Daily Archives: February 15, 2015

Australia's Patties Foods shares slide after hep A outbreak linked to China

Feb 16 (Reuters) – Shares in Australia’s Patties
Foods Ltd fell as much as 18 percent on Monday after it
recalled its frozen berry products following a hepatitis A
outbreak that has been linked to poor hygiene and water supplies
in a Chinese packaging plant.

Patties has recalled several batches of its packaged mixed
berries on advice from the Victorian state government due to the
potential contamination. Five people have been diagnosed with
hepatitis A after eating the berries, the only common link
between the group.

Patties said its quality control testing had not shown any
safety issues with the products but further detailed
microbiological testing was being carried out. Shares were down
12.4 percent at A$1.20 in early trade, after falling as low as
A$1.14.

(Reporting by Jane Wardell; Editing by Stephen Coates)


Source: Newsjyoti Hot Stock News

Louis Jourdan, star of 'Octopussy' and 'Gigi,' dead at 93

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>(Reuters) – French actor Louis Jourdan, who played a suave bon vivant in the Oscar-winning film “Gigi” and had a long reign as Hollywood’s top choice to play elegant international gentlemen, died on Saturday at the age of 93, his biographer said.

Jourdan, who also worked frequently on stage and television, died at home, Olivier Minne, his friend and biographer, told Reuters by telephone from Paris.

Jourdan starred in “Gigi,” one of the most successful movies of the 1950s, as the dashing Gaston, who realizes he is falling for the title character, played by Leslie Caron, as she evolves from tomboy to courtesan-in-training.

“Gigi” dominated the 1959 Academy Awards with nine Oscars, a record at the time, including best picture and best director for Vincente Minnelli.

Jourdan sang the movie’s title tune and it won the Oscar for best song, even though Maurice Chevalier’s “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” in the film was perhaps more memorable.

Jourdan grew up as Louis Gendre in Cannes, where his father was a hotelier, and went to the prestigious Ecole Dramatique in Paris to study acting. He took his mother’s last name for his movie career, which had just begun when it was interrupted by World War Two. The occupying Nazis ordered Jourdan to make propaganda films but instead he fled back to the south of France, where he joined his brothers in printing and distributing pamphlets for the French Resistance.

Jourdan’s acting career resumed after the war and he soon came to the attention of American producer David O. Selznick, who brought him to Hollywood for a crucial role in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1947 film “The Paradine Case,” starring Gregory Peck.

The next year he stood out in “Letter from an Unknown Woman” as a concert pianist haunted by his ambivalence for a woman, played by Joan Fontaine, who had loved him for decades.

Jourdan was so handsome and debonair that typecasting was inevitable and for a while he resisted the romantic leads, which often led to him being suspended by Selznick under Hollywood’s autocratic studio system.

‘FRENCH CLICHE’

“My basic disagreement with producers was that I didn’t want to be perpetually cooing in a lady’s ear,” Jourdan said in a 1960 interview with Coronet magazine. “There is not much aesthetic satisfaction in it.”

He later said he reconciled with his Hollywood image as “the French cliché.”

In addition to “Gigi,” Jourdan’s notable films included “Three Coins in the Fountain” (1954), “The Swan” (1955) with Grace Kelly, “The Bride Is Much Too Beautiful” (1956) with Brigitte Bardot and “Can-Can” (1960), which co-starred Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine.

In “Julie” (1955) he had a chance to break from the stereotype by playing Doris Day’s psychotic husband and television and stage work also provided more varied roles, including playing a homosexual attracted to a man played by James Dean in “The Immortalist” on Broadway.

“It was quite revolutionary for him to accept playing a homosexual on stage,” said Minne, his biographer.

“His legacy in the industry was that he brought some kind of French elegance. That was his nature, in his way of speaking and behaving, his gestures,” said Minne. Jourdan was a passionate lover of classical music and was friends with artists and intellectuals, Minne said.

Later in his career directors discovered that Jourdan also could play evil villains – albeit handsome, urbane evil villains – such the Afghan prince Kamal Khan, James Bond’s nemesis in the 1983 film “Octopussy.”

In Wes Craven’s 1982 horror film “Swamp Thing” he was the evil immortality-obsessed Dr. Anton Arcane and reprised the role “The Return of the Swamp Thing” in 1989.

