BJP firms up plans for Bihar

first_imgMembers of the BJP’s core committee for Bihar sat down with the central leadership in New Delhi for the first time since the party joined the Nitish Kumar government, in alliance with the Janata Dal(U), and decided that preparations for the 2019 elections will be done for all 40 Lok Sabha seats in the State. Sources told The Hindu that despite the fact that the party would be fighting in fewer than 40 seats in 2019 in view of the alliance it has with the JD(U), the Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP), the Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM), the BJP would try and finalise booth management teams for all seats. “This will be a prep for us and for the NDA for the polls. In 2014, after the JD(U) broke off its alliance with us, we fought and won seats we had never won under the old NDA [BJP won 22 seats, the LJP won six and the RLSP won 3 in 2014]. We need to strengthen our organisation to make sure we are able to repeat the performance,” said a senior leader present at the meeting. The decision reflects the fact that the current alliance between the BJP and the JD(U) (which won only two seats in 2014) will not be as before and seat adjustment talks will be informed by organisational muscle in future. Meeting peopleParty president Amit Shah will visit Bihar in November, before which he has asked Ministers in the State government to spend at least two days in a week, Mondays and Tuesdays, in the party office meeting the public at large to keep an ear to the ground. “The meeting was mostly on organisational issues post the new alliance with the Janata Dal (U) and about increasing the party’s footprint in terms of new members, booth level management, etc,” said a senior leader present at the meeting. Apart from Mr. Shah, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, State unit chief Nityanand Rai and senior leader C.P. Thakur were present at the meeting. Significantly, the BJP had conducted a similar enterprise of beefing up its presence at electoral booths in Maharashtra as well, where it was in alliance with the Shiv Sena. The BJP and the Shiv Sena later fought the Assembly polls separately, with a rethink after the BJP formed a government in the State.last_img read more

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Pakistani cricketers must learn from Sachin: Miandad

first_imgFormer captain and director general of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Javed Miandad has urged Pakistani cricketers to learn from the achievements of Indian batting maestro, Sachin Tendulkar.Rather than letting their on-field performance speak for them, Miandad feels that the players are happy to brag about their performance in media.Former Pak captain and director general of PCB Javed Miandad. AP”We keep on reading and hearing about some of the players making claims about how they will deliver, but on field that is not happening and it is a big let down for the nation.””I would advise them to just focus on their game and go for improvement and take every match seriously. The players need to realise cricket is played on the field.”They should learn from Sachin who has had a wonderful career and scored century after century but one never hear him making tall claims about his performances or achievements.He is a proper professional and someone our players can learn from,” the veteran of 124 Tests insisted.Miandad also called on captain, Shahid Afridi to take more responsibility as a player and lift the team by example and said that the all-rounder has got enough amount of talent and he should channelise it properly.”He shouldn’t be playing the way he is. Imran Khan is a great example of how a captain should perform. Imran lifted the team in the 1992 World Cup. Afridi needs to start doing that himself. He did it during the World T20 Championship so he is perfectly capable of delivering,” Miandad said.advertisementHe emphasised, “He (Afridi) has immense talent which he does not utilise properly at times.”Urging the players to take the current one-day series against New Zealand seriously Miandad said,”Unfortunately what I noticed was that the players didn’t appear serious about their business in the first match in Wellington they took things lightly. In international cricket this is not acceptable.”Pakistan who are currently engaged in an ODI series against Kiwis failed to replicate their performance in Tests against the hosts and lost the series opener by nine wickets after being bowled out for just 124 runs in 37.4 overs.Adding greater significance to ongoing series in view of the upcoming World Cup, Miandiad reiterated that losing it could have a big impact on their performances in the mega event. .”It is important for the players to realise that once they get into a losing streak it will be difficult for them to come out of it in a high pressure event like the World Cup,” the former batsman cautioned.”The players must realise they are fortunate to get such a series just before the World Cup,” Miandad said while expressing his surprise at the relaxed attitude of the players in the first match.”They need to realise the significance of the World Cup when every Pakistani is praying for their success. The tournament comes once in four years and everyone expects the team to fire in the World Cup.””No excuses can be accepted and the players must also realise that if they perform well in the World Cup how much of a boost it would be for Pakistan cricket which is facing so many problems,” he added.”The players just need to get more serious about their performances. I believe they have the capability of winning the series in New Zealand and also doing well in the World Cup but for that they need to focus on their short comings and strengths and use them properly,” Miandad said while pinning hope on the present ODI outfit.- With PTI inputslast_img read more

