Month: November 2020

  • ZTE Blade A7s 2020 With Octa-Core Processor, Triple Rear Cameras Launched: Price, Specifications

    first_img– Advertisement – The dual-SIM (Nano) ZTE Blade A7s 2020 runs MiFavor UI on top of Android 10. The phone features a 6.5-inch HD+ (720×1,560 pixels) TFT display. It is powered by an octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.6GHz and the remaining four clocked at 1.2GHz. You get 3GB of RAM with ZTE Blade A7s 2020.For photography, the phone features a triple rear camera setup that includes a 16-megapixel primary snapper, an 8-megapixel secondary senor, and a 2-megapixel tertiary sensor. At the front, there is an 8-megapixel selfie camera housed inside the waterdrop-style notch.ZTE Blade A7s 2020 comes with 64GB of onboard storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 512GB). Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 4G, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a USB Type-C port. The phone is backed by a 4,000mAh battery that can offer talk time of up to 27 hours while on 4G. Sensors onboard include accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, and a fingerprint scanner on the back. ZTE Blade A7s 2020 measures 164.7×77.4×8.2mm and weighs 179 grams.- Advertisement – ZTE Blade A7s 2020 has been launched in Germany. It is a budget-friendly smartphone with an octa-core processor, a notch for the selfie shooter, and a triple rear camera setup. The phone is offered in two colour options and a single RAM and storage configuration. ZTE Blade A7s 2020 has relatively thick bezels all around with an even thicker chin. There is also a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone. ZTE Blade A7s 2020 comes with a 4,000mAh battery and offers storage expandability as well.ZTE Blade A7s 2020 priceZTE Blade A7s 2020 is priced at EUR 149 (roughly Rs. 13,100) for the lone 3GB + 64GB storage option. The phone is offered in two colour options – Ocean Blue and Star Black. The phone is available on Amazon Germany and as of now, there is no information on its availability in international markets.ZTE Blade A7s 2020 specifications- Advertisement –center_img Are iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini the Perfect Apple Devices for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.last_img read more

