PHOENIX — A self-driving truck company has partnered with the U.S. Postal Service to test autonomous technology on the long-haul route between Phoenix and Dallas.San Diego-based TuSimple is planning for two autonomous trucks to carry mail and parcels on five round trips between the Postal Service distribution centres in the two cities starting Tuesday.TuSimple says a safety engineer and driver will be on board to monitor the trucks during the two-week pilot program.The trucks use a camera system allowing the vehicles to view about 3,280 feet (1,000 metres) ahead.The company says the Postal Service has contracted TuSimple to examine if the technology could reduce fuel costs, increase safety and improve fleet operation.The Associated Press
TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed lower Monday as mining stocks fell alongside metal prices in the wake of weak industrial data from China.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 15,482.56 -49.02 -0.32%S&P 500 — 1,984.13 -1.41 -0.07%Dow — 17,031.14 +43.63 0.26%Nasdaq —4,518.90 -48.70 -1.07%The resource-heavy S&P/TSX composite index dropped 49.02 points to 15,482.56.The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.36 of a cent to 90.5 cents US.U.S. markets were uneven with the Dow Jones industrials up 43.63 points to 17,031.14, while the Nasdaq was down 48.7 points at 4,518.9 and the S&P 500 index slipped 1.41 points to 1,984.13.Data showed that Chinese industrial production decelerated markedly in August to just a 6.9% rise from a year earlier. It was the slowest growth since the 2008-09 financial crisis and left markets wondering if China’s economy can reach the 7.5% growth level targeted by the Chinese government.“Many depend on China to set the pace of what’s going to happen with copper and energy,” said Allan Small, senior adviser at HollisWealth.“So, if there is a noticeable slowdown, obviously that will hurt the commodity sector and our economy in Canada will be affected by it.”The base metals sector was the biggest TSX loser, down 1.77% as the weak Chinese data pushed December copper down two cents to US$3.09 a pound. First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM) gave back 96 cents to C$23.16.The U.S. Federal Reserve was also in focus with traders curious to see if the central bank drops a hint that it could raise interest rates sooner than mid-2015, when it is generally expected that short-term rates will start to head up from near zero, where they have been since the financial collapse.They will be looking at the Fed’s statement Wednesday to see if there has been a change in key language. For some time, the Fed has reassured markets that “it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends.”Markets will look to see if the Fed drops the words “considerable time.”“Is it going to be first quarter, second quarter, third quarter — I think the consensus is somewhere middle of next year,” Small said. “But we’re splitting hairs here. At the end of the day, rates are going higher sometime next year and we need to start to be prepared for that.”The great bit of uncertainty on markets this week is coming from the U.K. as traders look to Thursday and the referendum on Scottish independence. A Yes vote would result in huge complications from currency to membership in the European Union and NATO.In corporate news, Microsoft will acquire Stockholm-based game developer Mojang, the maker of Minecraft, for US$2.5 billion. Minecraft, which lets users build and explore a virtual world, has been downloaded 100 million times on PCs alone since its launch in 2009. Microsoft lost 45 cents to $46.24.Air Canada is moving to begin contract negotiations with its pilots union early in hopes of avoiding the acrimony that marked the last round talks that ended up being eventually settled by a federal arbitrator. Its shares (TSX:AC.B) jumped 57 cents or 6.7% to $9.05.Elsewhere on the TSX, auto parts makers help push the consumer discretionary sector down 1.17% with Magna International (TSX:MG) losing $3.61 to $118.97.The energy sector was ahead 0.25% as October crude in New York gained 65 cents to US$92.92.The gold sector was up 0.1% as December bullion advanced $3.60 to US$1,235.10 an ounce.TOP STORIESHow Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary are driving the housing market in CanadaScotland independence referendum keeps markets on edgeThere’s a beer battle brewing as Heineken rejection leaves SABMiller vulnerable to AB InBev takeoverCIBC shakes up management as new CEO Victor Dodig unveils new teamWHAT’S ON DECK TUESDAYECONOMIC NEWSCANADA8:30 a.m. Manufacturing sales & orders (July): Economists expect a 1.1% riseCORPORATE NEWSUNITED STATES Adobe Systems Q3 earnings: Analysts expect 26¢ a share
It’s hard to imagine the way you carry a newborn or wrap a baby in a blanket could impact their early physical development.But anything that forcibly straightens an infants legs increases it’s risk of hip dysplasia. A condition requiring surgical treatment in 3 of every thousand births. Maria Hayes explains.00:00:00 | 00:00:00::Projekktor V1.3.09
