Tag Archives: Effort

A large-scale rescue effort is underway after the heaviest rainfall in a century caused flash floods to devastate parts of Western Europe

Fast moving torrents of water inundated entire towns and villages in western and southern Germany, causing buildings to collapse and leaving residents stranded, police said Thursday. At least 55 people have died in the severe flooding but authorities said that number is expected to rise.
Germany is worst hit with 49 dead, while six people died in Belgium. Luxembourg and the Netherlands are also affected.
In Germany’s worst hit Rhineland-Palatinate state, 1,300 people are “assumed” missing in the district of Ahrweiler, the local government said.
“In some areas we have not seen this much rainfall in 100 years,” Andreas Friedrich, a German weather service spokesman, told CNN. He added that “in some areas we’ve seen more than double the amount of rainfall which has caused flooding and unfortunately some building structures to collapse.”
Along with Rhineland-Palatinate, the German regions of North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland were worst affected, Friedrich added.
Extreme rainfall totals were observed Wednesday into Thursday morning across much of western Germany and the Benelux region, with North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate seeing the highest rainfall totals, according to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.
Widespread swaths of these states saw 24-hour rainfall totals between 100 and 150 millimeters (3.9-5.9 inches), which represent more than a month’s worth of rainfall in this region.
Cologne recorded 154 millimeters (6 inches) of rainfall in only 24 hours ending Thursday morning, which is nearly double its monthly average for July of 87 millimeters (3.45 inches).
Locally heavier downpours resulted in extreme flash flooding. In Reifferscheid, an incredible 207 millimeters (8.1 inches) of rain fell in only nine hours, according to the European Severe Weather Database.

At least 30 dead in one German state

In North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, 30 people have been found dead, a spokesman for the state government told CNN. According to the spokesman, at least 50 people were also injured in the floods and the number of people missing is unclear.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, at least 19 people were found dead, but “that number is expected to rise,” a spokesman for police in Koblenz told CNN.
On Thursday morning in the district of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, more than 1,000 police and emergency workers were called in, the local government said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is on her swansong visit to Washington, DC, described the deadly floods as a “catastrophe.”
“Here in Washington, my thoughts are also always with the people in our homeland,” Merkel said at a news conference on Thursday ahead of her meeting with President Joe Biden.
“Peaceful places are going through a catastrophe in these hours, one can say a tragedy. Heavy rainfall and floods are very inadequate words to describe this — it is therefore really a catastrophe.”
Merkel said the focus is on the rescue and immediate response to those affected by the floods, but added that she was in close contact with her country’s finance minister, Olaf Scholz, to work on a strategy for longer-term financial aid to help with recovery.
“I mourn for those who have lost their lives in this catastrophe — we do not yet know these numbers but there will be many,” she added.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert offered condolences to the families of the victims. “I am shocked by the disaster that so many people in the flood areas have to endure. My sympathies go out to the families of the dead and missing,” Seibert wrote on Twitter.
A woman tries to move in a flooded street following heavy rains in Liege, Belgium.
Merkel’s visit is likely her last to the US before stepping down as Chancellor in the fall after 16 years in power.
Armin Laschet, the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Conservatives’ candidate to succeed Merkel, visited affected parts of the region on Thursday.
“We will be faced with such events over and over, and that means we need to speed up climate protection measures, on European, federal and global levels, because climate change isn’t confined to one state,” Laschet said.

Six deaths in Belgium

In neighboring Belgium, at least six people died in floods in the southern region of Wallonia, CNN affiliate RTBF reported Thursday, citing the magistrate on duty at the Verviers prosecutor’s office and the governor of the Liège province.
The Wallonia region borders North Rhine-Westphalia. The floods have also disrupted Belgium’s national railway network, Infrabel, stopping services in the French-speaking south of the country, the company said Thursday in a press release.
People ride on a trailer as the Dutch fire brigade evacuate people from their homes in South Limburg.
Italy has begun sending search crews and vehicles to Wallonia, the Italian Civil Protection agency said in a statement.
King Philippe of Belgium visited the town of Chaudfontaine, in the province of Liège, after it was hit by severe flooding.
“We are really touched by the severity of the catastrophe,” Philippe said in an on-camera statement. “Our thoughts go to the victims, their families, and all the people who had to be evacuated in emergency from disaster areas.”
Workers from France’s Civil Protection Agency arrived in the Belgium province of Liege to assist with recovery and rescue efforts.
“Rescuers from the instruction and intervention unit of the (French) Civil Protection carry out the first reconnaissance operations,” the French Civil Protection agency said in a post on Twitter, shortly after their arrival. “They will be joined this evening by firefighters, divers and lifeguards.”
The European Union also activated the civil emergency response mechanism to help areas of Belgium affected by floods, the EU Commission said Thursday in a statement.
“Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany you can count on the EU’s help to face these dramatic floods. My thoughts are with the victims of these tragic events and with all who will have to rebuild what they have lost. I want to thank all rescue teams for their invaluable help and relentless efforts,” EU Council president Charles Michel tweeted Thursday.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted an offer of support on Thursday.
“Shocking to see the devastating flooding across Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium,” Johnson tweeted.
“My thoughts are with the families of the victims and all those affected. The UK is ready to provide any support needed in the rescue and recovery effort.”
Shipping was also suspended on the River Rhine, one of Germany’s longest and most important arteries of industrial transport, according to NTV news.
Weather service spokesman Friedrich said the downpours were caused by cooler and warmer rainfall mixing. “It came from France at the beginning of the week to Germany and has been sitting over Germany for the last 48 hours,” he said.
“For now we predict the worst of the torrential rainfall is over, though more heavy rain is due in southwestern Germany on the upper reaches of the Rhine, (Thursday) and Friday,” he added.

