Will Artificial Intelligence (AI) Replace Real Estate Agents?

first_imgWe live in an era of burgeoning artificial intelligence (AI). We use digital assistants to perform online searches and handle scheduling, chatbots for customer service, and in the near future, we may even rely on AI for more personal interactions, like therapy.So could AI-backed robots and algorithms one day be able to replace real estate agents?A Future With AI Real Estate AgentsThere are certainly some strong points in favor of AI in this application. Already, human agents are working with AI to help uncover better deals, negotiate more appropriate price points, and even curate a better selection of properties for buyers.AI would have a number of advantages over real estate agents:Data processing. Machine learning algorithms are far better at processing vast amounts of data than their human counterparts. Real estate agents often need years, if not decades of experience buying or selling thousands of homes before they get a feel for what’s normal in the industry. But an algorithm could feasibly look at sale prices, home values, and variables from decades of transactions to gain that experience in a matter of days. On top of that, AI bots can use data from customer preferences to make custom property showcases, fine-tuned on an individual level.Cost efficiency. There’s a reason automation is replacing so many human jobs: it’s cheaper. Coming up with the machine learning algorithms capable of crunching thousands of data points isn’t fast or easy, but because it can be managed cheaply and scaled indefinitely, it has the potential to be far more cost-efficient than a human agent. Given the option, most home sellers would rather pay a smaller commission to a machine—so long as it means selling the house for as much as possible, as quickly as possible.Objectivity. AI algorithms also have the advantage of being objective decision makers. When a machine tells you a property is a good deal, it’s because it has calculated that answer based on all the data that’s available to it. When a human real estate agent tells you it’s a good deal, it may be because of their intuition, or because they have a vested interest in getting the property sold.The ObstaclesHowever, there’s no guarantee that AI could fully replace human agents. There are still several obstacles to overcome:Property preparation. For the foreseeable future, homebuyers will want to personally tour their properties before making the purchase, and that means someone will have to step in to make sure their first impression is a good one. Robots may be able to make suggestions, but it takes a human body to do the work—and real estate agents will be able to sort out those recommendations, combined with their own experience, to create an atmosphere that welcomes and impresses potential homebuyers.Intuition and personalized negotiation. In the previous section, we credited AI systems with having more objectivity, relying less on intuition than on data. While that can be a source of strength, it also undermines the power that intuition can have in the process of negotiation—especially when negotiating a deal between two human parties. Human real estate agents are, for the time being, better at reading the emotions and subtle cues of other human beings, and can use that information to make more intelligent offers—and therefore, close deals faster and more efficiently.The personal experience. For many prospective homebuyers, the homebuying process is a personal and emotional one. They want to share the excitement of touring new homes and negotiating a deal with someone who understands what they’re feeling, and can have a real conversation with them. Humans simply offer a better personal experience than machine learning algorithms can, and that makes human agents difficult to replace.So can AI one day replace human real estate agents? In some ways, it already can, but it still has a long way to go before it wipes out the profession entirely. Instead, we’ll probably see increased rates of real estate agents working with AI, side by side, to help real estate buyers and sellers negotiate the complex world of real estate. Frank Landman Related Posts AI Will Empower Leaders, Not Replace Them AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storagecenter_img Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who …last_img read more


