Unresolved issues hindering permanent peace between Israel and Lebanon – UN report

The cessation of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon continues to hold but remains fragile owing to a number of unresolved issues, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a new report, calling for greater efforts to seek a permanent ceasefire between the two neighbours.“Almost three years after resolution 1701 was adopted, it remains the best available blueprint for the parties to move from the current state of cessation of hostilities towards a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution,” Mr. Ban writes to the Security Council regarding implementation of the text which helped to end the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizbollah. The 2006 resolution called for renewed respect for the Blue Line separating the Lebanese forces and Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the disarming of militias and an end to arms smuggling, among other measures.Mr. Ban notes that a permanent ceasefire will only be achieved through the adoption of concrete measures on these and other issues he outlines in the report, which covers the period since his previous report of 3 March. Among the progress made in recent months, the Secretary-General cites efforts by the parties, in cooperation with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), to visibly mark the Blue Line, as well as the handover by Israel of technical strike data on cluster bombs to UNIFIL.At the same time, he voices concern at the allegations by Lebanon’s Government that Israeli spy cells have been operating in Lebanon and that the IDF helped alleged spies to cross from Lebanon into Israel through the Blue Line.If these allegations are proved to be true, he writes, they could endanger the fragile cessation of hostilities that exists. Mr. Ban also expresses concern about the presence of armed groups in Lebanon operating outside the control of the State, which poses a challenge to the ability of the State to exercise full control over its territory.“The United Nations continues to believe that the disarmament of all armed groups should take place through a Lebanese-led political process, so that there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than those authorized by the State,” he says.Crucial to ensuring there is no flow of weapons to groups outside the control of the State, Mr. Ban points out, is for all Member States to respect the arms embargo imposed on Lebanon as part of resolution 1701, as well as for the Lebanese Government to secure control of its border with Syria. Another concern mentioned in the report is the continued occupation by the IDF of the part of the village of Ghajar, and an adjacent area of land, that lies north of the Blue Line. Mr. Ban calls on Israel to complete its withdrawal from the area without delay, in accordance with its obligations under resolution 1701. The Secretary-General also pledges to continue his diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the issue of the Shab’a Farms area, and encouraged Israel and Syria to submit their responses to the provisional definition of the area that he had provided. 7 July 2009The cessation of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon continues to hold but remains fragile owing to a number of unresolved issues, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a new report, calling for greater efforts to seek a permanent ceasefire between the two neighbours. read more

India and Sri Lanka Navy chiefs discuss boosting ties

Naval cooperation between India and Sri Lanka has been traditionally strong, encompassing a wide span which includes operational interactions through bilateral exercises, training, port calls, hydrographic co-operation, special forces interactions, capability building and capacity augmentation initiatives. Two Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessels (AOPVs) are also being constructed for the Sri Lankan Navy at M/s Goa Shipyard Limited, read an official statement.In addition to New Delhi, the Admiral is also scheduled to proceed to Goa where he will be visiting the Naval War College and Goa Shipyard Limited besides interacting with Flag Officer Commanding Goa Area. Vice Admiral RC Wijegunaratne, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy had talks with Naval chief of staff of India, Admiral Sunil Lanba in India today.The Sri Lanka Navy chief is on an official visit to India aimed at consolidating bilateral naval relations between India and Sri Lanka and to explore new avenues for naval cooperation. The Admiral would further visit the Training Command of the Indian Navy based at Kochi, where he would be briefed on training aspects and would also visit various training facilities/ professional schools.During his visit to Kochi, the Admiral would also interact with Sri Lankan Naval personnel undergoing training in India.The Commander, Sri Lankan Navy’s visit follows closely on the visit of the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba’s visit to Sri Lanka wherein he also participated in the 7th International Maritime Conference, Galle Dialogue 2016. (Colombo Gazette) read more

UN Security Council utterly failed Syrian detainees a victim voices her plea

Speaking on behalf of the women-led movement, launched in 2017 by families whose loved ones had been detained and disappeared, she painted a picture of sick, injured or dying people, many enduring daily barbaric torture with some scheduled for execution, saying, “hardly any of them will have had a fair trial”. Acknowledging that she was not telling them “anything new”, Ms. Khoulani underscored that “this Council can save their lives if it chooses to act today”. And yet in spite of the reports and information on detention, forced disappearances and torture, numbers continue to rise, including among those who have tried to return. “You have let vetoes and excuses get in the way of what is right and just”, she said, adding that it was the Council’s responsibility to find a way to “end impunity and stop this horror”. Recalling that she herself was imprisoned for six months, for “peaceful activism” and her husband detained for two and a half years, she asserted, “we were both lucky to survive, but many others were not as lucky”. “I don’t have enough words to describe how it felt” when two of her family members were sentenced to death “on the same day at the same minute on 15 January 2013”, she told the Council. Today, around 100,000 Syrian men, women and children remain missing, “the majority detained by the Syrian regime, but extremist and opposition groups are also responsible for the disappearances”, she said.  Ms. Khoulani implored the members to “make the issue of detention and forced disappearance in Syria a priority”, urging them to adopt a resolution pressuring the regime and armed opposition groups for the names and whereabouts for everyone in detention and to allow humanitarian organizations to visit the detention centres. This Council can save their lives if it chooses to act today — Amina Khoulani“Let those of us whose loved ones were executed or tortured to death, know the location of their burial sites so we can grieve them properly”, she said.  Flagging that the crimes of detention and forced disappearance have for decades “plagued” Syria, Ms. Khoulani said that they have become “epidemic” over the last eight years and shattered millions of lives forever.  “The first step toward sustainable peace and justice is truth, an end to arbitrary detention and forced disappearance and the release of thousands of civilians arbitrarily detained and denied their freedom” she concluded.  Information blackout A continued lack of access to detention sites and people being held in Syria has left the United Nations with “no official statistics on those detained, abducted or missing”, UN political affairs chief Rosemary A. DiCarlo told the Council in her briefing. “While the UN is not able to verify, reports suggest that more than 100,000 people have so far been detained, abducted, disappeared or went missing, largely, but not only, by the Syrian Government,” she stated.  Adding that many families have no information on the fate of their loved ones, she underscored that detainees, including women and children, are held “without due process or access to legal representation or their families”.   Moreover, detention cites are not accessible to the UN or international monitors; hospital or burial site records are not public; and some families have paid enormous sums of money to obtain information on loved ones, often in vain. “Deaths in detention have continued to occur, many allegedly as a result of torture, neglect or humane conditions”, she continued, pointing out that this is compounded by the difficulty of obtaining death certificates or remains, which, if acquired, hide the real causes of death. Aside from being victims themselves, women also risk losing their homes, land and property rights in Syria when, after their husbands or male relatives disappear, they cannot explain their whereabouts and lack legal documentation or a death certificate.  “Many women under these circumstances carry the heavy burden of sustaining their entire families”, Ms. DiCarlo elaborated. “For refugees or those internally displaced, these challenges are multiplied”. The UN political chief cited photos of nearly “7,000 dead bodies bearing marks of torture” that were smuggled out of Syria by a military defector and made public in 2014, saying they were “prominent evidence of torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Government detention centers”.  Armed opposition groups have also conducted arbitrary detention, torture and civilian abductions in their controlled area, capturing and sometimes executing government soldiers, collaborators or other armed groups.  The Syrian Democratic Forces have also conducted arbitrary detentions, including arresting men trying to evade forced conscription. “Justice and accountability for these abuses must be ensured, regardless of the perpetrators”, she stressed, adding the UN is concerned that thousands of foreign nationals, many relatives of alleged ISIL members, are currently being detained at Al Hol camp. “We call on Member States to ensure that their nationals are repatriated for the purposes of prosecution, rehabilitation and/or reintegration, as appropriate, and in line with international law and standards”. “Justice and accountability for these abuses must be ensured, regardless of the perpetrators — UN political chief DiCarloPointed to various Security Council resolutions, Ms. DiCarla called for the release of those arbitrarily detained. “The parties must fulfill their obligations under international law, to unilaterally release all arbitrarily detained or abducted, and most urgently, women, children, the sick and elderly”, she spelled out. She said that they must “collect, protect, and manage” detainee, abductee and missing persons data; establish an information management mechanism; identify and return remains to their families; and provide a list of “all places in which persons are being detained and arrange for immediate access” by a neutral third party. “Accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights is central to achieving and maintaining durable peace in Syria.”, Ms. DiCarlo emphasized. “All parties to the conflict, in particular the Syrian government, must cooperate fully with the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism and the Commission of Inquiry”. In a rare opportunity for the Council to hear directly from family members of people forcibly disappeared, Ms. Khoulani spelled out: “It is your responsibility to protect Syrians from a system that kills, tortures and illegally detains its own citizens”.    read more

