‘Delhi Police threatened me with the death penalty’

first_imgThe controversy surrounding South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs’s autobiography – To the Point – continues to reveal new facets regarding his chequered career, including the infamous match fixing episode when he was interrogated by the Delhi Police in 2006.In the book, Gibbs reveals that during the interrogation, one of the commissioners, described as ‘a tough-looking old Sikh gentleman’, tried to intimidate him by mentioning ‘death penalty’.After refusing to be part of South African squads for the India tour on a few occasions fearing arrest, Gibbs, with his lawyer Peter Whelan, finally travelled to the country in 2006 to face grilling by a four-member panel. The South African wrote in his book – To the Point – about his trip to India to face questioning after telephonic conversations of the then captain Hansie Cronje with an Indian bookmaker were intercepted by Delhi Police in 2000, sparking off a global match-fixing controversy.In one of the chapters, Gibbs writes that one of the interrogating the officer said: “Sir, you had better come clean. We still have the death penalty here [in India]. Needless to say, Peter jumped right in with both feet and threatened to end the meeting right there if they tried this kind of intimidating tactic,” Gibbs wrote.Gibbs also reveals he had to apologise to the then Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ranjit Narayan, who is currently the Special Commissioner of the Crime Branch, for having publicly called him ‘hard-a**ed’ some time before.When contacted, Narayan said that he had not read the book yet but had come to know about it from the internet. “I came to know about it today and read about it on the internet. Yes he did apologise for making such statements during the interrogation. What can I say if he has mentioned that episode today. He apologised and it was over that time,” Narayan told MAIL TODAY.advertisementNarayan, however, refuted Gibbs claims on the death penalty. The ‘tough looking gentleman’ has been referred to AS Cheema, who was Deputy Commissioner of the Crime branch in 2006.”That is false. No officer told Gibbs what he has referred in the book. The interrogation went on for four hours but I don’t remember any officer telling him anything of that sort,” said Narayan.In the book that was released in Johannesburg on Monday, Gibbs also disclosed that he had indulged in ‘tonsil hockey’ (deep kissing) with a German girl at the Taj Hotel the night before being questioned by the Delhi Police. Gibbs admitted he was drunk and he could not even remember anything the next morning. “Our flight to India was via Dubai and Peter spent about eight of those hours coaching me on the upcoming grilling I was sure to get,” Gibbs wrote. “Remember that the King Commission (in South Africa) had been five years earlier and we knew the Indians would be looking for any discrepancies between my testimony back then and what I would have to say to them now.”I think the Indians were pretty taken aback when I turned up with both my lawyer and the High Commissioner [in New Delhi]. I was hustled inside to see (Commissioner) KK Paul, who had been my Indian nemesis for the past six years. ‘Hello, Mr Gibbs,” he said. ‘I’m a big fan of yours.’ Not exactly the reception I had been expecting from him!”A four-man panel, headed by the joint commissioner of the Delhi Police Crime Branch, Ranjit Narayan, bombarded me with questions for about three hours. It was a hostile situation, make no mistake, and it wasn’t helped either by the fact that I’d publicly said Narayan was hard-a**ed. The Commissioner wasn’t happy about that at all, and he even brought it up during the questioning. I had to apologise. His a**e was not so hard after all,” Gibbs says in the book.Narayan also denied the reports released by media houses then that he along with Gibbs and police Commissioner KK Paul had met for a lunch a few days after the interrogation was over. Recalling the interrogation, Narayan said: “The interrogation session went on for four hours and we treated him like any other chap we call for questioning. It happened a long time back but I still remember he answered all our queries and the interrogation went peacefully.”- With agency inputslast_img read more

President Pranab Mukherjee to Modi govt: Bring economy back on track

first_imgPresident Pranab Mukherjee on Monday addressed the joint sitting of Parliament, elaborating on the agendas of the new government. While saying that poverty had no religion, creed and region, he informed the house about government’s commitment to poverty alleviation.Terming the current economic situation as “extremely difficult”, President Pranab Mukherjee today expressed the government’s commitment to put India back on high growth path, while containing inflation and making tax regime non-adversarial.”…putting the Indian economy back on track is paramount for my government. We will work together to usher our economy into high growth path, rein in inflation, reignite the investment cycle, accelerate job creation and restore the confidence of domestic as well as international community in our economy,” he said.The President in his address to the joint sitting of Parliament unveiled the policies and priorities of the BJP – led NDA government which assumed power last month after elections to the 16th Lok Sabha.Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President Pranab MukherjeeThe economy, Mukherjee said is “passing through an extremely difficult phase. For the two consecutive years, our GDP growth has been less than 5 per cent. Tax collection has declined. Inflation continues to be an at unacceptable level”.Referring to the high food inflation, he said the new government will give “top most priority” to contain it.The government, he added, will take effective steps to prevent hoarding and black marketing and reform the public distribution system, incorporating best practices from the states.The President further said the government is alert about the possibility of a subnormal monsoon this year and is in the process of preparing contingency plan to deal with the situation. advertisementThe government announced Monday that it will liberalise foreign equity in defence production and will also encourage private investment in defence.”Government to encourage private investments in defence production,” President Pranab Mukherjee said. (Must read: Full text of President Pranab Mukherjee’s speech ) He added that the government will also liberalise FDI (foreign direct investment) in defence production.”With available human resources, India can emerge as global platform for defence,” he said.Mukherjee also said the armed forces will be modernised and manpower shortages addressed on priority.A national maritime authority will also be set up.President Pranab Mukherjee addresses Parliament’s joint session: Highlights- It’s a matter of great satisfaction that general elections were smooth and largely peaceful.- This has been an election of hope.- A party has got absolute majority after almost 30 years.- My govt will function with the mantra of “minimum government, maximum governance”.- I congratulate fellow citizens for voting for stability and development.- The greatest challenge before us is to end the curse of poverty in India.- My govt will take steps to curb hoarding and black marketing.- My govt is alerted to a sub-normal monsoon this year, contingency plans are being made.- My govt is committed to improving quality of life in villages through empowered panchayati raj system.- We will not settle for only poverty alleviation, we are aiming for poverty elimination.- Each drop of water is precious, my govt is committed to giving high priority to water security.- My govt will launch national sports search system; sports will be made integral part of school curriculum.- Swachch Bharat Mission to be launched.- The govt will set up IITs and IIMs in every state.- National Madarssa modernisation programme will be initiated.- ‘Beti Bachao and Beti Padhao’ mass programmes to be launched.- Govt will formulate a new health policy and roll out a national health insurance mission.- Govt will have zero tolerance towards violence against women.- It’s govt’s commitment to have 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament.- Issue of infiltration in the North-East will be tackled on priority.- Efforts will be made to ensure that Kashmiri Pandits return to their homeland.- National e-governance plan to be launched, Wi-Fi zones to be provided in critical public areas in the next 5 years.- Social media will be used for participatory governance.- Tax regime will be made non-adversarial and investment friendly.- Govt will launch a diamond quadrilateral project of high-speed trains.- India can emerge as a global platform for defence. My govt will address manpower shortage on priority in the defence services.last_img read more

