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Internet custodians approve vast expansion in domain names, biggest change since the mid-80s

SINGAPORE – Internet minders voted Monday to allow virtually unlimited new domain names based on themes as varied as company brands, entertainment and political causes, in the system’s biggest shake-up since it started 26 years ago.

Groups able to pay the $185,000 application can petition next year for new updates to “杭州夜网” and “杭州夜网” with website suffixes using nearly any word in any language, including in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers decided at a meeting in Singapore.

“This is the start of a whole new phase for the Internet,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN’s board of directors. “Unless there is a good reason to restrain it, innovation should be allowed to run free.”

ICANN’s decision culminates six years of negotiations and is the biggest change to the system since “杭州夜网” made its debut in 1984. The expansion plan had been delayed largely because of concerns that new suffixes could infringe on trademarks and copyrights.

High-profile entertainment, consumer goods and financial services companies will likely be among the first to apply for their own domain name in a bid to protect their brands, experts said.

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“It will allow corporations to better take control of their brands,” said Theo Hnarakis, chief executive of Melbourne IT, which manages online brands for clients such as Volvo, LEGO and GlaxoSmithKline. “For example, .apple or .ipad would take customers right to those products.”

The surge in domains should help alleviate some of the overlap of names in the most popular suffixes, especially “杭州夜网”, which has 94 million sites registered.

More than 300 suffixes are available today, the bulk of them country-specific codes, such as “.jp” for Japan and “.fr” for France. Those are typically restricted to groups or individuals with a presence in the countries. Only a handful are open for general use worldwide.

In March, ICANN approved “.xxx” for pornography, but some porn sites have declined to adopt the suffix, fearing it will make it easier for governments to ban them. Conservative groups opposed the “.xxx” name too, arguing it could attract children to adult sites.

Analysts said they expect between 500 to 1,000 new domain names, mostly companies and products, but also cities and generic names such as “.bank” or “.hotel.” Groups have formed to back “.sport” for sporting sites, and two conservationist groups separately are seeking the right to operate an “.eco” suffix.

ICANN plans to auction off domains if multiple parties have legitimate claims. However, it expects companies will likely strike deals among themselves to avoid a public auction.

“I think we’ll see much more of that going on than see auctions generating circuses,” Dengate Thrush said. “But there is that prospect that there will be a couple of identical applicants and applications.”

The application process is arduous – the fee is $185,000 and the guidebook is 360 pages – and meant to prevent scammers from grabbing valuable domain names. ICANN will receive applications for new domains for 90 days beginning Jan. 12.

“It’s a significant undertaking. We’re calling it the Olympic bid,” said Adrian Kinderis, chief executive of AusRegistry International, which helps companies to register domains and manages names such as “.au” for Australia.

“But it’s worth it for corporations that have suffered from things like trademark infringement, and can now carve out a niche on the internet,” Kinderis said.

ICANN said it has set aside up to $2 million to assist applicants from developing countries.

“The board’s very enthusiastic about providing support for applicants from developing areas where the evaluation fee or access to technical expertise might be somewhat of a bar,” ICANN senior vice-president Kurt Pritz told reporters after the meeting.

ICANN said in a statement that it will mount a global publicity campaign to raise awareness of the opportunities of new domain names.

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Associated Press writer Heather Tan in Singapore contributed to this story.

India’s foreign minister heads to Myanmar to boost bilateral trade, security ties

NEW DELHI – India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna headed to Myanmar on Monday as New Delhi reaffirmed its commitment to bilateral and strategic co-operation with Yangon’s newly elected nominally civilian government.

Krishna will be the first high level official from India to visit Myanmar since the elected government replaced the previous junta in March.

India and Myanmar have developed deep economic and security ties over the past decade. New Delhi has said it believes talking quietly is a better approach in dealing with Yangon’s military-backed rulers rather than sanctions.

Despite Western criticism, India shifted its policy from supporting Myanmar’s democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to engaging the junta’s generals.

On Monday, Krishna ducked a question on whether he would be meeting Suu Kyi during his three day visit.

“I don’t know if I will get a chance to interact with other leaders during my brief stay in Yangon,” he said.

India is also wary of China’s growing influence in Myanmar, and is in competition with its regional rival for access to the country’s large natural gas resources.

Krishna’s discussions with his Myanmarese counterpart would include security issues and co-operation in the fields of information technology, industry and infrastructure development in the isolated South Asian country.

India and Myanmar have expanded co-operation between their security forces since the mid-1990s with both countries fighting armed insurgencies along their shared border.

India says separatist rebels in its northeastern states often slip across the 1,000-mile- (1,600-kilometre-) long porous border with Myanmar and take shelter in jungle bases there.

