Tags Well this is cute.Just in time for Oscars 2019, Google has released a new commercial/video/thing, oh god I’m not even sure what to call it, but it’s pretty funny. It’s going to be aired during the Oscars. Just watch it.Opening with HAL 9000 from Space Odyssey was high risk/low reward, but I think they pulled it off.The ad mixes footage of Google Assistant and popular movies to sort of create an alternative universe where actually, Google fixes everyone’s problems. The pod bay doors do open, Google does show Cuba Gooding Jr. the money.Very clever.Also, the Oscars are just about to kick off. Here how to watch and here are our predictions. Culture TV and Movies Now playing: Watch this: Oscars 2019 Google 1 Share your voice 4:15 Oscars 2019: How to write the perfect best picture speech… Comment
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Russian soldiers stand next to a truck on 8 March 2018, at the al-Wafideen checkpoint on the outskirts of Damascus neighbouring the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region, as they wait for authorisation to allow UN and ICRC aid trucks to enter the rebel-held enclave. AFPAid agencies postponed a convoy of vital food and health supplies to Eastern Ghouta on Thursday, as the Syrian regime pressed a relentless ground and air assault against the rebel enclave.Dozens of people, including many children, were treated overnight for breathing problems and symptoms that medics said were consistent with chlorine attacks, which Western powers have repeatedly warned would not go unpunished.New air strikes on the town of Zamalka killed at least seven civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, bringing the total number of dead in the offensive to more than 900.The aid trucks were meant to bring relief to war-weary civilians living under government siege for five years and now facing a deadly Russian-backed assault.The fighting has prompted international outrage, culminating in the UN Security Council demanding an immediate ceasefire, aid deliveries and evacuations.But with bombardment continuing, a joint convoy between the United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross and Syrian Arab Red Crescent planned for Thursday could not go through.“The convoy for today is postponed, as the situation is evolving on the ground, which doesn’t allow us to carry out the operation in such conditions,” ICRC spokeswoman Ingy Sedky told AFP.It marks the second time this week that aid operations have been disrupted by military developments, with food deliveries cut short Monday due to bombardment.Ghouta is home to around 400,000 people under siege and is the last opposition-controlled zone on the capital’s outskirts.The Syrian army and allied militias began a fierce bombing campaign on February 18 against Ghouta, followed by a ground offensive.Breathing difficultiesThe campaign has so far recaptured half of rebel-held territory, according to the Observatory, a Britain-based monitor.Towns and villages have fallen in quick succession in recent days, with regime forces on the verge of cutting the remaining rebel-held territory into two isolated pockets.AFP’s correspondent in the town of Hammuriyeh saw motionless bodies lying in the streets on Thursday after a night of ferocious bombing.On Wednesday, volunteers from the civil defence group known as the “White Helmets” were seen trying to douse flames burning two men lying dead on the street next to a motorbike after a strike.Dozens of civilians were treated in the town for breathing difficulties late Wednesday, with medics reporting symptoms consistent with a toxic attack.Doctors at one facility treated at least 29 patients with signs of exposure to chlorine, according to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which supports hospitals in Eastern Ghouta.It said victims were suffering from shortness of breath, wheezing, and redness of the eyes.Several families were seen trying to reach fresh air late Wednesday on the roof of a four-storey building in Hammuriyeh, after air strikes on their neighbourhood.Parents had stripped their children down and were spraying them with water, fearing toxic substances had been absorbed into their clothes.“I’m going to suffocate,” two children screamed as rescue workers carried them down from the roof for treatment.‘Not authorised’ by SyriaRegime forces have been repeatedly accused of using chlorine on Eastern Ghouta in recent weeks, which both the government and Russia have staunchly denied.Government troops have imposed a siege on Eastern Ghouta since 2013, and deliveries of food and medicine to the zone require permission from all warring sides.The UN’s humanitarian coordination office (OCHA) in Damascus told AFP the convoy could not go through Thursday because it had not received permission from Syrian authorities.“Today, the UN and partners were not able to return to Douma in east Ghouta because the movement of the convoy was not authorised by the Syrian authorities due to security reasons,” said spokeswoman Linda Tom.The UN Security Council on 24 February demanded a 30-day cessation of hostilities but the resolution has done little to bring relief to civilians.Bombardment has continued and on Monday a long-awaited aid delivery was cut short after heavy air strikes.Nearly half of the food aid on the trucks could not be delivered, and the UN said Syrian authorities removed some medical and health supplies from the trucks.The UN’s top body met behind closed doors on Wednesday for three hours in an attempt to shore up the ceasefire.UN peace envoy Staffan de Mistura briefed the meeting and offered to help broker a deal with Russia to allow fighters in Eastern Ghouta to leave, a diplomat said.Rebel groups operating in Eastern Ghouta have so far refused to discuss evacuating the enclave and have been firing rockets and artillery into eastern areas of Damascus in recent weeks, leaving at least 32 dead according to the Observatory.