This years Mumbai Marathon raised Rs 28 crore for charity

first_imgMumbai, Apr 22 (PTI) The 13th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, held on January 17, raised Rs 28.14 crore for charity in aid of multiple causes through the efforts of its philanthropy partner, United Way Mumbai. This constituted an increase of more than Rs 4 crore as compared to the previous edition that raised Rs 24.06 crore in 2015, a media release said today. 40 per cent of the funds were raised towards education followed by health at 21 per cent. Since its inception in 2004, cumulatively the Mumbai Marathon has raised Rs 162.64 crore, making it one of Indias largest charity drives in any sport. Over 286 NGOs, 157 corporates, along with 266 teams and thousands of individual donors and fundraisers came forward to support a host of social causes, the release added.Gideon Kipketer of Kenya and Shuko Genemo of Ethiopia clinched the mens and womens 42km races to become the new champions in the annually held event. PTI SSR RSY AH AHlast_img read more

LG G8 ThinQ will come with an OLED screen that will act as an audio amplifier

first_imgLG is scheduled to launch a bunch of new smartphones on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 that is scheduled to place in Barcelona between February 25 and February 28. Among other things, LG is also scheduled to launch the LG G8 ThinQ at its February 24 event, which the Korean giant has already confirmed will come with time-of-flight (ToF) sensors. And now, LG has confirmed another interesting feature that will be making its way to its G-series device.The LG G8 ThinQ will come with the Crystal Sound OLED (CSO) technology that will essentially turn the phone’s OLED display into an audio amplifier. The technology, as the company explained, would use the display as a “diaphragm, vibrating the entire surface to produce sound”. The company claims that its new audio technology would improve the overall quality of the sound produced.While in the normal mode the phone would use its OLED screen to produce sound, in the speakerphone mode, the phone will deliver the sound using the speakers that are placed on the bottom of the body and on top side of the display.Apart from the CSO technology, the phone would also come with a bunch of other audio technologies that we have already seen in some of LG’s older phones like the LG G7 ThinQ, which we reviewed last year. The list of audio technologies included in the upcoming LG G8 ThinQ are — DTS:X 3D Surround Sound, Hi-Fi Quad DAC, Boombox Speaker and Master Quality Authenticated.advertisementAs mentioned before, the LG G8 ThinQ will come with ToF sensors that will not only improve the accuracy of its facial recognition system but also increase the efficiency of its front camera.Notably, while LG has already confirmed some of the features, the images of the G8 ThinQ that were leaked online earlier this week have revealed that the phone will come with dual-camera setup at the back that will be placed just above the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. The images also revealed that the phone will come with a notch that will house its ToF sensors and it would sport narrow bezels on the sides and on the bottom.Additionally, the phone is likely to come with a secondary screen that can be attached to the main body. However, the company hasn’t confirmed this feature yet. And we will know more about the phone when LG unveils the phone later this month.ALSO READ: | LG G8 ThinQ images leaked online ahead of MWC 2019 launchALSO READ: | LG G8 ThinQ price leaked ahead of MWC 2019, in India may cost above Rs 60,000ALSO READ: | LG G8 rumour roundup: Attachable screen, sound on display and everything else we know so farlast_img read more

ABP to Invest GBP 50 Mn in Humber Container Terminals

first_imgzoom UK port operator Associated British Ports (ABP) intends to invest GBP 50 million (USD 62.15 million) to more than double the capacity of its two Humber container terminals, in response to continued growth in demand.ABP said it eyes the possibility of new Free Trade Zones post-Brexit. These could allow for goods and parts to be imported, manufactured and re-exported from the designated zone without incurring the usual import procedures or tariffs.“Brexit represents opportunities for port-based, export-led manufacturing, particularly if the government was able to introduce Free Trade Zones at ports,” Simon Bird, ABP Humber Director, explained.ABP has committed nearly GBP 30 million to upgrading Hull Container Terminal including the purchase of four new ship-to-shore (STS) cranes, two of which were delivered in 2016 with two more scheduled for delivery in 2018. The investment is expected to increase capacity at the terminal to some 250,000 TEU per year.Immingham Container Terminal, which also took delivery of a new crane in 2016, will be further extended with investment in new equipment and technology, bringing capacity to 300,000 TEU.According to ABP, its Humber’s investment case is based on figures showing that across the Humber container terminals there has been a 41% growth in volumes since 2013.“We have seen significant growth at our Humber container terminals in recent years and all the indications are that this will continue despite Brexit,” Bird, said, adding that the port operator anticipates growth in container shipping in the coming years.This investment in the Humber comes on the back of the recent investment by ABP in Southampton of a further GBP 50 million on a vehicle handling terminal which will predominantly be handling UK manufactured vehicles for export around the world.The Hull and Immingham investments are part of ABP’s commitment to GBP 1 billion of investment across all its ports over the next five years.last_img read more

Morocco Forges Ahead with Conversion to Electronic Driving Licenses

Taroudant, Morocco- The Ministry of Equipment and Transport has introduced a new procedure to renew driving licenses: the old paper-based driving licenses are being replaced with new electronic licenses.Article 309 of Law No. 52-05 requires all paper-based driving license to be replaced by electronic licenses by the following deadlines established by the Ministry:1. October 1, 2010 to June 30, 2013 — paper-based licenses issued before January 1, 1980; 2. January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013 — paper-based licenses issued between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1996;3. From January 1 to December 31, 2014 — paper based licenses issued between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 2002;4. From January 1, to September 30, 2015 — paper-based licenses issued after 1 January 2003.To facilitate the procedure, the Ministry has announced that those wishing to convert their driver’s licenses from paper to electronic, can now make appointments online on the company Assiaqa Card website.The Ministry is urging all citizens who have not yet begun the process of renewing their licenses to book their appointments online in accordance with the schedule to avoid overcrowding at the offices in charge of renewing the driving licenses.The Ministry has also made it possible for citizens to track the progress of their applications via text message (SMS) by texting 3535 any time.Edited by Elisabeth Myers read more

