first_imgNew Delhi: Realty firm Ajnara group on Tuesday said it will invest over Rs 300 crore to develop a housing project in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. The company will construct 450 units in this 5.6 acre housing project at Raj Nagar Extension, Ghaziabad. Total saleable area in this project would be 7.85 lakh sq ft residential and 1.25 lakh sq ft commercial. As housing market is facing multi-year slowdown, there has been a limited launch of new project ahead of festival season as developers are focusing on selling their unsold inventories. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal “With all the government clearance in place, we are coming up with a new project – ‘Ajnara Fragrance’ with an investment of more than Rs 300 crores,” Ajnara India CMD Ashok Gupta said in a statement. The company will meet project cost through internal accruals, he added. Ajnara’s Pramod Gupta said the basic selling price has been fixed at around Rs 2800-3,350 per sq ft. In about three decades, Ajnara has delivered 64 projects comprising over 25,000 units across Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad. It aims to deliver around 4,000 units in FY 2019-20,” Gupta said.last_img read more

first_imgQUEBEC – Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has contacted several of his counterparts to discuss his constitutional initiative and says he wants to raise the topic at the Council of the Federation meeting in Edmonton.“I’m quite happy about the public and private reaction of my colleagues,” Couillard said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press. “All of them see very positively the desire from Quebec to explain its point of view and also to participate in an even stronger way in the Canadian federation.“I’m not expecting any conversation in Edmonton about a constitutional conference. I’m going to be there to maybe explain the document to my colleagues but also show them how we can work even closer together.”Couillard said the premiers’ meeting will actually focus on topics that “are much more important in the daily lives of Canadians and Quebecers,” including security issues, the legalization of cannabis, softwood lumber and free trade with the United States.The document outlining Couillard’s thinking about Quebec’s place within Canada was released six weeks ago and is entitled, “Quebecers: Our Way of Being Canadians.”He has said the goal of his government’s proposal is to “start a dialogue” about Quebec’s place in the country, which he hopes will lead to the eventual reopening of constitutional negotiations and to Quebec finally signing the 1982 Constitution.While Couillard eventually wants to secure recognition of his province’s distinctiveness in the Constitution, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been adamant he will not reopen the highest law of the land.Moreover, the Quebec premier’s initiative did not exactly get a ringing endorsement from his counterparts.Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall recently put his own constitutional demand on the table: fixing the equalization program he says takes $500 million a year out of his province while providing $11 billion annually to Quebec.Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne adopted a more conciliatory tone at the time, but nevertheless appeared to indicate that reopening the Constitution is not among Ontarians’ priorities.On the cannabis front, meanwhile, Couillard said he has certain concerns about the federal government’s plan to legalize the drug for adults, as of next July 1.“There are a significant number of medical reports that show young people, late teens up to young adult age, can have detrimental effects from significant consumption of cannabis, in terms of mental health,” he said.“I’m quite concerned but I also tell myself, ‘Be realistic.’ Young people will still use it even if the legal age is 21.”Couillard said he understands each province will not have an identical approach to cannabis but added, “we cannot have vastly different frameworks, particularly for provinces that are neighbours.”The Council of the Federation will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday.On Monday, the premiers are to convene with Indigenous leaders, but that meeting is up in the air.Three of the five First Nations groups announced Friday they will boycott the meeting because they believe they should be part of the full Council of the Federation.last_img read more

Rabat – The Moroccan Belgian boxer Mohamed El Marcouchi has returned to Brussels on April 15 after winning the African Championship in boxing for Super Lightweight category. Mohamed El Marcouchi made headlines in Belgium after winning the African Championship in boxing for Super Lightweight category on April 8. The 28-year-old boxer fought the Ghanaian Sherrif Quayé in the city of Marrakech and managed to win the title after a long 12-round game.The Moroccan Belgian boxer, who currently lives and trains in Miami, USA, received a warm reception by his supporters in his home municipality of Molenbeek. As soon as his arrival time in Zaventem airport was announced, his supporters joined forces with the municipality of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean in Brussels to give him the triumphal welcome. Ahmed El Khannouss, Alderman of Sports at the same municipality, expressed his pride in El Marcouchi to reporters at the ceremony.“Molenbeek is proud of the achievement of our national champion whose incredible achievement is reflected on our Molenbeek citizens. We want to congratulate him,” said El Khannous.El Marcouchi has won the Belgian title in boxing twice as an amateur, and in 2011 he came fourth in the European continent. He is also a member of the Belgian Olympic team. read more

