Kirby: Planet Robobot is Japanese #1

first_imgKirby: Planet Robobot is Japanese #1No new entries in top ten this week Rachel WeberSenior EditorWednesday 11th May 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareThere were no new entries in the Japanese top ten this week, which gave Kirby: Planet Robobot the chance to stay at the top spot with 80,000 copies sold. [3DS] Kirby: Planet Robobot – 79,807 (Lifetime sales – 224,653)[3DS] Yo-kai Sangokushi – 33,996 (498,883)[PSV] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2016 – 24,827 (109,800)[PS4] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2016 – 23,936 (125,917)[3DS] Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 – 14,200 (586,555)PS3] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2016 – 14,035 (70,512)[PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition – 10,289 (762,839)[Wii U] Splatoon – 9,478 (1,356,993)[Wii U] Super Mario Maker – 8,947 (870,375)[3DS] Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – 7,040 (156,313)In hardware PlayStation 4 stayed top yet again, despite a drop in sales on last week. PlayStation 4 – 24,880 (Last week – 28,578)New 3DS XL – 19,675 (20,257)PlayStation Vita – 18,090 (20,168)Wii U – 7,224 (10,020)New 3DS – 5,187 (3,997)PlayStation 3 – 1,340 (1,560)3DS – 1,209 (1,091)3DS XL – 171 (233)Xbox One – 60 (100)Charts collated by Media Create and published by Gematsu.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesResident Evil: Village is the third biggest PS5 launch so far | UK Boxed ChartsBut physical sales down over previous Resident Evil gamesBy Christopher Dring 2 days agoEpic reportedly offered $200m to Sony for PlayStation exclusivesThe firm also reportedly started discussions with Microsoft and noted that securing first-party Nintendo games would be a “moonshot”By Marie Dealessandri 2 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

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91 Reasons to Love The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