Freelance Tip: How To Make Sure You Get Paid By Your Clients

first_imgBe PersistentImage via Iakov Filimonov.So you’ve done everything right. You signed a contract, did your job, and sent out the finished project. Unfortunately, you haven’t gotten paid, and it’s overdue. What do you do now? Well, don’t immediately vilify the client. Companies have lots of vendors to pay, and things like corporate videos and commercials sometimes get lost in the paperwork.Send them a polite email reminding them that the payment date has passed. Most of the time, they will usually respond and send the money. Things happen, you got the money, everything is great.But in rare circumstances, this isn’t the case.If the client isn’t responding, keep emailing them. Twice a week. Three times a week. Eventually ramp it up to every single business day. Make sure your voice gets heard, and that they know that you need to be paid. Remember to be respectful and not threatening. If you have the phone number of the person who set up the gig, reach out to them personally. In the most extreme circumstances, try going to the office. It’s much harder for someone to ignore you when you are standing right in front of them.Don’t Fall For Sob StoriesImage via AJR_photo.In my years of freelancing, there’ve been a few times when the client didn’t pay on time, and they responded with the “We don’t have the money to pay you” excuse. Maybe it was a startup or a local business without a lot of capital. It’s business, and it happens.Of course, every situation is different, and there is usually a solution. Try your best to work with your client, but if they won’t agree to anything, remind them that you have kept up your end of the deal, and that they are not keeping theirs. Be sympathetic, but do not let them take advantage of you.When I’ve heard this excuse, I’ve sometimes granted more time for payment. In one instance, the client paid me weeks later with a written apology and a few extras to show their appreciation. The payment may have been late, but it worked out in the end.On the other hand, one company gave me the same excuse, but they didn’t pay me, and they took advantage of my patience. These are the companies that think that if they just ignore you, you might eventually stop asking. Be very, very firm with these clients. You performed a service, and you must be paid for it.Choose Your Clients WiselyImage via Vladimir Arndt.Whether or not you get paid on time can depend on the type of business you’re dealing with. If it is a very healthy business, they will most likely pay you on time. If it’s your uncle’s friend who has a new invention that “reinvents the way we shuck oysters” that he runs out of his garage, think twice before agreeing to a contract.Trust your gut, always. If you get the feeling that job is going to be a hassle, don’t take it. Or if the client continually tells you how small the budget is for the project, be wary. These are the types of people who think filmmaking and video production is easy and may not value you or your work when the time comes.Looking for more video production advice? Check out these articles.DIY Filmmaking: How to Build Your Own Dolly for $50Should You Ever Give Your Client The Unedited Project Footage?Take Your Creative Briefs to the Next Level With Adobe InDesignTips for Directing and Acting (At the Same Time)Learning How to Edit While You Shoot The freelancer’s worst nightmare is a client who doesn’t pay on time — or at all. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure that doesn’t happen.Cover image via Chokniti Khongchum.If you have ever worked freelance, you’ve probably run into this situation. You agree to terms, work the gig, and send in the final product. The client thanks you. Weeks go by. No check. You make countless calls, send countless emails, and get countless “check’s in the mail” responses. Maybe you finally get paid. Sometimes you don’t. It’s frustrating and exhausting, so here’s a guide to making sure that your client pays you for your work.Sign A ContractImage via Freedomz.Here’s something that no one ever told me as a new freelancer: an invoice is completely different from a contract. This may seem obvious, but when you are first starting out, the whole freelancing process is a little vague.When consulting with a client about the project, listen attentively and respond with your day rate and other fees, like equipment rentals, so they know what to expect. Once you reach an agreement, draft a contract that includes these very important elements:Expected completion and compensation dates. Every job will be different, but creating a set schedule has always worked for me in the past. If you let the client know when they can expect the finished product, then you deserve to know when you will get paid. Keep each other accountable with a binding contract. This will be helpful down the line if they don’t pay when they said they would — you have written proof of the agreement. If the company is on a net-30 or net-45 payment schedule for their vendors, try your best to work with them. But if you need to rent equipment with that money, make sure the client knows that you absolutely need that money before the gig starts.Contract amounts. Always include the exact total of the job. That way your client knows exactly what to expect, and you have a written agreement covering that amount. It helps to outline exactly what costs what (shooting, equipment, editing rates, etc.), so the client knows where their money is going.Revision limitations. Another freelancing nightmare is endless revision. I’ve had clients ask for 7-8 revisions that cost me countless hours. Unfortunately in those situations, I felt helpless because I didn’t establish a revision limitation in my contracts, so the client felt like they could kick the work back as often as they wanted. Clarify how many hours of revisions you will grant them before you begin charging additional fees.Put everything in the contract. Every customer will have wants and wishes, and you need to put them in writing before agreeing to a job. Asking a lot of a freelancer is okay, but you need to agree on everything before the gig starts.last_img read more


Pascal Siakam comes from small settings to star on NBA’s big stage

first_imgToronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) lays the ball in as Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) watches during the second half of Game 1 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)TORONTO — The path to the best NBA Finals debut in seven years began in Cameroon and has stretched from New Mexico to the suburbs of Toronto.Pascal Siakam had to emerge from some small settings before he could reach the big time.ADVERTISEMENT Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue View comments LATEST STORIES ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP It was the most points in an NBA Finals debut since Kevin Durant had 36 for Oklahoma City in 2012, and it made Siakam the first player to score 30 or more on at least 80 percent shooting in a finals game since Shaquille O’Neal did it in 2004.Those players were top-two picks, as were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan, the other players since 1970 with 30 points in an NBA Finals Game 1 within their first three pro seasons.Siakam was way down at No. 27 in the 2016 draft. Golden State’s Draymond Green — a second-round pick — said there’s a different level of admiration for players who have played themselves into starring roles from what are considered supporting spots.“You come into this league and there’s really no space for you,” Green said. “You’re essentially someone who kind of comes in — I mean, you can be out in a year, you can be out in two years, you can be out in four years. And to gain that respect and to, as I said before, become one of those guys, I think it’s special. Siakam has done that.”The 6-foot-9 Siakam was already a good athlete, having played soccer as a boy in Cameroon. But it was his desire to become a good basketball player that’s kept him in the gym long hours to make up for his late start in the game.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ North of border, Warriors enter new territory: 1-0 deficit in NBA Finals Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too That made Siakam’s 32-point performance in Game 1 even more impressive. The players who often stand out this time of year are the can’t-miss prospects who seemed destined for greatness from the time they were kids.Siakam hadn’t even started playing basketball by then.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting SPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsBut there he was Thursday night, shooting 14 of 17 from the field to spark Toronto’s 118-109 victory over Golden State.“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “That’s a pretty big stage for a guy to put that kind of performance on, almost with any background.” PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war He took part in a Basketball without Borders camp in South Africa in 2012 at 18 and was soon on the way to the U.S. to embark on a basketball career. He ended up at New Mexico State for two seasons, winning Western Athletic Conference player of the year in his second one, before the Raptors drafted him.Siakam was MVP of the 2017 NBA G League Finals after helping Raptors 905 win the title, but success with the big club would have to wait. He didn’t have a reliable shot yet, certainly not reliable enough to be a regular contributor on a 50-win team. But he’s developed one over the summers and unleashed it on opponents during this season, when he averaged 16.9 points and played well enough to be a finalist for Most Improved Player.“He works, works, works,” Nurse said. “He takes care of himself. He’s really got a burning desire to be a very, very good player in this league.”But the biggest change for Siakam came off the court.He was in college when his father, Tchamo, died. Siakam, who still writes “RIP Dad” on his sneakers, called it the hardest moment of his life but said it was a turning point into making him into the person he has become.“Thank God I had the support of my teammates and coaches in college that helped me go through it. But it was definitely one of the toughest moments in my life, and not being able to go home for the funeral and all that,” Siakam said.“So it was definitely a moment where it kind of tested me as a man. Just being able to go through that and for me using that as a motivation and something that’s going to push me to do better things for my family and for myself, for my dad.”Green, a former Defensive Player of the Year, blamed himself for the poor defense on Siakam and vowed to be better Sunday in Game 2. Siakam knows there will be adjustments, but he might make some, too.“I think I always say, I learned a lot and I know I have a lot to learn,” Siakam said. “I think that’s one of the advantages for me. I know I have so much to learn. I have to grow. It allows me to look at my mistakes and evaluate them and try to see how I can do better.” DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextlast_img read more


