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Gujarat ex-DGP Pandey discharged from Ishrat Jahan case

first_imgA special CBI court in Ahmedabad on February 21 discharged P.P. Pandey, former Gujarat DGP and a key accused, from the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case. This makes making Mr. Pandey the first high profile accused to be discharged in the sensational case involving top ranking officials of the Gujarat Police and the Intelligence Bureau.Special CBI Judge J.K. Pandya allowed Mr. Pandey’s discharge plea in an order delivered on February 21.A 1980-batch IPS officer, Mr. Pandey was arrested in July 2013 by the CBI, and spent nearly 19 months in jail. He got bail in February 2015 following which he was reinstated in the State police and was promoted to DGP level. Even after his superannuation, he was given extension in the service but after a petition in the Gujarat High Court, his extension was withdrawn.PTI adds:Judge Pandya allowed Mr. Pandey’s discharge application on the ground that there was no evidence against him related to the kidnapping and murder of Ishrat Jahan and three others.The CBI had accused Mr. Pandey, who then headed the Ahmedabad crime branch, as being involved in the alleged fake encounter.The court said that no witnesses accused Mr. Pandey of the murder and kidnapping of the victims.It also said that the witnesses’ evidences were contradictory as they gave different evidences to different investigating agencies.The court also held that being a government servant, permission to prosecute Mr. Pandey was not taken by the investigating officer from the state before filing of the charge sheet against him, as per section 197 of the CrPC.In the first charge sheet filed by the CBI in 2013, seven Gujarat police officers were named as accused, including Mr. Pandey, D.G. Vanzara and G.L. Singhal, facing charges for kidnapping, murder and conspiracy.The CBI had named four IB officials, including IB’s special director Rajinder Kumar and officer M.S. Sinha, in supplementary charge sheet, which still awaits the Centre’s sanction.The city crime branch officials had gunned down 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan from Mumbra in Maharashtra, her friend Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh, Zeeshan Johar and Amzad Rana in an alleged encounter on June 15, 2004 on the outskirts of the city.last_img read more

Gross Misconduct: Scotland Yard’s Indian-Origin Officer Gets Notice

first_imgOne of Britain’s senior-most Indian-origin female officers has been placed on restricted duties as Scotland Yard investigates allegations that she broke the rules on being nominated for a royal honour.Parm Sandhu, currently serving as Temporary Chief Superintendent with the Metropolitan Police, has been served with a “gross misconduct” investigation notice and could potentially face a serious disciplinary charge.Read it at NDTV Related Itemslast_img

Now, BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya finds himself in the middle of player contracts row

first_imgJagmohan DalmiyaNo matter where he goes or whatever position he occupies, Jagmohan Dalmiya’s deals seem to follow him. The BCCI chief found himself in the middle of the player contracts row, saying his rival A.C. Muthiah had signed the controversial contract as BCCI president. Muthiah lobbed the ball back to,Jagmohan DalmiyaNo matter where he goes or whatever position he occupies, Jagmohan Dalmiya’s deals seem to follow him. The BCCI chief found himself in the middle of the player contracts row, saying his rival A.C. Muthiah had signed the controversial contract as BCCI president. Muthiah lobbed the ball back to Dalmiya and the BCCI’s former secretary J.Y. Lele set the pigeons scattering saying that the original agreement had not contained the controversial clauses. It has all to do with Dalmiya’s many hats. He quit as the ICC president in June 2000, after awarding the ICC World Cup and Champions Trophy rights . Between June 2000 and September 2001 (after which he returned as BCCI chief) Dalmiya played no part in the ICC-BCCI paperwork. This is the time, he says, the damage was done, citing an agreement dated May 28, 2001. The ICC has confirmed that this agreement between the ICC and member boards only reiterated that the boards’ would be bound by the ICC-GCC agreement. The ICC also confirmed to INDIA TODAY that the Participating Nations Agreement, including the contentious Player Terms for Sri Lanka, was sent out in December 2001 and returned by March 2002. Dalmiya maintains that it was the May 28, 2001 contract that has tied the hands of the BCCI. The IDI (ICC Development International), the ICC’s marketing arm, is a Dalmiya creation, with Pakistan’s Ehsan Mani, who is tipped to be the next ICC chief, as his right-hand man.One of its more unique contracts agreed to by the BCCI pertains to the distribution of 50 per cent of the profits from the ICC Knock-Out Trophy (up to a maximum of $5 million) to the Asian Cricket Council for the development of cricket – not in the main revenue-generating centres of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, but among associate members like Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Such altruism is of no comfort to the Indian team – the board’s golden goose – because someone keeps stealing the eggs all the time.advertisementlast_img read more

