Nitish on a clean-up drive in era of graft

first_imgMany politicians have squandered away the benefits of a landslide electoral victory by doing precious little for the common man. But Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar seems inclined to make the most of the three-fourths majority given to his alliance in the recent assembly elections.He has begun his new innings in right earnest by declaring an all-out war on corruption. Less than a week after he assumed charge, he announced his government’s resolve to bring about the Right to Service Act in Bihar to facilitate timely disposal of work related to public utility services. He also talked about incorporating provisions for a penalty on officials who do not compelte their task within the stipulated time.In the following week, his government acted swiftly to confiscate the property of an official charged with amassing wealth disproportionate to his known source of income. The government will now open a school in his palatial building in keeping with Nitish’s poll-time promise.But it is his decision to abolish the local area development fund of the state legislators that has underlined his determination to rid the state of corruption. Under the scheme, MLAs and MLCs of the state had been getting a discretionary fund of Rs 1 crore per annum.This fund was created with the seemingly ‘noble’ intention of helping legislators implement development projects as per their preference in the areas of their choice but it did not remain immune to taints of graft in subsequent years. Majority of the schemes executed with this fund reeked of poor quality and hence the scheme came to be seen as perpetuating corruption.advertisementSensing the public perception of this scheme, Nitish first broached the abolition of this project during a meeting of the National Democratic Alliance ( NDA) legislators last week and sought their opinion about it. He also spelt out the reason behind it, saying the fund had caused more harm to their image in the public eye. Three days later, the state cabinet took a decision in principle to do away with this scheme and bring about an effective scheme in its place.In just one masterstroke, he put an end to this fund of Rs 1 crore each to 243 MLAs and 75 MLCs, which he can now channel to other welfare initiatives. Not only this, he also called upon all ministers and legislators to declare their income and assets every year to ensure probity in public life.Even opposition parties like the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress have supported this move. But more surprising is the way the NDA legislators have rallied behind him, except for the murmurings of a few. Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi says that there is no difference of opinion among the legislators over the abolition of the fund and wants the Centre to emulate it.Nitish’s decision to get the fund abolished has come at a time when the NDA had received a massive mandate and his leadership cannot be questioned by anybody within the coalition. He apparently wants to convey his seriousness about eradicating corruption from public life not only to the people in general but also to those politicians who wish to perpetuate the myth that graft is a way of life these days.Nitish’s decision has come at the right time. This has set the agenda for his government for the next five years. He has taken the bull of corruption by the horns at the outset of his new tenure. Its success will be evaluated in the next assembly election.Sonepur’s good old cattle fairThe traditional rural fairs are fast becoming pass even in Bihar but the famous Sonepur Mela seems to have retained its old charm. In an era of fun parks and mobile games, the fair – once touted as the biggest cattle fair in Asia – gives glimpses of the “real India”. The month- long mela attracts not only national and foreign tourists but also villagers from nearby areas. It has been primarily famous for the sale and purchase of animals, especially elephants, horses, dogs, cows and birds over the years.In recent times, the ban on the sale of birds and animals, including elephants, have limited its appeal but it still attracts hordes of prospective buyers. Instead of outright sale, elephants are given away as ” gifts” to tweak the rules these days. It is, however, the village market-like atmosphere that is the USP of this mela.From the typical Bihari cuisine available at food stalls to the rural wares sold at the fair, everything reminds one of good old days. The crowds of villagers swaying to the beats of catchy tunes inside the theatres also seem to be the throwback to a bygone era. The Saran district administration is often forced to cancel the licence of the theatres on the charge of obscenity but they return every year in view of their ever- growing demand among the mela revellers.advertisementA treat for Patna’s bookworms Patna Book Fair is an event that every Patnaite looks forward to every year.Bihar is considered to be a huge market by the publishers because of the people’s abiding interest in books and their love for reading.The fair attracts a large number of bookworms every day. This time, it is no different.The latest edition of the fair, inaugurated by chief minister Nitish Kumar on Friday, had more than 60,000 visitors last Sunday. But not every visitor is a potential buyer of books. Majority of them go there for reasons other than purchasing books.Some visit the fair to listen to eminent writers and other intellectuals who share their thoughts with the readers every day. Others go to explore career and employment opportunities through the stalls of different agencies and institutions. Some food stalls selling delicacies like Hyderabadi Biryani draw more crowds than many of the book stalls. And a large majority makes the most of it by having fun, loitering around under the winter sun and having an extended picnic through the day. Nitish believes that this ambience makes it a ‘fair’ in the real sense.In a lighter vein, he said that many people primarily turned up only to gaze at the crowd of book buyers. ” But how long can one go on gazing at the people?” he said.”They also end up developing an interest in reading when they look at the books.” Nitish now wants the organisers to host an international book fair in Patna in deference to the wishes of the teeming book lovers of Patna.Do not disturb! Cops sleeping It is not at all uncommon to catch policemen napping during their duty hours in Bihar.Some of them tend to make the most of the winter sun whenever they find a convenient place. At times, one can find them dozing off even in their patrol cars.But two such ‘ sleeping’ constables in Patna found themselves to be the unlucky ones when they were caught stealing forty winks by none other than the district’s senior superintendent of police B. S. Meena.The SSP saw Rakesh Kumar and Ravindra Kumar Singh sleeping near a girls’ college where they had been deployed to keep a watch on mischief mongers and eveteasers.The SSP, who happened to be passing by, promptly suspended them from duty. The suspension must surely have robbed the duo of their sleep now!BIHAR has finally found a woman sporting icon in Smita Kumari who was part of the Asian Games gold- medal winning kabbadi team. Her success is all the more striking because she fought poverty and family opposition before making it to the team. Smita developed a passion for kabaddi while watching boys play in her village. She now wants more girls to take up kabbadi and hopes that the state government would provide jobs to players to motivate them.advertisementlast_img read more