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Libya opposition leader to visit China, further boosting Beijing’s engagement in the civil war

BEIJING, China – China said Monday that Libya’s opposition leader would visit this week, further boosting Beijing’s engagement in the North African country’s civil war and dealing another setback to Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

China’s Foreign Ministry said in a one-sentence statement posted on its website that Mahmoud Jibril would be in China on Tuesday and Wednesday. No other details were immediately available.

Jibril chairs the executive board of the Transitional National Council, the umbrella organization of rebel groups trying to unseat Gadhafi.

China stayed on the sidelines for the first few months after the revolt against Gadhafi’s government erupted in mid-February, but it has recently stepped up efforts to persuade the two sides to seek a settlement.

Chinese diplomats in Qatar met with the rebel council chairman, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, earlier this month, and Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi was dispatched to Beijing days later in an apparent attempt to reassert the Libyan government’s influence.

Beijing has pointedly avoided joining international calls for Gadhafi to step down, saying that is for the Libyan people to decide. It also abstained in the U.N. Security Council vote authorizing the use of force against Libyan government loyalists and has repeatedly criticized the NATO bombing campaign in support of the rebels.

When fighting erupted in Libya, China dispatched military transport planes and arranged chartered boats to evacuate an estimated 30,000 Chinese working there, mostly in the construction and oil industries, comprising one of the largest blocs of foreign labourers.

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No action yet from Obama on guns despite call for steps

WASHINGTON – More than five months after Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head, the White House has yet to take any new steps on gun violence, even though that’s what President Barack Obama called for in the wake of the shooting.

The silence from the administration is drawing criticism from gun control activists and even some of Obama’s Democratic allies. Sen. Frank Lautenberg told the president in a letter last week that the administration “has not shown the leadership to combat gun violence.”

It’s in keeping with Obama’s general stance on gun issues since taking office: outspoken earlier in his political career in favour of tougher gun measures, he’s treaded carefully since becoming president, almost never raising the topic except when asked and offering, at-most, tepid support for legislation he once embraced, such as re-enacting a ban on assault weapons.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement that the Justice Department is “consulting with the key stakeholders to identify common-sense measures that would improve American safety and security while fully respecting Second Amendment rights.”

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Schultz declined to comment further, but whatever the administration produces is likely to fall well short of the steps activists would like to see, such as legislation banning the kind of high-capacity ammunition clips used in the Giffords shooting. Any significant change of that kind would require legislation, but with Congress hostile toward any gun-control bills, the administration sees that avenue as closed.

Firearm ownership is a American tradition dating back more than two centuries to the run-up to the American Revolution, which was initially fought by local militias relying on their own weapons.

The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment says that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

It has been interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court as protecting personal firearm ownership and self-defence within the home.

A U.S. government official involved in the gun control talks said that suggestions currently under consideration include ways to improve the background check system dealers use to avoid selling guns to criminals, which activists say is ineffective and riddled with loopholes. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations.

Some improvements could be made administratively, such as by providing states clearer guidelines on how to provide criminal information to the federal government for the background check database. Although such steps are not nearly as bold as activist groups, including the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, would like to see, they still hope to see something – and soon.

“We’re coming on the six-month mark since the shooting and still nothing from the administration,” said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign. “It’s time for some action.”

The Justice Department deliberations began in March, after the president broke his usual silence on guns in an opinion piece in Giffords’ hometown newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star. In it, he called for “a new discussion on how we can keep America safe for all our people.”

Even then Obama steered clear of ambitious declarations, timelines or goals, but he did call for “sound and effective steps” to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, including strengthening background checks. Obama said that “if we’re serious about keeping guns away from someone who’s made up his mind to kill, then we can’t allow a situation where a responsible seller denies him a weapon at one store, but he effortlessly buys the same gun someplace else.”

Helmke and others interpreted that as support for closing what’s called the “gun-show loophole,” which allows private sellers to sell firearms at gun shows and elsewhere without conducting background checks. Activist groups say that some 40 per cent of gun sales are conducted without background checks.

But doing that would require legislation, and the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups are adamantly opposed. The NRA has not been involved in the Justice Department talks, but the National Shooting Sports Foundation has, and a spokesman said that when they met at the Justice Department, gun-control measures didn’t even come up.

“The topics discussed at the meeting were limited strictly to improving and enhancing the current background check system,” said spokesman Ted Novin, explaining that closing the gun-show loophole would amount to expanding the system, not improving it, and his group doesn’t support an expansion. “No gun-control measures of any kind were discussed during the meeting, nor would this organization support any such proposals that would curtail the lawful commerce of firearms or the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” Novin said.

With that kind of opposition from gun-rights groups, an election year approaching and attention focused on the economy, prospects for congressional action are dim. And the Obama administration, in turn, appears unlikely even to try to do anything more than make modest changes that don’t fundamentally alter the nation’s gun policies.

