Terming Sachin Tendulkar “all time greatest cricketer”, West Indies cricketing great Viv Richards on Tuesday said the Mumbai maestro would create many more records in future.In Kolkata to inaugurate a Durga Puja pandal, the former West Indies captain said, “Tendulkar is the all time greatest cricketer. I am sure he will have more records to his credit.”Tendulkar became the first batsman to touch the 14,000 Test runs mark during the second Test against Australia.Richards though said Tendulkar does not bat he way he use to, a fews years ago.On Tendulkar’s recent conquest of the 14,000 Test run summit, said, “Only Sachin can achieve the kind of feat that he already has. Time has, however, seen a change in his willow wielding techniques and he has become more restrained in his batting style.”Richards, whose fearless batting made him a top batsman in both Test and ODI formats, finds a shade of himself in Yuvraj Singh.”I see a lot of myself in Yuvraj Singh. His style of batting is distinctly ‘Carribean’ and similar to that of mine during my playing years,” the 58-year-old Antiguan said.Richards also picked India as one of the favourites to win the upcoming ICC World Cup early next year.”Firstly, as host nation, India have a strong chance. This is not to discount the fact that they have a great batting line-up and have performed well over the last five years.”About his visit during the ongoing Durga Puja festival season, the West Indies great said, “I have a lot of memories attached with the city. Being here during the pujas only makes all the more special.”advertisementWith inputs from PTI
Seasoned opening batsman Gautam Gambhir, who has led India Blue to the final of the ongoing Duleep Trophy tournament, dismissed apprehensions over the pink ball, saying it behaves in “exactly the same way” as the red Kookaburra ball used in the traditional format of the game.Gambhir, who has played both the league matches in the Duleep Trophy, which is being played under lights and with the pink ball, on Thursday said the batsmen only needed to make minor adjustments depending on the conditions while facing it. (Also read: Gautam Gambhir makes a strong case for third opener’s slot ahead of New Zealand Test series)”We have to be clear, it is only the colour of the ball that has changed, nothing else has changed. It is a Kookaburra ball that behaves exactly the same way as a red ball or a white ball,” Gambhir, whose team will lock horns with India Red in the final from Saturday, was quoted as saying by espncricinfo.”People make so much fuss about the pink ball that it swings more or dips more, you can’t pick the wrist-spinners and so on. I believe the more you think about it, the more complicated you make the game.””It is far more visible in the day time as compared to the red ball because it is far more brighter. In the last two games that I have played, I have seen nothing different. The red ball and pink ball behave exactly in the same way.”advertisement”I am a traditionalist, I have always believed it is meant to be played during the day, that is my personal observation. You can change the 50 over to T20 format, but Test cricket should remain the way it has been because you can’t lose the charm,” Gambhir said. (Also read: India Blue reach Duleep Trophy final after draw against India Green)Speaking on his form in the domestic tournament Gambhir, who scored 77, 90 and 59 in the three innings respectively said now he wanted to continue his form and will try to convert them into big scores.”I am very happy because, obviously, at the start of the season, you are very nervous because you want to start off the season really well.””Three half centuries in a row is really pleasing and I hope I can continue this momentum into the season. But at the same time, I would have loved to convert these half centuries into hundreds. I still have two more innings to go,” he said ahead of the big final at Greater Noida from Saturday.
It was a proud moment for Hardik Pandya today when he received his maiden Test cap from captain Virat Kohli just before the start of the first match against Sri Lanka at Galle. Pandya became the Test player No. 289 for India.Kohli had earlier hinted at the inclusion of the all-rounder into the playing XI because of his ability to pick wickets.”We got a guy like Hardik Pandya who has a knack of picking wickets. He has a great chance of playing as well. That gives us the balance. The extra batsman gives us more solidarity,” Kohli had said on Tuesday.Proud moment for young @hardikpandya7 as he is all set to make his Test debut #TeamIndia #SLvIND pic.twitter.com/YTGTzQ0Z4y- BCCI (@BCCI) July 26, 2017Pandya has the experience of playing at the international level having appeared in 17 ODIs and 19 T20Is before.India won the toss and opted to bat under overcast conditions.Shikhar Dhawan also returned after a gap of almost 10 months as regular opener KL Rahul was ruled out of the first Test because of viral fever. However, Rohit Sharma, who also played his last Test in October, failed to make the cut.India and Sri Lanka play three Tests, five ODIs and a one-off Twenty20.Hardik Pandya – Test cap no. 289 for ????To see you play Test cricket for our country makes me extremely proud. Well done, brother! pic.twitter.com/RzAT5SV73Y- Krunal Pandya (@krunalpandya24) July 26, 2017Congrats @hardikpandya7 on your test debut! Go well brother ????advertisement- Mitchell McClenaghan (@Mitch_Savage) July 26, 2017Congratulations @hardikpandya7 on the Test debut! These are the moments we dream of!???? Test cap number 2?8?9?.#SLvIND pic.twitter.com/OyLVQqAIl4- Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) July 26, 2017Congratulations bro @hardikpandya7 for test debut ?????? ???????? god bless you???- Rahul Sharma (@ImRahulSharma3) July 26, 2017Start of a potentially long and an illustrious journey . Congratulations and all the very best @hardikpandya7 #SLvIND- Deep Dasgupta (@DeepDasgupta7) July 26, 2017
Sport politics Drugs in sport Read more comment The IOC must do its duty this time and ban Russia from Winter Olympics Support The Guardian Olympic Games Sean Ingle Share on LinkedIn … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Russia banned from Winter Olympics over state-sponsored doping Russia Share on Pinterest I have some sympathy for Vladimir Putin. For years, he was playing footsie with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC had surely known perfectly well, and for decades, that Russian athletes, like many others, were doped to the eyeballs. It turned a deaf ear to all whistleblowers and journalists on the subject, even when clear evidence was privately submitted to it and its laughable “anti-doping” agency by Vitaly and Yuliya Stepanov, as long ago as 2010. The IOC did nothing to damage the farrago of cheating, waste and corruption that was the 2014 Sochi winter games. Winter Olympics 2018 Share via Email Share on Messenger All pleas for the return of dignity to global sport will fall on deaf ears as long as it is run not by athletes and their colleagues, but by governments in thrall to cartels such as Fifa and the IOC. Great sporting events can give pleasure to millions, but they can do so at a fraction of the present cost, and without the crude corruption of young bodies with drugs. As it is, international sport has been hijacked by a monopolistic elite of individuals and corporations, their activities regulated only by occasional bouts of bad publicity.