Virat Kohli’s 82* blasts India into ICC World Twenty20 semi-finals

first_imgVirat Kohli produced a sublime 82 not out off 51 balls on Sunday to help India defeat Australia by six wickets in their World Twenty20 match and advance to the semifinals. (Scorecard|Points Table)Kohli took charge at a crucial time in what was a virtual quarterfinal,smashing nine fours and two sixes as India reached 161-4 off 19.1 oversin reply to Australia’s 160-6. (India vs Australia: As it happened)India reached 161-4 off 19.1 overs in reply to Australia’s 160-6 in what was a virtual quarterfinal.The iconic image of #WT20 so far as Virat Kohli’s heroics lead #IND to a home semi-final in Mumbai #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/Ozh2whygu2 ICC (@ICC) March 27, 2016The No. 3 batsman added 67 off only 31 deliveries with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (18 not out) after a useful 45-run stand for the fourth wicket with Yuvraj Singh (21) as India scored 59 runs in the last 4.1 overs of the Group 2 game. (Also read: Virat Kohli better than Sachin Tendulkar in terms of chasing, says Sourav Ganguly)  Kohli, who had also guided India to a six-wicket win over Pakistan with 55 not out, remained calm during his 15th T20 half-century after Shikhar Dhawan (13), Rohit Sharma (12) and Suresh Raina (10) failed to get going with India struggling at 49-3 in the eighth over. (Also read: Virat Kohli’s 82 against Australia reminds Shane Warne of Sachin Tendulkar)Kohli batted himself in with Yuvraj and then took the initiative, smashing 19 off the 18th over bowled by James Faulkner and 16 off the 19th from Nathan Coulter-Nile, to the delight of more than 25,000 fans.advertisementDhoni hit Faulkner for a four down the ground to complete a memorable win that sets the 2007 champion against 2012 champion West Indies in the semifinals in Mumbai on Thursday.”That was a pretty serious innings there, under pressure,” Australia captain Steven Smith said. “He hit it right out of the middle and he’s done it for a long time. Virat played an unbelievable knock … I think 160 was around par, it just took an unbelievable innings to get India over the line.”Earlier, Australia got off to a quick start as left-handed opener Usman Khawaja began the innings with a pulled four off Ashish Nehra and then took four fours off the following over from Jasprit Bumrah to finish with a 16-ball 26 comprising six fours.Australia raced to the 50-run mark in only 3.4 overs as Aaron Finch (43 off 34) smashed two consecutive sixes over long on off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin but the scoring rate was checked as wickets fell at regular intervals.”It was a tough score, they got 60 runs in the first six overs,” Dhoni said.Australia reached the 100-run mark in 12.5 overs and 150 in 19.4.The opening stand was worth 54 and ended in the fifth over when Nehra induced an edge to dismiss danger man Khawaja.David Warner (6) and Smith (2) fell to spinners Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh respectively with Dhoni having a hand in both dismissals.Ashwin’s single wicket Sunday made him the first Indian to take 50 wickets in T20 internationals while wicketkeeper Dhoni’s three victims brought him level on 60 with Pakistan’s Kamran Akmal for dismissals in T20 internationals.Glenn Maxwell chipped in with a useful 31 that included a reverse-sweep six off Yuvraj SinghShane Watson made an impressive exit from international cricket as he followed up his unbeaten 18 with 2-23 in four overs and a brilliant diving catch at cover to dismiss Yuvraj off Faulkner.last_img read more


