Threatened by Naxals: Fadnavis

first_imgMaharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Friday that he had received a letter from a Maoist group threatening to kill him. “I have received this letter and I have forwarded it to the police. An investigation is under way,” said Mr. Fadnavis. He, however, refused to divulge the details of the letter. According to sources, two letters on May 13 and 18 targeting Mr. Fadnavis, his family and police officers who were part of an anti-naxal operation in Gadchiroli were sent to Mantralaya. One of the letters is from the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the other from Dandkaranya special zonal committee, sources said. The letters were handed over to senior police officials. “The case has been handed over to the State intelligence department for investigation and the CM’s security has been beefed up,” said a senior Mumbai Police officer. Mr. Fadnavis told media persons that the police during investigations had found internal communication pertaining to an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Narendra Modi along the lines of the Rajiv Gandhi killing. “We have got a lot of evidence from their internal documents. Naxalism is no longer limited to the jungles. It is also present in urban areas,” said Mr. Fadnavis. The Chief Minister said that there were naxal operatives in cities who were misleading the people.last_img read more

Physicist who inspired Interstellar spills the backstory—and the scene that makes him cringe

first_imgInterstellar, which opens this week, looks set to be one of the most talked-about films of 2014, not just because of its compelling storyline and dazzling special effects, but also for the fact that it sticks pretty close to established science and any speculation remains in the realm of plausibility. The man who inspired the film and kept a close eye on its scientific fidelity is Kip Thorne, a renowned theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and one of the world’s leading experts in the astrophysical predictions of general relativity.In 2006, Thorne and Lynda Obst, a longtime friend and film producer, wrote an eight-page treatment for a film that sprang from the astrophysics of black holes, wormholes, and time dilation. Steven Spielberg was soon on board to direct. Jonathan Nolan, who wrote films such as The Prestige and The Dark Knight Rises with his director brother Christopher, was working on the screenplay. Six years later, however, Spielberg had to drop out but was replaced by Christopher Nolan, director of the three Dark Knight movies and Inception.The movie is set in a not-too-distant future, when various blights on crops have driven humanity to the brink of starvation and against science. A secret effort is under way to make a last-ditch attempt to find another planet that humans could colonize. Thorne has written about his experiences working with Hollywood and the scientific concepts addressed in the film in a book, The Science of Interstellar, to be published on 7 November. He spoke with ScienceInsider about the experience earlier this week. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Q: How much of your original treatment remains in the final film?A: We wrote an original treatment, but it has changed so much that it’s not recognizable as the same movie except for the scientific vision and the venue, what I like to call the warped side of the universe—black holes, wormholes, higher dimensions, and so forth.The story is essentially completely changed, except in the broadest brush sense that we had explorers leaving the Earth, traveling out to a wormhole in the outer parts of the solar system and through the wormhole, and visiting planets. Beyond that the story is truly the Nolans’ story. The thing that was preserved was the vision—the thing that was most important to Lynda and me—the vision of a movie in which real science, ranging from truth to speculation, is embedded deep into the movie’s fabric from the outset.Also preserved were the guidelines we laid down from the outset. First, that nothing would violate established physical laws. Second, that all the wild speculations, and there certainly are some here, would spring from science and not from the fertile mind of a screenwriter. When I discussed those guidelines with Christopher Nolan at our first meeting in 2013, he said he liked them, to the extent that [they didn’t] get in the way of making a great movie. I do like what he did with the science. I’m very pleased with how it came out.Q: Is there anywhere the moviemakers strayed outside your guidelines? A: Not seriously. The one place where I am the least comfortable is on [a] planet where they have these ice clouds. These structures go beyond what I think the material strength of ice would be able to support. But I’d say if that’s the most egregious violation of physical law, they’ve done very, very well. There’s some artistic license there. Every time I watch the movie, that’s the one place where I cringe. I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody that.Q: In your book, you say that Christopher Nolan introduced science elements of his own to the script. What did he bring?A: The one that has the biggest impact, and that I really like, is the tesseract [the 4D analog of a cube]. When he told me in our first meeting that he was thinking of using a tesseract, he didn’t go into any detail. But I was very pleased because when I was 13 years old I read a book, One Two Three … Infinity by George Gamow, in which George drew a picture of a tesseract. It looks like two cubes, one inside another, and I spent hours staring at that, trying to come to grips with it. I found it so fascinating that it was one of the more significant influences on me to become a theoretical physicist.So when he told me he wanted to use a tesseract, I thought that was great. I immediately saw and discussed with him how this was an ideal way to take his hero and carry him into the fifth dimension, and rapidly travel from one region of our universe to another, because distances in the [fifth dimension] will be much less than they are in our brane [our 4D slice of reality]. The tesseract that he created for the film is far more complex than any tesseract one has seen before. It’s fascinating; it’s beautifully designed.Q: Where did the idea of blight-plaguing Earth come from?A: This was due to [Jonathan Nolan]. When he introduced the idea, he and I and Lynda decided we really needed to find what was known about blight and other kinds of biological catastrophes, if they are to be responsible for diminishing the Earth to the degree you see in the film. We set up a “blight dinner” with biologists who were experts and we discussed this at length, trying to identify what things could go wrong with the biology of the Earth.Q: You worked with the visual effects team at the company Double Negative in London, providing them with equations, which they then worked into their code. What was it like seeing those equations turned into the visual representation of a black hole?A: It was wonderful to see the resolution they got. In practice I always did an implementation of the equation myself in Mathematica. I’m a real klutz computationally so Mathematica is just ideal for me. So I knew roughly what they were going to come up with, but it was just awe-inspiring to get back film clips from [Double Negative] and see this fabulous resolution and fabulous dynamics they were able to achieve.Q: You’ve said that you learned something new from their simulations?A: We learned [that] when you have a fast-spinning black hole, without any accretion disk, and let it just lens the distant sky—a star field—we saw a fantastically beautiful structure that is sort of like a fingerprint, but much more complex. We’ve long known that you’ll get multiple images of each star [around a black hole], due to [the combination of] light rays that come pretty much directly to the camera, [and] rays that go in and circle around the black hole once and come to the camera. But what we found was that on the side of the spinning black hole where space is moving towards us, [you see this beautiful structure].It was completely unexpected with huge amounts of internal structure in it, regions where the star field appears to be quiescent and other regions where the stars seem to be whirling around in little vortices. To me it’s a lovely kind of discovery in the sense that it is really very beautiful and it arises from a collaboration between a scientist and a group of computer artists. We are submitting a paper about this and about the particular method that Double Negative uses to the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.last_img read more