Hooked on Bollywood

first_imgBeing in the boxing ring happens to be Olympic gold medallist Vijender Singh’s first love, but he has kept a career in Bollywood as plan B. Vijender makes his debut with the Kabir Sadanand directed upcoming comedy drama Fugly, which he has been aggressively promoting these days.Vijender Singh visited India Today Mediaplex with co-stars Arif Lamba, Kiara Advani and Mohit MarwahLuckily, his heavy Haryanvi accent was no deterrent for his big- screen outing as he plays a Jat brat in the film. “I don’t know if that was the reason I was picked for the film,” Vijender said during a visit to the India Today Mediaplex on Friday.”My natural style of speaking has worked for me as it took out a real Jat boy in front of the camera. This is the story of four rich friends who get embroiled in an accident and after meeting a hard- nut cop Choutala played by Jimmy Shergill, they change their approach towards life,” Vijender said.A poster of Fugly, which stars several newcomers along with Vijender He added that preparing for his role as a rich Delhi-based Haryanvi boy from a political family gave him a high. “Jaanta hai mera baap kaun hai?(Do you know who my father is?) is a favourite expression of Delhiites.I have said such lines many times in the film,” the boxer said.In a country which mostly ignores sportspeople other than cricketers because they “do not have IPL teams”, a second option is important for Vijender. He has been preparing for the Asian Games 2014 to be held in September in South Korea and is sneaking out time in between to promote his debut film.advertisementVijender Singh with his Fugly co-stars It was on Akshay Kumar’s insistence that he seriously thought of taking a plunge into Bollywood with a film which has been produced by Grazing Goat Productions, owned jointly by Akshay and Ashvini Yardi.”My real test starts once Fugly releases and the audiences’ verdict is out. To be an actor is not as simple as it looks. I will continue to popularise sports despite being an actor,” he said.last_img read more

Mario Balotelli heads Italy to 2-1 win over England in World Cup

first_imgMario Balotelli scored the deciding goal in Italy’s 2-1 win over England Mario Balotelli scored with a second-half header Saturday to give Italy a 2-1 win over England at the World Cup.STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS | MATCH PHOTOS The Italy striker was left free by his marker Gary Cahill and nodded a cross from Antonio Candreva past goalkeeper Joe Hart in the 50th minute.Claudio Marchisio scored first for Italy, sending a long shot through a crowded area and past a diving Hart in the 35th. Daniel Sturridge equalized for England two minutes later, tapping in a cross from Wayne Rooney.The win puts Italy in a strong position to qualify for the second round, and leaves England with plenty to do in its remaining two matches.In the other Group D match, Costa Rica beat Uruguay 3-1, giving the 2010 semifinalists a similarly difficult task to advance.Balotelli nearly scored another in first-half injury time, running deep into the area and enticing Hart to come off his line. The Italy striker stopped, looked toward goal and sent a chip over the keeper’s head – only for Phil Jagielka to clear by heading the ball over the bar.England’s attack-minded lineup made frequent runs into the Italy area throughout the match, and came close to scoring several times.The best of the chances came in the 24th when Danny Welbeck sent the ball across the front of goal but Andrea Barzagli was able to slide in and tip the ball up in the air. Raheem Sterling, who had been running in from the left, jumped for the header but couldn’t reach it, letting the ball go past him as he tumbled into the net.advertisementItaly played without the injured Gianluigi Buffon. The 36-year-old Italy goalkeeper, who can play in his fourth World Cup if he is able to recover from an ankle problem, was replaced by Salvatore Sirigu.The PSG keeper stepped up and made several good saves, but the best may have come in the 77th when he dived to his left to block a free kick from Leighton Baines.The match was played in the Amazonian city of Manaus, the most exotic of the 12 World Cup venues for this year’s tournament. According to FIFA, it was 30 degrees C (86 degrees F) with humidity at a relatively low 61 percent for the match.While none of the players appeared to be affected by the heat, there was an injury on the England bench when team physio Gary Lewin dislocated his ankle while celebrating Sturridge’s goal.England and Italy were playing each other at the World Cup for only the second time. They also met in the third-place match at the 1990 World Cup, with the Italians also winning 2-1.last_img read more

