Friday, 24 November 2017

I'm A Celebrity's Jack Maynard sorry for 'horrible' tweets

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YouTuber Jack Maynard - who left I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! when offensive tweets he posted in 2012 emerged - has apologised for saying some "pretty disgusting things".

The tweets, which prompted allegations of racism and homophobia, were published in the Sun newspaper while Maynard, 23, was in Australia. He said he was "young" and "careless" when he posted them. In an online video, Maynard added: "I've been really stupid in the past." The show told viewers Maynard - who has more than 1.2m subscribers to his YouTube channel and is the younger brother of singer Conor Maynard - had left the jungle on Tuesday. A spokesman said he had departed "due to circumstances outside camp". In a video posted on his YouTube channel, Maynard confirmed he was back in London. "The least you deserved was for me to come home and sit down and talk to you and explain everything that has been going on," he told his subscribers. "I'm so sorry to anyone that I offended, anyone that I upset, anyone I made feel uncomfortable." He said he had "messed up" adding: "I've tweeted some bad things, some horrible things, some pretty disgusting things that I'm just ashamed of." "I was young I was careless, I just wasn't thinking, this was back when I had just left school and I didn't know what I was doing."
Jack Maynard
The social media star, who revealed it was his 23rd birthday, added: "All I can do is beg and encourage that you guys don't make the same mistake as well. "Don't put anything online you wouldn't say to your mum." Maynard appeared on Tuesday night's show, but presenters Ant and Dec confirmed his removal half-way through the programme. His representative later said the star realised the language used in the now-deleted tweets was "completely unacceptable". They said Maynard agreed with the decision to leave the show, which was "made by his representatives and ITV". He had been one of 10 contestants taking part in the programme, which started on Sunday.

How to Do These Five Common Bicycle Repairs

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Degreasing Your Chain
Problem: My chain isn't shifting correctly, and it skips a lot. What Happened: You may be an uber luber, and the excess sticky stuff is attracting grime to the chain and cassette. First clean, rinse, and dry your chain and cassette (the gears in the back). You can buy bike-specific degreasers and chain-cleaning gizmos, but dish soap and a toothbrush work, too. Next, carefully apply one drop (more is not better) of lube onto each roller as you turn the cranks backward for two or three rotations. Finally, take a clean rag and gently grip the chain's outer plates as you spin the cranks for one more rotation. Keep going until you've wiped off all the excess lube—it should be mostly inside the chain on the rollers, not on the outside where it can attract dirt.
Five Common Bicycle Repairs
Aligning Your Wheel
Problem: I fixed a flat. Now the tire is rubbing one of the brake pads. What Happened: You reinstalled your wheel crooked. If you slid the skewer all the way out to remove your wheel, you might have dropped one of the two skewer springs—which help keep your wheel centered—or reinstalled them backward. Check to be sure the narrow side of the spring is next to your hub; otherwise, it could increase the axle diameter and affect fit. Tip: You don't have to remove the skewer completely to take off a wheel. Just open the quick-release lever and spin the nut on the other side to loosen, then gently dislodge it from the dropouts (slots in the frame and fork where each skewer rests). When tightening, keep the bike on the ground to help the wheel sit properly.
Five Common Bicycle Repairs
Inflating Your Tires
Problem: I keep getting flat tires. Are my tubes defective? What Happened: You're underinflating your tubes, there's debris inside the tire, or you're not installing them correctly. Low tire pressure can cause a tube to be pinched against the rim and result in what's called a pinch flat. Look on the side of your tire to find the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) range. Inflate the tube to at least the lower number. If you're a heavier rider (more than 225 pounds including your bike), fill it to the maximum number. When changing a tire, run your finger along the inside to check for foreign objects (such as a tiny piece of gravel or glass) that could cause another flat. Before you inflate a new tube, check to make sure it isn't caught between the rim and the tire.
Five Common Bicycle Repairs
Adjusting Your Shifter
Problem:  My chain keeps popping off. Can you adjust my shifter? What Happened: You didn't soft pedal when shifting between chainrings. When you pedal hard while shifting, especially on hills, the chain has to work harder to move since it's already under heavy resistance. Try easing off as you shift gears. You won't lose momentum, but by avoiding a last-minute, panicked shift, your chain should move exactly where you want it to go. If you are soft pedaling but still dropping your chain, you may need a professional to adjust the limit screws on your front derailleur (the part that moves the chain between rings). These screws allow you to make precise adjustments, but even a small turn can cause damage if you're not sure what you're doing.
Five Common Bicycle Repairs
Cleaning Your Chain
Problem: My chain is making a grinding noise. Can you quiet it down? What Happened: You're cross-chaining or not cleaning and lubing your chain often enough. If your chain is grating or rasping when you're in your big chainring in front and your biggest sprocket in back (or vice versa), you're increasing wear and tear on your components--which will cost you money in the long run. Try clicking down two or three gears in the back and/or shifting into your smaller chainring. If that isn't the problem, it may be time to clean and lube your chain. Aim to do it at least every few weeks, and after any wet or muddy ride. If neither of these solutions works, you may want to consult with a mechanic. Your chain may be worn (and you'll need a new one) or your derailleurs need to be adjusted.

