MONTREAL – More than 200 firefighters from across Canada and the northeastern United States have been sent to Quebec this month to help fight forest fires.Quebec’s forest fire protection service says the reinforcements hail from Saskatchewan, Alberta, Massachusetts and from Parks Canada.They will join the service’s 400 firefighters as well as their colleagues already lending a hand from New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Hampshire and Maine.About 60 fires are active at the moment.A spokeswoman for the fire protection service says there have been 357 fires in the province so far this year, up from an average of 276.
TORONTO – Two cities in Western Canada have been named the next commercial real estate “hot spots” for the cannabis market, according to a report.Real estate firm RE/Max Commercial says that Kelowna, B.C., and Edmonton are both expected to see positive commercial growth in the coming months as a result of cannabis legalization.Prices for commercial real estate in the southern B.C. city are anticipated to see an uptick, as approval for cannabis retail licences will be “extremely competitive” amid high demand once the substance becomes available.Kelowna, which is located in the Okanagan Valley, has already identified more than 900 potential zoned sites for dispensaries.Lease rates for industrial spaces in the area are also expected to rise as marijuana companies vie for more space to house their operations, says the annual Commercial Investor report.This increase comes after Kelowna’s real estate market saw an eight per cent decrease in total sales value for its commercial property year over year.Meanwhile, it is anticipated that vacancy rates will continue to drop and lease rates will rise moderately for the remainder of the year in Edmonton thanks to the arrival of Aurora Cannabis.New construction, particularly in the Leduc and Nisku areas of the city, has been burgeoning amid the addition of a 74,322 square metre (800,000 square foot) medical marijuana production facility and a 37,161 square metre (400,000 square foot) auto parts and distribution warehouse from Ford Canada.“Cannabis is adding an additional demand segment to the overall market, for industrial or retail,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president at RE/MAX of Western Canada on Wednesday.“It’s good news from a landlord perspective.”
On Saturday, June 9, 2018 The John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary will hold the 33rd annual Odyssey Ball honoring the organization’s past presidents, a group of 14 philanthropic women who have led the charge in raising more than $20 million dollars to date for critical cancer research and education programs, with “The Trailblazer” Award.This year, the event takes place at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, a rustic outdoor venue that sets the perfect tone for the The Angels and Cowboys themed gala. Comedian and actress, Kate Flannery, known for her role on the hit show The Office, will serve as the emcee for the evening. The fundraiser benefits the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center and is organized by John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary co-chairs Martha Harper and Shirley Lipstone.The Trailblazers Award recognizes those who, through their service and leadership, have paved the way for innovation and impact in the cancer community. The Past Presidents of the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary date back to the founding members of the Auxiliary board of directors over 35 years ago. In addition to serving as an Auxiliary President, many are members of various organizations including but not limited to: Cancer Support Community, California Oncology Research Institute, Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, LACMA Art Museum Council, MOCA and many more. The honorees include: Hollace Brown, Diane Feldman, Ilene Eisenberg, Andrea Kopald, Ila Krane, Ina Lewis, Shirley Lipstone, Sue Newman Hochberg, Roberta Novick, Donna Rosen, Lois Rosen, Anita Swift and Ruth Weil along with Jackie Banchik and Sandy Cohen who will be honored in memoriam.“Never seeking attention for their efforts, this powerful group of women has selflessly volunteered their time and talents to see the mission of the Institute move forward,” said (Patrick Wayne, chairman of the board at the Institute and son of the legendary actor John Wayne). “It is time we turn the spotlight on this deserving group to celebrate their unique contributions and dedication to the advancement of cancer research and treatment.”The 33rd Annual Odyssey Ball is produced by Scott Mauro Entertainment, Inc., for the fifth consecutive year.The event begins at 4:30 PM with cocktails and saloon games for guest to enjoy upon arrival. At 6:00 PM guests will be seated for the awards presentation which will be followed by dinner, dancing, and an auction beginning at 7:00 PM. For more information, to purchase tickets, or donate please click here.
He paid tribute to all those who have so far sacrificed in numerous ways to elevate the Army standards and stressed on the importance of marching forward as a fully-fledged professional Army in the future too. “Our Army that inherits a proud history has faced a multitude of different challenges during its journey for defence of the country’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and unitary status. Defeating maniac passion for terrorism and restoring law and order, we, as one and only Army in the world to do so, stunned everyone through the biggest ever humanitarian operation hitherto carried out in the world in order to salvage hostages,” he said. “In the same vein, I must underline that Sri Lanka Army is all the time alert to any kind of challenges that would prop up against the country and is ready to work for the best interest of the country,” the Army Commander said. (Colombo Gazette) The army will remain on alert despite being involved in development work following the end of the war, Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya said today.He said this while speaking to the troops at the 63rd Anniversary of the army today. He said that army efforts and contribution in promoting reconciliation and goodwill while simultaneously energetically committed to the revival of country’s development in spheres like engineering, infrastructure building, mega technical and agricultural projects, particularly in the North and East, have received accolades from the international community, too and such commendations should be noted.The Army Chief said that he intends to promote the image of the Army to suit international standards as a professional organization, and steps have already been taken to found more and more new Army training schools while elevating standards of the existing ones with modern techniques and facilities.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured the Minister of External Affairs Prof. GL Peiris that India’s cooperation with Sri Lanka in all sectors is accorded highest priority, the External Affairs Ministry said.A statement by the Ministry today said that Prof. GL Peiris who is currently in New Delhi in connection with the 8th Session of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission called on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday. Recalling President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent visit to India in September 2012, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requested Minister Peiris to convey his warm personal regards to the President, the statement said. Prime Minister Singh had also expressed satisfaction at the very productive Joint Commission session between the two countries and stressed the importance of meetings of the nature of the Joint Commission in strengthening the bilateral partnership between India and Sri Lanka in all sectors including economic, trade and security. The External Affairs Ministry said that the Prime Minister had also appreciated several initiatives and projects by all stakeholders to increase bilateral trade and investment as well as people-to-people contact.Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs K. Amunugama and High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam were associated with Minister Peiris at the meeting while National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and High Commissioner Ashok Kantha were associated with Prime Minister Singh at the meeting. (Colombo Gazette)
