Terming the Central Bureau of Investigation’s closure report in the 2015 Bargari sacrilege case “bad in law”, Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda on Thursday said the national agency had no jurisdiction in the matter after the State government withdrew the cases from it last year. “The CBI lost all authority and jurisdiction to continue with any investigation in the cases, much less to file a closure report, after the State government issued a formal notification to withdraw the cases from the agency in September 2018,” said Mr. Nanda. He said that instead of filing the closure report, the correct legal course for the CBI would have been to inform the court that it was no longer charged with the investigation. The CBI had on July 4 filed a closure report in the three Bargari sacrilege cases of 2015 in the special CBI court in Mohali. Mr. Nanda also expressed surprise at the CBI’s stand that the State of Punjab was a stranger to the events, and thus not entitled to a copy of the closure report. “This stand was absurd, considering that the agency itself had, in its closure report, cited the ‘reports’ and ‘inputs’ of the Punjab police,” he added. ‘Dubious role’Meanwhile, Punjab Ekta Party president Sukhpal Singh Khaira accused the Chief Minister of playing a “dubious role” in the cases of sacrilege and asking the CBI to reopen the cases . “The Chief Minister failed to implement the resolution passed by the Vidhan Sabha to take back the cases from the CBI. On one hand, he advocated that the cases be probed by the SIT of Punjab police, while on the other he is asking the CBI to reopen the cases. This raises serious questions about his intentions,” said Mr. Khaira.
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Back at the World Cup for the first time since 1982, Peru isn’t leaving Russia empty handed.The Peruvians failed to score a goal in their opening two matches, but the team finally gave its fans a reason to celebrate when it ended Australia’s hopes of advancing to the knockout round with a 2-0 victory on Tuesday.The Australians had to beat Peru and hope Denmark lost to France in the other Group C match, but neither result occurred. France and Denmark drew 0-0 in Moscow.Andre Carrillo’s 18th-minute goal — a half-volley from inside the area — was Peru’s first in a World Cup since its last appearance 36 years ago. Peru hadn’t won a World Cup match since defeating Iran in 1978.Peru captain Paolo Guerrero, who almost missed the tournament because of a doping suspension, scored the other goal in the 50th with a left-footed strike after getting to a loose ball inside the area.“This triumph is for our people and for Jefferson (Farfan),” Guerrero said of his teammate who missed the match after being hospitalized with a head injury sustained in practice last weekend. “We showed that Peru can play as equal to anyone.”Peru’s Paolo Guerrero scores his side’ second goal during the group C match between Australia and Peru, at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)Australia striker Tim Cahill, a 38-year-old veteran who entered the match in the 53rd minute, had a chance to become only the fifth player to score in four World Cups, joining Pele, Uwe Seeler, Miroslav Klose and Cristiano Ronaldo. But he had few chances.Australia needed the victory to reach the round of 16 for the first time since 2006 but it had a slow start at Fisht Stadium, unable to get near the opposing area. The Peruvians, boosted by a loud crowd that heavily outnumbered the Aussies, took advantage of their chances and gave their team an honorable finish after two opening losses.The whole squad saluted the boisterous Peruvian fans after the match, spending several moments near their sections in the stands.Australia’s best chance to score came in the 27th minute when Tom Rogic made a run through the Peru defense and had his shot saved by goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.Peru almost added its third goal when Edison Flores’ shot hit the post following a fast breakaway.GROUP DYNAMICSThe victory allowed Peru to move into third place in the group, finishing with four points. The Australians ended up with one point after losing 2-1 to France and drawing 1-1 with Denmark.KEY TO SUCCESSPeru’s Paolo Guerrero, right, celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the group C match between Australia and Peru, at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)Australia leaves consoled by decent performances even though it didn’t get the points to show for it. It played relatively well in the opener against the French and had chances to get more than a draw against Denmark.Peru had deserved more in its first two games, when it failed to capitalize on numerous scoring chances, including a missed penalty by Christian Cueva against Denmark.BREAKING THROUGHIt had been a long time before Peru had found the net in a World Cup. The last time was in its second match of the 1982 tournament, a 1-1 draw against Italy.The team also scored in a 5-1 loss to Poland that year. It’s last World Cup victory was a 4-1 result against Iran in the first round of the 1978 tournament in Argentina.NO ATTACKScoring hasn’t been easy for Australia at World Cups recently, with its last three goals in the tournament coming from penalty kicks, including two from captain Mile Jedinak in Russia.Australia is only the second team in World Cup history to score three consecutive goals from the penalty spot. Ghana did it from 2006-2010.—By TALES AZZONI , AP Sports WriterPeru’s Anderson Santamaria, background, and Australia’s Tomi Juric go for a header during the group C match between Australia and Peru, at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)Peru’s Paolo Guerrero, left, and Australia’s Mark Milligan jump for the ball during the group C match between Australia and Peru, at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)TweetPinShare11 Shares
