OTTAWA – The federal government offered a temporary glimmer of hope Friday to employees suffering through serious pay issues as it moved ahead in talks with civil service unions toward a settlement for the “undue stress and hardships” caused by its troubled Phoenix pay system.Figures released by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), which oversees the beleaguered system, suggest a long-awaited reprieve from the ever-growing backlog of problems created since Phoenix was brought online just over two years ago.There were about 626,000 transactions awaiting processing at the government’s pay centre in Miramichi, N.B., as of Feb. 21, the department said on its web-based pay dashboard.But while that’s fewer than the peak of 633,000 problem pay files reached in January, the decline may be short-lived, PSPC warned.“This decrease is promising,” it said. “But with additional work left to do on overpayments and collective agreements, a continual decline is not expected until later this spring.”The latest backlog figures were released just days after Ottawa said it would no longer try to recover money overpaid to its employees until all of their outstanding pay issues have been resolved, and only if their paycheques were correct for at least three two-week pay periods.The government had blamed recent escalations in the backlog at least partly on a shift of pay centre employees to deal with changes brought about after the ratification of several civil service contracts, which required complex pay rate adjustments and calculations of retroactive back pay.More than half of all federal employees have experienced pay problems ranging from being underpaid or overpaid or not paid at all since Phoenix was brought online just over two years ago, the government said.Last month’s federal budget allocated $16 million over two years to the search for a Phoenix replacement, but that could be years away. In the meantime, federal employees continue to struggle with a pay system that has repeatedly failed.The budget also opened the door to compensating civil servants for what it called the “real mental and emotional stress” caused by Phoenix.Talks between the government and the unions that represent its workers over damages “have been advancing” since then, said the Public Service Alliance of Canada, although neither the unions nor Treasury Board Secretariat have revealed details of those discussions.“For two years, our members have lived in fear every pay day; they have had their lives turned upside down; and through it all they have continued to show up to work and deliver the services Canadians depend on,” said PSAC national president Robyn Benson.“An agreement on damages won’t solve everything, but it is an important part of making our members whole.”It is so far estimated that the total cost of the debacle, from the creation of Phoenix to dealing with its problems, will reach or exceed $1 billion by the end of this year. When it was first adopted, the previous Conservative government had predicted the system would save taxpayers $70 million annually.
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Calgary continues to try to sell itself to Vancouverites.Weeks after Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi was in the city trying to lure tech-savvy workers, new ads targeting engineers and geoscientists have appeared in the City Hall SkyTrain station.Robyn Bews, VP of Business Development for Calgary Economic Development, which is behind the ad, says it’s part of a $1.2 million campaign to attract workers from major cities in Canada and the U.S.“Probably like everybody else, our focus is on big cities that have, you know, big, explosive tech sectors,” says Bews.“And if you look at the cities that we’re interested in and talking to, or talking to the talent in, they are cities that are quite expensive to live in.”And it appears their campaign is working in Vancouver. Since Nenshi’s visit at the end of October, a number of people in Vancouver have accepted a job in Calgary.“We’ve had a number of job offers that have already been made and my understanding is that there’s a number of people moving to Calgary as a result of that,” says Bews.“We’re tracking at about four or five that have been hired directly from that trip in the past two weeks.”Bews says people in other major cities have also expressed interest in making the move.“They’re interested in the cost of living and the fact that they can move here and put a little extra cash in their jeans and continue to have a great lifestyle.”The campaign started in the fall. – With files from CityNews Vancouver
DETROIT — A federal grand jury in Detroit has indicted four Audi engineering managers from Germany in a widening diesel emissions cheating scandal.Richard Bauder, Axel Eiser, Stefan Knirsch and Carsten Nagel were named in a 12-count indictment alleging conspiracy, wire fraud and violations of the Clean Air Act.The indictment alleges the men took part in nearly a decade-long conspiracy to deceive the Environmental Protection Agency by cheating on emissions tests for 3-litre diesel engines.It’s not clear whether the men are in custody. Messages were left Thursday seeking comment from government and Audi spokesmen.Audi is a luxury brand owned by German automaker Volkswagen. VW pleaded guilty in 2016 to criminal charges in the scandal and will pay more than $30 billion in penalties and settlement costs..The Associated Press
While the issue of nationalism in the wake of Pulwama and air strike continues to dominate the political discourse in the run-up to 2019 general elections, yet growth with good governance remains the main poll plank of ruling BJP, which is showcasing how its reforms have paid rich dividends in the real estate and infrastructure domain, not only contributing significantly to nation’s GDP but also boosting the living standard of masses. Riding high on the theme of New India & transformation through reforms, this year’s interim budget spelt out measures to boost real estate. Not only was the annual income up to 5 lakh made tax free to boost the disposable income of home buyers, but tax exemption on house rents was also hiked to 2.4 lakh to encourage investors to invest in second homes for rental income. The budget also lessened the tax burden of developers by way of extending the exemption of tax levy on unsold inventory, from one year to two years, besides benefits under Section 80-1BA of the Income Tax Act to projects approved till March 31, 2020. With these budgetary incentives together with a substantial cut on GST rate on housing, the government focused on boosting real estate. Also Read – A special kind of bondIn fact, immediately after taking over in 2014, the Modi government demonstrated its commitment to give a boost to the construction and housing sector. In a far-reaching measure, the first budget of the NDA government met the long-standing demand of liberalising FDI norms in the construction sector by reducing the requirement for a built-up area and capital requirement. In yet another significant step, REITs were introduced with tax incentives to unlock a new source of funding for the capital-starved developers. Besides these, the twin measures of increasing home loan interest exemption limit by 50000 rupees and income tax limit by another 50000 rupees were major incentives to boost housing. In the following budgets, infrastructure was given a big push with an investment hike of 70000 crores and setting up of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund. Also Read – Insider threat managementFully recognising that affordable housing is key to meet the severe shortage of housing in the country, the government brought in incentivised policies for affordable housing including providing infrastructure status to it. The reform of demonetisation together with Benami Property Prohibition Act was introduced to stamp out black money from real estate, responsible for an artificial spurt in prices. Further, the reform to regulate real estate through the Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA) was introduced which not only contributed to bringing down realty prices but also brought in transparency and fair play into real estate transactions. The government launched the flagship mission of ‘Housing for All by 2022’. And to ensure that housing was within the reach of