I was involved in ball-tampering: Shoaib Akhtar

first_imgJust months after his retirement from the international cricket, former Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar has made several starling revelations that are set to send the cricketing community running for cover.Akhtar — one of the most controversial cricketers — sparked a row by revealing it all in a tell-all autobiography — Controversially Yours.Not holding back, Akhtar hit out at Indian cricket stars Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. The former Pakistan speedster criticised Tendulkar and Dravid “for not being winners” and for not knowing the art of finishing a game.The pacer even came out in the open admitting that he had tampered with the ball on many occasions. He revealed that while he might have been caught just twice and warned on a few occasions, he had actually tampered with the ball quite regularly.In another startling disclosure from the book published by Harper Collins, Akhtar spells out how actor Shah Rukh Khan and former Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi coaxed him into signing up with the Twenty-20 league with just mere promises.Akhtar rued the fact that he fell for Modi and SRK’s claims that he would be better paid at the IPL if he stayed off the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL).last_img read more

US lawmaker compares protest in US House to Rajya Sabha uproar

first_imgFrom Lalit K JhaWashington, Jun 26 (PTI) A US lawmaker has compared an unprecedented sit-in inside the House of Representatives by Democratic lawmakers to the protest by AIADMK members in the Rajya Sabha in March, saying “other governments may behave this way” but US should not follow suit.Congressman Mark Meadows posted two photos — one of the Democratic party sit-in and the other of AIADMK protest by lawmakers inside the Rajya Sabha in March — saying they look “disturbingly similar”.”Other governments may behave this way, but it is crucial that we set an example for democracy and not follow suit,” Meadows, who is a two-term Congressman from North Carolina, said in a tweet accompanying the photographs.Under the leadership of legendary John Lewis, Democratic lawmakers resorted to an unprecedented sit-in inside the well of the House of Representatives demanding vote on a strong gun control laws earlier this month after the Orlando massacre in which 49 people were killed by Afghan-origin gunman Omar Mateen.The Speaker of the US House of Representatives described this as a publicity stunt. The Democrats ended the sit-in after 24 hours. PTI LKJ ASK AKJ ASKlast_img read more

LAX’s Exclusive Private Suite Will Make You Love Waiting at the Airport

first_img Desert Wing’s Sharp Angles Bring Drama to the Desert Editors’ Recommendations From screaming children to $18 Old Fashioneds to the horror show that is TSA security, being stuck at the airport is a special kind of torture. Of course, some well-heeled gentlemen enjoy a level of air travel luxury that most of us have never heard of, let along personally experienced. For those traveling elite, there is The Private Suite LAX.The Private Suite promises the sort of experience typically reserved for traveling heads of state, Russian oil tycoons, and Beyonce. Members enter the airport through a special access gate which leads to a private compound located on the edge of the runway at Los Angeles International Airport. Inside, eight staffers are on-hand to cater to members’ every whim, from dining to sleeping to travel to medical.Each of the 10 individual luxury suites accommodates up to four guests. Every space is awash in modern, high-end conveniences including a gourmet food and beverage pantry, complimentary spa services (including in-suite massages, haircuts, and manicures), and free, unlimited detailing of personal cars while parked at LAX. Executives looking to get busy have access to a video conference suite and concierge doctor visits can be arranged for anyone seeking medical advice. For members keen to do nothing at all, a private two-person daybed provides a place to nap while enjoying a runway view of the planes landing and taking off outside. Major Airline Admits to Monitoring Passengers Via Onboard Cameras Get Acquainted With the Military-Approved Skincare Brand Bravo Sierra center_img Sprint Through Airport Security With These TSA-Approved Men’s Grooming Kits Learn Guitar (and Don’t Give Up) With the Fender Play App Because The Private Suite is situated adjacent the runways at LAX, the processes of baggage handling, clearing TSA security, and physically getting from car to plane are almost invisible. The company’s website claims, “It typically takes 2,200 footsteps from car seat to plane seat. For members of The Private Suite, it’s 70 footsteps. And they are all peaceful footsteps.” Yes, life is short — conserve your footsteps. At boarding time, members and their luggage are chauffeured via a BMW 7 Series sedan across the tarmac directly to their aircraft ahead of every other passenger.While similar concepts exist in Frankfurt and Heathrow, The Private Suite presents the first such VIP air travel experience in the U.S. Annual memberships are available for $4,500, which includes access for the primary member and three immediate family members. That fee only buys members the “privilege” of access to the suite; actual use of the suite requires additional per-trip fees of $2,700 for one-way domestic flights or $3,000 for one-way international flights. Non-members skip the annual fee (and access to most of The Private Suite’s best perks) but pay a higher per-use premium: $3,500 for domestic one-way flights and $4,000 for international one-way travel. But, hey, at least you can now skate through the airport with nary a scuff on your fancy Chelsea boots.last_img read more