Chitchat between runs turns fatal: Azhar Ali run out whilst chatting with Asad Shafiq…

first_imgAdvertisementThe freakish episode took place on Day 3 in the 53rd over of Pakistan’s second innings of the 2nd test. Pakistan were going strong at 160 for 3. It was Australia’s Peter Siddle who was bowling, and Ali, who was well-set on 64, edged a delivery past gully on the drive, the ball ran towards the rope. Both the batsmen on the crease assumed that it was going for a four, and Ali decided to get involved in a discussion with his partner Shafiq in the center of the pitch.Distraught Pakistan middle-order batsman Azhar Ali after being run out in the most comical fashion.But on the contrary, the ball had in turn slowed down as it rolled closer to the ropes and stopped just short. An alert  Mitchell Starc gasped his way over to the third man boundary to pick the ball, all while the batsmen were unaware of the fact that the ball was still in play.  The left-arm seamer briskly threw the ball to an antsy Tim Paine behind the stumps.As Tim Paine dislodged the bails Ali and Shafiq stood thunderstruck for some time, trying to get hold of what had just happened before the umpires asked Ali to leave the pitch as he had been run out. It was schoolboy stuff from the experienced Pakistan batsman. All the hard work from the previous day was undone by utter callowness. Nonetheless, Pakistan is currently in a dominating position with Australia needing a monstrous 491 more to win the game, and two days to survive a draw. Advertisementlast_img read more

10 months agoLiverpool winger Shaqiri: I’m in career best form

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Liverpool winger Shaqiri: I’m in career best formby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri believes he’s at the top of his game. The Swiss has scored six Premier League goals, including a match-winning brace against Manchester United, since his arrival from Stoke City in the summer.And the 27-year-old thinks he’s producing his best football at the moment.He told the Evening Standard of his experiences at Anfield: “I love it, to be here.”You can see that on the pitch. I’m very happy and I’m playing confidently. Maybe I’m playing my best football that I’ve ever played. “I’m very, very happy here and happy to be here to help this team and club be successful.” last_img read more

4 days agoChelsea striker Abraham: Giroud like an older brother

first_imgChelsea striker Abraham: Giroud like an older brotherby Paul Vegas4 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea striker Tammy Abraham says Olivier Giroud is “like an older brother” for him.The 22-year-old has kept Giroud out of Frank Lampard’s side with his blistering form in front of goal.But that hasn’t stopped the World Cup winner throwing his arm around the budding star.”I look at Oli like an older brother,” Abraham said after Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Newcastle.”I’m always learning from him on the training pitch and I’ve grown up watching him. He’s always supporting me.”When someone’s doing well and scoring goals you have to support them and that’s what he is doing for me. I look at different strikers. Ollie is obviously not the fastest striker in the world, but what he has is unbelievable.”His one-touch play, his hold-up play, his one-touch finishing, I just take those little things that I see in training. If the ball is coming into the box off the ground, his volleying and everything is on point, so you have to take those little things and add them to your game.”I’m a visual learner. I like to watch and take people’s ideas. And add them to myself – the same with Michy [Batshuayi], he is also a great striker. For me to be training with these two players is wonderful.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

ICC rejected Chris Gayle’s request to use ‘Universe Boss’ logo before censoring MS Dhoni

first_imgICC rejected Chris Gayle’s request to use ‘Universe Boss’ logo before censoring MS DhoniAfter MS Dhoni was asked by the ICC to remove the ‘Balidaan’ badge from his gloves, it has emerged that Chris Gayle too wasn’t allowed to use his nickname ‘Universe Boss’ on his bat during the World Cup 2019advertisement Press Trust of India LondonJune 9, 2019UPDATED: June 9, 2019 20:12 IST Reportedly Chris Gayle was not allowed to use ‘Universe Boss’ logo on his bat by the ICC (Reuters)HIGHLIGHTSICC has asked MS Dhoni to not wear an army crest on his wicketkeeping glovesICC had also rejected Chris Gayle’s request to use ‘Universe Boss’ logo on his batAccording to ICC, no personal messaging on sporting equipment is allowedThe International Cricket Council has not only rejected Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s request for wearing keeping gloves which had a dagger insignia but also refused West Indies opener Chris Gayle permission to use ‘Universe Boss’ logo on his bat.In both cases, the ICC cited equipment regulation violation.Gayle, a self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’, had requested the ICC to allow him to use it for his bat branding but he was informed that he can’t use any clothing or sporting equipment for personal messages.”ICC couldn’t have made an exception for Dhoni as no personal messages are allowed on equipment. Gayle wanted it but when he was refused permission, he accepted it and moved on,” a source privy to the development told PTI on conditions of anonymity.Talking about Dhoni, the official said, “It is not about military symbolism. It is about a simple rule that no personal messages are allowed. If ICC did not make an exception for Gayle, then how come they would make it for Dhoni.”It has also been learnt that even innocuous messages or emojis are not allowed on equipment.”Tomorrow, Moeen Ali will again request for wearing a ‘Free Palestine’ wristband which is a direct political message. We did not allow it then and we won’t allow it now. You won’t be even allowed to have a word like love’ embossed on the equipment,” the source added.The ICC allowed the Indian team to wear camouflage caps recently during an international match against Australia because it was a bilateral series.advertisement”A formal request was made by the BCCI as they wanted to use the match as a fund-raiser for the victims of the Pulwama terror attack. In bilateral series, ICC allows teams to do charity. Just like the Pink Test’ in Australia for the Jane McGrath foundation that works on breast cancer awareness, the source further added.It has been learnt that Dhoni is yet to get any official reprimand from the ICC for the South Africa game, during which his green gloves had dagger insignia.As per rules, if he sports the insignia again in any of the matches, he would first be warned and then face financial penalties of 25, 50 and 75 percent of match fees for every transgression.Also Read | World Cup 2019: Michael Clarke backs MS Dhoni to stay focussed despite gloves rowAlso Read | World Cup 2019: MS Dhoni changes wicketkeeping gloves, no army crest this timeFor sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAjay Tiwari Tags :Follow Chris GayleFollow MS DhoniFollow World Cup 2019 Nextlast_img read more

