With Opposition in disarray, BJP-Sena alliance targets big win

December 1, 2019 0 Comments

first_imgThe Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is aiming to wrest over 220 seats and decimate the opposition in elections to the 288-member State Assembly, which will be held in a single-phase on October 21. Even though an alliance with the Shiv Sena has not yet been announced officially, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is hopeful that the parties will fight the polls together.At an event in the city on Saturday, Mr. Fadnavis said the BJP would certainly tie-up with the Sena. He said, “The talks on seat sharing are going on. We don’t dictate terms to the Shiv Sena. We take decisions unitedly. There are several aspirants in both parties and we will definitely try to please them till the last moment.” Mr. Thackeray had said on Friday the alliance would be declared within two to three days.Meanwhile, the Opposition is putting up a brave face amid the mass exodus of its MLAs to either the BJP or the Sena. The Congress is staring at a leadership vacuum despite having two former chief ministers and over a dozen senior leaders in its ranks, while Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar is waging a lone battle with the youth brigade.Opposition leaders claimed on Saturday that the ruling alliance’s good showing in the Lok Sabha polls was due to division of votes. They said that the voters in the State would overthrow the government responsible for rising unemployment and sloppy flood relief work. Nawab Malik, NCP city unit chief, said October 24 will bring ‘parivartan’ in the State. “From industrialists to farmers, nobody wants this government. The voters have decided to change this government and it will be visible on counting day,” he said. How the parties stack upBharatiya Janata Party (BJP)Riding high on the recent Lok Sabha victory, the BJP is confident of retaining power by winning 220 seats. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis concluded his three-phase Mahajanadesh Yatra on September 19 in Nashik in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While the yatra travelled through all Assembly constituencies, it received criticism over high expenditure and avoiding flood-affected areas in western Maharashtra.Leadership: Devendra FadnavisMr. Modi clarified in Nashik that Mr. Fadnavis will be the CM if the BJP returns to power. The party is presenting him as a leader with a clean image and pro-development agenda.Chandrakant PatilHailing from western Maharashtra, Mr. Patil is the State president and close aide of national president Amit Shah. A second-rank minister in the State Cabinet. He is one of the masterminds of the party’s poll strategy.AgendaWith abrogation of Article 370, it was clear that the BJP would be making it an electoral issue. The recent speeches of Mr.Modi, Mr. Shah and BJP working president J.P. Nadda have proved the point. The party has decided to organise public meetings on the issue across the State. The party is also highlighting its social justice record.CongressThe party is facing its worst phase since the formation of the State in 1960. The party appears to be leaderless. The old guard has either gone on silent mode or chosen to join the saffron parties.Leadership: Balasaheb ThoratMr. Thorat was given the responsibility to lead the party’s State unit just three months ago. A softspoken, media-shy former minister and Congress loyalist, he is battling to keep his party in the race. A State unit battered with factionalism has appointed five working presidents to assist him. Mr. Thorat is tasked with stopping the exodus from his party and encouraging the cadre to take on the BJP.AgendaCongress has decided to focus on the economic slowdown, rising unemployment, and agrarian distress in its campaign.Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)The NCP never sat in the Opposition since its formation till it lost the Assembly polls in 2014. The poor performance in the 2019 general elections has resulted in half of the top leaders quitting the party to join the BJP or the Sena. The party, known to be dominated by the Maratha community, has faced electoral losses and allegations of corruption against its top leadership.Leadership: Sharad PawarAt 79, Mr. Pawar is waging a lone battle against the BJP and the Sena by travelling across the State and holding rallies twice a day. His rallies are getting a huge response from the youth and he has been appealing to the voters to show traitors their rightful place. With a few of his family members joining the BJP, Mr. Pawar is gaining sympathy among the masses.Amol KolheA TV star-turned-MP, Mr. Kolhe is emerging as a star campaigner for the party. Given an opportunity to tour and address every rally in the party’s Shiv Swarajya Yatra, Mr. Kolhe is attracting voters in large numbers.AgendaThe youth is on NCP’s mind and it is directing resources to attract more youngsters. It is also coming out of its old image of being a Maratha party with the OBC leadership being given prominence and opportunity to lead. NCP is focusing on farmers’ issues and the economic slowdown.Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS)Starting with 13 MLAs in 2009, Raj Thackeray’s party was down to one in 2014 and is now left with none. The MNS did not contest the Lok Sabha polls, but Mr. Thackeray campaigned extensively against Mr. Modi and the BJP. It did give him visibility but did not have an electoral impact. He also led anti-EVM protests in the State. With the Enforcement Directorate questioning him for a day, Mr. Thackeray seems to have gone on silent mode for over a month now. The party is yet to announce its decision to fight the Assembly polls.Leadership: Raj ThackerayThe party rests on one man’s shoulder. But since the 2012 civic polls, Mr. Thackeray has not been able to translate his popularity into votes. He is known as a rash but captivating speaker with acute political sense.AgendaThe MNS is known for its violent agitations against north Indians and strong opposition to the growing domination of the Gujarati community in Maharashtra. With its ‘sons of the soil’ agenda and blueprint of development, the MNS is likely to enter the fray.Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA)The Opposition blames the VBA, an alliance of Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), for the loss of around 10 seats in the Lok Sabha polls. An alliance of deprived castes, as Mr. Ambedkar calls it, the VBA has faced troubles over the last few days. The AIMIM has quit the VBA, while a few other leaders have accused it of being hand-in-glove with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The VBA is in talks with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to forge an alliance. However, AAP has clarified that it cannot be with the VBA if the AIMIM is going to make a return to the alliance.Leadership: Prakash AmbedkarThe grandson of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar has been getting support from the Dalits and OBCs based on the party’s Lok Sabha results.AgendaThe VBA works to hand power to the deprived castes. It is claiming to build the organisation by taking along individuals from neglected castes and communities.last_img read more