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s mother, Charlotte Bloomberg, dies at age 102

Charlotte Bloomberg, whose only son grew up to be a billionaire media mogul and then the mayor of New York City, died Sunday. She was 102.

She was a petite woman but a huge presence in the life of her son, Michael Bloomberg, who gave away millions of dollars in her name and set aside time from his harried schedule to call her every day. She died at her home in Medford, in the same house where the future mayor and his sister, Marjorie Tiven, were raised.

The mayor announced her death Sunday evening and said that for him and his sister, their mother had been the centre of their family.

“Our mother’s unimpeachable integrity, fierce independence, and constant love were gifts that profoundly shaped our lives and the lives of so many who knew her,” he said in a statement.

Charlotte Bloomberg was a local celebrity in Medford, where she served as co-president of Temple Shalom well into her 90s. Friends said she was animated, smart and a natural leader, like her son.

Rabbi Tami Crystal once told The Boston Globe that she was “the most beloved member” of the temple.

“Everybody adores Charlotte,” Crystal said. “She’s a ball of fire.”

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She was grandmother to Michael Bloomberg’s two grown daughters and Tiven’s three children. Tiven also works for the city as head of the Commission for the United Nations.

Those who knew Charlotte Bloomberg said she had the energy and sharp mind of someone years younger.

“She’s not just a little old lady to sit down and have tea with,” said Roy Belson, a friend who was also school superintendent in Medford.

She stood with her son on the steps of City Hall as he took his oaths of office in 2002 and 2006, although her health kept her from his third swearing in last year. During his first two runs, she was along for the ride on the campaign trail. During his 2005 campaign, she was a speaker at a Women for Bloomberg rally.

The proud mom told supporters that day that her son “knows which things are right, which things are good, which things he ought to do.”

The mayor often mentioned her, and it was one of his favourite ways to dismiss speculation that he planned to run for president, saying playfully that he had no interest in it but that his mother would be tickled to hear that anyone considered him a contender.

In his 1997 autobiography, he described her as “a woman of liberal views and independent mind” who taught him the value of hard work, intellectual curiosity and ambition to achieve his goals. He remembers the importance she placed on the family dining together each night, and that she set the table with linens, nice serving dishes and proper silverware each night.

“She did for us what my friends’ mothers did only for guests,” he wrote. The message, he added, was: “We’ve got to take care of each other.”

Charlotte Bloomberg graduated from high school at age 16 and completed her schooling at New York University. After marrying, she stayed home to raise her children while her husband, William Bloomberg, worked as a bookkeeper at a dairy. He had a weak heart and died when Michael Bloomberg was in college, so she became the family breadwinner.

“She taught me you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, and to do it without complaining,” Bloomberg wrote.

After he founded the financial information company that bears his name, and began to amass his multibillion-dollar fortune, Charlotte Bloomberg was proud but didn’t flaunt the relation.

“Sometimes, when people say to her, ‘Are you related to THE Bloomberg,’ she’ll say ‘No,’ just to avoid the conversation,” he wrote.

She once told a reporter that she is most proud of what doesn’t make headlines.

“The best things he does are the things that nobody knows about,” she said.

Her wealthy son made many donations in his mother’s name, including a reported $1 million gift to renovate Temple Shalom’s community centre, which was subsequently renamed The William and Charlotte Bloomberg Jewish Community Center.

In 2003, he travelled with her to Israel to dedicate a maternity and pediatric centre at Hadassah Hospital in her name. To mark her 100th birthday, the family funded a children’s centre in her name at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Michael Bloomberg has also endowed Charlotte Bloomberg funds for various other Jewish causes, and he created a Charlotte Bloomberg professorship in the study of art history at his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University.

The subject, he said, “was something she’s interested in and the school needed. To this day, she gets great pleasure knowing the Charlotte Bloomberg Professor is teaching, researching and enhancing our culture.”

Canada loses 13th straight at FIFA U-17 World Cup soccer tournament

PACHUCA, Mexico – Canada’s run of defeats at the FIFA U-17 World Cup was extended to 13 straight Sunday after a 3-0 loss to Uruguay in the tournament opener for both teams.

In five trips to the under-17 world soccer championship, Canada has yet to earn a point and has been outscored 45-3.

This Canadian side did not deserve to be lumped onto that ugly history. The Canadians showed flair against a well-organized South American side and had their chances but, as in pre-tournament friendlies, paid for their mistakes.

Two late goals made the scoreline seemed harsher that the game deserved.

Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau deserved a better fate, making several good saves, and had little chance on second-half goals by Juan Cruz Marcia and Guillermo Mendez.

Crepeau left on a stretcher in the 89th minute after being hurt in a collision with Marcia. Quillan Roberts replaced him and gave up a goal in injury time to Elbio Alvarez.

