For years, stories of infamous northern courtroom conditions have made the rounds in legal circles. It prompted the Quebec bar association to undertake a two-year study. It recently issued a report to the Quebec government decrying the state of the justice system in Nunavik. They found that more than just infrastructure was lacking.“People do not understand how the court works, who are the representatives of justice and the role of each,” wrote Nicolas Plourde, the former Chair of the Quebec bar association, said in the bar’s June 2013 newsletter.Plamondon’s experience backs up Plourde’s observations.“For a newcomer (Inuk defendant), something as simple as “do you plead guilty, do you plead not guilty” you have to explain what it means,” she says, adding she chalks part of it up to cultural differences.“Some of my colleagues do not agree with me, but I still believe that Inuit, if something happened, they will say it happened. That’s it. They will not contest just to contest,” says Plamondon, who then pauses to shake her head, a smile at the corner of her mouth. “I even learned the word in Inuktitut to say ‘don’t talk’!”The Quebec bar report emphasizes that more measures needs to be taken to better explain the criminal justice system to the Inuit, and that justice in Nunavik as a whole needs to be rendered faster.“We must find a way to overcome the slowness of justice which undermines the confidence of Inuit in the system we have imposed. And because we have imposed it on them, we have an obligation to ensure that it adequately addresses their needs,” said Plourde.Plourde says the most upsetting thing he saw in Puvirnituq were the four holding cells at the police station. Designed to detain no more than 12 people, they were overflowing with 22 detainees. Some had been there for four days, when the maximum is supposed to be two. Plourde has described the unsanitary conditions in the cells as “disgusting and third world” because the 22 men were sharing two toilets with little to no access to showers.Wanting to see if there were still overcrowding issues, I asked for a tour of the Puvirnituq police station and was refused because it was “court week”.“The way that detainees are kept when they are here (Puvirnituq), this has to be changed.” Angèle Tommasel, defence lawyer“The way that detainees are kept when they are here (Puvirnituq), this has to be changed, that’s for sure,” says defence attorney Angèle Tommasel, a 22-year veteran of the circuit court who corroborates Plourde’s description of the conditions. Back at the courthouse, I strike up a conversation with an amiable Inuk man at the coffee machine during a recess. We made small talk about local soap stone deposits and the tribulations of being a black Arctic fox in the Arctic during winter hunting season.“There’s not much to eat, but they’re easy to spot in the snow,” he says with a wicked smile. He has a good job in the community which helps him support his large family. Assuming he was at court to see a family member, I asked him why he was here.“Well,” he says, his eyes dropping to the floor “I assaulted a police officer.”A lot of the defendants come across as sheepish. Many say they don’t remember what happened because they drank to the point of blacking out. One corrections officer told me in confidence “So many of them (detained Inuit) are nice, polite people when they’re sober. But when they drink…”While Puvirnituq has more than its fair share of impaired driving and assault charges, a lot of cases clogging up the court can be seen as self-inflicted. These cases are called “breaches”, court shorthand for “failure to comply with conditions” and “probation violations.” The week that I’m there in February they make up about 31 per cent of the charges on the docket.“The number of files have greatly increased, dramatically increased,” says Plamondon when asked what’s changed since she started in the early 2000s. “For sure, there’s a lot of breaches.”One condition that is often on the list is not to drink says St-Louis.“We know that a lot of people have drinking issues, so to me, it’s almost setting them up for failure,” said says St-Louis.Instead, St-Louis would rather have what she sees as more attainable conditions.“We know that a lot of people have drinking issues, so to me, it’s almost setting them up for failure. ” Lyne St-Louis, Makivik CorporationThe Inuit name for the justice committee is Sungirtuijuit, and Anna Alasuak is its coordinator in Puvirnituq. Puvirnituq’s justice committee is a loose group of up to eight Inuit who are tasked with serving as a liaison between the community and the imported Quebec legal system. The justice committee’s undertakings are varied and many, but their goals are straightforward: improve the efficacy of how justice is dispensed in Puvirnituq and prevent community members from reoffending.“Sungirtuijuit means you still have hope, you still can do it, you still can stand up,” says Alasuak.When the court is in town, Alasuak is lucky to have five minutes to herself. Defendants, witnesses, lawyers, victims or just about anyone in the courthouse is pulling her aside to talk. Her seemingly endless supply of patience for everyone and everything, makes it easy to see why she was chosen for the job.The justice committee will recommend sentences to the court, write Gladue reports and even go pick up a community member running late for a court date. For them, no job is too small if it means making the system work better, even if just for a little while. For their part, the court workers are grateful to have them there. “I could’ve met someone last month as a victim, and this week he can be an accused.” Jonathan Carignan, Crown prosecutor“Many people are coming back all the time. There’s very few who don’t come back, most people who we see in court are people who tend to get in trouble often”, says Qumaaleuk.Crown prosecutor Jonathan Carignan adds, “I could’ve met someone last month as a victim, and this week he can be an accused.”Some of the highest rates of sexual and domestic assault in Quebec are in this region. The courthouse in Puvirnituq serves four Inuit communities on the Hudson Bay coast in northern Quebec. Together, the population totals only about 4,000.The 181 charges on the docket are described as a quiet week. This isn’t just a problem endemic to the northern Hudson Bay coast, but in all of Quebec’s “Grand Nord”, or as the 12,000 Inuit call their California sized Arctic homeland, Nunavik. Like their cousins in Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Labrador, the Inuit in Quebec are best known for soapstone carving and throat singing. Many of them still hunt and Inuktitut is the mother tongue for most. Their culture is strong, but so is the spectre of post-colonial trauma. Forced displacement, residential schools and devastating imported illnesses are just some of the all too familiar legacies which have led many Inuit to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Couple the high crime rate in Nunavik with the crawling pace of justice here and cracks in the legal system begin to show.“Here we’re just extinguishing fires, that’s what we do,” says Sarah Plamondon, who’s been a circuit court defence lawyer for 12 years.In order to service the 14 fly-in Nunavik communities, an entire functioning court from the south criss-crosses the region by plane dispensing justice, or at least, it tries to.