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Owner of the House and All, Wilpon Gets Welcome Mat Pulled From Under Him

first_imgNEW YORK— A group of New York Mets fans has its own slogan this season, a message directed at the club’s owners. When the team arrived at Citi Field for Monday’s home opener, it was greeted by two new billboards just outside the ballpark.“FRED, JEFF & SAUL,” one reads, “Ya gotta leave.”And the other one: “Sell the Team.”The billboards on Roosevelt Avenue, both 10 1/2 feet by 22 3/4 feet, stand alongside the elevated No. 7 subway line — a spot where thousands of fans are sure to see them. They are scheduled to be removed on May 3.The one with a blue background, which faces the stadium and is visible from a parking lot, plays off the “Ya gotta believe!” phrase Tug McGraw coined for the Mets as they chased and won the 1973 NL pennant.The sign in orange is visible from the east and implores owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz to sell. Next to the words are a caricature of a person with a baseball for a head, furrowed brow and scowl, a fella who resembles an angry relative of the Mr. Met mascot.Gary Palumbo, a 39-year-old Mets fan who lives in New London, New Hampshire, raised $6,700 on Kickstarter to pay for the placards. He was frustrated when the owners cut spending as they dealt with the fallout from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. Now he’s angry the Mets maintain a payroll similar to those of middle-market teams, even though they say they hope to contend with a club buoyed by the return of star pitcher Matt Harvey from elbow surgery.“They asked us to be patient through the Madoff issue and to let them go through their rebuilding process, and then they said when the time was ready, they were going to reinvest back into the team and get it ready for competitiveness,” Palumbo said. “That was supposed to be last year, but with the Harvey injury, that kind of set everything back. And so once we went into this offseason and they signed (Michael) Cuddyer and then did nothing else, that was really the tipping point for me. That demonstrated that the Wilpons are still not financially capable of doing what needs to be done for the long-term best of the team.”Fred Wilpon became a minority owner of the team in 1980, co-owner in 1986 and sole controlling owner in 2002. The team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006 and has finished with a losing record in six straight seasons.Jeff Wilpon, the team’s chief operating officer and Fred Wilpon’s son, declined to discuss the signs. Mets manager Terry Collins considers the money poorly spent.“I think it’s a waste of time, but that’s just my own opinion,” he said before the Mets’ 2-0 victory over Philadelphia. “You want to spend $6,000? Go feed the homeless.”Palumbo, a project manager for a technology firm, grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut, and started following the Mets just before the franchise’s most recent last World Series title in 1986. He launched the Kickstarter campaign in December and said he received contributions from 250 people ranging from $1 to $350.David Restiano, who attended Marist in Poughkeepsie at the same time as Palumbo, volunteered to be his graphic designer. The two had not spoken in years before Restiano noticed the campaign and sent Palumbo a Facebook message.“This is not anti-Mets. This is pro player,” said Restiano, a 39-year-old from, Brick, New Jersey, who works as a designer for a financial-services company. “The Wilpons are not responsible stewards. They’re not doing what we need them to do to be successful. They’re not supporting the team like us.”Restiano drew his inspiration from McGraw and said he was careful to allude to Mr. Met without copying him exactly.“I said, ‘I don’t want to do anything that is even close to treading litigious grounds because the Wilpons will hammer us,’” he recalled. “I drew it from scratch, and I changed it enough where we put a different characterization to it. We call him Flushing Frank. At first I said to Gary we could call him Mr. Matt, but it was just too close.”Palumbo at first hoped to raise $5,000 and used the excess for a billboard put up in Florida along Interstate 95, about 8 miles north of the Mets’ spring training complex in Port St. Lucie. Much of the money came in after former Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez talked about New York’s teams at the Hall of Fame news conference in January.“Queens is a little bit different than the Yankees fans. Queens, they’re wild; they’re happy. They settle for what they have,” Martinez said. “Yankees fans cannot. Win or nothing.”Palumbo last week began another Kickstarter campaign to raise $7,000, which would extend the signs for four weeks and add one on Queens Boulevard. T-shirts ($16.50) and stickers ($4) of each billboard’s image also are being sold.Mets captain David Wright, focused on playing the Phillies, didn’t notice the signs on his way in.“Obviously I care about the fans and I want to put on a good show for the fans, but the last thing I need to think about before the home opener is some banner that’s up in front of the stadium,” he said. “It’s irrelevant to me, and it doesn’t help me get ready for a game.”RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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ADI shows technologies for every area of embedded system design

