Brazil Argentina are coming to Turks and Caicos

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:argentina, brazil, karen whitt, stacy cox Recommended for you In the Pink attracts hundreds Zika virus getting stern reaction from country leaders Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 22 Jan 2016 – There is vacation interest in the Turks and Caicos strongly from the Brazilian and Argentinean markets and during Travel Marketplace at Atlantis Paradise Island in Nassau, there were significant appointments to expand visitor arrivals from the countries. Magnetic Media was at the show, where 28 countries of the region were represented. Among the Turks and Caicos properties on the floor at the Grand Ballroom, were The Sands at Grace Bay, the Palms Resort, Windsong, Villa Del Mar, La Vista Azul, the Amanyara and Beaches Turks and Caicos via Sandals Resorts International. TCHTA executive Stacy Cox, Karen Whitt and President Michel Nuetelings were there; so was Ralph Higgs of the TCI Tourist Board and Tourism Board Chairman, Don Gardiner. It was the 33rd year for Travel Marketplace. CDC says: Men spread Zika through Sexlast_img read more

BUSINESS BRIEF Wilmingtons Hair Cuttery To Support Underprivileged Children With Free BackToSchool Haircuts

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Hair Cuttery, the largest family-owned and operated chain of hair salons in the country, will be will be donating back-to-school haircuts to children who need it most this summer. From August 1-15, for every child up to age 18 who purchases a haircut at one of Hair Cuttery’s nearly 900 salons, one free haircut certificate will be donated to an underprivileged child in the community.“A fresh haircut to celebrate a milestone is something that can easily be taken for granted,” said Dennis Ratner, Founder and CEO of Hair Cuttery. “Through our Share-A-Haircut program, we strive to provide every child with this simple but impactful service that will help send them back to school with confidence and enthusiasm to kick-off the year.”Within the first two weeks of August, Hair Cuttery is aiming to donate tens of thousands of free haircut certificates ahead of the new school year. Certificates will be distributed with the help of more than 200 local government and non-profit organizations in communities across the country.Participating locations include the salon in Wilmington, 206 Ballardvale St., Unit 3.Since 1999, the Share-A-Haircut program has donated more than 2.4 million free haircut certificates valued at nearly $50 million.2018 marks the 19th year of Share-A-Haircut, with Hair Cuttery’s most recent campaign donating more than 80,000 haircuts to survivors of domestic violence this past spring. The company has an established history of charitable giving and has supported a range of local and national causes, including St. Baldrick’s Foundation, American Red Cross, The National Network to End Domestic Violence, American Cancer Society and Girls on the Run.About Hair CutteryHair Cuttery is the largest family-owned and operated chain of hair salons in the country, with nearly 900 company-owned locations on the East Coast, New England and the Midwest. A full-service, value-priced salon, Hair Cuttery offers a full complement of cuts and styling, coloring, waxing and texturizing services with no appointment necessary, as well as a full line of professional hair care products. Hair Cuttery is committed to delivering a delightful client experience through WOW Service including a Smile Back Guarantee. Hair Cuttery is a division of Ratner Companies, based in Vienna, VA.(NOTE: The above press release is from Hair Cuttery.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedHair Cuttery Donates Back-to-School Haircuts To Thousands Of Children In NeedIn “Business”Wilmington’s Hair Cuttery Donates Back-To-School Haircuts To Local Kids In NeedIn “Business”Hair Cuttery Donates More Than 61,000 Haircuts to Children in Need NationwideIn “Business”last_img read more

