Amarinder flays Badal for remarks on Gandhis

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday hit out at former Deputy Chief Minister and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, accusing him of trying to drag the “innocent Gandhi family” into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.Capt. Amarinder said Mr. Badal was by his recent remarks on Gandhi family attempting to undermine Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, under whom the Congress has recently won Assembly elections in three major States.‘Move will backfire’“Misusing religion for political gains will not yield any dividends for the SAD and would backfire on the party in the Lok Sabha elections, as it had done in the 2017 Assembly polls,” said Capt. Amarinder, adding that Mr. Badal should stop politicising such a sensitive issue.The Chief Minister said that while individuals who had any role to play in mayhem against the Sikh community deserved to be punished, it was irrational to try and drag the Congress party as a whole, or the Gandhis, into the case.“It was up to the judiciary, however, to nail and award punishment to the culprits, and neither Mr. Badal nor any other Akali or BJP leader had any locus standi in the matter,” said Capt. Amarinder, asking the SAD president to stop trying to take political mileage out of the issue.He hailed the High Court for sentencing former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar to life term, and expressed confidence that others guilty of the heinous crime will also be “paid back in the same coin”.Reacting to the court verdict convicting Sajjan Kumar, SAD chief Badal had said the Congress’s hand in the “massacre” of innocent Sikhs in the 1984 “genocide” had been proven beyond doubt with the Delhi High Court convicting (former) senior Congress leader and Gandhi family’s “right hand man” in the anti-Sikh riots case.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more

World Cup: ICC to reinspect Eden Gardens on Jan 31 for remaining 3 matches

first_imgThe International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday gave Kolkata’s cricket fans some hope when it announced a reinspection of the iconic Eden Gardens stadium for the World Cup.The ICC said the Eden Gardens would be reinspected on January 31 for the last three of its scheduled four World Cup matches. These are the encounters between Ireland and South Africa (March 15), Ireland and Holland (March 18) and Kenya and Zimbabwe (March 20).The cricketing body had on Thursday ruled out Eden Gardens as the venue for the February 27 World Cup match between India and England.An ICC inspection team had visited Kolkata on Tuesday and deemed the stadium unfit as it was still undergoing renovation.ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat pulled up the BCCI and the Cricket Association of Bengal for failing to meet the deadlines. “All venues had ample time to prepare for the World Cup matches. We had been understanding and had provided extensions to the deadline dates, but unfortunately we are now at a point where we must carefully manage our risks,” Lorgat said. “Sadly, Eden Gardens in Kolkata was unable to meet the final deadline date of 25 January 2011. Eden Gardens has not made sufficient progress to justify the level of confidence required to confirm that the venue would be ready,” Lorgat said.last_img read more

Dez Bryant Upset About How His Hands Have Been Characterized

first_imgIf you forced me to rank things I trust most in sports, it would probably go something like this.Steph Curry from the free throw lineJordan Spieth from 10 feet with the tournament on the lineDez Bryant’s handsSo when Bleacher Report recently posted on Dez badly dropping some passes recently, my interest was piqued.Dez dropped it ? (via @fishsports) https://t.co/KDQjedKEJY— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 2, 2016Apparently Dez’s was too.“What (Bleacher Report’s) dumbass don’t understand is the speed level was sky-high,” Bryant told Mike Fisher of 105.3 the Fan in Dallas. “About 60 [MPH]. If it was set on the regular level I woulda caught all of ’em. But that’s not the purpose of the drill. But I guess before their dumbass decides — you can write ‘dumbass’ three times — before they decide they want to make a joke, they need to get all the facts before they come after somebody.”Haha, “you can write ‘dumbass’ three times” is one of my new favorite quotes. And he has a point. I’m not sure people properly realize how smoking fast these footballs are flying. Dez catches quite a few of them from a distance most NFL players (much less humans) would likely whiff them all.The most preposterous thing is not that he dropped a couple but that he even got a hand on any of them at all..@DezBryant attacks JUGS machine. Move closer. Miss a few. Adjust. Succeed. Crazy. @1053thefan pic.twitter.com/xNhSQn3haQ— mike fisher ✭ (@fishsports) August 2, 2016[Hat tip to CRFF]If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