Darbar: Rajinikanth to sport two different looks for AR Murugadoss film

first_imgDarbar: Rajinikanth to sport two different looks for AR Murugadoss filmRajinikanth is acting in a film titled Darbar, which is directed by AR Murugadoss. The film stars Nayanthara in the lead role and has music by Anirudh Ravichander.advertisement India Today Web Desk ChennaiApril 22, 2019UPDATED: April 22, 2019 12:05 IST Darbar posterRajinikanth is playing two different roles in Darbar. Reportedly, he will be seen as an IPS officer and as a social activist in the film. Now, it is revealed that the Superstar will sport two different looks for the film.It is rumoured that in the first half of the film, Rajinikanth will be seen as an activist and from the second half he will take on the IPS avatar. Rajinikanth’s Alex Pandian role from Mundru Mugam is still spoken about as Rajinikanth’s performance as a police officer was stunning.AR Murugadoss is planning to recreate the same magic with the upcoming film. The film has music by Anirudh Ravichander and stars Nayanathara in the female lead role.Other than Nayan, Yogi Babu is ts confirmed to be part of Darbar. Now, it has been announced that Bollywood actor Prateik Babbar has been chosen to play the antagonist in the film.Confirming the news, Prateik, in a statement, said, “It is such a dream come true to have bagged this project in such little time. This year is looking very positive for me and Sanya (Sagar) has been such a great influence on my life professionally and personally.”Darbar will hit the theatres on Pongal 2020. The film marks the 167th film of Rajinikanth and might also be the last film of the actor, who might take the political plunge after this.ALSO READ | Happy Birthday Rajinikanth: Thalaivar’s untold love story with wife Latha RangachariALSO READ | AR Murugadoss on his film with Rajinikanth: It is NOT a political ventureadvertisementALSO WATCH | Actor Vijay pays homage to Karunanidhi at Anna MemorialGet real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byP Kirubhakar Tags :Follow RajinikanthFollow Darbarlast_img read more


Ras Laffan Terminal Operations Notches 5,000 Loadings

first_img My location 此页面无法正确加载 Google 地图。您是否拥有此网站?确定 zoom Qatargas’ Ras Laffan Terminal Operations (RLTO) marked the loading of its 5000th cargo on October 13, the equivalent of more than two billion barrels of product. The 5000th cargo also marks the first cargo of ultra-low Sulphur diesel from Ras Laffan Port. Ultra-low Sulphur diesel, with less than 10 parts per million of Sulphur is an environmentally friendlier fuel, produced by Laffan Refinery’s Diesel Hydrotreater, commissioned earlier this year.RLTO is responsible for the storage and loading of all non-LNG liquid hydrocarbon products and bulk Sulphur in Ras Laffan Industrial City.Sheikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Chief Executive Officer of Qatargas said: “Celebration of the 5000th cargo is in fact, a celebration of the synergy between companies operating from Ras Laffan Industrial City. Ras Laffan Terminal Operations is a vital part of the supply chain for every producer in Ras Laffan Industrial City.This achievement would not have been possible without their cooperation and support. For Qatargas, this is a significant achievement, demonstrating our operational excellence and commitment to providing a high level of service to all our customers and stakeholders.”RLTO was launched in 2006 to set up a Single Operator in Ras Laffan for all liquid petroleum products storage and loading. It was established around a concept of sharing; shared storage to reduce the overall investment in tanks, and shared access to berths to reduce the overall investment required in both capital and operational costs for the port expansion. RLTO loaded its first Cargo in January 2007. Print  Close Press Releaselast_img read more


Justice Bills Focus on Youth Offences CrossBorder Policing

first_imgJUSTICE–Justice Bills Focus on Youth Offences, Cross-BorderPolicing Sixteen and 17-year olds in Nova Scotia would be treated asadults in court if they are charged under the Motor Vehicle Act,under legislation expected to be introduced in an evening sessionof the House today, April 18, by Justice Minister Michael Baker. “Amendments to the Youth Justice Act and Motor Vehicle Act willprovide another level of public safety, and complement ourefforts to change federal legislation governing youth justice,”said Mr. Baker. “Sixteen- and 17-year olds charged withprovincial motor vehicle offences would be dealt with as adults.They will have to show up for their court appearance in the sameway as adults do.” There would be tougher penalties for stealing motor vehicles. Drivers of all ages could have their licences revoked for twoyears for stealing a vehicle or taking one without an owner’sconsent or knowledge. Second-time offenders would face a five-year suspension, up from the current two years. Amendments would also require police to impound a motor vehicleused to race. On a first offence the vehicle would be impoundedfor 24 hours, 30 days for a second offence. Mr. Baker is also expected to introduce three other bills. TheCross-Border Policing Act is based on uniform legislation beingintroduced across Canada. It will make it easier for police toinvestigate crimes that cross provincial boundaries. Currently,provincially appointed police officers lose their status if theyleave their home jurisdictions. “This legislation has the support of the Canadian Association ofChiefs of Police and other law enforcement organizations,” saidMr. Baker. “It’s another public safety measure to help policeinvestigate criminal activity that involves suspects in otherjurisdictions.” The legislation sets out appointment procedures, responsibilitiesof police officers and civilian oversight procedures. Mr. Baker says the Justice Administration Amendment (2005) Actwill make minor “housekeeping” changes to several pieces oflegislation. Proposed Elections Act amendments would help ensure a moreeffective enumeration/confirmation process, and enable thedevelopment of current and more accurate voters’ lists byallowing access to more sources of information. These amendmentsalso remove the prohibition against inmates, who are serving twoyears or more in custody, from exercising their right to vote, asdetermined by the courts.last_img read more


Two women 55 and 75 killed in overnight stabbing in Montreal

first_imgMONTREAL – Police say two women, aged 55 and 75, are dead after an overnight stabbing in Montreal.Investigators say they were called to an apartment in the city’s east end at about 3:15 a.m. on Sunday.They say the younger woman was found dead at the scene and the older woman was taken to hospital with serious upper body wounds.Police say she was pronounced dead in hospital.They say a 35-year-old man, who was the son of the younger woman and grandson of the older, was arrested in connection with the case.There’s no word on charges.last_img read more