Muskets fired flags lowered to remember death of Sir Isaac Brock

Re-enactors fire muskets at the flag lowering and commemoration of Maj.-Gen Sir Isaac Brock.Staff and students gathered in front of the Schmon Tower this morning for a flag lowering ceremony commemorating the death of Sir Isaac Brock.Re-enactors fired muskets and a bugle player sounded the “Last Post” at the third annual event, which honours the University’s namesake.“He gave his life in a cause that forged the course of history and led to the creation of Canada,” said Rudi Kroeker, chair of the Board of Trustees. “He was a true hero and we are fiercely proud that our university is named after him.”Brock died on Oct. 13, 1812 – 199 years and one day ago – in the Battle of Queenston Heights.The celebration of Maj.-Gen Sir Isaac Brock continues tomorrow with General Brock’s October Soirée.Related stories:• Mythical last words aside, Brock’s commemoration pushes onRe-enactors stand at attention. read more

Ohio State football fall camp a learning experience for young players

OSU junior linebacker Joshua Perry walks into the Buckeyes’ team hotel, the Hyatt Place Columbus on Yard Street, Aug. 7.Credit: Tim Moody / Lantern sports editorWhen the Ohio State football team moved into its hotel for the rest of fall camp, it was clear that the coaching staff had a plan in mind by pairing veterans with young players of the same position.Some of those veterans know exactly what to expect in camp, and have a clear set of rules for their room at the Hyatt Place Columbus on Yard Street.“Shut up, don’t snore, sleep when it’s time to sleep,” senior tight end Jeff Heuerman said outside the team hotel Thursday.While Heuerman and some other veterans know it will be important to get as much sleep as possible during the two-week grind heading into the season, noise level won’t be bothering all of them.“It’s not going to bother me,” junior linebacker Joshua Perry said. “I sleep like a rock.”The rule of the room certainly goes to the veteran player, but they aren’t paired with freshmen in order to intimidate.Senior cornerback Doran Grant said he is paired with freshman cornerback Marshon Lattimore at the hotel, but he said the pairing can help each of them get better for the season. He added it’s a chance to help the younger players get ready for their first go around as a Buckeye.“Just to help guide the freshmen…through camp,” Grant said. “When they get down, you know, pick them up, hug them up a little bit, show them that everything is good.”Grant, for one, said he didn’t try to enforce any power as a senior, even when it came to bed selection in the room.“I went up there and he (Lattimore) already called the window, he had his stuff on there, so it’s okay,” he said. “As long as we both get a bed, that’s good.”Junior offensive lineman Jacoby Boren said the same wasn’t the case when it comes to his pairing with freshman offensive lineman Kyle Trout, but added he wouldn’t have a set of rules for the room.“We don’t really have any rules,” Boren said. “I just took the bed closest to the window, so other than that we’re good.”At the end of the day, Heuerman, who is rooming with redshirt-freshman tight end Marcus Baugh, said the hotel is only a small portion of fall camp. He said when the players get back to the hotel after practice, they spend about half an hour awake before it’s lights out to get ready for another day.Heuerman also had a warning for the younger players, saying the first few days of camp didn’t touch on the “hard stuff.”“A lot of those younger guys, they don’t know what’s coming,” he said. “Two-a-days starts on Saturday I think. Once you move into the hotel it gets real.”Heuerman added that the players have to turn in their car keys during camp, and in years past had to turn in their cell phones during the day.Senior linebacker Curtis Grant said, once you move into the hotel, football takes over your entire life. He added it will be a difficult adjustment for any players going through their first fall camp.“It’s going to be a tough time in their life, because they’re stuck in the hotel, you can’t do anything,” Grant said. “By next week, everybody is going to hate their life because they can’t go anywhere.”Redshirt-sophomore safety Tyvis Powell said the time in the hotel can also be used to make sure the young players are prepared, and still preparing, to step on the field once the season starts. Powell is rooming with freshman safety Erick Smith, and said he’ll be making sure Smith knows his assignments inside and out.“I know yesterday he was struggling a little bit on some plays, so basically I’m just going to kind of quiz him, make sure he’s got the playbook,” Powell said.While fall camp is certainly a new experience for the younger players, there are still some veterans going through it from a different perspective.Senior offensive lineman Joel Hale is participating in his fourth fall camp as a Buckeye, but just his first on offense. Hale spent his first three seasons as a defensive lineman, where he saw extensive playing time last season. He said it was a risk to make the switch, and has to be ready to go everyday no matter what, even as a senior.“I mean, I’m fighting for my life right now, I’ve got to fight everyday and I’m a senior,” Hale said. “That’s hard.”After Thursday’s practice, the Buckeyes are scheduled to have 14 more days of camp. Two-a-day sessions are set for six of those days, with the last coming on Aug. 20 while camp is scheduled to end Aug. 23 –– their last day in the hotel.OSU’s season is scheduled to start Aug. 30 against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Kickoff is set for noon. read more

How James Norton learnt the Russian martial art Systema for his role

first_imgNow viewers of the series, which started on Monday, have begun to contact the star’s Systema teacher to sign up to learn for themselves the martial art, which has been adopted by the Russian KGB secret service. When James Norton was picked to play the part of a successful London banker drawn into the violent world of the Russian mafia he looked to imbue his performance with a certain authenticity. David Kirillov, who runs the London…center_img That desire led him to learn aspects of the tough martial art Systema, which he employs to brutal effect in some of the action scenes of the BBC’s new drama thriller McMafia, as his character tries to protect himself and his family from the violence of the Russian mob.last_img read more

