India Today’s letters to the editor of february about phone-tapping controversy

first_imgAmar Singh tackles the phone-tapping controversyTalking TroubleBy making the “phone battle” a national issue, Samajwadi Party (SP) General Secretary Amar Singh has blocked any possibility of leakage of the taped conversation that could have embarrassed him (“The Phone Battle”, January 23). However, politically he has not gained much. The mutual,Amar Singh tackles the phone-tapping controversyTalking TroubleBy making the “phone battle” a national issue, Samajwadi Party (SP) General Secretary Amar Singh has blocked any possibility of leakage of the taped conversation that could have embarrassed him (“The Phone Battle”, January 23). However, politically he has not gained much. The mutual abuse of the SP and the Congress could only help the BJP.A. JACOB SAHAYAM, Thiruvananthapuram”The way Amar Singh has treated the phone-tapping controversy shows that his aim is not to bring up the issue of surveillance but to settle political scores.”B.K. PARMAR, GhaziabadIs it a mere coincidence that immediately after Amar Singh’s brother joined the Congress and claimed to expose the SP leader’s activities, the allegations of phone tapping surfaced? The issue has also pushed aside a more serious matter of the Supreme Court notice to Mulayam Singh Yadav in a case of disproportionate assets. The protests by Amar Singh appear like tactics to garner public sympathy in Uttar Pradesh, where his party’s image has hit rock bottom.P.K. SRIVASTAVA, on e-mailAmar Singh has emerged as the real leader of the Opposition which is starved of issues with which to take on the Centre.NAVNEET DHAWAN, DelhiIt has become fashionable to accuse Sonia Gandhi of anything and everything, no matter what the problem the politicians and bureaucrats face. Since she was born in a foreign country these people with no values find an easy scapegoat in her.GREGORY D’SOUZA, HaridwarPolitical parties always exploit scandals to make it to the headlines. Amar Singh and his party have done the same.K. CHIDANAND KUMAR, BangaloreadvertisementWrong ServeI want to clarify that I was never an employee of K.K. Birla, whereas, you have mentioned that I was a protocol officer (“The Phone Battle”, January 23).AMAR SINGH, National General Secretary, SP, DelhiAmusing TwistsWhere was Brinda Karat when pesticides were found in cold drinks (“Yogi in a Tangle”, January 23)? Such contents were not mentioned on the bottles of these beverages. Even mentioning “artificial colours and flavours” does not specify the exact nature of the contents. A number of medicines, toothpastes and ointments are gelatinebased. Is it not the duty of the manufacturers to mention that gelatine is derived from bones? Why should it be mandatory for only ayurvedic medicines to mention all the contents?RAJIV CHOPRA, DehradunIt is not correct to say that “the law does not require declaration of ingredients of a particular medicine if it is based on classical texts” recognised under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. The Second Schedule of the Act requires “all medicines other than homeopathic” to have a list of all ingredients on the label or container. Medicines that contravene this requirement are deemed to be “misbranded drugs” and invite legal action. The only concession available to the ayurvedic, siddha and unani products is that if the ingredients are listed in the classical texts, then manufacturers need not obtain marketing approval from the Drugs Controller General.CHANDRA M. GULHATI, DelhiThe article is highly biased against the yogi. While yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar may have excellent knowledge of certain aspects of yoga, he seems to have none as far as pranayama is concerned.Y.N.I. ANAND, MysoreIyenger is a revered yoga guru for the Indian media because he has taught yoga abroad. Ramdev’s simple yoga steps are imparting health benefits to millions of Indians but this is not the criterion by which the Indian media in the English language judges anybody. Yoga and ayurveda are India’s ancient treasures and if someone is making the common man aware of their benefits, then his efforts should be appreciated. Politicians like Karat are free to raise the labour issue if there is a violation of the law but mixing it with the issue of vegetarianism only makes them a butt of joke.ARUN BALA, on e-mailRamdev has done injustice to not only vegetarians but also non-vegetarians. For who would like to eat the skull and bone powder of human beings? He should be punished.SNEHAL SHUKLA, AhmedabadKarat has displayed great courage by exposing Ramdev’s questionable acts. His claims of achieving cures for cancer, advanced arthritis and diabetes through yoga and ayurvedic medicines have not been scientifically evaluated.RAJU VAISHYA, DelhiThe controversy over ayurvedic medicines underscores the need for stringent regulation. Surveys reveal that adulteration of alternative medicines is rampant across India. Such practices bring the Indian businesses and philosophically rich medical systems into disrepute. A better regulatory framework will reward genuine practitioners and expose charlatans.ANIL KUMAR PANDIT, DelhiadvertisementThe Jehad FactoryRecruitment of the Hindus by the Hizb-ul Mujahideen in Kashmir on allurement of money exposes the falsity of the terrorists’ commitment to a cause (“Now Hindu Jehadis”, January 23). The picture is the same elsewhere too. The Maoists in Jehanabad and Giridih reportedly distributed pamphlets in Jharkhand and Bihar, inviting young people to join the “revolution” on a monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 and compensation of Rs 2 lakh in case of death.ASOKE C. BANERJEE, KolkataThe profession of terrorism has nothing to do with religion. It is exploitation of the youth. Governments in all states as well as at the Centre must provide counselling and employment to the boys who have taken up arms to bring them back into the mainstream.RAKESH BAHUGUNA, on e-mailFoot in MouthPutting his foot in his mouth is not new for Raj Singh Dungarpur, the manager of the Indian team (“Unsound Bite”, January 23). Raking up the issue of Sourav Ganguly’s performance at this stage does not serve any purpose. It will only demoralise the team. Dungarpur should be removed from the post. Discipline is not something to be enforced only among the players. It is applicable to our loud-mouthed sports officials also.V.V.S. MANI, MumbaiTest of MettleWest Bengal rather than Bihar will be the real challenge for Election Commission (EC) official K.J. Rao because in Bihar the people were with him (“For a Level Playing Field”, January 23). But West Bengal may not allow Rao to function smoothly with both the state Government and party cadres determined to resist any change.SUBHASH C. AGRAWAL, DelhiThe article says that I had requested the EC to remove state government employees from the election coordination committees. I had petitioned the commission to exclude only the employees belonging to the Coordination Committee of State Government Employees’ Unions and the “Non-Gazetted Police Karmachari Samiti” or to any of their affiliates.TATHAGATA ROY, President, BJP, West BengalOverseas Citizenship of India cards to NRIsFAMILY FOLDSGiving Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards to the NRIs is a way of reaching out to them (“Promises, Promises,” January 23). It will help them develop a stake in India.REKHA RAI, PatnaIt is a tragedy that the Government has decided to shower sops like voting rights and OCI cards on the NRIs. Investments in India by them have always been driven by interest rather than loyalty.THARCIUS S. FERNANDO, ChennaiIndia is finally treating the NRIs right by welcoming them. This will create a goodwill trust for it abroad.VIVEK RASTOGI, Shimlalast_img read more

