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A ninja or shinobi was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan. The functions of a ninja included espionage and surprise attacks, their covert methods of waging irregular warfare were deemed dishonorable and beneath the honor of the samurai. Though shinobi proper, as specially trained spies and mercenaries, appeared in the 15th century during the Sengoku period, antecedents may have existed as early as the 12th century. In the unrest of the Sengoku period and spies for hire became active in Iga Province and the adjacent area around the village of Kōga, it is from the area's clans that much of the knowledge of the ninja is drawn. Following the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate in the 17th century, the ninja faded into obscurity. A number of shinobi manuals based on Chinese military philosophy, were written in the 17th and 18th centuries, most notably the Bansenshukai. By the time of the Meiji Restoration, shinobi had become a topic of popular imagination and mystery in Japan.

Ninjas figured prominently in legend and folklore, where they were associated with legendary abilities such as invisibility, walking on water and control over the natural elements. As a consequence, their perception in popular culture is based more on such legend and folklore than on the spies of the Sengoku period. Ninja is an on'yomi reading of the two kanji "忍者". In the native kun'yomi kanji reading, it is pronounced shinobi, a shortened form of the transcription shinobi-no-mono; the word shinobi appears in the written record as far back as the late 8th century in poems in the Man'yōshū. The underlying connotation of shinobi means "to steal away. Mono means "a person"; the word ninja was not in common use, a variety of regional colloquialisms evolved to describe what would be dubbed ninja. Along with shinobi, some examples include monomi, rappa and Iga-mono. In historical documents, shinobi is always used. Kunoichi (くノ一)is an argot which means "woman". In fictions written in the modern era kunoichi means "female ninja".

In the West, the word ninja became more prevalent than shinobi in the post–World War II culture because it was more comfortable for Western speakers. In English, the plural of ninja can be either unchanged as ninja, reflecting the Japanese language's lack of grammatical number, or the regular English plural ninjas. Despite many popular folktales, historical accounts of the ninja are scarce. Historian Stephen Turnbull asserts that the ninja were recruited from the lower class, therefore little literary interest was taken in them; the social origin of the ninja is seen as the reason they agree to operate in secret, trading their service for money without honor and glory. The scarcity of historical accounts is demonstrated in war epics such as The Tale of Hōgen and The Tale of the Heike, which focus on the aristocratic samurai, whose deeds were more appealing to the audience. Historian Kiyoshi Watatani states that the ninja were trained to be secretive about their actions and existence: So-called ninjutsu techniques, in short are the skills of shinobi-no-jutsu and shinobijutsu, which have the aims of ensuring that one's opponent does not know of one's existence, for which there was special training.

The title ninja has sometimes been attributed retrospectively to the semi-legendary 4th-century prince Yamato Takeru. In the Kojiki, the young Yamato Takeru disguised himself as a charming maiden and assassinated two chiefs of the Kumaso people. However, these records take place at a early stage of Japanese history, they are unlikely to be connected to the shinobi of accounts; the first recorded use of espionage was under the employment of Prince Shōtoku in the 6th century. Such tactics were considered unsavory in early times, according to the 10th-century Shōmonki, the boy spy Koharumaru was killed for spying against the insurgent Taira no Masakado; the 14th-century war chronicle Taiheiki contained many references to shinobi and credited the destruction of a castle by fire to an unnamed but "highly skilled shinobi". It was not until the 15th century, it was around this time that the word shinobi appeared to define and identify ninja as a secretive group of agents. Evidence for this can be seen in historical documents, which began to refer to stealthy soldiers as shinobi during the Sengoku period.

Manuals regarding espionage are grounded in Chinese military strategy, quoting works such as The Art of War by Sun Tzu. The ninja emerged as mercenaries in the 15th century, where they were recruited as spies, raiders and terrorists. Amongst the samurai, a sense of ritual and decorum was observed, where one was expected to fight or duel openly. Combined with the unrest of the Sengoku period, these factors created a demand for men willing to commit deeds considered disreputable for conventional warriors. By the Sengoku period, the shinobi had several roles, including spy, surprise attacker, agitator; the ninja families were organized into each with their own territories. A system of rank existed. A jōnin was the highest rank, representing the group and hiring out me

Westfield Helensvale

Westfield Helensvale referred to as Helensvale Town Centre, is a shopping centre at Helensvale on the Gold Coast in South East Queensland, Australia. It opened in 2005, it is the first Westfield for the Gold Coast and includes Coles, Kmart, ALDI, Target and Woolworths as majors as well as a food court with McDonald's, KFC and Subway. It provides optimum access to Helensvale Station; when approval for construction of the centre was requested by Westfield, it was suggested that the Helensvale location was too close to existing centres at Southport and Runaway Bay. The Gold Coast City Council argued. Westfield Helensvale was built because Coomera Town Centre, planned to be the true heart of the region, was hitting obstacles in the ways of planning. Part of the outcome of that debate was that part of the Westfield Centre was meant to have the appearance of an outdoor shopping street connecting the train station through to the older Helensvale shops nearby. However, since the older shops are located across a major road they have been refurbished for local shopping.

