2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting FILE – In this file photo dated Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte in action during Copa del Rey, 16 round, against FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain. 23-year-old Athletic Bilbao says defender Frenchman Aymeric Laporte is reported Monday Jan. 29, 2018, to have paid his buyout clause, looks set to leave the club, opening the way for a transfer to Manchester City. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, FILE)MANCHESTER, England — Manchester City signed France under-21 international Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao for a club-record fee of 65 million euros ($80 million) on Tuesday, taking its spending on center backs since 2014 to about $250 million.The 23-year-old Laporte came close to joining City in 2016 — when Pep Guardiola took charge of the current Premier League leaders — but backed out of the move after feeling the Frenchman wasn’t quite ready.ADVERTISEMENT Vincent Kompany, the club’s other center back, has been at City since 2008 and is the captain. But the Belgium international might be surplus to requirements from next season, especially considering his injury record.City also spent about 120 million pounds (then $155 million) on three fullbacks — Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo — in the last transfer window.“Last summer we had a problem, with six or seven players out of contract and over 30 years old, so we needed to make a change,” Guardiola said. “We decided to sign four or five different players and at this stage, Manchester City, when you want to compete at the highest level, you need to spend.“One day, maybe this club will spend 130-200 million pounds on one player. So far, we haven’t had to do that.”Laporte made his debut in 2012 for Bilbao under Marcelo Bielsa — a coach revered by Guardiola — and quickly became one of the Spanish league’s most promising players. He said he likes to bring the ball out from the back, giving him the pedigree that suits Guardiola’s vision and making him a likely rival for Stones to play alongside Otamendi.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Foes first, friends after “Defenders do this more than ever before,” Laporte said in an interview with FourFourTwo magazine. “I spend as much time in training and matches working on starting attacks as I do stopping them.“I’m usually quite calm in possession, so this helps initiate quicker, more fluid attacks from the back. I also like playing long, cross-field passes to change the position of an attack and give us another option. Variety is important.”Barcelona has previously been linked with Laporte, who has similar qualities to Gerard Pique.The size of the fee reflects the shortage of top-quality, left-footed center backs around at the moment — and comes two weeks after City turned down the chance to sign Alexis Sanchez partly because of the Chile forward’s financial demands.Laporte has signed a contract until 2023 and becomes City’s most expensive player, with the fee exceeding the reported 55 million pounds spent on Kevin De Bruyne in August 2015.City has four of the five costliest defenders in Premier League history — Laporte, Stones, Walker, and Mendy.Laporte, who hasn’t played for France’s senior team, will be available for the knockout stage of the Champions League.“All I know,” he said in an Instagram message to Athletic’s fans on Monday, “is that I will never forget the place where I’ve become a better player and a better person. That’s why this is not a ‘goodbye,’ only a ‘see you soon.’” LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Eighteen months later, City clinched the signing of the left-footed, ball-playing defender after meeting his buy-out clause, strengthening the team’s options in what has been a problem position for Guardiola and previous managers.“He’s strong in the air, good quality with the pass. He is experienced, fast and he has the skills we need,” Guardiola said. “He is the perfect age, 23 years old, so hopefully he will have a long career here at Manchester City.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutLaporte is the second most expensive defender in soccer history, with only Virgil van Dijk — who joined Liverpool from Southampton for 75 million pounds ($100 million) at the start of January — costing more.Since City won its most recent Premier League title in 2014, Eliaquim Mangala has arrived from FC Porto for a reported 42 million pounds and Nicolas Otamendi joined from Valencia for 32 million pounds in 2015. Another center back, John Stones, cost an initial 47.5 million pounds in 2016. 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The reactivation of the tourist rail service from Montego Bay to the Appleton Estate in Siloah, St. Elizabeth, will soon become a reality.Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who made the announcement at the official opening of the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience (formerly the Appleton Estate Rum Tour) on January 18, said plans are being fast-tracked “to get the train up and running” as quickly as possible.He was responding to concerns raised in an earlier presentation by Chairman of J. Wray & Nephew, Clement ‘Jimmy’ Lawrence, that the absence of rail services between Montego Bay and St. Elizabeth was hurting the prospects of Appleton to bring much-needed traffic to its US$7.2-million upgrade to its rum tour facility and visitor centre.“This is a facility that has the potential to accommodate in excess of 200,000 visitors annually,” Mr. Lawrence noted.“We really appreciate all the support we have received from the Government, but we need the return of the train to truly maximise the potential of this facility,” he added.The Minister said the concerns raised will soon be appeased, as the Government is fully committed to get the South Coast leg of the rail services back on track “in very short order”.“I know your projections are to increase your visitor arrivals to 200,000, but my commitment to you is that we will take it to 250,000 by 2020,” Mr. Bartlett told the audience.“The last discussion I had before I went to Spain last week was with a team of entrepreneurs who are putting the dollars together. They were able to tell me that $40 million is now on the table to start the first leg of the programme and also the second leg which will take us into Appleton,” the Minister said.Mr. Bartlett further pointed out that Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has also been actively involved in the discussions and is “personally committed” to ensuring that the “Appleton experience is fully maximised”.Rail service between Montego Bay and St. Elizabeth, known then as the ‘Appleton Express’, ended in the 1990s.It offered visitors a scenic view of the South Coast region and a chance to tour the Appleton Rum Estate and factory by train.Also, visitors were able to make stops in communities along the way, where they interacted with residents while making purchases of food, clothing and craft items.“Our local vendors, including the craft people, have been hit hard by the continued absence of the rail services. This will be music to their ears, knowing that the Government is committed to get the train rolling on the South Coast once again,” Mr. Lawrence said.