Intex Aqua Ace II with 3GB RAM launched at Rs 8,999

first_imgIntex Technologies on Monday launched its new 4G LTE phone called Aqua Ace II. The phone has been targeted at mainstream market and has been priced at Rs 8,999.The Intex Aqua Ace II comes with a 5-inch HD IPS display that has 1280 x 720 pixels resolution. The smartphone is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6735 processor and has 16GB of inbuilt storage, which is expandable by up to 32GB via microSD card.Also read:Intex launches Cloud Breeze at Rs 3,999 The device runs on Android Lollipop 5.1 and uses a 3000mAh battery. The most striking feature of the Aqua Ace II — as per Intex — is the presence of MHL cable. The cable, when attached to a smartphone, mirrors everything in the Android device onto the LED TV screen, thereby giving users a “Big Screen Experience”.Also read: Intex Cloud 4G smart launched at Rs 4,999″Intex has always kept pace with technology and brought latest innovation in every hand. With Aqua ACE II, we are happy to offer ‘Big Screen Experience’ to consumers with an in-built MHL Technology in the device. The smartphone supports 4G-LTE and has a big battery,” said Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, mobile business head, Intex Technologies.Also read:Intex launches Aqua Ace phone with 3GB RAM at Rs.12,999 The Intex Aqua Ace sports an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash along with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.Other features include Reverie Lock, which enables the user to choose English or Hindi as the phone language when unlocking the device. Then there is HotKnot, which helps a user share photos, movies, videos etc by simply taking Aqua ACE II screen closer to the screen of other mobile. Smart Wake allows user to access camera, music, files or any other feature without unlocking the smart phone. Intex Aqua Ace II will be competing against phones such as Lenovo K5 Plus, Xiaomi Redmi 2 Prime and Huawei Honor Holly 2 Plus.advertisementlast_img read more

Sarfraz Ahmed set to be appointed as Pakistan’s Test captain

first_imgPakistan’s limited over skipper, Sarfraz Ahmed, who is still basking in the glory of winning the Champions Trophy, is set to be appointed as the captain of the Test team as well.A senior official of the Pakistan Cricket Board told PTI that in principle when Chairman Shaharyar Khan, the head of the executive committee, Najam Sethi were in London for the Champions Trophy, it had been decided to promote Sarfaraz as Test captain.”It is now just a formality of the PCB Chairman making an announcement when he returns home. The decision has been taken and is final. Sarfaraz will take over as Test captain after being appointed as deputy to Misbah-ul-Haq on the recent tour to the West Indies,” the official said.He also said that after Shaharyar returns home in a week’s time, a meeting of the governing body will be held in which formal approval will be given for the appointment of Sarfraz as Test captain as he is already leading the ODI and T20 outfits with success.Misbah retired as Test captain after seven years in this position following the West Indies tour. He served as Test captain from late 2010 onwards going to become the most successful test captain for his country.Pakistan’s next Test series is not until September- October when it hosts Sri Lanka in the UAE. The long gap has come about after Pakistan pulled out of a scheduled Test tour of Bangladesh in July.The official said that a committee of former Test players, Haroon Rasheed and Mudassar Nazar who hold key positions in the board and chief operating officer, Subhan Ahmed will also submit its feedback on the performance of the support staff/coaches.advertisement”Any decision on the future of some coaches will be taken based on the committee’s suggestions. But Chairman, Shaharyar is delighted with the work of head coach, Mickey Arthur,” he said.The official conceded that it was Shaharyar who had convinced everyone in the board to go with Arthur last year after the resignation of Waqar Younis as head coach.Arthur’s contract will be reviewed next year in April and there is no reason now for him not to continue or get an extension,” another reliable source said.last_img read more