If 14 seconds isn’t allowed, can men stare at women for 13 seconds? Here’s all you need to know

November 22, 2019 0 Comments

first_imgKerala Excise Commissioner Rishiraj Singh is synonymous to controversy. From making controversial statements to going against the official code of conduct, Singh has managed to stay in news. He has also earned many loyal supporters who refer to him as the ‘Lion of Kerala’. Yes, Singham! And now ‘Singham returns’ by making a new statement that has not gone down well with many. Singh, while speaking at an event held in Kochi on Sunday, said, “A case can be filed against men who ‘annoyingly’ stare at women for more than 14 seconds”. He also urged women to come forward and speak up against all physical/sexual harassment they face and asked them to carry small knives or pepper sprays to defend themselves in case of molestation bids.   Kerala Sports Minister EP Jayarajan said Singh’s statement is ‘annoying’ and that he will bring this to the notice of the Excise Minister K Babu.Mr Singh, you are being trolledRishiraj Singh’s statement is being trolled big time on social media. Memes are being made using popular scenes from Malayalam movies. Here are five of them, and for those who can’t read Malayalam, we have translated it-Girls tells her friend that a guy is staring at her. Friend responds by saying he stared at me for 13 seconds and then shifted to you to avoid trouble.Photo: FacebookTrollMalayalamText at the end says “You’re finished dude, you’re finished!””Bro, you have crossed 13 seconds, you could be booked.” “No man, not applicable if you are looking through a binocular!”advertisementPhoto: FacebookMalayalamTrollMastersSelf-explanatoryPhoto: FacebookTrollMalayalamPhoto: FacebookInternationalChaluUnion What does the Indian law say?Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code states, “Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.” Under Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code, stalking is described as follows – 1) Follows a woman and contacts, or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman;or2) Monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, commits the offence of stalking.Although stalking, using expletives, offering work benefits in exchange of sexual favours, sharing content on social media with an intent to harass, are all punishable offences under various sections of IPC, but staring has not been included as of yet.  Is staring an offence anywhere else in the world?A thread on Roosh V Forum has a user Feldeinsamkeit stating that staring is “now to be categorized as a form of sexual harassment that is in and of itself worthy of being reported to the police.”A Quora thread asking “When does staring at a woman become sexual harassment?” got an answer that states “frequently staring at someone, particularly in a manner that this person has expressed a disliking for, could be one element of harassment. But by itself it really would have a hard time fitting the US Federal definition of Sexual Harassment.”Singapore Legal Advice website states, “The use of the term “outrage of modesty” originates from section 354 of the Penal Code which criminalises the offence of  the “assault or use of criminal force to a person with intent to outrage modesty”. The use of criminal force is a key element. Hence, simply staring at someone inappropriately would not fall afoul of this section, which has mainly been applied to molestation cases.”Staring at someone in a disturbing way could be considered wrong and not acceptable as a social etiquette, but it has not been listed as illegal anywhere. It could be, however, be a part of sexual harassment laws or under “outrage of modesty”.  Uttar Pradesh came up with a similar rule in 2013A video report by Aaj Ki Khabar states that through an amendment in the Section 354D of IPC, harassment of women via social media and mobile phones were made punishable offences. It also says that staring has also been listed as a punishable offence under this section. We weren’t able to confirm this. In the video, people question the apparent ’30 second stare rule’ where men could be booked if they stare at a woman for over 30 seconds. Men are worried they could become soft targets and says such a law could be misused by women.   How much is too much? What is the logic behind 14-second-stare-rule?Being stared at by random people could be quite disturbing, intimidating and awkward. But how much is too much?advertisementWe couldn’t come up with a possible explanation of rationale for the 14-second-rule. Social media users have been raising questions like -1) Who’d keep a check that a person’s stare is not crossing 14 seconds?2) What happens if you stop staring at the 13th second?3) Is staring for 13 seconds or lesser legal and acceptable?4) What if men wear sunglasses and women can’t make out they’re being stared at? 5) Will blinking have an effect?last_img read more