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is moving close to victory. After a frustrating year in which Republicans who control Congress failed to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act, Congress is moving closer to approving its first major legislation of 2017.The House and Senate have passed differing versions of the measure — the Senate narrowly passed its bill early Saturday morning. The two bills now are to be reconciled and sent to President Trump’s desk.In an NPR interview Thursday, Ryan offered a detailed defense of the tax bill. What follows are some of Ryan’s statements, in bold — and some of the facts behind them.“We wanted a middle-class tax cut. We wanted to have a system that’s more fair, much simpler.”There is no reason to doubt that this was one of Ryan’s goals. Helping the middle class is the lodestar for politicians in both parties. Ryan rarely misses a chance to note his roots in blue-collar Janesville, Wis., and the bill does reduce tax rates for the middle class.However, Ryan was working with President Trump, who wanted a tax cut for corporations. Ryan said the bill was “designed” as a middle-class tax cut, but the core of the resulting bill is really the corporate tax cut. Republicans also were determined to lower tax rates for the wealthiest individuals and abolish the estate tax, paid only by individuals who leave more than $5.49 million to their heirs.Because congressional rules limit the overall size of the tax cut, tax relief for businesses and the wealthy leaves fewer savings to spread around to everyone else.“The average tax cut for a middle-class family is going to be $1,182.”The key word is “average.” Some middle-class families will indeed see a tax cut. Others in the very same income brackets will not. Why the difference? It’s because of how the House went about that goal of making the tax code “much simpler.”The bill increases the standard deduction for taxpayers who do not itemize deductions. That amounts to a tax cut for them. But the bill also eliminates deductions taken by many who itemize. Those people may face higher tax bills.For example, NPR recently reported on the effect of eliminating a tax deduction for medical expenses. In our interview, Ryan downplayed the effects of this change.“[The person claiming it] is typically a higher-income person. … You have to make a pretty good amount of money before you can even enjoy the ability to use that tax deduction.”NPR health policy correspondent Alison Kodjak has reported otherwise. In a Nov. 17 report, Kodjak noted that the deduction — which can only be claimed when medical expenses not covered by insurance exceed 10 percent of your income — is commonly used by many parents of disabled children and the elderly on fixed incomes.“The IRS says about 9 million people take the deduction,” she reports. “And their median income is about $55,000 a year.”Eliminating deductions like this are what make room for big items like the corporate tax cut — and remember, it’s all connected. Tax cuts tend to increase the federal deficit, and congressional rules limit how much Republicans can do that. So a tax cut in one part of the economy may need to be offset by higher taxes in another.“This [tax bill] is going to produce economic growth. The Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank, showed that because of the tax relief in this bill and the pro-growth provisions in this bill, particularly for businesses to expense and hire and build more factories in America, that will lead to about $1 trillion in additional revenue because of faster economic growth.”First, the Tax Foundation is not a “nonpartisan think tank,” as Ryan suggests. It’s actually right-leaning.David Wessel of the Brookings Institution and the The Wall Street Journal — who also questioned the Tax Foundation’s point of view (it’s “nominally nonpartisan,” he said, but “clearly anti-tax”) — noted there is “general agreement” among economists that some parts of the tax plan will “encourage more business investment.”A provision making it easier to write off new investments should be particularly helpful, for example. What about a plan to cut the top business tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent? That’s “probably a plus for investment,” Wessel said, “but it rewards profits on old investments — not what we should want to do. It is also creating a huge [budget] hole that will have to be filled with tax hikes or spending cuts down the road.”In other words, no, it won’t pay for itself. Ryan claims $1 trillion in additional revenue, but the Joint Committee on Taxation says the bill will actually cost $1 trillion.“I come from Wisconsin. The biggest company … headquartered in Wisconsin used to be Johnson Controls. Johnson Controls is now an Irish company. Their worldwide tax rate is 12.5 percent, because they became an Irish company, not 35 percent. … We better get competitive with the way we tax our businesses.”Here, analyst David Wessel acknowledges the problem, but questions the solution.“Yes, the current tax code encourages companies to move abroad,” Wessel said. “That’s why do many are doing it. But is the right strategy the race to the bottom? They cut their tax rates, so we cut ours, so then what do they do?”