Uruguay’s opener came in the 52nd minute from Marcia, a highly touted striker who has already drawn the attention of Spain’s Atletico Madrid, on a sunny evening at Estadio Hidalgo.

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The goal came off an Alvarez corner that Canadian captain Bryce Alderson and Daniel Stanese failed to clear. The ball dropped at the feet of the Uruguay star who turned and fired it high into the net with his left foot from close range.

Defender Luca Gasparotto had let the ball run out, thinking it would be a goal kick but a corner was awarded instead. A replay suggested the ball had indeed come off the Canadian’s chest.

Gasparotto had a chance to redeem himself off a free kick in the 61st minute but his header was palmed over the bar by goalkeeper Jonathan Cubero. Keven Aleman also had a good chance in the 74th but was stopped by Cubero.

Mendez converted a penalty to make it 2-0 in the 85th minute. Canadian defender Adam Polakiewicz was booked on the play for bringing down the Uruguayan who was trying to get his own rebound after Crepeau stopped his header.

Uruguay, which finished second in South American qualifying, outshot Canada 21-7 (7-4 in shots on target).

This marks Canada’s fifth trip to the under-17 championships and first since 1995, having missing out on seven editions of the tournament before finishing runner-up to the U.S. in CONCACAF qualifying in February.

Canada hosted the tournament in 1987 and also qualified for the 1989 competition in Scotland, ’93 in Japan, and ’95 in Ecuador.

Uruguay had more of the possession in the first half with the Canadians looking to counter-attack. The South Americans outshot the Canadians 12-3 in the first 45 minutes but only 3-2 in shots on target.

Crepeau was called into action early parrying a hard shot from Juan San Martin in the seventh minute after Samuel Piette was dispossessed in his own half.

One minute later, the Canadians found themselves in disarray in their penalty box but the Uruguayans could not get a shot off in the mass of bodies.

A diving Crepeau stopped San Martin again in the 12th.

The Canadians responded with a nifty attack in the 14th minute but Michael Petrasso’s toe poke bounced off a defender. Petrasso had another chance soon after but he failed to get off a decent shot after a nice one-two with Sadi Jalali and Cubero easily gathered the ball.

Cubero stopped speedy Yassin Essa in the 33rd minute but the Canadian’s left-footed shot did not do justice to the buildup.

Alvarez forced a lunging Crepeau save in the 39th minute off a long-range, swerving free kick that was on target.

Crepeau had to be sharp to palm the ball away second later after a long ball found San Martin in the penalty box behind the Canadian defence.

Crepeau was called upon in the 50th, making a good stop off a Leonardo Pais shot following a long kick by the Uruguayan goalie.

Canada’s next game is Wednesday against England, which defeated Rwanda 2-0 in the other Group C game Sunday. Uruguay takes on Rwanda next.

In Group D play Sunday, the U.S. defeated the Czech Republic 3-0 and New Zealand downed Uzbekistan 4-1.

The 24-team tournament, the 12th edition of the under-17 world championship, runs through July 10 in the Mexican cities of Guadalajara, Monterrey, Morelia, Torreon, Pachuca, Queretaro and Mexico City.

The top two teams in each of the six groups and the four best third-place teams will advance to the knockout quarter-finals.

Airbus racks up orders and glitches at Paris Air Show, where rivalry with Boeing heats up

LE BOURGET, France – Airbus stumbled at the launch of the aviation industry’s premier event Monday as its star superjumbo clipped a wing and a gearbox glitch derailed a demonstration flight.

But the European plane maker and chief rival Boeing Co. quickly racked up orders for billions of dollars worth of aircraft at the Paris Air Show, heating up their race for the world’s lead in jet sales.

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Skyrocketing fuel costs and bleak forecasts for the international air transport market are driving purchases at this year’s show. Airlines are searching for cheaper and cleaner ways to fly, and star displays include biofuel and hybrid engines and a solar plane.

One star, Airbus’ superjumbo A380, was grounded after clipping a wing on a taxiway structure, the latest in a string of embarrassments for the company.

The plane suffered damage to its wing tip Sunday after the slow-speed collision with a building at the Le Bourget airport, where the world’s largest and oldest aviation showcase is taking place, spokesman Alexander Reinhardt, of Airbus’ holding company EADS, said Monday.

Airbus quickly found a replacement jet for demonstration flights during the air show, an A380 operated by Korean Air. But the planemaker is facing other setbacks.

The Airbus A400M military transport plane had to cancel a demonstration flight because of what the manufacturer described as a minor gearbox problem, although the aircraft made a fly-over during President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to the air show on Monday.

On Saturday, Airbus announced that two of the three versions of its new widebody jet, the A350, would be delayed about two years.

The stretched A350-1000 is being pushed back to 2017 to give engine supplier Rolls Royce time to develop a more powerful motor that will extend the jet’s range, Airbus said. The standard version of the plane, the A350-900, is still expected to arrive in the second half of 2013, Airbus said.