Jourdan’s charm was lost on Elizabeth Taylor, however. In the 1963 movie “The V.I.P.s,” he was an aging playboy having an affair with Taylor but the actress, then in the midst of her stormy first relationship with Richard Burton, was upset by a story that Jourdan’s wife, Quique, had written about her for Paris Match magazine. Taylor reportedly insisted that Jourdan apologize in front of the cast and crew but he refused.

In 1985 Jourdan went on a touring stage version of “Gigi,” playing the dapper Honore, the role filled by Chevalier in the movie. He retired from acting in 1992 and in 2010 France presented him the Legion of Honour award.

Jourdan and Quique, who met during his time in the French underground, married in 1946. He was once asked about the contrast between his long-running marriage and the playboy roles he so often filled on screen and said: “When one has been married more than 30 years it would be absurd not to admit there had been some sort of difficulties at some times … but the important thing is that we have weathered them.”

The Jourdans’ only child, Louis Henry Jourdan, died of a drug overdose in 1981.

(Reporting and writing by Bill Trott in Washington, additional reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Eric Walsh)


Source: Newsjyoti Entertainment

Philip Levine, ex-U.S. poet laureate who won Pulitzer, dead at 87

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>(Reuters) – Philip Levine, a former poet laureate of the United States who won a Pulitzer Prize, has died at age 87, according to the website of the Poetry Foundation.

Family or close associates of Levine could not be reached, but The New York Times reported that Levine died on Saturday at his home. Levine was a professor emeritus at California State University in Fresno, California.

The son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Levine grew up in Detroit, worked at an auto factory at age 14 and was known for writing about America’s working class, according to a Poetry Foundation biography. He championed blue collar and other workers and gave them a voice in his poetry, according to the foundation, which publishes Poetry magazine.

Levine was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for his collection of poems called “The Simple Truth.” He won two national book awards, one for “Ashes: Poems New & Old” in 1980 and the other for “What Work Is” in 1991.

In 2011, the Library of Congress named Levine U.S. poet laureate for a two-year period. In 2013, he won the Wallace Stevens Award for proven mastery of poetry by the Academy of American Poets, according to the foundation.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Frances Kerry)


Source: Newsjyoti Entertainment

Pair of new breeds join field in 139th Westminster Dog Show

A new breed entry in the 139th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Burberry, a Coton de Tulear breed, stands during a news conference in New York February 12, 2015.   REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

A new breed entry in the 139th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Burberry, a Coton de Tulear breed, stands during a news conference in New York February 12, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton


(Reuters) – Two new breeds will make their debuts at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City this week, joining a field of nearly 200 blood lines competing in this year’s edition of the prestigious canine showcase.

The show, in its 139th year, is billed as the second-longest continuously running sporting event in the United States, behind only the Kentucky Derby.

This year’s event, which begins on Monday and concludes with the awarding of “Best of Show” on Tuesday, draws nearly 3,000 competitors from around the world and features 192 breeds.

The field includes two newcomers: the Coton de Tulears and the Wirehaired Vizsla, hailing from Madagascar and Hungary, respectively.

Coton de Tulears are small, fluffy non-sporting dogs known for their friendly personalities. Wirehaired Vizslas are amber-haired sporting dogs considered to be excellent hunters, gentle and easily trained.

To be included in the show, a breed must meet rules set by the American Kennel Club, including having sufficient numbers in the United States, a certain geographical distribution and a parent club that regulates breeding.

Golden Retrievers have the largest number of entries into the competition, followed by Labrador Retrievers, while there is only a single white Bull Terrier and one Norwegian Lundehund entered.

All told, dogs from 15 countries and 48 U.S. states, excluding North Dakota and Idaho, will compete.

As part of the show, judges select the best of each breed and group, divided into seven categories – hound, toy, non-sporting, herding, sporting, working and terrier.

The show culminates late on Tuesday with the selection of the “Best In Show” winner, crowned at Madison Square Garden. The winner of the “Best In Show” competition and its owner receive a trophy and go on a media tour.

In the last show, a wire fox terrier named Sky won Best In Show, making it the 14th time a wire fox terrier won the prize, more than times than any other breed.

This year, David Merriam, a retired federal judge from Bonsall, California and an expert on Bull Terriers, will select the Westminster’s grand champion.