Ben Goldsmiths teenage daughter dies in quad bike accident on family farm

Ben Goldsmith’s 15-year-old daughter has been killed in a quad bike accident at the family’s farm in Somerset.Ambulance crews were called to the home in the village of North Brewham after the millionaire financier’s eldest daughter Iris Annabel was involved in a crash. The teenager was the heiress of two of Britain’s most powerful dynasties – the Goldsmith and Rothschild families. She was the first child of Mr Goldsmith and his ex-wife Kate Emma Rothschild, who are believed to have a joint fortune of more than £300million.On Tuesday night a family friend told the Daily Mail: “This is the most awful accident. Iris was a complete firecracker – an absolute delight. Everyone in the family loved her to bits. She was beautiful, charming, intelligent, wonderful company and absolutely the loveliest person you could meet.”Ben and Kate are completely devastated. They are numbed to their core and united in their grief. Iris captured the charm of Ben and the sense of Bohemian charisma of Kate. All the family are rallying round Ben and Kate.” Emergency services confirmed they had attended the scene. A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service said: “We were called on Monday at 3.15pm to attend an incident involving a vehicle at an address in North Brewham, Somerset. Locals were said to be “devastated” by the news, with one saying: “I heard Iris died in a crash involving a quad bike in a field next to the farm. “The whole village has been affected by this, as you can imagine. Our hearts go out to her parents and family. It’s a very sensitive time.” “We sent the following resources to attend the incident: an air ambulance crew, a critical care team, a land ambulance crew, and two other paramedics.”Iris was the niece of Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston. Mr Goldsmith and Ms Rothschild have two sons; Frank, 13 and 11-year-old Isaac. They separated in 2012 when Ms Rothschild began a relationship with US rapper Jay Electronica.Mr Goldsmith married catering company boss Jemima Jones two years later with whom he has two young children, Eliza and Arlo. He is the youngest child of the late billionaire tycoon and politician Sir James Goldsmith and Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest. Iris is believed to have been studying for her GCSEs at Wycombe Abbey boarding school in Buckinghamshire.  On Tuesday headmaster James Hooke of her former school, The Harrodian in Barnes, south-west London, said: “The school community is united in its grief over the tragic and sad news of the passing of its former pupil Iris Goldsmith.  Ben Goldsmith with Iris and baby daughter Eliza  “Our thoughts, love and sympathies are with her family and friends at this awful time. Iris was the most wonderful, dedicated and talented pupil during her seven years at Harrodian.”She was a kind, gentle and caring student who adored her school and her friends and was impeccably behaved. It is tragic that such a talented and vivacious child has been taken from us so young.” Ben Goldsmith with Iris and baby daughter Eliza  Ben and Iris Goldsmith Ben and Iris Goldsmith Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Eriez Flotation Division continues to expand and advance testing services

first_imgEriez Flotation Division (EFD) says it continues to make investments in equipment and resources to advance and expand its testing services to meet growing demand. With more than 15,000 square feet of dedicated laboratory space and an array of lab and pilot equipment, EFD has the capability to test and provide detailed analysis and state-of-the-art solutions for nearly any minerals processing application.The company’s Central Test Lab (CTL), located in Erie, Pennsylvania, houses a vast assortment of bench and pilot scale flotation laboratory equipment as well as products from the company’s magnetic, vibratory and metal detection lines. With additional analytical capabilities–including an XRF (x-ray fluorescence), ICP (inductively coupled plasma) and sulfur analyser–EFD can quickly conduct in-house assays and improve turnaround time on testing.Typical tests range from exploratory batch testing to the evaluation of multi-stage flotation circuits. Testing includes bench-top flotation testing, batch and continuous milling (ball, rod), hydraulic classification, steady state column flotation testing and high and low gradient magnetic separation. The EFD team also provides in-field evaluations.“Our staff, which includes more than 15 highly educated mineral processing engineers, excels at improving plant performance by conducting thorough circuit evaluations, determining optimum operating conditions and finding solutions,” says Eric Yan, EFD Deputy Managing Director. According to Yan, recent notable work includes large-scale flow sheet development projects for clients in phosphate, potash and sulfide mineral industries.last_img read more

Review Roomba 650 vacuum cleaning robot

first_imgIt’s been over five years since iRobot released the Roomba 560 cleaning bot. During that time the autonomous cleaner saw a number of new firmware revisions but no significant changes (unless if you purchased the AeroVac upgrade kit). Even so, up until recently it remained a highly recommended option and the most practical choice in the iRobot’s lineup. Then, in August, the Roomba 650 was announced as the successor to the 560 (or, more accurately, the 600 series was replacing the 500 series) and finally fans of home-cleaning robots has something to look forward to.Since 2007 new Roombas have gotten wireless controls, a slick new design, and better cleaning patterns, but not all of those features made their way to the Roomba 650. In fact, the 600 series lacks the wireless controls of the Roomba 790 Best Price at Amazon and does not have the sharp-edged design found in the 700 series. The 650 is essentially a 560 with an improved cleaning head module (what holds the rotating beaters), a dustbin with better airflow, and a nearly-all-black design. All of the 600 series models have a lively bit of color found in a ring on the top, with the 650’s being yellow. It’s purely aesthetic, but it looks better than the previous generation if that matters much to you (it’ll be covered in cat hair and dust in a matter of days anyway).The 650’s set of sensors, which help tell the vacuuming bot where to go and what to clean, are essentially the same as the 500 series and didn’t see any of the minor improvements that are in the 700s. The new model did gen an updated firmware though, so it’s slightly smarter than before and presumably was able to learn the lessons of five years of iRobot’s R&D.During usage the 650 does its job and it does it well. The bot bobs and weaves around the floor, not caring if it’s on hardwood, a rug, or tile. It’s able to get between chairs, under couches, and recognize if the object in front of it is solid or something it can pass under, like a tablecloth. Of course, all of iRobot’s previous bots could do the same, so the question for me became, is the 650 any better?The cleaning head module (CHM) and new dust bin are definite improvements. The 500 series’ CHM was imperfect (bordering on faulty) and the new one is rock solid. This means the Roomba won’t start clunking, and stop cleaning, when it hits an uneven surface or a similar obstacle. And the new bin means improved suction, more debris crammed inside, and a vacuum that is better able to deal with hair. The bot does not have the 700 series’ dual HEPA filters, Dirt Detect Series 2 debris sensing, or “Persistent Pass” back-and-forth cleaning action for problem areas. So, yes, it’s an improvement on the 500 series, but the 700 series retains its premium title.Roomba 650 and Roomba 560Like the 560 before it, the 650 has scheduling. This is the only notable perk of the higher end model compared to the $350 Roomba 630, though some people will also prefer the 650’s black-on-black to the 630’s silver-on-black (the color being the only other difference). So if you don’t plan on using the 7-day schedule feature then you should save yourself the $50 and go with the 630. That said, the scheduling is one of the Roomba’s most useful functions and it shows off the robot’s clever ability to find it’s way home when it needs to be recharged. (Seriously, every time I run my Roomba and it is back on its charging station when I get home, I’m quite proud of it.)Ultimately the Roomba 650 is a very good cleaning bot. And it does have a few improvements over the 500 series, but these aren’t nearly as major as you might expect given the length of time since the 560 came out. And bear in mind, if you have replaced your 500’s cleaning head module and you upgraded to the Aerovac bin, than you pretty much have a 600 series bot already, less the new firmware and that cute yellow ring.I would have really liked to see the 600 series integrate a USB port or some other easy way to upgrade the firmware, as well as upgraded sensors and quieter operation. Seeing a product come out that’s no quieter than my 560 and that still bounces too hard into the leg of my couch is a bit disappointing, even if the 650 is a good all-around performer. The facts of the matter are that the 700 series isn’t worth the extra money, the 600 series gets the job done but is a minor evolution, and the Roomba’s probably won’t see any major changes until we see some serious competition in the market. With Samsung and LG having no presence in the US market, and iRobot having just bought it’s biggest competitor (Evolution Robotics) it might be some time before that happens.The Roomba 650 is currently available for $400.Roomba 650 – topRoomba 650 – topRoomba 650 – scheduleRoomba 650 – Roomba 560Roomba 650 and Roomba 560Roomba 650 – bottomThis review was based on a retail version of the Roomba 650, provided to Geek.com by iRobot.last_img read more

