In a strong indictment of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said that Suresh Kalmadi was appointed the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CWG OC) chairman at its behest.In its voluminous 743-page report, the CAG said that the PMO recommended Congress MP Kalmadi for OC chairmanship in 2004, despite serious objections from the then sports minister Sunil Dutt.The PMO’s recommendation facilitated conversion of the originally envisaged government-owned OC into a body outside government control without commensurate accountability and concomitant controls to ensure propriety and transparency despite full financial guarantee and funding from the government.Click here to EnlargeAn unwieldy 400-plus general body of the OC was formed, which was not envisaged in the bid document or the Host City Contract, the report pointed out.Kalmadi was also allowed to run riot by ignoring suggestions for a greater control on the OC’s functioning from another former Union sports minister Mani Shankar Aiyar and former sports secretary S. K. Arora.Aiyar and Arora’s attempts in 2007 to officially take up the issue of OC’s accountability with the PMO, Group of Ministers and Cabinet Secretariat were resisted by Kalmadi and rendered unfruitful, the report said. The CAG said: “The CWG bid document of May 2003 envisaged the OC as a ‘government-owned registered society’ with the chairman of the OC executive board (EB) being a government appointee and the IOA president being only the EB vice-chairman.”However, in February 2005, the OC was set up as a ‘non-government registered society’ with the IOA president Suresh Kalmadi as the chairman of the OC’s EB, the report said.advertisementClick here to EnlargeThe change to a ‘non-government registered society’ with Kalmadi as OC chairman was orchestrated through a sequence of events commencing with a document titled ‘an updated bid’ of December 2003. This, the CAG said, had no legal sanctity or relevance and indicated a changed structure.The script of the CWG loot seems similar to the 2G spectrum scam. Besides the principal villains, the PMO and the Union finance ministry’s roles have been suspect in both the scams.The CAG report, which was tabled in Parliament on Friday, described the sequence of events to indict the PMO. On December 6, 2004, the report said, the PMO issued a communication stating that institutional arrangements had been put in place for the conduct of the CWG, catapulting Kalmadi as the OC chairman.According to the CAG, Manmohan Singh’s office direction was considered and passed by the third GoM on January 29, 2005. The audit body said that in September 2003 the central and Delhi governments decided to host the CWG and bear its financial liability – a decision which was critical to the success of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) bid for Delhi to host the CWG.Kalmadi managed to trick the government by converting the OC into a ‘non-government registered society’ in February 2005 so that he could organise the big ticket sporting event in the manner he liked. Prior to that, as per the CAG report, Kalmadi quietly filed an irrelevant and illegal ‘updated bid’ in December 2003 indicating a change in the OC structure.”This updated bid surfaced only in September 2004, 16 months after the IOA made its bid and 10 months after that bid had already been declared successful,” said the CAG report, pointing to Kalmadi’s ploy.The government woke up late and decided to rein in Kalmadi- led OC in August 2010, only two months before the Games were to start. But its actions were “largely in the nature of fire-fighting measures”, the highly critical report said.The report also indicted the ministries of finance and sports for failing to “exercise necessary due diligence and did not adequately examine and scrutinise the revenue projections or raise red flag on the critical issue at the highest levels of government, specially on the quantum jump in revenue projections from Rs 900 cr to Rs 1,780 cr and chose to go along with the OC’s claims of revenue neutrality”. In reality, the total committed revenue was just Rs 682.06 crore out of which the OC could manage only Rs 173.96 cr.The government also disbanded finance sub- committee of the GoM, which was supposed to clear the Games budget and monitor the spending. This contributed to the piecemeal approach towards cost estimation and budget approval. The Centre was clueless about the cost of hosting the biggest-ever sporting event in the country, the report said.PM is the common factor2G scamA. Raja has claimed that the finance ministry, then headed by incumbent home minister P. Chidambaram, as well as PM Manmohan Singh were kept in the loop about the policy decisions, for which he was now being blamedCWG lootadvertisementThe PMO got Suresh Kalmadi appointed as OC chief despite objections. The CAG has blamed the Centre for not setting up a single point of authority and accountability, showing govt failure.