The show is preceded by a weekend of dog-related events that included an agility contest on Saturday, in which a border collie named Tex flew through an obstacle course to the win the Masters Agility Championship prize.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Nick Zieminski)


Source: Newsjyoti Lifestyle

Northeast hit by blizzards, cold, after record snow

Pedestrians walk along snow covered, MBTA subway rails on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts following a winter storm February 15, 2015.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder


(Reuters) – The U.S. Northeast struggled to dig out on Sunday from the latest in a series of winter storms that made February the snowiest month in Boston’s history, but bitter cold and huge drifts hampered the effort.

Blizzard conditions forced the cancellation of more than 1,800 U.S. airline flights, most of them into and out of airports in Boston and New York, where wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour (97 kph) were predicted.

Temperatures are 25 to 30 degrees (14 to 17 degrees Celsius) below normal for the East Coast, exacerbated by strong winds, said meteorologist Bruce Sullivan of the National Weather Service, adding the region was in the grip of “a brutally cold air mass.”

The temperature at 1 p.m. in Boston was around 18 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 8 Celsius), but felt like zero (minus 18 Celsius) thanks to wind chill. By Monday morning, it was likely to feel like minus 20 (minus 29 Celsius), the NWS said.

The latest storm heaped disappointment on retailers who were relying on the Presidents’ Day weekend and Valentine’s Day to make up for subpar sales during the last three lashings of snow.

Massive snowfall from Boston’s fourth major snowstorm in two weeks set a record for the city’s snowiest month since weather records were kept, the NWS said.

Boston had seen about 6 feet (1.8 meters) of snow since late January and had already set a record for accumulations in a single week.

“Hopefully, it will stop eventually,” Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said on Sunday.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker set his sights beyond the seemingly endless snowbanks to the stadium where the Boston Red Sox play, saying, “It’s 58 days until opening day at Fenway Park.”

He urged drivers to stay off the roads on Sunday and said he was relieved the holiday on Monday would keep traffic down and give snow plows a chance to clear them.

CABIN FEVER

Some Boston restaurants sought to coax customers out of hibernation for a meal or drink on Sunday evening, when the snow was expected to let up. One South Boston eatery added the hashtag “#cabin fever” to its Twitter messages.

“You don’t want to stay penned up all day,” said Allie Needham, 26, a business analyst at a chemical company, as she walked along an empty street in Cambridge on her way to meet friends for breakfast.

With all public transportation suspended in Boston on Sunday, Bostonians got creative. In the Back Bay neighborhood, a snowboarder hitched a ride from a snowmobile. One resident on Twitter said it was about time for an entrepreneur to start up a dog sled service.

The area’s deepest snowfall on Sunday was 20 inches (50 cm), recorded in Ipswich, Massachusetts, a coastal town northeast of Boston, said NWS meteorologist Benjamin Sipprell.

Relentless winds were expected to pile up dangerous drifts of the lightweight snow, Sipprell said.

Across the state, about 600 members of the National Guard were helping out during the blizzard, said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

Conditions were so bad in New Hampshire that the town of Alton called off its annual ice carnival this weekend.

While still shivering from the brutal cold expected to last through Monday, the East Coast is bracing for another storm front forming near the Tennessee Valley.

(Additional reporting by Brian Snyder in Boston; Writing by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Eric Walsh)


Source: Newsjyoti Top Trending

Facing cover-up allegations, Argentina’s Fernandez says she’s ‘tough’

Argentina's President Kirchner gestures after inaugurating an amphitheatre in El Calafate


(Reuters) – Argentine President Cristina Fernandez struck a defiant note on Sunday in her first national address since a prosecutor announced he would continue to investigate allegations she tried to cover up a 1994 bombing, saying harsh Patagonian winters had taught her to be tough.

 

The accusations – first brought by a state investigator whose mysterious death last month threw the Fernandez administration into turmoil – were deemed credible on Friday by a newly-named prosecutor who said he would press on with the investigation.

In a televised speech, Fernandez did not refer to the probe. But she made it clear she would not bend under the mounting political pressure.

“Some are amazed at how I can endure all I have to endure,” said Fernandez, speaking to a crowd at hospital she had just inaugurated in her adopted home province of Santa Cruz.