Is Greed Killing The IPO Market In India?

first_imgIn recent weeks, several large equity offerings, including those from reputable business houses, have struggled to hit their targets. India’s stock markets have been volatile, reacting to fears of a widening global credit crunch and fears of a U.S. recession.In January, the Indian primary equity market was chalking up new records. Now, suddenly, there are hardly any takers for new corporate paper. The first casualty of the Indian IPO bubble was, ironically enough, a hospital. On February 7, Wockhardt Hospital pulled out its Rs. 676 crore ($178 million) IPO. It had exhibited all the signs of a patient on his last legs. The price band of the book-built issue was lowered from Rs. 280-310 ($7-$8) to Rs. 225-260 ($6-$7). The last date for subscription was extended.But qualified institutional buyers, including foreign investors, mutual funds and hedge funds, applied for only 0.06% of their quota in the Wockhardt issue. The non-institutional portion (mainly for high net-worth individuals or HNIs) was subscribed 0.0048 times. Even the retail part saw demand for barely more than half the pie. It was an unmitigated disaster and the first time in recent memory that an IPO from a respected business house has flopped in India.Close on its heels, real estate company Emaar MGF, a joint venture between the Dubai-based Emaar group and MGF Development of New Delhi, also had to withdraw its IPO in the face of low demand. The Rs. 6,500 crore ($1.7 billion) issue started with a price band of Rs. 610-690 ($16-$18). It was brought down to Rs. 530-630 ($14-$16.50) in two tranches. The last date of subscription was extended by three days, but to no avail.“We are clearly a victim of the (secondary) market,” says Emaar MGF managing director Shravan Gupta. Along with other markets around the globe, the Indian stock markets, too, have had a torrid run the past few weeks. The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, Sensex, touched 21,207 on January 10, an all-time high. Barely a month later, on February 10, it fell to 16,608, a five-month low.Wockhardt and Emaar MGF were bad enough for investor sentiment; more issues are being withdrawn or postponed. But the massively-hyped Reliance Power IPO was the most high profile casualty. This was an issue from the Ambani stable; word on the street is that the Ambanis have always made money for their investors. At Rs. 11,500 crore ($3.025 billion), it was India’s largest-ever IPO.The Reliance Power IPO was subscribed one minute after it opened. It was eventually oversubscribed 73 times and raised $190 billion. Some $100 billion of this came from foreign funds. This constitutes one-and-a-half times the total foreign institutional investor (FII) money coming into the country since 1992. “When Reliance Power lists early February, it will be among the 10 top listed companies in India,” Anil Ambani, the younger son of Reliance founder the late Dhirubhai Ambani, told a press conference shortly after the IPO closed. “If we assume it lists at the issue price of Rs. 450 ($12), the market capitalization for the group will be around $100 billion.” It was not to be. Reliance Power ended its first day on the markets at Rs. 372 ($9.80). Millions lost money. The Sensex dropped 863 points in sympathy. The myth of Ambani invincibility was shaken. The Financial Times of London wrote: “It’s only when the tide goes out… that you discover who has been swimming naked. Few are caught in quite such an alarming state of undress as Reliance Power.”Clearly, it didn’t help the Reliance Power IPO that the Sensex lost more than a fifth of its market capitalization between January and February. Wharton management professor Saikat Chaudhuri sees nothing wholly unexpected in these developments. “The market periodically has to adjust,” he says. “If there is a bull run, the market usually pulls back to an extent, especially now because there is so much uncertainty surrounding the credit crunch.”The Hole in the Credit BarrelChaudhuri points to the continuing flow of “bad news on the credit crunch, particularly from banks,” and says that several private equity deals are also stuck. He doesn’t see any respite until some clarity emerges on the actual size of the credit crisis. “Until this is resolved – say (for example) people know that the top 10 banks will take a $50 billion hit – the market will continue to be jittery,” he says. “Short-term investors are very nervous. They are not sure if the problems associated with the credit crunch have been adequately addressed and if the market has all the information it needs.”Fears about a possible U.S. recession are also stoking the uncertainty in the Indian markets, says Chaudhuri. “If the U.S. is headed for a recession, then of course a lot of growing firms in India, particularly those in the IT sector, are going to take a bit of a hit because they are still very heavily dependent on the U.S. market.”Franklin Allen, a finance professor at Wharton, says primary markets will continue to be “tricky” until the markets settle down. “When you have so much volatility [in the secondary market] – it’s up 2% one day and coming down 2% the next day – it is very difficult to do these primary market operations; that is the underlying problem,” he says. “This happens also in developed markets when there is volatility.”“Now, if I were an investor, I don’t think something like Reliance Power should have taken a hit,” says Chaudhuri, pointing out that India is power-deficient and its infrastructure sector is “growing very well. In the worst case, if India’s growth needs were to come down a notch, its power needs will still have to be met.”While the fall in the Sensex and the air of pessimism hurt the Reliance Power listing, many people point to high valuations as a reason for the IPO market going bust. “The bull frenzy led to unsustainable valuations,” says Prithvi Haldea, chairman and managing director of Prime Database, which tracks IPOs. “Retail investors feel they have been cheated,” says Kirit Somaiya, president of the Investors’ Grievance Forum (IGF).“It’s just a question of timing,” says Chaudhuri. “It is fine to be greedy, but you have to do that when the market is rising. I am not making a value judgment, but everybody is always trying to extract the most that they can at any point in time. That’s their natural quest.” He says it may have been a good idea for some promoters to postpone their IPOs until things got clearer on the credit contraction front. Sudip Gupta, professor of finance at the Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business (ISB), says, “What is interesting and important is what to expect now when things look relatively bad worldwide. The informational cascade effect comes in here.” He explains that the first few investors in an IPO bring in bad news, forcing a price cut, scaring away potential investors, and “thus generating an informational cascade.”Gupta says that if the IPO’s price cut is “too much,” investors may start to wonder “why the firm is so desperate for cash.” In other words, he says price cuts don’t necessarily work. Gupta of Emaar MGF says the company will come back to the market in three to six months, when he hopes it will be less volatile.Reliance Power’s Make-Good GestureIn a post-listing development, Reliance Power has announced that it will issue bonus shares to its investors; however, the promoter group will not be entitled to these shares. Reliance Power has since risen to more than Rs. 400 ($10.50). But analysts read into the bonus proposal a tacit admission that the pricing was indeed too “aggressive” in the first place.