Swarn SinghYoung rower Swarn Singh brought some cheers back to the Indian contingent as he clinched the bronze medal in men’s single sculls final at the 17th Asian Games.Singh needed 1 minute 43.86 seconds in the 500m, took 3 minutes and 30.25 seconds to complete 1000m before the 1500m and 2000m race in 5 minutes 18.36 seconds and 7 minutes 10.65 seconds respectively at Chungju tangeumho on the sixth day of competitions.The 24-year-old Singh finished behind Iran’s Mohsen Shadinaghadh, who won the gold medal and silver medallist Kim Dongyong of hosts South Korea.On Wednesday, another rower Dushyant Singh was the only athlete to manage a podium finish for India as he grabbed a bronze in the men’s lightweight single sculls.Meanwhile in men’s double sculls, the Indian team of Om Prakash and Bhokanal Dattu Baban finished fifth.India’s Amanjot Kaur, Sanjukta Dung Dung, Lakshmi Devi and Navneet Kaur finished second in women’s quadruple sculls final B.
Former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming was on Monday named chief coach of the new Pune franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL).With this the former Chennai Super Kings coach will renew his long and most successful partnership with his former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni who was picked in the December draft.”I warmly welcome Stephen Fleming as the chief coach,” team owner Sanjiv Goenka, chairman of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group said in a statement.The duo had led CSK to two successive IPL triumphs and as many Champions League T20 trophies to become the most successful in the franchise league.”He has been remarkably successful as a player in the international arena and I firmly believe that his technical knowhow, perseverance and organisation skills will work wonders for our team. I have tremendous faith in his leadership ability and believe that it would have a positive impact on our team members,” Goenka was further quoted as saying in a press release.In the first ever IPL draft, the Pune franchise who had got the first chance to pick a player because of their lowest bid, chose the most successful Indian skipper up front before going on to buy Ravichandran Ashwin, Faf du Plessis, Ajinkya Rahane and Steven Smith.Pune and Rajkot are the two new teams in place of CSK and Rajasthan Royals who have been suspended for two years by the Supreme Court-appointed Justice RM Lodha panel for the involvement of some of their team officials and co-owners in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal. The IPL 2016 is slated to start April 9.advertisement
Former Test cricketers Shane Warne, Michael Slater and Kevin Pietersen have been fined $300 for failing to wear seatbelts by Tasmanian police who spotted the offense in a video on Warne’s Facebook page.The four-minute video showed Warne, his former Australia teammate Slater and England’s Pietersen traveling in a van with former Australia captain Mark Taylor and Ian Healy. The group form the cricket commentary team for Australia’s Channel Nine.After being filmed for a couple of minutes, the men realized their mistake and put on seatbelts. But sharp-eyed visitors to Warne’s page commented on their infringement and alerted police who investigated.In a statement police said infringements were issued “after police reviewed a video posted on one of the men’s Facebook page.”
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Kante: What Chelsea players think of Pulisicby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has welcomed their swoop for Borussia Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic.On Wednesday morning it was announced that the 20-year-old will be moving to west London this summer in a £58million move from Borussia Dortmund.Having watched Pulisic’s impact from afar, Kante can’t wait to see it close up next season.”We know he’s a good player,” he told the Daily Mail following Chelsea’s 0-0 draw with Southampton in the Premier League on Wednesday night.”He’s doing well for Dortmund and we are glad to welcome him to Chelsea.”