Some interesting facts about the PS3

featured imageEven though we're basically on the eve of Sony's big launch of the PlayStation 3, we still had a few outstanding questions about some of the minutiae of the console. Yeah, we're dorky sticklers for detail like that. So here are a few interesting facts about the PlayStation 3 you may (or may not) be interested in knowing:
  • After plenty of gameplay the console is cool -- or at worst warm -- to the touch on every surface. In a side by side test with the Xbox 360, the console is comparably virtually silent, and the Blu-ray drive is significantly quieter than the 360's DVD drive.
  • USB keyboards and mice will be plug-n-play, no fuss at all. Who really wants to browse the web with a PlayStation controller anyway?
  • Bluetooth mice and keyboards will not work with the system at launch.
  • Any (A2DP) Bluetooth headset should theoretically work with the system, though Sony will have a recommended hardware list.
  • The EyeToy is the only USB webcam that will work with the system. The original PS2 EyeToy should still work with the PS3.
  • There are currently no plans for VGA out on the PlayStation3.
  • The system will not support more than seven controllers.
  • There are currently no plans for a cheaper, wired version of the SIXAXIS.
  • With its media playback software one can have in-game custom soundtracks, as with the Xbox 360, Wii, etc.
  • Despite rumor, Sony insists the US is still officially targeted for a 400k unit launch; Japan is still set for a mere 80k. Sony execs are actually expecting an upturn in unit production before launch, so those numbers may actually go up.
  • Some titles have an option to install some amount of game data (in addition to saved data) to the drive. Genji can install 4GB worth of data to decrease load times (quoted to drop from 12-15 seconds down to 3-4); this game data can be removed at any time without affecting your saved games.
  • The drive can be upgraded, although not on any official basis (read: YMMV, do so at your own risk, you may void warranty, etc.).
  • You cannot leave voice or picture messages for other users on the PlayStation Network, only text.

Social media crackdown stifles dissent in Pakistan

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When Zafar Achakzai, a journalist in the restive Pakistani province of Balochistan, heard a loud, insistent knocking on his door just before sunrise on June 25, he did not quite know what to expect.

When he answered, he was met by about a dozen armed men, some in Pakistani paramilitary uniforms.

"They ordered me to come with them," the 21-year-old reporter told Al Jazeera by telephone. "When we were some distance from my home, they blindfolded me, and then I was held at some unknown place."

