Kolkata: Two school students are battling for their lives after being shot at by miscreants in Parbelia town of West Bengal’s Purulia district, police said on Tuesday. The two boys – both aged around 15 – were sitting and chatting on the banks of river Damodar on Monday evening when two bike-borne miscreants fired at them and fled, an officer of Neturia police station told IANS. “Both are critically injured. One of the boys was hit on the lower abdomen, while the other sustained injury on the waist,” said the officer. They are now being treated at a private hospital. The motive for the attack is not yet clear.
MONTREAL – A 39-year-old man died Monday after falling into a manure pit on agricultural land in Sainte-Helene-de-Bagot, about 80 kilometres east of Montreal.Firefighters and first responders extracted the man from the pit, but their resuscitation efforts failed.Stephan Scalabrini, spokesman with the ambulance company that arrived on the scene, said the 39-year-old could have been overcome by a health issue or was intoxicated.“The odours (from the pit) are very strong,” he said. “Gas is released from there, asphyxiant gasses too, it’s a possibility the coroner will evaluate.”Quebec’s workplace safety board has also opened an investigation into the man’s death.
FREDERICTON – Police have released pictures of a GMC pick-up truck suspected to have been involved in a hit-and-run death that has left a New Brunswick First Nation grieving and seeking justice.RCMP Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh says the investigation continues into a hit-and-run in Saint-Charles that took the life of 22-year-old Brady Francis of the Elsipogtog reserve.Francis was struck and killed around 9:30 p.m. after he left a party on Feb. 24. RCMP have said they found a GMC truck logo at the scene.“We are asking people to look closely at the pictures we’ve released in the event they may have seen the vehicle that day and can provide us with information on the vehicle and who was in it,” Rogers-Marsh said Tuesday.Many Elsipogtog residents are calling for criminal charges in the case, and have alluded to Aboriginal anger at the jury acquittals in the killings of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine on the Prairies.Social media posts were circulating following the incident with pictures of Boushie, Fontaine and Francis side by side, and many were tweeting #justiceforbrady, echoing hashtags used after the recent Prairie verdicts.About 40 community residents went to the alleged truck driver’s house on the morning after the incident, but Francis’s grandfather urged the crowd to disperse.The pickup truck was seized by police on Feb. 25 and later returned to the owner.“The truck is a grey 2003 GMC Sierra 4 X 4 pick-up truck, and it would have been travelling on the local roads around Richibucto on Saturday, February 24 between noon and 10 p.m.,” Rogers-Marsh said Tuesday.“We’re looking for basically a timeline of where the vehicle was prior to the incident and if anyone saw the vehicle around the Saint-Ignace, Saint-Charles and Saint-Louis-de-Kent area prior to the incident.”The truck has a camouflaged coloured wind deflector on the hood, camouflaged window deflectors over the driver and passenger side windows, a “Browning” decal over the front windshield, several camouflaged decals on the tailgate and there are also decals on the rear window.Rogers-Marsh said police are working through their investigation and anyone with information is urged to contact the RCMP or Crime Stoppers.
Willow FiddlerAPTN NewsOfficials in Neskantaga First Nation say their water issue appears to be fixed.Last week, more than 200 members of the Ontario community were sent to Thunder Bay after a broken water pump affected water pressure in homes.However, the chief is waiting to get an all-clear the water is safe for drinking before bringing people back firstname.lastname@example.org
I learned about the New Zealand shooting massacre on Friday morning while listening to the news on the radio. The reporter was speaking to local Muslims about their reaction and the voices were distinctly South Asian. A newspaper report on Saturday morning says that nine Indians are among those missing after the attack, including men from Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. After the shooting report, the commentary (this is BBC’s Radio 4, which I listen to every morning) turned to another story. The first piano ever to come to Australia had been located and sent to England for repairs. Why England? Because that is where it was made. Also Read – A special kind of bondIt came to Australia in January 1788 with 11 ships that are known as the First Fleet. These were the original vessels from Portsmouth in England, that brought over a thousand Europeans to Australia, beginning its colonisation. This is not that long ago: it is after the last Battle of Panipat between the Marathas and the Afghans, long after the fall of the Mughal empire. The British first came to Surat in 1608 and so Australia and New Zealand are very new in the colonisation process. Also Read – Insider threat managementThis is of interest because of the beliefs that the shooter in New Zealand has about immigration and foreigners. In a note he wrote before the massacre, he says his motive for murdering people is to “directly reduce immigration rates to European lands.” He considers New Zealand and Australia (where he was born) to be European lands, though Europeans are themselves, immigrants. The colonisation of Australia and New Zealand brought great misery to its original inhabitants, called the aborigines (with whom we Indians have genes in common). Aboriginal means something existing from the earlier times, just like we refer to India’s most ancient inhabitants as Adivasis. The aboriginal population was destroyed by the European colonists, who brought ruthlessness in taking over the land and they brought disease. The takeover came with its own names. Victoria, New South Wales, Wellington, Auckland, Queensland are names we are familiar with today. They are ones that the colonisers imposed on the land they occupied against the will of the aborigines. New Zealand was annexed in 1840 by the British from the local Maori population. The Europeans inflicted severe cruelty on the aborigines even after they conquered their land. Under acts of their parliament, they began officially separating aboriginal