Insecurity hindering efforts to aid displaced Somalis says UN relief official

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says there are now more than 200,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have fled the fighting in the capital, Mogadishu, and set up shelters along the 15-kilometre route from the city to Afgooye. About 25,000 people per month have been displaced from Mogadishu in January and February, bringing the total number of those needing assistance in the country to between 1.8 million and 2 million, according to OCHA. “Somalia is the most difficult place in the world for humanitarians to do their job, due to the ever-shifting insecurity,” noted William Paton, the acting UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator there.Rising insecurity has forced the cancellation of several missions to Afgooye in February. In addition, there are nearly 400 checkpoints around the country where humanitarian convoys are often subject to threats and violence. There have been nine shooting incidents at checkpoints in the first two months of this year alone.“We are going to continue to work hard to improve security for our staff members and thus deliver more,” stated Mr. Paton, who recently visited some of the more than 100 settlements that have sprung up along the road to Afgooye. Amid the difficulties, UN agencies and their partners are continuing to provide food, water and other vital supplies to the affected populations throughout the country, which has not had a functioning government since 1991. In addition, some 56,000 children and 11,200 pregnant mothers have been immunised and mobile clinics are providing maternal and child health services.Meanwhile, OCHA reports that some 850,000 Somalis in the country’s central regions – including some 170,000 IDPs – are suffering the consequences of a prolonged drought that is threatening livestock and the livelihoods of pastoralists. High rates of acute malnutrition and possible disease outbreaks due to water scarcity are among the major concerns right now. UN agencies are trucking in water and have already handed out 4,300 tons of food to around 230,000 people. 5 March 2008Deteriorating security in Somalia in recent months has made it more difficult for aid workers to assist hundreds of thousands of people uprooted by fighting in the strife-torn nation, a senior United Nations relief official said today. read more


Four suspects deported from Dubai released

Four suspects who were arrested in Dubai and deported were released after being questioned by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).The four were among several Sri Lankans arrested at a hotel in Dubai with notorious underworld leader Makandure Madush. They were deported to Sri Lanka and were detained at the Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday with actor Ryan Van Rooyen.


Brown calls Ontario Progressive Conservatives disproportionately young diverse

Brown calls Ontario Progressive Conservatives disproportionately young, diverse Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown smiles after delivering a speech at the Ontario Progressive Conservative convention in Ottawa, Saturday , March 5, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand OTTAWA – Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives emerged from a weekend convention confident they will be able to defeat the Liberals in the 2018 election, with a younger and more inclusive party hungry for new ideas.It was the first convention for new leader Patrick Brown, who announced his first major policy position, saying he supported a price on carbon to fight climate change and calling the Liberals’ cap-and-trade plan a $1.9 billion government cash grab.Brown, 37, a former federal Conservative MP who won the PC leadership in May 2015, offered few details on how he’d put a price on carbon _ British Columbia’s carbon tax “is one example” _ and said it must be “revenue neutral” with tax cuts for people and businesses.“Having polluters pay and having that returned as a dividend to taxpayers in broad-based tax relief is a sensible approach to dealing with the environmental challenges of today,” Brown told The Canadian Press in an interview Sunday.Some of the nearly 1,800 Tory delegates muttered complaints at the carbon pricing announcement _ and one lone cry of “No” _ but Brown said there was “practically universal”support” in the PC caucus on the issue.Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray took to Twitter Sunday to attack Brown as a climate change “denier” who never raised the issue once in 10-years in the House of Commons.Brown said he had hoped the Liberals would welcome the Tories’ agreement that something must be done about climate change instead of taking “cheap partisan shots.”The fact there were so many new PCs at the convention, especially from ethnic communities, and a strong showing of youth delegates, shows they’re well positioned to take advantage of the “huge thirst for change” in Ontario, said Brown.“I think the party today reflects the province in a way we haven’t before,” he said. “It is disproportionately young for a political party. It is disproportionately diverse.”Brown, who calls himself a pragmatic Progressive Conservative, told the party it must change if it doesn’t want to lose a fifth consecutive election, and said the next campaign platform would come from widespread consultations of members and non-members, not top down from party brass.“If we have a policy platform that is reflective of the membership, the membership must be a reflection of the province,” said Brown.Former Toronto Argonauts player and coach Mike ‘Pinball’ Clemons, who amused delegates with a 40-minute motivational speech Saturday, is expected to be a PC candidate in 2018, and will join the leader on a province-wide tour to “listen relentlessly” to voters.“He would be a great public servant,” said Brown. There are other high profile Ontarians, some not previously engaged in politics, who want to run for the Tories in 2018, said Brown.“There’s lots of Pinballs out there,” he said. “That is a very encouraging sign for our party.”The Progressive Conservatives will begin nominating candidates in January, 2017, 18 months ahead of voting day. As part of their rebranding exercise, they also unveiled a new logo, with a red P intertwined with a blue C, and a green leaf in the middle.Several Tory MPPs who supported Christine Elliott in the leadership race, including Todd Smith and Michael Harris, said they were impressed with Brown’s performance during the convention, especially his Saturday night speech.Brown called claims of infighting in the PC caucus between two eastern Ontario MPPs “exaggerated,” and said Jack MacLaren was not helping another would-be candidate challenge caucus mate Lisa MacLeod for her re-nomination in 2018.“There really is nothing there,” he insisted. “Jack said very clearly that he is publicly supporting his caucus colleagues.”Follow @CPnewsboy on Twitter by Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press Posted Mar 6, 2016 9:27 am MDT Last Updated Mar 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more