Australia Backs Down from Dumping Sand at Great Barrier Reef

first_imgWorld Maritime News Staff, September 03, 2014; Image: MUA zoom Plans to dump 3 million cubic meters of dredged sand into the Great Barrier Reef area will not go ahead, according to the Australian Financial Review.The sand would be dredged within the plans to expand the Abbot Point port aimed at transforming the port into the world’s biggest coal hub.The plan is being developed by two Indian firms, Adani Enterprises and GVK  Hancock and North Queensland Bulk Ports.However, environmentalists raised their protest against dumping the sand in the area as it is feared it could damage the reef.The North Queensland Conservation Council has already launched a court case on the matter raising environmental concerns, which if pursued further, could delay the project implementation.According to Australian Financial Review, the companies are expected to come up with alternative dumping points for the project this week.last_img read more

Like a jigsaw puzzle Winnipeg police officer pieced together letterbomb note

first_imgWINNIPEG – A forensics officer assigned with collecting debris following the explosion of a letter bomb in a Winnipeg law office says it took him an hour just to collect all the pieces.Patrol Sgt. Kelly Takatch told court that piecing together a yellow note that came with the bomb was “like a jigsaw puzzle.”Guido Amsel has pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder, one count of aggravated assault and several explosives-related charges stemming from three bombs that were sent in the mail in July 2015.The one sent to one law office seriously injured lawyer Maria Mitousis and cost her a hand.Takatch testified that officers initially paid very little attention to a pouch which court has heard contained the explosive device.Takatch said officers were busy collecting “thousands of pieces” of debris off the floor before turning their attention to the lawyer’s desk.“The amount of debris and the amount of evidence which needed to be collected was overwhelming,” he testified Friday.Court already heard that the note asked Mitousis to press a button on a device that arrived in a pouch. The note said in part: “Hi Maria. Push enter to start. Listen to the conversation and phone me.”Takatch said he never touched the pouch, which tested positive for an explosive substance.Court has heard that other letter bombs were sent to another law office and Amsel’s former wife, who had been represented by Mitousis in a divorce.Those bombs did not go off.(CTV Winnipeg, The Canadian Press)last_img read more

National friendship centres preparing for upcoming federal election in urban areas

first_imgAnnette FrancisAPTN NewsThe National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is preparing election kits that will be sent out to partner organizations across the country.The NAFC represents 113 friendship centres across the country.They offer culturally appropriate programming and services to First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples living in cities.NAFC Executive Director Jocelyn Formsma said it’s important the centres prepare their clients for the election.“We’re encouraging friendship centres to invite candidates to the centre, so that they’re aware of the programing,” she said.“And that people at the centres are also aware of who the candidates are.”Read More: #Vote2019: Climate change and drinking water top Indigenous issues in federal election#Vote2019: Truth and Reconciliation still important to Indigenous voters according to pollAccording to a poll commissioned by APTN and conducted by Environics, the environment is one of the most pressing issues on the ballot this year with housing it on the lower end at 6 per cent.But according to Formsa, the urban population’s needs are different.“Making sure people have a safe place to live, shelter, making sure that families have support, that children have support especially those who are leaving the child welfare system or currently involved with the child welfare system,” she said.72 per cent of those surveyed said they’ll definitely vote on election night, but that number is often higher than the actual turnout.Gabrielle Fayant, the founding member of a non-profit youth group Assembly of Seven Generations, said the number of youth at the polls could be lower than in 2015 due to the fact the politicians have failed to reach out to them.“It seems like a mixed response, like some youth are really outspoken and they’re saying like we need to go out and vote and other youth are just like, why, why should we even vote”, said Fayant.The poll also found that 73 per cent of respondents said child welfare is a very important issue, something that Fayant agrees.afrancis@aptn.ca@aptnafrancislast_img read more