  • Spider-Man: Miles Morales Review: Hanging by a Thread

    first_imgMiles Morales was a tiny part of Marvel’s Spider-Man — the 2018 award-winning and best-selling PlayStation 4 exclusive — but he shot to global popularity later that year as the lead of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, with the animated film interrupting Disney and Pixar’s dominance to win an Oscar. Those two aspects combine to deliver Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales — also from Insomniac, with Brian Horton and Cameron Christian as creative and game directors, respectively — a video game spin-off that continues the story of the titular character. But it has very few original ideas of its own, and it’s more than happy to stand on the shoulders of giants, drawing elements off both its Spider-Man game predecessor and the Spider-Verse movie.When it comes to gameplay, everything in Spider-Man: Miles Morales — good or bad — is exactly as it was in Marvel’s Spider-Man. The thrill of swinging through New York City, heralded as one of Insomniac’s finest achievements on Marvel’s Spider-Man, is as exciting and on-note as it was. The only improvement is that tricks are now easier to pull off: rather than “triangle” + “circle”, it’s just the “square” button now. Of course, Miles has his own style that fits his flailing out-of-control nature and effortless owning-it personality from the comics, something we also saw in the Spider-Verse movie.- Advertisement – But it’s put to use in repetitive ways. As Peter Parker, Marvel’s Spider-Man tasked you with clearing out construction sites owned by the supervillain Wilson Fisk. Peter had supposedly transferred control over to the New York Police Department, but a new villainous outfit is now squatting there just a year later. As Miles, Spider-Man: Miles Morales tasks you with clearing out the construction sites again. You could make an argument about power vacuums and all that, but this is still uninspired game design. Insomniac is making us do the same thing but with characters swapped out.In big-picture terms, it feels like an attempt to pad out game length. It took me less than 10 hours to wrap up Spider-Man: Miles Morales, with a healthy dose of side quests and activities. Apart from construction sites, other activities involve helping the citizens of New York with their problems, be it a stolen vehicle, malfunctioning railway, or missing pigeons. Local crimes are still around, but at least they are not endless, as was the case on Marvel’s Spider-Man where New York felt entirely lawless. There are nine challenges (combat, traversal, and stealth) created by Peter, which riff on the kinds of challenges he had in his game.Suit upThe only actual new side activity in Spider-Man: Miles Morales is sound sampling, which requires Miles to locate where a particular sound is coming from and then re-create the recording, to help build a track he’s been working on. Miles’ interest in music is carried over from the comics, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales fittingly has a hip hop-inspired soundtrack and background score, though it’s no match for Into the Spider-Verse’s, which featured the likes of Post Malone, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Swae Lee, and Jaden Smith, and had Daniel Pemberton as the composer.Watch the First Gameplay Trailer for Spider-Man: Miles Moralesspider man miles morales review spider verse suit spider man miles morales reviewMiles in the Spider-Verse suit in Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5Photo Credit: Insomniac GamesSpeaking of the Spider-Verse movie, Spider-Man: Miles Morales pays tribute to the film by including Miles’ movie suit, the relaxing hands-behind-the-head diving animation, and mimicking Into the Spider-Verse’s look. (The only thing the game doesn’t have are the film’s comedic chops.) That means animating in twos — holding one frame for two frames, which thereby lowers the frame rate — and displaying pop-up onomatopoeic words (“KRAAAAK”, “SKERUNCH!”, “HORK!”, “ZAP”, “THWOKK”, “SSSPAK!”) when Miles punches and hits enemies. Better yet, the Spider-Verse suit in Spider-Man: Miles Morales is in fact made up of two mods that can be applied to any other suit too.That applies to the “Bodega Cat Suit”, which comes with a cat in a backpack. The cat stays in the bag for the most part (no pun intended) and jumps out to aid Miles (cosmetically) in finisher moves. It does this only when it feels like though unfortunately, which is at least a bit fitting given most cats are lazy. More importantly, said cat is also called Spider-Man. It truly proves that anyone can be Spider-Man. I once called it the best thing about Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Insomniac seemingly agrees, for the “Bodega Cat Suit” is only unlocked after you finish the story (and a side mission).Hanging by a threadSet about a year after the events of Marvel’s Spider-Man during Miles’ winter school break, Spider-Man: Miles Morales takes place in a New York covered in a blanket of snow. The snow doesn’t affect gameplay in any way, it’s just a look. Following his father’s death, Miles (Nadji Jeter) and his mother Rio Morales (Jacqueline Pinol) have moved back to Harlem, where the Roxxon Energy Corporation — led by one Simon Krieger (Troy Baker) — is building a new reactor that claims to work on clean fuel. But Miles discovers that their purposes might be more nefarious and he begins to probe into Roxxon, with help from his software developer best friend Ganke Lee (Griffin Puatu), who’s to Miles as Ned is to Peter in the ongoing Spider-Man film series: an in-ear sidekick.Spider-Man: Miles Morales also features a gender-swapped Tinkerer (Jasmin Savoy Brown) — previously seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Spider-Man: Homecoming, where he was part of Vulture’s outfit and played by Michael Chernus — as the leader of new high-tech criminal outfit called the Underground, which has its own plans for Roxxon’s technology. The new Spider-Man game also brings back some memorable villains from Marvel’s Spider-Man — Rhino (Fred Tatasciore) is the only one I’m allowed to mention — in supporting or guest capacity.Spider-Man Remastered on PS5 Recasts Peter Parker, Upsets Fansspider man miles morales review tinkerer spider man miles morales reviewThe Tinkerer in Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5Photo Credit: Insomniac GamesUnlike Peter (Yuri Lowenthal), who was in the Spider-Man business for eight years when his game began, Miles is still learning how to be Spider-Man, and how to juggle the personal with the professional. Peter has been showing him the ropes for the past off-screen year and he has one big piece of advice: don’t tell anyone about your secret identity. The original Spider-Man throws Miles for a curve when he reveals that he’s going to Europe for a few weeks with MJ (Laura Bailey) on a Daily Bugle assignment, which leaves Miles in charge as New York’s only Spider-Man. He’s soon pulled into a conspiracy that involves the might of both Roxxon and Underground, and the story and its stakes turn out to be very personal for Miles.The Spider-Man: Miles Morales story isn’t anything special — it riffs on the old frenemy angle that brings to mind Xavier vs Magneto from X-Men — but it’s relevant in how it speaks to police brutality and discrimination against minorities. As Spider-Man, Miles wears a mask that obfuscates his Afro-Latino identity from the cops, but a scene involving him and Roxxon’s militarised goons still works as a parallel to how the police ignore and don’t listen to minorities, to the point that people like Miles feel invisible in society. Elsewhere, Spider-Man: Miles Morales places emphasis on the community and family aspect. While Pete was shown a bit of a loner, Miles is embraced by the people of Harlem, who take to calling him “our Spider-Man”.Spider-wonkyThe only unbelievable part of the story is how Miles gets badly hurt during a mission and then immediately gets better, for the campaign must wrap up before Peter returns from Europe in a couple of weeks, a time limit Insomniac has forced on itself. Problems with realism are more common with mission setups themselves. Spider-Man: Miles Morales opens with a police convoy stupidly flying a giant plane between New York skyscrapers. It’s like the cops are looking for trouble and mayhem. And as you can probably predict, it all goes haywire.The Batman: Arkham-inspired stealth mechanics have problems of their own, as the implementation is still not convincing on Spider-Man: Miles Morales. While the Dark Knight only operated in shadows, Spider-Man trots about in broad daylight. More importantly, he’s not detected when he probably should be. Sure, you cannot see someone directly above you, but the farther they are, the easier it becomes. Many a time, an enemy could easily spot Miles — or the hanging trapped bodies of their teammates — if they looked up even slightly. But in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, unless someone is on the same plane as you, they never see you. Enemies fail to even spot Miles’ shadow when he’s walking on the edge of rooftops.Spider-Man: Miles Morales Will Run at 4K 60fps on the PS5spider man miles morales review camouflage spider man miles morales reviewA camouflaged Miles in Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5Photo Credit: Insomniac GamesThe new Spider-Man game does let you do more with stealth, for what it’s worth. Miles has two abilities that sets him apart from Peter: a “Venom Punch” that can be used after you rack up combos and fill the focus meter, and “Camouflage” which allows Miles to turn invisible. Thanks to the latter, you can approach missions in Spider-Man: Miles Morales in ways that wasn’t possible on Marvel’s Spider-Man. You can upgrade your Camouflage ability to stay invisible longer or to avoid being detected when you take someone out. At the same time, Insomniac is smart enough to craft opponents that can counter your Camouflage and Venom abilities.At launch, Spider-Man: Miles Morales has some technical problems as well. The game crashed with an error screen once midway during a mission. During an Underground construction site activity, it froze and had to be force quit multiple times. Not wanting to be frozen again, I chose to go a different route and come back to the mission another time. And in certain stealth missions, enemies get themselves stuck by trying to walk into an immovable object. They stay there for the entire duration of the mission, unless you make a sound that causes them to walk in the opposite direction. Insomniac will release a “day one patch” on November 6, and hopefully that will take care of these.Speaking of the day one patch, Spider-Man: Miles Morales will also get additional updates to the photo mode and the ability to transfer saves from PS4 to PS5. I don’t usually bring up photo mode given it’s an ancillary experience for games, but it’s worth a mention given the extensive capabilities it offers. The Spider-Man: Miles Morales photo mode expands on the one offered in Marvel’s Spider-Man, adding light sources and stickers to the mix, which already had field of view, aperture control, focus distance, depth of field, exposure, vignetting, film grain, filters, frames, suit selection, and more.A bygone eraAs for the cross-generation support, it’s clear that Spider-Man: Miles Morales has been built for the PlayStation 5, and sufficiently works on the PlayStation 4. On one occasion, as I was swinging through New York City, it literally froze and threw up a loading sign in the right bottom corner. The game resumed a couple of seconds later. That’s as obvious an indicator of the fact that the PS4 hardware is a limitation for games (and has been for a while). For what it’s worth, Spider-Man: Miles Morales looks quite nice in cutscenes, with disappearing snow and a high level of detail in the hair, but not so much outside them.All You Need to Know About the PS5 and PS5 Digital Editionspider man miles morales review underground spider man miles morales reviewMiles taking out an Underground goon in Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5Photo Credit: Insomniac GamesHaving played it on the PS4 only, I can’t speak to the game’s quality on the PS5 — and whether you should pick it up if you’re buying Sony’s next-gen console at launch. But what I can say is that PS4 owners in India shouldn’t buy it at release. Here’s why.Insomniac has acknowledged the fact that Spider-Man: Miles Morales is not a full-fledged title — the developer said it has the scope of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy — which is why it’s priced at $50 rather than the new $70 ceiling for PS5 games. But Sony is being obtuse in India. While $70 has been translated to Rs. 4,999 sensibly, $50 has become the new Rs. 3,999. That makes no sense, as $60 translated to Rs. 3,999 for the longest time — as recently as the last PS4 exclusive: Ghost of Tsushima. Also, going by current USD-INR exchange rates, $70 is around Rs. 5,200 while $50 is Rs. 3,700.By pricing it at Rs. 3,999, Sony India is basically equating Spider-Man: Miles Morales with Marvel’s Spider-Man (also Rs. 3,999 at launch), which is bonkers. I normally don’t talk about pricing in reviews, because what’s acceptable for some is absurd for others. After all, console game pricing is screwed up to begin with, given Sony and Microsoft don’t allow developers to easily set localised pricing, the way Valve does with Steam. $50 should have been Rs. 3,499 at best, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales feels like a Rs. 2,999 game.If the sticker price isn’t a concern, in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, you’ll find a game that is lacking in originality but thankfully built on a solid core that needs a few tweaks. It’s a successful expansion of Insomniac’s Spider-Man universe, but it’s a new paragraph, rather than a new chapter. Hopefully it will give us the latter next time around. And though it’s also good for representation, it still has a ways to go. (Though the game wasn’t anything special, Marvel’s Avengers gave us a Muslim-American lead in Kamala Khan / Ms. Marvel.) Hopefully we can get Spider-Gwen from Insomniac next, or a Spider-Verse game, though given the lack of setup, either seems unlikely. For now, Miles continues his upward trajectory. He walked in 2018, so he could fly in 2020.Pros:Fight choreography, cinematography is wonderfulUpgraded stealth mechanicsSwinging is thrillingFun suits, Spider-Verse lookRelevance of storyExtensive photo modeCons:Not original enoughRepetitive gameplayGame padding despite short lengthUnconvincing stealth gameplayUnrealistic in partsBugs, game freezing / crashesIndia pricing is a jokeRating (out of 10): 7Gadgets 360 played Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PlayStation 4. The game is available November 12 on the PS4 worldwide and the PS5 in select countries, and November 19 on the PS5 in the rest of the world. It costs Rs. 3,999 in India, $50 in the US, and £50 in the UK on PlayStation Store. This also holds true for Spider-Man: Miles Morales’s other centrepiece. Insomniac Games’ creative team really understands the value of fight choreography and cinematography, and they know how to best use the tools at its disposal, chiefly the virtual camera. As Miles takes on enemies and bosses, the in-game camera spins, swings, tilts, rotates, and revolves around the characters, which in turn infuses a lot of energy and excitement into the game’s core: action. This might seem simple but it’s not, as shown by the fact that so many action-adventure games fail to execute this.Spider-Man: Miles Morales currenciesThere are three currencies in the new Spider-Man game: skill points, activity tokens, and tech parts.Earning XP by playing the game and completing missions helps you level up, which grants you skill points. These can be used to teach Miles new combat skills.- Advertisement – Miles’ max level is 20, unless you start “New Game+”, wherein you begin the story from scratch but with all your upgrades intact. New Game+ is available after you finish the campaign.Activity tokens are awarded for completing objectives, be it missions, side quests, or local crimes. That leaves tech parts, which are found by opening hidden crates left over all the city. You need activity tokens and tech parts to unlock new suits and upgrade your gear.Some suits, suit mods, gadgets, and skills are intentionally locked behind New Game+, another way of padding game length.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