first_imgAnalog Devices’ presence at embedded world 2019, will feature a broad range of demonstrations and presentations re-affirming how the company’s mission to sense, measure, interpret, connect, power and secure places it at the core of embedded system design across every application domain. ADI’s stand will place special emphasis on emerging and rapidly-developing technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, as they are applied to and deployed in the embedded space. ADI will further leverage its deep domain and system-level expertise at the intersection of the physical and digital world by delivering presentations on a wide range of topics at the show’s Exhibitor Forum.One of the key demonstrations will show how effective AI can be when applied in a focussed and local fashion, centering on a self-learning algorithm running on an industry leading ultra-low power ARM-core-based microcontroller. This showcase will highlight how embedded AI can help to create a wireless smart sensor system for condition based monitoring applications, and that, without requiring connectivity to large-scale computing resources, the AI approach can learn what constitutes normal operating parameters, and flag any deviation from the norm.A related demonstration features a complete real-time monitoring solution: machine health monitoring of a motor, with structural health monitoring of the motor’s mounting, to set out a methodology for complete supervision of an equipment installation. Vibration is sensed by MEMS accelerometers, with local signal processing, analysis and decision making; EtherCAT networking with power-over-Ethernet complete the package.Staying with industrial networks, and in support of the Industry 4.0 concept, increased support for the critical issue of cyber security will be highlighted as part of an illustration of Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) techniques, boosting security alongside features such as time synchronization, pre-emption and control of TSN via OPC-UA.In the area of transportation, two case studies are featured, both relating to the development of autonomous vehicles. An illustration of steer-by-wire sensor technology shows measurement of electrical power steering angle and torque, with a solution intended for integration within a steering column, to remove the need for separate sensor module assembly and calibration. Addressing the requirement for vehicles to construct a high-resolution image of the environment around them, ADI will display a complete prototyping platform for creation of LIDAR systems.Control of power will be a strong theme on the ADI stand, as highlighted by demonstrations of solutions that power engineers can apply to provision supplies to today’s, and tomorrow’s, increasingly complex embedded systems. Examples will illustrate use of ADI’s power system management ICs and uModules in efficient multiple power rail generation and management, maximizing control, safety, and visibility over power rails in the smallest possible space. Among the other technology highlights on the stand will be a live demonstration of the spectrally “ultra-clean”, low-EMI capabilities of ADI’s Silent Switcher II voltage regulators.A further power demo links back to the transportation sector and, in particular, electric vehicles. Comprehensive management of high-voltage battery stacks will be shown, combining precision cell measurements and temperature measurements with synchronous stack voltage and current measurements on an isoSP bus. The demonstration will feature accurately measurement of a 36-cell battery stack, and employing a precision EV/HEV Coloumb counter. Alongside exhibits relating to the industrial domain, transportation, as well as energy and power control, ADI will present demonstrations of its technologies applied to instrumentation, healthcare and sensing.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Chips & Components Continue Reading Previous ADLINK: DMI touch panel computer for train control and rail signalingNext GrammaTech adds real-world benchmarks to SWAMPlast_img read more