“The decisions you make today will have a profound impact on the future of Liberia,” Mr. Annan said in a radio message to Liberians. “The United Nations calls on all registered voters to go to their designated polling stations and exercise their right to vote. I urge each one of you to make full use of this precious right to freely choose your leaders, and thereby play your individual part in bringing peace and democracy to your country.” He noted that the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) had been working closely with the national security agencies to ensure an environment free from intimidation and violence. In addition, thousands of international and Liberian election observers had been deployed throughout the country.Mr. Annan congratulated the political parties, their candidates and supporters, saying that over the past few weeks they had conducted their campaigns in a generally peaceful and orderly manner. “They have demonstrated their desire to keep the peace process moving forward. I hope this will continue once the elections are over and the results are known,” he said, adding that after the new Government takes office, the United Nations Mission in Liberia and the rest of the UN family would remain fully engaged in helping it to succeed.He also expressed his appreciation to the mediator of the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS), former Nigerian President Abdulsalmi Abubakar, for his tireless efforts to ensure that the elections were held on schedule and to the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS for their assistance to the people of Liberia during the transition.He called on Liberians to let the day mark the opening of “a new chapter in the history of Liberia. A chapter of reconciliation and reconstruction, underpinned by good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights. On those foundations you can rebuild a nation of which all Liberians can be proud.” UNMIL later reported that the turnout was massive, with voters starting to line up at polling stations as early as 3 a.m. for the opening five hours later. The National Elections Commission would begin announcing the results tomorrow and the deadline for the final results was 26 October, it said.
No increase in business taxes No increase on mainstream fuel duties A full review of changes to company car tax and its effects A duty reduction on petrol used for research and development testing The motor industry today urged the Chancellor, Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, not to undermine the stability and competitiveness of the UK automotive industry by increasing taxes in the forthcoming budget.In a report to the Treasury, SMMT expressed concern that the economic stability and positive tax regime benefiting the UK over recent years has been steadily eroded. Any further tax increases and uncertainty over current incentives would weaken domestic demand and threaten UK competitiveness within the global economy.Commenting on the submission, SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan said, ‘2002 was a record-breaking year for new car registrations making Britain the second largest market in Europe. However, global competition is fierce and government must act to promote domestic demand and enhance the UK’s competitiveness. The Chancellor’s commitment to positive tax regimes and economic stability over recent years must be maintained in order to keep Britain’s position as a leading global player in the industry’. Fuel Duty The motor industry supports government intentions to introduce duty incentives for fuels with zero sulphur content. However, the UK should commit to a stable regime for ‘cleaner’ fuel incentives in the long term to allow manufacturers to plan the introduction of new technologies. The Chancellor should not offset this with increases to mainstream fuel duties. Company Car Tax The industry supports the Inland Revenue’s research programme into the impact of recent changes to company car taxation. However, a full review of all changes should now be completed before any further decisions are made. The industry is concerned that any tightening of the CO2 banding rates beyond 2004/5 would harm business and fleet registrations, thereby weakening domestic demand. Research and Development (R&D)Government has recognised the importance of R&D to long term business success but more incentives are needed to encourage large global companies to work in the UK. The current duty reduction on diesel fuels should be extended to petrol used for research, development and testing thereby improving the competitiveness of UK facilities.DownloadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