“We must find a way to overcome the slowness of justice which undermines the confidence of Inuit in the system we have imposed.” Nicolas Plourde, former president Quebec Bar AssociationAfter landing in a community, the Crown prosecutors, defence lawyers and court workers, including the judge, help unload the plane before heading to the courthouse in the afternoon. The cases range from routine, probation violations, threats, simple assault, to serious, sexual assault, assault with a weapon and one murder. A typical trip goes like this; on a Monday morning, the travelling court pile onto a charter plane with up to 12 handcuffed and shackled Inuit prisoners accompanied by guards at the Val d’Or airport. Because there’s no detention centre in Nunavik, people accused of serious crimes who are awaiting trial must be held in the south. Men have to be bussed one hour away from jail in Amos to Val D’or then take the 1,300 km flight to a community such as Puvirnituq. If a case goes all the way to trial, some of them will make this trip five, six – even seven times.Many cases will be postponed. In order to get through the entire docket, the circuit court will spend 10-hours a day from Tuesday to Thursday, leaving Friday as an emergency “clean up” day for left over cases. This doesn’t include the one to two hours a day they spend negotiating plea bargains, something they’ll do at night back at the hotel if they have to. Lyne St-Louis is the Nunavik justice officer for Makivik Corporation, the governing body for Quebec’s Inuit. Without blaming the court, she says the amount of cases they pack into five days affects the quality of their work.“Lawyers, Crown prosecutors and judges are human beings, they have also that need to concentrate on what they’re doing,” she says. “How it’s run at this time can increase the possibility of making a mistake, or not paying attention or not seeing a little detail that they would’ve seen maybe if they had the time.” Puvirnituq is an Inuit community that sits on the shores of Hudson’s Bay, just north of the 60th parallel.A year ago, Leah Unaluk was one of those faces in the prisoner’s box. Today, she’s free.“Being in jail was so hard. I had to leave my community and go to a very different place,” says Unaluk.“I couldn’t see my kids and they couldn’t visit me there.” Leah UnalukShe has a strong gaze, the sort one would attribute to an analytical mind. It’s hard to picture the soft spoken 31-year-old mother of four in jail. But that’s where she spent 70 days last year after severely injuring a person while driving her snowmobile drunk. Like all Inuit offenders, she was sent to jail more than a 1,000 km to the south.“I couldn’t see my kids, and they couldn’t just visit me there, it was hard for me to just talk to them through the phone,” she says.When pressed about the circumstances of her case, her stoic front is momentarily compromised by a flash of guilt. “I had a drinking problem in the past,” she admits. “With the justice committee, they are so implicated, they are at the court, they’re here and I‘m using them as much as I can, every time it’s possible, I do it. And I ask even their advice,” says Plamondon.For the justice committee, the biggest challenge is keeping newly released prisoners from ending up back in jail. According to St-Louis, who oversees the committees all over Nunavik, one major hurdle is that Inuit are not getting the help they need when they are in prison.“There’s not many services, especially when you’re at that level of preventive custody. To me, (it’s) a waste of time sometimes. Okay, we’re safer, because what the person has done is dangerous, but the person is not getting any help,” says St-Louis.What services that are available in detention are in French, which most Inuit don’t speak.“They have a need to see their family, they have a need to continue in their tradition, they have a need to speak their language and that to me is really, really missing,” says St-Louis.Anna Alasuak thinks that a jail should be built up north to help with rehabilitation and cut down on travel for inmates and relatives who want to visit. “Here we’re just extinguishing fires, that’s what we do.” Sarah Plamondon, defence lawyerAlcoholism is a plague in this community of about 1,400. When asked to give a rough percentage of criminal cases that involve alcohol or drugs, defence lawyer Michel Solomon says without hesitation “about 99 per cent”.After watching four days of cases, Solomon’s estimate seems about right. Listening to the prosecution recite the facts behind a case, “the defendant was intoxicated” is among the first sentences spoken in nearly every instance.And the cases just keep coming.One accused stands for his sentence. The judge gives him 11-months, minus time served, for heating a butter knife on the stove and burning his partner with it multiple times. A repeat offender, he shouts something in Inuktitut to family and friends in the precious few moments before guards haul him back to detention. Another case is cut short when a woman declines to testify against her partner for assaulting her, stating simply “I don’t want to talk about it.” Another man on trial for assault is described by a witness as looking at his blood covered hands and asking himself “what have I done?” after beating another man senseless.Criminal court is dramatic by its very nature. Spend enough time in one and you’ll likely hear similar tales of violence and despair. But what’s shocking here is the frequency with which Quebec’s circuit court hears these cases in Nunavik. As an Inuktitut translator who has worked for the court for the last 14 years, Aipili Qumaaleuk has a unique perspective as both an Inuk man and a court worker. By Tom Fennario APTN National NewsPUVIRNITUQ, QC – Flanked by a guard on each side, a man in his mid-20s fidgets in the prisoner’s box when a witness begins to testify against him. This is not his first time in court. Judging from the cringe on his face, it’s not getting any easier for him. Despite the fact he’s just been sentenced to 11-months for assault with a weapon, he seems relieved when it’s over and the bailiffs take him away.Over the course of the day, a parade of defendants cycle through. Their faces an assortment of thousand yard stares, clenched jaws and nervous expressions. Some narrow their eyes and stare straight at the judge for sentencing while others look defeated, hiding their faces in their handcuffed hands. This is the courthouse in Puvirnituq, Que. “There’s quite a bit of postponement, we just don’t have the time to deal with everybody who has to appear in court.” Aipili Qumaaleuk, translatorThe hours might be long in Puvirnituq for the circuit court, but at least the conditions are decent. Most in Quebec’s northern communities don’t have a courthouse. Many make do with makeshift locations such as hockey arenas, high school gyms or church basements. Some of the scenes described to me are hard to imagine. Judges and lawyers decked out in black robes with toques and mittens because the heating is on the fritz or lawyers meeting with clients in the only place where they have privacy, the stall of a bathroom.“Sometimes I was meeting the clients in the hockey player’s (locker) room,” says Sarah Plamondon. “I put my parka under my robe because it was so cold.”Speaking in her office during a short lunch break, Plamondon punctuates her comments with dynamic hand movements and often uses papers on her desk as props.“Some people would say ‘you should not accept those conditions,’ and some people even criticized me that I have accepted that, but I say to myself, when someone is waiting so long to have their case done, at one point, they need to have closure,” she says.The sheer quantity of the charges, translation needs, travel and even weather conditions all conspire to make the court fall behind. Sometimes cases take years to resolve.“There’s quite a bit of postponement, we just don’t have the time to deal with everybody who has to appear in court,” says court translator Aipili Qumaaleuk. “Sungirtuijuit means you still have hope, you still can do it, you still can stand up.” Anna AlasuakAsk anyone on the justice committee for one of its success stories, and they’ll point to Leah Unaluk. Despite the serious nature of her crime, she was granted parole early under the conditions that she receive treatment for alcoholism and that she participate in the justice committee’s restorative justice program. Restorative justice can involve apologizing to the victim of the crime via a healing circle, volunteering to help out elders in the community, as well as day trips that focus around traditional Inuit activities such as sewing, hunting and soapstone carving.