Business Credit a Reasonable Risk in Morocco Coface Risk Assessment

Rabat- Coface has again given Morocco the rating “A4” for credit risk of businesses defaulting, making it among the highest-ranking countries in Africa.Coface (Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur), a French insurance company for foreign trade, published its country risk and sector risk assessment map for the second quarter of 2018 last week.The assessment comprises 160 countries around the world and is drawn up on the basis of macroeconomic, financial, and political data.  Morocco has again received the “A4” rating, which corresponds to a “reasonable” risk. Alongside Morocco, only Kenya, Botswana, and Mauritius received such a high ranking in Africa. In the MENA region, Morocco joins the United Arab Emirates and Qatar with the same risk ranking. Israel ranked first, with A2, followed by Kuwait ranking A3.Oman was the only country in the MENA region whose rating improved, from C (high risk) to B (fairly high risk). The development is explained by the country’s growth, thanks to a rise in the oil and gas sector and continued moderate growth in other sectors, according to Coface.Coface downgraded Argentina (C), Turkey (C), Sri Lanka (C) and India (B) as well due to their dynamic internal demand favoring imports, political tensions, and the deterioration of their trade balance.Coface is considered to be a trustworthy reference in credit insurance, risk management, and the global economy. It operates globally, offering companies solutions to protect them against the risk of financial default of their clients. The company’s services and solutions protect and help companies to make credit decisions to improve their ability to sell on both their domestic and export markets.Coface estimates the average credit risk in a country’s businesses. The assessment map is an invaluable tool, giving an indication of a country’s potential influence on businesses’ financial commitments.  Coface’s analyses use an eight-level ranking order of risk from A1 (very low) to E (extreme). read more

Government withdraws amendment to Penal Code

In a joint statement issued yesterday civil society expressed deep concerns about two Bills tabled in Parliament last Friday ostensibly to criminalize hate speech and the instigation of communal violence and disharmony. Apart from the Parliamentarians who raised concerns over the Penal Code, local civil society were also not happy. The joint statement notes that the offence as provided in the Bill is overbroad and general, and is not a permissible restriction in relation to freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution and by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Furthermore, the proposed amendment, if enacted, could lead to a culture of self-censorship and perpetuate a chilling effect on free speech.The joint statement by the civil society organisations note that Section 2(1) (h) of the PTA was previously used to convict journalist J. S. Tissainayagam for his journalistic writing on alleged war crimes committed by government forces. (Colombo Gazette) The Government has decided to withdraw the proposed amendment to the Penal Code following opposition raised by some Parliamentarians.Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament today that as a result of the concerns raised the Government will not take the Bill for discussion next month. One such Bill tabled is an amendment to the Penal Code which creates the new offence of “causing of or instigating acts of violence, hostility…” which is punishable by imprisonment of up to two years. The other Bill is an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure which provides for the conditions necessary for the initiation of prosecutions for the new offence.The new offence under the Penal Code is particularly problematic as it is a near verbatim reproduction of the language in Section 2(1) (h) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). read more

World failing in fight against childhood undernutrition – new UN report

“Few things have more impact than nutrition on a child’s ability to survive, learn effectively and escape a life of poverty,” UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said in issuing the study – Progress for Children: A Report Card on Nutrition.“One underweight and undernourished child is an individual tragedy,” she told a news briefing at UN Headquarters in New York. “But multiplied by tens of millions, under-nutrition becomes a global threat to society and to the economy.”The report calls for the urgent establishment of a nutrition “safety net” as a central component of national policies to guarantee access to remedies, ranging from vitamin A capsules and iron and iodine supplements to eliminating unsafe feeding practices. It notes that the rate of underweight children under five has fallen only slightly since 1990 – proof that the world is failing children and still far off track for achieving the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.This entails halving the proportion of children who are underweight for their age. Despite progress in some countries, developing-world averages have dropped just five percentage points in the last 15 years. Today, 27 per cent of children in developing countries are underweight, around 146 million. Nearly three quarters of these live in just 10 countries, and over half in just three countries: Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.The figures are just the tip of the iceberg. “For every visibly undernourished child, there are several more battling a hidden nutritional crisis,” Ms. Veneman said. “Many are seriously deficient in essential vitamins and minerals such as iodine, vitamin A and iron.” Without them, children become easy prey for common diseases and under-perform at school. For example, a lack of iodine in household diets leaves 37 million newborns vulnerable to learning disabilities every year. And iron deficiency is a major cause of maternal deaths.The report shows only two regions of the world on track for reducing the prevalence of underweight children: Latin America and the Caribbean, and the East Asia and Pacific region, with rates of 7 per cent and 15 per cent respectively. Progress in East Asia largely has been due to the great leaps taken by China in reducing the rate by an average of 6.7 per cent per year since 1990. In South Asia, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan account for half of all the world’s underweight children. Approximately 47 per cent of India’s under-five population is underweight, dragging down the regional average.The famine-prone Eastern and Southern Africa region has not made measurable progress to meet the MDG target, its overall tally remaining static at 29 per cent. West and Central Africa has done better, partly due to strides made by some countries to support exclusive breastfeeding for infants and community-based health care. Under-nutrition rates within the bigger nations of the Middle East and North Africa have pushed back the regional average. Iraq, Sudan and Yemen are all showing a rise in the proportion of underweight children – with conflict playing a major role in many cases.The Central and Eastern Europe/Commonwealth of Independent States has the world’s lowest childhood underweight figures, just 5 per cent. But here, as in industrialized countries, there are disparities, with low birth-weight more common among the poorest and the ethnic minorities. In the United States, the rate is 2 per cent.Because the roots of under-nutrition lie in poverty, lack of education and inequality, fighting back will take more than food deliveries, the report says. Unsafe feeding practices and repeated bouts of illness such as diarrhoea and malaria are all major factors depriving children of nutrients. Solutions can be as simple as a capsule of vitamin A costing just a few cents delivered during immunization – a programme currently saving around 350,000 lives per year by boosting immune systems. Fortifying staple foods with key nutrients like iron and iodine is a proven way to protect millions of children against damaging deficiencies and developmental delays. read more