masses, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) was launched with Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) offering home loan interest rate subsidy of up to 2.67 lakh. This has significantly helped to make homes affordable. The gains of PMAY are visible to all in terms of delivery of record number of homes, though they are far short of 2022 targets. On the infrastructure front, the record construction of over 25 km a day of highways is another achievement which Modi government is showcasing. Modi government is now flaunting these reforms to voters ahead of polls. That the government has made real estate, housing and infrastructure as one of its main poll planks, is clearly visible from the hordes of projects/schemes launched in a rush before the introduction of poll code. Among the key metro rail projects given go-ahead were Kanpur & Agra Metro, Phase 4 of DMRC, Dwarka Expressway metro connectivity and extension of Red Line Metro to Ghaziabad. The Dwarka Expressway stuck for years in Delhi area, was given go ahead. In order to provide a big connectivity boost to real estate, regional air connectivity from Hindon Airforce Station in Ghaziabad was started with the operationalisation of civilian flights. The foundation laying of Rs 90000 crore Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and 61000 crores Delhi-Meerut Rapid Rail Project. However, notwithstanding the pre-election real estate and infrastructure bonanza and the positive impact of real estate reforms, only time will tell, how much dividend this poll plank will pay to the ruling party in the parliamentary polls. (The author is Founder & Editor of Ground Real(i)ty Media. Views expressed are strictly personal)
Kolkata: Former Trinamool Congress legislator Arjun Singh who has recently joined BJP, resigned from his post of MLA on Friday. Singh tendered his resignation before the Speaker of the state legislative assembly Biman Banerjee.Singh is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the Barrackpore seat on BJP’s ticket. He has been pitted against Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi and the poll will be held on May 6. Singh has already been removed from his post of the chairman of Bhatpara Municipality on April 8, after a no-confidence motion was passed against him through secret ballot, where he lost 21-11.
Mr. Annan, who arrived in Pakistan accompanied by his Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, is scheduled to meet tomorrow with President Pervez Musharraf and Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar. Responding to a question during a press encounter at the Islamabad airport, the Secretary-General said that he had been personally in touch with both India and Pakistan, as well as others, about the need to de-escalate tensions. “I have been very pleased with the statement made by President Musharraf eleven days ago, and I think these are very important statements, and I think this is a step in the right direction, and we need to build up on that,” he said. “And I hope that would also lead to defusing the tensions.”Mr. Annan made a similar comment earlier in the day when on his way to Islamabad from Tokyo, he made a brief stopover in Bangkok.Asked about the possibility of an escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan, the Secretary-General stressed that the two countries could only solve their problems through political and diplomatic means.”I think what we need to do is to encourage the two parties to resolve their differences through dialogue, including the questions of Kashmir,” Mr. Annan said. “And I hope than once the current tensions have been reduced, we will not stop there and consider that satisfactory but move on with the search for a longer term solution.”In Bangkok, the Secretary-General met Min Surakiart, the Foreign Minister of Thailand, to discuss UN activities and operations in Afghanistan. At a press conference afterwards, the Secretary-General reiterated his positive assessment of the Tokyo pledging conference on the reconstruction of Afghanistan. “It was very well attended and the results were good,” he said of the two-day forum that ended on Tuesday. “And we would hope to see the pledges made transformed into cash as quickly as possible, particularly resources that we need for this year.” On Friday morning, the Secretary-General will leave for Kabul for a series of meetings with members of the Interim Administration, including Chairman Hamid Karzai.
Milan Ivanovic, Chairman of the Serb National Council for Northern Kosovo, turned himself in to the UNMIK Court this morning in Mitrovica, the Mission said.Speaking from Montpelerin, Switzerland, UNMIK chief Michael Steiner welcomed the news and said that Mr. Ivanovic’s putting himself at the disposition of the legitimate UNMIK court was the “only proper way.”Mr. Ivanovic had been declared wanted in July for his alleged involvement in a violent demonstration in Mitrovica, during which hand grenades and sniper attacks were used. Twenty-two police officers were wounded in the melee.
In an address to the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles to mark its 50th anniversary, Mr. Annan reviewed the recent history of multilateralism as he spoke “about a topic that is very close to my heart – the importance of the United Nations to the future of the world.”He said the determination to live in a world governed by shared values could lead to success in the fight against “the politics of isolation and despair that terrorism seeks to create and bring the collective power of nations together to defeat the enemies we face.”“Obviously, leadership is essential. The United States is the sole remaining superpower. With that power comes great responsibility,” he said. “I sense a widespread international acceptance of American leadership.“But I also sense that its leadership will be more admired than resented and, indeed, that it will be most effective when it is exercised within a multilateral framework, when it is based on dialogue and the patient building of alliances through diplomacy and when it is aimed at strengthening the rule of law in international affairs.”These are the principles on which, thanks in part to the United States, the United Nations is based, he said.In 2000 world leaders gathered at the UN and worked out the Millennium Declaration, setting out their common objectives for the new century, Mr. Annan recalled.The horrific terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001 threatened to end this new era of hope and confidence, and instead raised fears that borders would close, freedoms would be curtailed or suppressed and “that the march towards democracy and human rights for all would be halted or even reversed.”But “practically all the governments of the world immediately understood that the best way – perhaps the only way – to prevent this happening was to confront this threat together,” he said.“Almost never in history has the world been as united as it was in the months after the attacks of 11 September – and it was united with America.”Now divisions have appeared but this acrimony has only underlined the need for the United Nations, he said.Recalling the many challenges faced by the UN throughout its history, Mr. Annan said that the Organization had not stopped terrible wars in Indochina, South Asia, the Middle East and Africa’s Great Lakes region, but it was a vehicle for action against Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and helped to bring peace to many lands, including Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone and East Timor, he said.The world body has also brought aid to millions affected by fighting, famine and floods, he said.The UN system, including its financial and trade institutions, “helped to achieve a remarkable half-century of progress, Mr. Annan said. “The world economy not only recovered from the devastation of 1945, it expanded as never before.”Air traffic was made safer, smallpox eradicated and women’s rights were advanced in many parts of the world, as were those of many oppressed peoples, Mr. Annan said, as he listed the many achievements of the world body.The United States could claim a large share of the credit, he said, “but the successes of this era required cooperation and interaction among the governments and peoples of the world in a manner never before seen. Much of that occurred through the United Nations.”