• Simon Jenkins is a Guardian columnist Russia was the IOC’s kind of country. It put chauvinism before money, and money before sport. It spent like mad and doped like mad. When in 2014 the desperate Stepanovs broke cover and gave their ignored material to the media, the balloon went up. The IOC even admitted to being embarrassed, though it revealed its true opinion of whistleblowers when it allowed other Russian athletes to compete at Rio 2016, but banned Yuliya Stepanova. That is what international sport does to those who do not play by its rules.This week, following claims from another cast-iron whistleblower, Grigory Rodchenkov, and at least three inquiries, the IOC declared that Russia had committed “an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport”. IOC president Thomas Bach said Russians could compete in next year’s winter games in Seoul only under a “neutral” IOC banner, albeit with the word Russia attached – an implausible certificate of cleanliness.If I were Putin, I would ask Bach: how was I so clean three years ago and dirty now? There is nothing new. And what about all the other countries the IOC must know have doped their athletes? If the reply is that Russian doping was “state-sponsored”, I would say pull the other one. The truth is that this week the IOC, as well as Russia, has been found out.Supranational bodies will go on corrupting sport and enjoying themselves by Swiss lakes as long as they remain unaccountable oligarchies. They will do so as long as members such as Britain and America collude with their misbehaviour in pursuit of a blind craving for sporting prestige. Britain’s Olympic officials knew about doping, because every athlete knew. The trouble, as Stepanova poignantly indicated in a 2016 BBC interview, is that something is not news when everyone knows it, except the public.The reality of sports doping is that it floats on a vast sea of money. Yet the $15m fine the IOC is imposing on Moscow for anti-doping “costs” is trivial. I bet none of it finds its way to the Stepanovs or Rodchenkov, now hiding in fear for their lives.Meanwhile, international sport is closing ranks. The IOC felt compelled to ban the Russian sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, from the Olympics “for life”, though it curiously exonerated Mutko’s Kremlin boss. There is no suggestion of any consequent boycott of Russia’s 2018 football World Cup, also run by Mutko. This is despite dark questions still being asked about how the international football body, Fifa, “awarded” the contest to Moscow, at the same time as the 2022 cup went to Qatar.Both decisions stank of potential corruption. Fifa yesterday issued a statement supporting Mutko, as if to silence so much as a murmur that his doping activities might have strayed beyond athletics into football. The recent independent report into state-sponsored doping in Russia pointed to the involvement of some 30 sports.Any athlete will attest that talent can take you to the top, but to stay there the temptation to use drugs is intense. Teams depend on you. Your country treats your medals as its own, as decorative fodder for the glory of the state. In this respect Britain is among the worst. It tips public money into “winning medals” that poorer states could never afford, and it punishes athletes who fail to win them by cutting their incomes. It is reminiscent of the old Soviet bloc.The IOC has, perhaps ironically, indicated a way out of this mess. It is to regard athletes from “guilty” countries not as representatives, but as individuals. It should go further: it should now treat all athletes that way. It should end the rampant chauvinism – introduced by Hitler in 1936 – and invite athletes to participate as citizens of the world. The writer Bernard Levin even proposed they should compete naked, as in ancient Greece, to rid the games of nationalist emblems. The relentless razzmatazz of teams, uniforms, flags, anthems and hysterical commentators has turned the Olympics into a parody of Strictly Come Dancing.The Olympics might also avoid the charge of being a rich man’s touring club by being held always in the same place: perhaps Greece, where they began. Television means there is no reason to trundle round the globe, impoverishing one city after another with white elephants and rubbish about “legacy”. The circus continues, at escalating expense, so the IOC can bless craven politicians as “hosts”, and allow its stage army of ticket agents, consultants, contractors and brand marketers to make vast quantities of money. For the victim cities, the ruination is staggering.Andrew Zimbalist’s study of the Olympics, Circus Maximus, showed claims of a positive Olympics legacy are “offensively misleading”. They simply blow millions, now billions, on three weeks of sport.Rio’s stadium lies decayed and looted, Athens’s lies squatted. London’s Stratford stadium, even after a £323m conversion, is said to be costing Londoners £20m a year, as a result of Boris Johnson’s generous deal with West Ham football club. As for David Cameron’s promise of 2 million more sportsmen after 2012 – they have failed to materialise. Topics Share on WhatsApp International Olympic Committee Since you’re here… Share on Twitter Read more Reuse this content Share on Facebook Opinion Europe
TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Arsenal inform Juventus of Ramsey January priceby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal have informed Juventus they can sign Aaron Ramsey this month.The midfielder, off contract in June, is understood to have settled pre-contract terms with Juve.The Wales international has agreed to a €6.5m-a-year deal.And Gazzetta.it says Arsenal have told Juve they can sign Ramsey immediately for £20m.Juve’s board are now weighing up whether to match Arsenal’s valuation.
zoomImage Courtesy: Høglund Norway-based Bergen Tankers is to convert one of its fuel oil bunkering vessels into an LNG bunkering ship as part of a long-term charter with Gasnor, a part of Royal Dutch Shell.The company hired the compatriot maritime solutions provider Høglund to deliver a cargo handling system (CHS) for the retrofit of the small bunker tanker, previously known as Oslo Tank.The 850-dwt Bergen LNG will be the first LNG bunkering vessel to operate in Norway, the parties said. It will be deployed in Bergen harbour from the fourth quarter of 2020 and serve future LNG cruise ships from Hurtigruten and Havila Coastal Route.“This retrofit is a complex technical challenge from both a hardware and software engineering point of view,” Ingemar Tønder Presthus, Technical & Marine Manager, Bergen Tankers said.The conversion comes on the back of a long-term LNG supply deal signed Norwegian expedition cruise operator Hurtigruten and Gasnor in June 2019.Under the deal, Gasnor is to supply the company’s ships along the Norwegian coast with LNG until 2030.