Cano Back To The Bronx

first_imgSEATTLE — Robinson Cano knows it will be awkward from the moment he walks into Yankee Stadium and has to figure out the route to the visitors’ clubhouse for the first time in his career.And that’s before he takes the field in the Bronx wearing something other than pinstripes.“It’s going to be weird,” Cano said. “It’s going to feel a lot different being on the other side.”After signing his $240 million, 10-year contract with Seattle in the offseason, the All-Star second baseman will return to New York for the first time as a member of the Mariners on April 29 when they open a three-game series against the Yankees.Cano figures the reaction will be mixed. He was supposed to be the next great Yankees player to spend his career in New York, following the lead of Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and the soon-to-be retiring Derek Jeter.Players simply don’t’ give up the limelight of New York to go be isolated in the Pacific Northwest.But Cano did, with contract security and millions of dollars behind making that decision. The flip side is now facing what he left behind.“Hopefully good,” Cano said of the reception he’ll get. “The way that I left New York, it wasn’t a good way. You just go there to play the game and try to beat them.”Cano knows that his comments the day he signed with Seattle still have reverberations, when he said he didn’t feel respected by the Yankees with their contract offer. The Yankees’ top offer was $175 million over seven years.Cano said he didn’t want to go through the contract process again in his mid-to-late 30s and Seattle’s willingness to push the contract out to 10 years sealed the agreement.“I didn’t feel respect. I didn’t get respect from them and I didn’t see any effort,” Cano said last December.Cano tried to play down over the weekend how the separation from the Yankees happened, saying his focus was on being back in Yankee Stadium and seeing friends and former teammates.“I don’t want to blame anybody. I’m looking forward to going there,” Cano said.Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon had no worries about how Cano would handle his return and the questions that are likely to come.“I’m sure he’s going to be happy to get back to Yankee Stadium, obviously in a different role. He’s a professional. He’ll answer his questions and get ready to play,” McClendon said.“Other than that he’s probably more anxious to get out on the field and play than deal with the media,” he said.Cano will face the first-place Yankees putting up numbers thus far that were expected and with a team that has settled down after an eight-game losing streak. He is Seattle’s top hitter with a .301 average.Cano has just one home run, but the Mariners have been consistent that he wasn’t acquired to be a home run hitter. Cano has 11 RBIs, scored 10 runs and been a teacher to others in Seattle’s lineup.The most noticeable has been his work with Justin Smoak, who leads the team in RBIs and doubles through the first four weeks.Cano was making time to enjoy the return to the Big Apple. He hoped to be able to walk around the city without too much hassle, noting that Yankee fans had given him privacy when he played there.Cano was scheduled to appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon night after making other appearances earlier in the day. It’s the only trip for Seattle to New York this season.“They’re different teams. But we have a team here that we can compete,” Cano said. “I’m excited to be here and that’s why I choose here and I really like this city.”TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Harden Scores 41 as Rockets Outlast Warriors 126-121 in OT

first_imgBy KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer.HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden made a 3-pointer to finish off the Golden State Warriors in overtime.Eric Gordon helped the Rockets get to that point with the best playoff performance of his career.Harden scored 41 points, and Houston outlasted the Warriors 126-121 on Saturday night to cut the deficit in the Western Conference semifinals to 2-1.A layup by P.J. Tucker put Houston up by three with about 2 minutes left and the Warriors missed shots on their next two possessions. That set up the 3-pointer by Harden with 49 seconds left that made it 124-118.Kevin Durant made three free throws after that, but Harden added a layup to stretch the lead. Stephen Curry, who dislocated a finger in Game 2, missed a wide-open layup and Harden grabbed the rebound to secure the victory.Gordon added a playoff career-high 30 points with a playoff-best seven 3-pointers.“It’s all about bringing something to the table, offensively, defensively every single night to give yourself a chance to win,” he said.Durant said Gordon was “very important” to Houston’s win.“He kept them afloat for a while,” he said.The Rockets withstood a 46-point performance from Durant and late surge by the Warriors to avoid falling into a 3-0 hole in the best-of-seven series.Game 4 is Monday night in Houston.Harden led the team despite recovering from injuries to both eyes he sustained in Game 2 when he was hit in the face by Draymond Green. He said they didn’t bother him on Saturday, but both eyes remained bloody red in spots.“That’s James. That’s what he does,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said.Curry finished with 17 points on 7-for-23 shooting after missing two layups in overtime. He wouldn’t say if his injury was limiting him on Saturday night.“I’ve just got to make those,” he said. “If I’m out there playing, I’ve got to produce and it just didn’t happen tonight.”Green added 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.Houston was clinging to a one-point lead when Iguodala’s 3-pointer put Golden State up 112-110 with 45 seconds remaining in the fourth. Harden made two free throws a few seconds after that to tie it and Durant missed a jump shot on the other end to give Houston a chance to win it in regulation.Chris Paul was in the lane when Klay Thompson forced a jump ball. Harden got the ball but didn’t have time to get a shot off before the buzzer.The Warriors used a 15-2 run at the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth to take a 94-93 lead with about 10 minutes remaining. Durant was unstoppable in that stretch, scoring all 10 of Golden State’s points to start the fourth.Tucker, Houston’s defensive stopper who had been on the bench with four fouls, re-entered the game to try and help slow Durant down. Tucker was really unhappy while he sat on the bench and watched Durant singlehandedly give Golden State the lead.Asked if he said something to D’Antoni about it to get back in the game he said: “Oh, I said something to all of them.”Durant cooled off after that, but Iguodala and Thompson both made 3-pointers soon after that and the Warriors remained up by a point with about 8 minutes left in the fourth.The Rockets were up by nine at halftime, and Harden and Paul made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions in the third to push the lead to 72-61.A 3-pointer by Curry cut Houston’s lead to seven later in the period before Houston used an 8-2 spurt to extend it to 83-70 with about 3 minutes left in the quarter.Houston had a 12-point lead after a dunk by Clint Capela with less than a minute left in the third. Golden State scored the last five points of the quarter, with a 3 from Green, to get within 91-84 entering the fourth.Houston got out to a much better start on Saturday night after being outscored 57-39 in the opening quarter of the first two games and the Rockets only trailed by one entering the second.They used a 33-point second quarter, powered by 13 points from Gordon, to take a 58-49 lead into halftime.TIP-INSWarriors: Durant passed Dwyane Wade for 10th place on the NBA’s career playoff scoring list. … Iguodala scored 16 points. … Golden State made 14 of 33 3-pointers.Rockets: Gordon has made at least three 3-pointers in all eight playoff games this year. … Capela had with 13 points and 11 rebounds. … Paul had 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. … Tucker led the team with 12 rebounds and had three assists, two blocks and seven points.TUCKER’S VALUED’Antoni and Kerr as well as players from both teams raved about the job Tucker did.“We say it all the time, Tuck doesn’t do any of the glamorous stuff,” Paul said. “All the stuff he does doesn’t show up on the stat sheet … but it’s always nice for other people to see it and appreciate it.”Kerr said Tucker’s offensive rebounding down the stretch was a key.“The plays P.J. Tucker made in overtime and the fourth quarter, those were big plays,” Kerr said. “Those are indicators of who played harder.”Said D’Antoni: “Tuck would not let us lose.”HARDEN’S EYESWhen Harden was asked if his eyes bothered him considering how they looked on Saturday night he answered with a straight face.“What do you mean, how they look?” he asked.Paul jumped in quickly with the answer.“They look crazy,” he said laughing before Harden snickered, too.UP NEXTAfter Monday’s game the series shifts to California where Game 5 is on Wednesday night. TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

