first_imgMilitary installations affected by Hurricanes Michael and Florence, including Tyndall AFB and three Marine Corps bases, would receive $857 million for construction funding and $600 million for operation and maintenance, under an emergency spending bill House Democrats released Friday. The Democrats’ $12 billion disaster aid package builds on the $7.8 billion emergency measure the House passed in late December, reported CQ. That GOP-drafted bill separately included $5.7 billion for border security and never reached the president’s desk.Milcon funds in the Democrats’ measure would be allocated to three accounts:Air Force — $700 million for planning and design, and construction needed to respond to Hurricane Michael; funds would be used for planning and design for the relocation of Tyndall’s F-22 mission, beddown of F-35 units and construction of other facilities needed to rebuild Tyndall, according to an Appropriations Committee release; the Air Force would need to submit a basing plan and future mission requirements to Congress for installations affected by the storm prior to spending the funds;Navy and Marine Corps — $115 million for planning and design for construction projects at Marine Corps Air Station New River, MCAS Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina; andArmy National Guard — $42 million to rebuild an Army readiness center and operations facility.The measure also includes $400 million in operation and maintenance funding for the Air Force and $200 million in operation and maintenance funding for the Marine Corps to address the impact of the two storms. It is not yet clear when the emergency spending package would receive a vote in committee or on the House floor.Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Isaiah Gomez Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img

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first_imgHazrat Shahjalal International Airport Dense fog since early Monday affected schedules of all domestic and international flights at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital.Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) public relations officer AKM Rezaul Karim said that the fog forced the authorities to suspend all fights at Dhaka airport since 6:30am.A Bangladesh Biman airliner (BG 308), which was scheduled to arrive around 9:30am at the Dhaka airport, had to land on Chittagong airport due to think fog, he added.Met office said density of fog has increased significantly throughout the country.A cold wave is sweeping across the country from the end of December to beginning of the January.last_img

first_imgIn your reporting and ultimate findings, what were you most surprised to learn?Carlsson: I think we both felt a rush of adrenaline when we unraveled the details about the conflict between Apple and Spotify. After several months of research, we could finally account for how Jobs actively worked to oppose Spotify’s establishment in the U.S., and what he may have been thinking. It gave the story an edge. And it was of course exciting to dig into all the secrets surrounding how the record companies got rich on Spotify, how Ek almost bought both Tidal and SoundCloud, and how the stock trading in the most exclusive of global financial circles set the stage for Spotify’s listing on Wall Street.You traveled some distances to sit down with sources…Leijonhufvud: Sven went to Berlin. We were in London twice and both traveled to New York. Then we wrote a large part of the book in a house near Santa Monica in Los Angeles, where many of the American record companies are located. This is truly an international story and it’s been exciting to fit the puzzle pieces together. But a lot of people have been nervous about talking to us, too. We’ve promised anonymity to many sources, which makes the really interesting moments tricky to talk about.Pictured below: Daniel Ek at age 16. CREDIT: Courtesy of Jonas Leijonhufvud Barely a page into the book “Spotify Untold,” Swedish authors Jonas Leijonhufvud (pictured at left) and Sven Carlsson paint an odd scene. The year is 2010 and Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek is facing a succession of obstacles gaining entry into the U.S. market — or, more specifically, infiltrating the tightly-networked and often nepotistic to a fault music industry. As stress sets in, Ek becomes convinced that Apple’s Steve Jobs is calling his phone just to breathe deeply on the other end of the line, he purportedly confesses to a colleague.One of the many illustrative insights from “Spotify Inifrån” (currently only available in Swedish), journalists Leijonhufvud and Carlsson, tech reporters for Stockholm’s Di Digital, culled material from more than 70 interviews conducted in London, Los Angeles, New York and Spotify’s home base in Sweden. Their sources included former top Spotify executives and investors, record company heads and competitors speaking on and off the record. Related Among the revelations: How close Spotify came close to acquiring Tidal, and even closer to buying Soundcloud; How