Conservation of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora Species at Risk and important lakeshore habitat in the Tusket River Watershed, Sara V. Good-Avila Dragonflies as Indicators of Habitat Integrity of Treed Bogs, Scott Hubley / Tom Herman The utility of eastern pipistrelles as indicators of landscape level change at large spatial and temporal scales-year 2, Hugh G. Broders Forest characteristics required by the northern saw-whet owl compared with the more rare boreal owl, Randy F. Lauff Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas: Engaging and Training Volunteers for Bird Conservation, Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas Examining the size and extent of the marten Martes Americana population in western Nova Scotia, (Trappers’ Association of Nova Scotia) Mercury (Hg) in river otter (Lontra canadensis) – year 3, Sarah Spencer Project Webfoot Wetland Education Program, Ducks Unlimited Canada The Role of Riparian Buffers in Forest Bird Conservation – year 2, Cindy Staicer St. Mary’s River Conservation Legacy Project, Nova Scotia Nature Trust Shelter Cove Campaign, Nova Scotia Nature Trust Small Marsh Enhancement in Southern Kings County, Ducks Unlimited Canada Wildlife and forage-quality benefits of a late maturing hay cultivar, Sean LeMoine Woodcock Habitat Enhancement, The Woodcock Conservation Society Wood Turtle Habitat Conservation in the St. Mary’s River Watershed, St. Mary’s River Association Youth Leading in Stewardship Program, Tusket River Environmental Protection Association Projects that will preserve coastal habitat and help protect marten and wood turtles, are among the 16 projects approved to receive funding, from the province’s Habitat Conservation Fund. The fund is supported by hunters through the required purchase of a three-dollar wildlife habitat stamp on all hunting licences in Nova Scotia. This year a total of $151,000 will be awarded. “Hunters and trappers in Nova Scotia support this fund, which is used to sustain our wildlife and wildlife habitat,” said Natural Resources Minister Brooke Taylor. “The funds collected are used entirely for habitat conservation.” The primary goal of the fund is to assist with projects that protect and enhance wildlife habitats. Projects may be funded up to 75 per cent on a cost-shared basis, to a maximum of $25,000 ($50,000 for land acquisition). The projects must fall into one of four categories: purchase of land for the benefit of wildlife; habitat improvement; wildlife habitat research; and related education programs. Since the program began in 2001, about $650,000 has been directed toward wildlife conservation. The project applications are reviewed and recommendations are made by an independent board of directors consisting of members from hunting, naturalist, and academic associations. Applications for the 2007 Habitat Conservation Fund can be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources, wildlife division, between Dec. 1, 2006 and Jan. 31, 2007. Submission guidelines and application forms can be obtained from any Department of Natural Resources office or on the website at www.gov.ns.ca/natr/wildlife/habfund/ . Information on the 2006 projects and on past projects is also available on the website. Successful projects and recipients of funding for 2006 are:
Nova Scotians will be able to learn more about the Office of the Ombudsman at a series of six outreach sessions across the province this month. “These meetings will give us an opportunity to provide people with a better understanding of our role,” said Dwight Bishop, Ombudsman for Nova Scotia. “During the past several years, the scope and responsibilities of this office have broadened considerably to include seniors and youth who receive government services.” The Office of the Ombudsman investigates complaints against provincial and municipal government departments, agencies, boards and commissions. It also provides youth and seniors services along with a civil service disclosure of wrongdoing process. Ombudsman investigations provide the opportunity to make recommendations that impact policies, procedures, and structures — the foundation of government service delivery. Representatives from the office will talk about the role of the Ombudsman, explain the complaint process, and answer questions about the office. The outreach sessions will be held from Monday, Oct. 18 to Friday, Oct. 22. in Ingonish, Baddeck, Pictou, Bridgetown, Hantsport and Bridgewater. Established in 1971, the office promotes the principles of fairness, integrity and good government. For more information about the Office of the Ombudsman and the complaint process visit, www.gov.ns.ca/ombu .
Mumbai: Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, whose Bharat has minted over Rs 150 crore at the Indian box office, says he gets scared when film critics praise his work as most of the time he gets validation of his work only from his fans who contribute to his movies’ collections. In an interaction with the media here, Salman said: “I get scared when critics praise my work because usually their thinking does not match with mine or that of my audience. So I wonder why are they giving stars to my film and writing good things about my work?” Also Read – Rihanna to release 500-page ‘visual’ autobiography”Having said that, in recent times, the kind of films that I have done, I did those because I loved those stories. Also when I do a film, I have a few parameters… I want people to come to the theatre, forget their worries and when they leave the theatre, become happy, with a sense of heroism, or become a better human being… at least (have) the thought of (being) a better human being.” Who is his biggest critic? “My father is the greatest critic of my work. So he said, ‘Ab bhul jao, so jao… picture bahut badi hit hai (Now forget about it, go to sleep… the film is a hit)’ but that is it, he will not come and praise my performance in front of me. I never get a chance to hear any compliment from him. Very rarely, he says, ‘Achha kaam kia (you’ve done well)’. Nothing more than that,” he said.
Highlights from the news file for Tuesday, Feb. 20———BROWN CLAIMS ‘INSIDERS’ WORKING AGAINST HIM: The former leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives warned Tuesday that accounts questioning his integrity are likely to emerge in the coming weeks, claiming a small group of insiders is trying to derail his efforts to reclaim his old job ahead of a spring election. Patrick Brown, who stepped down last month amid sexual misconduct allegations before being booted from Tory caucus, has been fending off accusations of mismanagement and corruption during his time as leader. The 39-year-old Barrie, Ont., politician accused unnamed insiders of attempting to stop the party from moving forward — comments he made in a Facebook post that came shortly after the party’s interim leader voiced his lack of confidence in Brown as a candidate. Brown denied a story published by the Globe and Mail that said he discussed a $375,000 deal for a share of a restaurant he owns in Barrie and an unspecified number of Aeroplan miles with a man who would be acclaimed as a Progressive Conservative candidate in Brampton, Ont., five months later. The Canadian Press has not independently verified the allegations. Brown accused party staffers of leaking information to media.———FORMER MANITOBA PREMIER GREG SELINGER TO RESIGN: Former Manitoba premier Greg Selinger says he will resign his legislature seat on March 7. NDP Leader Wab Kinew asked Selinger last week to step down following allegations that Stan Struthers — a cabinet minister when Selinger was premier — had inappropriately touched some female employees years ago. Selinger apologized but said he was unaware at the time that anything had happened. Some of the women said they raised their concerns with people within the government but their complaints were not dealt with. Selinger says he is sorry he became part of the focus of the complaints last week. He says people should have been concentrating on what the women had to say. “The focus properly should have been on hearing their voices,” he said in a release Tuesday. “It wasn’t, and I want to apologize for contributing to that.” He said he plans to retire after representing the constituency of St. Boniface since 1999. Selinger served as Manitoba premier between 2009 and 2016.