PlayerYearAgeOPS+PlayerYearAgeWAR/G Ronald Acuña Jr.’s rookie year was historicFor MLB hitters age 20 or younger in a season since 1901, greatest adjusted on-base plus slugging and wins above replacement per game 20Vada Pinson195920129Mel Ott192819.032 Min. 450 plate appearances for OPS+ leaders and 100 games for WAR/G leadersSources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs 17Bryce Harper201320133Ken Griffey Jr.199020.033 2Ty Cobb190720167Alex Rodriguez199620.064 3Mel Ott192920165Mel Ott192920.051 10Ronald Acuña Jr.201820145Jason Heyward201020.039 18Tony Conigliaro196520133Bryce Harper201320.033 11Juan Soto201819143Vada Pinson195920.038 4Al Kaline195520162Al Kaline195520.051 8Rogers Hornsby191620151Frank Robinson195620.041 15Ken Griffey Jr.199020136Bryce Harper201219.034 13Dick Hoblitzell190920143Rogers Hornsby191620.037 16Sherry Magee190520134Sherry Magee190520.034 At a glance, Acuña’s early 2019 numbers actually represent a slight downgrade from that stellar rookie campaign. His OPS+ has dipped from 145 to 134, thanks to a big decline in slugging percentage (.552 to .487). Relatedly, Acuña is hitting home runs less frequently, and his isolated power is down nearly 70 points. It looks sure like a mild sophomore slump — albeit one we should all be so lucky to have.Under the surface, however, Acuña has made some impressive strides this year in two important areas: plate discipline and defense.Acuña’s 2018 walk rate of 9.2 percent was already better than league average — particularly impressive considering the whole “20-year-old rookie” factor — but his 2019 rate is up to 12.7 percent, which ranks 35th in baseball. He’s seeing more pitches (4.61 per plate appearance, second-most in baseball) and consistently getting into good hitter’s counts more often than he did a year ago. At the same time, Acuña has been whiffing a lot less so far in 2019. He struck out in 25.3 percent of his plate appearances last season, which ranked him around the bottom quarter of MLB hitters, but this year that rate is down to 21.8 percent, comfortably in the top half of the league.Those changes give Acuña an overall strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.72, which is the second-lowest in baseball for a hitter his age. Since a player’s batting eye is a core leading indicator for his underlying hitting skills, Acuña’s improved strike-zone judgment is a great sign of his ongoing development at the plate.The other area in which Acuña has improved is defense. We combined the Ultimate Zone Rating figures found at FanGraphs and the Defensive Runs Saved numbers at Baseball-Reference.com and found that Acuña was no better than an average outfielder last season. (And he might have been worse than that — another prominent metric, Michael Humphreys’ Defensive Regression Analysis, considered him to be 3 runs below average.) This season, Acuña’s numbers are up no matter which source you consult; he’s on pace to have improved by about 10 runs — or 1 entire win — if he ends up playing the same number of innings as in 2018.4Which probably undersells his potential improvement, because Acuña was limited to 111 games last year between injuries and Atlanta’s service-time chicanery.The advanced fielding stats may just be catching up with what the eye test already knew about Acuña’s defensive potential. FanGraphs’ annual poll of fan fielding assessments had already judged Acuña to be one of the most talented left fielders in the game last season, thanks to his tremendous first step and speed to the ball off the bat. But now that he’s putting those skills to use in the metrics, Acuña’s potential value looks even greater: Per 162 team games, he’s tracking for 7.0 WAR this season, which basically matches what Ken Griffey Jr. and Albert Pujols had at the same age.Acuña’s dip in power this year is a bit puzzling, particularly since his Statcast hitting metrics — including exit velocity, hard-hit ball rate and “barrels” (balls hit with the ideal velocity and launch angle) — are also down across the board. Some of that might come down to the injury that kept him out of Sunday’s game: “It’s been on and off,” Acuña told reporters through an interpreter after picking up four hits but exiting Saturday’s game early. “I’ve felt it for a while, so it wasn’t today. Today, it just kind of grabbed at me after I had a quick swing like that and got out of the box pretty quickly. That’s when I felt it. But I felt good coming into today, as always.”But assuming his back isn’t an ongoing issue, Acuña should get plenty more pitches to crush as the season goes on, given his improved willingness to wait out favorable counts. Acuña may not be launching balls out of the park left and right like Bellinger at the moment — he hasn’t homered since April 16, in fact — but the foundation of his game still has superstardom stamped into it as much as ever. 5Mickey Mantle195220162Ted Williams193920.046 14Mel Ott192819139Ronald Acuña Jr.201820.035 When the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Atlanta Braves for a three-game series starting tonight, all eyes will be on a precocious young star who’s taken his game to the next level early this season. We are, of course, talking about L.A.’s Cody Bellinger … right? Certainly Bellinger has been great so far, and he was just named the National League’s player of the month for April. But “precocious young star” could also fit Bellinger’s counterpart on the Braves: Ronald Acuña Jr. Acuña’s ongoing development as a superstar hasn’t gotten as much attention as Bellinger’s, particularly during his recent slump and injury absence over the weekend, but Atlanta’s 21-year-old left fielder is showing important signs of improvement, too, despite surface-level numbers that can’t match those of his Dodger rival.Acuña’s 2018 rookie season already put him in the history books. After being held down in Triple-A until April 25, he posted the 10th-best adjusted on-base plus slugging (OPS+) of any player age 20 or younger in a season since 1901,1Minimum 450 plate appearances. edging out fellow NL East outfielder Juan Soto in the process, and he had the 14th-most wins above replacement2Averaging together the WAR versions found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. per game3Minimum 100 games. of any 20-or-under hitter over the same span, besting Bryce Harper, Ken Griffey Jr. and Willie Mays. Adj. on-base plus sluggingWins above replacement per game 6Alex Rodriguez199620161Mickey Mantle195220.046 1Mike Trout201220168Mike Trout201220.074 19Jason Heyward201020131Willie Mays195120.032 7Ted Williams193920160Ty Cobb190720.046 9Jimmie Foxx192820148Jimmie Foxx192820.040 12Frank Robinson195620143Manny Machado201320.037
