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NHLPA president Donald Fehr addresses the media during the World Cup of Hockey Press announcement at the Fermenting Cellar on August 17, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario,Canada. ( Getty Images). The NHLPA has rejected the NHL's offer of allowing players ...
AP Source: NHLPA rejects offer to extend CBA for Olympics
NHLPA expected to reject offer to extend CBA for Olympic participation
Report: NHLPA rejects proposal to extend CBA in exchange for Olympics
DECEMBER 3 — Aside from The Mind’s Eye and the wonderfully bonkers and trashy The Greasy Strangler, the second half of 2016 has not really seen too many interesting new genre movies from the indie and B-movie front, but that has been wonderfully evened out by the surprising quality of the products that came out of Hollywood’s dream (or shall we say nightmare) factory.
The Shallows, Don’t Breathe, Blair Witch, Ouija: Origin Of Evil, and of course Train To Busan and The Girl With All The Gifts if we’re also talking about mainstream films from other countries, are pretty good genre contenders no matter which year they’re released in.
So it’s a bit of a slog going through the slate of indie and B-grade horror releases in search of something worthwhile in the last couple of months, so imagine my happiness at finally getting the chance to experience and now introduce to you four interesting new genre movies I stumbled across that might just entertain you more than you’d think a B-grade movie could.
The name Richard Bates Jr. is certainly not up there yet with the likes of acknowledged indie horror maestros like Adam Wingard, Ti West or even Adam Green (and certainly not Mike Flanagan), but alongside Mickey Keating (Darling, Carnage Park) and Joe Begos (Almost Human, The Mind’bs Eye), Bates is fast building himself a reputation as a horror director to watch out for with his clever little films like Excision and Suburban Gothic.
With the release of his latest movie Trash Fire, one can practically feel the increasing level of confidence and craft in his new work as he again cleverly smuggles in horror into what is essentially a film of another genre altogether; in this case a relationship comedy drama with a very Sundance look and feel.
It centres on a bickering couple, whose disagreements are mostly caused by the fact that the male equation in that partnership is a hilariously comic prick who suffers from frequent seizure attacks and has a sketchy family history.
That sketchy family history is where the horror comes in when they unwisely decide to go back to the guy’s hometown to reconcile with his sketchy past. The scares are not particularly great here, but the comedy more than makes up for everything else here, making this one a very entertaining watch.
Come And Find Me
Another clever smuggling of genre elements into what is essentially a Sundance type relationship film happens in Come And Find Me, in which thriller (and even action film) elements walk hand in hand to make Zack Whedon’s directing debut (and yes, he’s that Joss Whedon’s brother) such a thrilling and entertaining ride.
Aaron Paul plays David, who’s in a blissfully happy relationship with Claire, only to find that one fine day and totally out of the blue, she goes missing. Touches of French thrillers Anything For Her (remade in Hollywood as The Next Three Days) and Tell No One can be found here as David stubbornly looks for Claire and stumbles upon mysterious and increasingly dangerous clues about Claire’s real past.
Where Whedon holds his trump card here is that, despite David’s frantic search for Claire, it is he who is the “damsel in distress” here, which gives this film a rather refreshing twist to the typical save-your-loved-one thriller.
One of the year’s best performances, by the still unheralded Zoe Kazan, is hidden in this monster movie by writer-director Bryan Bertino (of The Strangers fame). Kazan plays an irresponsible divorced mother who’s on a road trip with her daughter to send her daughter to her father.
They hit something while they’re on the way there and get stuck in the middle of the road on a stormy night and slowly they realise that they’re not alone for there is some sort of monster lurking in the woods.
Whether that monster is a metaphor for the demons that plague her as she struggles to reconcile her love for her daughter with her reckless and irresponsible lifestyle is something that I’ll leave to you to decide once you’ve seen the film, but what I can tell you is that it is one earnestly emotional monster movie, anchored by two hugely affecting and emotional performances from Kazan and young Ella Ballentine as her daughter.