The scholars, aptly described by High Commissioner Ramocan as “amazing future leaders of Jamaica”, comprised 14 Chevening, five Commonwealth and one Jamaica National Foundation scholarship awardees, who are studying various disciplines in the UK. Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), His Excellency Seth Ramocan, on Thursday (July 6) hosted 23 Jamaican scholars at a luncheon in their honour at the High Commission in London.The scholars, aptly described by High Commissioner Ramocan as “amazing future leaders of Jamaica”, comprised 14 Chevening, five Commonwealth and one Jamaica National Foundation scholarship awardees, who are studying various disciplines in the UK.High Commissioner Ramocan lauded the students for their hard work, commitment and outstanding performances, which led to their selection for these important and competitive placements.He indicated that they were not only future leaders, but influencers of change and were very important in helping to build positive relations in the UK.“Jamaica is a leader is so many areas, but not enough acknowledgement is given to the fact that we have produced so many impressive scholars over the years,” he noted.During the luncheon, discussions were held on issues such as the Economic Growth Council (ECG), correspondent banking, as well as diaspora engagement with second-, third- and fourth-generation Jamaicans.The scholars expressed a desire to work more closely with youths within the UK diaspora to increase their knowledge and understanding of Jamaica.In addition, it was highlighted that there is a need to ensure that linkages are maintained by scholars on their return to Jamaica.The students, most of whom are studying at the master’s level, are completing their theses for submission in a few weeks, after which the majority of them will return to Jamaica. High Commissioner Ramocan lauded the students for their hard work, commitment and outstanding performances, which led to their selection for these important and competitive placements. Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), His Excellency Seth Ramocan, on Thursday (July 6) hosted 23 Jamaican scholars at a luncheon in their honour at the High Commission in London. Story Highlights
One of the key commercial barriers to liquefied natural gas (LNG) becoming the marine fuel of choice for the shipping industry has been the concern about its availability due to the lack of LNG bunkering infrastructure.“We used to say that it was a chicken and egg situation as the bunker suppliers were waiting for the market, while the market, on the other hand, was waiting for the infrastructure. But the situation has moved past that now and we are seeing new LNG-fueled projects coming in,” Stavros Niotis, Senior Engineer, Global Gas Solutions Group, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), told World Maritime News on the sidelines of the Posidonia trade show.Niotis added that there has been a lot of interest lately in developing the necessary infrastructure, resulting in an increase in availability of LNG in major global ports.“We have seen oil and gas majors like Shell launch projects to create the necessary infrastructure so at least LNG could be available,” he said.Speaking about the way of encouraging owners to speed up the uptake of LNG as marine fuel, and potential incentives to make that happen, Niotis said:“From a commercial point of view, I would definitely agree that there needs to be some sort of financial support in that respect. From the technical and operational point of view, the key issue continues to be LNG bunkering infrastructure.”The number of LNG bunkering vessels has grown from one at the beginning of 2017 to six in early 2018, with these numbers expected at least to double by 2020, according to multi-sector industry coalition SEA\LNG, whose member is ABS. The coalition forecasts that in the next five years 30 LNG bunker vessels could be operating worldwide.The interest in LNG as marine fuel is growing especially ahead of the entrance into force of the IMO’s 2020 global sulphur cap.“The 2020 sulphur cap has definitely been a driving force for owners to look into alternatives to the heavy-fuel oil. LNG has always been there as a fuel for marine application and when this driving force came through the IMO regulations for SOx emissions, the LNG emerged as an important alternative solution,” he added. Related: ABS Pens Technical Support Deal with probunkers However, making the decision about investing in LNG as fuel is driven by Capex, Niotis highlighted, meaning the cost for the necessary equipment that needs to be installed on board. Another issue that needs to be thoroughly analysed is whether fitting such equipment would have any impact on the basic design of the ship.“There are some ship types that are easier to retrofit from the standard design, while other ship types are not so flexible. At the end of the day it is a matter of investment,” he added.The role of ABS in the process of making ships compliant with the new environmental regulations is to provide companies with the fact-based information to support them in their decision-making.“We evaluate various solutions for complying with the new regulations. Selecting the optimal solution for your vessel is not an easy thing and there is no silver bullet for all the ship types. Therefore, we need to look at each specific ship type and its specific operation and analyze individual cases separately. These comparison studies help our clients decide whether to burn low-sulphur fuel oil, go with the scrubbers, or choose LNG or LPG as a fuel.“As a class society we are not here to promote the one or the other solution. We feel that every solution is applicable in complying with the new regulations but you need to optimize your ship design and ship operation for that solution,” he concluded.Interview by Jasmina Ovčina Mandra, Image by WMN,The interest in LNG as marine fuel is growing especially ahead of the entrance into force of the IMO’s 2020 global sulphur cap.“The 2020 sulphur cap has definitely been a driving force for owners to look into alternatives to the heavy-fuel oil. LNG has always been there as a fuel for marine application and when this driving force came through the IMO regulations for SOx emissions, the LNG emerged as an important alternative solution,” he added. Related: ABS Pens Technical Support Deal with probunkers
