India: Maharashtra plastic ban comes into force

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Monday, June 25, 2018

On Saturday, the plastic ban in the Indian state of Maharashtra came into force. In an attempt to minimise pollution, the state government has introduced a ban on single-use plastics.

The leader of the Yuya Sena political party, Aaditya Thackeray, said on Twitter, “The ban on single use disposable plastic cups, plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic plates and cutlery, styrofoam cutlery and non woven bags”. He added, “these are global issues now and we have taken a step to combat it”.

Plastic pollution has led to the choking of drains, marine pollution and a risk of animals consuming plastics. This year, India’s motto for World Environment Day — June 5 — was “Beat Plastic Pollution”. People violating the plastic ban are to face a fine of 5,000 Indian Rupees (INR) for the first offence. For the second offence, the fine is INR 10,000 and the third time offence is INR 25,000 and a three-month prison term. Deputy municipal commissioner Nidhi Choudhary said, “To weed out corruption, we plan to give inspectors payment gadgets for electronic receipts of the fines”.

The Maharashtra government has given a 90-day period for manufacturers to dispose of existing polyethylene terephthalate (PET/PETE) plastic spoons and plates, while shopkeepers and citizens in general have six months to dispose of plastics. However, the ban does not prohibit plastic usage for wrapping medicines or milk cartons thicker than 50 microns.

The state government had announced the decision for the plastic ban on March 23. According to NDTV’s report, Maharashtra is the eighteenth Indian state to enforce a state-wide plastic ban. Aaditya Thackeray also said, “I congratulate the citizens for making this into a movement, even before the ban was enforceable, giving up single use disposable plastic.”

Computer professionals celebrate 10th birthday of A.L.I.C.E.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005File:Turing1.jpg

More than 50 programmers, scientists, students, hobbyists and fans of the A.L.I.C.E. chat robot gathered in Guildford, U.K. on Friday to celebrate the tenth birthday of the award winning A.I. On hand was the founder the Loebner Prize, an annual Turing Test, designed to pick out the world’s most human computer according to an experiment laid out by the famous British mathematician Alan Turing more then 50 years ago. Along with A.L.I.C.E.’s chief programmer Dr. Richard S. Wallace, two other Loebner prize winners, Robby Garner and this year’s winner, Rollo Carpenter, also gave presentations, as did other finalists.

The University of Surrey venue was chosen, according to Dr. Wallace, not only because it was outside the U.S. (A.L.I.C.E.’s birthday fell on the Thanksgiving Day weekend holiday there, so he expected few people would attend a conference in America), but also because of its recently erected statue of Alan Turing, who posed the famous A. I. experiment which inspired much of the work on bots like A.L.I.C.E. University of Surrey Digital World Research Centre organizers Lynn and David Hamill were pleased to host the event because it encourages multi-disciplinary interaction, and because of the Centre’s interest in interaction between humans and computers.File:ALICE Birthday Cake.jpg

Dr. Wallace gave a keynote address outlining the history of A.L.I.C.E. and AIML. Many people commented on the fact the he seemed to have moved around a lot in the last ten years, having lived in New York, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Maine, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, while working on the Alicebot project. The A.L.I.C.E. and AIML software is popular among chat robot enthusiats primarily because of its distribution under the GNU free software license. One of Dr. Wallace’s PowerPoint slides asked the question, “How do you make money from free software?” His answer: memberships, subscriptions, books, directories, syndicated ads, consulting, teaching, and something called the Superbot.

Rollo Carpenter gave a fascinating presentation on his learning bot Jabberwacky, reading from several sample conversations wherein the bot seemed amazingly humanlike. Unlike the free A.L.I.C.E. software, Carpenter uses a proprietary learning approach so that the bot actually mimics the personality of each individual chatter. The more people who chat with Jabberwacky, the better it becomes at this kind of mimicry.

In another interesting presentation, Dr. Hamill related present-day research on chat robots to earlier work on dialog analysis in telephone conversations. Phone calls have many similarities to the one-on-one chats that bots encounter on the web and in IM. Dr. Hamill also related our social expectations of bots to social class structure and how servants were expected to behave in Victorian England. He cited the famous Microsoft paperclip as the most egregius example of a bot that violated all the rules of a good servant’s behavior.

Bots have advanced a long way since philanthropist Hugh Loebner launched his controversial contest 15 years ago. His Turing Test contest, which offers an award of $100,000 for the first program to pass an “audio-visual” version of the game, also awards a bronze medal and $2000 every year for the “most human computer” according to a panel of judges. Huma Shah of the University of Westminster presented examples of bots used by large corporations to help sell furniture, provide the latest information about automotive products, and help customers open bank accounts. Several companies in the U.S. and Europe offer customized bot personalities for corporate web sites.

Even though Turing’s Test remains controversial, this group of enthusiastic developers seems determined to carry on the tradition and try to develop more and more human like chat bots.Hugh Loebner is dedicated to carry on his contest for the rest of his life, in spite of his critics. He hopes that a large enough constituency of winners will exist to keep the competition going well beyond his own lifetime. Dr. Wallace says, “Nobody has gotten rich from chat robots yet, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. There is such a thing as ‘bot fever’. For some people who meet a bot for the first time, it can pass the Turing Test for them, and they get very excited.”