Transat shows reduced Q2 loss despite higher fuel costs currency fluctuations

by The Canadian Press Posted Jun 8, 2017 7:19 am MDT Last Updated Jun 8, 2017 at 7:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Transat shows reduced Q2 loss despite higher fuel costs, currency fluctuations MONTREAL – Transat AT Inc. (TSX:TRX) says it has made progress on reducing its losses despite difficult market conditions that include higher fuel prices and currency fluctuations.The Montreal-based travel company says its net loss attributable to shareholders was $8.4 million or 23 cents per share in the second quarter of its fiscal year.A year earlier, Transat had a net loss of nearly $25 million or 68 cents per share.Revenue was down marginally at $884.3 million, compared with $888.2 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2016.Founded in 1987, Transat employs 5,000 people and operates in Canada, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean. read more


Snow arrives to metro area bringing with it more closures

first_imgAlthough a bit behind forecasters’ earlier schedules, snow began falling in earnest around Clark County starting around noon Thursday following a blustery morning, prompting new closures for services and organizations around the area.Washington State University Vancouver closed at 2 p.m.The Battle Ground Municipal Court closed at noon. The city said anyone with a court date for this afternoon should call 360-342-5150 on Monday reschedule.C-TRAN buses are on snow routes due to adverse weather. Route 47 will not run between Battle Ground and Yacolt today, but the rest of the route will continue normally.Weather created major delays for C-Tran Express routes in the afternoon, and the agency said some buses may not be able to return to Vancouver for some time. Affected routes include Routes 105, 134, 164 and 199. Routes 157, 177 and 190 were canceled for the day. Route 92 also experienced major delays.C-TRAN said passengers who are able should take the TriMet MAX to Delta Park or Parkrose, then take C-TRAN Route 60 or 65 to Vancouver. Those routes continue to operate, but may be delayed due to snow and ice.last_img read more


3 MiamiDade Schools honored with keyboard labs

first_imgCOCONUT GROVE, FLA. (WSVN) – – Three Miami-Dade schools received new music labs to help students find their inner musicians.Students and teachers at Frances Tucker Elementary school in Coconut Grove were honored with an electronic keyboard lab.Miami Springs Elementary and Earlington Heights Elementary also received keyboard labs from a New York-based nonprofit organization.The Music and the Brain grant is dedicated to helping students learn to read and play music. The program has funded art investments in more than 250 public schools.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more


Publishers Clearing House Buys Mobile LeadGen Provider Liquid Wireless

first_img“High response rates to PCH banner ads and landing pages will drive increased traffic to our existing offers, especially in the smart phone and tablet markets,” says Liquid Wireless president and founder Jason Cianchette in a statement. “We will also be able to execute on significantly more powerful media buys with the financial backing of PCH.”Additionally, Liquid Wireless focuses on analytics in relation to campaign performance and PCH plans to extend this as a service through its own campaigns. Publishers Clearing House, known for its big sweepstakes-driven direct marketing tactics, has acquired Liquid Wireless, a Portland, Maine-based mobile marketing company. Terms of the deal were not released, but it gives PCH an instant, turnkey mobile strategy, from campaign generation to activity tracking through post-conversion. PCH has moved heavily into digital and social platforms, porting its sweepstakes and lottery models to sites such as PCHSearchandWin.com and PCHLotto.com. The company claims 3.5 million new online registrants per year, 8 million monthly uniques and a database of 14 million customers. Mobile is its next big move.Liquid Wireless’ turnkey service offerings were a major attraction for PCH, which will help drive further customer acquisition. In turn, PCH’s resources, as well as its existing customer base, should significantly boost the reach for Liquid Wireless’ client campaigns. last_img read more


BSF tortures 2 Bangladeshis in Rajshahi

first_imgMap of RajshahiMembers of Indian Border Security Force (BSF) picked up two Bangladeshi fishermen from Padma river along Khorchaka border in Godagari upazila in Rajshahi and beat them up mercilessly early Tuesday, reports UNB.The victims are Mizanur Rahman alias Mizan, 26, son of late Shahajan Ali and Nishan Ali, 23, son of Rasul Ali, residents of Biyanabona village under Dewpara union of the upazila.Mizan and Nishan went to fishing in the Padma river along Khorchaka border in the upazila on Monday midnight.BSF members picked them up from their boat around 2:00am on Tuesday and beat them up with sticks and rifles, said BGB. The BSF, later, released them on Wednesday morning and locals rescued them. They were taken to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, said Moyeen Ali, the younger brother of victim Mizan.A team of BGB was sent to the hospital after hearing the incident, said lieutenant colonel Iftekhar Shamim Al Masud, commanding-officer of Border Guard Bangladesh Battalion -1, adding that a letter will be sent to the BSF protesting against the torture of Bangladeshis.last_img read more