———DEFENCE SAYS THERE IS DOUBT IN TINA FONTAINE CASE: A defence lawyer is arguing that justice for a 15-year-old girl whose body was found dumped in a Winnipeg river shouldn’t mean injustice for the man charged with murder in her death. Tony Kavanagh says there is no DNA evidence linking 56-year-old Raymond Cormier to Tina Fontaine or the duvet cover her body was concealed in when it was found in August 2014. Kavanagh says the Crown can’t prove that Tina didn’t die from a drug overdose or naturally in what he called the “underbelly of the city.” He says that alone is enough to create reasonable doubt, and Cormier shouldn’t be convicted just because of his rough lifestyle. The Crown argues Cormier’s own words prove his guilt. He was recorded by police in a bugged apartment telling a woman that he would make a bet that Tina was killed because “I found out she was 15 years old.” In another, Cormier was heard arguing with a woman and saying that there was a little girl in a “grave someplace screaming at the top of her lungs for me to finish the job. And guess what? I finished the job.”———PIPELINE CONSTRAINTS TO COST $10.7B IN 2018: Delayed oil pipeline construction is causing a steep discount for Canadian crude prices that is costing the economy roughly $15.6 billion a year, according to Scotiabank. “Pipeline approval delays have imposed clear, demonstrable and substantial economic costs on the Canadian economy,” said bank chief economist Jean-Francois Perrault in a report Tuesday. The discount, however, is expected to ease through the year as more rail capacity becomes available to ship oil, bringing the expected cost to roughly $10.7 billion or 0.5 per cent of GDP for 2018 and then to $7 billion or 0.3 per cent of GDP a year until more pipeline capacity comes online. The costs of the discount are increasing as delays continue for all three major proposed oil pipelines to export more oil from Western Canada, including Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion, Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement, and TransCanada’s Keystone XL. Canadian producers would need Line 3 and at least one of the other pipelines to go forward or face indefinite pipeline constraints that would have an impact on Canada’s well-being with consequences that extend well beyond Alberta, said Perrault.———ALBERTA SHRUGS OFF B.C. TRADE CHALLENGE: Alberta’s economic development minister is shrugging off a legal challenge filed by British Columbia over Alberta’s ban on B.C. wine. Deron Bilous says the potential fine Alberta faces for violating free trade rules is a pittance when set against the stakes of the Trans Mountain pipeline issue. “Let’s compare the (maximum) $5 million in a fine versus the billions of dollars of investment and the thousands of jobs,” Bilous told reporters at the legislature Tuesday. “We know what our priority is, and that’s getting this pipeline built.” B.C. upped the ante Monday in its cross-boundary trade dispute with Alberta, by invoking the dispute settlement process over the wine ban under Canada’s free-trade agreement. Under the agreement, the two sides have four months to resolve the dispute before an arbitration panel kicks in. Bilous said Alberta won’t even come to the table unless B.C. reverses its decision to refuse additional oil from Alberta while it studies spill safety.———B.C. BUDGET TRIES TO EASE FINANCIAL PINCH: British Columbia moved to ease the province’s housing crisis Tuesday with a new tax on property speculators and higher taxes on foreign homebuyers with a budget that plans to create 114,000 affordable housing units over the next decade. Finance Minister Carole James said the tax measures are part of the government’s aim to improve housing affordability in markets where some seniors are forced to live in their vehicles and young professionals are refusing to take jobs in B.C. because they can’t find a place to live. The minister defended the new and increased taxes in her budget as the right path to restore affordability. Easing the financial pinch felt by families was a recurring theme in the first full budget brought in by the NDP since it came to power last summer. B.C.’s housing crisis was a major issue in last year’s provincial election that saw the New Democrats form a minority government with the backing of the three-member Green caucus, ending the Liberals’ grip on power after 16 years in what was largely seen as a rebuke of its tight-fisted fiscal management that neglected spending on social programs.———TRIP TO INDIA LANDS $1B IN INVESTMENTS, TRUDEAU SAYS: Some of India’s biggest companies say they will invest more than $250 million in Canada, in everything from pulp mills to pharmaceuticals and the IT sector. Canadian companies, meanwhile, plan to invest $750 million in India. The news came after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent his third morning in India meeting six of the country’s most influential business tycoons, making deals that he says will create more than 5,800 new jobs in Canada. Trudeau initially said the entire $1 billion was money coming into Canada but his officials later corrected that it was a two-way trade number, with one-quarter coming from India into Canada, and the rest going the other way. More than half the $750 million Canadian investment in India comes from Toronto’s Brookfield Asset Management, which is spending $480 million to buy a 1.25 million-square foot office complex in Mumbai. Another $200 million comes from Fairfax India Holdings Corp. of Canada, which acquired a 51 per cent stake in the Catholic Syrian Bank in Kerala, India.———LAWYER ADMITS HE LIED TO MUELLER’S FEDERAL AGENTS: A lawyer linked to a former Trump campaign official admitted Tuesday he lied to federal investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller. Alex van der Zwaan, who worked at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom until he was fired last year, appeared at the federal courthouse in Washington where he formally pleaded guilty to a single charge of making false statements. The charge does not involve election meddling or relate to the Trump campaign’s operations, but stems from a part of the special counsel’s investigation into Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair, and Rick Gates, a former campaign aide and longtime business associate of Manafort. Van der Zwaan is accused of lying to investigators about his interactions with Gates during an interview with the FBI late last year, according to court papers. His plea comes on the heels of an extraordinary indictment from Mueller last week that charged 13 Russian individuals and three Russian companies in a hidden social media effort to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by denigrating Democrat Hillary Clinton and boosting the chances of Trump.———SAFETY BOARD NOTES JUMP IN AVIATION INCIDENTS: The number of incidents involving commercial aircraft flew above the average last year, raising calls from an airline pilots’ association for the Liberals to boost spending on safety oversight. Figures released Tuesday from the Transportation Safety Board showed there were 94 incidents in 2017 involving commercial aircraft operators, a jump from the 63 recorded in 2016 and higher than the five-year average of 79 incidents. Large passenger airliners were involved in nine of those incidents last year. In 2016, the figure was one. The board also said the first known collision between a commercial aircraft and a drone was among the 921 overall aviation incidents last year. A complete statistical report on 2017 accident rates will be released this spring. The Transportation Safety Board said the increase in airline incidents overall last year is partly due to a higher number of flight training accidents. There was also the first fatal accident in six years: One passenger died after a December crash in Fond-du-Lac, Sask., the first such death involving a Canadian aircraft since 2011 when a First Air flight crashed in Resolute Bay, Nunavut.———OTTAWA TO UNVEIL E-VEHICLE STRATEGY IN 2018: Electric car advocates are hoping to get a signal in next week’s federal budget that the government is prepared to support sales across the country even as Ontario overtook Quebec for selling the most electric vehicles last year. Cara Clairman, CEO of electric vehicle advocacy group Plug’n Drive, says Transport Minister Marc Garneau has received a wide range of recommendations from an advisory committee, including the adoption of national financial incentives. Electric Mobility Canada has recommended that Ottawa eliminate the GST on electric vehicle sales, which it estimates will cost about $50 million a year. Delphine Denis, a spokeswoman for Transport Minister Marc Garneau, declined to indicate if any such measures will be unveiled in the budget. With transportation accounting for about 24 per cent of Canada’s emissions, she said the government’s zero emission vehicle strategy to be unveiled this year will help accelerate commercialization and support efforts to bring new technologies to market.