children from their parents. This is known today as the Stolen Generations. This policy continued into the 1960s. Even today the aboriginal people face discrimination, including in the criminal justice system. All of this is hidden under their cheerful and sporty demeanour which supposedly reflects the Aussie spirit (of course, these days we also know Aussie spirit through its cheats). What I have written above is common knowledge and every Australian and New Zealander will be familiar with it. European colonisation devastated populations on the other side of the world also and if today we are familiar with names like Canada, Virginia, Georgia, Washington, America, Bolivia and Argentina, it is because foreigners conquered these lands and imposed names on them. It is this European colonisation that around the world produced gun laws that allowed people, meaning White settlers, to keep firearms, ostensibly for their defence. The prime minister of New Zealand said after the massacre that she would change the country’s gun laws. This will, of course, help prevent future violence. It is astonishing that nations allow civilians to purchase and keep high powered rifles with large magazine capacities whose only purpose is war. America’s resistance to gun control has inflicted the greatest massacres on its population, including its children. All this is why it is so remarkable that the shooter Brenton Tarrant should feel that it is only others who are immigrants and imposing on his culture. It may interest readers to know that the word Tarrant, which is of British origin, shares the same root as the word ‘trespasser’, meaning someone who enters without permission, which in Hindi is called ‘ghuspethiya’. Tarrant says that he does not hate people if they live in their own country, but he had a problem with “invaders who colonise other people’s lands.” However, he also wrote that “the origins of my language are European, my culture is European, my political beliefs are European, my philosophical beliefs are European, my identity is European and, most importantly, my blood is European.” Perhaps he should have moved to Europe if he felt so strongly, instead of taking out the problems of his identity crisis on innocent people. But we should ask ourselves why the descendants of violent conquerors and colonisers still claim victimhood. It is not natural. The fact is that this sentiment, against immigrants and particularly against Muslims, is produced by the climate of hatred and bigotry that we see all around us. It is produced by the politics of division and spread by a reckless media around the world including in India, unfortunately. (The author is head of Amnesty International India’s operations. The views expressed are strictly personal)
Ingredients All Purpose Flour 1½ cup Sugar 2 tsp Water ¾ cup Yeast 2 tsp Refined Oil 1 tbsp Baking Soda ½ tsp Salt to taste Chicken Sausage 1 Bacon (crispy) 2 strips Mustard Mayo as required Hoisin Sauce 1 tbsp Also Read – PUMPKIN MASH, TAMATAR RASSAShredded Lettuce & Red Cabbage handful Preparation In a bowl, mix all purpose flour, sugar, water, yeast, refined oil, baking soda and salt. Mix well and knead dough. Let the dough rest for 1 hour. Once the dough rises after 1 hour, make small balls out of it. Now, roll them into long ropes, like hotdog bread. Let them rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the steamer. Once the steamer is ready, steam the tingmo. Steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, take a pan and make the bacon crispy and in the same fat from bacon, sear the sausage. Once the tingmo is done, assemble the hot dog along with sausage, lettuce, red cabbage, hoisin sauce, mustard mayo and crispy bacon. (Courtesy: Pawan Bisht, Corporate and R&D Executive, Mango Kitchen and Bar, Delhi)
The Value Added Tax (VAT) Amendment Bill was presented to Parliament today.The Amendment Bill was presented to Parliament by Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella. The joint opposition however objected to the presentation of the Bill saying the proper process had not been followed.The opposition also said that the amendments could have been included in the budget for 2017. (Colombo Gazette)
The meeting, on the eve of the opening of the UN General Assembly’s annual general debate to be attended by some 100 Heads of State or government, comes just a year after the collapse of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks in Cancun, Mexico, where African nations walked in protest at the refusal of developed countries to open up their agricultural markets by eliminating subsidies and other barriers. Monday’s meeting will be hosted by Presidents Tarja Halonen of Finland and Benjamin William Mkapa of Tanzania, who co-chaired the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization, and will be moderated by the Director-General of the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), Juan Somavia. The event will seek to press upon the international community that, as poverty, social conflict and insecurity are rising worldwide, global efforts under the Millennium Declaration and Development Goals to address these issues by 2015 will fail unless new ways are found to create job opportunities and decent work for all through building a fair and inclusive globalization. The Declaration and Development Goals, adopted by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000, seek to rehabilitate the world’s social fabric, from slashing extreme poverty and hunger to curbing infant mortality and major diseases to improving access to education and health care for all – all by 2015. Perspectives on the social dimension of globalization will be provided by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Presidents Jacques Chirac of France and Luiz Inàcio Lula da Silva of Brazil, and Foreign Minister Jean Ping of Gabon, President of the 59th session of the General Assembly. The meeting will urge the 191-member UN to begin discussions on the need for “A Fair Globalization: Implementing the United Nations Millennium Declaration” for the first time. The findings of the Halonen-Mkapa Commission highlight fair globalization as essential for global prosperity, peace and security and see a strengthened UN multilateral system as the instrument for bringing about the necessary reforms and ensuring coherence between international, economic, social and environmental policies.