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CITY COUNCIL INTERVIEWS CONTINUE

first_imgThe City Council of Sioux City held a second round of interviews Monday to fill the seat vacated by Keith Radig.The position opened when Radig was elected to the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors.Former councilman Jason Geary, who currently serves on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission is among the fourteen people who have applied to fill the seat:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/APS4.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC……….LOOK AHEAD. ;13Tom Venesky has run unsuccessfully for the council three previous times.He serves on the city Transit Board and told the council members that buses should run into the evening in Sioux City:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/APS5.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…..HOME FROM WORK. :1628 year old Jake Jungers is a private citizen who says he wants to see the council and private business work together:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/APS6.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC……JOBS LOCALLY. :15Carlos Venable-Ridley says he wants to see better diversity representation on the council:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/APS7.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC………..APPLICATION IN. :10The council will announce their choice on February 27th.last_img read more

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Navig8 Inks Sale-Leaseback Deal for Product Tanker Duo

first_imgzoom Navig8 Product Tankers, a joint venture between the Navig8 Group and DVB Bank, has entered into sale and leaseback agreements with CMB Financial Leasing for two 74,000 dwt LR1 product tankers being built at Korean shipbuilder SPP Shipbuilding.The two vessels from SPP have contractual delivery dates of end May and end June 2016.Under the sale and leaseback agreements, CMBFL will provide funding for pre-delivery as well as the delivery installments for the vessels. The net proceeds from the transaction (after a 20% sellers’ credit) will be USD 76.8 million, the company said.In addition, the company has entered into 7-year bareboat charters for the vessels, commencing upon their respective deliveries. Navig8 Product Tankers has purchase options to re-acquire tankers during the charter period, with the first such option exercisable on the third anniversary of each ship delivery.Navig8 Product Tankers maintains an orderbook of long-range (LR), eco-design product tankers, comprising 15 LR2 and 12 LR1 vessels.last_img read more

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Ocean Yield’s Final LR2 Joins Navig8 Product Tankers

first_imgzoom Norwegian ship owner Ocean Yield ASA has taken delivery of a 115,000 dwt LR2 product tanker Navig8 Supreme from South Korea’s Sungdong shipyard.After being delivered from the shipyard today, the vessel commenced a 13-year “hell and high water” bareboat charter to Navig8 Product Tankers Inc.This is the final vessel delivered in a series of a total of four product tankers that will be chartered to Navig8 Product Tankers Inc.The first LR2 tanker, Navig8 Symphony, was delivered in February, followed by the second newbuild Navig8 Sanctity in March, while the third tanker Navig8 Steadfast joined its owner in May.All three tankers went on a 13-year “hell and high water” bareboat charter to Navig8 immediately after the delivery.In the third quarter, Ocean Yield has taken delivery of four vessels, in addition to completion of the modification of Aker Wayfarer.last_img read more

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Marenave Finds Buyers for Three Tankers

first_imgzoom German shipping trust Marenave Schiffahrts AG has sold three of its tankers to undisclosed buyers for a total of USD 24.2 million, data provided by VesselsValue shows.Disposed of through a bank sale, the ships in question are LR1 tankers Mare Atlantic and Mare Pacific, which fetched a price of USD 6.8 million a piece. The third vessel from the batch is reportedly the 37,400 dwt MR2 tanker Mare Ambassador, which was sold for USD 10.6 million to a Greek owner.Featuring 68,500 dwt each, the LR1 ships were built in 2001 by Japan’s Koyo Dock. The 2005-built Mare Ambassador was constructed by Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Mipo.The sales are a part of the Geman company’s restructuring, under which Marenave needs to dispose of its entire fleet.On March 31, the company entered into an agreement on restructuring and release of liability, and a waiver and liquidation agreement with its financing banks.Under the terms of the agreement, Marenave will be released from all liability in connection with the obligations taken on to secure the ship financing loans and will receive a certain amount to finance its business as a going concern.As part of the sale of the ships at a single-ship company level, the banks are set to waive under certain conditions the outstanding claims resulting from the ship financing loans to the extent that is necessary to allow for a solvent liquidation of each relevant single-ship company, Marenave said.Earlier in May, the company signed an agreement to sell its car carrier, operated by the company’s subsidiary Mare Berlin Schiffahrts GmbH.Although the company did not disclose the name of the vessel in question, VesselsValue lists the 2005-built Hoegh Berlin as the only car carrier operated by the firm.last_img read more