The rumour, which aren’t only gossips when even THW Kiel Facebook page shares links – Filip Jicha to FC Barcelona? It was obvious that the EHF Champions League winner will trash money to find a real replacement for Nikola Karabatic, after he moved to PSG Handball in transfer which rumours marked on 2 million EUR, but it looks. The only thing which is non-understandable is why “Zebras” want to let their captain to go?FC Barcelona tried to sign MKB MVM Veszprem star, twice in a row best EHF CL goalscorer, Momir Ilic, but the Hungarian management said easily “NO”, what was in direction of their ambitions – which going toward the EHF CL trophy in Cologne 2016.Is this means that Alfred Gislason has no that kind of ambitions, after he lost “Icelandic thunder” Aron Palmarsson, who reinforced one of the three-four biggest rivals (Veszprem) on the road to Cologne?If Jicha put sign on the paper in “Blaugrana”, will THW Kiel be able to fight for the European crown, and will that be a sign that for the first time after many years, TOP German teams will seat in the “second row” of the favorites behind the champions of France, Spain, Hungary and Poland?The “golden generation” with Nikola Karabatic in “black and white” was extended with amazing years with Ilic, Narcisse, Omeyer and Ahlm in the main roles. After these four stars got their “golden watches” at the end of season 2012/2013, Kiel struggling to find new identity even the system remained the same.Without Jicha and Palmarsson, Kiel will waste all the potential gained in the “golden period” between 2008-2013. Ok, it will be stronger between the posts with Niklas Landin, but still, a lot of force is needed in back-line.Gislason didn’t succeed with Jallouz and Lauge, he will try to find new “potential” in Christian Dissinger, but Dissi, the world best junior in generation 1990, still need time to reach TOP level after many injuries he had in the past. Generally, Gislason didn’t manage to make TOP players from most of his youngstar’s signings as Palicka, Sjostrand, Sonne, etc…For Bundesliga, THW Kiel look still unbeatable, but for Europe, if captain leaves the board, “Zebras” will be out of TOP 3 candidates for the glory night.Why Kiel losing the battle with other TOP teams? Why Jicha has to leave Baltic in age 33 or Ilic as 32-years old bomber? There are two thesis. One of them problem with money, which is almost unbeliavable when handball world witnessing the number of tickets which are sold for their matches in Sparkassen Arena and sponsors. Second, club’s politics which are looking always for a new, fresh blood.However, it looks that handball “Manchester United” struggling to stay among the best… ← Previous Story Junior WCh 2015: Brazilian storm over Norway – Brave Japan gain first point Next Story → New rules test in Brazil – “Blue card”, Passive Play, “medicine” against simulants…. Filip Jicha
NEXT YEAR’S ELECTIONS to the European Parliament could see American-style presidential campaigns come to Ireland.An influential committee of MEPs in Brussels has called on political parties running candidates in next year’s elections to publicise who they want to run the European Commission – with candidates then embarking on an EU-wide campaign to whip up votes.The proposal by the European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs would aim to make the European elections more like those of the Dáil – where people vote for local TDs based on who they might pick to run the powerful executive arm of the EU.Though the European Commission is often seen as unelected, its members are appointed by the European Parliament – meaning any prospective Commission president would need the support of a majority of the 751 MEPs in order to take power.The motivation behind the proposal is that the Commission would be seen as a more democratic body, whose President needs a broad base of public support.Europarties’ nominees set for jet-setting campaignIf enacted, for example, the European People’s Party – the group to which Fine Gael belongs – would send its preferred candidate across the European Union to try and drum up support for that party’s candidates, who in turn would try to elect them as Commissioner.Similar arrangements would be put in place by the Party of European Socialists (Labour), the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (Fianna Fáil), and the European United Left-Nordic Green (Socialist Party and Sinn Féin) whose candidates would also be expected to canvass across the EU.The formal recommendation from the committee is no surprise, and most of the ‘Europarties’ had already set about trying to identify who they might nominate to succeed Jose Manuel Barroso at the helm of the Commission next month.The European People’s Party is said to be considering nominating Barroso for a third time, but may also nominate veteran commissioner Viviane Reding or Polish prime minister Donald Tusk.The Party of European Socialists may nominate former Spanish premier Jose Luis Zapatero or the current European Parliament president Martin Schulz, while the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats could choose former Belgian premier Guy Verhofstadt or NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen.Independent nominees in the ring for EU’s top jobIt is also possible that some parties could rally behind an independent, non-partisan candidate, with former Italian prime minister Mario Monti cited as one possible candidate.It has been suggested that even former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who remains an Austrian citizen, could launch an unlikely bid.Other recommendations for next year’s elections include asking national authorities to include the names of European political parties on domestic ballot papers, and asking domestic political parties to nominate candidates who might live in another EU country.Among the other proposals is that no official result should be published in any member state until after the close of polling across the continent – a proposal which, if realised, could see Irish ballots lie idle for a weekend.Ireland is likely to hold its polling on a Friday – meaning that European ballots could be left uncounted until the following Monday, while count staff instead divert their attention to counting the votes in local council elections being held at the same time.The committee’s report, outlining all of these recommendations, will be put to a plenary session of the European Parliament in July where it is likely to be approved in a full vote among current MEPs.Read: MEPs ask for next year’s local and European elections to be moved