Then redshirt sophomore defensive end Tyquan Lewis (59) drags down Maryland redshirt junior quarterback Perry Hills on Oct. 10. OSU won 49-28.Credit: Lantern file photoThe presence of junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis and junior outside linebacker Raekwon McMillan was felt last season throughout the Big Ten. Both men are expected to have big years for the Scarlet and Gray, while also looking to secure Nagurski Award honors.The Nagurski Award, presented by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club, is given to the top defensive player in all of college football. An OSU player has only taken the hardware once since it’s creation in 1993: former St. Louis Rams and current New Orleans Saints linebacker James Laurinaitis.Lewis has yet to be the No. 1 defensive end on the Buckeyes’ squad, spending most of his time in the shadow of former standout Joey Bosa and losing snaps to then-freshman Sam Hubbard last season. However, Lewis has spent most of the spring as the primary defensive end on the line, looking to improve off an impressive performance last year.Totaling eight sacks and 54 tackles in his 2015 campaign, Lewis had surgery in January to repair a torn shoulder labrum. He has been making progress throughout the offseason, and is expected to be ready to go once the season kicks off.Then-freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan (5) tackles Michigan then-sophomore running back De’Veon Smith (4) during a Nov. 29 game at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-28. Credit: Lantern File PhotoMcMillan has been a key contributor to the Buckeyes since starting as a freshman in 2014. Totaling 54 tackles in the national championship season for OSU, he saw playing time in all 15 games that year. Last year, after the departure of Curtis Grant in 2014, McMillan became the primary linebacker for the Scarlet and Gray, and it showed. The former five-star high school recruit led the team in tackles, and showed improved technique and speed. Both men are also on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, a similar award given to the nation’s top defender as voted by the Maxwell Football Club.McMillan and Lewis are joined by other OSU players looking to bring home awards this season. Senior center Pat Elflein is on both the Rimington and Outland Trophy watch lists for best offensive lineman of the year, and redshirt junior quarterback JT Barrett is on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, given to the best player in college football.OSU is set to begin the 2016 campaign on Sept. 3 against Bowling Green at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.
The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) applauds the launch of the Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative (TTCI), the most recent component of the federal government’s nation-building infrastructure plan. “The federal government has made a significant commitment to Northern Canada through the Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative,” stated Pierre Gratton, President and CEO, MAC. “Such strategic leadership by Minister Garneau should be commended.” With this plan, a total of C$2 billion over 11 years has been allocated to invest in the critical assets that support economic activity and the physical movement of goods and people in Canada. Notably, the merit-based program includes a specific allocation of up to C$400 million in dedicated funding for Northern transportation infrastructure. Building off the creation of the Remote and Northern Communities fund, and the establishment of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, Prime Minister Trudeau and his government have communicated an unprecedented vision for how infrastructure will transform remote and northern Canada—regions that are critically important to, and reliant on, Canada’s mining sector. “We believe the government’s commitment to northern infrastructure investment is both bold and essential for Canada’s long-term economic growth, and certain to help attract new private sector investment,” stated Gratton. The mining industry is ideally situated to generate significant and meaningful employment, spin-off business and other social and economic opportunities for Indigenous and remote and northern Canadians. In the territories, for example, the mining industry is the single largest private sector employer of Indigenous peoples and customer of indigenous-owned businesses, and the leading contributor to GDP. The acute lack of infrastructure in Canada’s remote and northern regions is inhibiting further sustainable mineral development due to the high costs of exploring, building and operating in these regions. MAC co-authored a recent study that found that it costs about 2 to 2.5 times more to build a gold or base metal mine in northern Canada off grid than in the south as a result of the lack of infrastructure. Northern communities are also themselves dependent on carbon-intensive diesel power and often lack basic infrastructure Canadians in southern Canada take for granted. Picture: TMAC Resources has a 100% interest in the 1,101 km2 Hope Bay project located in Nunavut. It is a high-grade gold deposit with established Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources totalling some 4.5 Moz of gold at an average grade of 9.2 g/t Au and Inferred Mineral Resources totalling approximately 1.4 Moz of gold at an average grade of 7.4 g/t Au, and with recently established Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves totalling about 3.5 Moz of gold at an average grade of 7.7 g/t Au.