“The pricing of an IPO is dependent on three factors – the state of the capital markets, sector fundamentals and company performance,” says S. Ramesh, chief operating officer at Kotak, one of the leading investment bankers in India. “One needs the tailwinds of all these three to achieve good IPO response and post-listing performance.” He says what is important is a stable market; if you are on a rollercoaster ride, all bets are off.Most merchant bankers agree. And there is no disputing the fact that, if the market hadn’t tanked, all these issues would have done very well on listing. The reason why so many were disappointed in the performance of Reliance Power was its showing in the gray market in several cities of the western state of Gujarat. This unofficial and illegal market trades in shares even before the IPO and allotment. (The final settlement is when the scrip lists.)Reliance Power changed hands at Rs. 900 in January. When the market fell in February, it came down to Rs. 600 ($24). Even at this reduced rate, it commanded a premium of Rs. 150 ($4) over the issue price of Rs. 450 ($12). When it listed at less than Rs. 400 ($10.50), these investors – mainly high-net-worth individuals – ran up huge losses.Many investors had borrowed at high interest rates to buy Reliance Power shares. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that the share would have to list at Rs. 600 ($24) for them to break even. What happened was a disaster for these speculators. Many are refusing to pay up. And there is turmoil in the illegal betting shops in cities like Rajkot and Baroda.Irrational Exuberance,Indian FlavorPromoters are a shade more candid. “It takes two hands to clap,” says Ravi Ramu, chief financial officer of Puravankara Projects, a real estate developer in Bangalore. “If you ask about the greed of merchant bankers and promoters, you should also talk about the irrational exuberance of investors. Do they rush to invest in an issue simply because it rained harder that day? In the euphoria, they forget to look at the fundamentals.”Ramu and Puravankara must have a feeling of déjà vu. When Puravankara floated its IPO last August, the ripples of the U.S. subprime crisis were hitting Indian shores. Puravankara had to reduce the price band by 20% from Rs. 500-525 to Rs. 400-450 and extend the issue by three days. It finally did garner adequate subscription. But on the day it listed, it closed at Rs. 362.80 against the issue price of Rs. 400 ($10).Puravankara is not a typical case. Most IPOs have been listing way above the issue price. Power Grid closed its first day at Rs. 100.70 (against an issue price of Rs. 52). Other such runaway examples include Mundra Port Rs. 440 (Rs. 961.70 issue price) and Power Finance Rs. 85 (Rs. 112.60 issue price).“When things sell, everything sells,” says Vivek Suchanti, managing director of Concept Public Relations. ConceptWprovides public relations services for IPOs, which basically means hard selling the issue to the media.“Bankers and promoters sell anything at any price on the story going ahead,” he continues. “Investors look at gray market prices and buy. This is also true of the ‘sophisticated’ investors such as FIIs and hedge funds.” Says Somaiya of IGF: “Emaar MGF, Wockhardt Hospitals and Reliance Power were absurdly overpriced. Euphoria was created which was not supported by fundamentals.”Some numbers do suggest aggressive pricing. Based on the issue price, Emaar MGF would have a P/E (price/earning) ratio of 165 at the lower end of the price band against 73 for DLF and 49 for Unitech, the established leaders in the real estate sector. At the Wockhardt Hospitals P/E of close to 200, it was looking at a valuation around Rs. 2,700 crore ($710 million), when its older and larger listed peer Apollo Hospitals commands just Rs. 2,500 crore ($658 million).Reliance Power, of course, doesn’t have a P/E; it has no earnings. As its prospectus explained: “We currently have no power plants in operation or other revenue-generating operations, and we have no significant operating history from which you can evaluate our business and future prospects and viability… Commercial operations at our first power plant – Rosa Phase I – are not scheduled to commence before December 2009…” For many it is not overpricing that is the norm but underpricing. Gupta of ISB says that this is not just an Indian phenomenon. “One of the stylized facts about IPOs that are universally verified is initial underpricing,” he says. “What we have observed in the Indian IPO market so far is not very different.”Gupta explains the reasons for the underpricing. “An IPO is different from a secondary offer as investors know little about the fundamental prospects of the project,” he says. “Since investors cannot distinguish bad quality projects from good quality projects, the good quality project has to be sold at a discount (underpricing) so that investors are attracted to invest in the IPO.” Gupta says the issuing firm also may not know the actual prospects of the project, and improves its understanding from institutional investors as the IPO gets listed.Gupta says IPOs in emerging economies could be under priced by as much as 100%; this means the price doubles on the first day. “Even in the U.S., generally known to have a transparent financial market, in 1999-2000 (the Internet boom), the first-day under-pricing was 65% on an average,” he saysAdds Ramesh of Kotak: “IPOs are typically priced by leaving a discount to the realizable price at listing. It is always a good idea to leave a discount to motivate investors to subscribe.”Regulatory UrgeMarket watchers recommend other measures to regulate the behavior of investors, merchant bankers and promoters. SEBI has been looking at putting a price band on the movement of the share on listing day. But nobody is quite sure how that will help, except to stop huge volatility. All it may succeed in doing is moving the volatility from day one to week one, say some investment experts.“I don’t think the regulator should set the price of issues,” says Allen, who has other, longer-term suggestions. “Make the markets efficient. As long as there are enough knowledgeable investors, promoters who try to overprice won’t succeed.”Another suggestion is to make the bankers more accountable. If the bankers are made to function as underwriters, too (which means that they will have to pay out the money for the unsubscribed portion of an issue), they are likely to be more circumspect about pricing. But this means that they will always opt for caution and the promoters will never get the best deal.There are other suggestions floating around, which many consider unworkable. The State Bank of India (SBI) has suggested to Parliament that the agencies that currently rate IPOs should be allowed to give an independent view of the pricing. But market participants don’t think anyone will give pricing a second look in a bull market, when they aren’t likely even to read the IPO ratings. In a bear market, they are not going to be investing in IPOs, anyway.Gupta of ISB says the critical phase is now. “Although there may have been signs of investor greed in the IPO process last year, investor fear may do more damage than investor greed.”According to Haldea of Prime, public issues may reach Rs. 75,000 crore ($19.7 billion) in 2008, a new record. This includes Rs. 60,000 crore ($15.8 billion) of IPOs and Rs. 15,000 crore ($3.9 billion) in follow-on offers. The study was done before the market went into a decline. But with a recovery in sight, the figure is unlikely to change very much. Unless, of course, the bears win back the advantage.Fear rules today, but it’s not clear for how long. “Everyone suffers from a memory loss,” says Ramu of Puravankara. “All the investors – and new ones – will be back.” Suchanti of Concept is a little more pessimistic. “I am going on a holiday,” he says. Related Itemslast_img read more