Rabat – Hachim Mastour is taking a step backwards in his career. Free since the end of his contract with AC Milan in July, Moroccan international football player Hachim Mastour struggled to find a club that would take him after a disastrous season. According to Greek outlet SDNA, the Atlas Lion will try to bounce back in the Greek championship with the PAS Lamia club with whom he passed his medical visit Tuesday, September 4. Having spent the last season with AC Milan, Hachim Mastour did not manage to impress. This season, the 20-year-old played just one game with the Milan reserve team. Otherwise he has spent time in training, sometimes even with the pro group.Too much social media?“Mastour is more famous for making videos on social media than playing on the field,” said AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso in April. Mastour has been in the spotlight from a young age but has had a hard time managing his “celebrity” status. Hachim was born in Reggio Emilia, northern Italy, to Moroccan parents. Since he was a child, he dreamed of becoming the greatest football player in the world. He started his career in US Reggio Calcio, a football school based in Reggio Emilia linked with FC Internazionale Milano.From the beginning of his football career, Mastour was seen as a prodigy. Nicknamed “the young Cristiano Ronaldo,” because of his speed, ability to change pace, superior dribbling skills, and ability to shoot well with both feet, Mastour did not live up to his fans’ expectations.After being courted by prestigious clubs like Juventus, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, he ultimately accepted an offer from AC Milan in 2012. Milan loaned out Mastour for two years with no option to buy at Malaga CF on the last day of the summer transfer window 2015. On July 8, 2016, Malaga broke the loan, and Mastour returned to Milan.Since then Mastour has failed to impress, whether in Malaga or FC Zwolle where he was loaned last year. The Moroccan “prodigy” never managed to win or reveal all the technical potential he supposedly had. Hachim Mastour is only 20 years old, but he seems to have already been forgotten by the world of football. Announced three years ago as a future great talent of the Milanese formation, he has lost his way.Not better in MoroccoMastour joined the Moroccan squad in 2015. The Moroccan international stated that he followed his heart and family in deciding to play for Morocco’s national team, although he was eligible to play for Italy as well. “I chose to play for Morocco at the age of 16, and it was a great honor for me,” Mastour said.However, the footballer has only played two minutes with the national team of Morocco during a game against Libya on June 12, 2015. He has not been called back since.But the 20-year-old still hoped to be selected for coach Herve Renard’s squad during the 2018 World Cup as he expressed it earlier this year to beIN Sport. Unfortunately for him, he did not make the cut for any game. read more

1 February 2008The top United Nations climate change official today highlighted the crucial role that Latin America and the Caribbean countries – which scientists believe will bear the brunt of the effects of global warming over the coming decades – will play in addressing the problem. Last December, the landmark UN Climate Change Conference in Indonesia ended with 187 countries agreeing to launch a two-year process of formal negotiations on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, on greenhouse gas emissions.“As part of the initial phase of international climate change negotiations in 2008, there needs to be a focus on designing the mechanisms to support and enable action by developing countries, no least by countries in your region,” Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said at a regional ministerial-level meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.This focus will enable these nations to cope with the effects of climate change, as well as “go the extra green mile” when putting cleaner technologies into operation, he added.The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a 2007 Nobel Prize laureate, has said the impacts of climate change in the region – including inundation of small island states and densely-populated coastal areas; more intense hurricanes; water shortages; soil erosion; droughts; and the loss of biodiversity – will intensify as time goes by.While the carbon market, a mechanism allowing companies to trade emissions credits in order to ensure that mandated caps are met, are helpful, is helpful, it is “clear that the market cannot do the trick alone,” he stressed.“We need a new climate change Marshall Plan that will reshape the world’s future economy and redirect investment flows into a sustainable future,” Mr. de Boer said, referring to the economic assistance programme that the United States brought to Europe after World War II.The Executive Secretary called for a new financial framework to jump-start green, low-carbon economic growth globally. read more

The Duke, who terminated the trip to Amsterdam just two days after it was announced, is now free to support his significantly overdue wife  Buckingham Palace’s decision to cancel The Duke of Sussex’s visit to Amsterdam because of “logistical arrangements” left supporters wondering what was happening behind the palace walls. Hundreds of royal fans have descended upon the streets of Windsor as the excitement for the arrival of Baby Sussex intensifies.Scores of enthusiastic observers, including a self-proclaimed town crier, have stationed themselves outside the grounds of Windsor Castle over recent days amid speculation that the birth is imminent.Union jacks, royal posters and themed outfits are common sights in the picturesque market town in Berkshire, where some royalists have been waiting for an update from the palace for weeks.John Loughrey, 64, has set up camp across the road from the Royal residence with a sleeping bag and decorated a guard rail with a US flag in a reference to the Duchess’s nationality.The royal superfan, dressed in a Union Jack themed outfit, said he would celebrate the birth with fish and chips, a slice of American pie and a glass of champagne.The retired chef, from Streatham, south London, said: “I’ve got a sleeping bag. I’ve been here since May 1. I’m hearing the rumours that Baby Sussex has already been born. To be honest, I’m hoping that’s not the case because Her Majesty wouldn’t like that, she wants to be loyal to her subjects.”He added: “I want it to be a healthy baby, a healthy mother and I don’t mind if it’s a boy or a girl. It should be announced here at Windsor Castle.” The Duke, who terminated the trip to Amsterdam just two days after it was announced, is now free to support his significantly overdue wife Credit:Yui Mok/Pool PA The Duke, who terminated the trip just two days after it was announced, is now free to support his significantly overdue wife at their new home of Frogmore Cottage, where it is understood the baby will be delivered.The 37-year-old reportedly revealed that she was due at the end of April or early May during an engagement in Birkenhead earlier this year.But the couple have kept the details around the birth private, with aides saying they hope to announce when the duchess has gone into labour followed by details of the baby’s sex and weight later.Nonetheless, wellwishers have travelled from across the world to congregate at the gates of the royal residence in anticipation of an official declaration.Maki Shibati, a Japenese journalist who is preparing a book about Meghan Markle, said she had flown to the UK from Tokyo as excitement grew over the Royal baby.She said: “I am writing a book on Meghan Markle in Japan. I came from Japan to cover Meghan’s birth. I have been waiting for two weeks in Windsor and I want to interview Meghan Markle’s fans, but there are none in Windsor.” 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. read more

