Archive for October 24th, 2019

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare servers are back online, says Infinity Ward – GamesRadar

October 24th, 2019

Update: Infinity Ward has announced that servers are back online and that “everyone should be able to begin launching Modern Warfare.” The developer also thanked fans for their patience and apologized for the delay in bringing servers back to form.

Original story:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is finally out, but not everyone can connect. Infinity War has acknowledged both issues with the servers and limited reports of crashes on Xbox One X consoles. Understandably, the developer mentions the “huge volume” of players looking to connect to Modern Warfare and says they’re actively working on solutions for both known issues.

Modern Warfare is one of the most highly-anticipated releases in the Call of Duty franchise’s history and of 2019, so it’s not entirely surprising to hear the servers are struggling to keep up with demand opening night. That said, it’s also understandable to feel let-down after such an agonizing wait. Hang tight though, as it’s likely things will ease up in the coming hours, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated as we learn more.

Luckily, the server issues don’t affect offline play, and you can still enjoy Modern Warfare’s rebooted campaign while you wait for servers to regain stability. All you need to do to jump into the campaign is select ‘Go Offline’ and then open the campaign from the main menu. Judging by the recently released story trailer, the main campaign won’t let down long-time Call of Duty fans.

Our own Josh West reviewed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and came away stunned by the audio and visual fidelity, which he described as an “assault on the senses.” The roughly eight-hour campaign West described as “effective demonstration of what Call of Duty is capable of when it truly grounds its action and invests in the power of the solitary soldier.”

While you wait for online play, check out our Modern Warfare Operators guide on how to unlock each one.

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Nenshi comes out swinging against UCP budget –

October 24th, 2019

Mayor Naheed Nenshi had heated words about how the long-awaited provincial budget would impact Calgarians after it was finally unveiled by the UCP on Thursday. 

Nenshi told reporters in a Thursday press conference that he had prepared a statement on the implications of the budget, and warned it would be “lengthy.”  

“First of all, let’s start with the good news,” Nenshi said.

Then, he allowed silence to stretch.

“Okay, so, let’s move on to the not-as-good news, and then we’ll get to the bad news,” he said.

Operating budget ‘relatively protected’

There were elements of the UCP’s 2019 fiscal plan that Nenshi said weren’t as negative for the city as others. 

For instance, he expressed that he was grateful that support for low-income transit has been extended by the Alberta government.

“Our mandate is to support the most vulnerable, and we’ll continue to try to do that,” Nenshi said. 

“And certainly this funding — while it doesn’t get us all the way we need to go — it is much appreciated by us and by those low-income users of the pass.”

Nenshi said he was “also pleased” that the budget reflected  the UCP’s platform commitment to provide funding for mental health and addiction services.

The budget includes increases of $100 million for a mental health and addiction strategy.

“That [funding is] important to me, but it’s [also] important to the City of Calgary, and our work to create a community strategy on mental health is a cornerstone of my third-term as mayor,” Nenshi said.

With an acknowledgement that the policing grant was also relatively maintained, the city’s operating budget was relatively protected, Nenshi said — except for “two interesting things.”

The ‘bad news’ according to Nenshi

Those “interesting things” involve property taxes, and according to Nenshi, Calgarians should be steeling themselves to pay a whole lot more.

“The province’s requisition for 2019 for the education portion of the property tax — which I remind you is a provincial tax; the city is just the collector — it was actually $15.5 million dollars more than last year. So, the province has made a massive increase to your property taxes,” Nenshi said. 

“They’ve increased it by about one per cent overall, across all residential and non-residential properties, roughly. So you’re going to have to pay that.”

Because Calgarians have already paid their property taxes for this year, Nenshi says they can expect next year’s property taxes will be even higher.

“It’s a bit surprising that a province that’s prided itself on cutting taxes has actually increased the most unfair, regressive tax that every person has to pay.”

The second “interesting” issue Nenshi wanted to draw the public’s attention to is that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs announced a 25 per cent reduction in the Grants in Place of Taxes program in 2019-20, and a further 25 per cent reduction in 2020-21. 

The total projected savings by the UCP are $81 million over the course of four years.

But according to Nenshi, it essentially means the government is not paying its taxes. 