West Ham battle to sign Maxi Gómez after selling Marko Arnautovic to China

November 16, 2019 0 Comments

first_imgValencia finished fourth in La Liga last season, earning them qualification to the Champions League, and the lure of playing at the highest level seemed to have informed Gomez’s decision. It is understood they had agreed a €16m deal which would have also involved them sending Santi Mina to Vigo. They thought the transfer was all but done last Friday.Yet West Ham, who had already released Andy Carroll and sold Lucas Pérez to Alavés, stepped up their pursuit of Gómez after deciding to let Arnautovic move to China when the Austrian forward kicked up another fuss last week. Pellegrini told the board to sell Arnautovic for the sake of squad morale and wanted the transfer to be concluded swiftly enough to ensure the former Stoke City player did not have to report for pre-season training in Switzerland on Monday.The decision to get rid of Arnautovic leaves a hole in West Ham’s attack, forcing them to respond quickly and decisively. With Arnautovic following Carroll and Pérez out of the door, the only senior strikers on their books are Javier Hernández and Jordan Hugill, who has made no impact since joining from Preston North End in January 2018 and spent last season on loan at Middlesbrough.They are also likely to miss out on another of their targets, West Bromwich Albion’s Salomón Rondón. Rafael Benítez wants the Venezuelan striker to follow him to China and join Dalian Yifang. West Ham also believe that Andrea Belotti, rated at €70m by Torino, is too expensive. That leaves them to focus on Gómez.When West Ham had a £25m bid rejected for him last month their information was that Gómez, who has scored 30 goals in 71 league appearances for Vigo, wanted to play in the Champions League, giving Valencia the edge. When they decided to hijack Valencia’s bid on Friday, they were told to raise their latest offer of £40m. Share on Messenger Summer transfer window recap – every deal from Europe’s top five leagues news Share on LinkedIn Gomez’s contract contains a €50m (£44.5m) buyout clause and West Ham were told they would have to trigger it to stand any chance of signing the striker. With their funds boosted by the sale of Arnautovic, they offered that amount late on Sunday night, albeit they have yet to agree whether to pay the fee in one lump sum or in separate instalments.However, they still have to convince Gómez that joining a side that finished 10th in the Premier League last season represents the best move for his career. Sources close to the deal say it is finely balanced and rate West Ham’s chances of clinching it at 50%.West Ham have made three signings this summer. They have recruited two goalkeepers on free transfers, David Martin and Fernando, and raised excitement with the £24m signing of Pablo Fornals from Villarreal. The attacking midfielder helped Spain to win the Under-21 European Championship last month. Read more Transfer window Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp West Ham are battling to convince Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gómez to snub Champions League football at Valencia and join them for a club-record fee of €50m (£44.5m) after selling Marko Arnautovic to Shanghai SIPG for €25m.After intense negotiations over the weekend West Ham are still in with a chance of winning the race to sign the highly rated striker – a race they feared they would lose as late as Sunday evening. They have agreed to pay Gómez’s release clause and are now trying to persuade the Uruguay international to choose a move to the Premier League over staying in Spain and joining Valencia.Manuel Pellegrini, West Ham’s manager, has prioritised the signing of Gómez ever since Arnautovic first started trying to force a transfer to the Chinese Super League in January. Yet the highly coveted 22-year-old has repeatedly indicated that he favours Valencia, even though they are offering him lower wages. Share on Facebook West Ham United Share via Email The Fiver: the Guardian’s take on the world of football Share on Pinterest Topics Reuse this content Read morelast_img read more

Lane Kiffin Just Reacted To USC’s Clay Helton Decision

October 26, 2019 0 Comments

first_imgHead coach Lane Kiffin of the Florida Atlantic Owls throws the ball prior to the game against the Navy Midshipmen.BOCA RATON, FL – SEPTEMBER 1: Head coach Lane Kiffin of the Florida Atlantic Owls throws the ball prior to the game against the Navy Midshipmen on September 1, 2017 at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)Despite an extremely disappointing season for the USC Trojans, the program has decided to keep Clay Helton for the following year.With the news of USC retaining Helton now public, former Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin decided he’ll chime in on this development. Although it shouldn’t be a surprise considering his tendency for being vocal, the social media world is still buzzing over his recent activity.In his latest viral tweet, Kiffin gave a subtle message with this post:? https://t.co/J8ieL4O3PD— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) November 25, 2018There’s no way of confirming if this was just another way of Kiffin to troll his former school. However, the comments on this tweet certainly indicate that he’s stirring controversy for the Trojans.As for Kiffin’s own program, the Florida Atlantic Owls went 5-7 this season and are also ineligible to make a bowl game.It’ll be interesting to see if there’s another post coming later from Kiffin, as he is clearly monitoring the situation at Southern California.last_img read more

India China no longer developing nations wont let them take advantage from

October 18, 2019 0 Comments

first_imgWashington: US President Donald Trump has said that India and China are no longer “developing nations” and were “taking advantage” of the tag from the WTO and asserted that he will not let it happen anymore. Trump, championing his ‘America First’ policy, has been a vocal critic of India for levying “tremendously high” duties on US products and has described the country as a “tariff king”. The US and China are currently engaged in a bruising trade war after Trump imposed punitive tariffs on Chinese goods and Beijing retaliated. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Earlier in July, Trump asked the World Trade Organisation to define how it designates developing-country status, a move apparently aimed at singling out countries like China, Turkey and India which are getting lenient treatment under the global trade rules. In a memorandum, Trump had empowered the US Trade Representative (USTR) to start taking punitive actions if any advanced economies are inappropriately taking benefits of the WTO loopholes. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Addressing a gathering at Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Trump said India and China the two economic giants from Asia are no longer developing nations and as such they cannot taken the benefit from the WTO. However, they are taking the advantage of a developing nation tag from the WTO, putting the US to disadvantage, he said. “They (India and China) were taking advantage of us for years and years,” Trump said. The Geneva-based WTO is an intergovernmental organisation that regulates international trade between nations. Under the global trade rules, developing countries claim entitlement to longer timeframe for the imposition of safeguards, generous transition periods, softer tariff cuts, procedural advantages for WTO disputes and the ability to avail themselves of certain export subsidies. Trump expressed hope that the WTO will treat the US “fairly”. He said the WTO views certain countries like China and India as “they’re growing”. “Well, they’ve grown,” he said and warned that the US will not let such countries to take advantage of the WTO. “We’re not letting that happen anymore…Everybody is growing but us,” he said.last_img read more