23 days agoMan City boss Guardiola: Dinamo Zagreb made it difficult

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man City boss Guardiola: Dinamo Zagreb made it difficultby Paul Vegas23 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City boss Pep Guardiola praised Champions League opponents Dinamo Zagreb after last night’s win.City encountered a stubborn Dinamo defence at the Etihad Stadium, who were eventually unlocked by what has become a trademark Guardiola move.Having worked the ball wide, Riyad Mahrez played it across the face of goal and Raheem Sterling, as he so often is, was there to bundle it home.For the Catalan, it is the perfect way to score and he admitted the visitor’s resolute defending made the goal even sweeter.“We don’t have big headers for crosses,” added the boss.“We play that way for the quality of the players we have in small spaces.“We believe when you attack inside and put a ball wide and people arrive for the cross, that’s the best way to score a goal.“It was really nice, but they defended so well. Even for the goal the defender was there. They were so good.“I didn’t expect them to play so deep, because they didn’t have a shot on target, apart from one or two set pieces.“But what they did in that part of the pitch was so good. They won duels and anticipated all the time.“They deserve a lot of credit. That’s why it was an incredible battle.” last_img read more

Traffic Advisory Inverness County

first_imgINVERNESS COUNTY: Highway 105 One lane on Highway 105 will be closed to traffic from 1.8 kilometres east of Whycocomagh Provincial Park easterly for five kilometres, due to construction. Work will take place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m until June 17. Traffic control consists of signs and a pilot vehicle. -30- Local Area Office: 902-625-4200 Fax: 902-625-1946last_img

Rafa thought of ending season after Indian Wells injury

first_imgParis: French Open champion Rafa Nadal has said he nearly ended his season after being forced to withdraw from the Indian Wells semi-finals with a knee injury in March but played through the pain at Roland Garros to clinch a record-extending 12th title. Nadal conceded a walkover to Roger Federer at Indian Wells and skipped the Miami Open before returning to the tour for the clay season, where he lost three semi-finals in a row before winning titles in Rome and Paris. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open”Mentally, after Indian Wells, I suffered a major downturn,” the Spaniard told the ATP’s website. “I considered shutting down my season to see if my body would recuperate instead of playing through injury after injury. “Another option was to press on and play through the pain. Either way, the outlook was bleak. It required a change of mindset… and that doesn’t happen overnight. I was reluctant and hesitant to return. Physically, because of another tendon tear in my knee, and on top of going through all the treatment required in the recovery process, there was dealing with the pain.” Also Read – Mandhana ruled out of South Africa ODI seriesThe 33-year-old said he had struggled to stay motivated because of the constant pain but had been determined to acquit himself well at Roland Garros. “Between the level of pain and just being sidelined, there came a time when I just felt tired of all of this,” he added. “I was sick of always being in pain. After Indian Wells, I took a moment to make sense of all of it… I promised myself that I would play through Roland Garros with the attitude and energy necessary to confront all obstacles in my way.” Nadal’s French Open victory put him two Grand Slam titles behind Federer’s all-time record of 20 and the Spaniard has announced his intention not to play again until Wimbledon, which begins on July 1.last_img read more