Airbus’ chief salesman John Leahy defended the delay, saying the revamped 350-1000 would best rival Boeing’s 777-300ER by flying 400 nautical miles further while burning 25 per cent less fuel.

“Yes we were supposed to come out in 2015, but customers said give us some extra performance and we can take the delay,” he said.

Airbus’ first big order Monday was from GE Capital Aviation Services, ordering 60 A320neo jets, a version of the workhorse jet revamped to be more fuel efficient.

Airbus has booked 390 orders and commitments for the A320neo since its commercial launch last December – even though it won’t come into service until 2015 – from airlines squeezed by higher fuel prices.

Boeing hasn’t yet chosen how it will respond, but top marketing executive Randy Tinseth said it would decide in the coming months whether to upgrade its existing 737 model or design a whole new plane, which wouldn’t be in the air until the end of the decade.

Qatar Airways announced an order for six Boeing 777 planes in a $1.7 billion deal at the start of the show Monday.

Airlines in fast-growing Asian and Middle Eastern countries have been ordering hundreds of new aircraft to meet fast-growing air traffic in those regions.

Akbar Al-Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, said at a news conference with Boeing officials that he regretted hearing of “significant delays” in Airbus’ A350 program. Qatar Airways is the launch customer for the A350, and is due to receive the first one in the second half of 2013. Half of the 80 A350s that Qatar Airways has ordered would be affected by the delay.

“This will dent our expansion and fleet placement program,” he told reporters. “It is very disappointing to us,” he said.

“Also we hope that the performances that they are today talking about is the right information and it will do what Airbus says that the airplane will do,” he said.

Boeing and Honeywell are both boasting of having the first biofuel-powered trans-Atlantic flight, with Boeing flying in its 747-8 freighter from Seattle on a mix of biofuel and jet fuel, while Honeywell touts the “green jet fuel” it developed to power a Gulfstream business jet that flew from New Jersey to Le Bourget.

EADS will also demonstrate the world’s first diesel-electric hybrid aircraft at the show, another leg in its strategy of cutting its fleet’s carbon dioxide emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.

Skyrocketing fuel costs are a major issue for Airbus and Boeing customers, who will see their profits plunge to $4 billion this year from $18 billion in 2010, according to the IATA forecast released earlier this month.

Given the fierce competition in the market, Sarkozy defended European governments’ support for France-based Airbus.

“Aviation is a strategic sector that the state should not lose interest in,” he said in opening the show.

Airbus edged out Boeing at last year’s Farnborough International Airshow in the U.K., racking up deals totalling $13.2 billion, while Chicago-based Boeing’s commitments came in at $12.8 billion.

Those results were a big improvement over the results of the last Paris Air Show in 2009, when many airlines closed their checkbooks in the wake of the global financial meltdown.

Going into next week’s event, Airbus has taken in 176 gross orders this year, compared to Boeing’s 183 gross orders.

Boeing is the world’s No. 2 commercial jet maker after Airbus, based on 2010 deliveries. Airbus delivered 510 commercial planes last year, compared with 462 for Boeing.

The International Air Transport Association last month warned that natural disasters in Japan, unrest in the Middle East and rising fuel prices would cause airline industry profits to collapse only a year after they’d begun to recover from the global economic crisis.

More than 2,100 exhibitors from 45 countries have signed up to take part in the weeklong event showcasing both commercial and defence aircraft. Airbus expects to bag bountiful orders for a new, more fuel-efficient version of its workhorse A320 shorthaul jet, while Boeing is spotlighting its new mid-range 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 intercontinental passenger jets.

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Sylvie Corbet at Le Bourget contributed to this report.

Residents in need of volunteers as waters rise

Despite still being forced from their cottages, residents in Lundar Beach and Sugar Point aren’t giving up fighting to save their lakefront property.

"it’s an untenable amount of water and we are doing our best, the rest is just crossing your fingers," said Claude Grenier, a cottage owner in Lundar beach.

Last week, waves just over six feet high forced dozens of people in the area out in just a matter of minutes.

So far, half a million sandbags have been trucked in to the RM of Coldwell. With only a handful of volunteers this weekend, many bags are still waiting to be put to use.

"We can only be here so much and we can only do so much during the day as it is we’re putting in hours and hours so we need help," said Sharon Jack, who also has a cottage in Lundar Beach.

Local flood officials say Lundar Beach and Sugar Point are in the best position to be saved, if they get help. Right now they don’t have enough and the lake just keeps rising.

"If you say the word desperate it means you’ve given up," said Ed Borchert, the EMO coordinator with the RM of Coldwell. "We have a great need and we need every hand that is willing to come out and help," he said.

Around 100 volunteers are needed every day until at least July. Last week government workers were brought in to help out.