Brock will honour John McCall MacBain at Fall Convocation

John McCall-MacBainA businessman, philanthropist and Niagara Falls native will receive an honorary degree at Brock’s Fall Convocation.John H. McCall MacBain, who with Trader Classified Media helped grow the Auto Trader and numerous classified businesses, will receive the honour on Saturday, Oct. 22, when Convocation takes place over two ceremonies.“We are extremely pleased to honour John for his outstanding accomplishments in business and his distinguished humanitarian work,” said President Jack Lightstone.“John is a gifted businessman and a devoted philanthropist who understands the value of investing in people and their well-being around the world and in his own backyard. He is an inspiring local, national and international success story and we are delighted to be honouring him in this way.”McCall MacBain, who grew up in Niagara Falls and lives in Switzerland, is the founder of the McCall MacBain Foundation and Pamoja Capital SA, its investment arm. Since its formation in Geneva in 2007, the foundation has made tens of millions of dollars in grants to fund projects related to health, education and the environment in countries from Canada to Liberia.From 1987 to 2006, he was the founder, president and CEO of Trader Classified Media. Starting with three small publications in Montreal in 1987 at age 29, he grew the Auto Trader and Buy and Sell businesses across Canada. He also developed classified businesses with more than 350 print titles and 50 Internet sites in countries like Argentina, China, France, Hungary, Russia and Spain. In 2006, he sold Trader Classified Media and set up the McCall MacBain Foundation.McCall MacBain is a Rhodes scholar with an MBA from Harvard, an MA in Law from Oxford and an Honours BA in Economics from McGill, as well as an LLD from Dalhousie University.McCall MacBain is also:the Faculty of Business Distinguished Leader in 2008a trustee of the Rhodes Trust (Oxford), which funds and oversees Rhodes scholarships worldwidefounder and chair of the European Climate Foundationfluent in English and French, with a working knowledge of Spanishan avid skier and hockey player who has completed four marathonsa commercial land and seaplane pilota husband to Marcy and father of fiveHis parents are Al and Vi MacBain of Niagara Falls. His father was a federal MP for Niagara Falls from 1980 to 1984.McCall-MacBain has given back to his hometown with a $1-million donation to the MacBain Community Centre and $750,000 to the Shelley MacBain Centre of Family and Children’s Services.Convocation ceremonies will be in the Ian D. Beddis Gymnasium. Tickets are not required and all guests are welcome. McCall MacBain will be honoured at the 10 a.m. ceremony. read more