For hours, he remained in the dark. Eventually, men came to ask him questions, to confirm his identity and take down details about his work. It was then that he asked them why he had been taken. "I was told that I use Facebook quite a lot. That is all that they said." Achakzai was held without charge and interrogated repeatedly over the next three days. His interrogators, who refused to identify themselves, only said that they were concerned about several Facebook posts he had made that were critical of Pakistan's powerful military. They specifically identified three posts that were critical of the Frontier Corps paramilitary force, which controls much of the law and order in Balochistan, where an armed separatist movement and increasing Taliban-linked violence has raged for over a decade. "I responded by saying that the posts you are talking about come under my right to freedom of expression," he told Al Jazeera. "They said, 'don't talk about rights here'." He was released shortly after he was informed that an official case under the cybercrime act had been filed against him. Achakzai's abduction came soon after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) issued dozens of summons to people across Pakistan asking them to explain their social media activity and charging them with posting material that was against the national interest. Those targeted included political and social activists, as well as at least one other journalist.
Achakzai and dozen others were accused of maligning state institutions under the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), a law passed in August 2016. PECA allows the government to issue takedown notices for any material deemed to be "in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan … or public order, decency or morality". The law was passed despite opposition from rights activists, who say the new legislation created overly broad categories for those who could be acted against, was against the principles of free speech, and left major definitions and rules vague or undeclared. At the time, the government dismissed their concerns, saying the law was necessary to regulate a digital space that was not under any specific regulations or legislation until that point. Activists now say that everything they were arguing is coming to pass.

Targeting dissent

Since the law came into effect, at least 147 people have been arrested and 194 cases registered under the law for various offences, including online sexual harassment, according to the interior ministry. "When the law was passed, all the concerns we raised when the law was in the making - those all came true after enactment," said Nighat Dad, a lawyer and executive director of the Digital Rights Foundation (DRF). "All the provisions we said were vague that could be interpreted any way [the authorities] wanted, they have actually have done so."
Dad's organisation, based in the eastern city of Lahore, runs a cyber-harassment hotline, which helps women who are harassed online to file complaints under the law. The government's priority, however, appears to be to act against those expressing dissent, she says. "I am seeing that the priority is not being given to those cases [of sexual harassment]; they are being given to cases that have to do with criticising the state." Farieha Aziz, director at digital rights advocacy group Bolo Bhi, concurred, saying that the FIA and others appear to be targeting dissent. "There is a fixed mindset regarding national security and 'national interest', and that is deeply embedded in our entire system," she said. "The FIA says that people are being paid to say the most vile things about the army, and while that might be true, the line that has been blurred between raising questions and criticising, is very worrying." International rights groups such as Amnesty International also say the crackdown has resulted in a shrinking of space for political and public expression. "The crackdown on freedom of expression in Pakistan is extremely worrying, as it is elsewhere in South Asia. One of the hopes of a return to civilian rule in Pakistan was a restoration of people's rights. However, what we are seeing is a shrinking of civic space that is even worse than under [military rule]," said Omar Warraich, the deputy South Asia director at Amnesty. "People are being arbitrarily detained and even disappeared for peacefully expressing their views, creating a climate of fear that runs counter to the promises of greater political freedoms that the PML-N government made."