Croatia and Slovenia are the group winners at 6th International Youth tournament “Handbal is my future” in Bugojno, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The young Croats will meet Austria, while Slovenia will play against Germany for the final.Croatian team beat Germany 27:25 (14:12) in an exciting battle decided in the last 15 seconds, when German lost the ball after time-out, in attack in which they could score equalizer.Bosnia and Herzegovina beat Poland 27:26 (13:15) to win the position No.3 and make happy 700 domestic fans in Bugojno.STANDINGS:Croatia 6Germany 4BiH 2Poland 0In Group B, Slovenia beat Switzerland 26:23 to ensure position No.1, while in direct encounter for the semi-final place, Austria were better against Swiss team 23:19.Group BSlovenia – Austria 29:24Qatar – Switzerland 25:32Slovenia – Switzerland 26:23Austria – Qatar 36:16Austria – Switzerland 23:19Slovenia – QatarSTANDINGS:Slovenia 6Austria 4Switzerland 2Qatar 0 ← Previous Story LNH: Aix win in Montpellier Next Story → Decisive day in Veszprem and Barcelona Handball is my future
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram A new party, the Australian Sovereignty Party (ASP) will be on your ballot paper this September and its founder is Greek. 25-year-old Greg Orfanidis is fronting the ASP and believes his party speaks to the “independently minded individual”. With policies such as cutting the carbon tax, keeping immigration low and small business, it sounds a lot like liberal talk. But Mr Orfanidis, assures that isn’t the case. “I guess the major difference is our approach fiscally,” he tells Neos Kosmos. “Our monetary policy and our taxation policies are what is going to stand out in contrast with the other two parties. Essentially we’d like to set up a system of taxation where it’s a lot more transparent.” One of ASP’s major policies is reducing the amount of taxes Australians have to pay. “ASP Tax Policy will replace all 125 taxes (except for Customs and Excise Duties) with a single Debit Tax. This tax will tax your expenditure – not your income,” says the Party’s website. The ASP harks back at basic forms of politics, like upholding the Magna Carta and “natural rights” but shies away from making Australia a globally competitive country, preferring to keep politics and the economy self managed. They want to avoid privatising government owned organisations, force immigrants to “learn our language” and “respect our Australian culture” while reducing Australia’s dependence on foreign goods. Despite being a child of migrant parents, Mr Orfanidis thinks better control of migrant numbers should be enforced to ensure the Australian way of life. “Of course we welcome migrants for prosperity, they contribute greatly to society as the Greeks have,” he explains. “So what we’re saying is we’re not restricting it in a sense that it’s going to be a low number or arbitrary, it’s purely about just being sensible economically. Immigration should purely be about the numbers – nothing more.” Only two and a half years old, the party doesn’t have the foresight that the older parties have. And at only 25, Mr Orfanidis is working hard to make himself and his party credible. “Look, I don’t have experience, I’ll be honest, but the people that I’m working with do,” he says. “We’ve got people of all backgrounds and political experience.” Mr Orfanidis’ background in activism and grass roots politics has cultivated a strong campaign up till the September election. The Party is hopeful it can increase its almost 600 strong membership by targeting people of all walks of life. “It’s going to be about door-knocking, approaching targeted businesses, also families,” Mr Orfanidis adds. He says the ASP will be out there listening to what people have to say, something they believe the two major parties have neglected. “They’re not quite listening to what Australians have to say. They’re losing touch with what small businesses are going through, what families are going through.”