first_img We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding. Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! More from Horse Sport:Christilot Boylen Retires From Team SportAfter an exemplary career as one of Canada’s top Dressage riders, seven-time Olympian Christilot Boylen has announced her retirement from team competition.2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair CancelledFor only the second time in its history, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has been cancelled but plans are being made for some virtual competitions.Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Statement on 2020 EventAs the Province of Ontario starts to reopen, The Royal’s Board and staff will adhere to all recommendations put forward by government and health officials.Government Financial Assistance for Ontario FarmersOntario Equestrian has recently released this update of several financial assistance packages available, including those for farm business. Email* Horse Sport Enews The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (The Royal) returns to Toronto from November 1-10 in the Ricoh Coliseum and Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place. Visitors who flock to the annual fair next month will enjoy innovative new programs – as well as everything that “loyal Royals” have come to love and expect from the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show.“To celebrate our 91st year, we’ve compiled the top 91 reasons to love the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair,” said Sandra Banks, Chief Executive Officer, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. “With so much that’s new this year, we wanted to highlight the must-see competitions, activities, celebrities and of course, animals, that our guests can enjoy at The Royal.”1. THE PRESIDENT’S CHOICE ANIMAL THEATRE: an all-new facility, home to feature animal presentations including:2. President’s Choice SuperDogs3. Goats on the Go – just… imagine it4. Victoria Stilwell, star of The Animal Planet’s hit series ‘It’s Me or The Dog’, onstage November 1 to help beleaguered pet owners solve their training issues5. Animal psychic, Lauren Bode, will demonstrate her uncanny ability to connect with horses and dogs, both weekends of The Royal6. Rabbit Jumping demonstrations!7. Jack Russell Races8. Sheep herding demonstrations by those clever border collies9. Spirit of the Horse – equine education! Meet and learn about different breeds of horses10. THE ROYAL HORSE SHOW: tradition and prestige combine with athletic rigour and family entertainment to highlight the best in national and international equestrian sport, featuring:11. The 48th Highlanders, who will open the horse show Friday evening, November 1– who doesn’t love bagpipes?12. Sylvia Zerbini, formerly of Cavalia, will entertain with her nine Arabian horses, November 6-913. Horse whisperer Guy McLean will amaze and delight audiences, November 1-514. Rider rivalries: William Fox-Pitt, ranked second in the world in eventing and teammate Oliver Townend, both of Great Britain, will seek to dethrone Waylon Roberts of Port Perry, Ontario during opening weekend at the $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge15. Black tie affairs: Wednesday through Saturday evenings you will find that much of the crowd is in fancy attire, and it’s not unusual to see Jimmy Choo’s stepping carefully through the cattle barn en route to the Tanbark Club for box-seat holders16. Really, really big jumps: The Hickstead FEI World CupTM, presented by GroupBy, will be the most difficult show jumping you will see all week, with riders facing jumps ranging between 1.45 metres and 1.60 metres, with spreads of up to two metres wide, in the hopes of taking home their share of the $100,000 prize money17. Canadian actress Amber Marshall of CBC’s Heartland will return to the Royal to host:18. The Ontario Toyota Dealers Rodeo on November 3 – this classic rodeo is home to trick riders and barrel racers and all the western hooplah fans love19. Olympians: The Ricoh Big Ben Challenge, the evening of November 9, will feature top international and Olympic riders and horses competing for a chance at the $75,000 purseo Tip: Tickets are nearly sold-out but if you attend Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday night shows, you can see the same pairs competing!20. Dances with horses: don’t miss Thursday night’s competition featuring horses and riders literally “dancing” to music in the Olympic sport of freestyle Dressage21. The Dog & Pony Show, aka the International Canine/Equine Challenge, teams a President’s Choice SuperDog with an international jumper, each to jump their respectively sized courses, on November 9 (matinee performance)22. Massive and magnificent: top teams from each breed (Belgian Draft Horse, Clydesdale and Percheron) return to the ring together for an overall grand-championship on November 9, for the $15,000 Royal Championship Six-Horse Draft Hitch (evening performance)23. Weekday matinee horse show performances and the full horse show Sunday November 10 are free with a General Admission ticket24. THE a-MAZE-ing FOOD JOURNEY: walk the path your food takes from farm to table at this brand new interactive exhibit, where it’s ok to play with your food25. AGtivity CENTRAL: where parents can check their smartphones while their little ones enjoy:26. Face painting27. Mini tractor rides28. A farm-inspired playscape29. THE PIZZA PIZZA PETTING FARM: home to more than 60 friendly, child-sized farm animals30. FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: Royal visitors can rub elbows with farmers, scientists, and of course, chefs, all sharing their passion for food and an interest in farm based learning to encourage sustainability, conservation and preservation of our environment, while enjoying:31. A working greenhouse so serene it will make you forget your day job32. An edible garden – sit down and relax among the herbs and edible flowers33. Health Professionals night where guests can hear from dietitians, nutritionists, and food industry professionals34. Taste Canada’s “Cook the Books” competition featuring George Brown College chefs and cook book authors35. Home Cooks contest, meal preparation and knife skills demonstrations – for the rest of us!36. The Royal Wine competition featuring 60 Ontario wineries you need to know about37. The Royal Mixology Competition where 10 of the city’s top mixologists compete for Royal honours from 6-9 p.m. on November 438. The Royal Pub Crawl kicking off at 7:30 p.m. at The Royal Vineyard & Brew House, November 239. ART in the Royal Winter Gallery and Cafe featuring a 300 piece exhibit by Canadian naturalist and painter, Robert Bateman, who will be on site both weekends to discuss his art40. CANADIAN YOUNG SPEAKERS FOR