Denmark and Norway opened new Olympic cycle in the best possible way at the start of Golden League in Denmark. Danish girls beat Olympic winners – Russia 32:22 while Norway were better in clash with France 19:17.Here is the schedule for the last two days of the tournament on which participating three medal winners from Rio 2016.Blue Water Dock, EsbjergSaturday. Oct. 8 ,14.00: Norway-RussiaSaturday. Oct. 8 ,16:10: Denmark-FranceForum Horsens, HorsensSunday. October 9 , 14:00: France-RussiaSunday. October 9 , 16:10: Denmark-Norway Golden league in Handball ← Previous Story Seven female referees pairs at Women’s EHF EURO 2016 Next Story → PSG Handball and HBC Nantes lead LIDL Starligue

first_img Short URL Wednesday 20 Feb 2019, 12:05 AM 61 Comments Share5538 Tweet Email3 Image: Irish Coast Guard via Facebook By Michelle Hennessy Irish Coast Guard staff and volunteers no longer allowed to use blue lights and sirens Volunteers are worried about the potential delays this will cause when they are travelling to incidents. center_img 83,587 Views Image: Irish Coast Guard via Facebook Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Any unit in an urban area will be severely hampered by this. Response times will be very long with traffic on any sort of decent day or weekend, which is the likely times to get a call. People didn’t join to spend all the time training to sit in traffic and never make it to the scene to actually help the people that are in need.Sources also pointed out that the directive made no mention of providing training so that this policy could be in-part reversed. For years the representative organisations for garda members have been raising similar concerns about the restricted use of blue lights and sirens.Gardaí are required to complete what is known as CBD2 training, which allows them to pursue vehicles at high speeds as well as the use of lights and sirens. But the numbers of gardaí being trained to this level dropped significantly during recessionary years and has failed to recover. A Garda Inspectorate report published just before Christmas found that over 80% of  gardaí are not trained to drive with lights and sirens.  Source: Garda InspectorateMembers have said this interferes significantly with their operational duties. In one incident reported by, a suspected drink driver was able to evade detection because the garda member driving the patrol car did not have this training.The first patrol car on the scene of the Regency Hotel shooting in 2016 were also not trained for this driving. Gardaí risk disciplinary action if they breach procedure. Similarly, disciplinary action is threatened for any breaches in the use of lights and sirens in procedure documentation for the Irish Coast Guard.A spokesperson for the Coast Guard said told that this latest instruction was issued as “a clarification in relation to the existing position as regards their use while driving on public roads”.The policy mirrors best practice in other principal emergency services for untrained “blue-light” drivers. This notice in no way impacts on the Coast Guard’s status as a principal emergency service.The Citizen’s Information Service describes principal emergency services as “the first services to respond to most major services”.“They are the blue light services that respond to normal emergencies, that is, the Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service. A fourth principal emergency service, the Irish Coast Guard, is responsible for handling maritime emergencies in Ireland’s territorial waters, harbours and coastline.”The department spokesperson said the risks associated with driving blue-light vehicles on public roads have been discussed with volunteers around the coast for some time, including at sectoral meetings and conferences.“These risks need to be mitigated – particularly in terms of the safety of the volunteers, other road users and members of the public.”The spokesperson said the issue of training volunteers and full-time staff to drive with blue lights and sirens is being addressed in the Coast Guard’s safety and risk work plan but no date was provided for its completion or the roll-out of training.  Feb 20th 2019, 12:06 AM IRISH COAST GUARD staff and volunteers have been told they are no longer permitted to use blue lights and sirens on vehicles while driving.In a directive issued to staff, and seen by, the Coast Guard told members the risks associated with driving blue light vehicles on public roads “need to be mitigated” for the safety of volunteers and the public. Now staff and volunteers are worried about the potential delays this will cause when they are travelling to incidents. There is also concern that they have not been told of any plans to provide training in this area. In 2018 Irish Coast Guard volunteer units conducted over 1,100 missions and saved more than 400 lives. The service is responsible for handling maritime emergencies and is called to reports of people in the water, falls on coastal areas as well as threats of self harm, among other incidents. The three rescue coordination centres managed 2,650 incidents last year. The helicopter services flew in excess of 670 missions including 119 on behalf of the HSE, more than 100 medical missions from the islands to the mainland and eight long range medical evacuations. Coast Guard vehicles are often used by volunteers who are assisting with these medical missions. Irish Coast Guard vehicles are fitted with blue lights and sirens, similar to those on other emergency vehicles across the country. Though drivers were not permitted to use high speeds or break red lights, they were allowed to use the lights and sirens to alert other road users of their presence so they could clear a way through a road. In 2015, the Emergency Services Driving Standard (ESDS) initiative – a voluntary code for emergency service drivers, including Coast Guard drivers, which is endorsed by the Road Safety Authority – was developed.The code has three training levels – only the highest permitting the use of blue lights and sirens. The directive issued to staff and volunteers this month stated that it is “imperative” that the Coast Guard implements this policy, as other emergency organisations have. The directive outlined how there is a ‘risk’ associated with not following the policy. It stated that in order to “manage this risk”, drivers are no longer permitted to use blue lights and sirens while driving on public roads. They can however use them when they are parked up. The directive acknowledges that this is “a significant change” to what staff and volunteers may have been doing on the public roads up until this point. Provision of trainingSources told the directive has caused controversy in the organisation and volunteers are concerned that they could end up stuck in traffic on the way to life-threatening incidents as other road users will not know to move out of their way. One said it will have “a very serious impact on operations”. “It’s not about blasting around on lights on sirens, it’s about making progression safely and this will stop units getting to incidents in a timely fashion,” they explained. last_img read more

