BJP using money power to win elections, says MamataBJP using money power to win elections, says Mamata

first_imgAlipurduar/Jalpaiguri: Coming down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for criticising the Trinamool Congress-led Bengal government over its ‘involvement’ in the tainted Saradha and Narada scams, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee called Modi the “pied piper of thieves and corrupt people.””Just as the whole city had run after the pied piper, the thieves and corrupt people run after the fake chowkidar who gives them shelter and protection,” she said, adding: “the fake chowkidar addressed the rally today after sharing the dais with a person involved in the chit fund scam.” Banerjee was addressing a rally at Alipurduar on Sunday. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsWhile addressing another election meeting at Jalpaiguri late on Sunday afternoon, she said: “BJP does not play any constructive role and its sole business is to incite the people of the Hills against those living in the plains.” Banerjee said BJP has no chance of coming back to power in Delhi. “It will lose the elections in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha and Bengal. It will do badly in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh as well. Come May 23 and you will see how people will reject the party that survives on riot, loot and murder,” the Trinamool supremo said. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayBanerjee alleged that the saffron party was spending “cash” to win the elections. “They are giving Rs 1,000 to people to attend their meeting and Rs 5,000 to cast vote in their favour. They have looted people’s money in the name of note ban and are now spending the money to win the elections. They have set up a five-star party office in Delhi by looting people,” she maintained, adding: “They think by changing some senior police officers they will get more votes. But in reality, the more they change police officers, the lesser their votes will be.” Criticising Modi for not opening closed tea gardens, she said: “The chaiwala had promised to open the closed tea gardens before the 2016 Assembly polls. Now there is no chai, milk or sugar and he has transformed into a fake chowkidar.” In Jalpaiguri, Banerjee gave a list of achievements of the Bengal government. “Kanyashree has helped 60 lakh girls, while one crore students have been benefitted by Sabuj Sathi. The state government has spent Rs 700 crore to pay crop insurance of the farmers. But BJP is jealous of Bengal and is not giving clearance to change the name of the state, which was passed in the state Assembly unanimously.” “When there was trouble in Darjeeling or Jangalmahal, Modi did not come to see the situation and now he has come to incite the people there,” she added. The Trinamool supremo reiterated that if voted to power, BJP will change the Indian Constitution. “In the name of NRC, BJP is harassing people. The names of 22 lakh Hindus and 20 lakh Muslims had been dropped from the NRC in Assam,” she said, adding that the Bengal government will never introduce NRC. She urged people to ensure BJP’s defeat in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, saying: “The quicker BJP is ousted, the better it will be for the nation.” She called on the young voters in both the constituencies to vote for Trinamool Congress candidates.last_img read more

Rain & strong winds lash city, S Bengal districtsRain & strong winds lash city, S Bengal districts

first_imgKolkata: Rain accompanied with strong wind lashed several parts of South Bengal districts, including the city, on Tuesday evening.The traffic in some areas of the city was affected due to the strong wind and rainfall. The Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore predicted thundershower along with strong wind in various North Bengal districts in the next 48 hours. According to the weather office prediction, various South Bengal districts are also likely to receive light to moderate rainfall in the next two days. Gusty wind accompanied with rainfall may lash some South Bengal districts during the evening on Wednesday and Thursday because of the cyclonic circulation. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaSanjib Bandyopadhyay, the deputy director general of Regional Meteorological Centre, said there would be occasional thunderstorm and lightning in various parts of the state in April and May because of the Nor’wester. The temperature in South Bengal districts is expected to remain normal in the two months. The temperatures may fluctuate due to rain particularly in the evening. There is a possibility of rainfall in some Western districts of Bengal in the next 48 hours. Strong wind with a speed of 45-55 km per hour may hit the South Bengal. The intensity of the wind may be slight higher in the Western districts such Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum and West Midnapore. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayAccording to a weather expert, the thunderstorm will occur due to impact of the Nor’wester, which is blowing in north-west direction. Similar weather conditions will prevail in North Bengal districts, which may get more rainfall than the South Bengal districts. A cyclonic circulation is witnessed over Bengal, Jharkhand and parts of Odisha. The districts such as Nadia, North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, Hooghly, Howrah, East Midnapore and the city may also receive light rainfall and experience breeze. While, the districts such as Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Kalimpong, Malda, North and South Dinajpur will receive heavy rainfall accompanied with thunderstorm. It may be mentioned here that a gusty wind accompanied by rain swept many parts of the city, including districts in South Bengal in the evening of April 5 and 6. Trees were uprooted at many places in the city because of strong winds. Six full-grown trees toppled in Southern Avenue, Prince Anwar Shah Road, Baroj Road, Fairlie Place, Kalighat Road and AJC Bose Road areas. Train services in various sections of Howrah Division were delayed due to heavy storm and rain.last_img read more

