No positive dope test spells good news

first_imgWith almost two-thirds of the events over in the Commonwealth Games and India adding to the medals tally, one thing which has not been spoken about is dope.Less than a month before the Games began, Indian athletes were in the news for the wrong reasons as almost a dozen of them from various disciplines has tested positive for MHA (Methylhexanamine).Few knew what this stuff was all about since it was added on the list of banned substances by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) only in January this year.At home, when wrestlers like Rajiv Tomar, swimmer Richa Mishra and even shot putter Saurabh Vij tested positive for MHA, the feeling was disgusting. The world of sports is made ugly by any form of doping and for the host nation to be caught before the Games was distressing.On Sunday, Commonwealth Games Federation boss Mike Fennell answered questions on dope tests being conducted during the Games.He said approximately 850 random tests have been conducted at the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), a WADA-accredited lab in the Capital, and 600 results have come out. The surprising part is, not one test has been reported positive.At a time when people are still critical of the Games, and rightly so, because of the ticketing, transportation and food problems for volunteers, people are not aware how the people in the lab are also working overtime.India has a dubious history of sorts in the Commonwealth Games and as far back as 1990 in Auckland, a weightlifter called Subrata Kumar Paul had flunked a dope test.advertisementIndia athletes also shamed the nation during the 2004 Athens Olympics when women weightlifters were caught in tests just before the Games. I was scared that in a sport like weightlifting, the Indians would be under the scanner because of their dubious past.To have been penalised $500,000 by the International Weightlifting Federation was shocking. The Indian body had to virtually beg, borrow and steal before paying a sizeable portion so that India could compete in the Games.Obviously, nobody in India wanted to take a chance with dope and athletes were subjected to stringent testing.However, there was a school of thought which said that a WADA-accredited lab being used for checking athletes was wrong. As the hosts celebrate the rich medal haul, what needs to be highlighted is how the Indians have been fair while competing. At least till now.last_img read more

NFL is losing its reputation for boring trade deadlines

first_imgLast year, the Cowboys turned their season around after giving Oakland a first-round pick for wideout Amari Cooper. He provided an instant boost for Dak Prescott and the passing attack and Dallas went 7-2 following the trade to win the NFC East.In 2017, the Eagles traded a fourth-round pick to Miami for running back Jay Ajayi. He played a big role in helping Philadelphia win its first Super Bowl title.Garoppolo was traded from the Patriots to the 49ers for a second-round pick also in 2017. He went 5-0 down the stretch and is 14-2 as a starter in San Francisco.Other major trades before the deadline during this decade: running back Trent Richardson to the Colts from Cleveland in 2013; cornerback Aqib Talib to the Patriots from Tampa in 2012; quarterback Carson Palmer to the Raiders from Cincinnati in 2011; running back Marshawn Lynch to the Seahawks from Buffalo in 2010.Dickerson went from the Rams to the Colts in a three-team trade in 1987. The Cowboys won three Super Bowls thanks to picks acquired from Minnesota for Walker in 1989.Some trades help both teams. Some don’t pan out for either. Teams aren’t hesitant about making deals anymore in the NFL.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Not long ago, it was rare to see a lot of trade activity during the season. There were occasional blockbuster moves — Herschel Walker, Eric Dickerson — but you had to look to MLB, the NBA and NHL for a flurry of deals.Times have changed, and NFL teams are now more aggressive. General managers are wheeling and dealing, making things interesting for contenders trying to add the missing piece and bottom-dwellers looking to stockpile draft picks.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40SPORTSSan Miguel suspends Santos, Nabong, Tubid indefinitely after ‘tussle’ in practiceRamsey, a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, forced his way out of Jacksonville. He was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams (5-3) last week for two first-round picks and a fourth. On the same day, the Rams sent cornerback Marcus Peters to Baltimore (5-2). Ramsey forced a fumble and held Julio Jones to four catches in his Rams debut. Peters returned an interception — Russell Wilson’s first of the season — for a touchdown in his Ravens debut.The New England Patriots (7-0) sent shockwaves through the league by trading a second-round pick for Sanu just hours after routing the Jets 33-0 on Monday night. It was a steep price for a 30-year-old wideout who has never had a 1,000-yard receiving season, but the Patriots wanted another quality target for Tom Brady to pair with Julian Edelman. Canadian vaping study details danger from ‘popcorn lung’ chemical The deal drove up the market value for receivers. That was quickly evident when the San Francisco 49ers, the league’s only other undefeated team, also paid a big price to get the 32-year-old Sanders. The 49ers (6-0) sent a third-round pick and a fourth-rounder to Denver for Sanders and a fifth, giving Brady’s former backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, another weapon.Dallas (4-3) upgraded its pass rush by acquiring Bennett from the Patriots for a conditional seventh-round pick. The three-time Pro Bowl defensive end quickly wore out his welcome in New England as he did in Philadelphia after making nine sacks in one season with the Eagles.Seattle (5-2) bolstered its secondary by getting Diggs along with a seventh-round pick from Detroit for a fifth-round pick. That move upset several players on the Lions (2-3-1) because they’re not ready to give up on the season.Last month, the Steelers acquired safety Minkah Fitzpatrick along with two draft picks from Miami for three picks, including a first in 2020.Even if there are no more significant deals, we’ve seen plenty of action this season and in recent years to change the old narrative that the NFL trade deadline is a snoozer.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politics Someone from the Philippines could win a $208 million jackpot this week! Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) misses the catch against Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)The NFL is losing its reputation for boring trade deadlines.Jalen Ramsey, Marcus Peters, Emmanuel Sanders, Mohamed Sanu, Michael Bennett and Quandre Diggs have already changed teams in the past two weeks and several more established players could be on the move before Tuesday’s deadline.ADVERTISEMENT DTI creates Marahuyo, a luxe Filipino fashion brand for global buyers View commentscenter_img MOST READ Becoming his own man Matteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014? Ashleigh Barty set for 1st WTA Finals appearance in China Lacson: PH lost about P161.5B tax revenue from big trading partners in 2017 PLAY LIST 03:46Lacson: PH lost about P161.5B tax revenue from big trading partners in 201700:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issue Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ethel Booba on SEA Games cauldron: ‘Sulit kung corrupt ang panggatong’ This jewelry designer is also an architectlast_img read more