New Delhi: The Finance Ministry is planning to launch an exchange traded fund (ETF) consisting of stocks of PSU banks and financial institutions this fiscal and will soon appoint an advisor to explore its feasibility, according to an official. After the resounding success of CPSE ETF and Bharat-22 ETF, the government is looking at diversifying the ETF basket by including stocks public sector banks and financial institutions. “We will be soon appointing advisor to suggest on launching an ETF with PSU bank scrips. The advisor will also look into the feasibility of including stocks of financial institutions and insurance companies into the basket,” the official said. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documentsThe plan to launch a bank ETF comes on the back of the government seeing huge investor demand for two existing ETFs. It has raised Rs 32,900 crore through two tranches and an additional fund offer of Bharat-22 ETF, and Rs 38,000 crore in five tranches of CPSE ETF in the domestic market. “We expect balance sheet of PSU banks to strengthen going forward and an ETF would provide risk-averse investors an option to hold shares of multiple banks through a single financial instrument,” the official said. Also Read – World suffering ‘synchronized slowdown’, says new IMF chiefCurrently, there are two state-owned insurance companies — General Insurance Corp of India and New India Assurance Co Ltd — and 19 public sector banks that are listed on exchanges. Besides, financial institution IFCI is also listed on the exchanges. The government currently has two exchange-traded funds — CPSE ETF and Bharat-22 ETF — listed on domestic exchanges. ETFs function like a mutual fund scheme and have underlying assets of government-owned companies. The Finance Ministry has also started consultations with global investors for launching CPSE-scrip based ETF in overseas market. The official further said that the government does not intend to launch in the domestic market any new ETFs comprising stocks of public sector companies since in most of these companies government holding is nearing 51 per cent. Bharat-22 ETF, which was launched in 2017-18, has 16 central public sector enterprises covering six sectors, three public sector banks and three private sector companies where the government holds minority stake. CPSE-ETF comprises shares of 11 companies — ONGC, Coal India, Indian Oil Corp, Power Finance Corp, REC, Bharat Electronics, Oil India, NTPC, NBCC (India), NLC India and SJVN Ltd. The government has budgeted to collect Rs 90,000 crore through CPSE disinvestment in the current fiscal as against Rs 84,972 crore mopped up in 2018-19.
Mumbai: Veteran Bollywood actor Tanuja has undergone operation for diverticulitis and is doing fine, says a source from the hospital. Tanuja, 75, was admitted to city-based Lilavati Hospital on Wednesday. An insider said that she would remain hospitalised for “at least a week”. Diverticulitis, a condition which results in the inflammation or infection of small pouches called diverticula that develop along the walls of the intestines. The news of the actor’s hospitalisation came two days after Kajol’s father-in-law, action director Veeru Devgan’s death.
London: US President Donald Trump meets outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday for trade-centred talks during his state visit to Britain, with protesters set to gather outside the gates. After a glittering banquet thrown by Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, the second day of Trump’s trip turns from pomp and ceremony to politics and business. The president’s three-day visit — centred around Wednesday’s D-Day 75th-anniversary commemorations — comes at a tricky time for Britain, with May stepping down within weeks over her handling of Brexit. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’ The UK-US “special relationship” has been under strain over different approaches to Iran, the use of Chinese technology in 5G networks, climate change, and Trump’s personal politics. May is due to step down as leader of the governing Conservative Party on Friday, her Brexit strategy having imploded after nearly three years in the job. Some 13 candidates so far are jostling to replace her as prime minister by late July. Trump has weighed in on Brexit, saying he would walk away from the European Union without a deal if he could not get a deal he liked. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in China He has also said he would like to strike a quick trade agreement once Britain leaves the EU. “Big trade deal is possible once UK gets rid of the shackles,” he tweeted Monday. Trump and May are set to co-host a business breakfast meeting at St. James’s Palace with five top companies each from Britain and the United States. Chiefs from BAE Systems, GlaxoSmithKline, Barclays, Reckitt Benckiser, JP Morgan, Lockheed Martin and Goldman Sachs International are among those expected to attend. “It is a great partnership, but one I believe we can make greater still,” May was to say at the business round-table, according to her Downing Street office. “With a bilateral free trade agreement, with broader economic co-operation… there are opportunities to seize. “Through dialogue like this we can ensure that our economic partnership not only endures but continues to grow stronger for many years to come.” Britain’s Prince Andrew, finance minister Philip Hammond and international trade minister Liam Fox are set to take part, along with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. May, Trump and their teams were then set to hold talks at Downing Street, followed by lunch together and press conference. The three-course lunch in 10 Downing Street’s state dining room will consist of Paignton harbour crab, followed by Lake District beef fillet and an Eton mess with peach for dessert. May will give Trump a copy of one of the most significant documents in the transatlantic “special relationship” — a framed copy of Winston Churchill’s personal draft of the 1941 Atlantic Charter, which defined the Allied goals post-World War II. Trump and May will also go on a private tour of the Churchill War Rooms, the bunkers from which Britain’s wartime prime minister ran his operations. Outside, thousands of leftwing anti-Trump protesters are due to rally in London’s Whitehall government district, headed by Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. The demonstration will rally round a giant inflatable balloon mocking Trump by depicting him as an orange baby. Corbyn, in his capacity as leader the opposition, was invited to Monday’s state banquet but boycotted the occasion, accusing Trump of “racist and misogynistic rhetoric”. He said the protest was “an opportunity to stand in solidarity with those he’s attacked in America, around the world and in our own country”. Corbyn is a late addition to a bill of left-wing lawmakers, trade unionists and protest regulars set to address the crowds. Trump’s day will be rounded off with a dinner at the US ambassador’s Winfield House residence.
New Delhi: Most Indians recognise that India’s global stature has risen in the last five years and this played a role in the NDA government retaining power for a second consecutive term, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday.A “global rebalancing” is taking place and its “sharpest manifestation” is the rise of China and, to an extent, the rise of India as well, Jaishankar said during an interaction at a seminar. “A large majority of people in India recognised that India’s stature in the world has risen in the last five years,” the minister said, adding that the government has kept alive and perhaps even strengthened expectations of change in India. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCThe government looks different from outside than from inside, Jaishankar, who served as foreign secretary from 2015-18, said without elaborating. In his first public event after becoming the external affairs minister, he also said the elections were a vote of confidence in the management of national security and foreign policy was integrated with it. In addition to this, a large part of India’s economy has been externalised and there is need for India’s foreign policy to help Indian companies gain better access to overseas markets. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsJaishankar was addressing The Growth Net Summit 7.0, being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Ananta Centre. The minister said he will continue with his predecessor Sushma Swaraj’s social media outreach to help Indians abroad. He said “enormous emphasis” will be given to Indians in distress and they now expect the government to reach out to them. This has changed the image of the foreign ministry, he added. The external affairs minister also called for greater integration between government departments to create a stronger focus on the economic issues being faced by Indian companies, especially in overseas markets. While highlighting India’s relationship with its immediate neighbourhood, Jaishankar said the priority has been to focus on the regional grouping BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) rather than SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation). BIMSTEC, he said, is witnessing a great deal of positive energy. It was decided to leverage that and invite the leaders of BIMSTEC nations to the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Modi last month, he added. According to the minister, changes the world is witnessing are very sharp and globalisation is under stress, especially in terms of market access and mobility of labour. Second is the growth of nationalism, which he said is being validated electorally across the globe, and the third is the global rebalancing taking place, especially with the rise of China. He said some of the changes are contradictory in nature. For example, some nations are increasing tariffs while others are focused on improving connectivity. In addition, there has been a rise in bilateral FTAs (free trade agreements) in light of the fact that the World Trade Organization (WTO) system is not working. He was of the view that India needed to find ways to fix architecture such as the WTO and make it more effective. “We can build a closer region through regional connectivity projects,” Jaishankar added. “If we want to propel economic growth, then there is greater responsibility for Indian foreign policy to focus on external aspect of it,” the minister said. There is big responsibility on the External Affairs Ministry to focus on project execution which has strategic significance, he added.