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Premiers Make Final Voting Push for Fundy

first_imgNova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter and New Brunswick Premier David Alward are urging all Canadians to vote for the Bay of Fundy in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign today, Nov. 8, with just three days remaining in the competition. The premiers held simultaneous news conferences on either side of the bay to celebrate the outstanding support and recognition the Bay of Fundy has received to date and to let people know that the campaign isn’t over yet. “Time is of the essence,” said Premier Dexter. “We need all Canadians to vote now and vote often to make our spectacular Bay of Fundy one of the official New7Wonders of Nature on Nov. 11.” In Fredericton, Premier Alward encouraged people to use any of the three voting methods available in Canada. “Let everyone know that the Bay of Fundy deserves to be recognized among the top natural destinations in the world by voting,” said Premier Alward. “You can vote through votemyfundy.com, or through the New7Wonders of Nature page, or vote as many times as you can by texting the word FUNDY to 77077 for just 25 cents per vote.” While the results of the global vote won’t be available until Nov. 11, Terri McCulloch, executive director of Bay of Fundy Tourism, who attended the Halifax event, feels optimistic about the Bay of Fundy’s chances in the contest. “We know that we are receiving a high volume of votes from around the world,” said Ms. McCulloch. “Our Bay of Fundy campaign was one of the most active in the competition. It has captivated national and international audiences, as evidenced by the amount of votes Canada has received from around the world on the New7Wonders of Nature voting map, and our momentum on the website’s voting trends charts. “We hope these positive signs will result in a final seven placement for the Bay of Fundy.” Both premiers urged everyone in the region and across the country to promote the vote to friends and family around the world. Voting ends on Friday, Nov. 11, at 7:11 a.m. Atlantic Time. The New7Wonders of Nature Foundation will reveal the provisional results at 3:07 p.m.last_img read more

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Sensex dives 554 pts despite RBI rate cut financial stocks crack

first_imgMumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex plunged 554 points Thursday, dragged down by losses in banking, energy and capital goods stocks even as the RBI cut the policy rate to shore up growth. Slashing benchmark lending rate for the third time this year, the central bank cut the repo rate by 0.25 per cent and changed its monetary policy stance from ‘neutral’ to ‘accommodative’. The RBI, however, lowered the economic growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7 per cent due to slowdown in domestic activities and escalation in global trade war. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documents Following the announcement, the 30-share index cracked 553.82 points, or 1.38 per cent, to settle at 39,529.72. The bourse hit an intra-day low of 39,481.15 and a high of 40,159.26. In similar movement, the NSE Nifty plunged 177.90 points, or 1.48 per cent, to end at 11,843.75. During the day, it hit a low of 11,830.25 and high of 12,039.80. Top losers in the Sensex pack included IndusInd Bank, Yes Bank, SBI, L&T, Tata Steel, M&M, Bajaj Finance, Vedanta, Tata Motors and RIL, tumbling up to 6.97 per cent. Also Read – World suffering ‘synchronized slowdown’, says new IMF chief Bucking the negative market trend, Coal India, PowerGrid, NTPC, HUL, Hero MotoCorp, Asian Paints and Infosys gained up to 1.92 per cent. “The rate cut could not infuse positivity, and the decline steepened as focus shifted from policy rates to new emerging short-term tight liquidity situation due to issues like IL&FS, DHFL and its impending impact on other financial institutions if any,” said Narendra Solanki, Head Fundamental Research (Investment Services) – AVP Equity Research, Anand Rathi Shares & Stock Brokers. Lowered GDP forecast for current year and failure to get any cue from RBI on the liquidity front except general assurance of addressing the situation added to the selling pressure later in the day, he added. The Indian rupee fell marginally to 69.28 against the US dollar. Meanwhile, other Asian bourses ended on a mixed note, while Europe was trading in the green in opening deals. Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, fell 0.76 per cent to 61.09 per barrel.last_img read more

