a fast response time was of utmost importance.The add-on offers similar functionality to that, but is streamlined. Basically, what it does is allow Mozilla to disable or enable updates based on device specific parameters (think Websense again).Mozilla is making use already of the Application Update Service Helper add-on. In this particular case, it is used to find out if the underlying system is susceptible for a specific crash that is investigated here.Checking system add-onsYou can verify in Firefox which system add-ons are installed and enabled in the browser. To do so simply load about:support in the browser’s address bar, and scroll down until you come to the “extensions” section.There you find the list of all add-ons installed in Firefox. System add-ons and user installed add-ons are mixed together, but it should be easy enough to distinguish them.If you have troubles, load about:addons as well to eliminate all add-ons found on that page. The remaining add-ons are system add-ons. (via Sören Hentzschel)Mozilla released the Web Compat system add-on recently as well.SummaryArticle NameApplication Update Service Helper new Firefox system add-onDescriptionApplication Update Service Helper is a new system add-on for the Firefox web browser that is pushed to all Firefox 50 or newer versions of the browser.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more