AGRICULTURE: where youth from all across Canada will come to The Royal to deliver their prepared speeches on current agricultural topics, November 2 at 9am41. Provincial 4-H Go For The Gold Competition Finals: again this year, this youth game show tests 4-H members on their knowledge of 4-H best practices and current agricultural trends42. THE ROYAL AGRICULTURAL “HARVEST PATH”: hosting competitions celebrating the best in fresh, locally grown and produced food, featuring:43. Honey & beeswax, including entries by beekeepers as young as three years old44. Maple syrup and maple products, a truly Canadian competition45. Jams, jellies, and pickles where family recipe rule46. Field crops: the beautiful wheat, oat and barley sheaves are not to be missed47. Vegetables: because everyone needs to see a pumpkin that weighs more than 1,000 lbs48. Apples: witness the best of this year’s bumper apple crop49. Cheese: more than 400 lbs of glorious cheese AND a chance to sample champion wines and cheeses at daily “cinq a sept” events (5 – 7 p.m.)50. The delicious art of butter sculpting51. THE ROYAL CULINARY THEATRE: home to the Royal’s biggest food competitions52. The Road to the Royal Chef Challenge finale on November 2, where guests will see finalists from each regional fair fight for the winning title of The Road to the Royal Chef Challenge, including:53. Chef Justin W. Miller, Cabin Bistro, finalist from The Great Northern Exhibition54. Chef Justin Downes, Vineland Estates, finalist from the Niagara Regional Exhibition55. Chef Andrea Legacey, Devlin’s Country Bistro, finalist from the Paris Fair56. Chef Bryan Simmons, Chatterpaul’s, finalist from the Brooklin Spring Fair57. With Ben Mulroney, eTalk, and Bob Blumer as hosts!58. And Chef Jonathan Goodyear, Top Chef Canada finalist, as part of the judging team59. The Royal Chef Challenge 2013, where Toronto’s finest hotel kitchens square off in heated competition hosted by Bob Blumer, November 1 & 360. And the red hot finale, hosted by Chef Curtis Stone, at 2pm on November 961. THE ROYAL BARNS: home to more than 4,000 animals during the 10-day fair, including:62. More than 800 horses and ponies representing every imaginable size and skill set63. More than 800 dairy cattle from five dairy cattle breeds, including Ayrshire, Holstein and Jersey64. More than 600 beef cattle from six beef cattle breeds, including Angus, Limousin, Shorthorns and Herefords.65. More than 450 sheep representing eight varieties, including Suffolk, Oxford, Lincoln, Texel, North County Cheviot, Southdown, Hampshire, and Dorset, as well as…66. Sheep shearing demonstrations! (In 2012, a baby lamb was born to a sheep awaiting shearing)67. More than 250 goats, including Nubian, Alpine and Saanan breeds- both dairy and meat breeds68. More than 800 chickens, geese, turkeys, pigeons and all associated clucks, crows and coos69. More than 600 rabbits and cavies from more than 100 different breeds70. THE ROYAL FARM ANIMAL COMPETITIONS: taking place in the Scotiabank Ring of Excellence71. A family favorite, the Rabbit and Cavy show is on November 10, and with more than 100 different classes for rabbits, cavies, and wool products, this may be the softest competition the Royal has to offer72. The National Junior Beef Heifer Show will see 4-H members from across Canada come to Toronto to claim the National title of Grand Champion – youth who have been working with their cows all year to prepare them for their moment in the limelight on November 473. The Royal welcomes back the National Hereford Show, November 274. East National Dairy Goat Show opening weekend, November 1-375. TD Junior Sheep Show with more than 100 youth participating – a great example of the next generation of Canadian farmers76. Royal Poultry, Waterfowl and Pigeon show trophy presentations on November 677. Dairy breeds galore: the Ayrshire show, the Brown Swiss show, the National Black and White Holstein show, the National Red and White Holstein show, and the National Jersey show… all will be vying for the Grand Champion Banner of their breed and the coveted title of Supreme Champion of The Royal78. THE ROYAL AUCTIONS: serious business events for farmers at the Royal, and offer a fascinating glimpse into the complex role of genetics in the food production industry79. The Sale of Stars, a premier event for Holstein enthusiasts from Canada and around the world, which grossed more than $2-million in 2012, November 7 at 5:00 p.m. in the Scotiabank Ring of Excellence80. The Queens Guineas Competition and Auction, open to bona fide 4-H Beef Members in the Province of Ontario with a 2013 beef steer or market heifer, takes place November 1 at 4:30 p.m. in the Scotiabank Ring of Excellence81. The Ontario Junior Barrow, a youth swine competition for both showmanship and conformation in the show ring, prepares the top placing animals to be sold Ontario Junior Barrow Auction November 1 at 5:30 p.m. in Royal Swine Ring (Lower East Annex)82. The Royal Elite All Breeds Sale featuring top quality beef cattle takes place on November 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the Scotiabank Ring of Excellence83. The Royal Market Lamb Auction on November 5 at 5:00 p.m. in the Royal Sheep Ring (Lower East Annex)84. The Royal Wool Auction, for champion fleece and shawls, will close the Royal on November 1085. FABULOUS FOOD: celebrate the harvest at any of The Royal’s seven onsite restaurants including:86. Fine dining at the Royal’s flagship restaurant, The Royal Court87. The Hitching Ring Cafe & Bar, where you sit alongside the equine warm-up ring; The Tanbark Club, exclusive to Horse Show box seat subscribers; The Bull Pen Saloon, where all the after-show action is (dancing, anyone?); The Bit & Bridle Pub, a hidden hot spot on the upper level of the Horse Palace88. Award winning VQA wines and Ontario craft brews at The Royal Vineyard & Brewhouse89. High tea at The Royal Winter Gallery and Cafe90. The famous Food Court for fudge, fries and all your favourite fair treats (potato rosti, apple dumplings, cinnamon buns, baked potatoes, lamb on a bun?) Oh my!91. SHOPPING: featuring everything from cowboy boots to winter horse blankets, barn jackets to belt buckles – including Tuesday evening, where many equine themed retailers will be giving a discount if you show your Canadian Hunter Derby Finals ticket stubA full schedule of The Royal’s 2013 programming is available at royalfair.org/schedule. Discount tickets can be purchased online at royalfair.org or full price at the door. The Royal Horse Show tickets are also available online through royalfair.org or you can upgrade your general admission ticket for a Horse Show ticket at the Fair. Tags: Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Ricoh Coliseum, Royal Horse Show, Direct Energy Centre, Belgian Draft Horse, SIGN UP last_img read more