OTTAWA – Federal political parties are gearing up for the final parliamentary session before the next election, but while the Conservatives and the Liberals tout having many candidates nominated and money in the bank, the NDP has yet to nominate a single candidate.NDP president Mathieu Vick says the party revamped its nomination process over the summer and the new rules came into effect about two weeks ago. Those rules were approved and distributed to ridings at the beginning of the month and nomination meetings are now being scheduled.“We’re just now starting to have all of our nomination dates up, so we’re hoping to have all of our incumbents at the very least nominated by the end of 2018 and then hopefully in the new year we can get a bunch more,” he said.The NDP convention in Surrey, B.C., last week was an opportunity for members to talk strategy and Vick said the party is “feeling pretty good.”He said he’s hoping the retreat was a launching pad to intensify the party’s efforts, rally troops and get the ground game going, saying that the NDP has success “at the doorstep.” He also said the NDP has launched a volunteering recruitment campaign and overall he’s feeling “energized” about 2019.Vick acknowledged that the party has had some financial challenges but insisted things are looking up.The NDP’s annual fundraising returns show the party pulled in $4.86 million from 39,053 donors last year. The Tories raised $18.84 million from 94,786 contributors in 2017, outflanking the Liberals by nearly $5 million.Meanwhile 25 Liberal incumbents, including Leader Justin Trudeau, have been nominated as candidates for the next election, plus one new contender. The Liberal party has declared that all 183 of its MPs will be acclaimed without having to win nomination contests in their ridings, provided they meet certain fundraising, membership and voter engagement targets by Oct. 1.And the Conservatives have nominated 133 candidates, including 46 non-incumbent candidates.Hamish Marshall, the Tories 2019 campaign chair, said the party is doing “really well.”“We’re aggressively nominating candidates and we’ll be increasing that through the fall,” he said.While the federal Liberals have made it known that they are planning on painting Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer as “Stephen Harper 2.0”, the Tories are holding their branding cards close, and say they are not too worried about the Liberal strategy.“It’s a difficult thing…making arguments based on history or projecting backwards,” said Marshall.He said the Tories will focus on the government’s failures rather than debating whether someone is like somebody else. And while the Conservatives branded Trudeau as “just not ready” in the last election, Marshall hinted there would be a fresh approach for 2019.“Stay tuned for that,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, which has purchased the existing Trans Mountain line and expansion project for $4.5 billion, tasked the energy board with reviewing marine environment impacts and submitting a report by Feb. 22.Energy board spokesman James Stevenson declined comment on Stewart’s remarks but has said previously that the revamped review will be a comprehensive scientific and technical examination of project-related marine shipping.Stewart said Trudeau was the one who brought up Trans Mountain during their first meeting Thursday since Stewart’s election win.“I said, ‘First of all, it’s been a weird year. I was arrested, then I resigned as MP and now I’m mayor, within a period of about six months.’ But my position on that was clear. I’m still very much opposed to this pipeline,” he said. VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver’s incoming mayor says a revamped National Energy Board review of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is likely doomed to fail and will land the federal government back in a courtroom.The energy board is reviewing the project’s impacts on the marine environment and Kennedy Stewart says it’s too rushed, including a week-long window for Indigenous groups and others to apply to participate.“I do think the revamped NEB process we’re going through probably is going to fail again. I don’t think giving First Nations a week to submit to a brand new reconciliation process is enough time and that’ll be challenged in court again and rightly so,” he said in an interview. “I could see this being deadlocked like the Mackenzie Valley pipeline for many, many, many years,” he added, referring to a proposed natural gas line through the Northwest Territories that was stalled for decades.Stewart, formerly the New Democrat MP for Burnaby South, was among a group of protesters who were arrested in March while blocking Trans Mountain’s main gate, violating a court order to stay five metres from company work sites. He pleaded guilty to contempt of court and paid a $500 fine.After winning Vancouver’s mayoral race by fewer than 1,000 votes, he will be sworn in on Monday.His opinion on the pipeline expansion hasn’t changed, he said, and he will continue to back the city’s practice of supporting local Indigenous groups in their court challenges by applying to be an intervener.The Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nations have traditional territories in the Vancouver area and both have said the new process is repeating the same mistakes and laying the groundwork for a new court challenge.The Federal Court of Appeal struck down the federal government’s approval of the project in August due to inadequate Indigenous consultation and the energy board’s failure to review impacts on the marine environment. “However, I understand my role has changed. Perhaps where my mandate as MP in Burnaby was to stop the pipeline as a top priority, the voters of this city have said your priority is to fix our housing problem.”The pipeline expansion would triple the amount of oil being carried from the Edmonton area to a marine shipping terminal in Burnaby, increasing the number of tankers in Metro Vancouver waters seven-fold.Stewart also said he told Trudeau that if the city takes any action against the project, he will call first to inform him.Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley have said the project is in the national interest because Alberta needs to get its oil to markets outside the U.S. where it can fetch higher prices, particularly in Asia.But Stewart said it’s ridiculous that Canada exports oil in the west while importing oil in the east. The country should have a national energy strategy that involves refining products in Canada, particularly in the eastern part of the country, he said.“What ultimately would be the best thing to do is to ship Alberta oil east, make sure there’s guaranteed supplies for existing or new refineries, so Canadians are using Canadian oil,” he said.Trudeau addressed the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade before his meeting with Stewart on Thursday. The prime minister said the court’s decision laid out a road map for his government to proceed with the project.After meeting with Stewart, Trudeau said they agreed to make housing and infrastructure top priorities while diverging on the pipeline expansion.“Obviously there’s issues like TMX where we’re going to disagree, but there’s also an awful lot for us to work on together.”(THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Mahathir Mohamad will become the world’s oldest elected leader, after a shock victory in Malaysia’s election.The former PM, 92, came out of retirement and switched to the opposition to challenge his former protege Najib Razak, who has been beset by corruption allegations. Under his leadership, Malaysia became one of the Asian tigers – the group of countries which saw their economies expand rapidly in the 1990s. But he was an authoritarian figure who used controversial security laws to lock up his political opponents.Most infamously his deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, was sacked and accused of corruption and sodomy – and later jailed on the latter charge – when he called for economic and political reforms in 1998.Mr Mahathir was also a mentor to Najib Razak who went on to become prime minister in 2008, but has faced almost constant allegations of corruption.He has been accused of pocketing some $700m from the Malaysian Development Berhad, a state investment fund he set up.He has vehemently denied all allegations and been cleared by Malaysian authorities but the fund is still being investigated by several countries. Mr Najib has been accused of stifling Malaysian investigations by removing key officials from their post.The economy has grown under his leadership, but a rising cost of living and the introduction of a new goods and services tax have dented the BN’s gains at previous elections.In 2016, Mr Mahathir dramatically announced he was leaving the Barisan Nasional to join the Pakatan Harapan. He said he was “embarrassed” to be associated “with a party that is seen as supporting corruption”.Then in January, he said he would run for the leadership again.Countering fears about his age, he said he intended to govern for two years before stepping down. He promised he would arrange a pardon for Anwar Ibrahim, clearing the way for him to be re-elected and take the top job.Ahead of the election, there were allegations that voting would not be free and fair.The government recently passed a law redrawing election boundaries, leading to accusations that it had gerrymandered constituencies to ensure they were filled by Malay Muslims, traditionally BN supporters.A controversial fake news law was also recently introduced, which critics say could be used by the authorities to muffle dissent. Mr Mahathir is himself being investigated under that law after alleging that his plane had been sabotaged.And in the days before the poll, election reform group Bersih 2.0 accused the Election Commission (EC) of multiple “electoral crimes”, including irregularities in postal voting and failing to remove dead people from the electoral roll.The government had insisted the election would be free and fair, with Mr Najib saying that the EC acted “for the good of all”. (Courtesy BBC) Opposition supporters – most of whom have only ever lived under one government – poured on to the streets overnight in celebration. His historic win has ousted the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has been in power since independence in 1957. “I feel that with this change we probably can see something better in the future,” Suva Selvan, a 48-year-old doctor, told AFP.“Our hope for the future is a better government, fair, free and united.”Mahathir was prime minister, at the head of the BN coalition, for 22 years, from 1981 until he stepped down in 2003. Mr Mahathir said his coalition would “restore the rule of law”. Announcing his victory in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Mahathir said his coalition had secured “not just a few votes, not just a few seats, but a very substantial majority”.He said he hoped a swearing-in ceremony would be held on Thursday and announced – to cheers among his supporters – that there would be a two-day holiday.“But there will be no holidays for the winners.” Mr Najib has not yet commented on his dramatic loss.Official results showed the opposition Pakatan Harapan – the Alliance of Hope – had secured 113 of the 222 being contested, including some which have never before been taken by the opposition. BN took 79 seats.