A bit surprised at Pant’s omission, says GavaskarA bit surprised at Pant’s omission, says Gavaskar

first_imgNew Delhi: Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar Monday said he is surprised at young glovesman Rishabh Pant’s exclusion from India’s World Cup squad given his “exceptionally” good batting form and “great” improvement in wicket-keeping skills. The 33-year-old Dinesh Karthik pipped Pant in the fight for the second wicketkeeper’s slot in India’s 15-strong squad for the World Cup, starting May 30 in England. Gavaskar said the move is surprising but backed Karthik as a better wicketkeeper. “A bit surprised, looking at his (Pant’s) form. He was batting exceptionally well, not only in the IPL but before that also. He was showing great improvement his wicket-keeping as well. He brings that left-handed option in the top-six which is very handy against the bowlers,” gavaskar told ‘India Today’. “The bowlers have to change their line (for a left-hander) and the captains have to do a lot of field arrangements. Pant has so far scored 245 runs in the ongoing IPL, compared to Karthik’s 111. Karthik was chosen over Pant despite an indifferent IPL campaign with the Kolkata Knight Riders. Gavaskar said there was some merit in the move. “On a morning when say, MSD (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) has a flu and can’t play, you want somebody who is a better wicket-keeper. I think Karthik’s wicket-keeping skills, more than anything, have won him this place,” Gavaskar said. Gavaskar said Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who made it to the squad for his “three-dimensional qualities”, will be a very useful player for the team. “He is a cricketer who has improved over the last one year. He has grown in confidence. Shankar is a very useful cricketer. He is a very very good batsman, handy bowler, and an outstanding fielder,” the batting great explained. Former Indian batsman Aakash Chopra said Pant’s elevation to the top tier of the central contracts had him believe that the youngster would make India’s World Cup squad. “Wasn’t Pant elevated to the top tier of the Central Contracts a few weeks back?? Not a certainty in two of the three formats,” Chopra wrote on his twitter page. “India has picked Shankar as #4 option. Without really knowing if it’ll work. DK will play only when Dhoni isn’t available. And no fourth seamer. Interesting choices. Hope it works. Good luck #CWC.” Former India medium-pacer R P Singh and star of India’s 2007 World T20 triumph said he hoped that the decision to pick experience over youth works in the team’s favour at the mega-event. “Clearly they’ve chosen experience and patience in the form of @DineshKarthik. Middle order will be very interesting to see @klrahul11/@DineshKarthik could be at number 4. Rest seems sorted with @JadhavKedar and @msdhoni at number 5/6,” Singh tweeted.last_img read more

Loud explosion, gunfire rock downtown Kabul in attack near ministryLoud explosion, gunfire rock downtown Kabul in attack near ministry

first_imgKabul: A loud explosion and follow-up gunfire were heard in an ongoing assault near the Afghan communication ministry in central Kabul on Saturday, officials said. The attack occurred a day after talks fell apart between the Taliban and Afghan representatives. No one claimed immediate responsibility and there was no immediate word on casualties. “The information that we have is four attackers have placed themselves near the communication ministry and are engaged in gun battles with the Afghan security forces,” Amanduddin Shariati, a security official in Kabul told AFP. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said an explosion was heard near the communication ministry around 11:40 am (0710 GMT), followed by sporadic gunfire. Local television footage showed a small plume of smoke near the ministry, and people climbing out the windows on a lower level. Intermittent firing could still be heard more one hour after the blast, and the area had been cordoned off by security forces. The communication ministry is located in downtown Kabul, about two kilometres (1.25 miles) from the green zone. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls It is the city’s main commercial area and has several large hotels. The communication ministry itself is an 18-storey building, thought to be the tallest building in Kabul. The explosion comes a week after the Taliban announced their annual spring offensive and amid ongoing fighting across Afghanistan. The Afghan branch of the Islamic State group has also previously carried out multiple deadly attacks in Kabul. The capital has in recent weeks enjoyed a period of relative calm, after a horrific year last year in which it saw a string of attacks including a massive bomb that was concealed in an ambulance and killed more than 100 people. This week in the Qatari capital Doha, a summit planned between the Taliban and officials from across Afghanistan fell apart at the last minute due to bickering over who should attend the conference. The collapse comes at a critical time and amid continued bloodshed in Afghanistan, where the Taliban now control or influence about half of Afghanistan and 3,804 civilians were killed there last year, according to a UN tally. Taliban officials are separately negotiating with the United States, which wants to forge a peace deal with the militants. (AFP)last_img read more

For second time in less than a year, portion of Hero Chowk flyover caves inFor second time in less than a year, portion of Hero Chowk flyover caves in

first_imgGurugram: In less than a year for the second time, the portion of Hero Chowk flyover which has been made operational just one- and a half years ago caved in.Earlier in June 2018, the part of recently built flyover at the Delhi-Jaipur highway came out all of a sudden six months before it was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Haryana. The situation had resulted in the heavy traffic jam for the office goers in the morning that continued for more than six hours. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesIt is estimated that more than eighty thousand vehicles use the flyover daily for going to Udyog Vihar-6, Manesar and Jaipur. There are also a large number of commercial vehicles that use the flyover for the transportation of goods. To prevent the widening of the cracks the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has closed the portion for traffic coming from the Jaipur side so that the maintenance works can be undertaken. Meanwhile, the officials have filled up cracks temporarily so that the vehicles can move along the route. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarThe state of art of flyover was completed that was built at an approximate cost of Rs 200 crore. The construction of the flyover had brought in a lot of laurels for the engineers, contractors and the public officials as it was completed well before its deadline. The flyover was a plan of revamping the Delhi-Jaipur highway where the NHAI and the Haryana government has invested Rs 1,400 crores in recent years to build various flyovers and underpasses along the busy route. Controversies began to emanate soon after the commuters started using the flyover as there were reports of materials coming out on various occasions. This is not for the first time when issues of construction flaws have been raised in various underpasses and flyovers that have come up at the Delhi-Jaipur expressway. Earlier concerns were raised of the widening gap at the IFFCO Chowk flyover. The matter was however resolved after a senior NHAI official public issued a statement that there was no matter of concern and the flyover was safe for usage. Public agencies in Gurugram however faced immense criticism after the roof of underpasses at Rajiv Chowk and Signature towers collapsed during a dust storm in April 2018.last_img read more

Tabu wants to collaborate with Akiv Ali againTabu wants to collaborate with Akiv Ali again

first_imgMumbai: Actress Tabu is impressed with director Akiv Ali, and says she would love to work with him again. Ali is making his directorial debut with rom-com “De De Pyaar De”. “Akiv is literally the most fun-loving, sweet and chilled out person. He has no airs about himself. He is totally opposite of how any director or a commanding director would come across,” Tabu said in a statement. “Apart from all the fun, he knows how the work needs to be done and what exactly he is looking for in every scene,” she added. “De De Pyaar De”, also starring Ajay Devgn and Rakul Preet, is written and co-produced by Luv Ranjan. It tells a story of how a 50-year-old falls for a girl much younger than him, and what happens when she meets his former wife. Tabu said it helped to have a director with a clear vision. “If ever I had questions and doubts in my mind, Akiv would answer them in a very clear cut-to-cut way and that speaks a lot about a director. You get the surety that the film is in great hands and the director’s vision is very clear. Akiv is so nice and extremely affectionate, I wish him all the love, luck and success in life. “I would love to work with him again in the future and hoping for him to be a successful director,” she added. “De De Pyaar De” is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Luv Ranjan and Ankur Garg. It is slated to release on May 17.last_img read more

Monsoon may hit Kerala three days after normal onset dateMonsoon may hit Kerala three days after normal onset date

first_imgNew Delhi: Monsoon is likely to arrive in Kerala on June 4, three days after its normal onset date, marking the official commencement of the rainy season in the country, private weather forecaster Skymet said Tuesday.The normal onset date for monsoon over Kerala is June 1. Skymet said monsoon will be “below normal” in the country with a Long Period Average (LPA) of 93 per cent and an error margin of five per cent. “Arrival of monsoon over Andaman and Nicobar Islands will be on May 22, with an error margin of plus/minus 2 days. Southwest Monsoon 2019 is likely to make onset over Kerala on June 4, with an error margin of plus/minus 2 days. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework”It seems that initial advancement of monsoon over peninsular India is going to be slow,” Skymet CEO Jatin Singh said. “All the four regions are going to witness lesser than normal rainfall, this season. Rainfall in East and Northeast India and central parts will be poorer than Northwest India and South Peninsula,” Singh said. According to Skymet, there are 55 per cent chances of a below-normal rainfall, which will have an influence of El Nino, a phenomenon linked to the heating of Pacific waters. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygenEast and Northeast India will get 92 per cent of the LPA which falls under the below normal category. The risk remains high for Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, while it will be marginal for Northeast India, Skymet said. Northwest India that comprises all north Indian states will receive 96 per cent rainfall of the LPA, which falls on the borderline of normal and below normal rainfall category. Hilly states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are likely to perform better than the plains of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi- NCR, the Skymet said. Central India is likely to receive rainfall of 91 per cent of the LPA. Rainfall in Vidarbha, Marathwada, west Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat will be “poorer than normal”.last_img read more

Hunger striking Al Jazeera journalist in Cairo speaksHunger striking Al Jazeera journalist in Cairo speaks

By Kevin Kriedemann – LondonFootage has emerged for the first time of Al Jazeera’s hunger striking journalist Abdullah Elshamy.The reporter is currently effectively missing, after being abruptly moved from his cell by the Egyptian authorities on Monday morning. His whereabouts since then have still not been ascertained. Al Jazeera is extremely concerned about his wellbeing, especially given the duration of his hunger strike, which began on 21 January 2014. Looking frail and emaciated, with sunken eyes, in a video he recorded before he went missing, Elshamy reiterated that he was jailed simply for doing his job. He says in the video:“My name is Abdullah Elshamy, I’m Al Jazeera Arabic’s news reporter. I have been detained since 14 August 2013 in Cairo while I was covering the dispersal of Rabaa al Adawiya sit-in. I was doing my job as a reporter and despite the authorities knowing this, I have been detained for 266 days without any charge and without committing any crime.”“I record this video after I have reached 106 days of my hunger strike to hold the Egyptian government, the Egyptian judiciary and the General Prosecutor responsible. If anything ever happens to me, I have requested several medical checkups from independent sources and yet this help has not been provided. I also haven’t had any medical care here inside the prison and this is a record for the history and for the sake of documenting my state and thus if anything happens to me, whatever it is, either my health fails totally, or anything happens to my safety, I hold the Egyptian regime responsible for that.”An appeal against Elshamy’s latest 45 day detention will be heard in court today. Elshamy is being held along with around 700 people who were arrested at the same time on 14 August last year. Al Jazeera says his case should be treated separately as he is a journalist.Also today, Al Jazeera English’s three journalists will have the eighth hearing of their trial.Al Jazeera spokesperson Osama Saeed said, “Abdullah needs urgent independent medical attention. The authorities should grant this and reveal where they are holding him. The best thing of all they can do is release him and end this nine-month ordeal. Abdullah is a journalist and journalism is not a crime.” read more

A Corrupt Moroccan Real Estate System That Needs FixingA Corrupt Moroccan Real Estate System That Needs Fixing

Marrakech – A study conducted by the site mubawab.ma, together with the real estate agency 8th Avenue, highlights what everybody who has any dealings with the Moroccan real estate market already knows: something is rotten in the real estate of Morocco. The study points to activities in the Moroccan real estate industry which involve sole operators, agencies, and developers. Professional conduct and expertise are lacking throughout the industry. Amateurs pretending to be real estate professionals often waste client’s time and are often fraudsters. There is no proper code of conduct and information on banking and financial procedures in the acquisition of property are not clear or are misinterpreted. It is frequently the case that sums of money which are not declared to the tax authorities are demanded as part of the sale. Purchasers of property are therefore stuck in a situation where they can lose money when they come to sell their property.In addition, there are bogus agents acting without a proper license who add additional costs to property purchases and rentals, and necessary information is often not communicated to the purchaser. The situation is sometimes worsened by lawyers who do not protect their client’s rights. The study by Mubawab reveals that there is a lack of professionalism and regulations governing real estate agencies. This is made worse by informal actors such as notaries, banks and even the concierge’s of buildings and apartments who compete against each other. On the other side, purchasers and owners often do their utmost to avoid paying commissions.Inefficient and slow bureaucracy and legal inefficiency prevent registration of title and the acquisition of necessary information to conduct transactions. Similar problems also affect developers, the study by Mubawab notes. The respected magazine Telquel has also reviewed the state of the Moroccan real estate sector in its latest issue and come to the same conclusions. Telquel interviewed Mohamed Nabil Benaballah, Minister for Urban Development, who acknowledged that the controls on the sector are insufficient and promised action on widespread fraudulent practices by developers.Unsurprisingly, the result has been a property sales slump, especially in Marrakech where many properties languish unsold or unfinished. It is not just a question of the financial crisis, international purchasers and investors have lost confidence in the whole system for property purchases in Morocco because of endemic corruption and bad practices in the real estate sector as a whole. The only solution is a complete clean up of the real estate sector with proper controls on the legal system, the banks and all who work in the property sector.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

France: Muslim Man Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison for Fighting…France: Muslim Man Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison for Fighting…

Rabat – Muslims in France are guilty of everything until proven otherwise. At least that’s what the facts on the ground are suggesting nowadays. Since the attacks on the Paris offices of satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo last month, the Muslim community in France has endured persecution, judgment and discrimination, and sometimes for the silliest of reasons.An Al Jazeera network correspondent was apparently right when he said that tough times are awaiting Muslims in France in the wake of the attacks that claimed the lives of twelve people and left many others wounded.After a small flag bearing the Islamic declaration of faith landed a French-Moroccan in prison in the French city of Lille, here is another case that proves that France has gone into a collective state of hysteria and Islamophobia since the terrorist attacks. Sami, a 20-year-old Muslim man, has been sentenced to 3 years in prison after a fight with another man. He was a Jewish man.In the French Val-d’Oise region, Sami had an argument with the Jewish man that quickly escalated into a fight. The man decided to press charges against Sami. Sami was later accused of carrying out an anti-Semitic attack, but he insisted that it was only a fight, nothing else.According to his family, when Sami appeared before the court, the judge mentioned the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the hostage situation at a Jewish store. The judge reportedly said that he wished to ‘strike hard’ to condemn anti-Semitism and the incitement of hatred.Sami’s family continues to deny the anti-Semitism accusations. According to media reports, many Jewish friends of young Sami were willing to testify on his behalf to prove the falsehood of the accusation, but none of them had the right to speak.The family also launched a petition “Free imprisoned Sami, victim of Islamophobia.” They want to plead his case to the European Court of Human Rights.“Thousands of fights take place every day in neighborhoods between young people and yet very few of them are rarely convicted,” they said in the petition. They added, “What difference is there between this case and the others, so fast and so “unjustly” fixed?” read more

Germany: Moroccan National Arrested Over Links To The Islamic StateGermany: Moroccan National Arrested Over Links To The Islamic State

Rabat – A Moroccan man who fled Spain last month has been detained by German police over suspected links to the so-called terror group the Islamic State, AFP reported.The Moroccan national, who lives in Spain, was detained on Tuesday in Stuttgart in southwestern Germany, the Spanish Interior ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.The Moroccan was “very active on social networking sites, playing the role of recruiter by touting the benefits of joining ISIS fighters,” the ministry said. In early July, he had expressed his intention to fight alongside ISIS extremists in Syria and invite his followers on social networks to join him. A Spanish court had issued a warrant for his arrest.He escaped police raids on the island of Lanzarote on Spain’s Canary Islands, in which a woman was arrested on suspicion of recruiting young women and teenagers for travel to Syria.The Spanish government said at least 116 Spaniards have left the country to join extremist groups in the Middle East.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more

Grains mostly higher, Livestock mixedGrains mostly higher, Livestock mixed

CHICAGO — Grain futures were mostly higher Friday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade.Wheat for Mar. delivery was off 1.40 cents at $5.17 a bushel; Mar. corn was up .60 cent at $3.79 a bushel; Mar. oats rose 3.20 cents at $2.8640 a bushel; while Mar. soybeans gained 1.60 cents at 9.2660 a bushel.Beef was mixed and pork was lower on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.Feb. live cattle was off .95 cent at $1.2540 a pound; Feb. feeder cattle rose .38 cent at $1.4270 a pound; Mar. lean hogs fell 1.18 cents at .5622 a pound.The Associated Press read more

King Mohammed VI and Pope Francis Sign ‘Al-Quds Call’King Mohammed VI and Pope Francis Sign ‘Al-Quds Call’

Rabat – King Mohammed VI and Pope Francis signed, Saturday at the Throne room of the Rabat Royal Palace, the “Al-Quds Call,” aimed at promoting and enhancing the specific multi-faith character, spiritual dimension and special identity of the holy city.Here follows the full text of this Call, read out in Arabic by secretary general of the Higher Council of Ulema, Mohamed Yessef, and in Italian by Edgar Pena Parra, substitute at Vatican’s secretariat of State.“Call by His Majesty King Mohammed VI and His Holiness Pope Francis concerning Jerusalem / Al-Quds a Holy City and a Meeting Place On the occasion of the Holy Father’s visit to the Kingdom of Morocco, Pope Francis and King Mohammed VI, recognizing the uniqueness and the sacred character of Jerusalem  (Al-Quds Al-Sharif), and caring deeply about its spiritual significance, as well as its special vocation as a city of Peace, issued this joint Call:“We believe it is important to preserve the Holy City of Jerusalem (Al-Quds Al-Sharif) as a shared heritage of humankind and to safeguard it, above all for the believers of the three monotheistic religions, as a symbol of peaceful coexistence and as a meeting place where mutual esteem and dialogue are fostered.To this end, the specific multi-faith character, spiritual dimension and special identity of Jerusalem (Al-Quds Al-Sharif) need to be preserved and enhanced.We therefore hope that, in the Holy City, the followers of the three monotheistic religions will be guaranteed free access to religious sites, as well as the right to practice their faith there, so that from Jerusalem (Al-Quds Acharif), the believers may address a prayer to God, the Creator of all beings, for a future of peace and brotherhood on earth.”The ceremony was attended by head of government, Saad Dine El Otmani, the King’s advisors, Omar Azziman, Fouad Ali El Himma and André Azoulay, the minister of the Interior, the minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs and members of the delegation accompanying the Supreme pontiff. read more

Most actively traded companies on the TSXMost actively traded companies on the TSX

The Canadian Press Some of the most active companies traded Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (16,502.20, down 13.26 points).Prometic Life Sciences. Inc. (TSX:PLI). Health care. Down half a cent, or 7.69 per cent, to six cents on 11.4 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Up 45 cents, or 3.96 per cent, to $11.82 on 9.6 million shares.Village Farms International Inc. (TSX:VFF). Consumer discretionary. Down $1.85, or 10.86 per cent, to $15.18 on 8.9 million shares.Crescent Point Energy Corp. (TSX:CPG). Energy. Down 23 cents, or 4.08 per cent, to $5.41 on 7.9 million shares.Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX). Materials. Down 51 cents, or 2.79 per cent, to $17.74 on 7.3 million shares.Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Up seven cents, or 2.66 per cent, to $2.70 on 5.9 million shares.Companies reporting:Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED). Up $1.15, or 2.1 per cent, to $55.55. Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton is expecting a “growth quarter” ahead and foresees the cannabis company will generate $1 billion in revenue during its next financial year. The Ontario licensed producer has ramped up the pace of its packaging and shipping processes and anticipates sales growth to accelerate by the final quarter of the calendar year as the number of legal retailers grows and edibles hit the market. Meanwhile, its venture capital arm, Canopy Rivers, acquired an 18.4 per cent stake in cosmetics company High Beauty Inc. for US$2.5 million and Spain-based cannabis licensed producer Canamo y Fibras Naturales, S.L. , also known as Cafina.SNC-Lavalin Inc. (TSX:SNC). Up 43 cents, or 1.25 per cent, to $34.75. An SNC-Lavalin joint venture has secured a contract valued at more than $1 billion to decommission three nuclear reactors at a power plant in New York. Comprehensive Decommissioning International LLC, owned 40 per cent by SNC-Lavalin and Holtec International, will start work to decommission the Indian Point site in Buchanan, N.Y., after it has been shut down, defuelled and sold in the third quarter of 2021. Entergy Corp. has agreed to sell the subsidiaries that own the three Indian Point units to a Holtec International subsidiary, subject to regulatory approvals. Holtec would complete the site’s decommissioning decades sooner than if Entergy continued to own the plant.Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Bombardier’s CEO says the continuation of its regional jet program hinges on whether the company can fill up the CRJ’s partly blank order book. The plain-and-train-maker’s backlog of 54 CRJ 900 planes extends only through the end of next year, according to Bombardier. Once a cash cow for the Montreal-based company, the CRJ now loses money, Alain Bellemare has said. For the past five years Embraer SA’s E175 narrow-body aircraft has dominated the U.S. market, where the majority of regional jets are sold. read more

Streaming service Spotify hits 100 million paid user markStreaming service Spotify hits 100 million paid user mark

COPENHAGEN — Music streaming service Spotify says its paying subscribers have reached 100 million for the first time, up 32% on the year and almost twice the latest figures for Apple Music.The Stockholm-based company called the figure, which was reached during the first three months of 2019, “an important milestone.” The growth was driven, among other things, by “a better-than-planned promotion in the U.S. and Canada.”Spotify said Monday it had reached “the high end of our guidance range of 97-100 million.”By comparison, archrival Apple Music had about 50 million paying subscribers at the end of 2018, the latest available figures. Apple is expected to release new figures with its earnings report on Tuesday.The Associated Press read more

US industrial production rose in May, but factories struggleUS industrial production rose in May, but factories struggle