Abducted, tortured, forced into exile

One of the first of those to disappear was Asim Saeed, an IT manager based in Singapore who was visiting his home in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore last winter. He was forcibly picked up from his home on the afternoon of January 6, and thrown into an unmarked pick-up truck by men in plain clothes. "They put handcuffs on me and a hood over my head," he said. After a few minutes, during which Saeed says he was slapped and his mobile and other belongings were taken from him, they arrived at an undisclosed location. "They stripped me naked and made me change into a prisoner's uniform. There were other people in the cells there as well," he said. "I asked if I could keep my underwear on, and they said no."
After he had changed, he was once again handcuffed, with additional cuffs attached to his legs. He was blindfolded and taken to a basement, sat down at a desk and handed a blank sheet of paper. "I was told to write the story of my life. Everything about myself, when I was born, where I went to school, everything." It took a few hours, he said: "In that building, you lose sense of time." What followed was three weeks of daily interrogation and torture, Saeed says. "They would keep me blindfolded and tie my hands above my head," he said. "And then they would hit me on my back and legs … with a leather strap. Once, I fell unconscious, I fell off the contraption." Every day, they would ask him about his political beliefs and accuse him of running a Facebook page that posted content critical of the Pakistani military, which has ruled the country for roughly half of its 70-year history. "No matter what answer I gave, I was slapped for every answer." Saeed was one of five social media activists to be picked up within days of each other in early January. The men would later be accused of posting blasphemous material online, a charge that can carry both a judicial death sentence and the threat of murder by a mob in Pakistan. The Pakistani government has repeatedly denied having any role in their disappearances. All of them were released by the end of January. Saeed says he was held by members of an intelligence agency alongside at least two of those who were abducted during that time. During his three weeks of incarceration, he says he suffered a fracture in his right hand, a burst eardrum and bruises all over his body. "After you are tortured, you realise there is nothing else that can be done to you - so you become a bit brave," he said. "I asked why are you doing this; put us in front of a court if we have committed a crime." But there was no answer. Saeed and several others were released from custody on January 27, after signing a confession and promising never to criticise Pakistan's intelligence agencies again, or to speak to the media. The next day, he fled back to Singapore, fearful that a mob may kill him over the blasphemy accusations that spread during the time he was in custody. At the time of Saeed's incarceration, his family told Al Jazeera they had received multiple death threats by phone and over SMS.

Government defends policy

The disappearances in January, and the subsequent crackdown by the FIA, has had a chilling effect on freedom of expression in Pakistan, say rights activists. "I absolutely believe that the disappearances were aimed at silencing critiques," said Dad, of the DRF. "We clearly have seen self-censorship. We see people who were very vocal and who have bold opinions about the state machinery and the things they are doing, they have tamed down their voices. There is a lot of self-censorship. Lots of people reached out to us, especially political bloggers and activists, asking us if they say something, whether it comes under PECA." The government, however, disagrees with that assessment, claiming that authorities have been ordered to show restraint when taking on cases of dissent using the law. "We have a policy, that despite the law, that until there is not a post that is at a very extreme level, then we neither allow an inquiry nor authorise any arrests," Talal Chaudhry, minister of state for the interior, told Al Jazeera.

Article 19 of Pakistan's Constitution

"Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, 30 [commission of] 30 or incitement to an offence."
Asked to define what that "extreme level" would be, Chaudhry said it would entail harsh criticism of the state's institutions, including the military, or material deemed to be blasphemous. "As a policy and as a political party, we believe that there should be freedom of expression. But we have to look at this very carefully. First [there are] our religious beliefs … and second, if a military force is fighting against terrorism, and people are then [criticising] the martyrs of that force and you do not tackle it, then I think the force will be disheartened." Asked if the law and its application have an effect on free speech, the government is clear in its stance. "It is very important to understand that in Pakistan … it is very clearly mentioned in Article 19 of the 1973 [constitution] that freedom of expression is conditional. It is conditional upon four or five things, including [not criticising] state institutions, friendly countries and some religious beliefs." For activists who are facing the full force of the law, however, the implications are clear. "After all of this happened, of course I have been forced to change my online behaviour," said Achakzai, the journalist. "Anything to do with raising questions about the government or law enforcement agencies, I have stopped doing that." Saeed, who has applied for asylum in the United Kingdom over fears for his family's safety, says he, too, has started to self-censor, despite being in a foreign country. "I could only stay [in Singapore] as long as the job existed. If it ended, even after five years, I would have to go back to Pakistan, and these allegations will be with me my whole life. "I would have to go back to Pakistan, but I cannot do that. Killing me is a ticket to heaven for some people."