Why Liam quickly filed for divorce from Miley

first_imgLos Angeles: Actor Liam Hemsworth decided to file for divorce from pop singer Miley Cyrus after he saw his estranged wife getting intimate with celebrity blogger Kaitlynn Carter. According to a source, the 29-year-old actor filed for divorce “quickly” because Cyrus was “being so open about her relationship with Kaitlynn”, reports usmagazine.com. “He thought they could work it out, but all those pictures of her and Kaitlynn ended that. Liam comes from a very conservative family and his family was freaked out by it,” the source said. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka Cyrus and Hemsworth first met in 2009 on the set of “The Last Song”. The two had called off their engagement in 2013, before getting back together in 2015, and then finally getting married in December 2018. The two announced their separation on August 10 this year. The news came hours before photographs surfaced of the “Wrecking Ball” hitmaker making out with Carter in Italy on August 10. Liam cited “irreconcilable differences” when he filed for divorce in Los Angeles on August 21.last_img read more

Middleclass gang violence in BC breaks from history with higher stakes

first_imgVANCOUVER — Police officer Keiron McConnell had been on the job four months when a call crackled over the radio about a stolen vehicle.The driver was arrested after a short chase, but when McConnell was told the young man was a gang member, it shattered his understanding of what that meant.“Everything I thought about gangs up to this point had kind of come from the movies ‘Colors,’ ‘Boyz n the Hood,’ that kind of stuff,” McConnell said.“This young fellow lived on the west side of Vancouver, mom and dad still lived in the house, they were wealthy by 1990s standards, his siblings were successful in school. So it was like, what is it about this kid that got him involved?”The question plagued McConnell as he watched the pattern of seemingly privileged, middle-class young men choosing a life of crime repeat itself.About 15 years after that arrest, he explored the question of what makes British Columbia’s landscape so unlike any other through a PhD.Established wisdom, he found, aligned with the stereotypes he’d carried into the job. Traditional gang members in cities like Chicago are young men born into poor neighbourhoods without any options — a rational response to irrational circumstances.That’s not always the case in British Columbia.“In B.C., gangs are, generally speaking, an irrational response to rational circumstances,” he said.An evolving gang landscapeGangs in B.C. are not a new phenomenon.The outlaw McLean gang was executed in a group hanging in 1881 after terrorizing the Kamloops community and killing a police officer. Newspapers in the 1940s documented clashes in Vancouver between military personnel and flamboyantly dressed zoot suitors on Granville Street. And the aptly-named “park gangs” staked territorial claims to the city’s parks in the 1960s and 1970s.The notorious Hells Angels opened their first B.C. chapter in 1983 and would come to dominate organized crime across Canada by around 2000. Police consider the outlaw motorcycle gang a “top-echelon” criminal organization like the Mafia, operating in more than 20 countries.Others like the United Nations, Red Scorpions and Brothers Keepers have emerged at the mid-level and the province’s anti-gang agency says much of that structure remains in place today.“The main conflicts are still there, however, you see now the gangs are more loosely tied,” said Sgt. Brenda Winpenny, spokeswoman for the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, the provincial anti-gang agency.Also distinctive today is how quickly allegiances shift and the number of lower-level “cells” or unnamed subgroups emerging, she said.It makes defining and quantifying the number of gangs difficult. The number of gangs controlling criminal markets listed by the anti-gang agency grew from a handful in 1980 to 188 by 2011, but there’s no available estimate today.The Criminal Code defines a gang as a group of three or more people with the main purpose of committing or facilitating serious offences for financial benefit. But many so-called “gangsters” don’t identify with the word.“A lot of these kids, they’re not seeing themselves joining the gang,” McConnell said.If you’re selling illicit drugs though, you’re associated, he said.“You’re not independent, or if you are, you’re not independent for very long. You have to get the drugs from somebody and the drugs are coming in from organized crime and filtering down to mid-level and low-level street gangs.”In contrast to the military-like hierarchy of the Hells Angels, McConnell likened the structure of many gangs today to a “bag of marbles.” They are not tied to particular geographic areas but move location and shift loyalty according to business opportunity.And with that has come more public violence.When Canada’s homicide rate reached 660 in 2017 —the highest in almost a decade — Statistics Canada attributed part of the spike to gang-related violence and shootings, singling out British Columbia as a hot spot. The province saw the homicide rate rise by 32 per cent that year.The homicide rate in B.C. levelled off again in 2018 but gang-related violence continues to represent 37 per cent of all killings in the province.“In the, quote, ‘good old days,’ when the Hells Angels were in control of the whole lot, those acts of violence were minimal because they would go and talk to people about behaviour and about expectations and about attitudes, and if you did not listen carefully there were consequences,” said Rob Gordon, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C.“There’s no subtlety anymore. I’m being a sentimentalist.”Violent new stakesJoe Calendino was lying on a prison floor, emaciated and sick from drug withdrawal symptoms when he says he hit rock bottom.He was a member of the Hells Angels’ infamous Nomads chapter when he was busted selling $10 worth of crack cocaine to an undercover cop.It was the moment he began turning his life around, which he says was possible because the outlaw motorcycle club was ready to cut him loose.But the gang landscape has shifted so dramatically in the 10 years since then that today’s youth won’t have the same second chance, Calendino said.“There’s no rock bottom anymore, it’s a grave,” he said.Calendino now works with youth in gang prevention and intervention through his non-profit Yo Bro Yo Girl Youth Initiative. The organization offers programming in classrooms, after school and during school breaks that aim to keep kids busy, active and empowered with support from positive role models to choose a healthier life path.When he looks back on his early entry into criminal life, beginning with drugs in Grade 8 and high school fights with other kids, he said the stakes were different than those facing the kids today.“We didn’t go around shooting each other. We got into fights, a man or boy got beat up and it was over, it was done. You may have fought someone 10 to 15 times but you never ever thought of picking up a gun and going to shoot him,” he said.Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer told reporters in January 2018 that the region was experiencing a swell of gang-related violence unparalleled in the past 10 years after an innocent 15-year-old was killed by a stray bullet while his family was driving past a shootout.Several groups are at odds over drugs and killing one another, Palmer said.For McConnell, today’s middle-class gangsters aren’t too different from the young man from west Vancouver he arrested in the 1990s.Two years ago, he was speaking with a “wealthy” father of two young men at risk of violence.“I pleaded with him to use his wealth to get his kids out of the country and he didn’t. And his one son was shot and killed in Surrey and at the same time, his other son was shot five times.”‘Easy money’Officials say many of the middle-class young men stepping off school and career paths to pursue criminal businesses see it as a legitimate career opportunity.They begin working low level “dial-a-dope” lines, where users can order drugs by phone for delivery or meet up, with the promise of growth.“It’s the pizza delivery service of drug dealing,” Winpenny said, adding that it’s also the riskiest position in the line because it means dealing directly with addicts and acting as an easy target for rival gangs.“These young kids are being recruited into this promise of making some easy money,” she said. “But the higher ups are sort of insulating themselves from that violence.”It’s the entry point into a much more complex organizational structure. A 2018 report by an anti-gang task force in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey found many gangsters are profit driven and operate enterprises similar to traditional businesses. Gangs in B.C. are more sophisticated than in other parts of Canada and some even require new members to pay for training, it says.Their product, primarily, is drugs.Historically, British Columbia’s “porous” ports, with no dedicated patrolling force, made it an attractive hub for the international trade, Gordon said. And its temperate climate allowed it to become a major producer of marijuana, for which a thriving black market persists despite legalization last October. Newer products — the deadly opioid fentanyl and its analogues — now present an even more lucrative business opportunity. The extremely concentrated painkillers are cheap to produce in China and even easier to transport than other drugs, since they can be ordered on the dark web and sent by regular mail.Chief Const. Mike Serr of the Abbotsford Police Department, who also chairs the drug advisory committee for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said in May that quantifying the profitability of opioids is difficult since they are typically cut with other drugs rather than sold “pure.”For comparison, he said one kilogram of pure heroin typically costs $70,000 and would be added to a cutting agent to produce two kilograms worth of drugs for street sales.One kilogram of fentanyl costs roughly $12,500 but can be mixed with 100 kilograms of a cutting agent for street sale because it’s so potent. Estimating that profit is difficult because it may be sold under several different drug names with different concentrations, and in much smaller quantities than one kilogram at a time, but $1 million isn’t out of the ball park, he said.When you consider analogues like carfentanil are significantly more concentrated than fentanyl, the profit margins are exponential.“If someone said 10 years ago, can you make the perfect drug, carfentanil and fentanyl would be, unfortunately, the drug because it’s cheap, it’s much easier to import, it’s easier to source,” he said. Amy Smart and Laura Kane, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Fergie Supports New GenderBased Violence Initiative