BARCELONA, Spain — Atletico Madrid needed a late own-goal to salvage a 1-1 draw at Girona in the Spanish league on Sunday. It was a fourth straight draw away from home in the league for Diego Simeone’s team.Atletico remained in third place, level on points with second-placed Barcelona.Barcelona hosts Villarreal later Sunday, and leader Sevilla visits Alaves.Girona striker Christian Stuani scored his league-leading 11th goal of the season by converting a spot kick just before halftime after being fouled by Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak. A video review awarded the penalty after the referee had initially ruled that the foul was outside the area.Simeone sent on forwards Gelson Martins and Angel Correa to spark a comeback, and Correa came through when he recovered the ball and quickly sent a long ball forward to Diego Costa. Defender Jonas Ramalho tried to impede Costa from striking the ball, only to tap it into his own net in the 82nd minute.Saul Niguez hit the crossbar for Atletico in the first half.Girona lost goalkeeper Yassine Bounou to a leg injury midway through the second half, but replacement Gorka Iraizoz made a fingertip save to deny Niguez in the 77th.Elsewhere, Real Betis beat Real Sociedad 1-0 thanks to a first-half goal by Junio Firpo.___More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsJoseph Wilson, The Associated Press
PEOPLE WHO SUFFER from blackouts, diabetes, epilepsy, dementia, cognitive impairment, sleep disorders, bad eyesight, psychiatric conditions or misuse substances could be ordered to stop driving under new medical fitness to drive guidelines launched today.The Road Safety Authority and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland have published ‘Sláinte agus Tiomáint – Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines’, which will act as a clear guide for medical professionals in implementing medical fitness to drive policies.Under the remit of the guidelines, a doctor could order a motorist to cease driving for six months depending on the medical condition or until their illness is successfully treated or under control. Driver licensing authorities, Gardaí and legal professionals will also use the new medical fitness to drive guidelines to make decisions regarding a person’s fitness to drive.The new framework has been created to help promote and prolong safe driving and to help drivers understand the impact of an injury, a disease or the way certain medicines might affect driving.Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport says the new guidelines shows just how seriously road safety is taken in Ireland:As a doctor I know the value of having guidance like this available to medical professionals in making decisions about a patient’s medical fitness to drive.Noel Brett, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority, said up to now, in Ireland there has been little structured advice and support for medical professionals in the field of driver fitness. He added: “Drivers have nothing to fear. The guidelines will enable medical professionals to give advice and support to drivers who may have concerns about any condition or disease. Indeed the whole ethos… is to enable driver mobility to the greatest possible degree consistent with safety on our roads.”Read: Road deaths up by 23% compared to the same time last year >
Earlier: M50/N11 “at a standstill” after crash > Source: AA Roadwatch/Twitter A 23-YEAR-OLD man has died following a single-vehicle crash on the M11 at Loughlinstown at around 9am today.The man was fatally injured when the car he was driving struck a pole. He was taken to St Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown but was pronounced dead a short time later.He was the only occupant of the vehicle.Gardaí are appealing to any witnesses to contact Shankill Garda Station on 01 666 5900, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111, or any garda station.Part of the road was closed for a period today to allow a garda technical examination of the scene, but has since reopened: DUB-All restrictions lifted M11 from Loughlinstown R/A & M50 also from M50 S/bound J16 Cherrywood to J17 M50/M11 http://t.co/qvBPcggRh8— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) July 30, 2014
As we enter the longest day of the year, Google throws up a fun Doodle that reminds us that we all wish we were chilling out poolside right now.If you’re in the northern hemisphere, today marks the 2013 Summer Solstice. The Sun will be above the horizon for longer than any other day of the year, possibly up to 16 hours above your head. This is the highest Sun of the year, and the mark that Summer has officially started in many parts of the world. The North Pole is tilted more towards the Sun today than any other day of the year, which is why we get that extra bit of sunlight today.In celebration of this, one of Google’s many Doodles is sitting on their homepage, reminding you that you are not currently sitting in a pool or enjoying the beach.This year’s Summer Solstice is a little different from the others, as it is also the start of a weekend that will end with the SuperMoon. This is the one moon phase of the year that our celestial satellite will be larger and brighter than any other night of the year. Most times this is imperceptible to the human eye, and for these two events to happen within such proximity is purely coincidence, but it gives you an extra reason to look up at the sky this Sunday night.