The Westfield Helensvale shopping centre has predominately mall enclosed shopping and only a few shops open to outside traffic. Many other Westfield shopping centres conversely are fully enclosed malls, however the company is redeveloping a number of sites to include outdoor, piazza style areas. Westfield Helensvale has 2,000 car parking spaces; the shopping centre is adjacent to Helensvale railway station, serviced by various buses and trains to local areas and Brisbane

Subprime mortgage crisis

The United States subprime mortgage crisis was a nationwide financial crisis, occurring between 2007 and 2010, that contributed to the U. S. recession of December 2007 – June 2009. It was triggered by a large decline in home prices after the collapse of a housing bubble, leading to mortgage delinquencies and the devaluation of housing-related securities. Declines in residential investment preceded the recession and were followed by reductions in household spending and business investment. Spending reductions were more significant in areas with a combination of high household debt and larger housing price declines; the housing bubble preceding the crisis was financed with mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations, which offered higher interest rates than government securities, along with attractive risk ratings from rating agencies. While elements of the crisis first became more visible during 2007, several major financial institutions collapsed in September 2008, with significant disruption in the flow of credit to businesses and consumers and the onset of a severe global recession.

There were many causes of the crisis, with commentators assigning different levels of blame to financial institutions, credit agencies, government housing policies, consumers, among others. Two proximate causes were the increase in housing speculation; the percentage of lower-quality subprime mortgages originated during a given year rose from the historical 8% or lower range to 20% from 2004 to 2006, with much higher ratios in some parts of the U. S. A high percentage of these subprime mortgages, over 90% in 2006 for example, were adjustable-rate mortgages. Housing speculation increased, with the share of mortgage originations to investors rising from around 20% in 2000 to around 35% in 2006–2007. Investors those with prime credit ratings, were much more to default than non-investors when prices fell; these changes were part of a broader trend of lowered lending standards and higher-risk mortgage products, which contributed to U. S. households becoming indebted. The ratio of household debt to disposable personal income rose from 77% in 1990 to 127% by the end of 2007.

When U. S. home prices declined steeply after peaking in mid-2006, it became more difficult for borrowers to refinance their loans. As adjustable-rate mortgages began to reset at higher interest rates, mortgage delinquencies soared. Securities backed with mortgages, including subprime mortgages held by financial firms globally, lost most of their value. Global investors drastically reduced purchases of mortgage-backed debt and other securities as part of a decline in the capacity and willingness of the private financial system to support lending. Concerns about the soundness of U. S. credit and financial markets led to tightening credit around the world and slowing economic growth in the U. S. and Europe. The crisis had severe, long-lasting consequences for the U. S. and European economies. The U. S. entered a deep recession, with nearly 9 million jobs lost during 2008 and 2009 6% of the workforce. The number of jobs did not return to the December 2007 pre-crisis peak until May 2014. U. S. household net worth declined by nearly $13 trillion from its Q2 2007 pre-crisis peak, recovering by Q4 2012.

U. S. housing prices fell nearly 30% on average and the U. S. stock market fell 50% by early 2009, with stocks regaining their December 2007 level during September 2012. One estimate of lost output and income from the crisis comes to "at least 40% of 2007 gross domestic product". Europe continued to struggle with its own economic crisis, with elevated unemployment and severe banking impairments estimated at €940 billion between 2008 and 2012; as of January 2018, U. S. bailout funds had been recovered by the government, when interest on loans is taken into consideration. A total of $626B was invested, loaned, or granted due to various bailout measures, while $390B had been returned to the Treasury; the Treasury had earned another $323B in interest on bailout loans. The immediate cause of the crisis was the bursting of the United States housing bubble which peaked in 2005–2006. An increase in loan incentives such as easy initial terms and a long-term trend of rising housing prices had encouraged borrowers to assume risky mortgages in the anticipation that they would be able to refinance at easier terms.

However, once interest rates began to rise and housing prices started to drop moderately in 2006–2007 in many parts of the U. S. borrowers were unable to refinance. Defaults and foreclosure activity increased as easy initial terms expired, home prices fell, adjustable-rate mortgage interest rates reset higher; as housing prices fell, global investor demand for mortgage-related securities evaporated. This became apparent by July 2007, when investment bank Bear Stearns announced that two of its hedge funds had imploded; these funds had invested in securities. When the value of these securities dropped, investors demanded that these hedge funds provide additional collateral; this created a cascade of selling in these securities. Economist Mark Zandi wrote that this 2007 event was "arguably the proximate catalyst" for the financial market disruption that followed. Several other factors set the stage for the rise and fall of housing prices, related securities held by financial firms. In the years leading up to the crisis, the U.