Spain Coach Luis Enrique Stepping Down For Personal Reasons

first_imgMADRID — The Spanish national team will be in the hands of inexperienced coach Robert Moreno after Luis Enrique said Wednesday he was stepping down because of an undisclosed family issue that had kept him away from the team for months.Luis Enrique said in a statement published by the federation that “due to reasons that have impeded me from carrying out the normal tasks as the national team coach since March, today I have decided to step down.”Moreno has been in charge of running of the team since Luis Enrique had to step away for what the federation said were “family reasons.”Since then, Luis Enrique had continued working remotely from his home in Barcelona, receiving video feeds of practices and talking to Moreno and his other assistants.Federation president Luis Rubiales said Luis Enrique was experiencing a “very difficult moment” and asked for the media to respect the coach’s privacy.Spain’s assistant coach Robert Moreno who is substituting Luis Enrique, waits for the start of the Euro 2020 Group F qualifying soccer match between Spain and Sweden at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Monday June 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)The federation said that Moreno will be its coach through the 2020 European Championship.Moreno has never been a first-team coach. He has formed part of Luis Enrique’s staff for nine years, working with him at Barcelona for three seasons before coming with him to Spain last year.“I think I have experience,” Moreno said. “I have been with Luis (Enrique) nine years. I have been a sponge and absorbed all I can. … Luis showed me how to handle a changing room, how to handle the press. I completely believe we will do a good job.”Luis Enrique, a former Barcelona coach and player, was named Spain coach following last year’s World Cup. He coached the team through the Nations League and its first European Championship qualifier, a 2-1 win over Norway.Spain has won all three of its European qualifiers with Moreno on the sideline for matches against Malta, the Faeroe Islands and Sweden.The 41-year-old Moreno, who holds a university degree in commerce and international relations, was practically unknown in Spain until he had to fill in for Luis Enrique.The Barcelona native worked for Luis Enrique at Celta Vigo, Roma and Barcelona, where they guided a team led by Lionel Messi to a Champions League title among other trophies.“I have mixed feelings. I am sad, and at the same time, not happy, but with a sense of responsibility,” Moreno said. “I always thought since I was 14 years old that one day I would become a coach at the top level, but I never imagined it would be this way. These are special circumstances, but the most important thing is that we have the backing of Luis (Enrique).”It has been a topsy-turvy year for Spain’s coaches.Last year, Rubiales fired coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup after he announced he had agreed to become Real Madrid’s coach after the tournament. The team then flopped under caretaker coach Fernando Hierro.Spain now has until September’s qualifier at Romania to adjust to its latest coaching change.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Odfjell Tanker Spills Oil in Rotterdam