At Google workers town hall employees pledge to protect each other from

first_imgGoogle workers staged a worldwide walkout last year. James Martin/CNET Google workers on Friday held a town hall meeting to discuss alleged retaliation from the search giant over employees’ activism and organizing efforts. The company’s employees booked rooms for viewing the town hall from Google offices all over the world, according to an employee who attended the meeting. At the gathering, Google workers pledged to protect each other from retaliation and brainstormed ideas to help. Some of that action could take place as soon as next week, that employee said.That employee also said it was the first big town hall meeting that Google’s temporary workers, vendors and contractors — known as TVCs in Google parlance — were able to attend, since the gathering was held by employees and not management.The meeting was called after two workers who helped to organize a massive employee walkout said management was unfairly targeting them. In November, roughly 20,000 Googlers walked out of the company’s offices worldwide to protest its handling of sexual assault allegations directed at key executives. The demonstration drew international attention. One organizer, Meredith Whittaker, who leads Google’s Open Research program, said earlier this week that she was asked to choose between Google and her outside work. Whittaker co-founded New York University’s AI Now Institute, a research center that examines the societal effects of artificial intelligence. Whittaker said Google asked her to give up that work after the company disbanded its own AI ethics board last month amid controversy over one of its members. Claire Stapleton, a marketing manager at Google-owned YouTube, said she was told after the walkout she’d be demoted and lose half of her reports. She said she was also told to go on medical leave even though she wasn’t sick. Google only walked back her demotion after she hired a lawyer, Stapleton said. “Meredith and Claire were bold and unwavering,” the employee who attended said. “The support was overwhelming and it looks like the company’s misguided gamble to cut off the ‘head’ of the organizing against harassment, discrimination and unethical decision-making won’t work.”Google employees have largely been the poster children for protest in the tech industry — a sector where rank and file workers have historically refrained from publicly criticizing management. Aside from the handling of sexual assault accusations, Google workers have also protested the company’s military contracts, its work in China, and its treatment of temporary workers and contractors. Outside of Google, other tech workers have also been speaking up. At Amazon, thousands of workers signed a letter earlier this month that urged the company to reduce its carbon footprint and take action against climate change.The town hall meeting comes a day after Google released its workplace policy guidelines, including its rules on retaliation. Retaliation means taking an adverse action against an employee or TVC as a consequence of reporting, for expressing an intent to report, for assisting another employee in an effort to report, for testifying or assisting in a proceeding involving sexual harassment under any federal, state or local anti-discrimination law, or for participating in the investigation of what they believe in good faith to be a possible violation of our Code of Conduct, Google policy or the law. The section concludes by warning employees that not all complaints may meet that definition.”If you report something that is not a policy violation and you believe you are being treated adversely as a result, you should feel free to report that and we will look into it, but it may not amount to retaliation under this policy,” the guidelines say.Google declined to comment on the town hall, but a spokeswoman said the company prohibits retaliation and has a “very clear policy.” “To make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation,” the spokeswoman said.    Post a comment Google employees protest tech giant’s handling of sexual… Share your voice 0 Google Alphabet Inc.center_img 1:45 Tags Tech Industry Now playing: Watch this:last_img read more

