adidas classic Islamic State bombs kill 80 in deadliest Baghdad attacks

By Kareem Raheem and Ahmed Rasheed

BAGHDAD, May 11 (Reuters) Three suicide bombings claimed by Islamic State across Baghdad killed at least 80 people on Wednesday, Iraqi police and hospital sources said, in the deadliest attacks in the Iraqi capital this year.

Security has gradually improved in Baghdad, which was the target of daily bombings a decade ago, but violence against security forces and Shi’ite Muslim civilians is still frequent. Large blasts sometimes set off reprisal attacks against the minority Sunni community.

Wednesday’s bombings could also intensify pressure on Prime Minister Haider al Abadi to resolve a political crisis that has crippled the government for more than a month.

The first attack, a suicide car bomb at a bustling market in the Shi’ite Muslim area of Sadr City, killed 55 people during morning rush hour and wounded 68.

Two more blasts struck at the end of the working day. A suicide bomber stormed a security checkpoint leading into Kadhimiya, a northwestern area housing one of the holiest sites in Shi’ite Islam, killing 17 and wounding more than 30.

Another bomb went off at a checkpoint on a commercial thoroughfare in a predominantly Sunni district of western Baghdad, killing eight and wounding 20.

A pickup truck packed with explosives in Sadr City went off near a beauty salon in a bustling market. Many of the victims were women including several brides who appeared to be getting ready for their weddings, the sources said.

The bodies of two men said to be grooms were found in an adjacent barber shop. Wigs, shoes and children’s toys were scattered on the ground outside. At least two cars were destroyed in the explosion, their parts scattered far from the blast site.

Rescue workers stepped through puddles of blood to put out fires and remove victims. Smoke was still rising from several shops hours after the explosion as a bulldozer cleared the burnt out chassis of the vehicle used in the blast.

Islamic State said in statements circulated online by supporters that a car bomb had aimed at Shi’ite militia fighters gathered in the area and two fighters wearing explosive vests targeted security forces in the later attacks.

Yet the militants are still able to strike outside territory they control. The ultra hardline Sunni jihadist group, which considers Shi’ites apostates, has claimed recent attacks across the country as well as a twin suicide bombing in Sadr City in February that killed 70 people.
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adidas originals superstar jacket Islam activist Anne Marie Waters loses to unknown candidate Henry Bolton

(Image: Henry Bolton/PA)

The couple hit headlines last year when Tatiana gave birth to their youngest daughter on a high speed train from Ashford to London.

“I didn’t have any pain relief,” said Tatiana, who named the baby Victoria after the station, at the time. “It was extremely painful but the moment she came out all pain just stopped at once.”

Mr Bolton said he would ditch the party’s divisive “integration agenda”, including a burqa ban, that helped slash UKIP’s vote tally from 4million to just 600,000 in June.

UKIP instantly accused of ripping off the Premier League after unveiling designs for its new logo

Asked if UKIP had avoided becoming the UK Nazi Party he said “absolutely yes”, telling members: “We want to be a nation that is proud to be called British.”

But he warned “there is an issue with full face coverings” and said he had to “preserve the British way of life”, adding: “I think Islam is of concern.”

And in a blow to transgender rights he said “we are encouraging children in some cases to question their own sexuality,” adding: “I think that is certainly going too far.”

(Image: Getty Images Europe)

Ex leader Nigel Farage, who did not turn up to the EU funded Riviera Conference Centre, said was was “delighted” that “a man of real substance” had won after warning UKIP would be “finished” under Ms Waters.

Mr Bolton said he hoped Mr Farage would “continue to contribute” and would welcome back mega donor Arron Banks as long as he backed the party’s direction.

Today’s conference saw UKIP members cheer as Dr Hugh Bronson of the far right German nationalist party AfD gave a speech.

UKIP leader says people have every right to black up for charity and it’s ‘Thought Crime’ to stop them

Interim leader Steve Crowther was also cheered for demanding people have the right to black up for charity after police probed a carnival float in Aberaeron, Wales.

But Mr Bolton condemned a leaflet at the conference which compared the gay “lifestyle” to that of Hitler and the Yorkshire Ripper.

The leaflet by Christian UKIP activists from Northern Ireland said: “You may call it an ‘alternative lifestyle’, but this term is meaningless. Everyone from Hitler to the Yorkshire Ripper could claim an alternative lifestyle that, to themselves, no doubt seemed quite natural and instinctive.”

Mr Bolton said the leaflet was “wrong, unpleasant and has no place in UKIP or at this conference.”

TeachersLecturer slammed after getting down on her knees and demonstrating on student how to put condom on with your mouthThe lecturer was filmed putting a condom onto a plastic penis being held by a shell shocked student in Brazil

Court caseSchoolboy is ‘beaten by Pakistani men for dating a girl from their family who told him “Don’t mess with our blood”‘The Bengali student was taken prisoner by the Pakistani girl’s uncle, before her father, brother and cousin all joined in the attack, a court heard

TeachersLecturer slammed after getting down on her knees and demonstrating on student how to put condom on with your mouthThe lecturer was filmed putting a condom onto a plastic penis being held by a shell shocked student in Brazil

Court caseSchoolboy is ‘beaten by Pakistani men for dating a girl from their family who told him “Don’t mess with our blood”‘The Bengali student was taken prisoner by the Pakistani girl’s uncle, before her father, brother and cousin all joined in the attack, a court heard

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Manchester City vs TottenhamManchester City vs Tottenham live score and goal updates as Pep Guardiola’s men bid to make it 16 wins on the spinCity continued their push for the title against West Brom in midweek but can Tottenham stop them in their tracks?