Dutch city calls for two neighborhoods to evacuate

The city of Maastricht in the Netherlands has called on residents of the Heugem and Randwyck districts to leave their homes “as soon as possible” due to rising water in the river Meuse.
“The water in the Meuse is rising rapidly. We expect it to cross the quays at Randwyck/Heugem around 3 a.m.,” a news release from the city council of Maastricht said. “This means water will end up in the streets and homes.”
According to the Dutch statistics office, the population of the two neighborhoods is more than 9,000.

With climate change comes warmer air holding more water vapor

The extreme rainfall was the result of a slow-moving area of low pressure, which allowed a conveyor belt of warm and moist air to fuel powerful thunderstorms and bring heavy, long-lasting rainfall, according to the German national weather service, DWD.
Intense rainfall rates are becoming more common in the warming climate, as warmer air can hold more water vapor that is available to fall as rain.
“These kind of high-energy, sudden summer torrents of rain are exactly what we expect in our rapidly heating climate,” according to Hannah Cloke, a professor of hydrology at the University of Reading.
“The fact that other parts of the northern hemisphere are currently suffering record-breaking heatwaves and fires should serve as a reminder of just how much more dangerous our weather could become in an ever-warmer world,” Cloke said.
This story has been updated.

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This post originally posted here CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

Agar hails Rhinos’ effort in win at Wolves

Leeds held off a late rally from Warrington after having two men sin-binned to claim a fourth straight win in Super League. “It was a magnificent effort from our boys,” head coach Agar said

Last Updated: 05/07/21 11:23pm

Leeds' players celebrate their win over Warrington

Leeds’ players celebrate their win over Warrington

Richard Agar was delighted by the effort put in by his side after Leeds Rhinos recorded a 22-16 victory over Warrington Wolves at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The Rhinos built up a 22-6 lead early in the second half but had to survive a frantic rally from the Wolves as Josh Charnley claimed two late tries, while the visitors had both Liam Sutcliffe and Robert Lui in the sin-bin in the final 10 minutes.

Leeds scored three tries through Lui, Alex Mellor and Ash Handley, while Rhyse Martin kicked five goals from as many attempts.

Rhinos hold out to end Wolves’ winning run

Leeds survived having two men sin-binned inside the final 10 minutes to hold out for a 22-16 win away to Warrington.

“It was a magnificent effort from our boys,” Agar said. “We came to play and as the energy dropped out of the game it was like touch and pass in the second half and we were clinging on and had to hang on by our fingernails for dear life.

“But we hung on and came up with some great last-ditch efforts and only conceded with 11 men in the second half with a few minutes left on the clock, so it was a magnificent effort.

“It was an enormous task to come to Warrington on the back of a really tough schedule and the spirit we showed sticking in for each other was fantastic.

Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar said his side was 'clinging on' at the end, but did enough to claim victory over Warrington Wolves.

Sky Sports 2:07
Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar said his side was ‘clinging on’ at the end, but did enough to claim victory over Warrington Wolves.

Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar said his side was ‘clinging on’ at the end, but did enough to claim victory over Warrington Wolves.

“I thought in the first half we were magnificent, we tackled really well, and we just got away from that for 10 minutes and they ended up getting a soft try. We knew we were going to do it tough and when you throw in the two sin-bins as well, the spirit we showed was fantastic.”

The packed schedule continues for the Rhinos on Friday when they face another tough test against the high-flying Catalans Dragons at Emerald Headingley.

“We go again in four days’ time and I’m thinking: ‘how do we do it again?’,” Agar said. “The boys need mentally refreshing because after a good backs-to-the-wall effort like that, you could hear a pin drop in the dressing room.