  • Vivo to Unveil New OriginOS on November 18, Details Remain Unclear

    first_imgThe latest Q3 2020 report for Indian smartphone shipments shows Vivo was third in the latest of most smartphones shipped with its 9 million units. The company has a 16.7 percent market share in the country and experienced a growth of 27.4 percent YoY in terms of total smartphones shipped.Which is the best TV under Rs. 25,000? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. The company has set up a new account on Weibo dedicated to OriginOS that currently only mentions the November 18 unveiling date, but is expected to reveal details about the new OS in the coming days.At the end of October, it was reported that Vivo will be replacing its Funtouch OS with the new OriginOS. At the time, a tipster had said it will bring significant improvements over the current version of Funtouch OS. More information can be expected from the company in the coming days.OriginOS will most likely be based on Android 11 and will make its way to the company’s flagship smartphones like the Vivo X50 series and Nex series first. The OS will be unveiled in China and details about international rollout, including India, can be expected to be announced at the event.- Advertisement – Vivo will unveil its new OriginOS on November 18. The company made the announcement through a post on Chinese microblogging website Weibo. It has also created a dedicated OriginOS profile on the platform where it is expected to announce new information in the coming days leading to the reveal. It’s believed that OriginOS could replace the Funtouch OS currently powering Vivo phones. The company has the tagline “Brave new world” for this new operating system.While the company has not shared any details on what the new OriginOS will bring, it mentions that the OS will be unveiled on November 18 with a special event in Shenzhen, China. A user on Weibo shared that the event will start at 3:30pm local time (1pm IST). As of now, it is unclear which phones will be getting the new OriginOS, and what all changes it brings. Explaining its “Brave new world” tag line for the OS, Vivo says, “Interact with your emotional instinct with a real experience close to reality” (translated).- Advertisement – – Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