Exhausted property owners know Manitobans have done their part this flood season, but they hope more will step up.

"More people loading pallets, more people hauling pallets, more people putting sandbags into these barrels or in front of these barrels, on creating dikes. It’s all needed," said Grenier.

With the exception of a garage, none of the cottages are damaged. That doesn’t mean residents are out of the woods and they won’t be for a long time.

"When the ice comes and breaks up and it comes in it can sweep these cottages off like you were rolling over trees and all this stuff will disappear," said Brian Sigfusson, the reeve of Coldwell. "The ice will pile on it and there is nothing you can do to stop it."

He said the lake has to be drop by at least two feet for the area to stand a fighting chance next spring.

If you’re able to help, you’re asked to show up anytime between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Lundar Beach campground parking lot with rubber boots and gloves.

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Two faces of Milan: relaxed classic styles to sport-inspired eccentric, fanciful looks

MILAN – Classic styles with a relaxed feel permeated the Milan runways Sunday, the second day of menswear previews for next spring and summer.

Bottega Veneta, Ferragamo and Emporio Armani showed updated versions of the well-tailored summer silhouette, easy to wear and easy to pack.

Bottega Veneta and Armani both played with layers and ultralight fabrics. Ferragamo trotted out well-worn raffia hats and derby shoes, echoing a 1930s artistic look, and high-waisted trousers that are emerging as a trend for next summer.

Less beholden to tradition were Prada and Vivienne Westwood.

Minimalist Prada allowed herself to have fun, seeking inspiration in golf, of all things. What emerges is a colorful, upbeat pastiche that works on and off the golf course.

Britain’s Vivienne Westwood, thinking ahead to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, presented whacky T-shirts printed with Olympic icons, fanciful laurel wreaths and golden Greek sandals.

PRADA

Golf inspired Prada’s offbeat, whimsical menswear collection for next spring and summer.

“I was using golf as an excuse to make it eccentric. Even if I hate golf and don’t play, it is completely international,” designer Miuccia Prada said back stage after the preview menswear show Sunday evening.

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The motif, she said, allowed her to merge ideas and cultures, although the basic theme of the spring-summer 2012 collection was “Americana.”

Prada laid artificial turf for the show inside a cavernous industrial space in central Milan, just the thing for the riveted soles of the fringed golf shoes worn by the models – or were they caddies? Several carried floral printed or studded golf bags, with Prada-branded golf clubs.

Sporting cocky golf hats, the models seemed to enjoy themselves as they snaked down the grassy runway, to a lively remix of Cole Porter’s “Summertime.”

The collection was perfectly balanced, featuring whimsical comic book figures on shirts, trousers and jackets. A rodeo-style shirt with studded yolk featured cowboys on bucking broncos, teepees and dancing couples. Some trousers showed a miniature golfing tableau. A jacket was printed with musical figures, including a Rockabilly guitarist and a conductor in boxer shorts.

The backbone of the collection came in the well-tailored jackets, trousers and sweaters in neutral colours, from tan to black, that became the blank canvas for Prada’s whimsy.

FERRAGAMO

Sometimes an obsession is a good thing. At least if your name is Massimiliano Giornetti and you design clothes for the steeped-in-tradition Ferragamo label.

“I am obsessed with elegance and beauty,” said the new creative director of the Florentine brand famous for its shoes and scarves, after a much-applauded show.

His goal is to reinvent the classic Ferragamo silhouette and give it a fresh modern energy “step by step.”

The designer is certainly headed in the right direction with his spring-summer 2012 menswear collection unveiled Sunday.

Inspired by the compelling nonchalance of a 1930s artist – Pablo Picasso fits the picture – Giornetti creates a wardrobe which is elegant but never stuffy.

His summer man sports a double-breasted suit with a shirt in the same material and high-waisted trousers with pleats. He strolls through life wearing a frayed raffia hat, vintage shades, and classic Derby shoes that allow him to escape into his romantic world.

Styles flow one into the other. A jacket resembles a shirt, a dressing gown morfs into a loose-knit cardigan, and a pair of canvas shoes double as slippers.

Materials range from hemp to washed fabrics with a sun-bleached effect. Colors are quiet beige and ivory, pastel greys, and eclectic navy blue.

BOTTEGA VENETA

Though dressed in rumpled suits and clutching soft colorful leather bags, the Bottega Veneta man is no slouch.

The collection previewed Sunday for next spring and summer contained pattern upon pattern in light, easy-to-wear fabrics that give the impression of endless possibilities, including business meeting, pool-side party, or a seaside dash. Colors were deep tourmaline blue, chocolate and indigo, set off by pewter or beige.

The line of the Bottega Veneta suit is nearly unbroken. Deep blue patterned jackets flow into matching tapered pants that give a full view of lace-up shoes, sometimes in the same pattern. Only a zebra/coffee striped shirt, buttoned high, interrupts the flow.