“They have chosen to just stop paying part of their own property tax. Boy, I wish I could do that!” Nenshi said.

Then: “No, I don’t, because I believe in funding the city’s services.”

The result in the cuts to the program, Nenshi said, is that Calgarians will be making up the difference.

“With two months to go in the fiscal year, we’ve got to find $17.5 million dollars,” Nenshi said. “[It] means all the rest of us have to make up for that tax that they’re not paying.”

‘That’s a promise broken’

The most heated moment of the conference arguably came when Nenshi said he wanted to discuss the YYC Matters Spring 2019 edition.

The survey is released to political parties ahead of federal and provincial elections to gauge where they stand on issues that affect Calgarians.

In it, the UCP pledged to uphold a funding agreement called the City Charter’s Fiscal Framework Act, and Nenshi recited that pledge.

“‘The United Conservative caucus voted for the City Charter’s Fiscal Framework Act in the fall legislature sitting, and will respect the multi-year funding in that agreement,'” Nenshi read.

“That’s a black-and-white promise.”

With that, Nenshi crumpled the paper that he read from into a ball and tossed it. 

“And that’s a promise broken,” he said.

The cities of Calgary and Edmonton have given up “approximately 40 per cent” of their funding in the existing financial framework, Nenshi says, and are now being subjected to a further nine per cent cut. 

It’s “on the same basis as all the other municipalities who didn’t take a 40 per cent cut,” Nenshi said.

“Despite our desperate needs for roads, bridges, and social infrastructure, we’re being singled out to take a much larger cut than every other municipality in the province.”

It’s a move that could put city council against the ropes.

With money designated for maintenance and development projects now vanishing, Nenshi says “tough conversations” will be necessary to determine what goes forward.

“Every dollar that we had been promised, that had been agreed to, has already been allocated for fixing potholes, for building bridges, for buying busses, for filling out social infrastructure,” Nenshi said. 

“So clearly, cutting this even further means some of those things aren’t going to get built. And my colleagues on council and I are going to have to have some real tough conversations about what is going to go by the wayside.”

Budget puts flood mitigation, Green Line in jeopardy

The mayor’s grievances didn’t end here.

Flood mitigation funding has been cut — to the tune of about $30 to $50 million, “depending on how they are going to calculate it,” Nenhi said.

Regional infrastructure has taken a hit of $50 million, and the Green Line is now a “big problem,” Nenshi says. 

The city was supposed to receive $555 million for the planned LRT over the next four years.

Nenshi, seemingly incredulous, told reporters it will now receive $75 million.

And according to the mayor, its 20,000 construction jobs are now in the balance.

“I don’t know how you complete the Green Line on time, [and] we certainly don’t have the debt capacity,” Nenshi said.

“I don’t think it’s too much to say the project itself is in jeopardy.”

Nenshi says that even though the budget’s steep post-secondary cuts fall outside the realm of municipal issues, it compromises the city’s future by compromising its talent pool.

“The ‘Calgary comeback’ means universities and colleges have to be able to do a great job to answer that talent question, and certainly there is a lot of improvement needed,” Nenshi said.

The takeaway?

Nenshi says city council is going to do what it can to work with the budget, but it’s anticipating a challenge.

“We’ll continue to find efficiencies. We always do,” Nenshi said. “But this is going to be tough.”

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Tourists rush to climb Australia’s Uluru rock one last time before ban – Global News

October 24th, 2019

The sandstone monolith called Uluru that dominates Australia’s arid center has long been celebrated as a prized peak to be conquered and a sacred site to be revered.

But the pendulum is scheduled to take a major swing away from the throngs of international selfie-seekers toward the rock’s cultural significance to its traditional owners when climbing is banned from late Friday afternoon (6:30 GMT).

The end of visitors enjoying the panoramic views of the incongruously flat Outback surrounds from the rock’s 348-meter summit also marks indigenous Australians finding a new voice in national decision-making.

READ MORE: Royal tour photos: Prince William, Kate visit Uluru

The ban was a unanimous decision made two years ago by 12 members of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board of Management. But it’s an outcome that has divided both indigenous Australians as well as the wider world.