SFR lance une carte SIM écologiqueSFR a décidé de miser sur le développement durable. L’opérateur vient de dévoiler une étonnante carte SIM. Excepté son microcontrôleur, elle est entièrement composée de fibres de bois naturelles qui la rendent biodégradable et recyclable. SFR est fier de dévoiler sa dernière innovation. Conçue dans le cadre de sa politique environnementale, il s’agit d’une carte SIM écologique. C’est un pilote en papier, composé de fibres naturelles de bois, qui est dévoilé sur le site Internet de l’opérateur français. Des fibres entièrement recyclables, biodégradables et compostables, se félicite SFR.À lire aussiJournée mondiale de l’environnement : Quelques astuces pour un mode de vie plus écolo au bureauL’objet a la taille d’une demi-carte SIM, et avec son corps 100% naturel, elle garantit les mêmes critères de qualité et de fonctionnalités qu’une carte classique en plastique, affirme l’opérateur. Développée par Oberthur Technologies, une firme française spécialiste de la fabrication de cartes à puces, la carte offrirait une réduction de près de 30% des émissions de gaz à effets de serre générées tout au long de son cycle de vie.Encore en phase de test, cette innovation est distribuée depuis hier, le 17 novembre. 10.000 cartes SIM papier seront en effet progressivement mises en circulation et adressées aux clients SFR, indique l’opérateur qui entend rapidement passer à l’étape de la généralisation à tous ses abonnés.Le 20 novembre 2011 à 09:00 • Maxime Lambert
Real Madrid have signed 17-year-old forward Rodrygo Goes from Brazilian side Santos but he will not join them until July 2019, reports Sky Sports.Goes made his debut for Santos last November and has netted five goals in nine league appearances for the club in the Brazilian top-flight.“Real Madrid C. F. and Santos Futebol Clube have agreed that Rodrygo Goes will play his football at Real Madrid when he reaches the legal age requirement,” the La Liga side said on their official website.Zidane reveals Sergio Ramos injury concern for Real Madrid Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Zinedine Zidane has put Sergio Ramos’ availability for Real Madrid’s trip to Sevilla next weekend in doubt after withdrawing him against Levante.“Although the player would be able to play for our club as of January 2019, the agreement in place sets out that he will join the squad in July of that year.”The transfer fee has not been confirmed but media reports suggest the Champions League winners have paid in the region of £39.5m for Goes.Rodrygo made his first team and Série A debut in 2017, coming on as a late substitute for Bruno Henrique in a 3–1 home win against Atlético Mineiro. He scored his first senior goal January, netting a last-minute winner in a 2–1 Campeonato Paulista away defeat of Ponte Preta.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) along with the National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association and National Cotton Council, provided comments to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) this week on implementation of changes to the Conservation Reserve Program authorized in the 2014 farm bill. While most changes have already taken effect, FSA is in the final stages of implementing the law.“The changes of the 2014 Farm Bill included several modifications to the program that recognize that conservation objectives can be achieved while increasing farmers’ ability to use the land working within the requirement of their conservation plan,” the comments state. “Specifically, these modifications cover greater flexibility in the haying and grazing provisions, incidental grazing provisions, wetland provisions related to subsurface drainage, transition incentive payments, allowing access to land in the final year of the contract, and providing transition to other conservation programs.”The comments also touch on difficulties farmers encounter in trying to improve habitat for pollinators.“As conservation practices are being developed and refined, a grower’s ability to implement the practice should be evaluated. For instance, pollinator habitat conservation practices have been challenging for growers due to the specific seed requirements, the high cost of the seed and the difficulty in seeding and establishing successful plantings…We hope to work with you to refine your strategy and work toward practices that create habitat and are workable for growers.”Click here to read more.
Buying in metal, auto, consumer durable and pharma counters helped the benchmark S&P BSE sensex to rally for the second session in a row by 154 points to end at 27,395.73 amid mixed to positive global trends and renewed buying by foreign funds.A statement given by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that the economy is expected to grow “much better” in 2015-16 as compared with the current financial year also aided the sentiment. The Indian economy grew by 5.3 per cent in the September quarter from a year earlier, and is expected to grow 5.5 per cent in the current financial year that ends on March 31. Buying was seen across-the-board as 11 out of 12 sectoral indices closed with gains while only bankex finished with minor losses.Smart rise in Tata Motors, HDFC, RIL, ITC, TCS, SSLT, Sun Pharma, Hero MotoCorp, Hindalco, HUL, Coal India, Tata Steel, Gail India and BHEL mainly supported the sensex rise.Meanwhile, extending losses for the fourth straight session, rupee on Monday declined by 10 paise to log over 13-month closing low of 63.67 against the Greenback following sustained dollar demand from importers.