  • The Masters: How Sky Sports are covering during coronavirus pandemic | Golf News

    first_img Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland – Advertisement – Sky Sports Golf host Nick Dougherty takes you behind the scenes into the work behind the production of this year’s Masters After a long wait the Masters is finally here, with a different look for Sky Sports’ coverage as the world’s best golfers vie for the final men’s major of 2020.The iconic tournament, which traditionally marks the start of the men’s major schedule, was pushed back from April to a November slot for the first time due to the coronavirus.Sky Sports’ Nick Dougherty will be fronting the coverage along with Sarah Stirk, but travel restrictions caused by the pandemic mean the broadcast will come from Sky Studios in west London, rather than on site at Augusta National, Georgia.All on-site staff must wear masks as they arrive, before they undergo a temperature check to ensure safety precautions are taken. The Masters takes place from November 12-15, live on Sky Sports’ dedicated channel. Tiger Woods returns to defend his Green Jacket at Augusta National, with the event moved from April due to the coronavirus pandemic Last Updated: 11/11/20 2:36pm 6:52 Rich Beem will be on site at Augusta along with NBC Golf Channel host Cara Banks, while Butch Harmon will once again be part of the coverage from his home in Las Vegas.The Zen Green Stage – being used for the first time for Sky’s Masters coverage – will be a key part of the innovative technology being used as Sky Sports bring you closer to the action.Sky Sports is the exclusive live broadcaster of the Masters in the UK. Watch The Masters this November live on Sky Sports, with all four rounds exclusively live on Sky Sports’ Masters channel. Live coverage beings with Featured Groups from 12.30pm on Thursday November 12. – Advertisement – center_img The award-winning Sky Sports Golf team will have four commentary positions, with Ewen Murray, Paul McGinley and Andrew Coltart all part of the on-air coverage.The Covid-19 era means a screen will separate the two commentators while they analyse the live pictures, all while there is talkback from the director and producer. – Advertisement – Get Sky Sports Golf for just £10 a month All four days of The Masters exclusively live. Get our £10 golf offer. Find out more here. Sky Sports Golf host Nick Dougherty takes you behind the scenes into the work behind the production of this year’s Masters When’s The Masters on Sky Sports? Ways to watch The Masters live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Masters channel. – Advertisement –last_img read more

  • Facebook, Google, Pinterest to lead growth in online ads in 2021

    first_img“Big picture, we continue to view advertising as being cyclical and see faster GDP growth leading to more ad spend across more industries … as companies spend to reach the recovering/re-opening consumer,” analysts said in the note.  Morgan Stanley said the consumer behavior changes due to stay-at-home orders have sped up the desire to experiment and shift advertising spend toward digital. Morgan Stanley raised its 2020 and 2021 ad forecasts by 8% and 15%, respectively, expecting 11% year-over-year growth in 2020 and 20% year-over-year growth in 2021. A number of factors are at play in the online ad market as the sector recovers: Morgan Stanley analysts said online travel related spend in 2019 represented 8% of the digital ad market, or 2% of total ecommerce, falling by 50% in 2020. The analysts expect that to recover in the next two years. – Advertisement – – Advertisement – – Advertisement – Analysts forecast a 29% year-over-year ad growth for Facebook during the fourth quarter and 27% growth in 2021, ahead of street estimates. But they said those forecasts don’t incorporate any contribution from Instagram Shops or Reels, two products that could “add hundreds of millions of dollars of ad revenue” next year. Analysts expect Google to see a recovery in travel-related paid search, while YouTube in 2021 could see the benefit of a stronger direct response offering and a more stable brand advertising market.Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley said Pinterest’s automated bidding will be a tailwind through the “shelter-in holiday” and into next year, amid other product innovations. They said at least a third of Pinterest’s ad revenue earlier this year was pure brand ad spend. That means the company is likely to reap the benefits as the broader brand market improves, and should also see more spend on the direct response side as it builds out its performance marketing tools.CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting. center_img Morgan Stanley analysts outlined Thursday why they believe online advertising can grow 20% in 2021, with Facebook, Google and Pinterest leading the pack.Third-quarter earnings by tech giants like Facebook, Google, Snap, Twitter, Pinterest and Amazon showed that digital ad revenue came roaring back in recent months, and suggested some of the digital ad trends tied to the explosion of e-commerce could be here to stay. Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in the note that ad beats in the third quarter speak to the initial impact of a “V-shaped recovery” into next year. In the third-quarter, online ad companies saw the results of surging e-commerce ad spend and a return of brand advertising, which had been a harder-hit part of the market during the pandemic. – Advertisement – A banner for the online image board Pinterest Inc. hangs from the New York Stock Exchange on the morning that Pinterest makes its initial public offering on April 18, 2019.Spencer Platt | Getty Imageslast_img read more