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram All the major national polls published since Kevin Rudd’s return to the top job show the government has much greater appeal to the electorate. Polls comparing ‘before and after’ show a significant rise in Labor’s first preferences and two-party preferred (TPP) vote share. Essential shows the two-party preferred bump at 3 points, while Morgan finds a 7 point rise in Labor’s TPP share, with Newspoll and Galaxy at 6 points and 3 points respectively. The first preference estimates tell a similar story: 6 point gains for Labor at both Newspoll and Galaxy, 9 points for Morgan. Mr Rudd has also moved in front of Opposition leader Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister, with a Galaxy Research poll revealing 51 per cent of respondents believe he would make the best PM compared to 34 per cent for Mr Abbott. It’s a figure that Julia Gillard could only have dreamed of. Rudd’s position shows an 18 per cent jump from Gillard’s position in March. Despite the ‘honeymoon’ bump, the polls show the Coalition continues to lead Labor 51 per cent to 49 per cent on a two-party preferred basis and analysts suggest Labor has much work to do in sustaining the ‘honeymoon’ bounce. Simon Jackman, professor of politics at Stanford University, California and an internationally renowned polling expert writing for Guardian Australia, said this week that Labor needs to ‘move the needle’ more to make this election truly close, let alone to give Labor a chance at winning. “The immediate ‘sugar hit’ of Rudd’s return as prime minister isn’t going to be enough,” says Jackman, whose research into this week’s polls, along with historical comparisons to previous elections, makes sober reading for Labor supporters. “It is entirely possible to win a majority of seats with less than 50 per cent of the TPP vote,” says the Stanford Uni professor. “For instance, the Coalition won the 1998 election with 49 per cent TPP and lost the 1990 election with 50.1 per cent TPP. But it would take a special kind of marginal seat magic for Labor to translate 49 per cent TPP into a majority of House of Representatives seats.” Is there any indication that Labor will improve further in the polls? Jackman says revisiting 2010 might provide an answer. “When Gillard replaced Rudd (June 24), Labor’s first preference vote rose 4.6 percentage points (+/- 2.3 points), from 37.5 per cent to 42.1 per cent . “Gillard’s honeymoon was short-lived. Labor’s first preference vote share fell two points over the two weeks following Gillard’s replacement of Rudd. Labor’s vote share stabilised, but then fell after the formal announcement of the 2010 election, to the 38 per cent level recorded at the 2010 election (August 21), indistinguishable from the level Labor was polling at the time Gillard replaced Rudd.” Jackman says Kevin Rudd’s first ascension to the Labor leadership in December 2006 is another relevant point of comparison. “The immediate boost to Labor’s first preferences was slightly more than 6 percentage points (from 38 per cent to just over 44 per cent), followed by another gain of 3 to 4 percentage points after the summer break in early 2007. “Labor’s hoping for some more gains from the 2013 Rudd honeymoon, or even a second surge in the polls of the sort they got in early 2007.” There are 21 Saturdays left between now and November 30 – the last possible date the election could be called. Four of those are ruled out because of the minimum 33 day campaign period, and with complex competing factors, commentators suggest October 19 or October 26 as hot favourites. Whatever Rudd’s date for the only poll that really matters, it will be chosen once the PM has calculated every political consideration in his favour.
The New Lego UCS Imperial Star Destroyer Is Nearly Four Feet LongLego Makes Building Sets Accessible to the Blind Stay on target All of us here at Geek.com have a lot of love for Lego. Pretty much everything we cover here from movies to games to cool technology you can find Lego in it somewhere. And as a toy beloved by children, Lego can play a huge role in their personal development. We’ve already written about Lego’s recent awesome education efforts.In that story I mentioned how Lego’s Mindstorm robots and Steven Spielberg stop-motion animation kits helped nurture my scientific and artistic brains, respectively. But the Lego brand I have the most love for, even if it didn’t improve me as a person, is Bionicle. As I look back on what the action figures and years of lore meant to me growing up, I can say that Lego’s Bionicle is my G.I. Joe.For Lego, creating that kind of emotional attachment with kids through Bionicle was part of the cynical point. In 1980s toy companies perfected the art of getting kids to adore their products through elaborate yet morally simplistic plots and tons of characters with cool names in gimmicks. It’s the secret sauce for getting little boys and girls to worship you. At the start of the new millennium, tired of relying solely on other expensive franchises like Star Wars, Lego wanted a piece of that in-house narrative action.As toys, the original Bionicle figures from 2001 were peculiar hybrids of two different toy philosophies. They looked and moved like skeletons of action figures, ranging from tiny villagers to bigger beasts. But they were all cobbled together from Lego pieces, specifically the more complex axles and ball-and-socket joints of Lego’s Technic line for older kids. You attached