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says today’s federal Liberal party wouldn’t accept political donations like those that got SNC-Lavalin in trouble in the late 2000s.Trudeau says the party has improved its standards and, in his words, “that is not what happens any more.”The Quebec-based engineering firm reached a “compliance agreement” with Canada’s elections commissioner in 2016, admitting that executives who’d left the company by then had convinced employees to give money to both the Liberal and Conservative parties.The agreement was public at the time but a CBC report today reveals the names of the SNC-Lavalin employees the elections commissioner believed were involved.Reimbursing the donors with company bonuses was a way around an election law that forbids corporations to make political donations.The Liberals got nearly $118,000 under the scheme, compared with the Tories’ $8,000.SNC-Lavalin CEO Neil Bruce said in 2016 that the agreement with the elections commissioner was evidence that the company had turned over a new leaf.So has the Liberal party, Trudeau said Tuesday before the government’s weekly cabinet meeting.“When we came to power and when I became leader of the Liberal party, we made significant changes to the fundraising regime, we have moved forward on transparency and openness, and that is not what happens any more.”The donations covered by the compliance agreement were made between 2004 and 2011; Trudeau became Liberal leader in 2013.The Liberals’ relationship with SNC-Lavalin has dogged Trudeau for months. Former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould has said Trudeau and his staff pressured her improperly to arrange a deal much like a compliance agreement, to help the company avoid a criminal prosecution related to its allegedly corrupt practices in Libya.Trudeau has denied any impropriety, putting the whole thing down to miscommunications and misunderstandings. Nevertheless, it’s led to the departures of Wilson-Raybould and fellow minister Jane Philpott from cabinet and the Liberal caucus, the resignation of Trudeau’s principal secretary Gerald Butts, and the early retirement of Michael Wernick, formerly Canada’s top civil servant.The Canadian Press
QUEBEC — Within Quebec Premier Francois Legault’s Coalition Avenir Quebec caucus, the most prestigious and best-paid jobs most often go to men.Of 75 legislature members, 65 of them — 42 men and 23 women — have extra functions that earn them a boost in pay.While the pay scale varies according to the functions fulfilled, there are more men than women at every level of extra pay, according to an analysis of the legislature members’ salaries carried out by The Canadian Press.At a time when all politicians tout gender parity and pay equality, the size of a politician’s wallet remains a good measure of progress. And in Legault’s party, legislature members who wear suits and ties are more likely to outearn their female counterparts.In 2019, women make up 44 per cent of the legislature members who income reaches $167,482, 33 per cent of those at the $129,000 level, 25 per cent of those making $119,630 and 30 per cent of those whose salaries reach $114,845.The most prestigious and well-paid parliamentary roles (president of the National Assembly, caucus president, chief whip, parliamentary leader) are all served by men.Women serve some lesser roles, including assistant to the whip or assistant to the president, with a lower pay to match.Others can hope for a parliamentary appointment, which is often seen as a consolation prize for those not tapped to be part of cabinet.The only level of the pay scale dominated by women is the lowest one, reserved for legislature members making a base salary, which currently sits at $95,704.Among the Coalition Avenir Quebec’s team, 20 per cent of women weren’t offered a special role, compared to eight per cent of men.Legault’s cabinet is currently made up of 14 men and 12 women. When the caucus president, chief whip and premier are counted, women make up 41 per cent.Legault sits at the top of the pay scale, with a salary of nearly $200,000 per year.Fifteen men and 12 women are included in the second tier of the pay scale, whose revenue is boosted to $167,482 and includes cabinet ministers and the president of the national assembly.The position of parliamentary assistant, a function that allows an elected official to assist a minister, is often considered a gateway to cabinet. There are four times as many men as women in this category, at 16 compared to four.The politician who has had the biggest pay cut since the election is MarieChantal Chasse, who went from environment minister to a simple committee chair, and consequently saw her pay decline from $167,482 to $119,630.Her successor, Benoit Charette, made the exact same journey in reverse, boosting his salary by $47,852 in the process.Jocelyne Richer, The Canadian Press
VICTORIA – The British Columbia government has launched a two-phase review of BC Hydro in an effort to find cost savings and direction for the Crown utility.The first part of the review is expected to examine ways to save money within Hydro, create new revenue streams in an effort to keep rates low and give the corporation the resources it needs to provide electricity.An advisory group that includes staff from government ministries and BC Hydro will conduct the first review.The government says in a news release that it expects recommendations from the first phase of the review to be complete by this fall.It says the second phase of the review will build on new strategies from the first phase and include ways to ensure Hydro can maximize opportunities around the shift in global energy sectors.The expert panel conducting the second phase would aim to deliver its recommendation to the government by the summer or fall of next year.