Stay on target If you have a Nintendo Switch, chances are you also have The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new Zelda is a massive, phenomenal game that you can and should play for dozens of hours. But eventually, you’re going to want to play something new on your Nintendo console/handheld hybrid. Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda is a new column highlighting cool, smaller Switch games to check out once you’ve saved Hyrule.Two years ago it seemed like Apple was poised to turn its struggling streaming box the Apple TV into a product people actually cared about. The biggest addition to the revamped Apple TV was an iOS-style App Store. With the ability to run interactive programs beyond mere Netflix and other streaming TV services, the Apple TV suddenly had gaming potential that could make it the console to the iPhone’s gaming handheld.A flagship game for the new, app-filled Apple TV and its Wii-like motion-sensing remote was Beat Sports from Harmonix. Given that it’s basically Wii Sports meets Rock Band, it was a perfect fit for the more casual audience games on Apple’s broader premium tech platforms tend to attract. But even with this new push, games on Apple TV never really became a thing, so Beat Sports was doomed to obscurity.Until now. Unshackled from a tech company that doesn’t actually care about games, Beat Sports has returned better than ever as Super Beat Sports for Nintendo Switch. But after DropMix, should it be the other Harmonix game you check out this year?Super Beat Sports is more a sports-themed rhythm game than some attempt to graft rhythm game elements onto a sports game, although aspects of it lean in that direction. But really, it highlights how there isn’t that much different between the two. Hitting a baseball at just the right time or falling into a groove during a volleyball rally is already rhythmic and satisfying. Might as well drop a beat over it.There are five games (one more than the original release) you can either play solo or in local and local wireless multiplayer co-op and competitive modes. All essentially boil down to you hitting a ball on beat, but they find new ways to twist the formula through different sports metaphors. It’s like a Rhythm Heaven game but without the depth those games derive from their sheer number of weird minigames.Whacky Bat has you hopping between lanes and over sabotaging partners to swing at baseballs. In Net Ball, my personal favorite, your alien opponents on the other side of the volleyball net try to trip you up with weird passing patterns. Gobble Golf forces you to remember to put at precisely the right moment, and honestly it could use some better telegraphing.The other two games, Buddy Ball and Rhythm Racket, allow up to four players to join and are more competitive. They are closer to actual sports. Rhythm Racket requires you to bounce balls off walls on beat and into the goal. It’s a little too protracted and staccato, though, losing the momentum of what music games fun. Buddy Ball is especially crazy because your shots actually change the tempo of the ball your opponent must react to. You can lull foes into a rhythmic groove before suddenly changing the pace, just like a particular devious track.The music itself is fine. The rhythms are interesting enough for fun gameplay and the melodies sound appropriately similar to cheery cheesy children’s sports bangers like “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” It’ll take you some time to get through all the tracks in standard and Pro mode, even if repetition eventually sets in.More charming is the sci-fi cartoon art style. The whole game has you competing with aliens who love music and Earth sports, even if they don’t fully understand them. Case in point, as you progress you unlock new clothing items and tools for your avatar. So you can use a garden gnome as a tennis racket, you know, like in actual Tennis. With a detached Joy-Con, you can even swing your hand to crush that serve with your gnome.Super Beat Sports is a cool little casual game. I’m glad to see it escape Apple TV. It doesn’t reach the heights of Harmonix’s other rhythm games, or Nintendo’s own Wii Sports for that matter, but it still… scores? I don’t know, imagine the sports analogy that describes this situation.Want to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch.Buy it now!Super Mario OdysseyThe Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildNintendo SwitchProtect Your Nintendo Switch With These Awesome CasesLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. ‘Star Wars Pinball’ Has Your Favorite Brand in Ball FormSNES Games Officially Come to Nintendo Switch
Tom Holland Responds to Disney-Sony Spider-Man Feud‘Game of Thrones’ Star Kit Harington Joins Marvel’s &#… Hey, kids! Do you remember how cool Iron Man was when he first appeared? With his augmented reality view with JARVIS and blasting everything with his hand, before he became the comically detached mascot of the entire MCU? That was rad. It was also ten years ago, so think about that for a bit. Anyway, if you think that’s cool Hasbro has a new toy for you.ToyFair is this weekend, but Hasbro gave us an early look at Marvel Hero Vision, a new line of augmented reality toys. Well, a new augmented reality toy, singular, because so far they’ve only announced one. It’s an Iron Man helmet with a phone holder that lets you fight the forces of Thanos invading your living room.The Iron Man Hero Vision mask is basically an ordinary Iron Man helmet with a removable sleeve for your phone, similar to Google Cardboard, Google Daydream View, or the Samsung Gear VR. You put the phone in the sleeve, put the sleeve in the mask, and then