first_imgMartha TroianAPTN InvestigatesThe provincial government is moving forward with a plan in northwestern Alberta that has First Nations and Métis hunters and trappers worried about how it will effect them.The “caribou range plan” covers millions of hectares of land. One hectare equals 2.47 acres.Alberta says the plan is meant to address the declining number of caribou.But Graham Courtoreille, 69, from the Beaver Ranch Indian Reserve, near Fort Vermilion, believes the plan has nothing to do with protecting the herds but more to do with the government’s plan to turn his traditional territory into parkland and wash away Indigenous land rights.“Sure it could be good for the Native people but you know yourself the federal government has been trying to take away our treaty rights,” says Courtoreille.“I don’t trust Trudeau, I never trusted his dad, and I don’t trust him.”The woodland caribou are considered threatened under both the federal Species at Risk Act and Alberta’s Wildlife Act.The provinces caribou range plan is home to several First Nation communities and Métis settlements, along with six municipalities. In Alberta there is provincial legislation governing Metis settlements that is similar in many ways to the Indian Act.There are 15 caribou ranges in total in the province. In northwestern Alberta, the area could be affected by four caribou range plans; the Bistcho, Yates, Chinchaga and Caribou Mountains range.The largest range is the Caribou Mountains Range, measuring 2,065,873 hectares in size.Parkland status is one tool government could useA working document at the moment, referred as “Alberta’s Draft Provincial Woodland Caribou Range Plan,” proposes to restore the declining caribou population while meeting Canada’s requirements under the Species at Risk Act.According to one of the province’s primary guiding documents to deal with woodland caribou recovery efforts, herds in Alberta are declining at high rates.But for Courtoreille and for other trappers in the region, the caribou are not threatened.“There’s more caribou than elk and moose in this country,” says Courtoreille.Owen Sabiston, a retired fish and wildlife game warden who worked with the province for 30 years, echoes Courtoreille’s concerns.“I have a problem with them calling it a recovery plan because they don’t have baseline numbers of the caribou in the wild, they don’t know how many caribou there were 50 years ago,” said Sabiston about the province’s Environment and Parks reports.He believes the province lacks scientific proof and does not have any data on the caribou prior to the 1990s.A spokesperson with the Alberta Environment and Parks stated that although one conservation method may include converting some land into parkland, it is only one tool at their disposal. They can also utilize restoration, land-use planning and habitat protection. The province’s goal is to work with each individual community to see what tools are most appropriate.Courtoreille says he just found out about the government’s plan recently.“Nobody knew about it, the trappers didn’t know, [and] there are still people who don’t know nothing about it.”However, the department said it met with First Nations and Métis groups in Alberta in early 2017, along with other stakeholders in the forestry and energy sector and with environmental organizations during their Phase 1 process, which informed the draft plan. Information sessions and workshops were also held in various municipalities and meetings with individual communities upon request.Graham Courtoreille, a trapper from the Beaver Ranch Indian ReserveTrappers scared, caribou fine, say advocatesCourtoreille says there are hundreds of trappers and mill workers scared of what’s to come.Calvin Bulldog, 49, from Beaver First Nation is another concerned trapper.Bulldog’s trapline is near Caribou Mountains, neighbouring Wood Buffalo National Park. It’s a trapline that has been passed down for generations. Bulldog said if he loses his trapline, he will have nothing. He said it was only recently he learned about the province’s caribou range plan. Until APTN Investigates informed Bulldog how much land could be affected in his region, he said he had no idea.The Northwest Species at Risk Committee (NSWAR), a grassroots organization made up of six northwestern municipalities, formed as a means to give local residents a voice to do with caribou recovery, released a news release asserting how the government’s plan could sterilize the region’s resources and devastate its economy.According to the NSWAR, 650 forestry jobs could be at risk, $1 billion of annual revenue in timber harvest, gas and oil fields would be greatly impacted, as well as other industries such as trapping, outfitting and agriculture.“We cannot understand why the provincial government wants to add more park space in our area,” wrote NSWAR chair Lisa Wardley. In northwest Alberta, the province is already home to Wood Buffalo National Park and Caribou Mountains Wildland Park.NSWAR is currently circulating a petition, asking concerned citizens to submit a statement declaring their opposition about the government’s plan and mail it to their provincial and/or federal environment ministers.Chief Trevor Mercredi of Beaver First Nation says his community will be meeting with the province to address their concerns.“From what I’m being told, the province cannot enact any sort of legislation that will impact our rights. But in saying that, we do have our eyes and ears open,” says Mercredi.Province said Indigenous rights will not be affectedThe spokesperson with Environment and Parks said they want to hear all concerns including those from Indigenous and Métis communities and from the Northwest Species at Risk Committee.The province also said they acknowledge the significance of Indigenous and Métis hunting and fishing rights, knowing it is part of their cultural heritage.When asked specifically what will become of fishing and hunting rights for Indigenous and Métis people, the spokesperson said their rights will not be affected“The traditional Indigenous hunting rights are not impacted by any of our range planning. They have that as part of their treaty rights and that’s protected by the constitution. We have no jurisdiction over Indigenous hunting.”The spokesperson also said no decisions have been made as to which conservations tools will apply in the region.The last information session for Phase 2 wrapped up this week, and now the province will move into Phase 3, which will lead to the province’s final caribou management plan.last_img read more