Doctors Hitting the Road to Inspire More Minority Med Profession Students

first_img(Updated 9/9/2014) A group of doctors has embarked on a road trip to reach out to the next generation of aspiring medical students in underserved communities.As a co-founder of the Tour for Diversity in Medicine, Dr. Alden Landry and his colleagues have put their outreach and mentoring efforts into overdrive.“If we’re going to address health disparities, we have to think outside the box,” Landry said.A mentoring campaign on wheels, the tour’s bus has reached more than 2,000 students since it began rolling in 2012.“Many students don’t know where to get guidance,” said Landry. “Our solution is to go to them.”He is convinced that the Tour can get more minorities into the health professions, resulting in greater access to care for underserved communities.“Down the road,” he said. “this can significantly help to eliminate health disparities.”The tour is the brainchild of Landry and Kameron Leigh Matthews, who as members of the Student National Medical Association board worked to increase the number of culturally diverse physicians.When they realized that the association wasn’t reaching many historically Black colleges and universities or community colleges, which enroll large numbers of racial and ethnic minorities, they considered going directly to the students. One of them blurted out, “We should just get on a bus!”It was a radical notion. While a few medical career fairs tried to break down the barriers confronting underserved students, none of them got on a bus to do it.After the duo finished their residencies in 2011, Landry called Matthews. “Kam, it’s now or never,” he said.The Aetna Foundation and the U.S. Army pledged financial backing. Colleagues and medical students with diverse backgrounds, who knew firsthand the value of mentors, signed on.“We always have people coming up saying, ‘How can I get on the bus?’” Landry says.Landry’s first mentor was his own grandmother, a registered nurse who pushed him to become a physician. Later, through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded Minority Medical Education Program, he met a Black ER doctor who mentored him through medical school and residency. His said his own efforts now are a way to repay their dedication.Whether educating youth about health care through his  Hip Hop Health nonprofit or wheeling down the road with his tour, Landry is invested in his mentees. To hear them tell it, the investment is worth it.“To see people that look like you and have achieved your dreams is priceless,” one tour attendee said.“After today,” another added, “I believe I can do anything.”last_img read more


League of Legends Designing with cosplayers in mind

first_imgLeague of Legends is known for a several things, popularizing the MOBA genre, its free-to-play business model, and its horde of outlandish playable characters. It’s also known for an army of hardcore fans that include a legion of enthusiastic cosplayers. Any video game convention will be awash with foxgirls, guys in 8 foot tall armor, and fallen angels wearing oven mitts. These costumes can be utterly baffling to people who don’t play League, but they are instantly recognizable to fans. League’s developer, Riot Games, partnered with Tribeca Games at an event in New York City last month, where fans could meet the designers and mingle with each other. We spoke with some of the developers, and a select group of League cosplayers to see how League cultivates this form of fandom.The day-long event was called “Tribeca Games Presents the Craft and Creative of League of Legends.” The team from Riot Games was there to present panels on topics that ranged from character design to community management. We discussed designing for cosplay with Evan Monteiro, a Splash artist at Riot Games.Monteiro described how the same features that make a character recognizable in-game will also make them well-suited to cosplay. According to him, cosplaying fans are “…definitely a factor that we consider very heavily, but I would say that it is actually a secondary factor to the primary priority we have when creating champions, and that is to have an iconic silhouette. And have something about that character that immediately, when you look at them, you can tell that is a League of Legends character… That priority naturally makes it easier for cosplayers to be recognizable when they are cosplaying as these characters.”He cited the character Bard as an example. Bard is a champion whose face is concealed behind a mask, and he wears bulky clothing, but he still has distinctive features that Monteiro pointed out, “The horn pulls back from his head, the wind chimes that fall back down there. The flute that he uses when he is using abilities… We think that having those there benefit the game itself, for the in-game read, as well as for cosplayers in general.”Montiero’s work as a Splash artist is often seen by players before an upcoming character is available to play in the game. This gives hardcore cosplayers a chance to start sewing before they even see the character in game, “As a splash artist we definitely try to make it clear what the materials are on all of the skins and champions. We try to get the brass around Bard’s mask, and the wood bits. We put detail into the leather that he’s wearing.”Aside from attending panels with the designers, people who came to this event could socialize in a lounge where several of League’s more dedicated cosplayers were showing off their costumes. There are 128 playable characters in League, and all of them have multiple “skins” that change their appearance. This means that fans have hundreds of outfits to choose from when cosplaying.Among the cosplayers was Michelle, who goes by the cosplay handle 9Lives Armory. She has been playing League of Legends since it was in beta six years ago. She was dressed as the angelic champion, Kayle, in a suit of plate armor with wings and a five foot long sword. “I’ve always had a secret love for Kayle,” she said, and immediately talked about the in-game skins that she owns for the character, including the rare silver skin “I always debated redoing her silver. She’s always been my baby.”Many of the fans at this event said that they felt a special connection to the developer, and Michelle said that Riot Games stands out among other developers because “…They try to bring themselves into the community themselves, they get right in there. I think that separates them from other game companies. [Other companies] try to build for the fans, they’re not in the community themselves.”Another featured cosplayer was Sofia, also known by the handle Orboras Cosplay. She was dressed as the Night Hunter Vayne. Although she had been cosplaying since 2007, she said that she took a huge break until League got her back into cosplaying in 2013. When asked why League brought her back into cosplay, she said “It was a combination of things, enjoying the game to begin with, and then finding characters that I could identify with, and characters that I would like their outfits as well. League has such an abundance of dynamic and different types of female characters – even their male characters, I genderbend cosplay as well. There’s so much to explore there, that I couldn’t not do it.”Cosplay can bring fans together by advertising their shared love of a particular character. Orobas told us about an experience she had with another fan that day “…it’s fun to be able to put on that costume and become that character, and people who love that character will come up to you. I had a fan come up to me and give me a bottle, and it said ‘Black Magic’ on it because one of Vayne’s lines in the game is ‘I smell black magic.’ And he was like ‘So that you can smell the black magic.’ Had I not cosplayed this champion I never would have met that person and had that interaction.”League of Legends has been out for over six years, and the developers are constantly releasing new playable characters, and skins for the existing one. This leads to a cycle where the developers make increasingly flamboyant characters, even as the cosplay community hones their skills. “They keep coming out with Ultimate Skins” exclaims Orobas, “The more complex the characters get, the more of a challenge it becomes for a cosplayer to bring that to life. It’s a good challenge.”But all the hard work from fans is noticed and appreciated by the developers. “I hope that our players, and people who participate in cosplay, I hope they know how much we value that,” says Montiero. “We love, love, love, after we’ve put so much effort into creating and crafting these characters, to see that resonate through our fans. Seeing them attempt to pull that costuming into the real world for us is really rewarding.”Riot is now wholly owned by Tencent, check out the news above.last_img read more