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Brian Morton Claims $55,500 CSI*2-W Purica Recovery EQ World Cup Qualifier at Thunderbird

first_img We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding. Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! Horse Sport Enews Email* SIGN UP Riders from ten nations took to the grass for Sunday’s $55,500 CSI*2-W Purica Recovery EQ World Cup Qualifier at Thunderbird Show Park, with just eight besting a tough course set by Peter Holmes to advance. It took ten rounds and a lot of rails to get the first clear ride from Israel’s Danielle Goldstein, but Canadian, Brian Morton, was right behind her, clear with the fastest first round time to guarantee a jump off. And when the class wrapped twenty-eight rounds later up, Morton was still on top.“I had the advantage of riding first on my young horse, so after that trip, I knew exactly what I had to do when I went back in on Spitfire,”said Morton.Morton was back in just ten rounds later with his Selle Francais gelding, Spitfire. “When I had a rail down in the Friday’s grand prix, I thought, OK, Sunday’s my day,” noted Morton. “Spitfire rose to occasion, as he always does, and was outstanding.”Goldstein was first in for the jump off, but tipped a rail late in the round to leave the door open for the rest of the field. Morton followed and was quick to prove the course could be mastered and setting the pace with a time of 35.63.“The jump off course wasn’t that long and in some ways that favoured me,”explained Morton. “Spitfire is 17 and I need to think about fatigue.”Mexico’s Edoardo Sanchez-Navarro looked like he had the speed and covered ground with his 9 year-old gelding, Alfie Scappino BMW, but the pair were just over the time to beat with 35.82. “When I finished I said, I think I was really fast today, but I was not quite fast enough,” he chuckled.Ben Meredith (AUS), Lisa Carlsen (CAN) and Karianne Boyce-Lockhard (USA) all posted clear rounds, but were a few seconds off the pace. Former Olympian and Pan American Games medalist, Enrique Gonzalez (MEX) were the only ones to try an angled track through the combination mid-course, and the gamble almost paid off. He looked fast to the final fences, but finished with a time of 36.07 and high praise for Morton.“I thought the only room that he left was the turn to the oxer, which I think I did faster, but I paid for it after when I couldn’t make the nine strides to the next jump,” noted Gonzalez. “This is a sport that hinges on hundreds of a second.”For Morton, hearing the Canadian national anthem and leading the victory gallop are sweeter when you can do it on home turf. The Vancouver-native is a regular at Thunderbird and always draws huge cheers from the crowd.“We both love competing here and plan a large part of our season around these tournaments,” explained Morton. “I feel a lot of support from everybody and it gives me that little extra push sometimes to really go for it.”In addition to prize money, Morton received the SSG ‘Ride Clean for the Green’ $1000 bonus for wearing the brand’s digital gloves.Purica Recovery EQ is a returning sponsor for Thunderbird Show Park, signing on to the $55k CSI*-W World Cup Qualifier for the second year in a row. Their equine line offers improved endurance for athletic horses, which speaks directly to the care and health of these grand prix mounts.Competition at the Park resumes June 25th with the West Coast Classic and continues July 3rd with the Western Family Tournament. In August, Thunderbird will host the Fort Classic Tournament from the 13th to the 17th and the Fort Festival Tournament from the 20th to the 24th – culminating with the $100k CSI*3 -W World Cup qualifier. Tags: Thunderbird Show Park, Lisa Carlsen, Brian Morton, Spitfire, CSI*2-W Purica Recovery EQ World Cup Qualifier, More from Horse Sport:Christilot Boylen Retires From Team SportAfter an exemplary career as one of Canada’s top Dressage riders, seven-time Olympian Christilot Boylen has announced her retirement from team competition.2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair CancelledFor only the second time in its history, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has been cancelled but plans are being made for some virtual competitions.Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Statement on 2020 EventAs the Province of Ontario starts to reopen, The Royal’s Board and staff will adhere to all recommendations put forward by government and health officials.Government Financial Assistance for Ontario FarmersOntario Equestrian has recently released this update of several financial assistance packages available, including those for farm business.last_img read more

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This week in celeb real estate: Spelling Manor sets new record, David Geffen buys plot on Billionaires’ Row…and more

first_imgFrom left: David Geffen and the view from his new Beverly Hills development property, and Spelling Manor in Beverly Hills with Petra Ecclestone (Credit: Wikipedia and Getty Images)Move over, Peter Morton. An unknown buyer broke a record in the county this week, spending $120 million to purchase one of L.A.’s crown jewels, the Spelling Manor. Other than that, entertainment mogul David Geffen made a splashy land-only purchase in Beverly Hills. Celebrities also listed more homes for sale.After three years on the market and a 40 percent price chop from its original asking, the palatial Spelling Manor sold for $120 million this week. The seller, Formula One heiress Petra Ecclestone, had been looking to unload the 56,500-square-foot home in the tony Holmby Hills since 2016. It’s unclear who bought the property, originally built by television icon Aaron Spelling. The massive residence includes 123 guest rooms, tennis court, swimming pool, a bowling alley and nightclub.Geffen, a businessman whose net worth circles around $8 billion, has spent $30 million to acquire one of the last buildable lots on Beverly Hills’ Billionaires’ Row. The 1-acre spread is undeveloped but comes equipped with plans to build a 24,500-square-foot mansion designed by Shubin Donaldson. If built according to plan, the home would have seven bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a bar, theater, gym, bowling alley and nightclub. There would also be a 140-foot swimming pool running the length of the home.ADVERTISEMENTMedMen co-founder Andrew Modlin has found a new home in the Bird Streets. The weed mogul paid $11 million to acquire a 6,400-square-foot property, which includes five bedrooms and seven bathrooms. Designed by KAA Design Group, the home also features a cactus garden, wine cellar and gym, Variety reported. It first listed for $15.9 million, roughly 30 percent higher than its final sale price.In the Beverly Hills Post Office, actor Steve Martin is looking for a new neighbor. The comedian has put the home next door to his on the market for $2 million. Martin purchased the two-story home in 1997 for $995,000. It includes four bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms over almost 2,000 square feet. The home is next door to the actor’s main estate, which he purchased for $3 million in 1995 from actors Corbin Bernsen and Amanda Pays.last_img read more

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Statement to Parliament: Transparency of the Parole Board and Victim Support