“I tell them it was here in Patagonia – with the wind, the cold and the snow – that I learned that I can endure anything,” she said. “To live in southern Argentina you have to be tough.”

Fernandez’ image has taken a hit from allegations that she tried to whitewash the alleged involvement of a group of Iranians in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people died.

She denies the accusation, which was first leveled by state prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

Nisman’s body was found on Jan. 18 in his Buenos Aires apartment, a bullet in his head and a pistol by his side. The following day he had been scheduled to appear before Congress to present his case that Fernandez conspired with Iran to clear the bombing suspects in order to clinch a deal to trade grains for Iranian oil.

No conclusive evidence of either murder or suicide has surfaced. Fernandez at first speculated that Nisman killed himself, and later said rogue intelligence agents were behind his death.

The saga is expected to strengthen opposition candidates in the October presidential election, in which Fernandez is constitutionally barred from running for a third consecutive term.

(Editing by Frances Kerry)


Source: Newsjyoti Top Trending

Greece, confident as EU meeting looms, sticks to no-austerity pledge

Protesters hold a giant Greek national flag during an anti-austerity and pro-government demonstration in front of the parliament in Athens February 15, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis


(Reuters) – Greece said on Sunday it was confident of reaching agreement in negotiations with its euro zone partners but reiterated it would not accept harsh austerity strings in any debt pact.

A day before a euro zone finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels to shore up Greece’s dwindling finances and help keep it in the euro zone, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Germany’s Stern magazine that Athens needed time to implement its reforms and shake off the mismanagement of the past.

“I expect difficult negotiations; nevertheless I am full of confidence,” he said. “I promise you: Greece will then, in six months’ time, be a completely different country.”

The Eurogroup of finance ministers meets in Brussels on Monday to try to find common ground with Tsipras’ new government, elected on a pledge to scrap the austerity strictures of Greece’s international bailouts, on issues such as debt management, financing, privatization and labor reform.

If the meeting produces no results, there is a concern that Greece will be headed for a credit crunch that would force it out of the euro zone. Progress, however, could mean further negotiations, perhaps later in the week.

“The irresistible force will be meeting the immovable object,” Vasileios Gkionakis, head of global FX strategy at UniCredit, wrote in a note.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi refused to discuss the possibility of Greece leaving the euro zone if an agreement with European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders fell apart as a result of Greece’s demands to alleviate its debt burden. He simply reiterated the euro zone’s founding position that membership is “irreversible”.

In Germany, however, economist Hans-Werner Sinn, head of the influential Ifo economic research institute, told the mass-market newspaper Bild that leaving the euro zone “would be better for the Greek people”, although he expected Greece to stay.

BRIDGE PROGRAM?

Tsipras wants a bridge program to be put in place for a few months while a new deal is agreed to replace the bailout, which has already forced drastic cutbacks onto ordinary Greeks.

The rest of the euro zone, particularly Germany, says Greece must continue with those commitments as a quid pro quo for the 240 billion euros ($274 billion) it has received in bailouts.

Slovak Finance Minister Peter Kazmir, whose country is said to be taking a tough line, tweeted that he was skeptical whether all details could be agreed on Monday.

Greece’s current bailout expires at the end of the month. A Eurogroup meeting last week ended without apparent progress, although technical talks were later approved.

Greek government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis showed no sign that Greece was backing off on its core demand.

“The Greek government is determined to stick to its commitment towards the public … and not continue a program that has the characteristics of the previous bailout agreement,” he told Greece’s Skai television.

He later said: “The Greek people have made it clear that their dignity is non-negotiable. We are continuing the negotiations with the popular mandate in our hearts and in our minds.”

Some of the problems facing the Eurogroup are semantic. The Greeks, for example, will not countenance anything that smacks of an “extension” to the old bailout, preferring something new called a “bridge” agreement.

WAVE OF ANGER

This is political. Tsipras rode into power on a wave of anti-austerity and anti-bailout anger last month and would have a hard time explaining a row-back so soon. Thousands of Greeks massed outside parliament in Athens on Sunday to back his strategy.

But even a cosmetic change of labels could have practical consequences. An “extension” may not require many national ratifications unless it involves additional financial commitments from euro zone governments.

Any new bailout program, on the other hand, might require several national parliamentary ratifications and could also bring Germany’s Constitutional Court into play.