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The polarity of opinions has been highlighted in recent months as thousands of visitors have converged on one of Australia’s most famous landmarks in unprecedented numbers to beat the ban and make a final trek to the top. Tourists have been illegally camping on roadsides for miles because the local camping ground and accommodation were booked.

Like many Australians who know the landmark simply as “the Rock,” Jeff Lis regards the climb as a birthright. The 52-year-old and his lifelong friend Stefan Gangur, 51, drove from Melbourne on the southeast coast to Australia’s so-called Red Center.

“I’ve got some pretty strong views on it personally. I was born in Australia, it is part of my culture and ancestry as much as anyone else’s,” Lis, who is not an indigenous Australian, said at Uluru.

2:15No more climbing Australia’s iconic Uluru

No more climbing Australia’s iconic Uluru

Sammy Wilson, who chaired the board that banned the climb, described the pending prohibition as a cause for celebration. Wilson is a member of the Anangu tribe who are Uluru’s traditional owners.

“If I travel to another country and there is a sacred site, an area of restricted access, I don’t enter or climb it, I respect it,” Wilson said. “It is the same here for Anangu. We welcome tourists here. We are not stopping tourism, just this activity.”

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There has long been tension within the indigenous population around the money that climbers bring and the rock’s significance as a sacred site.

“I am happy and sad, two ways,” said Kevin Cooley, a resident of the Mutitjulu indigenous community in the rock’s shadow who collects the Uluru tourists’ garbage. He fears that tourist numbers and the local economy will decline.

READ MORE: Trevor Noah responds after backlash over 2013 Indigenous women joke

The biggest drop in foreign visitors could be the Japanese who have proven to be the most committed climbers. Signs around the rock have long discouraged climbing, describing Uluru as a “place of great knowledge” and noting that Anangu traditional law prohibits climbing.

The proportion of visitors who climb has been steadily declining, with more than four in five visitors respecting the Anangu’s wishes in recent years.

The Anangu refer to tourists as munga, their word for ants. The analogy was clearest in recent weeks with queues forming long before the climb opens at 7 a.m. each day at a chain handhold at the base of the rock’s steep western face. From there, an eclectic mix of climbers begin their ascents in narrow columns.

Prominent indigenous academic Marcia Langton reacted to the stream of climbers converging on Uluru with a tweet: “A curse will fall on all of them.”

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1:15Prince Harry, Meghan Markle visit school targeted at improving indigenous Australia’s education

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle visit school targeted at improving indigenous Australia’s education

“They will remember how they defiled this sacred place until they die & history will record their contempt for Aboriginal culture,” Langton added.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt said he was disappointed by the final rush to climb the rock which is renowned for its changing colours with the seasons and the time of day.

“It would be equivalent to having a rush of people climbing over the Australian War Memorial, if I can be so brazen in that regard, because sacred objects, community by community, are absolutely important in the story of that nation of people,” Wyatt, who is indigenous, told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Reaching the rock doesn’t guarantee the summit is attainable. Climbing is often cancelled at short notice because of high winds or heat. The start of the climb was delayed for three hours Friday morning because of wind. Some of the climbers had been waiting at the base since 4 a.m.

READ MORE: Deaths at Indigenous health clinics not being investigated, documents show

At least 37 climbers have died, mostly from medical events, since 1948 when the first road was built in the hope of attracting tourists. Every death causes the Anangu anguish.

Denying climbers access to the World Heritage-listed landform is part of an evolution of the Australian narrative since British colonization that has traditionally edited out the original inhabitants.

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While the rock had been known as Uluru for thousands of years, explorer William Gosse was credited with discovering it in 1873 and named it Ayers Rock after the then-premier of the British colony of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers.

In 1993, it became the first official dual-named feature in the Northern Territory when it was renamed “Ayers Rock / Uluru.” The order of the names was reversed a decade later at the request of regional tourism operators.

1:27Eight-foot beehive removed from Australian home

Eight-foot beehive removed from Australian home

But the tourist accommodation nearest Uluru retains the name Ayers Rock Resort, in deference to the monetary value of the international brand recognition that has built up around it.

The date of the closure is also significant in the history of restored indigenous influence in the region. Saturday — the day from when climbing becomes punishable by a 6,300 Australian dollar ($4,300) fine — marks 34 years since the federal government gave the Anangu the land title to the national park in which Uluru stands.