stare at the screen as your phone’s camera pipes in your surroundings with a JARVIS-like vignette around your view. You then slip on a hand blaster covered in AR tags, and the Hero Vision software tracks where it is, rendering Iron Man’s gauntlet over it.The demo Hasbro showed me involved placing three plate-sized AR tags around the room, which the software rendered into generators I needed to protect. Thanos appeared in a wormhole and said generic villain things; then robots started attacking. I locked onto the robots by looking at them, then blasted them by raising my hand into view. Turning my hand around raised an energy shield that protected me. It was pretty simple AR fare, but with the benefit of Marvel branding and colorful plastic.The demo included an Infinity Stone, a small plastic gem that has an AR tag on it and still looks a bit better than the Infinity Stones included with the Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite collector’s edition. Mounts on the Iron Man blaster glove can hold the stone, which added special bonuses to the game. It was just one stone, which implies that other Hero Vision products will feature the other five stones, but Hasbro hasn’t announced anything yet.It was a fun, simple little game that kids might like, paired with an Iron Man helmet that looks pretty good even without the clip-on AR goggles that make it incredibly obvious you have a phone in front of your face behind the eye holes. It isn’t a revolutionary new AR toy that uses Hololens tech or anything like that, but considering the Marvel Avengers: Infinity War Hero Vision Iron Man AR Experience (its full name) will be only $49.99 when it ships this Spring, it doesn’t have to be. It’s a role-playing toy with an AR gimmick that Hasbro might build upon, and it’s a pretty interesting start.We’ll see more from Hasbro and other companies this weekend at ToyFair, including (hopefully) some closer looks at the newest Avengers: Infinity War collectibles.For more on AR sets visit our sister site PC Mag.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target
“The dream of the ’90s is alive in Portland,” the satirical TV show “Portlandia” proudly sings — that dream being to form a rock band and save the planet while letting your precious individualism hang out in all its eclectic glory. Cover yourself with artistic tatoos, go to clown school and clamber up on that double-decker bike — why not?Maybe the dream of the ’90s is really the recycled dream of the psychedelic 1960s, when rock bands and revolution — both political and personal — became a way of life. And Portland, a West Coast way station between Seattle and San Francisco, not only drew bands like the Beatles (in 1965), the Doors (in 1968) and Led Zeppelin (in 1972) — it also grew its own grass-roots musical and counter-cultural scene.You can explore that scene in “Portland Psychedelic,” a colorful exhibit now on display at the Oregon Historical Society museum. It traces the history of beatniks and hippies, folkies and rockers as the earnest coffeehouse and folk-revival scene of the early 1960s eventually exploded with amplification, rebellion and, of course, drugs.The exhibit doesn’t speak much to the serious social upheavals and political agonies of that era; it’s basically a short, strange trip through Portland’s music scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s via memorabilia like concert posters and handbills, autographed record sleeves and protest buttons. All of these souvenirs were donated to the museum by Peter Glazer of Lake Oswego, Ore., who was on the scene at the time and who managed to rub elbows with a wide variety of deejays, club owners and touring rock stars.Lair HillSan Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood grew world famous as the locus of hippies, drugs and rock music in the late 1960s, but Portland had its own miniature Haight-Ashbury in Lair Hill, a formerly grand southwest neighborhood where fading Victorian homes became affordable crash pads — not to mention coffeehouses where white acoustic guitarists could growl black blues, or sing wordy ballads by Bob Dylan or “We Shall Overcome.”
She said nearly 4,500 passengers were booked to travel in the coming week and that the department is working to cancel those reservations as needed. More than $1 million in fares has been refunded for passengers and vehicles affected by striking ferry workers in Alaska, according to figures provided by the state late Thursday. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Due to the ongoing Inlandboatmen’s Union strike, Alaska Marine Highway System vessels are currently not sailing, according to a release on Saturday from the Department of Transportation. Passenger fares for these affected sailings are being refunded. Our Reservations Call Center will be open limited hours from 10:00am – 2:00pm, Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28. The call center will resume normal business hours on Monday, July 29 from 7:30am – 4:00pm. Due to the high volume of calls, it may take time to connect with a customer service representative, according to the release. All vessel sailings are cancelled through Tuesday, July 30, with the exception of the MV Kennicott, which is cancelled through Wednesday, August 7. Bailey said passengers are being given information about other options. Passengers can use their refunds to book alternate travel, she said, adding the state is not paying for airfare or for the transport of vehicles that passengers may have had on ships. Meadow Bailey, communications director for the Alaska transportation department, said tickets will be fully refunded for passengers affected for as long as the strike lasts.
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas TribuneGov. Greg Abbott looks on as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (left) and House Speaker Joe Straus shake hands at the Capitol on May 27, 2017.After the national spotlight shined bright on Texas politics last year — with a wild presidential race that drew in the state and its leaders — 2017 brought a focus much closer to home.An action-packed legislative session gave way to an even more action-packed special session, all before House Speaker Joe Straus stunned the state with his decision to retire. By the end of the year, Texas politicos weren’t just reeling from Straus’ announcement but also a last-minute string of congressional retirements that promise to reshape the state’s political landscape for decades to come. Here are five stories that shaped Texas politics in 2017:Straus calls its quits — to the shock of manyHouse Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, shocked the Texas political world in October when he announced that he will not seek re-election, giving up the gavel after a record-tying five terms. For months, Straus had insisted that he planned to run again for speaker in 2019. His reversal seemed to surprise even his closest allies.Straus’ retirement paves the way for a crowded, chaotic speaker’s race ahead of the 2019 session. State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, had already been running for the job before Straus dropped the bombshell, and state Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, jumped into the race within hours of Straus’ announcement. At least several others are expected to get in the contest in the coming months.Straus’ absence won’t be the only new development in speaker politics leading up to the next session. House Republicans agreed in December to nominate a speaker candidate in caucus before the 2019 meeting, a move meant to reduce the influence of Democrats — whose support Straus had counted on during his five terms behind the gavel.Dominoes fall with high tally of open seatsAn unusually high number of Texas congressmen — eight — decided in 2017 not to seek re-election, setting off open races to replace them next year. It has been more than a decade since the delegation has seen such turnover.Of the eight open seats, six are currently held by Republicans and two by Democrats. None of the eight is expected to change party control, though the 21st District — where U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, is not running for re-election – has drawn interest from national Democrats, who added it to their target list after Smith announced his retirement.The congressional turnover will have an impact in Austin as well. Three Republican state representatives — Lance Gooden of Terrell, Jason Isaac of Dripping Springs and Kevin Roberts of Houston — are giving up their Texas House seats to run for open congressional seats. State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, is not up for re-election next year but is also vying for an open U.S. House seat. Abbott calls extra-special special sessionAfter the regular legislative session ended in May without the passage of critical “sunset” legislation, a special session seemed like a real possibility. But few expected what came next: Gov. Greg Abbott not only called an overtime round to approve the sunset bills but also unveiled an ambitious 20-item agenda full of conservative priorities. Ultimately, about half of Abbott’s agenda made it through the Legislature, with most of the resistance coming from the House. A “bathroom bill” did not pass — it got jammed up in the lower chamber like it did during the regular session — and neither did property tax reform, Abbott’s top priority. From the outset of the special session, Abbott had promised to keep a list of lawmakers who were supportive — and not supportive — of his agenda. That score-settling now appears to be playing out in Abbott’s endorsements in the 2018 House primaries, which have included a nod to a primary challenger to state Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place.Bathrooms and businessThere was perhaps no proposal at the Capitol this year that garnered more attention — and controversy — than legislation to regulate which restrooms transgender Texans can use. Championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, it remained front and center from the opening of the regular session in January to the closing of the special session in August.Politically, it found the state’s three top leaders in distinctly different corners: Patrick enthusiastically pushing the proposal, to the delight of social conservatives; Straus fighting it every step of the way amid fierce opposition from the business community; and Abbott caught in the middle, initially reluctant to pick sides. He ultimately did, though — aligning with Patrick in the second half of the regular session and making it one of the 20 items on his special session call. While such legislation never made it to the governor’s desk, it promises to factor into Texas politics for months — maybe years — to come. At the end of the special session, Patrick said lawmakers should be asked about the issue in the 2018 primaries, and Straus has warned the business community against disengaging ahead of another session where it could make a comeback.”“Sanctuary cities” banWith Abbott aggressively promoting the proposal and newly elected President Donald Trump championing it at the national level, it seemed inevitable that this was the year the Legislature would pass a ban on “sanctuary cities.” And it did — but not without multiple waves of political drama throughout the year.There was the successful “Schaefer amendment” in the House, which brought Senate Bill 4 more in line with conservatives’ preferred version but divided some Republicans and drew emotional opposition from Democrats. There was the scuffle on the House floor on the last day of the regular session, sparked by a Republican lawmaker’s objections to SB 4 protests in the gallery. And then there was Abbott’s decision to unexpectedly sign the bill into law on a Sunday evening on Facebook Live, which drew howls from critics.The legislation will likely remain in the spotlight in 2018. It’s currently the subject of a lawsuit from a number of Texas’ biggest cities and counties. Share
Share Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas TribuneGov. Greg Abbott announces new school safety measures in response to the Santa Fe High School shooting at the Dallas Independent School District headquarters on May 31, 2018.Gov. Greg Abbott’s “School and Firearm Safety Action Plan” — released earlier this month in response to the deadly Santa Fe High School shooting — is filled with ideas on how to prevent school shootings by “hardening” schools to make them more resistant to attackers.But one part of his plan pushes a softer approach: Hiring more counselors to focus on student mental health.Texas school officials and experts say they’re heartened by Abbott’s proposal, but they think the governor should go further to improve mental health resources in schools.Simply identifying students who are having a mental health crisis isn’t enough, said Tammi Mackeben, president of the Lone Star State School Counselor Association. Teachers, administrators and counselors all need to work together to improve overall student mental health, with counselors ready to step in once problems appear, Mackeben said. “Counselors