UK court sets Feb 20 timetable for Assange US extradition trial

first_imgLondon: A UK judge on Friday set a February 2020 timeline for the extradition trial of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, who faces charges of computer hacking and espionage in the US. At a Westminster Magistrates’ Court hearing in London, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot ruled that a full extradition hearing lasting five days should begin on February 25 next year, after UK home secretary Sajid Javid had certified the US extradition request. Assange, who appeared via videolink from the high-security Belmarsh prison for the hearing, told the judge that “175 years of my life is effectively at stake” as he defended his website against hacking claims. “WikiLeaks is nothing but a publisher,” he said. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’The barrister representing the 47-year-old Australian national described the charges against his client as raising a “multiplicity of profound issues” and told the court that his client will also be challenging his 50-week imprisonment for breach of his bail conditions in the UK. “We say it [the case] represents an outrageous and full-frontal assault on journalistic rights,” said Mark Summers. A large group of Assange supporters had gathered outside the courtroom to chant slogans and wave placards calling for “Justice for Assange”. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in ChinaOpening the proceedings, barrister Ben Brandon, representing the US authorities, said: “This [case] is related to one of the largest compromises of confidential information in the history of the United States.” He claimed that the US evidence will show that Assange “first encouraged” former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to illegally obtain documents and then agreed with her to “crack” a password on a Pentagon computer. “By taking steps to crack the password hash, it’s said that Mr Assange was also attempting to illegally obtain and receive classified information,” Brandon said. The documents in question were said to be related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and information on secret intelligence sources. “By publishing that unredacted material on the internet, Mr Assange created a grave and imminent risk that human intelligence sources, including journalists, human rights defenders and political activists, would suffer serious physical harm or arbitrary detention,” Brandon said. On Thursday, UK home secretary Javid confirmed that he had signed an order following a request from the US government to extradite the Wikileaks co-founder. “It is a decision ultimately for the courts, but there is a very important part of it for the home secretary and I want to see justice done at all times and we’ve got a legitimate extradition request, so I’ve signed it, but the final decision is now with the courts, the senior Pakistani-origin minister said. Assange, who faces an 18-count indictment by the US Justice Department, had been too ill to appear before the court at a scheduled hearing last month and appeared wearing a grey T-shirt and still sporting his white beard. Judge Arbuthnot, who presides over a number of high-profile Indian extradition requests including that of liquor baron Vijay Mallya and diamond merchant Nirav Modi, is also in charge of his extradition trial. Unlike the India-UK Extradition Treaty, the US-UK treaty involves a relatively simpler legal process for extradition as the requesting state does not require to establish an elaborate prima facie case against the accused before the British courts. The charges against Assange under the US Espionage Act accuse him of soliciting and publishing classified information and conspiring to hack into a government computer. Assange has consistently denied the allegations and his supporters have accused the US and UK governments of an attack on free speech. He is currently serving a 50-week sentence in Britain for breach of his bail conditions after he spent seven years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had sought asylum.last_img read more

Outgoing UN envoy encourages Somali leadership to build on recent gains

28 June 2010The outgoing United Nations envoy for Somalia has called on the country’s leaders to remain focused on the priorities ahead for the Horn of Africa nation as it seeks to overcome years of conflict and build peace. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, in a farewell letter to the Somali diaspora, thanked the leadership of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) with whom he has worked since taking up his post as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia and encouraged them to build on the progress already made. “I invite the current leadership to remain focused on essential priority tasks and to have a larger picture of the present and future of the country and their own regime rather than daily and short term priorities,” he wrote. He noted that peace will take time due to “important vested interests, local and also international,” including illegal trade, fishing, dumping of waste and piracy. “But a determined Government, accepted or tolerated by Somalis and supported by the international community, can make irreversible progress towards stability,” stated Mr. Ould-Abdallah, a national of Mauritania who helped facilitate the Djibouti Peace Agreement, on which current peace and reconciliation efforts in Somalia are based. He added that many countries genuinely want to help Somalia. “However, to be honest, Somalia’s public image in Africa and the Middle East has been badly damaged over the years by the overall behaviour of the leaderships (government and opposition) in Mogadishu. “A long, sustained effort is needed to reverse that negative perception,” he stressed.The Special Representative highlighted some of the progress made in recent years, including the one-and-a-half-year-old Government currently in place in a country that has been without a functioning central government for two decades.Progress has also been made with respect to the Constitution, of which a first draft will be presented by 1 July, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence, he added.Mr. Ould-Abdallah, who has served as the UN’s envoy for Somalia since September 2007, will be succeeded by Augustine Mahiga, who currently serves as Tanzania’s Ambassador to the UN in New York. read more

Live Events ordered to disclose all assets and earnings

Though the Directors of the Company had represented to the ticket holders by making a public statement admitting the companies serious breaches including serious lapses of security and agreed to compensate the ticket holders, none of the same has been effected yet according to Premathiratne. The District Court of Colombo in the case filed by Attorney at Law Nishan Premthiratne for damages for serious breaches at the recently concluded Enrique Concert, ordered Live Events Pvt Ltd to disclose all assets held by the Company and the total earnings made from the ticket sales from the ” Enrique Iglasius – Sex and Love” concert held in December 2015.Premathiratne and his wife have filed two separate cases seeking for damages on the serious failures which had been caused to them owing to the substandard concert organized by the Company. The managing Director or chairman or directors are required to provide answers within 10 days. The Directors of Live Events include include Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena. (Colombo Gazette) Premathiratne was represented by Presidents Counsel Kuvera de Zoysa, Attorneys at Law Amrit Rajapakse, Kushan Illangathilake , Niranjan de Silva, Nadun Wijesiriwardena, Yasith Hirimburegama and Janith Fernando instructed by Sanjay Fonseka. read more

Careless smoking deemed cause of deadly Oakville fire

Fire officials say careless smoking sparked a deadly fire in Oakville earlier this month. Emergency crews were called to an assisted-living facility at 259 Robinson St. around 6 p.m. on April 2.Gertrude Brown, 71, died in hospital after a fire broke out in her apartment.Oakville fire officials say the woman had been smoking while sitting in her wheelchair. It’s not clear if she fell asleep when the fire started. They say the sprinkler system in her apartment helped stop the fire from spreading to neighbouring units.