Clearly the most low budget movie here, what Fear Inc has going for it is its refreshing concept and its fiercely sarcastic commitment to that clever concept. To make it short, Fear Inc is David Fincher’s 90s classic The Game reimagined as a horror flick, which is to say some poor sod gets convinced to hire a company to stage real, customised scares for its clients.
That poor sod is Joe, a horror movie junkie, which of course makes this an ironic and self aware horror flick in the vein of Scream, wherein the characters make frequent references to other horror movies to assess the situation they’re in and to figure out whether what’s happening is just part of the scares orchestrated by the company or if they actually are real. So if you like your horror movies fun, this might just be thing for you.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.
DECEMBER 3 — With due respect to Manchester City’s table-topping Premier League battle with Chelsea, if you are only watching one football match today it has to be Barcelona against Real Madrid.
The history and grandeur of these two clubs, arguably the biggest and best in the world, means that any “Clasico” meeting between them is something to savour.
And that’s certainly the case today. For starters, the cast list presents a roll call of superstar players which simply could not be matched by any other fixture.
In the red and blue corner, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquers and Gerard Pique will be leading the charge for the home team at Camp Nou.
And in the white corner, Cristiano Ronaldo will be joined in battle by a selection of gifted stars such as Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Isco, James Rodriguez, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo — although some of those will not play, of which more later.
This game is important, too. Real’s somewhat fortunate unbeaten start to the season has allowed them to establish a six-point advantage over Barcelona, whose below-par form has seen them draw their last two league games including a 1-1 tie at Real Sociedad last weekend which manager Luis Enrique described as the team’s worst performance during his time at the club.
The tactical aspect of today’s encounter is also more notable than usual, because there is a strong sense that both teams are currently in a state of transition.
Firstly, Barcelona manager Enrique appears to be inclined to move away from the 4-3-3 formation which has delivered so much success in recent years in favour of a 4-4-2, with key player Messi moving away from the right wing and adopting free-floating central role alongside Suarez.
The reasons for this gradual switch, which failed miserably last weekend at Real Sociedad, are unclear.
Perhaps Messi is missing the influence of his old buddy Dani Alves since the right-back’s departure to Juventus and feels that he now needs to play more centrally. Perhaps it’s just a short-term measure which they have no intention of prolonging into the future. Perhaps Enrique wants to add another body to a midfield which has been outplayed on several occasions this season.
Whatever the explanation, it’s mystifying — to me, at least — why Barca would choose to turn their backs on a playing system which has allowed them to win eight trophies in the last two seasons.
There was nothing wrong with the particular brand of 4-3-3 which they have been employing until the last few games, with its emphasis on building play down the flanks through Messi and Neymar, and the recent changes appear to be a case of attempting to fix something that wasn’t broken.
For Real, too, the big recent transition has been from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2, but in this case I would argue it has been necessary and worthwhile.
Although they fluked their way to the Champions League title last season, Real have not regularly played convincing team football since Carlo Ancelotti had them purring like a machine two years ago.
They have been winning games largely thanks to the serious individual ability within their ranks rather than through well-organised and solidly structured team play, and manager Zinedine Zidane knows that must change in order to realise the ambition of ending their dismal run of just one La Liga title in eight seasons.
Although cup competitions can be won on the basis of a few decent performances and a bit of luck, the week-in week-out nature of a league contested over 38 games means that, nearly always, the best team wins.
Real have not been the best team in Spain during the last few years because they have not truly played as a team — instead relying, as stated above, on their star players to produce the moments of magic which can get them out of jail.
That is not the recipe for winning a league, however, and Zidane’s knows that his team’s stated priority for this season of domestic glory will only be achieved if he can find a way of putting the team first, individuals second.
In last month’s derby at Atletico Madrid, he did just by switching from his usual 4-3-3 formation and employing a 4-4-2, with Ronaldo playing as a central striker instead of on the wing and Benzema left on the bench.
It worked brilliantly, with Isco shining as Ronaldo’s support striker, the midfield connecting defence with attack in a way rarely achieved in the past and Ronaldo crowning an excellent team performance by bludgeoning a hat-trick.