Taroudante- Spain’s parliament gave final approval on Thursday to a law granting the right of citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from the country in 1492.To erase “years of crimes” against Sephardic Jews, who were forced to convert or be banished from the country five centuries ago, the Spanish government passed an act allowing Sephardic Jews to apply, during a three-year period beginning in October, for Spanish nationality without renouncing their current citizenship of origin.To be eligible, applicants are required to demonstrate basic knowledge of the Spanish language and pass a test about Spanish culture and current events. Spain follows the steps of the Portuguese government, which approved a similar citizenship law three months ago, seeking to redress what the government called “a historic mistake.”“This law says much about who we were in the past and who we are today and what we want to be in the future—an open, diverse and tolerant Spain,” Justice Minister Rafael Catalá told lawmakers Thursday before the vote.“We are happy to live this historic moment,” David Hatchwell Altaras, the president of the Jewish community of Madrid and vice president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE), told The Jerusalem Post.He added, “While the law is not perfect, it is a great gesture and it is a step in the right direction for a better and deeper relationship between Spain and its Jews. It shows what the new Spain is all about.”Since the “Law of Return”, was approved by the cabinet in February 2014, Muslim groups and associations called on the Spanish government to grant the same privilege for the descendants of Muslims who were expelled from Spain between 1609 and 1614.According to historians, between 300,000 and 500,000 Spanish Muslims were expelled from their native country at the time. Most of them settled in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Turkey.Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission
The secretary to the Judicial Services Commission Manjula Tillakaratne was assaulted by an unidentified gang in Mount Lavinia this morning, police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said.He said that Tillakaratne was admitted to hospital following the assault and was not in a serious condition. “Four people had carried out the assault. Police investigations have been launched but so far there has not been any arrest,” the police spokesman told the Colombo Gazette. The government information department, in a statement, meanwhile condemned the incident and said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered the police chief to launch a thorough investigation into the attack.The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) convened an urgent meeting this evening to discuss the incident.Recently the JSC secretary had said that there was a threat to his life and others in the judiciary after the JSC released a statement alleging interference in the judicial system. The police said that one person had a small pistol in his hand and the mobile telephone of the JSC secretary was also stolen.Tillakaratne, who usually has security officers with him, did not have security guards around him at the time of the attack down Hotel road in Mount Lavinia. Tillakaratne had gone to ST. Thomas Mount Lavinia to drop his child and wife to attend a function wand was reading the newspaper in his car parked along Hotel road when he was assaulted. The Lawyers Association attached to the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court had also recently staged a protest at Hulftsdorp over a mudslinging campaign against the JSC secretary.
While black African rebels in western Sudan appear to have violated human rights in their quest for development, the Government of Sudan and its Arab proxy militia have responded with a “reign of terror” of massive human rights violations which “may constitute war crimes and/or crimes against humanity,” according to a new United Nations report released today.The Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Bertrand Ramcharan, briefed the Security Council behind closed doors on the report, which was based on the work of a fact-finding team he sent last month to settlements in eastern Chad housing about 110,000 Sudanese refugees and then into strife-torn Darfur in western Sudan.The report says the Government of Sudan should “unequivocally condemn all actions and crimes committed by the Janjaweed [militia] and ensure that all militias are immediately disarmed and disbanded.” In addition, Khartoum should pursue a policy of reconciliation for Darfur, end impunity, promote the rule of non-discriminatory law and actively promote development programmes there.The mission had no access to the rebels, but saw areas that the rebels had attacked and met two children who said they had been recruited as soldiers, the report says.Many senior officials acknowledged that in an effort to fight rebel guerrillas with their own guerrillas, the Government had recruited, armed, supported and sponsored a loose collection of fighters of apparent Arab background now known as the Janjaweed, or sometimes the Fursan or the Peshmerga.At a location for some of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), the mission met men in military uniforms on horseback who referred to themselves as Fursan.”The Fursan said they were all Arabs and that they had been armed and paid by the government. They said they acted upon Government instructions,” the report says.A ceasefire launched on 11 April has been holding, with some incidents, but “according to information collected, it is clear that there is a reign of terror in Darfur,” it says.Elements of this terror include “repeated attacks on civilians by the Government of Sudan military and its proxy militia forces, the use of indiscriminate aerial bombardments and ground attacks on unarmed civilians; and the use of disproportionate force by the Government of Sudan and Janjaweed forces,” the report says.The report says the Darfur rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and later the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), both formed from among the black African Fur, Zaghawa and Masaalit peoples, initiated the conflict with similar demands – “for the Khartoum authorities to address the marginalization and underdevelopment of the region.””It is the manner of response to this rebellion by the Government of Sudan which has led to the current crisis in Darfur,” the report says.”Following a string of SLA victories in the first months of 2003…what appears to have been an ethnically-based rebellion has been met with an ethnically-based response, building in large part on long-standing, but largely hitherto contained, tribal rivalries,” the report says.The Sudanese military and Janjaweed militia attacks on Sudan’s Fur, Zaghawa and Masaalit civilians include killing, rape, pillage, including of livestock, and destruction of property, including water sources; and there has been massive, often forced, displacement, the report says.