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: Kustwacht Nederland Some 217 tons of heavy fuel oil (HFO) were spilled at the Port of Rotterdam from the chemical tanker Bow Jubail after the ship collided with a jetty.Bow Jubail made contact with the jetty and accidentally ruptured the hull, the vessel’s operator, Odfjell, said. The incident occurred on June 23 at about 13:40 local time while the tanker was on its way to the assigned berth for loading.The company added that mitigating actions were immediately taken to limit the spill, both by the vessel’s crew and by resources from shore.“The leakage was stopped, and there is no risk of further spills,” Odfjell informed.The 37,499 dwt vessel was not loaded with cargo at the time of the incident, and there were no reports of injuries to the personnel.Bow Jubail, which is currently moored at the Botlek terminal, has a total personnel of 29, of which 27 Filipinos and two Scandinavians.“Odfjell regrets the unfortunate incident and takes this matter very seriously. Together with GARD, Odfjell cooperates closely with Dutch Authorities to ensure that necessary resources are available in taking the required actions and mitigate consequences of the oil spill.”last_img read more

Supply Management Protects Rural Jobs Economy

first_imgNova Scotia is calling on the federal government to protect Canada’s supply-management system during international trade negotiations. Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell wrote to his federal colleague Gerry Ritz on Wednesday, May 20, to underline the need to preserve the benefits of supply management for agricultural industries. “Supply management is critical to jobs and the economy in rural communities and seeing it protected is a key priority for the provincial government,” said Mr. Colwell. “We are reminding the federal government it needs to safeguard Canada’s system as it pursues trade negotiations like the Trans Pacific Partnership.” Supply-managed products such as eggs, dairy foods and poultry have an annual farm gate value of $267 million in Nova Scotia and support more than 800 jobs. The system already permits market access for products from outside of Nova Scotia. “We will continue to raise these issues with our federal counterparts to ensure they are working to preserve the success of Canada’s commodity industries,” said Mr. Colwell. A copy of the minister’s letter is available at www.novascotia.ca/agri/ .last_img read more

A stronger Alberta Ottawa announces 16B for Canadas oil and gas sector

first_imgOttawa is spending $1.6 billion to help struggling energy companies stay afloat, buy new equipment and diversify as Alberta grapples with bargain basement oil prices.Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi says $1 billion is to be set aside through Export Development Canada for oil and gas companies to make capital investments and purchase new technology.Another $500 million is to be made available through the Business Development Bank of Canada over the next two years to help smaller oil and gas companies navigate the downturn.Sohi says a further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects.The package does not include money for more rail cars that Alberta is planning to purchase to help move a glut of oil behind the low price of Canadian oil.Sohi says the money, largely in the form of commercial loans, is available immediately.“We understand that when Alberta hurts, so does Canada,” Sohi said Tuesday. “Together we can build a stronger Alberta (and) a more prosperous Canada.”The price of Alberta oil plummeted so low last month that Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Canada was practically giving it away. While the world sells its oil at about $50 a barrel, Alberta’s oil at one point fetched only $11 a barrel.Notley plans to buy as many as 80 locomotives and 7,000 rail tankers — expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars — and has announced an oil production cut to begin next year. That has helped push the price back up.She has said Canada’s economy is still losing as much as $80 million a day because of the discount.“We understand that for the long-term success and growth of the oil sector, nothing is more important than building the pipeline capacity to expand our non-U.S. global markets,” Sohi said.The Trans Mountain expansion project, which would triple the flow of oil to the British Columbia coast, is in limbo despite being approved two years ago. Ottawa is revisiting the potential impacts on First Nations and B.C.’s marine environment.Dean Bennett, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Heritage Jewish News Organization Forward Celebrates 120th Anniversary With Gala Hosted by