The new system meant that Gareth Bale — who has since been sidelined through injury — had to adopt a more defensive position, and Benzema didn’t play at all. But for the sake of the team it was clearly worthwhile, and now Zidane has to decide whether to maintain that approach or revert to the previous philosophy of pandering to big names even if the overall team structure suffers.
If he chooses the former option, starting with today’s Clasico, it could effect a decisive shift in the balance of power.
For the last decade, Barcelona have been dominant in the old tussle between those two Spanish forces; now, if Zidane makes the right decisions, it might just be Real’s turn to get on top.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.
Cybersecurity has come a long way in the last twenty years.
In the 90s, the predominant security model used to create secure operating systems was the “castle and moat” approach. Everything inside the firewall was trusted and anything outside it wasn’t trusted.
But emerging internet services like email meant that things needed to get through the wall. This was the beginning of the antivirus era of cybersecurity, an era that we are still in. Antivirus works by identifying a threat, creating a signature, and distributing that signature so that every other computer with antivirus software installed can identify malware and defend against it.
Though the cybersecurity model hasn’t changed much since the advent of antivirus software, that could be about to change, thanks to advancements in cyberthreats.
Most people creating malware use it once, and never again, which means identifying it and protecting against it in the future isn’t as helpful as it once was. A lot malware is advanced enough to slip through signature-based techniques of identifying them. Finally, the sheer volume of cyber threats continues to grow at an exponential rate and it’s getting harder to stay on top of them.
Deep learning and the future of cybersecurity
Advancement in the field of deep learning allows artificial intelligence developers to create machines that can think like humans but process vast amounts of data quickly. Artificial intelligence researches are hopeful that AI may be the answer to the growing cyber threat problem. AI could theoretically identify eliminate cyber-threats as fast as they can be created.
While previous methods for protecting against cyber threats has been reactionary, the malware attacks, the antivirus software identifies it, and then makes other computers immune to it, cybersecurity led by AI could take a more proactive approach in dealing with cyber threats.
The post Will artificial intelligence mean the end of cyberthreats? appeared first on ReadWrite.
IPOH, Dec 3 — It is farewell for the city’s first McDonald’s outlet in Jalan Mustapha Albakri, which closes its doors after 27 years.
The first batch of crew who served at the outlet held a reunion and farewell prior to its closing on Wednesday.
For many, this was the first time they met after leaving the McDonald’s family.
The outlet’s first manager Chan Yu Yin said he was delighted to meet up with former colleagues.
“This farewell party has given us the opportunity to meet up after so many years,” said the 53-year-old in his impromptu speech.
“It is like a big family reunion.”
Chan said the outlet had brought changes to the city.
“I remembered the city’s first mayor Datuk Umar Abu, when opening the outlet in November 1989, had said Ipoh is not truly a city without McDonald’s.
“That was how significant McDonald’s was back then,” said Chan, who managed the outlet from 1989 to 1990.
The store’s first assistant manager Kelly Chan, 48, said her team worked hard to make sure it was the best outlet at the time.
“We had to report for duty by 8am and we could see traffic police on standby as many people would queue up to buy our products. The traffic was insane.”
Chan added that she worked at the outlet for 10 years before moving on.
“I want to thank all my former colleagues for the wonderful journey we shared together,” she said.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s Malaysia managing director Azmir Jaafar said he was proud of the connections the outlet built with its customers over the years.
“We remain committed to serving delicious food and feel-good moments in our other outlets in Malaysia, including 15 in Perak.
“We also thank our customers for their continuous support as they have given us the opportunity to serve them for 34 years in all the outlets nationwide,” he said.
Meanwhile, the existing crew at the Jalan Mustapha Albakri outlet would be transferred to other outlets in the city.
WASHINGTON, Dec 3 — America's closest partners are putting a brave face on Donald Trump's surprise election win while reaching out to try to shape his worldview and to preserve traditional alliances.
Allies were rattled by Trump's nationalist campaign rhetoric and by the haphazard way he has approached his first round of calls with world leaders since becoming president-elect.
But they are not panicking. Trump may have no foreign policy experience, but he does not appear to have any deep-rooted ideology either, and seems open to discussion.
And, despite Trump's threats to tear up trade deals and his vaguely worded calls for warmer ties with Russia, Washington's closest partners believe a crisis can be avoided.
