2 PDP ministers quit after Cabinet rejig

first_imgJammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is grappling with turmoil in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after two ministers resigned following a Cabinet reshuffle.Syed Basharat Bukhari, a three-time MLA from north Kashmir’s Sangrama constituency, resigned immediately after Ms. Mufti moved him to the Horticulture Ministry from his earlier portfolio as Minister for State for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation. Mr. Bukhari termed the new assignment as “hurting his self-esteem”.According to sources close to Mr Bukhari, who had written to the Chief Minister three weeks ago over sensitive issues pertaining to State land, the PDP leader had developed differences with Ms. Mufti.In his resignation letter on Friday, Mr. Bukhari has referred to the earlier communication and expressed his displeasure for “being sidelined for his stand on the issues”.Another PDP minister Imran Reza Ansari also resigned, with sources saying he was unhappy with the portfolio of Information Technology, Technical Education and Youth Services & Sports. PDP sources said Ms. Mufti was yet to forward the resignation letters to the Raj Bhawan.“There are issues within every party. This too will be resolved. They (the resigned members) are party colleagues,” State Education Minister Altaf Bukhari told The Hindu.PDP general secretary Sartaj Madni refused to comment on the issue saying, “The PDP is doing fine.”Following Mr Bukhari’s resignation, Ms. Mufti hinted at keeping the horticulture portfolio to herself. Speaking at a function in Srinagar, she said, “This [horticulture] is a very important ministry and I am very serious at developing the State’s horticulture sector.”Last year, PDP Member Parliament Tariq Hameed Karra, who represented Srinagar, resigned from the party after unrest in the Valley.Sinha team calls for talks to resolve J&K situationA Delhi team, headed by former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, on Saturday called upon the government for an “immediate dialogue with stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir to resolve the political problem”.Mr. Sinha-led team, which visited the Valley during the summer uprising in 2016, has expressed “deep concerns over the deteriorating situation in the Kashmir valley”.“The loss of lives in the recent incidents was unnecessary and avoidable. The issue of Jammu and Kashmir demands a political solution. This can be achieved only through talks with all the stakeholders,” a statement issued by the Delhi team said.It expressed dismay at the “complete reluctance of those in authority to engage in a dialogue”. The team was able to break the ice with separatists after they refused to meet the all-party delegation, headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the first week of September, 2016. It has come up with two reports on Kashmir’s ground situation.last_img read more


first_imgMirpur, Mar 4 (PTI) Statistical highlights of the Mirpur, Mar 4 (PTI) Statistical highlights of the twenty20 match of the Asia Cup cricket tournament between India and UAE here. # Bhuvneshwar Kumar has recorded his best bowling figures overseas in T20Is – his third best – the best ever are 3 for 9 vs Pakistan at Bangalore on December 25, 2012.# Bhuvneshwar has delivered 2 maiden overs during his excellent figures of 4-2-8-2 and became the third Indian bowler after Harbhajan Singh (vs England at Colombo (RPS) on September 23, 2012) and Jasprit Bumrah (vs Pakistan at Dhaka on February 27, 2016) to achieve the distinction in T20Is.# Bhuvneshwar has recorded an economy rate of 2.00, equalling an Indian record in a four-over spell in T20Is. Ravichandran Ashwin had figures of 4-1-8-4 (eco.rate 2.00) vs Sri Lanka at Visakhapatnam on February 14, 2016. # India have won seven successive matches overseas in T20Is between January 26, 2016 and March 3, 2016, equalling their best sequence in overseas matches. They had recorded seven wins away from home between September 30, 2012 and April 4, 2014. # UAE (81/9) have recorded their second lowest score in T20Is – the lowest being 73 off 16.4 vs Netherlands at ICCA Dubai on February 3, 2016. The said total is the second lowest by any team without being dismissed while facing 20 overs. West Indies had totalled 79 for seven vs Zimbabwe at Port of Spain on February 28, 2010. # In the mandatory powerplay, UAE have scored 21 for the loss of two wickets – the joint-lowest by any team against India in T20Is. Zimbabwe had totalled 21 for the loss of two wickets at Harare on June 13, 2010. # Harbhajan Singh has recorded an Economy rate of 2.75 during his superb bowling figures of 4-1-11-1 vs UAE – his career-best in T20Is, surpassing the 3.00 vs England (4-2-12-4) at Colombo (RPS) on September 23, 2012. # Yuvraj has become the fourth Indian player to represent in 50 or more matches in T20Is, joining Mahendra Singh Dhoni (62), Suresh Raina (56) and Rohit Sharma (54).advertisement# Shaiman Anwar (43) has recorded his second highest score against a Test-playing country in T20Is next only to the 46 vs Pakistan at Dhaka on Feb.29, 2016. # Anwars highest score in T20Is is 54 vs Oman at Abu Dhabi on November 22, 2015.# Rohit Sharma has received his fourth Man of the Match award in T20Is.His first three awards were against South Africa (twice) and Bangladesh. # Rohit, with 137 runs at an average of 34.25 in four matches, is the leading run-getter for India in the present tournament. PTI Cor ATK ATKlast_img read more

Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen signs new three-year deal

first_imgTottenham Hotspur’s Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen has signed a new contract that runs until 2019, the Premier League club announced on Friday.Vertonghen, who has played 179 games for Spurs since joining in 2012, was in commanding form alongside compatriot Toby Alderweireld at the heart of a defence that conceded just 35 league goals last season. (Also read: Chelsea end unbeaten Tottenham’s start, stay top of league)”We are delighted to announce that Jan Vertonghen has signed a new contract with the Club, which will run until 2019,” Spurs said on their website.The 29-year-old Vertonghen, who has made 17 appearances this season, joins Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Kyle Walker, Christian Eriksen and Danny Rose in committing his long-term future to the north London club in recent months.Fifth-placed Tottenham, seven points off top spot after 13 games, host second-bottom Swansea City on Saturday having lost their unbeaten league record at Chelsea last weekend.last_img read more

Mets Beat Cubs, Smell Series

first_imgCHICAGO — Daniel Murphy is a contact hitter known for shaky fielding and occasionally getting lost on the bases.This playoff impersonation of Babe Ruth, Roberto Alomar and Derek Jeter all rolled into one, he can’t explain it. Nor can his manager.“Question is, who is this guy?” skipper Terry Collins said.Murphy homered in his record-tying fifth straight postseason game, Jacob deGrom pitched seven strong innings and the New York Mets beat the Chicago Cubs 5-2 the night of Oct. 20 for a 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.“I’ve watched a lot of baseball over the years, I don’t think I’ve seen anybody put on this kind of a show on this stage like he has so far,” Collins said. “I mean, even the guys in the dugout, they’re baseball guys, too, and they’re saying the same thing.”A cluster of New York fans gathered in the rain behind their team’s dugout after the final out and chanted “Let’s go, Mets!” And with a win Oct. 21 at Wrigley Field, the Mets will be going to their first World Series in 15 years.Rookie Steven Matz gets the start for New York in Game 4 while Jason Hammel goes for the Cubs.Murphy tied the homer mark set by Houston’s Carlos Beltran in 2004 with his drive off Kyle Hendricks in the third.Murphy’s home run was his sixth of the postseason in his 30th at-bat —he’s hit just 62 in 3,354 at-bats in the regular season. The free agent-to-be second baseman also is making sharp plays in the field and showing heads-up, aggressive instincts running the bases.“I wish I could explain it,” said Murphy, who hit a career-high 14 homers in the regular season. “I would have done it like six years ago. I can’t explain it.”After going 0-7 against the Cubs during the regular season, New York is overpowering them with their arms and bats.Yoenis Cespedes and David Wright each had three hits for the Mets. Cespedes scored the go-ahead run on a two-out wild pitch by Trevor Cahill on a strikeout of Michael Conforto in the sixth inning.DeGrom followed up dominant starts by Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard in New York with one of his own. The NL Rookie of the Year held the Cubs’ big bats to just two runs and four hits. He struck out seven, walked one and retired his final 11 batters.The righty with the flowing hair improved to 3-0 in his first postseason, with all of the wins coming on the road. Jeurys Familia closed for his fifth save of the postseason.Kyle Schwarber had the towel-waving crowd shaking 101-year old Wrigley Field to its foundation in the first inning with his club-record fifth homer of the postseason.Jorge Soler also had them roaring with his solo drive in the fourth. But Manager Joe Maddon’s Cubs have just five runs in this series.Barring an epic comeback, a World Series drought that dates to 1908 will continue. Only one other team has won a playoff series after dropping the first three games.Theo Epstein’s Red Sox came back against the New York Yankees in the 2004 AL Championship Series and ultimately ended one long championship curse.Now, the team he constructed in Chicago, that stirred the imaginations of long-suffering fans, finds itself in a similar spot.“Of course you think about those things, you think about the parallels, think about the fact that that happened against a New York team,” said Maddon, whose team posted the majors’ third best record and came into this series on a 12-1 tear. “We think about all that stuff, but it’s up to us to go out and play and execute.”Cespedes broke a 2-all tie after he led off the sixth with a single against Cahill. He stole third and scored with two out as Conforto swung at a 2-2 pitch in the dirt. The ball rolled to the backstop, allowing the runner to reach first and extending the inning.Conforto was forced to stay at third when Wilmer Flores’ drive rolled to the ivy in right field was called a ground-rule double. That drew a heated argument from Collins, who came back out to protest some more after he returned to the dugout.The Mets added two more runs in the seventh to make it 5-2.Hendricks went four innings for Chicago, allowing two runs and five hits. “This is not the spot where we want to be, but we’re here and we’ve got to face it,” Schwarber said.Never before had the Cubs played this late on the calendar at Wrigley Field, and the place was rocking when Schwarber tied it at 1 with his solo homer to left-center in the first.It wasn’t quite as impressive as the shot he hit to the top of the right-field videoboard that helped knock out St. Louis in Game 4 of the NLDS. That ball got encased by the Cubs where it settled.Still, Schwarber broke the franchise record set by Alex Gonzalez and Aramis Ramirez in 2003.Murphy made it 2-1 in the third with his drive to center off Hendricks. Besides tying Beltran’s record, he also set a Mets mark with his sixth postseason homer.(ANDREW SELIGMAN, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Bielsa agent confirms talks with Leeds