Japan Comedy Duo Apologises After Reports They Said Naomi Osaka ‘Needs Bleach’

first_imgTokyo: A Japanese comedy duo and their management company have apologized after the pair reportedly said during a live event that Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, who just won the Pan Pacific Open at the weekend, “needed some bleach.”Japanese media said the duo, known as “A Masso,” made the remark during a Sunday event, the same day that Osaka lifted her first trophy since winning the Australian Open in January, and also said that “she is too sunburned.” In separate messages carried on the website of their management company, Watanabe Entertainment Co Ltd, both women apologized for making “inappropriate, hurtful remarks” but did not refer to Osaka, who is Haitian and Japanese, by name.”Though we should have thought about it, we made remarks that hurt many people, something we will never do again,” Ai Murakami wrote.”We sincerely apologize for making the specific person feel uncomfortable, as well as for everyone else connected to the event. We also sincerely apologize for causing trouble.”Watanabe Entertainment, also without naming Osaka, added their own apology for “remarks inconsiderate of diversity in an era where diversity is respected,” saying the duo had been severely warned and steps taken to raise their awareness of the issue.Neither Watanabe Entertainment nor Naomi Osaka’s management office in Japan was immediately available to comment.Osaka, who will turn 22 next month, was born in Japan to a Haitian father and Japanese mother but moved to the United States when she was young.She has been widely hailed in Japan, which has traditionally seen itself as a racially homogeneous country, although successful mixed-race athletes such as Osaka herself, sprinter Asuka Cambridge and baseball pitcher Yu Darvish are challenging that image.In January, Japanese noodle company Nissin had to remove a controversial commercial in which a cartoon character depicting Osaka was shown with pale skin and light brown hair after it prompted an outcry. Nissin said it had not intended to “whitewash” Osaka and promised to pay more attention to diversity issues. japanNaomi Osakatennis First Published: September 25, 2019, 5:59 PM IST Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time.last_img read more

IPL 2016: Confident KKR seek home comfort vs resurgent KXIP

first_imgOn a high after a resounding victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will aim to produce a similar performance when they face Kings XI Punjab in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter on Wednesday. (Full IPL 2016 Coverage)KKR presently have 10 points with five wins from eight games, whereas Kings XI are at the bottom of the leader board with just two wins from seven matches.The Knights had a night to remember on Monday as they pulled of a stunning win against RCB. Chasing 186, the men-in-purple were at one stage struggling at 69/4. (Pathan, Russell muscle Kolkata to five-wicket win over Bangalore)But then Yusuf Pathan and Andre Russell got together to bail their side out of trouble. Though Russell got out towards the end, Pathan (60) carried his bat through ensuring KKR got home with five wickets to spare.The Kings XI are also coming into the contest at the back of a big win against table toppers Gujarat Lions and would ideally want to grab another one here. It was Axar Patel who brought the Gujarat side on their knees with his four wickets in five balls and the Eden Gardens strip might also provide some purchase to the left-arm spinner. (Pathan disagrees with Gavaskar’s understanding of RCB bowling attack)But KKR have a settled bowling unit of their own and putting up or chasing down a score against the home side would not be easy.The Kings in all probability would not tinker much with their winning combination and would hope their new crowned captain Murali Vijay and Marcus Stoinis can get them off to a flying start with the willow. However, the visitors will be without their in-form batsman Shaun Marsh who has picked up a back injury and will take no further part in the tourney.advertisementThe last time these two sides met in Mohali, KKR had come out on top with a six-wicket victory and the Gautam Gambhir led side would ideally want a repeat so that their homecoming tastes sweet. (Murali Vijay floored by Axar Patel’s ‘incredible’ bowling performance)If so, the sugar once again has to provided by the KKR batsmen who have been in tremendous form this season. Led by Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, the Shahrukh Khan co-owned franchise has had brisk starts upfront. What would boost them is the fact that Pathan has come back to form along with Russell who is well known for hitting the long ball.Kings XI’s major concern will be their inexperienced bowling line-up but they would like to back it up with the strength in their batting. If the likes of David Miller and Glen Maxwell get going with the bat it will be quite difficult to stop them, but so far their bats have been silent.The squads:Kings XI Punjab: David Miller, Murali Vijay (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, Kyle Abott, Farhaan Behardien, Wriddhiman Saha, Mohit Sharma, Gurukeerat Maan sinh, Manan Vohra, Sandeep Sharma, Axar Patel, Rishi Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis, Swapnil singh, Shardul Thakur, Anureet Singh, KC Cariappa, Nikhil Naik, Arman Jaffar, Pradeep Shahu.Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Sheldon Jackson, Suryakumar Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Brad Hogg, Chris Lynn, Morne Morkel, Shakib Al Hasan, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, Jason Holder, Colin Munro, Rajgopal Sathish, Manan Ajay Sharma.last_img read more

AIFF ‘reminded’ by FIFA over outside interference

first_imgIndia’s football federation (AIFF) has been reminded by FIFA that it cannot be influenced by legal or political inference from inside the country, the global soccer body said.The warning came after a Delhi High Court ruling on Tuesday annulled the AIFF’s most recent presidential election and ordered a re-run to be organised by the country’s former election commission chief S.Y. Quraishi.FIFA statutes state that member federations must be free from legal and political interference in their respective countries and the world governing body has suspended other national associations in the past in similar cases.”FIFA has sent a letter to the AIFF requesting more information about Delhi’s High Court decision as well as the steps that AIFF intends to undertake in this matter,” FIFA told Reuters in an emailed statement.”FIFA has also reminded the AIFF that… member associations, including the AIFF, are obliged to manage their affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties.”The High Court ruling came less than a week after India completed its hosting of the under-17 World Cup and was praised by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who said he wants to make football the most popular sport in the cricket-mad nation.The AIFF election, held last December, saw Praful Patel re-elected as president. The High Court has ordered a fresh election within five months which it said must be held under rules stipulated by the national sports code.The AIFF has said it was fully complaint with both Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports directives, as well as FIFA statutes.advertisementlast_img read more