WASHINGTON — U.S. industrial production improved in May, but manufacturers showed weakness despite eking out a slight gain.The Federal Reserve says industrial output, which includes factories, utilities and mines, rose 0.4% in May, after tumbling 0.4% in April.Manufacturing output increased just 0.2% last month, not enough to overcome declines in prior months. Factory production is down 1.5% since the end of 2018, an indication of the potential damage from the import taxes the Trump administration has placed on China. During the first quarter of this year, motor vehicle production plunged 14.9%. Furniture output fell 5.8%. Clothing production has dropped 22.6%.Production at the nation’s utilities rose 2.1%. Production at mines, a sector that also covers oil and gas drilling, advanced a modest 0.1%.Josh Boak, The Associated Press read more

UNs Iraq envoy warns against danger of further conflicts in regionUNs Iraq envoy warns against danger of further conflicts in region

15 March 2007The senior United Nations envoy to Iraq today pledged the world body’s continued support for the war-torn country, especially through dialogue with its neighbours, while warning of the danger that would be posed by any additional conflicts in the already volatile region. “The United Nations is determined to encourage the neighbouring States to develop a sustained and constructive dialogue to minimize the prospect of Iraq’s tragedy being exacerbated by the wider problems of the region,” Ashraf Qazi told the Security Council in an open meeting that saw the participation of over a dozen speakers.“This needs to be encouraged by the wider international community,” he added. “All concerned should do their utmost to ensure that further conflict in the region is avoided lest this sets up a dynamic that spirals out of control.”Mr. Qazi, who has been in talks with leaders across the region, said he had been “repeatedly struck” by calls from them and Iraqi officials for greater UN involvement. “The Government and people of Iraq deserve the best the UN can offer in terms of facilitating reconciliation, as well as refugee, human rights and humanitarian protection processes,” he said.Reporting on recent developments, the envoy said the new security plan for Baghdad had produced mixed results; the number of violent incidents and unidentified tortured bodies had decreased, but “there is a widespread belief that the problems posed by militias are in temporary abeyance” while mass casualty attacks continue.Mr. Qazi noted that re-establishing security requires political progress, and called for the Government “to accord the highest priority to bringing about genuine political reconciliation among the diverse peoples of Iraq without which no security, political or economic process will bring lasting stability to the country.”Looking to the meeting scheduled for tomorrow in New York on the International Compact for Iraq (ICI), a five-year plan for the country’s advancement, Mr. Qazi voiced hope that participants would “agree on tangible steps that would result in the official launch of the initiative, thereby setting in motion a national, regional and international process to assist the Government of Iraq in fulfilling its obligations to its people.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking to reporters earlier today, also said the meeting should spur progress. “By holding this Compact tomorrow morning, we hope that this will give, first of all, a substantially and politically important message to the Iraqi people, so that they will be encouraged to do their own to bring peace and security to their country, and also to give a strong message that the international community is behind them to support their noble efforts,” he said.Also addressing the Council today, Iraq’s Vice President, Adel Abd Al-Mahdi, said the Baghdad security plan was “based on respect for legality” and envisaged having Iraqi security forces to take over the security dossier by the end of this year.“However we do not wish to be overly optimistic; at the same time, we believe that a number of positive results have already been achieved,” he said. read more

Basketball star Yao Ming slamdunks for UN effort to end HIV stigmaBasketball star Yao Ming slamdunks for UN effort to end HIV stigma

19 April 2007The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is partnering with basketball star Yao Ming, Chinese actor Pu Cunxin, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the non-governmental organization (NGO) Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center to minimize the stigma attached to those living with HIV/AIDS in China. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is partnering with basketball star Yao Ming, Chinese actor Pu Cunxin, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the non-governmental organization (NGO) Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center to minimize the stigma attached to those living with HIV/AIDS in China.The groundbreaking campaign aims to reduce the stigma associated with the disease and also targets the inclusion of family members, neighbours, co-workers and friends living with HIV/AIDS into our lives.A new poster shows Mr. Yao and Mr. Pu together with young people from AIDS-impacted communities, with the message, “We have the same feelings, the same dreams, the same life. HIV/AIDS will not affect our friendship. We are friends!”Over 200,000 of these posters, which were designed by people living with HIV, university students and NGOs, will be distributed nationwide, including in maternal health centres and community clinics. The posters will also be translated into three minority languages, Tibetan, Uygur and Jinbo (Yunnan), and will be distributed in ethnic minority areas such as schools and festival events.“We trust this campaign will help disseminate our common stand for positive action, care and full integration of people living with HIV and AIDS in our global society,” said Alessandra Tisot, UNDP’s Senior Deputy Resident Representative in China.The new campaign – in collaboration with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Chinese Government organizations and NGOs – also developed educational materials such as discussion guides and mini-documentaries.It also draws on a previous effort to dispel misconceptions about the spread of HIV/AIDS, including a poster campaign featuring Mr. Yao and legendary NBA player Magic Johnson.“Important partnerships like these give the NBA an opportunity to use the international power of our brand and the celebrity of our players to have a direct impact on the critical issues facing communities all over the world,” said NBA Senior Vice President Kathy Behrens.In another development, a new report on HIV/AIDS by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paints a mixed picture of progress in reaching the global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as they relate to the disease. It cites progress on providing universal access to treatment, but warns that “far greater action will be required to fulfil international commitments on AIDS.”An estimated $10 billion – an increase over the $8.9 billion available in 2006 – will be available for HIV-related programmes in low- and middle-income countries in 2007, but this is just slightly more than half of what is needed. “With the passage of the epidemic’s first 25 years, it has become clearer than ever that the global response must move from an emergency footing to a longer-term effort that lays the groundwork for sustainable progress,” writes Mr. Ban. read more

Attacks targeting schools and educational staff on the rise – UN reportAttacks targeting schools and educational staff on the rise – UN report

27 April 2007Deliberate political or military violence targeting education systems, from the assassination or abduction of teachers and students to the bombings and burnings of schools and universities, has jumped dramatically in a number of countries around the world, according to a United Nations report released today. The report from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) found that the perpetrators of most attacks committed them with impunity and there was limited if any systematic monitoring of incidents against schools or people connected to them.It recommended the introduction of urgent measures to deter further attacks, including by giving extra resources to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring more education-related cases to trial.Education under attack concluded that it was not clear yet whether the recent rise in targeted attacks on students, educational staff and institutions reflected a disturbing new trend or merely the fluctuating levels of conflict around the world.The situation is worst in Iraq, where only 30 per cent of the country’s 3.5 million pupils attend classes now, down from 75 per cent a year ago. At least 3,000 academics have fled the country – partly in response to the killing of 280 of their colleagues since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 – and Baghdad’s universities say that attendance there has slumped by two thirds.But violent attacks are also preventing pupils from attending school or university in other countries, especially Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand.The nature of the attacks varies widely, from the abduction of thousands of children to work as child soldiers to the multiple bomb blasts that have killed dozens of students at schools in Iraq.Launching the report today at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura urged national authorities and the international community to stand united against such attacks.“Education is one of the pillars of development, prosperity and peace,” Mr. Matsuura said. “It is a human right. We must do our utmost to defend and ensure the security of those who are working in this vital area.”The report calls for stepped-up action worldwide to end impunity for attacks and the need for wider application of human rights instruments to protect students and teachers who face attacks.It is dedicated to the memory of Safia Ama Jan, who UNESCO lauds as “a champion of efforts to get Afghan girls into school, who was shot and killed outside her home in Kandahar in September, 2006.” read more

More than 10000 people receive UN food rations in wake of HurricaneMore than 10000 people receive UN food rations in wake of Hurricane

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is providing emergency daily rations to more than 10,000 people in Jamaica and Belize as they try to rebuild their lives in the wake of Hurricane Dean’s deadly and destructive sweep through the region earlier this month. For the next two weeks, some 5,500 Jamaicans will receive a 450-kilocalorie ration each day of high-energy biscuits, while another 5,000 people in Belize will receive a daily ration for the next two months consisting of pulses, vegetable oil and the biscuits. WFP said it is paying for the rations, which are expected to cost about $256,000, from its Immediate Response Account, a special revolving fund it can draw on in the immediate aftermath of emergencies when contributions from donors have not yet arrived. Carlo Scaramella, who is managing WFP’s response to the hurricane in Belize, said the rations represent “a key first step” for people whose livelihoods have been destroyed or drastically reduced by the hurricane damage. “While Hurricane Dean may have vanished from the front pages of the newspapers, the reality of its destructive power remains for thousands of very poor people who must begin to put their lives back together,” Mr. Scaramella said. Media reports estimate that at least 40 people were killed across the Caribbean and Central America as Hurricane Dean crossed the region earlier this month, leaving a trail of damage to key infrastructure. WFP said in a press release issued today from Panama City that it was able to respond quickly to the disaster because of preparations it took before the storm ensure that supplies could flow swiftly from its storage centres in El Salvador and Barbados to those affected. The Programme’s Deputy Regional Director Gordana Jerger said the speed of the response will prove even more critical in the years ahead, “given that the region faces a future of weather-related disasters whose intensity and number may well increase.” 30 August 2007The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is providing emergency daily rations to more than 10,000 people in Jamaica and Belize as they try to rebuild their lives in the wake of Hurricane Dean’s deadly and destructive sweep through the region earlier this month. read more