Winnipeg police facing criticism over releasing suicide victims photo

October 14, 2019 0 Comments

first_imgAPTN National NewsA young girl was found dead in a Winnipeg park from an apparent suicide last week.What makes the story more alarming, however, is that police released her photo to media in an effort to identify her.The move left many wondering whether authorities went too far.APTN National News reporter Meagan Fiddler has this story.last_img

India in the Islamic world

October 12, 2019 0 Comments

first_imgAmidst the ongoing repercussions of the punitive air strike made by the Indian Air Force to take out the training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) at Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, the address of India’s External Affairs Minister – Sushma Swaraj – at the Foreign Ministers conference of OIC at Abu Dhabi on March 1 was an event of extraordinary significance for the geopolitics of South Asia, the future of India-Pakistan relations and the so-called Islamic world itself. The Crown Prince of UAE hosting the meet had invited India’s External Affairs Minister to be the guest of honour at the inaugural day of the OIC meet and thus for the first time put the stamp of official recognition on India’s association with the Islamic block – even as India did not have an Observer’s status yet. Brief attempts made by our diplomats in the Cold War Era to secure that position on the ground that India had the second largest Muslim population in the world, had been successfully thwarted by Pakistan. But this time around, the UAE, apparently in consultation with OIC Chairman Saudi Arabia, rejected Pakistan’s objection to the very presence of India at the OIC. This resulted in Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, registering his ‘protest’ by skipping the meet and sending his juniors there to represent the country. This was a new situation that Pakistan faced – as a founder member of OIC – at a time when India had militarily challenged it on the issue of cross-border terrorism. It is enough for India, which is not an ‘Islamic’ country, that we were able to present at the OIC platform India’s stand against the new terror fomented from the soil of Pakistan in the name of religion. In her address, which was noted for its boldness and finesse, Sushma Swaraj raised the issue of terrorism upfront and pointed out how the menace was caused by ‘distortion of religion’ and emphasised how in India Muslims and non-Muslims practised their respective beliefs and lived in harmony. She specially thanked UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh but went on to name a whole lot of Muslim countries of West Asia, North Africa and South East Asia with whom India, with its resurgent economy, was developing bilateral relations. She talked of ‘indispensable strategic and security partnership and a natural economic collaboration with the Gulf countries’ but also declared that India shared ‘civilisational and cultural links with Iran’ whose partnership with India was something vital for ‘stability and prosperity in our region’. Without naming Pakistan, Sushma Swaraj called upon the world to tell the states who provided shelter and funding to the terrorists to dismantle the infrastructure of the terror outfits on their soil. She did well to counter the ‘exclusivism’ of Islamic extremists by referring to the Indian approach to religion that maintained that ‘God is one though He was described by many names’. The base of indoctrination of Mujahideen lay in the fundamentalist line of Islamic radicals and extremists that ‘there was no God save Allah’ and that the political decline of Islam was to be attributed to the ‘deviation’ of Muslims from the puritanic Islam that existed in the days of the Pious Caliphs. It is the faith-based motivation that was producing Fidayeen and it is to be seen if OIC would muster the courage to pronounce that in today’s times Jehad was not the answer to any political problem. One cannot be sanguine about this. India’s strategists have to factor in the more pronounced crosscurrents that are operating in the Islamic world at present. The US-led ‘war on terror’ targeted Islamic radicals of the Al Qaeda-Taliban combine – and later of ISIS – who all carried the legacy of the anti-West Jehad that the Ulema of the 19th century led by Abdul Wahab had conducted unsuccessfully against ‘the Western encroachment on Muslim lands’. The withdrawal of the Soviet army from Afghanistan gave the radicals a chance to establish an Islamic Emirate at Kabul in 1996 with full backing of Pakistan. Meanwhile, OIC had built an Islamic movement with large funding from Saudi Arabia that also rested on adherence to fundamentalism and aimed at countering the influence of Communism much to the delight of the US. Pakistan, a key member of OIC, housed not only the Islamic radicals of Al Qaeda and Taliban but also the Islamic extremists of Jamaat-e-Islami’s Hizbul Mujahideen and Maulana Hafiz Sayeed’s Lashkar-e-Toiba. The latter were easily available to Pakistan for being channelised by its agencies against India on the Kashmir front. When 9/11 tested Pakistan for leading the fight against Islamic radicals on its soil, it hoodwinked the US by just pretending to be active against Al Qaeda and Taliban, the same group it had put in power in Afghanistan. Before 9/11, Pakistan had no problem with radicals. It needed all militant groups as its strategic assets to run its proxy war against India. This is precisely what Pakistan is doing now. It feels encouraged by the US dependence on Pakistan’s potential to mediate with the Taliban for a negotiated settlement at Kabul. There is convergence between Saudi Arabia, UAE, and the US against Islamic radicals who considered the US their prime enemy and who were also inimical to the Saudis for the latter’s identification with the Americans. The ‘war on terror’ has thus created a division in the Muslim world because large sections of it are not ready to side with the US or condemn Islamic radicals. In India, the influential Darul Uloom Deoband known for its hold on Sunnis, claims nationalist credentials but is firmly against the West. It is in this context that India raising its voice at OIC against all groups indulging in terrorism in the name of Islam is a diplomatic success even though it is doubtful if it would give us any leverage against Pakistan on that platform. India cannot be happy with the hostile pronouncements of OIC on Kashmir – a resolution surfaced ‘condemning the atrocities and human rights violations by India’ in the state, denouncing ‘mass blindings’ inflicted by security forces on protesting youth and, what is worse, charging Indian occupation forces with ‘escalating’ ceasefire violations on the LOC. It called upon member states to contribute funds for humanitarian assistance to Kashmiri people. OIC voiced Pakistan’s line that Kashmir was the ‘core issue’ between India and Pakistan and that its resolution was a must for establishing peace in South Asia. It welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of talks with India. India has, in a prompt rejoinder, declared that J&K is an integral part of India and is a matter ‘strictly internal’ to India. It seems Pakistan continues to have its way against India as far as the forum of OIC is concerned. We must seek a response from Saudi Arabia, as OIC Chairman, reiterating that Pakistan must take action against terror outfits operating on its soil as was being demanded by the US as well. India has brought in clarity on Iran by not linking our approach to that country with our relations with other Muslim countries. India has to stay away from the extreme hostility that always existed between the Sunni fundamentalist states like Saudi Arabia and UAE and the Shia regime of Ayatollahs in Iran – reflecting the historical legacy of the Kharijite revolt against Caliph Ali. India has rightly dealt with every nation bilaterally regardless of the Shia-Sunni divide that prevails in the Muslim world. Incidentally, both Islamic radicals and Shia fundamentalists regard the US as their enemy for their own political and ideological reasons respectively. India’s foreign policy will have to reckon with this. Our stand is basically against injection of violence into national and international politics in the name of religion. India’s deep military strike against the JeM training camp at Balakot in Pakistan is hastening the process of the world beginning to realise the danger of faith-based terror arising from within the Islamic world. It is, therefore, a matter of great satisfaction for India that we have carried a message against this kind of violence right to the apex of the 56-member Islamic block itself. This vindicates India’s role as a frontline leader of the democratic world engaged in fighting terrorists across the Islamic spectrum as a matter of principled strategy.(The writer is a former Director of Intelligence Bureau. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Over a thousand Athletes to Participate in the 29th Marathon des…