Brad Dwyer gives his reaction after Leeds Rhinos beat Warrington Wolves 22-16

Sky Sports 1:28
Brad Dwyer gives his reaction after Leeds Rhinos beat Warrington Wolves 22-16

Brad Dwyer gives his reaction after Leeds Rhinos beat Warrington Wolves 22-16

“They are absolutely exhausted, and I’ve never heard a dressing room so quiet. But we will have a day off and go again later in the week to play the team at the top of the competition.”

Warrington coach Steve Price believed his side got what they deserved after their six-match Super League winning run came to an end.

“We came up with 19 errors and completed at 60 per cent and you don’t give yourself a chance to win the game when you deliver that,” Price said. “Our tackle control was not up to standard tonight and that performance was not acceptable.

Warrington Wolves coach Steve Price told Jenna Brooks it was a 'hugely disappointing night' after seeing his side lose to Leeds Rhinos

Sky Sports 1:07
Warrington Wolves coach Steve Price told Jenna Brooks it was a ‘hugely disappointing night’ after seeing his side lose to Leeds Rhinos

Warrington Wolves coach Steve Price told Jenna Brooks it was a ‘hugely disappointing night’ after seeing his side lose to Leeds Rhinos

“We were disappointing tonight from the first set when we made less than 30 metres and it has been one of our strengths.

“They dominated field position for the majority of the game and were clearly the better team, while we had one decent set in the first half when we scored a try, but we needed to be better.

“It’s individuals’ responsibility to control the football, be disciplined and to get the tackle control right, which are all effort areas and they did that better than us.”

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Los Angeles Just Elected a Liberal D.A. He’s Already Facing a Recall Effort.

Los Angeles, under Mr. Gascón’s predecessor, Jackie Lacey, maintained a more punitive approach to crime, and in recent years sent people to state prison at four times the rate of San Francisco.

Mr. Gascón, who won the office from Ms. Lacey by a wide margin in November, speaks often about how, as an officer, he found himself locking up multiple generations of Black men from the same family. Over time, his views on crime and punishment changed, and he said he sees it as his job as district attorney to undo the damage of that time, especially for Black and Latino communities in Los Angeles.

“Those days continue to haunt me,” he said of his time as an officer, in his inauguration speech.

Mr. Gascón points to data that shows lengthy sentences increase recidivism and thus make the public less safe — a direct rebuttal to those supporting the recall in the name of public safety. He believes that most people, even some that have been convicted of violent crimes and especially those who committed their crimes when they were young, deserve second chances. He has also promised to do more to hold the police accountable for on-duty shootings, and is reviewing old cases in which Ms. Lacey declined to prosecute.

Mr. Gascón said that his office will carefully weigh whether a person is suitable for release, either because of advanced age or because they are model inmates, and that people still believed to be dangerous to the public will not be let out early. And judges and parole boards would have the final say.

Already, in his first three months in office, prosecutors have sought roughly 8,000 fewer years in prison compared to the same period a year ago through eliminating many so-called enhancements — special circumstances such as the use of a gun in a crime, or gang affiliations or prior felonies under the “three strikes law,” a pillar of an earlier era’s war on crime — that can add years to a sentence.

The elimination of enhancements has perhaps provoked the most anger from his own prosecutors, who form the largest office in the country. A lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Assistant District Attorney’s Association resulted in a judge ruling largely in favor of the union, saying that in most active cases underway before Mr. Gascón took office he cannot order prosecutors to eliminate the enhancements.

Richard Ceballos, a longtime deputy district attorney who prosecutes gang cases, said he was outraged when he was ordered by the new administration to remove a gang enhancement in a case in which an alleged MS-13 gang member was accused of stabbing a transgender woman in MacArthur Park. He briefly ran for the top job before exiting the race in 2020, and endorsed Mr. Gascón.

Author: Tim Arango
This post originally appeared on NYT > Top Stories

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE: Verstappen leads in effort to cut Hamilton gap, Leclerc OUT

F1 preview: A lap of the Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE updates

– Pole-sitter Charles Leclerc pulls out pre-race after Ferrari suffer problems on formation lap
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leads from Valtteri Bottas after starting on front row alone
– World champion Lewis Hamilton down in seventh for Mercedes
– Verstappen 14 points behind Hamilton in the championship
– Race gets underway at 2pm UK time

Lap 20: “Let’s show us how much more pace you’ve got,” Bottas is told on the radio.

Not long until the pitstops now. Can they help shake up the order? There’s been no changes since the first lap.

Norris meanwhile gets a black and white flag for track limits at turn 10, presumably cutting the chicane. “No more mistakes,” the McLaren pitwall say.

Lap 17: Williams’ George Russell is still running despite battling power unit issues. The Briton is running down in 15th.