Adelaide Test: Ashwin, Head key as India and Australia seek 1st innings lead

first_imgR Ashwin, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah bowled sensational spells to keep India in the contest after they were bowled out for 250 in their first innings of the first Test against Australia in Adelaide.Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers, picking up 3 for 50 as Australia finished Day 2 on 191 for 7, trailing India by 59 runs. Travis Head fought hard for Australia and remained unbeaten on 61 with Mitchell Starc for company.Resuming at their overnight score of 250 for 9, India lost Mohammed Shami to the first ball of the day. At one stage in the first session of the opening day, India were tottering at 41 for 4 but Cheteshwar Pujara bailed the visitors out of choppy waters with a classy 123.With the focus on them on the second day, India’s bowlers stood up and delivered. Ishant Sharma produced a peach to snuff out Aaron Finch off the third ball of Australia’s innings. Debutant Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja then added 45 for the second wicket in a show of resilience but India’s off-spinner was yet to have his say.Ashwin snared Harris with a flighted delivery as Murali Vijay took an easy catch at silly mid-off. Soon after, Ashwin removed Shaun Marsh who dragged the ball back on to his stumps.At 59 for 3, Australia were in serious trouble unless Khawaja and Peter Handscomb churned out something special. There was suddenly a spring in the steps of the Indian fielders and Rishabh Pant was vocal and chirpy behind the stumps.A half-century for Travis Head at his home ground!#AUSvIND | @Domaincomau (@cricketcomau) December 7, 2018″Everyone here isn’t Pujara, lads,” Pant yelled and it was clear India had sensed blood. Khawaja was composed and patient against India’s top-drawer bowling attack but Ashwin turned out to be a little too wily for Australia’s biggest hope in the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner.Ashwin got one to spin away from Khawaja and the ball touched his gloves en route to wicket-keeper Pant. Handscomb and Travis Head got together with a mammoth task on their hands.After nearly 18 overs of stubborn resistance, the partnership was broken when Handscomb played a lose shot against Bumrah and Pant gleefully accepted the catch.India were rewarded further for their discpiline before the day ended.Ishant’s full delivery got rid of Australia captain Tim Paine while Bumrah picked his second wicket when he trapped Pat Cummins infront of the wicket.Head and Starc have plenty of work to do on the third day. For starters, they would look to go past India’s first innings total before thinking of a substantial enough lead to regain control of what has been a fascinating Test match.Also Read | Not everyone here is Pujara: Rishabh Pant taunts Australia batsmen in AdelaideAlso Read | Like Rahul Dravid, like Cheteshwar Pujara: 5000 Test runs in 108 inningsAlso Read | Chocolate milkshake for Pujara after magnificent Test hundred in Australialast_img read more

Kante hails Hazard after historic win

first_imgEden Hazard Kante hails Hazard’s impact after Chelsea’s historic win at Atletico Madrid Nizaar Kinsella Click here to see more stories from this author Chelsea correspondent 19:00 28/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Eden Hazard, Atletico Madrid v Chelsea Getty Images Eden Hazard Chelsea Atlético Madrid v Chelsea UEFA Champions League Morata Atlético Madrid Premier League The Blues midfielder is looking for Antonio Conte’s side to maintain the momentum following an impressive Champions League victory in Spain N’Golo Kante highlighted Eden Hazard’s display against Atletico Madrid but insists it took the whole Chelsea team to secure a historic Champions League win. Hazard made only his second start of the season for Chelsea at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Wednesday night and dazzled with his performance.He provided the assist for Alvaro Morata’s equaliser before Michy Batshuayi scored in the 94th minute to hand Chelsea 2-1 success over Atletico.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A potentially lucrative partnership is emerging between Hazard and Morata as Chelsea lay down a marker for their ambitions in Europe this season and Kante was left impressed. “I think Eden played a very good game,” Kante said. “He made the assist for Alvaro and as a team I think we did a good game together and him, in particular, played a good game.”I think in Chelsea, we have a lot players who are all available and are doing well but Eden worked very well. They played well together [Hazard and Morata] but I think we are a team, we are greater together and we won together.Eden Hazard vs Atletico Madrid GFX“Thanks to Eden for the assist, Alvaro for the goal and Michy for a goal with Marcos’s assist. It was a team performance.”I am happy for the win, for the team. It is good but we have to keep going for the next game in the Champions League and Premier League.”Now we are in the group stage in the Champions League but I think after the group it is like another competition and we just need to qualify for the next step by making it out of the group. It is a good result.”Chelsea are the first English team win away to Atletico Madrid and top their group after earning six points from their first two games.last_img read more