Stan Lee sang to me GRRM hugged me My 10 craziest ComicCon

first_img The best San Diego Comic-Con celebrity disguises This created a massive problem for Comic-Con’s security team and fire marshals. An enormous crowd of people that should have been moving like normal was now standing completely still, and all the exits were being blocked by fans trying to get through this terrifying wall of human flesh.The photo op only lasted a few minutes before security broke it up. So even though many of us snapped a few photos, it was impossible to get the full shot of all the Leias at once. Now if you want to get photos of massive meet-ups between Marvel superheroes, Star Wars Stormtroopers and everything in between, Comic-Con makes it a rule to have these cosplayer photo ops happen outside the building. 7.  A fan gets stabbed in the eyeNot everything at Comic-Con is fun. When lines grow longer and the celebrity panels are harder to gain entrance to, fans can find themselves in dangerous situations. In 2010, I spent a lot of time in Hall H, covering panels for StarWars.com and other geeky news outlets. I took quite a few breaks to leave the giant room, unlike the more hardcore fans who refused to leave their seats.Fans who decided to stay the full day inside the room found themselves in the middle of a crime scene when one fan stabbed another fan in the eye with a pen over a seat. This room seats over 6,000 people, and usually there are twice that many people waiting in line to get in. So tensions run high. The attacked man recovered, but the pen stabber was arrested for assault. In true Comic-Con fashion, the next day a few cosplayers decided to dress up as a fan stabbed in the eye. There’s no such thing as “too soon” where Comic-Con gallows humor is concerned. 8. Getting a hug from George R.R. Martin2012georgerrGeorge R.R. Martin gives the best hugs. Bonnie Burton/CNET Game of Thrones first aired on HBO in 2011, and author George R.R. Martin was just starting to become a household name back in 2012. I was attending a private party held by Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady at Comic-Con that year and was delighted to learn Martin would be there. I loved Martin’s books long before the TV series came out, but I was also such a diehard fan that I ended up writing a scathing letter to the editor of The New York Times when a TV critic accused Game of Thrones of having romance so women would tune in. When Martin’s publicist found out I was at the party, he came over and said Martin wanted to thank me for writing that letter — which was pretty amazing considering I didn’t have the courage to say hello on my own. Martin told me he appreciated me standing up for female fans of the show and gave me an Iron Islands copper coin featuring the image of Balon Greyjoy. I also got one heck of a hug. 9. Bringing down the house in Geek Girls panels2011ohyousexygeekpanelHere I am sitting next to geek girl goddess Adrianne Curry dressed as Leeloo from The Fifth Element on one of the many geek girl panels at Comic-Con. Bonnie Burton/CNET Female fans of Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who and so many other properties are constantly having to prove their geekdom. In 2012, women at Comic-Con were routinely accused of being “Fake Geek Girls” and, in response, Comic-Con featured quite a few panels focusing on female fandom to remind the guys we weren’t going anywhere. I was honored to be on a few of these panels alongside female actors, writers, directors, comic book creators and celebs. In one of my favorite memories, I sat next to America’s Next Top Model winner and avid cosplayer Adrianne Curry, who was dressed as Leeloo from the movie The Fifth Element. Curry talked at length about her love and knowledge of all things Star Wars, video games and sci-fi in general. It was refreshing to see a woman, who also happened to be a reality TV star, stand up to harassment and wave her geek pride flag for all to see. Back then, geek girls were treated like a novelty instead of the norm. So these kinds of panels were a great way to remind everyone that female fans knew their stuff. We weren’t showing off our fandom to impress the guys, we were celebrating our geeky obsessions as equals.  10. Jane Wiedlin and Milo Ventimiglia become honorary StormtroopersThis Is Us actor Milo VentimigliaThis Is Us actor Milo Ventimiglia gets inducted into the 501st Legion at Comic-Con. Bonnie Burton/CNET When you see celebs geek out over the same things you do, there’s a sense of solidarity that can’t be matched. At Comic-Con, it’s fun to see A-list actors freak out over the latest Star Wars Lego set, or get tongue-tied around their favorite comic book artist. 2009janeEnlarge ImageGo-Go’s band member Jane Wiedlin proudly holds up her 501st Legion plaque.  Bonnie Burton/CNET Over the years at Comic-Con, I helped the official Star Wars Stormtrooper cosplayer group the 501st Legion with a few honorary inductions for celebrities. These are always meant to be a surprise for the celebrity nominated by the group, and can be tricky to pull off at Comic-Con.Usually, celebrities are ambushed at Comic-Con by a group of Stormtroopers who present them with a 501st Legion plaque and badge. It’s a huge honor for any Star Wars fan, and the celebrity in question is always delightfully shocked by the impromptu ceremony. In 2009, I was at Comic-Con to help present Go-Go’s band member Jane Wiedlin and This is Us actor Milo Ventimiglia with their honorary inductions into the 501st Legion. The ceremonies took place on different days during the convention but still managed to surprise Wiedlin and Ventimiglia, who were both gobsmacked.While not everyone can be honored by Stormtroopers, it’s a fun reminder that even the celebs you admire the most love geeky movies or TV shows as much as you do.  Survival tips from Adam Savage, Jim Lee and more insiders Comic-Con is nearly 50: A glimpse of pop culture at its start First-time cosplay is terrifying, complicated and exhilarating Game of Thrones writers Benioff and Weiss pull out of panel Post a comment 62 Photos TV and Movies Comics Tags 3:00 Now playing: Watch this: The last time I attended one of Savage’s Comic-Con parties, it was in a packed nightclub where all his past cosplay costumes were on display. I was in a VIP area surrounded by fans and a few celebrities like director Guillermo del Toro. Savage’s parties are a good way to see your favorite geeky celebs in one place, if you can get in. Pro tip: If you really want to see celebs in party mode, hang around outside the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday nights for the Entertainment Weekly party. It’s usually the hottest ticket for celebs who want to let loose without the paparazzi harassing them. The year I attended the party, I sat at one of the outdoor fire pits next to The X-Files star Gillian Anderson and Sherlock co-creator and actor Mark Gatiss. 6. Slave Leia photoshoot brings Comic-Con to a standstill209leiasThis is only a small section of the large gathering of Slave Leia cosplayers at Comic-Con. Bonnie Burton/CNET Every year, at the Lucasfilm area on the convention floor, cosplayers will gather to take an epic group shot. Usually it’s Stormtroopers or all the Jedi Masters posing en masse for fans to snap photos. But in 2009, there seemed to be a record number of Slave Leia cosplayers. Not just women but men donning the sexy costume made famous by Carrie Fisher in Return of the Jedi. Almost 100 Slave Leias gathered to pose with a giant Jabba the Hutt statue proudly standing inside the Lucasfilm area. When that many Slave Leia cosplayers show up in one small area for a photo op, you can imagine how many fans refused to budge. Not only were no fans moving, more of them were rushing to the spot to see if they could get the best angle for a photo.  