His countryman Hamilton meanwhile says on the Mercedes radio: “These guys are super slow ahead.”

The seven-time world champion is around two seconds behind Gasly still.

Lap 13: “Tyres are good, I’m managing quite a lot. Probably a second if I go all out or more,” says Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin.

Seventh-placed Vettel is over six seconds behind Hamilton despite that.

Further ahead, leader Verstappen sets a new fastest lap in his Red Bull with a 1:16.265. Team-mate Sergio Perez soon beats it and goes 1:15.881.

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

Lap 9: “Yeah, it’s hard to follow,” says Hamilton as he trails the AlphaTauri of Gasly, who is two seconds ahead of him in fifth.

Hamilton is 10-and-a-half seconds behind race leader Verstappen. It’d be some turnaround for him to win today.

Lap 4: Not a good start for Daniel Ricciardo with the Australian’s McLaren dropping from 11th to 13th.

We’ve got 74 more laps to come in Monaco so let’s hope for some more excitement.

Verstappen a little over a second ahead of Bottas, with Sainz four seconds behind the leader.

Lap 1: Verstappen gets away well on the start on the outside line, coming across to cover off Bottas, who had clean air with no Leclerc ahead of him. 

Bottas locks up into turn one but stays ahead of Sainz, who is being closely followed by McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Pierre Gasly is behind Norris with Hamilton still down in sixth. Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez, Antonio Giovinazzi and Esteban Ocon complete the current top 10.

IT’S LIGHTS OUT AT THE MONACO GRAND PRIX!

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

1.50pm: Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff tells Sky Sports F1: “I’m surprised because they checked the box. It’s a shame, he’s Monegasque and he deserved it, his lap was spectacular.

“Max can score 25 points, that’s not good for us. We wanted Charles to lead. Let’s see what opportunity it gives to Valtteri.

“Lewis and Valtteri can work together here. Maybe Lewis can play a role. He isn’t happy of course but he’s a fighter. We’ve had setbacks in Monaco before, let’s see how he can climb from P7.”

1.45pm: More disappointment for Leclerc – he will not race at all at his home circuit.

“We’re not racing I am afraid,” Laurent Mekies tells the stewards on team radio. “Sorry to hear,” replies race director Masi.

Ferrari have a problem with the left driveshaft that is impossible to fix before the race start.

Leclerc looks gutted as he walks through the paddock despite cheers from the crowd. Verstappen now has a golden chance to make up ground on championship leader Hamilton.

1.35pm: The pits are closed and that’s it confirmed, Leclerc will be starting from the pits if he can start at all. Devastation for the Monegasque, but those gearbox problems are too much for Ferrari.

“We have an issue. We’re not going to the grid. We try to fix it here. We will not make it to the grid,” Ferrari tell FIA race director Michael Masi.

It’s Verstappen on the front row on his own now, as the grid will not be shuffled up, with Bottas getting clean air in third on the inside of the Red Bull.

Can the Dutchman clinch a race win and overtake Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship?

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

1.30pm: Here’s what Hamilton, the last race winner in Monaco back in 2019, meanwhile had to say yesterday after qualifying only seventh.

“It didn’t feel too bad on Thursday and we made some changes and it was pretty terrible today,” he told Sky Sports F1. “We go back to the drawing board.

“It’s almost impossible to overtake here so…. Up front where we are it’s pretty much the case when everyone is on the same speed. Saturday is the day [in Monaco], so obviously that really does put for sure the win out of reach.

“I guess the minimum would be hopefully seventh and then we’ve got to somehow see how we can move forwards.”

He added on social media: “Failure never feels good but it provides us with opportunities for growth. We have struggled this weekend, for many different reasons but we win and we lose together.

“Tomorrow will be tough, so if you got time, do a little rain dance for me. Let the heavens open.”

1.25pm: Pre-race drama! “No, no, no, the glovebox guys,” Leclerc says on his team radio as he crawls round the track on the formation lap.

Leclerc heads back to the pits and is going through the gears as Ferrari look to get to the bottom of their problems. Will he have to start from the pits?

There’s not long for Ferrari to change the gearbox if they have to.

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE: Ferrari's Leclerc starts on pole ahead of Verstappen, Hamilton 7th

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

1.20pm: Leclerc’s collision with the barriers, which left him with front and side damage, means today’s starting grid looks like this…
1st: Charles Leclerc, 2nd: Max Verstappen
3rd: Valtteri Bottas, 4th: Carlos Sainz
5th: Lando Norris, 6th: Pierre Gasly
7th: Lewis Hamilton, 8th: Sebastian Vettel
9th: Sergio Perez, 10th: Antonio Giovinazzi
11th: Esteban Ocon, 12th: Daniel Ricciardo
13th: Lance Stroll, 14th: Kimi Raikkonen
15th: George Russell, 16th: Yuki Tsunoda
17th: Fernando Alonso, 18th: Nicholas Latifi
19th: Nikita Mazepin, 20th: Mick Schumacher

It’s certainly an intringuingly mixed grid. Might we get some Monaco drama after all? Let’s hope so.