The traditional owners immediately returned the park to the government under a 99-year lease on condition that the park is jointly run by a board with a majority of Anangu members.

READ MORE: Canada’s aboriginal land management provides model to world

Grant Hunt, chief executive of Ayres Rock Resort operator Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, dismissed predictions of a significant decline in tourism. He said bookings in November after the climb’s closure were at a record high, with around 95 per cent occupancy booked for the first three weeks.

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“The traveling public have become much more culturally mature than they were 20 years ago,” Hunt said. “Most people expect this and in fact want it to happen.”

“There’s a minority who still don’t, of course, and you always get that with any decision, but certainly our research and feedback says about 80 per cent of people are supportive of the climb closing,” he added.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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How To Play The ‘Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare’ Campaign Offline While Servers Are Down – Forbes

October 24th, 2019

‘OITNB’ star Laura Prepon announces pregnancy with attention-getting hashtag: #knockedup – USA TODAY

October 24th, 2019

‘Orange Is the New Black’ star Laura Prepon and boyfriend Ben Foster have welcomed their first child together. Wochit-All

Oh, baby!

“Orange Is the New Black” star Laura Prepon, 39, announced on social media Thursday that she’s expecting her second child with actor husband Ben Foster, 38. 

“We are so excited to announce that our family is growing,” the actress captioned a picture in which she holds the couple’s 2-year-old daughter Ella just above her growing baby bump. 

Prepon added: “Life is beautiful!” and the hashtag, #knockedup. She didn’t share her due date or the gender of the couple’s upcoming addition. 

The “That ’70s Show” alum and Foster, who starred in the Oscar-nominated 2016 film “Hell or High Water,” tied the knot in June 2018 after welcoming their daughter in August 2017.

More: New dad Ben Foster talks ‘mighty humbling’ parenthood at Cannes

She shared a vintage wedding picture on Instagram to mark the occasion: “Just Married! Thank you for all the love and support. Wishing all of us the good stuff!”

Prepon returned to work on Netflix’s “OITNB” just six weeks after having Ella and opened up about finding the perfect balance as a working mother. 

Wedding bells are ringing: Laura Prepon and Ben Foster are married

“Ben and I are really great about if I’m at work, he’s (at home), or if he’s at work, I’m (at home),” she said in August 2018 during a segment of “The MOMS.” “I do feel guilty, and I just know that she’d be proud if she knew. I’ve talked to a bunch of women (asking), ‘How do you do this?’ And they’re just like, ‘There’s really no solution. You just do it.'”

As for mom-shaming? “I don’t allow that anywhere near me or my friends,” Prepon said. 

She continued: “Being a mom is the most incredible gift in the world and it’s also one of the hardest things, as we all can relate to. We just have to help each other.”

See our full coverage of entertainment news 


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‘Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare’ Is Crashing Xbox One X Consoles – Forbes

October 24th, 2019

Alberta Budget 2019: Cuts to Edmonton’s infrastructure funding prompts emergency council meeting Friday – Edmonton Journal

October 24th, 2019

The United Conservative Party’s first provincial budget delivered significant cuts to funding for municipalities, leaving the City of Edmonton scrambling for solutions to finance already-approved projects.

Municipal grant cuts amounting to $236 million over the next three years followed a slew of recommendations from September’s MacKinnon Report to bring spending in line with the rest of the country, Finance Minister Travis Toews said in his address to the media Thursday. Alberta grants to municipalities are 20 per cent higher than the national average.

“Given the province’s current fiscal capacity, the province can no longer afford to provide the level of funding that municipalities received in the past,” the budget reads. “We are ensuring the funds provided to municipalities are used in a way that aligns with provincial priorities.”

But Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson was left blindsided by a further step to scrap a funding framework the UCP had committed to during the provincial election.

Iveson, who was at the airport about to board a flight to the Netherlands when the provincial budget was tabled Thursday afternoon, is calling for an emergency city council meeting Friday morning.

“We had no sense that the city charters fiscal framework was going to be ripped up today, particularly since that was a promise in the UCP platform,” Iveson said at the Alberta legislature after cancelling his trip.