first_imgThe Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women – a collaboration of Vital Voices Global Partnership, the Avon Foundation for Women and the U.S. Department of State – has presented a new initiative to address gender-based violence: the Gender-Based Violence Emergency Response and Protection Initiative.Uzra Zeya, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Alyse Nelson, CEO of Vital Voices, Fergie, Avon Foundation Ambassador, William Burns, Deputy Secretary of State, and Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon Products, Inc.In making the announcement, Vital Voices CEO Alyse Nelson said, “we are delighted to be part of this new initiative that leverages the knowledge and expertise of our global women leaders to rapidly and effectively identify and respond to the immediate needs of victims. From providing legal services to women who have suffered domestic violence, to creating viable employment opportunities for survivors of human trafficking these leaders know their communities and they have designed solutions that restore freedom and dignity. They are bringing us closer to a world free of violence.”The Gender-Based Violence Emergency Response and Protection Initiative is a first-of-its-kind global program dedicated to assisting victims of extreme forms of gender-based violence and harmful traditional practices around the world. The Initiative takes comprehensive steps to eradicate domestic violence, sexual assault, honor crimes and other forms of gender based violence by providing critical support to survivors. By providing short-term emergency grants to cover medical care, emergency shelter, legal assistance, and other related costs, the program allows victims in urgent situations to access life-saving services.“Gender-based violence is a global epidemic and an affront to humanity,” said Uzra Zeya, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. It is our privilege to join in launching the GBV Initiative, a unique partnership which aims to uphold the dignity and advance the human rights of women and girls around the world.”The Initiative takes a holistic approach to addressing these crimes by creating a global gender-based violence training program for law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, government officials, and NGO advocates – The Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence. Over the next two years, the program will work with criminal justice professionals and service providers in India, Mexico, Nepal, South Africa and other countries to develop and provide training that promotes a victim-centered approach to holding offenders accountable for their crimes.Avon Foundation Global Ambassador Fergie said, “The new Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence is designed to ensure that laws achieve their promise. It will go even further to protect women who are victims of violence and secure justice for them. I am so proud to announce this pioneering new partnership of the Avon Foundation for Women, Vital Voices and the State Department.”Cindy Dyer, Vice President for Human Rights at Vital Voices Global Partnership and a former specialized domestic and sexual violence prosecutor, states “we are honored to be part of these groundbreaking, comprehensive initiatives that will provide victims of gender-based violence not only with the critical services they need, but also with the justice they deserve.”last_img read more