Canada’s St. Paul’s West (Ward 21) city council candidates speak

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Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is St. Paul’s West (Ward 21). One candidate responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include John Adams, Tony Corpuz, Joe Mihevc (incumbent), and John Sewell.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Category:June 7, 2006

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News briefs:May 26, 2010

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Israel declares Gaza Strip ‘enemy entity’; preparing for military incursion

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Israeli government has declared the Gaza Strip an “enemy entity” due to the continued firing of rockets into Israel from Gaza. Gaza’s ruling Hamas party has stated that it considers the announcement a “declaration of war.”

The definition means that Israel could stop supplying Gaza with fuel, electricity and other commodities.

“Following extensive legal consultations, Israel has decided to declare Gaza as a hostile entity, with all the international implications. This move will prepare the groundwork for sanctions against Gaza, such as the interruption of gas, electricity and water supply, which will occur in a gradual process,” said an unnamed Israeli government official.

Ehud Barak, the Israeli Minister of Defense said the “objective is to weaken Hamas” , while Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum suggested “…they aim to starve our people and force them to accept humiliating formulas that could emerge from the so-called November peace conference,”

Barak also said that Israel is considering a military operation in the Gaza Strip saying that “every day that passes brings us closer to an operation in Gaza.”

The democratically-elected Hamas party, and its militant wing the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have been labeled “foreign terrorist organization”s by a number of bodies including the European Union, Israel, the United States, Canada and others.

United States of America draw 1-1 with Italy in Group E

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Kasey Keller made three crucial saves as nine-man USA drew 1-1 with ten-man Italy in an heart-pounding Group E match.

The match was played in Kaiserslautern and there were many American fans present. Those who had seen the Czech Republic crush the USA 3-0 might have been surprised at the way the underdogs played against the Azzuri.

Bruce Arena’s side began with a 4-5-1 formation and started the game with great energy, attacking from the first whistle.

However; arguably against the play Italy scored first. A set piece 45 yards out was driven low and Alberto Gilardino got in front of his defender and glanced a header to the far post.

USA got an equaliser on 26 minutes. Christian Zaccardo tried to clear a corner one way but skewed the ball the other. Own goal, Gianluigi Buffon did not move.

Then there was a crucial turning point in the character of the game. Daniele De Rossi rose for a midfield challenge and hit Brian McBride under the left eye with what looked like an elbow.

Blood streamed from McBride’s face. Uruguay referee Jorge Larrionda gave De Rossi a straight red.

Larrionda went on to show two more red cards in the match which equalled a tournament record. There had only been three other Fifa World Cup games with three red cards: 1938 Brazil v Czechoslovakia; 1954, Brazil v Hungary; and 1998, Denmark v South Africa.

For a few minutes McBride remained shirtless on the touchline while he received boxer treatment and three stiches for his cut. Italian manager Marcello Lippi replaced Francesco Totti with midfield tackler Gennaro Gattuso.

With half an hour gone the own goal and De Rossi’s mistake had given the USA a massive advantage. But it appears they did not keep their heads.

Ten minutes after Pablo Mastroeni had grazed the crossbar with a shot he made a horrible lunge at the ankles of Andrea Pirlo. Jorge Larrionda flashed the red again.

Just before half-time the USA had neutralised their advantage. In less than one minute after the restart they were to hand the Italians the advantage.

Eddie Pope was sent off after he received his second caution: two yellow cards equal one red card and now it was ten men versus nine.

Lippi almost immediately got substitute Alexandro Del Piero on for one of his defenders to take advantage of their extra player. Arena brought on another defender and lined up 3-3-2. By 80 minutes this had become 8-0-0.

For a game with so few players and so much drama there were very few chances. Only three shots were on target; all for Italy. USA had 8 shots; none on target.

A statistic that suggests the draw was a tactical victory for the USA coach. Italy’s forward line was guilty of getting caught offside 11 times.

Pirlo went close with a freekick and almost forced Carlos Bocanegra to head another dangerous dipping cross into his net; fortunately for Keller it clipped the bar.

As the Americans were stretched further Kasey Keller made a couple of crucial saves from Lippi’s extra attacker. On 73 minutes he got one hand to a Del Piero header and then palmed away two-handed his long range drive.

In the last 10 minutes Italy passed well and created a few chances to score. Vincenzo Iaquinta broke the offside trap, but failed to control the ball with only Keller to beat.

On 90 minutes Gilardino headed wide under pressure from Steve Cherundolo.

USA, despite playing the entire second half with 9 men might say they were unlucky not to get a second goal. A DaMarcus Beasley shot beat Buffon but was over-ruled because McBride was standing offside in the keeper’s line of sight.

On USA attacks Landon Donovan kept the ball well which allowed respite from Italian attacks and spurred his team on to play further up the pitch, until their stamina cracked with ten-minutes left.

The referee arguably was fair if not consistent. In the second half as both sets of players tired decisions appeared more based on necessity to be more lenient.