The best San Diego Comic-Con celebrity disguises Share your voice It’s not San Diego Comic-Con unless you’re surrounded by Star Wars cosplayers. Bonnie Burton/CNET I’ve been attending San Diego Comic-Con for over 20 years — as an author, Lucasfilm employee and hard-core comics and pop culture fan — and every year seems crazier than the last. Sadly, I’m not attending this year’s event, so I’m feeling a little nostalgic recalling some of the wackiest things that have happened to me at the convention. Ready? Here we go… 1. Stan Lee and Mark Hamill singing me Happy Birthdaystanleebonnie.jpgStan Lee on one of the many comic book convention panels promoting his World of Heroes YouTube channel. Bonnie Burton/CNET My birthday falls in July, so I’ve often spent it at SDCC. One time, a waiter dressed like Batman brought me a birthday cake, and another time I used a lightsaber replica to hit a pinata shaped like Darth Vader on a friend’s houseboat. But one of my favorite birthday memories from Comic-Con involves Star Wars actor Mark Hamill and the late, great Marvel superhero comics creator Stan Lee.In 2012, Lee was briefly my boss when I created and hosted a web series called Geek DIY for his YouTube network World of Heroes.During our World of Heroes press tour, I was on a Comic-Con panel in one of the biggest convention rooms, Hall H, with Lee, Mark Hamill and a few others who had shows on Lee’s network. I was anxious about talking in front of a room full of comic book fans and thrilled to be breathing the same air as Lee and Hamill.As fate would have it, it was my 40th birthday that day, and when I told Lee he gave me a huge hug and urged me not to be nervous. We took the stage and sat down. Then Lee winked at me and told the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to me. Both Lee and Hamill led the audience in a very special happy birthday sing-a-long, which still can’t be beat as one of my best SDCC memories ever. 2. Meeting the real Loki by accident At Comic-Con, it’s not uncommon to see cosplayers looking like such dead ringers for Tony Stark, Wonder Woman, Shazam or Thor you do a double-take and think they’re the very characters you’ve seen on screen. In 2013, I found myself enthralled with a cosplayer dressed as Loki. Everyone was just starting to catch Avengers fever with Marvel superhero movies like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. Thor: The Dark World was about to come out, and fans were buzzing with excitement at Comic-Con. I was in the secret labyrinth of hallways inside the San Diego Convention Center trying my best to get to a panel. Sometimes, if you know the right security people, they’ll let you take a shortcut through these halls, which are often used by celebrities avoiding crowded hallways full of fans jostling for autographs or coveted selfies. As I was rushing behind the stage, I almost ran right into an impressive cosplayer dressed as Loki — the Asgardian god of mischief and adopted half-brother of Thor. The cosplayer not only had the perfect Loki costume, he could have been the twin of Tom Hiddleston, who portrayed him in the movies. He even had the actor’s British accent down perfectly.I said, “Wow, your Loki cosplay is killer!”He responded, “Thank you. That’s very kind of you to say.” Then he walked off toward Hall H with a few people around him, hurrying him away.  The very best cosplay we saw at Comic-Con 2019 After my panel, I found out Hiddleston had stormed the Hall H stage dressed like Loki as a surprise for fans. It was during Marvel’s panel to promote Thor: The Dark World.Turns out I didn’t compliment a random Loki cosplayer. I complimented Hiddleston himself! Loki probably would have found that amusing.3. Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew saying hi to my Chewbacca puppetwookieepuppetmainActor Peter Mayhew poses with my Chewbacca sock puppet from my Star Wars Craft Book. Bonnie Burton When I worked at Lucasfilm as a senior editor for StarWars.com, I always felt honored when my path crossed with that of late Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew. Whenever he visited Lucasfilm headquarters or attended one of the many comic book conventions I went to, Mayhew always said hello and gave me one of his famous Wookiee hugs.When I was doing the first book signing for my Star Wars Craft Book at SDCC in 2011, I was super nervous about meeting fans as an author. Mayhew stopped by to say hello and pose for a photo holding my Chewbacca sock puppet. His visit to my signing gave me the much needed confidence boost I needed to chat with fellow fans who wanted my signature.4. Star Wars Revenge of the Sith movie title revealIn 2004, I was backstage when Lucasfilm made a big announcement — the name of its next Star Wars film, Revenge of the Sith. Back then internet spoilers weren’t a thing; and social media hadn’t taken over our lives. So it was still a big deal when a movie name — especially for something as big as Star Wars — was revealed.Back in 2004, Saturdays at Comic-Con were called “Star Wars Saturdays” and everyone in Hall H expected surprises. Fans in Hall H that day were treated to video montages of behind-the-scenes moments during filming with actors Ewan McGregor playing Obi-Wan Kenobi and Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker. Finally, after the last montage video, the movie’s title was revealed to the world and the crowd went wild. Over 6,000 fans screamed the name of the movie over and over. Originally published July 18, 9:09 a.m. PT.  Now playing: Watch this: Comic-Con When the house lights came up, the panel’s host wore a black T-shirt with the movie’s new title in red. The second he said the limited-edition T-shirt was on sale at the Star Wars store on the show floor, people jumped from their chairs and ran for the doors to get theirs. I ended up volunteering at the store to make sure the excited mob of Star Wars fans didn’t trample anyone in the process. It was both terrifying and thrilling.5. Partying with Adam SavageadamIf you ever party with Adam Savage make sure you get a selfie. Bonnie Burton/CNET These days, celebrity-infested parties are common, but in the mid-2000s it was pretty rare to see TV and movie stars mingle with fans at SDCC social functions. One of my favorite parties was thrown annually by MythBusters co-host Adam Savage. I had worked with Savage when he was at ILM and I was at Lucasfilm. We became fast friends, and when he became a MythBusters megastar, he would invite his pals to his hotel room for a small, friendly gathering over the years. At these private parties, I would meet fellow geeks, but also the original cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Star Trek actors, beloved voice actors, prominent scientists and popular comedians. But soon his intimate gatherings started to get bigger and he couldn’t accommodate all the guests in his hotel room. He moved his party to a slightly bigger hotel room, then later to a conference room, then to a restaurant and eventually a nightclub.  More Comic-Con 2019 3:00 0 DC Comics Wonder Woman Stan Lee Mark Hamill Marvel Batman Thor Captain America Doctor Who Star Trek Star Wars Iron Man The Avengerslast_img read more