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Supreme Court to rule on controversial case of Alberta woman found dead

first_imgOTTAWA — The Supreme Court is to rule today on the case of an Ontario trucker acquitted in the death of an Alberta woman in what could set a precedent in Canada’s sexual assault laws.Bradley Barton claimed that Cindy Gladue died after a night of consensual rough sex in an Edmonton motel in June 2011.A jury found him not guilty of first-degree murder and manslaughter, after a trial in which Gladue was continuously referred to as a native prostitute and her preserved vaginal tissue was an exhibit.The Crown appealed following nationwide protests and the Alberta Court of Appeal ordered a new trial.The Appeal court ruled serious errors were made in the original trial and in the judge’s charge to the jury about Barton’s conduct and on sexual assault legislation pertaining to consent.The Supreme Court heard arguments last October on several procedural matters, but could also decide for the first time whether an “objective likelihood of harm” cancels out sexual consent.The Alberta Crown, as well as attorneys general in other provinces, argued for such an addition to the law.Barton’s lawyer, Dino Bottos, has said it would be a big deal if the court agreed and noted the Crown brought up a consent versus harm argument on appeal — not at trial — so it shouldn’t affect his client’s case.Barton testified that he hired Gladue for two nights of sex that included putting his fist in her vagina. When he woke up after the second night, he said, he found her dead in the tub and called 911.Court heard Gladue had an 11-centimetre cut in her vagina and bled to death.A medical examiner testified that the wound to Gladue’s vaginal wall was likely to have been caused by a sharp object and, in a rare move, he used Gladue’s preserved vaginal tissue as an exhibit.Some interveners in the case said they believe Gladue didn’t consent and noted the Metis mother of three deserved better at trial.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Polisario Continues Kidnapping Crackdowns on Sahrawi Activists

Rabat –  The Polisario Front arrested Sahrawi journalist and activist Moulay Aba Buzid during a solidarity demonstration on Monday, June 17. The demonstration took place  next to the high commission of refugees in Rabouni near Tindouf, Algeria.Pro-Polisario news outlet FuturoSahara reported that several activists have condemned the “kidnapping” of their colleague who  was “taken to an unknown destination by some members of the ‘national gendarmerie” without an arrest order from the ‘republic’s’ prosecutor.”Mustafa Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud, a former Polisario member, confirmed the arrest on his Facebook page. Mustafa Salma said “Keep the journalist hidden if you can. I learned of the arrest of the journalist in Sahrawi refugee camps today.I did not condemn this back then, and I don’t need to condemn it.Read Also: El Salvador Withdraws its Recognition of Polisario’s so-called SADR2019/06/15 Every Moment Buzid spends in detention does not only condemn Polisario, but also the high commission for refugees as he was arrested  immediately after he left their office,” Mustafa Salma.The activist added that Buzid, along with other activists, “went to the commission to hand in a letter, calling for the protection of Sahrawis in Morocco. However, it would have been more appropriate for them to demand their own protection.” Mustafa Salma, who was police officer in the Tindouf camps, said that the High Commission is “required to reveal the fate” of the journalist.“The Polisario Front is required to keep [the journalist) hidden, if it can. A week ago they were widely sharing a report from the  Reporters Without Borders on the arrest of Sahrawi journalists and the crackdown on their activities in Morocco’s southern regions. I challenge [Polisario] them to keep journalist Buzid hidden now,” concluded Mustafa Salma.This is not the first time that Polisario faces accusations of kidnapping and violent arrest of Sahrawi activists in the Tindouf camps.Throughout this year, Polisario has been facing pressure from Sahrawis who have repeatedly condemned the mysterious disappearance of Ahmed El Khalil, a  Polisario member who went missing more than 10 years ago under unknown circumstances.The front claimed that El Khalil is alive after  pressure from his family and activists who have continually protested his disappearance.In February, Sahrawis took to the desert in Rabouni, where the Secretariat of the Polisario Front is located, to condemn the disappearance. read more