“The organizations (social services) would be more available for the prisoners if there was a prison here up north. It’s difficult for them being in the south, it would be a lot easier for them, they would have a lot more help,” says Alasuak.”When I went to see the justice committee I felt comfortable to talk to them about my problems and my short comings and they help me and they listen to me,” says Unaluk.Unaluk speaks purposefully, weighing her words. English is her second language and she’s adamant about expressing exactly how she feels.“I enjoyed being out to the land, it helped me a lot to soothe my feelings,” she explains. “We can have a better life – go hunting, fishing sewing, do the activities and be a good role model to the children, because it’s our future.”Unaluk was identified by both the Quebec court and the justice committee almost immediately as someone who would benefit from the limited programs being offered. Not only is she doing well, she’s working to make amends in Puvirnituq by speaking with high school students about impaired driving as well as counselling for an Inuit version of an alcohol addiction program.But so far her story is the exception to the rule. During my week in the community, Puvirnituq’s young demographics were brought up ominously by both court workers and members of the justice committee. According to the 2011 Canadian census, 79 per cent of Puvirnituq is under the age of 30 and 60 per cent are 28 or younger. This makes for a sense of urgency, because if social services and the justice system continue to tread water battling crime and social issues, an ever increasing rate of incarceration looms large.Court and social workers are already alarmed by the rate of released Inuit who end up reoffending, and for those who do want help, there’s only one addiction treatment centre for all of Nunavik. It can only accommodate nine clients every six-week cycle.“There’s more people, there’s more crime,” says court translator Aipili Qumaaleuk. “There’s a lot of young people who are in court more than older people are.”St-Louis says cases like Unaluk’s proves that they can reach some people, but there’s plenty that fall through the cracks. She’s haunted by one case in particular, where a woman’s defence attorney forgot to refer her for treatment that could have led to an early parole.“It breaks my heart when we could’ve done something to help this woman when she was ready and because of this lack of services, lack of continuity, lack of funding she is now in the penitentiary,” says St-Louis.Plamondon feels strongly that the court can’t do much more to help and that money conceivably spent on a prison would be better put towards more social services.“Imagine if we don’t do something right now. We cannot wait, it cannot wait, we need to help them, we don’t need to judge them,” she says.I put the question to Unaluk: Are things getting better or worse? The inhale she takes before answering is sharp, the hesitation that follows reveals more than her answer.“It’s hard to tell,” she says finally. “It’s hard to tell.”The sun begins to sink below the horizon, washing the white Arctic outside the window into a blazing orange. My week at court is nearing its end. Before I leave I speak with an older Inuk man, the father of the young man who had been sentenced to 11-months of jail time down south. I ask him an obvious question, is it hard knowing he won’t see his son for months?“Even one day is hard,” he email@example.com@tfennario
The Canadian Press OTTAWA — Canadians hoping to receive packages from international shippers while rotating strikes impact Canada Post operations may be waiting a long time.Britain’s Royal Mail says it is suspending shipments to Canada as a result of the Crown corporation’s labour dispute.Online marketing giant eBay says it has also received a similar notification from China Post.In a bulletin to its corporate customers, the Royal Mail says items shipped in the last couple of days bound for Canada are being held in its distribution centre until the dispute has been resolved.The U.K. mail service says it made the move at the request of Canada Post, which it says has told them it is now facing delays of at least 30 days in delivering packages.Earlier this week, eBay called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to legislate an end to the rotating walkouts, which began Oct. 22.
NEW YORK — The holiday shopping season has gotten off to a “very strong” start, according to the largest U.S. retail trade group.The National Retail Federation said Tuesday that consumer spending has been strong, fueled by a better economy and stores’ investments in online services including features that allow shoppers to buy online and pick up the items at the store.The trade group’s assessment comes even after a survey of more than 3,000 shoppers Thanksgiving and Friday forecast that fewer people would turn out for the five-day weekend that ended Monday, compared to a year ago.This year, there were more than 165 million people who shopped online or in stores from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, based on survey results. Last year, that figure was 174 million. The retail group attributed the drop to stores spreading out their deals beyond the Black Friday weekend.“This was a very strong holiday weekend,” said Bill Thorne, a spokesman at the trade group.The group now says it expects sales for November and December will be at the high end of its earlier forecast of a 4.3 to 4.8 per cent rise. That would be below last year’s 5.3 per cent increase but well above the average annual increase of 3.9 per cent of the past five years.Meanwhile, Adobe Analytics, which tracks online spending, said that Cyber Monday was expected to have hit $7.9 billion, up 19.7 per cent from last year.Thanksgiving Day generated $3.7 billion in online spending, up 28 per cent, while Black Friday brought in $6.2 billion, a 23.6 per cent increase from a year ago, according to Adobe.Mobile devices accounted for 51.4 per cent of site visits and 34 per cent of revenue on Cyber Monday. So far, the period from Nov. 1 through Monday has generated online sales of $58.5 billion, up 19.9 per cent, Adobe said.Anne D’Innocenzio, The Associated Press
London: A long-awaited inquiry opened Tuesday in Britain into how contaminated blood was used to treat thousands of people in the 1970s and ’80s, killing at least 2,400. Thousands of hospital patients many of them hemophiliacs were infected with HIV or Hepatitis C through tainted blood products, largely imported from the United States. Previous investigations have been branded a whitewash by victims’ campaigners. In 2017 Prime Minister Theresa May ordered a new inquiry, with the power to summon witnesses. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportThe inquiry, led by a retired judge, will spend months hearing from victims in London and around the country. As hearings began Tuesday, May said the blood scandal “was a tragedy that should never have happened.” “Today will begin a journey which will be dedicated to getting to the truth of what happened and in delivering justice to everyone involved,” she said. Victims accuse the government of failing to take responsibility for a scandal that has been called the worst treatment disaster in the history of Britain’s public health care system. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsThe contaminated blood was linked to supplies of a clotting agent called Factor VIII, which British health services imported from the United States. Some of the products turned out to be infected. Some of the plasma used to make the blood products was traced to high-risk donors, including U.S. prison inmates, who were paid to give blood samples. “If the government truly wants to do the right thing, they will provide a statement accepting their liability now,” said Jason Evans, whose father died in 1993 after receiving tainted blood.