Android Q beta for Pixel phones is here New features download instructions

first_imgIBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:05/1:41Loaded: 0%0:05Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-1:36?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … Close Google has partially opened the gates for its unreleased Android version, which is going to be 2019’s biggest update, for developers and advanced users to get their hands on the newest features before anyone else. The first public Android Q beta is up for grabs in the form of OTA files and factory images.Android Q beta 1 is not available for everyone and limited to Pixel smartphones. So as long as you have Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, you’ll be able to flash the update manually or sign up as a beta tester to receive beta OTA updates regularly.Before you update your Pixel phone with the beta Android 10 Q version, remember that the new software could be very unstable. The half-baked OS is far from its final release and users will experience problems. The purpose of rolling out the beta update is to allow users to report bugs and give feedback on the new OS in its development stage so Google can rectify glitches before public release.It is advised not to install Android Q beta on your primary device as some functions might not work as they are supposed to. If at all you are still looking forward to getting Android Q, there are a few steps that need to be stringently followed.How to download Android Q beta?There are two ways to get Android Q beta 1 on your phone, and we’ll start with the easier one. Before any update, it is important to backup data on the device to avoid losing it in the process of updating software. You can backup data simply by going into Settings > System > Backup. Android Q Beta 1 is available for downloadGoogleMoving on, the simplest way to get Android Q beta on your Pixel smartphone is by enrolling as a beta user to receive OTA updates. Pixel users can enrol in beta by logging in with a Google account on the official Android beta website. Scroll down the page and select the compatible device you’d like the Android Q beta to be installed on.Once you’ve enrolled successfully, your selected Pixel phone will get an update notification to download and install Android Q beta. It usually takes a few hours before the beta update is available on your device, but the wait can be as long as 24 hours. All you have to do is wait and hit download and install when prompted. Make sure you’ve Wi-Fi and the phone is charged above 75 percent during the update.Most users are advised to go with the OTA method to install Android Q beta, but if you know your way around phones and software, flashing the Android Q beta on Pixel phones is also an option. Google has image downloads available for all Pixel phones alongside instructions to manually download Android Q beta. If you choose to flash system images, you’ll have to continue doing so for future updates, which is why we recommend enrolling as a beta tester and getting on with OTA method to save time and trouble.What’s new in Android Q beta?One of the biggest reasons to get beta software is to see what’s new in the latest software. In the case of Android Q beta, the list of new features is quite extensive. Google’s Android Q will boast better privacy setting for location access as well as new limits on the access apps will get to photos, videos and audio. Android Q – a boon for foldable phonesGoogleAndroid Q will also offer better support for foldable phones, pausing and resuming background apps, and improvements to resizing apps in split-screen mode. Users also get a new Settings Panel API for simplified access.Photographers will also have something to look forward to in Android Q as Google is standardizing how depth map images work with Android. Apps will be able to request a “dynamic Depth Image” to use specialised blurs and bokeh options and enjoy 3D images and support for AR photography. Android Q will improve bokehGoogleGoogle also shared a timeline for updates, according to which next beta update will arrive early in April, followed by beta 3 in May, beat 4 in June until finally rolling out final Android Q release in Q3 2019.center_img 10 Crazy Facts About Googlelast_img read more

MasterCard sued for 19 billion in Britains biggest damages claim

first_imgSome 46 million people in Britain could potentially benefit from a legal case brought against MasterCard demanding 14 billion pounds ($19 billion) in damages for allegedly charging excessive fees, according to court documents filed in London.The case brought by a former chief financial services ombudsman alleges the payments company charged unlawfully high fees to stores when shoppers swiped their debit or credit cards and these were passed on to consumers in higher prices.MasterCard is alleged to have done this for 16 years between 1992 and 2008, in more than 600 pages of documents filed at the Competition Appeal Tribunal on Thursday. “This was almost an invisible tax,” Walter Merricks, who is bringing the case, told the BBC. “MasterCard has behaved disgracefully in this. They have not had the reasonableness to accept that what this was doing was damaging UK consumers.”MasterCard said in a statement it denied any wrongdoing.”We continue to firmly disagree with the basis of this claim and we intend to oppose it vigorously,” the world’s second-largest payments network said.The lawsuit comes after the European Union’s antitrust regulator found in 2014 MasterCard’s fees to store owners to process international payments within the EU were excessive.Law firm Quinn Emanuel said the lawsuit was the largest damages claim in British history and would be brought under a law meaning consumers would automatically be claimants unless they opt out.Any person living in Britain who used a credit card, cash or cheques and was over 16 years old in the period covered by the lawsuit will automatically be part of the claim. If the 14 billion pound claim was shared equally between the number of eligible claimants, each person could receive more than 300 pounds each, according to a Reuters’ calculation.Merricks in a statement said the case is a watershed moment for consumer compensation in Britain. Merricks was head of Britain’s financial services ombudsmen for ten years until 2009, helping to settle disputes between consumers and financial services companies.Britain’s banks have been caught in a range of misspelling cases in the last five years. They have paid 24 billion pounds in compensation for misspelling loan payment insurance, making it Britain’s costliest scandal in financial services.Consumers no longer living in Britain, but who lived in the country between 1992 and 2008, can opt in to the collective claim against MasterCard.Any hearing on the case is not expected until early 2018, unless MasterCard settle it out of court.last_img read more