Estil possible de rougir dans le noir

first_imgEst-il possible de rougir dans le noir ?Vous êtes-vous déjà demandé s’il est possible de rougir dans le noir ? Des scientifiques viennent de lever le voile sur ce mystère et la réponse est… Oui !Voici une problématique qui en aura intrigué plus d’un : peut-on faire rougir quelqu’un dans le noir ? Même Charles Darwin a essayé de s’atteler au mystère sans le moindre succès. Rougir est pour les scientifiques, une expression singulière. Encore aujourd’hui, de nombreuses questions subsistent quant aux mécanismes sous-jacents à ce phénomène. Une des questions fondamentales se pose sur l’élément déclencheur. Est-ce le regard de l’autre ? Dans ce cas, si l’on est seul ou dans l’obscurité et que personne ne peut voir nos joues s’empourprer, le phénomène est-il encore possible ? 
Un savant allemand, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg écrit au XVIIe siècle : “La question de savoir si les jeunes femmes rougissent dans le noir est très difficile” et ce n’est certainement pas Darwin qui le contredira. Incapable de résoudre ce mystère, il suggère tout de même son point de vue sur la question dans son ouvrage L’Expression des émotions chez l’homme et les animaux : “Plusieurs femmes, qui rougissent très facilement, sont unanimes quant à la solitude, et certaines d’entre elles croient qu’elles ont rougi dans l’obscurité (…) Je n’ai aucun doute que cette dernière affirmation soit correcte”.Des caméras sensibles à la chaleur pour répondre Heureusement pour les scientifiques actuels, le développement de caméras sensibles à la chaleur a offert la possibilité de résoudre le mystère une fois pour toutes. Même si la technologie n’est pas des plus récentes, il a fallu tout de même attendre des années avant que des chercheurs aient l’idée de l’utiliser dans ce contexte. C’est Denise Wächter et Wolter Seuntjens de l’Université d’Erfurt, en Allemagne, et de l’Académie Néerlandaise pour la ‘Pataphysique’, à Amsterdam, qui ont repris le flambeau de leur prédécesseur pour y mettre un point final.Le protocole de leurs travaux de recherche a consisté à filmer dans l’obscurité le visage d’une femme de 31 ans sujette au “rougissement facile”. La volontaire a été invitée à s’acclimater à la température d’une pièce plongée dans le noir complet avant de devoir raconter une histoire embarrassante sous l’objectif d’une caméra thermogénique. Les résultats montrent une augmentation significative de la température du visage de la jeune femme. Autrement dit, la demoiselle a bel et bien rougi… dans le noir. C’est ce qu’il fallait démontrer. Une étude pour faire rire et réfléchir À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Les conclusions des chercheurs ont fait l’objet d’une publication dans les Annals of Improbable Research, une revue consacrée aux études originales qui “font rire les gens” , puis “réfléchir”. Sa cérémonie annuelle de remise des prix, maintenant réputée dans le monde entier, consiste à remettre aux auteurs de recherches les plus improbables le “Prix Ig Nobel”. La prochaine édition aura lieu la semaine prochaine à l’Université d’Harvard. Il ne reste plus qu’à espérer que nos experts du rougissement obtiennent finalement la reconnaissance qu’ils méritent ! Le 6 septembre 2013 à 09:49 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Davor Suker wants revenge from the 60 defeat vs Spain

first_imgCroatian legend Davor Suker is feeling quite hurt about the last match between Spain and Croatia, a 6-0 defeat for which he wants revenge.During the last UEFA Nations League match between Spain and Croatia, the Balkans side suffered a very painful defeat that Croatian Football Federation President witnessed from the stands.This loss came during a year in which his national team proved that they are at a top level of performance by reaching the final in Russia, but they weren’t at the top of their level that day and they suffered the wrath of Luis Enrique’s side with goals scored by players like Saul, Sergio Ramos, Rodrigo, Marco Asensio, and Isco.Now that the situation will be reversed and Croatia will play as local, Suker believes there is a great chance for his side to get some sweet revenge even if manager Dalic already confirmed that his squad is not after such retaliation.This match looks like it will be very different compared to the last time they met, Suker is convinced that the World Cup runners-up have learned their lesson and they will take full advantage of their own stadium in Zagreb this Thursday.Suker: “Of course we want our revenge on Spain for that 6-0 drubbing in Elche” https://t.co/sg4k1RC5yr #NationsLeague #Croatia #Spain pic.twitter.com/OwDpf1hjm2— AS English (@English_AS) November 14, 2018Davor Suker is one of Croatia’s biggest football idols, he reached the World Cup semifinals back in the 1998 World Cup and was the tournament’s top scorer.The chairman offered an interview to Diario AS about the upcoming match, where he spoke about several topics but the main one was related mostly about the upcoming match that will start only a few hours from now.“Of course we feel disappointed after the result from the Elche match, where a lot of things didn’t go as planned and the final result was a defeat,” said Suker during the interview.“I’m convinced that the national team manager and the players are motivated to prove that such result was nothing but a bad day and that’s it, especially with what awaits us after the World Cup, this will be the first match we play with all the followers inside the stadium.”“I believe that we are going to have all the support from the fans who will be cheering from the stands inside the stadium.”David Villa, SpainQuiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.“Spain is one of the best national teams in the world and Luis Enrique is a great manager, this is why Spain playing great football again doesn’t surprise me at all,” he added.It was my pleasure to talk about football with: Zlatko Dalic Croatia National team coach-2018 FIFA World Cup-second place!Davor Šuker President of Croatia football1998 FIFA World Cup-third place and Golden Shoe!Robert Prosinečki Bosnia National team coach pic.twitter.com/cMe4IBeUhO— Matic Slavko (@slavko_matic) November 14, 2018“We are all expecting a wonderful match between two wonderful teams, and a game that has the potential of being a lot more exciting than the one we played in Elche,” continued the Croatia Football Federation president.“I believe the Croatian team has enough quality to confront this game, the same quality that manager Zlatko Dalic has demonstrated in Russia last summer.”“I consider that Croatian managers know our countrymen’s mentality much better, they also have a deeper knowledge of the characteristics that each of our players has and they can guide the squad in a better way,” he concluded.The match will take place at Maksimir Stadium in the city of Zagreb, it will be filled with a lively Croatian crowd that will commune with the players for the first time since they reached that historic final in the World Cup last summer.The Croatian Football Federation went through a banning process after UEFA punished them, they played the last match against England with a completely empty stadium. This match will start at 20:45 CET.AS: WIN OR WAIT• Spain will be in the final four if they win in Zagreb. If not, it depends on England vs. Croatia on Sunday• Suker: “We want to get revenge for the 6-0 in Elche.”• Benzema already accounts for 27% of Real Madrid’s goals – his 2nd best % pic.twitter.com/29JZlu6fEl— RMadridHome (@RMadridHome_) November 14, 2018Do you think Croatia will be able to get their revenge against Spain this Thursday? Please leave your opinion in the comment section down below.last_img read more