zoomBy courtesy of Fincantieri S.p.A., all rights reserved Viking Jupiter, the sixth ocean cruise ship Fincantieri is building for Viking, was floated out at the shipyard in Ancona on May 10.Interior fittings will now begin, leading the vessel to its delivery, scheduled in 2019, according to the shipbuilder.The float out was introduced by the traditional coin ceremony, consisting of welding a silver dollar on the top deck of the ship.The 47,800-ton newbuilding, to be placed in the small cruise ship segment, will have 465 cabins with accommodation for 930 passengers.The first ship in the series, Viking Star, was built at the shipyard in Marghera and delivered in 2015. The other units, Viking Sea, Viking Sky and Viking Sun, which joined the shipowner’s fleet in 2016 and 2017, were all built at the Ancona yard. The fifth ship, Viking Orion, will be completed within the next few weeks also at the Ancona shipyard.As informed, the remaining ten units, including the one launched today, will take to the sea from Fincantieri’s Italian yards between 2019 and 2027.Last month, Fincantieri’s subsidiary VARD signed a letter of intent for the design and construction of two special cruise vessels to be built in its Norwegian yards. The two units are scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of 2021 and the second quarter of 2022, respectively. The deal includes an option for two more vessels to be built by the shipbuilder.
Dan Cohen AUTHOR It’s looking more and more that any negotiations between GOP congressional leaders and the White House over lifting the Budget Control Act spending caps will not start until the new fiscal year approaches.On Wednesday, Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan said the White House has no plans to reach out to Republican leaders as its opening offer was its fiscal 2016 budget request delivered in February.“We’ve actually put our cards on the table, if you will, to say ‘Here’s what we want. Here’s how we would pay for it,’ and the next step really needs to be Republicans coming to the table to say, ‘Here’s our proposal on that,’” Donovan said in an interview with CQ Roll Call.Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, have bristled at President Obama’s criticism of this year’s spending bills, noting the president’s veto threat against all measures that stick to the statutory caps essentially blocks Congress from following existing law. The GOP, similarly, believes the president should make an overture regarding any new agreement to provide defense and non-defense agencies limited relief from the caps.“Sequestration was the White House’s idea in the first place, and if they want this committee to have more ability to fund the programs they desire, I would think they’d want to come to the Hill and meet with House and Senate leaders,” House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) said earlier this month.Clearly, neither side is listening to the other.“The idea that they would say even though they’ve laid out a budget that doesn’t end sequester that it’s up to us to take the next step, it doesn’t make sense,” Donovan said. “What we need is a plan for the other side that we could then actually negotiate around.”For his part, the OMB director predicted the GOP would be forced to the negotiating table when they run into trouble passing spending bills for domestic agencies as a result of their austere funding levels.“The process will break down. I can’t tell you exactly what week or month it breaks down but it will,” Donovan told CQ.