Ohio State mens track ready for competitive Indiana Relays

Always be moving forward.That’s the motto the Ohio State men’s track team has going into this weekend’s Indiana Relays in Bloomington, Ind.“It should be a competitive meet,” head coach Ed Beathea said on the teams the Buckeyes are set to run against.Teams like Alabama, Xavier, Notre Dame, Northern Illinois and Indiana are among those set to compete in the meet this weekend.Junior sprinter and hurdler Timothy Faust said he expects the opponents to push the team to greater success and even help him run his best race yet in the 200-meter dash.“This is a chance for us to compete against some good guys from the conference,” Faust said.He added that the team goal for the meet is to continue doing the things they have been doing right and to work hard.Redshirt-freshman sprinter and hurdler Donovan Robertson is expecting the same work ethic the Buckeyes have shown all season from at the meet.“Every week, we are getting better and better,” Robertson said. “Last week was a solid week, I hope we can continue.”Robertson added that getting the chance to compete against conference teams is good for the Buckeyes.“I couldn’t really tell you which (team) is bigger than the other but the fact that they are Big Ten conference teams I think they are all really important,” Robertson said.At the meet, Robertson is slated to only run the 200-meter dash instead of his usual sprints and hurdles. Robertson said this is his first time running the 200-meter dash since high school, but he is excited to run it.Beathea said the coaches start to put runners in single events to get them more competition-minded as they move into February and get closer to the indoor Big Ten Championships.Aside from individuals competing at a high level this weekend, Beathea said he is looking forward to seeing the relay teams show what they can do.“We anticipate running our A (4×4) team this weekend,” Beathea said. “Right now (it’s) a top 10 relay team in the country, we hope (it) will be competitive.”As the indoor season continues on into another weekend of races, Beathea said it is exciting because team members are becoming more tightly knit.“It’s nice to go to the meet and see the guys engaging in what other guys are doing. Guys supporting each other, that’s what it is supposed to look like — less like an individual sport and more like a team sport,” Beathea said.That camaraderie of the team is something he anticipates will help make them successful this weekend.“We want to go out and compete. We want for other teams to know that we were at the meet,” Beathea said. “We want to have a presence at the competition.”The meet is scheduled to start Friday and continue through Saturday. read more

Softball Lilli Piper zips from Akron twosport athlete to Ohio State softball

Ohio State junior Lilli Piper rounds third base with the intent to score against Wright State on Sep. 24. Credit: Gretchen Rudolph | For The LanternLilli Piper made it clear from the beginning: she wanted to play college basketball. That’s why when now-Ohio State head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly recruited her to play softball at Miami (Ohio), where she was coaching at the time, Piper wasn’t interested. Kovach Schoenly backed off, as did many other softball coaches, when Piper instead began to pursue a collegiate career playing basketball. Even though she scaled back her of recruiting Piper, Kovach Schoenly was still recruiting the other girls on Piper’s travel team, so she continued to watch her play. “I had told her when I heard she was going to play basketball … ‘If you ever decide you want to play [softball], come find me because I would love to have you on my team,’” Kovach Schoenly said.After just one season playing both basketball and softball for Akron, Piper took Kovach Schoenly up on her offer.The now-junior shortstop Piper not only transferred schools, but she gave up basketball at Akron to pursue only softball at Ohio State.“She was willing to leave a pretty cushy thing at Akron, you know, you’re on a full ride and you get all of these things as a basketball player,” Kovach Schoenly said.Piper wasn’t exactly having a bad year at Akron, either. She played in 20 softball games — starting in 11 — for the Zips. She slashed .313/.327/.417 with a home run and two stolen bases.She also held her own in basketball, the sport she decided to leave. She appeared in 29 games, averaging 3.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.6 assists per game, and even had a 24-point, nine-rebound effort against Buffalo in the MAC semifinals.Despite the success as a two-sport athlete, Piper said playing softball full-time just began to feel like the right option. Her parents didn’t have any objections to the decision, either.“Both my parents voted for softball when I was growing up, so they really pushed that and I kind of went against it and I guess I had to find my own path back to softball,” Piper said.Attending Akron made a lot of sense for Piper at the beginning. It was close to home — Pipher is from Norton, Ohio — and she had been around the university a lot with her aunt, Kay Piper, who played both softball and volleyball there from 1982 to 1985.“Knowing that I played there and I think also she’d been around Akron U a lot because I used to take her to some of the games and stuff. I think she felt comfortable going there,” Kay Piper said.Kay’s number, 23, is one of only two retired numbers in program history, but Piper was still able to wear it for the year that she played at Akron. Seeing her wear that number was an “immense sense of pride,” Kay said. Although Piper’s decision to transfer to Ohio State was a risk, she was not leaving all comfort behind in Akron.A few of the people who played on Piper’s travel team were already playing at Ohio State, so Piper did not feel as though she was “jumping into a situation blind.”Piper quickly found her groove at Ohio State and has continued to thrive since she arrived. She sits among the Buckeyes’ leaders in nearly every offensive category through nine games this season with a .389/.421/.778 slash line and three homers, 12 RBIs, 10 runs scored and two stolen bases. In 2017, her first year with the Buckeyes, she led the team in all the categories, except stolen bases, where she was second, and was a second-team All-American.“Last year she came here and she made a name for herself. In one year to be All-American is so hard,” Kovach Schoenly said.Piper went into this season with a renewed confidence though, after she recently tried out for the USA Women’s National Team during Christmas break. She took part in the open tryout and was picked to go to the invitational tryout.“I just feel like I can’t be beat,” Piper said, “I’ve seen the best.”Piper is looking to continue to do what she said she does best this season: have fun and enjoy herself.“I just like to have a lot of fun,” Piper said. “At the end of the day this is just a game and yeah we take it, I mean this is our jobs at the end of the day but we might as well make it fun while we’re doing it.” read more

US Congressman evolution is a lie straight from the pit of hell

first_imgA US POLITICIAN has told an audience that evolution and the Big Bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell”.Republican congressman Paul Broun, who is a doctor, made the comments during a speech at a dinner in Georgia which was videotaped. Broun is running unopposed for reelection in November.In the video, the  congressman said he has come across scientific data that proves the Earth is less than 9,000 years old and was created in six days.“God’s word is true,” he told the audience at a banquet held in a church last month. “And I’ve come to understand that”.All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the Big Bang theory: all of that is lies straight from the pit of hell.He added:It’s lies to try and keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a saviour. Bround said that “as a scientist” he had found a lot of scientific data that proved that the Earth is much younger than many people believe.“I don’t believe that the earth is but about 9,000 years old,” he said. “I believe that it was made in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible tells us”.Broun has a degree in chemistry from the University of Georgia as well as a medical degree. In the House of Representatives he sits on the government committee with responsibility for science.A spokeswoman for Broun told Georgia newspaper the Athens Banner-Herald that Broun was speaking off the record to a church group about his personal religious beliefs.Around one hundred people have left comments on Broun’s Facebook page criticising his comments, with some calling on him to resign. He has also been heavily criticised by Twitter users.Broun is not the first member of the House Science Committee to attract public attention for his comments in recent months: another Republican member, Todd Akin, came under fire in August when he claimed that victims of “legitimate rape” have biological defences which prevent pregnancy.(Video: BridgeProject21/YouTube)Photos: Oldest cave paintings ‘may not have been made by modern man’ >Read: Extinct ‘giant penguin’ species reconstructed from fossils >last_img read more

Taoiseach reveals €191000 in severance payments to former Fianna Fail ministers

first_imgJohn McGuinness: €61,918Dara Calleary: €53,708Michael Kitt: €27,174Billy Kelleher: €20,172Willie O’Dea: €8,064In addition to these five, former Minister Mary Hanafin, who is contesting a seat in the local elections under controversial circumstances, recieved a payout of €88,000.Speaking this morning, the Taoiseach said: “I know that the Fianna Fail leader said any former Minister who was re-elected to the Dail would not accept severance payments.”He continued: THE TAOISEACH HAS released a list of six former Fianna Fail ministers who received severance payments amounting to over €171,000.At a press conference in Dublin today, Enda Kenny said that the former ministers had done so despite a pre-election pledge from the Fianna Fail leadership that former ministers re-elected to the Dail would forego severance.The five ministers who were re-elected and the amounts read out by the Taoiseach are: That was a firm commitment given by FF that people who were Ministers would not accept severance payments, but all these people have done so.Speaking on Newstalk this lunchtime, Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins said that the Taoiseach was acting like a ‘gombeen’.He said:He’s supposed to be the Taoiseach and he’s going around the place like a latter-day gombeen…he needs to start acting like a statesman.When presenter Jonathan Healy said that he was showing a lack of respect for the office, Collins responded:“Of course I respect the office but I don’t respect the way Enda Kenny is acting. He’s the office holder and he needs to grow up.”Shatter expected to ‘do the right thing’The Taoiseach was responding to questions over whether former Justice Minister Alan Shatter will accept a  €70,000 severance payment he is due after resigning in advance of the publication of the Guerin report into Garda whistleblower claims earlier this month.He said: “I would expect that Alan Shatter would do the right thing, and the right thing is to comply with the wishes and the intent of what the Government decided.”SME loan packageThe Taoiseach was speaking at the publication of the first progress report on the Government’s action plan for jobs 2014, where details of a new bank with a war chest €500 million were discussed.Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the Strategic Banking Corporation, which has an initial budget of €500 million, is projected to have a balance sheet of €4 billion after five years.He said that the SIBC will be funded by cash injections from the European Investment Bank and the German-government owned lender KfW.The first loans are expected to be sanctioned by the bank before the end of the year, with legislation to establish it passed by the Oireachtas before the summer break.The Taoiseach said that the original idea had come from discussions between him and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.When asked if the Government has front-loaded positive news in advance of polling in the local and European elections, the Taoiseach exclaimed: “Oh God, no!”.Updated 13.42Alan Shatter to reveal if he will accept €70k severance payments>Ireland is getting a new bank, just for small businesses>last_img read more