the various masks. You constructed the interactive mechanism that made the heroes swing their elemental weapons. You built and battled with the radical squeeze-trigger twin Bahrag heads.With Bionicle, you made the characters, but you didn’t really define them like generic Lego sets. Lego had already done that work with the substantial amount of story created for the line. Short for “Biological Chronicle,” Bionicle welcomed us to the tropical but tragic island of Mata Nui. Lego overstepped some cultural and legal boundaries while trying to trademark actual Maori words as character names. But the core of the stories themselves were universal, tales of old-fashioned pure and spiritually natural (albeit physically mechanical) heroes vs toxic evil villains any kid could get into. “Unity. Duty. Destiny.” was the mantra.However, sleek and modern almost alien-looking bio-organic robots living in primitive island tribes immediately created a unique and fascinating sci-fi fantasy aesthetic tension that screams cool. Just check out this trailer and its super serious European narrator.The marketing beauty of creating a whole sprawling franchise (just ask Marvel) is that the story strengthens as it builds upon itself, making each mythic part more valuable. Each year of Bionicle had a new storyline to follow. The six Power Ranger-esque Toa champions discovers their mask powers and fight to awaken the island spirit. Then they fight the insectoid Bohrok monsters with exo-skeleton vehicles. Then they uncover the 7th Toa and the Mask of Light, leading to a history lesson about the previous Toa on their original island home, and so on.Of course, each new storyline also had its own new toys you just had to buy to keep up. You had to get the Toa Nuva in their new armored forms to replace the old ones. You had to buy the new Transformers now that Optimus Prime is dead.But along with making purchases more appealing, the storyline helped the toys themselves improve. If you tracked the design of the figures from year to year you could really see the construction ideas get more elaborate and creative. Figures would get more poseable limbs and joints or better projectile weapons. You wanted to buy them because they were objectively better, not just newer and shinier. It made it feel like the toys were evolving in tandem with the scope of the storyline.However, even if these crafted characters and plots were a huge part of Bionicle’s popularity, at the end of the day they were still Lego toys. You could still pop off the pieces, chuck out the instruction manual, and build whatever you want. Mash ‘em all together. I sure did. I had a whole bucket of Bionicle pieces and original creations I could never disassemble.Passionate Lego fan groups had been a thing for a decade already, so of course a strong community formed around Bionicle in the early internet. Engaging with sites dedicated to Bionicle fan creations and fiction, like BZPower and Mask of Destiny, were some of my formative fandom experiences. How else was I supposed to share my story predictions or see some sick Bionicle TMNT figures? Lego itself recognized this fan passion by doing things like running contests where fan creations would officially become monsters in canon.All the while, Bionicle was quickly turning into Lego’s most popular thing in years, becoming the #1 line and reversing negative financial trends. The G.I. Joe gambit worked, and then some. We got Bionicle McDonald’s toys and rare metallic versions of masks and more traditional Lego sets from the Bionicle universe. We got Bionicle comic books and novels and internet short stories and bad video games and even a handful of animated CGI movies containing significant plot revelations and original pop songs that blew my child mind.And with each new addition the lore continued to expand. Better heroes! Bigger villains! New sidekicks! Urban prequel! Underwater sequel! More things to collect! More names to keep track of. Unfortunately, this was still always a franchise being driven primarily by the need to make new toys and gimmicks, like the classic 1980s cartoons it aspired to be. Therefore, Bionicle eventually ballooned to the point where it had too much lore for its own good.What began as a pretty straightforward good vs. evil storyline eventually encompassed multiple timelines and factions and settings that were confusing in a way at odds with the young demographic. Instead of easy to grasp of ideas like “The good guy leader controls fire!” we got minutiae like “In the Tuyet’s Dark Mirror universe Krakua the Toa of Sonics helped the Brotherhood of Makuta rebels kill Gali, who is good in the Matoran universe, at the coliseum.” Like a true nerd obsession, Bionicle now had too much continuity to keep up with.See for yourself.Much love to writer Greg Farshtey, who’s now doing just fine with Lego Ninjago, but Bionicle disappeared up its own ass and never really managed to escape. Around the ten-year anniversary, the franchise attempted a soft reboot starring Michael Dorn as, I kid you not, the God of the old Bionicle universe stuck in a strange new world for what board members surely hoped would be years of exciting new adventures.But by then the writing was on the wall and the following year in 2010 Lego hastily wrapped up all the numerous remaining plot threads Lost-style with a pretty decent giant robot battle. Meanwhile, at that point either the designs for the toys themselves had also stagnated, I was too old to keep playing with them, or