Proposed refinery for Northern Gateway bitumen gets cold shoulder from BC First

first_imgAPTN National NewsVANCOUVER–A proposed refinery to handle Alberta bitumen pitched by a British Columbia businessman is just “another pipe dream” and a “ruse” to increase support for the Northern Gateway pipeline according to a spokesperson for an all alliance of First Nations along the province’s northern and central coast.Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations, says the refinery, pitched by newspaper tycoon David Black is a “shot in the dark” to try and revive flagging support for the Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline.“All kinds of people are having pipe dreams out here,” said Sterritt. “We look at it as another ruse to try to get support for Northern Gateway.”Black, who owns Black Press Ltd., announced Friday he would be willing to pay for the environmental assessment of a $13 billion refinery, but needed financial backers to make the project a reality. The proposed refinery would be built near Kitimat, B.C., which is the endpoint for Enbridge’s proposed $5.5 billion pipeline.Black told the Vancouver Sun that the refinery would solve concerns over having bitumen-laden tankers moving through the environmentally sensitive Douglas Channel. He said the proposal would soften First Nations opposition to the pipeline by erasing the environmental threat to the coast of B.C.Sterritt, however, said Black never really consulted with any First Nations about the project before announcing it on Friday and the proposal would do nothing to mitigate the threat of a ruptured pipeline which would still cross several major watersheds on its trip from Alberta’s tar sands.Sterritt said already existing refineries in the Vancouver area have reduced their capacity because it’s more lucrative to ship raw product overseas. The existing Kinder Morgan pipeline was constructed 40 years ago on the promise of jobs created by refining activities.“We already have a pipeline that is going to the Vancouver harbour, but those people shipping bitumen and other crude oil have decided they can make more money overseas than refining and they have shut down refining in B.C.,” he said. “Historically, this pipeline was built on the back of the refineries, so the people of B.C. said, ‘We’ll allow the pipeline to go through, we need refined product in B.C.’ Since then, they’ve backed off.”Haisla First Nation Chief Councillor Ellis Ross said Black contacted one of his advisors on Thursday to inform the Haisla about the planned announcement. Ross said Black has toyed with the proposal for some time, but the Haisla have never been consulted on the issue or seen anything official on paper about the refinery project.“It was unofficial contact, there was nothing on paper, no consultation it was just a concept,” said Ross. “What I made clear is the idea that our people have mandate to have absolutely no bitumen or crude oil on Haisla territory.”Ross, however, said he hoped Black’s proposal would finally focus the debate about the Enbridge pipeline on the lack of existing refining capacity in the country versus shipping off raw product overseas only to buy it back later at a higher price.“It’s the white elephant in the room. The focus has entire been to get the product to Asia,” said Ross. “It’s like shipping raw logs to Asia and buying back the product at 10 times the price.”news@aptn.calast_img read more

CBSA launches proceedings examining LNG module antidumping tariffs

first_imgThe CBSA says that the proceeding was launched after Woodfibre LNG, a potential importer of those components filed an application with the CBSA.The CBSA says that the proceeding should be concluded by November 23rd at the latest. OTTAWA, O.N. – The Canada Border Services Agency announced on Thursday morning that it is launching a scope proceeding to look at whether fabricated steel LNG modules made in China and South Korea can be exempted from anti-dumping tariffs announced last year by the federal government.Last April, the federal government announced that anti-dumping tariffs would be applied to fabricated structural steel and plate-work components from China, South Korea, and Spain. Chinese components are also subject to countervailing duties. The components listed on the CBSA’s website as being subjected to the duties include those for use in oil and gas extraction, mining extraction, industrial power generation facilities, petrochemical plants, cement plants, fertilizer plants, and industrial metal smelters.The scope proceeding is being conducted in order to establish whether or not liquefied natural gas modules are subject to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal’s injury finding issued on May 25, 2017, concerning the dumping of certain fabricated industrial structural components from China and South Korea, and the subsidizing of those components from China.last_img read more

Province sets up Task Force to help strengthen BCs agriculture sector

first_imgThe three-member task force, led by Peter Dhillon, chair, with Arvind Gupta and Lenore Newman as members, will assess and provide strategic advice on opportunities to apply agri-technologies, expand the emerging agritech industry, and increase access to fresh and healthy food.The Task Force will speak with stakeholder groups and provide a final report to the ministers of Agriculture and Jobs, Trade and Technology by December 31, 2019.Public comments and engagement can be made online by visiting the Province’s website. SURREY, B.C. – The Province of British Columbia has set up a Food Security Task Force to find new ways to use technology and innovation to strengthen B.C.’s agriculture sector.According to Minister of Agriculture, Lana Popham, the Task Force will look at new ways to help farmers expand production and develop thriving businesses.“By helping farmers put more B.C. farmland into production, our government is supporting the province’s agricultural industry and strengthening food security for all British Columbians. We are always looking for new ideas as we continue to help farmers produce more, grow new crops and develop thriving businesses. I know the task force will identify further innovations to support the sector and I’m looking forward to receiving their recommendations.”last_img read more