From Luxury Developer to Humanitarian, Will Bennett Does it All

first_img Zach Klein Is the Reason We’re All Obsessed with Cabin Porn How 2 Noma Alumni Brought Their Flavorful Spirits Line to the United States Editors’ Recommendations After graduation, I went to work for the most entrepreneurial and successful development firm in the world, the Related Companies. I felt very lucky to be a part of the development team at Related. Led by Stephen Ross, Jeff Blau, and Bruce Beal, my colleagues were brilliant, passionate, and some of the hardest working people I have ever met.Through a mutual friend, I was introduced to Jason Grosfeld and jumped at the opportunity to join him at his company, Irongate. Jason has massive vision and ambition.  I am constantly challenged and inspired; I have never found work to be more rewarding.  We are currently developing Costa Palmas, a 1,000-acre residential project with multiple hotels on the East Cape of Cabo anchored by a Four Seasons.  Separately, we are also under construction on the second tower of our Ritz-Carlton Residences in Waikiki – the first tower opened last summer. We have another project in Aspen, Colorado.  I learn every day from Jason and I wake up excited to execute on these projects.Jeans: Acne Studios Ace Ups – classic fit and just enough give that you are never uncomfortable – I will even wear these on a red eye flight.  Shirts: James Perse Brushed Cotton Crew Neck –Not sure if it’s the cut or the fabric from Japan, but he really has figured out the perfect t-shirt. Pants: I really only wear Jeans (see above) or am in a suit (see below).Suits: Max Farca at Sartoria Ambrosiana in NYC – he has amazing fabrics. Super impressed by his attention to detail and his ability to create the perfect fit.   Shoes: Belgian Shoes. I am all about comfort and these have always felt like slippers. Accessories: Patek 5711 – huge Gerald Genta fan and this was the watch I always wanted. I just love the blue dial.I also wear a St Christopher that my mother gave my father when I was born. We were not a very religious family – but my mother loved the Catholic saints. St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers, fitting since I am always on the road. I miss my parents every day. Outerwear: Loro Piana – Anything from the Three Layer Line. Waterproof, wind resistant, and light weight. Truly the perfect unlined outerwear – always a classic cut and style.Favorite cologne: Falling Trees by Regime des Fleurs. Fresh and masculine. Favorite app: Off The Menu – my friend’s app that tells you about secret / off the menu items at restaurants all over the world.Next style/gear purchase: Amazon Echo – the Alec Baldwin commercial sold me. Today we speak to Managing Director, Development at Irongate, Will Bennett.I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, starting in elementary school where I converted a backyard chicken coop into an egg business, filling my pockets with proceeds as I worked the morning car pool line. After college, I choose a job in investment banking with a firm that specialized in selling privately owned business. That job enabled me to work closely with entrepreneurs and to learn from their varied experience. After four years, I decided that, while investment banking had given me a solid financial foundation, I did not know how to run an organization beyond my small charity, SOMB (“shirt off my back”), which required little people-management.   Wanting to learn from the best, I listed the most successful entrepreneurs I had access to in Los Angeles and pitched my capabilities to each.  Marc Nathanson, who founded, grew, and sold Falcon Cable to Paul Allen, was impressed with my drive and spirit, and I joined him at his firm.  I loved working for Marc who remains one of my most important mentors.Marc encouraged me to go to business school.  At business school, I took Arthur Segel’s Real Property class and it all came together.  I would never have considered a career in real estate had it not been for Arthur.  He taught me that Real Estate, particularly development, is incredibly creative, entrepreneurial, and requires strong interpersonal skills. I was hooked, and I continue to lean on Arthur for advice and guidance. He changed my life.center_img Legent Bourbon Teams Up with Tokyo Butcher Kentaro Nakahara Slopestyle Mountain Bike Champion Emil Johansson Talks Tricks, Staying Fit, and More On the Road with Mikah Meyer, the First Person to Visit Every National Park Site in One Trip last_img read more