both.Since then, Lego has sort of tried to recapture the Bionicle spark. The Hero Factory line included a lot of the same toy ideas, much like how Bionicle itself built upon Lego Slizer and RoboRiders figures from the late 90s. In 2015, the folks behind that put out a Bionicle reboot of their own free from the story baggage Lego knew had become a problem. But it only lasted a year. And aside from a brief cameo in The Lego Movie, Bionicle has remained dormant since, just like the island spirit at its core.Maybe that’s for the best. As a mild Transformers fan, I’ve already had to suffer through Michael Bay’s horrific continuing treatment of that franchise. I’d hate to see how Hollywood would handle toys of equal artistic merit but that I have actual childhood passion for. I really don’t want to see Shia Labeouf put a Mask of Light on his face and reveal himself as the Takanuva (although now I kind of do).But Bionicle will always have a place in my heart, and I suspect the hearts of many other folks my age as well. So I wouldn’t be shocked to see it resurface in the next generational nostalgia wave. Maybe it can get its own hammy Elizabeth Banks performance?View as: One Page Slides1/111. Bionicle was Lego’s attempt to make its own action figure line with a fleshed-out story (picture via BZPower)2. Along with the toys, kids could enjoy Bionicle’s plot in extra material like animated movies.3. Builders cobbled the figures together by snapping complex Lego Technic pieces into action figure shapes.4. Bionicle also eventually received more traditional Lego sets.5. As the brand grew more popular over the years, the designs for the figures themselves improved.6. Passionate Bionicle fan communities sprung up on websites like BZPower and Mask of Destiny.7. Lego even made certain fan creations canon in official lore books.8. Along with being toys you built yourself, many Bionicle figures also featured a mechanical gimmick like mouths that open and close with a trigger pull.9. As more and more figures were added over the years (since they were ultimately toys Lego wanted you to buy) the storyline had to expand to fit them all in.10. Unfortunately, the lore eventually become too sprawling and continuity-obsessed for its own good.11. Despite roping in Michael Dorn to play a god robot, Bionicle ended after about ten years, and aside from a failed recent reboot, has remained dormant ever since.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.
359 years for man convicted of double-homicide, sexual assault of a 2-year-oldAssociated PressA man has been sentenced to 359 years in jail for the beating deaths of an elderly couple and the sexual assault of a 2-year-old child in Anchorage.Potentially exonerating info leaked in Fairbanks Four caseDan Bross, KUAC – FairbanksStatements undermining murder convictions of the so called “Fairbanks Four” were briefly published in an on line Fairbanks Daily Newsminer article. The web story, which was quickly taken down by the paper today, shares leaked court documents outlining long sealed statements about the 1997 murder of John Hartman.A year after Roxanne Smart was killed, Chevak still waits for justiceDaysha Eaton, KYUK – BethelThe community of Chevak, in Southwest Alaska, has been breathing a collective sigh of relief after the arrest of a man in July for the murder of Roxanne Smart.Search teams race to find 3rd victim before storm sets inRachel Waldholz, KCAW – SitkaSearch teams in Sitka are racing the clock Friday afternoon, as they work to find the third victim of Tuesday’s landslide before a new storm arrives tonight.Murkowski hears testimony on the state’s growing prison populationJoaqlin Estus, KNBA – AnchorageAlaska has already outgrown the $250-million Goose Creek Correctional Center that opened in 2012. People testifying during a field hearing in Anchorage for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Thursday said it’d be smarter to put some of the money that goes into building and maintaining prisons toward keeping people out of them.DNR vets competing water applications in Chuitna coal proposalEllen Lockyer, KSKA – AnchorageThe state Department of Natural Resources held a public hearing in Anchorage today [Friday] to get additional comments on pending applications for water rights to a tributary of the Chuitna River.AK: Saving a life by leaving it behindLisa Phu, KTOO – JuneauIt’s been a year since Juneau resident Jennifer Fletcher started to publicly present herself as a woman, less than two years since she first started to shed her male identity and rebuild herself as female. But the inner journey to get to that point started long before then.49 Voices: Gary Hanchett of BettlesMonica Gokey, KSKA – AnchorageGary Hanchett is a do-everything kind of Alaskan — he is the vice mayor of Bettles, the backup postmaster, election chair, tour guide and trapper. He tells us about some of the more notorious residents of Bettles — the mosquitoes. Stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.Download Audio
A total of six Bangladesh nationals have been detained in Tirupur city of Indian, said Times of India.The report also said Tirupur city police detained the Bangladeshis for not having any valid documents to stay in India.Quoting the Indian police, the report stated that the detainees were identified as Mohammad Mamun, Mohammad Babu, Thaluvar Hussain, Mohammad Sadat, Ashik and Raja Mia, who came to Tirupur to find job a month ago.They were residing in a rental house at Ram Nagar, it added.