“I don’t think [the tax bill] will increase the deficit.”Ryan can only say that this is what he thinks. It is very hard to prove that tax cuts produce so much economic growth that people end up paying more taxes than they were before.Congressional budget scorekeepers are now using “dynamic scoring,” in which they attempt to forecast the effects of tax changes on tax revenue, but analyses of the Senate bill showed it would come up far short of paying for itself.In fact, not a single nonpartisan analysis — from the Joint Committee on Taxation to the Tax Policy Center to the Congressional Budget Office — has found this to be the case for the bills going through Congress.Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has also promised the tax cuts will pay for themselves, but his department was unable to produce an analysis to back him up.For all of his faith in tax cuts and growth, Ryan could only go so far in our interview.“I’m telling you, that’s what I believe will happen,” he said. “I’m not going to tell you I’m sure.”Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share
CityCenterDC is scheduled to kick off the holiday season with an exciting evening of performances from the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. and the inspirational viral sensation Cardinal Shehan School Choir from Baltimore. The event is scheduled to be held on Nov. 25 from 6 p.m.-7 p.m at The Park at CityCenter, 10th Street, NW and New York Avenue, NW. Washingtonians will be treated to joyful holiday music and an official lighting ceremony and countdown emceed by NBC4’s Eun Yang. Families will be entertained with balloon artists, face painters, holiday activities and more. 2017 CityCenter D.C. Holiday Tree Lighting
By COLLEEN LONG and AMY FORLITI, Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration said Thursday that Somalis granted special immigration status in the U.S. can keep the designation, making them one of the few groups permitted to stay in the U.S. under a program that has allowed them to remain here for years.Somalia was first designated for the special status in 1991, following the collapse of the authoritarian Siad Barre regime, and the designation had been extended in part because nationals feared returning because of the ongoing armed conflict there. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen cited the armed conflict and other extraordinary conditions in supporting the continuation of Somalia’s designation for about 500 people.(Courtesy Image/Logo)But the administration will not take on new applicants, disappointing advocacy groups.Those already with the status will be able to remain in the U.S. and will be allowed to work through March 17, 2020.Many Somalis have settled in Minnesota, which has the largest Somali population in the U.S. Community and immigration advocates have said that returning to Somalia would be a death sentence for some and that it would separate families.Democratic Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton wrote a letter to President Donald Trump on Tuesday, urging him to extend the special status. Dayton’s letter said the conditions in Somalia are treacherous, and he pointed to a recent State Department advisory that tells people to avoid traveling to Somalia because of crime, terrorism and piracy. The advisory says those who do travel to Somalia should draft a will before traveling, name a family member to be a point of contact in the event of a hostage situation and leave a DNA sample in case it is needed to identify remains.“Under those conditions, it would be horribly ‘Un-American’ to force innocent people to return to Somalia, to break up many of their families, and to forgo their chances to live safe and decent lives,” Dayton wrote.Members of Congress, including Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith of Minnesota, also wrote to the president, urging that the status be extended.Advocates for Somali nationals who are living in the U.S. said Thursday they are relieved that about 500 Somalis will be able to reregister to extend their protected status for 18 months, but they are disappointed the administration didn’t do more. The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said if the administration would have redesignated the status instead of just extending it, then more than 1,000 Somali nationals could have enrolled.The International Rescue Committee and Muslim Advocates also expressed disappointment.“It is not only a mistake, it is a death sentence,” Muslim Advocates said in a statement.Around 437,000 immigrants from 10 countries have had temporary protected status, a designation created in 1990 to allow people from countries ravaged by natural disasters like earthquakes or man-made disasters like war to have a short-term safe haven.Those with it have generally been able to work and, with permission, travel outside the U.S. and return.Countries are added to the list as circumstances warrant, with renewals coming usually around every 18 months. While some countries were removed, others have stayed on for years, which critics say turns the program into default amnesty. Other countries that had the status for long periods of time — like El Salvador or Honduras — were cut off under Trump.The protections were never meant to be permanent.Under Trump, the Department of Homeland Security also ended the program for Sudan, Nicaragua, Nepal and Haiti. Several groups are suing to stay in the U.S.Protections were extended for about 1,100 Yemenis and 6,900 Syrians who already have them, but the administration has said it won’t take on new applicants.Trump has said he wants to curtail legal immigration and has been cracking down broadly on illegal immigration.___Forliti reported from Minneapolis.