Xu Lirong to Head China Cosco Shipping Group

first_imgzoom The acting chairman of China Shipping Group (CSG) has been appointed the new chairman of China Cosco Shipping Group, an entity to be created following the merger of China Ocean Shipping (Cosco Group) and China Shipping Co.The merger was cleared by China’s State Council earlier in December.Under the deal, the two companies will merge their container shipping businesses, in addition to ship leasing, tanker shipping, bulk shipping, financial businesses and other sectors.The deal forms part of China’s push to revamp its oversupplied shipping industry by encouraging consolidation.The merger is still subject to shareholders’ approval.last_img read more

Djokovic motivated by talk of catching Federer in Slams

first_imgNew York: Top-ranked defending champion Novak Djokovic takes inspiration from talk he could pass Roger Federer for the all-time record total of men’s Grand Slam singles titles. The 32-year-old Serbian star sees, however, all the work yet to come before that happens, even as he prepares to chase another crown at the US Open starting Monday in New York. “I’m aware of it, of course. I mean, I’m part of this world. Of course I can’t completely switch off and eliminate what people are talking about. And it’s flattering, obviously,” Djokovic said. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”But at the same time, it’s still a very long way ahead of me. It does also put a certain level of responsibility to me as well, because I’m aiming to do that. You know, it’s definitely one of my ambitions and goals. “Things are a little bit different than they were ten years ago, but I still feel young inside and outside. And I still am very motivated to keep going… especially now, more or less everything is about Grand Slams.” Djokovic, who defeated Federer in an epic five-set Wimbledon final last month for his 16th Grand Slam crown, remains four behind the 38-year-old Swiss star’s mark, with Spaniard Rafael Nadal between them with 18 Slam trophies. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterBut Djokovic is on a roll, having won four of the past five Slam singles titles, including a victory over Juan Martin del Potro in last year’s US Open final. It was his third US Open crown after 2011 and 2015. Djokovic, who launches his 2019 campaign on Monday against Spain’s 76th-ranked Roberto Carballes Baena, says his success at night before the loud and raucous fans in Arthur Ashe Stadium has helped him thrive in New York. “I’ve not lost too many matches in my career playing night session,” he said.last_img read more

Toronto home sales jump higher in April average price up from year

TORONTO — The Toronto Real Estate Board says home sales in April climbed nearly 17 per cent higher compared with a year ago.The board says 9,042 homes were sold last month compared with 7,744 in April 2018.The increase came as the average price rose to $820,148 for the month compared with $804,926 in the same month last year.New listings for April were up eight per cent compared with a year ago.On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, the board says April sales were up 11.3 per cent compared with March this year.The Canadian Press read more

Understanding most recent HIV infections crucial for further prevention UN report says

28 November 2008The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) today called on countries to realign their prevention programmes by better understanding how the most recent infections were transmitted and the reasons why they occurred. “Not only will this approach help prevent the next 1,000 infections in each community, but it will also make money for AIDS work more effectively and help put forward a long-term and sustainable AIDS response,” UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said in a report issued to mark the 20th anniversary of the first observance of World AIDS Day.Findings from countries that have conducted studies on the modes of transmission and developed incidence estimates have highlighted three broad trends. First, patterns of epidemics can change over time and therefore such analyses must be undertaken at regular intervals.Second, in many sub-Saharan African countries with high HIV prevalence, new infections occur mainly as a result of having multiple sex partners and among discordant couples – that is where one partner is HIV positive and one is HIV negative.Third, in many countries, even with high HIV prevalence among the general population, substantial numbers of new infections might also occur in populations at higher risk of exposure to HIV, including sex workers and their clients, injecting drug users, and men who have sex with men, groups who often receive little attention in prevention initiatives. “There is no single magic bullet for HIV prevention, but we can choose wisely from the known prevention options available so that they can reinforce and complement each other and cut back the wave of ongoing new HIV infections that is stripping away gains in treatment,” Dr. Piot said.Even though the number of new HIV infections has fallen in several countries, there are five new HIV infections for every two people put on treatment. As reported earlier in 2008, some 3 million people are now receiving antiretroviral treatment in low- and middle-income countries. The global financial crisis could lead to funding cutbacks, which, in turn, will have harmful impacts throughout the developing world generally and in the AIDS response in particular. read more