Junior Kyle Snyder lifts Penn State’s Nick Nevills for a takedown on Feb. 3, 2017 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 32-12. Credit: Nicholas McWilliams | Sports EditorThe No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes stepped out to the mats draped in robes on Friday at the Schottenstein Center, but they weren’t able to get comfortable against the No. 2 Nittany Lions, eventually losing 32-12. OSU only managed three wins in 10 bouts.One of those victories was junior Kyle Snyder in the heavyweight division. The Olympic gold medal winner dominated No. 3 Nick Nevills 19-9. That was the highlight for the Buckeyes.Penn State began its dominance early starting with second-ranked Nick Suriano. OSU redshirt freshman Jose Rodriguez had little answer for Suriano, losing via technical fall at 125 pounds.No. 1 133-pounder redshirt junior Nathan Tomasello captured a technical fall of his own to even the team score 5-5, but it was the closest the Buckeyes would come to the upset.Penn State proceeded to go on a six-match win streak, driving the score up to 32-5 before OSU redshirt freshman Kollin Moore captured a victory at 197 pounds. The Buckeyes were mathematically eliminated from a shot at a victory before the 184-pound matchup began.At 149 pounds, No. 5 Micah Jordan (OSU) was pitted against No. 1 Zain Retherford, and dropped the matchup with a 20-5 technical fall. Jordan has faced top-three opponents each of the last two weeks.“Micah Jordan wrestled a heck of a match against a heck of a wrestler,” OSU coach Tom Ryan said. “We had a mental break, and that mental break resulted in a six-point move. Two six-point moves occurred, and then you have a problem.”The Buckeyes trotted out backups at 157 and 174 pounds. Penn State had a top-10 wrestler in each of those classes and showed it by pinning their OSU counterparts at each of those weights.At 184 pounds, there was a rematch from the 2016 National Championships between sophomores Myles Martin and Bo Nickal. While Martin won the National Championship for OSU, Nickal got the better of him in this matchup, winning by decision 8-2.Fourth-ranked 197-pounder Kollin Moore continued to cement himself as one of the elite wrestlers in his weight class with a 9-6 decision victory over No. 9 Matt McCutcheon (PSU).On the night, the Buckeyes finished with three victories in 10 matchups, and they’re second consecutive team loss. There were no upset victories on the night, as every match was won by the wrestler who was ranked higher.At 174 pounds, Bo Jordan was out after aggravating a foot injury last week against Iowa, Ryan said in the post-match press conference.“The only reason why I would’ve wrestled him (Bo Jordan) tonight, was for my ego, the ego of this staff, and that’s a wrong reason to put someone in a wrestling match,” Ryan said. “The best thing for Bo is to heal and get ready to train. We do not want Bo feeling the way he feels now at the Big Tens.”On another note, American wrestlers were banned from participating in the Iranian World Cup, which included Snyder and former Buckeye great, and four-time NCAA champion, Logan Stieber.“I know they want us there to compete,” Snyder said about the current status of the U.S. Wrestling team’s visas to travel to Iran. “We’ll just have to see what happens.”Snyder and Stieber were set to wrestle in the tournament Feb. 16-17 before receiving news that they were not allowed to travel to Iran.OSU’s next match comes against another top opponent in No. 13 Rutgers on Monday in Columbus.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedBandit shot in robbery attempt on Soesdyke businessmanAugust 18, 2017In “Crime”$100,000 bail for Soesdyke man accused of fraudFebruary 5, 2014In “Crime”Businessman granted $100,000 bail for robbery underarmsNovember 29, 2013In “Crime” Linden businessman Lloyd Thomas, accused of discharging a loaded firearm at Anthony Rogers with intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or cause him actual bodily harm, was on Wednesday arraigned before Georgetown Magistrate Annette Singh, charged with the offence.Lloyd ThomasUnrepresented by legal counsel, the 43-year-old defendant denied the charge, allegedly committed on August 17, 2017 at Sand Hills on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway, and explained to the court that he was on the road when he was attacked by a bandit who attempted to snatch a gold chain that he was wearing at the time.Thomas said he put up a fight, during which he was able to disarm the bandit of his gun, and he used it to shoot the bandit.Because the Police Prosecutor did not object to the defendant being placed on bail, Thomas was placed on $50,000 bail, and was ordered to report to the police station nearest to his home until the conclusion of this matter. The case will continue on September 11.
One of the best handball coaches, Ljubomir Vranjes, would take a double role in Hungarian handball, according Handball-Planet.com sources. The SG Flensburg Handewitt coach will replace Spaniard Xavi Sabate, who is currently in charge in Telekom Veszprem, but also Hungarian national team for the upcoming World Championship 2017 in France.Speculation about Sabate’s departure aren’t something new as Veselin Vujovic has been seen to overtake his role in the middle of the season, but Federation’s interest was that Sabate stay on the club’s bench, at least, until the end of NT’s action in January.However, it looks that Vranjes would be a more stabil solution, on which Hungarian handball could built a bright future. Investments in Hungarian handball are huge, clubs and Federation have no problem with money and that is fundamentally solid base that coach on the level of Vranjes could make more in years to come. Ljubomir VranjesTelekom Veszprem handball ← Previous Story Partybreakers from Magdeburg beat champions! Next Story → TOP 10 HANDBALL MOMENTS 2016: New rules, miracle in Cologne, Bad Boys, free-resin…
5. Vive Kielce 13 5 3 5 385:380 13 4. Kiel 13 7 1 5 337:332 15 ← Previous Story No.4 still undecided: Kielce win in Kiel! Next Story → Brave PPD Zagreb stopped by PICK in Szeged 8. Aalborg 13 2 1 10 340:374 5 Meshkov Brest are at EHF Champions League TOP 16! The champions of Belarus beat PSG Handball 29:28 and secured place No.6 at Preliminary Round ahead of RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko and Aalborg. The Serbian left back Petar Djordjic netted 10 goals for the winning squad who also took a chance due missing Gensheimer and Hansen in PSG team.Meshkov Brest – PSG Handball 29:28 (19:13)Meshkov Brest: Pesic, Mackevic; Rutenka (1), Yashchenko (1), Yurinok (1), Poteko, Nikulenkov (1), Stojkovic (3), Sumak (3), Vukic (2), Gorak (2), Razgor, Baranov, Shylovic (5), Astrasapkin.PSG: Coralles, Omeyer; Stepancic (1), Keita (3), Sagosen (3), Kounkoud (1), Damjanović, Remili (4), Abalo (4), L. Karabatic (3), Narcisse (4), Nilsen (2), N. Karabatic (3).RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko beat Aalborg 32:28, but match was just a question of prestige for both teams.STANDINGS:1. Paris SG 13 11 0 2 395:349 22 6. Meshkov Brest 13 4 2 7 346:373 10 7. Celje 13 3 1 9 376:405 7 2. Telekom Veszprem 12 7 1 4 347:325 15 3. Flensburg-H. 12 6 3 3 348:336 15
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Crown casino took unfair advantage of high-roller millionaire Harry Kakavas, leading him into bankruptcy, the Court of Appeal heard. In another development in the Kakavas saga, the gambling addict has appealed against a ruling by Justice David Harper, who denied Mr Kakavas’s $35 million lawsuit against Crown casino, saying his gambling addiction had not disadvantaged him in his dealings with the casino.Kakavas, a Gold Coast property developer, has been diagnosed as a pathological gambler. His lawyer, Allan Myers QC, said his client could not be truly responsible for his own actions when he lost $30 million at Crown between June 2005 and August 2006. Kakavas reportedly turned $1.5 billion on Crown’s baccarat tables during the period, betting up to $300,000 a hand.Kakavas claimed that he had previously excluded himself from every casino around the country in an attempt to curb his expensive habits. However, he told the court that he was lured to his 14-month long gambling binge by Crown’s siren call of cash incentives, the use of a luxury jet and penthouse accommodation. When Kakavas threatened to exclude himself from Crown again in September 2005, it was claimed that Crown’s chief operating officer, John Williams, put $50,000 in Kakavas’s account to change his mind. The debacle has called into question Crown casino’s self-proclaimed status as a leader in responsible gambling. Mr Myers said under the Gambling Regulation Act, people who self-excluded themselves or who have been excluded by any other means should not be allowed to enter or remain in a casino, and that it did not matter whether or not the gambler could afford to lose the money.