Among those requiring a parliamentary vote on a new bailout are Germany, Slovakia, Estonia and Finland, all identified by one veteran of EU meetings as part of a hard core of opponents to Greece’s plan.

The Eurogroup’s main debate with Greece’s “no austerity” stance will revolve around the funding of a bridge program, Greece’s request to reduce the ‘primary’ budget surpluses, excluding interest payments, that it is required to reach, and privatizations and labor reform.

Greece said on Saturday that it was reviewing a 1.2 billion- euro deal for Germany’s Fraport to run 14 regional airports, one of the biggest privatization deals since Greece’s debt crisis began in 2009. It has also pulled the plug on the privatization of the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki.

On the question of liberalizing labor markets, government spokesman Sakellaridis remained tough:

“We will discuss it with workers and with pensioners. Whatever we do, we will do through dialogue. We will not legislate at the sole behest of outside factors.”

($1 = 0.8785 euros)

(Additional reporting by Costas Pitas in Athens, Paul Day in Madrid and Jan Lopatka in Prague; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Larry King)


Source: Newsjyoti Top Trending

Draft U.S. rules on commercial drones keep some restrictions on use

A man looks over a 360Heros drone at the Intel booth during the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, in this file photo taken January 6, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/Files


(Reuters) – The U.S. aviation regulator proposed rules on Sunday for flying drones for commercial purposes that would lift some restrictions but would still bar activities such as the delivery of packages and inspection of pipelines that have been eyed by companies as a potentially breakthrough use of the technology.

The long-awaited draft rules from the Federal Aviation Administration governing use of unmanned aircraft require pilots to obtain special pilot certificates, stay away from bystanders and fly only during the day. They limit flying speed to 100 miles per hour (160 kph) and the altitude to 500 feet (152 meters) above ground level.

The rules also say aircraft must remain in the line of sight of its radio-control pilot, which could limit inspection of pipelines, crops, and electrical towers that are one of the major uses envisioned by companies.

The FAA acknowledged the limitation but said those flights could be made possible with a secondary spotter working with the pilot of the drone.

“This rule does not deal with beyond line of sight, but does allow for the use of a visual observer to augment line of sight by the operator of the unmanned aircraft,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a conference call with reporters on Sunday.

The draft rules, nearly 10 years in the making, still must undergo public comment and revision before becoming final, a process expected to take at least a year.

If they survive in their current form, they would be unlikely to help Amazon.com in its quest to eventually deliver packages with unmanned drones, since they require an FAA-certified small drone pilot to fly the aircraft and keep it line of sight at all times – factors not envisioned in the online retailer’s plan.

Huerta also said, “We don’t consider or contemplate in this rule carrying packages outside of the aircraft itself.”

Amazon vice president of global public policy Paul Misener said that the proposal would bar the company’s delivery drones in the United States. Misener also urged the FAA to address the needs of Amazon and its customers as it carried out its formal rulemaking process.

“We are committed to realizing our vision … and are prepared to deploy where we have the regulatory support we need,” Misener said in an emailed statement.

RULES EXPECTED TO EVOLVE

Huerta said the rules set a framework for regulating drone flights and would evolve based on ongoing discussions with industry and technology developments.

The rules continue current restrictions against filming of crowds by news organizations, but Huerta said he expected those procedures to be developed as part of discussions with news groups.

Industry experts said the rules did not contain onerous pilot standards that could have severely restricted commercial flying.

They would not require drone pilots to undergo the medical tests or flight hours required of manned aircraft pilots. Commercial drone operators would need to be at least 17 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test and be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration.

“We have tried to be flexible in writing these rules,” said Huerta.

Separately, President Barack Obama issued a memo outlining principles for government use of drones, covering such issues as privacy protections and oversight of federal drone use.

The draft rules, while still restrictive, appeared less onerous than the industry had been worried about. There had been concern, for example, that the FAA would require drone operators to attend a flight-training school and obtain a certification similar to that of a manned aircraft pilot.

“I am very pleased to see a much more reasonable approach to future regulation than many feared,” said Brendan Schulman, a lawyer who works on drone issues at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel in New York.