WASHINGTON — A man whose family was killed in the crash of a Boeing 737 Max jet in Ethiopia accused the company of wrongful conduct and told a U.S. House subcommittee that the process to approve aircraft must be strengthened.Paul Njoroge (Nih-JOR-Gay) says Wednesday that Boeing was left to police itself and allowed to sell the Max without recertifying it as a new aircraft.He says leadership of the Federal Aviation Administration should change so safety engineers are in charge and called on Congress to increase its budget.Njoroge says pilots should be trained on simulators to handle the Max’s flight control software that can point the plane’s nose down to avoid an aerodynamic stall.Boeing is proposing computer training as it tries to return the grounded to the air.The Associated Press
The agency said the survey’s results surpass the accepted threshold for a humanitarian crisis – usually measured at one death per 10,000 people per day – in two of the three regions of Darfur, a vast, impoverished section of western Sudan roughly the size of France that has been beset by conflict and massive displacement since early last year.In West Darfur, the crude mortality rate is 2.9 deaths per 10,000 people, while in North Darfur the rate is 1.5 deaths. South Darfur was not measured because of security problems there, and the survey included 1,500 households and covered the period from mid-June to mid-August.The figures indicate that an average of 144 IDPs are dying each day in West Darfur and another 57 in North Darfur, between three and six times the expected rate.WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook said many of the deaths in Darfur are caused by diseases that are easily preventable, such as diarrhoea, which is responsible for three-quarters of deaths of children aged below five.”This survey confirms what the humanitarian community has suspected for some weeks…Increased and better-focused action is now vital,” he said, adding that more aid is required to alleviate the suffering.UN agencies, with the help of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), have accelerated the distribution of relief services to Darfur because of the high death rates and the continuing problems faced by IDPs.Since last month, about 700,000 of the estimated 1.2 million IDPs across Darfur have access to clean water, while 30,000 latrines have been built and 127 health centres have been set up to help as many as 950,000 people. There have also been specific vaccination campaigns targeting diseases such as measles.The humanitarian crisis engulfing Darfur began last year after civilians began fleeing their home villages because of attacks by militias allied to the Sudanese Government, which is fighting two rebel groups. About 200,000 people have fled to neighbouring Chad.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has joined the Dominican Ambassador in honouring Dominican stars from the United States Major League Baseball at a pre-game ceremony at Boston’s Fenway Park for their successful efforts to raise funds and public support for the rebuilding of flood-destroyed areas of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, including their personal contributions. “UNDP is thrilled to get the chance to express our gratitude, and the gratitude of the people of Jimaní, to these players for their good work off the field,” said Niky Fabiancic, the chief UNDP Resident Coordinator in the Dominican Republic, of the baseball superstars, Pedro Martínez, David Ortiz and Manny Ramírez, on Thursday evening.At the sold-out Fenway Park Red Sox/Mets game, the Boston fans joined Dominican Ambassador Flavio Dario Espinal and UNDP’s Fabiancic in saluting the three players as well as Red Sox principal owner John Henry and the team’s charitable foundation. As the Fenway Park scoreboard displayed a message saluting the United Nations Development Programme “for recognizing these three gentlemen,” Mr. Ortiz, Mr. Ramirez, Mr. Martinez and Mr. Henry accepted plaques in honour of their leadership in the effort. The stadium crowd cheered loudly for Mr. Martinez, a former Red Sox pitcher who now plays for the Mets, and cheered even louder after viewing a video presentation of thanks from the people of Jimani. John Henry spoke of the players and the rebuilding effort: “The generosity of Pedro Martínez, David Ortiz, Manny Ramírez, and the entire ‘Red Sox Nation’ was extraordinary during a time of need in the Dominican Republic and Haiti,” he said. “Through their efforts, the United Nations Development Programme has been able to rebuild not only homes but the lives of people in these two countries. I salute these accomplishments.” On May 24, 2004, torrential tropical rains in the Dominican Republic caused catastrophic flooding of River Blanco and the town of Jimaní, in the country’s mountainous southwest, was swiftly inundated by the raging waters. More than 700 people perished; more than 250 homes were destroyed and 620 others suffered major damage; roads were swept away and telecommunications connections destroyed. The town with population of 5,800 was left almost completely destroyed and isolated.“We have so many guys coming out of the Dominican Republic, and we keep together, especially when something bad happens,” said Mr. Ortiz before the game. “It was a tough situation in Jimani; we just feel so proud, so happy, to help out.” “A lot of people lost their lives, and a lot of people lost their homes. When you see that going on anywhere, especially in a place you’ve been or you know, it just makes you more sensitive about it,” said Mr. Ortiz, who initiated the effort with a collection box in the Boston clubhouse. “All the fans helped us out – it was unbelievable. And then the Red Sox doubled the money we collected. It made me so proud of being part of New England, being a part of this team.”After the flooding, UNDP immediately launched its emergency response to the disaster in Jimaní and other flood-ravaged areas of the country and neighbouring Haiti, working with government institutions and civil society to provide short-term relief and begin the process of recovery. After helping organize rescue operations in the hours and days after the floods, UNDP provided financial assistance and counselling to victims and began the task of rebuilding Jimaní. The sluggers Mr. Ortiz and Mr. Ramírez and ace pitcher Mr. Martínez responded to news of the floods with donations, and soon rallied their teammates, ball club and Red Sox fans to pitch in. The result: More than $200,000 in funding support for relief and recovery in Jimaní, including $100,000 from Red Sox owner John Henry and over $31,000 from fans. Athletic gear maker Majestic chipped in with 1,200 T-shirts and 1,000 pairs of shorts for flood victims. Other companies and individuals also gave money and goods. UNDP and its local partners put the money to work, supporting the construction of 50 new homes in the first phase of the Jimaní project. The reconstruction effort was guided by the people of Jimaní themselves as UNDP sought to help them find solutions that would maximize the impact of outside aid and enable the town to heal its wounds and build a secure future. It also convened a housing commission to conduct a census of affected families and determine exactly what needs existed. The two- and three-bedroom residences have kitchens, dining areas, bathrooms and back porches – and innovative architecture designed to withstand future flash flooding, according to UNDP. The government has built entirely new roads, power lines and sewage systems for the rebuilt village. Now, two years later, the flood victims of Jimaní are ready to move into their new homes, with hopes for a better life.