Microsoft, Google and Tencent all offered to buy Spotify at various points; How Ek scored a valuable partnership with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg just ahead of Spotify’s U.S. launch; And Spotify TV, the streamer’s failed attempt to topple big guns Netflix, Hulu and Apple TV (read a translated excerpt of that chapter).At the core of the book, say the authors, is “a character-driven story of Spotify’s rise from a tiny start-up to the biggest music streaming company in the world.” Carlsson and Leijonhufvud recently sat down with Variety.Let’s start with your opening scene: Spotify’s CEO confiding in a colleague that he believes Steve Jobs was, essentially, prank-calling him. How can you know if that’s true?Sven Carlsson: We have that from a trusted source. Whether Steve Jobs actually called Daniel Ek is something we can’t verify. To us, Ek’s claim is as a reflection of how paranoid and anxious he must have felt in 2010, when Spotify was being denied access to the U.S. market, in large part due to pressure from Apple. The major record companies seem to have been quite loyal to the iTunes Music Store, and to Jobs personally. Apple had roughly 80 percent of the market for digital music distribution in the U.S. at the time. Jobs saw music downloads via iTunes as a comparative advantage in his ‘holy war’ against Google’s Android platform.What ultimately allowed Spotify to break through the American armor?Jonas Leijonhufvud: Secret deals between Spotify and Universal Music Group, and Spotify and Sony Music. Because Spotify was hindered by Steve Jobs, it forced the company to sweeten its deals with the record companies. That finally allowed Ek to enter the U.S.Did you have participation from Spotify for the book?  Leijonhufvud: No. Ek seems to have chosen to close the shutters completely. Personally, I can understand that. Spotify is challenging Apple on a legal level right now. We address Spotify’s constant struggle with Apple in our book. If Ek were to talk about such sensitive topics in book form, [Spotify would] do it in their own way with full control.Carlsson: Spotify is known the world over, but so much of its story has never been told before. So while we haven’t been able to interview the founders, we’ve talked to so many former senior executives, board members and colleagues. This is a fast-paced, character-driven book that tells the story from the inside of the company. ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Creator Jenji Kohan and Star Uzo Aduba Bid Farewell What’s Coming to Netflix in September 2019 What challenges lay ahead for Spotify?Carlsson: They need to work on their offering to tweens and teenagers, especially in terms of music discovery. I’m sure they are looking closely at Asian services like TikTok. Young people want to interact with music. They want to like, comment, interpret and share.How is Spotify regarded in Sweden? Is it the country’s greatest export? (Besides ABBA and Max Martin, of course.)Leijonhufvud: Swedes are proud of Spotify. It’s Europe’s largest tech company by market cap. Many Swedes see it as a symbol of the country’s success in both music and tech. Others are kind of tired of the hype and view the founders as aloof divas, hiding their wealth in tax havens.Carlsson: Spotify used to be paired with Skype and the Minecraft makers Mojang as the Swedish success stories within tech. These days, it’s mentioned in the same breath as H&M and Ikea. All three have gone global and remained independent companies. People widely credit Spotify with inspiring many other Swedish tech startups to go global. To Swedes, Spotify carries itself like a U.S. company, with a large spend and a lavish corporate culture. Ek wants to compete for talent with Google, Amazon and Apple – not with regional players in Europe. How do you view Spotify’s push into podcasting? Leijonhufvud: Music streaming is becoming a commodity, so Spotify needs to find new unique selling points. Competitors like Apple, Amazon and Google are all investing in TV and film, but Spotify knows it can’t win that race. Ek is instead spending hundreds of millions of dollars on podcasting companies and original podcasting content. He says 20 percent of the consumption on Spotify will be non-music in the future. Apple is countering by investing in their own podcasts, but that won’t stop Spotify. Ultimately, I think Ek would like to be a kind of Netflix for audio, with music as the backbone and exclusive content in other areas. Popular on Variety Will the book be available in English?Leijonhufvud: We hope a U.S. publisher will pick it up! It’s an exciting David-and-Goliath story — how a young hacker from Rågsved grows up to build the world’s biggest company for music streaming, and beats Apple at their own game. What would you say to Spotify’s top brass if you had the opportunity?Carlsson: That we like them! We think they’ve created something completely unbelievable. Their actions have had such significance for so many people’s lives and careers. They would probably rather tell their story themselves than have us do it for them, but I think they understand our role as journalists.Leijonhufvud: I would want to hear what they think about our craft. My reading of the situation is that they’ve felt inhibited by the press for all these years, that they’ve been fueled by this. Maybe that’s how it is — when you’re successful at something, you’re scrutinized for the sake of scrutiny. We’ve tried to give a balanced picture in this book. We feel a great sense of responsibility, especially because the founders aren’t available to respond to how we describe them. It would be interesting to hear if they’ve read it and what they thought. Spotify is their company. But the story has become so much larger than that. Their company is a part of society today, of the culture we all share. ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15last_img

first_img PlayStation 4 Becomes Fastest Console to Sell 100 Million‘Death Stranding’ Is Your PlayStation 4 Holiday Exclusive Stay on target The massive success of the original PlayStation compared to what had come before made it seem like it was bigger than video games. 100 million units is a huge number, and that cultural cache rubbed off on the console’s premier games like Final Fantasy VII, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, and Resident Evil.Even though he was owned by Vivendi (and now Activision), as a furry, obscure animal with attitude Crash Bandicoot became Sony’s de facto mascot in a series of popular platforming games starting in 1996. Now, after several E3 teases and with PlayStation and the 1990s bigger than ever, Crash is back in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, a remaster of the first three games for PlayStation 4. After all these years is Crash more Mario, Sonic, or Bubsy? I played a demo to find out.Developed by perennially underappreciated Activision studio Vicarious Visions, The N. Sane Trilogy takes some of the raw level geometry of Naughty Dog’s original work but essentially rebuilds the games (Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back, and Warped) from scratch on top of it. And that effort shows. This looks like a mostly modern video game with cartoony vistas, fur shading, and nearly 100 lovingly animated death sequences like a cute Mortal Kombat. Although it doesn’t run in 4K, the graphics are enhanced on PS4 Pro. Because so much of the game is brand new, there’s no option to play in the original graphical style. So you’ll just have to settle for that Uncharted 4 Easter Egg if you want truly classic Crash.But how does it play? Fun fact, until now I had never played a Crash Bandicoot game. But I have found the franchise’s early entries as fascinating examples of 3D platformers made before Super Mario 64 for controllers without analog sticks. The result is a more 2.5D platformer where you’re either running toward/away from the camera or just playing the game like a straight-up 2D sidescroller with occasional bits of depth.If you’re the one person more familiar with Klonoa than Crash Bandicoot, think Klonoa. Earlier, pre-fan art Sonic the Hedgehog was also an inspiration. This isn’t worse than a true 3D platformer, just different. And it allows for things like time trials in which players race through a level as fast as possible, a feature that’s been expanded in this re-release.However, there were a few moments where these old design choices stopped being curious historical artifacts and just got annoying. Jumping on enemies and spinning into crates worked fine, as did the racing sections of Warped, but aiming a fruit cannon in 3D space on essentially a 2D plane proved aggravating. But like I said, I’ve never played these, and Crash fans may overlook moments like that since they are more familiar with the original gameplay. They’ll be more taken aback by visuals that look like their memories of the original games, not the real thing.Fortunately, other aspects of the design have been massaged for modern tastes. Quality of life changes from later games have been retroactively implemented in the earlier ones. These are tough games, but if you die too often little things adjust to subtly give you an easier experience. You may see an extra checkpoint or a missing enemy. Dynamic difficulty like this was one of the best hidden features of Resident Evil 4 and I appreciated it here as well.Between Crash showing up in Skylanders, Uncharted, and now the N. Sane Trilogy, Activision seems to be testing the waters for an even bigger return of the… marsupial? When looking at this, Yooka-Laylee, and Super Mario Odyssey’s Mario 64 homage, 3D platformers are the new 2D platformers when it comes to nostalgic retro revivals, and Crash Bandicoot certainly has a ton of nostalgia. So it’s good to see him make a quality effort to stay in the conversation. Is a Crash Team Racing remake next? Or is this all just another Battletoads situation, more teasing than pay-offs?Find and devour the seven crystal babies when Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy launches June 30th on PlayStation 4.last_img

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