can’t be the only individuals that are recognizing when students have mental health issues,” Mackeben said.Texas is one of 20 states that don’t require schools to have counselors, and it has the fifth highest student-to-counselor ratio in the country, with an average of 684 students for every counselor, according to the American School Counselor Association. School counselors are often given tasks like scheduling and administrative work, Mackeben said, limiting the time they can focus on students’ mental health. A counselor is “the only person on campus who is trained in mental health issues, so we’re trying to get that message out that they are the person on campus to deal with these kind of issues,” she said.Abbott’s plan recommends freeing up school counselors to focus on students’ mental health and behavioral needs rather than on tasks like scheduling and college applications. To do that, Abbott recommends allowing schools to shift money toward counseling and mental health services. But teacher organizations like the Association of Texas Professional Educators say schools don’t have excess funding to reallocate.“Districts are strapped with the amount of money that they have now,” said Monty Exter, a lobbyist for ATPE. “Simply telling them to spend the money how they see fit won’t work. They’re not spending it on crazy or frivolous or unimportant things.”Abbott also recommended expanding “mental health first aid” training programs for school district employees. The program gives teachers, administrators and staff the tools to understand and identify mental illness until someone with further training can respond.During roundtable discussions on school safety following the Santa Fe shooting, Abbott repeatedly voiced the need for more school counselors, but experts say counselors are only part of the solution for helping troubled students.Ron Avi Astor, a University of Southern California professor of social work and education, worked with a coalition of school violence experts to create a school shooting prevention plan following the Parkland High School shooting in Florida earlier this year. Their plan, like Abbott’s, recommends greater student access to school counselors, but placed an emphasis on creating a positive climate in schools to prevent students from feeling isolated.“That is missing a little from the governor’s plan,” Avi Astor said. “All power to him for getting more social workers, counselors and psychologists on school campuses because we need those, but I think the (plan) should go further and have more social and emotional focus if he wants to create real change.”Several Texas school districts are already approaching school violence with methods similar to those recommended by Avi Astor.For example, Dallas Independent School District uses a method called social and emotional learning, which integrates self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making into classroom teachings, said Juany Valdespino-Gaytan, Dallas ISD’s executive director of student engagement and counseling services.“Whenever we focus on these skills … and are shaping a positive climate through these practices, students feel that sense of belonging,” she said. “If a student doesn’t feel they have support or they feel isolated, they won’t feel part of the community, then we are risking students feeling isolated and wandering thoughts.”Valdespino-Gaytan echoed Avi Astor’s thoughts on Abbott’s student mental health recommendations.“I think it would always be an ideal situation to lower the student to [counselor] ratio, but the idea behind this work is that social and emotional learning doesn’t just sit with the counselors,” she said. “It’s a school-wide effort. So the teachers, the administrators all put effort towards the program and passing on the skills to the students.”
A summit meant to get more Black business entrepreneurs involved in policy proceedings doesn’t seem like a natural fit for Steve Bannon, former White House strategist and executive chairman of the ultra-conservative Breitbart News website, and Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager. But, Bannon, who has been called a racist and White supremacist sympathizer by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), and Lewandowski, who has allegedly been a part of multiple physical assaults, will be the keynote speakers at Black Americans for a Better Future’s first annual Economic Policy Summit from Sept. 26-27 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Northwest Washington, D.C.Steve Bannon (l), former White House strategist and executive chairman of the ultra-conservative Breitbart News website, and Corey Lewandowski (r), Donald Trump’s former campaign manager. (AP Photos/Gerald Herbert and Dake Kang)Raynard Jackson, founder and chairman of the super PAC, which was created to get more Blacks involved with the Republican party, insists the pair has much to offer and that the summit would be a fruitful investment.“I have personal relationships with every speaker that’s coming,” Jackson said. “I’ve had conversations with them about making sure that this is not just a photo opp. I have been assured by everyone of my speakers that they will have something substantive to discuss with this group of entrepreneurs.”According to Jackson, the summit is the beginning of a process — sort of like a dating relationship — that will provide an opportunity for Black entrepreneurs with a platform to cultivate and build ties with Republican politicians. The summit will occur during the same time that President Donald Trump is expected to deliver a speech on tax reform in Indiana. “These attendees will be invited to sit at the table,” Jackson told the AFRO. “The speakers are going to invite our attendees to be at the table helping create the sausage, and then also help them cook the sausage, and then slice up the sausage and serve to the small business community. So, this is more than just networking, this is one of the rare occasions…where, especially in the Black community, they’re being asked to provide input into legislation before it becomes law.” Jackson said that one-third of the attendees will be Democrats. The summit will include a VIP reception that will include members of Congress on Sept. 26 from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. and a breakfast and luncheon from 8 a.m-3 p.m. on Sept. 27. Lewandowski is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the luncheon and Bannon is scheduled to close out the program on Sept. 27. Jackson said members of congress, including Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) will rotate with other congress members during the breakfast on Sept. 27 to talk about various issues of what they are going to do. “He is so committed to the summit,” Jackson said, describing Gosar. “He believes so much in what our [Black American for A Better Future] group stands for.”Guests who have not confirmed attendance include: Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Rep. Steve Strivers (R-Ohio) and Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.).Jackson said the summit would include a specific follow up with measurable actions and a time table to ensure that progress is being made. He also said that he will disclose three major announcements about the Republican Party creating more opportunities for Black entrepreneurs to engage, cultivate and build relationships with members of Congress and private sector businesses on Sept. 27.