Download AudioSenator Pete Kelly, a Fairbanks Republican, previewed a bill he is planning to introduce this week to reform the current Medicaid system. He said the bill won’t include a provision to expand Medicaid, he said during a press conference this morning. A group of Anchorage religious leaders and lay people are in Juneau to try to convince him and other skeptical lawmakers to change their minds on the issue.Senator Kelly said his Medicaid reform bill will feature Health Savings Accounts. A portion of the permanent fund dividends of Medicaid recipients would go into the accounts to pay for costs that are considered unreasonable:“If you got to an emergency room when you shouldn’t have, then that comes out of that Health Savings Account [and] if you self-refer to a specialist; if you use brand name drugs instead of a generic when they’re available, those kinds of abuses,” he said.The bill will also include a provision for managed care, a system for controlling health costs by managing how patients use health care services, he said. Full details won’t be available until the bill is formally introduced later this week.One thing Kelly’s bill won’t include is Medicaid expansion. He said that may come as a surprise to the Walker Administration. Health Commissioner Valerie Davidson did not respond to requests for an interview. Her department issued a short statement saying they will comment on the bill after they have a chance to review it.Kelly said he thinks reform should happen before expansion. “It’s a broken system,” he said. “I think everyone agrees that Medicaid is broken. I think it’s been broken for 30 years. And now to expand it and put more money into it, to bring more people into it, that’s certainly not going to help its brokenness.”Kelly will likely encounter a large group of Anchorage residents in Juneau early this week who will try to change his mind. They are from Anchorage Faith and Action Congregations Together- or AFACT, a federation that represents 15 congregations and 10,000 congregants.Reverend Julia Seymour expects their diverse group of 14 representatives to stand out at the capital. She says their message is pretty simple:“We’re about honesty,” she said. “And the reality is that Medicaid expansion is an honest need for Alaskans, and religious and faithful people support that.”Reverend Seymour says Medicaid expansion has been a priority for AFACT for at least three years. In 2013, the group started publishing a small booklet explaining the complicated issue to congregants. AFACT decided to send representatives to Juneau this session, because it’s the first time the legislature has seriously considered the issue. Reverend Seymour is a pastor at Lutheran Church of Hope in Anchorage.Reverend Seymour said they will meet with as many lawmakers as possible on both sides of the aisle. “We’re hoping that we will come back from Juneau smarter about this issue,” she said. “With more knowledge about what’s going on with Juneau with the concerns of both the majority and minority caucuses and with a clear understanding of what needs to be done… to get Medicaid expansion in Alaska.”For Reverend Seymour, approving Medicaid expansion is the moral and ethical decision to make for the state’s future:“It’s about the health of Alaskans,” she said. “Healthy Alaskans are productive Alaskans. Productive Alaskans enjoy the gifts of creation and we have excellent gifts of creation in this state.”At the press conference, Senator Kelly said he didn’t think Medicaid expansion is a moral imperative. But he didn’t shut the door completely on the issue either. Kelly said this draft of the bill doesn’t include expansion, but talks on whether it – or another bill- should include it will continue for the rest of the session.“I’m one person with one bill, so I think expansion and reform are discussions that are going on with 60 people in this building, 61 including the governor. My bill just doesn’t have expansion in it.”Kelly’s Medicaid reform bill is tentatively scheduled to have its first hearing Friday. Reverend Seymour said when their members return to Anchorage they will regroup to consider their next steps and also pray for lawmakers to do their work.This story is part of a reporting partnership between APRN, NPR and Kaiser Health News.