Pedaling for Pattie is raising money for Rady Childrens Hospital

first_img Posted: September 6, 2019 September 6, 2019 KUSI Newsroom, Pedaling for Pattie is raising money for Rady Children’s Hospital KUSI Newsroom 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A San Diego Man is riding his “Beach Cruiser” from the Golden Gate Bridge to Ocean Beach to raise money for Rady Children’s Hospital and childhood cancer.Ryan Gehris’ mother died of cancer, in his arms. Now, he’s on a mission to give back. Categories: California News, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Doomed ferrys sharp turn slow evacuation probed

first_imgMOKPO, South Korea — The investigation into South Korea’s ferry disaster focused on the sharp turn it took just before it began listing and on the possibility that a quicker evacuation order by the captain could have saved lives, officials said Friday, as rescuers struggled to find some 270 people still missing and feared dead.Police said a high school vice principal who had been rescued from the ferry was found hanging Friday from a pine tree on Jindo, an island near the sunken ship where survivors have been housed. He was the leader of a group of 323 students traveling on the ship on a school excursion, and said in a suicide note that he felt guilty for being alive while more than 200 of his students were missing.Prosecutors and police also said Friday they have asked a court to issue arrest warrants for the captain and two other crewmembers.Besides the teacher, at least 28 people are now confirmed dead from the ferry, the Sewol, which sank Wednesday. Officials said there were 174 survivors and about 270 people remain missing, many of them high school students. With the chances of survival becoming slimmer by the hour, it was shaping up to be one of South Korea’s worst disasters, made all the more heartbreaking by the likely loss of so many young people, aged 16 or 17.The ship had left the northwestern port of Incheon on Tuesday on an overnight journey to the holiday island of Jeju in the south with 476 people aboard. It capsized within hours of the crew making a distress call to the shore at 9 a.m. Soon, only its dark blue keel jutted out over the surface. By late Friday, even that had disappeared, and rescuers floated two giant beige buoys to mark the area. Navy divers attached underwater air bags to the 6,852-ton ferry to prevent it from sinking further, the Defense Ministry said. Coast guard officials said divers began pumping air into the ship in an attempt to sustain any survivors.On Jindo’s shore, angry and bewildered relatives watched the rescue attempts. Some held a Buddhist prayer ritual, crying and praying for their relatives’ safe return.last_img read more

Wave of MeToo complaints strains human rights agencies

first_imgProtesters at a #MeToo march gathered in front of the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood before marching to the CNN building to hold a rally on November 12, 2017. AFPA wave of sexual harassment complaints that accompanied the #MeToo movement is straining many of the state and local offices tasked with policing workplace discrimination of all kinds.Places such as New York City and Massachusetts have added resources to deal with the surge in complaints, but human rights agencies elsewhere say their small staffs are struggling to keep up with growing caseloads.In Connecticut, which is on pace to receive nearly twice as many sexual harassment complaints as last year, some lawmakers worry about delays resolving those cases and others involving employment, housing and credit discrimination.”If someone has gotten up the strength to come forward, I don’t want that strength to be dissipated because of a system that’s broken,” state Senator Mae Flexer said.Flexer, a Democrat, pushed unsuccessful legislation this year that would have given the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities funding to help fill empty positions, extended the deadline for victims to file complaints and required more companies to provide sexual harassment training.Connecticut had 158 sexual harassment complaints filed all of last year. Over the first six months of 2018, the commission received 131, records show. An agency spokeswoman, Michelle Dumas Keuler, said that the uptick has not gotten to an “onerous level” yet, and that the staff is working hard to get cases out between a year and a year and a half. But she acknowledges there’s been “a constant decline of staff” over the past decade.As in many places, the complaints began piling up last year, when the movement against sexual harassment and assault took off after allegations against former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.The state offices that enforce laws concerning various types of discrimination differ in their authority and scope of responsibility. For example, Connecticut’s human rights referees can award back pay and damages for emotional distress and attorneys’ fees to those employees who choose to use the system. In many states, complainants are required to file first with these agencies, even if they eventually bring their case to court – a process that can take years. Numerous cities and counties also have commissions on civil rights, human rights and fair housing.Connecticut attorney Nina T Pirrotti, who specialises in employee rights cases, said she has personally seen an uptick in sexual harassment cases in her law practice since the relatively recent resurgence of the #MeToo movement, which was founded over a decade ago.”If my experience is any reflection of the larger picture, I would not be surprised if the CHRO has also experienced an increase in the number of sexual harassment cases it processes,” she said, adding how there could be an additional strain on CHRO resources particularly in situations where employees are self-represented, or pro se, and are more likely to remain with the CHRO throughout its investigation, fact-finding and public hearing phases. For employees represented by a lawyer, they often go through just the early stages of processing the complaint with CHRO before dealing with the matter in court or settling it.In Idaho, a consistent uptick in sexual harassment allegations filed since October has burdened the state’s Human Rights Commission, which hasn’t seen a staff increase in decades.”These are very personal and very emotional issues, and an increase in resources is absolutely going to be paramount in the future,” said Lourdes Matsumoto, a Boise-based attorney who filed a high-profile discrimination tort claim involving sexual and racial harassment against the Idaho state controller’s office last year. She said the increase in complaints reflects a crisis of workplace sexual harassment.The timing of the flood of new harassment cases has been “particularly bad” for the Maine Human Rights Commission, Executive Director Amy Sneirson said. Even before, the agency was taking nearly two years to issue some decisions because of understaffing, she said.To handle the workload, tasks are shifted around the small staff, with everyone doing more than one job.”We would like to be faster. We would like to be faster and better, but without adequate staffing, it’s nearly impossible,” Sneirson said.In February, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker signed a supplemental budget that included $250,000 to hire two staff members and one investigator at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination to handle the rising sexual harassment complaints.And beginning in late summer or early fall, the New York City Commission on Human Rights will launch its new unit dedicated solely to investigating sexual harassment matters. The city is investing $300,000 to hire four new staff members who will handle the growing number of complaints, commission spokesman Seth Hoy said. Sexual harassment claims filed with the agency increased by 43 percent over the last two years, with 117 filed in 2016-17, compared with 82 in 2014-15.Not all such agencies have seen a rash of complaints.Frank Penela, a spokesman for the Florida Commission on Human Relations, said his agency was bracing for an influx of sexual harassment complaints, especially after the high-profile resignations of a senator accused of sexual misconduct and a Florida Public Service Commission member accused of touching a senator inappropriately. But to the agency’s surprise, there hasn’t been a glut of sexual harassment complaints.”From a numbers standpoint,” he said, “it’s just not as prominent as it is in other places.”last_img read more