first_imgThe Forward will hold its Anniversary Gala on Monday, November 13, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, celebrating 120 years of groundbreaking news coverage.The celebration will feature award-winning actress and activist Fran Drescher as Emcee, alongside honorees Ben Smith, Andrea Mitchell and Forward Association President Sam Norich. The Forward has raised over $1 million dollars ahead of Monday’s event to fund its award-winning, independent journalism at a time it is most needed.“Our donors, and those celebrating with us, recognize that supporting the Forward’s journalistic efforts in 2017 is a critical piece of supporting American democracy,” says CEO and Publisher Rachel Fishman Feddersen. “We’re honored to have so many inspirational readers and supporters lending their voices to us, helping the Forward tell the American Jewish story for another 120 years.”Says NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent and host of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Andrea Mitchell, “At a challenging time for both journalists and American Jews, it’s truly an honor to be recognized by the Forward. The Forward’s history mirrors my own family’s Jewish New York roots, and I wish them many more years of success.” Ben Smith, Editor in Chief of Buzzfeed, adds, “I first learned to be a reporter at the Forward, and I’m honored to be celebrating one of America’s great journalistic institutions. The Yiddish Forward was the BuzzFeed of its day, and the Forward continues to break news right and left about our local government and communities.”The Gala will kick off with a cocktail hour, followed by musical acts Michael Winograd, virtuoso klezmer clarinetist and his band, and esteemed singer, songwriter and actor Daniel Kahn.“I’ve always been proud of my Jewish American upbringing in Queens, New York. Celebrating 120 years of the Forward, and their accomplishments, gives me so much naches!” said Fran Drescher.Founded in 1897 as a Yiddish-language daily, the Forward has evolved into a digital-first publication with daily online reporting on Jewish news, opinion and culture, alongside an in-depth monthly magazine in both English and Yiddish. The Forward’s perspective on world and national news, and its unparalleled reporting on the Jewish perspective in modern America, have made it the most influential nationwide Jewish media outlet today. Forward.com reaches more than 1.8 million average monthly users. The Forward has won numerous awards since its creation, including repeated recognition by the Society of Professional Journalists for its timely reporting and balanced commentary on politics, arts and culture.last_img read more

Arrested Development puts spotlight on workplace harassment expert

first_imgTheir dysfunctional on-screen family antics brought a cult TV sitcom back from cancellation, but an expert says the “Arrested Development” cast’s public reckoning with accusations of on-set verbal harassment could strike a chord with many Canadian workers dealing with bullying on the job.In a candid sit-down with the New York Times this week, several cast members from the Netflix series addressed the allegations of inappropriate behaviour against actor Jeffrey Tambor, including an outburst directed at his co-star Jessica Walter.Walter tearfully recounted being verbally “harassed” by Tambor in the interview, saying that in her career spanning six decades, “I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set.”Tambor has admitted to having lashed out at coworkers, including Walter, but has denied separate allegations of sexual harassment that resulted in him leaving the cast of the Amazon series “Transparent.”McMaster University professor Aaron Schat, who studies aggression in professional settings, said the cast’s discussion offers an instructive test case for understanding the interpersonal dynamics and power structures that facilitate workplace bullying.“I think what I found so interesting, and frankly, disappointing is how it really … plays out as a microcosm of what can take place at organizations in general.”A well-established actor, Tambor serves as an example of how a worker can excel in their domain despite an acknowledged history of workplace aggression, said Schat.In fact, he said, professional success is often used to excuse bad behaviour.“The system ends up supporting or covering for their actions, and that of course then perpetuates and ends up implicitly rewarding this kind of behaviour rather than clamping down and reducing it.”Schat said this pattern can be seen in the Times interview when Jason Bateman “minimizes” his co-star’s culpability by attributing his conduct to the stresses of working on set, and says he would drop out of “Arrested Development” if Tambor wasn’t involved.In a series of tweets Thursday, Bateman apologized for his comments, saying they were “wrong” and that it seemed like he was “condoning yelling at work.”Schat said Bateman’s initial “endorsement” of Tambor also sent an implicit message to Walter that “he’s more important to the show than you are,” putting pressure on her to forgive him for the sake of keeping the peace.Forty per cent of Canadians experience workplace bullying on a weekly basis, according to a 2006 study cited on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research website.Schat said there are a few options for workers who are being mistreated by their colleagues.Most organizations have internal mechanisms for resolving workplace conflict, said Schat. He said some targets decide to confront their bullies head on, while others find strength in numbers by confiding in their coworkers.Jacqueline Power, an associate professor at University of Windsor’s business school, said workers in Canada have another tool at their disposal: the law.Labour laws protect Canadians from harassment in the workplace, Power said, and some provinces have tried address workplace bullying through their own legislation.However, she said, taking a bully to court does not guarantee a favourable outcome. Even if the victim prevails, it’s likely they’ll be awarded only a small sum in damages after a costly and time-consuming legal process, Power said.Having exhausted all other options, Power and Schat said many workers resort to quitting their jobs to put an end to the harassment.“You realize, ‘Wow, I’m experiencing this terrible behaviour, and I really have no one I can go to,’” said Schat.But things are changing, Schat said. Amid a global shift in society’s tolerance for harassment, he said, conversations about bad behaviour in the workplace are increasingly playing out in the public eye.“A really positive outcome of all of this is the broader conveying of a message that has probably been quiet too long,” he said.“This type of behaviour is not acceptable for anyone, and there needs to be a greater level of accountability in our organizations and in our industries than there probably has been in the past.”last_img read more