Norwegian envoy briefed on challenges in the North

The Ambassador of Norway to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther, has been briefed on the challenges faced in the North when he visited the area last week, the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo said today.Ambassador Gaustadsæther visited Jaffna to attend the International Conference on Advanced Materials for Clean Energy and Health Applications (AMCEHA), jointly organized by Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and University of Jaffna. Opening the conference as the Chief Guest, Ambassador Gaustadsæther highlighted the importance of creating fora to provide opportunities for exchange of research ideas and form local and global partnerships. About 500 local and foreign participants attended the conference. During this visit to the North, the Ambassador also met with several government officials in the area such as Dr. Suren Raghavan, Governor of Northern Province, Major General Darshana Hettiarachchi, Commander of the Security Force Headquarters – Jaffna (SFHQ-J), and A. Pathinathan, Chief Secretary, Northern Province. The Norwegian Ambassador also called on Rev. Monsignor Justin Bernard Gnanapragasam – Bishop of Jaffna.The Embassy said that the meetings helped the Ambassador to better understand the opportunities and challenges in the Northern Province. (Colombo Gazette) read more

The techstock boom has well and truly arrived in Canadas market

It makes up almost 6 per cent of Canada’s stock market and is the best-performing sector this year.That’s right: technology stocks have climbed a massive 59 per cent in 2019 — more than double the next-best industry group on the S&P/TSX Composite Index. In fact, tech’s share of the benchmark index has grown at the fastest rate among all sectors in the past four years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“The tech ecosystem in Canada is very robust,” said Todd Coupland, managing director of institutional equity research at CIBC Capital Markets. “There are some high-quality growth companies that have begun to scale up over the last few years and they’ve gone public, and the success of those companies is manifesting itself in higher share prices.” Some of Canada’s hottest tech firms are weighing IPOs following success of Lightspeed, Shopify rally Crackdown on big tech rivals could be ‘tremendous’ opportunity for Shopify, analyst says Shopify is now more valuable than two of Canada’s oldest companies Canada’s tech sector hasn’t always had a smooth road. Fortunes have ebbed and flowed with the likes of BlackBerry Ltd., formerly known as Research In Motion, and now-defunct telephone equipment maker Nortel Networks Corp. But the S&P/TSX Composite Information Technology Index is now on track for its seventh year of gains — its longest winning run on record — having added $108 billion (US$81 billion) in market value in 2019.Ottawa-based Shopify Inc., which has climbed more than 1,500 per cent since it went public in 2015, is a big part of the success. It has a 39 per cent weighting on the tech sub-gauge and comprises 2.18 per cent of the broader benchmark.“With Shopify getting bigger and bigger, it’s getting more on the radar of larger, more global focused investors,” said Suthan Sukumar, an analyst at Eight Capital. “That is drawing more eyeballs to the Canadian market.”It isn’t just Shopify that’s making waves. Lightspeed POS Inc. — which boasted Canada’s second-biggest IPO this year and the biggest offering by a Canadian tech firm in almost nine years — had a stunning trading debut in March. The stock has climbed 175 per cent as the company forecast annual revenue that beat analyst expectations. That performance isn’t reflected in the S&P/TSX Info Tech index, which hasn’t yet added Lightspeed.And another tech company is looking to follow in Lightspeed’s footsteps. Toronto-based Docebo announced Wednesday that it filed documents with regulators for an IPO.With valuations sky-high, it’s worth asking whether the rally can last. The price-to-earnings ratio for the S&P/TSX Composite Info Tech gauge stands at 34.6, compared with the broader benchmark’s multiple of 14.3.Sukumar says he sees opportunity in at least some corners of tech.“There is an opportunity for investors to continue rewarding higher-quality growth and growth that can prove to be resilient in these kind of market conditions,” he said.Bloomberg.com read more

Lockout reduces service at OLG Slots at Woodbine Racetrack

TORONTO – About 400 workers at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. facility at the Woodbine horse racing track were locked out Friday after their employer and union were unable to reach a new contract agreement.The lockout at the facility in northwest Toronto comes after the workers, who are members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, voted last weekend to reject a tentative agreement that had been reached with OLG on July 5.The lockout began at 12:01 a.m. Friday and workers were escorted off the premises, a PSAC spokesperson said.The union has said its bargaining team sent a revised offer to the OLG on Wednesday, but it was rejected.A group of workers and union representatives were spending Friday picketing outside the facility.Woodbine will remain open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, but the electronic poker room is closed and an onsite courtesy shuttle will be unavailable because of the labour dispute, the OLG said.The main sticking point in the union’s discussions with OLG is around working conditions for part-time employees, who the union said represent 60 per cent of its members.“We have part-time workers who have been doing full-time hours for over 10 years, and yet they are still classified at part-time,” PSAC Ontario regional vice-president Sharon DeSousa said in a statement Friday.She added that means Woodbine employees are not entitled to paid sick days and they can go from working seven days in a week to just one day.“There is no consistency for these workers and they are tired of it,” DeSousa said. “The Liberal government needs to address why their Crown corporation has created such a precarious workforce at its most profitable gaming site in the province.”OLG said in a statement that it had made wage and lump sum proposals and was willing to put the offer before an arbitrator.“OLG respects the collective bargaining process and we treat our employees fairly and respectfully,” the Crown corporation said in a statement. “We are open to having discussions with PSAC at any time to resolve the issues in dispute.”The Woodbine facility features more than 3,000 slot machines, electronic games and horse racing. by Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press Posted Jul 14, 2017 6:38 am MDT Last Updated Jul 14, 2017 at 10:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Lockout reduces service at OLG Slots at Woodbine Racetrack read more