Buses go off streets at govt behest BNP

first_imgLogo of BNPThe Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Friday alleged that bus owners and workers suspended their long-route bus services at the behest of ministers amid the student movement seeking safe roads, reports UNB.”The public transport services have been stopped at the directives of ministers to sidetrack the students’ justified demands,” said party senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.He came up with the allegation while speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Naya Paltan central office.Bus owners stopped operating long-route buses in different districts on Friday morning protesting against ‘vandalism’ during the ongoing demonstrations of students demanding justice for their two fellows killed in a road crash in the capital.Rizvi said road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader said the transport owners are not operating their bus services on security grounds, but the students were not seen obstructing vehicles anywhere during their agitation.He said students are checking licenses of drivers and vehicles, and helping them ply vehicles in a disciplined way.”We’ve seen the driver of a minster has no driving licence, MPs’ and law enforcers’ vehicles have no valid papers, and their drivers have no driving licences either. It’s shameful for the nation,” the BNP leader observed.Referring to home minister Asaduzzaman Khan’s remark that there might be ‘acts of sabotage’ anytime in the student movement, Rizvi said it is an indication of subversive acts to be carried out ‘by the government as it did so’ in the past during democratic movements.The home minister on Thursday urged the agitating students to leave the streets and return to their educational institutions and homes as he fears there might be ‘acts of sabotage’ anytime.Rizvi alleged that police and ruling party men carried out attacks on students in different areas of the city, including Mirpur.He demanded the government take steps to stop attack and repression on the demonstrating students.Speaking at another programme, BNP vice chairman Abdullah Al Noman demanded the president promulgate an ordinance to ensure safe roads.”If the government accepts the students’ nine-point demand, it can take steps to promulgate an ordinance by the president,” he told a human chain programme.Bangladesh Jatiya Manabadhikar Parishad arranged the programme in front of the Jatiya Press Club.Noman said the home minister might have issued a threat to students asking them to return to their homes. “I think the government should take the right decision to resolve the problem peacefully, instated of giving students threat.”last_img read more