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Student Jasmine was sent a message by a girl who goes to the same university as her with some damning picture evidence
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adidas cricket shoes Iskalo purchases Verizon Building

Iskalo Development Corp. has acquired the former Verizon Building on Ellicott Street, adding to its downtown portfolio, which includes the Electric Tower.

The Amherst based developer paid $1.1 million Wednesday to purchase the 33,000 square foot building at 337 Ellicott in the central business district from Ellicott Huron LLC. The seller is an entity linked to former owner Thomas Albarella of Blasdell, said Joe Janowski, president of Multifamily Advisory LLC, a real estate broker.

Iskalo said it has “no immediate plans for the building” but noted it’s available for lease and can be subdivided. The company may also use a portion of it to “accommodate additional demand for enclosed parking” for the nearby Electric Tower.

“We have had interest in the building since our acquisition of the Electric Tower, so we were pleased when it became available,” said Paul Iskalo, the firm’s namesake president and CEO. “We reacted quickly and were able to negotiate a purchase contract with the building’s owner.”

Located on 0.72 acres on the southeast corner of Ellicott and Huron streets, the building was constructed and leased to Verizon Communications,
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which used it to house and service its vehicle fleet. The one story building’s mostly open design includes 7,000 square feet of office space and a 2,000 square foot vehicle service or wash bay.

“The building has been well maintained by Verizon and will be suitable for a variety of uses,” Iskalo said. “It is a nice addition to the cluster of properties we have assembled around the Electric Tower. We are bullish on downtown and optimistic about its future.”

Besides the Electric Tower and 337 Ellicott, Iskalo also owns the former Howard Shoes building at 5 East Huron, a surface parking lot at 75 E. Huron and a building at 210 Oak St. that is used for indoor parking for tenants of the Electric Tower.

In another real estate transaction near downtown, Ellicott Development Co., through 4628 Group, bought a building at 190 Fulton St. from the city for $33,000.

Ellicott founder and chairman Carl Paladino said part of the property would be demolished to “provide accessible and secure parking” for Catholic Health System’s Mercy Health Center clinic across the street at 430 South Park Ave., while the rest would be available for the clinic’s expansion in the future.
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white adidas trainers ISIS has lost territory but could still pose long

In this March 1, 2017 file photo, an Iraqi soldier inspects a recently discovered train tunnel, adorned with an Islamic State group flag, that belonged to the former Baghdad to Mosul line, that was turned it to a training camp for ISIS fighters, in western Mosul, Iraq.

The Islamic State has lost nearly all of its territory overseas, but a new study released Monday says the group could still pose a long term threat and recruit future generations of extremists.

The study by the Program on Extremism at George Washington University looks in depth at 64 people accused of traveling or attempting to travel overseas to join ISIS, and analyzes what kind of threat they could pose.

“We’ve seen throughout history, even in the conflicts in Afghanistan, these individuals get military experience and even more so become ingrained in networks, which allows them to become keynotes in the next conflicts,” said Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism.

They have something other extremists don’t: Credibility.

“They can say, ‘I was there and this is what it was like and here’s why you should join,'” Hughes said.

Researchers looked at each individual’s plans, travels and motivations. One man sent an application and cover letter to the group for a job as an English teacher.

“That was one of the ones that shocked the system. I had to take a double take,” Hughes said. He still believed to be overseas.

“I am looking to get a position teaching English to students in The Islamic State,” the man wrote in what appears to be a cover letter, according to the study. “I was born and raised in the United States and have always loved teaching others and learning from others as well.”

He continues to talk about helping students build on their knowledge and creating a “supportive classroom environment” for students. is using terrorists’ smartphones and laptops to defeat them

Most of those who attempted or successfully traveled overseas had a variety of motives for joining the group, making it hard for law enforcement in tracking people, the study found. Most were arrested but three, so far, have not been publicly charged for any crimes. Many also died in combat and 28 others are at large or their status was not publicly available, the study found. and helping recruit others. from fighting with jihadist groups overseas,” the study said.

Even when arrested, such activists can serve as recruiters in prisons since many who have been sentenced are serving somewhat shorter sentences.

“At times, it is difficult to garner evidence about a traveler activities in Syria and Iraq that is admissible in a court of law,” the study said. “As a result, prosecutors are often forced to charge returned travelers with lesser offenses.”

“The problem is you and I might know it but you can’t prove it in court,” Hughes said. “Unless you have good, hard evidence spreadsheets from the Islamic State and all the important puzzle pieces, it’s hard to build a case.”
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adidas retro t shirts Is Ziaul Haq Haunting Election 2013

Who doesn’t think that upcoming elections in Pakistan would be of any less importance than is speculated? The recent news related to the candidates of the election is entertainingyet questionableat the same time.

Few events shared on media and social media related to candidates were; Owais Tappi of PPP was questioned about the names and timings of the five prayers, Nabil Gabol of MQM tweeted that “Returning officer ka sawal k aap sadiq aur maeen hain? I am getting class for that am I sadiq and ameen according to Articles 62 and 63”. “Sadiq and Ameen””righteous and honest” were the titles given to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by the people of Mecca.