Woman says passengers were confined to plane on Ottawa runway for six

Woman says passengers were confined to plane on Ottawa runway for six hours MONTREAL – A woman who was aboard an Air Transat flight says she and other passengers were forced to stay in the plane on an Ottawa runway for six hours in uncomfortably warm conditions.Maryanne Zehil said the plane, which had originated in Brussels, was meant to land in Montreal on Monday but that the 336 passengers were told it would not be possible because of storms.The captain then diverted the plane to Ottawa.Zehil said it was very hot in the plane and that some passengers were having trouble breathing.She added that one person called 911 and that is when bottles of water were handed out. At that point, passengers had been in the Airbus A330 for 15 hours.“We were stuck on the ground for six hours,” Zehil said in an interview. “At one point there was no more power. There was no air. Children were crying. It was really bad because we didn’t know why we weren’t allowed to get off so the problem could be solved.“It was inhumane and unacceptable.”Air Transat (TSX:TRZ) apologized in a statement to passengers on Tuesday.“Following yesterday’s violent late-afternoon thunderstorms in Montreal, some of our flights from Europe and the South had to be diverted to other airports,” it said.“Unfortunately, this unusual situation beyond our control caused delays of several hours for our passengers.”It said nearly 30 planes, belonging to several airlines, were diverted to Ottawa.“As a result, Ottawa airport staff were unable to provide with loading bridges or stairs that would have enabled the passengers on the Brussels flight to disembark or our ground crews to replenish the aircraft’s empty drinking water reservoir,” the statement added.“The shortage of fuel also explains the lack of air conditioning on board for a time.”In Ottawa, a spokesperson in the federal Transport Department said such incidents will not be able to happen again once Bill C-49 becomes law.The legislation will force airlines to give passengers water, food and the possibility of getting off a plane, as long as it is safe, after being stuck three hours on a runway.It will also oblige airlines to explain delays to passengers. by The Canadian Press Posted Aug 1, 2017 12:37 pm MDT Last Updated Aug 2, 2017 at 6:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Security Council ends 13year sanctions regime on Liberia

While taking such measures, the 15-nation body, through a unanimously adopted resolution, also encouraged the Government to establish a necessary framework to combat the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition.Following the Council’s action to lift the measures, most of which have been in place since 2003, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, welcomed the decision.According to the statement, the UN chief noted that targeted sanctions measures have accompanied the consolidation of peace and the rebuilding of State institutions in Liberia since 2003, and that these measures have been progressively adjusted as Liberia has met the benchmarks set out by the Council.“Today’s lifting by the Security Council of the remaining arms embargo on non-State actors further signals the significant progress made by Liberia and the sub-region in maintaining stability,” the statement said.The Secretary-General echoed the resolution’s call on the Liberian Government to ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to establish the necessary legal and administrative framework to combat the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition, the statement added. read more

Ohio States Sam Thompson None of us like to lose — were

Junior forward Sam Thompson (12) attempts a dunk during a game against Iowa Jan. 12 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 84-74.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorIn sports, losses are bound to happen. Especially in men’s college basketball, where the last undefeated national champion was the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.For the Ohio State men’s basketball team, though, losses have been a rarity the past two years — just 18 in 93 games.But back-to-back losses to then-No. 5 Michigan State and then-No. 20 Iowa could cause some uneasiness around the program. That is not the case though, junior forward Sam Thompson said.“I don’t think anyone in the locker room is hanging their heads. We’re obviously upset about the losses. None of us like to lose — we’re all competitors,” Thompson said Wednesday.OSU (15-2, 2-2) coasted through its non-conference schedule and first two conference games, rising as high as No. 3 in the top 25. But the back-to-back setbacks — first on the road against the Spartans and then Sunday at home to Iowa — could have the team reeling as it prepares for its road contest with Minnesota (13-4, 2-2) Thursday. Tipoff is set for 9 p.m.The Buckeyes, however, are doing their best to not let the negativity continue, junior guard Shannon Scott said.“I think we were all down at first, we were pretty upset with the way we’ve been playing lately but we’re starting to get back a winner’s mentality now,” Scott said Wednesday. “I think we’re all positive, we all know what we have to do to become successful so we’re all sticking to that and we’re going to try and move on from there.”OSU’s been here before, dropping multiple games once conference play began in the past two seasons. Two years ago, the Buckeyes lost two of four games over a 11-day span, and last season dropped three of four in February. Those teams rallied to earn trips to the Final Four and Elite Eight, though, which could prove useful for the rest of this year.“Simply put, it’s a long season,” OSU coach Thad Matta said Wednesday. “I told (freshman forward) Marc Loving after the game, ‘This isn’t going to be the only time in your career you’re at a low point — trust me, it happens.’ It’s the reality for me coaching as long as I have. We’ve lost to two top-20 teams in back-to-back games and we’ve had a shot to win them both. I think the thing we’re trying to find is how do we get back to our consistent, our best basketball.”The Golden Gophers took MSU to overtime Saturday in East Lansing, Mich., before ultimately falling 87-75.“(Minnesota’s) a great team, they’ve got great guard lay and great bigs as well. We know nothing’s going to be easy,” Scott said. “We’re in the Big Ten now, it’s not like we’re playing some random team.”Minnesota has four players who average in double figures scoring, led by junior guard Andre Hollins with 16.3.“We know they’re not a slouch. We know that Minnesota, just like every team in this league can beat us,” Thompson said. “They’re a great team, they play a style of play that’s really caused a lot of problems for opponents this season. They force a lot of turnovers, they make a lot of threes. We know that if we don’t bring our best game or we could very easily lose this game.”Despite his team’s losses last week, Matta said in order to get a win Thursday, OSU just has to get back to what was working before when it opened the season with 15 wins.“I think just doing what we do, the consistency of what we do,” Matta said. “I say this all the time, know that we’re going to hold teams scoreless, not that we’re going to score every time we have the basketball but it’s one play after another play after another play after another play and then you put yourself in a position and you have a great chance to win the basketball game.”Thompson agreed.“We definitely weren’t the same team that we were the first few weeks of the season (last week),” Thompson said. “Whatever the issue may be with that, we just have to get it back.” read more