With Bathroom Bill Dead HoustonFounded Pastor Council Looks To Future Fights

first_img Share That initial group has since expanded into two additional entities, the Texas Pastor Council and the US Pastor Council, though the distinctions between the groups can be murky. Welch — who himself no longer preaches, instead referring to himself as a “pastor for pastors” — leads all three groups, and the main phone number for the US Pastor Council is a direct line to Welch.The group, according to Welch, has taken on a range of issues, from criminal justice reform to child foster care. But over the course of his career, Welch and the group have had a decided preoccupation with attacking LGBT rights, what Welch describes as “the continued tide of the radical political LGBTQ movement trying to work to undermine traditional marriage and traditional family.” On the US Pastor Council website, the only “current issue” listed is “Woman’s Privacy Protection,” a page that features a number of talking points in favor of a bathroom bill.“They have made anti-LGBT activism their primary focus,” said Dan Quinn, communications director for Texas Freedom Network, a liberal watchdog group. “They’ve had their most public efforts trying to defeat anything that protects equality for LGBT Texans.”Over the course of several years as a columnist for World Net Daily, a far-right website known for hosting conspiracy theories, Welch railed against same-sex marriage and legal protections for LGBT individuals. In a 2009 post titled “When the Wicked Rule,” Welch attacked a new federal law that protected LGBT individuals from hate crimes as condoning “every possible form of sexual deviancy.” He denounced the “radical sexual-deviancy jihad” in a post called “My Gay America” in 2010.“Lesbian Mayor Annise Parker has gone above and beyond to now extend protection through executive orders to ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression,’” he wrote at the time. “Keep your wives and daughters out of Houston city restrooms.”That rhetoric against Parker – the first openly gay mayor of a large American city — and legal protections for LGBT individuals in Houston would eventually become talking points against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which would have made it illegal to discriminate against someone based on 15 different “protected characteristics,” including sex, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.During that fight — which concluded with Houston residents voting overwhelmingly to strike down the nondiscrimination ordinance — Welch played a leading role in both the electoral and legal campaigns against the city. Jared Woodfill, one of the lead organizers against the HERO ordinance in Houston, said that Welch and his organization were “extremely instrumental” in gathering the signatures that would ultimately prompt the lawsuit and referendum overturning the ordinance.Indeed, organizing and mobilizing voters is a key part of the Pastor Council’s mission. Its website boasts pages titled “Every Christian Votes” and the “AMERICA plan.” Under the “AMERICA plan,” pastors are encouraged to communicate with congregants about political issues, distribute voter guides and register “every eligible adult” to vote.In other words, Welch had already established an infrastructure for turning out voters before the HERO referendum — a battle that helped elevate his organization and its platform. Randy Wilson, national field director for Church Ministries for the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council, which has worked with the Pastor Council, said this is easier said than done.“Dave has to have an established and billed credibility with the pastors, a very untrusting demographic, really,” he said.That credibility and visibility would only grow when the city issued subpoenas for sermons and other statements Welch and other members of the Pastors Council had made in support of a 2014 failed petition drive aimed at repealing HERO. That incident drew national attention, energizing conservatives across Texas and the country and landing Welch on national media. (In response to that incident, the Texas Legislature passed a lawearlier this year shielding pastors’ sermons from government subpoena power.)“It certainly escalated some elements of what we do to a much higher level because of the visibility of that Houston battle,” Welch said. “That achieved national attention.”With that momentum, Welch, Woodfill and other conservative activists began to look to the the Legislature as the next battleground for the issue. Welch would begin to use tactics that had worked in Houston — hosting workshops to educate pastors, blasting out emails on the issues and hosting rallies — on a statewide level.“The network of churches that has become involved in this issue has become very, very important,” Woodfill said.“The same model is being used across the state of Texas.”But that model has had its limits. In the Legislature, efforts to pass a bathroom bill have failed against stiff opposition from the House, in particular that of House Speaker Joe Straus.Despite those setbacks, the US Pastor Council itself has continued to grow, Welch said. According to tax documents on a database maintained by ProPublica, the US Pastor Council, which is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization and does not disclose its donors, saw its revenue more than double from $329,696 to $833,749 between 2014 and 2015, the last year for which data is available and the year of the HERO ordinance vote in Houston.Welch said the group does not buy large ad campaigns, instead focusing resources on hosting workshops and organizing among pastors.“There aren’t many religious groups that overtly have this partisan affiliation or policy preference as pronounced as the Pastors Council,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “That’s been a major change we’ve seen since 2013 or 2014.”With primary season approaching, members of the Pastor Council are preparing to take their campaign to the ballot box and unseat Republicans who did not do enough to challenge Straus’ opposition to a “bathroom bill.”Steve Riggle, a pastor to a congregation of more than 20,000 at Grace Community Church in Houston and a member of the Pastor Council, said he and others are talking about “how in the world do we have 90-some Republicans [in the 150-member Texas House] who won’t stand behind what they say they believe.”“They’re more afraid of Straus than they are of us,” he said. “It’s about time they’re more afraid of us.”“This is not over”In early August, in the midst of the special session, Welch and dozens of other pastors descended on Austin. Hundreds of pastors had signed a letter in support of the bathroom legislation, and before heading inside, the group that had made the trip gathered on the Capitol steps for a brief rally.Throughout his campaign for a bathroom bill, Welch has enjoyed easy access to the state’s elected officials. He hosted a policy briefing in February that featured, among others, Patrick and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The August rally, which the Texas Pastor Council had promoted as a response to “opponents of God’s created order,” was no exception.State Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, and state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, the authors of bathroom bills in their chambers, both spoke to the importance of the bill as Welch acted as the effective emcee of the event, leading the crowd in chants of “Let the House vote.”  “We’re going to take this letter to the House as the voice of the state of Texas and our churches today,” Welch said.But even as he represents pastors across the state, Welch and his work enjoy far from unanimous support from Christian and other religious leaders. During the regular session, about 50 faith leaders of various denominations lined the stairs outside the Texas House in protest of bills targeting LGBT Texans.And just days before Welch arrived in Austin for the rally this month, dozens of religious leaders gathered in the very same spot to denounce the bill as discriminatory and hypocritical. In front of a crowd of more than one hundred supporters, an imam from Austin, as well as pastors and rabbis from across the state spoke about how their faith led them to oppose the legislation.For Steve Wells, a self-described conservative pastor at the South Main Baptist Church in Houston, the campaign for the “bathroom bill” represents “bad theology.” He says he wishes that Welch and other like-minded pastors would focus more on the common dignity granted human beings.“You will never in your lifetime meet someone who was not created in the image of God,” he said.And in July, leaders of the national Episcopal Church sent a letter to Strausasking him to remain “steadfast” in his opposition to the legislation, also denouncing it as discriminatory.Terri Burke, the executive director of the ACLU in Texas, described the “bathroom bill” as the latest frontier for far-right groups opposed to LGBT rights. Now that sexual orientation is largely protected under the law, she said, gender identity has become a target.“I think those who want to discriminate have figured out LGB are hard to discriminate against, so they’ve pulled the T out,” she said.To Welch and his fellow members on the Pastor Council, though, the group’s positions are is well in line with the teachings of the Bible. And even if the death of the “bathroom bill” in the special session represents the loss of a single battle, the broader war continues. “This is not over,” Riggle said.Disclosure: The Texas Freedom Network has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors is available here. Marjorie Kamys Cotera | Texas TribuneDave Welch speaks during a press conference in favor of a bathroom bill at the Texas Capitol near the end of the special session on August 14, 2017.A day before the Texas Legislature ended its special session this week, a session that included a high-profile fight over a “bathroom bill” that appeared almost certainly dead, David Welch had a message for Gov. Greg Abbott: call lawmakers back to Austin. Again.For years, Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, has worked to pass a bill that would ban local policies that ensured transgender individuals’ right to use restrooms in public schools and government buildings that match their gender identity. The summer special session, which was quickly coming to a close, had been Welch and other social conservatives’ second chance, an overtime round after the bill — denounced by critics as discriminatory and unnecessary — failed during the regular session that ended in May.  But with the Texas House unlikely to vote on a bathroom bill, Welch gathered with some of the most conservative Republicans in that chamber to make a final plea. The bill, they argued without any evidence, would prevent men from entering bathrooms to sexually assault or harass women.“If this does not pass during this special session, we are asking for, urgently on behalf of all these pastors across the state of Texas, that we do hold a second special session until the job is done,” Welch said at the press event, hosted by Texas Values, a socially conservative group. Though the group of lawmakers, religious leaders and activists were still coming to terms with their failure to get a bill to Abbott’s desk, for Welch’s Pastor Council, the years-long fight over bathroom restrictions has nonetheless been a galvanizing campaign.The group, which Welch founded in 2003, has grown from a local organization to a burgeoning statewide apparatus with eyes on someday becoming a nationwide force, one able to mobilize conservative Christians around the country into future political battles. If Abbott doesn’t call lawmakers back for another special session to pass a bathroom bill, the group is likely to shift its attention to the 2018 elections. “Our role in this process shouldn’t be restricted just because people attend church,” Welch told The Texas Tribune. “Active voting, informed voting, is a legitimate ministry of the church.”A pastor for pastorsWelch has made a career out of mixing the religious and the political. Before founding the Pastors Council, he spent time at the Christian Coalition and Vision America, a controversial national evangelical group led by Rick Scarborough, a Texas pastor. And just before he founded the Pastor Council, Welch briefly worked as the executive director of the Republican Party in Harris County, where he would get to know many of the politicians that would animate his later campaigns. Welch said he has known Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, one of the most outspoken proponents of a bathroom bill in state government, since he was a radio host in Houston.But it was with the Pastor Council — at first a small group of Houston pastors — that Welch would begin to make his deepest mark in Texas politics.“We formed the Houston area pastor council in 2003 as a group of 12 pastors, across racial and denominational lines, to engage together on a variety of social moral cultural issues,” he said.last_img read more