first_imgWith permission, Mr Speaker, I should like to make a statement on the Parole Board’s decision to release John Worboys and the government’s response to the issues raised by this case.I should like to start by echoing the statement made by my predecessor at the weekend, and to express my unreserved sympathy to all of the victims. They will never erase the emotional trauma of his crimes and the Parole Board’s decision to order his release must have brought back painful memories. These were horrific crimes and I take the concerns raised, including by many colleagues of this House, very seriously.John Worboys was convicted of 19 offences in 2009, and received an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection with a minimum tariff of 8 years in custody. Following the expiry of the tariff, he was eligible for review by the Parole Board, which was required to consider whether to release him.The Board reviewed his case at a hearing on 8 November 2017, by which time he had served 10 years in custody including a period on remand. A three person panel considered a detailed dossier of evidence. Its subsequent decision to release him was communicated to my department on 3 January.There are two main concerns in respect of the contact with victims that I think it essential to address today: whether the correct procedures were followed in this case; and whether those procedures are right, or whether improvements are needed.Turning first to whether procedures were followed in this case, all victims of the crimes for which he was convicted have a statutory right to receive information about parole hearings and decisions under the Victim Contact Scheme (VCS). On the basis of the information I have received since arriving in the department yesterday, it appears that in relation to these victims, those who opted to remain in contact via the VCS were informed of the parole hearing. Of the victims currently in contact with the Scheme, those who chose to be informed of the Parole Board decision by phone or email were contacted immediately on 3 January, although I have just become aware of a case where a victim did not receive the email. Letters were also sent immediately to those who chose to be informed that way, but these of course took longer to arrive. Some victims entitled to this contact chose not to opt in, which of course is their right.Any victims whose crimes were not prosecuted do not fall within the statutory remit of the VCS, and so the arrangements are different. Discretionary contact can be considered, but in this instance, the National Probation Service has no record of any requests for discretionary contact.However, while it appears that the correct procedures were followed, the fact that some victims learned of the decision from the media suggests that there is a need to review these procedures and examine whether lessons can be learned and improvements can be made.It is a priority for this government that victims of rape and sexual assault have full confidence in the criminal justice system. Sentence lengths for these horrific crimes have increased by over 30% since 2010 and more victims are coming forward, but there is still more to do.I should be absolutely clear that I think that that the Parole Board should remain an independent body, responsible for making decisions about the ongoing risk that individuals pose after serving their tariff.But I agree with my predecessor’s assessment that there is a strong case to review the case for transparency in the process for parole decisions and how victims are appropriately engaged in that process, and consider the case for changes in policy, practice or the Parole Board Rules, or other guidance or procedures including the Victims’ Code. With that in mind, I can confirm that I have instructed my officials to establish a review to examine these questions and I will share more information on this shortly.I think it is appropriate that the department leads this work, but that it consults victims’ groups and others. I have spoken to the Victims’ Commissioner, Baroness Newlove, and the Chair of the Parole Board, Nick Hardwick, to discuss what changes we could make and how best to draw on their expertise and insight in this review.Finally, I note that the Chair of the Justice Select Committee has announced his intention to hold an evidence session. My department stands ready to provide the committee with any information it may require.Mr. Speaker, I intend to prioritise this review and it will conclude before Easter. I hope that this course of action reassures the House of the importance and priority I attach to this. As such I commend this statement to the House.last_img read more

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Cities leading the way

first_imgI would like to draw your attention to a recent initiative that highlights the often neglected city dimension – the Nantes Declaration of Mayors. It is a sign of how serious cities are in tackling climate change. The declaration was signed last month and endorsed by more than 20 regional and global networks of local governments. It calls for local authorities to be part of the setting and implementation of the global climate deal that should emerge in two years’ time, at COP21 in Paris. If much of the effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions has to be concentrated in cities, it makes sense to give local governments access to international financing frameworks for the funding of their climate actions. Mayors can ill afford to wait for worldwide agreement. Cities are home to 75% of Europe’s population, and 80% of its CO2 emissions are concentrated in cities. All over Europe, city governments are designing improvements to infrastructure that reduce emissions, improve energy efficiency, and clean up urban mobility. From building more energy-efficient buildings to providing more and better integrated forms of public transport, we are already seeing positive results. Close to 5,000 European municipalities have signed up to the Covenant of Mayors. At COP19, 21 November has been officially designated as ‘Cities Day’. Mayors and ministers will come together at the ‘Warsaw Dialogue’ to see how the voice of local governments can be taken into account in the international climate negotiations. I would like to thank Marcin Korolec, Poland’s environment minister, for recognising the role of cities in fighting climate change. I hope others will follow.last_img read more

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Ukraine scandal ropes in the usual suspects