“We’re going to have a lot of work to determine which projects are going to have to be cancelled, that’ll be affected by this. That will have an economic impact in terms of jobs, in terms of consumer confidence and so I felt it was important for me to be here and to lead our city through the impact of these cuts and deal politically with this broken promise.”

The city charter deal, intended to come into effect in 2022, was going to split a base funding of $500 million annually between Calgary and Edmonton, with the provincial capital expected to receive $211 million.

But a new reduced-funding model introduced by Toews Thursday will give the city $27 million less in its first year, based on a $455-million base funding shared between Calgary and Edmonton. This amount will fluctuate up or down in future years based on provincial revenues. All other municipalities will split funding, starting at $405 million. Under the new model, Edmonton is expected to receive $184 million in the 2022-23 year.

This leaves the city searching for answers to those projects already scheduled, some of them hitting the books in this fiscal year, ending December 2019. City budgets were approved with the city charter framework and UCP platform commitment in mind, Iveson said.

The slashing of the carbon tax-funded Alberta Community Transit Fund is “most troubling” to Iveson, impacting seven city transit-oriented projects including the highly-sought Terwillegar Drive expansion, purchase of electric buses and the Stadium LRT Station redesign.

Before the new model comes into effect, the city will have to cope with a nine per cent reduction in provincial dollars over the next three years under the current agreement.

The budget also commits to $3 billion previously announced for LRT projects, with funding expected to rise after 2022-23.  But until then, the city will need to foot the bill for much of the $1.47-billion Valley Line West LRT.

Another action by the UCP government to find savings in municipal affairs is a significant reduction in the grants received from the province for property tax exemptions. The program is being cut by 25 per cent this fiscal year followed by an additional 25 per cent the year following. With several provincial buildings in the city, Edmonton is taking the hardest hit and Iveson estimated a $7-million hit this year alone.

“That’s discourteous, really, that the Government of Alberta doesn’t want to pay its way,” said Iveson, noting the urgent need to fully understand the impacts at the special council meeting Friday morning. “We’ve got 10 weeks to figure out where we’re going to find that in this current budget year.” 

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Woman’s breast cancer detected by heat camera at tourist attraction – NBC2 News

October 24th, 2019

“I have now had two surgeries and have one to go to prevent it from spreading,” Gill wrote in a letter that was published on Camera Obscura’s website. “I just wanted to say thank you: without that camera, I would never have known. I know it’s not the intention of the camera but for me, it really was a life-changing visit.” 


DOJ review of Russia probe now a criminal investigation: source – Global News

October 24th, 2019

A U.S. Justice Department review of the origins of the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is now a criminal investigation, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

READ MORE: Lawsuits, investigations likely to come following Mueller testimony

The person, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, declined to say whether a grand jury had been convened in the investigation.

The development was first reported by the New York Times.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr launched a review earlier this year to investigate U.S. President Donald Trump’s complaints that his campaign was improperly targeted by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies during the 2016 election.

Democrats and some former law enforcement officials say Barr is using the Justice Department to chase unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that could benefit the Republican president politically and undermine former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

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2:21Barr sought foreign help investigating Mueller report origins

Barr sought foreign help investigating Mueller report origins

As part of his inquiry, Barr has asked Australian and British justice officials for assistance and visited Italy twice, meeting intelligence agents in Rome in August and September to learn more about people mentioned in Mueller’s report.

The move gives prosecutors the ability to issue subpoenas and potentially empanel a grand jury

Mueller’s investigation found that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump, and led to criminal convictions of several former campaign aides. But Mueller concluded that he did not have enough evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy with Russia.

Barr appointed Connecticut State Attorney John Durham to lead the review of whether U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies acted properly when they examined possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, which ultimately led to the Mueller investigation.

READ MORE: Mueller’s testimony poses risk for Democrats as well as Trump

Trump, who calls the Russia investigation a witch hunt and a hoax, says U.S. officials launched the probe to undermine his chances of winning the White House, although he and his supporters have provided no evidence.

Trump is also grappling with a Democratic-led impeachment inquiry focused on his request in a July telephone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination to face Trump in the 2020 election.

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-With a file from the Associated Press

© 2019 Reuters

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WWE 2K20 SmackDown! 20th Anniversary Edition Unboxing – IGN

October 24th, 2019