People with disabilities must play key role in development says Ban

3 December 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities today by stressing that people with disabilities – the vast majority of whom live in poor countries – have a fundamental role to play in development processes. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities today by stressing that people with disabilities – the vast majority of whom live in poor countries – have a fundamental role to play in development processes.The Day falls a week before the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and both occasions are being commemorated with the theme, “Dignity and justice for all of us.”Mr. Ban pointed out that the General Assembly has underscored the need to include people with disabilities in efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty targets, by their 2015 deadline.“With 80 per cent of persons with disabilities – more than 400 million people – living in poor countries, we need to do much more to break the cycle of poverty and disability,” he said.Noting that the international disability community’s slogan is “Nothing about us without us,” the Secretary-General called on governments and others to guarantee that persons with disabilities are an integral part of all development processes.“In this way, we can promote integration and pave the way for a better future for all people in society,” he said.Mr. Ban stressed that there is much to celebrate this year, with the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in May.The first Conference of the Parties to the pact met in October, and the resulting progress is due to the “active participation and leadership of persons with disabilities, by ensure that they have access to – and are included in – all aspects of our work,” he said.Addressing a commemoration in New York today, he stressed the world body’s commitment to promoting accessibility in many forms, such as with communications technologies and political processes.The Secretary-General also noted the need to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities at UN Headquarters. “I share your frustration, and sometimes I feel ashamed, at how difficult it can be to navigate our building here in New York,” he said, adding that efforts are underway to improve the Organization’s facilities by rebuilding rooms and adding ramps, among other measures.Events marking the Day in New York included a multimedia presentation by the UN Mine Action Service on disability rights. There were also musical performances by Tamas Erdi, a Hungarian pianist who lost his eyesight shortly after he was born, and Rudely Interrupted, an Australian rock band almost entirely composed of members who have physical and intellectual disabilities.Meanwhile, with an estimated 1 billion people on course to gain access to the Internet in the coming years, it is essential to ensure that people with disabilities are taken into account, a senior UN official said today in Hyderabad, India.“The access needs to take into account the diversity of the world’s population, the diversity of languages but also the diversity of people with different abilities,” Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said at the opening of a gathering of the Internet Governance Forum.The four-day meeting is bringing together representatives from government, the private sector, civil society, the Internet community, international organizations and the media to discuss how to make the web accessible to the greatest number of people while guaranteeing that cyberspace remains safe, secure and reflective of the diversity of the world’s people. read more

Western Sahara Annan hails Polisarios release of over 200 war prisoners

In a statement by his spokesman, the Secretary-General voiced hope that the Frente Polisario para la Liberación de Saguía el-Hamra y del Río de Oro would also release all remaining prisoners, as called for by various Security Council resolutions and international humanitarian law.”He also urges the parties to continue to cooperate with the ICRC to resolve the fate of all those unaccounted for since the beginning of the conflict,” the spokesman said.Bordered by Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria, Western Sahara was administered by Spain until 1976. The UN has been seeking a peace settlement since the withdrawal of Spain and the ensuing fight between Morocco, which had “reintegrated” the territory, and the Frente Polisario, which seeks self rule. read more

US wholesale businesses trim stockpiles 01 per cent in October as sales

by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted Dec 9, 2015 8:08 am MDT Last Updated Dec 9, 2015 at 11:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email US wholesale businesses trim stockpiles 0.1 per cent in October as sales show weakness WASHINGTON – Wholesale businesses trimmed their stockpiles slightly in October while sales were flat, possible signs of modest growth this quarter.The Commerce Department says wholesale inventories slipped 0.1 per cent following a 0.2 per cent rise in September. Sales were unchanged in October after a 0.5 per cent increase a month earlier.An effort on the part of businesses to align their stockpiles with weaker sales dampened economic activity in the summer. That slowed overall growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, to an annual rate of 2.1 per cent in the third quarter after GDP expanded 3.9 per cent in the spring.The drop in wholesale inventories in October could mean that inventory reductions will drag growth this quarter as well. Some analysts are forecasting a 2 per cent GDP gain. read more