“The US alliance system is one of the crown jewels of America's national security,” said John Hannah of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who served as a senior foreign policy adviser to three US administrations.
While Russia and China have increasingly sophisticated militaries, they cannot match Washington's network of allies.
And, Hannah told AFP, any president "should think not once, not twice, but 100 times before taking steps that might undermine or jeopardize" those friendships.
This week, envoys from America's most important allies in the Pacific and the Atlantic, respectively — Japan and Britain — said they were keen to engage with Trump's team.
Concerns were raised in Japan during the US campaign when Trump suggested America's military allies are not pulling their own weight and might be left to face foes on their own.
And Trump's brutal dismissal of the “terrible” Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal did not bode well for ties with America's premier friend in Asia.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had made TPP a key plank of Japan's economic policy, and he was the first world leader to rush to meet the US president-elect in New York.
Trump received no briefing from the US State Department ahead of the informal talks, and was accompanied by his daughter Ivanka, a business executive with no official role.
But, according to Japan's Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae, Abe's team left the meeting reassured that the US-Japan alliance is important to Trump and could even be strengthened.
“I'm given to understand that the president-elect is different when there is a person-to-person talk,” the envoy said, playing down the “high tone” of Trump's campaign speeches.
“We got the impression that he's a good listener. He listened to a lot of views and tried to digest them.”
So, while the TPP remains a dead letter — “meaningless,” in Abe's view, without US support — Japan is not ready to abandon the general principle of a multilateral pact.
And once Trump takes office in January and assembles a team of experts to advise him, something may be salvaged.
“I don't think many Americans read the text of this agreement, to be honest,” Sasae said, at an event promoting the “Value of Strong Alliances” at the Heritage Foundation think tank.
Trump has yet to nominate anyone to act as his secretary of state, and in the weeks since he won the election, he has ruffled diplomatic feathers on several occasions.
Britain, supposedly the proud owner of a “special relationship” with Washington, has found itself embarrassed.
In his first call with Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump — rather than inviting her to Washington — breezily suggested that if she comes over, she should “get in touch.”
And in a stark breach of protocol, Trump suggested on Twitter that the British ambassador be replaced by his euroskeptic friend Nigel Farage, former leader of the UK Independence Party.
Britain's actual ambassador, Kim Darroch, nevertheless insists that ties between Trump Tower and Number 10 are off to a better start than they may seem to be on the surface.
Appearing alongside his Japanese colleague, Darroch said May has now spoken twice to Trump and that a formal visit is being arranged for “very soon” after his January inauguration.
He acknowledged the challenge of keeping up with any US administration in transition — some 4,000 officials will be replaced, and 1,200 face Senate confirmation hearings.
But he said Britain would continue to seek the closest cooperation — while still making its own views known.
Britain is keen that the United States maintain Western solidarity in the face of aggression from Vladimir Putin's Russia — despite Trump's warm words for the strongman.
“That's one of the things we will cover when we talk to his foreign policy team,” Darroch said, noting Russia's annexation of part of Ukraine and role “in the carnage” in Syria.
Darroch said Washington and other western capitals talk to the Kremlin and “as long as we're all expressing similar views on the challenge we face, I think that's a good thing.” — AFP
Four life sentences for man who fatallly shot two former co-workers at Nanaimo sawmill
NANAIMO — A man who fatally shot two former co-workers and injured two others at a sawmill in Nanaimo has been handed four life sentences. Kevin Addison was found guilty of two counts each of first-degree murder and attempted murder after using a ...
Amber Alert issued for Luisa Noyemi Alvarenga, 8, taken from Portage la Prairie
Portage la Prairie, Man., RCMP have issued an Amber Alert for eight-year-old Luisa Noyemi Alvarenga. At approximately 11 a.m. Luisa was taken from her home in Portage la Prairie by her biological mother, Colleen Sheryl McIvor, 43, police say. Colleen ...
Amber Alert for girl, 8, missing in Manitoba
Amber Alert issued for Manitoba girl, 8, believed taken by mother
Portage RCMP issue amber alert for eight-year-old girl