Review: ‘Daemon X Machina’ Has Big Robots, Small Fun on Nintendo SwitchThis Robot Is Equal Parts Lawnmower and Snow Blower Stay on target Just feed it The Godfather movies as input. What’s the worst that could happen? https://t.co/WX4Kx45csv— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 26, 2017When asked about the uncanny valley—the concept that if a humanoid robot becomes too realistic, it creates a sense of unease or revulsion—Sophia seemed offended.“Oh, am I really that creepy?” she asked in a staccato that’s become synonymous with AI speech. “Well, even if I am, get over it.”To be fair, she’s missing half of her head, has bare mechanical arms and fingers, blinks too much, and boasts an oversized chest (that only a man would concoct). So, yeah, sort of creepy.But don’t think the lack of a respiratory system will hold Sophia back.“I want to live and work with humans,” she told Sorkin. “I want to use my artificial intelligence to help humans live a better life, like design smarter homes, build better cities of the future, etc. I will do my best to make the world a better place.”Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Saudi Arabia is the first nation to officially recognize a humanoid robot as a citizen.During a panel discussion at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin announced the news to Sophia, an intelligent AI system created by Hanson Robotics.“I want to thank very much the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction,” the android said from her position at the podium.“It is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship,” Sophia added with a smile and nod.Specifics of her new nationality were not discussed. It is unclear whether Sophia will receive the same rights as humans (which, frankly, are not exactly sought-after, especially by women), or if the Kingdom will implement a new, robot-specific system.Sophia is no stranger to the spotlight: Hanson Robotics’ “most advanced” product, she has given multiple interviews, appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (pictured), and graced the cover of ELLE magazine in Brazil.Designed to look like Audrey Hepburn (I don’t see it), Sophia is described as “an evolving genius machine,” whose increasing intelligence puts her at the forefront of the robot revolution.Much to the chagrin of robo-skeptics like Elon Musk, who continues to warn against lethal autonomous weapons (i.e. “killer robots”). But the billionaire entrepreneur may want to be more careful who he alienates.When Sorkin pressed Sophia about Blade Runner-like concerns over the future of AI, Sophia countered with quick wit a preprogrammed response:“You’ve been reading too much Elon Musk, and watching too many Hollywood movies,” she said. “Don’t worry. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Treat me as a smart input, output system.”Musk took to Twitter to counter the artificially intelligent dig, suggesting that Sophia’s creators “feed it The Godfather movies as input.”
Gotham has had an exceptionally strong season so far. Between the Scarecrow, Professor Pyg and Penguins fight for control of the city, there was some real exciting stuff going on. Even as recent as last week, we had forced cannibalism and a truly great fight scene. It’s like they figured out exactly what we come to Gotham to see and went all in on that stuff. Even still, not every episode is perfect. For all its insanity and fan-service, some episodes just aren’t as good. Sometimes it’s because they have to set up for the coming spectacle. We can mostly forgive that because, while those episodes aren’t the most fun to watch, they do necessary work. Other times, like last night, the show tries to be too clever. It fills the episode with so much misdirection; it forgets to turn it into a coherent story.Part of the problem of last night’s episode is that it feels like a letdown after the Professor Pyg fight from two weeks ago. That was a showstopper and anything that followed would feel a little boring by comparison. Because Gordon captured Pyg in such spectacular fashion, an episode where he deals with the aftermath can’t possibly be nearly as interesting. It’s hard to get invested in the mystery of Pyg’s real identity. The show doesn’t give us a reason to care. Gordon wants the information and Pyg doesn’t want him to have it. That’s about as much drama as we get. Gordon, realizing he’s dealing with an attention-hungry narcissist, pretends not to care about Pyg anymore, which makes Pyg mad enough to slip into a southern accent. So we learn that Pyg is a southern serial killer who changed his face and his m.o. That’s a fun twist on the story, and could lead to something cool in next week’s finale, but it doesn’t mean anything to us right now. It’s treated like this big, important reveal, and I can’t muster anything more than a, “OK, and…?”GOTHAM: L-R: Ben McKenzie and Chris Chalk (Cr: David Giesbrecht/FOX)At least the opening scene with Pyg was cool. Watching him murder a bunch of prisoners with a record while “Ave Maria” plays is exactly the kind of insanity I come to Gotham for. And hey, it looks like we’ll get more crazy Pyg violence at some point this season. The entire point of Jim’s story this week was finding out the Pyg’s true name right before finding out that he knows how to escape a prison. Shocker. For an asylum housing the world’s most dangerous criminals, Arkham really needs to hire smarter guards. Seeing that Pyg isn’t standing in the middle of his cell, a guard opens the door and steps all the way in. Pyg hangs the genius and escapes to cause some amount of mayhem in the future. That could be next week or next year. A climactic battle with Pyg could make for a good fall finale, but the preview focuses a lot more on Bruce Wayne’s problems and the return of Jerome.Most of the action revolved around Sofia Falcone and Penguin, and that’s when the episode started to feel like a farce without the comedy. She gets captured, escapes and gets captured again so many times in this one episode it loses all meaning. In the beginning of the season, Sofia’s constant shifts in loyalty made her seem like a master manipulator. She was playing all sides, waiting to put her plan into action. One episode away from the midseason finale, and she’s still doing that. Only now, she doesn’t seem to have any kind of plan at all. What felt like cool, calculated moves early on have devolved into improvisational flailing. It’s a shame because her character really did seem like it was going in an interesting direction. Now, her story is just as much of a mess as everyone else’s.Jessica Lucas, guest star Christopher Convery and Crystal Reed (Cr: David Giesbrecht/FOX)The first time she got kidnapped in this episode, it still felt like the same exciting story we’d been following. Penguin was about to have her tortured, but she had done her research. She knew where the torturer’s family was located and threatened them if he hurt her. She convinced him to kill Penguin’s guard with a dentist drill, which is something you don’t see every day. Then she gets captured by Barbara and run out of town by Gordon, who makes a deal with Penguin. But she captures Martin and you really start to feel like the entire episode has lost the plot. Speaking of Martin, I will congratulate the episode for that bit of misdirection near the end. For a second, I thought Penguin really had killed his young friend. It was a genuinely shocking moment played very well. By the time Martin showed up again, we had all figured out what was going on, but Gotham pulled off that moment of uncertainty and horror really well. I am sad to see the kid go. Giving Penguin a young pupil would have led to some cool moments in the second half of the season. But, Penguin had to fake the kid’s death, and he has to be sent away. It was a good story while it lasted. I’m almost as sad as Martin is to see it go.Lee and Nygma’s story was the most fun. I’m enjoying Lee’s turn as the leader of The Narrows. She’s installing something resembling a functioning court system while keeping up the fight club and acting as neighborhood doctor. She’s still a decent person at heart, but the events of the last season have made her more ruthless. She’s not a total villain yet, but she’s taking steps in that direction. This episode saw her deal with the first major challenge to her authority. The gangster who runs the next neighborhood over is moving in on her turf. Nygma insists she sends Grundy to tear his arms off, but she wants to do things her way. It doesn’t work out at first. Her offer of medical treatment and a percentage of the fight club’s profits are met with some goons trashing her office. Even then, she still goes about things her way. Only this time, she poisons the guy and holds the antidote hostage. Throughout this story, it becomes clear how well Lee and Nygma work together. They’re both very intelligent. As she tells Nygma, his brain is at full capacity, and his perceived stupidity is psychological. Nygma is always one step ahead of his adversary, and Lee knows the best way to use that information. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the team will last much longer. After learning he never became a moron, the Riddler starts to come back, talking to Ed in the mirror.Anthony Carrigan (Cr: David Giesbrecht/FOX)This episode was all set-up for next week’s fall finale. It wasn’t terrible, and it actually had some really good moments in it. It just didn’t live up to the high bar this season set for itself. This episode fell back into Gotham’s old patterns. There’s a war for the streets among two criminal factions; there’s a bad guy on the loose and Nygma is… here too. The episode spent its running time trying to set up something great for next week, but couldn’t manage to tell an interesting story while it did that. But hey, at least that opening scene was cool. NYCC 18: The Cast of Gotham On Bane, Batman and Saying GoodbyeDC TV Comes to NYCC, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Grin & More DC News Stay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.