Prairie provinces watch sales of drilling rights go from boom to bust

by Dan Healing, The Canadian Press Posted Aug 12, 2016 2:00 am MDT Last Updated Aug 12, 2016 at 3:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email CALGARY – Five years after Alberta raised a record-setting $3.5 billion at auctions of provincially owned oil and gas drilling rights, sales are on pace this year to set a historic low, part of a downward trend seen across Western Canada.Through the first seven months of this year, companies invested just over $75 million for the right to drill for oil and gas on Crown land, according to the provincial Energy Department.If sales continue at the same pace through the balance of 2016, they will add up to about $125 million — more than $100 million less than any annual figure in records going back to 1978 when the province adopted a scheduled sales process.A big difference between 2011 and 2016 is the political party in power — the Progressive Conservatives then and the New Democratic Party now — but even the harshest critics of NDP tax increases and climate change policies say that’s not why land sales have dried up this year.Nor do observers pin the lack of interest solely on the two-year global oil price slump.“You can talk about royalty rates and tax rates and you can talk about the government fiscal regime, the investment climate, interest rates, but in the oil and gas business, you can’t beat the rocks,” says David Yager, a Calgary oil and gas consultant and outspoken supporter of the Opposition Wildrose Party of Alberta.“What was discovered (leading up to 2011) was the source rock, the Montney and the Duvernay. The Montney in particular may be one of the greatest hydrocarbon and natural gas liquid reservoirs in Canada, if not in North America or the world.“As soon as we find another of those, the land sales will spike again.”Alberta is not alone in posting lower sales for drilling rights. B.C. is also on pace to set a new record low with only $4.7 million raised from such sales so far this year. Its best year, according to government statistics, was 2008, when it raised $2.7 billion.In Saskatchewan, about $12 million has been raised in the first half of 2016, the lowest year-to-date total since 1992. Its record year was also 2008, when it generated about $1.1 billion.“Are we at pretty low numbers? Yes, that’s a function of the cycle,” said Brad Herald, Western Canada vice-president for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.“When cash flow is scarce, we do less on raw exploration.”Sales processes differ slightly between provinces but generally, producers nominate land they are interested in developing and the province then invites sealed bids on the parcels.The winning bidders must drill wells on the property within a certain time period — two to five years in Alberta, for instance — or it goes back to the province.“It’s a different world now,” said Gary Leach, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada. “I think a lot of people expect maybe some of those leases that were bought may be reverting back to the Crown.”The Montney and Duvernay are still the rock stars of the oilpatch, although drilling levels have been halved since last year.Brad Hayes, president of geoscience consulting firm Petrel Robertson, said oil and gas explorers have long known about the two formations because they drilled holes through them while seeking other zones. But it took the combination of horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” before they could be profitably exploited, he said.“Companies developed the technology and suddenly they could see value in huge tracts of land,” Hayes said.He said the boom turned to bust starting in 2012 simply because producers had bought up most of the best land.In its spring budget, the Alberta government estimated it will collect revenue of just $95 million from land sales in the 2016-17 fiscal year ending next March, rising to $157 million the following year.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter. Prairie provinces watch sales of drilling rights go from boom to bust FILE – Heavy machinery is on display at the Global Petroleum Show in Calgary in a June 7, 2016, file photo. Five years after Alberta raised a record-setting $3.5 billion at auctions of provincially owned oil and gas drilling rights, sales are on pace this year to set a historic low, part of a downward trend seen across Western Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh, File read more

Federal carbon price plan sparks fears among five Canadian industries

by Dan Healing, The Canadian Press Posted Oct 4, 2016 2:06 pm MDT Last Updated Oct 4, 2016 at 2:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Federal carbon price plan sparks fears among five Canadian industries The national minimum price on carbon proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday has sparked fears from several Canadian industries that their costs and product prices will rise and their ability to compete with international rivals will suffer.The actual impact is unclear, they say, as implementation details are missing from the federal plan to impose a carbon price in provinces without one. The federal program would impose a minimum carbon price of $10 a tonne in 2018, rising by $10 per year until reaching $50 per tonne in 2022. The funds raised are to go back to the provinces but what happens then is also not known.Here is how the new policy is expected to affect five industries in Canada.Auto manufacturingTruck and car plants don’t generate a lot of emissions, says Mark Nantais, president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, but some of their suppliers do and extra costs from a carbon tax would likely be passed along. That would hurt overall cost competitiveness with the United States and could lead to new or expansion plants — and associated jobs — landing there instead of in Canada. About 98 per cent of Canada’s car industry is in Ontario, a province that has signed on to a cap-and-trade system with Quebec and California. Nantais said he fears the federal carbon price as it grows will outstrip the real cost of carbon under the provincial cap-and-trade system and costs will rise.Manufacturing/ExportingMathew Wilson, senior vice-president with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, says his members most worry that new carbon prices will create a competitive edge for other jurisdictions that don’t play by the same rules. Members produce everything from steel to high-technology hardware. While their emissions vary enormously, all are expected to pay more for the energy and supplies they use due to carbon prices. He said his organization will be calling on the Trudeau government to ensure carbon pricing is not only revenue neutral, but that revenue from industry be returned to industry in a way that ensures it can still be competitive.Fuel RefiningIf implemented today, the federal carbon price would apply to refineries in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Newfoundland because those provinces don’t have an existing carbon price scheme, says Peter Boag, president of the Canadian Fuels Association. Refineries in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec either already pay or are set to pay carbon levies. He said so-called “carbon leakage” is a key concern for his members because if refinery costs rise, customers may turn to buying fuel from international suppliers. That could move economic benefits out of Canada but still allow emissions from across the border to enter the atmosphere.MiningA typical mine in Canada spends about 30 per cent of its budget on energy, ranging from diesel for trucks to electricity used to process base metals in a refinery, says Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada. He said the impact of the federal carbon price will vary across the country depending on energy source. For instance, miners in B.C. can often access emissions-free hydroelectric power, while those in northern Canada often must use fossil fuels. He said the association supports carbon pricing but wants to see a truly revenue neutral system, noting that B.C.’s carbon tax results in mining companies paying out more than they get back in reduced taxes.AgricultureThe federal carbon price could increase costs for Canadian farmers who must burn fossil fuel to plant and harvest their crops, hurting international competitiveness, says Ron Bonnett, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. He called on the government to consult with the industry before implementation in 2018. He added farmers could benefit from the policy if they are able to sell carbon credits from farming practices that sequester carbon or result in reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter. read more