The proposal would benefit U.S. farmers and ranchers as it would enable them to scout fields more efficiently, said RJ Karney, director of Congressional relations at the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), also praised the draft. “This is a good first step in an evolutionary process that brings us closer to realizing the many societal and economic benefits of UAS technology,” AUVSI President Brian Wynne said in a statement.

The model aircraft community was more cautious.

As hobbyists had worried, the rule does not address a large category of people who have purchased drones but don’t know about the safety codes of hobby groups, and may inadvertently fly them into dangerous situations.

The FAA has tried to address that group by publishing fliers and websites that point out the safety risks. Huerta said the agency would also take action against those operating drones carelessly or recklessly.

“While we have not yet fully reviewed the proposed rule, we can say that regulations relating to the commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) should not apply to the longstanding, educational hobby of flying model aircraft,” the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the world’s largest hobby group, with 170,000 members, said in a statement.

Privacy advocates were also concerned that the FAA’s draft rules did not place enough limits on when law enforcement agencies would be permitted to use drones for surveillance.

Sunday’s proposal “allows the use of data gathered by domestic drones for any ‘authorized purpose’, which is not defined, leaving the door open to inappropriate drone use by federal agencies,” said Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel at the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, in an emailed statement.

(Additional reporting by Lucia Mutikani in Washington and Peter Rudegeair in New York; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Frances Kerry and Nick Zieminski)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics

UPDATE 4-Draft U.S. rules on commercial drones keep some restrictions on use

(Adds reaction from Amazon, U.S. farmers, privacy advocates)

By Alwyn Scott

Feb 15 (Reuters) – The U.S. aviation regulator
proposed rules on Sunday for flying drones for commercial
purposes that would lift some restrictions but would still bar
activities such as the delivery of packages and inspection of
pipelines that have been eyed by companies as a potentially
breakthrough use of the technology.

The long-awaited draft rules from the Federal Aviation
Administration governing use of unmanned aircraft require pilots
to obtain special pilot certificates, stay away from bystanders
and fly only during the day. They limit flying speed to 100
miles per hour (160 kph) and the altitude to 500 feet (152
meters) above ground level.

The rules also say aircraft must remain in the line of sight
of its radio-control pilot, which could limit inspection of
pipelines, crops, and electrical towers that are one of the
major uses envisioned by companies.

The FAA acknowledged the limitation but said those flights
could be made possible with a secondary spotter working with the
pilot of the drone.

“This rule does not deal with beyond line of sight, but does
allow for the use of a visual observer to augment line of sight
by the operator of the unmanned aircraft,” FAA Administrator
Michael Huerta said in a conference call with reporters on
Sunday.

The draft rules, nearly 10 years in the making, still must
undergo public comment and revision before becoming final, a
process expected to take at least a year.

If they survive in their current form, they would be
unlikely to help Amazon.com in its quest to eventually
deliver packages with unmanned drones, since they require an
FAA-certified small drone pilot to fly the aircraft and keep it
line of sight at all times – factors not envisioned in the
online retailer’s plan.

Huerta also said, “We don’t consider or contemplate in this
rule carrying packages outside of the aircraft itself.”

Amazon vice president of global public policy Paul Misener
said that the proposal would bar the company’s delivery drones
in the United States. Misener also urged the FAA to address the
needs of Amazon and its customers as it carried out its formal
rulemaking process.

“We are committed to realizing our vision … and are
prepared to deploy where we have the regulatory support we
need,” Misener said in an emailed statement.

RULES EXPECTED TO EVOLVE

Huerta said the rules set a framework for regulating drone
flights and would evolve based on ongoing discussions with
industry and technology developments.

The rules continue current restrictions against filming of
crowds by news organizations, but Huerta said he expected those
procedures to be developed as part of discussions with news
groups.

Industry experts said the rules did not contain onerous
pilot standards that could have severely restricted commercial
flying.

They would not require drone pilots to undergo the medical
tests or flight hours required of manned aircraft pilots.
Commercial drone operators would need to be at least 17 years
old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test and be vetted by the
Transportation Security Administration.

“We have tried to be flexible in writing these rules,” said
Huerta.

Separately, President Barack Obama issued a memo outlining
principles for government use of drones, covering such issues as
privacy protections and oversight of federal drone use.

The draft rules, while still restrictive, appeared less
onerous than the industry had been worried about. There had been
concern, for example, that the FAA would require drone operators
to attend a flight-training school and obtain a certification
similar to that of a manned aircraft pilot.