Daintree business wins Premiers sustainability award

first_imgFom left: Andrew Powell MP, Minister for Environment& Heritage Protection, Alan Curtis Daintree DiscoveryCentre, Jann Stuckey MP, Minister for Tourism, MajorEvents, Small Business and the CommonwealthGames. Source = Daintree Discovery Centre The Daintree Discovery Centre has been recognized in winning the Small Business category at the Premier’s Sustainability Awards held in Brisbane last Friday the 14th June 2013.The award was presented to the Discovery Centre’s Alan Curtis by Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games, Minister Jann Stuckey.‘The Centre has demonstrated it is a high achiever and a leader in adopting sustainability practices that reduce its environmental impact and strengthen its commercial viability’ said Ms Stuckey. ‘It sets high standards and receives $2,500 to support sustainable initiatives and everyone involved in the Centre is to be commended for their efforts’. In accepting the award, an elated Alan Curtis thanked the team at the Discovery Centre and owners / directors Ron and Pam Birkett who are currently abroad.‘We’re thrilled to be recognized in this way. Everything we do at the Discovery Centre reinforces the need to preserve the Daintree Rainforest. We have elevated walkways designed to protect the fragile root systems, Interpretive displays that foster environmental sustainability and we models best practice in water conservation, waste management, recycling and eco-friendly design’. He also added ‘We are a carbon neutral business since establishing our Carbon Offset / Bio-sequestration project in 2007, and we sponsor Carbon Flux research by James Cook University. The Centre is also one of 10 environmental research Supersites that form the Australian Supersite Network collecting scientific data across various ecosystems’. The multi award winning Discovery Centre is a world-class interpretive facility nestled in the heart of the Daintree rainforest, just 10 kilometres north of the Daintree River and boasts a spectacular Aerial Walkway leading to a 23m high Canopy Tower.The tower provides viewing of the very top of the rainforest canopy, while the walkway allows unprecedented access to the mid level rainforest.  For international visitors, Self-guided Audio Tours are available in 8 languages.An accredited Wet Tropics visitor Information Centre, the Daintree Discovery Centre is open daily from 8.30am to 5pm and also carries Advanced Eco-Tourism and TQUAL Accreditation and is a Climate Action Business.last_img read more


British Airways tops Heathrow Fly Quiet and Green League Table

first_imgBritish Airways tops Heathrow Fly Quiet and Green League TableBritish Airways tops Heathrow Fly Quiet and Green League TableBritish Airways’ short-haul fleet has topped Heathrow’s ‘Fly Quiet and Green’ league table, based on its environmental performance from January to March this year.The airline gained the top spot because of its new, more fuel-efficient aircraft, consistent adherence to routes designed to reduce noise for local communities and new landing procedures, optimised to reduce both noise and emissions.Around 50 per cent of aircraft flying to and from Heathrow are operated by British Airways and any improvement to the airline’s 300-strong fleet makes a significant impact.British Airways’ long-haul fleet also featured among the top 10 airlines in the league table, moving 10 places up to sixth.  The league table also takes into account emissions per seat, the amount of noise generated by a plane, aircraft age and emissions standards – with newer planes such as Boeing 787s and Airbus 350s among the most green and quiet. In response to the encouraging news, British Airways’ Environment Manager Andy Kershaw said: “We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and are pleased to be named the cleanest and greenest in class for our short-haul fleet.  We have introduced more than 40 new generation fuel-efficient aircraft and will receive a further 70 of these aircraft over the next six years, including A320neo, A350, 787 and 777-9s.“We are building Europe’s first plant to convert household organic waste to sustainable aviation fuel, in Britain, and we are advocates of new global emissions regulation (CORSIA) which will cap airline industry net CO2 emissions from 2020.”British Airways is determined to play its part to find new solutions for sustainable travel. Last month it named a team from University College London the winners of its BA – 2119 Future of Fuels project, which challenged academics in the fields of aerospace, fuels and biotechnology to create a way to fly a long-haul flight for five hours with zero CO2 emissions.  IAG, British Airways’ parent company, will invest a total of $400m on alternative sustainable fuel development in the next 20 years.Source = British Airwayslast_img read more