Ports (excluding USB) Highest Available Resolution Ports (excluding USB) Asus’ bestows yet another elegantly designed system upon the world with the ROG Strix Scar II (GL704GM). For $1,899 (starting at $1,699), the Scar II gets you a strong 8th Gen Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU that can power through demanding games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider at max settings.article continued below Aside from its roaring power, the Scar II features a colorful 17.3-inch panel that runs at a smooth 144Hz and a meaty keyboard with solid RGB lighting. The audio could be better for a gaming machine at this price, but overall, the Strix Scar II is a strong contender in the 17-inch gaming laptop arena. Design The Strix Scar II’s contrasting brushed-aluminum hood is so damn tantalizing that I couldn’t help but sit in a corner and call it “my precious.” The lid is accompanied by a glossy ROG logo that emits RGB lighting when turned on and a sleek cutout near the hinge that reveals LED indicators. The vent grills in the back also have a sharp copper color. As soon as I opened the laptop, the light bar and the keyboard blasted rainbows of color at me. Between the mesmerizing carbon-fiber stitching and the badass brown camo, I was in love with the inside of the laptop as much as the out. Even the bezels are superthin, but at the cost of the webcam’s placement on the bottom bezel. At 6.3 pounds and 15.7 x 10.7 x 1 inches, the Strix Scar II is average size compared with its competitors, but still relatively thin for a 17-inch laptop. The Dell G7 15 (6.3 pounds, 0.9 inches) is the thinnest, while the Acer Predator Helios 300 Special Edition (5.5 pounds, 1.1 inches) and its 17-inch counterpart, Acer Predator Helios 300 (6.6 pounds, 1.1 inches), are the thickest of the four. Ports The Strix Scar II has a ton of ports to accommodate your streaming and gaming needs. The left side features the power jack, an RJ45 port, a Mini DisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.0 port, three USB 3.1 ports and a headphone jack. On the right lies a Kensington lock slot, one USB 3.1 port, one USB 3.1 Type-C port and an SD card reader. Display The Strix Scar II’s 17.3-inch, 144Hz, 1080p panel is sharp, colorful and bright, despite turning in mixed results in our lab tests. Additionally, it offers a 3-millisecond response time. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, I hid behind a truck as its taillights burned a bright, ominous red, illuminating Lara and revealing the pounds of mud on her peach-colored flesh. The image was so creepy and vivid that I thought I was about to go hunt the Predator. The panel was sharp enough for me to spot a rugged laptop across the enemy camp, which made me verbally mouth, “Is that a Dell?” The splashing puddles and movements of Lara’s hair looked silky smooth as I rushed in to find out. The Strix Scar II’s 17.3-inch, 144Hz, 1080p panel is sharp, colorful and bright. In the trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody, I clearly saw every layer and strand of hair in Rami Malek’s wig. In the same scene, his bright-red jacket and baby-blue tank top radiated in the wood-paneled office space. When the band was on stage at a small venue, I spotted details on people’s faces in the dark crowd, though the band members looked washed out. It was then that I realized the color brightness was higher to accommodate for the dim display. The Strix Scar II’s panel covered 114 percent of the sRGB spectrum, which slips past the 111 percent mainstream-gaming-laptop average. It also took down the Dell G7 15 (62 percent) and Helios 300 SE (113), while the 17-inch Helios 300 nailed 139 percent. MORE: Highest Resolution Screens Despite not being a drastic issue in real-world testing, the Strix Scar II’s display (261 nits) is dim on paper compared with the 294-nit category average. It still beat the Dell G7 15 (232 nits), but got overwhelmed by the Helios twins — 312 nits for the Special Edition and 373 nits for the 17-inch. Keyboard and Touchpad Behind the stylish, techy font and transparent WASD keys lies three solid RGB lighting zones on the Strix Scar II’s island-style keyboard. The keys felt active and punchy as I tap-danced all over them with my fingers. I nailed 76 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is faster than my typical 66-wpm average. The keys travel at a decent 1.4 millimeters and require 71 grams of actuation force, which isn’t far from our comfort zones (1.5 to 2.0 mm of travel and a minimum of 60 g of force). The 4.1 x 2.2-inch touchpad offers smooth cursor control as well as two discrete buttons that are satisfying to press. However, the left and right click actually go too far down, causing my thumb to hit the base of the chassis. It did respond well to Windows 10 gestures, like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tab switching. Audio The Strix Scar II’s speakers lacked treble, but they were still loud enough to fill my room with Bump of Chicken’s “Hello, World!” The opening vocals were solid, but when the drums kicked in I could barely make out the tambourine. At the chorus, I couldn’t distinguish between the tracks aside from the vocals and the lead guitar. I thought I was going deaf, but when I tested the same song on my own speaker, I was able to make out each drum beat and note from the bass guitar. MORE: Buying Headphones in: Pros and Cons of Every Type In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, I tossed a bottle at a guard’s head and heard him scream in agonizing pain, and while that was hilarious, it sounded a little muffled despite me being right above him. I noticed that Lara and the enemies sounded somewhat muted in general, and the bass-heavy sounds, like helicopter blades, overwhelmed everything. Despite that, when I blasted an oncoming enemy with an assault rifle, the bullets sounded so heavy that I felt my ears tingle. Unfortunately, there’s no audio-equalizer app to help fix the Scar II’s sound issues. Gaming, Graphics and VR Whether I was turning enemies into cyclopes with my bow and arrow, or skewering them with my handy pickaxe, the Strix Scar II’s Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU (6GB of VRAM) powered through Shadow of the Tomb Raider on Highest settings at 1080p for a smooth 34 frames per second. On the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark on Very High settings at 1080p, the Strix Scar II hit 38 fps, climbing over the 34-fps mainstream gaming laptop average but lagging slightly behind competitors. The Dell G7 15’s GTX 1060 Max Q averaged 35 fps, and the Helios 300 SE’s GTX 1060 matched the Scar II, at 38 fps. The 17-inch Helios 300’s GTX 1060 soared past the others at a zippy 59 fps. Whether I was turning enemies into cyclopes with my bow and arrow or skewering them with my handy pickaxe, the Strix Scar II powered through Shadow of the Tomb Raider at a smooth 34 frames per second. The Strix Scar II came out on top on the Hitman benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), netting 73 fps and getting over the 66-fps category average. The Dell G7 15 (63 fps), the 17-inch Helios 300 (66 fps) and the Helios 300 SE (72 fps) all fell behind. On the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark (Very High, 1080p), the Strix Scar II got 51 fps, which sailed past the 45-fps category average, the Dell G7 15 (45 fps) and matched the Helios 300 SE (51 fps). The 17-inch Helios 300 pushed out a much higher 73 fps. MORE: The Best Gaming Laptops Clean off the dust of your VR headset — the Strix Scar II hit a solid 7.4 out of 11 on the SteamVR performance test, which beats the 6.1 category average and the Dell G7 15’s 6.3. The Helios 300 SE and the 17-inch Helios 300 got a little further, at 7.9 and 7.7, respectively. Performance