first_imgKathleen MartensAPTN NewsFirst Nations actor Duane Howard apologized Tuesday for what he calls “consensual sex” with a 16-year-old girl in 1993.“I want to clarify I did not rape Lauraleigh (Paul),” Howard said in a telephone interview with APTN News. Howard was 30-years-old at the time.“I wanted to apologize for the one-night stand; we had casual sex.”Howard can be heard taking several deep breaths over the phone.“I did not know she was 16,” he added.When Howard had his sexual encounter with Paul in 1993 the age of consent in Canada was 14. The law was raised to 16 in 2008.The telephone interview was conducted with Howard’s publicist, Holly Carinci, listening on the line.Howard apologized for “the incident” in a video posted to Facebook earlier Tuesday. The nearly five-minute video has since been removed.Howard said he “apologized for this encounter” to Paul in person in 2016, and she accepted his apology.“Since then we have had what I thought was a close friendship,” he said, noting he has private  messages to this effect.He said he has been reeling since she characterized what happened as an alleged crime on her Facebook page on Oct. 10, being unable to sleep more than a few hours a night and feeling quite emotional.(Lauraleigh Paul in an undated Facebook photo.)Calling it “an ugliness I no longer wished to be burdened with,” Paul described a sexual assault in a post on her Facebook page Oct. 10.The Vancouver-based entrepreneur wrote:“It was a violent rape. He slithered into the room, I say slithered because he literally crawled across the floor to get to me. I couldn’t breathe as he had my mouth covered and pushed into my face with his hand. I can remember how painful it was.“My neck hurt because of the way he was keeping me quiet. His scaly skin against mine. My vagina was tearing, and it stung and burned, made me cry for days.”Read More: The Reverant actor posts apology to Vancouver woman over ‘incident’Her post remains up and has been shared and commented on hundreds of times.“They had quite a close friendship,” noted Carinci. “This has been very shocking and it’s one of the reasons he’s been so silent.“Duane has been completely bowled over and has received nothing but hatred from the community.”Carinci asked that, for Howard’s own safety, APTN not report his whereabouts.She clarified that his video apology on Facebook was written by two women from his community on Vancouver Island.“His apology – to be clear – was for what he thought was wrong by having albeit consensual sex with a teenager way back then,” Carinci said.Howard said he took the video down on Facebook after a few hours when it seemed to be doing more harm than good.“I felt that it was just making matters worse. Everybody was angry…everybody felt that I wasn’t being remorseful.”He confirmed he looked tired in the video, and had been feeling lots of “ups and downs.”He said only “about six people” have called or messaged him while he goes through this difficult experience.“What I’m really upset about is that none of my brothers from the community … try to support me.”kmartens@aptn.ca@katmartelast_img read more

first_imgVANCOUVER – Mogo Finance Technology Inc. (TSX:MOGO) says it has secured a new umbrella loan of up to $40 million from Fortress Investment Group LLC.The credit facility will be used to repay and replace the Vancouver-based digital financial company’s existing $30-million credit facility with Fortress.The loan, which has a lower effective interest rate of 14.5 per cent and extends the maturity date by two years to mid-2020, will primarily be used to fund Mogo’s line of credit products.The new credit facility is in addition to the company’s existing $50 million Fortress credit facility, which has an initial interest rate of 9.5 per cent and can be expanded up to $200 million.last_img