  • Senate Republicans prove to be a scrap heap of moral rot following Trump’s defeat

    first_imgSumming up the week, UC Irvine law professor and election law analyst Rick Hasen tweeted, “I’m a heck of a lot less nervous about this election at the end of this week than I was at the beginning of it.” Yep, that tracks. It’s as if nearly everyone outside of GOP lawmakers and partisan hacks spent the week cutting off every single avenue available to Trump. He may not concede, but he has no legal leg left to stand on and no conspiracy left to sell that hasn’t been thoroughly destroyed and debunked. In fact, Trump is an even bigger loser in the courts than he was in the election. The only safe space snowflake Trump has left is within a Republican party still happily coddling the loser-in-chief to meet their craven political ends. Simply put, they need his voters. So, in yet another flagrant dereliction of duty, congressional Republicans have been privately relaying their congratulations to Joe Biden while publicly insisting the election isn’t decided yet even as Trump’s denialism jeopardizes national security.- Advertisement – On Friday evening, former Justice Department official Neal Katyal declared Trump an “unprecedented loser in the courts” after he logged nine losses in a single day. “No litigant has lost more, so much, so fast,” he said in an Instagram video parsing the losses. On top of that, Trump’s main law firm in the election disputes, Jones Day, dropped him as a client. More than a dozen federal prosecutors also urged Attorney General Bill Barr to rescind his memo authorizing them to investigate voting irregularities, saying they had found none and the directive “thrusts career prosecutors into partisan politics.”Additionally, on Thursday, a coalition of federal, state, and local election officials declared the 2020 election “the most secure in American history” mere hours after Trump tweeted out a baseless ALL CAPS conspiracy theory about votes being stolen from him.- Advertisement – Former Republican congressman David Jolly, who has since left the party, summed it perfectly Thursday on MSNBC.“This is about a political party that is defrauding the American people in real time,” Jolly said. “This is about a generation of Republican leaders who are committing a fraud upon American democracy.”Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt provided perhaps the clearest example of a lawmaker knowingly betraying the American people and his oath of office. On Sunday, Blunt, No. 4 on the Senate leadership team, went on ABC’s This Week and encouraged Trump’s lawyers to get on with their charade and “let the facts speak for themselves,” adding, “It seems unlikely that any changes could be big enough to make a difference, but this is a close election, and we need to acknowledge that.” The statement was about as close any Senate Republican had come last weekend to acknowledging Trump’s defeat.But then GOP Leader Mitch McConnell went to the Senate floor Monday and, in coordination with Attorney General Bill Barr, threw his full support behind Trump’s faux fraud charges and futile legal efforts. The political calculus had changed, most likely because Trump was threatening to throw the two Georgia GOP senators fighting for their seats to the wolves. By Tuesday, Blunt switched from almost-truth teller to fueling Trump’s fire. “You know the president wasn’t defeated by huge numbers in fact he may not have been defeated at all, we’ve gained seats in the House,” Blunt said.That right there is the vision of a man who knew better, said so on national television, and then sold out his country a couple days later for the GOP’s political gain. That’s a man whose moral compass went haywire and sacrificed his integrity on the altar of political expediency. In his world, protecting the Senate Republican majority is more important than protecting the country and safeguarding the institutional norms that keep our democracy in tact.Frauds and traitors—that’s damn close to all that’s left of the Republican party. It’s not just one or two fringe players in the House Freedom Caucus anymore, it’s the leadership team of Senate Republicans—a caucus once considered to be more firmly rooted in reality and therefore at least trustworthy enough to perhaps step in when something as critical as national security was on the line. If that was ever true, it’s not anymore. Prior to the election, it was hard to imagine Republican lawmakers could do worse by the country in the instance of a Trump defeat than they had done throughout his tenure. Now, just like with Trump, no low is too low for these miscreants. Total annihilation of the party is the only solution and, unfortunately, they didn’t suffer a convincing enough blow in the election to convince them voters have abandoned them in any real way. So what we have now is an ongoing battle for the soul of the nation, as Biden puts it. It’s clearly a long-term project that is going to require commitment and resolve in the face unrelenting moral rot.  At the beginning of the week, one senior GOP official brushed off Trump’s legal exercise in futility as harmless enough, according to the Washington Post. “What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change,” said the official. “He went golfing this weekend. It’s not like he’s plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20. He’s tweeting about filing some lawsuits, those lawsuits will fail, then he’ll tweet some more about how the election was stolen, and then he’ll leave.”By Wednesday, the Post alleged “widespread alarm” among congressional Republicans as Trump purged a group of administration officials from top national security posts and installed at least a handful of loyalist lackeys at some of the government’s most powerful intelligence posts. At that point, a smattering of Senate Republicans finally came out and admitted that Biden might be president and should at least be getting the intelligence briefings that Presidents-elect have routinely been getting for decades. But with the exception of a handful of Senate Republicans, GOP leadership and the rest of the caucus have continued to fuel Trump’s faux fraud charges and insist he might still have a path to victory. He. Does. Not. At least, not on planet earth. – Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

  • Hillary Clinton has to be tired of waiting 4 years for the country to realize she was right

    first_imgBolton’s not wrong, a bit hypocritical considering he wasn’t exactly willing to take a step outside of party lines to divulge details that could’ve been useful during Trump’s impeachment hearings. Then, he was perfectly content solely dangling knowledge of the president’s alleged quid pro quo to promote sales of his book, but now he’s calling on the same Republicans he mimicked in cowardice to risk themselves to acknowledge the truth. Something in me says it just doesn’t work that way, but I’ll admit it would be nice. “We need Republicans to tell the truth too,” Bolton said. “It’s not that hard.” Apparently, it is. RELATED: Trump’s lawsuit against John Bolton is pointless, incompetent, and weakThe Georgia run-off is January 5th. Request an absentee ballot by Nov. 18. Early in-person voting starts Dec. 14. And REGISTER TO VOTE here by Dec. 7.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – And give $3 right now to rip the Senate majority from Mitch McConnell’s cold dead hands. That “dope” has been through five presidential transitions, Bolton pointed out on Twitter. “…and every day that he delays under the pretense that he’s simply asking for his legal remedies ultimately is to the country’s disadvantage,” Bolton said of the president.In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Bolton also negated the previously floated theory that accepting the election results would cost Republican leaders too high a political price. “Well, I have trust in the Republican voters. I believe that if their leaders explain to them that Trump lost fair and square, and that the facts do not support his claims that the election was stolen, that they will come to accept it,” Bolton said. “But if they only hear from Donald Trump it’s not unnatural for them to think, ‘since nobody else on our side of the aisle is disagreeing that what he’s saying is accurate,’ and I think that lays the basis for real distrust in the system, casting doubt on the integrity of our electoral system, the constitutional process.”xcenter_img – Advertisement – I remember with great detail when the former secretary of state had to concede the 2016 election to a reality TV star. I can’t imagine the humility that took, but she did it. Trump at least gets to concede to a former vice president, but he’s making no such concession by his account. He’s instead taken to his usual name-calling and alleging that the election was “rigged” against him. “John Bolton was one of the dumbest people in government that I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ to work with,” the president tweeted Sunday. “A sullen, dull and quiet guy, he added nothing to National Security except, ‘Gee, let’s go to war.’ Also, illegally released much Classified Information. A real dope!”- Advertisement –last_img read more