October 12, 2019 0 Comments

first_imgRabat-Over a thousand Athletes to Participate in the 29th Marathon des Sables.The marathon organizing committee reported that over 1,079 athletes representing approximately 45 countries will take part in the 29th annual “marathon des sables,” which will take place from April 4th to 14th in southern Morocco.Gathering the biggest athletes in the world, the 29th “le Marathon des Sables”, or Marathon of the Sands will attract more than one thousand competitors to the Moroccan Sahara.  According to Moroccan daily newspaper Assabah, the participants in the marathon will represent various age brackets, from 16 to 76, and diverse professions, including doctors, professional athletes, business managers, students, and retirees.Marathon manager Patrick Bauer said that the 29th marathon will feature “the participation of 165 women”.Enjoying the diversity of the Moroccan landscape, the athletes will run in 250 km in six stages through the most beautiful Moroccan topography, including mountains, oases and desert.This event aims to highlight the beauty and natural wealth of southern Morocco for thousands of runners and millions of T.V. viewers worldwide.Edited by Jessica Rohan © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

Buddying Up with Israel? Saudi Expert Criticized for Attacking Qatar on…

October 12, 2019 0 Comments

Rabat – A Saudi political analyst has caused outrage on social media following his appearance on an Israeli TV channel, attacking Qatar and calling for a “new Middle East.”“There will be no room for any political movement using religion for political ends or manipulating religion to spread terrorism in the name of resistance or jihad,” said Abdel-Hamid Hakim, the head of the Institute for Middle East Studies in Jeddah, in an appearance on Israeli Channel 2.The incident was highly criticized by anti-Israel Arab social media users and news outlets, who saw it as an indication of rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies and Israel.Hakim, head of the Institute for Middle East Studies in Jeddah, appeared on Israeli Channel 2 where he was interviewed by Ehud Yaari, the station’s Arab affairs correspondent. During the interview, Hakim lashed out at moderate Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. He then claimed that Doha has links with terrorism, repeating similar accusations made by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Libya.The six countries severed ties with Qatar on Monday, with Doha calling the allegations “baseless” and “unfounded.”Hakim’s appearance and comments on the Israeli channel, the first time a Saudi Arabian has been interviewed on Israeli television, caused outrage on social media among.“A Saudi appears on an Israeli TV to incite against an Arab country and accuse it of financing terrorism. What a shame,” reads one comment on Facebook.The London-based news website Raialyoum related the incident, with several comments made by Israeli politicians and media outlets praising the six Arab countries’ breaking off of relations with Qatar.Former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren said the decision to cut ties served as a “new line drawn in the Middle Eastern sand.”In an article entitled “Five Reasons Why Israel Should Care about the Qatar Crisis”, Jerusalem Post said the decision to cut ties with Doha “brings Israel closer to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf.”“The new crisis encourages those states that oppose Qatar to see Israel as a partner against Hamas and Iran,” said the Israeli news website. read more

Morocco’s Boxing Star Mohammed Rabii Wins 7th Profesional Fight

October 12, 2019 0 Comments

Rabat – Morocco’s champion Mohammed Rabii won his seventh professional fight in a row against Austria’s Gogi Knezevic on Saturday in Marseille, France.It did not take the Moroccan champion too much time to stun his Austrian rival. The boxing star won the fight in the first round by knockout.This is the fifth that the 25-year old champion has defeated his opponents by knockout. Moroccan commentators compare Rabii to Mohammed Ali, and international boxing commentators have dubbed him the “rising star.”“I am a shy person. But inside the ring, I am a totally different person,” Rabii said after an impressive KO victory last year. In 2015, Rabii won the world championship in Doha, becoming the first African and Arab boxer to win the title. He also won the bronze medal in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. read more