first_imgLeeds United Bielsa agent confirms Leeds talks following Heckingbottom sacking Tom Maston & Jamie Smith Last updated 1 year ago 15:06 6/2/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Marcelo Bielsa Lille Getty Images Leeds United Premier League Championship The former Argentina boss has emerged as the surprise frontrunner to become the fourth manager at Elland Road in just over a year Marcelo Bielsa’s shock appointment as Leeds United’s next manager seems to be moving closer following confirmation from his agent that talks had been held.The Elland Road outfit are looking for their fourth manager in just over a year following the decision to sack Paul Heckingbottom on Friday.Former Argentina, Chile and Marseille manager Bielsa has emerged as a surprise frontrunner to take over the Championship club as they look to return to the Premier League for the first time since relegation in 2003. Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now And while the likes of Michael Laudrup and Claudio Ranieri have also been linked with the now vacant post, Bielsa’s agent and brother, Rafael, has confirmed that he is in conversation regarding his client’s future.”Conversations are in progress,” he told the Yorkshire Evening Post when asked about reports that Bielsa was in pole position to take the role.Heckingbottom’s tenure was ended after just four months and 16 matches in charge of the club since being plucked from Barnsley to replace Thomas Christiansen in February.He was only able to muster four wins durng his time in charge as the former European Cup finalists ended the season 13th in the Championship table.And managing director Angus Kinnear confirmed that the club is now looking for a more experienced head to lead the team into the 2018-19 campaign.Paul Heckingbottom Leeds United“Paul came to us during a difficult period in the season and has conducted himself in an exemplary manner despite results not going as any of us had hoped,” Kinnear said in a club statement.”Our objective is to bring in a head coach with more experience who can help us reach the goals we have talked about since we became custodians of the club last summer. We are confident of making a quick appointment and we thank our fans for their continued support.”Leeds have endured a difficult 2018, having to give up on plans to introduce a new badge after a poor response from fans, while the club was criticised for embarking on a post-season tour of Myanmar .last_img read more

10 months agoAC Milan striker Cutrone: Higuain great influence for me

first_imgAC Milan striker Cutrone: Higuain great influence for meby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAC Milan striker Patrick Cutrone says working with Gonzalo Higuain is crucial for his development.Higuain is on-loan at Milan from Juventus this season.“Definitely having, for example, Higuain with you helps a lot,” Cutrone told Tuttomercatoweb.“I always watch him in training, I try to learn some things and improve every day.“I thank [Gennaro] Gattuso and his staff, I’ll try to improve even more.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

The Friday news briefing An ataglance survey of some top stories

first_imgHighlights from the news file for Friday, June 9———BIBEAU VOWS TO FIGHT FOR MORE FUNDING FOR FEMINIST AID POLICY: International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says she will keep lobbying in cabinet meetings for increased foreign aid funding. She says the government’s new feminist development policy announced Friday is a necessary step toward that. The plan makes no new spending commitments, but does reallocate $150 million of the existing aid budget to women’s organizations in 30 countries over the next five years.———TRUMP ACCUSES COMEY OF BEING UNTRUTHFUL: U.S. President Donald Trump says he’s “100 per cent” willing to testify under oath about his interactions with fired FBI director James Comey. Trump insists that Comey lied in some parts of the testimony he gave Thursday to the Senate intelligence committee. Comey testified under oath. Trump says that he never asked Comey for a pledge of loyalty and never told Comey he hoped the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn would go away.———MNUCHIN MEETS FEDERAL CABINET: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin discussed a number of topics when he met Friday with members of the Trudeau cabinet in Ottawa. They discussed trade, taxes and infrastructure. It was Mnuchin’s fifth meeting with Canadian counterpart Finance Minister Bill Morneau since the former hedge-fund manager was sworn in a few months ago. Several other cabinet ministers joined Morneau at Friday’s meeting, including Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.———CANADA TO KEEP TALKING WITH THE U.S. ON CLIMATE CHANGE: Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says Canada will keep up a dialogue with the Trump administration despite its move to pull out of the Paris accord. McKenna is off to Italy on Sunday for a G7 ministerial meeting where she hopes to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt. McKenna says beyond climate change there are also joint discussions to be had regarding clean water, air pollution, the Great Lakes and renewable energy innovations, all of which require Canada to maintain the lines of communication with Washington.———COSBY MAY TESTIFY AT HIS TRIAL: Bill Cosby’s spokesman is dangling the possibility that the 79-year-old comedian may testify at his sexual assault trial after all. Andrew Wyatt told reporters during a lunch break on Friday that Cosby’s team was still evaluating whether to have him take the stand. Cosby said before the trial that he wouldn’t testify, but Wyatt said that could change now that the prosecution has wrapped up its case. Wyatt says Cosby was listening closely as accuser, Canadian Andrea Constand, testified this week, and that he’s confident his lawyers will show they were in a consensual, romantic relationship.———CANADIAN FIGHTING EXTRADITION TO BE HELD IN CUSTODY: A Canadian facing charges in a massive hack of Yahoo emails will remain behind bars while he fights extradition to the U.S. Karim Baratov’s lawyers say the Ontario’s appeal court rejected their client’s bid to challenge a lower court’s decision. A superior court judge ruled in April that Baratov was too much of a flight risk to be released. The U.S. has indicted Baratov and three others for computer hacking, economic espionage and other crimes.———GOVERNMENT UNVEILS MILITARY SUPPORT UNIT: The federal government is moving to set up a special unit to support members of the military suffering from physical and psychological injuries as they prepare to return to civilian life. Treasury Board President Scott Brison announced Friday in Halifax that the unit will eventually include 400 specialized staff and 800 personnel “whose only mission will be to heal” from their physical and psychological injuries, including PTSD. Nova Scotia was the scene Jan. 3 of a tragic murder suicide where former soldier Lionel Desmond — who was being treated for mental illness — fatally shot his wife, daughter and mother.———MAY SPEAKS ABOUT ELECTION SETBACK: British Prime Minister Theresa May has acknowledged her sadness at the loss of her majority in the general election. In a statement to broadcasters on Friday, a visibly exhausted May said that she obviously “wanted a different result” in Thursday’s vote and that she is “sorry for all those colleagues who lost their seats who didn’t deserve to lose.” May said she’ll reflect on what happened. With 649 of 650 seats in the House of Commons declared, May’s bruised Conservatives had 318 — short of the 326 they needed for an outright majority and well down from the 330 seats they had before the vote.———TENS OF THOUSANDS OF NEW JOBS CREATED IN CANADA: Statistics Canada says there was a surge in full-time positions last month as hiring rose in key areas like the private sector, manufacturing and full-time work. Overall, the country registered a net gain of 54,400 jobs in May. But the overall jobless rate edged up to 6.6 per cent, a rise of 0.1 of a percentage point, as more people entered the job market in search of work.———COP RAP WINS ONLINE PLAUDITS: A Toronto-area police officer did an impromptu rap performance that has gained quite a following online. York Regional police Const. Amy Oliver was working a paid-duty security shift at a car show on Thursday when she stepped up to the mic. The rap includes rhymes about coffee and donuts, being called a pig, arresting drug dealers and being willing to put her life on the line. By Friday afternoon, a video of the performance posted on Instagram had 26,000 views.———last_img read more