S. received large amounts of foreign money from fast-growing

How Was Tomorrow

How Was Tomorrow is the second album by Canadian singer-songwriters The Cash Brothers. The album features alt-country and alt-folk ballads with vocal harmonies, accompanied by acoustic and some electric guitar work. In 1997 the Andrew and Peter Cash began performing songs, they recorded their music at Chess Records, in 1999 they released an album, Raceway on their own label, Four Court Records. After the brothers had released a second album in 2000, Raceway came to the attention of Rounder Records; the album was updated and re-released in 2001 on Zoe/Rounder Records in the US and in Europe under the title How was Tomorrow. The pair toured with a backup band in Netherlands and the US in support of the album; the touring musicians were Gord Tough on electric guitar, drummer Randy Curnew, bassist Paul Taylor and keyboardist Todd Lumley. The album was well received. Reviews of the album praised the duo's harmonies, innovative guitar work and songwriting

Leandro Rodríguez

Leandro Joaquín Rodríguez Telechea is a Uruguayan professional footballer who plays as a forward for Mexican club Alebrijes de Oaxaca. Born in Montevideo, Rodríguez began his career with River Plate Montevideo, he made his debut on 25 August 2012 in the season's first game, a 1–0 win over Juventud de Las Piedras at the Estadio Saroldi. On 30 September he scored his first goal, the opener in a 2–0 home victory over Liverpool, he ended his first season with three goals in 24 appearances. On 17 August 2013, Rodríguez scored as River began the new season with a 4–2 win against reigning champions CA Peñarol at the Estadio Centenario, he scored again on 2 March 2014 in a 3–0 home win over Uruguay's other leading club, Nacional. Three weeks as a 43rd-minute substitute for Jonathan Ramírez, Rodríguez scored the only goal in a victory against neighbourhood rivals Wanderers. On 11 May, he was sent off in a 0–2 home defeat to Racing, along with teammate Sebastián Taborda, his seven goals in 23 games in this second season helped the club qualify for the 2014 Copa Sudamericana, where they were drawn against Ecuador's Club Sport Emelec in the first stage.

In the second leg on 25 September, he equalised for a 1–1 draw, but River were eliminated 3–2 on aggregate. The 2014–15 season was Rodríguez's most successful for River Plate, he scored nine goals in 23 games, including his first two-goal haul in a 4–0 home victory over Rampla Juniors on 8 March 2015. Six days he hit the winner in a 2–1 victory over Nacional at Estadio Gran Parque Central. On 28 August 2015, Rodríguez signed a four-year contract with Everton of the Premier League for a reported fee of £500,000. Manager Roberto Martínez said that he would be put into the first team due to his experience in top-flight football in his homeland. However, Rodríguez made his debut for the under-21 team on 7 September. In his debut, he would head in Ryan Ledson's cross to open a 3–0 home win over Preston North End in the Lancashire Senior Cup. Fifteen days he was included in the senior squad for the first time, but remained on the bench as an unused substitute in a 2–1 win away to Reading in the second round of the League Cup.

Rodríguez made his Everton first team debut on 9 January 2016 in the third round of the FA Cup when he replaced Aaron Lennon for the final minute of a 2–0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge at Goodison Park. On 17 March 2016, Rodríguez joined Championship club Brentford on a one-month loan, he made his debut three days in a 0–1 home loss to Blackburn Rovers when he played 76 minutes before being replaced by Scott Hogan. He suffered a pulled hamstring on his second appearance and returned to Goodison Park when his loan expired. On 31 January, he joined Waasland-Beveren on loan. On August 2017, Rodríguez returned to Uruguay to join Danubio. A year he joined fellow Uruguayan Primera División side Torque. After several months with Racing Club de Montevideo, Rodríguez went abroad again in July 2019, joining Alebrijes de Oaxaca in Mexico's Ascenso MX. Rodríguez holds an Italian passport, his older brother Diego is a defender who played for Wanderers, Juventud, Málaga and Vancouver Whitecaps. As of match played 9 April 2016.

Leandro Rodríguez profile at Leandro Rodríguez at Soccerbase

Bitter Seeds

Bitter Seeds is a 2011 documentary film by American filmmaker and director and political commentator Micha Peled. The film is the third part of Peled's globalization trilogy after Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town and China Blue. Micha Peled's documentary on biotech farming in India observes the impact of genetically modified cotton on India's farmers, with a suicide rate of over a quarter million Bt cotton farmers each year due to financial stress resulting from massive crop failure and the price of Monsanto's Bt seeds; the film disputes claims by the biotech industry that Bt cotton requires less pesticide and promises of higher yields, as farmers discover that Bt cotton requires more pesticide than organic cotton, suffer higher levels of infestation by Mealybug resulting in devastating crop losses, financial and psychological stress on cotton farmers. Due to the biotech seed monopoly in India, where Bt cotton seed has become the standard, organic seed has become unobtainable, thus pressuring cotton farmers into signing Bt cotton seed purchase agreements with biotech multinational corporation Monsanto.

Leslie Hassler in the Huffington Post called Bitter Seeds riveting and poignant, though in places painful to watch. The documentary has won 18 international film awards, including the Green Screen Award and the Oxfam Global Justice Award. Official website Bitter Seeds on IMDb