A trip to the land of snow and ice

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Throughout my lifetime I have visited quite a few countries.  While serving in the Foreign Service for over two decades, I was lucky enough to travel to countries around the world that included one country which most of us might not have even thought about or if so was unable to visit due to various reasons. Other countries that I have been to are places which most of us have been and nothing much to say about them.
Whenever I mention this country my friends give me a strange look wondering what kind of a person was I to visit this place. Some even inquired why did I go there or did I enjoy being to this country. My simple answer was I was a civil servant and wherever I was assigned I had to go as I had no choice. This country was Russia. I suppose most of us have no idea about this country or even dreamed of going there. However, I don’t mean all as there might be some fortunate guys like me. As soon as I knew I was assigned to the biggest country on earth, shivers ran down my spine. From my childhood days I have seen many movies where Russia was portrayed as a cold gloomy country with its Communist system and unfriendly people.  Then there were those long cold winters with freezing temperatures without any sunshine and not much to see as other countries. So my first impression to go to this country was, to tell the truth, I was nervous. What kind of place on earth was I suppose to go, how will I cope with the people as I did not speak their language, will I be able to fulfill my tour of duty and so forth which came into my mind.  However as I did not have the means to be plucky and fussy, I headed to the land of snow and ice with serious doubts. Finally my family and I arrived in Moscow on a December afternoon and to be precise December 8, 2001.  Our flight from Paris arrived Moscow at 3 pm in the afternoon.  As I looked out of the window while landing, I could only see white clouds.  I thought we were still in the air but later found out that it was snow and ice everywhere. Only when our plane landed, I saw that all the planes parked on the tarmac and the airport itself was covered with snow.  I have never ever seen so much snow in my life and I had a strange and exciting feeling. Then after answering many questions raised by the Customs and Immigrations officials with much difficulty, due to language barrier, we were able to leave Sheremetyevo airport. Then came the second hassle where the temperature outside the airport was – 20 Celsius.  I could not believe it. The previous day I was in Asia where the weather was hot and humid and just overnight in a land which was freezing. The cold was unbearable but I thought to myself that this was the weather that I was to face for the next three years. Russian winter is from November to March, where it can be extremely cold with heavy snow.  Then in April, the snow begins to melt and from May until September its summer time, lovely warm-hot and dry with temperatures of +30 Celsius or even warmer. Then in October the weather changes and starts to get cold.  Being the largest country on earth, Russia has nine time zones. As we arrived in December it was a long Christmas holiday season in Russia like the rest of the world.  But something strange was Christmas was celebrated not on December 25 like other countries but on January 7.  Then I came to know that Russians follow the Orthodox faith so Russian Orthodox is different from western Christianity. During winter there are winter festivals across Russia such as ice skating, ice sculptor shows, and as snow becomes so plentiful in Moscow during winter, snowmen are made out of snow and there are also competitions across the city. Then there are performances of traditional Russian songs and dances.  So although the cold weather was unbearable I found that Russians turned this snow and ice into an unforgettable experience for foreigners like me. Although it was my first time experiencing a very cold winter I was able to make it. Then came summer which was from May to September.  Summer in Russia was a lovely time as the weather was hot and dry. I always thought that Russia was cold and damp the whole year round but was totally different at this time of the year. Being summer time the sun rises as early as 4 am in the morning and sets at 11 pm in the evening, so there was a lot of daylight. It was sunny the whole day and full of activities in the city.
Moscow had so many places to see.  Museums including the famous Pushkin Museum, the famous Gorky Park, the Kremlin, Lenin’s Tomb, Saint Basil’s Cathedral with its colourful onion-shaped domes on Red Square, stunning architectural interiors of one of the world’s largest rapid transit systems, the Moscow State University, a few which I visited while in Moscow.
The culture in Russia is totally different from Asia so I had to take some time to adapt myself with this culture.  But one thing very similar to our culture that I found was when one enters somebody’s home, the guest takes off his or her shoes which creates a very encouraging sign for the relationship between the guest and the host. I also learnt some things which were superstitious to Russians. That was when someone visits a Russian home it is important to bring a present even if maybe flowers.  However, make sure that the flowers should be in odd number as even number is a sign of rudeness. Then if one owes a friend or relative some money, make sure that the repayment does not take place during night time as it is a bad sign so the repayment should be done in the morning or daytime. I wouldn’t like to say that staying in Russia for me was plain sailing without any difficulties. Whichever country you go, there are always pros and cons so I also encountered many difficulties. Facing long and extremely cold winters with temperatures below freezing point, traffic jams, language barrier as majority don’t speak English and their attitude towards foreigners as most say Russians are not friendly and difficult to deal with. However I not only came across every difficulty during my stay in Russia but even made some friends who were charming and good in cracking jokes.  As for the food my favorite was the Russian dumplings which was very tasty and could be easily purchased from street stalls and fast-food outlets. So although as much as I encountered difficulties, I learnt so many new things like their traditions, culture, their way of dealing with foreigners and cuisine. Just when I became acquainted with the Russian way of life, my tour of duty ended so I had to say do svidaniya, which means ‘until we next meet’ to my Russian friends and headed back to the Golden land. So I would like to say is that traveling gives one of the greatest joys. Witnessing another culture, exploring and going on adventures in new lands are one of the best ways to experience life. Traveling gives you new eyes to see the world and truly expands your knowledge base.