Google improves its googl short URL service

first_imgAt the end of 2009 Google announced that it was introducing its very own short URL service using the name and URL goo.gl. At the time Google limited it to Google-only services, but its functionality has steadily expanded to a point where last September it was opened up for use by anyone.Google promised from the beginning that using goo.gl for short links would be very fast and free of malware, phishing, and spam. Now its time for an update to the service based on feedback from users.First of all, it’s now much easier to quickly copy your short URL. When it is created Google automatically highlights the link so no click selection is required. You can just Ctrl-C it and save a few seconds.All goo.gl links created appear on your dashboard, but until now you couldn’t remove any so it was hard to find short URLs you used most often. Now links can be removed from the dashboard giving you more control. It’s only a dashboard removal, though, and links can be re-added as they still exist and work.Even though Google promises no spam that doesn’t mean goo.gl spam links don’t exist. But rather than just relying on an automated system to find them Google has now introduced the Google URL Shortener – Spam Report. This allows anyone who finds a spam link to report it along with the type of problem (malware, phishing, spam, not abusive).The only other update is a restating of the desire to keep goo.gl fast. Reliability we need not worry about as the service hasn’t had any downtime since its full roll out in September last year.Read more at The Official Google Blog or start making short URLslast_img read more

Ibrahim acquitted of Macris murder conspiracy charge

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Michael Ibrahim and associate Rodney Atkinson have been acquitted of conspiracy to murder business associate John Macris.The court heard they conspired to kill Macris after they suspected him of shooting and injuring another member of the Ibrahim family in 2009. During the trial, the court heard that Ibrahim planned the murder while he was in Broken Hill jail for another crime. When police searched Atkinson’s home they found a gun, a photo of Mr Macris and his address. Atkinson – currently in custody – will be sentenced in January for another charge of possessing an unauthorised gun.Michael Ibrahim is also still in jail for a separate manslaughter conviction.last_img read more

Distracted driving penalties could increase statewide

first_imgOLYMPIA — Lawmakers heard emotional testimony this week from people who lost friends and family members in car accidents caused by drivers distracted by their phones. They are among many who want to make it illegal to hold any hand-held device while driving and ensure offenders receive harsher penalties.Measures in the House and the Senate would ban the use of any hand-held devices while driving including phones, tablets and other electronic devices that could impair a person’s attention while on the road. The proposal would also double the fine, which is currently $136 if caught texting or holding a phone to the ear while driving. But it can be difficult to prove a driver is doing so, said Sgt. James Prouty of the Washington State Patrol.Currently, if a driver is pulled over for texting but tells the officer that they were typing in a phone number to make a call, they’re not in violation of the law, Prouty said. “It definitely causes some difficulty in the enforcement,” he said.House Bill 1371 would expand the current law so drivers would not be allowed to hold any personal electronic device with their hands while driving, with the exception of amateur radios and to conduct “minimal use of a finger” to activate programs like a navigation system or Siri on the iPhone.The bill attempts to make people pay attention and to simplify the law, said sponsor Rep. Jessyn Farrell, a Democrat from Seattle.“Phones should still be functional, we should still be able to use them, but we just need to do it in a way that’s safer,” Farrell said. “The goal really is to make people stop looking down, typing and reading because that is what’s really interrupting peoples’ concentration and leading to increased accidents.”last_img read more

Former Anchorage Archbishop Francis Hurley dies at 88

first_imgFormer Anchorage Archbishop Francis Hurley has died at age 88.Download AudioThe Archdiocese of Anchorage says Hurley died at his Anchorage home Sunday evening, two days before his 89th birthday. Anchorage funeral arrangements are pending.Hurley moved to Alaska in 1970, when he was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Juneau Diocese. He was appointed as archbishop of Anchorage in 1976, retiring from that role in 2001.2010, the long-retired Hurley presided over the funeral of former Alaska Gov. Walter J. Hickel. Several months later, he presided over the funeral of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who died in a plane crash.last_img read more