For more formal wear, designer Tomas Maier preferred deep monochromatic gabardine suits in arresting peridot, espresso jolt and dive-deep turquoise. He broke up the line with an off-colour waistline – for instance, turquoise on peridot.

Suits with mandarin collars and short waistbands give the appearance of a single piece, in another era a jump suit. Think airplane mechanic, first class.

“I’ve always liked the idea of a coverall or jumpsuit, of one single piece of clothing that works for a man the way a dress does for a woman,” Maier said in notes on the collection. “But a tailored jumpsuit is impractical. So we started with the idea of an all-in-one and related it to a suit.”

EMPORIO ARMANI

The Emporio Armani menswear collection for next spring and summer was titled “Lightness.” It could just as aptly have been called “Motion.”

The collection previewed Sunday was a study in quiet motion. From the double-darted trousers, to the thin ties, the long loopy belts, the lightweight T-shirts and the long, open jackets, everything flowed in a gentle whisper.

Suits were layered with loose-knit cardigans, emphasizing the lightness of it all, on top of ultra-light T-shirts. Loose long jackets were nearly see-through, revealing the shape of the man. The colour scheme was sober and neutral in greys, putty and blue.

Digital prints were busy electrical currents or tiny synapses of light on sheer button-down blousons paired with matching T-shirts, or on the suits themselves.

In contrast to the lightness of the fabrics, shoes were either thickly soled or ankle-high boots, worn without socks.

The finale featured a cascade of barefoot boys wearing ankle-baring pleated pants cinched at the waist by thin tied leather belts and air-catching jackets over pale blue T-shirts.

Missing from the runway: shorts.

PRINGLE

They say good things come in small packages, and so it was for Pringle who put on a snappy eight-minute show filled with wooly delights.

Known for its iconic argyle prints favoured by British royalty, the Scottish knitwear company founded in the early 19th century, became a “must-have” label for women in the 1950s when it recreated the sporty twinset by weaving it in cashmere and pairing it with single string of pearls. Think Grace Kelly in her Hollywood heyday.

The scope of the company’s new design director, Briton Alistair Carr, who presented his first menswear collection Sunday, will reinvent the brand for the 21st century.

“I want to strike the balance between respecting and reinterpreting the Pringle of Scotland heritage,” the designer said in the fashion notes that accompanied the show.

The new knitwear comes in lightweight ribbed cashmere and cottons resembling corrugated stone, while the new argyle features extra large intarsias. Favorite colours are granite, navy, khaki and black with new age touches of acid green and industrial yellow.

Overall next year’s spring summer look is classic with an edge featuring high buttoned jackets, worn with pants or shorts, sleeveless sweaters with incorporated collars, and the latest jodhpur boot in trendy white and red.

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

Britain’s Vivienne Westwood is gearing up for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

T-shirts were emblazoned with gold-embossed Olympic torches, iconic Greek athletic figures and printed Olympic medals draped around the neckline. They were worn with shorts, in pinstripes or Union Jack red, white and blue, with golden Greco-style sandals or bright red penny-loafers accompanied by knee-socks.

Westwood’s opinion of the Games is up for grabs: Olympic head wreaths were fashioned out of playing cards, and Olympic medals out of Coca-Cola cans.

The collection was not just about funky merchandizing. There also were outfits suggested for the events themselves.

Each has its own eclectic touch: One suit mixes and matches grey and tan plaids, a pair of trousers features an exceedingly convenient kangaroo-style pouch, and a shirt has the bodice of a T-shirt.

For a twist on eveningwear, tuxedos with an asymmetrical slant are worn with multiple strapped Mary Jane-style shoes or ballet shoes topped with bows.

For those who need time planning their wardrobes, the Games will be held from July 27 to Aug. 12, 2012.

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AP Fashion Writer Daniela Petroff contributed to this report.

Index

MILAN – There’s an inherent message in Burberry Prorsum’s menswear collection for next spring and summer. Slow down.

Designer Christopher Bailey isn’t trying to hit anyone over the head with the thought. It’s more by example.

CHICAGO – Medicare crises, looming doctor shortages, more patients without health insurance. And that doesn’t even count the big changes coming from a revamped health care system.

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HangZhou Night Net

It’s a troubling time for doctors as they gather for the annual American Medical Association meeting.

PHILADELPHIA – Martha Stewart’s media aspirations just got bigger: Meet Martha Stewart, comic-book heroine.

The woman who created her own media empire – television, magazines and more – is getting a biographical treatment in her own comic book next month.

ASCOT, England – Christina Osborne has a system for winning at Royal Ascot, the five-day horse racing event that is one of the highlights of England’s glittering if brief summer social season.

The American in London doesn’t bother with the odds, the bookies or the data-packed Racing Post. She just picks the horses with the cutest names.