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Darfur UNAfrican Union peacekeeping force launches operations in El Fasher

“It is a great day for the United Nations and the African Union, the day of UNAMID’s launch, which was only an idea three months ago but now it is a profound reality,” said Rodolphe Adada, the UN-AU Joint Special Representative for Darfur.“I am pleased to say that with the cooperation of the Government of Sudan, we are one more step closer to embark on our peacekeeping mandate for the people of Darfur,” he declared.But Mr. Adada cautioned that more support is needed, saying UNAMID is “facing a lack of pledges for specialized units in areas such as aviation and land transport that should be arriving in Darfur as part of the heavy support package” to the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), which has been on the ground in Darfur since 2004. The UN and AU are currently conducting pre-deployment visits to some of the troop contributing countries to inspect the uniformed personnel and their equipment, according to the envoy. “I have all the confidence that the remaining steps towards the final assumption of authority by UNAMID will be concluded before the end of this year so that we can start implementing our mandate in 2008 in full gear,” he said. Conflict in Darfur has killed more than 200,000 people and uprooted another 2.5 million. UN-AU mediated talks are currently underway in Sirte, Libya aimed at achieving a lasting political solution to the fighting, which began in 2003 and involves rebels, Government forces and allied militia known as the Janjaweed. 31 October 2007The United Nations African Union hybrid peacekeeping operation for Darfur (UNAMID) today began operations at its El Fasher Headquarters in what the senior UN official there called a milestone for the strife-torn Sudanese region. read more

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Woman bites off lovers penis

“About three-quarters of the penis had been bitten off,” a doctor told AFP, asking not to be named. Meanwhile two other men were also undergoing treatment for injuries to their sex organs at another hospital in the same region. Police said they were investigating to see if there was any link between the three incidents.Police did not say how the other men were hurt or their exact injuries.The barber’s case has echoes of American John Bobbit, whose wife Lorena famously cut off his penis with a kitchen knife in 1993. She claimed she had suffered from years of physical and mental abuse. (AFP) “We stopped the bleeding and sent him to a urologist at Karapitiya (a bigger town nearby) to see if the severed part can be re-attached.” A Sri Lankan woman bit off the penis of her 30-year-old lover during a row on Friday, a doctor said, as police investigated two other incidents.The man was rushed to a rural hospital in Andapana, 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of Colombo, after a quarrel with the 45-year-old female turned violent. A police official in the southern town of Hakmana said the man, identified as Chandana Pradeep, a barber, had argued with the woman after she refused to give him money for alcohol.Police had said the couple were married, but later said that the victim had told them in a statement that they were lovers. read more

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Injunction against allowing only NFC to distribute movies in Sri Lanka

An injunction was issued today against allowing only the National Film Corporation (NFC) to distribute movies in Sri Lanka.The injunction issued by the Colombo District Court is valid for 14 days. The distribution of local films, which was handled by four private companies, recently came under the purview of the National Film Corporation.However film distributors opposed the decision. The distribution of movies was earlier handled by the National Film Corporation, and EAP Films and Theaters [Pvt] Limited [EAP], Movie Producers and Importers [Pvt] Limited. (MPI), Cinema Entertainment [Pvt] Limited. (CEL) and Rithma Circuit (NFC). (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Monitoring Board for Iraq finds transportation costs by contractor very high

Stephane Dujarric told the press on Tuesday that the International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB) that oversees the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) last week received follow-up special audits looking into single-sourced contracts in Iraq. “One of the auditing firms, Crowe Chizek, reported that in their opinion the settlements between the company KBR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were reasonable,” he said. The findings also provide additional information about the transportation costs incurred by KBR in providing humanitarian fuel supplies to Iraq from May 2003 to March 2004. “These costs were very high, in some cases as much as 86 per cent of the total contract costs,” Mr. Dujarric said, citing an IAMB press release and noting that the Board “continues to question the reasonableness of these costs and the adequacy of the administration of contracts.” The IAMB, whose mandate expires at the end of this year, plans to hold its final meeting in mid-December. The Board, which operates under a Security Council resolution, is made up of representatives of the UN, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development. The purpose of the Board is to promote the objectives laid out in Security Council resolution 1483 adopted in May 2003. That resolution, in part, underlined that the DFI “shall be used in a transparent manner to meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people, for the economic reconstruction and repair of Iraq’s infrastructure, for the continued disarmament of Iraq, and for the costs of Iraqi civilian administration,” as well as for other purposes benefiting the Iraqi people. read more