Transfers Coutinho mess a fitting end to Barca’s shambolic summer as Real remain stronger Ben Hayward 08:17 9/2/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(13) Transfers Philippe Coutinho Liverpool Primera División Premier League Barcelona Real Madrid Opinion The Catalans promised further signings after bringing in Ousmane Dembele, but no new additions followed and Los Blancos still look to have the edge COMMENT Transfer deadline day came and went for Barcelona. The Blaugrana had seemed certain to bring in at least one more forward before the end of the window, but their pursuit of Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho was a mess in the end – and it sums up a shambolic summer for the Catalan club.Barca were rocked by the departure of Neymar at the beginning of August, when the Brazil forward moved to Paris Saint-Germain for €222 million. Nevertheless, there was still time to strengthen the squad and straight away the plan was clear: not one signing, but two – Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho.Unfortunately for Barca, everyone in Europe knew about the €222m burning a hole in their pockets and Neymar’s move served only to further inflate prices in an already overpriced market. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina At the beginning of the summer, Borussia Dortmund had wanted €90m for Dembele. Realistically, however, the German club would have settled for far less than that for the French forward. That was until they realised Barca were desperate – and flushed with cash. Kerching!Dembele ultimately left for an initial fee of €105m which alone makes him the world’s second-most expensive footballer. On top of that, though, Barca agreed to pay up to €42m in variables and €33m of that is almost guaranteed in clauses such as the player making 50 appearances for the Catalan club (which he should manage in one season) and the Blaugrana qualifying for the Champions League in the next five seasons (which they have done every year since 2004).Having sealed the Dembele deal, Barca turned their attentions to Coutinho. But Liverpool had said all summer long that the Brazil midfielder was not for sale and despite assertions from the Catalan media that he would arrive, nobody in England expected him to move.If Barca knew that, then why did they keep pursuing Phil? Had they learned nothing from the energy wasted in chasing Marco Verratti earlier in the summer? Verratti wanted to join Barcelona and so too did Coutinho, but their teams shut the door and Barca’s inability to secure either transfer is a damning indictment on the Catalan club in the current state.Worst of all is the notion that perhaps they did not actually try that hard. Why did they waste so much time when the answer was “no”? Why were no other targets sought out until the penultimate day of the window? Moves for Juventus’ Paulo Dybala and Monaco’s Thomas Lemar were reported, but such transfers take time.It was either incompetence or unwillingness to spend on a second star signing following Neymar’s move. Whatever it was, it has left a sour taste for fans as the Barca board face a censure motion brought about by former presidential candidate Agusti Benedito.Dembele, at least, looks like an excellent player who should shine for many years to come at Camp Nou. The France forward is only 20 and should go straight into this team after Neymar’s exit.Of the other new signings, Nelson Semedo seems like a shrewd addition at right-back, but Gerard Deulofeu (who returned from Everton in a buy-back deal) is still making the same mistakes that have halted his development for so long and Paulinho is a bizarre choice in midfield – especially at the age of 29 and for €40m.”Barca have signed players that don’t fit into the system,” Xavi said in an interview with Marca this week. However, it is difficult to know what the side’s system is these days, with current coach Ernesto Valverde having ultilised a number of different formations already and previous Barca boss Luis Enrique relying heavily upon the team’s trident instead of midfield excellence in recent seasons.In the meantime, Barca missed out on both Dani Ceballos and Theo Hernandez to Real Madrid this summer and Zinedine Zidane’s side, despite the departures of James Rodriguez to Bayern Munich and Alvaro Morata to Chelsea, still look like the team to beat.Madrid could have done with signing another striker as back-up to Karim Benzema after Morata’s exit, while the injury to youngster Jesus Vallejo has left them somewhat short in defence after Pepe left for Besiktas.However, Los Blancos’ squad is still tremendous and after Barca’s summer of discontent and Atletico’s transfer ban (which included failure to bring back Diego Costa in time for January), the Spanish and European champions appear well placed to dominate again – both at home and on the continent.
Agent of Real Madrid midfielder Valverde: He can play with Pogbaby Paul Vegas16 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveThe agent of Real Madrid midfielder Fede Valverde can see him playing with Paul Pogba in the future.It’s been suggested Valverde’s emergence will see Real drop their interest in the Manchester United star.”Pogba is a fantastic player. In the future they can play together, but you have to be careful,” agent Gerardo Rabajda told Radio Marca.”The future is promising but Fede must keep his feet on the ground. He knows he got this chance but he has to stay calm and keep growing. He has proved on the pitch that he has status. He knows when to talk and when to be quiet. We are talking about a future Ballon d’Or winner.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
We’re a little more than a day away from the 2015 Final Four. At 6:09 p.m. E.T. Saturday, Duke and Michigan State are set to tip off at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. Following that contest, at roughly 8:49 p.m. E.T., Kentucky and Wisconsin will play. Here’s the official game ball for the Final Four. It features the national championship trophy. Official game ball. Trophy embossed. pic.twitter.com/jJt9v0hq2i— Duke Basketball (@dukeblueplanet) April 3, 2015Which team will be throwing that ball into the air late Monday evening?The Final Four games will be televised on TBS.
This will involve the exchange of professionals, specialists, researchers, students, and creators in the different fields of culture and art, as well as tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The Governments of Jamaica and Argentina will be strengthening cooperation in the fields of arts and culture. The Governments of Jamaica and Argentina will be strengthening cooperation in the fields of arts and culture.Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, and the Ambassador of the Republic of Argentina to Jamaica, His Excellency Ariel Fernández, signed an agreement on Thursday (December 7) at the Ministry’s Trafalgar Road offices.The agreement commits Jamaica and Argentina to participate in and support exchanges in international cultural activities, festivals, exhibitions and other artistic events.This will involve the exchange of professionals, specialists, researchers, students, and creators in the different fields of culture and art, as well as tangible and intangible cultural heritage.Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Grange lauded the efforts of the Government of Argentina in strengthening relations with Jamaica.“Our relationship goes back over half a century, so today, I am especially proud that we can take this very significant step towards signing an agreement on arts and culture, two areas that have been a unifying force for us,” she noted.Minister Grange said the agreement comes at a time when the Ministry is taking a data-centric approach in the culture and creative industries in order to quantify the contribution of the subsectors to gross domestic product (GDP).“I am pleased that this agreement focuses on training projects and activities in gathering primary statistical sources, undertaking surveys of customs and cultural consumption, as well as production and distribution of cultural assets,” she said.Ambassador Fernández welcomed the signing, noting that the last agreement between the two countries was more than 20 years ago.“Many things have happened between that time and now. We have been working with all our hearts in order to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and its people and that is the most important thing in relation to this agreement,” he said, noting that culture will be the vehicle to solidify the relationship.“There is a lot to do with this agreement. It is very positive for both countries, particularly for the artistes, musicians and people who work in the creative industries,” he added. Minister Grange said the agreement comes at a time when the Ministry is taking a data-centric approach in the culture and creative industries in order to quantify the contribution of the subsectors to gross domestic product (GDP). Story Highlights
zoom Transas has completed a project to supply the navigational and GMDSS simulators to Girne American University (GAU), one of the leading Northen Cyprus high schools.The configuration includes two navigational bridges based on the latest Transas Navi-Trainer Professional (NTPRO) software. The main bridge with five projector visualisation channels is equiped with reduced set of dedicated hardware controls. It will enable training in various shiphandling operations including bridge team management. Secondary bridge with one visualisation channel will be used for familiarisation and basic tasks. Both bridges are equipped with GMDSS workplaces for practicing in communications.Evgeny Drumachik, Transas Simulation Sales Director, Europe, commented: “We in Transas are very proud to work on this project. We believe this medium size simulation complex will significantly improve quality of education and training in the Girne American University, in accordance with the STCW and beyond the conventonal courses. We are looking forward to seeing the first GAU students practicing and improving their skills on this simulator.”Transas, October 31, 2013
zoom Tug company Svitzer has removed two of its nine Newcastle tugs from service after one of the Chinese-built vessels was found to contain asbestos, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) reports.The MUA said both vessels were certified as being clear of asbestos before they sailed to Australia.The union’s assistant national secretary, Ian Bray, said the asbestos was contained in electrical wiring and had led the union to take a ”closer look” at Svitzer vessels in other Australian ports.Svitzer has confirmed asbestos in one vessel, the Warunda, and inspections are under way in its sister ship, the Warrego.Bray said concerns were raised after an asbestos-free certificate for one of Svitzer’s tugs said it had been inspected in Brisbane on a day the union knew it was in Bowen, more than 1,000 kilometres north.Svitzer Australia’s communications manager, Jeff Singleton, said the tugs had been imported, second-hand, from China because there was ”no recognised” Australian tug-building industry.Singleton released four inspection reports showing more than 1,000 asbestos gaskets and varying amounts of asbestos lagging, or pipe insulation, had been taken from each ship before leaving China.The certificates show the work was done in stages between July and September last year in a Shanghai shipyard.Both vessels came back with clear results when tested in China for airborne asbestos in their engine rooms.Singleton said the company did not know what the union was referring to with the Brisbane test results.He said an electrician preparing the Warunda for service had suspected asbestos was present in some wiring he cut, and this was confirmed by testing.According to Singleton all of the Warunda’s wiring was being replaced, and inspections were taking place on the Warrego to see if similar work was needed.He said Svitzer had kept the relevant authorities and regulators fully informed and would pay for health checks for any employees who worked on either vessel.
MONTREAL – Two artificial intelligence pioneers warn that unscrupulous or unethical uses of the technology risk undermining the public image of an area of research undergoing rapid change.Canadian deep learning “godfather” Yoshua Bengio believes the sector and governments need to address concerns including the building of so-called killer robots and development of facial recognition that can be used by authoritarian regimes to repress their citizens.Facebook’s director of AI Research Yann LeCun adds that large companies involved in the research need to create a partnership to discuss issues such as the potential use of the technology to manipulate democracy and develop guidelines on the appropriate ways to construct, train, test and deploy discoveries.“One danger is that the image of artificial intelligence in the public will degrade because of bad uses of AI,” LeCun told a ReWork Deep Learning Summit panel discussion in Montreal last week.Bengio, the head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms, said his greatest concern is the misuse of lethal autonomous weapons.He said governments around the world should sign treaties to ban arms that can kill without human intervention.“I’m hoping that Canada will be among the countries that will push that forward,” Bengio said in an interview.He said some countries have opposed such efforts and that many AI researchers refuse to work on military projects.Bengio has previously said that the risk of job losses due to artificial intelligence is real, and that politicians should plan accordingly.“I believe that governments should start thinking right now about how to adapt to this in the next decade, how to change our social safety net to deal with that,” he added.Also of concern to some is the concentration of power and access to data by large companies.LeCun warned that malice isn’t the only worry: Removing bias from data is also important.Technology can harm people — if AI used to determine who gets out on bail, for example, employs biased data that comes up with biased results.Hundreds of AI experts will gather Nov. 2 and 3 in Montreal for a forum on the socially responsible development of artificial intelligence.“The sense is that there are important social, political and ethical questions raised by recent developments in AI and so it’s putting together people to discuss these issues,” said Christine Tappolet, a University of Montreal philosophy professor and director of the Centre for Ethics Research.“(AI) is going to change the game completely so what you can do now and what probably will be possible in two, five years is massive,” she said.The two-day session plans to develop a Montreal declaration for the ethical development of artificial intelligence that focuses on values, principles and guidelines for promising fields of research.Tappolet said the event is taking place in Montreal because the city has become one of the foremost places for AI research and has a long tradition of being interested in the social implications of technological developments.
EDMONTON – Political analysts say United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney’s byelection victory fires the starting pistol on an unofficial 16-month election campaign that will be defined by the skills and personalities of party leaders.“We’re dealing with two political heavyweights going head-to-head,” said Mount Royal political scientist Duane Bratt, referring to Kenney and NDP Premier Rachel Notley.“We have a full sitting premier going up against a former federal cabinet minister. We haven’t seen that sort of dynamic ever before.“Instead of having separate press conferences sniping at one another, they’re going to be two sword-lengths away in the legislature.”Kenney took 72 per cent of the vote to soundly defeat all challengers in Thursday’s Calgary-Lougheed byelection. He will sit front and centre on the official Opposition benches when the spring sitting begins, likely in late February.Lori Williams, political scientist at Mount Royal, said the dynamic of Kenney versus Notley is crucial.The NDP has been governing for 2 1/2 years after a lifetime in opposition, while Kenney’s team is partly composed of former Wildrose members who have never been in government.“The focus is going to be primarily on the leaders and their visions,” said Williams. “There isn’t enough to distinguish the two in terms of bench strength to lean (a voter) one way or the other.”Kenney was a longtime Conservative MP and cabinet minister under former prime minister Stephen Harper.His win caps an 18-month campaign that saw him successfully unite the centre-right Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties under one new United Conservative banner.Observers say the decisive byelection win in a longtime conservative stronghold doesn’t necessarily translate into broader support for Kenney’s party or a rejection of Notley’s NDP.Calgary pollster Janet Brown said there were different reasons to vote for Kenney in the byelection.“Maybe because you do want him to be the next premier of Alberta. Maybe you’re not sure you want him to be the next premier of Alberta, but you think we’d have better government if he was in the house (as Opposition leader).”Kenney declined an interview request Friday.In his victory speech Thursday, he cited Alberta’s fragile economy as the fulcrum of the provincial election which Notley must hold sometime in March, April or May of 2019.“We don’t want to close hospitals,” Kenney told cheering supporters. “We want to build hospitals and schools, and we know that won’t happen unless we have a dynamic and growing economy — and we understand that we cannot tax and borrow our way to prosperity.”Notley’s NDP inherited a government heavily reliant on the swings of oil prices, which had plunged by half in and around the 2015 election she won.Her government’s response has been to borrow heavily for building and spending while working to diversify the economy. The NDP argues that drastic budget cuts would only worsen Alberta’s precarious situation and thwart any recovery.This year’s deficit is $10.3 billion, with the debt expected to rise past $42 billion by the spring.But Alberta’s economy is projected to grow by four per cent this year, fastest in Canada, and other signs suggest the financial picture is rebounding.The direction of the economy will go a long way to dictating the NDP’s fortunes in 2019, Bratt said.“If there was an election today, the NDP is going to lose because the focus is on the economy, and the economy is still not where it should be,” he said.“But let’s see where we are in May of 2019.”
Five stories in the news for Thursday, April 18———KENNEY’S ‘TURN OFF TAPS’ PLEDGE HEARD IN B.C.Jason Kenney’s Alberta election victory sent ripples of enthusiasm and concern across Canada Wednesday. Ontario Premier Doug Ford welcomed a rising Conservative wave, British Columbia grappled with the Kenny campaign promise of squeezing its oil supply and Quebec stood firm on its rejection of oil pipelines. Kenney’s United Conservative Party captured 63 seats and more than 55 per cent of the popular vote, defeating the incumbent government of Rachel Notley’s New Democrats. In B.C. on Wednesday, where gasoline prices soared above $1.70 per litre in Metro Vancouver, Kenney’s promise to use Alberta legislation to “cut off the taps” produced varying opinions from experts who say it’s either bluster or a weapon to punish the province for its opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. B.C. Premier John Horgan said he spoke with Kenney Wednesday and the tone was cordial.———NOTLEY’S DEFEAT MEANS CANADA HAS NO MORE WOMEN PREMIERSThe gradual disappearance of women from the ranks of Canada’s premiers raises questions about society’s willingness to embrace true equality, former female leaders and political pundits said. Women made up nearly half of the country’s provincial and territorial leaders in 2013, but those ranks have slowly thinned as a succession of female premiers covering the entire political spectrum lost their re-election bids. That list now includes Alberta’s Rachel Notley, the last woman standing among Canada’s first ministers until incoming premier Jason Kenney takes power and the seventh female provincial leader to be turfed from office in the past six years.———ENVIRONMENT CHARITIES QUESTION INCOMING PREMIER’S PLANAlberta’s incoming premier plans to take on environmental charities that he says are blocking exports of the province’s oil, but those groups may be saying “bring it on.” In his victory speech Tuesday, Jason Kenney repeated his promise to fight back against Canadian environmental groups that take money from American foundations with what he says is the covert aim of economic sabotage by preventing Alberta from exporting oil in any direction but south. He said Alberta has been targeted by a foreign-funded campaign of special interests seeking to landlock Canadian energy.———JOSHUA BOYLE’S TRIAL FACES POSSIBLE DELAYThe assault trial of former Afghanistan hostage Joshua Boyle faces a possible delay of several months due to legal wrangling over allowable evidence. Boyle, 35, has pleaded not guilty in Ontario court to offences against his wife Caitlan Coleman including assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement. The offences are alleged to have occurred in late 2017 after the couple returned to Canada following five years as hostages at the hands of extremists who seized them during a backpacking trip to Asia. Coleman’s lawyer, Ian Carter, says he will ask the Supreme Court of Canada for permission to challenge a ruling handed down Wednesday that allows Boyle to introduce evidence concerning certain consensual sexual activity with his wife. The ruling is important because the law sets out limits on the extent to which an accused person can bring up an alleged victim’s sexual history during a trial. ———POLICE URGE PARENTS TO DISCUSS 4-20 POT RISKSPolice in Vancouver are asking parents to have a “tough” conversation with their teenagers about the dangers associated with marijuana at a large unsanctioned 4-20 event while city and park board officials call on organizers to pay for policing costs. Sgt. Jason Robillard says the 25th annual event, featuring vendors selling marijuana, baked edibles and drug paraphernalia, is expected to be a big draw on Saturday because of a concert by California hip-hop group Cypress Hill. He says police will focus on arresting anyone selling marijuana to minors at the Sunset Beach gathering, which typically attracts several thousand people.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor makes a funding announcement for the Université de Moncton and the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute.— International Development Minister Maryam Monsef announces support from the government’s climate action fund and holds a media availability.— Andrew Berry, charged with the second-degree murders of his daughters, stands trial.———The Canadian Press
CALGARY, A.B. – Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the government remains committed to putting the Trans Mountain pipeline and its proposed expansion back in private hands as he unveiled four principles for including Indigenous groups in those discussions.But he says timing and details of the sale of the pipeline depends on when it is “de-risked” and therefore can’t be determined until consultations now underway with affected Indigenous groups are completed.The minister says discussions of potential Indigenous ownership could proceed if the communities would have “meaningful economic participation”, if the deal can proceed in the spirit of reconciliation, and if the resulting entity works to the benefit of all Canadians and on a commercial basis. Morneau is in Calgary to promote last week’s federal budget. His next stops are in Vancouver and Edmonton.Chanting and honking horns could be heard from a large gathering of pro-pipeline picketers across the street from the Fairmont Palliser hotel while Morneau spoke to the Economic Club of Canada.In his speech, he said Ottawa realizes that resource-dependent provinces like Alberta have different economic challenges than others and vowed to continue to implement measures that encourage confidence and optimism.“We’ve been very clear that we see the importance of getting our resources to international markets. We’ve also been very clear that the only way these projects can get done is if they’re done in the right way,” he said.“I hope and expect that Albertans will see that we’re comporting ourselves in the way we need to in the face of getting a project done.”
Rabat – The World Bank extended Morocco a loan of USD 200 million to support the country’s policy to develop transparency and governance.The loan will support the completion of major rights and principles of governance contained in the constitution and will serve to consolidate transparency and governance, and increase citizens’ commitment and access to information.The loan agreement was signed this Monday by Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohammed Boussaid, and head of the World Bank’s department for the Maghreb, Simon Gray. The Hakama (governance) program targets the consolidation of transparency and governance in the management of public resources and the promotion of governance through improving the financial control of public enterprises and institutions, improving access to information and modernizing the management of local finance.The two sides also signed a donation agreement, worth USD 4.55 million extended by the WB MENA transition fund to finance a program to support territorial councils.The goal of this program is to develop a sustainable program to give targeted local councils access to decentralized support services and inter-council cooperation institutionalization.
Rabat – Moroccan actress Dounia Boutazout was attacked by a woman on Monday during her visit to a district near Casablanca called Sidi Moumen to obtain an official document.Boutazout said another woman assaulted her while she was at a government office, because the actress allegedly did not respect the queue in place in order to ensure each citizen’s request gets processed on a first-come, first-serve basis.The Moroccan actress – famous for her role on the Moroccan show “The Couple” – suffered two fractures in her nose because of the incident. She is currently being given medical care at the Sheikh Khalifa ibn Zaid hospital in Casablanca. During October of last year, the 34-year-old claimed she was the victim of a traffic accident after another driver on the road had been stressing and insulting her while she was driving. At the time, Boutazout was travelling with her mother. The pair went to Marrakech when they lost their car due to the accident.After the man who had harassed her was arrested and identified, Boutazout dropped her claim.
An online auction for a luxury home in Abbotsford, B.C., is drawing attention for its novel approach, which some observers say has potential to inspire new sales even if it doesn’t have any notable impact on the housing landscape.Bidding opens Tuesday on the 12-bedroom, 10-bath restored train power station known as the “Sumas Powerhouse,” which was previously listed for $5 million and has an assessed value of $2.2 million on B.C. Assessment.It’s one of three properties in Canada listed on global firm Concierge Auction’s website. A news release says it’s targeting Chinese buyers and will be sold in co-operation with Re/Max.Scott Pate, a project sales manager with Concierge, said luxury real estate has been a buyers market for quite some time in both the United States and Canada and auctions are a way to give sellers more certainty.“We’ll bring the market to this sale instead of the normal way of selling real estate, which is putting it on the market and waiting for an offer, which could take years and years,” he said.“The market is motivated because there’s a fear of missing out. This auction is going to end on a certain day … so it creates a lot of interest.”Real estate auctions are typical in Australia and New Zealand, but the model is less common in Canada. A real estate agent in Victoria tried the in-person auction approach in 2016 with a property in the city’s upscale Rockland neighbourhood, holding a public auction featuring a pianist playing a grand piano in the ballroom at the event.But local media reported that although 60 people filled the room, only one was an interested buyer so the auction was cancelled. In 2017, the B.C. Supreme Court accepted a $1.8-million offer for the historic mansion in foreclosure.Tom Davidoff, director of the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, said online auctions aren’t all that different from the way we buy and sell homes traditionally in Canada, especially in cases where there are multiple interested buyers and a bidding war.That could make it comfortable for Canadian buyers to transition to the model.“It certainly could be a direction the market could go. In segments where the market is slow today, people will try different approaches to move product, so it’s certainly possible,” he said.But beyond creating another way for potential buyers to bid, he said he doesn’t believe there will be an impact on the market in terms of housing prices or competition.“This will have no impact on the market overall,” Davidoff said.In Toronto, On the Block sells real estate both the traditional way and through its online auction platform but doesn’t focus on luxury sales.Co-founder Daniel Steinfeld said online auctions offer a way around some of the frustrations that come with silent bidding wars under the traditional system.As part of the company’s model, buyers must sign agreements to make the value of their bids public while their identities remain protected. Real estate board regulations otherwise prohibit real estate agents from disclosing the substance of competing bids.“Buyers, especially in the Toronto and Vancouver markets, have grown pretty frustrated with the blind bidding approach,” he said.The platform also allows the company to post more information than might be available through MLS listings, like copies of home inspections and agreements of purchase and sale, which makes it less likely for a sale to fall through.The most important factor in a successful real estate auction is the starting price, which can inspire competitive bids, Steinfeld said. So when identifying potential properties for auction, the company interviews the sellers to determine their objectives and market expectations.If the seller has unreasonable expectations about the market value of their property, it’s probably not the right fit for auction.Market conditions matter less, he said.“We have seen in both good and bad market conditions that it can work, it really just comes down to the appropriate pricing strategy,” Steinfeld said.Auction properties are typically first-time listings and the company sets a reserve price, which represents the minimum value at which the seller is obligated to sell.“Once bidding reaches that number, everyone knows for sure that property will sell,” he said.“Then everyone starts to bid quit a bit more because they know at that point that if they win, it’s theirs.” Amy Smart, The Canadian Press
“My understanding is we will see the parties discussing decentralization in Vienna, hopefully in the latter part of January,” former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, whose UN Office of Special Envoy in Kosovo (UNOSEK) is based in the Austrian capital, told a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York. Albanians outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1. Serbia rejects independence for the province which the UN has run ever since North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid grave rights abuses in ethnic fighting. Mr. Ahtisaari, who visited all parties to the dispute last month, said he had set no “artificial deadlines” for the final status talks although he would like to see them completed within the one-year timeframe of his contract. He stressed the need for implementation of the so-called Standards, eight targets that include building democratic institutions, enforcing minority rights, creating a functioning economy and setting up an impartial legal system. “My message to Kosovo Albanians in my discussions was that they should use this opportunity… to put more effort into the implementation of standards,” he said. “We have to realize as well that standards are for ensuring a functioning democratic society and furthermore they are Kosovo’s key to life and Serbia’s key to Europe.” It is clear that one of the crucial issues is the protection of non-Albanian communities in Kosovo and that everyone realizes this requires reform structure and local self-government, he added. Kosovo Albanians must take this into consideration and engage in talks on decentralization, and the Serbs must participate in the process.In a report in July, Mr. Annan’s Special Representative for Kosovo Søren Jessen-Petersen stressed the need for stronger commitment by Kosovo’s Albanian leaders to move forward on the return of Serbs who fled their homes during the fighting as well as on freedom of movement.Last month, he said far too little had been done by Albanian leaders in terms of reaching out to minorities and really showing that Kosovo is strongly committed to being a multi-ethnic society.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), civilians began fleeing after a reported attack last week on the town of Kamango by the Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan rebel group said to be operating around the Ruwenzori Mountains of DRC’s North Kivu province. Some 13,000 arrived last Thursday alone in Uganda’s western Bundibugyo district and by mid-Sunday, the Uganda Red Cross Society said it had registered 66,139 people. UNHCR said whole families have been carrying mattresses, pots and pans, and children were even carrying chickens.“This is an extraordinarily swift and concerning influx of refugees into an area with very limited preparedness to extend humanitarian assistance to such a large number of people,” said Mohammed Adar, the agency’s representative in Uganda.“We are, however, moving to mount the initial response as quickly as possible while preparing at the same time for an enhanced operation.”UNHCR joined the Office of the Prime Minister and other agencies in providing emergency aid, sending plastic sheeting for shelter construction, plates and cups, and temporary latrine kits as well as soap. The agency has also provided fuel for transfers to a new transit centre, 23 kilometres from the DRC border, and the first 300 refugees were moved on Sunday.Bundibugyo is a mountainous and densely populated area about a seven-hour drive from the Ugandan capital, Kampala, UNHCR noted. The new arrivals are being received in five primary schools and other sites. Some are staying with families in the community.The World Food Programme (WFP) has delivered enough food to feed 20,000 people for five days, with more food due to arrive on Monday. The Ugandan Red Cross has organized communities to cook and serve hot meals, while the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners are providing water.UNHCR pointed out that, even before the arrival of the newest refugees, Uganda was already home to more than 210,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers, 63 per cent of whom came from the DRC.
SMMT’s prestigious Award for Automotive Innovation, which rewards the most ground-breaking ideas from all areas of the UK automotive sector, has been officially launched.Returning for a fifth year, the Award – sponsored by GKN and supported by The Times – recognises UK-born concepts and technologies that have the potential to transform the wider automotive industry. Ford Motor Company took the crown last year with its efficient, yet powerful, 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, which now features in more than 100,000 cars and vans across the country.Speaking at the SMMT International Automotive Summit, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The Award for Automotive Innovation is just one example of the work SMMT is doing with its members and government to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of global vehicle development. The entry window is now officially open so we want to attract an outstanding selection of entries for the 2014 competition.”UK automotive businesses invest billions every year in automotive R&D; in 2013, industry committed £1.9 billion to furthering the technologies that have seen the UK position itself high in the global automotive hierarchy.The deadline for entries is midnight on 12 September. A shortlisting process will follow, after which successful entrants will present their innovations to a panel of industry experts. The winner will be announced at the SMMT Annual Dinner on 25 November, in front of more than 1,000 leading industry figures. All entry criteria can be found at the Award website: www.smmt.co.uk/aai.SMMT will run a regular ‘Innovation of the Week’ feature on its website during the submission period, which will take a look at some of the UK’s most important and fascinating automotive innovations through history.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)