UN asks for 71 million in relief appeal after ethnic violence in

October 11, 2019 0 Comments

“I have been shocked by the extent of the violence and appalled by the deaths and injuries, widespread arson, sexual violence, looting of state, commercial and private property and destruction of infrastructure,” said John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator. “I therefore urge all donors and supporters to ensure that this flash appeal for Kyrgyzstan receives a generous and rapid response,” Mr. Holmes added. The appeal would provide life-saving assistance over the next six months to some 300,000 people who have been internally displaced by the conflict in southern Kyrgyzstan, and another 765,000 people who have been affected.As of 16 June, the Kyrgyz health ministry recorded 187 deaths in the conflict, with 1,966 people injured, but some senior officials within the interim Government believe the number of casualties is much higher.The head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), Miroslav Jenča, told journalists today that consultations about an international presence were under way with the Kyrgyz Government, countries in the region and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union (EU).“There are stories about Uzbek people who are scared to death and do not want to allow access to any local authorities or the military because they are afraid that they will be harmed,” Mr. Jenca later told the UN News Centre.Also today, the UN Human Rights Council called on the Kyrgyz Government to conduct a full and transparent probe into the violence.In a resolution adopted by consensus, the Council “calls for a full and transparent investigation that holds perpetrators accountable for the loss of life in relation to the events of 7 April 2010.”Mr. Jenča also called for a proper investigation, one led by the Kyrgyz Government and “as part of a reconciliation and confidence-building process,” but stressed that the UN’s priority at this time is to ensure proper humanitarian access to those most in need.Due to security concerns, access to the conflict area remains difficult. Mr. Jenča and his team travelled yesterday with local authorities through the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, where restrictions on movement have forced the UN to rely on the Red Cross and other local non-governmental organizations (NGOs).Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spoken by phone with Kyrgyzstan’s interim President Roza Otunbaeva and Uzbek President Islam Karimov and told journalists today he would remain actively engaged on the issue to help efforts to restore calm to the region.Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today that a lack of access was hampering the UN agency’s ability to provide aid. “We are concerned that we will be unable to easily and quickly distribute the supplies to the most affected,” said Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF’s Head of Office, referring to 40 tons of life-saving water and sanitary supplies that are scheduled to arrive in Bishkek tomorrow.Movement is also restricted in the southern city of Osh, where inter-agency assessment teams believe some people remain barricaded.In total, at least 375,000 of the 5.2 million residents have fled the conflict in the region of Osh and Jalalabad. Of these, 100,000 or more have sought refuge in neighbouring Uzbekistan, where the UN and its partners have been stepping up their aid operations. The sixth relief flight into the country is expected to land at Andijan airport today. It will complete an initial airlift of relief supplies under way since Wednesday.A separate humanitarian appeal for the response in Uzbekistan is expected next week. In a related development, the first of two chartered cargo planes carrying aid is due to land tomorrow in Osh. Carrying 800 tents and other supplies, the plane will be part of an air-lift of aid for 15,000 people. Along the border, water and sanitation remain challenges in the refugee settlements. For now, the settlements remain small and can be managed against communicable diseases, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said today in a briefing in Geneva.WHO said its two major concerns are to address the health needs of women that had been subject to gender-based violence, and to deal with the special health needs of the elderly, women and children displaced in Uzbekistan.UNICEF said 35 tons of emergency aid consisting of sanitation equipment would arrive in Bishkek tomorrow.The World Food Programme (WFP) said it has been able to move food from its warehouses to Osh and would increase its staffing there in coming days. So far, food has been distributed to 13,000 people.In addition, there are also concerns about the safety of national UN staff working in Kyrgyzstan who identify with one of either ethnic group. 18 June 2010The United Nations today called for $71 million to assist hundreds of thousands of people affected by ethnic conflict in Kyrgyzstan, as the top UN official in Central Asia said an international security presence may be needed to calm tensions and prevent a fresh eruption of the deadly violence that rocked the country a week ago. read more

Supreme Court to hear case on Ranjan from December 10

October 8, 2019 0 Comments

The Attorney General (AG) had presented evidence related to the allegations following which the court fixed the dates for the case. (Colombo Gazette) The Supreme Court today decided to hear the contempt of court case against Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake from December 10.The date was announced when a three-member judge bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda and Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya considered the case today.