Perfect wedding dress for your body type

featured imageThe first thought that newly engaged brides-to-be have is starting their search for their perfect wedding dress. Most women have dreamed of their big day all their lives, and the pressure to find the wedding dress that matches those dreams is unreal. Although planning the wedding and finalising the design of the dress is a fun process, for many it can be extremely stressful and confusing. Relax! De-stress and enjoy the experience. The trick is to start planning very early so that you don’t have to run around at the very last minute. Decide on your budget for the dress and whether it will be a readymade one or customised to your taste. Your dress should suit the activities and style of your wedding. Ask yourself questions like, “Do I feel beautiful in this dress?”, “Can I dance and move around all night?”, or “Can I sit down?” Dresses with beautiful trains, and detailing across the hem are great, but don’t forget about the top of your dress as well as, as that part of your dress will be seen in most of your wedding photos. Don’t let trends bog you down. Instead, go in for what you love and what looks good on you. Your first decision is to find out which dress silhouette will highlight your best-loved assets and conceal your less-favourable traits. We are here to help you decide which style flatters you the most. To start, find out which of the following five body types best defines your figure – Petite, Hourglass, Plus size, Busty or Lean and straight. Remember, you may not fit squarely into one particular category; most people don’t. Use this as a guideline to figure out what works best for you. Petite Petite is a term used in the fashion industry to describe women who are 5’3” tall or under. Petite women come in all shapes and sizes as the term refers to stature and not weight. Petite brides should avoid overwhelming their small frame. Choose airy sheaths and structured trumpet styles over big, voluminous ball gowns. A sheath’s continuous line creates the illusion of height. Go in for form fitting, simple and minimalistic designs. Avoid 3D accents. Instead, opt for intricate embroidery, light beading and one-dimensional appliques for design details that won’t overwhelm. An empire waistline is great for this body type as it creates the illusion of long legs. Plunging V necklines draw the eye upwards, thus elongating your frame. In case you want a dropped waist or mermaid silhouette, opt for a slim, more structured skirt over a wide poufy one. When done right, high-low hemlines can be an asset and may even make your legs look longer. Hourglass Women with an hourglass figure have a wide bust circumference and similar measurements at the hips with an obviously narrow waist. With an hourglass figure’s balanced proportion and defined waist, it is hard to go wrong in terms of picking a silhouette. Most dress shapes will pair well with an hourglass figure. Work your womanly curves in a fitted bridal gown or hide your hips in a ball gown. Either way, your gown should show off your trim mid-section. Avoid the empire waistline; it won’t highlight your slim waist. Go in for a trumpet or mermaid silhouette which will show off your curves in all the right places. In fact, hourglass is one of the only body types