Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bangladesh withdraws from regional summit in Islamabad

NEW DELHI (AP) - Bangladesh announced Wednesday that it will not participate in a meeting of South Asian nations in Pakistan in November, following the withdrawal of India, the largest member of the regional bloc, a day earlier.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs M. Shahriar Alam gave no reason for Bangladesh's decision other than his country's "domestic engagements."

Diplomatic tensions between Bangladesh and Pakistan have escalated in recent years, with each government summoning the other's top diplomat over Bangladesh's execution of people convicted of involvement in its 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed 3 million people and raped 200,000 women during the war. Pakistan denies the allegation.

The move is seen as part of India's diplomatic efforts to isolate archrival Pakistan after a recent militant attack on an Indian army base in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir that killed 18 soldiers. New Delhi blames a Pakistan-based militant group for the attack. Pakistan denies that.

On Tuesday, India pulled out of the meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, citing increasing terror attacks in the region and blaming "one member" for interfering in the internal affairs of member states. It said the atmosphere was not conducive for a successful summit. It did not name Pakistan directly.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to attend the eight-nation summit in the Pakistani capital. The other member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

There was no immediate comment from Pakistan on Bangladesh's withdrawal, but it earlier called India's announcement unfortunate. A foreign ministry spokesman said Pakistan remained committed to peace and regional cooperation.

SAARC was founded in 1985 to promote economic cooperation in the region, but tensions between India and Pakistan have repeatedly blocked progress.

Since the attack on the military base in Indian-controlled Kashmir's Uri town, Indian officials including Prime Minister Narendra Modi have said they will work to isolate Pakistan internationally, accusing it of trying to destabilize Asia by exporting terrorism.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Amazon found guilty of sending potentially dangerous goods

Online shopping giant Amazon has been found guilty of dispatching potentially dangerous goods to be transported by air.

The items included lithium ion batteries and flammable aerosols and were shipped between January 2014 and June 2015. All were found by Royal Mail screening staff before reaching the planes.

A jury at London's Southwark Crown Court found the company guilty of four counts of causing dangerous goods to be delivered for carriage in an aircraft in breach of air navigation rules, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said.

<b>Online shopping giant Amazon have been found guilty of shipping potentially dangerous goods by air</b>

The prosecution for the dangerous goods found in Amazon UK Services Ltd shipments was brought by the CAA under the Air Navigation (Dangerous Goods) Regulations 2002.

It outlines how dangerous goods must be handled when transported by air. This includes how they must be classified, packed, marked, labelled and documented - as well as the dangerous goods training which must be completed by the persons sending them.

<strong>Amazon UK Services Ltd is to be sentenced at the same court on Friday.</strong>

After the hearing, the CAA's general counsel Kate Staples said: "The safety of aviation and the public is paramount and that's why there are important international and domestic restrictions to prohibit the shipping of certain goods that pose a flight safety risk.

"These dangerous goods include lithium batteries, which are banned from being transported as mail or cargo on a passenger aircraft unless they are installed in or packed with equipment.

"We work closely with retailers and online traders to ensure they understand the regulations and have robust processes in place so their items can be shipped safely.

"Whenever issues are identified, we work with companies to make sure those issues are addressed appropriately. But if improvements are not made, we have to consider enforcement action and as this case demonstrates, we are determined to protect the public by enforcing the dangerous goods regulations."

An Amazon spokesman said: "The safety of the public, our customers, employees and partners is an absolute priority.

"We ship millions of products every week and are confident in the sophisticated technologies and processes we have developed to detect potential shipping hazards.

"We are constantly working to further improve and will continue to work with the CAA in this area."

One of the most popular franchises of all time almost never launched

IMDB Fifty years ago - on Sept. 8, 1966 - TV viewers were transfixed by the appearance on screen of a green-hued, pointy-eared alien called Spock. But beneath the makeup, actor Leonard Nimoy fretted that this would be the end of his promising career. “How can I play a character without emotion?” he asked his boss, Gene Roddenberry. “I’m going to be on one note throughout the entire series.” Nimoy thought he looked silly wearing the prosthetics that turned him into a Vulcan, at one point issuing an ultimatum: “It’s me or the ears.” Nimoy’s misgivings were just one of many problems the writers, producers and cast faced during “Star Trek”’s troubled journey to the screen. Culled from their recollections, this is the story of how “Star Trek”’s mission to explore strange new worlds was almost over before it began.  

Seeds of inspiration The ingredients of “Star Trek” had been slow-cooking in creator Gene Roddenberry’s brain for years. At first he wanted to write a show about a 19th-century blimp that journeyed from place to place, making contact with distant peoples. Deciding instead to set the show in the future, Roddenberry drew upon his youthful immersion in science fiction magazines like Astounding Stories. Also important was his experience as a World War II bomber pilot, which caused him to ruminate on human nature: Would we ever outgrow our obsession with violence? And from C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower novels, Roddenberry borrowed the idea of a courageous captain burdened by the duties of command. ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry in the early 1960s. Mutual of New York (MONY)/Wikimedia Commons With tiny Desilu Studios interested in making the show, Roddenberry pitched “Star Trek” to the networks. CBS passed after Roddenberry botched the pitch. But NBC bit and ordered a pilot episode, which was eventually titled “The Cage.” NBC responds to the pilot Watching “The Cage” now is a disorientating experience. In the captain’s chair is a sullen man called Pike, played by star Jeff Hunter. There is no sign of future series regulars McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, Checkov. Spock is there, but not quite the inscrutable Spock we would come to know. He shouts and, more than once, breaks into a wide grin. The role of chilly logician and second in command is instead taken by “Number One,” a character played by actress Majel Barrett. “Number One” wouldn’t make it past this trial run. In tests, some men and a surprisingly large number of women objected to her stridency, which was out of touch with the gender norms of the time. NBC doubted that Barrett could carry such a prominent role (and even thought Roddenberry had cast her because she was his mistress).