Sen. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage, chairs the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee in March. Costello proposed a change to the state’s criminal justice law that allows judges to require cash bail for low- and moderate-risk misdemeanor defendants. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)The Alaska Senate voted Thursday to end a key requirement of the criminal justice reform voted into law two years ago. It would end a mandate that low- and moderate-risk misdemeanor defendants be released without posting cash bail. Judges would be able to order bail for all defendants.Listen nowSince January, people charged with misdemeanors who were assessed as having a low or moderate risk have been released without having to post cash bail. It’s a change that was made under the 2016 law known as Senate Bill 91.Anchorage Republican Sen. Mia Costello proposed allowing judges to require the cash bail for all defendants, not just those assessed as being high risk.“I heard from many, many Alaskans, who said they are frustrated when the criminal who victimized them is caught only to be immediately released, and then there are additional victims,” Costello said.The Senate voted 12 to 6 in support of Costello’s proposal. She said judges should have discretion to decide who is released without posting bail.“Public safety is our No. 1 priority,” Costello said. “There is no other issue that I’m hearing from my constituents on that is more important than this one. Families in Alaska want to be safe and businesses want to get back to doing business, instead of fending off criminals.”North Pole Republican Sen. John Coghill opposed the proposal. He noted that those charged with felonies, sex offenses or driving under the influence aren’t eligible for mandatory release. And those who violated the conditions of their release in the past also aren’t eligible.“What we’re trying to do is actually free the judges up to deal with the people who are actually the ones who need the attention the most,” Coghill said.Coghill said the state is already seeing benefits from the change in pretrial decisions that happened in January. Judges are required to use a tool that looks at publicly available information to score the defendant’s risk of failing to appear or commit another crime.Coghill said that giving judges more discretion sounds good, but releasing more defendants avoids problems.“It lets people go back to work,” Coghill said. “It actually solves a problem of not having to jail them. But it also solves a problem of not having re-criminalization become part of their life.”It was an amendment to a larger criminal justice measure, House Bill 312.The bill started as a measure allowing police officers to arrest people without warrants for assaults on health care providers. But the Senate added several other proposals from Gov. Bill Walker’s administration. They include allowing judges to consider defendants’ out-of-state histories in making pretrial decisions. And the attorney general would be able to schedule new street drugs using emergency regulations.The bill heads over to the House. If the House agrees to the changes, it would go to Walker’s desk.
Gail Delaughter/Houston Public MediaThis file photo shows a flooded garage in Woodland Heights, near White Oak Bayou, on Aug.27, 2017.The City of Houston announced this week it is proposing to expand eligibility for Hurricane Harvey survivors to receive federal funds for housing repairs.The city explained in a news release its programs for long-term housing recovery from previous disasters have only been available to households below 120 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).“Recognizing that some of the worst flooding from Harvey occurred in higher-income areas of Houston, the program guidelines have been revised to remove the income cap for a portion of Homeowner Assistance Programs (HoAP) funds from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD),” the news release said.The city’s proposed guidelines have been updated from the version posted on October 16, 2018 to expand eligibility for the reimbursement program, one of five programs included in the HoAP guidelines.Public comment period The public comment period closes on November 30, 2018. The draft guidelines and associated public notice are available at http://houstontx.gov/housing. The guidelines will be submitted for City Council approval in December.“With our limited resources, our highest priority must continue to be helping the most vulnerable and lowest income Houstonians to recover,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “But Harvey hit hard for Houstonians at every income level. So, while 80% of the more than $1.17 billion in recovery funds will be available for families who are low- and moderate-income, we are also making $150 million available for families above this threshold.”The City of Houston will receive $1.17 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds for assisting in long-term recovery from Hurricane Harvey.Potential agreement with the Texas GLOThe City expects to sign a grant agreement for these funds with the Texas General Land Office (GLO) by the end of 2018.To receive this funding, the City submitted a Local Action Plan, approved by City Council, to the GLO, which has been incorporated into the State of Texas Plan for Disaster Recovery: Hurricane Harvey. The plan was the subject of extensive public input and comment and is available at http://houstontx.gov/housing.The City of Houston’s Local Action Plan includes $392 million for five programs under HoAP:Reimbursement: Homeowners who have completed partial or full repairs on their home may be eligible for reimbursement of eligible expenses incurred prior to application to the program, for work performed to minimum program standards.City-managed Rehabilitation and Construction: The City will manage and complete the construction process for the rehabilitation or reconstruction of Harvey-damaged homes on behalf of homeowners.Homeowner-managed Rehabilitation: The City will assist homeowners who have started the process, or who can manage a contractor, to navigate program compliance requirements and funding processes.Acquisition: Owners of substantially damaged homes may be eligible to exchange their homes for a newly constructed or rehabilitated home built to flood resilient standards.Interim Mortgage Assistance: Interim Mortgage Assistance (IMA) may be provided to homeowners being serviced under the HoAP who are making both a mortgage and a rental payment.Affordable housingThe primary purpose of these funds is to support the expanded availability of affordable housing in Houston for low- and moderate-income (LMI) people.An individual or family is considered LMI if its household income is less than 80 percent of AMI.The draft guidelines identify four priority populations: 1) elderly or disabled LMI households; 2) LMI households with young children under age 5; 3) very low-income households (below 50 percent AMI); and 4) households under 80 percent AMI.The city has found that low-income households have been the least able to recover from Harvey, with the highest risk for households still living in mold or otherwise dangerous conditions more than a year after the storm.The primary program area for non-LMI households will be reimbursement. To maximize the number of individuals and families assisted under these programs, the draft guidelines cap individual awards for non-LMI households.Public comments on the draft guidelines may be submitted by email to: Kennisha.London@houstontx.gov or by mail: HCDD, ATTN: Kennisha London, 601 Sawyer, Suite 400, Houston, TX 77007. View the draft at:HCDD website http://houstontx.gov/housingMain Public Library – 500 McKinney, 77002HCDD Office – 601 Sawyer, Suite 400, 77007 (copies may be obtained at this location upon request) Share