Jon Stewart Introduces His First Sanctuary Residents In New Video

first_imgIn an adorable new video starring Jon Stewart, his wife Tracey, and family, narrated by Emily Deschanel, the national farm animal protection organization Farm Sanctuary introduces the world to Anna and Maybelle, the very first residents of their upcoming New Jersey branch (slated to open spring 2017 at the Stewart’s farm).Be prepared to fall in love with these adorable piglets who were rescued on a highway after falling off a transfer truck, and then adopted by Jon and Tracey after they fell in love with them on a family trip to Farm Sanctuary’s New York Shelter in Watkins Glen.The video is part of the launch of The Daily Squeal with Tracey Stewart website, where the Stewarts will share the “many triumphs, challenges, and laughs along the way” as they prepare to open the New Jersey location of Farm Sanctuary. In the first of a series of bi-weekly blog posts, Tracey shares a list of Anna and Maybelle’s “firsts” in celebration of their one year rescue-versary, and after seeing all the fun and moving moments (many captured on video!), it’s no wonder they made Time’s “100 Most Influential Animals of the Year.”You can also check out the Daily Squeal on Facebook.last_img read more

Moroccans Pessimistic about the Future HCP Statistics

Casablanca- The alarming statistics revealed by the High Commission for Planning (HCP) last week on the rate of unemployment in Morocco have incited Moroccans’ pessimism about the future of employment in the kingdom.Nearly 114,000 Moroccans have joined the camp of jobless citizens and around 10,000 jobs were lost, according to the HCP. A report recently revealed by the same institution has shown Moroccans’ impressions of this rise in unemployment rate.The bulk of Moroccan families have pessimistic speculations for the future of employment in the country. More than 77 percent of Moroccan families now predict that the unemployment rate will rise further in the next 12 months, compared to 75 percent last quarter. Based on HCP’s statistics, Moroccans have also expressed an increasing pessimism toward the development of living conditions in the kingdom. Compared to 2013, Moroccans are 6.4 percent less optimistic about the development of living standards in Morocco.Moroccans’ negative view about the future is also clear in their predictions for the development of financial conditions. Only 57 percent of Moroccan families say that their incomes entirely cover their expenses, whereas more than 37 percent say that they mostly spend their incomes and eventually have to borrow money to cover their expenses. Only 5.8 percent of Moroccan families say they are able to save a portion of their incomes.As for the purchasing of durable goods, the majority of Moroccans (54 percent) said that current financial conditions did not allow them to purchase durable goods, whereas 22.4 percent said they could.Former governmental decisions to raise the prices of some vital goods possibly played a part in amplifying Moroccans’ pessimism about the development of living standards in the kingdom. More than 90 percent of Moroccan families said the price of vital products increased significantly.Edited by Liz Yaslik read more

Spain 4 arrests in Venezuelan money laundering probe

MADRID — Spanish police say they have arrested four people as part of a judicial probe into a money laundering racket allegedly involving funds coming from Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA.Police have confirmed Spanish media reports to The Associated Press that the four detainees are also facing charges of corruption in international monetary transactions and the falsification of documents, in addition to money laundering.The arrests took place on Monday when Spanish police say they raided eight locations.The investigation is being ordered by an investigative judge in Madrid.The Associated Press read more