The Strix Scar II is armed to the teeth with an Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 32GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and 1TB 5,400-rpm HDD. It shrugged off the 40 Google Chrome tabs, five 1080p YouTube videos and three Windows 10 bloatware games that I threw at it. On the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, the Strix Scar II scored 18,618, narrowly beating the 18,451 mainstream gaming average. The Dell G7 15 (19,516) and the Helios 300 SE (19,428) did much better with their Core i7-8750H CPUs, but the 17-inch Helios 300 (13,972) lagged behind with its 7th Gen Core i7-7700HQ processor. The Strix Scar II completed our Excel test (matching 65,000 names and addresses) in a short 0:46, which surpasses the 0:49 category average but not the Dell G7 15 (0:41) or the Helios 300 SE (0:45). On the Handbrake benchmark, the Strix Scar II took the longest to transcode a 4K video to 1080p at 11 minutes and 37 seconds, missing the 11:29 category average. The Dell G7 15 and the Helios 300 SE completed the test in 10:40 and 10:30, respectively. The Strix Scar II took a speedy 10 seconds to copy 4.97GB of data for a rate of 508 megabytes per second, sailing past the 287 MBps category average and trumping the competition. The Dell G7 15 scored a measly 102 MBps, while the Helios 300 SE (363.5) and the 17-inch Helios 300 (318.1) made the average but lost to the Scar II. Battery Life Like many gaming laptops, the Strix Scar II’s battery didn’t last very long. After continuously surfing the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the Scar II’s battery lasted 3 hours and 37 minutes, which is just under the 4:03 mainstream-gaming-laptop average. The Helios 300 SE didn’t do much better at 3 hours, but the Dell G7 15 registered an impressive 5:39. Webcam Even if the Scar II’s webcam was on the top bezel, it still wouldn’t make up for how blotchy and grainy the images are. My hair looked like it was photoshopped on my head. Surprisingly, however, it captured the red and blue on my Spider-Man PS4 box incredibly well. And though the light in the room was blaring right above me, it didn’t wash out my face in the image whatsoever. Heat The Strix Scar II bends heat to its will like a wizard. After playing 15 minutes of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the underside hit 103 degrees Fahrenheit, which is closer to our 95-degree comfort threshold than most gaming laptops. The center of the keyboard measured 83 degrees and the touchpad registered 76 degrees. The hottest it got was 107 degrees, near the center of the hinge on the underside. Our normal heat test yielded very similar results. After streaming a 15-minute HD video, the underside, center of the keyboard and touchpad hit 103, 96 and 80 degrees, respectively. Software and Warranty Asus packs a few useful gaming utilities into the Scar II, including the Armoury Crate, GameVisual and GameFirst V. The Armoury Crate monitors the CPU, GPU, RAM and fans, which are customizable with created profiles. The app also lets you free up RAM and customize RGB lighting through presets like Strobing, Breathing and Rainbow. GameVisual provides color optimization for the display with presets like Vivid, Scenery and Cinema. Meanwhile, GameFirst V monitors bandwidth use for multiple things like file transferring, streaming and gaming. But does it have Windows 10 bloatware? Why, yes, the Strix Scar II includes Dragon Mania Legends, Candy Crush Saga and its irrelevant twin brother, Candy Crush Soda Saga, among other usual Windows bloat. MORE: PS4 Games: Our Staff Favorites The Strix Scar II comes with a one-year limited warranty. See how Asus performed on our Tech Support Showdown, Best and Worst Brands listing and Best and Worst Gaming Brand ranking. Configurations The Strix Scar II that I tested comes with an Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 32GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, 1TB 5,400-rpm HDD and an Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU. Asus doesn’t actually sell this model, but you can get it from EXcaliberPC on Amazon for $1,899. You can even outfit the laptop with more storage, up to a 2TB Samsung 970 EVO SSD and 1TB HDD, which costs $2,525. However, Asus sells only one model of the 17-inch Scar, which costs $1,699 and has 16GB of RAM instead of 32GB. Bottom Line The Asus ROG Strix Scar II is a glamorous piece of hardware that fits a gorgeous 144Hz, 17-inch panel in a relatively thin chassis. With its 8th Gen Core i7 and Nvidia GTX 1060 under the hood of a tactile RGB keyboard, this machine will easily let you tear through your favorite games on max settings. You should, however, come prepared with your own headphones and dedicated webcam because the Scar II just can’t deliver regarding sound and camera quality. If you’re interested in saving a few bucks, the Helios 300 Special Edition costs only $1,399 and offers the same CPU and GPU but with a much brighter display. However, you’ll be hard- pressed to find a 17-inch laptop this thin and practically bezel-free at this reasonable of a price. Credit: Laptop Mag by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GameIf you’re over 40 – this game is a must!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoKelley Blue Book5 Mid-engine Corvettes That Weren’tKelley Blue BookUndoGrepolis – Free Online GameGamers Around the World Have Been Waiting for this GameGrepolis – Free Online GameUndoTODAYPolice Identify Girl Licking Ice Cream Tub In Viral VideoTODAYUndoMy Food and FamilyHealthy, Homemade Drunken Thai Noodles In Just 20 MinutesMy Food and FamilyUndoVerizon WirelessThis new phone will blow your mind.Verizon WirelessUndo Here Are the Best PC Game Controllers Our Favorite Gaming Keyboards Our Favorite Gaming Mice for Every Genre 9923 CPU Weight Wi-Fi Model Secondary Hard Drive Speed RJ-45 Ports (excluding USB) Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Intel Core i7-8750H processor 8737.67 0 4000 8000 12000 16000 20000 24000 15.7 x 10.7 x 1 inches 5,400 Wi-Fi HDD 16GB 1920 x 1080 Thunderbolt/mini DisplayPort USB 3.1 Gen 1 Headphone/Mic Operating System SD card slot Native Resolution 32GB HDMI 2.0 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD Review 6 GB 1920×1080 3DMark Fire Strike3DMark Ice Storm UnlimitedBattery Life (Test Ver 2.0)Color AccuracyColor GamutDisplay Brightness (Nits)Geekbench 3Geekbench 4Geekbench 4.1GTA V (1920 x 1080 on Very High)Hard Drive SpeedHitman (1920 x 1080 on Ultra with DirectX 12)JetstreamMetro Last Light (high, 1080p)Middle Earth: Shadow of WarRise of the Tomb Raider (1920 x 1080 on Very High)SteamVR Performance Test Display Size DC-in Optical Drive Optical Drive Speed Hard Drive Type Windows 10 Pro Video Memory Company Website 17.3 USB Ports Ports (excluding USB) Touchpad Size Bluetooth Graphics Card Warranty/Support Specifications 6.28 pounds Bluetooth 5.0 3DMark Fire Strike1 of 17Tests notebook graphics performance.Asus ROG Strix Scar II (GL704GM)Acer Predator Helios 300 (17-inch)Acer Predator Helios 300 Special EditionDell G7 15Category Average (as of 10/31/18) 3379 Mini DisplayPort Ports (excluding USB) Ports (excluding USB) USB 3.1 Gen 2 Ports (excluding USB) Ports (excluding USB) 256GB SSD https://store.asus.com Secondary Hard Drive Type Advertisement Ports (excluding USB) Hard Drive Speed RAM Secondary Hard Drive Size 9638 5 One-year limited warranty RAM Upgradable to Size 802.11ac 10240 Mobile Broadband Hard Drive Size 4.1 x 2.2-inch