This year’s E3 had a good amount of surprises, but none was bigger than Resident Evil 7. Not only was this new entry in the classic survival horror series a huge departure from any of its predecessors, no one who watched that first trailer even knew it was a Resident Evil game until the very end. After the series nearly committed suicide with Resident Evil 6, it was great to see Capcom bringing the scary back with a game that is genuinely terrifying.I played the first Resident Evil 7 demo shortly after I returned home from E3 despite my initial reluctance to do so. Not because I was against the game or anything, but because when it comes to playing survival horror games in first person perspective, I’m a huge punk.Even when we were shown the trailer for Resident Evil 7, I lowered my head so that I couldn’t fully see what was on that giant screen. Horror movies bore me to tears, but horror games turn me into a frightened rabbit. Still, despite my fears, I managed to finish that first demo even if I only did so in five minute increments.One of the things Capcom touted about Resident Evil 7 was that it would be fully playable in VR. This was certainly a neat feature, but after nearly having a heart attacking playing the demo in broad daylight on my TV, I couldn’t imagine how utterly unnerving it would be to play it with a VR headset strapped to my head like a vice. As much as I thought Capcom was wise to turn Resident Evil into a modern day survival horror game, there was absolutely no way I was ever going to play this in VR. I’ve grown too fond of having clean underwear.Cut to yesterday where I found myself inside of a small dark room in Capcom’s New York Comic Con booth wearing a VR helmet playing the latest Resident Evil 7 demo. Yes, I could have easily not booked this appointment, but considering how scary the thought of playing this game in VR made me, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to write a funny post about how I ended up making a fool out of myself.Before I started playing, I had to calibrate the VR headset. This was simple enough since all I had to do was look up, down, and to my sides. The demo asked me to walk to certain spots to show me how to move using the left analog stick. The default setting had it so that when you press the right stick, the camera would turn 30 degrees at a time. There was also the option to have smooth camera motion but I went with 30 degree motion just to try it out. After that little tutorial was over, I got tossed into the main portion of the demo.In the previous demo, all I had to do was find a way out of a creepy, dilapidated house. In this one, I had to hide from a crazy, lantern wielding old woman. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the very same demo we saw a trailer for during this year’s GamesCom.Knowing that, my heart started to beat faster. I was scared enough just watching the trailer on my computer, but now here I was actually playing it in VR. I wasn’t able to half-watch this like I did with the E3 trailer. I was trapped in this world and the only way I would be free was if I finished the demo. Well, I suppose I could have taken the PlayStation VR headset off and left, but I had to preserve some sort of dignity.After wandering around trying not to get caught, I was asked by the friendly PR girl if I wanted to switch to the smooth camera motion setting. This made the camera move the way it does in most games. This certainly helped make the relatively simple controls feel more familiar. I felt some slight discomfort for the first thirty seconds or so, but after I adjusted, having full camera control felt natural. I guess I’m not a person who is squeamish with VR. I wish I had as much internal fortitude while playing this demo.I crossed a rickety bridge and made it to a crumbling lakeside building. I heard the crazy old woman yelling from behind me so I did my best to hide. I thought I had found a good spot to lay low as she got closer, only to end up screaming out loud when she found me. Judging by the reactions of the two PR folks in the room with me, this moment of cowardice was amusing.After being discovered a few more times (and losing years of my life in the process), I finally managed to find a place where I wasn’t seen. I’m familiar with stealth games so I stayed nice and quiet as the woman moved her lantern around trying to find me. After she turned around to leave, I began to slowly move. However, my instincts told me to stop. This was fortunate because as soon as I did, the woman quickly turned her head in my direction. If I had continued forward, I surely would have been spotted.I spent the entire time trying not to get caught by this insane woman, but the demo ended with me being captured anyway. I wound up at a table where I sat with the woman, her husband, and her son. The adults yelled at each other while the kid threw pieces of disgusting looking food at me. I won’t spoil it here, but something unexpected happens that — while not frightening — was certainly disturbing. After I was forced at knife point to eat some of the unappetizing food, the demo concluded.Even though I ended up screaming more times than I care to admit and was on the verge of suffering cardiac arrest while playing, I actually had a lot of fun with this Resident Evil 7 VR demo. Sure, it isn’t the Resident Evil we all remember, but this change of gameplay style was necessary in order to make the series scary again — not to mention keep it relevant.Will I personally play this game in VR again? Absolutely not, but I do hope the game resurrects this classic series and brings it back into the spotlight. I’ll just let braver souls play the game and tell me what they thought of it.
Rock art at Shuwaymis appears to show two dogs leashed to a hunter. Credit: M. Guagnin et al., Journal Of Anthropological Archaeology, 5, 2017 (Phys.org)—A combined team of researchers from Max Planck University and the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage has documented what might be the oldest depictions of dogs by human beings. In their paper published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology , the team describes the wall engravings and the means by which they attempted to date them. The researchers note that the dogs depicted in the rock bear a striking resemblance to modern Canaan dogs, which still live a feral existence in the area. They also acknowledge that a lot more research is required before a consensus can be reached regarding the age of the engravings. Prior research has suggested that humans first arrived in what is now Saudi Arabia approximately 10,000 years ago. Those first visitors were believed to be hunter-gatherers—researchers have found images of them carved into stone walls in the area. Prior research has also found evidence that people in the area domesticated animals and became herders approximately 7000 to 8000 years ago. They, too, have been depicted in stone etchings, and researchers have also found the bones of some of their livestock. Now, it appears that during the time between these two periods, people may have domesticated dogs and used them to hunt other animals for food. This new evidence is part of a collection of stone carvings the team has been studying at two sites in Saudi Arabia: Jubbah and Shuwaymis.The stone carvings depict hunters, armed with bows, surrounded by dogs, some of which appear to be tethered to the waists of their human masters. It is not currently possible to directly date stone carvings, of course, so the researchers had to use other types of evidence. They noted the weathering of the rock, for example, which can be used as an approximate aging test. But more importantly, they noted the location of the engravings and the sequence of engravings in the area. Those depicting tamed, leashed dogs appear to occur in a general timeline from approximately 8000 years ago. If the age of the engravings can be confirmed, it would push back the earliest depiction of leashed dogs by approximately 3000 years. © 2017 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Science Like humans, dogs found to have fitful sleep after negative experiences Citation: Wall carvings in Saudi Arabia appear to offer earliest depiction of dogs (2017, November 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-11-wall-saudi-arabia-earliest-depiction.html More information: David Grimm. Oldest images of dogs show hunting, leashes, Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6365.854 Maria Guagnin et al. Pre-Neolithic evidence for dog-assisted hunting strategies in Arabia, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2017.10.003 , www.sciencedirect.com/science/ … ii/S0278416517301174 Explore further