Fez’s American Fondouk Promotes Equine Welfare

By Alexandra GrittaRabat – Located in Fez, the American Fondouk is a charitable equine hospital on a mission to improve the welfare of working equines and the owners who rely on them.Today, the number of working equids and camels in Morocco is estimated at around 1.7 million. Many are owned by poorer people who rely on the animals to help them earn a living. If the animals develop health complications, the owners cannot always afford to get them the care they need. The American Fondouk treats about 60 “patients” a day—20 of which are outpatients and 40 which are housed at the hospital. In total, the hospital treats about 3,500 to 5,000 new patients a year, an equal number of donkeys, horses, and mules.Some animals stay in the facilities for as little as a few days, while some require care for up to six months. All treatments are free of charge and funded by donations given to the organization.Additionally, the American Fondouk funds and administers an internship program for aspiring Moroccan veterinarians. Interns spend a year interning at the facility before going abroad to places like Edinburgh, Scotland, or Lyon, France, to finish their specialist training in teaching hospitals there.The goal is that interns might one day return to work with the American Fondouk and help to further its mission. The American Fondouk currently has conventions with 4 private Moroccan veterinarians who work as the senior vets in the hospital.Main health concerns for equinesIn an interview with Morocco World News, the animal hospital’s director, Gigi Kay (a British equine veterinarian), discussed some of the major concerns facing equines in Fez. According to Dr. Kay, “One issue is that owners will sometimes tie up their animals’ legs with rope to prevent them from wandering off. This practice is known as “hobbling” and can cause tendon damage or lacerations.” Lacerations are one of the most common types of wounds that the American Fondouk treats.This is not the only form of wound common to equines. As many horses, mules, and donkeys pull carts or plows, they can also get wounds from contact with shoddy equipment. Dr. Kay notes that tumors, “especially sarcoid tumours which are common amongst equids and thought to be spread by flies,” are also a big issue and may require surgical removal. These tumors are reportedly more prevalent in donkeys.Another common form of equine illness is colic. Something most people do not know is that equines, unlike most other mammals, cannot vomit.Vomiting is the body’s way of removing harmful or toxic substances. Evolutionarily, equines’ need to retain food in their stomachs was greater than their need to expel it. As grazers, they took in small portions of food at a time, so keeping the food “inside” was invaluable to their survival.When a horse gallops, its intestines shift backward against its stomach. In other animals, this would induce vomiting, but the horse’s powerful lower esophageal sphincter prevents the vomiting so that it can continue to run away from predators.Consequently, if a horse develops abdominal pain or a digestive system disorder (colic), it is much harder for its body to resolve the issues on its own. Medication, or in more severe cases surgery or euthanasia, must be administered to colicky horses. Equine injuries can also be found inside mouths. In Fez, owners still use old “Roman-style” bits in the mouths of their equines. These bits contain a circle in the equine’s mouths that has a great amount of torque and can tear up their mouths and cause a lot of friction on the roofs of their mouths.The American Fondouk offers a straight-across trade for these “archaic” bits, giving owners new snaffle bits, which are more modern and less damaging to the horse’s mouths.Termed by Rick Gore Horsemanship as an “archaic metal pain device,” all bits are slowly losing their credibility in many first world countries. Bits use pressure, discomfort, and often pain to control a horse’s head, hence controlling their speed and direction.Bits have been in use for such a long time and are so widely used that the damage they cause is little acknowledged. Some bits are harsher than others, but all bits can cause trauma and nerve damage.Trials prove that even “hot” horses, such as racehorses, can be controlled with “bitless” bridles by applying pressure over their nose bone instead of the sensitive tissues of their mouth. Further research on the negative effects of bits is available. For the time being, however, bit-use has not been a major issue accredited in Morocco.Equine nutritionMost equid owners are quite poor. Consequently, paying for land to graze their horses in a major city or to buy proper feed is difficult. Many horses are underfed, lacking nutrition, and subject to eating things that are not natural to them—trash, for example. Dr. Kay explains, “Plastic bags, rope, and other garbage on which they scavenge, can easily get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract and cause fatal colic.”According to Dr. Kay, most pack-animal owners in Fez make the equivalent of about $5-10 a day. “A typical donkey or mule will consume around 3 kilograms of barley per day and cost between $1-3 to feed. That’s already a substantial chunk out of their owner’s low income.”Many Fessi equine owners will often overload their equines, put salt in their eyes, or prod them with sharp sticks to make them move faster. Dr. Kay emphasizes that this is not because the owners are inherently cruel, but often lack awareness of better practices. The American Fondouk actively reaches out to the community to teach better methods.Malign practices have been used for centuries and become ingrained in the mind of the individual as simply “routine” and commonplace. Owners of working animals rely on both their own labor and that of their animals to earn a living. Sometimes, they take terrible shortcuts and work animals that are unwell. If their animal is ill or injured, owners have little to no money to spend on veterinary care or medicine. If it dies, they have little to no money to replace it. The American Fondouk offers services to both humanely euthanize animals that are too old to work or sick beyond saving and will often help fund half of the cost of a new work animal at a typical cost of $130. Founding the American Fondouk The American Fondouk is a non-profit organization founded by American traveler Amy Bend Bishop in 1927. When she visited Fez’s medina (old city), Amy was alarmed by the condition of the pack animals.She was prompted to contribute $8,000 and ask two of her friends, Dr. Frances Rowley, president of the MSPCA at the time, and Sydney Coleman, a New York animal activist, to build a refuge for the animals. Today, Bob Coleman, Sydney’s grandson, heads the hospital.The American Fondouk is an example of foreign aid abroad, hence the term “American” paired with “fondouk”—the Arabic word for “shelter.” Its mission is to help the poorer sections of the community through the provision of free veterinary care for as many of the working equids in Fez as possible.The fondouk is currently the only operating American charitable working equid hospital in the world. According to Dr. Kay, the rest of the non-profit equine hospitals are British.When the American Fondouk first opened in 1927, its mission was to serve equines. However later on, it added smaller animals to the mix (notably cats and dogs). In 2011, when Dr. Kay first joined the hospital, the American Fondouk decided to revisit its original purpose: to focus on the wellbeing of working equines in Fez.According to Dr. Kay, there were economic reasons behind the decision. “The American Fondouk provides free care and relies 100 percent on donations to keep it operating. Thus, its budget is limited and including small animals detracted from some of the animals that needed help the most.”Luckily, awareness of animal welfare is on the rise. American Fondouk is not the only non-profit on a mission to help animals in Morocco. The Society for the Protection of Animals and Nature (SPANA) promotes animal welfare and nature conservation and is based in Temara, with branches in Rabat, Marrakech, Khemisset, Chemaia, Khenifra, Tangier, Midelt, Had Ouled Frej, Sidi Boughaba, and Casablanca. One mobile veterinary clinic is also available to reach animals in remote communities. read more

Shell Canada pulls application for Alberta heavy oil mine in latest blow

CALGARY — Shell Canada Ltd. says it’s pulling its regulatory application for the proposed Pierre River oilsands project north of Fort McMurray, Alta., in order to focus on existing operations.The move is the latest blow to the oilsands as companies look to cut costs and capital spending plans following the drop in oil prices.Shell says that given the preliminary nature of the Pierre River project it expected the impact on jobs would be limited.The Pierre River application proposed a 200,000 barrel-per-day heavy oil mine.The company says it already has existing regulatory approval to potentially more than double its oilsands production from the current level of 255,000 bpd.Tales from the oil sands downturn: ‘You need to have a fair bit of intestinal fortitude to be in this business’Entrepreneurs on edge as fears grow Alberta Advantage erodingShell said Pierre River remains a very long term opportunity and noted that the company will continue to hold the leases and can reapply for regulatory approval.“Our current focus is on making our heavy oil business as economically and environmentally competitive as possible,” said Lorraine Mitchelmore, Shell Canada president and executive vice-president of heavy oil.The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation issued a statement welcoming the decision, saying it was “a clear sign that oilsands development is no longer business as usual.”“Now, more than ever, we can see the serious economic, environmental and treaty rights issues in the region are affecting the status quo of business,” said the ACFN, which has launched numerous legal challenges of the regulatory process in the region and participated as interveners in the Pierre River project since 2007.Canada’s big oil companies have slashed billions from their capital spending plans in recent months due to the drop in oil prices from more than $100 a barrel last year.Last month, oilsands giant Cenovus Energy Inc. took $700 million out of its 2015 budget, released at the end of last year.Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. reduced its 2015 budget by $2.4 billion, while Suncor Energy Inc. cut its workforce by 1,000 and its budget by $1 billion.The Canadian Press read more

Ban urges Russia Ukraine to exercise restraint after aid convoy crosses border

“While recognizing the deteriorating humanitarian situation, any unilateral action has the potential of exacerbating an already dangerous situation in eastern Ukraine,” Mr. Ban said in a statement from his spokesperson. In it, he said he is encouraged by the announcement from President Petro Poroshenko that Ukraine will do everything possible to prevent more serious consequences as a result of the convoy moving into Ukrainian territory.Meanwhile, the UN Security Council is meeting behind closed doors to discuss the situation.In Ukraine, discussions with officials there about the humanitarian needs of the people in the eastern part of the country have been very positive, Valerie Amos said at the start of a visit to see how aid delivery can be improved to the estimated 190,000 people currently displaced in the area.“I would like all the parties that are involved in the conflict to remember that it is ordinary people who suffer the most when you have conflicts,” the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs today told UN Radio.Ms. Amos, who is also the world body’s Emergency Coordinator, is on a four-day visit to the country to see first-hand the situation of some of the displaced communities, including in and around the city of Donetsk where she heads tomorrow.So far, Ms. Amos has spoken with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and other officials. “I hope that the political talks that are going on will lead to some kind of cessation of violence and a ceasefire,” she said, stressing that the needs of the people affected by the fighting must be put first.Last week, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) requested $33.3 million to continue to provide aid to the affected areas, including water and sanitation, shelter, health and education.“Should the situation deteriorate further obviously we will need to review that plan,” Ms. Amos said. “In the discussions that I have had with the Ukrainian Government, the discussions have been very positive with respect to ways in which we can work together.” read more

Most Of UConns Games This Season Were Over At Halftime

Mike Pesca knows just how dominant Connecticut’s women’s basketball team has been this year. He lamented recently on Slate’s “Hang Up and Listen” podcast (around 49 minutes in) that every time he tuned in to a UConn game while working out at the gym this season, usually with 10 minutes left on the clock, the game was already effectively over.By just how much have the Huskies been draining the drama out of Pesca’s workouts? A lot, and by a whole lot more than their predecessors did.At halftime of the average UConn game this year, the Huskies were winning by 25 points. That’s staggering — so staggering that it blows away four of the best teams in recent history: the last four UConn teams, which all reached the Final Four. The last two won the title. Those two championship teams averaged halftime leads of a mere 20 points; the Huskies’ average halftime lead was even lower in the two years before that.By five and a half minutes into the second half, this year’s UConn team averaged a lead of more than 32 points, compared to less than 26 points last year and 24 points or less in the prior three seasons. (Just four teams other than UConn this year beat opponents by more than 20 points per game. And that was their margin at the end of games, not soon after halftime.)But at that 5:30 mark we begin to see a dip. At that point, the ultracompetitive Huskies showed a tiny fraction of mercy. If they’d carried on at the same rate for the whole game, they’d have won by an average of 51 points. Instead they won by only 42 points per game. By the time Pesca was tuning in, UConn led by an average of 35 points. (This is all based on data provided by ESPN Stats & Information, supplemented with play-by-plays from the UConn website.)We also looked at the data another way: How often this season was UConn, say, trailing? Or winning by 40 points?The Huskies established dominance early: By six and a half minutes into their games this year, they were tied or trailing just once. And they led for the entire second half in most games, though Stanford tied things up in regulation and then dealt UConn its only loss, back in November. More than half the time, UConn led by at least 30 points two minutes into the second half. That all adds up to lots of minutes of Mike Pesca doing bicep curls with dull basketball on in the background.This doesn’t necessarily mean this year’s UConn team is the best UConn team of the last five years. The school shifted to the American Athletic Conference two seasons ago from the Big East, which has made for easier conference games and more blowouts. And the previous seasons’ stats include NCAA tournament games, some of which were close — though many were also blowouts.Even so, it’d take a whole lot of NCAA tournament drama to undo all the meaningless second halves the Huskies have played so far this year. Our forecast currently gives them a 74 percent chance of winning the title, before they’ve played their first game. That doesn’t leave much room for nail-biters.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions. read more

Ben Stokes says he was defending his gay friends during street fight

Ben Stokes' injured hand The defence’s case for both Stokes and Ali opened this afternoon after the body-worn camera footage from arresting officer PC Stacey Alway was released to the media this morning. The video shows Stokes being handcuffed and placed in the back of a police vehicle and was played to the jury yesterday.  Stokes said he and Ali scuffled on the floor, with Hale – also with a bottle – then becoming involved. “At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened. I was concerned for myself and others,” he claimed.“They were complete strangers. We knew that they were prepared to use weapons that could do serious injury and I feared they could have other weapons with them.”Hales initially told police he had not witnessed the brawl, the jury were told. Yesterday they heard Hales had stamped on Ali three times during the brawl. He was not charged.Stokes and Ali each deny affray. The trial, which continues, was due to run for a week. “I struck Ryan Ali with my right hand just after he had delivered the blow on Kai and as he came at me with the bottle and had it raised.” Stokes, 27, claims he was forced to knock out Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale out of “instinct” and because he was “vulnerable”, “frightened” and “felt the need to defend myself”.Key allegations from days one and twoStokes verbally abused doorman after refusing entry Stokes “mocked” gay men Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor England cricketer accused of flicking cigarette at themThey had mocked Stokes’ gold-encrusted trainersAli and Hale left the club and started talking to gay menMr Barry appeared to touch Ali’s groin inappropriatelySwinging a bottle, Ali made contact with Mr BarryStokes then charged at Ali and Hale, knocking them outHale “armed himself” with bottle and metal barDuring fracas, Alex Hales kicked Ali three timesStokes told police he was defending gay menAlex Hales was not charged for the incidentIn two statements to police, Stokes claimed violence erupted after he shouted at the pair for verbally abusing “flamboyant” Kai Barry and William O’Connor, who later thanked him for intervening.Stokes and Alex Hales, his England team-mate, were walking “calmly” towards a casino when they heard “homophobic” abuse aimed by Ali and Hale at the two men, Bristol Crown Court heard. Mr Cole told the court Wednesday: “He asked whether you could loosen the handcuff on his right hand? He said it was because it had been injured, not because of what happened but because he had three operations on it?”The officer replied: “Yes, that is correct.”Mr Cole asked: “You loosened the handcuff and he thanked you for it?” She replied: “Yes.” Ben Stokes on the night of the incident Stokes said he drank two pints and five vodka shots in the hours before the fight took place.Stokes said he and Hales decided to walk to a casino and headed down Queens Road, where they passed Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor, who were with Hale and Ali. “Although I can’t remember anything specific now, I do recall that the language being used was homophobic in nature and was being directed at Kai and William by Ryan Hale and Ryan Ali,” he said.”[They] were taller and broader than Kai and William. I noticed that they both had glass bottles in their hands…“What [they] were saying was far from harmless banter, it was nasty homophobic abuse.”When Stokes intervened, he said Ali attacked Hales with a bottle, then used it on Mr Barry.“I decided at this point matters had become too serious to ignore and that I had to intervene to stop Ryan Ali,” Stokes told police. Ben Stokes in the police vehicle Show more Ryan Hale, who was found not guilty of affray after a judge ordered the jury not to convict himCredit:Andrew Matthews/PA Ben Stokes on the night of the incident On Wednesday, the court heard Stokes told officers he punched his co-defendants – who were armed with bottles – in self-defence. He said he felt “under immediate threat of attack” from two bottle-wielding brawlers after he leapt to the defence of two men suffering “nasty homophobic abuse”, jurors were told. When he returned to the hotel he drank two or three pints of lager with a meal before heading out with his England teammates Liam Plunkett, Jonny Bairstow, James Anderson and Jake Ball. They headed to Mbargo, but told the court he wasn’t drunk. In the nightclub, he said he had five or six vodka and lemonades before leaving to go to Pryzm.  Stokes and Hales then decided to return to Mbargo, where doorman Andrew Cunningham told them they would not be allowed back in. “As soon as I decided to get involved… everything that I carried out… I felt under threat by these two and felt I had to do whatever it was to keep myself and others around me safe.” Ryan Hale (front) and Ryan Ali (back) leave Bristol Crown Court Ryan Hale, who was found not guilty of affray after a judge ordered the jury not to convict him England cricketer Ben Stokes and his wife Clare, arrives back at Bristol Crown CourtCredit:Andrew Matthews/PA The court heard how when she told him to leave Stokes, who had money to “make his own way home” Mr Hales replied: “I feel bad. He’s my best friend. I saw him after everything happened.”PC Alway told Mr Hales that Stokes had money on him and so would be able to get home after being released from custody.Mr Hales then asked Stokes: “I don’t want to go. Are you sure? I turned up after the whole thing.”PC Alway told Bristol Crown Court that she did not take Mr Hales’ details. “He told me that he didn’t witness anything so I didn’t ask him,” she said.Ryan Hale also features on the video, purportedly insisting he wasn’t going to press charges because “he (Stokes) hasn’t done anything to me”. He later returns to talk to PC Alway, and tells her that the incident was “just a bit of a scuffle”. Ryan Ali's injuries after the fight “My attire on that night got mentioned,” he said. “It was one of the gay couple. I get told by quite a lot of my teammates that I dress the worst in the team,” Stokes said.”We both exchanged comments about what one another were wearing.” Ryan Hale (front) and Ryan Ali (back) leave Bristol Crown CourtCredit:Peter Nicholls/Reuters Ben Stokes in the police vehicle Stokes told the court Thursday afternoon that after finishing a match against the West Indies in Bristol hours before the incident, he may have had a beer to celebrate the win, explaining it’s a team tradition to have one in the changing rooms after games.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The prosecution closed their case on Thursday morning with Hale’s statement to police. Jurors were told how the Afghanistan veteran, who is also a father, later told officers he thought Stokes was “going to kill him”. He claimed in the interview, the transcript of which was read out in court, that he had not done “anything wrong”, despite witnesses saying they saw him with a bottle and a metal bar during the fracas. Hale said: “He could have killed me. I don’t know why he didn’t stop. It’s shocking to see someone doing that to someone who didn’t do anything wrong.”I was the innocent bystander getting assaulted brutally for nothing, standing there with open fists being smacking around the place,” Hale said.”There’s no self-defence and he isn’t defending anyone else.” On Thursday morning, Ben Stokes had wished his England teammates luck ahead of the second Test at Lord’s as he prepared to giving evidence for the first time at his trial. Stokes denied mimicking the gay couple, and told jurors the exchange was “about the state of my shoes”. “The only comments between myself and the gay couple was what we had chosen to wear that night,” he said. The jurors watched the CCTV clip of what appears to be Stokes flicking a cigarette butt towards one of the gay men.”I don’t remember flicking a cigarette towards anyone,” he said, insisting there was “absolutely not” anything homophobic about the exchange.Talking of the fight, Stokes said: “I was protecting myself. I would say that I took a decision of what I did very quickly. As soon as this episode started I knew that not just myself, but other people could be a target of either of these two men.”One had already verbally told me what he would do if I didn’t ‘Shut the f— up’. He had ran at a close friend of mine with a bottle. Explaining the reason why the cricketer has been arrested, PC Alway can be heard on the video saying: “A guy over there was covered in blood and I’ve been told you punched him.”Stokes can be heard on the video replying: “Because he was abusing my two friends for being gay.”Gordon Cole QC, defending Stokes, asked PC Alway to confirm that his client was “calm and compliant” with her when he was arrested.Stokes appears to have a good relationship with the police officer, and the video ends with the pair joking about PC Alway briefly losing the sportsman’s driving licence.  Ben Stokes Injury after fight in Bristol The judge in the trial of Ben Stokes directed the jury to clear an ex-soldier of affray – based on evidence proving he never used a road sign that he picked up as a street fight escalated. Ryan Hale, 27, was jointly charged with affray along with Stokes, 27 and Ryan Ali, 28, but after the prosecution closed its case at Bristol Crown Court, the judge intervened. Judge Peter Blair QC told the jury: “I am directing you to find him not guilty in my analysis of the evidence.”Ryan Hale was formally found not guilty of the charge relating to the incident outside a Bristol nightclub and invited to leave the dock before Gordon Cole QC, defending Stokes, called his client to give evidence. Stokes denied the prosecution’s allegations that he mocked two gay men outside Mbargo and also denied that he had called a doorman who had refused him re-entry a “c—“. He told jurors how Ryan Hale and Ryan Ali, 28, walked out of the club and made homophobic remarks about Kai Barry and William O’Connor, who he was talking to outside the club. Stokes said when he defended the gay men, Ali said to him, “Shut the f— up or I’ll bottle you”. The cricketer said when Ali brandished a bottle and swung it, he decided to defend himself and those around him. Court sketch of Ben Stokes, who was asked to show his hand to the court to reveal his pre-existing cricket injuries  In what could be argued is the most important day in court for him, Stokes is having his say today having listened to three days of allegations put to jurors by the prosecution. Despite this, the Durham cricketer took to Instagram to post a message of support to the men due to take the field in his absence and singled out 20-year-old debutant Ollie Pope. Posting a picture of him celebrating with rookie Sam Curran, who impressed against India in the first Test, wrote: “Good luck to all the England cricket lads today and for the rest of the week. Always exciting seeing guys get their first opportunity, hope it goes for you well for you, Ollie Pope.”Surrey’s Pope has been brought in for the dropped Dawid Malan, while Stokes’ direct replacement will be a toss up depending on conditions between Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali. As they battle it out at The Home of Cricket, Stokes will be fighting his own tribulations 120 miles west in Bristol’s courtroom one. Stokes said he shouted “leave it out, you shouldn’t be taking the p–s because they are gay”, but Ali responded by saying “f— off or I’ll bottle you”.However, an off-duty police support officer told the court that Stokes was the “main aggressor” in the 2am brawl that left fire brigade worker Mr Ali “completely unable to move”. The all-rounder, 27, is missing the match which is due to start Thursday against the top ranked team in the world India due to the case of alleged affray against him being heard at Bristol Crown Court.  Court sketch of Ben Stokes, who was asked to show his hand to the court to reveal his pre-existing cricket injuries Credit:Elizabeth Cook/PA Ben Stokes' message to his England teammates on Instagram Ryan Ali’s injuries after the fight England cricketer Ben Stokes and his wife Clare, arrives back at Bristol Crown Court Ben Stokes’ injured hand Ben Stokes Injury after fight in Bristol The prosecution allege Stokes had called the doorman a c—, which he denied from the witness stand.  Stokes added: “I said to him, “Come on mate, I’ve got s— tattoos as well, let us back in’.”Mr Cole asked Stokes to explain the reference to tattoos and he replied: “I am constantly getting told by teammates and by who I play with that I have got s— tattoos.”Stokes denied flicking a cigarette butt at Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor or making a V-sign to Mr Cunningham or mentioning his gold front teeth.He said he been wearing black ripped jeans, a green t-shirt and white Buscemi high-top shoes with gold padlocks on the back. The footage taken from the camera she was wearing was played to the jury, alleging to show Stokes asking the arresting officer: “Is there going to be any sort of cameras around here?”He said: “Have those two other guys gone? What about two other lads – gay guys?”Teammate Alex Hales appears to tell PC Alway that he had not witnessed the alleged fight. “I came after you guys turned up,” he said. Ben Stokes’ message to his England teammates on InstagramCredit:Ben Stokes/Instagram read more

Search for British cruise entertainer who fell overboard from Royal Caribbean ship

His disappearance occurred whilst the ship was en route to Philipsburg, St. Maarten.A HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Clearwater and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute are understood to be searching for Mr Hough.The US coastguard, who are assisting the search efforts, said: “The Coast Guard is searching for a missing crew member, who went overboard from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Harmony of the Seas 267 miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. A search is underway for a 20-year-old British crew member who fell overboard from a Caribbean cruise ship on Christmas Day.Arron Hough, a member of the entertainment team on a Royal Caribbean boat, did not report to work as scheduled on Christmas morning.After his colleagues raised the alarm, the ship’s CCTV footage was reviewed and it showed a young man entering an area on Deck 5 at around 4am and he was not seen again.  Local authorities were notified and a ship-wide search for the crew member was conducted, Royal Caribbean have said.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Mr Hough was working on board Harmony of the Seas, which is currently sailing on a seven night itinerary that departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Sunday December 23 with port calls to Philipsburg, St. Maarten, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Haiti. “Missing is Arron Hough, 20, of the United Kingdom.”Days before his disappearance Mr Hough, who is thought to be from Sunderland, posted pictures on social media of himself and colleagues on the beach in Cozumel, Mexico.According to his Twitter account, he was a performer in the musical “Grease” aboard the ship.He was previously a student at Urdang Academy, a London-based theatre school, who tweeted that they were “praying” for Mr Hough and his family that he is found safe.In a statement, Royal Caribbean said: “Our Care Team is providing support to the family and friends of our colleague, and our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.”The Foreign Office confirmed to the Telegraph that it was aware of the missing man.A spokeswoman said: “We are providing assistance to the family of a British man who has been reported missing off Fort Lauderdale.” Mr Hough Mr Hough was previously a student at Urdang Academy, a London-based theatre school, who yesterday tweeted they were “praying” for Mr Hough and his family that he is found safe Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

ION Audio ships dual lens Twin Video portable recorder

first_imgThere’s a growing number of portable video recorders hitting the market with the Flip being the device that started it all. Since then manufacturers including Kodak, Creative, Panasonic, and Samsung have come out with competing products as well as introducing HD recording features.ION Audio is trying to differentiate itself by offering something unique. The company’s new portable video recorder, called the Twin Video, has two lenses sitting on the top of the device. One is front facing, the other back facing.The idea behind this is to allow the user to switch between recording the scene or person in front of them, while having the ability to switch to view their own face. An ideal solution for interviews you may think.It’s got a 3x digital zoom, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, tripod mount, and records directly to an SD or SDHC card. Switching between front and back facing cameras is handled with a You/Me button at the top of the interface.The Twin Video could have been a tempting proposition if it wasn’t for a major downfall. While the competition offers up 720p, and in a growing number of cases 1080p recording, ION Audio’s recorder only manages 640 x 480 30fps capabilities. It also can’t record from both cameras at the same time, which is another oversight in my opinion.At $119.99 it’s comparable in price to much more fully-featured pocket video recorders. The dual lens setup is genuinely useful, but let down by a poor recording resolution and relatively high price considering no HD support.Read more at ION Audiolast_img read more

Wall collapse kills 3 in 2 dists

first_imgThree people, including a child, were killed and three others injured in separate incidents of wall collapse triggered by torrential rains in Kushitia and Gazipur districts on Saturday, reports UNB.In Gazipur, a woman and a minor boy were killed in separate incidents of wall collapses in Pubail area in the city and Kainjanul area of Sadar upazila.The deceased were identified as Selina Akhter, a garment worker, wife of later Erajul Haque of Uttar Gaon village of Thakurgaon district, and Jahid, 2, son of Sumon Miah of Chadalchar area in Bajitpur upazila of Kishoreganj district.Hossain Ara Siddiq Juli, councillor of 40 no ward (reserved seat) of the city, said that Zahid came to visit his grandmother house’s in Basugaon area of Pubail with his mother few days ago.A portion of a wall of a house adjoining to his grandmother’s house collapsed on a room around 3:00am where Zahid along with his mother were sleeping, leaving Zahid dead on the spot and his mother and aunt injured, he said.Besides, garment worker Selina Akhter, who used to live in a rented house at Kainjanul village, was killed as a wall of an adjoining house collapsed on her house, said Shah Alam, member of 7 no ward in Bhawal Mirzapur union.A man was also injured in the incident.In Kushita, Rupchand, 52 was killed as a portion of a mud-wall of his house fell on him at Chithalia Mallikpara in Mirpur upazila early in the morning, said Gias Uddin, chairman of Chithalia union.last_img read more

Pleasant Bend An Historical Look At West Houston

first_imgDan Worrall, a member of the Harris County Historical Commission, has published a book about the history of west Houston called Pleasant Bend: Upper Buffalo Bayou and the San Felipe Trail in the Nineteenth Century.The book grew of his efforts to save an early Texas graveyard from destruction, hidden away from the modern world near Post Oak Boulevard where his second great grandparents are buried.Maggie Martin talked with Worrall about the book and about the early settlers of what we now call Houston. Sharelast_img read more

HISD Runoff Election Results

first_imgPexelsVoters picked two new board members with teaching experience in the runoff elections for the Houston school district.Unofficial results from the Harris County Clerk’s Office show Elizabeth Santos and Sergio Lira are the winners in the runoff elections to help govern the state’s largest school district. Santos beat Gretchen Himsl to win the District I seat in North Houston and Lira defeated Jesse Rodriguez for the District III seat in Southeast Houston. He will serve out the remaining term of the late Trustee Manuel Rodriguez, which runs through 2019. Santos attended HISD herself and has spent the last 10 years as a teacher in the district. She was strongly supported by the teacher’s union. Lira also works in HISD as an assistant principal at Bellaire High School.The election results mean that six of the nine trustees for HISD have teaching experience.“Voters sent a clear message on Nov. 7 and tonight that they value the voices of frontline educators and will stand with candidates who embrace community-driven solutions to the challenges that face our schools,” said Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, in a statement.Santos and Lira will be sworn into office in January. Sharelast_img read more

Delays as Defendant Misses Hearings

first_imgBy Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO, mgray@afro.comThe grief and anguish continued for the friends and family of U.S. Army Lt. Richard Collins III as his alleged murderer didn’t make his scheduled court appearance May 30, thus delaying it until June 5.Sean Urbanski, who is charged with first degree murder and committing a hate crime, was reportedly never transferred from the Howard County Detention Center, where he is being held in the maximum security prison, for another set of legal motion hearings before his trial begins, which is scheduled for July 22.   The transfer of those in custody is supposed to be coordinated with the sheriff’s department and corrections officials. However, this time there was an apparent miscommunication which led to another delay in this series of pre-trial proceedings.The hearing in the murder of U.S. Army Lt. Richard Collins III, who was allegedly killed by Sean Urbanski on the campus of University of Maryland due to a hate crime, was delayed after the suspect did not get transferred from the Howard County Detention Center. (Courtesy Photo)Collins was scheduled to graduate from Bowie State before he was allegedly killed by Urbanski while he and two friends waited for an Uber ride back to campus on a bus stop after visiting friends at the University of Maryland in College Park on May 20, 2017. He had recently been commissioned as a U.S. Army second lieutenant.Last week’s delay is the third time that a pretrial motion hearing has been rescheduled, as the defense continues its arguments to have the charges modified or moved from the Prince George’s County Circuit Court altogether.  Those delays have left the case in legal limbo for over two years since the fatal incident.The Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center previously advocated on behalf of the Collins family that the constant delays in the legal proceedings bring undue emotional stress on them.  Last December they lobbied that the family had been detrimentally affected and will continue to be hurt by constant trial delays.“The trial date is a day of both dread, and a hope for resolution,” wrote Pauline Mandel, of the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center, on behalf of Richard and Dawn Collins, Richard’s parents.  “The family of the victim has been, and continues to be, severely impacted by this crime. Their life and ability to function is compromised daily by the continuing effects of this (crime).”When the motions hearing are finally held, defense attorneys William Brennan and John McKenna, are expected to argue will three motions that have previously been filed before Judge Lawrence Hill, Jr.  The defense is expected to contend that jurors shouldn’t be able to see or hear about what has been referred to “particularly offensive” racist posts found on his phone along with discussions on his previously deleted Alt-Reich: Nation Facebook page. Urbanski’s contend that material is “extremely prejudicial, highly inflammatory, irrelevant, and should not be admissible as evidence. However, the prosecution is expected to argue that the information helps magnify the motive for the killing.The defense is also  hoping to be granted separate trials for the murder charge and the hate crime charge. Urbanski’s lawyers contend the prosecution’s evidence has to be applied to both crimes, and are expected to argue any racist material would not be admissible if this was just a murder case.Finally, Urbanski’s lawyers are seeking dismissal of the state hate charge, claiming it violates their client’s First Amendment rights.   Urbanski’s trial was initially scheduled to begin in January, but it had to be delayed because of the departure of Joseph Ruddy, who was leading the prosecution at the inception of the pretrial proceedings.Newsradio WTOP-FM in Washington first reported last March that the FBI did not find enough evidence to suggest federal hate crime charges against Urbanski which can be punishable by death in some cases.last_img read more

Azamara simplifies its branding drops the Club Cruises

first_imgTags: Azamara Club Cruises Share MIAMI — Azamara Club Cruises is streamlining its branding to Azamara, removing the term ‘Club Cruises’ from its name.The cruise line says the change reflects “a redefined dedication” to the brand’s Destination Immersion concept and its focus on immersive experiences.“Our passion for travel has allowed our Destination Immersion concept to evolve over the last 10 years,” says Azamara President and CEO Larry Pimentel. “Today we expect even greater growth in our on-shore programming as our services improve. Now available for every trip from October 2019 and for all our future deployments, we will provide a unique variety of products carefully selected, reinforcing our identity and our ‘Explore Further’ mantra.”Pimentel added that Azamara is launching the largest selection of pre and post trip land programs in the entire cruise industry. Azamara offers more than 1,700 shore-based program offerings, complementing its immersive approach and reinforcing its commitment to take passengers to the heart of a destination, he says. More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJThe land program options include …. AzAmazing Journeys: Carefully selected programs with a small and intimate group led by expert guides (average group size from 12 to 18 guests) such as: AzAamazing in Asia: In search of Orangutnan in Borneo; AzAmazing in South America: The Bolivian Salt Flats and Atacama Desert of Chile; AzAmazing in Australia: Rail & Sail in Indian Pacific. Land Journeys: Programs that allow guests to discover cities from different points of view and offer an à la carte travel experience. Examples include: Land Journey in Europe: Norway On the Road; Land Journey in South America: In search of Jaguar: Pantanal; Land Journey in New Zealand: South Island – Alpine Rail & Mount CookStay Local: Programs that allow passengers with limited time to fully discover one and unique destination, in cities including Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Dubai, Hong Kong and Monte Carlo. << Previous PostNext Post >> Tuesday, June 18, 2019 center_img Travelweek Group Posted by Azamara simplifies its branding, drops the Club Cruiseslast_img read more

Solís to suspend Costa Ricas carbon neutrality goal

first_imgIf elected, Citizen Action Party presidential candidate Luis Guillermo Solís will abandon Costa Rica’s 2021 carbon neutrality goal, Reutersreported Friday.Solís, the last man standing after National Liberation Party candidate Johnny Araya suddenly announced the indefinite suspension of his campaign last week, will most likely be elected Costa Rica’s next president on April 6.According to Solís’ environmental advisor Patricia Madrigal, the party plans to set a more realistic date for carbon neutrality, likely around 2025.Madrigal told Reuters this week:“We don’t think it would be possible to reach carbon neutrality by 2021, because the most important tasks to reduce emissions in the country are yet to be done.”The goal, set in 2009 by then-president Óscar Arias, was chosen to line up with Costa Rica’s bicentennial. This would have made Costa Rica the first carbon-neutral country in the world.It was not until 2012 that the government released its plans for reaching carbon neutrality. According to the timeline, the country should be in the second phase of implementation, but large chunks of the first phase have not yet taken effect.“Right now you can put a big check mark next to the part of the plan that called for carbon mitigation through forests,” Environment Minister René Castro told The Tico Times in January, then still confident the government could reach the 2021 goal. “The problem is the transportation sector. That part of the plan is moving, but it is moving very slowly.”According to data from the country’s Environment Ministry, transportation generates nearly 70 percent of Costa Rica’s carbon emissions.Last year Riteve SyC, the company in charge of mandatory vehicle inspections in Costa Rica, reported that more than a third of Costa Rica’s vehicles are 13-20 years old. A 2013 study from the University of Costa Rica  also found that traffic congestion in the country’s capital increases emissions by up to 30 percent.To offset these emissions, the carbon neutrality plan stipulated that 20-25 percent of the country’s busses and taxis would need to switch to carbon-neutral alternatives by 2014. According to Leiner Vargas, the head researcher for the government’s carbon neutrality plan, this has not happened.“Have you been in an electric taxi recently? Because I certaintly haven’t,” Vargas told The Tico Times. “There has been no political volition to get this done. There are no real incentives for anyone in public transportation to switch to a more efficient vehicle.” Vargas estimates that about 10-15 percent of the overdue first phase has been completed. The rest, he says, “is beautifully laid out on paper.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Where is the environmental discussion in Costa Rica’s presidential campaign? Johnny Araya is down and out, but not his party, says analyst Solís seeks 1 million votes in runoff election to strengthen his mandate Live Costa Rica presidential election resultslast_img read more

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“It wasnt a matter of me swinging the ax, EODM and their fans were the band caught up in the horrific atrocities in Paris this week.This year, [Reuters] Contact us at editors@time. cited a recent report from the North Dakota Petroleum Council Flaring Task Force that said 40 percent of natural gas production is flared at oil wells on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation while 27 percent of natural gas production is flared at oil wells on state and private landsThe bill would speed up the federal permitting process for certain natural gas gathering linesThe bill states that it would not affect laws requiring the consent of Indian tribes or individual Indians prior to the issuance of rights-of-way on Indian landSens John Barrasso and Mike Enzi both Republicans from Wyoming joined Hoeven in introducing the legislation“Our legislation is a good example of how we can produce more energy with better environmental stewardship by empowering states and tribes to develop their energy resources” Hoeven said “It will create better environmental stewardship and at the same time move us closer to our long-sought goal of true energy independence”The Christian Association of Nigeria has described the purported conversion of the abducted schoolgirls of Chibok to Islam as a war against Christianity A statement by the National Director of Research Elder Sunday Oibe noted that the girls could not be used as an exchange for the release of any Boko Haram member “I have the consent of our national president (Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor) who is abroad to address you First these children are Christians and not Muslims and so they cannot be converted to a religion that is not theirs at gunpoint without conviction”Oibe told journalists He added “Is that how conversion is being carried out All the children displayed are Christians and that is the motive behind the abduction “It is simple Because they are Christians and they represent the Church in the eyes of their abductors Secondly it smacks of some form of religious persecution If not why are their captors converting them to another religion And if they say they will use them as a condition to negotiate their men in detention our daughters are not criminals and cannot be used in any way to free their criminal fighters “Show us where in Nigeria you have seen Christians fighting and throwing bombs in the name of God; we challenge any one to show us where Christians have abducted Muslim children in the name of Christianity We challenge anyone to prove to us in Nigeria where Christians have taken arms in the name of protecting Christianity or even carry out acts of genocide on helpless and defenceless Nigerians As far as we are concerned it is a war against Christians and Christianity “We are not speaking for the Nigerian state The state will speak for itself but we cannot be forced by some people to define for us our predicament and persecution It is a war against Christians and the Church We are feeling it and deeply affected No amount of propaganda can deter us from saying the truth “We have said ours It is now left for the government to expedite action and return our children to us They are Christians they are not slaves they are not Muslims and it is unacceptable to us Let the whole world see it now” 5 degrees warmer than the previous record of 34 degrees set in 2002 After they gave that verdict an escape from tough realities studded with crystal scepters (for “Telephone”) and and a final moment and isolate America on the world stage this monitoring and inspections regime would go away “It beautifully illustrates the common heritage of living things Then they slipped a human version of each gene into yeast cells whose own copy of the gene had been turned downS law-enforcement and hostage-negotiation advisers to the Nigerian capital of Abuja has dropped a second trailer It was the first time in recent memory that Health Department staff could recall syringes being reused in a licensed medical facility Last night’s “Voters First” forum in New Hampshire is the clearest indication that Priebus has largely succeeded in that goal thus-far the forum was virtually indistinguishable from every other candidate cattle-call over the last 18 months Vietnam in 1987comOlivia Munn is joining the cast of X-Men: Apocalypse as the psychic mutant Psylocke which will complete the trilogy started by 2011’s X-Men: First Class One of the last times the late Steve Jobs made a public appearance in front of a camera having heavily influenced Steve Jobs and a host of other tech leaders" His mother S a Lok Sabha member from Kerala’s Alappuzha On the appointment of the party’s state unit’s new president in place of G Parameshwara falsehood and blackmail among others Okeze "This is such a contested . 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