UN soldier injured as crowd attacks peacekeepers in Côte dIvoire

28 December 2010A large crowd today attacked a three-vehicle convoy of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Côte d’Ivoire in the commercial capital of Abidjan, slashing one soldier with a machete and setting one of the vehicles on fire. The attack happened in the Yopougon neighbourhood of Abidjan when the convoy carrying 22 soldiers of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) was on its way from the country’s interior.Calm was restored after the intervention of the defence and security forces chief of staff, General Philippe Mangou, UNOCI said in a statement.“UNOCI vigorously condemns this attack and reiterates its determination to pursue its work in the service of the Ivorian people,” the statement added.The UN envoy in Côte d’Ivoire, meanwhile, met with the presidents of three West African States who are in the country to deliver a message from regional leaders urging Laurent Gbagbo to hand over power to the winner of the presidential election, Alassane Ouattara.Y. J. Choi, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire, briefed presidents Yayi Boni of Benin, Pedro Pires of Cape Verde and Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone on the electoral process in which Mr. Ouattara emerged as the winner. Mr. Gbagbo, the outgoing president, has refused to step down insisting that he was the victor of the run-off poll held on 28 November.The three presidents are in Côte d’Ivoire to deliver a messaged from leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), who met in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Friday and recognized Mr. Ouattara as the duly elected president, while demanding that Mr. Gbagbo relinquish power.At the ECOWAS summit in Abuja, the leaders envisaged a possible military intervention to restore constitutional order in Côte d’Ivoire.The UN and the wider international community have also recognized Mr. Ouattara as the rightful president of Côte d’Ivoire.In a related development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today convened a video conference with UNOCI’s leadership and Alain Le Roy, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, who is visiting the West African country, focusing on the post-electoral crisis.Mr. Le Roy arrived in Abidjan yesterday and met with Mr. Ouattara and other officials. He told a news conference that his request to meet with Mr. Gbagbo was not acknowledged by the outgoing president’s office.He is in Côte d’Ivoire primarily to show support for UNOCI at a time when it is working with limited resources to address the difficult political situation facing the country. The mission is also confronted with a population and political leaders “who are partially hostile to its presence,” Mr. Le Roy said.Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency today reported that Ivorian refugees continue to flee into eastern Liberia’s Nimba County.Staff of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and local authorities have recorded a total of 15,120 refugees from western Cote d’Ivoire, and there are reports that another 4,000 people have arrived, the agency said.The majority of the refugees are women and children, with 62 per cent of them listed as being under the age of 18. The refugees told UNHCR that they fled because they fear that the political deadlock could lead to civil war.The influx is straining the resources of the host communities amid limited supplies of clean water, shelter and food. UNHCR teams are distributing emergency aid across nearly 20 villages.Cote read more

Sierra Leone UN Government finalizing plans for war crimes tribunal

On Monday, UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Hans Corell and the UN planning team paid a courtesy call on President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah for discussions on the Special Court, which would try those charged with war crimes during the country’s bloody civil war. In welcoming the team, President Kabbah said that its visit was “timely,” and expressed the wish that the Court would help bring “sustainable peace in Sierra Leone.” The President also voiced his appreciation for the commitment the international community had demonstrated through the establishment of the Special Court, expressing his conviction that “the UN will help Sierra Leone accept the rule of law.” Mr. Corell later met with tribal heads at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to outline the modalities for the operation of the Court. He emphasized the role of traditional leaders, noting that “people seek guidance from their life wisdom,” and appealed to them to “draw from other African experiences and to instil the importance of accountability through the rule of law.” In the afternoon, the planning team held a joint plenary meeting with the Government Task Force to discuss practical issues such as premises, prosecutions and investigations. The planning team is currently identifying potential sites for temporary premises. Some members of the team, led by Kenneth Fleming, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, also met with the Sierra Leone Police to discuss practical policing needs. read more

UN development report calls for cultural freedom to become a basic human

The authors of the Human Development Report 2004 argue that countries which do not respect and even promote cultural freedoms not only lose out socially, but also struggle to reap any sustainable benefits from economic globalization.The Report calls for nations with multi-ethnic or religious populations to establish “asymmetric” federalist structures to allow different groups to maintain both their own identity and a sense of belonging to the nation as a whole.Citing Belgium, Malaysia, South Africa and Canada as working examples, it says granting some rights and powers to different groups or regions can defuse or avert conflicts and tensions.The focus of this year’s Report – which has examined and measured human development by broad social, political and economic criteria since 1990 – is the value of population diversity after several decades of large-scale international migration.In the Report’s foreword, UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown says “allowing people full cultural expression is an important development end in itself.”Nations with rich, diverse cultures, Mr. Malloch Brown adds, are able to make swifter economic and social progress, especially in an era when mass culture is being exported around the world in films, television, books and popular music.He says that while there is no template that will work for every country, it is critical that, as a starting point, minorities have their rights guaranteed in a constitution or in legislation.”But unless the political culture also changes – unless citizens come to think, feel and act in ways that genuinely accommodate the needs and aspirations of others – real change will not happen,” he cautions.The Report debunks a number of myths about diversity, including the idea that a person’s ethnic identity has to compete with their attachment to the State.”Countries do not have to choose between national unity and cultural diversity. Individuals can and do have multiple, complementary identities – ethnicity, language, religion and race, as well as citizenship. Identity is not a zero-sum game.”Outlining the concept of asymmetric federalism, the Report says some provinces or regions enjoy different powers to others because of their individual history or identity – this could include language rights, religious protections or regional parliaments. But all the regions and provinces still fall under a national, unified structure.Mr. Malloch Brown says the solution is to create institutions and policies that encourage pride in national identity and symbols, as well as pride in regional or ethnic/religious backgrounds. read more