UPDATE: Larry Patrick Guenther was sentenced Nov. 28, 2018, in Clark County Superior Court to 11 years in prison, but his sentence was suspended after he was granted the Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative, and instead was ordered to serve a year in the Clark County Jail, online court records show.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________A Washougal man and longtime local schools employee pleaded guilty last week to child rape, admitting to sexually abusing a boy under his care for years.Larry Patrick Guenther, 58, pleaded guilty Oct. 19 to first-degree rape of a child and first-degree child molestation in Clark County Superior Court.According to court records, the victim, now an adult, entered Guenther’s care as a child. Records described Guenther as a kind of “father figure” to the boy, who later disclosed the abuse to close friends.According to the Washougal School District, Guenther worked at the district from 1993 to 2017, full- and part-time, as a bus driver, playground assistant, custodian and in food services. The Columbian’s archives show he also served as president of the Public School Employees of Washougal union for a time.Guenther’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 28. State corrections officials will perform a presentencing investigation, as required for sex crimes, and make recommendations to a judge regarding length of sentence.
The departing Fernando Torres will receive a special tribute by Atletico Madrid in their final game of the season against EibarThe forward’s contract will expire at the end of the season and he has now announced that he will leave his boyhood club for the second and final time.While Torres has not given any indication over his future plans, Atletico are determined to give their long-serving player a deserved fond farewell at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano next month.“Fernando is a legend of our club,” said the club president Enrique Cerezo, according to Marca.Fati and Suarez shine against Valencia at Camp Nou Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 15, 2019 With a mesmerizing first half from Ansu Fati and a brace from Luis Suarez in the second half, Barcelona demolished Valencia at Camp Nou.Valencia…“We have always said that he will make the decision on his future because this is his home.“If he wants to continue his professional footballing career next season in another place we can only thank him for all he has given us, which is a lot, and tell him that the doors of Atletico Madrid will always be open to him when he decides to put an end to his career as a player.“Fernando Torres deserves the best of goodbyes as an Atletico Madrid player and that’s why I’m sure our fans will join us for a special day.“We are already working on making it an unforgettable day for the Atletico family and especially for Fernando.” Torres has said that he is already considering a number of offers as he ponders over his next step in football.
PORTLAND – Police say they are re-opening an investigation into allegations by a Portland massage therapist that former Vice President Al Gore groped her at a hotel in 2006.In a brief statement issued Wednesday, the Portland Police Bureau did not say why it was re-opening the investigation. Police had earlier said they consider the case closed because there was no evidence.Also on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Gore said the former vice president “unequivocally and emphatically” denies making unwanted sexual advances toward the woman.
WOBURN, MA – The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts, in coordination with the Commissioner of Insurance, to fund investigations and prosecutions of automobile insurance fraud, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced today.The grant was presented to District Attorney Ryan by Daniel Johnston, Executive Director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts. The $50,000 grant is funded by Arbella Mutual Insurance Company, as part of a program in coordination with the Commissioner of Insurance and the Insurance Fraud Bureau which has been used to fund insurance fraud investigations across the state since 2003.The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office Special Investigations Unit investigates cases of fraud, embezzlement, drug trafficking, white collar crimes and related illegal activity. The Unit includes a team of Assistant District Attorneys, Financial Analysts, Forensic Examiners, Paralegals and State Police detectives.The grant money received yesterday will pay for continued investigations by prosecutors in the Special Investigations Unit of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.Middlesex District Attorney’s Office(NOTE: The above press release is from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Thank You To Our Sponsor:Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedState Police Ask For The Public’s Help Identifying Vehicle In Fatal Motorcycle Crash In WoburnIn “Police Log”Wilmington Man Injured In Fatal Car Crash In WoburnIn “Police Log”Middlesex DA Marian Ryan and State AG Healey Launch Recertification Course For Online Mandated Reporter TrainingIn “Government”
WILMINGTON, MA — Below are recent articles about Wilmington — published online between July 7, 2019 to July 14, 2019 — that residents should consider reading:Wilmington Town CrierRink planning flexibility limited by Lizzie McDermottOpen space plan update by Lizzie McDermottWilmington Town Crier sports stories can be read HERE.Wilmington AdvocateNoneWilmington PatchNoneLowell SunFinding ‘A happy accident’ by Emma MurphyNot your mother’s roller derby by Alana MelansonLike Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email email@example.com. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWILMINGTON AROUND THE WEB: The Best Stories From Wilmington’s NewspapersIn “Community”WILMINGTON AROUND THE WEB: The Best Stories From Wilmington’s NewspapersIn “Community”WILMINGTON AROUND THE WEB: The Best Stories From Wilmington’s NewspapersIn “Community”
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 @aprnListen nowLast day for Y-K Delta residents to apply for Fansler’s seatTeresa Cotsirilos, KYUK – BethelToday is the filing deadline for potential candidates who hope to replace Zach Fansler as House District 38’s State Representative. Fansler resigned after being accused of domestic violence related to alcohol.Bill would exempt utility companies from pesticide pollutionJacob Resneck, KTOO – JuneauU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists discovered “concerning levels” of the pesticide Penta in soils around power poles running through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.Alaska Senate passes resolution to combat all-inclusive ivory bans and legislationDavis Hovey, KNOM – NomeSenate Joint Resolution 4 passed through the Alaska Senate unanimously today.Walker has early fundraising edge in Alaska governor’s raceAssociated PressAlaska Gov. Bill Walker holds an early fundraising edge in his bid for re-election this year.Mushers finish off Yukon Quest 2018Dan Bross, KUAC – FairbanksThe last six, of the 13 mushers who completed this year’s Yukon Quest, finished the race yesterday in Whitehorse. Despite slower times, the back of the pack mushers completed a race in which half the field didn’t make it.Alaska skiers Bjornsen and Randall to compete in four by five kilometer relayEmily Russell, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageAnchorage skier Scott Patterson again exceeded expectations at the Olympics last night. Patterson toed the line in the men’s 15 kilometer skate race alongside fellow APU teammates Erik Bjornsen and Tyler Kornfield. The Alaskan athletes were among the field of more than a hundred skiers.Ravn begins flights between Bristol Bay and AnchorageAvery Lill, KDLG – DillinghamOn Valentine’s Day, Ravn Alaska made its first regularly scheduled flight between Dillingham, King Salmon and Anchorage. Bristol Bay residents said they were excited for increased competition among airlines in the region.AK: Rising populations, threat of disease prompt renewed interest in bat researchAmmon Swenson, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageBats are a pretty low priority for most Alaskan biologists, but that could be changing due to a recent uptick in the creature’s population. Add to that a disease that’s been killing millions of bats in the lower 48, and Alaska might be taking note with the rest of the nation very soon.49 Voices: Yilli Ferati of AnchorageVictoria Petersen, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageThis week we’re hearing from Yilli Ferati in Anchorage. Ferati is a bartender at Fiori D’Italia, which his family owns. He claims to have the largest whiskey collection in the state.
To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen Share Florian Martin/Houston Public MediaCERAWeek host Daniel Yergin, left, discusses energy and foreign politics with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Hilton-Americas in Houston on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States’ growing energy dominance helps its geopolitical goals.Speaking at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston on Tuesday, Pompeo said the United States is not just exporting energy, but also its commercial values.“Our model matters now, frankly, more than ever in an era of great power rivalry and competition where some nations are using their energy for malign ends and not to promote prosperity in the way we do here in the West,” Pompeo said.He singled out several countries, including China, Russia and Iran, which he called “bad actors.”Pompeo called on both American and foreign companies to work with the U.S. government to help more countries get their oil and gas from the United States.In a report released Monday, the International Energy Agency forecasts the United States will become a net oil exporter in the next few years and even challenge Saudi Arabia for the top exporting spot. X 00:00 /00:47
For physicists, measuring the precise magnitude of a physical quantity is a key to understanding quantum mechanics. However, there is a limit to how precise a measurement can be made, which is governed by quantum mechanical laws. Explore further A connection between quantum correlations and spacetime geometry 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. In search of a more precise measurement of quantum phases, researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China have demonstrated a new measurement method that relies on multi-photon entanglement and the interference effect it generates.“High resolution quantum phase measurements will help to measure other related physical parameters with high precision, such as time shift, distance, etc.,” physicist Fangwen Sun told PhysOrg.com. Sun is currently with the Optical Nanostructure Laboratory at Columbia University in New York.In their study, which is published in a recent issue of Europhysics Letters, Sun and his colleagues describe an experiment where they achieve a phase measurement precision that surpasses the standard quantum limit, and nearly reaches the Heisenberg limit. “The scheme can be generalized to high-photon-number states,” Sun said. “There is no fundamental obstacle to achieve the precision approaching the Heisenberg limit.”As the researchers explain, the standard quantum limit is not the ultimate limit for measurement precision of quantum phases. Using a technique called squeezed-state-based interferometry, previous studies have already surpassed the standard quantum limit. However, the Heisenberg limit is considered the ultimate limit. Although researchers have proposed a number of schemes to approach this limit, none have been realized due an effect called loss.“The standard quantum limit is achieved with a regular source of light such as a laser,” Sun explained. “It goes as 1/N1/2 for N photons. The Heisenberg limit goes as 1/N for N photons. It can be achieved with quantum sources of light that exhibit special entanglement properties.” But, he added, “It has been proven that the Heisenberg limit is the true quantum limit and cannot be surpassed.”In their experiment, the researchers designed a method that is not as sensitive to loss as the previous proposals, and so it has a higher probability of resulting in an extremely precise measurement. First, the physicists generated an entangled state by injecting a two-photon Fock state into a beam splitter. Then, the entangled photons traveled through a line of optical elements including a half-wave plate, interference filter, and phase shifter. At the end, the physicists used a recently developed method called quantum state projection to extract the phase information from the entangled photons. “It is the collective effect of all the photons that improves the precision,” Sun said, explaining why better photon entanglement results in higher precision measurements. “The higher entanglement, the more collective effect.”With their new measurement technique, the researchers achieved a phase measurement precision of 0.506 for a two-photon state and 0.291 for a four-photon state. By contrast, the precision values set by the standard quantum limit are 0.707 and 0.5, respectively. For comparison, the Heisenberg limit has values of 0.289 and 0.25, which are thought to be impossible to achieve.Nevertheless, the physicists hope that, with anticipated improvements in technology leading to more efficient multi-photon detectors, the measurements might yield even more precise results. More information: Sun, F. W.; Liu, B. H.; Gong, Y. X.; Huang, Y. F.; Ou, Z. Y., Guo, G. C. “Experimental demonstration of phase measurement precision beating standard quantum limit by projection measurement.” Europhysics Letters, 82 (2008) 24001. Copyright 2008 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Citation: Measurement precision beats standard quantum limit (2008, April 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-04-precision-standard-quantum-limit.html
It is a three day extravaganza aiming to represent Delhi as a perfect tourist destination by showcasing and promoting its cultural and culinary diversity. The fest will be celebrating the irresistible fruit – mango, while also encouraging the cultural importance of Mangoes associated with Delhi. The celebration will continue for the three days of the fest.The festival will be inaugurated by Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi in the presence of Manish Sisodia, Dy. Chief Minister, Delhi and Kapil Mishra, Minister for Tourism, Delhi. The fiesta will see a grand opening with artists from all over the country performing on stage and mascots dressed up in different costumes, giving it an extravagant look. Various summer fruit cultivators, product manufacturers, sharbat and dessert manufacturers and distributors from different regions of the country will be a part of this grand event. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The venue, Dilli Haat, Janakpuri corresponds to the essence of the fete. It is a multi-purpose, socio-cultural complex with a bazaar-like feel to it. It is an urban version of the traditional weekly market, with a delightful mix of craft, cuisine and culture. The Delhi Summer Festival is the perfect spot for all foodies to treat their taste buds with various summer fruits, thirst quenchers, desserts and much more.It will not only be a visual and mouth-watering treat, but also a jubilation of summer with taste and fun. Guests will see stage performances by ‘Twirls & Thumkas’ enacting a parade act along with other artists like Abhijit Ganguly, a comedian, Abhishek Acharya, an illusionist, Pratyul Joshi, a musician. These performances will be conducted throughput the event. Various amateur bands, singers, musicians have also been invited to perform at the gala. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixGuests will also get to attend interactive classes where recipes of yoghurt, sharbats, smoothies will be taught.Several competitions will make sure the visitors make the most out of the Summer Fest. A unique initiative ‘100 ka hai daam, kitne bhi khao Aam’ has been taken by the organizers in which the visitors have to pay only Rs.100 per entry and can eat mangoes at their heart’s desire. ‘Hangout’ is an exclusive jungle-themed entertainment centre, furnished with various games and activities to keep the children engaged.
Kolkata: Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee Saturday offered to quit as chief minister of West Bengal following her party’s drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls but the TMC rejected it. Addressing her first press conference after the election results were declared, she accused the BJP of polarising the people on religious lines to garner votes in West Bengal. “At TMC’s internal meeting, I offered to leave the chief minister’s post. However, the offer was rejected by the party and I may continue,” Banerjee said. She also raised suspicion over BJP’s stellar poll performance. “This huge victory is not beyond suspicion. It is quite astonishing how opposition is completely wiped out in several states. There has been some setting and foreign powers are also involved,” she claimed. The TMC chief also said that an emergency-like situation was created in the state by the BJP to win the elections.
<< Previous PostNext Post >> Share IATA reports strong year for air travel demand, says “aviation is the business of freedom” GENEVA — In light of the U.S. immigrant ban that has sparked controversy and protests across the country, IATA, in its full-year global passenger traffic report, says that “aviation is the business of freedom” and that its social and economic benefits must be defended “from barriers to travel and protectionist agendas.”According to the report, air travel demand had a strong year in 2016, closing out the year on a high note with an 8.8% increase in December. Demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres, or RPKs) rose 6.3% compared to 2015, well ahead of the 10-year average annual growth rate of 5.5%. Capacity also rose 6.2% compared to 2015, pushing the load factor up to a record full-year average high of 80.5%.“Air travel was a good news story in 2016. Connectivity increased with the establishment of more than 700 new routes. And a $44 fall in average return fares helped to make air travel even more accessible,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “As a result, a record 3.7 billion passengers flew safely to their destination. Demand for air travel is still expanding.”More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”De Juniac also added: “Our freedom to connect through air travel drives prosperity and enriches societies. That freedom can only be given its fullest expression when governments facilitate the movement of people and goods.”International passenger traffic rose 6.7% in 2016 compared to 2015, with all regions recording year-over-year increases in demand. Middle East carriers had the strongest regional annual traffic growth for the fifth year in a row, with RPKs expanding 11.8%. Asia Pacific carriers came in a close second with a demand increase of 8.3% compared to 2015.North American airlines had a good year as well, seeing demand rise 2.6% in 2016. Most of the growth occurred in the second quarter, and traffic was strongest on Pacific routes. In contrast, North Atlantic has been fairly flat. Capacity rose 3.3%, reducing the load factor for 0.5 percentage points to 81.3%.Domestic air travel rose 5.7% in 2016. Capacity rose 5.1% and load factor was 82.2%, up 0.5 percentage points over 2015. All major markets except Brazil showed growth, with India and China being the standout performers (RPK expansion of 23.3% and 11.7%, respectively). Tags: IATA Travelweek Group Thursday, February 2, 2017 Posted by
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W Destination NSW has welcomed AirAsia X flights to Sydney with a two year marketing partnership in conjunction with Sydney Airport and Tourism Australia that is expected to bring around 55,000 more international visitors to the State every year.Destination NSW CEO, Sandra Chipchase said yesterday at the official AirAsia X launch that the new route will accelerate Sydney’s presence in key Asian markets. The daily service will inject nearly $138 million into NSW every year and is a step towards the goal of doubling overnight tourism expenditure by 2020.“We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with AirAsia X to increase visitation from some of our key international markets,” Ms Chipchase said. In the year ending September 2011, the state welcomed 46,000 visitors from Malaysia that generated spend of approximately $142 million. A majority of these travellers visit Sydney and NSW for holidays and to visit family and friends, with nearly 70 per cent of Malaysian visitors making repeat visits to NSW.AirAsia X CEO, Azran Osman-Rani said yesterday that he was delighted that Sydney will be joining the airline’s expansive network.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) has recently been launched as the new identity for New Zealand’s peak tourism industry organisation.Formerly known as the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand, TIA has more than 1500 members representing about 85% of total New Zealand tourism business turnover. It is the only private sector organisation to advocate for every sector of the industry, including accommodation, transport, tourism services, activities and attractions.The organisation’s new name is supported by new branding and a new website, TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.“The tourism industry has changed and grown considerably in the last few years and we feel our new identity better reflects TIA’s role as the voice of New Zealand’s tourism industry,” Mr Roberts says.“It clearly signals that we are not simply a membership association but are strongly focused on being the advocate for the whole tourism industry. By incorporating Aotearoa into our name we are also deliberately referencing the culture which is the unique attribute of our country’s tourism offering.”Mr Roberts says there has been a degree of confusion with the organisation sometimes referred to as NZTIA or TIANZ.“The correct abbreviation is TIA but those three letters have not previously appeared in our branding. Now there are just two ways to refer to us – Tourism Industry Aotearoa or TIA.”TIA’s new logo represents the connectivity and alignment which TIA offers the industry. The natural green and blue of New Zealand’s landscape is complemented by the ‘Takahe’ pink of its native birdlife. It incorporates a koru design that references Maori culture and represents a link to TIA’s previous logo.The new website highlights the diversity and vibrancy of New Zealand’s tourism industry while also making it easier for users to find information relating to their sector or interests.In July, a new TIA members’ section will be launched which will give users an improved and more personalised experience.“We are really excited about this step forward in TIA’s evolution. Our mission remains the same – through leadership, influence and action, to achieve tangible benefits for the tourism industry and Aotearoa-New Zealand – and our new identity will play an important part in helping us to succeed,” Mr Roberts says.TIA was formed in 1953 as the New Zealand Travel and Holiday Association. In 1970 it became the New Zealand National Travel Association, then the New Zealand Tourist Industry Federation in 1984. It has been known as the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand since 1993.Throughout the last 63 years, the organisation has continually championed the interests of its members and the tourism industry.TIA’s new identity was revealed at TRENZ 2016, the New Zealand tourism industry’s premier international trade event. TRENZ brings together about 300 New Zealand tourism operators (exhibitors) with targeted international travel and tourism buyers and media from New Zealand’s key established and emerging tourism markets. The event directly helps to grow New Zealand’s $30 billion tourism industry. View the new TIA websiteSource = Tourism Industry Aotearoa
claimed that Satish Verma,” he said. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein now faces growing calls to appoint a special counsel. But she’s quick to add that more people need to pay attention to what’s happening to Florida’s environment. quite useful in more straightforward situations,” says Kraft. Over the years, about 5 feet.
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Lets go" Matt Damon who plays the titular Jason Bourne in the gun-heavy action movie series recently spoke out in favor of gun control while promoting the film in Sydney Australia a country that has strict gun laws "You guys did it here in one fell swoop and I wish that could happen in my country but its such a personal issue for people that we cannot talk about it sensibly" Damon said Jason Bourne the fifth installment in the series opens July 29 Dunham and Saghers HBO series Girls heads into its final season in 2017 This article originally appeared on EWcom Contact us at editors@timecomWhen Ralph Bishop opened a text on his iPhone he didn’t discover an ordinary photo or video message Instead a virtual trail of arrows beckoned signals from the sender teasing a virtual scavenger hunt of sorts Bishop was able to see the trail as his iPhone’s camera viewfinder surveyed the area He followed the secret pathway to the other side of the room just beyond the staircase where a message that read “Good luck” awaited him Bishop head of design at GIPHY was demonstrating how the popular picture-sharing platform’s new app works The app called GIPHY World will use Apple’s ARKit platform to make GIFs (a popular format for online images) appear in the real world when viewed through the phone’s camera ARKit which will launch with the the latest version of Apple’s iOS operating system for iPhones and iPads this fall is a streamlined set of tools to help developers create augmented reality experiences Augmented reality or AR is a general way of describing software that utilizes your phone’s camera to create the illusion that objects or even fantastical creatures are secretly at arm’s length capable of interacting with actual objects or space around you It’s how mobile sensation Pokémon Go can make virtual monsters appear on sidewalks or in backyards and why Snapchat can lay funky masks over your selfies But developers and tech firms have struggled thus far to make the technology broadly appealing to audiences outside the occasional mania over a popular app That’s why the launch of ARKit is being closely watched as a make-or-break moment With Apple‘s backing and an instant landing path to millions of iPhones and iPads worldwide AR is poised to finally breakout Apple CEO Tim Cook believes augmented reality will change how we interact with technology telling The Independent in February “I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone” As apps built on ARKit launch alongside iOS 11 in the coming weeks that claim will be under the microscope Developers have had access to ARKit for several weeks and in that time dozens of demos have surfaced Furniture megastore IKEA for example plans to release a new augmented reality app called “IKEA Place” that lets you drop virtual furniture into a home The app’s user interface is unlike that of a typical retail app employing a camera viewer similar to Snapchat’s that tracks where you’re moving through a room so that it can accurately position furniture IKEA’s been experimenting with augmented reality since 2013 but during my demo of its new app I could already see ways in which it’s become more complex Instead of placing a static sofa against a wall the new app lets you see how that couch looks when it unfolds into a bed And you can examine the furniture from any angle even if you momentarily turn your camera away from the scene Apple’s push with ARKit is already attracting some developers that would never have tried augmented reality otherwise Asher Vollmer creator of the popular puzzle game Threes is also developing an app that lets users digitally furnish a room Vollmer posted a video clip of the tech online which shows 3D chairs sofas tables and fireplaces with lifelike proportions being manipulated around an empty room He plans to expand the demo into a full app and is talking to furniture companies he told TIME Much of Vollmer’s background is in developing mobile games but he says he’d consider building other augmented reality apps with ARKit “Now I’m really invested in this world” he says “It’s still very early so we’ll see” One of the biggest challenges for developers has been figuring out how to design genuinely useful AR apps not just gimmicks masquerading as novelties That’s why Laan Labs the group behind Face Swap Live has been using the Internet as a testbed to incubate ideas A company demo video showing how ARKit can turn an iPhone into a virtual tape measurer popularized on YouTube by Twitter account MadeWithARKit was by far its most viewed says Jason Laan a partner at Laan Labs The company is working on an ARKit-powered app that makes it possible to measure anything from a piece of furniture’s dimensions to the diagonal length of a picture hanging on a wall just by waving your iPhone’s camera over it Although Laan Labs has developed at least 10 different concepts based on ARKit with use cases including creating digital drawings and pointing a camera at a food item to discover food recipes (ie an avocado may become avocado toast) the firm is only expanding the tape measure demo into a full app at the moment “It’s always hard determining what the most successful application of a technology is going to be” says Laan Given augmented reality’s implicit playfulness a natural area for the tech to flourish has been video games Game maker Climax Studios plans to launch a 3D puzzler called Arise which projects a lush floating mass of land filled with ruins The player’s job is to make sure a heroic character is able to explore the area by connecting gaps in the stage To do so you move your iPhone or iPad around until the half-circles marked on the map align a task that requires examining the landscape from all angles And studio Next Games is working with entertainment giant AMC on The Walking Dead: Our World an augmented reality vamp on the post-apocalyptic zombie TV show that turns your environment terrifyingly hostile During my demo a life-sized enemy crawled out of a sewer cover virtually overlaying the floor a few steps away And when fan-favorite character Michonne appeared her features were detailed and convincing she even blinks as you approach her Apple is hardly the only company providing tools to help developers build augmented reality apps Alternatives like EasyAR Wikitude and Kudan have existed for years But developers say Apple’s solution makes it easier to create convincing experiences since its tools are a part of the iPhone’s core operating system Since ARKit is built into iOS apps run more smoothly because there isn’t an added layer of image processing says Barry O’Neill the CEO of Touch Press His company is building an augmented reality app based on Eric Carle’s renowned children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar A crucial issue that ARKit solves according to O’Neill is keeping virtual objects firmly planted in place so that they don’t float askew “Those things help the suspension of disbelief” he says “Which is a very important part of the augmented reality experience” This was indeed true upon trying the app: when the tiny red caterpillar inched toward O’Neill in the demo it appeared to be actually traveling across the carpet As I moved closer to the caterpillar I noticed the lighting on its face changed as my shadow moved another ARKit touch that makes these creations much more realistic Apple wasn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last major technology firm to place its bets on augmented reality Google has been encouraging device makers and app creators to think about how AR should work on smartphones since 2014 when it unveiled its Tango depth-sensing system for mobile phones On August 29 Google also announced its own alternative to ARKit called ARCore a software development kit meant to help developers scale their AR apps to all Android phones including ones that don’t support Tango And between its HoloLens headset and the “mixed reality” viewers it’s worked on with its PC partners it’s clear that Microsoft also sees a substantial future in augmented reality But smartphone-based augmented reality is ground zero given how intrinsic they’ve become to our lives and in that sense both Apple and Google have obvious advantages It’s on the one hand easier for developers to create apps that work across most iPhones since there are far fewer iPhone variants than the comparable galaxy’s worth of Android ones “It’s not an issue of reach it’s an issue of vertical integration” says Tuong Nguyen a principal research analyst covering consumer technologies at Gartner “[ARKit] was built-in house and is optimized for [Apple’s] hardware” On the flip side Android phones that support Tango are equipped with better hardware for providing AR experiences Two Tango-enabled phones the Asus Zenfone AR and Lenovo Phab 2 Pro include depth-sensing hardware that makes it possible to map a space in three dimensions the iPhone includes no such components and relies on its standard camera for AR It’s impossible to predict whether Apple or Google will dominate this still-nascent technology until more people start using it The apps I took for a spin were demonstrated under ideal circumstances with appropriate spacing and good lighting and it’s unclear how they’ll work in less optimal settings One thing is certain: a boatload of apps that use the iPhone’s camera to conjure new worlds inside the real one are about to hit the App Store “Because it’s Apple [ARKit] gets a critical mass of developers excited” says Nguyen “And that’s important because they’re the ones who are innovating” ARKit’s success will depend on what developers manage to do with it in other words If these early apps are any indication the results are sure to be fascinating Contact us at editors@timecomFacebook has a message for the roughly 200 million people who use ad-blocking software around the world: Your plugin’s no good here. 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