Liberal ministers meet Lockheed Martin at Paris Air Show snub Boeing

Liberal ministers meet Lockheed Martin at Paris Air Show, snub Boeing by Lee Berthiaume and Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 19, 2017 2:34 pm MDT Last Updated Jun 19, 2017 at 4:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email OTTAWA – The Trudeau government appears to have given aerospace giant Boeing the cold shoulder in Paris — the latest sign that the Liberal government’s plan to buy Super Hornet fighter jets could be on the rocks.Three cabinet ministers are in the French capital this week to promote Canada’s aerospace sector and meet various companies at the Paris Air Show, one of the largest such exhibitions in the world.Those meetings included discussions with Lockheed Martin, which is hoping its F-35 stealth fighter will replace Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18s whenever a competition is launched. Meetings between Canadian officials and three other fighter-jet makers — French firm Dassault, Sweden’s Saab and European consortium Eurofighter — were also scheduled.But in separate interviews, Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said there were no plans to sit down with Boeing officials.Bains specifically cited Boeing’s complaints to the U.S. Commerce Department about Canadian rival Bombardier as the reason for the snub.“We think that approach makes no sense, and we’ve been very clear about the fact that we reject those allegations that they’re making,” Bains said by telephone.“Hence that is why we didn’t engage with Boeing at this stage.”Boeing also had its invitation to a reception hosted by Canadian Ambassador to France Lawrence Cannon rescinded, said one source who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a request for comment.The government announced last November it would purchase 18 “interim” Super Hornets to fill a critical shortage of fighter jets until a full competition to replace Canada’s entire CF-18 fleet could be run starting in 2019.The government said at the time that the Super Hornet was the only aircraft able to meet its immediate requirements, including being a mature design compatible with U.S. fighters.But that was before Boeing lodged a complaint with the U.S. Commerce Department, alleging Quebec-based Bombardier was selling its CSeries jet liners at an unfair price with assistance from federal government subsidies.American authorities are currently investigating the complaint and are expected to decide in the coming weeks or months whether to penalize Bombardier with fines or tariffs.The Liberal government expressed its displeasure with Boeing by threatening to scrap the planned Super Hornet purchase, which Garneau said Monday is currently on hold.“The requirement is there,” Garneau said of the need for interim fighter jets, “but our particular discussions with Boeing have been put on hold. So we’ll see what happens in the coming weeks over this.”The ministers said all options are on the table when it comes to obtaining interim fighters, though Bains said it was premature to start having specific discussions with Lockheed or any other company.Bains said much of his talks with Lockheed instead revolved around potential opportunities for the company to partner with Canada on space-based projects.“We’re in the process of developing a long-term space strategy,” he said. “And we want to work with Lockheed Martin because they have some outstanding” industrial participation in Canada.Bains and Garneau actually had a chance to walk through a Bombardier’s CSeries passenger jet, which was being displayed by Air Baltic, one of the first companies to operate the Canadian-made planes.“When I was there, it seemed to be getting some interest,” Garneau said. “I’m very proud that Canada started from scratch and put together really the best plane in its class in the world.”The federal government announced in February plans to lend Bombardier more than $370 million to help its aircraft division, which was on top of a $1-billion investment by the Quebec government.Both ministers touted Canada’s aerospace industry as a world leader in the interviews, a message they said is evident by the fact the Canadian delegation to Paris is comprised of 420 individuals from 110 companies. read more