Artificial intelligence might seem intimidating, but it isn’t actually as complex as you might think. Many of the tools that have been developed over the last decade or so have all helped to make artificial intelligence and machine learning more accessible to engineers with varying degrees of experience and knowledge. Today, we’ve got to a stage where it’s now accessible even to people who have barely written a line of code in their life! Pretty exciting, right? But if you’re completely new to the field, it can be challenging to know how to get started – fortunately, we’re about to help you overcome that first hurdle. If you are an AI denier, then be sure to first read ‘why learn Machine Learning as a non-techie’ before you move forward. A strong purpose and belief is the first step to learning anything new. Alright, now here’s how you can get started with artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques quickly. 0. Use a free MLaaS or a no code interactive machine learning tool to experience first hand what is possible with learning machine learning: Some popular examples of no code machine learning as a service option are Microsoft Azure, BigML, Orange, and Amazon ML. Read Q2 under the FAQ section below to know more on this topic. 1. Learn Linear Algebra: Linear Algebra is the elementary unit for ML. It helps you effectively comprehend the theory behind the Machine learning algorithms and how they work. It also improves your math skills such as statistics, programming skills, which are all other skills that helps in ML. Learning Resources: Linear Algebra for Beginners: Open Doors to Great Careers Linear algebra Basics 2. Learn just enough Python or any programming: Now, you can get started with any language of your interest, but we suggest Python as it’s great for people who are new to programming. It’s easy to learn due to its simple syntax. You’ll be able to quickly implement the ML algorithms. Also, It has a rich development ecosystem that offers a ton of libraries and frameworks in Machine Learning such as Scikit Learn, Lasagne, Numpy, Scipy, Theano, Tensorflow, etc. Learning Resources: Python Machine Learning Learn Python in 7 Days Python for Beginners 2017 [Video] Learn Python with codecademy Python editor for beginner programmers 3. Learn basic Probability Theory and statistics: A lot of fundamental Statistical and Probability Theories form the basis for ML. You’ve probably already learned Probability and statistics in school, it easy to dive into advanced statistics for ML. Machine learning in its currently widely used form is a way to predict odds and see patterns. Knowing statistics and probability is important as it will help you with better understanding of why any machine learning algorithm works. For example, your grounding in this area, will help to ask the right questions, choose the right set of algorithms and know what to expect as answers from your ML model on questions such as: What are the odds of this person also liking this movie given their current movie watching choices ( Collaborative filtering and content-based filtering) How similar is this user to that group of users who brought a bunch of stuff on my site (clustering, collaborative filtering, and classification) Could this person be at risk of cancer given a certain set of traits and health indicator observations (logistic regression) Should you buy that stock (decision tree) Also, check out our interview with James D. Miller to know more about why learning stats is important in this field. Learning resources: Statistics for Data Science [Video] 4. Learn machine learning algorithms: Do not get intimidated! You don’t have to be an expert to learn ML algorithms. Knowing basic ML algorithms that are majorly used in the real world applications like linear regression, naive Bayes, and decision trees, are enough to get you started. Learn what they do and how they are used in Machine Learning. 5. Learn numpy sci-kit learn,Keras or any other popular machine learning framework: It can be confusing initially to decide which framework to learn. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Numpy is a linear algebra library which is useful for performing mathematical and logical operations. You can easily work with large multidimensional arrays using Numpy. Sci-kit learn helps with quick implementation of popular algorithms on datasets as just one line of code makes different algorithms available for you. Keras is minimalistic and straightforward with high-levels of extensibility, so it is easier to approach. Learning Resources: Hands-on Machine Learning with TensorFlow [Video] Hands-on Scikit-learn for Machine Learning [Video] If you have reached till here, it is time to put your learning into practice. Go ahead and create a simple linear regression model using some publicly available dataset in your area of interest. Kaggle, ourworldindata.org, UC Irvine Machine Learning repository, elitedatascience, all have a rich set of clean datasets in varied fields. Now, it is necessary to commit and put in daily efforts to practise these skills. Quora, Reddit, Medium, and stackoverflow will be your best friends when it comes to solving doubts regarding any of these skills. Data Helpers is another great resource that provides newcomers with help on queries regarding entering the ML field and related topics. Additionally, once you start getting hang of these skills, identify your strengths and interests, to realign your career goals. Research on the kind of work you want to put your newly gained Machine Learning skill to use. It needn’t be professional or serious, it just needs to be something that you deeply care about or are passionate about. This will pull you through your learning milestones, should you feel low at some point. Also, don’t forget to collaborate with other people and learn from them. You can work with web developers, software programmers, data analysts, data administrators, game developers etc. Finally, keep yourself updated with all the latest happenings in the ML world. Follow top experts and influencers on social media, top blogs on Machine Learning, and conferences. Once you are done checking off these steps off your list, you’ll be ready to start off with your ML project. Now, we’ll be looking at the most frequently asked questions by beginners in the field of Machine learning. Frequently asked questions by Beginners in ML As a beginner, it’s natural to have a lot of questions regarding ML. We’ll be addressing the top three frequently asked questions by beginners or non-programmers when it comes to Machine learning: Q.1 I am looking to make a career in Machine learning but I have no prior programming experience. Do I need to know programming for Machine learning? In a nutshell, Yes. If you want a career in Machine learning then having some form of programming knowledge really helps. As mentioned earlier in this article, learning a programming language can really help you with implementing ML algorithms. It also lets you know the internal mechanism behind Machine learning. So, having programming as a prior skill is great. Again, as mentioned before, you can get started with Python which is the easiest and the most common languages for ML. However, programming is just a part of Machine learning. For instance, “machine learning engineers” typically write more code than develop models, while “research scientists” work more on modelling and analyzing different models. Now, ML is based on the principles of statistical inference and for talking statistically to the computer, we need a language, there comes Coding. So, even though the nature of your job in ML might not require you to code as much, there’s still some amount of coding required. Read Also: Why is Python so good for AI and ML? 5 Python Experts Explain Top languages for Artificial Intelligence development Q.2 Are there any tools that can help me with Machine learning without touching a single line of code? Yes. With the rise of MLaaS (Machine learning as a service), there are certain tools that help you get started with machine learning right-away. These are especially useful for business applications of ML, such as predictive modelling and clustering. Read Also: How MLaaS is transforming cloud Some of the most popular ones are: BigML: This cloud based web-service lets you upload your data, prepare it and run algorithms on it. It’s great for people with not so extensive data science backgrounds. It offers a clean and easy to use interfaces for configuring algorithms (decision trees) and reviewing the results. Being focused “only” on Machine Learning, it comes with a wide set of features, all well integrated within a usable Web UI. Other than that, it also offers an API so that if you like it you can build an application around it. Microsoft Azure: The Microsoft Azure ML