“We call this residential care, I call it institutionalisation of trauma”: Group calls for better child protection The Irish Care Leavers’ Network is dedicated to supporting people coming out of State care. SHANE GRIFFIN spent eight years of his childhood in State care.In that time he was moved through multiple foster placements, suffered sexual and physical abuse, and ran away from his place of residence multiple times.“I’m an adult child of the Irish State,” Griffin told listeners gathered in room in Leinster House on Wednesday.“The State was also my parent. My birth parents – my late mother – was deemed unfit to parent my siblings and I,” he said. Sunday 26 Feb 2017, 8:00 AM Image: Shutterstock/TORWAISTUDIO Short URL By Cormac Fitzgerald https://jrnl.ie/3253530 Share317 Tweet Email1 Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Feb 26th 2017, 8:00 AM 11,079 Views My mother also happened to be a vulnerable adult. This is how my siblings and I became her vulnerable children.Wayne Dignam also spent much of his childhood in care. He grew up in different foster and residential care placements from the age of three – before being placed in long-term foster care from the age of eight.“I was on the scrap heap,” Dignam told the crowd gather in the AV Room of Leinster House.“Living in a residential home in Bray after suffering a huge amount of trauma, multiple placements. I really had no concept of where I was going to be.”He said he met his future foster parents on the promenade in Bray, and they were the ones who decided to care for him.“Somebody said ‘I care, I care about your life’,” said Dignam.Your life is going to improve as a result of the care I give you.Dignam is the chairperson and founder of the Irish Care Leavers’ Network, while Griffin is it’s advocacy manager.The ICLN is a peer-led support service for people coming out of State-care after the age of 18. People in this situation can be extremely vulnerable and supports can be lacking.As people who grew up in care, Dignam and Griffin saw the need for a network of people who have lived in State care and been through the system to support others in need. Fianna Fáil TD Fiona O’Loughlin (left), Shane Griffin (centre), and Wayne Dignam (right). Source: Cormac Fitzgerald/TheJournal.ieFalling through the cracksIn November of last year, TheJournal.ie spoke to a young woman Natasha, who was homeless at the time in Cork city.Natasha (20) had spent much of her childhood in State care, and when she was released at the age of 18 she found there weren’t enough supports available for her.She felt she had slipped through the cracks of the system and that her outlook ahead was bleak.“I know so many alcoholics in my life. I don’t want to be 40, living in a tent in this weather, waking up with a bottle of vodka beside me,” she said at the time.“Slipping through the cracks” was one of the main themes of the presentation when Griffin and Dingman gathered together TDs, senators, NGO and Tusla representatives and others in the AV Room of Leinster House on Wednesday.The event was facilitated by Fianna Fáil’s Fiona O’Loughlin, with Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on children Anne Rabbitte present also. Anne Rabbitte addressing the AV in Leinster house during teh week. Source: Cormac Fitzgerald/TheJournal.ieThe men gave a presentation on the difficulties facing those in care and the need for action on addressing issues within the system.Dignam spoke about the need to implement changes and reform to the care system. He called for stronger supports for children, for foster families, and for young adults after they leave State care.He said the issues facing vulnerable children were not properly understood and that more public outrage and engagement was needed.“I’m really questioning whether the public are engaged with this conversation,” he said.And I don’t think politics and government take it seriously. I don’t think there’s enough outrage about this in society.He pointed to the Children’s Rights Alliance Report Card for 2017, which was published this week and rates the Government on its children’s rights record.Overall, the Government scored a D+ for its record on children, with the report identifying serious failings in the care of homeless children, Traveller and Roma children and child refugees or asylum seekers. Members of the Children’s Right Alliance launching the Report Card this week. Source: MAXWELLS DUBLIN“Institutionalisation of trauma”There were 6,276 children in State care as of last November. Of these, nearly 6,000 are in foster care homes. Over 325 children are in residential care homes.Both Dignam and Griffin spoke of the traumatic effect being moved through different foster homes and placements can have on a child.Shane Griffin laid out a number of recommendations that should be implemented in order to improve the outcomes and care for children.He spoke about how vulnerable children were “falling through the net” while living in residential care homes – which are group homes run by Tusla or independent charities.“We call this residential care, I call it institutionalisation of trauma,” he said.Community supports, 24 hour care units that open on weekends, and more resources being diverted to different bodies were all listed as ways to improve the care of children.There was a consensus among people gathered – which included representatives from Barnardo’s, EPIC, the Irish Foster Care Association and others – of the need to work together to improve the level of support afforded to children.“We need to make our collective voice heard for children who are vulnerable,” said Dignam.I don’t think we’re doing enough of it. I really don’t and I don’t think the public get it.Read: Minister reveals that over 6,000 children in State careRead: ‘Imagine the trauma, fear and confusion’: 55% surge in child homelessness Image: Shutterstock/TORWAISTUDIO 9 Comments
6,573 Views By Gráinne Ní Aodha Friday 3 Feb 2017, 6:05 AM Demand for .ie websites falls in Ireland – but is on the rise internationally Leinster registered the greatest number of new .ie domains in 2016. 11 Comments Short URL Feb 3rd 2017, 6:05 AM Share10 Tweet Email http://jrnl.ie/3218841 Image: Shutterstock/everything possible NEW FIGURES SHOW that there’s much love for Irish websites internationally, while the demand for them on the island of Ireland is falling.Of the 34,615 new website domains that were registered last year, 31,665 were registered in the Republic of Ireland, a 2% decrease on 2015; but 2,390 were registered internationally, a 4% increase on 2015.At the end of 2016, a total of 221,871 .ie domains were registered in Ireland and around the world, according to new figures released today by the IE Domain Registry (IEDR).Figures from IRDR, which is responsible for managing and maintaining Ireland’s country code domain name extension ‘.ie’, showed that 34,615 were registered last year alone – the second highest year for new registrations since 2011.That equates to approximately 94 new .ie registrations every day in 2016. 