TORONTO – Lots of rain in many parts of the country means that grass is growing like, well, a weed, and some Canadians may already be getting their fill of cutting it. But that doesn’t mean lawn mower operators should be lax when it comes to safety, which is still essential to help prevent injury.

Lawn mower accidents can cause serious injuries to legs, arms, fingers, toes or other body parts. Between 1990 and 2006, a total of 1,161 patients visited Canadian hospitals for lawn mower-related injuries, according to Health & Safety Watch.

VIDALIA, Ga. – They’ve started fistfights and court battles, been romanticized in country songs and counterfeited by bootleggers. Their trademark sweetness has made them a coveted ingredient in recipes from salads and relishes to cookies and muffins.

If a museum dedicated to onions sounds rooted in folly, the history behind the famous Vidalia onion can likely hold its own with other veggie shrines such as the Idaho Potato Museum, the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Museum in Minnesota and the tiny Carrot Museum tucked in a Rhode Island bed-and-breakfast.

OTTAWA – Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq is confirming that she intends to further restrict the way medical marijuana is grown.

She wants to take individual growers and Health Canada out of the business of producing the drug, and instead grant licences only to commercial operations.

OTTAWA – Health Canada is reviewing the status of the diabetes drug pioglitazone after studies suggested the medication may increase the risk of bladder cancer.

Pioglitazone, sold in Canada under the brand name Actos as well as in generic forms, is used alone or in combination with other diabetes drugs to control blood sugar levels when diet and exercise have failed.

Nothing says summer like ice cream and these walnut ice-cream bonbons are a perfect treat that is sure to make kids and adults alike smile.

Lollipop sticks can be purchased at bulk stores.

Next time you arrive home from work feeling famished, this Thai tuna and quinoa dish can be ready in a snap.

Quinoa Thai Tuna

Devilled eggs are a classic accompaniment to summer picnics and barbecue. But they generally are loaded with fat and calories from the egg yolks and mayonnaise.

We set out to remake the filling to be flavourful, yet pack significantly less guilt. Egg yolks do have great nutritional value; the majority of an egg’s vitamins and minerals are actually found in the yolk. But along with those nutrients are plenty of fat and cholesterol.

ATLANTA – The gap in cancer death rates between college graduates and those who only went to high school is widening, the American Cancer Society reported Friday.

Among men, the least educated died of cancer at rates more than 2 1/2 times that of men with college degrees, the latest data show. In the early 1990s, they died at two times the rate of most-educated men.

ATLANTA – A new study shows one in four high school studentsdrink soda every day -a sign fewer teens are downing the sugary drinks.

The study also found teens drink water, milk and fruit juices most often – a pleasant surprise, because researchers weren’t certain that was the case.

OTTAWA – The federal government is poised to tighten the rules on medical marijuana so that only licensed private operators are allowed to grow it, The Canadian Press has learned.

Sources say Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq wants to take individuals and Health Canada out of the business of growing pot.

Yes, indeedy, that guy in the Porsche or other jazzy, high-priced set of wheels is definitely an eye-catcher. But any woman seeking a long-term relationship should let this dude keep on driving, no matter how tempting his ride makes him seem.

That’s because such flamboyant spending seems to be driven by the desire to have no-strings-attached romantic flings – not marriage or other committed partnerships, a series of four studies by U.S. researchers has concluded.

WACCABUC, N.Y. – “Try it. Go ahead, stick your finger in!”

The dollop of spicy hot-pepper paste is hard to turn down, coming as it does from the blender of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, one of the best-known chefs in the world, not to mention the owner of 31 restaurants and the man known for basically revolutionizing fine dining in New York.

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The resort season is not a time for fashion to take a vacation. Resort collections, which hit stores during the all-important Christmas holiday shopping season, are a growing part of designer businesses as consumers move toward styles they can wear year-round.

The idea that people fully switch their closets between seasons is outdated, agrees Ken Downing, senior vice-president and fashion director for retailer Neiman Marcus. Shoppers want clothes they can wear the day they buy them, he says, and resort wear typically meets that demand.

OTTAWA – Stroke victims in Canada don’t get to hospitals quickly enough – and even when they do they can still wait hours for treatment, says a major study released Thursday.

The report by the Canadian Stroke Network suggests neither victims nor hospital staffs treat strokes as serious medical emergencies.

TORONTO – Almost 40 per cent of teens who answered a questionnaire about their sexual knowledge said the Internet is more useful than parents in providing this kind of information.

And almost one-quarter of respondents rated the Internet higher than their high school sexual education classes.

The goal was a simple chicken casserole that had the rich, satisfying flavour of a lasagna.

Actually, that’s a lie. The goal was a chicken roulade – a dish in which chicken breasts are pounded flat, then slathered or layered with some sort of filling, then rolled into a log and roasted or braised.