From AFRO Paperboy to 4Time Presidential Appointee

first_imgThese days William B. Robertson calls the Windsor Mills neighborhood of Baltimore home. Most days he can be found enjoying his retirement or working on one of his proudest achievements, Camp Virginia Jaycee.LETTERS HOME-A must for all who made the trip was a card or letter home. In the usual order, Adell Clark, Baltimore; Lawrence Rouse, Washington; Henry Watson, Goldsboro, N.C. and William B. Robertson, Norfolk, write home. In insert, Delores Harris, Washington, and Alice Wills, Baltimore, get their letters off. (AFRO File photo)Robertson’s journey began in Roanoke, Va. He was born to a working class family that put special emphasis on education. “I want you to know from the start, the AFRO helped to shape my life,” he told the AFRO. In the summer of 1941 he began working as a paperboy for the AFRO, at the time he sold the paper for 10-cents each and his portion would be 3-cents. He recalled that he sold about 10 papers a week so he was making 30-cents a week. Robertson was 8-years -old at the time, but 30-cents made a world of difference to him.The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 and American men were joining the army and being drafted, but the White papers didn’t carry news of the Black soldiers’ exploits overseas. So Robertson, along with his father and brother began to sell 10 different Black newspapers each week including the Pittsburgh Courier, the Chicago Defender, the New York Amsterdam News and others. ”And of course the AFRO, but the AFRO was the biggest seller,” Roberston said.Robertson said the job with the AFRO laid the foundation for his life. It taught him how to meet people, how to count money and make change, it taught him how to read and about Black history. In 1946, as a promotional drive to increase sales and distribution, the AFRO held a contest for the paper carriers. Robertson and his brother won a three day trip to New York City with about 100 other paper carriers from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.Robertson graduated from Roanoke’s Lucy Addison high school in 1950. In August, of that same year, he enrolled at Bluefield State College in West Virginia. He graduated from Bluefield State College with a degree in secondary education in 1954, but he was unable to find a job. So Robertson went back to Bluefield State College, spent another year and got a second degree. This time he graduated with a bachelor’s in elementary education and got a job teaching at the high school he graduated from. Later he would put his newest degree to use when he was transferred to an elementary school where he taught for 8 years.William B. Robertson today. (Courtesy Photo)In 1965, integration came to Roanoke on a voluntary basis and Robertson was asked to assist with integrating the faculty of a junior high school. “I replied in the affirmative and when I got to the school I didn’t do anything I hadn’t done at the all Black school,” he said. He did such a great job, the principal honored him with the teacher of the year award. “The principal told me ‘I never thought I’d see the day that White parents would call me and say they want their children in the room of a Negro teacher but that’s what was taking place,’” Robertson recalled.In 1965 he was also awarded the Outstanding Young Educator in the city of Roanoke. With that honor also came an invitation for him to become the first African-American member of the Roanoke Jaycees Civic Organization. As an active member of the Jaycees, Robertson created a recreation program for mentally handicapped children that included skating, bowling and fine arts. The state soon took notice of the program’s success and named Robertson its state chairman on issues regarding the developmentally disabled.Robertson would then put forward the idea of creating a camp for the special-needs population. Camp Virginia Jaycee, a 90 acre facility, is still operating forty-seven years later and more than 46,000 special-needs campers have attended since it began.Robertson’s career in government began in 1970 when he was appointed special assistant for minority economic development under Virginia Gov. A. Linwood Holton, becoming the first African-American to serve on a governor’s staff. While in the position he helped Virginia hire its first Black troopers, toll takers, liquor inspectors and, after helping put down a prison riot, its first Black prison administrators.The experience launched his federal career. President Richard Nixon appointed Robertson to the Presidential Committee on Mental Retardation. President Gerald Ford appointed him director of the Peace Corps in Kenya. President Ronald Reagan made him assistant director of the Office of Economic Development and deputy assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, which sent him to 65 countries.President George H.W. Bush gave him a role in the Take Pride in America partnership program, which cleaned up parks and waterways. Between presidential posts, he worked in the private sector, once helping American book manufacturers bring a million new books to the children of apartheid in South Africa.Roertson credits his success in life with his experience working for the AFRO, particularly the trip to New York as young man. “It exposed me to a larger world out there, that’s what the AFRO did for me. Not only did I vicariously grow up in the Pacific following the coverage of the war but then the AFRO is actually bringing me to New York in 1946. Jackie Robinson had just been signed to a major league contract by the Brooklyn Dodgers. I never forgot that trip and what that trip did for me,” Robertson said.last_img read more

Rationalizer bracelet tells traders when theyre stressed

first_img(PhysOrg.com) — Philips Electronics and the Dutch bank ABN AMRO have joined forces to develop a “Rationalizer” bracelet system that detects stress levels and displays a warning to help day-traders avoid making hasty decisions. Professor: ‘Depression is like the worst disease you can get’ (Video) Explore further Citation: ‘Rationalizer’ bracelet tells traders when they’re stressed (2009, November 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-11-rationalizer-bracelet-traders-theyre-stressed.html Dialogues Incubator Director Paul Iske said the Rationalizer was an example of the innovative ideas being developed to add value to the customers. In this case the device should help traders look at their transactions more objectively, and warn them when irrational or unwise decisions are likely.Senior Director at Philips Design, Clive van Heerden, said emotional sensing was becoming more important in today’s digital world. He also believes there are many other possible applications, such as game controllers, intelligent cameras to interpret social situations, or even dating sites that enable you to tell who is attracted to you. © 2009 PhysOrg.com Day trading can be a hazardous occupation and rash, irrational decisions can lose the trader a lot of money. Philips and ABN AMRO decided to solve that problem by inventing a device that senses the emotions of the wearer and warns the investor to wait and carefully consider any decisions on the next transaction.The concept device was developed by Philips Design and ABN AMRO’s Dialogues Incubator, with the assistance of the VU University in Amsterdam, after research confirmed that day traders sometimes act irrationally because their actions are affected by their stress level and powerful emotions such as greed or fear. The Rationalizer consists of an “EmoBracelet” and an “EmoBowl” and incorporates sensors and signal processors designed by Philips. The EmoBracelet’s galvanic skin response sensor measures the level of emotional arousal in a similar way to a lie detector. The result is displayed on either the bracelet or the EmoBowl as a light display that intensifies and changes to reflect the wearer’s intensifying emotional arousal. At the highest emotional stress level the display has a greater number of elements moving at higher speed, and the color changes to a warning red. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Couple found dead in Salt Lake flat

first_imgKolkata: An elderly person and his wife were found dead inside their flat located at Sukantanagar in Salt Lake on Monday morning. Sleuths suspect that they had committed suicide as a note was recovered in which it was stated that the family was going through a financial crunch and could not continue with their mentally challenged son’s treatment.The couple has been identified as Ranjit Das (67) and Mamata Das (56). According to locals, on Monday, Ranjit and Mamata’s son aged around 22 years, approached them and stated that his parents have committed suicide. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedSome locals rushed to their flat and found Ranjit hanging from a ceiling fan while Mamata was lying on the bed unconsciously. Immediately, Bidhannagar South police station was informed. Sleuths sent both Ranjit and Mamata’s bodies to Bidhannagar Sub-Divisional Hospital where doctors declared both of them brought dead. Neighbours also informed that the Das family used to reside at the flat for the past six years. Their two daughters are married and their son is mentally challenged. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseLocals claimed that Ranjit and Mamata’s son used to get violent often. A few months ago, he ransacked a local shop and tried to attack a person with a sharp weapon. He also used to torture his parents. Recently, he was admitted to a hospital where his treatment was going on. Four days ago he had been released. Ranjit used to own a jewellery shop in Beliaghata which he had to sell to continue their son’s treatment. Despite selling the shop, they had to spend all their savings and even borrowed a lot of money from several people. Locals informed that their son used to beat them up often for no good reason. Sources informed that a suicide note was found from the room in which Ranjit and Mamata’s bodies were found stating that they were going through a financial crunch and thus, they were forced to commit suicide. It was also written that their daughters will be the joint owners of the flat after their death. Also, Ranjit and Mamata asked them to leave their mentally challenged brother on the road as they should not think about him anymore. Though the suicide note was recovered, sleuths are not sure about the suicide angle. This is because, apparently, there was no sign of poisoning on Mamata’s body. Sleuths suspect that Ranjit must have killed her before hanging himself. Sources informed that both of their daughters identified the handwriting in the note as Mamata’s. Police are waiting for the autopsy report.last_img read more