Afghanistan UN warns that funding shortfall could hamper September elections

“We urge donor governments to reaffirm their commitment to the September elections by acting to address this problem as rapidly as possible,” UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) spokesman Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Kabul, the capital, of the polls aimed at cementing the transition from decades of war.“If these funds do not become available very shortly it will hamper essential preparatory work such as voter education, the establishment of thousands of polling facilities and the hiring of over 140,000 polling staff. The consequence could include a postponement of the election and the loss of a huge investment made in the election this year,” he added.In answering questions, Mr. Edwards stressed that UNAMA expects the elections to go ahead and urged those who are providing funds to come forward quickly, noting that pledges and commitments to honour the full amount of $149 million have not yet been fully received. “I think we need to make clear that our expectation is that the elections will go ahead and preparations are fully underway for that,” he said. “The reason I’ve mentioned our concerns about funding is that this is a problem that can be fixed relatively easily. Not all the problems that Afghanistan is facing after so many years of conflict are [so simple to fix].“Clearly when you are giving power to the people of Afghanistan to freely choose their parliamentary and provincial council representatives, this is a complex process. And we don’t anticipate a perfect election. After so many years of conflict, this is a sad reality,” he added.“But we do believe that the Afghan people want these elections. We believe they want them now. We believe the environment is adequate for elections that the Afghan people can trust in, and which can produce credible results.”Pressed on what would happen if the $31 million was not forthcoming, Mr. Edwards re-emphasized that UNAMA expected the election to go ahead and again urged donors and the international community to come forward very quickly.“Our expectation is that the election will go ahead on schedule – we need the money though,” he concluded. read more

Former China City Building Demolished as Local Business Aims to Expand

Price City’s Main Street was a flurry of activity on Wednesday as the former China City building was demolished to make room for the expansion of a local business.According to Nick Tatton, Price City Community Director, the building was in “shambles” and had been “unsafe” for some time. Transients had also been using the building, creating a liability.The removal of the unsafe building began on Wednesday morning as crews worked to dismantle the building. The vacant lot will be put to good use, though.According to Frank Peczuh, Peczuh Printing plans to utilize the property in the future to expand its current location, which resides mainly on the other side of the block on 100 South. Peczuh said that there is no firm timeline for when the expansion will take place, but plans are in the works. read more

Going In Usain Bolt Runs Fastest 200 Meters This

Usain Bolt ran the 200 meters at the 2013 Areva Diamond League meet in Paris and despite hitting his fastest time this year, Bolt wasn’t pleased with himself.The Jamaican sprinter said his efforts were at about 70 percent after running the fastest 200 meters of the season Saturday with a time of 19.73 seconds.“I think I could have run the last 50 after the turn much better,” Bolt said. “I didn’t come in the straight as powerful as I used to. The last 30 meters, I was kind of, I won’t say struggling, but my technique wasn’t perfect.”Bolt slashed 0.01 second off the previous best time this year, set by American sprinter Tyson Gay at the U.S. trials last month. Gay appears to be Bolt’s only threat in the 100- and 200-meter race.Bolt will compete next in the 100 and 4×100 relay in London on July 26-27. That will be his final major races before the world championship, which begins August 10. read more