Discount retailer Miniso Canada granted creditor protection by BC court

October 7, 2019 0 Comments

VANCOUVER — The Canadian operations of Chinese discount retailer Miniso have secured creditor protection through an order of the Supreme Court of British Columbia.The application for bankruptcy protection of the Canadian franchise operations was initiated by several parent-company entities collectively referred to as Miniso Group.Miniso Canada operates 67 stores in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and the Northwest Territories, which it says will continue to serve customers as usual.The court order allows Miniso Canada to obtain up to $2 million in financing from the Miniso Group, as the two entities work to complete the restructuring of the Canadian operations.The company entered the Canadian market in 2017 with a stated goal of opening 500 locations within three years, but has not announced a new store opening on its website since last November.  The parent company filed an application last December seeking to begin bankruptcy proceedings for the brand’s Canadian business, accusing the Canadian franchisee of failing to meet liabilities among other issues, before the two sides reached an interim settlement in January.The Canadian Press read more

Youth mental health services in Saskatoon to get a funding boost

October 7, 2019 0 Comments

Mental health supports for children in Saskatoon are getting a boost thanks to a partnership between the provincial government, Saskatchewan Health Authority, EGADZ and Medavie Health Services.The province has committed $116,000 to EGADZ to help the organization convert one of its youth group homes to offer a safe space and outreach services so youth in care can remain in the community while receiving help. The program aims to reduce self-harm, suicide attempts and hospital visits.“As with many programs delivered by EGADZ, I am confident this will become an important initiative that helps strengthen families and communities,” Social Services Minister Paul Merriman said in a statement.“The supports and housing for youth receiving mental health services that will be made available through EGADZ with this funding will go a long way in helping to address these rising issues.”The Saskatchewan Health Authority is also bolstering funding to EGADZ by $100,000 to fund additional mental health support staff. Medavie Health Services also presented the organization with an additional $25,000 to help support mental health programs for the city’s youth.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.“These funding partnerships create better outcomes for our youth in times of severe crisis by allowing us to meet their needs where they are,” EGADZ Executive Director Don Meikle said.“In addition to providing those in greatest need with outreach services, the availability of one of our homes — called a retreat to help remove the stigma around mental health — helps prevent the additional trauma of leaving their current placement or community. We will also have a van that will allow us to be mobile with a therapy dog to comfort youth in times of crisis.” read more

Fear of finding somewhere to spend a penny is keeping nation indoors

September 25, 2019 0 Comments

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. A lack of public toilets in the UK is keeping elderly people at home, the Royal Society of Public Health has warned. Its researchers said the fitness levels of the population were being compromised by a fear of getting caught short without access to a lavatory.A survey of more than 2,000 adults found one in five said a lack of facilities deters them from leaving home as often as they would like. Three in four adults said there was a shortage of local lavatories.Chief executive Shirley Cramer said: “Our report highlights that the dwindling public toilet numbers in recent years is a threat to health, mobility, and equality that we cannot afford to ignore.”As is so often the case in this country, it is a health burden that falls disproportionately on already disadvantaged groups.”Standing in the way of this necessary and serious policy discussion is a stubbornly persistent ‘toilet taboo’, a decade of cuts to local authorities, and an increasingly ingrained notion that public toilets are merely a ‘nice-to-have’.”The RSPH report recommends that the provision of public toilets should be made compulsory in planning law, with equal access for women and transgender people.It also calls for the Government to reverse funding cuts to councils and encourage schemes to boost funding for public toilets, for example by taking one penny from the price of every train and bus tickets to finance them.”Public toilets are no luxury: it’s high time we begin to see them as basic and essential parts of the community – just like pavements and street lights – that enable people to benefit from and engage with their surroundings,” Ms Cramer said.”It is deeply concerning that, amidst a national obesity crisis, at a time when public health policy is to encourage outdoor exercise, our declining public toilet provision is in fact encouraging more people to stay indoors.” read more