Drought in Iraq Reveals 3400yrold Palace that Astounds Archaeologists

first_imgAfter a drought caused water levels to recede dramatically in an Iraq reservoir, a 3,400-year-old palace was temporarily revealed that was hailed as an “archaeological sensation.” The discovery of the ruins on the banks of the Tigris River prompted an archeological dig that scientists hope will improve understanding of the Mittani Empire, one of the least-researched empires of the Ancient Near East, the team of researchers said in a press release. “The find is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the region in recent decades,” Kurdish archeologist Hasan Ahmed Qasim said in a press release.Image of the unearthed palace. Photo courtesy of UNIVERSITY OF TÜBINGENA joint German and Iraqi team of archaeologists led a rescue excavation of the palace in Iraq unearthed by drought, known as Kemune, before the palace was once again swallowed by the waters of the reservoir, according to the Smithsonian.  “Despite the short field season, they were able to learn much about the palace, partially excavating eight of 10 rooms found within the complex. They discovered fired bricks used as floor slabs and 10 cuneiform tablets, which are currently being translated. One of them indicates that Kemune may be the ancient city of Zakhiku mentioned in other documents, suggesting the city must have lasted at least 400 years.”Archaeologists on site at the palace. Photo courtesy of UNIVERSITY OF TÜBINGENSome of the building’s walls are more than 2 meters high and some of its rooms have plastered walls, according to Dr. Ivana Puljiz of the Tübingen Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies. A standout of the excavation was finding remains of wall paintings in vibrant shades of red and blue. “In the second millennium BCE, murals were probably a typical feature of palaces in the Ancient Near East, but we rarely find them preserved,” Puljiz says in a press release.Well-preserved wall paintings in bright shades of red and blue found in the palace. Photo courtesy of UNIVERSITY OF TÜBINGENThe site was once part of the ancient Mittani empire, which encompassed much of modern-day Iraq and Syria from the 15th century to the 14th century B.C.A joint German-Kurdish team worked on the excavation after a lack of rain and the need to release water from the reservoir at Mosul Dam to relieve drought conditions further south combined last autumn to reveal the palace, said the Independent. “The massive building, preserved up to a height of 7m and with walls 2m thick in places, would originally have been an imposing structure overlooking the Tigris valley atop an elevated terrace, archaeologists said. The Mitannis built a huge mud-brick wall to bolster its western front on the sloping terrain, it is thought.”Map of the near east circa 1400 BCE showing Mittani empire. Image by Javierfv1212 CC BY-SA 3.0Puljiz told CNN that shortly after the dig was over, the palace disappeared once more under the lake. “It is unclear when it will emerge again,” she says.The team is hoping that the artifacts from the dig will be enough to yield some insights on the Mittani. “From the texts we hope to gain information on the inner structure of the Mittani Empire, its economic organization, and the relationship of the Mittani capital with the administrative centers in the neighboring regions,” Puljiz said.Related Video:Most of what we know about the empire comes from a handful of sites. Mitanni was one of several kingdoms and small states (another being Hurri) founded by the Indo-Iranians in Mesopotamia and Syria. Although originally these Indo-Iranians were probably members of Aryan tribes that later settled in India, they broke off from the main tribes on the way and migrated to Mesopotamia instead. There they settled among the Hurrian peoples and soon became the ruling noble class.Related Article: 4,000-yr-old “Lost” City Discovered – Gateway to Mesopotamia’s First Great EmpireIn a bit of trivia, the world’s oldest horse-training manual also comes from the Mittani; its people were known for their horsemanship and developed lighter, faster spoked wheels for their war chariots, said the Smithsonian.last_img read more