The Cardinals continued to dominate at the free throw line, making 22 versus just nine attempts for the Colonials. Cunningham had started all 11 games for the Cardinals prior to Friday. SERIES NOTES Enoch scored his 16 points in just 23 minutes of action, equaling his career-best total set against Central Arkansas (Dec. 5). Enoch was 6-of-7 from the free throw line in the victory, his second-most free throw makes of the year, improving his season total to 29-for-33 (.879) at the stripe. Steven Enoch matched his career-high in scoring on Friday night with 16 points in the win. Louisville had spurts of nine, 11 and 12 consecutive points in Friday’s win. With Friday’s win, Louisville is 2-0 all-time against Robert Morris. Louisville is now 11-1 against current members of the Northeast Conference.TEAM NOTES Jordan Nwora led the way for the Cardinals on Friday night with his fourth double-double of the season, tallying 19 points and 13 rebounds. Story Links Sutton has scored in double digits in three straight games and six this season. Sutton was 2-for-2 from the 3-point line, extending his streak of games with at least one outside shot made to nine. Louisville has made more free throws than the opponent has attempted in seven of 12 games. Robert Morris was just 5-of-9 from the free throw line Friday, the second time this season a Louisville opponent has made five or fewer free throws (4, Central Arkansas, Dec. 5). Nwora has recorded a double-double in back-to-back games and three of his last four. Nwora has scored in double figures in 11 of 12 games this season, including seven with at least 19 points. The 13 rebounds were one shy of his career-high, set back on Dec. 8 at Indiana. Nwora has double-digit rebounds in three of his last four games, averaging 11.5 during that stretch. Williams entered the night with 199 career points and registered his 200th with a free throw at 13:11 in the first half. Williams also had two blocks in the victory, giving him at least one in 11 of 12 games this season. Louisville matched its best rebounding performance of the season on Friday, outrebounding Robert Morris by 15, 41-26. UofL has produced 22 runs of 8-0 or better in through its 12 games this season. The Cardinals have forced opponents into 19 scoring droughts of at least three minutes, including stretches of 3:25, 4:40 and 4:56 on Friday night. PLAYER NOTES Dwayne Sutton was the third Cardinal in double figures on Friday night, scoring 14 points in the win. Louisville is 139-21 all-time at the KFC Yum! Center, which is in its ninth season as the home for the Cardinals. The Cardinals are now 81-5 in non-conference games at the KFC Yum! Center spanning the last nine seasons. UofL has now won its last game played immediately before Christmas in each of the last 10 seasons and 17 of the last 18. Louisville has now won 14 straight games played on Dec. 21 and is 19-5 all-time on this date. With Friday’s win, Louisville is now 351-52 over the last 18 years when holding its opponent below 70 points and 5-1 this season. The Cardinals overcame an 11-point first-half deficit in Friday’s victory. The Cardinals have held 50 opponents under 40 percent shooting over the last four years and six this season. After making 12 of its first 17 shots over the first 14 minutes, RMU made just 11-of-44 for the remainder of the game. The 29 points were the lowest first-half total for the Cardinals this season and tied for the lowest in any half (2nd half, Michigan State, Nov. 27). The Cardinals outscored Robert Morris 44-27 in the second half. After a slow start, Louisville’s defense stepped up and held Robert Morris to just 38 percent from the field. Louisville trailed 32-29 at halftime, just its second halftime deficit of the season (Tennessee, Nov. 21) The Cardinals played without graduate transfer Christen Cunningham on Friday night. Malik Williams surpassed 200 career points in Friday’s win. The Cardinals have outrebounded their opposition in 10 of 12 games this season and six straight. UofL is 9-1 when it wins the rebounding battle. Over the last nine seasons, UofL has recovered from nine or more points down to win on 31 occasions, including twice this season (Seton Hall, Dec. 1). Print Friendly Version
TV technology provider Kudelski Group has turned in a strong first-half performance despite the adverse impact of the strength of the Swiss franc relative to other currencies.Kudelski reported first half revenues of CHF425 million (€395 million), up 10.4% in constant currency terms, driven by a strong performance in its non-TV-related public access segment, but also by a strong underlying growth in its core digital TV business. The latter grew by 6.8% in constant currency terms, despite the first half of the prior years including a boost from one-time licensing revenues from a Cisco patent licensing agreement. The digital TV business turned in CHF324.4 million in revenues, with operating income for the segment up 17.9% to CHF52.6 million.Digital TV deals during the first half included a framework agreement with Altice Group.Overall Kudelski posted operating income of CHF30.4 million, up 9.7%.