Lunges were not whistled and there was an aggressive shirt pull in the USA penalty area that was ignored. In an earlier World Cup match, a Ukraine player had conceded a penalty and was sent off for doing this.

The shared point meant either one of Italy or Czech Republic would qualify from Group E for the knock-out stage of the Fifa World Cup. USA next play Ghana: a win for Ghana would mean qualification while the USA would qualify if they won and Italy beat the Czech Republic.

Contents

  • 1 Statistics
    • 1.1 USA
    • 1.2 Italy
  • 2 Table
  • 3 Related news
  • 4 Sources

Why Should You Tackle The Kitchen Remodel Job

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byalex

There are few things in life that are a no brainer. Obviously it is important that you brush your teeth. It is obvious that you should eat healthy and exercise regularly. It is obvious that you should obey the laws. However there are less certain items as well. One of the more uncertain areas lies in the realm of home ownership. There is no bigger investment for you and your family then the home that you live in. not only does it provide shelter and protection but it also provides a security blanket for poor economies and times of uncertainty. Unfortunately there are many homes today that are being neglected and robbed of the potential value that they hold. Many homes have a value that could jump nearly 30% by simply investing in a few new upgrades. The following list is going to attempt to explain why you should seriously consider tackling that kitchen remodel job that you have been thinking about. While it may not seem as simple as eating healthy and exercising, the truth is that this could be one of the more easy decisions that you make.

A kitchen remodel job is a serious task that requires serious skill. And while you may be able to handle the job yourself, this list is meant not for do-it-yourselfers, but rather for the person who is considering hiring someone to do the work. The first reason for having this work done is actually very simple and it boils sown to economics. The current state of the U.S. economy means that you and your family must do whatever is necessary in order to survive financially. He average American home value can go up by thirty thousand dollars when a state of the art kitchen is installed. This is more than enough money to cover the cost of the initial build. If you are looking for a solid reason to begin a kitchen remodel job then look no further than the bottom line value of your home.

Second, while you may not be interested in selling your home, you should be interested in living in a home that has added value as well as added character. The kitchen remodel is a great way to add personality to your home. When items such as the appliances, the countertops, and the flooring are upgraded, the results are more than just a great new value but rather a great new look. New appliances are a great way to add beauty as well as function to an otherwise outdated room. Some of the best concepts are not necessarily the most expensive. For example, adding all stainless steel appliances could be all that you do. However this one move can turn a drab kitchen into a futuristic kitchen that people love cooking in as well as gathering in.

Kitchen Remodel Phoenix – Messina Renovations can help you with your kitchen remodel in Phoenix. Learn more kitchen remodeling tips by visiting online.

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Peace tax campaigners turned down by UK judge

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Friday, July 22, 2005

The Peace Tax Seven, who are campaigning to have the 10 per cent of their taxes which go to Britain’s defence budget diverted to non-military uses, have had their case rejected by a High Court judge.

The judicial review was called for under article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees freedom ‘to manifest one’s religion or beliefs’ and which was made a part of British law in 1998. The Convention includes the right to conscientious objection and the campaigners claim that this gives them the right not to pay other people to go to war on their behalf.

Their statement to the court said: “We want to make a positive contribution to society by paying our tax in full. We object in conscience to paying others to kill on our behalf, but current tax policy forces us to do just that.”

The courtroom had to be enlarged to make room for supporters and the judge listened to the case for three hours.

Roy Prockter, an accountant and campaign member as well as a Quaker, said that the judge told them that “our case has no possibility of being resolved in the British courts”. According to the Guardian, the judge suggested they take the case to Strasbourg. Roy said that the members were going to take time for reflection as they awaited the written judgment from the judge.

Explosion in San Francisco injures one, cause unknown

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Friday, August 19, 2005

An explosion from an underground utility chamber in downtown San Francisco severely injured a woman and shattered a window at a Ralph Lauren clothing store shortly after 10:00 a.m. Pacific time Friday. According to a caller to KCBS radio, a woman was engulfed in flames after the explosion triggered a fire in the store. The fire was quickly put out.

A bomb squad is currently investigating the explosion, and the cause has yet to be determined. One official said the explosion may have been caused by an electrical transformer. A witness described a fireball coming out of the side of the building

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. company spokesman Paul Moreno has stated that “there was no indication of a gas leak.” Moreno also described the aftermath of the blast. “The explosion did displace manhole covers — two round steel ones — and it also displaced a concrete cover as well,” Moreno said.

Some accounts have described a rift in the sidewalk caused by the explosion below.

Construction worker Tom Demartini, who was sitting in his truck outside the Ralph Lauren store, stated he saw the sidewalk rise up six or seven inches. “It sounded like a big poof, then there was a lot of smoke,” Demartini said. “One woman looked like she was badly burned.”

The burned woman was taken to the emergency room at St. Francis Hospital. Hospital spokeswoman Linda Gillespie had no immediate comment on her condition. Her name was not released.

Workers in a nearby office building described how the blast shook their buildings and that they thought it was an earthquake. According to one woman, the elevator in her building stopped.

Scores of police have evacuated buildings several blocks around the explosion. Kearny street between Sutter and Market has been closed to both vehicles and pedestrians.