  • More efforts look outside the box for outbreak signals

    first_imgJul 21, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – In the history of infectious diseases, coincidence plays an extraordinary role. In 1706, Cotton Mather purchased a slave named Onesimus who happened to come from a tribe that practiced variolation, and so smallpox prevention was introduced to North America. In 1928, Alexander Fleming happened to leave a window open in his laboratory, and the contaminants that drifted into a dish of Staphylococcus aureus provided the raw material for the discovery of penicillin.And in February 2003, a never-identified man in southern China emailed a query to an American teacher he knew from an Internet chat room, who happened to have been the neighbor of a US Navy epidemiologist. The epidemiologist, Dr. Stephen Cunnion, placed the relayed note on the electronic mailing list ProMED—and so the first notice of the international SARS epidemic was brought to the world, weeks before the Chinese government admitted the disease’s existence.Five years on, the example of that relayed note has inspired a broad-based effort to take the coincidence out of outbreak notification. It seeks to do by design what the never-named writer accomplished by happenstance: tap nontraditional sources of information, find and verify the earliest possible news of disease outbreaks, publicize the outbreaks, and possibly help contain them.Dr. Larry Brilliant, one of the chiefs of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) smallpox-eradication effort and now executive director of the philanthropy, has dubbed the effort “two steps to the left”—meaning two steps backward on an epidemic curve, when an outbreak is much harder to detect but easier to control or contain.”Is it possible, or even probable, that if we better understood the complexity and magnitude of the many factors that lead to the emergence of infectious disease, that we . . . might be able to get early warning signals from satellites or webcrawlers or phone banks?” Brilliant said in March in a keynote speech at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases. “Or even better, that we could identify hotspots where newly emerging communicable diseases would arise . . . ?”HealthMap is latest entryThe emerging surveillance systems address the first of Brilliant’s “two steps”: They seek very early warnings of outbreaks by analyzing data that originates outside the public health hierarchy. The most recent entry in the field is HealthMap, created by epidemiologist John Brownstein and software developer Clark Freifeld at the Children’s Hospital Boston Informatics Program. It began as a pilot project in September 2006 and is described in the July issue of Public Library of Science Medicine (and is partially supported by a grant from joins older nonprofit tools including ProMED, a free Web and email-service of the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID); official surveillance efforts by public health agencies, such as the European Union’s MedISys and the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN), operated by the Public Health Agency of Canada for the WHO; and new grassroots efforts by epidemiologists and computer scientists such as the volunteer effort, the new surveillance efforts give teeth to the revised International Health Regulations, which took effect a year ago. The revision formally recognized “informal sources” of disease news as worthy of attention and capable of triggering an international outbreak alert.The new efforts differ widely. Some rely entirely on human input, while others employ data-mining algorithms. Some are open to the public, others restricted to health professionals or government officials. And some are entirely text-based, while others take advantage of new technologies such as geographical information systems or GIS (the technology behind GoogleMaps) to display the location of outbreaks as precisely as possible.”No one system can do it all or will be able to do it all,” said Dr. Larry Madoff, editor of ProMED Mail and a professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts. “It is better to have multiple systems, because they provide verification for each other, and conversely show us what we are missing.”Unofficial sources offer speedWhat the new surveillance systems share is a refusal to depend on data from public health’s established reporting systems, which rely on electronic or paper reports filed by physicians or local health departments and passed layer by layer through the public health hierarchy. Those reports may be exquisitely accurate, because they originate with medical professionals, but they are slow.The new systems balance the risk of sacrificing accuracy against the need for speed, which they get by harvesting and evaluating news stories, blog posts, listserv discussions, and whatever else can be spotted by eye or scraped by a Web-crawling program.ProMED, which began in 1994 and has operated with ISID’s support since 1999, is the most labor-intensive: It relies on 37 volunteer editors who examine submissions from a global network of official “rapporteurs” and casual correspondents. It also has the lowest-bandwidth: Though it maintains a website, many of its global subscribers rely on its text-only emails, which move easily even through computers connecting by dial-up.GPHIN, running on the WHO’s behalf since 1997, automatically samples two major Internet news aggregators and machine-translates stories in eight languages; the harvested stories are reviewed by humans before they are sent out to a subscription-only network. It is credited with turning up the earliest hint of SARS in November 2002, in a Chinese-language account of a rise in respiratory disease complaints in local emergency rooms.HealthMap, the newest entry, expands on the sources the other systems draw from: It performs fully automated Web-scraping from 14 aggregate sources that collect data from approximately 20,000 sites. It currently collects in English and machine-translates from four other languages, with three more under development. The reports it collects are automatically sifted for duplicates and mistakes, ranked by urgency, and sorted and posted by source, date, location, and disease.Its striking innovation is real-time mapping of the news it gathers. Reports are coded with latitude and longitude and “pinned” to a world map; clicking on the pins produces links to the reports that the system has gathered. The collective result—map plus links plus reports—is gathered into a single open-access Web page.”We realized there is so much content out there on the Web, and that information is scattered in an unorganized, unstructured way,” said Brownstein, who is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in addition to his Children’s Hospital informatics appointment. “So for any particular person—a public health official, an international traveler, a travel clinic, or whatever perspective you come from—to know what is going on at any given time, in any given country, around any given infectious disease is essentially impossible without massive amounts of manual queries and searching that is overly burdensome.”Maps provide extra dimensionThe latest movement in novel reporting is the deployment of sophisticated but easy-to-use tools such as GIS-mapping for very local surveillance. It was the inspiration for, a private project by California software engineer PT Lee that aggregates personal reports of illness into “crowdsourced” snapshots of local disease trends.It was also used recently by the Toronto Star, whose “Map of the Week” project plotted the vaccination-exemption rates of local schools to suggest where an ongoing measles outbreak might strike next. And in the July/August issue of Public Health Reports, researchers from Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx map the location and quality of food sources and exercise areas to illuminate local rates of diabetes and obesity.Developers of the new surveillance systems agree that incorporating local reports is the necessary next step in the systems’ evolution. It may be the most challenging: Data gathered by amateurs is likely to include a higher percentage of inaccurate or irrelevant reports. But it may also be the only route by which areas with no official disease surveillance—or with tight political controls on disease reports—can share information with the rest of the world. In fact, representatives of the public health systems from 23 countries called for enhanced disease surveillance in a December 2007 “call for action,” asking industrialized countries to help improve disease reporting especially in Africa and South Asia.Cell-phone text-messaging has already been used in India to report suspected cases of avian flu to provincial animal-health authorities. A new nonprofit named InSTEDD (Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters) has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation  and’s Predict and Prevent Initiative to bring rapid disease-reporting tools to Mekong Basin villages in Southeast Asia.HealthMap’s founders are working on a pilot project, using ProMED’s volunteer moderators, that will test combining machine-harvested reports with human-evaluated ones. “The vision down the road is it would be a two-way line of communication, not just receiving or curating information [but] also inputting new data,” Brownstein said. “That would be the concept that would open this up to the global community.”See also: HealthMap site Medicine article describing HealthMapOriginal ProMED post on SARSMedISys home page home page home pagewww.whoissick.orgMay 2007 CIDRAP News story discussing WhoIsSick.orgLefer TB, Anderson MR, Fornari A, et al. Using Google Earth as an innovative tool for community mapping. Public Health Reports 2008 Jul/Aug, 123(4):474-80InSTEDD Mekong Basin Collaboration read more