1.10pm: Ferrari’s social media statement on pole-sitter Leclerc earlier was as follows…

“Following further in depth checks this morning, no apparent defects were found on @Charles_Leclerc’s gearbox, therefore the Monegasque driver will start today’s race from pole position, as per the qualifying result.”

1pm: Good afternoon and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage of the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix!

Charles Leclerc starts on pole after Ferrari confirmed no gearbox damage to his SF21 despite his shunt into the wall at swimming pool at the end of qualifying.

The Ferrari crash meant Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas were denied a chance to snatch pole as the session was red-flagged.

And that means it’s advantage to the Monegasque in Monaco, a tricky notoriously tricky to overtake on.

Of the other big stories, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton starts well down in seventh after a dreadful Saturday.

The Briton has ruled out taking a race win today but he’ll hope to lessen the damage as Verstappen looks to cut the gap to the championship leader.

Today’s race gets underway at 2pm and we’ll have live lap-by-lap updates for you once the lights are out.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Review: Miitopia – A Daft DIY Adventure With Boundless Appeal, If You Make The Effort

If there’s one 3DS exclusive we didn’t expect to make the leap to the Switch, it’s Miitopia. The oddball RPG starring you and your friends has been given the HD treatment, but does it really have a place on a system so much more powerful than the 3DS?

The story of Miitopia is nothing too extravagant: the appropriately named Dark Lord has been stealing people’s faces in order to power up his army of monsters, and it’s down to… err, well, someone to stop them. It could be you, it could be your grandmother, it could be Doshin the Giant, because it all depends on what you create using the game’s main selling point, its Mii creator.

The original 3DS version of Miitopia had a fairly standard Mii creation system that you’d be instantly familiar with if you’ve used one on any of Nintendo’s systems after the Wii. This time, however, Nintendo has unlocked a proverbial Pandora’s box of potential with the new makeup system. Despite what marketing suggests, you don’t have to settle on just giving your sister blusher or your boyfriend come-to-bed eyelashes; people already have been creating a staggering number of incredible Miis representing just about anyone and anything you can imagine.

This system is powerful, too; we ourselves were able to create a Mii that didn’t look entirely unlike Kazooie from Banjo-Kazooie, as well as many other characters from Nintendo’s repertoire and far, far beyond. You don’t have total freedom, of course; you still can’t erase noses and have to try and hide them somewhere as best you can, but even with that taken into account we’re fairly sure you could recreate any person or character you can imagine, fictitious or real. And if you’re not a creative type or the whole thing smacks of too much effort, you can also download other people’s creations using Nintendo Switch Online, so you too can have CD-i Ganon fawning over his partner Gex.

But a character creation suite to rival Adobe is nothing without something to do with your creations, so how does the game actually play? Well, if you’d been paying attention in the opening paragraph you’d know that this is an RPG – a turn-based one, to be precise. You’ll form a band of various characters (and a horse) with various jobs to explore distant lands and defeat creatures wearing the faces of the local population. The combat system is a little on the basic side; you only control your hero character and the others are controlled for you. The AI does a decent job of doing the right thing at the right time, but it does prevent you from planning anything too interesting; we wouldn’t go so far as to call it boring, but a bit more tactical control would have been nice.

What is nice about Miitopia’s combat, however, is the ‘Safe Spot’ system. This allows you to pull one of your team out of the fight to heal, recover from status effects, or simply to survive. It’s simple on the surface but it’s a notable little wrinkle that allows you to turn the tide of more challenging battles. Each character will also have a personality (chosen by you) that gives them various buffs or additional abilities outside of their job description. A cautious character might wait until everyone else has attacked before they do, granting them a damage bonus, while a kind character might jump in the way of a teammate to take the brunt of a hit. A stubborn character might get frustrated and attack twice in a row to prove their worth.

What’s more, the relationships you form in your team have an enormous impact on how they fight. A friend might warn another of an impending attack, join forces with them to deal additional damage, or even console them when they’ve taken a hit. These form naturally over time but you can help things along by placing them in the same room as one another in one of the seemingly limitless inns you encounter at the end of each stage, or sending them out on a little trip to the seaside, the cinema, or one of the many other wholesome activities.