4:06 A police officer secures the area in front of the Masjid al Noor mosque Friday after a shooting incident in Christchurch. Tessa Burrows/Getty Images For every video of the mass shooting in New Zealand that YouTube and Facebook block, another two or three seem to replace it. On Friday, a gunman in Christchurch attacked Muslims praying at a mosque and livestreamed the shooting on Facebook. The social network removed the video and deleted the shooter’s account. But that didn’t stop the clip from spreading across the internet. The shooter referenced PewDiePie, a popular, if controversial, YouTube star and Fortnite, the hit social game, ensuring the video circulated wider and deeper on the web.The roughly 17-minute video was downloaded from Facebook. Then it was re-uploaded to YouTube multiple times, with new posts often appearing within minutes of each other. YouTube is encouraging users to flag any videos showing this clip and said it’s been removing thousands of videos related to the shooting in the last 24 hours.”Shocking, violent and graphic content has no place on our platforms, and we are employing our technology and human resources to quickly review and remove any and all such violative content on YouTube,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement. “As with any major tragedy, we will work cooperatively with the authorities.” Enlarge ImageRe-uploads of the clip have been plaguing YouTube’s moderators, who are struggling to remove the videos. Alfred Ng / CNET The video-streaming giant uses algorithms, such as Content ID, that automatically detect when copyrighted materials like songs and movie clips are uploaded onto its platform, so they can be taken down by copyright owners. Google, which owns YouTube, didn’t specify what tools it was using to help control the spread of the New Zealand video, saying only that it was using smart-detection technology to remove the clips. The search for the violent videos underscores the difficulty social media companies have in detecting and removing hateful videos and comments. In what’s become a sad practice, videos of tragedies bounce around the web as tech giants try to purge them. Critics have pointed out that the New Zealand shooter was able to livestream his rampage for more than a quarter of an hour before Facebook shut it down.”This is flatly unacceptable,” Farhana Khera, the director of Muslim Advocates, said in a statement. “Tech companies must take all steps possible to prevent something like this from happening again.”Authorities in New Zealand reported that 49 people were killed and at least 20 wounded at two mosques. Three people have been arrested in connection with the attacks, and one suspect has been charged with murder.With more than 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook and nearly 2 billion monthly logged-in users on YouTube, these social media platforms have an enormous reach. Facebook said it’s continuing to search for any instances of the video on the social network, using reports from the community and human moderators, as well as tech tools. The social network has set up a system designed to automatically detect and remove clips that are visually similar to the original video. It’s also scanning for similar audio. “New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video,” Mia Garlick, a Facebook New Zealand spokeswoman, said in a statement. “We’re also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware.”In addition, Facebook intends to take down any content that claims the shooting didn’t occur or that survivors are crisis actors.Facebook’s efforts haven’t stopped clips or links to the Facebook Live video from making their way to other social media sites, including Twitter, where they attracted thousands of views. Twitter, which prohibits users from glorifying violence on the site, uses a mix of technology and human reviewers to find the videos but also encourages users to report the content. Reddit was also banning groups, including the r/watchpeopledie subreddit, after users shared a link to the shooter’s live video last night. “We are very clear in our site terms of service that posting content that incites or glorifies violence will get users and communities banned from Reddit,” a Reddit spokesperson said. “Subreddits that fail to adhere to those site-wide rules will be banned.”People were also reporting that they saw the video being shared in groups on Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp.Tech giants, including Facebook and Google, have automation that’s worked in the past for removing extremist videos.In 2016, The Guardian reported that Facebook and Google used algorithms similar to Content ID to automatically remove videos linked to ISIS. This technology looks for videos that have already been uploaded and flagged as violations. It then blocks those videos without requiring a human being to review them. Facebook uses similar tools for blocking revenge porn on its website, the company revealed in 2017. The gunman in New Zealand promoted his livestream and a manifesto on his Facebook account, along with 8Chan, a fringe message board, looking to use the internet to make his mass murder go viral. In his manifesto, the gunman referenced pop culture topics like PewDiePie, Fortnite and the video game Spyro the Dragon, in an attempt to draw more attention to his mass shooting. At one point, the shooter says, “Remember, lads, subscribe to PewDiePie.”The reference forced the YouTuber, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, to tweet that he was “sickened” by the shooting.As clips of the shooting continue to resurface, experts worry the video will inspire the next mass shooter.”This is one of the dark sides of social media, and something that’s almost impossible for the companies to do anything about. They’re not going to be able to block this material in real time,” said Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. “It’s a real conundrum about the dangers that social media can facilitate.”Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the UK’s Labour Party, also called out tech platforms for struggling to stop the video’s spread. In a statement, Watson said he’d be writing to social media companies to ask why they failed to remove the clips. In a tweet, Watson said YouTube should have suspended all new uploads until it could prevent the New Zealand mass shooting video from spreading. “The failure to deal with this swiftly and decisively represents an utter abdication of responsibility by social media companies,” Watson said. “This has happened too many times. Failing to take these videos down immediately and prevent others being uploaded is a failure of decency.” Tags Culture Facebook is putting women on the front line of its war… Originally published March 15, 8:24 a.m. PTUpdates, 9:26 a.m.: Adds comment from Muslim Advocates, background; 1:05 p.m.: Includes comment from Reddit and information about Twitter and WhatsApp; 1:28 p.m.: Adds more background, PewDiePie’s response. Correction, March 15 at 4:13 p.m.: Corrects Tom Watson’s affiliation; March 16: Adds details about efforts to remove the video and related content. Now playing: Watch this: