With the announcement of a five-phase Jharkhand Assembly elections from November 30 to December 20, the BJP is girding itself for not only a campaign that will be akin to a man-to-man marking but also one that will reflect the impact of the recent Maharashtra and Haryana polls. In Haryana and Maharashtra, the BJP projected national issues such as the abrogation of Article 370 and plans to implement a nationwide National Registry of Citizenship (NRC) to weed out illegal immigrants, but fell short of the majority mark in both the States. And that strategy is under review now. Unlike what commentators had said, BJP leaders believe that their tally in both the States would have been lower had Prime Minister Narendra Modi and issues related to nationalism not been pressed into service. The local anti-incumbency, especially in Haryana, would have taken a bigger toll on the party’s prospects. Whatever be the case, the conclusion at the party headquarters is that local anti-incumbency and issues related to the State government have to be addressed before the polls go any further. Advantage BJPThe five-phase polls in Jharkhand is being seen as an advantage, as it would allow changes in strategy vis a vis specific parts of the State, and the resource-heavy BJP having an advantage over other parties when it comes to a long-drawn-out campaign. The BJP in Jharkhand is anxious to counter the tribal versus non-tribal narrative that has built up over the years, with the BJP being accused of neglecting the tribal communities. The Raghubar Das government’s attempts to amend the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act and the Santhal Tenancy Act saw the build-up of a movement against it. The backgrounding of former Chief Minister Arjun Munda in favour of Mr. Das, a non-tribal, was also being seen as part of this undermining. To repair this damage, the BJP will be deploying Mr. Munda in the campaign, as also the fact that senior State leaders like Sukhdeo Bhagat from the Congress have been brought over to the BJP. “We are in touch with former ADG of police Reji Dungdung who, having taken VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme) is exploring political options with the Congress and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) as well,” said a senior office-bearer of the BJP in the know of things. State in-charge Om Mathur is likely to visit the Jharkhand next week, and some campaign pointers may be firmed up. “Political instability had been seen as the bane of the State politics, and the fact that the BJP gave a five-year stable government under the same Chief Minister is a selling point, as is the lack of any huge corruption scam being pointed at the government,” said the source. The lessons from Haryana and Maharashtra of not papering over local anti-incumbency is being taken on board.
MOST READ Thirdy Ravena had an all-around game with 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for Ateneo.FEU battled back in the fourth with Arvin Tolentino cutting the lead down to nine, 87-78, on a triple but Matt Nieto had the quick counter hitting a three of his own to put Ateneo back up by a dozen, 90-78, with 3:09 left.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingRavena, then, essentially finished FEU after tipping in Anton Asistio’s missed three at the 2:30 mark to give Ateneo a 92-80 lead.Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga was proud of what his team had done on the offensive side of the floor but he wanted more effort on the defensive end after they allowed FEU to score more than 80 points. Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAteneo remained spotless in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball fending off Far Eastern University, 94-82, Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.The Blue Eagles have the best record in the league with a 3-0 card while the Tamaraws are at 1-2.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ “It’s a high-scoring game and we shot well from the field, even from the three-point line,” said Arespacochaga. “But we also gave a lot of points to FEU and they shot the ball well also and they got to the line a lot of times more than what we would’ve wanted to.”“But we’re happy to come off with a win, especially since this is our third game in eight days.”Anton Asistio added 16 points while Matt Nieto and Vince Tolentino combined for 21 points.Wendell Comboy had 12 points to lead the Tamaraws.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul PH bid in Aimag goes in full swing For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. View comments Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games
After a hat-trick of humiliating defeats in the Super 8 stage that saw India being thrown out of World T20 championship on Tuesday, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed the loss on IPL.According to the captain, the IPL parties have hurt India. Calling the IPL parties a distraction, Dhoni has held them responsible for player burnout.Blaming the IPL for the poor performance of his team in the world championship, Dhoni said late night games and parties wore out the players.He felt that the players have been adversely affected by the overdose of IPL and advised them to learn to balance between the game and the parties.Speaking to media after the humiliating loss to Sri Lanka Dhoni said, “IPL parties hurt India. It is a distraction for players. Late night games and parties can wear out players. Players should know how to balance between the two. Thankfully next year WC is before IPL.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided that its chairman will be an independent one, who will be elected by a secret ballot in May and will not be allowed to hold any national or provincial position with any member board.”Following on from the February 2016 meeting decision to urgently re-establish the ‘independent’ position of ICC chairman, the board agreed that the election of the ICC chairman by the board will be held through a secret ballot in late May after all constitutional amendments have been approved by the full council in the coming weeks,” ICC said in a release on Monday.Currently, Shashank Manohar is the ICC chairman as well as the president of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).”The election process will be overseen by the ICC’s independent Audit Committee chairman and all present and past ICC directors will be eligible to contest the election.”However, candidates can only be nominated by a fellow ICC director who, in turn, will be allowed to provide no more than one nominee. Any nominee with the support of at least two full member ICC directors will be put forward as a candidate for election,” the release said.”The elected independent chairman will not be allowed to hold any national or provincial position with any member board,” it stated.It was also announced that a number of day/night Tests were being considered for the forthcoming year.”Members confirmed their support for day-night Tests and it was noted that a number of day/night Tests were being considered for the forthcoming year. It was reiterated that administrators must embrace innovation and understand the demands and expectations of the spectators and fans, keeping alive and growing interest in the traditional format of the game,” ICC said.advertisementThe cricket governing body also took a step closer towards potential participation in the Olympics and/or Commonwealth Games.”On cricket’s potential participation in the Olympics and/or Commonwealth Games, the ICC Board received an update from the management and agreed that further discussions were required with the Members and the other stakeholders, including the IOC and Commonwealth Games Federation before a final position could be adopted,” the release said.
Twitter Read more Share via Email Share on Twitter John Terry has said he plans to follow Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard into management “in the long run” after holding talks with Middlesbrough last week regarding their vacancy.Terry, who joined Dean Smith’s backroom staff at Aston Villa in October, said he had enjoyed a “great first year” of coaching, which culminated in a play-off victory against Derby County. Terry celebrated Villa’s Premier League return as an assistant coach at Wembley on Monday, a year on from his final game as a player.“It is just great to see young managers like Stevie and Lamps getting the opportunities,” said Terry, the 38-year-old former Chelsea captain. “In the long run obviously that is my ambition but I’m not thinking about that. As a player I got to the heights I wanted to get to but, and I firmly believe this, I’m a YTS again. Topics “I’m starting right from the very bottom and I’m not afraid to say that. I’m not afraid to do all the dirty work – picking up the cones, the balls and the bibs; all of that stuff is part of my education. I’ve got a great teacher in Dean and Richard [O’Kelly, the assistant coach] as well to bounce things off. I’m very fortunate to be able to sit there and learn from them because they are superb.“I think you know as a player when time is up really and I kind of knew that last year in my last game at Wembley. It is something I have been planning for a few years and the experience and the day-to-day work on the training field with the defenders and the group, and what the manager allows me to do, has been fantastic for me.”Terry said he believed promotion will enable Villa to retain their prized assets, including the captain, Jack Grealish, who joined the club aged six. “It is great that we have gone up and we get to keep the likes of Jack, John McGinn and our top players. It’s Jack’s football club – he’s been here right from when he was a boy and it’s great to see. We are not just going in to make the numbers up. We have players out of contract and we need to strengthen to make the jump of course but, if we add in the right departments, I’m sure we will be fine.”Terry said that, although it was tough for Lampard’s first season in management to end in defeat, he should be commended for an “incredible” campaign. Terry revealed he went into the Derby dressing room after the game to speak to Lampard, the assistant manager Jody Morris, the first-team coach, Chris Jones, and the defender Ashley Cole, good friends from his 22 years at Chelsea. “He has got a great future in management, for sure,” Terry said of Lampard.Tammy Abraham, who has been on loan at Villa from Chelsea, has made it clear he wants to play first-team football in the top flight next season. Villa are understood to be keen on signing the striker in a £25m permanent deal.With Chelsea facing a two-window Fifa transfer ban, Abraham is among the youngsters hoping to benefit from more first-team opportunities. If called on, he is adamant he could lead the line. news John Terry Share on Messenger Share on WhatsApp Aston Villa “Every player wants to start,” he said. “Obviously if it is at Chelsea a team like Chelsea is always difficult because they have got world-class players. It is always going to be difficult to bring in youngsters and bring in people like myself. It is a big role.“But for me it is about believing in myself and to just keep doing what I do. I am still young and I am still improving. The aim is to be at the highest level and playing the best football and, if Chelsea say they need me there, I will put 100% in.“I am a person who believes in myself. So, wherever I am at, I believe I will get in and play and score goals.” Asked if he could return to Villa next season, the 21-year-old replied: “You can never say never.” Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Tammy Abraham celebrates winning promotion with Aston Villa. Photograph: Michael Zemanek/BPI/REX/Shutterstock Chelsea Emotional Dean Smith optimistic about Aston Villa’s future after Wembley win Pinterest Share on Pinterest Facebook Reuse this content
Transfers Arsenal January transfer news LIVE: Arsenal eye £90m Lemar to replace Alexis Goal Last updated 1 year ago 21:38 1/9/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Transfers Arsenal Premier League Goal brings you all the latest news, rumours and deals related to the Gunners as the January transfer window heats up Arsenal want £90m Lemar to replace AlexisThomas Lemar has returned to the top of Arsenal’s list of candidates to replace Alexis Sanchez in January, reports the Mirror.Alexis has seen speculation over a move this window grow in recent days, with Manchester City appearing the most likely destination. And the Monaco star, closely followed by the Gunners, could move before the end of the month if a deal for the Chilean is struck. Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player His current club, however, are likely to hold out for a mammoth £90 million to make any move happen.Rakitic eyes Barca exitBarcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic is wanted by Juventus, Liverpool and Arsenal, according to Diario Gol.Rakitic is wary that his gametime may be diminshed by the signing of Philippe Coutinho from the Reds, but he is unwilling to move before the World Cup next summer.If he and Croatia perform well, the report states, then offers are likely to multiply.Arsenal want Mahrez as Alexis replacementArsenal are interested in luring Riyad Mahrez to Emirates Stadium in the January window as they look for a replacement for Alexis Sanchez, according to Le Buteur.The Chilean is keen on joining Premier League rivals Manchester City, with both clubs currently in negotiations over a deal.And Arsene Wenger has identified Mahrez, who has also been linked with Liverpool, as the ideal replacement, with Leicester City looking to receive €55 million from any potential sale.Man City to clinch Alexis this weekAlexis Sanchez’s move from Arsenal to Manchester City could be completed as early as this week, claims the Express.City have refloated their interest for Pep Guardiola’s former Barca charge in January, with the clubs entering talks.The Premier League leaders want the deal done as soon as possible, and hope to land Alexis in a move worth around £30 million.Wenger: Arsenal can’t compete with City for EvansArsene Wenger has insisted that Arsenal are not in a financial position to compete with Manchester City after hinting at being interested in Jonny Evans.Both clubs are apparently keen on the West Brom defender but Wenger is adamant that his side are “second best” to City when it comes to negotiating the transfer.Read the full story on Goal! ‘All quiet on Alexis future’ – WengerArsenal boss Arsene Wenger insists the situation regarding Alexis Sanchez’s future is “very quiet” as speculation over a move to Manchester City increases.Goal understands the Premier League sides are currently in talks for Alexis, as Pep Guardiola’s side are hoping to land the wantaway Chile international during the January transfer window.However, Wenger maintains that no progress has been made as the former Barcelona star’s future remains uncertain.Chelsea, Arsenal & Man Utd battle for BaileyChelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are set to battle for the signature of Leon Bailey, according to the Mirror.The Bayer Leverkusen winger is likely to command a fee of more than £40 million, although his club are reluctant to sell.Valencia make £12m bid for CoquelinValencia are ready to swoop in with a £12 million offer for Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin, according to the Mirror.West Ham and Crystal Palace are also interested in the midfielder, who is surplus to requirements at the Emirates and available for transfer in January.Arsenal to use Debuchy in Evans deal?Arsenal could send Mathieu Debuchy to West Brom as part of a deal to sign Jonny Evans, according to the Evening Standard.The Gunners reportedly have yet to meet West Brom’s £25 million valuation for Evans, with Manchester City also interested in the centre-back. But the inclusion of Debuchy could sway the Baggies, who are keen to add the right-back.Liverpool & Arsenal eye Stevenage youngsterLiverpool and Arsenal are monitoring 18-year-old Stevenage defender Ben Wilmot, according to the Daily Mail.The Premier League sides reportedly sent scouts to Stevenage’s FA Cup clash with Reading to evaluate the centre-back’s first senior start.Juventus ready Ozil offerJuventus are ready to move for Mesut Ozil, if the Arsenal playmaker doesn’t join Manchester United in the January transfer window, claims Corriere dello Sport.Ozil is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with a €40 million reunion with his former Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho at United.However, if that transfer doesn’t materialise, then Juve, who have been long-term admirers of Ozil, will look to put together a package to sign the Germany international on a free transfer and offer him the chance to play in a new league.Wenger plans Arsenal firesaleArsene Wenger is ready to launch a firesale at Arsenal, with many first-team players set to leave in the next six months.Alexis Sanchez, Francis Coquelin and Mathieu Debuchy are all set to leave, while there is still uncertainty over the futures of the likes of Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Olvier Giroud and more.Check out the full story right here on Goal!
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, in his Independence Day address this year, mentioned about good governance and the need to put an end to corruption. Referring to the impressive economic and financial growth of Telangana during the past five years, KCR said that this was possible due to fiscal discipline which provided no scope for corruption. Referring to administrative reforms, Panchayati Raj and Municipal Acts as well as the proposed Revenue Act, KCR said that the existing legislation will not be sufficient to offer good governance. His proposal to revamp and reform the Revenue Department in order to curb corruption has drawn a favourable reaction from several sections of the people. Also Read – A special kind of bondThe CM made an honest confession about the prevalence of corruption in certain quarters of administration like the revenue department. In this context, it may be worthwhile to recall proceedings of the conference of Chief Ministers held on May 24, 1997, presided by then Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral. The conference recognised that as the country completed 50 years of independence by then, and as people were assailed by growing doubts about the accountability, effectiveness and moral standards of administration, central and state governments should move together to justify the trust of people in the government by taking up the implementation of an Action Plan endorsed by the conference. Also Read – Insider threat managementThat was considered to be a major step towards a reform initiative in the country’s administration with specific reference to effective and responsive administration. It was agreed that each state would work for the implementation of the Action Plan, making appropriate allowance for a variation on local circumstances. The broad structure envisaged then was that the central and state governments would work together to concretise the Action Plan dealing with an accountable and citizen-friendly government, transparency and Right to Information, and improving the performance and integrity of public service. In the conference, it was agreed that immediate corrective steps must be taken to restore the faith of the people in the fairness, integrity and responsiveness of the administration. Inaugurating the CM’s conference, Gujral drew attention to the urgent need to come up with ideas and strategies for responsive and effective administration which could rebuild the government’s credibility. He referred to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s statement that “belief in fair play and integrity” was the basis of a good administration. The PM felt that unrest and tension in some areas of the country is an expression of the people’s frustration with administration. Some governments had set good examples of taking the administration to people which could be emulated by others. The chief ministers and several central ministers attending the conference strongly endorsed the need for ensuring responsive, accountable, transparent and people-friendly administration at all levels and agreed that necessary corrective steps must be taken to arrest the drift in the management of public services. The conference urged that measures should be taken to restore people’s faith, particularly the weaker sections of society, in the fairness and capacity of administration. Unfortunately, very little had happened during the last 22 years. It was recognised that responsive administration depends on reforms in public service at all levels, adherence to ethical standards, basic principles of the Constitution and a clear understanding of the relationship regulating civil servants and politicians. It has to be clearly understood that the political executive should concentrate on policy formulation while implementation should be left to public services at various levels for which their commitment is very crucial. The approach towards elimination of corruption in public services needs preventive measures, regular surveillance and a deterrent prosecution, dealing ruthlessly with the nexus of criminals and unscrupulous elements. It requires concerted efforts of politicians, public services and all stakeholders in civic society. It is necessary to remove the scope for any interference in the prompt prosecution and punishment of corrupt officials. Various services and conduct rules should be restructured in order to review the integrity and efficiency of officers at any stage during their career followed by compulsory retirement of officers possessing doubtful integrity. Simultaneously, the preventive steps would include not only regulatory reforms to reduce the scope for discretion and secrecy at all levels but would make public disclosure mandatory for all developmental schemes and approvals. The central and state governments should draw up a charter of ethics and service code for public services which is based on the fundamental principles of the Indian Constitution such as secularism, equality, impartiality, social justice, attention to the needs of the weaker sections, rule of law, etc. It should be agreed that the loyalty of public servants should only be to the service of the public and the rule of law. There is an urgent need to tackle corruption and the increasing erosion of moral values in public life. It is not an exaggeration to talk about corruption in terms of a crisis or cancer endangering India’s society, polity and economy. Corruption is rampant in certain quarters of administration like the revenue department and several other sectors where people come in daily contact with the administration. Corruption at lower levels takes the form of speed money for expediting approvals or providing legitimate services, or bribes for twisting rules. That is why there is a strong demand by the public for effective punitive and corrective measures to tackle the problem. There should be no scope in the rules for any interference in prompt prosecution and punishment of corrupt public servants, and permission for such prosecution should be given within a prescribed period to investigating agencies. At the same time, clear norms should be laid down to prevent demoralisation of public servants on account of frivolous complaints or inquiries. The investigating agencies and vigilance machinery should be strengthened. The preventive aspect of corruption in government or public sector depends on an independent and well-staffed vigilance set up. Amendments should be brought in relevant rules for the premature retirement of officials at a reasonably early stage in career to weed out elements which are either inefficient or of doubtful integrity. Against this background, CM KCR’s proposal to revamp revenue administration and do away with corruption is a welcome change. (The author is Chief PRO to Telangana CM. The views expressed are strictly personal)
Twitter Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Toronto’s very own Drake is set to make an appearance on the second episode of LeBron James’ HBO series THE SHOP, this Friday, Oct. 12 at 9:30 p.m. ET on HBO Canada. In the new episode – which also features professional basketball players Ben Simmons, Mo Bamba, Victor Oladipo, and Elana Delle Donne – Drake and James dive into a variety of topics, from retirement and rap rules, to haircuts and fame.Here’s a snapshot of what viewers can expect to hear from Drake:“I think maybe one of my biggest concerns in my career is just to figure out how to exit gracefully. I’ve watched people overstay their welcome, and I just don’t ever want to be that guy that’s addicted to the feeling of victory, addicted to the emotion…” LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook “Rap purists, and people who just love confrontation, they say, ‘eh man, there’s no rules’, but there are rules.”“I’ve had terrible haircuts for a huge portion of my life.”From executive producers LeBron James and Maverick Carter, HBO Sports’ THE SHOP gives viewers a one-of-a-kind barbershop experience, a place that for many, provides a sanctuary for free-flowing and spirited discussions. In the series, James visits barbershops around the U.S., having unfiltered and honest conversations with entertainment and sports figures about a variety of culturally relevant topics.
By Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–The Canadian military is expected to officially apologize early next year for including the Mohawk Warrior Society in a draft version of the military’s counter-insurgency manual, APTN National News has learned.The text of the apology has been approved by the upper echelons of the military command, but details still need to be worked out on how to deliver the statement and on how big of an event should be staged.A draft 2006 version of the military’s counter-insurgency manual was released publicly in March 2007 and it included a reference to the Mohawk Warrior Society in a section describing different types of insurgencies.First Nations leaders immediately reacted with anger, saying it appeared to equate First Nations with terrorist groups like Hezbollah and the Taliban.The apology is expected to be delivered in either January or February.The Assembly of First Nations and representatives from Akwesasne are involved in the discussions.A draft 2006 version of the military’s counter-insurgency manual was released publicly in March 2007 and it included a reference to the Mohawk Warrior Society in a section describing different types of insurgencies.First Nations leaders immediately reacted with anger, saying it appeared to equate First Nations with terrorist groups like Hezbollah and the Taliban.Former Akwesasne council Chief Cheryl Jacobs began writing letters to National Defence Minister Peter MacKay demanding an apology.It wasn’t until 2009 that she received a response indicating that the military was considering the request.Jacobs welcomed the news that an apology was in the works.“I can’t wait for it to become a reality,” she said. “The black brush-stroke across all Aboriginal people in Canada will go in reverse.”The reference to the Mohawk Warrior Society is highlighted in a section under the heading: Overview of Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies.It quotes directly from the master’s thesis of military historian Timothy Winegard who has written a book on the 1990 Oka Crisis.“The rise of radical Native American organizations, such as the Mohawk Warrior Society, can be viewed as insurgencies with specific and limited aims,” reads Winegard’s text, from his thesis titled The Court of Last Resort: The 1990 Oka Crisis and the Canadian Forces. “Although they do not seek complete control of the federal government, they do seek particular political concessions in their relationship with national governments and control (either overt or covert) of political affairs at a local/reserve…level, through the threat of, or us of, violence.”The military said it had deleted the reference from the manual.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentina’s president defended a pension reform bill approved by Congress Tuesday that has prompted violent protests and a general strike, saying it seeks only to benefit retirees.The measure passed in the lower house by a 127-117 vote after more than 12 hours of debate, much of which came as demonstrators clashed with police outside the chamber.The legislation, which had already cleared the Senate, would change the formula by which pension benefits are calculated, basing them largely on inflation instead of wage growth and tax contributions. It’s a key part of the economic changes pushed by President Mauricio Macri’s government to reduce Argentina’s high deficit and attract investments.“We’ve created a formula that defends (retirees) from inflation and guarantees that they will be better,” Macri said at a press conference at the presidential palace. “Our priority is to take care of the retirees.”But opposition lawmakers, union leaders and other critics complain the bill will cut pension and retirement payments as well as aid for some poor families because consumer prices are expected to be lower.“We’re sad. This law is bad,” said opposition lawmaker Agustin Rossi. “We tried to impede it from passing, but we couldn’t get the numbers. This harms retirees.”Argentina’s largest union called a 24-hour general strike that has grounded hundreds of flights. About 150 people were also injured and about 60 were arrested in clashes between police and demonstrators Monday outside the Congress building. Some retirees who were protesting the measure were caught up in the middle of the violence when some demonstrators hurled rocks and gasoline bombs, and riot police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.Macri told reporters that the violence had “clearly been orchestrated” and would be investigated.In peaceful protests, demonstrators banged on pots in several neighbourhoods of the capital late into the night. The protests hold deep symbolism for Argentines, who have haunting memories of the 2001-2002 economic collapse, when pot-banging marches forced presidents from office and made the country practically ungovernable.“I respect that there are people who believe that these reforms are not good,” Macri said. “It would be illogical to have unanimity. But I’m asking them not to doubt the intention because I’m convinced that it will help them.”Since taking office in 2015, the conservative leader has promised to rein in government spending and revive Argentina’s lagging economy. The pension overhaul is expected to save the government about $3.42 billion.Macri has been credited with ending a longstanding legal dispute that returned Latin America’s third-largest economy to international credit markets after nearly 15 years. But his ordering of job cuts and slashing of utility subsidies has stoked labour unrest. In October, Macri said that he would seek deeper reforms in tax and labour after his governing coalition notched a decisive victory in congressional elections.
Companies in this story: (TSX:ZZZ)The Canadian Press TORONTO — Sleep Country Canada Holdings Inc. says it will acquire online mattress retailer Endy for nearly $89 million.The Toronto-based company says it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the mattress-in-a-box firm, a Canadian start-up that launched in 2015.Sleep Country Canada will pay $88.7 million, with $63.7 million cash at closing and up to $25 million more in cash in early 2021 if certain growth and profitability targets are achieved in the previous year.The company’s revolving credit facility will be upsized by $60 million to $210 million to finance the transaction.The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and expected to close on Dec. 6 of this year.Sleep Country already sells a mattress-in-a-box product, Bloom, which comes in four different styles and price levels.
30 June 2009The governing body of the United Nations trade and development agency has convened a meeting today in Geneva to highlight the need to keep the food crisis affecting Africa from being forgotten as governments focus on tackling the global economic downturn. While the food crisis may not be making the headlines it did last year, food security is still a major concern in many African countries, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).The prices of staple foods remain above their long-term averages and over 300 million Africans – about a third of the continent’s population – continue to face chronic hunger, the agency said in an information note. Ensuring food security in the region will require improving productivity and rural livelihoods, as well as addressing global market imbalances.UNCTAD said that decades of neglect, both national and international, of the African agricultural sector has transformed many countries from net food exporters to net food importers, leaving them vulnerable to price swings and variations in global crop yields. African countries currently import about 25 per cent of their food.“The vulnerability of the continent to serious food shortages and hunger remains, since the root causes have not been resolved, and a repeat of the 2008 food crisis can recur if prices for such staples as rice, wheat, corn, and cooking oil climb again on world markets,” said the agency.Among those addressing the meeting convened by the Trade and Development Board on the issue were UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi, and David Nabarro, Coordinator for the Global Food Security Crisis and Avian and Pandemic Influenza, as well as several experts.
MONTREAL — Metro Inc. reported its second-quarter profit and sales were up compared with a year ago, boosted by its acquisition of the Jean Coutu Group drug store chain last year.The grocer says it earned $121.5 million or 47 cents per diluted share for the 12-week period ended March 16, up from a profit of $106.9 million or 47 cents per share a year ago.Sales totalled $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion. Excluding the Jean Coutu Group, Metro says sales were up 4.0 per cent compared with a year ago.Food same-store sales rose 4.3, while pharmacy same-store sales gained 1.1 per cent.On an adjusted basis, Metro says it earned 60 cents per share for the quarter, up from an adjusted profit of 47 cents per share a year ago.Analysts on average had expected a profit of 63 cents per share and revenue of $3.73 billion, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.Related Stories:HBC Reports Second Quarter 2019 Financial ResultsDollarama misses expectations on profit, but hikes sales forecastBlackberry plunges to 4-year low in first five minutes of trading on earnings miss, outlook cutMetro closed its $4.5-billion acquisition of Jean Coutu on May 11, 2018.The company said Wednesday that Francois J. Coutu will retire as president of the Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc., Metro’s pharmacy division, on May 31.Alain Champagne has been named as his successor.
Andreas Mavrommatis, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iraq, said the global community owed it to the long-suffering Iraqi people to stand by them, providing the necessary training and expertise in diverse fields to enable them to carry out the daunting task of reconstruction and reconciliation, eradicating the culture and remnants of 30 years of a regime that used oppression as its only political tool. Welcoming this position, Iraq’s delegate, Ousama Badedine voiced full support for the Special Rapporteur’s position, saying his country is ready for reconstruction and democracy. He added that daily acts of terrorism were creating a climate of fear, but efforts were being made to restore rights by lifting restrictions imposed by the previous regime. In his written report to the Commission, Mr. Mavrommatis says Iraq’s security situation has had an adverse effect not only on the long-overdue reconstruction of the country and the alleviation of the Iraqi people’s suffering, but also on efforts to investigate past violations. He notes that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have made allegations regarding the conditions of detention of people arrested by Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) forces, as well as about unnecessary innocent civilian casualties during security operations by the CPA. In a subsequent update to the report, the Special Rapporteur says he has received important documents about past violations and recommends speeding up the process of criminal investigations in connection with grave human rights violations. He adds that all mass graves must be secured, while the process of identifying remains must be accelerated.
“Let us act with collective humanity to lift people in crisis from fear and helplessness,” Mr. Ban said in remarks to a high-level event convened by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on the margins of the General Assembly’s annual debate.He noted that around the world, thousands of men and women dedicate themselves to helping communities facing perilous circumstances. However, despite these efforts, each year the number of people in need continues to escalate.“The scale and cost of meeting humanitarian needs is increasingly overwhelming our capacity to respond. The future will be even worse if we do not take decisive, collective action now.” Recalling last week’s adoption by Member States of a new sustainable development agenda, Mr. Ban said it will not be possible to achieve a world of safety and dignity for all without addressing the plight of millions of women, children and men affected by humanitarian crises.This is why the World Humanitarian Summit that the UN will convene in Istanbul, Turkey on 23 and 24 May 2016 will be so important, he noted. “The Summit is a vital opportunity to reinforce our common endeavour to save lives, and prevent and alleviate suffering.”The Summit will bring together governments, humanitarian organizations, people affected by humanitarian crises and new partners including the private sector to propose solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges and set an agenda to keep humanitarian action fit for the future.It will build on a series of major global conferences such as the progress achieved on disaster risk reduction in Sendai, on development financing in Addis Ababa, on sustainable development in New York, and on the agreement on climate change that Member States are striving to adopt in Paris in December.In preparation for the Summit, global consultation process has taken place involving 23,000 people in 151 countries. The Synthesis Report of the consultations proposes five major action areas to shape the Summit: dignity; safety; resilience; partnerships and finance.Also expected to frame the discussions at the Summit are recommendations that will be submitted by the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, which the Secretary-General set up in May to identify ways to close the gap between rising needs and the resources available to meet them. Mr. Ban, who will later today convene a high-level meeting on migration and refugee movements, noted that more than 60 million people around the world have been forced to abandon their homes due to violence and persecution – more than at any time since the Second World War – and half of them are children.“Armed conflict is by far the greatest driver of humanitarian need,” he stated. “The absence of political solutions leads to protracted crises and more displacement. As populations rise, along with extreme poverty, growing inequality and rapid unplanned urbanization, natural hazards are a growing risk.“Climate change is also causing increasing humanitarian stress,” he continued, adding that it threatens to cause massive internal displacement and cross-border movement in the coming decades.“Let us never forget that behind each statistic is a human life: a woman, a man, a child, with aspirations and human rights. Each deserves protection. Each has a right to a life of dignity.”
During the U.S. election last November, voters in Colorado and Washington passed plebiscites allowing adults over the age of 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. This decision by voters to legalize marijuana represents a significant shift in public attitudes toward the drug, on par with the changes in attitudes towards alcohol that were witnessed after prohibition.“People are talking about drug control following the same model,” says Malleck. “My research on post-prohibition Ontario looks at what happened in a similar environment, but without a 100-year panic around drugs.”Malleck’s book Try to Control Yourself is now available in paperback from UBC Press. His historical research looks at the post-prohibition regulation of alcohol in six diverse Ontario communities – Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara, Essex County, Waterloo County and Thunder Bay district. A Brock prof’s research into how the government of Ontario dealt with the regulation of alcohol and public drinking in the province in the post-prohibition 20s and 30s raises some interesting questions about our society’s attitudes towards to alcohol.“We have this incredibly conflicted relationship with alcohol,” says Dan Malleck, associate professor of Community Health Sciences and author of Try to Control Yourself: The Regulation of Public Drinking in Post-Prohibition Ontario, 1927-1944.Dan Malleck“From the end of prohibition in Ontario until the Second World War, liquor laws in the province changed significantly,” says Malleck. “And with the creation of the LCBO in 1927, the government tried to foster a system that worked in the complex political and social culture of the time.”The whole idea of allowing drinking in a province where a lot of people still thought it should be illegal because it was immoral and destructive to society had to be weighed against the fact that prohibition simply did not work.“Government had to strike a balance between keeping alcohol relatively restricted, and making it appealing enough so that people wouldn’t go to illegal watering holes to drink,” says Malleck. “Many people saw drinking as inherently evil, but prohibition was much worse in that it created a whole new level of illegality.”At the turn of the century, the idea of the state controlling all aspects of liquor production, distribution and sales – based on principles of “disinterested management” – was taking hold in Scandinavian countries and around the world. Disinterested management is when managers don’t have a financial stake in selling more alcohol. Instead their focus is to control the consumption of alcohol in society.The province adopted a modified version of this system in the wake of repealing the Ontario Temperance Act. The production of alcohol remained in the hands of private industry, but the LCBO ran the stores and inspected breweries, wineries and distilleries.From 1927 to 1934 people could buy booze in the liquor store to take home, but they couldn’t drink regular strength booze anywhere in public, such as bars. Then from 1934 to 1944 people were allowed to drink beer in hotel beverage rooms and beer and wine in hotel dining rooms, which was similar to the pre-prohibition model of alcohol regulation in Ontario.“The LCBO constrained drinking mostly to hotel beverage rooms, but the way the board enforced the rules was not as rigid as many imagine,” says Malleck. “They were very flexible in the application of the law and it was more about self-control and showing that you were trying. The thinking was that you might as well keep these places in sight and manage them rather than drive drinking back underground.”Our society’s current notions of “responsible drinking” and the “responsible drinker” were shaped and influenced by this bureaucratic balancing act.“Once you strip away the morality of it, the main concerns about drinking are the family, social order and economic stability,” says Malleck. “So if you create this idea that it is ok as long as you do it in a way that won’t disrupt whatever you are worried about, like the social order or integrity of the family, then what’s wrong with it?”Malleck’s historical research has relevant connections to ongoing present-day debates about what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in society.
It might seem like a matter of time before the NFL and London stop flirting and start going steady. Six NFL teams have flown across the Atlantic to play a football game this year — most recently, the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars, who squared off on Sunday in the third and final London game of the season. (Just as if they were playing on home soil, the Jaguars lost badly.) The league would have to inconvenience only two additional teams1A 16-game regular season would require eight visiting teams to travel to London. to host a franchise in London full-time.Most commentary on the possibility of a London NFL team has been skeptical. Bill Barnwell, of Grantland, worried last year about travel and timing logistics and the potential disadvantages a London franchise would face in recruiting free agents.My view is more optimistic, at least when it comes to whether a London team could find a sufficient fan base. I’m not sure a franchise in London would be a smashing success. But even given conservative assumptions, London’s huge population and revenue base are probably enough to outweigh the relatively low level of NFL interest there. Perhaps more important, in contrast to some U.S.-based candidates for expansion or relocation, a London team would not cannibalize much of the fan bases of existing NFL franchises.Still, if London got first dibs on a team, the NFL would be overlooking a couple of more obvious candidates much closer to home.Last year, I looked at the National Hockey League’s allocation of franchises, estimating the size of each market’s NHL fan base using the population of its metropolitan area and the number of Google searches for the term “NHL.” (The analysis concluded that the NHL is overextended into smaller U.S. markets while underserving Canadian fans.) Here, I’ll perform the same analysis for the NFL, comparing cities that already have a team to potential new markets in North America and Europe.As with the hockey analysis, I’ll assume the popularity of the NFL in a given market is proportional to the number of Google searches for NFL-related topics,2The distinction between Google search topics and search strings is explained here. Topics are more comprehensive — for instance, Google searches for both “NFL” and “National Football League” will be grouped under the same topic. However, I default the search string for the term “NFL” in countries where topic-level estimates are not available, adjusting them upward to account for the less comprehensive search coverage. as according to Google Trends. Google searches might not be a perfect measure of popularity but they correlate reasonably well with other measures of franchise success3In the NHL, for instance, our Google-based estimates of each team’s fan base correlated strongly with its profitability. and allow us to compare domestic and international markets by the same standard. The only ad-hoc adjustment I’ve made is to lump Green Bay together with Milwaukee for purposes of calculating the Packers’ fan base.Otherwise, this is pretty simple: We’re just multiplying a metro area’s population4Market sizes are drawn from the estimates of metro-area populations put together by Demographia earlier this year. In the past, I’ve preferred to use estimates based on TV market sizes, which are slightly more inclusive of outlying areas that have a cultural affinity with a particular metroplex. But these aren’t widely available outside the U.S. and Canada. by the volume of Google searches it conducts on NFL-related topics. The estimated number of fans in each market is calibrated to the U.S. national average of 28 percent of Americans who say they are “very interested” in the NFL. Our estimates of the number of NFL fans in the 30 existing NFL markets5There are 32 NFL teams, but the New York and San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose metro areas have two teams each. — and about two dozen plausible expansion destinations — follow6Google Trends data is less detailed in some other countries than it is in the U.S. For cities in Canada, Germany, Spain and Mexico, I use data taken from the state or province level rather than the metro area. For London, I use data from the city level rather than the metropolitan area.:In contrast to the NHL (or college football), the level of interest in the NFL is fairly consistent from place to place in the United States. There’s also relatively little difference between those markets that have an NFL franchise and those that don’t.In some ways, these are signs of the league’s success: The NFL has conquered Sunday afternoons in just about every nook and cranny of the United States. And it’s principally a television sport. In the NFL, it’s not quite as important where the franchises are located — so long as you can transmit a TV signal from there.But partly because of the NFL’s pervasiveness, it has run out of highly attractive American markets other than Los Angeles. (Other than that, Mr. Goodell, how was the play?) Even Los Angeles provides some evidence of the league’s saturation: NFL interest there is only mildly lower than the national average despite the city not having hosted a team since 1994. Let’s say, however, that the NFL comes to its senses and places a team in Los Angeles soon. Where else is there to go in the U.S.?Las Vegas has high levels of NFL avidity and ranks as the next-largest untapped U.S. market by the number of NFL fans. But given the NFL’s longstanding paranoia about associations with gambling, putting a team there would be as much of an adventure for the league as going to a foreign market.After this are a series of markets — Orlando, Florida; Sacramento, California; Virginia Beach, Virginia; San Antonio; Austin, Texas; and Columbus, Ohio — where a team would play in the shadow of a more established franchise: The San Francisco 49ers in the case of Sacramento, for instance, or the Dallas Cowboys in the case of San Antonio. We’ll seek to measure the effect of this in more detail later on. It’s not that these markets are necessarily any less NFL-worthy than, say, Nashville or Jacksonville. But they’d reshuffle existing fans around more than they’d allow the league to expand its footprint.The foreign markets are more intriguing. Let’s start with London.I estimate from the Google data that only about 4 percent of Londoners are NFL fans now. However, the city’s metro area has about 10 million people. That means it has about 400,000 NFL fans. That isn’t great, but it’s comparable to a few existing NFL markets (Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Charlotte, Kansas City) and slightly larger than a few others (Buffalo, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Nashville). A London franchise might be the equivalent of a “small-market” team — but it would hardly be a huge outlier.There are a number of reasons to think this underestimates London’s potential. London is wealthy, with a GDP per capita of somewhere around £37,000 ($60,000 at current exchange rates). That means higher ticket prices and more billionaires to buy the team when it goes up for sale. London is also among the most-visited cities by tourists in the world with about 15 million international visitors a year.7Assuming that the average tourist visit lasts three to four days, that means there are about 150,000 international tourists in London at any given time. That’s small compared to London’s baseline of 10 million permanent residents, but it’s a nice little bonus. And it doesn’t account for travel there from within the United Kingdom, which is also significant.More important, our estimate that 4 percent of Londoners are NFL fans is based on the volume of Google searches since 2004. Those searches have increased recently, and there’s reason to expect a further increase in fan interest if a team is located in the city permanently. As measured by Google searches, interest in the NHL increased by about 80 percent in the province of Manitoba, Canada, after the league relocated a franchise to Winnipeg in 2011. The NBA experienced a similar increase in Oklahoma City when it moved a team there.8It also helps that the Oklahoma City Thunder have been much better than their predecessors, the Seattle Sonics. Because the NFL is already so saturated in the United States, I wouldn’t expect an 80 percent increase in NFL interest if you placed a team in Orlando or Austin. But London, and other foreign markets, have a much lower baseline and more room to grow.A London-based team could also have some appeal across the rest of England and the United Kingdom. One precedent comes from the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Raptors, the only Canadian teams in Major League Baseball and the NBA, respectively. Each one generates about 20 percent to 25 percent as much search traffic in other Canadian provinces as it does in its native Ontario. That doesn’t sound great, but it’s higher than most U.S.-based franchises, many of which generate only about 5 percent as much search traffic outside their home states. With no other franchise to compete against geographically, a London team could be regional in the way the Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys and Boston Red Sox are, covering a larger footprint than you’d infer from its metro area alone.You might think these are pie-in-the-sky assumptions; I think they’re pretty reasonable. The only issue is that there are two other international destinations that rank better still.They’re not among the more exotic choices. Paris, Dusseldorf9Essen-Dusseldorf, which also includes several other mid-size cities, is the most populous metropolitan area in Germany. and Madrid almost certainly would not have the fan bases to support an NFL team at the present time. A second U.K.-based team, in a place such as Manchester, would not do much better. Nor in all likelihood would San Juan, Puerto Rico, which is a baseball town.But the Toronto metro area is highly populous and NFL interest is already reasonably high there. I estimate T Dot has about 1 million NFL fans — more than the majority of U.S. markets to host an NFL team. As with the Raptors and Blue Jays in their sports, there could also some residual gains in NFL interest across the rest of Canada.Mexico City ranks even higher. Although only about 7.5 percent of people there are NFL fans, 7 percent of 20 million residents is still 1.5 million NFL fans.Could those Mexico City fans afford tickets and licensed replica jerseys and the products sponsors might want them to buy? Mexico gets pigeonholed as a developing country and that’s true for much of the nation, but Mexico City itself has developed into a thriving, bustling city with many of the creature comforts available in the other great metropolises of North America. Mexico City’s metro-area GDP is about $30,000 per capita and GDP per capita is nearing $50,000 in the city proper, comparable to that in U.S. cities. Levels of NFL interest in Mexico City, while not extraordinarily high, are higher than in London: An NFL game there in 2005 drew more than 100,000 spectators.The international markets also offer the advantage of being unconquered territory rather than existing in the shadow of any current NFL team. To measure this, I ran another series of Google Trends searches on topics related to individual NFL teams (e.g. searches for topics related to the Seattle Seahawks) to see how they compared to interest in the NFL as a whole.In existing NFL markets, Google search traffic for the local team is generally about 65 percent to 70 percent as high as that for the league as a whole. See here for the Detroit Lions, for example. Of the Detroit area’s roughly 840,000 NFL fans, Google search volume would suggest we’d allocate about 480,000 of them to the Lions. Another 200,000 or so would go to the next-most popular NFL teams there, the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. That leaves relatively few “free agent” fans.In the foreign markets, however, including in Canada, fans are largely not committed to any one NFL franchise. In the table below, I’ve estimated the number of fans for the three most popular teams in each market and calculated how many fans remain after allocating fans to those teams.10The calculation is a bit rough for some of the less promising markets. Interest in the NFL is low enough in Dusseldorf that we don’t have a great idea of who the most popular teams are there. Also, in England, the most popular team according to Google topics is nominally the Cleveland Browns. But this appears to be a false positive, with Google having picked up on other contexts in which the word “Browns” is used. Searches for the text string “Cleveland Browns” as opposed to the topic “Cleveland Browns” are quite low in England. In Mexico City, for instance, the Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers and Broncos are probably the most popular teams. But searches for those three teams combined represent only 20 percent to 25 percent of searches for NFL-related topics as a whole. Contrast that with Columbus, where searches for the Cleveland Browns, Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals represent about 90 percent of searches for the NFL as a whole. That’s not to say a Columbus-based team wouldn’t pick up some fans of its own, but they might come largely at the expense of the Browns, Bengals and Steelers rather than acquainting new fans with the league.Toronto, like Mexico City, has only about 20 percent of NFL fans allocated to one of the three most popular NFL teams there. The Buffalo Bills have sometimes protestested that Toronto is part of their market, but NFL fans in Toronto take only a modest interest in the Bills according to search data and other metrics like merchandise sales.I estimate there are about 50,000 Bills fans in greater Toronto. That isn’t nothing when there are only about 300,000 NFL fans in metro Buffalo itself. But that’s Buffalo’s problem, not Toronto’s. If the NFL wants to have a franchise in Buffalo, it should have one in Buffalo. It should also have one in Toronto. The league would come out ahead if it had to slightly subsidize the Bills with the extra revenues it gained from a Toronto team.How about Montreal or Vancouver instead? If you could combine the virtues of the two — Montreal’s larger population with Vancouver’s greater NFL interest — you’d have an NFL-worthy city. As it stands, however, both are decidedly inferior to Toronto. Montreal comes out slightly better than Vancouver in our reckoning because, while each has about the same number of NFL fans, a fair number of those in Vancouver are committed to the Seattle Seahawks.Among U.S. cities, Los Angeles remains No. 1 with a bullet after allocating fans to existing teams. Las Vegas’s numbers also hold up well. So, to a lesser extent, do Orlando’s, a surprising result given that there are three other NFL teams in Florida. But Orlando, like other cities in the state, has a lot of expats from the north who root for teams like the New England Patriots and New York Giants and who might or might not be intrigued by an expansion team. The state of Florida has produced its fair share of disappointments in cultivating loyalty toward new franchises. Most of the other American candidates could wind up like Jacksonville — at best just barely big enough to support a team on its own and with that team having barely any footprint beyond the city’s borders.A final question is about the NFL’s endgame. If the NFL merely needs a couple of credible candidates for relocation — whether as leverage against existing teams or as genuine alternatives — Los Angeles and London should more than suffice. But if the league is thinking about expansion, it might have to do it in a big way. Thirty-two teams is a convenient number, readily divisible into two conferences and eight divisions of four teams each. A 33-, 34- or 35-team league would be awkward, however. The next equilibrium would be 36 teams instead, which could be divided into six divisions of six teams each.In that case, the NFL ought to return to cultivating the Mexico City market and treat Toronto as more than a token alternative for the Bills. An expansion to those cities along with London and Los Angeles would be the boldest thing the league has done in years — and possibly the smartest.CORRECTION (2:15 p.m.): An earlier version of a chart in this article misstated the number of unallocated NFL fans for Mexico City. That number is 1.15 million, not 1.49 million.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related As investigations continue into the ghastly murder of 18-year-old Qualfon receptionist Raynelle Benfield, the five suspects, including her boyfriend, remain in custody. This was confirmed by Police in C Division (East Coast Demerara) late Tuesday who indicated that all avenues were being pursued even as the suspects were still being held.Dead: Raynelle BenfieldInvestigators are working on the theory that the teen might have been sexually assaulted before her face was bashed in with a heavy object, believed to be a stone. The teen’s relatives were on Monday questioned by investigators about her social life and acquaintances which prompted ranks to visit the homes of several young men in the area.According to reports reaching this publication, the boyfriend, a suspected gang member, had dated a female relative of Benfield in the recent past and a falling out had occurred over this issue.Benfield, of Lot 99 Canterbury Walk, Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara, was discovered in a nearby Muslim cemetery around 07:00hrs on Monday with her face mutilated.It is believed that she was sexually assaulted as her hands were resting on her chest while the pair of jeans she was wearing was pulled to her knees.This publication was told that the teen left home on Saturday morning for work and after she did not return home that evening, her relatives were under the impression that she was working overtime. They, however, received a call informing them that her body was found in the cemetery. Her colleagues stated that they last saw her around 18:00h on Saturday.The death of the young woman follows a recent string of homicides of young females. Earlier this month, a guard reportedly confessed to killing 23-year-old waitress Marrisa Fraser, whose partially nude body was discovered a short distance from a pool of blood, in a canal at Number Five Village, West Coast Berbice.Additionally, 47-year-old taxi driver Matthew Munroe was arraigned this month for allegedly killing Richard Ishmael school teacher Kescia Branche, who was discovered in an unconscious state on the morning of November 5, in the vicinity of Princes Street and Louisa Row, Georgetown.A post-mortem conducted showed that Branche died of haemorrhaging due to blunt trauma to the head. (Shemuel Fanfair)
Autonomous Solutions, Inc (ASI) has announced the completion of a facilities expansion involving its unmanned vehicle test track. This expansion includes a tripling of the test tracks and the creation of more realistic urban scenarios with the needed signage and road striping to develop and test new driverless vehicle algorithms. “This new facility expansion is critical in the support of our new partners. Our proving ground is a test city, it’s a test mine, it’s a test farm field. We have built into our facility all of these different environments to enable rapid development and rigorous 24/7 product verification and validation testing,” says Mel Torrie, ASI Co-Founder and CEO.“This facility expansion not only allows us to do more testing, but also provides more office space for the quickly growing engineering team,” says Torrie. ASI is currently automating testing for three of the five big automotive companies in Detroit and is expanding into Europe and China with partnerships starting in January. Other markets like mining, agriculture, and construction leverage the same underlying robotics platform foundation but have different “apps” that are customised to the unique needs of each.
THE WOMAN WHOSE landmark case found the State liable for the sexual abuse she suffered says she’s been “very disappointed” by the State’s response.Last January, the European Court of Human Rights found in favour of Louise O’Keeffe in her case against the Irish state, making them liable for the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her primary school principal.In the wake of the decision, former Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn said that 44 day school abuse claims would be reviewed. But speaking on RTÉ’s This Week programme today, O’Keeffe says that no contact has yet been made with these victims:It beggars belief that they haven’t made any contact at all with any of these people. Why, why not? These are the people that have suffered. You must talk to them, you must sort out what happened in the past. Talk now about what we’re going to do in the future, that hasn’t been happening.O’Keeffe said that the Taoiseach had offered to meet her back in January and after speaking to other victims she now feels that she has “no option” but to do so. She has therefore written to the Taoiseach and to Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan requesting a meeting before the end of September.O’Keeffe has previously been critical of the State’s response and in June accused it of taking advantage of the fact victims of abuse are getting older and are “less able to continue to fight for their rights”.In today’s This Week interview she criticised the inter-departmental group set up by the Government to improve the child protection practices.“It should be broader, it simply must include people who have been abused in the schools,” she argued.It needs to be firmed up, it needs to be far more stringent, it really does. Guidelines? You can give me a guideline on how to drive down the road but I needn’t follow it.O’Keeffe also says there needs to be definitive timeline for the Government’s promised legislative response, something that currently isn’t there.“There isn’t a definitive timeline, there isn’t an action plan even. They state that the next steps are to reply to the European court on the 28 January, they were supposed to reply by 28 July. We expected a comprehensive reply and that hasn’t happened.Column: Louise O’Keeffe ruling shows Ireland’s school patronage system is unworkable >Read: 44 school abuse claims to be reviewed following O’Keeffe judgement >