The Anti-Sports Personality of the Year awards 2018

first_imgYou could argue that Gianni Moscon, the Team Sky rider expelled from the Tour de France for attempting to punch another cyclist mid-race, committed a more violent offence while on two wheels than Romano Fenati, but then he was not going at 130mph. That is the speed Fenati had reached when, during a Moto2 race in San Marino, he leaned towards a rival racer, Stefano Manzi, and grabbed his brake lever. He was disqualified, immediately banned for two races, dumped by his team, lost his license for the remainder of the year and abandoned the sport (he has since announced a return to Moto3 for 2019). “A horrible image of me and of the sport has come out,” he said. “I’m not like that. In my career I’ve always been a fair rider. Unfortunately I have an impulsive character.” Sadly a look back over Fenati’s career finds a not exactly unblemished record, which includes kicking out at another rider in 2015 and being suspended by his Sky Racing team the following year for “repeated behaviour not in line with the disciplinary rules of the team”. The British rider Cal Crutchlow said Fenati “should never compete on a motorcycle again” but the condemnation was not quite universal. “What Fenati did is completely unbelievable. I don’t know how the brain of a rider can think to do that,” said Aleix Espargaró, another rider. “But the result is that we are treating him as a murderer. It’s crazy, he is just a kid riding a bike.” Share on Facebook Read more Reuse this content Since you’re here… Support The Guardian Facebook Share via Email Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. Twitter Rahman has managed to squeeze a single Test, eight ODI appearances and the same number of T20s into a year in which there have been only two months when the Bangladeshi batsman was not suspended from any form of cricket. On New Year’s Day he picked up a six-month suspension from the domestic game, was stripped of his central contract and fined $25,000 for, during a first-class game in the last week of 2017, asking the on-field umpires’ permission to briefly leave the field and, having secured it, assaulting a 12-year-old boy who had apparently “made a noise” at him, while hiding behind a sightscreen (though not from an eagle-eyed official). “We have meted out a heavy punishment,” said the BCB disciplinary committee vice-chairman, Sheikh Sohel. “This is his last chance. If he has another brush with indiscipline, he will be permanently suspended.” This was not exactly true. In the summer Rahman’s Facebook account threatened to physically assault a fan who criticised his form, after that other brush with indiscipline had come to pass. After promising that he “would never do such a thing again” and also “admitting to a lot of things” he was fined and suspended afresh, this time from domestic cricket. “He said his account was hacked but we took into account other incidents, some of which he has admitted to be true,” said the BCB director, Ismail Haider Mallick, so the player had at least displayed some of the elite honesty that many in cricket aspire to. “If there is a repeat, he will be serving longer suspensions. Some people get their act straight, some don’t.” Beers on ice: Canadian curlers show why sport and alcohol don’t mix well Share on Messenger … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Pinterestcenter_img Fry, a 2014 Winter Olympics gold medallist for Canada, and the rest of his team put the curling into toe-curling on their way to expulsion from the Red Deer Curling Classic in November. It is not unheard of for someone to drink so much on a night out that bar staff have to tell them they should leave in order to sober up, but it is more unusual for an entire team to do so, and for the staff to inform them they should leave in order to compete in an elite-level curling competition. “I guess they were here to party,” the event manager, Wade Thurber, said. “And then they went out to curl and it went sideways.” Koe, the team’s skip, ventured on to the ice long enough to have a couple of practice slides before excusing himself owing to inebriation, leaving his team a man down. The remaining trio went on to lose 10-5, a match memorable mainly for Fry’s outbursts of drunken pique, which led to three broken brooms. “It was temper. Smashed them,” Thurber said. “He hit one on the ice and broke the head off, and one on the scoreboard, and one over his knee.” Koe admitted his team “took our fun a little too far”, and Fry that his “actions were truly disrespectful and embarrassing”. “I’ve seen brooms broken before, smash marks in the ice,” Thurber said. “Guys get a little heated out there at times but usually it’s a quick one-minute incident and it’s done. This was kind of the whole game.”Romano Fenati Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Sportblog BBC Sports Personality of the Year Read more Jan Blokhuijsen, Sven Kramer, Patrick Roest and Koen VerweijIf there was a big gold medal for sporting ne’er-do-wells, you would certainly want to keep it away from this lot, a quartet of Dutch speed-skaters who took to the stage at Heineken House, the Dutch Winter Olympic diplomacy operation-cum-party headquarters during February’s Pyeongchang-based spectacular, and decided it would be hilarious if they tossed the giant mock medal they were for some reason holding into the crowd that had gathered to hail their bronze success. Two female fans required hospital treatment to head wounds. “Fortunately things are going well with both ladies considering the circumstances, even though it was a shock to them,” the team said in a press release. “They said at a press conference that they apologised to me but I didn’t receive an apology. I haven’t seen them since then,” one injured spectator said. She had, she admitted, been invited to meet them but had refused because she failed to discern a “feeling of sincerity”. Blokhuijsen caused further controversy when, in a press conference after the men’s team pursuit, he exhorted people in South Korea to “please treat dogs better in this country”, creating such a furore that not only was he forced to apologise – “It was not my intention to insult you and your country. I hope we can make this a better place for both of us” – but the Dutch chef de mission, Jeroen Bijl, had to reassure local media that “we do respect the culture, people in Korea and the country of Korea”.Yuya Nagayoshi, Takuya Hashimoto, Takuma Sato and Keita ImamuraJapan’s men’s basketball team laboured through most of the Asian Games short-handed after four of their number were sent home for celebrating a group-stage win over Qatar with a trip to Jakarta’s party capital, a late dinner and then a trip to a nearby hotel in the company of a group of women, with whom they engaged in “inappropriate acts”. This fell some way short of the behaviour demanded by the Japanese Olympic Committee’s code of conduct, which expects athletes to behave as nothing less than “model citizens”. “I deeply apologise for our careless act that has brought disgrace on not only basketball fans but also all of the Japanese people,” said Sato. “I just feel a sense of shame,” said Yasuhiro Yamashita, the head of the Japanese delegation. The swift punishments and wholehearted apologies contrasted markedly with the Mexico World Cup squad, several members of whom threw a party on the eve of their departure for Russia to which they invited 30 prostitutes but escaped sanction. “These are the risks that come from freedom,” shrugged Guillermo Cantú, the general secretary of the Mexico FA. “It’s not about whether we like it or not, we just have to admit that it was a free day for the players and they did not miss any training sessions.”Wesley Harms or Gary AndersonLast December the world of darts was embroiled in controversy over allegations of deliberate coughing – in January the alleged cougher, Justin Pipe, said “my character has been assassinated” and the kerfuffle had left him “flabbergasted and heartbroken” – and since then behaviour in the sport has gone if not downhill then certainly down the alimentary canal, leading to allegations of deliberate and offensive farting in November’s Grand Slam of Darts. After losing to Anderson, Harms said his poor performance was down to the “fragrant smell” emanating from his opponent. “It’ll take me two nights to lose this smell from my nose,” he sniffed. The allegations resulted in a furious riposte from Anderson, though the Scot said he too had detected some unpleasant odours. “I’m not going to lie about farting on stage,” he raged. “It was eggs, rotten eggs, but not from me. Every time I walked past [Harms] there was a waft of rotten eggs, so that’s why I was thinking it was him. It was bad. It was a stink. If somebody has done that they need to see a doctor.”Ryan Fry and Jamie Koe features BBC Sports Personality shortlist to no longer be revealed in advance Share on Twitter Pinterest Topics Sabbir Rahmanlast_img read more

Dortmund chief would welcome Sane’s arrival at Bayern

first_imgBayern Munich buying Leroy Sane would be a boost to the Bundesliga, according to Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke.Manchester City winger Sane has been heavily linked with a switch to Bayern, who are seeking to improve their wide options due to the imminent departures of experienced duo Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.Bayern president Uli Hoeness said it would require an “insane” sum to buy Sane, though, while chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge indicated the 23-year-old needs to decide for himself whether he wants a move. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Sane, who joined City from Schalke for a reported initial fee of £37 million ($47m) in 2016, scored 16 goals in all competitions for the Premier League champions last term but only started 21 top-flight matches – six fewer than in the 2017-18 campaign, as he seemingly lost Pep Guardiola’s trust.The winger refused to answer questions about his future after helping Germany hammer Estonia 8-0 in Euro 2020 qualifying this week.8:0 Heimsieg Sehr gelungener Saisonabschluss // Great way to finish this season 🇩🇪 #LS19 #inSané @DFB_Team— Leroy Sané (@LeroySane19) June 11, 2019But even if it might damage Dortmund’s chances of unseating Bayern at the summit, Watzke feels Sane’s arrival would benefit the Bundesliga.”I think it would be very good if Bayern brings Leroy Sane back as a Germany international,” Watzke said to Bild.”Because that would further increase the appeal of the league.”Dortmund have added to Lucien Favre’s squad for the 2019-20 season by signing Thorgan Hazard, Nico Schulz and Julian Brandt, although Christian Pulisic has left for Chelsea.Mario Gotze has also been touted for a possible switch to Arsenal, but he has remained coy on speculation.BVB narrowly missed out on Bundesliga glory in May, finishing two points behind Bayern having led the table for much of the campaign.last_img read more