Kolkata: Tension prevailed at the Canning railway station early on Monday morning after a body was found from inside a compartment of Sonarpur-Canning local. It is suspected that the person has been murdered and was dumped inside the train.According to sources, on Monday around 4:10 am, the Down Sonarpur-Canning local arrived at the Canning railway station. While deboarding the train some passengers noticed a pair of legs could be seen under a seat in a vacant area inside a compartment. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataWhen some of them went there, they saw a man aged around 50 years was lying and seemed to be dead. Immediately Government Railway Police (GRP) outpost at the Canning station was informed. Police went there and rushed the person to Canning Sub Divisional Hospital where doctor declared him brought dead. Later, police sent it for autopsy examination. Local sources informed that some injury marks could be seen on the body. It is suspected that the person had been murdered. Police sources informed that the person looked like a vagabond to the sleuths. Police are not suspecting any foul play but waiting for the autopsy report to determine the cause of death. An Unnatural Death (UD) case has been lodged at the Sonarpur GRP. His identity could not be established till Monday night. Sleuths may lodge suo moto murder complaint if autopsy report indicates that this is a murder and also if no relatives of the deceased is found.
Amid much enthusiasm, Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Giriraj Singh inaugurated ‘Samadhan’ and mustard-oil manufacturing unit on December 13. The inauguration took place at Multi-disciplinary Training Centre (MTDC) of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) at Gandhi Darshan, Rajghat. Samadhan is an industrial training institute on PPP mode, to provide comprehensive industry and business related guidance and quality knowledge to entrepreneurs, industries, corporate and institutions. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfSpeaking on this occasion, Singh said that as ethical responsibilities towards society, Samadhan must work as an innovative social advisor for imparting valuable domain specific knowledge to generate more successful entrepreneurs and industry ready professionals. “Since innovation, interaction, information, communication, Technology are the needs of the hour, I hope that this institute will provide the platform that will create maximum startups, increase probability for commercial success – developing different models, where initial investment, incubation, and development through commercialization could be coordinated among all of the participants,” he added. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveKVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said that this institute should work as a catalyst to promote skill and entrepreneurship development training, vocational education, all round development of business and Industries, generation of employment opportunities and innovations to create maximum Start-ups. “It will also help in promotion of PMEGP, an ambitious programme of the Government of India, for which KVIC has been made the nodal agency,” he said, adding, “Live streaming videos pertaining to Industrial trainings, professional episodes by industry experts and audio-visual recordings of different industries about capital investment, streamlining industry processes, can certainly give a broader platform to KVIC programmes.” MSME Secretary A K Panda said that it can be a better platform the success stories of entrepreneurs, associated with MSME. Among others, who addressed this function, were KVIC Chief Executive Officer Preeta Verma and Dy CEO (North Zone) Satya Narayana, were also present at the event, among others.
Last night’s hoops contest between Boise State and Fresno State briefly drew to a halt when the ball became lodged in-between the shot clock and top of the backboard during the actioon.After a group of players were unable to dislodge the ball, despite their best efforts, a dad from the front row appeared with his kid to give it a shot. With a boost from his pops, the kid Spider-Man’ed up the basket and dislodged the ball. With great power comes great responsibility.The kid received a deserved round of applause from the crowd for his efforts. Soak it up buddy, you’re the B.M.O.C. tonight.