Sheriff StMandela Ave upgrade now a US61M project as price doubles

September 25, 2019 0 Comments

With an Engineer’s Estimate now standing at two times the original price — coming in at sixty-one million, four hundred and fifty thousand, seven hundred and ninety-four United States dollars (US$61,450,794), local companies have all been locked out of the lion’s share of the Sheriff Street/Mandela Avenue road upgrade project.According to the notices issued by the Public Infrastructure Ministry (MPI), the project entails rehabilitative works, but observers are questioning how exactly Government proposes to finance the project, since US$30 million of the US$66 million Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loan would have been diverted towards a housing project.At the opening of bids on Tuesday at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), it was discovered that the project has been divided into six lots. Lot Six attracted a bid security of US$200,000 for the slot of the project estimated to cost US$30.7million.Part of Sheriff StreetThere were only three bidders for this component of the project—all foreign-owned firms—when bids were opened on Tuesday at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB). Those bidders were Surrey Paving and Aggregate Construction Limited of Jamaica, with a bid of US$33.8 million; Namalco Construction Limited of Trinidad and Tobago, with a bid of US$43.6 million; and the Chinese-owned Sino Hydro Corporation, with a bid of US$31.1 million.Four local companies submitted bids for the project, but none submitted bids for the most lucrative portion — Lot Six. R. Basso and Sons Construction Company submitted a bid for Lot Four of the project at US$5.1million; while S. Jagmohan Hardware Supplies and Construction Services submitted a bid for Lot Three at US$6.6 million.BK International submitted bids for each of the five smaller components of the road upgrade project.The other companies bidding for various lots of the project included Hookman Ally Limited of Trinidad of Tobago, in association with Samaroo Investments Limited, H. Nauth and Sons Civil Engineering, Amalgamated Engineering Services Limited of Trinidad and Tobago, and Kee Chanona Limited, also of Trinidad and Tobago.The six lots into which this road network upgrade and expansion programme has been divided are as follows: Lot 1: From Rupert Craig Highway to Lamaha Canal (NB: KINDLY VERIFY THIS LOT). The Engineer’s Estimate for this lot is seven million and sixty-three thousand, three hundred and forty-four United States dollars (US$7,063,344).Lot 2: From Lamaha Street to David Street. The Engineer’s Estimate for this lot is seven million, four hundred and fifty-nine thousand, five hundred and sixty-four United States dollars (US$7,459, 564).Lot 3: From Lamaha Street to the DSL Intersection. The Engineer’s Estimate for this lot is seven million, four hundred and eighty-nine thousand, three hundred and forty-three United States dollars (US$7,489,343).Lot 4 deals with structures, and the Engineer’s Estimate for this lot is seven million, nine hundred and sixty-three thousand, nine hundred and forty-four United States dollars (US$7,963,944).Lot 5 deals with traffic signals and street lighting, and the Engineer’s Estimate stands at one million and thirty-nine thousand, nine hundred and sixty-eight United States dollars (US$1,039,968).Lot 6 deals with road works, drainage structures, street lighting and traffic lights from Rupert Craig Highway to where the project ends on Mandela Avenue. The Engineer’s Estimate for this lot stands at thirty million, seven hundred and thirty-four thousand, five hundred and forty-two United States dollars. (US$30,734,542).The project, a Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI) undertaking, had initially raised eyebrows over allegations that the bidding pool has been restricted.The MPI, in its notice inviting bidders, had requested bidders to lodge up to Gy$41 million (US$200,000) in bid security before their proposals could even be considered for evaluation.The rate set for Lot Six is US$200,000 (G$41.6 million). Lots One through Three are set at a rate of US$50,000 (G$10.4 million). Lot Four has been set at a rate of US$30,000 (G$6.2 million) while Lot Five has been earmarked at US$20,000 (G$4.1 million).The IDB had initially approved some US$66 million for the road upgrade project, but the coalition Administration opted to divert US$30 million of that amount towards the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) for works to be undertaken in Sophia.Piloted by the previous Administration, the Sheriff Street/Mandela Avenue Road Upgrade project has been on the cards for a number of years, but its scope has been revised under the current Administration.Critics have also raised eyebrows at the level of the bid security being asked, and pointed to recent lamentations by Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, who had alleged tampering with the procurement process in order to award contracts to favoured supporters.The original Engineer’s Estimate for the entire project had been set at thirty-six million, three hundred and seventy-seven thousand, five hundred and sixty-four United States dollars (US$36,377,564), but the procurement process was annulled on previous occasions. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGovt scrapping Sheriff Street road expansion in favour of housing programmeOctober 10, 2017In “latest news”Sheriff – Mandela expansion among major road projects to commence in 2015January 17, 2015In “Business”Four-lane section of ECD road project slated for completion by AugustMay 16, 2018In “Business” read more

Escape from Greece

September 21, 2019 0 Comments

first_imgA quarter (24 per cent) of Greeks want to relocate to another country permanently and of these, 63 per cent want to migrate to another European country, according to the results of the European Commission’s quarterly report on the employment and social situation in the European Union. The report showed that 4.1 per cent of Greeks want to relocate in the next 12 months, compared to an EU average of 1.2 per cent. It also stated that Greece has the highest long term unemployment in the European Union, 16.8 per cent in 2012, and the highest youth unemployment, 60 per cent in February 2013. From 2010 to 2013 there has been a 25 per cent increase of Greeks migrating to Germany, bringing the total number of those who went to live and work there to 123,700. Between 2008 and 2012 the number of people migrating to Germany from Spain has been tripled, while the number of Italians migrating to Germany has been doubled. It is worth noting that according to this report there has been a 45 per cent increase in the number of EU citizens migrating to Canada on a temporary working visa. The greatest increase comes from Spain 301 per cent, followed by Ireland 158 per cent, Greece 155 per cent, Italy 96 per cent and Portugal 69 per cent. All of these countries are facing a debt crisis. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Saturation patrol in east Vancouver results in 10 arrests

September 19, 2019 0 Comments

first_imgOn Wednesday night, a cohort of police officers and volunteers patrolled the streets and business parking lots of east Vancouver looking for criminal activity.Ten people were arrested in what the Vancouver Police Department calls a saturation emphasis, during which the participants work together to spot crimes — vehicle prowlers, things that seem odd or out of place, or kids running out of a store with a case of beer, as one volunteer previously told The Columbian.The police department said in a Facebook post that 18 officers from its east and west precinct Neighborhood Response Teams, the Safe Streets Task Force and the traffic unit worked alongside 28 Neighbors On Watch volunteers to carry out the heightened patrols. NOW volunteers are nonconfrontational and do not take enforcement action.Here are some of the notable arrests, according to police:• Two traffic stops resulted in three people being taken into custody on multiple misdemeanor warrants.• Officers prevented a shoplifter from taking off with some goods; the would-be thief had five misdemeanor warrants.• The occupants of a suspicious RV (location not included in the post) were contacted, and two people were arrested for felony probation violations.• A hand-to-hand drug sale was witnessed, and one person went to jail for the transaction. Police did not say if they cuffed the buyer or seller.• A domestic disturbance was witnessed; one person was arrested.• A car thief with 4 grams of heroin was taken into custody.The police department said this is the second time it has carried out this kind of emphasis, and there are plans to do it again. Police and volunteers also do similar patrols around the holidays.last_img read more

E Jay Saunders no longer with Digicel TCI

September 17, 2019 0 Comments

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppA report moments ago does not reveal why the now former CEO is gone; but PTV8 and Magnetic Media have been reliably informed that a new General Manager will be brought in to take over operations at the popular telecoms company. This is a working story… details to come. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:last_img