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Libya ICC Prosecutor warns courts work faces deleterious impact of ongoing instability

“I cannot stress enough the deleterious impact that the unstable political and security situation in Libya has had and continues to have on my investigations,” Fatou Bensouda said as she briefed the 15-member Council earlier today. “While my Office remains steadfast in its commitment to continue to pursue its mandate in Libya, the security situation has significantly hampered our ability to effectively investigate in the country,” she added. Despite last June’s elections, she said, Libya is currently split with two governments vying for legitimacy. This week the country’s Supreme Court announced a ruling that declared the national Parliament unconstitutional.Ms. Bensouda said that a more worrisome aspect of the deteriorating situation is the ongoing spate of assassinations in Benghazi, threats to media workers, human rights defenders and women in particular, as well as to prosecutors, judges and lawyers. Also, an alarming number of people in detention reportedly lack access to due process and may be subject to torture and death in custody. As for the ICC’s work in the country, she said contact with the Libyan Government has been largely confined to liaison with the Focal Point, who has faced difficulty in making effective contacts, and much needed assistance from national authorities to undergo investigative efforts. Progress was made recently when the Focal Point of the Government arranged a meeting outside of the country between members of the ICC team and Libyan authorities. While those talks laid the groundwork for further coordination, the combined effect of instability and lack of resources is “severely” undermining her Office’s work.“We have been obliged to scale down resources for investigations in the country, in effect, limiting our ability to investigate, amongst others, new instances of mass crimes allegedly committed by the rebel forces,” she said. Ms. Bensouda called on the international community to be more proactive in exploring solutions to help restore stability and strengthen accountability for Rome Statute crimes in Libya. “The continuing disparity between resources and expectations, risks systematic underperformance that will not only harm the Court and its mandate, but also the credibility of this Council,” she said.To be more responsive in providing critical assistance, an international contact group on justice issues through which material, legal and other support could be provided to Libya, ought to be explored. This forum could also help focus attention on specific problems facing Libyan authorities and assist supportive States to coordinate efforts with those of the ICC and Libya. She also called on the Libyan Government to “immediately” surrender Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi (son of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi) to the custody of the ICC. The Office was also closely monitoring developments in the case of Abdullah Al-Senussi, former intelligence chief of the Gaddafi regime. The mass displacement of the Tawergha tribe during the 2011 revolution remains a serious concern for the ICC, Ms. Bensouda said, emphasizing the need for the Libyan authorities to facilitate a visit by representatives from the local councils of Misrata and Tawergha to New York to meet with Security Council members. “There is certainly room for all of us to do more. To be sure, we must not fail Libya, but Libya must also not fail itself,” concluded Ms. Bensouda.In 2011, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1970 to oversee relevant sanctions measures including an arms embargo, a travel ban, an assets freeze and measures in relation to attempts to illicitly export crude oil. Late last August, the Council adopted resolution 2174 (2014) which reinforced the arms embargo and expanded the criteria for designation of individuals or entities as subject to the travel ban and assets freeze. read more

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Ban urges all involved in Comoros electoral process to refrain from violence

“The Secretary-General is following with concern the developments in Comoros since the publication by the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) of the provisional results of the primary elections of the President of the Union of Comoros and the first round of the elections of the Governors of the Islands of Grand Comoros, Anjouan and Mohéli,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.The UN chief is urges the Government, the candidates and all the other actors and institutions involved in the electoral process to play by the rules and refrain from the use of violence, said the statement. read more

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