Much of the game’s events are randomised or at least have an element of random chance in them; Waluigi may find something shiny on the ground, Madeline from Celeste might tell the group a scary story, or Diglett may appropriately fall down a hole in the ground for the third time. These Tomodachi Life-style interactions and the way you choose to populate your party are where the real joy of this game lies. It’s impossible for us to see PS1 Hagrid smash an enemy to death with a frying pan on horseback shouting ‘YER A WIZARD HARRY’ without breaking out into a grin.

Your characters can use money to obtain various items of equipment in order to improve their stats. These are class-specific and rather outlandish, but what’s really nice is that you don’t have to wear or hold the gear in order to receive its benefits, instead just keeping your old gear’s visuals. If you think Peter Serafinowicz’s Brian Butterfield looks like a darling in his current ballgown, you needn’t change his look just to get the better stats.

As we said before, you’re in control of who you interact with, be it Breath of the Wild’s Urbosa as a magical elf, Scott Wozniak as an explorer, or Ziggy Stardust as the Grand Sage, it doesn’t have to make the slightest lick of sense to anyone except yourself. The world is your oyster and it helps turn a fairly basic plot into something genuinely memorable. We found ourselves taking screenshot after screenshot of weird executions the game produced using our creations, not for this review but just because we wanted to make sure we had a record for our own purposes. We don’t care what anyone says, Bart Simpson’s face on a Cobra is an image we can no longer live without. You can also alter or completely replace roles with other characters whenever you like, so if Dark Lord Tingle just isn’t doing it for you anymore, Dark Lord Balan is just a few menu presses away, which is a really excellent boon that keeps things from getting stale.

Having said all that, we’d be lying if we said there weren’t instances of poor pacing. After the first chapter, you temporarily lose your original party save for your hero, and said hero is forced to pick a new job and start out at level one again. It all makes sense in the long run and the latter parts of the game are more likely better for it, but suffice it to say we were mortified to see the Dark Lord steal Mushbert away from us. Things can also get a bit monotonous between the funny moments, and we can’t help but feel a little bit of fat could’ve been trimmed here and there to make certain sections a little less tedious. The devs have kindly gifted us with the ability to double the speed at which the game plays out (in most sections), which is very gratefully received, but does somewhat smack of awareness of potential tedium.

As for presentation, we’re gifted with a weird mix of art styles that absolutely shouldn’t go together. Somehow though – possibly due to the ‘generic’ look of the Miis themselves – it all sort of works, and the end result is a strangely beautiful cacophony of everything. The localisation team for Europe even went the extra mile and filled the game with countless instances of British vernacular, such as ‘loo break’, ‘sarcastic bloke’, and ‘I’m not a happy bunny’. It likely means little to anyone outside of the UK, but cor blimey guvnor did it leave us chuffed to bits. The soundtrack is wonderful, the ability to rewatch old cutscenes is a nice bonus, and 99% of the time, the game runs really well. There are moments when the framerate seems to dip away from its 30fps target for unclear reasons, but it never affects gameplay.

Conclusion

Miitopia is a weird old game, that’s for sure. If from what you’ve read you think you’d enjoy seeing King King Dedede (sic) encouraging our very own Zion Grassl to marry his daughter Kazooie over Jon Cartwright, then you’re bound to have a good time with this. It’s very much the type of game in which you get out as much as you put in; if you’re not into injecting a copy of Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash into the role of a genie then you might want to think twice, or at least give the free demo a whirl. Whimsy and madcap situations a-plenty, this is a crossover that could rival Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, provided you’re willing to put the effort in.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Nintendo Life | Reviews

Join the War Effort in Second Extinction

Summary

  • Second Extinction Product Owner Julianne Harty welcomes Xbox players to the game.
  • Learn more about what’s in store as well as detailing a core part of Second Extinction, The War Effort.
  • Second Extinction (Game Preview) is available now with Xbox Game Pass.

Welcome to Second Extinction.

We’re excited to bring you our dinosaur co-op shooter to Xbox Game Preview and Xbox Game Pass! During our time in Preview, we’re going to be listening to what you, the community, expect and desire out of a game like ours. Please add your voice to our Discord group; I read every piece of feedback entered in our feedback channels.

Since we’ve been live on PC for a short period, we’ve already identified a few improvements and added these to the roadmap towards 1.0. Cross-play functionality is a significant step, and we’re looking at releasing that in September. This means you will be able to play with your PC friends and vice versa. Additionally, we include a tutorial mission to onboard new players at launch! Also on the agenda are new characters, new weapons, new equipment, and more dinosaur mutations to battle with, as well as the much-requested Horde Mode.

Second Extinction

As a team, we’re going to start looking in-depth at reward and motivation systems over the coming months. Are we giving out cool and useful stuff? Do you feel adequately rewarded for your efforts? Do you feel a sense of progression and motivated to try new things out? Killing those evil mutated dinosaurs is fun, but we want to make sure it’s meaningful as well.