first_imgclick to enlarge Along a stretch of Highway 99 in Hazel Dell, people with bright T-shirts and colorful signs stood waving, smiling and beckoning passing motorists to participate in a tradition that’s becoming more closely associated with unincorporated Clark County.“This (business) is a win-win for everyone,” said Beau Leach, the burly and friendly general manager of TNT Fireworks, standing outside the cavernous tent stacked with fireworks on Wednesday, the first day fireworks went on sale in unincorporated Clark County.“Except those that don’t like the noise.”He said that he has for sale 12 truckloads of Roman candles, sparklers, mortars, cakes and other fireworks that can match each customer’s taste for colorful explosions.“We’re going to have our best year ever,” he said, noting that the economy is strong, gas prices are low and the Fourth of July holiday falls on a Tuesday, meaning that people will exhaust their fireworks supplies during the weekend and come back for more. “That’s my guess.”But the most significant thing that’s different this Fourth of July is the blanket ban on fireworks within the city limits of Vancouver. In October 2015, the Vancouver City Council banned the use and sale of fireworks following a particularly dry and hot summer. This is the first year the ban goes into effect.last_img read more

first_imgEXCLUSIVE: Airline organisation Virgin Atlantic has launched an online financial education programme for its 9,500 UK-based staff, including Virgin Holiday employees.The programme, provided by Nudge, was implemented on 1 May 2018 to form part of Virgin Atlantic’s overall wellbeing strategy, called Working Well, Living Better. The wellbeing strategy focuses on supporting employees’ mental health, physical health and financial health.The initiative provides employees with access to an online platform, which is designed to help employees use their money more efficiently in order to achieve their varied financial dreams and goals.In addition, the financial education programme sends employees personalised notifications, or nudges. These provide bite-sized financial tips and guidance which relate to financial situations that are relevant to individual employees. This can include, for example, details on changes in legislation or interest rates, information around various lifestyle changes, such as moving homes, and information pertaining to changes in employee benefits.The scheme was launched to employees using national roadshows, articles on the staff intranet, internal social media promotions, flyers and a video campaign.Dani Brackpool, benefits manager at Virgin Atlantic, said: “Ensuring our people feel happy and supported in the workplace is our priority, and creating a culture of wellness is integral to that. We were delighted to achieve the National Workplace Wellbeing Charter in November, and are always looking for new initiatives to support our employees at work and at home. This month we introduced financial education to Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays as part of our Working Well, Living Better wellness strategy.“Thousands of people work at Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays so we needed a platform which could offer personalised education covering a wide range of topics and needs. This system can be accessed from anywhere in the world and offers our people helpful tools to make managing their money and financial wellness easier, all at the touch of a button.”last_img read more

first_imgHIALEAH, FLA. (WSVN) – Three men have been arrested suspected of robbing two South Florida gas stations at gunpoint.According to police, surveillance video captured thieves demanding cash from a clerk at gunpoint inside an Exxon gas station, located along East 25th Street and East Eighth Avenue in Hialeah, in November.The crooks then took off on a motorcycle with an undisclosed amount of cash.Days later, the three suspects robbed a Marathon gas station near West 44th Place and West 12th Avenue.Police were able to identify and arrest 21-year-old Enier Ocampo and 30-year-old Rafael Montalvo on armed robbery charges. Their accomplice, 24-year-old Osniel Munoz, is also facing armed robbery charges for allegedly assisting in the crime.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