Pierer Industrie in talks with Bajaj Auto for 48 pc stake in

first_imgNew Delhi: Bajaj Auto and Austria’s Pierer Industrie AG have started discussions to assess the possibility of transferring Bajaj’s 48 per cent stake in KTM AG to KTM Industries AG, with the Pierer-Group continuing to retain the controlling majority over KTM Industries AG. “Pierer Industrie AG and Bajaj will now evaluate the proposals in detail. The transaction decision is targeted to be made in the second quarter of 2019,” Bajaj Auto said in a regulatory filing Thursday. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal At present, Pierer Industrie AG holds approximately 62 per cent of the shares of KTM Industries AG. The listed company KTM Industries AG holds approximately 51.7 per cent of the shares of KTM AG. “If Pierer Industrie AG and Bajaj decide to execute the transaction, KTM Industries AG will examine the legal and economic requirements and conditions of a capital increase by contribution in kind from the existing authorised capital of the company. The authorised capital enables a capital increase of up to 50 per cent of the existing share capital,” the filing added. Bajaj Auto said if the transaction is executed, KTM Industries AG’s stake in KTM AG would increase from current 51.7 per cent to approximately 99.7 per cent.last_img read more

Flood warning for lower Grand

While the danger of flooding in Brantford has subsided, the Grand River Conservation Authority has issued a flood warning for the southern Grand River watershed.River levels and flows have peaked and are receding in the northern and central Grand River watershed, north of Brantford, Cam Linwood, the GRCA’s communications co-ordinator, said on Wednesday.The Nith River through Ayr was expected to peak late Wednesday afternoon or early evening while the lower Nith River peaked Wednesday evening.River flows reached their peak in the Grand River through Brantford around 8 p.m, Tuesday night, said Linwood.“The ice has moved downstream reducing the risk of any potential flooding in Brantford,” he said on Wednesday.The GRCA had been warning of potential flooding in low-lying areas throughout the watershed on Tuesday after mild temperatures and about 10 millimetres of rain across the watershed on Monday melted much of the snowpack, resulting in increased runoff into local waterways.On Six Nations, low-lying portions of Fourth Line Road, between Seneca Road and Bateman Line, were closed Wednesday due to significant flooding as a result of ice jams.Officials said some residents chose to leave their homes.“If you require assistance with being evacuated please call 911 and Six Nations firefighters will respond to assist you,” officials said in a news release.“Those who choosing to stay are being asked to shelter in place.Six Nations fire and emergency services personnel were to go door-to-door to check of residents sheltering in place or who were unable to leave their homes due to the flooding.In Brantford, flows in the Grand peaked Tuesday evening. City staff monitored river level readings in anticipation of an ice jam surge.The city’s operational services staff confirmed at about 9:45 p.m. on Tuesday that river level readings in the watershed through Brantford continued to decline, mitigating the risk of flooding in the area.Roads that were closed in the event of flooding re-opened for the Wednesday morning rush hour, with the exception of Gilkison Street, which is expected to remain closed for the next two days.Clean up on Gilkison due to ice damage is underway.“Our thanks to the public for their patience and understanding as city staff worked swiftly to ensure the community’s safety,” said Maria Visocchi, the city’s director of communications.River flows peaked in the Grand River through Caledonia around noon on Wednesday and were forecast to peak through the community of York Wednesday afternoon.Flooding caused by ice jams was reported through Six Nations Territory along 4th Line Road and along Newport Road in Brant County.Flows were forecast to peak through Cayuga on Wednesday evening and through Dunnville and Port Maitland early Thursday morning. Much of the river reach through Cayuga is open and free of ice, said Linwood on Wednesday afternoon.“Ice has moved downstream of the community of Cayuga but is still intact in the river between Dunnville and Cayuga.”Linwood said ice was still present in the southern river. Potential for ice jams and flooding is possible in low-lying areas that are typically prone to flooding. These areas include River Drive (south of Caledonia), Sims Lock Road, Grand Sports Road, the Town of Cayuga and community of Port Maitland. If the ice sheet upstream of Caledonia dam releases, ice jam flooding could result in these areas, said Linwood.The GRCA’s major reservoirs at Belwood, Conestogo, Guelph, Luther, Woolwich, Laurel, and Shade’s Mills are being used to manage runoff and reduce flooding downstream. Small increases in discharge were initiated at Belwood, Conestogo and Guelph reservoirs Wednesday morning.“River flows will remain high over the next few days,” said Linwood. “We will continue to keep an eye on things.”The public is reminded to exercise extreme caution around all water bodies. Banks adjacent to rivers and creeks are very slippery at this time and, when combined with current weather conditions, pose a serious hazard. Parents are encouraged to keep their children and pets away from all watercourses and off frozen water bodies, which will be weakened as a result of the warming trend.Updated flood messages will be issued as conditions develop and better forecast information becomes available.mruby@postmedia.com read more

Backing Annans plan Security Council sets up new UN mission in Afghanistan

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously today to establish a UN assistance mission for Afghanistan, endorsing the mandate and structure laid out earlier this month by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.Set up for an initial 12-month period that began today, the mission would fulfil all tasks – including those related to human rights, the rule of law, and gender issues – that were entrusted to the UN under last year’s Bonn Agreement, which paved the way for the country’s political transition.Known by its acronym UNAMA, it would also promote national reconciliation throughout the country, while managing all UN humanitarian activities there in coordination with the Afghan Interim Authority and successor administrations. The mission will be comprised of two “pillars” – one for political affairs, and the other for relief, recovery and reconstruction.In today’s resolution, the Council reaffirmed its support for Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, and endorsed his “full authority, in accordance with its relevant resolutions, over the planning and conduct of all United Nations activities in Afghanistan.” Stressing that the provision of focused recovery and reconstruction assistance can serve to promote the implementation of the Bonn Agreement, the Council urged bilateral and multilateral donors to coordinate their activities and provide aid through the Afghanistan Interim Administration and its successors and in close coordination with Mr. Brahimi. The Council called on all Afghan parties to cooperate with UNAMA in the implementation of its mandate and to ensure the security and freedom of movement of its staff throughout the country. read more

Perils of unexploded remnants of war stressed in UN mine report

“Recent events have shown yet again the horrendous humanitarian impact of cluster munitions on civilians,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan said upon the launch of the Portfolio of Mine Action Projects, a collection of proposals published jointly by the mine service, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).“In a number of countries, explosive remnants of war pose a greater danger to civilians than do landmines,” Mr. Annan added.The 2007 edition of the Portfolio includes 300 proposals covering all five “pillars” of mine action: clearance and marking of hazardous areas, mine risk education, victim assistance, destruction of stockpiled munitions and advocacy for international agreements related to landmines and explosive remnants of war.The combined budgets of all project proposals total $429 million, out of which only $111.7 million in funding has been secured as yet, resulting in a $317.5 million gap, according to the Mine Action Service, part of the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations.Among this year’s projects, more attention that ever before is paid to explosive remnants of war, also know as unexploded ordinance or UXOs, which are the subject of an addendum to the anti-mine convention that entered into force two days ago. Protocol V to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons includes provisions that will one day facilitate the rapid removal and destruction of explosive remnants of war, but is aimed at conflicts that have yet to occur, according to Secretary-General Annan. “There remains an urgent need to handle the aftermath of conflicts that took place before it went into force,” he said, claiming that “projects in the Portfolio will help meet that need.”With significant gains already made in reducing the global threat from landmines due to unprecedented political and donor support, he said similar backing is now needed to lower the threat posed by explosive remnants of war.“I call on the national authorities of affected countries, in partnership with donor countries, to show a strong commitment to this effort and to ensure adequate funding for the complete mine action agenda set out in the Portfolio,” he said. read more

Tax offices connect to cut costs

first_imgA total of 51 tax offices have joined the TAXIS system of Web-based services, aimed at cutting costs, saving time and, crucially, reducing queues and trouble for taxpayers.Monday saw the incorporation of the 12th Athens Tax Office (DOY) and that of Vyronas in the system, which now covers the offices accounting for over 70 percent of taxpayers’ revenues – i.e. 27.5 billion euros – in Athens, Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Crete, Evia, Corinth, Kalamata, Rhodes and Volos.Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras stated that «this project of utmost significance is crucial for state revenues. By October we expect to have included all tax offices in the new TAXIS system.”This includes a central database, meaning that taxpayers can be served by any tax office and not just their local one, and it cuts the costs of operating and maintaining each DOY’s system as it renders local servers obsolete.Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more