Child recruitment by armed groups in Central African Republic must end –

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today called on the Central African Republic (CAR) to immediately stop child recruitment by rebel groups and pro-government militias amidst reports of increasing use of this practice. “A number of rebel groups and various pro-government militias have become more active in recent weeks in the capital city of Bangui and across the country,” said the UNICEF Representative for CAR, Souleymane Diabate. “Reliable sources have informed us that children are newly being recruited among their ranks. These reports are of serious concern.” “Our team on the ground is working with partners to monitor, verify, and respond to grave violations of child rights, including recruitment into armed groups – those at greater risk are children who have lost their homes, are separated from their families or were formerly associated with armed groups,” Mr. Diabate added. According to UNICEF, even before the latest round of violence in CAR erupted in December last year, about 2,500 children – both girls and boys – were associated with multiple armed groups, including self-defence groups, in CAR. The UN agency estimates that this number will rise because of the recent conflict. Over the past weeks, widespread looting and violence occurred in the country as an alliance of rebel groups known as ‘Séléka’ attacked several towns in the northeast and threatened to march on Bangui. This week, the group reportedly halted their advance on the capital and agreed to start peace talks in Gabon. CAR has a history of political instability and recurring armed conflict. State authority is weak in many parts of the country, which are largely controlled by rebel groups and criminal armed groups, according to the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA). Coupled with ethnic tensions in the north, frequent armed incursions by rebel elements from neighbouring countries and the presence of members of the armed Ugandan group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), have added to insecurity and instability in CAR, which also has 170,000 people displaced internally. UNICEF said more than 300,000 children have already been affected by the violence in CAR and its consequences, including through recruitment, family separation, sexual violence, forced displacement and having limited access to education and health facilities. In particular, the agency is highly concerned about the involvement of youth under 18 years of age who may be forced to fight, carry supplies, perform other support roles and be abused as sex slaves by armed groups. “Recent commitments under international law by the Government and some rebel groups to keep children out of the fighting must be respected,” said Mr. Diabate. “All violations must stop. It is critical that everything is done to protect these children and keep their families safe.” UNICEF has worked in CAR since 2007 with both the Government and rebel factions to secure the release of more than 1,000 girls and boys from armed groups and self-defence groups and support their reintegration into families and communities. However, the volatile security situation has hampered the delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected communities and has led UNICEF to relocate 14 international staff and consultants last week. The agency has established an operational crisis centre for CAR in the city of Yaounde, Cameroon, where it said it will continue to work with partners to conduct emergency activities. In relation to the latest violence, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council have condemned the attacks involving ‘Seleka’ and called for a halt hostilities. They have also called on both the Government and the rebels to resolve the current crisis through dialogue, and to abide by the 2008 Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which was signed by the Government and the three main rebel groups and which helped bring an end to conflicts inside CAR. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in CAR (BINUCA), Margaret Vogt, has remained in close dialogue with the key parties and has offered support to political negotiations. read more

India UN experts urge release of prominent human rights defender after monthlong

“[Khurram Parvez’s] continued detention following his arrest just a few days before his participation in the UN Human Rights Council, suggests a deliberate attempt to obstruct his legitimate human rights activism,” the experts said in a news release issued today by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).According to the news release, On 14 September, while on his way to Geneva to attend the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council, Mr. Parvez was prevented from traveling out of India by airport authorities in the national capital, Delhi.He was then detained on 16 September under sections 107 and 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code, released on 20 September, and detained again the same day.The human rights defender remains in preventive detention, under the “highly controversial” Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, the release noted.According to the UN rights experts, Mr. Parvez, who is the coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCSS) as well as the chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), is a well-known and outspoken human rights defender with a longstanding and positive engagement with the UN human rights mechanisms.The news release further noted that the rights experts conveyed their concerns to the Government of India, but the official information received so far did not provide clear details on the exact nature of the charges against Mr. Parvez, which, the release said “seem to rely mainly on vague accusations of alleged ‘anti-India’ activities, aimed at disrupting the public order.”“We are concerned at the use of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act against Mr. Parvez, which permits administrative detention without judicial intervention for up to two years,” highlighted the experts, adding that they had “received allegations of this law often being arbitrarily applied to target human rights defenders.”They also noted alarm at the lack of clarity as to why Indian authorities deemed it necessary to address this case outside the country’s ordinary laws.The release added that on 13 October, a petition challenging Mr. Parvez’s detention under the Public Safety Act was listed before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, yet the case has only been listed for hearing until 25 October.“In a democratic society, the open criticism of Government is a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression of every person,” the experts stressed.“We are seriously concerned that the arrest of Mr. Parvez may represent a direct retaliation for his legitimate activities as a human rights defender and the exercise of his fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of expression and association”, they concluded.The UN human rights expressing concern in the statement included: UN Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances;Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders;Sètondji Adjovi, Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention;Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association;David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; read more

Column We need to help lone parents into work and away from

first_imgPAID WORK IS the best way out of poverty. As a result, while I have always championed the social welfare system as a safety net for those who need it, I equally believe it must be a spring board to work for those able to do so.That is why my Department will spend over €1 billion this year on work, training and educational schemes to help 85,000 people on the pathway back to work.The notion that the welfare system must be a springboard is especially true when it comes to lone parents.We will spend about €935 million this year on the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP). But research has demonstrated that, despite significant spending on OFP over the years, the results have been poor in terms of tackling poverty and social exclusion.Put simply, we have to help more lone parents into work and financial independence.One of the single biggest myths about welfare is that lone parents do not work. About 36 per cent of OFP recipients, for example, are in paid work of some sort. But the goal must be to increase that percentage and – over time – ensure lone parents can progress to full-time work.That is why I have announced details of a new scheme this week to help on this front.Jobseeker’s Transition is designed to allow former recipients of OFP, whose youngest child is under 14, to receive the full support of the Department’s activation services to help them return to work, training or education, while recognising the particular difficulties they may face, such as childcare and limited qualifications.The scheme needs to be seen in context with changes I previously announced.Under those changes, the age threshold of the youngest child for a parent to qualify for OFP is being reduced on a phased basis to 7 years of age between July 2013 and July 2015. It means that, after July 2015, OFP will no longer be paid to any recipient once their youngest child has reached 7.These changes are aimed at supporting lone parents into work and preventing long-term dependency on welfare.“We don’t yet have the type of childcare system we need in this country”But of course, it would be foolish to suggest that the parents in question could overnight return to full-time work.Seeking full-time work is not a reality for some lone parents, who, until their child is older, will only be able to work part-time. Although the Government is working on it, we don’t yet have the type of childcare system we need in this country.It is also the case that some lone parents may not have been in a position to complete their education or accumulate significant work experience, posing additional obstacles.This is where Jobseeker’s Transition comes in. Jobseeker’s Transition will be a targeted version of the Jobseeker’s Allowance scheme, which provides means-tested financial assistance and activation supports.Recipients of Jobseeker’s Transition will be required to engage fully with the Department’s activation process. For example, they will develop a personal development plan in conjunction with their case officer that will identify suitable education, training and employment programmes to enhance their skill sets and make them more job-ready.Crucially, however, those in receipt of Jobseeker’s Transition will be exempted for a transitional period from the full conditionality of the Jobseeker’s Allowance scheme, specifically the criteria that jobseekers must be available for and genuinely seeking full-time work.This will allow the lone parents in question to seek part-time work rather than full-time work if this better suits their family circumstances. They will also be able to access existing childcare supports to enable them to engage in education and training programmes. The transitional period will run until their youngest child reaches 14 years of age.Jobseeker’s Transition will be introduced as part of a Social Welfare Bill which will go before the Oireachtas next month.It will, I believe, be a compassionate, supportive and effective approach to helping lone parents transition to work and provide for their families’ long-term best interests.Joan Burton is the Minister for Social Protection and a Labour TD for Dublin Westlast_img read more

Vodafone adds signal booster and phone charging to an umbrella

first_imgVodafone UK has developed a new accessory for anyone who lives where it rains a lot, has a hard time getting a decent network signal, and would benefit from charging their phone on the go. It’s called the Vodafone Booster Brolly, and it promises to keep your phone connected and charged, and you dry even in the worst downpours.We are coming up to the festival season in the UK where thousands of people hope for lots of sunshine, but ultimately end up getting drenched in a field watching their favorite bands play. This same group of people, typically the teenage to late 20s crowd, is an important customer base for the likes of Vodafone and other network providers, so they want to keep them using their smartphones whenever possible.The Booster Brolly aims to do just that. It has been fitted with a high gain antenna that is hooked up to a low power signal repeater. What that does is make it easier to get a good signal while providing better coverage for anyone standing underneath or near to the umbrella.For charging, the umbrella carries a dock which you can place your phone in. This is connected via USB to an on-baord battery that gets its charge from 12 solar panels sewn into the umbrella’s canopy. In order to charge that battery you need a decent amount of sunlight, but then an umbrella also acts as a great sun shield so that shouldn’t be a problem. And if you phone is fully charged you can save the battery for when it gets dark and activate the integrated torch instead.The umbrella only weighs 800 grams with all this additional kit fitted, so it won’t be a major burden to anyone carrying it around. Now we just need to know if and when Vodafone is going to make the Booster Brolly available to purchase, and how much they expect us to pay for it.Read more at the Vodafone UK bloglast_img read more

Archdiocese seeks community help to expand cemetery

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia is urging Greek Australians to take action for the preservation and expansion of burial space at Botany Cemetery in the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park at Matraville. It is estimated that the cemetery will be filled to capacity within eight years, as spaces in Australian cemeteries are quickly diminishing. To combat this, the Trust at Botany Cemetery developed a proposal so that 60 per cent of suitable vacant land adjacent to the existing Botany Cemetery at Matraville, known as the ‘Market Garden site’, can be used for burial purposes. But earlier this year, the Randwick City Council released the Draft Randwick Local Environmental Plan 2012 (DLEP) which, if approved, will limit the amount of burial space in this part of Sydney and prohibit the ‘Market Garden Site’ from being used as a cemetery. His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos has written to the NSW State Government supporting the view that the ‘Market Garden Site’ be used for burial purposes, and stated his views were also supported by clergy of the Roman Catholic church and the Jewish faith. The Archdiocese fears that the approval of the Draft will inevitably lead to future burials taking place in cemeteries located west of Penrith or Katoomba due to lack of space. Due to this, the Archdiocese has launched a campaign – sending letters to Randwick Council in an effort of maintain the Botany Cemetery as close to Matraville as possible and ensure it has adequate burial space in the future. Members of the Greek community are being urged to express their opinion on the preservation and expansion of the cemetery by sending a letter to the Randwick Council. All action must be taken before Monday 2 April.last_img read more