first_imgIndividual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @aprn.Download AudioFormer Haines Police Officer Hired As Security Officer For The Alaska Marine Highway Margaret Friedenauer, KHNS – HainesA former Haines Police officer with a questionable work history was recently hired by the state for a high level security position. But the state is not releasing much information about the hiring process or what it knew about his past.Missile Defense Budget Shows Continued Alaska Role Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DCThe ground-based missile defense system, which includes interceptors at Fort Greeley, failed at target practice over the Pacific last year. Now the Pentagon is asking Congress for money to overhaul the system. The budget request shows Alaska is likely to remain central to missile defense as the system matures.Air Force Confirms Delay In HAARP DemolitionEllen Lockyer, KSKA – AnchorageThe U.S. Air Force is expected to slow down the demolition slated for Gakona’s HAARP facility.  Wednesday, Air Force Research Lab public affairs representative Charles Gulick, emailed APRN saying, “Air Force Leadership is currently considering the option of deferring the dismantling for up to 10 months to allow time for a potential transfer to another entity.”UAF has conducted research programs at the HAARP for years.State Defends Decision To Certify Citizens Initiative Slowing Pebble MineAlexandra Gutierrez, APRN – JuneauThe health of the Bristol Bay watershed and its salmon fishery is an issue of statewide importance: That’s the position the State of Alaska took Wednesday when defending its decision to certify a citizen’s initiative that would add another obstacle to the development of Pebble Mine.Alaska Judicial Council Recommends All But 1 Judge For RetentionEllen Lockyer, KSKA – AnchorageThe Alaska Judicial Council has released its recommendations for retention of state District and Superior court judges. The judges will come up for vote on the November ballot. Suzanne DiPietro, executive director of the Council, says 13 of 14 state judges have been given the thumbs up. But one judge, William Estelle, who sits on the bench in Palmer, has not gained Judicial Council approval.Report Says 12,000 Alaskans Without Reliable Access To Health CareAnnie Feidt, APRN – AnchorageWhen Governor Sean Parnell decided to reject federal Medicaid expansion last fall, he asked for a study detailing the safety net services available to low income Alaskans. That report is out this week and it shows 12,000 Alaskans have no reliable access to health care, particularly specialty care.Source of Shishmaref Sheen Remains Unknown, Locals Work to Absorb Substance Anna Rose MacArthur, KNOM – NomeDespite precarious ice conditions, local responders in Shishmaref are working to absorb the oily sheen discovered off the island’s north coast last week. The source of the substance remains unknown.Before The Pipeline: John DaviesMolly Rettig, APRN ContributorJohn Davies came to Alaska in 1967 to study geophysics and climb mountains. Twenty-five years later he was making laws in the Legislature. Along the way he’s faced floods, volcanic eruptions, and a battle over state income taxes, learning a lot about the tectonic plates and the people who have shaped Alaska. Molly Rettig talked to John Davies for this series about life in Fairbanks before the pipeline boom.All Nations Children’s Dance Group Fosters Cultural IdentityScott Burton, KTOO – JuneauCelebration begins Wednesday evening with the Grand Entrance procession to Centennial Hall in Juneau. The four-day cultural event of Southeast Alaska Natives includes 50 dance groups. Among them is All Nations Children’s Dance Group of Juneau. The group formed in 1995 and has about 80 members.last_img read more

first_imgUS president Donald Trump greets supporters after disembarking from Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Florida, US, 20 November 2018. Photo: ReutersUS president Donald Trump vowed on Tuesday to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia despite saying that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have known about the plan to murder dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month.Defying intense pressure from US lawmakers to impose tougher sanctions on Saudi Arabia, Trump also said he would not cancel military contracts with the kingdom. He said it would be a “foolish” move that would only benefit Russia and China, competitors of the United States in the arms market.Trump said US intelligence agencies were still studying the evidence around Khashoggi’s killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October and who planned it. Since the murder, Trump has taken varying positions on how to react, including possible sanctions.But on Tuesday, Trump stressed Saudi Arabia’s weapons purchases and its role in keeping world oil prices low as influencing his decision.”It’s all about, for me, very simple. It’s America first,” Trump said, adding: “I’m not going to destroy the world economy and I’m not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia.”Speaking at the White House to reporters before departing for Florida, Trump said of the possibility that the Saudi crown prince had a hand in the murder: “Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t” and argued that the CIA had not made a definitive determination.His comments contradicted the CIA, which believes Khashoggi’s death was ordered directly by the crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler widely known by his initials MbS.Trump was accused by Democratic lawmakers of undermining his own intelligence agencies and failing to confront Saudi Arabia over a human rights atrocity.”Human rights is more than just a phrase, it has to mean something. And that means standing up and condemning a brazen murder by a foreign government. Everyone who played a role in this killing must be held accountable,” Senator Dianne Feinstein said.Democratic and Republican lawmakers have urged Trump to drop his support for MbS over the Khashoggi case, but the president has been reluctant.Trump said on Tuesday that both Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and MbS “vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder,” and that the truth may never be known.After offering numerous contradictory explanations for Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh said last week he had been killed and his body dismembered when “negotiations” to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia failed. It said allegations the prince had ordered the killing were false.Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in Washington on Tuesday that Turkey was not entirely satisfied with the level of cooperation it was receiving from Riyadh on Khashoggi’s murder and may seek a formal United Nations inquiry.Republican and Democratic leaders of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee said they had asked Trump for a second human rights probe over Khashoggi’s killing.Similarly, Representative Francis Rooney, a Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Washington should apply the so-called Magnitsky Act to those responsible for Khashoggi’s death.The law freezes US assets of human rights violators and prohibits Americans from doing business with them.Regional PartnerTrump said Saudi Arabia, a major oil producer, was an important business partner and a “great ally” in the fight against Iranian power in the Middle East.”The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region,” Trump said.On Twitter, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said of a White House statement: “Mr. Trump bizarrely devotes the FIRST paragraph of his shameful statement on Saudi atrocities to accuse IRAN of every sort of malfeasance he can think of.”US representative Adam Schiff, who is expected to become leader of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in January, said the United States should immediately end support for Saudi Arabia in the Yemen war, suspend arms sales and reduce its reliance on Riyadh in the Middle East.Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, lived in the United States and was a Washington Post columnist. He went to the consulate to collect documents for a planned marriage.Broad backing for a US ResponseTrump has placed the alliance with Saudi Arabia at the heart of his Middle East policy, and it was the first country he visited after becoming president in 2017.Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, has developed a close relationship with MbS.Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a sometime Trump ally, said there would be bipartisan support for sanctions against Saudi Arabia, “including appropriate members of the royal family, for this barbaric act which defied all civilized norms.”Representative Eliot Engel, who has the power to block arms deals as the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Washington should use its ability to sell weapons to the Saudis as leverage to influence Riyadh’s behavior.”The reality is that the Saudis couldn’t simply buy their weapons somewhere else,” Engel said in a statement. “It would take years for the Saudi military to re-equip with Russian or Chinese weapons.”When Trump mentions the $110 billion package with Riyadh last year, he often adds that “it’s 500,000 jobs.”But arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp predicts the deal could create nearly 10,000 jobs in Saudi Arabia, while keeping up to 18,000 existing US workers busy if the whole package comes together – an outcome industry experts say is unlikely.Asked on Tuesday whether he was putting personal business interests over those of the United States, Trump said: “I have nothing to do with Saudi – just so you understand, I don’t make deals with Saudi Arabia. I don’t have money from Saudi Arabia.”At a political rally in 2015, however, Trump said: “I like the Saudis, they’re very nice. I make a lot of money with them. They buy all sorts of my stuff, all kinds of toys from Trump. They pay me millions and hundreds of millions.”last_img read more