Changes to Windows Update supersedence by Martin Brinkmann on December 12, 2016 in Windows – 28 commentsMicrosoft revealed a couple of days ago on Technet that it plans to change the Windows Update supersedence on Windows 7 and 8.1, and Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, and 2012 R2.The company started to publish so-called rollup updates for the mentioned operating systems in October.This was a major change for several reasons. For one, instead of having the luxury to install individual updates, all-or-nothing was the motto of the day.This was problematic, as it changes how bugs are addressed. You could remove the problematic update previously to address the issue, if caused by an update. With the new update scheme, all you can do is uninstall the whole rollup with all patches, even those that are not causing any issues on the system.Imagine having to remove all security patches of a month because one causes issues on your system. You may leave a computer system running Windows wide open to attacks.But that was not the only issue; Microsoft decided to release a security only update rollup, and a rollup image containing security updates and other updates.I called the terminology that Microsoft uses to describe these updates atrocious. The company calls “security only” updates “Security Only Quality Update”, and the all-encompassing updates “Security Monthly Quality Rollup”.Windows users have three options when it comes to updates: 1) install only security rollups, 2) install security and non-security update rollups, or 3) block all updates.The supersedence issueThe idea was, that if you only wanted security updates, that you had to install those rollup patches and be done with it.Turns out, this did not work for customers using WSUs or Configuration Manager 2007.While security only, and security and non-security rollup, updates installed fine in October, the following happened in November when the new batch of updates was released:The Security-only rollup update of October 2016 was superseeded by the security and non-security rollup update in November.This meant, that customers could not install security-only rollup updates on their machines if they used WSUS or Configuration Manager 2007, at least not without workarounds.This meant that the October 2016 Security only update, the October 2016 Security Monthly Quality Rollup update, and the November 2016 Security only update were all superseded by the November 2016 Security Monthly Quality Rollup update.The FixThe fix removes security-only update supersedence. This has a couple of advantages, including that it fixes the issue that company customers experienced in November 2016.Companies may install security only updates at any time, and in any order. They may furthermore install security monthly quality rollup images in select months without affecting installed or future security updates.Microsoft on fixing bugs in security-only updatesI asked back in October how Microsoft was going to address issues found in security updates. This was an important question for Windows users and administrators who install the security only updates only on machines.Would Microsoft release updates for the security-only update to address the issue, or would it release the patch as part of the security monthly quality rollup?Scott Breen shed some light on the question. According to him, Microsoft will decide the course of action on a case by case basis.The company may release a revision for the security update to address the issue.If a problem with the update itself is identified and not a known issue, a revision of the update might be released which resolves the problem. As I said, case-by-case.While that is one option, Microsoft did something different for issues identified in security patch MS16-087. It addressed the issue in the November Security Quality Monthly Rollup, but not in the Security-Only Rollup for the month. (via Born City)SummaryArticle NameChanges to Windows Update supersedenceDescriptionMicrosoft revealed a couple of days ago on Technet that it plans to change the Windows Update supersedence on Windows 7 and 8.1, and Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, and 2012 R2.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisement
37 year old B.C. woman among six killed in Alaska floatplane crash Posted by Wednesday, May 15, 2019 Share The Canadian Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Alaska, Crash With files from The Associated Press KETCHIKAN, Alaska —A 37-year-old woman from Richmond, B.C., has been identified as the Canadian killed when two sightseeing floatplanes crashed midair in Alaska earlier this week.Elsa Wilk is one of the six deceased victims named by Alaska State Troopers late Tuesday.The floatplanes were carrying cruise ship tourists when they collided Monday near the southeast Alaska town of Ketchikan.The death toll was initially reported as four, with two people missing. The U.S. Coast Guard said the bodies of the two missing people were recovered near the crash site Tuesday night.Global Affairs Canada says Canadian consular officials in Seattle were in contact with local authorities to gather additional information and provide assistance as needed.“Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and loved ones of the Canadian citizen who died in Alaska,” the department said.The American victims were identified as 46-year-old pilot Randy Sullivan from Ketchikan, 62-year-old Cassandra Webb, 39-year-old Ryan Wilk and 46-year-old Louis Botha.State troopers said the Australian was 56-year-old Simon Bodie.The Royal Princess cruise ship left Vancouver for Anchorage on Saturday and was to return on May 25.More news: Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongCoast Guard Commander Michael Kahle said earlier Tuesday that crews were searching both the water and the shore of a remote area called George Inlet for the two missing _ the Canadian and Australian.He said the area is en route to the Misty Fjords National Monument, a popular and active spot for sightseeing flights.One of the planes was a single-engine de Havilland Otter operated by Taquan Air and was returning from a wilderness tour sold through Princess Cruises of the Misty Fjords, the company said.It was carrying 10 guests from the Royal Princess and a pilot, who were all Americans, the statement said.The other plane, a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, was operating an independent flight tour carrying a pilot and four guests, of which two were American, one was Canadian and the other was Australian, the company added.The pilot and nine passengers on the Otter were able to make their way to shore, where they were rescued and taken to hospital, Kahle said.The survivors were in fair or good condition, said Marty West, a spokeswoman for PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.Local emergency responders worked with state and federal agencies and private vessels to help rescue and recover victims.More news: GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programs“It’s been a long day and the crews have been working really hard to rescue people and recover the deceased,” said Deanna Thomas, a spokeswoman for the local government, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.Jerry Kiffer of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad said several of the passengers had been removed from the beach by the time his crews arrived on Monday.“Obviously, we had some injuries _ broken bones, lacerations, back injuries, but everybody was reasonably calm,” he told the news conference Tuesday.The debris field was about 300 metres wide and 800 metres long, with doors, seats and life-jackets strewn in a way that indicated an aircraft had come apart in the air, Kiffer said.Taquan Air said the company has suspended operations while the crash is investigated.“We are devastated … and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families,” it said in a statement.It’s not known how the planes collided. U.S. National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived from Washington, D.C., Tuesday afternoon.