The War Effort will start to get built out more robustly. For those unfamiliar with what the War Effort is, it entails a map of varying threat levels over the area. A high threat level means the dinos are strong and heavy in that region; conversely, a low threat level means a much easier walk in the snow.

Second Extinction

Twice a week – Mondays and Thursdays at 1 p.m. CEST (4:00 a.m. PT)-  the map will update based on the amount of research the entire community has gathered, assigning threat levels (increasing stages of difficulty) to each region. The dinos do push back, so if everyone focused their attention on one area of the map to drop the threat level, the dinos will find a more neglected region and increase their attention there, which subsequently increases the region’s threat level. Neglect a Threat Level 3 region too long, and you’ll encounter an Emergence Event – an extreme region with combat-changing modifiers and boss-level fights.

Associated with each War Effort map update is a rotation of activities tied to each threat level. Building out the War Effort means that there will be more activities and events associated with each change of the map and their threat levels so that you’ll see new things each week. Each Preseason will bring a new set of these activities as well, in addition to new contracts and exclusive cosmetics. Make sure to play during these times!

Second Extinction

Looking towards 1.0, as we finish refining our systems and features to all our satisfaction (yours and ours), we’re taking our learnings and applying them to a new biome with new missions and species. I can’t reveal much more since it’s still far in the future, but rest assured, we’re working on adding new maps.

We’ll be launching into Xbox Game Preview at the start of Preseason 4. However, we will be making the pre-season 2 contracts and rewards available further into Preseason 4 for our players on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S so that you don’t miss out on the exclusive content. We will make Preseason 3 content available during a future season for a limited time. We’ll leave none of our newly joined Extinction Elites behind.

I can’t wait to see you in our community!

Xbox Live

Xbox Live

Second Extinction™ (Game Preview)

Systemic Reaction™

☆☆☆☆☆ 257
★★★★★
Xbox One X Enhanced
PC Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass
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This game is a work in progress. It may or may not change over time or release as a final product. Purchase only if you are comfortable with the current state of the unfinished game. A NEW BREED OF BIG MAP MULTIPLAYER SHOOTER The goal is simple: Reclaim earth. In Second Extinction you take on hordes of mutated dinosaurs with up to two friends. Solo players beware: Second Extinction is designed with squads in mind. Only the strong will survive. GAME PREVIEW IS JUST THE BEGINNING The goal of Game Preview is also simple: Work with our community to make the best game possible. We want to hear your feedback loud and clear, and we intend for our community to be a vital part of the development process. Even so, there’s plenty to get your teeth (and claws) into from day one: 4 heroes, 10 weapons (with 5 upgrade tiers each) and 6 missions – plus some special side quests – across multiple regions of our big map. JOIN THE WAR EFFORT, SHAPE THE FUTURE Our mantra is that players win battles, communities win wars. Nowhere is this more true than our War Effort feature. Each region of our big map has a unique threat level. This threat level can be lowered if enough of our players are successful in their missions and activities. But the dinosaurs aren’t resting either, and they’ll focus their efforts where you aren’t. Each week the community will see the fruits of their labors or feel the consequence of their incompetence. Let the threat level get out of control and you can expect an especially tough Emergence Event to be waiting for you. By playing Second Extinction you’re not just picking up another co-op shooter. You’re joining us on a journey as we shape the experience. Every piece of feedback and every mission you play matters. So what are you waiting for? The fight to reclaim earth starts here. Full details on the latest status of the game, how you can give feedback and report issues can be found at https://www.secondextinctiongame.com/

Author: Julianne Harty, Product Owner, Second Extinction
This post originally appeared on Xbox Wire

Carrying of handguns sees major breakthrough in Texas House

Patrick Svitek and Shawn Mulcahy

Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.

This article originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

Texas Attorney General sues in effort to force Biden administration

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday sued[2] the Biden administration over its new procedures for deporting undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes and asked a federal judge to compel the Department of Homeland Security to take them into custody before they are released by local or state law enforcement.

At issue in the suit filed jointly with the state of Louisiana are detainer requests that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sends to state and local law enforcement agencies. The requests inform the agencies that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement intends to take custody of an undocumented person upon completion of their sentence. The detainer asks local law enforcement personnel to hold the person for up to 48 hours so they can be transferred to ICE’s custody and begin the deportation process.

Law enforcement agencies are not required by the federal government to comply with a detainer, though a 2017 Texas law[3] mandates state and local authorities to honor such requests. Advocates have questioned the constitutionality[4] of detainers, which ask authorities to hold people after they’ve completed their sentences. ICE has also erroneously issued detainers[5] for U.S. citizens.

President Joe Biden’s acting homeland security secretary in January ordered a review[6] of the agency’s immigration enforcement policies and released interim guidance that prioritized the deportation of people who posed a threat to national security, border security and public safety.