We Checked 50 Years Of Sports History To Find The Team That

8Point differential 4True shooting percentage and free throw rate* vs. avg. SportWeightCategory 62013 Arizona Diamondbacks0.7861999 Green Bay Packers1.03 11MINMLB-0.29-0.29+0.05-0.514.32 MLB10 PTSWinning percentage 13WSNMLB-0.09+0.50+0.21+0.644.56 *In addition to categories shown here, the weighted sum of the squares includes sport-specific categories not listed in the table.Source: Sports-Reference.com 92001 Toronto Blue Jays0.8691970 San Diego Chargers1.15 6Points per game* vs. avg. Pittsburgh wasn’t always this nondescript, of course. As of a few years ago, they’d been quite good — making the playoffs3Assuming you count the wild-card game as “the playoffs.” in three straight years from 2013 to 2015 — and before that, they’d been extremely bad, missing the postseason for 20 straight years. Obviously, neither of those performances will land you anywhere near our list of the most average teams. But Pittsburgh has turned in some faultlessly pedestrian play recently, with a string of near-.500 seasons that culminated in this year’s middling masterpiece.For fans seeking long-term mediocrity, the Philadelphia Flyers might be a good option, having finished with between 39 and 42 wins in four of their last five seasons. (And in the one season they didn’t, they still racked up points for a league-leading 18 overtime losses, which could easily have turned into ties — aka the best possible outcome for fans of .500 play — under the NHL’s old standings system.) According to our algorithm, no team in major pro sports has been more consistently mediocre over the past five seasons than the Flyers, although they narrowly edged out the NBA’s Washington Wizards — another great pick if you want to watch dependably so-so basketball.In the long run, the Pirates still have a ways to go to catch the Flyers and Wizards, not to mention the Tampa Bay Rays (MLB’s current five-year kings of the commonplace). But for one magical season, Pittsburgh has been home to one of the most fiercely undistinguished teams in pro sports history. TeamSportWin PCT.Scoring Diff.Scoring Off.Scoring Def.Sum of Sq. Z-scores* 62005 Cleveland Cavaliers1.3361979 Los Angeles Kings0.70 The old MLB single-season record holder for mediocrity — who could reclaim their crown, I suppose, if the Pirates play too well or too poorly over the next month — were the 1923 Brooklyn Robins,2Because that’s what the Dodgers were called back then. whose record and number of runs scored and allowed were impeccably ordinary. But the Robins’ OBP was a little outside the norm, and that might prove to be their downfall against a team as relentlessly humdrum as this year’s Pirates. Pittsburgh’s only real historical competition could be the NHL’s 1976 Vancouver Canucks (who went 33-32 with 15 ties, scoring just one less goal than they allowed) and the NFL’s 1984 Cincinnati Bengals. With an 8-8 record and precisely identical numbers for points scored and allowed (339), those Bengals were the 2007 Patriots of garden-variety football. Pittsburgh needs to bear down and really focus on being as unremarkable as possible if it has any hope of catching the Bengals.Here are the most average teams in each sport since 1971, when the NBA began tracking opponent statistics (which allows us to calculate our detailed numbers for all four leagues): 6SEANFL+0.31+0.34+0.28+0.353.36 NHL10Points percentage 1PITMLB-0.09+0.02-0.10+0.110.30 51998 Washington Wizards1.2352009 Anaheim Ducks0.55 The Pirates are the most average team in sportsTeams whose weighted sum of squared z-scores were closest to 0.0 (perfectly average) for the most recent MLB/NFL/NBA/NHL season * Both for and against the team in question. 12MILNBA+0.25-0.07+0.04-0.144.49 102018 Washington Wizards1.64101978 Detroit Red Wings0.83 12018 Pittsburgh Pirates0.3011984 Cincinnati Bengals0.20 31989 Boston Celtics1.0131997 Phoenix Coyotes0.34 3LAAMLB-0.16+0.20+0.25+0.121.54 5PHIMLB+0.37-0.01-0.33+0.243.06 Who’s the most average of them all?Most average single-season teams in MLB/NFL/NBA/NHL since 1971,* measured in squared, weighted sums of the difference from league average 4WASNBA+0.16+0.13+0.07+0.091.64 4On-base percentage and slugging percentage* vs. avg. 16NYMMLB-0.54-0.31-0.57-0.045.75 6Points per game* vs. avg. 22017 Indiana Pacers0.6922008 Nashville Predators0.23 82008 Washington Wizards1.4281989 Hartford Whalers0.72 8Point differential 20LACNBA+0.08+0.01+0.70-0.796.62 NBA10Winning percentage NBASQ. DIFF. At 64-67, the Pittsburgh Pirates are nobody’s idea of a special team. Although they harbored some aspirations of contending before the season — and even held a half-game lead over the NL Central as late as May 17 — Pittsburgh has been pretty mediocre for most of the 2018 campaign, even after inexplicably picking up pitcher Chris Archer at the trade deadline.One way in which the Pirates have been exceptional, however, is in their lack of exceptionality. In addition to their .500-ish record, they’ve scored almost exactly as many runs (576) as they’ve allowed (577), at per-game rates that are almost exactly average on each side of the ball, in a manner — as measured by their on-base and slugging percentages for and against — that is almost exactly average. The Bucs are unspectacular right down to the core, and that makes them, statistically, the world’s most middle-of-the-road baseball team — not just of this season, but in all of modern history (since 1901).Or at least, they are according to a method I put together to seek out the North American pro teams in the big four leagues (so, MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL) who hewed closest to their sport’s average numbers in a season. For each team, I calculated its z-scores (standard deviations above or below average) in winning percentage, per-game victory margin and scoring per game (both for and against), plus a metric I threw in (varying by sport) to represent each team’s style of play. Then I squared each z-score, weighted them (see below) and added up those numbers to arrive at a team’s overall difference from league average, where lower is better.Here are the numbers I looked at for each sport, along with how much weight each one carries: 8Goal differential 81984 California Angels0.8582011 Chicago Bears1.14 17COLMLB+0.54-0.02+0.63-0.535.76 4Passing/rushing yards per attempt* vs. avg. 19FLANHL+0.28+0.05+0.18-0.106.17 14DALNHL+0.03+0.25-0.36+0.825.29 7TENNFL+0.31-0.22-0.21-0.193.85 71997 Detroit Tigers0.8371978 Washington1.12 4Shots per game and shooting percentage* vs. avg. 32010 Florida Marlins0.5131981 Washington0.79 15CBJNHL+0.35+0.30-0.07+0.605.47 MLBSQ. DIFF. 91982 Portland Trail Blazers1.5991983 Vancouver Canucks0.78 8MILMLB+0.54+0.17-0.14+0.393.92 Finding the most average teamsCategories (and weights) considered when measuring MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL teams against their league’s average for a given season 52000 Detroit Tigers0.7551999 Detroit Lions0.88 NFL10Winning percentage 9DALNFL+0.31+0.22+0.10+0.354.06 41993 Seattle Mariners0.6441991 New York Jets0.87 Z-Score (std. deviations above/below avg.) 101976 Cleveland Indians0.86101987 Minnesota Vikings1.17 6Runs per game* vs. avg. NHLSQ. DIFF. NFLSQ. DIFF. The weights are somewhat arbitrary, but hopefully they make sense: A record close to .500 is the essence of average-ness — and worthy of the strongest weight — but we can also give bonus points for being average at every level as we dig deeper into a team’s statistical portfolio.(The components I chose at the deepest level — true shooting percentage, yards per attempt, etc. — in each sport were also arbitrary, but I wanted to include metrics that summarize how a team plays on both offense and defense. To truly be the most average team, you must not only finish as close to .500 as possible, but you must do so while playing like a typical team of the era.)And by that standard, the Pirates have managed to outshine every other current team, easily topping the other sports’ most mediocre contenders: the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.1All numbers are through Aug. 26, 2018. 21979 Chicago Cubs0.4921972 Atlanta Falcons0.56 *1971 is the earliest season for which detailed opponent stats are available for all four sports, making our calculation possible.Source: Sports-Reference.com 8Run differential 2NJDNHL+0.35+0.10+0.18-0.021.44 71997 Minnesota Timberwolves1.3872014 Detroit Red Wings0.72 6Goals per game* vs. avg. 12016 Dallas Mavericks0.4211976 Vancouver Canucks0.23 10PHINHL+0.42+0.20+0.31+0.034.08 42007 New Jersey Nets1.1741975 St. Louis Blues0.35 18DETNBA-0.16-0.03-0.68+0.736.03 read more

Alan Titchmarsh I feel bad about encouraging 1990s decking craze

first_imgAlan Titchmarsh on Ground Force, putting in some decking He blamed it firmly on the constraints of BBC show Ground Force, claiming he had warned programme-makers it was impossible to transform gardens properly in just two days.As such, he disclosed, hosts were left reliant on quick fixes such as decking to make an on-screen impact.Speaking at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai, he was asked whether he now “feels bad” about the decking craze, which left swathes of perfectly good grass covered in budget-friendly wood across the land.The influence of the programme, he disclosed, was such that annual sales of decking at B&Q went from £9,000-worth the year before Ground Force to £8 million in the aftermath.”Oh my Achilles heel!” said Titchmarsh.”Decking I do feel a bit bad about but you’ve got to remember we’re talking about the mid-90s.” “If you’ve only got two days, decking is economical and you can do it quite quickly.”And if you slip and fall over on it you only bruise yourself rather than break you hip, which you do on stone.”So those were my reasons. And on a modern house, decking works.”He added: “In that year before Ground Force went out, the gross total of sales for decking in B&Q throughout Britain was £9,000.”Then Ground Force came on, and the following year they sold £8million.”So I have no doubt that when I’m put in the ground eventually they will deck my grave.”I do feel a bit bad about it, yes.”But then Chanel didn’t apologise for her little black dress, did she?”He now has some decking at his home of the Isle of Wight because the modern build means “it’s suitable, it fits the surroundings”.But his second home, an old Georgian farmhouse, has “not an ounce” of it.First broadcast in 1997 on the BBC, Ground Force starred Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh and became the must-watch gardening show for its formula of making over an ordinary garden with a water feature, decking and last-minute dash to get it finished before deadline.In its heyday, 12 million viewers tuned in. He told an audience he had learned about decking while at Kew by a “great landscape designer” called John Brookes , who taught him how it was used in the States in the late 60s.”When we started doing Ground Force we were given two days to makeover gardens,” Titchmarsh said.”And when I got asked to do Ground Force, I said ‘you can’t do it, you can’t make a garden in two days, it’s a lifetime’s work’.”Eventually, he said, he was won over by the challenge, conceding: “Oh go on then I’ll have a go.””The thing about doing a makeover programme is that it’s the reverse of painting a picture, because you have to do the frame and paint the picture in it rather than painting a picture and finding a frame for it,” he said. Alan Titchmarsh on Ground Force, putting in some deckingCredit:BBCcenter_img It was the 1990s trend which took over the gardens of middle England before falling spectacularly out of fashion.Now the man behind the decking phenomenon, Alan Titchmarsh, has admitted he feels “a bit bad” over encouraging the trend, saying the notoriety would follow him to his grave.Titchmarsh, whose Ground Force television makeover programmes set the tone for British gardens for years, said decking had become his “Achilles heel”, as he confesses he does not even have it in his own Georgian farmhouse home. Decking I do feel a bit bad about but you’ve got to remember we’re talking about the mid-90sAlan Titchmarsh Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Holiday from hell as 600 aboard Caribbean cruise ship contract norovirus

first_imgA CARIBBEAN CRUISE ship was forced to head back to port yesterday after hundreds of passengers and crew members fell ill with vomiting and diarrhea during what was supposed to be a 10-day getaway in the sun.The Miami-based Royal Caribbean company announced on Sunday evening that it was cutting short the Explorer of the Seas’ jaunt in the Caribbean a few hours after officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention boarded the ship during its US Virgin Islands port call to investigate the illness.According to the CDC, 577 out of 3,050 passengers reported being ill during the voyage that left Bayonne, New Jersey, last Tuesday. That’s nearly 19 per cent of the vacationers. Forty-nine crew members also got sick.Royal Caribbean’s medical team said the symptoms were consistent with the common and highly contagious norovirus.It is rarely fatal, but the CDC says it can be serious, especially for youngsters and older adults. The virus spreads quickly in closed quarters through contaminated food or liquids, contaminated surfaces, and direct contact with an infected person. An employee remove tape from around the crusie ship as its docked at Charlotte Amalie Harbor in St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands. (Pic: Ap Photo / Thomas Layer)CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden said tests would have to confirm what caused the illness outbreak on the 15-deck ship.“We won’t know for a couple of days what the pathogen is. Cruise ships are unique. It can be difficult to identify a specific source,” she said in a Monday email.She said there had been no fatalities and no one was removed from the ship.An Explorer of the Seas passenger named Arnee Dodd fell ill aboard the ship last week and was quarantined like the other sick people. In a Sunday tweet to The Associated Press, the Connecticut woman said: “We are all better, quarantine is over and ship has been sanitized every day.”The CDC team of two epidemiologists and one environmental health officer are aboard as the ship sails to New Jersey.Royal Caribbean Cruises said Sunday on evening that “new reports of illness have decreased day-over-day, and many guests are again up and about. Nevertheless, the disruptions caused by the early wave of illness means that we were unable to deliver the vacation our guests were expecting.”Royal Caribbean said it was “taking several steps” to compensate passengers for the shortened trip and the inconvenience.Read: Captain ‘refused chance’ to return to sinking Concordia ship >Read: Passengers recall ‘party time’ on board stricken cruise ship after engine fire >last_img read more