first_imgStuff 9 July 2010The first question I’d like to ask Labour list MP Steve Chadwick is: “Why now?” What’s convinced her that the time is right to reopen the abortion debate? What ill-omened denizen of the current political environment has told her that this is the moment to introduce a members bill permitting abortion-on-demand up to the 24th week of pregnancy?I would really, really like to know who it was. Because, try as I may, I’m finding it really difficult to make the cost/benefit analysis come out in Ms Chadwick’s, her party’s, or even her gender’s favour.Her decision might, of course, be driven entirely by ideological considerations – by an unwavering conviction that every woman has an incontestable right to do whatever she pleases with, and to, her own body. That would make a sort of sense – providing, of course, she’s willing to accept the consequences of making ideology the battleground upon which this issue is decided. What’s sauce for the ideological goose must also be sauce for the ideological gander.Clearly, Ms Chadwick’s proposed bill has got me perplexed. I simply cannot see what difference – in practical terms – changing the present legislation would make.According to statistics supplied by the Abortion Supervisory Committee, there were 18,382 abortions carried out in New Zealand in 2007. That’s 12,437 more than in 1980 – barely two years after the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act came into force on April 1, 1978. read more

first_imgIn 2017, sports and esports intertwined to an unprecedented degree, multiple industry records were smashed, and the groundwork was laid for some of the most exciting developments in esports’ unfolding epic that we’ve seen yet. As a little Christmas present, here’s our nostalgia-soaked look back over the biggest stories from an incredible year in esports. 1 – The largest esports event in historyCopyright: ESL | Patrick StrackIntel & ESL welcomed 173,000 people in Katowice to the largest esports event on record.Across two weekends of intense action in CS:GO, League of Legends, and StarCraft 2, a combined prize pool of $650,000 (£525,000) was up for grabs.The audience were treated to masterclasses from Astralis, the Flash Wolves, and  Jun “TY” Tae Yang, as the winners claimed the trophies and prize money in front of record attendance. IEM Katowice 2017 also commanded an online audience that was 35% higher than the previous year’s event.“The gaming community’s passion for esports was on display,” said Frank Soqui, General Manager of the Virtual Reality and Gaming Group at Intel, adding that tournament “shattered all expectations”. So, there you have it: five of the biggest stories of 2017. Of course, it doesn’t come close to truly encapsulating a momentous year of esports, and there will doubtless be countless stories that could have just as easily slotted in lieu of the ones above. But that just demonstrates what a storied year this has been for competitive gaming – and esports is only going up from here.Happy holidays, and see you all in 2018. I can’t wait to find out what’s in store. 2 – The largest esports prize pool in historyAnother record was shattered in 2017 – by Valve, who have made an awful habit of perennially rewriting the record books with the prize pool of Dota 2’s The International.TI 7 featured the absolutely bonkers prize pool total of almost 24.8 million dollars (£18.6m). As a result, victors Team Liquid alone took home $10.9 million (£8.12m) alongside the Aegis of Champions.As usual, the winnings were mostly funded by the fans, as players had the option to purchase a ‘Battle Pass’, which provides a suite of aesthetic enhancements for the game. 5 – Esports discussed for the OlympicsJust when you thought you’d heard it all, news came out this year that the virtues of esports are being debated by the International Olympic Committee, with a view to a potential inclusion in the 2024 Games.The team behind the Paris bid for the 2024 Games were keen to discuss the possible addition to the programme with the IOC, with the aim of appealing to some of the legions of (typically young) fans of esports tournaments.The 28th of October saw leading representatives of the Olympic Summit weigh up the pros and cons of esports. They acknowledged that esports “could be considered a sporting activity”, a crucial first step if the bid to include esports is successful; however, they also outlined a number of requirements that would have to be met, including the formation of an independent governing body for competition. If you’re interested in all facets of the debate, check out this piece, which runs through the arguments for and against esports’ inclusion. 4 – Tencent continues world dominationSamsung Galaxy versus SKT T1, 2016. Credit Riot GamesNot satisfied with simply owning the highest-earning game in the world, Tencent this year revealed a five-year plan to create a gargantuan, world-leading, $14.6 billion esports market in China.The plan of action includes setting up further esports leagues, tournaments, and associations that will nurture players. Tencent will also construct esports ‘industrial parks’, providing an upgrade to the infrastructure across the country’s entire esports ecosystem.They definitely have the bark to back up their bite, too, having announced a total annual revenue of $21 billion for 2016. That figure was reached with the assistance of an acquisition of League of Legends developer Riot Games the previous year. 3 – Esports: franchisedNorth American esports took a massive step this year, with the NA LCS and the mostly US-based Overwatch League both offering franchise spots in their leagues commencing in 2018.Riot Games revealed they were franchising their premier North American tournament in June, with slots reportedly selling for $10 million (£7.5m). Overwatch League franchises apparently paid twice that figure for inclusion in Blizzard’s competition. Many of this year’s stories followed the plights of esports organisations, sports clubs, and venture capitalists competing with each other for a space.For a look into the twenty organisations behind the teams in both leagues, check out this handy OWL and NA LCS ownership guide. Spoiler alert: almost half of them have NBA affiliations!last_img read more

first_imgBy John BurtonCOLTS NECK — The pastor and youth group ministers at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church have stepped down in the aftermath of revelations that a priest from the Newark Archdiocese previously was involved with the parish’s youth program, even though he was legally prohibited from such activities without supervision.Bishop David M. O’Connell of the Diocese of Trenton announced Monday that he accepted the resignation of the Rev. Thomas J. Triggs as pastor.Triggs’ last act as pastor, according to the diocese, was to accept the resignations of Michael and Amy Lenehan, parish youth ministers. The resignations are effective immediately.In a statement read during Masses this past weekend, O’Connell said, “The troubling events of the past week and the unrelenting scrutiny that have surrounded them in the media and within your parish have made it clear to me that a change in parish leadership is in the best interest of all concerned.”O’Connell went on to say he will appoint a parish administrator in the next few days.Triggs, who had been with the parish for six years, has been granted a sabbatical before the bishop gives him a new assignment, according to the diocese.In a separate written statement also read during Mass, Triggs told the parishioners that given the controversy that arose and the response he heard from parishioners at an informational meeting conducted in the church Friday, May 3, it had become clear to him “that the good of our parish can only be served if I step down as pastor.”The moves are the latest developments that erupted when it became public that the Rev. Michael Fugee, a Catholic priest with the Archdiocese of Newark, had participated in a religious youth retreat, where he conducted one-on-one confessions with youth group members.Fugee had been charged a decade ago with inappropriately touching a boy. After he was convicted on the charge, the verdict was overturned on appeal on a procedural matter. Instead of retrying the case, Fugee was placed in a special pre-trial program, given probation and he and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office reached an agreement requiring Fugee undergo counseling and be permitted limited ministry work. The agreement also prohibited him from unsupervised access to minors. He was assigned to the Newark Chancery Office.After reports were published recently that Fugee had participated in youth group activities at St. Mary’s, he offered Newark Archbishop John J. Meyers his resignation Thursday, May 2, from the Chancery. Meyers accepted. Fugee, however, technically remains a priest but cannot perform any duties of the clergy or church. Any future decision concerning Fugee’s religious status rests with the Vatican, diocesan officials said.A St. Mary’s youth group meeting scheduled for Monday, May 6, has been postponed until further notice, according to Triggs’ statement.“There are few things in life as important as protecting our children and young people,” O’Connell said in his statement. “We all must commit ourselves to that goal by supporting the policies of the Diocese of Trenton.”last_img read more