Using Autoencoders for detecting credit card fraud Tutorial

first_imgAutoencoders, which are one of the important generative model types have some interesting properties which can be exploited for applications like detecting credit card fraud. In this article, we will use Autoencoders for detecting credit card fraud. This is an excerpt from the book Machine Learning for Finance written by Jannes Klaas. This book introduces the study of machine learning and deep learning algorithms for financial practitioners. We will use a new dataset, which contains records of actual credit card transactions with anonymized features. The dataset does not lend itself to much feature engineering. We will have to rely on end-to-end learning methods to build a good fraud detector. You can find the dataset here. And the notebook with an implementation of an autoencoder and variational autoencoder here. Loading data from the dataset As usual, we first load the data. The time feature shows the absolute time of the transaction which makes it a bit hard to deal with here. So we will just drop it. df = pd.read_csv(‘../input/creditcard.csv’)df = df.drop(‘Time’,axis=1) We separate the X data on the transaction from the classification of the transaction and extract the numpy array that underlies the pandas dataframe. X = df.drop(‘Class’,axis=1).valuesy = df[‘Class’].values Feature scaling Now we need to scale the features. Feature scaling makes it easier for our model to learn a good representation of the data. For feature scaling, we scale all features to be in between zero and one. This ensures that there are no very high or very low values in the dataset. But beware, that this method is susceptible to outliers influencing the result. For each column, we first subtract the minimum value, so that the new minimum value becomes zero. We then divide by the maximum value so that the new maximum value becomes one. By specifying axis=0 we perform the scaling column wise. X -= X.min(axis=0)X /= X.max(axis=0) Finally, we split our data: from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_splitX_train, X_test, y_train,y_test = train_test_split(X,y,test_size=0.1) The input for our encoder now has 29 dimensions, which we compress down to 12 dimensions before aiming to restore the original 29-dimensional output. from keras.models import Modelfrom keras.layers import Input, Dense You will notice that we are using the sigmoid activation function in the end. This is only possible because we scaled the data to have values between zero and one. We are also using a tanh activation of the encoded layer. This is just a style choice that worked well in experiments and ensures that encoded values are all between minus one and one. You might use different activations functions depending on your need. If you are working with images or deeper networks, a relu activation is usually a good choice. If you are working with a more shallow network as we are doing here, a tanh activation often works well. data_in = Input(shape=(29,))encoded = Dense(12,activation=’tanh’)(data_in)decoded = Dense(29,activation=’sigmoid’)(encoded)autoencoder = Model(data_in,decoded) We use a mean squared error loss. This is a bit of an unusual choice at first, using a sigmoid activation with a mean squared error loss, yet it makes sense. Most people think that sigmoid activations have to be used with a cross-entropy loss. But cross-entropy loss encourages values to be either zero or one and works well for classification tasks where this is the case. But in our credit card example, most values will be around 0.5. Mean squared error is better at dealing with values where the target is not binary, but on a spectrum. autoencoder.compile(optimizer=’adam’,loss=’mean_squared_error’) After training, the autoencoder converges to a low loss. autoencoder.fit(X_train, X_train, epochs = 20, batch_size=128,validation_data=(X_test,X_test)) The reconstruction loss is low, but how do we know if our autoencoder is doing good? Once again, visual inspection to the rescue. Humans are very good at judging things visually, but not very good at judging abstract numbers. We will first make some predictions, in which we run a subset of our test set through the autoencoder. pred = autoencoder.predict(X_test[0:10]) We can then plot individual samples. The code below produces an overlaid bar-chart comparing the original transaction data with the reconstructed transaction data. import matplotlib.pyplot as plt import numpy as npwidth = 0.8prediction   = pred[9]true_value = X_test[9]indices = np.arange(len(prediction))fig = plt.figure(figsize=(10,7))plt.bar(indices, prediction, width=width,       color=’b’, label=’Predicted Value’)plt.bar([i+0.25*width for i in indices], true_value,       width=0.5*width, color=’r’, alpha=0.5, label=’True Value’)plt.xticks(indices+width/2.,       [‘V{}’.format(i) for i in range(len(prediction))] )plt.legend()plt.show() Autoencoder reconstruction vs original data. As you can see, our model does a fine job at reconstructing the original values. The visual inspection gives more insight than the abstract number. Visualizing latent spaces with t-SNE We now have a neural network that takes in a credit card transaction and outputs a credit card transaction that looks more or less the same. But that is of course not why we built the autoencoder. The main advantage of an autoencoder is that we can now encode the transaction into a lower dimensional representation which captures the main elements of the transaction. To create the encoder model, all we have to do is to define a new Keras model, that maps from the input to the encoded state: encoder = Model(data_in,encoded) Note that you don’t need to train this model again. The layers keep the weights from the autoencoder which we have trained before. To encode our data, we now use the encoder model: enc = encoder.predict(X_test) But how would we know if these encodings contain any meaningful information about fraud? Once again, the visual representation is key. While our encodings are lower dimensional than the input data, they still have twelve dimensions. It is impossible for humans to think about 12-dimensional space, so we need to draw our encodings in a lower dimensional space while still preserving the characteristics we care about. In our case, the characteristic we care about is proximity. We want points that are close to each other in the 12-dimensional space to be close to each other in the two-dimensional plot. More precisely, we care about the neighborhood, we want that the points that are closest to each other in the high dimensional space are also closest to each other in the low dimensional space. Preserving neighborhood is relevant because we want to find clusters of fraud. If we find that fraudulent transactions form a cluster in our high dimensional encodings, we can use a simple check for if a new transaction falls into the fraud cluster to flag a transaction as fraudulent. A popular method to project high dimensional data into low dimensional plots while preserving neighborhoods is called t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding, or t-SNE. In a nutshell, t-SNE aims to faithfully represent the probability that two points are neighbors in a random sample of all points. That is, it tries to find a low dimensional representation of the data in which points in a random sample have the same probability of being closest neighbors than in the high dimensional data. How t-SNE measures similarity The t-SNE algorithm follows these steps: Calculate the gaussian similarity between all points. This is done by calculating the Euclidean (spatial) distance between points and then calculate the value of a Gaussian curve at that distance, see graphics. The gaussian similarity for all points from the point can be calculated as: Where ‘sigma‘ is the variance of the Gaussian distribution? We will look at how to determine this variance later. Note that since the similarity between points i and j is scaled by the sum of distances between and all other points (expressed as k), the similarity between i, j, p i|j, can be different than the similarity between j and i, p j|i . Therefore, we average the two similarities to gain the final similarity which we work with going forward, where n is the number of data points. Randomly position the data points in the lower dimensional space. Calculate the t-similarity between all points in the lower dimensional space. Just like in training neural networks, we will optimize the positions of the data points in the lower dimensional space by following the gradient of a loss function. The loss function, in this case, is the Kullback–Leibler (KL) divergence between the similarities in the higher and lower dimensional space. We will give the KL divergence a closer look in the section on variational autoencoders. For now, just think of it as a way to measure the difference between two distributions. The derivative of the loss function with respect to the position yi of a data point i in the lower dimensional space is: Adjust the data points in the lower dimensional space by using gradient descent. Moving points that were close in the high dimensional data closer together and moving points that were further away further from each other. You will recognize this as a form of gradient descent with momentum, as the previous gradient is incorporated into the position update. The t-distribution used always has one degree of freedom. The choice of one degree of freedom leads to a simpler formula as well as some nice numerical properties that lead to faster computation and more useful charts. The standard deviation of the Gaussian distribution can be influenced by the user with a perplexity hyperparameter. Perplexity can be interpreted as the number of neighbors we expect a point to have. A low perplexity value emphasizes local proximities while a large perplexity value emphasizes global perplexity values. Mathematically, perplexity can be calculated as: Where Pi is a probability distribution over the position of all data points in the dataset and H(Pi) is the Shannon entropy of this distribution calculated as: While the details of this formula are not very relevant to using t-SNE, it is important to know that t-SNE performs a search over values of the standard deviation ‘sigma‘ so that it finds a global distribution Pi for which the entropy over our data is our desired perplexity. In other words, you need to specify the perplexity by hand, but what that perplexity means for your dataset also depends on the dataset. Van Maarten and Hinton, the inventors of t-SNE, report that the algorithm is relatively robust to choices of perplexity between five and 50. The default value in most libraries is 30, which is a fine value for most datasets. If you find that your visualizations are not satisfactory, tuning the perplexity value is probably the first thing you want to do. For all the math involved, using t-SNE is surprisingly simple. scikit-learn has a handy t-SNE implementation which we can use just like any algorithm in scikit. We first import the TSNE class. Then we create a new TSNE instance. We define that we want to train for 5000 epochs, use the default perplexity of 30 and the default learning rate of 200. We also specify that we would like output during the training process. We then just call fit_transform which transforms our 12-dimensional encodings into two-dimensional projections. from sklearn.manifold import TSNEtsne = TSNE(verbose=1,n_iter=5000)res = tsne.fit_transform(enc) As a word of warning, t-SNE is quite slow as it needs to compute the distances between all the points. By default, sklearn uses a faster version of t-SNE called Barnes Hut approximation, which is not as precise but significantly faster already. There is a faster python implementation of t-SNE which can be used as a drop in replacement of sklearn’s implementation. It is not as well documented however and has fewer features. You can find a faster implementation with installation instructions here. We can plot our t-SNE results as a scatter plot. For illustration, we will distinguish frauds from non-frauds by color, with frauds being plotted in red and non-frauds being plotted in blue. Since the actual values of t-SNE do not matter as much we will hide the axis. fig = plt.figure(figsize=(10,7))scatter =plt.scatter(res[:,0],res[:,1],c=y_test, cmap=’coolwarm’, s=0.6)scatter.axes.get_xaxis().set_visible(False)scatter.axes.get_yaxis().set_visible(False) Credit Auto TSNE For easier spotting, the cluster containing most frauds is marked with a circle. You can see that the frauds nicely separate from the rest of the transactions. Clearly, our autoencoder has found a way to distinguish frauds from the genuine transaction without being given labels. This is a form of unsupervised learning. In fact, plain autoencoders perform an approximation of PCA, which is useful for unsupervised learning. In the chart, you can see a few more clusters which are clearly separate from the other transactions but which are not frauds. Using autoencoders and unsupervised learning it is possible to separate and group our data in ways we did not even think about as much before. Summary In this article, we have learned about one of the most important types of generative models: Autoencoders. We used the autoencoders for credit card fraud. Read Next Implementing Autoencoders using H2O NeurIPS 2018 paper: DeepMind researchers explore autoregressive discrete autoencoders (ADAs) to model music in raw audio at scale. What are generative adversarial networks (GANs) and how do they work? [Video]last_img read more

Tourism to Paris slumps after attacks strikes floods

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> The Canadian Press Posted by Thursday, August 25, 2016 Share PARIS — Fewer foreign tourists are visiting the Paris region after deadly attacks last year and a season of strikes, violent labour action and exceptional floods.The regional tourism office reported figures for the first half of 2016 this week showing that the drop was especially high among Japanese, Russian and Chinese visitors.Spending on hotels fell particularly sharply, but was partially compensated by a rise in the number of people staying in private apartment offerings.Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has called a meeting for early September to find ways to revive tourism, which represents about 7 per cent of the French economy.Other French regions have not been as hard hit as Paris, though French Riviera tourism was shaken by a truck attack in Nice last month that killed 86. Tourism to Paris slumps after attacks, strikes, floodslast_img read more