Khaleda Zia. File PhotoBNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Tuesday filed two more petitions with the High Court seeking bail in two separate cases.One of the cases was filed by Bangladesh Jananetri Parisad president AB Siddik on 3 November 2016 against Khaleda Zia for distorting history of liberation war, demeaning the national flag and the country’s map. Following the defamation suit, an arrest warrant was issued on 12 November in 2017, reports UNB.Another case was filed by journalist Gazi Jahirul Islam on 30 August 2016 accusing Khaleda of observing birthday on 15 August on false information. On 17 November 2016, an arrest warrant also issued against her.Khaleda Zia’s lawyer filed the petitions with the HC bench of justice M Enayetur Rahim and justice Sahidul Karim.On behalf of the former prime minister, lawyer Khandaker Mahbub Hossain sought permission while lawyers Kaiser Kamal and Masud Rana accompanied him.The hearing might be held on Wednesday, said Masud Rana after filing the pleas.On Sunday last, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia filed three separate petitions with the HC seeking bail in three cases filed in Cumilla on charge of vandalising vehicles on 25 January in 2015 and killing seven persons and injuring 25-26 persons by setting fire on a passenger bus in an area of Chauddagram on 2 February 2015 and a Narail court on 24 September 2015, for making a statement about the number of freedom fighters and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
– / 5Some of Galveston’s older streets weren’t in good shape to begin with when Hurricane Ike came ashore. After being covered with several feet of salty water things only got worse. Galveston Disaster Program Director John Simsen says two streets in particular “have been crying for help for a long time.” He’s talking about 65th and 69th Streets, which will be totally rebuilt with the help of a $6 million federal grant. “Even though it’s been eight years since Hurricane Ike, it takes a long time to get these projects engineered and designed and bid and into a position where we can actually make that repaving happen,” adds Simsen. As part of that project, crews will put in new underground utilities. On top of that, they’ll lay down eight inches of concrete. The work also includes new sidewalks and crosswalks along with ramps for the disabled. Construction should start in about a month and Simsen expects they’ll be finished this spring. Galveston residents can learn more about the project at a public meeting Tuesday night. It starts at 5:30 at the Island Community Center at 4700 Broadway. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X 00:00 /00:59 Listen Share
To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /08:57 X Listen American Federation of Teachers (AFT)Louis Malfaro, president of the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), speaks at a rally held in Austin on March 11, 2019. Houston teachers are spending Monday in Austin, marching and speaking to state legislators about the financial needs they want to prioritize for public education in Texas. It’s a crucial moment in the state for school funding reform, since Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen have designated it as a priority for the 2019 legislative session.Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, talked to Houston Matters about the day of action at the state Capitol and weighed in on the legislation that has already been filed.Republican State Representative Dan Huberty authored House Bill 3, the school finance bill that has been introduced in the House and has been dubbed “The Texas Plan.” It proposes a $7 billion increase for public education, while the Senate’s proposal increases school funding by approximately $3.9 billion. The Senate version includes a $5,000 pay raise for full-time teachers and librarians. The House version does not includes pay raises, but does call for merit-based pay increases for teachers. Capo said teachers are spending the day in Austin getting a chance to “talk and tell their story” directly to the state lawmakers that will spend the next few months designing and negotiating a new funding system for public schools. He told News 88.7 that approximately 350 HFT members from HISD took part in the day of action in Austin.Capo said the Senate’s proposed $5,000 pay raise is a good start but isn’t enough because Texas teachers would need to get a $7,000 raise per year to reach the national average, according to data from the National Education Association.For the HFT president, one of the downsides of the Senate bill is that it doesn’t include raises for paraprofessionals, those who assist teachers on their daily tasks, and other public school employees such as bus drivers. “The entire team is important and everybody needs to be included in some way,” he said.Capo commended House Bill 3 because it proposes a higher increase in funding than the Senate bill, but said that too much of the increase is connected to merit–based pay systems.He also said the state’s turnover of math and science teachers is particularly concerning, noting many are leaving education jobs because they can double their salaries in the private sector.Read this story by HPM’s education reporter Laura Isensee to learn more about how Texas pays for its public education system. Share
Kolkata: Mystery shrouds the death of an elderly man whose decomposed body was recovered from his residence at Chandannagar in Hooghly on Tuesday morning.Locals got a foul smell emanating from his house. After being informed, police reached the spot and entered the house. They found the decomposed body of the victim, Gopinath Mukherjee, lying on the floor of the house. According to a preliminary investigation, police suspect that the victim died a few days ago. Police said that the victim’s younger brother, Apurba Mukherjee, was living with the victim in the house for the past few years. The younger brother was also present when police reached the spot. They came to know that the younger brother had developed some mental issues. Police are yet to ascertain if the victim had died a natural death or there was any foul play behind the incident. They have started a detailed probe in this regard and have failed to interrogate the younger brother as he started shouting at the police officers. Locals told the police that they saw the victim three days ago. They have urged the police to send the victim’s younger brother to a destitute home.