that can pull off a true mermaid silhouette; a style that flares out just below the knees. A dropped waist design with asymmetrical tiers is a fun, yet glamorous choice. Opt for the cinched waistline, or highlight your tiny waistline with a glitzy belt detail. Fit-and-flare are three words you should get familiar with, since it accentuates the hourglass figure and is every curvy girls’ go-to silhouette. Plus-size For the plus size or oval figure type, also known as the apple figure, the goal is to create or emphasise the waistline for the illusion of an hourglass curve. An empire waistline creates a lengthening effect and is best suited to this body type. An A-line gown is perfect, especially when accessorised with a belt or a dark coloured sash. Create a slimming look with a cummerbund-style waistline or design details that draw the eye inwards at the waist, such as side cut-outs. This figure type benefits from paying attention to the neckline of the dress. Opt for a V-neck, scoop neck or sweetheart bodice with shoulder detailing. Avoid straight across necklines as this won’t accentuate your bust line. A high neckline, sheath silhouette and slight train will help you look long and lean. Avoid mermaid and trumpet silhouettes as these will accentuate the widest part of your body and flare at the slimmest part. Busty If you’re a busty bride, you have two choices: either reveal or conceal. Either way finding the right gown goes down to identifying the perfect neckline. A square neckline works great for the well-endowed because it is not too revealing. Try the V-neck, U-shaped, strapless and halter necklines. A scoop neckline shows off your voluptuous shape and lets you avoid a strapless bra. Straight across version of the strapless neckline can actually minimise your assets. If you decide to go in for the sweetheart neckline, opt for straps and a full skirt to balance your busty frame. Avoid necklines with wide set straps or sleeves, off the shoulder necklines, and puffy and cap sleeves as these make your upper body appear wider. Ball gowns and fuller A-line skirts with layered satin or tulle work well to balance the upper body. Lean and straight The goal when dressing this figure type is to create a waistline and to emphasise curves. Choose a wedding dress that will put focus on your upper body and toward your face. Princess silhouettes fair beautifully with this figure, emphasising the waist and hips while retaining the naturally lean shape of the body. A modified A-line, with a more subtle fit-and-flare effect, will also work well for a bride seeking a sweet, soft, and romantic look. Try pleating or rouching in the bodice to create curves and cinch your waistline. A voluminous peplum skirt acts as a stand for curvy hips. Go in for a bridal dress with contouring seams that create imaginary curves. Avoid halter and high necklines because this will make your shoulders look narrow and will not flatter your waist. Also avoid sheath gowns because this style will not define your waist. Hope these guideline help you decide what will work best for you so you don’t stress as your big day draws closer. Remember, it’s all about creating memories on your wedding day, as long as you stay safe and stay stylish!

Activism Tee-Up For 2018 -- Outlook For The 'Power Players'