first_imgBob DaemmrichA view above the Texas House Speaker’s dais on during the 2015 legislative session.The coming race for speaker of the Texas House will be decided by novices.Most of the 150 members of the House — more than two-thirds, in fact — have never elected a new speaker. And only a half dozen of them were around the last time the race for speaker didn’t feature an incumbent.They’ll all be experts in just a few months. House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, announced last October that he won’t seek a sixth term. Four members have officially joined the race to succeed him. More legislators are exploring the possibility, feeling out their colleagues — the voters — for signs of support before they jump in.The last open race came after the 1991 session, when Speaker Gib Lewis, D-Fort Worth, decided not to run again. State Rep. Pete Laney, D-Hale Center, won a race featuring several chairmen of Lewis’ powerful committees — Appropriations, Redistricting, State Affairs, Ways & Means and Transportation.Laney, like Lewis and now Straus, served five terms in the job, losing it after Republicans took the House majority in the 2002 elections. Laney’s successor, Tom Craddick, R-Midland, was a three-term speaker who was upended by a bipartisan group of representatives unhappy with his governing style. There was a quick period of uncertainty in that 2009 election — after Straus had an apparent majority but before it was certain — in which other House members’ names were suggested to replace Craddick. But Straus’ support held, and it never became a free-for-all.This time, it’s definitely a free-for-all.The last open race — the one Laney won — was a test of loyalties and friendships and political power that, like what’s going on today, was new to most members of the House. But in that earlier case, there were 34 veteran legislators who’d been through an open race for speaker before.This time, only six members — Craddick, Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, Harold Dutton Jr., D-Houston, John Smithee, R-Amarillo, René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, and Garnet Coleman, D-Houston — have seen a competitive open race for speaker.A supermajority — 102 members — have never been through a real race at all, having taken their seats in the House after Straus was first elected in 2009. Straus was challenged a couple of times, but never seriously threatened. The last time most House members went through something like this — a race in which the contestants know each of their voters by name, and those voters’ preferences by heart — was probably in a race for class president in high school.What they’re in for is the rawest kind of race, one in which the voters are acting on what will be best for themselves and their constituents, and one in which the candidates are barred by law from promising any rewards for support. Some of the race is visible: The public knows that the names of the four candidates who’ve filed papers are Phil King, R-Weatherford, John Zerwas, R-Richmond, Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound, and Eric Johnson, D-Dallas.A lot of it is invisible. For instance, exactly which members are quietly poking around, deciding whether to file. The conversations between members are private — so private, in fact, that at one point in the last open race, a reasonably well-sourced reporter could see that the names of members pledged to vote for Laney, plus the number supporting Jim Rudd, D-Brownfield, or David Cain, D-Dallas, added up to more than 150.The two-timers were so convincing that top members of Rudd’s team didn’t believe Laney had won until they saw his list of signatures. It’s a high-stakes game of liar’s poker — a dangerous adventure for 144 tenderfeet. Sharelast_img read more