Bill Clinton And George W Bush Launch Leadership Scholars Program

first_imgPresident Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush have launched the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a partnership between the presidential centers of William J. Clinton, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson.The goal of the Presidential Leadership Scholars program is to help participants develop the skills needed to become highly-effective leaders. The inaugural class will begin in February 2015. Online applications and referrals will be accepted at through October 27, 2014.

“Effective leadership is an important skill for individuals looking to make a positive difference in the world and change lives,” said Bruce Lindsey, Chair of the Clinton Foundation’s Board of Directors. “The Presidential Leadership Scholars Program is designed to foster the next generation of leaders, whether they choose to work in government, business, or philanthropy. The program’s unique curriculum includes an unprecedented assembly of leaders across four presidential administrations, spanning over 45 years.”

The program’s interactive and dynamic curriculum incorporates: • Pre-eminent scholarship and best practices; • Distinguished faculty from the presidential centers’ affiliated universities: SMU, Texas A&M, University of Texas and the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas, and other renowned academic institutions, including Georgetown University; • Leadership examples and participation from the private, public, non-profit, and military sectors; and, • Active engagement from guest speakers across a number of presidential administrations.The Presidential Leadership Scholars Program will focus on a variety of facets of leadership skills, including vision and communication, decision-making, persuasion and influence, and coalition building. The program will also benefit from periodic participation of former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The curriculum draws from presidential centers’ archives and other resources related to leadership and decision-making moments from each administration.

”Leadership is always a critical need,” said Margaret Spellings, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. “I’m excited about the opportunity that lies before us: a program that will train highly motivated people with a track record of leadership from across all sectors and backgrounds – private, public, non-profit, military and academia – to apply the lessons, concepts and ideas they learn through the program to the complex opportunities and challenges that lie before them.”

Throughout the program, scholars are encouraged to form long-term relationships with one another and to learn from each other’s divergent views and backgrounds. By connecting a new class of scholars each year, the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program also aims to build a strong and diverse alumni network that can put the lessons of cooperation and collaborative problem-solving to use in a variety of sectors. 

The program begins with an intensive four-day instructional program held at Mt. Vernon, where participants will learn about leadership models in general, and presidential leadership in particular.

In the months following, an extended weekend class sessions will be held at each of the participating presidential centers: the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas; the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas; the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas; and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. Scholars will be able to maintain their full time employment while participating in the program. Spread over six months, the sessions encompass approximately 120 hours of instruction.

The first class of scholars will be selected by the end of the year. Applicants may come from the private, public, non-profit, and military sectors and should generally have 10 years of professional experience. Successful applicants will demonstrate a strong record of professional and community achievement, a commitment to continued growth as a leader, a passion for serving an even broader role in society and a collaborative spirit that is open to new ideas and approaches.

The four presidential centers are committed to offering this opportunity to selected participants regardless of their financial means. To honor this commitment, program tuition, accommodations, meals and travel to the course sessions are funded by generous contributions from foundations, individuals and corporations, including the Moody Foundation, the Miles Foundation, and the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation. The Presidential Leadership Scholars program also benefits from an Advisory Committee, made up of notable alumni from each presidential administration, which contributes to the breadth and depth of expertise supporting this innovative leadership program. Members of the advisory committee are: The Honorable Joshua Bolten, Chair; The Honorable Alexis M. Herman, Co-Chair; The Honorable James W. Cicconi; The Honorable Carlos Gutierrez; The Honorable Tom Johnson; The Honorable Vilma S. Martinez; General (Ret.) Stanley A. McChrystal; The Honorable Constance Berry Newman; The Honorable Lyndon Olson; Dr. Roger B. Porter; The Honorable Donna E. Shalala; Dr. Laura Tyson; The Honorable Bruce Lindsey, Chairman of the Board for the Clinton Foundation; and, The Honorable Margaret Spellings, ex-officio.last_img read more

The Queen And The Duchess Of Sussex Mark One Year Since Grenfell

first_imgAt midday yesterday, whilst on an official visit to Cheshire, The Queen and The Duchess of Sussex observed a 72 second silence in memory of the people who died in the Grenfell Tower fire, to mark the first anniversary of the tragedy.The Queen and the Duchess of Sussex observe silence for victims of Grenfell TowerCredit/Copyright: Royal.ukWhile in Cheshire, they visited Storyhouse, an arts centre and community centre in Chester, which holds a library, theatre and cinema and runs over 2,000 activities per year for local communities. Whilst there, The Queen and The Duchess visited the children’s library and watched a performance by ‘Fallen Angels’, a dance theatre company for people in recovery from addiction.last_img read more