A series of pictures – or a carousel,… Never before has an Instagram caption been so loaded. On Tuesday afternoon, the Kensington Palace account posted this seemingly innocuous announcement: “Welcome to Instagram, @SussexRoyal! Follow @SussexRoyal for more on the work of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Follow @KensingtonRoyal for more on the work of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.” And lo, the division of the households of Sussex and Cambridge was complete. We knew they would no longer share a team of advisers, aides and press officers. But a split of their Instagram accounts sealed the deal. @SussexRoyal entered the social media stratosphere with a post which was, frankly, peak Harry and Meghan.
ASX-listed Civmec has announced the award of a contract from Albemarle for the delivery of a new lithium hydroxide plant to be built in Western Australia.Albemarle’s new hydroxide production plant will be in the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area, around 160 km south of Perth, near the port town of Bunbury. It will initially comprise of three production trains, each producing 20,000 t/y of hydroxide, with a potential further expansion to five trains and ultimate site production of 100,000 t/y by around 2025. Albemarle began earthworks earlier this year.Civmec’s scope of work includes structural, mechanical and piping for the hydromet and final product, reagents and utilities for Trains 1, 2 and 3.The company’s Henderson facility will be used to fabricate and pre-assemble selected components for the on-site plant erection, with fabrication commencing immediately. Site works, meanwhile, are expected from mid-2019 to March 2021.At the peak of construction, there is expected to be some 300 personnel involved in the delivery of the current defined scope, providing significant opportunity for skilled people residing in the region, Civmec said.Civmec’s CEO, Patrick Tallon, said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Albemarle as a significant construction partner for this exciting project. This two-year project is ideally suited to our operations, fabricating, modularising and site erecting steel work for this key Western Australian development.“This project reflects the growing confidence in the Western Australia resource industry, highlighting a bright future for the coming years.”The contract award takes the Civmec’s current order book to approximately A$758.5 million ($543 million), it said.
For the second season in a row, a handball discussion took place on the day prior to the start of the SEHA – Gazprom League Final 4 tournament again, the event served as a perfect overture for what is still ahead in Skopje on Friday and Sunday and what will probably be four of the most interesting matches of league’s seventh season.The discussion featured Bozidar Djurkovic (SRB), Vice President of the SEHA – Gazprom League and Chairman of the EHF Competition Commission, Boris Sapozhnikov (BLR), Vice President of the SEHA – Gazprom League and Gazprom representative, Sinisa Ostoic (CRO), Managing Director of the SEHA – Gazprom League, Igor Anic, player of Celje PL, David Davis, former Spanish international and current assistant coach of SEHA – Gazprom League and Champions League winners Vardar as well as Zika Bogdanovic (SRB), founder and chief editor of the portal balkan-handball.com.The main topic of the discussion was future of handball in the region as well as what SEHA – Gazprom League really brings to the table for both teams and national federations on club as well as international level.If you miss it, take a look on… ← Previous Story Groups decided on the road to EHF EURO 2020 Next Story → SEHA Gazprom Final4 in Skopje – Balkan Classico and “Meshkov “underdogs” against champions seha gazprom league