first_imgEnglish is fast developing a dynamism all its own in the non-English-speaking world, says former Indian Administrative Service officer, writer and noted theatre personality Bhaskar Ghose, whose first novel is a tale of two bureaucrats.‘With new playwrights and writers enquiring into the evolution of the language through their writings, the language now has an identity of its own,’ Ghose said at the launch of his third book, The Teller of Tales, his first work of fiction. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘We in our own time had a British influence. But the language is not that any more. It is acquiring a regional colour – growing in its own way in South India; in the eastern part of the country; and in northern India… And each of these versions of the English language is different,’ Ghose said.Ghose’s novel draws from his experience as a senior bureaucrat for 36 years, his 50-odd years on the stage as one of the driving forces behind ‘Yatrik’ – one of the oldest theatre groups in the capital, his days in St Stephen’s College, when he experienced India in all its diversity. ‘When you read it, you will notice the similarities. Basically, it centres around two friends who grew up in the services (IAS) together,’ Ghose said. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe writer, who was educated in Mumbai and Delhi, joined the IAS in 1960. He served as director general of Doordrashan and had been secretary of the ministry of culture, and human resource development and the ministry of information and broadcasting.The book explores the lives of two friends, Arunava Varman, a semi-autobiographical character modelled on the writer, and fellow bureaucrat Tapan. Arunava’s tales, crafted with intelligence and ingenuity, offer excitement to Tapan, whose life is otherwise quite dull and grey. But the stories begin to fray as Arunava’s character reveals itself. There are disturbing gaps in Arunava’s anecdotes. ‘After his second drink, Arunava Varman became more expansive and mellow… His usual style was to top every st0ory or anecdote with something even more dramatic or even more epic,’ Ghose says of his character. Early in life, Ghose had once used the name Arunava Varman (replacing his own) to write an article in The Illustrated Weekly.‘It was not exactly a pen-name. Arunava is another of my names (it means the same as Bhaskar, the sun) and Varman is my community name,’ the writer said.The book took off under a strange set of circumstances, Ghose recalled. ‘Penguin had asked me to write a set of anecdotes. The editor then suggested that I get them together into a novel. That was three years ago,’ Ghose said. It started ‘developing a life of its own,’ Ghose said, of the book. The stage too is integral to the book.‘I spent 40 years of my life staging plays and worked for Yatrik as an actor and director. I started acting in St Stephen’s. My first role was an eight-line part in Macbeth,’ Ghose said. Ghose’s theatre troupe, Yatrik, appears in his book in the incarnation of ‘Delhi Players’. The theatre ensemble is the backdrop for a romantic tangle between Arunava, Tapan and the ‘attractive Jaishree Kapur’, a talented actor with a flawless complexion. The story moves across an arc of interesting terrain – from Mandu and Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh to Jalpaiguri in north Bengal and the Himalayas, places that the writer visited as an IAS officer.‘The book is about the people who were on the stage with him for the last four decades and those who helped him serve the country as a bureaucrat,’ the writer said.‘The Teller of Tales,’ published by Penguin-India, was released Friday.last_img read more

first_imgScientists have composed new music on the Indian snake charmer’s flute that can help boost brain development of premature infants in intensive care. While advances in neonatal medicine now extremely premature babies a good chance of survival, these children remain at high risk of developing neuropsychological disorders. To help the brains of these fragile newborns develop as well as possible despite the stressful environment of intensive care, researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) in Switzerland created music written especially for them. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in the US, shows that the neural networks of premature infants who have listened to this music, and in particular a network involved in many sensory and cognitive functions, are developing much better. “At birth, these babies’ brains are still immature. Brain development must therefore continue in the intensive care unit, in an incubator, under very different conditions than if they were still in their mother’s womb,” said Petra Huppi, a professor at the UNIGE, who directed this work. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”Brain immaturity, combined with a disturbing sensory environment, explains why neural networks do not develop normally,” Huppi said. The researchers hypothesised that since the neural deficits of premature babies are due, at least in part, to unexpected and stressful stimuli as well as to a lack of stimuli adapted to their condition, their environment should be enriched by introducing pleasant and structuring stimuli. As the hearing system is functional early on, music appeared to be a good candidate, researchers said. “Luckily, we met the composer Andreas Vollenweider, who had already conducted musical projects with fragile populations and who showed great interest in creating music suitable for premature children,” said Huppi. “We wanted to structure the day with pleasant stimuli at appropriate times: a music to accompany their awakening, a music to accompany their falling asleep, and a music to interact during the awakening phases,” said Lara Lordier, a researcher at the HUG and UNIGE, unfolds the musical creation process. To choose instruments suitable for these very young patients, Andreas Vollenweider played many kinds of instruments to the babies, in the presence of a nurse specialised in developmental support care. “The instrument that generated the most reactions was the Indian snake charmers’ flute (the punji),” said Lordier. “Very agitated children calmed down almost instantly, their attention was drawn to the music,” she said. The composer thus wrote three sound environments of eight minutes each, with punji, harp and bells pieces. The study was conducted with a group of premature infants who listened to the music, a control group of premature infants, and a control group of full-term newborns. Researchers wanted to assess whether the brain development of premature infants who had listened to the music would be more similar to that of full-term babies. Scientists used functional MRI at rest on all three groups of children. Without music, premature babies generally had poorer functional connectivity between brain areas than full-term babies, confirming the negative effect of prematurity. “The most affected network is the salience network which detects information and evaluates its relevance at a specific time, and then makes the link with the other brain networks that must act,” said Lordier. “This network is essential, both for learning and performing cognitive tasks as well as in social relationships or emotional management,” she said. The first children enrolled in the project are now six years old, at which age cognitive problems begin to be detectable. Scientists will now meet again their young patients to conduct a full cognitive and socio-emotional assessment and observe whether the positive outcomes measured in their first weeks of life have been sustained.last_img read more

first_imgCozumel, Q.R. — Four people were killed in a highway accident on the island of Cozumel after three vehicles violently collided Sunday night. One of the people among the vehicles was a pregnant woman who lost her life on-route to hospital. Reports say one of the deceased men from the accident was her husband who was a Cozumel hotel manager. Two other deceased were trapped inside their overturned vehicle, while three others, all from the same third vehicle, were reported injured. The accident happened Sunday around 11:00 p.m. along the coastal highway of Cozumel. The accident occurred near Chankanab, which left the three vehicles in a massive twisted heap. Unofficial reports say that a vehicle with two young adults lost control and invaded the opposite lane, colliding with the two oncoming cars. The two young adults were among the deceased.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgPoor domestic competition and closed markets have pushed the cost of transporting goods in Central America to some of the highest in the world, according to a report issue by the World Bank on Thursday morning. But the quality of the region’s roads may not explain why.Central America’s average ground transportation costs are four times higher than those in developed economies, and higher than those in Sub-Saharan Africa, reaching an average of 17 cents per ton per kilometer, according to the report. The next highest costs were reported in Niger with 13 cents per ton-kilometer, but many other African countries ranged between 8 to 11 cents per ton-kilometer. The United States reported costs as low as 2 cents per ton-kilometer.High transportation costs add to a business’ bottom line and ultimately to the price of goods. Fifty-four percent of Costa Rican firms said the high cost of transportation was a major constraint to doing business.The report raised eyebrows when it opined that the quality and surface conditions of the region’s roads did little to explain the high cost of transportation. The report found that road quality only indirectly reduced the average speed of trucks, which was found to reduce the cost of road freight.Costa Rica’s crumbling infrastructure and poor road quality has been a major talking point during the current electoral campaign, with both presidential candidates addressing the need to invest in the country’s roads and ports.Prices for transportation within a specific country were significantly higher than international routes, leading the World Bank to rethink where the extra costs originated. The international banking organization argued that the “imperfect competition” in the isthmus’ domestic markets had the greatest impact on road freight costs.Competition does not necessarily have to do with the number of businesses operating in the country. Barriers to foreign competition and limitations on cabotage, the service of foreign-owned trucks operating on national roads, impaired economies of scale and other efficiencies that could lower the cost of transportation. These conditions contribute to market segmentation that de-incentivizes investment in larger fleets and increases the number of empty return trips.The World Bank study said that reducing the prices of overland cross-border routes by a third would generate a similar increase in trade volume.“Increased trade with Central America has great potential for Costa Rica. … We’re not taking advantage of this market,” Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister Anabel González said.Compared to the high costs associated with infrastructure investment and expanding customs operations to facilitate faster border crossing, the financial organization said that improving market access was the most cost-effective way to lower transportation costs in the isthmus. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica details plans for new facilities at border crossing with Nicaragua Limonenses weigh in on Moín Port expansion and the ongoing dockworkers strike Costa Rica’s Solís closes trip to Mexico with meeting to court businesses Solís’ large entourage for Cuba trip draws criticismlast_img read more

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Consumer Sentiment Steps Back An early report of consumer sentiment for March shows a slip in confidence as consumer expectations deteriorate.The University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters Index of Consumer Sentiment slipped to 79.9 in a preliminary March report after finishing February at 81.6. A consensus forecast from economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected a slight climb to 81.8.The drop in the headline index came entirely from a fall in the component gauging consumers’ outlook for the months ahead, which was down to a four-month low of 69.4 from February’s 72.7. Meanwhile, the index of current perceptions came up to 96.1 from 95.4.Even with the latest decline, “[c]onsumer sentiment has been weathering the winter rather well,” said Chris Christopher, director of consumer economics for IHS Global Insight.“Since December, consumer sentiment has been inching down and inching up—basically holding steady. This is a clear signal that even though consumers were impacted by higher heating bills, relatively poor employment reports in December and January, and not the brightest housing numbers, they feel that things will warm up in the second quarter,” Christopher said.Looking ahead, IHS expects consumers’ overall mood to improve in the second quarter as job prospects improve and the housing market starts seeing a rebound from the recent slowdown. Consumer Expectations Consumer Sentiment IHS Global Insight Jobs 2014-03-14 Tory Barringercenter_img March 14, 2014 482 Views Sharelast_img read more