Membertou First Nation gears up for MMIWG Inquiry

first_img(Agnes Gould is holding up a picture of her missing sister, Virgina Sue Pictou during a ceremony held for the opening of the MMIWG inquiry on Membertou First Nation, NS. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)Tom FennarioAPTN NewsOut of her purse, Agnes Gould pulls out some sheets of paper – on the front is the agenda for the upcoming hearings for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls taking place this week in Membertou First Nation, NS.The Mi’kmaw woman flips them over, and their backs are crammed full with handwritten notes.“We’re trying to just come up with a timeline of what we’ve all done,” said Gould, gesturing to her two brothers and father.“We’ve started jotting down little notes, here and there, of what our family has gone through to find our sister.”Gould’s sister, Virgina Sue Pictou, was last seen in an emergency room in Maine on April 24 1993.They’ve scoured the country looking for her ever since.“After 24 years, we’re still looking. It’s hard on us as a family,” said Gould, a member of Membertou.Gould and her family will be testifying Wednesday at the inquiry.She said they will speak about how Virgina’s case went cold when the detective in charge of the file retired – of how she left behind a nine-month-old baby, and of how her disappearance is far from unique.“We want awareness of how big the situation is. Not only for us…we are just one story out of a thousand,” said Gould.(Cheryl Maloney lobbied the government for years to call a national inquiry. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)Cheryl Maloney is the president of the Eastern Door Indigenous Women’s Association, an organization that represents Aboriginal women across the Maritimes.“Now that the day is here we want it to be successful, we want it to be safe for the families, we want it to succeed,” Maloney said.However, Maloney said she’s well aware of the problems the inquiry has faced since it’s debut, including several high profile resignations.“I’m not saying nothing’s wrong with it, I’m saying our job is to always support the families, and this is just one more extension of supporting the families,” Maloney said.“For all the years I spent calling for an inquiry, I hope that they can get it right, I hope that we can change things up.”For Gould and family, the hope is it can lead to some measure of closure.“A little bit of relief for us would be good, just being able to say the last time I saw my sister was ‘this time’, right? To be able to say for sure, ‘The last time I saw my sister I remember her beautiful smile, I remember how good she cooked fried chicken’,” said Gould.“But I don’t see her today, I don’t get to say, ‘Hey sis, did you hear about your granddaughter graduating from kindergarten. It’s really sad that way, but the reality is that she’s missing. ”MMIWG inquiry commissioners Michèle Audette and Qajaq Robinson will be listening to the testimony of approximately 40 people over the course of three days, starting Monday at 9 am.Contact Tom here: tfennario@aptn.calast_img read more

Grande Prairie RCMP warns public of travelling paving business

first_imgRCMP say these individuals are often travelling in rental vehicles and using rental equipment.It is said that they demand payment up front, either never complete the job or do a sub-par job, and leave with your money.Here are some tips to protect yourself from sales crime:If the deal is too good to be true, it probably isResearch any company/contractor prior to hiring themAsk for referencesMake efforts to know who you are speaking toAsk to see their business license and identificationTake steps to verify information prior to hiring a companyDo not pay upfront prior to the start of a jobIf you have any information about similar incidents, you are being asked to call the Grande Prairie RCMP 780-830-5700 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – Grande Prairie RCMP are warning the public of a travelling paving business following a fraud incident.On the morning of July 4, at around 11:00 a.m., Grande Prairie RCMP responded to an incident involving a travelling group offering paving services at discounted prices.According to Police, individuals are travelling door to door offering residential paving for a fraction of the cost claiming to be associated with reputable paving businesses.last_img read more

Khashoggi Murder Journalists Fiancée Snubs White House Invitation

Rabat – Hatice Cengiz, Jamal Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancée, has told a television outlet in Turkey that she recently declined President Trump’s invitation to the White House.Speaking to Haberturk TV on Friday, days after international pressure and Turkish media leaks compelled Saudi Arabia to admit that Khashoggi died at the hands of Saudi operatives, the teary Cengiz said that she doubted the sincerity of President Trump’s invitation.President Trump was sluggish to speak out in the Khashoggi case, Cengiz suggested. Days after the journalist’s disappearance on October 2, many in the international community started raising concerns. While Saudi Arabia originally denied all accusations, its narrative has shifted several times in the last three weeks. President Trump, however, when he could have exerted pressure on Saudi Arabia’s leadership, seemed to believe their accounts.According to Cengiz, Trump only wants to hone his own approval ratings by inviting her to the White House. He wants to show the US how much he cares when in fact he did not seem to care in the beginning of the Khashoggi saga, she argued.Cengiz also told Haberturk that she believed the White House’s invitation was a late desperate PR move to influence opinion in the US. She said she did not intend to be part of insincere efforts as she grieves her late fiancé.Tearfully recounting the day Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to never come back, Cengiz said she would not have let him go in if she had known that “Saudi Arabia would hatch a plot to kill him.”As international pressure mounts on Riyadh to clarify the circumstances of Khashoggi’s murder, Cengiz seized the opportunity to demand that her fiancé’s murderers be brought to justice.“I demand that all those involved in this savagery from the highest to the lowest levels are punished and brought to justice,” she said.Unheeded pleaThe interview is not Cengiz’s first public statement. A week Khashoggi’s disappearance, as Saudi Arabia strenuously denied that the journalist had been killed inside the consulate, Cengiz wrote a passionate op-ed in the Washington Post. She pleaded with Trump and Saudi Arabia to shed light in her fiancé’s case.“More than a week has passed since our last meeting outside the consulate of Saudi Arabia, before his disappearance became global news…. At this time, I implore President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal’s disappearance. I also urge Saudi Arabia, especially King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to show the same level of sensitivity and release CCTV footage from the consulate.”Cengiz’s plea for Saudi Arabia to release evidence was not attended to, but the kingdom has been forced to admit that Khashoggi’s murder was planned. read more

Ennahda Party Leader Ghannouchi to Stand for Tunisian Parliament

Rabat – Rached Ghannouchi, the influential leader of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda party, will run in the country’s next parliamentary elections in October 2019. The move is widely interpreted as his attempt to attain a leadership position in the country. “The decision to present Ghannouchi at the top of the party’s electoral list in Tunis 1 [district], is to have leaders of parties play a more important role at this crucial stage in the history of the democratic transition in Tunisia,” said Imed Khmiri, an Ennahda party official.Ghannouchi was exiled in London for nearly two decades during the tenure of former president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Although he has never run for an official position before, Ghannouchi has been a significant force in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution.  The 78-year-old remains a dominant figure. Critics say he effectively controls the country in cooperation with the secular-minded President Beji Caid Essebsi, 92, nicknamed the “two sheikhs” in reference to their age. Ghannouchi’s candidacy for a parliamentary seat intensifies expectations that he is hoping to play a bigger role in Tunisia’s politics, possibly as prime minister or speaker of parliament, if his party wins the election.Parliamentary elections are expected to be held on October 6, 2019 with a presidential vote on November 17, 2019. This will be Tunisia’s third free election since the revolution in 2011.The parliamentary race is expected to be fought closely by the Ennahda party, the secular Tahya Tounes party of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, the Nidaa Tounes party led by the president’s son Hafedh Caid Essebsi, and the Courant Democrate party.Tunisia has been globally acknowledged as the only democratic success of the Arab Spring uprisings. The country drafted a new constitution, held free elections and formed a coalition government with secular and moderate Islamists, all in a region which previously struggled with socio-political turmoil. Read also: Tunisia’s Ban on the Niqab Raises Questions on Human RightsHowever, political progress has not yet been reached by economic advances. Tunisia’s economy remains stagnant with the unemployment rate equating 15%, rising from 12% in 2010, due to the country’s weak growth and inadequate investment opportunities. read more