first_imgThe Ukraine scandal engulfing Donald Trump’s presidency goes well beyond the core cast of characters at the heart of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.It’s now drawing in a duo familiar to anyone who has followed past Washington imbroglios: conservative lawyers and GOP operatives Joe diGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing. And the scandal is beginning to reveal the opaque agendas of a pair of Ukrainian oligarchs whose legal troubles have led them to seek favors in Washington.DiGenova and Toensing, who played major roles in the Bill Clinton dramas of the 1990s and resurfaced amid Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, have signed up to represent Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian gas magnate who currently resides in Vienna pending extradition to the U.S. to face bribery charges. Last year, the married lawyers were briefly expected to formally join Trump’s legal team to defend him in the special counsel’s investigation, but those plans were quickly scrapped due to conflicts of interest with their existing clients. The couple resurfaced, however, working in conjunction with efforts by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, to dig up dirt on former vice president Joe Biden.For Firtash — who is fighting extradition from Austria to the U.S. to face bribery charges — his involvement began at least as early as July, when he parted ways with Lanny Davis, the lawyer who guided Bill Clinton through a variety of investigations and now represents Michael Cohen, the former Trump fixer who confessed to tax evasion, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress, among other crimes.DiGenova and Toensing have signed up to represent Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian gas magnate facing bribery charges.Firtash replaced Davis with Toensing and diGenova, a colorful and aggressive couple with a nose for scandal and skill at pushing a narrative through allies like John Solomon, the conservative columnist at the Hill who has been writing frequently about Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine and about Marie Yovanovitch, the veteran ambassador who was abruptly recalled in May amid attacks on her from Trump allies. DiGenova has gone on Fox News to attack Yovanovitch by name, claiming she had been privately telling others that the president was likely going to be impeached.The couple also appeared in a packet of materials the State Department inspector general delivered to Congress on Wednesday, which Democrats described as unsubstantiated smears against Yovanovitch. The packet included a printout of an email Solomon sent to diGenova and Toensing, with a link to a column he wrote about Yovanovitch. The documents had been “distributed at the highest levels of the State Department,” according to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).Despite their hard partisan leanings, the couple are fixtures of a sort in Washington’s unique social scene. Last year, diGenova was invited to participate as a “ringer” in the exclusive Gridiron Club’s annual dinner, where he sang and played in various skits poking fun at the Trump administration, including one routine in which he played a lovelorn Kim Jong Un exchanging tender letters with the president. Toensing, meanwhile, has been promoting Trump’s preferred narrative on television and social media. The New York Times reported in May that she had met with Yuriy Lutsenko, Viktor Shokin’s replacement as prosecutor general, and was planning to travel to Ukraine with Giuliani, though the trip was reportedly scrapped.Like his predecessor, Lutsenko, who left his post in August, has been accused of corruption by Ukrainian reformers and Western officials. While still in his post, Lutsenko closed investigations into Burisma and its founder but then told Solomon in April that he possessed information related to the energy company that would be of interest to the Department of Justice. In an interview published on Sunday, he told the BBC that there was no reason to investigate the Bidens “according to Ukrainian law,” and that any investigation would be “the jurisdiction of the U.S.” He also told the L.A. Times he’d seen no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens.Joe diGenova (center) representing the Clintons in 2001 | Alex Wong/NewsmakersIt became clear that Toensing and diGenova’s PR efforts had intersected with their work for Firtash last week when an affidavit emerged that was signed by Shokin, the Ukrainian prosecutor general fired in 2016 at Joe Biden’s urging, and submitted on Firtash’s behalf to an Austrian court. At the time, it was the position of Western governments and institutions like the International Monetary Fund that Shokin should be removed, and by all accounts Biden was just representing the official U.S. position.Recently, Shokin has been claiming that Biden pressured Ukraine’s government to fire him because the then-vice president’s son Hunter sat on the board of a natural gas company that Shokin’s office had been investigating — the same narrative that Toensing and diGenova have been pushing, but which the Biden camp adamantly denies.In 2013, the Justice Department accused Firtash of bribing Indian officials as part of a racketeering scheme aimed at gaining approval for a titanium mining project in that country. Firtash is an “upper-echelon” associate of Russian organized crime, according to a 2017 Justice Department court filing. He told a U.S. ambassador of his consultations with the notorious Russian mob boss Semion Mogilevich, according to a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable, though Firtash has denied it.Firtash is an “upper-echelon” associate of Russian organized crime, according to a 2017 Justice Department court filing. Another person familiar with Kolomoisky’s claims said the oligarch was claiming to possess valuable information in order to gain leverage in an FBI investigation of him underway in Ohio that is reportedly focused on possible financial crimes.A lawyer for Kolomoisky, Mike Sullivan at Ashcroft Law Firm, did not respond to requests for comment. In May, Kolomoisky told the Kyiv Post that he has committed no crime and that any federal probe will “result in nothing, as usual.”While Kolomoisky’s connection to the saga counts as a twist, for close Ukraine watchers, it hardly comes as a surprise. “Kolomoisky is a person who gets involved in every issue,” said Anders Aslund, a Swedish economist and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “He loves fighting, and he has an extraordinary capability to get into the details and be effective in the worst fashion.” Also On POLITICO Opinion Why the Trump scandal is good for Ukraine By Vijai Maheshwari Pompeo confirms he was on Trump’s Ukraine call By Quint Forgey How US military aid became a lifeline for Ukraine By Bryan Bender and Wesley Morgan Shokin’s new affidavit claims that Biden improperly pressured the government of Ukraine to prevent Firtash from entering Ukraine — from which he could not be legally extradited — and links those claims to his previous allegations about the motivations behind Biden’s role in his firing. Biden’s representatives have said his son’s board position played no role in his official actions and pointed out that Western leaders had long wanted Shokin fired over his reluctance to pursue corruption investigations, including those targeting Burisma and its owner.But Shokin’s move to speak up on behalf of Firtash has further undermined his credibility in the eyes of observers in the U.S. and Ukraine, who already viewed his campaign against Biden as the vendetta of a corrupt bureaucrat.As the founder of RosUkrEnergo, Firtash acted as a middleman between the Russian and Ukrainian national natural gas companies, and allegedly played a central role in a corrupt scheme to use the profits from reselling cheap Russian gas to fund pro-Russia political forces in Ukraine.Dmitry Firtash (right) and former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in 2010 | Mykhaylo Markiv/EPAFirtash worked with Paul Manafort on an abortive effort in 2008 to redevelop a New York hotel for $895 million. Firtash also reportedly played a role in Manafort’s 2005 hiring as a consultant to the Party of Regions, the pro-Russian political party of which Firtash was a major backer.John Herbst, who served as ambassador to Ukraine under George W. Bush, said the association with Firtash undermines the entire effort by Trump allies to push for investigations of the Bidens and alleged Ukrainian election interference. “The Giuliani team does not understand Ukraine. If it did, members of his team would not be representing Dmytro Firtash, perhaps the most odious oligarch in Ukraine,” said Herbst, now director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council. “Shokin’s defense of Firtash underscores that he was never and is not today a fighter against corruption.”“It’s preposterous,” said Adrian Karatnycky, a Ukraine expert and former president of the pro-democracy NGO Freedom House, of the story laid out in the affidavit. Pointing to Firtash’s Kremlin ties, he said, “There is now a distinct possibility of a Russian hand in all this.” DiGenova said he was in meetings in Vienna — where his client Firtash is awaiting extradition — and did not respond to questions.“There is now a distinct possibility of a Russian hand in all this” — Ukraine expert Adrian KaratnyckyAnd Firtash isn’t the only Ukrainian oligarch with big legal problems who now faces questions from investigators: On Monday, the House Oversight Committee demanded documents and communications related to influential billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky as part of its subpoena of Giuliani.The involvement of Kolomoisky and Firtash complicates the already mind-boggling array of factions and agendas that form the backdrop of the Ukraine scandal. Because both face potential criminal liability in the U.S., both have reason to align themselves with Trump and try to ingratiate themselves to the president’s allies, according to Ukraine experts.But the exact nature of Kolomoisky’s role in this saga isn’t yet clear. The billionaire owns the television network, 1+1, on which actor Volodymr Zelensky starred in a television show that catapulted him to political prominence. Kolomoisky — embroiled in a bitter feud with Zelensky’s predecessor, Petro Poroshenko — also became Zelensky’s biggest backer in his successful bid to unseat Poroshenko and claim the presidency this spring.Petro Poloshenko (left) and Ihor Kolomoisky in 2015 | Mikhail Palinchak/EPAKolomoisky allegedly stole billions of dollars from his bank, PrivatBank, before it was nationalized by Ukraine in 2016, according to a lawsuit filed in Delaware by the bank’s new leadership. How much influence he will yield in Zelensky’s government is one of the biggest questions hanging over the new president’s administration. Another important question is what Kolomoisky might be seeking from Trump.This spring, two Florida-based, Soviet-born businessmen who are aiding Giuliani’s effort traveled to Israel, where Kolomoisky has been holed up while he faces legal jeopardy in the U.S. and Ukraine.Kolomoisky told the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a consortium of investigative journalists, that the businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, approached him about a natural gas venture, but they instead used the meeting to seek an audience for Giuliani with Zelensky. Kolomoisky said he refused the request, while Giuliani has claimed that Kolomoisky defamed Parnas and Fruman.But there is more to Kolomoisky’s role in this saga beyond an apparently unpleasant meeting. Kolomoisky, who is known for his bravado, has been claiming to have damaging information on the Bidens, according to people familiar with the situation.Kolomoisky, who is known for his bravado, has been claiming to have damaging information on the Bidens.“He’s been floating that out for quite a while, to keep himself relevant to the whole discussion, and he would also like to ingratiate himself to Trump,” said Ken McCallion, an attorney who brought a federal suit that was later dismissed against Firtash over the alleged natural gas scheme on behalf of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. “He’s been kind of cryptic and cute about it,” said McCallion, who remains in close touch with contacts in Ukraine. McCallion indicated Kolomoisky was claiming to have information about both Bidens, “the father and the son.”last_img read more

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‘Why are we forgotten?’: Undocumented immigrants make stand in Brussels church

first_imgPress play to listen to this article The legal process An occupation The situation presents an early test for Mahdi, who assumed his post as secretary of state for asylum and migration less than five months ago. Some had hoped the 32-year-old, who is the son of an Iraqi refugee, would be receptive to pleas from undocumented individuals. But Mahdi has already called the church occupation, which began in late January, “blackmail.” It’s not the first time the church has been occupied by undocumented people. It was the site of protests in 1998, 2008 and 2009, some of which also included hunger strikes. Mahdi, the Belgian migration official, said he would not shut the door to individual applications for residency, arguing he “prefers to be clear from the beginning and see individually, case by case, what we can do.” Mehdi, the migrant, said he came to Belgium from Morocco 11 years ago. He called the baroque church “a symbolic place, a place that is known in the struggle of the undocumented.” Mehdi said he has two sisters who are Belgian nationals. He submitted a residency request over a decade ago on the grounds of family reunification, but his application was denied. Daniel Alliët, a priest who has served at the Béguinage church for several years, said he accepts the settlement because he sympathizes with the plight of undocumented people. He called on other places of worship to accommodate them as well so that the “action can take place safely,” with people more spread out during the pandemic.  “For any person who … does not receive a positive response to an individual application, the decision is the decision, and it must be respected,” Mahdi said. Meanwhile, applications for asylum have dropped due to the coronavirus pandemic: In 2020, 16,910 people filed for international protection, down from 27,742 in 2019. He has also defended the government’s actions toward migrants and refugees. “These are rules that apply to everyone,” he said. “We have an obligation as a state to protect people who are in a real need of protection. We do our part.” Voiced by Amazon Polly “We have been demonstrating for years, and we have never been heard by the federal government,” said Mehdi, 28, who, like others interviewed at the church, declined to provide a full name because he feared expulsion or losing his job. “It’s a global pandemic, why are we forgotten? We have nothing to lose: we are already lost.” They’re not necessarily seeking shelter. Many of the occupants of the St. John the Baptist Church at the Béguinage — who come from northwest Africa, Egypt and Afghanistan — have lived and worked in Belgium for years. Instead, they want to bring attention to the difficulties undocumented individuals already faced, like social exclusion and lack of access to social security and labor rights, which have been exacerbated during the pandemic. On the one hand, Mahdi has had to offer “a more compassionate discourse in order to avoid problems with his coalition partners,” said Nicolas Bouteca, professor of political science at Ghent University. “On the other hand, he has to try to use a discourse that actually emphasizes the importance of some kind of a strict migration policy that can convince the voters on the right.” But according to Dominique Ernould, the immigration office’s spokesperson, making an exhaustive list of criteria runs the risk that “you then exclude criteria … that could be considered valid from a humanitarian point of view.” The immigration office is then in charge of assessing these applications and has discretion in deciding what “exceptional circumstances” could mean. One person supporting the occupants of the church speaks through a megaphone to list the movement’s demands, such as formal residency and clearer criteria for the residency application | Camille Gijs/POLITICO Inside the church, more than 200 mattresses are spread across the hall. On several of those occasions, the occupation led to temporary residency permits. In both 2000 and 2009, the government granted collective residency to those in the church, Mahdi said.  Because of Belgium’s current governing coalition, made up of seven parties that all have contrasting views on immigration, Mahdi has had to strike a balance. His party, the Flemish Christian Democrats, says it takes a “firm but fair” asylum policy stance. It wants to facilitate deportations of those migrants whose applications are rejected, potentially by force if voluntary return isn’t possible. For his party, regularization, which is what the occupants at the church are asking for, should remain an exceptional procedure, with decisions made on an individual basis. The occupants of the church say that authority leads to uncertainty over how the office makes decisions. His Cabinet met with other groups of undocumented people earlier this month to look for options. Undocumented people gather in the center of the hall to get food, distributed by associations supporting refugees and migrants | Camille Gijs/POLITICO But Mahdi said those were “mistakes” and did not want to grant collective residency this time round. Organizations met up in front of the Béguinage church. Signs on the church door read “Regularization, I am undocumented” and “Freedom, Equality, Dignity” | Camille Gijs/POLITICO Despite Mahdi’s critical view of their protest, the Béguinage church occupants remain hopeful. Nadia, who did not share her age, and her son Mohamed, 16, said they came to Belgium five years ago to escape violence from her divorced husband in Morocco. She said that the only remaining solution was to flee, but when they arrived in Belgium, they experienced a “second suffering, more than the one we went through in Morocco,” because of their struggles to obtain legal status. Generally, Belgian law requires people seeking residency permits for longer than three months to file their application from abroad. Fouzia said she has found the process frustrating. She has started two residency requests, only to be rejected twice. Around 200 undocumented immigrants have moved into a 17th century church in the heart of Brussels in a bid to grab the government’s attention. Fouzia is also from Morocco. She came to Belgium more than 10 years ago and now works as a housekeeper. The problem, she said, is not housing — Fouzia earns enough to have a home. “The problem is that we want papers,” she said, “because we have been here for more than 10 years, and we work.” Mehdi, the migrant, said he wants the government to provide “clear and permanent criteria, so that the undocumented people, as soon as they set foot on Belgian soil, know if they will be regularized or not.” In exceptional circumstances, the law allows people already in Belgium to apply for residency. These applicants must be in possession of identification documents and have to demonstrate there are exceptional circumstances that forbid a return to their home country. They’re calling on Belgium’s top migration official, Sammy Mahdi, to visit them and grant them formal residency — or at least offer clearer criteria for the residency application process. Church with a history Mahdi backed the immigration office’s discretionary power, arguing that it helps people: “We have always been against criteria, because when we talk about asylum and migration, we are talking about human beings and always about very special cases.” Mohamed goes to school in Anderlecht, but he said he worried there won’t be opportunities for him once he’s done. “If I go to school and get a degree, it won’t be worth it. Internships don’t accept people who don’t have papers.” “The problem is that we don’t understand anything,” she said. “They give others the opportunity to take advantage of us.”last_img read more

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Inaugural Day of Service set for Sept. 29

first_imgThe Harvard Undergraduate Council, the Harvard Graduate Council, and the Phillip Brooks House Association have partnered to coordinate the first University-wide Day of Service on Sept. 29.The Day of Service at Harvard University will foster collaboration across the University in a collective effort to promote civic engagement and social awareness through meaningful service projects. By addressing a range of community needs, the Day of Service will also foster ongoing partnerships between Harvard students and service organizations in Boston and Cambridge.The goals of the Day of Service include (1) making tangible contributions to civic and nonprofit organizations in Cambridge and Boston (2) strengthening ties between the University and the local community (3) promoting awareness of existing opportunities for on-going service, and (4) building community across the various Schools at Harvard.last_img read more

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Colter Wall Releases Final Single From Upcoming Album, “High & Mighty” [Listen]

first_imgColter Wall has shared “High & Mighty”, the latest single from the singer-songwriter’s upcoming album Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs, out August 28th.This latest single follows previously-released tracks “Western Swings & Waltzes” and “Cowpoke”. Wall had previously recorded “High & Mighty” for his Bunkhouse Sessions, but this marks the first release of the fully-produced studio recording featuring a backing band.Related: Charley Crockett Expands Cinematic Universe With “Fool Somebody Else” Video [Watch]The rendition of “High & Mighty” released on Friday is a far cry from the version Wall recorded in actor Beau Smith‘s fallout shelter-style bunker on Wednesday. In this mastered rendition, he begins with the same vocal introduction paired with his lone acoustic guitar, but before long he is joined by a full band to create a toe-tapping rhythm. While the song sounds distinctly Wall as he lends his signature baritone to the tune, it was actually written by Lewis Martin Pederson III.“‘High & Mighty’ is a Saskatchewan saddle bronc song written by Lewis Martin Pederson III,” Wall said in a press release. “LMP hails from around Abbey, Saskatchewan, not far from where I grew up. He’s known for rodeoing, his poetry, and in the ’70s he put out three great records—that I know of. Saddle bronc riding is my favourite rodeo event and upon hearing Pederson’s album Rodeo No.1 Sport, I immediately knew I wanted to cut it on a record.”Listen to “High & Mighty” by Colter Wall, and look for Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs next Friday.Colter Wall – “High & Mighty”last_img read more

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