Amare Stoudemire Homophobic Slur On Twitter Causes A Stir

Amar’e Stoudemire’s caused a storm when he abused New York Knicks’ supporter Brian Ferrelli on Twitter.Ferrelli had sent a tweet to the star saying he’d ‘better come back a lot stronger and quicker to make up for this past season’, the New York Daily News reported.In response, Stoudemire, who is currently suffering from a hand injury, fired off a private message saying: ‘F*** you. I don’t have to do anything f**.’NBA officials then launched an investigation after Ferrelli posted a screen grab of the message on the social networking site that started trending.According to reports, Stoudemire has since apologized to the fan in a subsequent direct message. “I apologize for what I said earlier,” Stoudemire allegedly messaged. “I just got off the plane and had time to think about it. Sorry bro!! No excuses. Won’t happen again.” read more

RAF fears Lake District zip wires would down fighter jets

first_img“Therefore, this application could cause a significant hazard and it would significantly impact upon vital military training conducted in this area.” Caroline Quentin, president of Campaign for National Parks, said the zip wires “will spoil the peace and tranquillity of this beautiful place”.And the writer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, who was born and raised in Cumbria, said”The destruction of the great pools of silence in the Lake District will most likely deter more people than it will attract.”This is nothing to do with enhancing the Lake District or enriching the experience. It’s a commercial grab that will disfigure the landscape and destroy its crucial peaceful nature.”Thirlmere Lake was originally two smaller lakes purchased by Manchester City Corporation Waterworks in 1889.The area was dammed and became one vast reservoir 3.5 miles long, 1.2 mile wide and 158 feet deep,In the process, the settlements of Armboth and Wythburn were submerged, the only remaining building being the little church at Wythburn.Their destruction was one of the events which led to the creation of the National Trust – one of the bodies which has now voiced its strong objection to the zip wire plans, alongside the Open Spaces Society, the Friends of the Lake District charity and the Wainwright Society. Thirlmere Reservoir in the Lake District National ParkCredit: www.Alamy.com Thirlmere Reservoir in the Lake District National Park The planned installation of eight of the longest zip wire rides in the country across Thirlemere Lake could bring down fighter jets using the area for training, the RAF has warned.The plans by the Cumbrian firm Treetop Trek to erect the 1,200-metre ride across one of the finest landscapes in the country have already attracted the opposition of conservationists and environmentalists.Now the RAF has voiced its fears that the rides, which would see thrill seekers cross the lake 130 metres above the water, would interfere with its low flying jets.The MoD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation has strongly objected to the zip-wire in a letter to the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA), which is set to make a decision on the scheme in the coming weeks.Di Sylvester, the DIO’s assistant safeguarding officer, said the zip line “poses a risk to low flying operations.”She added that “military aircraft would not being able to readily identify wires or safely navigate away from them”.The letter goes on: “The Lake District is used by both experienced crews and students undertaking Basic Fast Jet Training, Advanced Flying Training and those from the Defence Helicopter School.”Activity stands to be severely affected, with impacts recognised in safety, cost, efficiency and output. The National Trust said: “The Thirlmere Valley was one of the key locations for the development of the early conservation movement in the Lake District.”It inspired our founders to form the National Trust – it’s one of our birthplaces, and this is recognised in the World Heritage Site inscription.”Just as our founders did all those years ago, we’re standing up for the Lake District – this development could have a significant impact on the landscape.”However, Treetop Trek argues that the activity hub would create 53 local jobs and generate an extra £600,000 spent in the local economy annually.Their plans have also been backed by Cumbria Tourism and the Lake District Park Partnership Business Task Force, who claim the project would boost the county’s tourism industry and local economy.Mike Turner, managing director of Treetrop Trek, said: “I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to create another world-class attraction in the Lake District.”The hub would create 53 jobs altogether and an amazing cycling infrastructure.”The LDNPA has said it will provide a “substantive” update by January 24, when it will confirm whether or not the application will be considered at February’s meeting of its development control committee. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.last_img read more

Fuchse Berlin second finalists of the IHF Super Globe 2016

Fuchse Berlin will have a chance to defend the IHF Super Globe title in Doha. The German team outplayed domestic Al Sadd Sports Club 32:26 (15:12) and will fight against PSG Handball on Thursday (19 hrs) for the trophy… ← Previous Story PSG Handball at the IHF Super Globe 2016 final Next Story → HSG Wetzlar smash THW Kiel with new hero Buric in main role

Researchers Turn Exhaust Heat Into Energy

first_imgWhile hybrid cars are an improvement over traditional gas guzzles, they still produce harmful emissions. But what if those emissions could be harnessed and used as an energy source? That’s exactly what a team of researchers at Purdue University are trying to do.The research, which is being funded by the National geek-cetera Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, is aiming to turn the heat from an vehicle’s exhaust into energy. In conjunction with General Motors, the team is developing a thermoelectric generator that will be able to harness the harmful gases that come out of a vehicle’s exhaust–gases that can reach temperatures of 700 degrees Celsius–and use that heat as a way to charge up the vehicle’s electrical systems.The first prototype is set to be developed starting next year, with the goal of reducing fuel consumption by five percent. However, the researchers say that in the future that number could be increased by up to 10 percent.Via Inhabitatlast_img read more