Priests photo stirs debate

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram A photograph that was uploaded to the Neos Kosmos Facebook page on Wednesday 6 January has caused a stir among readers both Down Under and abroad. The image, taken earlier this week during the Greek Orthodox Epiphany Day celebrations in Rye, features Father Eleftherios Tatsis, from the Monastery of Panagia Kamariani in Red Hill, with four young women by his side. The priest, who has been conducting the blessing of the waters ceremony in the area for some 30 years, is dressed in his robes and accessorised with tinted sunglasses. What appears to have sparked part of the controversy, however, is that two of the young women are pictured baring their midriffs, perceived by some to be inappropriate and provocative. Anna Nouli appeared to be taken aback by the photo, commenting “selfies with the priest! Look at this disgrace!”.Terry Mplios from Melbourne also made his disapproval clear, proclaiming “look at the pagan in all his glory…I can’t see his other hand…”While Melburnian, Helen Pentaris labelled Father Eleftherios a “raunchy priest”, Petros Kalomoiris from Greece directed his comments at the priest himself with words of advice: “Father Eleftherios, a bit of dignity next year wouldn’t hurt.”But the real question that seems to arise at the centre of the debate, is not whether the image is appropriate, but rather how religious figures can remain relevant to the younger generation, particularly if they distance themselves from the realities of mainstream society.Sylvia Sirigos believes it is priests like Father Eleftherios that will keep the Greek Orthodox faith alive amongst younger churchgoers. “For those who find it offensive to see our priest just hanging with today’s generation, seriously there’s something wrong with you!” wrote Ms Sirigos.“Then we wonder why so many young people don’t go to church anymore! We want to encourage our youth to participate in our traditions, not shy them away with the minority … who have some nasty ideas.”A sentiment that emerges from many of the comments, is that what churchgoers seek from their religious leaders appears to have changed. A priest placed on a pedestal results in a figure who is felt to be unrelatable and hence unpopular, which is not the case with priests like Father Eleftherios. For Sydneysider, Sandra Zozokos the photo was refreshing, saying “it’s about time the priests start acting like normal people.”While John Ioannou PI from Balwyn North said “how wonderful it is to see our local priest with the youth of today. Thank God for a visionary priest.”last_img read more

Facebook veut vérifier lidentité de ses célébrités

first_imgFacebook veut vérifier l’identité de ses célébritésLes utilisateurs du réseau social qui utilisent un patronyme célèbre vont désormais devoir fournir des preuves de leur identité.Facebook ne veut plus voir son service pollué par des utilisateurs qui prennent le nom de célébrités et qui disposent souvent d’une longue liste d’amis. Selon Techcrunch, le réseau social a ainsi décidé de lancer une grande opération d’authentification des comptes qui ont le plus d’amis. Pour cela, il va contacter ces personnes afin de vérifier leur identité via la fourniture de documents officiels. Il leur proposera alors éventuellement de choisir d’un surnom à ajouter à leur profil.À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Ces comptes “authentifiés” seront ensuite mis en avant dans le moteur de recherche et dans la fonctionnalité “suggestion d’amis” que Facebook a lancé il y a quelques mois. Jusqu’à présent, les règles de Facebook faisait que même la chanteuse pop Lady Gaga par exemple était enregistrée comme Stefani Germanotta, son nom de naissance. De même, l’écrivain britannique Salman Rushdie s’était opposé au réseau social en novembre dernier car ce dernier voulait qu’il soit connu sur le site sous son premier prénom, Ahmed, plutôt que le deuxième, Salman.Pour autant, les comptes non vérifiés affichant des patronymes célèbres ne seront pas supprimés. Qu’ils soient vrais ou faux, ils seront juste moins exposés au plus grand nombre. Le tout pour inciter les célébrités à répondre aux demandes de Facebook… Le 17 février 2012 à 15:50 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

ATT buying Time Warner for 854 billion

first_imgNEW YORK  — Grab some popcorn — AT&T wants to take you to the movies.AT&T is buying Time Warner, the owner of the Warner Bros. movie studio as well as HBO and CNN, for $85.4 billion in a deal that could shake up the media landscape. The acquisition would combine a telecom giant that owns a leading cellphone business, DirecTV and internet service with the company behind some of the world’s most popular entertainment, including “Game of Thrones,” ‘’The Big Bang Theory” and professional basketball. It would be the latest in a scramble of tie-ups between the owners of digital distribution networks — think cable and phone companies — and entertainment and news providers, all aimed at shoring up businesses upended by the internet.The deal would make Time Warner the target of the two largest media-company acquisitions on record, according to Dealogic. The highest was AOL’s disastrous $94 billion acquisition of Time Warner at the end of the dot-com boom.Regulators would have to sign off on the deal, no certain thing. The prospect of another media giant on the horizon has already drawn fire on the campaign trail. Speaking in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Donald Trump vowed to kill it if elected because it concentrates too much “power in the hands of too few.”last_img read more