Scientists manipulate molecules inside living cells with temperature gradients

first_imgOne way that thermophoresis inside living cells can be used is to measure the binding affinities of molecules. As the scientists explain, the binding of a fluorescently marked molecule such as DNA or a protein leads to a change in the thermophoretic depletion strength. Binding affinities can reveal more detailed information about the interactions of these molecules.”The dream would be to record binding affinities in living cells, i.e., translating the award-winning microscale thermophoresis (MST) technique of our startup company Nanotemper into living cells,” Braun said. “However, the measurement protocol is not yet robust against the shape of the cell, so some more tricks to make it work will be necessary. But we are optimistic—experimental tricks are our specialty.” More information: Maren R. Reichl and Dieter Braun. “Thermophoretic Manipulation of Molecules inside Living Cells.” Journal of the American Chemical Society. DOI: 10.1021/ja506169b Now in a new paper, researchers have demonstrated for the first time that thermophoresis—the movement of molecules due to a temperature gradient rather than an electric field—can be used to measure the movement of DNA and other molecules inside living cells. The paper, by Maren R. Reichl and Dieter Braun at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, is published in a recent issue of The Journal of the American Chemical Society.”Our work shows that the measurement of thermophoresis in living cells is possible—moreover, in parallel across the cell and not at one single point,” Braun told Phys.org.In the new technique, a temperature gradient is applied across a cell by an infrared laser. Fluorescently marked molecules inside the cell move along this temperature gradient from hotter to colder regions. A camera can record this thermophoretic movement, with every camera pixel measuring thermophoresis simultaneously and independently. The technique can be performed in the natural environment of cells in vivo.The researchers demonstrated the use of thermophoresis measurements of DNA in the cytoplasm of living cells. Interestingly, the results revealed that DNA movement in the cytoplasm is slowed down, probably due to molecular crowding. In addition to measuring the movement of DNA, the thermophoresis technique could also measure the movement of proteins, pharmaceutical components, and other molecules in cells as long as they can move through the cytoplasm. Ribosomes, for example, are so large and bound to the endoplasmic reticulum that they cannot easily diffuse through the cytoplasm, making them poor candidates for thermophoresis. Journal information: Journal of the American Chemical Society Thermophoresis measurements of DNA and the dye molecule BCECF in the cytoplasm of living cells. Credit: Reichl and Braun. ©2014 American Chemical Society © 2014 Phys.org Researchers model how migration of DNA molecules is affected by charge, salt species, and salt concentrationcenter_img Citation: Scientists manipulate molecules inside living cells with temperature gradients (2014, September 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-09-scientists-molecules-cells-temperature-gradients.html (Phys.org) —The ability to make measurements of the biomolecular interactions that occur inside living cells is essential for understanding complex biological processes. But probing the inside of living cells without damaging them is a challenge. The cell membrane shields electrical fields, prohibiting the use of electrophoresis, a technique that is commonly used to analyze biological samples in a variety of areas outside living cells. Set-up of the thermophoresis technique. Heating is provided from below by an IR laser. The molecules move along the temperature gradient, indicated by arrows. Credit: Reichl and Braun. ©2014 American Chemical Society Explore further 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