first_imgTORONTO – Hydro One Ltd. and Avista Corp. say their proposed merger has cleared another hurdle in the U.S.The two companies say the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has completed a review of the deal and found no unresolved national security concerns.The friendly deal announced last summer for the Ontario-based utility to acquire the U.S. energy company received antitrust clearance in the United States in early April and consent from the Federal Communications Commission on May 4.Avista shareholders had previously approved the deal on Nov. 21, 2017.The transaction still requires several other approvals, including from utility commissions in the states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Alaska.The companies say they anticipate closing the transaction in the second half of the year.Avista Corp. is involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses.Companies in this story: (TSX:H)last_img read more

first_imgSACRAMENTO, Calif. – Hours-long wait times at California Department of Motor Vehicles offices in recent months have been unacceptable, the agency’s leader told lawmakers at a Tuesday hearing in response to public outcry over the delays.DMV Director Jean Shiomoto told lawmakers wait times spiked several months ago as Californians update their licenses to meet new federal security standards known as Real ID.The agency underestimated how long it would take to explain the new requirements to customers and ensure they have necessary documents, Shiomoto said.Shiomoto asked lawmakers Tuesday for additional money to hire more employees, possibly as much as $26 million on top of the millions in additional funding the agency has already been granted.When Assemblyman Phil Ting visited a San Francisco DMV office in his district last month, he said the line snaking around the block looked more like a queue for rock concert tickets than for people trying to renew their licenses.“I was shocked,” the Democrat told The Associated Press. “What we’ve been hearing are horrific wait times of six or seven hours. That’s unacceptable.”Lawmakers have given the department millions of dollars in additional funding to accommodate higher demand as Californians update their licenses to comply with the federally mandated security upgrades.The federal law was enacted in 2005 in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and requires new ID cards to carry special markings.After Oct. 1, 2020, airport security checkpoints won’t accept non-compliant cards. Californians must apply for new cards in person at DMV offices.The department has already hired hundreds of additional employees to handle increased demand. The agency is also encouraging people to complete some paperwork before arriving in person and is piloting text message alerts for waiting customers.Assemblyman Phillip Chen is requesting an audit of the department and how it is handling the Real ID changes. The top complaint he’s heard from his constituents recently is about the long wait times at DMV offices.“We want to make sure we’re not putting money into a broken system,” the Diamond Bar Republican said.The Joint Legislative Audit Committee will weigh Chen’s audit request Wednesday.To ease the long wait times, the DMV is staffing 60 offices on Saturdays and extending morning hours at 14 offices.“We want to do better and we will do better,” Shiomoto said. “Our customers deserve it.”last_img read more

first_imgMicrosoft’s big bet on cloud computing is paying off as the company has surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company.The software maker’s prospects looked bleak just a few years ago, as licenses for the company’s Windows system fell with a sharp drop in sales of personal computers.But under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has found stability by focusing on software and services over the internet, or the cloud, with long-term business contracts.That 1990s personal-computing powerhouse is now having a renaissance moment, as it eclipses Facebook, Google, Amazon and the other tech darlings of the late decade.Apple had been the world’s most prosperous firm since claiming the top spot from Exxon Mobil earlier this decade. Microsoft surpassed Apple briefly a few times this week, but didn’t close on top until Friday, with a market value of $851 billion to Apple’s $847 billion. Microsoft hadn’t been at the top since the height of the dot-com boom in 2000.Microsoft became a contender again in large part because Apple’s stock fell nearly 20 per cent in November, while Microsoft hasn’t done any worse than the rest of the stock market. But the fact that it hasn’t done poorly is a reflection of its steady focus on business customers in recent years.Microsoft lost its lustre as people were shunning PCs in favour of smartphones. In 2013, PC sales plunged 10 per cent to about 315 million, the worst year-to-year drop ever, according to research firms Gartner and IDC. It didn’t help that Microsoft’s effort to make PCs more like phones, Windows 8, was widely panned.But a turnaround began when the Redmond, Washington, company promoted Nadella as CEO in 2014. He succeeded Microsoft’s longtime CEO, Steve Ballmer, who initially scoffed at the notion that people would be willing to pay $500 or more for Apple’s iPhones.That bet paid off. Windows is now a dwindling fraction of Microsoft’s business. While the company still runs consumer-focused businesses such as Bing search and Xbox gaming, it has prioritized business-oriented services such as its Office line of email and other workplace software, as well as newer additions such as LinkedIn and Skype. But its biggest growth has happened in the cloud, particularly the cloud platform it calls Azure. Cloud computing now accounts for more than a quarter of Microsoft’s revenue, and Microsoft rivals Amazon as a leading provider of such services.Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said Azure is still in its early days, meaning there’s plenty of room for growth, especially considering the company’s large customer base for Office and other products.“While the tech carnage seen over the last month has been brutal, shares of (Microsoft) continue to hold up like the Rock of Gibraltar,” he said.Being less reliant on consumer demand helped shield Microsoft from holiday season turbulence and U.S.-China trade war jitters affecting Apple and other tech companies.President Donald Trump amplified those tariff concerns when he told The Wall Street Journal in a story published late Monday that new tariffs could affect iPhones and laptops imported from China.The iPhone maker had already seen its stock fall after reporting a mixed bag of quarterly results in early November amid fears about how the technology industry will fare in the face of such threats as rising interest rates, increased government regulation and Trump’s escalating trade war with China.Apple also spooked investors with an unexpected decision to stop disclosing how many iPhones it sells each quarter. That move has been widely interpreted as a sign that Apple foresees further declines in iPhone sales and is trying to mask that.While smartphones caused the downturn in personal computers years ago, sales of smartphones themselves have now stalled. That’s partly because with fewer innovations from previous models, more people choose to hold on to the devices for longer periods before upgrading.Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager for Synovus Trust, said Microsoft is outperforming its tech rivals in part because of what it’s not. It doesn’t face as much regulatory scrutiny as advertising-hungry Google and Facebook, which have attracted controversy over their data-harvesting practices. Unlike Netflix, it’s not on a hunt for a diminishing number of international subscribers. And while Amazon also has a strong cloud business, it’s still more dependent on online retail.___AP Technology Writer Michael Liedtke contributed to this report.Matt O’Brien, The Associated Presslast_img read more

first_imgDue to the poor air quality, the city is urging residents to use the walking track at their own risk.The city apologized for any inconvenience this will cause residents. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Pomeroy Sport Centre will soon begin the process of putting the ice back in the arena.Ice Maintenance will commence on August 3rd and finish on the 16th.The City of Fort St. John Recreation explained in a post on Facebook that many machines will be operated at various times in the Pomeroy during the maintenance which could cause poor air quality.last_img

first_imgTAYLOR, B.C. – The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure isn’t able to say when work will resume on widening the South Taylor Hill to four lanes, though Taylor mayor Rob Fraser said that the costs of the remaining two-thirds of the widening project are escalating.Fraser met with Transportation Minister Claire Trevena on four separate occasions at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler last week, with the meeting involving Taylor District Council focusing largely on the topic of the South Taylor Hill.In 2016, the provincial government completed the first phase of the project, widening the bottom two kilometres of the hill and building a new truck chain-up area near Big Bam Road. Construction work has not yet begun on the middle portion of the hill, which would widen the road for the 1-kilometre stretch from the first phase to the curve in the road unofficially known as “Drive Shaft Corner.”Ministry spokesperson Danielle Pope said that design and project development is underway, and a $40 million federal funding partnership was announced last year.“The final delivery option remains to be determined based on the outcome of the ongoing project investigation. Once this is determined, the ministry will seek approvals from the Capital Board and Treasury Board to proceed with the remaining project phases. At that time, we will be able to provide details regarding the timeline and cost for the remaining work,” she said in an email.However, Fraser said that planning costs for that segment of road are escalating, especially after part of the hill slumped on the downhill side of the highway during heavy rains in the spring of 2017, which caused delays on the hill for the rest of the summer.“The Ministry was pretty clear that there’s an increase in design costs, the more they look at that one kilometre, the costs of changing that somehow are really starting to ramp up and increase.”Fraser said that while meeting with Trevena, he stressed the important role the highway plays in the regional economy and that the Ministry needs to look at the entire route of the road through the river valley, rather than in individual portions.last_img read more