  • Tourist destination management – an example of good practice

    first_imgAustrian “Zagorje”Imagine a continental region (tourist destination) of 1.145 km2, with 103.000 inhabitants, 79 municipalities and 4 subregions (districts), in which the largest city has 4.614 inhabitants. There are no companies with more than 300 employees in the region, no high mountains suitable for winter and summer tourism, but there are no large arable lands because it is intersected by hills… Upon joining the European Union, the competitiveness of small agricultural production and secondary related activities deteriorated sharply. The future was not bright.Cooperation – coordination – actionThen one mayor in the relaxed atmosphere of a local inn in the company of colleagues said they had to do something… Thus began the revival of the economically weakest Austrian region – Lower Styria where the average gross salary ranges between 1.820 and 1.890 Euros (Austrian average around 2.500 Euros).LAG – development and branding agencyThey founded the LAG – Local Action Group funded by municipalities. At the head of the LAG is Mag. Michael Fend, an experienced leader with a lot of volunteer experience in humanitarian actions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and a Croatian son-in-law. The LAG has crystallized a vision of development based on all the resources of the region, which are viewed in a negative and positive aspect. They decided to brand themselves as the “Land of Volcanoes” because a large volcano was active in the area millions of years ago, the outlines of which can still be seen today. Material evidence of such a past is the composition of the soil as well as thermal water. Volcanic earth gives birth well, the volcano represents progressiveness, activity, so such a “brand name” is gladly accepted. “Vulkanland” is positioned as a gastronomic region, a region of crafts and handicrafts, a region that preserves its culture of living and which has decided to become energy independent by 2025.This was followed by active work on EU funds, but also on connecting stakeholders in agricultural production and processing of agricultural products. Thus, 70 wheat-producing farms have teamed up with one mill and bakeries to produce regional flour from which regional bread is produced in order to achieve a better and guaranteed purchase price of wheat. Other farmers are encouraged to process or to cooperate with local processors. This is how the famous producers of prosciutto and dried pork “Vulcano” were born, then winemakers (one of the most famous is Thaller), producers of brandy, liqueur and vinegar (Golles) and many others. The processing of agricultural products is presented as “Culinary Products”, ie high-value products for gastronomy. Today they have 63 producers under the brand “Steirisches Vulkanland”, then 52 craftsmen, 30 centers for the renewal of life energy „Quality clubsNew “quality clubs” are constantly being created. Thus, 26 households that arrange gardens were interconnected. They socialize with each other, exchange experiences and hold “open days”. They annually organize 112 various events on the topic of horticulture and make 20.000 visits. They are mainly engaged in tourism, and on that basis they achieve better results.Photo: sagen.atFewer municipalities – more efficient development managementIn the meantime, the number of municipalities has been reduced to 33, and many companies that pay the annual membership fee have voluntarily joined the LAG and thus acquire the right to display the “Vulkanland” logo. Unemployment is low, around 5%, the region now has 3% more young people under 19 than the Austrian average, but also 5% more population over the age of 65. They also have 17% more population with more family members, 82% more employees in the primary sector than the Austrian average, 2% more in the secondary sector.There are 3,3% foreigners, 8% of the economy is engaged in tourism and leisure, crafts 54%, trade, brokerage, management 25%, information consulting 8%. Of the schools, they have 44 primary, 16 secondary, 1 special, 8 polytechnic, 2 more for production occupations, 1 higher for tourism and 1 higher for kindergarten teachers. In the regional administration for social development, in addition to mag. Fenda, who leads the LEADER programs, also has Dr. Beatrix Lenz and mag. Stefan Preiningen in charge of youth.A combination of agriculture and tourismThe main feature of agricultural processing companies is their orientation towards organic production, “fair trade” principle, innovation and all have well-organized tours of production facilities with tasting that is well paid and well-organized shops at the place of production. Most of the products are sold in Austria and all of them have a respectable number of regular customers – individuals to whom the goods are delivered directly (Thaller as many as 13.000 people). Production facilities are becoming top tourist attractions that record a steady increase in visits. The chocolate maker Zotter went the furthest on this issue, whose complex stretches over thirty hectares on which there is a real small zoo, fruit and vegetable production, entertainment for children, restaurant… and the chocolate factory itself offers an unforgettable experience to every visitor. Innovations in the production of wine, brandy, liqueurs, cheeses, prosciutto… innovative way of presenting these products, excellent organization of direct sales, give results of above-average sales prices, high product value and satisfaction of all stakeholders in such “fair trade” trade.There are more and more other tourist facilities such as hiking and cycling facilities, they are being developed regionally and implemented locally. Spas, castles, museums, sports facilities with sports hotels… all this raises the participation and importance of tourism in the overall economy. “Steirische Vulkanland” is a small region that provides a great lesson in connecting the community into a sustainable microeconomic model.Whoever wants, can learn, see but also spend – a lot. A tour of the “Steirische Vulkanland” is worth every Euro.Published by: Nedo Pinezićlast_img read more