featured imageA Partner and Co-Chair of Olshan Frome Wolosky’s Activist & Equity Investment Group, Andrew Freedman is one of the leading attorneys in the U.S. practicing in the area of shareholder activism and advises some of the nation’s most prolific activist investors, including Starboard Value and Elliott. He has been ranked by Chambers USA as a “Leading Lawyer” in the inaugural Corporate/M&A: Shareholder Activism category. According to Chambers USA, Freedman “really understands what his client wants and is creative in figuring out ways to get there."
Christopher P. Skroupa: From the activist perspective, what were the major wins in engagement this past year? Andrew Freedman: After a relatively sleepy 2016 for large cap activism, the top-tier shareholder activists came back with a vengeance in 2017, mounting high-profile campaigns against well-known, large-cap target companies. Most recently, Bill Ackman fell short in his campaign against Automatic Data Processing, but it now appears Nelson Peltz may have actually won a seat in his mega battle with Procter & Gamble. There were plenty of other notable activist success stories this year, too.
The targeting of CEOs was a particularly intriguing theme woven into the strategy of many of these campaigns. Elliott Management’s successful campaign at Arconic that led to CEO Klaus Kleinfeld’s departure, in the wake of his rogue attempt to make things personal against Paul Singer, is certainly one that stood out this year. Pressure from Mantle Ridge resulted in Hunter Harrison taking the helm at CSX, while Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith announced she would retire after a bruising proxy fight with Marcato. Activist investors have had a hand in appointing or replacing more than 1,000 public company board members over the past decade, and it was only a matter of time before they began to more directly target struggling CEOs as part of their agendas. Land and Buildings' proxy fight at Taubman Centers has also proven significant despite not resulting in board seats for the activist.
By shining a spotlight on Taubman's governance shortcomings and shoddy performance, a status quo-minded board was forced to reluctantly make governance and board changes to sway votes. This decision helped fuel a renewed interest in managerial entrenched companies with unfriendly shareholder governance structures, including REITs and dual share class companies, once thought to be untouchable. Now Elliott has emerged on the scene at Taubman urging a sale, and Land and Buildings may have the last laugh after all. Skroupa: What made those wins significant? Freedman: The activists’ efforts in the campaigns to hold CEOs immediately accountable to shareholders made their wins particularly significant; the wins represent a noteworthy departure from the early days of shareholder activism. Targeting a CEO for a vote of no-confidence in a director election contest or calling for the removal of a CEO as part of the activist’s platform raises the stakes in any proxy battle, making it an all-or-none gambit with little room for compromise. So, CEO-targeting may also explain why more proxy contests went to a vote this year without a settlement. Nevertheless, any strategy to remove a CEO will continue to be perceived as highly aggressive. While there may be facts and circumstances under which this strategy is warranted, the standard will be higher for obtaining shareholder support for such a referendum on senior management. Shifting topics, Land and Buildings' relentless involvement at Taubman shows that activism can rattle the complacent status quo, even where there is an uphill or uncertain path to change. Significant attention from the activists will attract, and ultimately compel, a cushy board to make changes it otherwise wouldn’t have considered. Activists are beginning to flock to deeply entrenched, underperforming companies, that typically fly just under the radar. Skroupa: How will those wins tee-up the 2018 season? Freedman: There have been at least 10 activist campaigns throughout 2017 where the activist publicly announced its intention to target the CEO for replacement. While we cannot predict what the number will be in 2018, these campaigns may very well embolden other activists to target CEOs, especially where there is a sense of urgency to turn around a perennial underperformer. In response to this trend, we are already seeing more boards fine-tune their activism defense programs by voluntarily addressing issues pertaining to CEO compensation, succession and independence. We are also seeing our activist clients take interest in entrenched, poorly performing REITs and dual share class companies. I would not be surprised to see several campaigns in 2018 aimed at improving such companies through a holistic overhaul of their governance. We aren’t talking about your everyday “tick-the-box” governance improvements, but rather wholesale changes in how a board approaches its responsibilities, accountability and its shareholders-at-large. Skroupa: Regarding the activists on top, is the old guard the new guard? Who can we expect to hear from the most? Freedman: The old guard, comprising many of the top tier activists, are grabbing headlines with high-profile launches at large-caps on what seems like a weekly basis. It felt like there were fewer large-cap fights in 2015 going into 2016, following Trian's proxy fight at DuPont. It was also during this period that we witnessed the emergence of a new class of activist investors, including traditionally passive investment firms, who were undertaking numerous activist campaigns in the small and mid-cap space. These newcomer activists together with a class of shrewd and dynamic, pure-play activists, like Engaged Capital, VIEX Capital, JCP Capital and Engine Capital, will continue to set their sights on small and mid-cap underperformers. The old guard activists made a huge comeback in 2017, running campaigns against large, household-name companies and utilizing colorful, attention-grabbing solicitation strategies through the use of social media and other web-based platforms. We think the activist titans, like Starboard and Elliott, will continue to make their presence felt through the 2018 proxy season given their willingness to engage in all forms of activist campaigns both here and around the globe.