first_imgPolice say multiple vehicles that were parked near the building were also engulfed in flames.It is believed the building was vacant and no one was inside the building or vehicles at the time of the fire.The highway was shut down temporarily and an alternate route was set up until the fire was under control.The area was secured by police pending further investigation.If you have any information, you are being asked to contact the Dawson Creek RCMP at 250-784-3700 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. POUCE COUPE, B.C. – Dawson Creek RCMP received a report of a structure fire in Pouce Coupe on the morning of June 5 at 4:10 a.m.According to RCMP, officers arrived on scene and determined that the structure on fire was located in a work yard at 5012 Highway 2.Fire crews were on scene trying to keep the fire under control.last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has removed K K Sharma, retired BSF director general and a 1982-batch officer of the Indian Police Service, as the Special Central Police Observer for Bengal and Jharkhand on Thursday. He has been replaced by Vivek Dubey, a 1981-batch officer of the Indian Police Service.The Special Central Police Observers oversee the deployment of the Central Forces during elections and other security-related issues. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsSharma will be the Special Police Observer for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. However, no explanation has been given by the ECI over Sharma’s transfer. Earlier, the Trinamool Congress wrote a letter to the ECI seeking its intervention over the appointment of Sharma for his alleged connection with the RSS. While addressing the media to release the election manifesto of the TMC, party chief Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday: “I have respect for the Election Commission of India but how could they send an officer who is so close to the RSS. Such actions force people to question the integrity of the ECI.” Banerjee showed a photograph of Sharma in uniform attending a meeting of the RSS to the mediapersons as well.” On Thursday, Dubey replaced Sharma. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayTrinamool Congress has also sent a letter to the ECI against R K Mitra, retired joint secretary of the Home Ministry for trying to manipulate the Central Forces and use them to canvas for the BJP. Mitra’s wife is contesting with a BJP ticket in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls. “Though he is a retired officer of the Home Ministry but he continues to serve the department on a contractual basis and is involved in the deployment of the Central Forces,” Banerjee had said on Wednesday.last_img read more

first_imgBoth Congress and BJP have finalised the lists of candidates for the 29 seats of Lok Sabha. After the final list, BJP is facing rebellion in at least four constituencies. The four constituencies are Khajuraho, Balaghat, Shadol, and Indore. It was a tough job to select party candidate for Indore which is being represented by Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan from 1989. Despite many attempts by party stalwarts like Kailash Vijayvargiya earlier she could not be dislodged. She gained tremendous influence in the party and was awarded the top job of the speaker. The party was trying to find her replacement. After marathon consultations, the party selected Shankar Lalwani for the Indore seat. Also Read – A special kind of bondHe is not a very popular well-known face in Indore. Despite this he was chosen. His choice came as a surprise to many BJP members. His choice has also been opposed by another Sindhi leader. BJP’s choice for Balaghat resulted in a major revolt. The party chose new candidate by dropping the sitting MP Bodh Singh Bhagat. Bhagat publicly opposed denial of ticket to him. Ultimately BJP expelled him from the party. Gyan Singh, sitting MP from Shahdol was also replaced. Surprisingly he was replaced by a leader who contested by election against Gyan Singh as a Congress candidate. Also Read – Insider threat managementFormer Vidyarthi Parishad activist V.D. Sharma was imposed on Khajuraho constituency. Local BJP workers are angry because Sharma was selected despite the fact that he was a rank outsider. Meanwhile, Bhopal constituency has attracted entire nation’s attention. Pragya Thakur was made party member a few hours before the announcement of her name as the party candidate. She filed her nomination on Monday. Before filling her nomination she was vehemently criticised for making highly objectionable remarks against Hemant Karkare, Maharashtra cadre IPS officer who was killed by a terrorist. Pragya claimed that he was killed because she cursed him. After her remarks she was served a notice by the Election Commission asking her to explain her conduct. She did submit her explanation which was not found to be satisfactory. Her remark was criticised by the IPS association and several retired Director Generals of Police. Controversy over Karkare had not yet subsided she made yet another highly provocative comment. Her comment was so serious and objectionable that an FIR was registered on Monday against her. Her comment was “I climbed atop the structure in Ayodhya and am proud to have demolished it”. Bhopal district election officer Sudama Khade said, “The reply filed by Pragya Singh Thakur regarding her remarks about the Ayodhya structure was not found satisfactory. An FIR has been registered against her under Section 188 IPC for poll code violation”. Conviction on this charge can lead to six months in jail or a fine or both. After the back-to-back EC notices, Pragya was advised by her party leaders on Sunday to exercise restraint and not speak on sensitive issues. Sources said that in her reply on the Babri remark, Pragya said that she made the statement when she was “not yet a candidate”. In her reply, she asks: “Whether the (EC) media certification and media monitoring committee is authorised to take cognisance of the statements given by me when I had not filed my nomination. And it should also be apprised that I have not given any statement with the intention of hurting the feelings or instigating rift between people belonging to any caste, religion or community but it expresses the voice of my conscience. Hence I request you to dispose the notice at this level only”. Clearly the district election officer wasn’t convinced. Pragya’s reply to the other EC notice – on her ‘death curse’ remark has been sent to chief electoral officer V L Kantha Rao. She blamed the media for “negatively” presenting her statement. This will be forwarded to the EC office in Delhi. Pragya’s reply on the “karkare curse’ says “I have spoken nothing wrong that could flare communal tension. I did not take any name, nor did I attack anybody on personal issues or raised slogans against anybody. But, the notice served by EC demanded explanation. I would request the EC to append sensitive pamphlets, if any, or any complaint by a political worker against me, with the notice”. She insists she hasn’t said “anything derogatory regarding the martyrdom of any martyr” and urges the EC not to judge her statement “on the basis of one single line”. “The entire statement should be considered for evaluation, I have only narrated the torture that I faced on the instructions of the then Congress government and it is my right to inform people what I had suffered. My statement was reported negatively by media and I also withdrew my statement in respect of public sentiments, hence no action should be taken against me” Pragya said. There is a section of observers who feel that her claim regarding Babri Mosque is false. There are some documents in which 1988 is mentioned as her birth year. If that is so she must have been only four year old in 1992 – the year in which Babri Mosque was demolished.(The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: Without fearing of their lives, the Delhi Police personnel nabbed three robbers in South West Delhi. The investigating agency said that during the chase the accused had fired on the staffs. Police identified the accused as Prabhat (24), Raja (20) and Lakshay (20). Deputy Commissioner of Police (South West) Devender Arya said that on April 25 at about 1:40 am a complainant approached Kapashera police station and informed that three robbers riding on a bike robbed him of his purse containing Rs 1,100 near Samalkha red light. “One of the accused persons had put a pistol on the stomach of the complainant and the boy who was riding the motorcycle was also having one weapon,” said DCP Arya. The complainant saw the three robbers going towards Kapashera border. “Finding themselves trapped, one of the robbers fired at police team but no one was injured. Without fearing of their lives the team overpowered the robbers,” police said.last_img read more

first_imgBarabanki (UP): BSP chief Mayawati Wednesday accused the BJP of using the martyrdom of jawans for election purposes and regretted that the country’s borders are still not totally secure. She also alleged that like the previous Congress government, the BJP dispensation too is using the CBI, ED and the Income Tax department against its political opponents for electoral gains. “Under such circumstance, the electorate have to see to it that neither the BJP nor the Congress… comes to power at the centre,” the BSP chief said at an election meeting here. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh Claiming that the BJP will be voted out of power this time because of its pro-RSS, capitalist, communal and casteist policies, Mayawati said no amount of “drama” or ‘jumlebazi’ (rhetoric) will help the party. “The borders of the country are not totally secure under the BJP government as a result of which terror attacks are taking place and several jawans are being martyred. It is most unfortunate that they are anyhow using this for election purposes,” the BSP supremo said. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad “The new ‘dramebazi’ of ‘chowkidar’ will also not be able to save them (BJP) even if all their big and small ‘chowkidars’ (watchmen) get together and make an all out effort,” she said. Warning people that her political opponents have “adopted every trick” to win the elections, Mayawati said people should not fall for tall election promises and allurements. “During the last Lok Sabha election, the prime minister (Narendra Modi) had the country dream of ‘achche din’ and made promises even one-fourth of which were not fulfilled. This is because most of their time was devoted to saving their capitalists friends and making them richer,” she claimed. The BSP president also accused the Congress of ignoring the contributions of B R Ambedkar and said like the implementation of the Mandal Commission report, Bharat Ratna was awarded to the architect of the Constitution only when V P Singh was the prime minister. “When V P Singh sought our support for his government, we put forth two conditions — Bharat Ratna for Ambedkar and implementation of Mandal Commission report, which he accepted. But the BJP, which was giving outside support, did not like this and withdrew,” she said.last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: Rating each bowler a match winner, former India coach Anshuman Gaekwad said the kind of options this team is blessed with, India never had going into a World Cup. “We have a very balanced side – both in the batting and bowling department. And especially with the fast bowlers and spinners, the kind of option the Indian team has today, I don’t think we have ever had this kind of options,” Gaekwad told IANS. “Our bowlers, spinners or pacers, are match winners on any given condition.” Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: Rijiju The pace battery of the Virat Kohli-led Indian team has the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, whom many rate as the world’s best especially with the white ball, in-form Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar who is expected to swing the ball both-ways in English conditions. In the spin bowling department, wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have struck gold for India so far and will be expected to continue the good work in their maiden World Cup campaign. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai Masters Gaekwad, who featured for India in 40 Tests and 15 ODIs, also heaped praise on head coach Ravi Shastri, saying Shastri operates the way he used to during his time with the team. “He has done well right from the beginning. He has put captain (Kohli) as the boss of the team. He has taken a backseat unlike Greg Chappell. I did the same with (Md) Azharuddin when he was the captain. “Ravi has a great understanding with the captain and is a great man manager. Knowing Virat, the way he pushes the players everyone has to be on their toes and Ravi also helps in that.” Gaekwad, who worked as a national selector also besides coaching the team from October 1997 to September 1999, and again in 2000 for a brief period – before John Wright succeeded him — said the much-talked about No. 4 spot is more or less settled with K.L. Rahul fitting the bill. There has been lot of changes at No. 4 since Kohli took over as captain. There has been a process of trying out new players for the No.4 spot by the selectors. “Rahul is my pick because he is a stroke player and he will complement the top three as all of them are stroke players. Now there is Dinesh Karthik who has proved over a period of time that he can settle the innings once there are early wickets lost. “As far as Vijay Shankar is concerned, if he gets a chance in the XI we will see,” said the 66-year old who did not have Shankar in his 15-member squad before it was announced. Gaekwad likened “mentor” M.S. Dhoni’s presence in the team to Sachin Tendulkar, saying if he was the coach he would pick the decorated former India skipper even if he was in the worst form of his life. “The biggest advantage Virat (Kohli) has is Dhoni. His mere presence gives confidence to the captain. You can’t go to the shop and buy experience, what Dhoni has. He is the mentor of the Indian team. When I was coach of the Indian team, I told Sachin during a series against Australia where he had a stiff back, to just stand at slips and don’t move. “He could not move, he was in a bad situation. So a mere presence of a player makes a big difference to the opposition. “If I was the coach, I would play Dhoni if he is fit. Whether he gets runs or not, I don’t care. I play him. His fitness and keeping is out of the world anyway.” Gaekwad further said Rishabh Pant, whose exclusion from the squad made so much noise, is still a work in progress and his glovework needs to improve. “Pant still needs to learn a lot. His wicketkeeping needs to improve. As a batsman, Pant can finish a game on a given day but he is not a planner. Karthik is a planner.”last_img read more

Taroudant, Morocco – The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is reportedly willing to convert “la Plaza de Toros Monumental de Barcelona” or more shortly “la Monumental,” one of the oldest bullrings in Spain, into a gigantic mosque for $2.99 billion by 2020, according to Spanish website  20minuto.If the city council approves the project, the bullring of Barcelona will be converted into a “40,000-capacity mosque”, which will be the biggest in Europe.While the Balaña group has not yet officially confirmed the reports, it has already agreed the sale, reports 20minuto. If the offer comes to fruition, the mosque will include a 300 meter minaret, a museum of Islamic art and history, and a center for Koranic studies.According to the same source, Barcelona, despite having a large Islamic community, is the only major city in Spain that does not have a mosque.Inaugurated in 1914 with its first bullfights, la Monumental is one of the oldest bullfighting arenas in Spain, with a gigantic building that mixes the Moorish and Byzantine architecture.Despite being a popular sport in Spain, “la corrida de toros” (bullfighting) has been banned in Barcelona after the Parliament of Catalonia passed a bullfighting ban in 2010 that came into force in 2012.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

Rabat – Each day of delay in the implementation of the pension plan reform costs Morocco 60 million dirhams, Government Spokesman Mustapha El Khalfi said Thursday.As of this year, civil pension funds will suffer from deficit, which will reach, next year, 3 billion dirhams, then 125 billion dirhams by 2021, which means that each day of delay in the implementation of the pension plan reform costs the country 60 million dirhams, the minister said at a press briefing following the weekly cabinet meeting.This situation is due to the fact that Morocco has moved from 12 affiliates per retiree in 1983 to three affiliates per retiree today, El Khalfi said, adding that the persistence of this situation, in the absence a reform plan, will make the government unable to allocate pensions according to current standards. Today, the reform of the pension system in a participatory, collective, progressive and solidarity-based approach is an inevitable option, the minister said, adding that the government will work to develop, by the end of the year, a vision of reform based on the results of dialogue with the unions. read more

Casablanca  – King Mohammed VI launched, on Thursday, the construction of the Casablanca Grand Theater (CasArts), a project of the 2015-2020 Greater Casablanca Region Integrated Development Plan. The broad-scope project, to be carried out at the center of Morocco’s metropolis for an amount of 1.5 billion dirhams, shows the sovereign’s interest in promoting culture, deemed as a basis for the Nation’s cohesion, identity and authenticity. A reference site for art and culture and an architectural and urban icon for the city of Casablanca, “CasArts” will mirror the city’s cultural and artistic renewal. It seeks to improve local population’s access to cultural and artistic facilities with the aim of developing intellectual potential, talents and creativity.  The facility, to be built according to international standards, will also contribute to the Moroccan public’s artistic education, promote local artistic creations via cooperation with other national and international cultural actors, and turn the region into a national and international destination for trade, entertainment and major events. The project, to be undertaken by the company “Casa Aménagement” within 36 months, will be funded by the State’s General Budget (280 mln MAD), the Interior ministry’s department in charge of local councils (480 mln MAD), Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social development (400 mln MAD), the Greater Casablanca region (100 mln MAD) and the Casablanca Urban Commune (180 mln). “CasArts” will consist of halls for shows (1,800 seats), drama (600 seats) and concerts (300 seats), areas for rehearsal and creation, kids pedagogical workshops, a village for artists and technicians, shops, and an open air area for concerts that can seat up to 35,000 people. The project features the development of the “Rachidi” and “Mohammed V” squares which will house afterwards underground parking lots for 900 cars.The Casablanca Grand Theater will fit perfectly into the Casablanca agglomeration’s urban layout, on the back of the 2015-2020 Greater Casablanca Region Integrated Development Plan, launched last September by HM the King and the “Wessal Casablanca-Port” project. read more

Rabat – Saudi Brigadier-General Ahmed al-Asiri, the coalition’s spokesperson, denied recent reports that the body of the Moroccan pilot Yassin Bahti has been found, saying that the pilot “is still missing.”On Friday, Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces (FAR) said in a press release that they have located what they believe is the body of the pilot whose F-16 fighter jet crashed last Sunday.Meanwhile, 24 hours after the FAR’s announcement, the Saudi-led coalition’s spokesperson said, “the corpse of the Moroccan pilot hasn’t been found thus far.” “For the coalition, the Moroccan pilot is still missing, no more than that. His body hasn’t been found yet,” Ahmed al-Asiri told Saudi Arabian channel Al-Arabiya.He went on to add that the coalition is contacting the Red Cross in order to finish all the formalities required to initiate an investigation regarding the fate of the pilot.“If the body happened to be discovered, it will be transferred to a neutral zone to conduct DNA tests,” he concluded.Earlier this week, the Moroccan pilot’s F-16 fighter jet crashed in Yemen. A special Moroccan commando unit and a squadron of radar-equipped F-16 warplanes were reportedly deployed to Yemen to help with the search for Yassine Bahti shortly after the plane crashed.On Friday, the FAR announced that the Moroccan pilot died in the crash, saying they had found his body.King Mohammed VI,in his role as the Supreme Commander and Chief of General Staff of the Royal Armed Forces, ordered the dispatch of an aircraft to return his body to Morocco, after receiving confirmation of his identity from a team of geneticists. read more

Rabat – Manchester United’s new sensation, Anthony Martial, chose to remain humble as dismissed the recent comparisons between him and Thierry Henry saying he still has to improve to reach the French legend’s level.“Henry was a great player but I don’t think we are equal. I still have a lot to demonstrate. Maybe if I keep working, one day I will reach his level”, said Martial in an interview to Radio Montecarlo.Following his goal-scoring debut with Man United, Anthony Martial has been compared to the French star in his appearance, moves, and overall technique. Brazilian midfielder, Thiago Silva said: “[Martial] does remind me of Henry in his technique, appearance and his understanding of the game.”Their similarities have been considered “impressive”. Even Henry’s unforgettable goal against Tottenham was analyzed in slow-motion and compared to Martial’s goal against Liverpool, resulting in an alleged “identical” move.Despite holding a great resemblance, Martial prefers to wait until he can grow and get better at his game.The French forward also expressed to Radio Montecarlo his joy about his new life at Old Trafford. “For now it’s going very well, I have played several games back to back and I’m scoring goals,” he said.Martial has proved his talent with a series of outstanding performances in his debut at the Premier League quickly becoming United’s No. 9 player. He quickly won the trust of his coach, Luis Van Gaal.“It is important that the coach shows he trusts in me. I knew I was going to be the second striker, I had the chance to score against Liverpool and he gave me the opportunity,” he said about Van Gaal.Martial went on to add: “When I arrived at Manchester [Van Gaal] told me it would cost me to earn the position. [He] is on top of me and that’s important for a player of my age.” read more