Articles 62 and 63 became the part of the Constitution of Pakistan on Presidential ordinance of No.14 1985 by Gen. Ziaul Haq. Some of the text of these articles are:62(d) he is a good of character and is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic Injunctions; (e) he has adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practices obligatory duties prescribed by Islam as well as abstains from major sins: (f) he is sagacious, righteous and non profligate, honest and amen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law.

Former parliamentarian of PMLN Khurram Dastagir played his card by endorsing a tweet on social media which was pointing finger towards Imran Khan’s character. The tweet’s exact words were “How ECP would handle 62/63 while processing Imran Khan’s nomination? Can decision of LA Superior Court against IK be nullified?”. Many politicians have alleged Imran Khan for having illegitimate daughter from a lady who was living in Los Angeles, USA. Khan’s ex wife has shared her moments with a girl whom she called her step daughter. But how would PMLN justify the character of Hamza Shahbaz’s nomination, who allegedly tortured his second wife Aysha Ahad with the help of Punjab Police?As we can see above Article 62(d) quoted clearly that a person should not have violated Islamic Injunctions. Does torturing wife with the help of strangers come in the Islam injunctions?

The Articles 62 and 63 if applied; particularly the part related to religion and beliefs; with honest intention will disqualify the whole country from participating in the elections. But what would be the definition of a good character under every school of thought present in Islam? Secondly, who will be the judge of qualifying or disqualifying the contestants from participating in the elections? Has he or she been the most righteous and honest person in his or her life whether personal or professional?

If we are in the process of making a Parliament of “Righteous and Honest people”, then will media be able to question them on any issue? The media which doesn’t follow any Islamic ethics in showing TV dramas, fashion Shows and morning shows will have no justification left to question these parliamentarians.

What kind of judges will we have in Supreme Court to question this Parliament of righteous? Will we have judges who don’t have dual nationality or they have never taken money against any case or have never taken oath under PCO? And what article will judge the corruption of our Armed Forces?

ECP has to understand that Islamic Injunctions should be practiced by not doing corruption and by serving people so the country can survive. In the end, once during the punishment of stoning Prophet Essa (PBUH) asked only those people to throw the stones on the woman; who was alleged with adultery; who have never committed any sin themselves. Not a single person dared to throw the stone at her. If you see those people coming to contest election they look like chursi mawali. They do not know about the basics of islam. How would they do legislation. We need islamic educated, patriotic and caring parliamentarians. Last 60 years we got the freedom from Britain and we became slave again for jagirdar,beaurocrat, religious extremists and USA. We need freedom from illiteracy,poverty and corruption. We need strict law and order society. Current piliticians are just bunch of idiots and corrupt.

To have the basic knowledge of Islam in Pakistan is a lot more easy and cheap to have any other basic knowledge.!!! I doing Masters Degree and I an ordinary Pakistan.!! If These people don have that much basic knowledge about Islam it doesn mean that they are not religious but it really means that they are the most illiterate and the biggest scumbag on the Earth.!! This is the first time I guess ECP doing the right thing.!! Those people who criticized on this process are also classify as biggest Thick!!!

Farheen, after a long time of having corrupt govts I smell the air of Let not forget we need to bring the change for good. Let get the scrutiny process as strict as possible, this is a matter of fate of the poor people of Pakistan. Fake degree holders and all sorts of corrupt elected people were in majority in the last corrupt parliament from both sides PML N and PPP and their job was not to serve people but to serve themselves by obeying their master Zardari and they successfully did. No system is perfect so there might be a bit of loophole in the current judiciary but Alhmadulillah I see that they are going in the right direction now. Let have upcoming rulers a bit of fear that they are not the rulers but the servers for the people in real terms and they can be questioned like any other citizen of Pakistan.

Also, the people who are using Imran Khan past for the benefit of their own political favor then they should know,
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personally, Imran is a different man NOW, he never stole any money of Pakistani people like PPP PML N leader did in the past infact he gave a lot to the common people of Pakistan even though he wasn in power. And this could be cheapest thing one could do if he/she label the person based on his past

The moment i read the title, i understood what would be written inside the article. Whoever is objecting on the questions of ROs to the candidates is in the similar category of those failed candidates. Yes Ms. Ferheen Rizvi, if you cannot tell the 5 names of the prayers, you cannot be termed as a righteous Muslim. If you cannot recite Durood e Ibrahimi, you have no right to be called a righteous Muslim. Come on, look at those videos again and again, were those questions so difficult to answer? No, If our candidates cannot answer them, they have no right to sit in the parliament of an Islamic republic.

Dear NASAH(USA) the bracket USA shows your love with some country other than Pakistan. Why we think that Islamic system is a complex system to adopt and practice? Why we think that this system is imapplicable? I think it is nothing but our lack of knowledge. It is the easiest and the most effective system that can make our country the No.1 in the world. So once we are agreed with this then this is a common sense that only a true muslim can bring and implement and practice this system for thought

Farheen, you are prodding and stirring the hornets nest!

Articles 62 63 have been made adequately ambiguous by allowing such open ended prefixes as “good character, adequate knowledge, obligatory duties, major sins, etc. If allowed to prevail in letter and spirit, they would make the task of ECP impossible because, complying with these conditions would open a whole bottom less Pandora’s Box!

For making the things simple, I would have suggested a very simple procedure. It is in examining of their bank statements for the period from 2 weeks before 1st of Ramadan and 2 weeks after. If they have circumscribed the Zakat provisions by withdrawing funds from their accounts before the cut off date and returned after wards, they have simply violated all legal and religious provisions with full knowledge of the deceit perpetrated. Records of such proceedings could be instantly obtained from their banks and the matter could be decided and closed for good.

Good suggestion, though there is no ambiguity in “good character, adequate knowledge, obligatory duties, major sins, etc. MA/BA with Islamic studies, religious scholars etc. Problem is that we give least (almost null) preference to Islamic and Islamic knowledge, though final paper/examination will be set from EXAMINER from that syllabus. I think we practically believe (and don accept) that probably we dont have to die. I take off my hat to you for your catholicon. Bravo! Maulvi Sahab,you are the unmatched sage. The contagion of sanctimony injected into the Pakistan civil society by the sanctimonious Zia,has swept throughout it, and has assumed the form of Pakistan national identity. However corrupt a Pakistani_____no matter what walk of life he belongs to ______ may be, his simulated attachment to religion stays present both in his conscious and sub conscious minds. The Election Commission of Pakistan was expected to be immune to the infection of religiosity but in actuality it not. It should not stun anyone if a returning officer asks a lady candidate how many husbands she has. Is the scrutiny of the candidates papers a sacrosanct or a sport of fools? It looks like that the way the returning officers are handling the matter is the sport of fools?Would that the returning officers realized that the candidates were contesting for the membership of the assemblies,and not for the imamship of the mosques in Pakistan. In the polity of nations,Pakistan cannot live in a state of isolation,
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hence its prospective leaders have to be conversant with the world issues.

This is just very simple understanding that these so called parliamentarians are far from religion. If they do not have the basic knowledge of Islam, how can we expect their actions to be Islamic. And why in the world are we criticizing ECP for testing the candidates which is happening for the very first time in Pakistan. As far as Gen. Zia is concerned his many actions may be wrong but addition of article 62/63 in COP is one of the good deeds during his rule. Which of course will always be criticized by the handicapped media and these Likhey Jahil Candidates May Gen. Zia rest in peace.

The judges,media,normal Pakistanis are not filing nomination papers indicating they are desirous of ruling the country.

According to your logic, we shouldn punish any thief, murderer, or criminal based on the analogy that there are others out there worst than them who haven been caught yet.

A person who is openly morally corrupt is as bad as a person who is financially corrupt.

Bear in mind the part of known in the article a normal aadmi as per the norms of an Islamic country.

adidas small bag Is Your Marketing Campaign Appealing

Marketing campaigns cannot survive if they are dull. Everyday there are more than three thousand marketing messages reaching out to the customers and it is really a huge competition if one expects to be recognized among the crowd. This message should talk to the consumer and influence his mind.

Strong, creative, confident and exciting are the key factors that a message should have, as that will embed it into the consumer ‘s thinking and he remembers it for a longer time. The consumer should feel empowered and should think of taking some action straight away .

For instance Nike’s catch line is Just do it, it’s a line that has such a fantastic impression on the minds of the people that they use that line even when talking about everything else, along with Nike products. It is obvious that by adding certain features, the marketing appeal can be multiplied.

Scientists agree to the fact that by using visuals to make a person learn something is the best option than any other means and as one of the well known saying goes “a picture speaks a thousand words”. So the best bet is to add visuals to promote marketing. Visuals can be anything like pictures, animations, or graphics.

See yourself what wonders it does by placing a picture of you and your products on the companies website. This not only brings the customers close but also strengthens the relationship.

Different colors depict different types of emotions. Messages can be delivered to people using colors and meaning can be added to it. Red and blue are colors liked by aggressive shoppers where as yellow color can catch excellent attention of the on lookers. Green reflects health, money and nourishment, so it can be used in food advertisement.

Black means might and power that is why it has been used by Jaguar, on their website background and advertisement. Wealth and royalty means purple. Colors used on business cards can also be used to attract the customers. But the colors should be carefully played with, too much can be distracting.

A professional help can be sought when selecting colors for business cards, website font, website background, logo, etc., to send the right message. On websites, fonts can be added which change colors and graphics that go .

There are lots of options available when thinking of what technology to use. The excellent news is that most of the options are cheap and simple to use. Audios and videos can be added to your website to attract attention. Like when one visits the Pepsi homepage, they are greeted with energetic music, which attracts teenagers instantly.

To make a more realistic deal with , welcome message, introduction video, interviews,
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or how the goods are produced, can be added to the website. Hearing a voice can be very touching and a rapport can be immediately developed with the visitor. Like Adidas’ website opens with a video which truly fits their punch line, Impossible is nothing.

Business cards should be outstanding and at its creative best. Professionally designed graphics can be added to a brochure type of card. Information about the company contact information, quotations, and pictures can be added on four sides of it. The fonts should be the same.

Just listing the benefits isn’t enough. Customers want more, they want their needs to be met. Like if some is thinking of buying an exercise equipment, don’t just say that the machine has show , automatic incline, cooling device, CD player, programs, but also add that there is a program with audio instructions which encourages the person to do exercise, which is meant for people who need real motivation to get out of their couch and to start sweating out. So convey exactly why the consumer should use the product, be more precise.

Uniqueness is the largest key factor. Not only should the products and services be unique, the marketing campaign should be unique too. Not only will the effort be appreciated but also the impression will be everlasting. Once faith of customers is gained, they will be like free walking advertisement and will spread the word to their friends and acquaintances like anything.

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zissou adidas Is Unesco damaging the world’s treasures

In 1991, Dubrovnik, a fairytale fortress of Titians, Renaissance palaces and lemon scented cloisters, was shelled by Serb and Montenegrin forces. Appalled by the siege of a city described by Lord Byron as the “pearl of the Adriatic”, the international community sprung into action.

Unesco, the United Nations organisation responsible for education, science and culture, called meetings, co ordinated fundraising, and mobilised armies of experts. Not long after the dust of war had settled on scores of razed buildings, Croatia began restoration work. In a matter of a few years, Dubrovnik, designated as a World Heritage Site in 1979, rose from the ashes.

That’s how the system is meant to work. Since its inception, 37 years ago, Unesco World Heritage has become a global brand whose seal is slapped on the planet’s most precious places. The Taj Mahal is on the list, alongside the Pyramids of Giza and the Grand Canyon. These are the man made and natural wonders considered to be of such outstanding value to humanity that their importance transcends borders, politics and even economics. They are deemed deserving of the ultimate layer of protection to be placed beyond the reach of polluters, developers, looters, bombers, and the ravages of time. The World Heritage seal is a guarantee of preservation.

At least that’s the perception. But now many within the conservation community are convinced Unesco is failing. They say the moribund organisation is teetering on its once sound foundations as its principles and priorities crumble under the weight of bureaucracy and outside influence. The World Heritage emblem has come to represent a grandiose marketing tool fodder for “things to see before you die” coffee table books.

Just last week, a row erupted over St Kilda, a remote, Unesco protected island in the Outer Hebrides. When plans were announced to open a visitor centre on nearby Harris, St Kilda’s local guardians, the National Trust for Scotland, feared an influx of World Heritage Site bagging tourists could damage the site. Elsewhere in the world, less scrupulous custodians desperate for tourist dollars campaign to be included in Unesco’s sacred list without preparing for the inevitable hordes.

At its worst, its most vocal critics say, World Heritage is a lame duck in a straitjacket, incapable of protecting the world’s truly endangered places.

To understand what World Heritage has become, we must trace its utopian origins. The spirit of reaching across borders to protect places of global imprtance was inspired by the rescue of the 13th century BC temples of Abu Simbel in Egypt. In 1954, Cairo announced plans to build a dam at Aswan that would flood the temples, so Unesco launched an international fundraising campaign to relocate them, brick by brick. The success inspired a string of projects in countries as diverse as Italy, Pakistan and Indonesia. Finally, at a UN conference in Stockholm in 1972, that spirit of conservation was crystallised as the World Heritage Convention. The first World Heritage Sites were named in 1978

Today there are 878 of them, in 145 countries. Dubrovnik is one of dozens of success stories others include the diversion of a proposed road near the Pyramids and the halting of an aluminium plant near Delphi. But it is in Japan that we gain the clearest insight into the way Unesco is failing.

The Iwami Ginzan silver mine was at the heart of a boomtown in the south west of Honshu Island in the 1600s. But then its fortunes faded and a nearby forest drew in after the mine closed in 1923. In 2007, after intense lobbying in Tokyo, a hole in the ground, of which most Japanese were entirely unaware, joined the ranks of the Taj and the Great Wall of China as a World Heritage Site.

So how did Iwami ever make the list? How does any site get “inscribed”, to use Unesco speak? If there is one fatal flaw in the whole process it is that countries submit their own nominations for inclusion. So when local businessman Toshiro Nakamura made it his life’s mission to turn Iwami into a tourist attraction, the suits at the local prefecture were all ears. They used their links with diplomats in Tokyo to make a case for Iwami within Unesco’s World Heritage Committee.

Unesco, it must be stressed, has strict selection criteria. New sites, which are named every summer, must prove they are of “outstanding universal value” by meeting at least one of 10 criteria. For example, a site must “bear a unique testimony to a cultural tradition” or “represent a masterpiece of human creative genius”. Japan argued that Iwami passed not one but three of these tests. But the International Council on Monuments and Sites, which advised the World Heritage Committee, disagreed, stating that Iwami satisfied none of the 10 criteria. But the campaigning from Japan continued, and Iwami was inscribed.

In the following year, almost 1 million people brought their cameras shoes, picnic baskets and wallets to Iwami. Before that, visitor numbers mostly comprised curious locals, and averaged about 15,000 a year. Tourists were bussed into a site without a suitable facilities; in one news report, a weary resident recalled returning home to find three visitors sitting on his sofa, having mistaken his house for part of the tour. Many tourists, apparently expecting a site to rival the Pyramids, left disappointed.

It’s easy to see why businesses and tourism officials are so desperate to get the Unesco stamp. As Iwami demonstrates, mention of the magic words “World Heritage Site” in guidebooks can send visitor numbers rocketing. As one conservationist responsible for a British World Heritage site, who preferred not to be named, put it: “A site that will not be of interest to paying visitors isn’t going to be a priority. Unesco wants people to go there. They call it public education. We call it tourism.”

The Tower of London is one of Britain’s 28 World Heritage Sites. Others include Maritime Greenwich, Hadrian’s Wall and Canterbury Cathedral. On a grey Wednesday morning, on the cobbled road between the Thames and Traitor’s Gate, where Anne Boleyn and Sir Thomas More were delivered to the fortress prison, hundreds of tourists are forming a queue. Most aren’t even aware of the Tower’s Unesco status the biggest sites don’t need help drawing visitors but Jim and Rachel Smucker, an American couple from New Jersey, are preparing to tick the tower off their list of World Heritage Sites. “We’ve must have been to dozens by now,” says Jim. “It’s nice to know the place you’re going to is going to be worth seeing and has good protection.”

Many tourists go a step further, seeking out “sightings” like wildlife enthusiasts on safari. In an email from the United States, where she is adding to her list of 310 sites, she explains the attraction. “We do it because it’s a list of things you can tick off, like bird watching or plane spotting. I’m not interested in birds or planes, but have always been fascinated by foreign lands and their cultures and history.”

That’s fine if a site can cope,
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but for every Tower of London there is an Iwami silver mine, or, if the Hebridean visitor centre takes off, a St Kilda. And it’s not just small sites that struggle with the tourist hordes. Angkor is among the most spectacular of all World Heritage Sites. The sprawling Cambodian complex of stone temples, which includes the magnificent spires of Angkor Wat, is a jewel in South east Asia. A World Heritage Site since 1992, Angkor now receives more than 2 million tourists a year. The neighbouring town of Siem Reap has been transformed into a concrete mass of hotels, restaurants and an international airport. Meanwhile, the ancient stones at the temples are being slowly worn away by millions of flip flops and walking boots.

Even Unesco admits it was caught “off guard” at Angkor. “All our efforts were focused on restoration because Angkor was in a poor state when we inscribed it,” says Francesco Bandarin, the director of Unesco’s World Heritage Centre. “Nobody looked at the urban explosion that was happening in Siem Reap.” Bandarin says Unesco now has a commission dedicated to site management at Angkor but, as he concedes, “we only have moral power. We advise and recommend action, but these are light guns it’s up to Cambodia to listen.”

Unesco’s “light guns” draw a lot of criticism. “They only have limited tools for scaring governments,” says Jeff Morgan, executive director of the Global Heritage Fund, an American non profit conservation group. “And they rarely use them”. Unesco’s ultimate sanction is to remove a site from its list. But in almost 40 years, during which it has inscribed almost 900 sites, the organisation has only pulled the trigger once. The Arabian Oryx Sanctuary was struck off in 2007 when oil exploration swallowed up 90 per cent of the reserve.

Short of expulsion, Unesco can place sites on its World Heritage In Danger list. Dubrovnik made an appearance soon after the shells breached its red tiled walls. Today, 30 sites appear on the list. Those in Jerusalem, Iraq and Afghanistan are to be expected, but a notable inclusion is Germany’s Dresden Elbe Valley. In 2006, a proposed new bridge that would damage the integrity of the valley, which is dotted with palaces and remnants of the industrial revolution, lead Unesco to declare it “In Danger”.

The German example exposes yet more flaws in Unesco’s operation. If World Heritage is the biggest brand in conservation, then tourists and others can reasonably expect its “In Danger” list to comprise the world’s most threatened sites. “It’s just not true,” says Morgan. “Who cares about a bridge in Dresden when you could go to Cambodia and see unprotected sites being looted as we speak? You’re looking at a dismal picture.”

Monte Albn, which casts a shadow over the ancient city of Oaxaca, is one of the most important Zapotec metropolises in Mexico, with a history that spans 13 centuries. Its pyramid like remains are adorned with rare script. Much of the site has been conserved but it is now under threat, as exposed carvings documenting an ancient civilisation are eroded by the elements. Recent civil unrest in Oaxaca has resulted in looting and vandalism and, in 2006, smoke and ash from a nearby fire damaged the remains. Inscribed in 1987, Monte Albis a worthy World Heritage Site. But, despite damage and the threat of destruction, it does not appear on Unesco’s “In Danger” list.

It’s not alone. Every year, The World Monuments Fund (WMF), a non governmental conservation group based in New York, publishes a “watch list” of the world’s 100 most endangered sites. Tellingly, only three places in Iraq, Afghanistan and Tanzania appear on its most recent list, published last year, as well as Unesco’s “In Danger” list. Seventy nine of the WMF endangered sites are not even inscribed by World Heritage. Most worryingly for those on the ground who devote their lives to preserving sites in peril, 18 of WMF’s at risk sites, including Monte Albn, are World Heritage Sites but do not appear on Unesco’s list (see box, below).

Because countries submit the sites they want to be inscribed, often to boost tourism, Unesco has no power to step in to protect places nobody else cares about. Unesco insists it “has most of the important sites”, but does not claim to have a monopoly on preservation. It also says comparisons with other organisations are unfair. “Sometimes I envy my friends at WMF, who can do what they want because they don’t have 86 member states. It’s like comparing a government ministry to an NGO.”

But it gets worse. If “light guns” mean countries can push the boundaries of the Heritage Convention without real risk of reproach, who’s making sure that sites that do fall under the Unesco umbrella are properly managed? On paper, they should be, but the reality on the ground can be different. “If you go to a lot of World Heritage sites and ask for management plans with budgets and priorities, they don’t exist,” says another conservationist, who asked not to be named. “I’ve been to places in Guatemala, Pakistan, India and Iraq that don’t even have basic maps. I’ve also seen plenty of sites where modern cement and unskilled techniques are being used for restoration. And this is in 2009.”

Unesco insists all its sites adhere to strict rules about management and planning, but could it be that the task facing the organisation effectively to protect the planet has become so daunting as to be impossible? If it has, the man in charge must have one of the toughest jobs in the world. Speaking from his Paris office, Francesco Bandarin admits it’s a tall order. “Sometimes you feel it’s impossible to control everything, especially when you look at our founding principles,” he says. “Our list is growing and the number of requests is growing, and it seems like the more work you do the more you get. It’s a very big job too big.”

Bandarin suggests a solution would be to maintain a central committee, but to break some of the bureaucracy by handing partial autonomy to an “effective network of heritage institutes”. Unesco has launched a review of its practises and Bandarin expects big changes by 2012, when World Heritage turns 40. “It’s the only way we can cope with the crazy volume of work,” he says.

Some critics don’t believe in reform because the idea of “world heritage” is philosophically flawed. Robert Adam is one of Britain’s leading traditional architects and has attended Unesco conferences. He calls the organisation’s heritage body a “monster quango” and a “cabal”. “Who owns heritage?” he asks. “We’re moving to a system of governance by groups of unelected experts Unesco helps to generate policy that goes into national government that often runs contrary to the wishes of citizens. But it’s communities that own heritage.”

Jeff Morgan at Global Heritage does not support such a radical view, but believes bigger changes than those proposed by Bandarin are necessary. The biggest problem, he says, is Unesco’s failure to tap philanthropists and corporations. “If you’re Coca Cola, you don’t want to sink money into the Unesco bureaucracy,” Morgan says. Pallotta shook up the American charity sector by staging mass cycling events to raise more than $300m for health charities. But criticism from other charities about profits drove him out of business and good causes saw funds dry up. “Pallotta showed that charities are screwed up because they can’t run like businesses,” Morgan says. “He couldn’t criticise from the inside, so had to write a book. That’s the situation Unesco finds itself in. They can’t rock the boat because if they start showing all the damage that’s being done to many of their sites, they’ll look bad.”

Morgan says Unesco is woefully under funded, but that the entire heritage industry lacks cash. “If you add up the funds available to the main players in preservation, you’re looking at $100m a year. It’s pretty abysmal if you compare that to nature conservation, where you’re talking billions.” Until balance is restored, Morgan insists Unesco could direct funds to more worthy places by ditching what he calls a bias for religious buildings and glamorous sites in the developed world. “Do we really need another cathedral preserved?” he asks. “I’m not worried about Stonehenge or Dresden when you look at the hundreds of major sites in poor countries that are deteriorating to the point of non existence.”
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What went right for Under Armour

Under Armour’s revenue rose 5% annually to $1.37 billion during the quarter, beating estimates by $60 million and marking a reversal from its 5% drop in the third quarter.

Apparel revenues rose 2% annually to $952 million as strong sales of men’s training and soccer apparel offset softer demand for team sports and outdoor apparel. Footwear revenue rose 9% to $246 million as the strength of its running shoes offset weaker demand for its team sports and basketball shoes. Accessories revenue increased 6% to $111 million, led by sales of men’s training and running equipment.

Strong overseas demand with 45% growth in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region, 56% growth in the Asia Pacific region, and 36% growth in Latin America offset a 4% drop in North American sales. UA’s direct to consumer revenues also rose 11% and accounted for 42% of its global revenues, which offset a 1% dip in its wholesale revenues.

Under Armour’s layoffs, retreat from wearable devices, and cost restructuring efforts (which should save at least $75 million annually starting in 2019) all stabilized its bottom line declines. Its adjusted earnings came in at $0.00 per share, which matched estimates but still marked a huge drop from its EPS of $0.23 per share a year earlier.

What went wrong for Under Armour

Unfortunately, soft demand for UA’s basketball shoes and its weakness in North America still go hand in hand. That’s troubling, because the North American market generated 75% of the company’s revenues last quarter.

UA’s multi million dollar contract with Steph Curry is often overshadowed by Nike’s (NYSE: NKE) flashier marketing campaigns with heavy hitters like LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Its flagship Curry 4 was also dogged by manufacturing delays and lackluster reviews, which led to the resignation of footwear chief Peter Ruppe late last year.

Most of UA’s overseas growth also didn’t trickle down to its bottom line. Although its EMEA operating income rose 30%, its operating income in the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions declined, with the latter posting a wider operating loss.

During the conference call, Cowen analyst John Kernan pointed out that two of UA’s “biggest competitors” (likely Nike and Adidas) “generate operating margins north of 30%” in China. By comparison,
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UA’s operating margin in the Asia Pacific region fell from 17.5% to 10.5% between the fourth quarters of 2016 and 2017.

UA’s total inventories rose 26% annually to $1.2 billion during the quarter. It rose by a “mid teen percentage” in North America, and 50% overseas. The jump in overseas inventories isn’t a major concern, since it’s supported by solid sales growth. But rising inventories in North America remain challenging, and indicate that the region’s operating margin which was negative last quarter could stay negative for the foreseeable future.

UA expects to earn $0.14 to $0.19 per share for fiscal 2018. That misses the consensus estimate of $0.20 and represents negative to flat growth from 2017. The company also remained quiet about its prior target of generating $7.5 billion in revenues by 2018, while analysts expect its revenue to rise just 2% to $5.1 billion this year.

The verdict: A false start for Under Armour

UA certainly made improvements during the quarter, but its core North American business remains a mess, its overseas growth is weighed down by declining margins and currency headwinds, and it hasn’t demonstrated an ability to keep up with Nike and Adidas in key markets like China.

To top it off, both classes of the stock remain pricey at about 50 times earnings. Therefore, I expect UA’s post earnings pop to fizzle out instead of leading to sustainable gains.

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In the 1980s Reebok was on top of the world. The company emerged from obscurity and essentially zero sales at the beginning of the decade thanks to the aerobics craze and the soon to be ubiquitous Reebok Freestyle. Building on that hit, the company moved into tennis, basketball, and running sneakers later in the decade, signing star athletes like Dominique Wilkins, Michael Chang, and eventually Shaquille O’Neal.

The Reebok Freestyle. Image source: Reebok.

In just a few short years, the company went from nothing to being the 1 footwear company in the world, moving past Nike (NYSE: NKE). However, after that initial reign as the “new thing”, which was extended by innovative shoes like the Pump, Reebok eventually faded away, falling far behind Nike. Marketing mistakes, an inability to match Nike in performance footwear, and misguided acquisitions like the Boston Whaler boat brand seemed to doom the brand. In 2005 Adidas (Nasdaq OTH: ADDYY) acquired Reebok for $3.8 billion, less than the company was worth in its heady growth days in the 1980s and 1990s. Since then, Reebok’s sales have continued to stagnate, on track for just $2 billion in sales this year. Compared to Adidas brand sales, Reebok is essentially a rounding error.

Susquehanna analyst Sam Poser also drew a comparison between the two sportswear brands when he downgraded Under Armour, saying, “Given poor brand distribution decisions, we believe (Under Armour’s) risks are becoming more like Reebok than Nike.”

Under Armour has made a number of mistakes of late that, in addition to the ongoing retail unraveling, have caused North American sales to turn south and the stock to plummet. Among those errors, it damaged its brand by discounting its product at retailers like DSW and Kohl’s.

Management has also seemed out of step with its customer base at times. CEO Kevin Plank praised President Trump at a time when millions of Americans were irate over the travel ban he had just implemented, and the customers Under Armour most needs to cultivate, young urbanites, tend to be more anti Trump than the country as a whole. The company’s top sponsor, Steph Curry, even spoke out against Plank’s endorsement, and Plank eventually resigned from the Trump advisory board he served on.

The company misfired with its signature line of sneakers from the NBA star as well; the Curry 3 was a bust, with sales widely missing expectations, and the Curry 2 all white lows were roundly mocked on Twitter, with some dismissing them as Seinfeld shoes and saying they were for the elderly.

For a company desperate to transition from performance sportswear to fashion and streetwear, those two lackluster models were significant setbacks. Betting on connected fitness also looks like a mistake, as that category has delivered minimal growth despite expensive acquisitions, and Under Armour recently announced it would stop making connected hardware.

Meanwhile, Under Armour’s C suite has also seen its own share of shake ups. In November the company’s chief marketing officer and the head of its women’s business departed, and its president of sport fashion also left last year. New COO Patrik Frisk appears to want fresh blood in the leadership ranks, but such changes can be signs of conflict or dissatisfaction among management with the direction of company. Even Plank himself has acknowledged that he was distracted by other business ventures, including a distillery and horse racing, and pledged to recommit his full attention to Under Armour.

Going for the gold

Plank’s pledge should be a positive sign, and it’s worth remembering that the company has challenged Nike in a way that no other brand since Reebok has. Still, investors should be mindful that plenty of other wannabes have come and gone in the sneaker game, among them And1, LA Gear, British Knights, Kangaroos, Fila, and others.

Under Armour’s sales in North America, by far the company’s biggest region, declined 12% in its most recent quarter. That should set off alarm bells for this supposed growth stock, which still trades at a P/E of 42. Its brand hasn’t devolved to Reebok depths yet, but the company needs a resonant marketing campaign or a product that will get people excited again.

Pay close attention when the company reports fourth quarter earnings at the end of the month. Under Armour normally gets a boost from the holiday season, but analysts are only expecting flat revenue growth and breakeven earnings. Management’s 2018 earnings guidance will be particularly key.

Under Armour still has time to bail itself out, but if it experiences a few more quarters of double digit sales declines in North America, the company may be closer to being the next Reebok than the next Nike.

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He also wondered if the Special Investigation Team (SIT) will question school children who were using the drugs like they were grilling celebrities for hours.

“I am very much wondering if the school children taking drugs also will be summoned by SIT and interrogated for 12 hours like they are doing to Poori jagan and Subba Raju . just asking?,” he stated in a Facebook post.

“Of course everyone kind of knows it exists but first time everyone actually heard about this department only because they are using the film industry as a teaser trailer for people to come to know their existence,” he said.

“Whatever the actual truth of the drugs matter, the law in its own course might tell or not tell, but for the moment Akun Sabharwal is being projected like Amarendra Bahubali by the media. Rajamouli should make 3 with him,” he remarked, sarcastically referring to the Director, Enforcement, Prohibition and Excise Department.

The film director remarks drew flak from many people, who vent their feelings on social media.

“Nobody is denying the integrity of Sabharwal or his department but even without any charges or conclusive proof to allow the media leaks to destroy the reputations of people apart from causing distress to their families is highly deplorable,” replied Varma.

The filmmaker comments evoked condemnation from R. Chandravadan, Commissioner, Prohibition and Excise. He said it was unfortunate that some people were making comments which were demoralising for the officials.

Chandravadan said the department had taken the drug racket seriously and was investigating it from all angles within the legal framework. He said the officials were following the Supreme Court guidelines.

The official said the film personalities should act responsibly and added that the investigating team was getting cooperation.

SIT has summoned a dozen Tollywood celebrities for questioning. Director Puri Jagannadh, cinematographer Shyam K. Naidu and actor Subbaraju were grilled over three days. Actor Tarun was being questioned on Saturday.
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