72% of all new registrations in 2016 were made by businesses (corporate bodies and sole traders). Source: Shutterstock/alice-photoLeinster registered the greatest number of new .ie domains in 2016 (67%), followed by Munster (19%), Connacht (8.5%) and Ulster (5%).Divided further, Dublin accounted for 44% of all new .ie registrations, or 14,187, followed by Cork (9%, 2,837) and Galway (5%, 1,512).Fermanagh registered only 31 .ie domains in 2016, the smallest number in Northern Ireland and on the island of Ireland overall. Leitrim registered the fewest .ie domains in the Republic – just 130.Compared to 22 European countries, Ireland, with 47, ranks joint 18th with France for the number of country code domains per 1,000 people. Many other countries with similar and smaller populations fare far better, including Denmark (233 .dk domains per 1,000 people), Norway (136 .no domains) and Lithuania (63 .lt domains).Read: Almost two billion people are on Facebook nowRead: Irish tech executives say Trump’s travel ban ‘makes no sense morally or economically’ Image: Shutterstock/everything possible Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
Councillor for Stonnington, Tasos Athanasopoulos, has hit back at his critics in Stonnington Council following revelations last week that he is being investigated by Local Government Victoria for a potential conflict of interest.When contacted by Neos Kosmos English Edition (NKEE), Local Government Victoria confirmed the investigation.“The Minister for Local Government received a written complaint alleging that Councillor Athanasopoulos did not declare a conflict of interest in relation to a number of planning matters that came before council. Local Government Victoria has commenced an investigation into the allegations which is ongoing,” read a statement form Local Government Victoria. One of the matters investigated relates to a donation in the amount of $3,000 to Cr Athanasopoulos from the Greek Media Group, of which Harry Stamoulis was the director at the time. The potential conflict of interest is that Cr Athanasopoulos did not declare the donation while sitting at two council meetings where he voted in favour of a development that Mr Stamoulis pursued on Chapel Street. The vote of Cr Athansopoulos proved insignificant as the majority of the council voted against the development, which is a 27-storey building. As it turned out, the construction of the building is underway after the Victorian Government endorsed the development.When asked by NKEE about the $3,000 donation, Cr Athanasopoulos claimed that he didn’t know that Mr Stamoulis was, at the time, the director of the Greek Media Group. In The Age it was reported that a spokesman for Mr Stamoulis argued that the donation was in the form of free air time on 3XY Radio and that it was part of a wider policy to help Greek Council candidates, hence there was no connection with the South Yarra development. But, Cr Athansapoulos raised the ante, claiming that the issue in Stonnington Council is that “Greeks are treated unfairly.” He further argued that during last Monday’s council meeting this fact became even more clear. During that meeting two motions were put to a vote regarding the Greek Orthodox parishes of St. Catherine and Sts Constantine and Helen. The one regarding St. Catherine, was a motion put forward by Cr Athanasopoulos, for the Council to give $10,000 to the parish that had recently been hit by a fire that destroyed its community hall. The motion regarding the Sts Constantine and Helen was the granting of a Liquor licence to the church that was also supported by Cr Athanasopoulos. Both motions were voted down. Another Councillor of Stonnington, Anne O’Shea also expressed her concerns about the dealings of the City Council with the Greek community. “I fear that there is a pattern developing within the Stonnington Council that can give the wrong impression to the Greek community and I also believe that this is tied to an effort in the Stonnington Council of denying Cr Athanasopoulos credit for certain of his initiatives,” Cr O’Shea pointed out. The Mayor of Stonnington Claude Ullin categorically denies any misunderstanding between the Council and the Greek community. “One of the most important groups within the City [of Stonnington] is the Greek community and we enjoy their participation over a large number of areas where they have contributed greatly over a long period of time.” Cr Ullin clarified that the issues that were voted down regarding the two Greek parishes were done so on their merits. And in no uncertain terms he stressed: “There is nothing personal, there is nothing racist there is nothing against the Greek community.” In the case of St. Catherine, Cr Ullin explained that they are just following the process since they have not received a formal request from the parish to provide them with financial support. “Our officers have done some research about this [St. Catherine] and they have indicated that they don’t require money at this stage but only a place for elderly citizens to meet within that community and that’s what we’re looking at the moment,” Cr Ullin said. On the case of Sts Constantine and Helen he explained that there were many objections to that application from nearby residents. “We’ve had a lot complaints and letters about the noise from the Church,” he added. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
Une nouvelle population de gibbons découverte au VietnamLundi 18 juillet, les naturalistes d’une ONG environnementale ont annoncé avoir découvert, dans les forêts reculées du Vietnam, une colonie jusqu’alors ignorée du très rare et très menacé gibbon à joues blanches. Parcourant les hauteurs du parc naturel de Pu Mat, dans le nord du Vietnam, les chercheurs de l’ONG Conservation International (CI), identifiant le chant matinal “fort, élaboré et prolongé” du gibbon à joues blanches, ont repéré une colonie d’environ 500 de ces singes : elle représente les 2/3 de la population totale recensée au Vietnam, mais aussi et surtout l’unique “population viable confirmée” de cette espèce dans le monde.À lire aussiLa réaction hilarante d’un orang outan face à un tour de magieEn effet, au bord de l’extinction, le gibbon à joues blanches a vu sa population totale décliner de 80% en l’espace de 45 ans, selon l’Union internationale pour la conservation de la nature (UICN). Souffrant de la perte de son habitat et chassé pour alimenter la pharmacopée traditionnelle, il est déjà “fonctionnellement éteint” en Chine.”C’est une découverte extrêmement significative, qui montre bien que les zones protégées fournissent un dernier refuge aux espèces décimées de cette région”, a commenté le Dr. Russell Mittermeier, président de CI, qui craint toutefois que la construction d’une route à travers la zone de Pu Mat, actuellement en projet, ne permette aux braconniers de pénétrer plus facilement le territoire de ces primates. Découvrez ces gibbons en images sur Maxisciences.[Article publié le 18 juillet 2011, édité le 21 juillet 2011] Le 21 juillet 2011 à 14:42 • Emmanuel Perrin