A live microphone once caught him saying: “This old hag is worse than the one-eyed guy.” It was a reference to Argentine President Cristina Kirchner and her late husband and former President Néstor Kirchner, who had a lazy eye.Critics point to Mujica’s shortcomings, including his failure to implement education reform, even as the country’s academic achievements fell.Vázquez inherits a country facing a tougher economic climate than when he first took office in 2005.Uruguay has enjoyed 12 years of unbroken growth and record-low unemployment, but is now struggling to deal with the end of the global commodities boom.Inflation is now more than one point above the official target range of three to seven percent, and Uruguay’s giant neighbors Argentina and Brazil are both experiencing economic downturns. Facebook Comments MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Tabaré Vázquez was sworn in as president of Uruguay Sunday, returning to office a decade after first leading the left to power and drawing a curtain on folksy farmer José Mujica’s colorful rule. Related posts:Uruguay plan to sell pot at pharmacies slammed US prepares to ramp up transfers from Guantanamo Uruguay says it won’t take more Guantanamo inmates Uruguay to probe dictatorship crimes Mujica, a former guerrilla fighter known for legalizing marijuana, gay marriage and abortion, handed power back to his Broad Front, FA, party colleague, in a country that bars presidents from serving consecutive terms.Vázquez, a cancer doctor with a more buttoned-down style, won 53.6 percent of the vote in a November 30 presidential run-off, reclaiming the office he previously held from 2005 to 2010.After taking the oath of office before the National Assembly, he called for dialogue on issues facing the country, at a moment when the parties that long dominated Uruguayan politics, the Blancos (Whites) and Colorados (Reds), are reeling from a string of FA victories.“We can and we must analyze and dialogue respectfully together on the different paths to achieve the best public education for our people, to have quality health care for all, dignified housing,” he said. Former Uruguayan President José “Pepe” Mujica is seen inside his 1987 Volkswagen on his way to Plaza Independencia to attend new President Tabare Vázquez’s inauguration on March 1, 2015 in Montevideo. Known for his push to legalize cannabis, spartan lifestyle and devotion to his three-legged dog, Mujica stepped down Sunday, more popular than ever. Pablo Bielli/AFPVázquez, 75, cuts a more sober figure than the outspoken Mujica, and has criticized some of his reforms — including the still-unimplemented plan to sell marijuana at pharmacies, a key element of the new cannabis law.Known for his spartan lifestyle, his salty commentary and his devotion to his three-legged dog, Mujica steps down more popular than ever, with an approval rating over 60 percent.But after five years at the helm of this South American nation, the 79-year-old farmer leaves something of a mixed legacy for Vázquez.“There’s still so much to do and I hope that the next government will be better than mine and will have greater success,” Mujica said in an interview with a local newspaper Thursday.“I became president filled with idealism, but then reality hit.”The colorful rabble-rouser attracted international attention as much for his lifestyle as his policies.Eschewing the trappings of power, Mujica insisted on living on his modest farm and driving around in an aging Volkswagen Beetle.He was more likely to be seen in a beret with scruffy clothes, having just gotten down from his tractor, than wearing a suit. He also gave most of his salary to charity.Mujica would sometimes unexpectedly speak with journalists about the rate of inflation or diplomatic relations. Or he’d tell them what he was preparing to feed his canine companion Manuela.The dog lost one foot when Mujica accidentally rolled over it with his tractor. She now goes everywhere with him.Under Mujica, Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize marijuana all the way from the cannabis field to the joint, setting up a regulated market for cultivation, sales and use. Former Uruguayan President José “Pepe” Mujica leaves the Plaza Independencia in his 1987 Volkswagen. Mario Goldman/AFPA sometimes overly-candid politicianThe leader was also known for his candid — and sometimes less-than-diplomatic — remarks.
The new guidance has set out three core business conduct principles; transparency surrounding commercial relationships, no publishing of misleading reviews, no omitting of negative reviews. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have released a best practice guide, in order to crack down on “unscrupulous businesses” taking advantage of consumer trust. “Fake online reviews mislead consumers and hurt Australian businesses… businesses that pay for or post fake reviews can gain an unfair advantage or damage their rivals,” ACCC deputy chair Michael Schaper said. Source = ETB News: P.T. “Australian consumers have more choice than ever before… however, with more options available, it is important that there is accurate and reliable information available to help consumers choose.” The ACCC may issue penalties of up to AU$1.1 million against businesses caught in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and plan to continue to monitor review activity online. Online reviews assist consumers in making informed decisions, based on a variety of third party consumer opinion, with 74 percent of social media users admitting to reading online reviews before making purchases, according to Sensis’ Social Media Report 2013. The new guidance addresses misleading conduct related to bogus online reviews and was created through extensive consultation with a wide range of consumer and industry representatives.
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so he’ll miss tonight’s annual American rite of Halloween trick-or-treating.