“I am very pleased to see a much more reasonable approach to
future regulation than many feared,” said Brendan Schulman, a
lawyer who works on drone issues at Kramer Levin Naftalis &
Frankel in New York.

The proposal would benefit U.S. farmers and ranchers as it
would enable them to scout fields more efficiently, said RJ
Karney, director of Congressional relations at the American Farm
Bureau Federation.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
(AUVSI), also praised the draft. “This is a good first step in
an evolutionary process that brings us closer to realizing the
many societal and economic benefits of UAS technology,” AUVSI
President Brian Wynne said in a statement.

The model aircraft community was more cautious.

As hobbyists had worried, the rule does not address a large
category of people who have purchased drones but don’t know
about the safety codes of hobby groups, and may inadvertently
fly them into dangerous situations.

The FAA has tried to address that group by publishing fliers
and websites that point out the safety risks. Huerta said the
agency would also take action against those operating drones
carelessly or recklessly.

“While we have not yet fully reviewed the proposed rule, we
can say that regulations relating to the commercial use of small
unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) should not apply to the
longstanding, educational hobby of flying model aircraft,” the
Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the world’s largest hobby
group, with 170,000 members, said in a statement.

Privacy advocates were also concerned that the FAA’s draft
rules did not place enough limits on when law enforcement
agencies would be permitted to use drones for surveillance.

Sunday’s proposal “allows the use of data gathered by
domestic drones for any ‘authorized purpose’, which is not
defined, leaving the door open to inappropriate drone use by
federal agencies,” said Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel
at the Washington legislative office of the American Civil
Lierties Union, in an emailed statement.

(Additional reporting by Lucia Mutikani in Washington and Peter
Rudegeair in New York; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Frances Kerry
and Nick Zieminski)


Source: Newsjyoti

'Fifty Shades of Grey' rakes in $81.7 million on opening weekend

Actors Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan (L)  arrive for the screening of the movie 'Fifty Shades of Grey' at the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 11, 2015.      REUTERS/Stefanie Loos

Actors Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan (L) arrive for the screening of the movie ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ at the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 11, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Stefanie Loos


<span class="articleLocatio

n”>(Reuters) – “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the widely anticipated adaptation of the best-selling novel about a kinky relationship between a businessman and a college student, took in $81.7 million in ticket sales to soar to the top of U.S. and Canadian weekend box office charts.

The film, which stars James Dornan and Dakota Johnson as the libidinous couple, far outpaced the No. 2 release, “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” which took in $35.6 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates.

Third place on the U.S. Presidents’ Day holiday weekend went to the family-friendly “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water,” based on the popular television show about a talking animated sponge, which sold $30.5 million in tickets at U.S. and Canadian theaters.

“Fifty Shades” got a boost from a Valentine’s Day opening after it was released earlier in the week in 57 foreign markets. It took in an additional $158 million overseas, for a global total of $240 million.

Early U.S. screenings on Thursday night brought in $8.6 million, setting the scene for a record-breaking opening for any Presidents’ Day weekend.

Nick Carpou, president of domestic distribution for Universal Pictures, the Comcast Corp. Unit that released the film, said a combination of Valentine’s Day, a long holiday weekend and intense interest from smaller and mid-sized markets all helped drive the record numbers.

Pre-sale figures in southern states such as Mississippi and Kentucky reflected especially high interest. Sales in the northeast, being pummeled by another big winter storm, as well as in the south-central regions of the country, exceeded what might have been expected, Carpou said.

“Kingsman,” an adaptation of a popular comic series starring Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Firth about a spy agency’s training program and a global threat by a tech genius, received solid reviews and exceeded industry forecasts.

Rounding out the top five, the box office hit “American Sniper” took in $16.4 million, bringing its domestic haul to just over $304 million and making it one of the biggest hits of 2014-15. The Clint Eastwood-directed film is nominated for six Oscars, including one for Bradley Cooper as best actor.

The sci-fi film “Jupiter Ascending” was fifth with $9.4 million.

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” was released by 20th Century Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox. “The SpongeBob Movie” was distributed by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc. “American Sniper” and “Jupiter Ascending” were released by Warner Brothers, a unit of Time Warner Inc.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Larry King)


Source: Newsjyoti Entertainment