studio is a “GUI-based integrated development environment for constructing and operationalizing Machine Learning workflow on Azure”. So, via an integrated development environment called ML Studio, people without data science background or non-programmers can also build data models with the help of drag-and-drop gestures and simple data flow diagrams. This also saves a lot of time through ML Studio’s library of sample experiments. Learning resources: Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Machine Learning In The Cloud With Azure ML[Video] Orange: This is an open source machine learning and data visualization studio for novice and experts alike. It provides a toolbox comprising of text mining (topic modelling) and image recognition. It also offers a design tool for visual programming which allows you to connect together data preparation, algorithms, and result evaluation, thereby, creating machine learning “programs”. Apart from that, it provides over 100 widgets for the environment and there’s also a Python API and library available which you can integrate into your application. Amazon ML: Amazon ML is a part of Amazon Web Services ( AWS ) that combines powerful machine learning algorithms with interactive visual tools to guide you towards easily creating, evaluating, and deploying machine learning models. So, whether you are a data scientist or a newbie, it offers ML services and tools tailored to meet your needs and level of expertise. Building ML models using Amazon ML consists of three operations: data analysis, model training, and evaluation. Learning Resources: Effective Amazon Machine Learning Q.3 Do I need to know advanced mathematics ( college graduate level ) to learn Machine learning? It depends. As mentioned earlier, understanding of the following mathematical topics: Probability, Statistics and Linear Algebra can really make your machine learning journey easier and also help simplify your code. These help you understand the “why” behind the working of the machine learning algorithms, which is quite fundamental to understanding ML. However, not knowing advanced mathematics is not an excuse to not learning Machine Learning. There a lot of libraries which makes the task of applying an ML algorithm to solve a task easier. One such example is the widely used Python’s scikit-learn library. With scikit-learn, you just need one line of code and you’ll have the most common algorithms there for you, ready to be used. But, if you want to go deeper into machine learning then knowing advanced mathematics is a prerequisite as it will help you understand the algorithms, the formulas, how the learning is done and many other Machine Learning concepts. Also, with so many courses and tutorials online, you can always learn advanced mathematics on the side while exploring Machine learning. So, we looked at the three most asked questions by beginners in the field of Machine Learning. In the past, machine learning has provided us with self-driving cars, effective web search, speech recognition, etc. Machine learning is extremely pervasive, in fact, many researchers believe that ML is the best way to make progress towards human-level AI. Learning ML is not an easy task but its not next to impossible either. In the end, it all depends on the amount of dedication and efforts that you’re willing to put in to get a grasp of it. We just touched the tip of the iceberg in this article, there’s a lot more to know in Machine Learning which you will get a hang of as you get your feet dirty in it. That being said, all the best for the road ahead! Read Next Facebook launches a 6-part ML video series 7 of the best ML conferences for the rest of 2018 Google introduces Machine Learning courses for AI beginners
Last week, tourism authorities publicly shamed Beijing resident Zhou Yue by putting him on a national blacklist for rude behaviors. Upset with flight delay, Zhou forcibly opened two emergency doors on a domestic flight in January, and he was late administratively detained for 15 days.In one case last year, a man pulled the handle to open an emergency door to let in fresh air while passengers were boarding the plane in the eastern city of Hangzhou, according to media reports.Piao is the first person in China to face a criminal charge for the wanton act, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said. No verdict was announced on Monday.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The man, identified only by his family name of Piao, stood trial Monday on the charge of endangering public safety in the northeastern city of Yanji, the administration said in a statement.Piao opened an emergency door on an Asiana Airlines flight on Feb. 12 when the plane was taxiing, causing the emergency slide to eject and prompting the flight crew to take emergency measures to halt the aircraft, the administration said.His act caused the flight to be delayed for four hours and severely disrupted the airport operations, the administration said. Earlier media reports said Piao mistakenly raised the handle of the emergency door and was administratively detained for 10 days.Passengers have opened emergency doors without authorization 11 other times in 2015 at airports throughout the country, the administration said.The acts “have severely hurt aviation safety, disrupted flight operations and caused ill social impact,” the statement said.There is no data available for previous years, but the attention paid in China to the current incidents suggest such acts were rare or non-existent in the past. Authorities appear to be publicizing recent cases as a way to educate the public and stop such acts. Top Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories How men can have a healthy 2019 Comments Share BEIJING (AP) — Chinese air travelers have tried opening emergency doors without authorization 12 times in barely four months on planes that were taxiing or at a standstill, and one man was put on trial in the country’s first such legal case, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said Monday.There is no immediate explanation for the apparent spike in the behavior this year, although Chinese are traveling in record numbers, many of them flying for the first time and lacking basic aviation safety knowledge. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona
Originally built in France in the 1920s for members of the British monarchy, Al Andalus is a palace on rails combining the appearance of a prestigious history with the modern comforts of the 21st century. Exploring Seville, Jerez, Ronda and Granada aboard the luxurious Al Andalus means having wine or coffee in the train’s sumptuous saloons or relaxing in one of the 30 spacious, richly-appointed cabins while waiting to arrive in your destination. EL TRANSCANTABRICO A journey aboard the opulent 23-suite El Transcantabrico is a wonderful and unique way to experience the stunning sights of northern Spain, from the striking hilly landscape of Galicia to the mighty cliffs of the Bay of Biscay. With its décor and construction, it is easy to bask in the nostalgia and charm of the early 20th century. Enjoy buffet breakfast every day, savoury dinners and lunches, and delightful regional gastronomy on board while traveling to the next city in your itinerary.Our Luxury Rail Journeys are inclusive of accommodation in your chosen compartment, dinners and lunches aboard the train or in top restaurants, daily buffet breakfast, excursions and scheduled tours, tickets to museums, attractions and shows. Activities on board include music and live performances, cooking and cocktails demonstration, dancing and more.For full details and bookings, contact Spain & Portugal Travel Connection on 1300 858 795, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.spanishtravel.com.auSource = Spain & Portugal Travel Connection AL ANDALUS Roll like royalty and explore wondrous Spain on one of the luxury rail journeys from Spain & Portugal Travel Connection, Australia’s leading Spain and Portugal travel specialist. Hop on one of our spacious and luxurious tourist trains and discover the marvels of Spain as you travel from Seville to Granada or Madrid, or to Santiago de Compostela from Leon or San Sebastian. Al Andalus and El Transcantabrico are both luxury hotels on rails that bring passengers to mighty Spanish cities and quaint medieval villages, passing through spectacular countryside and affording guests comforts in historic rooms and suites fit for royalty.