  • The seventh International Tourism Fair PLACE2GO was presented

    first_imgThe biggest so far, the seventh International Tourism Fair PLACE2GO is being held from March 16 to 18 in Arena Zagreb!Seychelles, Zanzibar and Ivory Coast are presented for the first time, and exhibitors from Indonesia, India, Canada, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia are coming to Zagreb again. , Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.”I am especially pleased with the fact that new destinations join us every year. I hope that the seventh PLACE2GO will be full of positive emotions and experiences and that it will result in unforgettable trips and concluded deals. We have a great desire to present even more Croatian destinations at the fair, because I am firmly convinced that there are many more unexplored beauties in our country.”, Said Damjana Domanovac, director of the fair PLACE2GO.Satisfaction with the long-term cooperation was expressed by Uğur Cantimur, director of Turkish Airlines for Croatia, an airline that has been confirming its loyalty to the project for five years as a general sponsor. “For an airline that flies to the most countries and international destinations in the world, PLACE2GO is the ideal platform to present our unparalleled network of flights and numerous award-winning services to regular and potential passengers. We are extremely proud that this year marks the 20th anniversary of doing business in Zagreb. We are happy to transfer part of the celebration to the fair and in that way once again thank our partners and passengers for their trust all these years.and “, said the director of Turkish Airlines for Croatia.PLACE2GO has been supported from the beginning by the City of Zagreb and the Zagreb Tourist Board. “The fair is an exceptional opportunity to create contacts and follow global trends in the field of tourism and I hope that this year we will create a basis for the adoption of many examples of good practice and successful and fruitful cooperation with many business partners.”, Said Jelena Pavičić Vukičević, Deputy Mayor of the City of Zagreb.In the meantime, there is no need to worry about it. ”PLACE2GO 2017 from Place2go on Vimeo.Martina Bienenfeld, director of the Zagreb Tourist Board, congratulated the organizers on their efforts to hold this year’s fair in the prestigious Arena Zagreb. “I would like to invite everyone to visit the exhibition space of the Tourist Board of the City of Zagreb, where we present the project “Culture of Tourism” launched in 2010 in cooperation with the City Office for Education, Culture and Sports, and it aims to raise awareness , cultural and natural potentials of Zagreb”, Pointed out Martina Bienenfeld.The perfect opportunity for business networkingTraditionally, the first day of the fair – Friday, March 16, is intended exclusively for business meetings. Meetings are arranged in advance by way of mobile applications PLACE2GO for Android and iOS systems which significantly speeds up business communication. On that day, visitors can expect interesting panels, lectures and presentations and an attractive workshop on innovative technological solutions, which will be attended by representatives of the IT industry.”At the panel and workshops on Innovative technological solutions in tourism, you will be able to learn all about our mobile hotel application, property management system and interactive TV system and technological trends that our hoteliers increasingly recognize and include in their offer, e-charging stations and e-bikes . By expanding the eco-system of services specialized for the hotel and tourism industry and ensuring the availability of state-of-the-art technologies in one place, we want to enable our hotels to stand on an equal footing with world players.”, She pointed out Ivana Beli Oštarčević, Director of the ICT Offer Department of Hrvatski Telekom, which sponsors the Business Lounge.More than 180 exhibitors from 21 countries, attractive prize games, a great opportunity for business networking, workshops, panels, guest travel writers and bloggers – visit one of the most attractive tourism fairs in the regionThe most famous travel writers and bloggers talk about travelCamping Square and Adventure Village, autochthonous Croatian souvenirs, new trends in the travel industry, attractive hotels, wellness centers, cocktail PLACE2GO created as a result of cooperation Obala promet and Filip Lipnik, prize games in which you can win tickets to Istanbul and Dublin or a trip to Tunisia, are just part of the rich program that awaits you for the weekend.This year, the most famous Croatian bloggers and travel writers will be guests, so visitors will enjoy the stories of journalists Goran Milić, the experiences of singer Mirela Priselac Remi, African adventures Saša Pjanić, Damir Filipović and Ivan Raka. Dejan Nemčić will talk about humanitarian work, a Vlado Šestan will give some travel tips. Goran Jovic will discover what he experienced on a trip to Latin America and Tanzania, there are stories from the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali, but also details from a gourmet trip to Germany. Travelers and  Ivan Bengeri will discover how to get to the cheapest trips and whether a 1300 kuna ticket to New York is a matter of luck or skill, and the program manager Ida Prester, and the experienced traveler herself, will discover the details of her favorite trips.The sponsors of this year’s fair are the President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, the Ministry of Tourism, the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts.Admission to PLACE2GO is free this year as well, and you can see the entire program of events at: www.place2go.orglast_img read more