A memo released by ICE[7] in February further clarified that guidance. It states that immigration officials should prioritize the deportation of people who have engaged in terrorism, unlawfully entered the U.S. after Nov. 1 or were convicted of an aggravated felony.

The interim guidance “does not require or prohibit the arrest, detention or removal of any noncitizen,” wrote Acting ICE Director Tae D. Johnson. But detainers for people who fall outside priority areas are subject to “advance review.”

That’s a shift from the Trump administration, when anyone in the country illegally was a priority target[8] for deportation. ICE officials said the new guidance is necessary to allocate the agency’s limited resources to the most important cases.

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union urged the Biden administration[9] to end the detainer requests altogether, saying they insert local authorities into immigration enforcement processes, eroding trust between the police and immigrant communities.

In the suit, Paxton alleged that the Biden administration is “refusing to take custody” of immigrants with criminal records and allowing them to “roam free.” In February, the AP reported[10] that ICE had dropped 26 detainer requests in Texas since the new directive took effect. Most people were convicted of drunk driving or drug charges, though ICE had reportedly misapplied the policy when it prepared to drop three requests for people who committed crimes that should’ve been prioritized. None of the three were ultimately released.

Paxton argues in the lawsuit that ICE has “rescinded dozens of detainer requests” that had been issued to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and is failing to issue new ones for some people subject to deportation. He contends that the Biden administration’s guidance narrowly focuses on people convicted of aggravated felonies, such as murder, while neglecting people with drug offenses and those who committed crimes of “moral turpitude.” And he alleges that the changes to immigration enforcement would come at an enormous cost to Texas due to the services the state provides to undocumented immigrants. That argument is rebutted by a 2006 study[11] by then-Texas Comptroller Susan Combs found that undocumented immigrants have a net positive financial impact to the state.

Paxton asks the court to declare the federal government’s guidance unlawful, prevent ICE from implementing the policy, and award Texas and Louisiana “costs of this action and reasonable attorney’s fees.”

A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

The suit is the latest in a series of legal challenges Paxton has brought against the Biden administration since January. Paxton previously sued Biden[12] over a 100-day deportation moratorium, alleging the moratorium is unconstitutional and violates an agreement between DSH and Texas. A federal judge in February effectively blocked the ban on deportations from taking effect.

Paxton has also sued over Biden’s decision to cancel permits for the Keystone XL pipeline[13] and over new restrictions placed on drilling on public lands.

References

  1. ^ Sign up here. (www.texastribune.org)
  2. ^ sued (www.texasattorneygeneral.gov)
  3. ^ a 2017 Texas law (www.texastribune.org)
  4. ^ questioned the constitutionality (thehill.com)
  5. ^ erroneously issued detainers (www.npr.org)
  6. ^ ordered a review (www.dhs.gov)
  7. ^ memo released by ICE (www.ice.gov)
  8. ^ was a priority target (www.tampabay.com)
  9. ^ urged the Biden administration (thehill.com)
  10. ^ the AP reported (apnews.com)
  11. ^ 2006 study (www.texastribune.org)
  12. ^ sued Biden (www.texastribune.org)
  13. ^ Keystone XL pipeline (www.texastribune.org)

Shawn Mulcahy

White Evangelical Resistance Is Obstacle in Vaccination Effort

These are questions that secular public health entities are not equipped to answer, he said. “The even deeper problem is, the white evangelicals aren’t even on their screen.”

Mr. Chang said he recently spoke with a colleague in Uganda whose hospital had received 5,000 vaccine doses, but had only been able to administer about 400, because of the hesitancy of the heavily evangelical population.

“How American evangelicals think, write, feel about issues quickly replicates throughout the entire world,” he said.

At this critical moment, even pastors struggle to know how to reach their flocks. Joel Rainey, who leads Covenant Church in Shepherdstown, W.Va., said several colleagues were forced out of their churches after promoting health and vaccination guidelines.

Politics has increasingly been shaping faith among white evangelicals, rather than the other way around, he said. Pastors’ influence on their churches is decreasing. “They get their people for one hour, and Sean Hannity gets them for the next 20,” he said.

Mr. Rainey helped his own Southern Baptist congregation get ahead of false information by publicly interviewing medical experts — a retired colonel specializing in infectious disease, a church member who is a Walter Reed logistics management analyst, and a church elder who is a nurse for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

On the worship stage, in front of the praise band’s drum set, he asked them “all of the questions that a follower of Jesus might have,” he said later.

“It is necessary for pastors to instruct their people that we don’t always have to be adversaries with the culture around us,” he said. “We believe Jesus died for those people, so why in the world would we see them as adversaries?”

Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham