first_imgSrinagar: A team of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) resumed searches on Sunday at the corporate headquarters of the J&K Bank here, after completing a nearly 10-hour raid the previous day. The team are searching for a collection of evidence for alleged mismanagement in one of the state’s premier financial institutions. Earlier reports had said the ACB raids were specifically being carried out in connection in 1,200 appointments made by the bank in 2017. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoC Informed sources said the scope of the ACB investigation has been extended to the loans and non-performing assets (NPA) portfolios of the bank. In a sudden move, the Jammu and Kashmir government, which owns 59 per cent shares of the bank, sacked Chairman Parvez Ahmed on Saturday and appointed R.K. Chibber as the Interim Chairman. J&K bank is the only private sector bank designated as the Reserve Bank of India’s agency for banking business. It carries out the banking business of the Central government besides collecting central taxes for CBDT. The Bank was incorporated in 1938 and is listed on the NSE and BSE.last_img read more


first_imgDazzling performances were on display in London yesterday as the best of competitive sports was played out. England took on New Zealand in the Men’s ICC World Cup 2019 final while world number one Novak Djokovic locked horns with Swiss Maestro Roger Federer in the Men’s Wimbledon Championship match. Both Lords and Centre court of Wimbledon saw nail-biting competitiveness flow down the hour as the sun neared the horizon. For the world, two major sporting events witnessed a grand final as the weekend culminated in a roller coaster of entertainment. But London, the host to both events, had a lasting taste of exquisiteness as curtains fell on the exhaustive month-and-a-half long World Cup campaign. Great Britain had finally conquered the cup that has eluded them since its inception 44 years ago at the very ground where it was born. One can imagine the level of ecstasy as the most dramatic world cup match was witnessed by the world with the odds shifting on either side like a pendulum, throwing prefixed bets in disarray and trumping predictions in short periods almost incessantly. Cricket encapsulated a highly-unexpected championship finish yesterday as the showdown between Federer and Djokovic also found its place in one of the memorable Wimbledon, or rather Grand Slam, finals. To say that the game could have been finished in straight sets would be disrespectful of either player. In essence, both finals had one glaring thing in common which amidst the excitement might not have been the most conspicuous fact. Both finals were played till the penultimate extent as no scope was left beyond the point of distinction to regulate the games any further. Wimbledon marathon as many perceived, Djokovic and Federer pulled the game till the tiebreaker of the final set while England and New Zealand played 102 overs of cricket. In essence, the two tennis players and the two cricket teams were inseparable and that is what the world must have realised on Sunday. However, these finals demanded a winner nevertheless and hence, Novak Djokovic and England Cricket Team had the last laugh as London went into a frenzy. Also Read – A compounding difficultySince rain was not as much a threat looming over the final match, considering the sizeable impact it already had over the prestigious ICC tournament, all eyes were glued to the toss. England wickets had a slightly favourable outcome when batting first, as the result analysis of matches showed, but it still was as much competitive. New Zealand had the better start, winning the toss and setting up a modest total of 241-8 in 50 overs. It was a day when the batsmen could not produce outstanding cricket but team effort drifted to build a total of 241. Nicholls’s 55 of 77 was the highest individual score from Black Caps as Woakes and Plunkett registered high-demanding performances with good figures of 3/37 and 3/42. New Zealand managed 17 boundaries which was a relevant fact only for post-match analysis. Little did anyone knew it would become perhaps the most decisive factor. England came out to bat and even they experienced the occasional swing being offered by the wicket as hitters Roy, Bairstow, Root and Morgan fell in front of Kiwi pacers. The scenario was not as alarming as it was for India who were 24/4 after 10 overs but not very optimistic at 86/4 after 20 overs. And similar to India’s final batting partnership that took the pitch to carry a fractured Indian dream all the way, the Three Lions found Stokes and Buttler as their final hope of the dream world cup chase. 24 overs and 110 runs of partnership saw England reach almost the periphery of their target yet the job remained undone and Buttler succumbed. But Stokes didn’t. He carried England till the final over, where a dramatic deviation of fielder’s throw inadvertently by Stokes bat gave England four runs on top of their two. The match went down to the last ball and England ended up losing its final wicket in the run-out with scores reaching a dramatic tie. Super Over proceedings went underway but a crucial fact from England’s innings lingered–England had hit 26 boundaries in their pursuit of the target of 242. Even the Super Over couldn’t separate the sides and the winner had to be decided by ICC rules which awarded the Cup to England on grounds of scoring more boundaries than New Zealand. England’s day was made as New Zealand’s heart shattered but it was the moment when one of the greatest debate over who won would spark off–England or both? By rules, England but a grand consensus believes that the Cup should have been shared. Both teams were desperate for their maiden World Cup, having eliminated heavyweights like India and Australia, and both demonstrated highly-competitive and indistinguishable performances. For a host of ex-players, commentators as well as fans, it should have gone to both but for rules that favoured the Three Lions. Also Read – An askew democracyAt the same time, in the south-west part of the city, at the Centre Court of Wimbledon, Djokovic and Federer offered a scintillating match for the viewers. Djokovic won the first set which went to a tiebreaker courtesy of nail-biting competition from Federer. But Serbian managed to pull off the tiebreaker 7-5. Second Set was all Federer show with 6-1 in his favour. In the third set, Djokovic was yet again pushed by Federer to a tiebreaker which Federer lost again 7-4. But Federer capitalised on the fourth set winning 6-4 to bring the match into the final set. The final set, as the match had proceeded, was pegged to be toe-to-toe and it indeed was. At 6 games each, the final set was inconclusive, so the match continued. Federer by his magic wrist turns procured a breakpoint in the 8th game leading Djokovic by 8-7. Though Federer ended up losing the championship point twice as Djokovic caught up, amassing 5 straight points to equalise and lead the next game. Beyond four hours, the match went on till the tiebreaker as per modern tennis rules at the end of 12 games each. What many feared as a pattern on Federer’s side when it came to tiebreakers came true. Djokovic thrashed Federer in the tiebreaker 7-3 to lift his fifth Wimbledon title while a tired and distraught Federer saw his ninth title fly past him. All of Federer’s aces, significantly more than those of Djokovic, could not help the Swiss Maestro edge past Djokovic as the Siberian registered a hard-earned finish past the Wimbledon Champion. Sunday was the third time that Novak defeated Federer in a Wimbledon final. The first-ever fifth set tiebreaker at Wimbledon saw Djokovic prove why he is a threat in tiebreakers as he moved to 16 Grand Slam titles nearing Nadal (18) and Federer (20). Both events drew the audience to the edge of their seats as anticipation filled the venues. But even that was second to the level of unprecedented matches we got to witness which made headlines in dailies worldwide. Several hearts sunk as many more revelled upon the culmination of perhaps one of a kind July Sunday. Morally, people feel that both Federer and Djokovic deserved the trophy which is the same for England and New Zealand. For their performance, resilience, passion, sportsmanship and undying spirit, they already made it to the hearts of billions and what remains are written down results for records. In a sense, the Wimbledon and the World Cup got to taste one of the most memorable finals ever to be played and London had every right to celebrate as the host to them, and also as the winner of their maiden Cricket World Cup!last_img read more


first_imgNew Delhi: The Railways on Tuesday clarified that the letters sent to zonal offices to identify employees above the age of 55 years and those who have completed 30 years in service were for a “routine” performance review. The clarification came amid speculation that the national transporter was in the midst of compulsorily retiring a sizeable number of its employees. This review, the Railways said in a statement, was laid down by the Railway Establishment Code and was required to be conducted by the administration in “public interest”. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details “Letters have been issued to railway zones/production units merely by way of reiteration to conduct the routine review of performance of the railway employees in pursuance of service conditions,” the statement said. “It is a routine exercise which is required to be conducted by the administration in public interest and the same has been conducted in previous years as well. Any reference regarding the number of employees being retired under such rules is thus without any substance,” it added. The Railways said it had recruited approximately 1,84,262 employees in various categories during the period of 2014-2019. An exercise for the recruitment of 2,83,637 staffers is underway and examinations have already been conducted for 1,41,060 posts. The process shall be completed within the next two months, it said.last_img read more


first_imgLahore: Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jammat-ud Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed was declared guilty of “terror financing” by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in a Pakistani court on Wednesday. Saeed, a UN designated terrorist whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty on, was presented before the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Gujranwala, some 80-km from Lahore, in high security where he was charge-sheeted of terror financing by the CTD of Punjab police. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details A CTD official told PTI that it submitted challan in the ATC declaring Saeed guilty of terror financing. “Since the case is related to Mandi Bhauddin district of Punjab therefore the prosecution requested the court to shift it to Gujrat ATC court (some 200-km from Lahore),” he said. On the prosecution’s request, the ATC Gujranwala shifted the case to the Gujrat ATC. He said next hearing of the case (which is yet to be fixed) will be held in the Gujrat ATC. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Saeed was travelling to Gujranwala from Lahore to get pre-arrest bail in terror financing cases registered against him there when he was arrested on July 17. Saeed is being kept at the Kot Lakhpat jail Lahore in high security. The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice. Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. He was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. The CTD on July 3 registered 23 FIRs against 13 JuD leaders including Saeed on the charges of terror financing in different cities of Punjab province. Since the Imran Khan government has taken control of the JuD and its charity wing Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) properties including seminaries and mosques across the country following immense international pressure built up after Pulwama attack, Saeed was keeping a low profile at his Lahore’s Jauhar Town residence. He was even barred from entering the JuD headquarters in Lahore and Muridke. The Pakistani government had also arrested the JuD’s second-in-command Abdul Rehman Makki, who is brother-in-law of Saeed, on the charges of making a public speech and terror financing charges. The CTD said it booked Saeed and his 12 aides for ‘terror financing’ in 23 cases after “irrefutable evidence against them was detected. The cases have been registered in Lahore, Gujranwala & Multan for collection of funds for terrorism financing through assets/properties made and held in the names of Trusts/ Non Profit Organisations (NPO) including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc. The CTD said investigation launched into financing matters of proscribed organisations — JuD and LeT — in connection with implementation of UN Sanctions against these Designated Entities & Persons as directed by NSC (National Security Committee) in its Meeting of January 1, 2019 chaired by the Prime Minister Imran Khan for implementing the National Action Plan. “These suspects made assets from funds of terrorism financing. They held & used these assets to raise more funds for further terrorism financing. Hence, they committed multiple offences of terrorism financing & money laundering under Anti Terrorism Act 1997. They will be prosecuted in ATCs (Anti Terrorism Courts) for commission of these offences,” the CTD said. Makki, MaliK Zafar Iqbal, Ameer Hamza, Muhammad Yahya Aziz, Muhammad Naeem Sh, Mohsin Bilal, Abdul Raqeeb, Ahmad Daud, Muhammad Ayub, Abdullah Ubaid, Muhammad Ali and Abdul Ghaffar are other suspects. The other suspects reported to have been hiding since the government took over over the properties of these organisations.last_img read more


first_imgKalyani (West Bengal): Real Kashmir FC overcame the mental turmoil arising out of uncertain situations back home as they beat Chennai City FC 1-0 through a last minute goal in the 129th Durand Cup fixture here on Wednesday. A Danish Farooq long range strike in the 90th minute gave the ‘Snow Leopards’ a solitary goal win over the Chennai side. With a lockdown in force in Jammu and Kashmir in the aftermath of the scrapping of Article 370, Real Kashmir assembled for the first time this season here late Monday night only to realise they’re cut off from family members back home. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhBut it did not show in their performance as the David Robertson-coached side dominated against the reigning I-League champions who fielded a reserve side full of local players. The inexperience of Chennai City showed when goalkeeper Kabir T handled the ball outside the penalty box to be sent off in the 76th minute. Seizing on the numerical advantage over the Chennai side, Real Kashmir stepped on the attack and in the 90th minute their star player Farooq sent a powerful right footer from a long range, which beat substitute goalkeeper Prateek Singh all ends up. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later”We play professional football. You have to be professional. These sort of things keep happening. Tomorrow something else may happen. Football teaches you how to tackle these situations and play well despite the odds,” Farooq said, reflecting on the situation back home. Showering praise on their Scottish coach, he said it’s Robertson job to keep the players in good mood despite all odds. “Our team atmosphere is like this only, all thanks to our coach. He keeps everyone in good mood and never let us bog down by any pressure. He plays a big role. He keeps motivating us. Don’t keep anything in mind just focus on the game,” said Farooq. “It’s our first match of the season. We never knew what would be our result and we assembled after a long time. So I’m sure this win will boost our confidence. There’s a positive atmosphere in the team,” he said. In their debut I-League season, Real Kashmir were in the title race at one stage before finishing third behind Chennai City and East Bengal. “Our off-season was going on and we met each other two days ago here at the hotel only. Our preparation just began with Durand Cup. Our main goal is I-league. This tournament will help us in getting fit,” he said. Hailed as the ‘Ronaldo of Kashmir’, Farooq had a stomach bug on the eve of the match as he struggled to get going early on a drenched afternoon here. Farooq and Subhas Singh both missed successive opportunities in a second minute move when the ball ricocheted off the post, in what was their best chance of the match. But Farooq finally made it count to seal the three points before the final whistle to keep their semifinal hopes alive. Dedicating the goal to the entire team members, support staff and owners, Farooq said: “They have been hardworking to make a good competitive team. They asked to put up a better show. We will try to do well in upcoming matches as well.” Real Kashmir play Army Green on August 10 and Chennai City will play FC Goa on August 14, both at Kalyani Stadium.last_img read more


first_imgPeshawar: Flash floods and landslides triggered by the monsoon rains have killed at least 18 people, including women and children, in northwest Pakistan, an official said on Sunday. At least 12 people were killed and over 22 others injured in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to flash floods, landslides and rain-related accidents, said a spokesman for the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA). Three people were killed each in Bajaur and Swat district. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US One person was killed each in Dir Lower, Buner, Malakand, Shangla, Aurakzai and Torghar districts, the spokesman said, adding that the deceased included two women and two children. In Chitral district, the colony setup for Chinese engineers working on Lawari tunnel was also inundated by flash floods, the official said. However, the engineers were evacuated to safer places. At least six people were killed when their vehicle fell in the Indus river in Kohistan district. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls The passengers were travelling from Gilgit to lower dir district for Eid vacations when they met the accident took place at Janchal area. Rains and snowfall often cause landslides and flash floods in northern Pakistan where millions live in mountainous areas. Last month, at least 28 people were killed in heavy rains and flash floods that wreaked havoc in the Neelum Valley in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.last_img read more


first_imgGurugram: The dream to acquire a full-frame mirrorless camera is gaining momentum among both entry-level and professional photographers in India and Japanese camera and digital imaging company Canon is optimistic to see sales being picked up well with the wedding and festival season around the corner. According to Kazutada Kobayashi, President and CEO, Canon India, since the company brought its first full-frame mirrorless camera EOS R to India last year and its lightest and smallest full-frame mirrorless camera EOS RP in February this year, the inquiries about both the cameras have grown multi-fold at its shops across the country. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year “We could see that several professional photographers who used DSLRs with mirror have started to convert their thinking to acquire full-frame mirrorless devices. “There is a rush of active inquiries at our shops on full-frame mirrorless cameras. I expect a good business to start from September onwards with the herald of wedding and festival season,” Kobayashi told IANS here in a free-wheeling interview. The 30.3MP EOS R camera costs Rs 189,950 and with the EOS R kit (RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens), the price is Rs 278,945. The EOS RP camera starts at Rs 110,495 and with the EOS RP kit, the camera costs Rs 199,490. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India “We are shifting focus from low to mid and high camera segment. Our camera business in India stays as it is at this point of time and I expect it to grow further in coming months,” said the Canon executive. Excluding the impact of GST, Canon registered net growth of double digit (over 10 per cent) in the country last year. At present, the Japanese major is leading the DSLR segment in India. According to Kobayashi, he is happy with the progress in the first half of the year across verticals – in both B2B and B2C – in the Indian market. “Though a bit short of my original aim of double-digit growth this year, the company is still making a good progress on both B2B and B2C fronts,” he noted. Canon India in June expanded its PIXMA G Series line-up with the new category launch of Monochrome Ink Tank Printer and two variants in the colour Ink Tank printers. The new line-up features the popular integrated Ink Tank design, automatic two-sided printing, large paper feeding capacity, and full network compatibility, making them ideal for customers with high-print volume demands. “Our foray into the ink tank category was a critical milestone to our printer business, which has led to a steady growth in our market share in the inkjet category. This has also led to the Consumer System Products division become one of the highest contributing businesses for us in India,” informed Kobayashi. With an ultra-low printing cost of approximately eight paisa per print, the latest G series printers are equipped to reduce the cost of printing by almost 90 per cent, as compared to mono laser printers which costs approximately Rs two per print with original toners. “I am optimistic that the launch will further enhance our presence in India, and increase our market share by 25 per cent in the ink tank category,” said Kobayashi, who has completed nearly eight years at Canon India. He is bullish on the Indian market amid political stability in the country. “Good news is that the Indian economy is greatly maintained owing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his initiatives like Digital India. It gives us all the reason to push the envelope in the country across verticals and develop user-friendly and cost-effective cameras and printers in years to come,” stressed Kobayashi.last_img read more


first_imgNew Delhi: Originally intended to serve as an advanced operating system for digital cameras, Android OS has come a long way and its next iteration — Android Q is set to be officially introduced in the third quarter (Q3) this year by Google.Google acquired Android Inc. for nearly $50 million in July 2005.Since then, the OS has grown by leaps and bounds as the company continues to license the Android OS to third-party OEMs like Huawei, OnePlus, Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo and Realme, to name a few. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this yearIn a bid to deliver better user experiences, the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are now using the same base code and adding their own skin atop the Android user interface (UI) — often using it as a selling point to stand out.Custom Android UIs such as EMUI by Huawei, OxygenOS by OnePlus and One UI by Samsung — which has succeeded Samsung Experience and TouchWiz — offer a better experience to users with less bloatware than ever.We take a look at some of the top Android skins and customisations available today. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in IndiaOxygenOS: Developed by Chinese handset maker OnePlus, it is a customised version of Android mobile OS exclusively for their smartphones. The highly-acclaimed skin offers close to vanilla Android sans any bloatware. It also offers a number of useful performance optimisations such as iPhone XS-style gesture interface.EMUI: Chinese tech giant develops this custom UI for its Huawei and Honor line-up of smartphones. Previously known as Emotion UI, this custom skin offers features like navigation gestures, customisable home screen, gestures to launch apps and more. OneUI: Samsung’s One UI is a crisp interface and a massive upgrade from TouchWiz that was full of bloatware. One UI offers a simple user experience while notes, emails and other Samsung apps have been customised to show only essential information.MIUI: Chinese handset maker Xiaomi’s skin is known as MIUI, which is a highly-customised version of Android. Its Redmi, Mi and Poco line-up of devices use this skin. The UI has some bloatware and has also faced flak for pushing ads into the MIUI apps, including the music app and even the settings menu.ColorOS: Oppo, another Chinese handset maker calls its custom skin ColorOS. It features gestures that can be used to launch apps, lock screen magazine among others.last_img read more


first_imgKolkata: The School Service Commission (SSC) on Monday lodged a complaint at the local police station against Arijit Das, who stepped into the SSC office with a fake verification letter on Monday morning.Das, a resident of Nandigram in East Midnapore, entered into the office and told the staff members that he was carrying a verification letter that says his interview for Group D’s post would be conducted at table number 29 on August 26. The matter was immediately brought to the attention of SSC Chairman, Soumitra Sarkar, who went through the verification letter and found it fake. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaHe immediately called up the local police station and lodged a complaint later on the day with the cyber crime department. Das sat for the Group D exam in 2016 but failed to clear the examination. Das claimed that he was introduced to Bikram Mondal by a person in his locality in 2018. Mondal claimed himself to be an employee of the SSC office and assured Das a job at the SSC office in the Group D post. Das had paid Rs 2.5 lakh to Mondal. Das also promised to pay another Rs 1.5 after he gets the job. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayDas was held by the Bidhannagar police for further interrogation. Police have started a detailed probe. “I went through the verification letter and found that it to be fake. The website mentioned on the letter is also fake. I immediately rang up the police station and lodged an official complaint. We have no such table as it was mentioned on the fake letter. It was an attempt by some people to malign the SSC office,” SSC Chairman Sarkar said.last_img read more


first_imgDubai: As the U.S. tries a new way to protect shipping across the Persian Gulf amid tensions with Iran, it finds itself sailing into uncertain waters. For decades, the U.S. has considered the waters of the Persian Gulf as critical to its national security. Through the gulf’s narrow mouth, the Strait of Hormuz, 20% of all crude oil sold passes onto the world market. Any disruption there likely will see energy prices spike. The U.S. has been willing to use its firepower to ensure that doesn’t happen. It escorted ships here in the so-called 1980s “Tanker War .” America fought its last major naval battle in these waters in 1988 against Iran. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US Now, the U.S. Navy is trying to put together a new coalition of nations to counter what it sees as a renewed maritime threat from Iran. But the situation decades later couldn’t be more different. The U.S. public is fatigued from years of Mideast warfare after the Sept. 11 attacks. The demand for Persian Gulf oil has switched to Asia. Gulf Arab nations poured billions of dollars into their own weapons purchases while inviting a host of nations to station their own forces here, even as infighting dominates their relations. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls Meanwhile, Iran finds itself backed into a corner and ready for a possible conflict it had 30 years for which to prepare. It stands poised this week to further break the terms of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, over a year after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the accord and imposed crippling sanctions on the country. “It is plausible to imagine a scenario where these forces stumble into some type of accidental escalation,” said Becca Wasser, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corp. who studies the region. “While U.S. efforts are intended to deter, Iran may view increased U.S. maritime presence as offensive in nature or as preparation for a larger attack on Iran and respond accordingly.” The U.S.-led Sentinel Program aims to secure the broader Persian Gulf region. It includes surveillance of the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb, another narrow strait that connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden off Yemen and East Africa. Smaller patrol boats and other craft will be available for rapid response. The plan also allows for nations to escort their own ships through the region, said Cmdr. Joshua Frey, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which oversees the region. For now, the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet is not escorting U.S.-flagged ships through waters, though that remains a possibility, he said. So far, only Australia, Bahrain and the United Kingdom have said they’ll join the U.S. program. India has begun escorting its own ships independently of the U.S. coalition, while China has suggested it could get involved as well. The U.S. Navy has sent Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers to chokepoint positions, like either end of the Strait of Hormuz. There, they observe ship traffic and monitor for anything unusual as drones and other aircraft fly surveillance routes overhead, Frey said. Some of what the U.S. plan calls for already falls under the routine operations of the 5th Fleet, which has been in the region since 1995. U.S. Navy ships coming in and out of the Persian Gulf often find themselves shadowed by Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels. Some incidents have seen the U.S. fire warning shots or Iranian forces test-fire missiles nearby. What’s different now though is shippers find themselves under attack. The U.S. blames Iran for the apparent limpet mine explosions on four vessels in May and another two in June sailing in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz, something Iran denies being behind. Iran also seized a British-flagged oil tanker and another based in the United Arab Emirates. Facing growing financial pressure from U.S. sanctions on its oil industry, Iran has sought diplomatic support from those still in the deal, while increasing pressure militarily as well. Even President Hassan Rouhani, who had supported rapprochement with the U.S. in the run-up to the 2015 deal, has been threatening to close off the Strait of Hormuz if Tehran can’t sell its oil abroad. “If someday, the United States decides to block Iran’s oil, no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf,” he told a cheering crowd in December 2018. That raises the stakes for conflict. “The United States is not seeking a military confrontation, and are certainly not soliciting international support for any provocation,” Frey said. “With that said, while the intent of our presence is deterrence and stability, we are prepared to defend (coalition) member nations’ interests from attacks in the maritime domain.” But it won’t be just the United States involved if things spin out of control, nor will it likely be confined to the high seas. Since the 1980 Carter Doctrine, the U.S. has vowed to use its military power to defend its interests in the oil-rich Persian Gulf. That saw America enter the “Tanker War” toward the end of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, in which U.S. naval ships escorted reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers. It culminated in a one-day naval battle between Washington and Tehran, and also saw America accidentally shoot down an Iranian passenger jet, killing 290 people. The 1991 Gulf War, in which a U.S.-led coalition expelled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s troops from Kuwait, further cemented America’s presence, as did its later wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.last_img read more


first_imgCALGARY – A teenager has been charged with maiming a police animal after a Calgary police dog was stabbed multiple times in the head over the weekend.A six-year-old German Shepherd named Jester was hurt early Sunday trying to catch the youth outside a Calgary school where officers were responding to a break-in.The 14-year-old is also charged with break-and-enter and possessing a weapon dangerous to the public.It’s the first time the Calgary Police Service has laid charges under a new section of the criminal code that protects law enforcement animals.That youth, along with a 15-year-old who has been charged with break-and-enter, cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.Jester’s condition has been upgraded from life-threatening to serious and the six-year-old dog is now recovering at home with his handler.Jester has been a canine officer for five years and it’s not clear if he will be able to return to duty.The 14-year-old is being charged under the Justice for Animals in Service Act, known as Quanto’s Law, which came into force in 2015. The law was named after an Edmonton police dog named Quanto who was stabbed in the RCMP headquarters parking lot while helping to catch a fleeing suspect in 2013.Anyone convicted of intentionally killing or maiming a police dog or service animal under the law faces a maximum of five years in prison. If the animal dies, the minimum sentence is six months.Edmonton police were the first to lay a charge under Quanto’s Law last year when one of their dogs suffered non-life-threatening injuries while helping police catch a driver they said fled on foot after a lengthy vehicle chase.last_img read more


first_imgOTTAWA – The federal government sent a doctor to Cuba to examine Canadian diplomats who suffered everything from nosebleeds to short-term memory loss amid concern about mysterious acoustic attacks, newly declassified memos show.The June visit to Havana by Dr. Jeffrey Chernin of Health Canada revealed symptoms similar to those experienced by U.S. personnel in Cuba, the internal Global Affairs Canada notes say.Word of the perplexing phenomenon — which remains unexplained — emerged during the summer, prompting the United States to bring many diplomats home from Havana and to expel Cuban representatives from Washington.In August, Ottawa acknowledged that an unspecified number of Canadians in Cuba had been affected, but Global Affairs has said little about the events.The newly disclosed records, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, show that as early as May, Canada’s mission in Havana was seeking help in working out “next steps” for Canadian staff having problems.“Many of the symptoms are similar to signs of extreme stress, and there is the possibility that there could be mental health effects caused by the fear of being targeted,” wrote diplomat Karen Foss. “Either way, testing should help to rule out cases and reassure personnel that we have the means to be able to provide duty of care.”Symptoms included headaches, dizziness, nausea, hearing loss, nosebleeds and cognitive issues including loss of short-term memory.But Canadian officials were puzzled about who or what might have been behind the purported attacks.“There are no answers,” Foss wrote in a May 28 email. “We are left to (sift through) what we know about … the targets and possible suspects.”About a week later, Foss advised that the head of Canada’s mission in Cuba had called a meeting of staff to advise of the “increased threat level.”A security situation overview noted a need to review who in the mission “is most vulnerable because of any pre-existing condition or other consideration that means they are at greater risk if they are targeted.”Canadian officials quietly began drafting statements in case the “situation is leaked to the press” — noting there were hints the issue was being discussed at a Virginia school.By June 9, the mission was underscoring the need for help from a federal medical adviser and stressing that new diplomatic personnel bound for Cuba should be made aware as soon as possible of the strange ailments affecting staff.Local guards were asked to increase their patrols around the residential properties of Canadian staff and to be extra vigilant in reporting.Dr. Chernin arrived in Havana on June 18 to meet concerned staff individually and take part in a townhall-style meeting a few days later. The doctor found that symptoms, experience and recovery varied, but he seemed to rule out viral causes such as the flu or hearing loss due to age.Privy Council Office and Global Affairs Canada officials held a subsequent meeting with Cuban counterparts to encourage “closer collaboration” on fact-finding, explore the possibility of greater security in areas where Canadian diplomats were living “to discourage further attacks” and express Canada’s ongoing commitment to good relations.All Canadian personnel experiencing symptoms have undergone testing in Canada or the U.S., Global Affairs spokeswoman Sujata Raisinghani said Thursday.However, she declined to say how many diplomats and family members have been affected.“The government of Canada continues to work closely with Cuban authorities to ascertain the cause of these unusual symptoms.”— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more


first_imgAt least five people have died recently from falling into tree wells while skiing or snowboarding in the mountains of Western Canada and the United States.The deaths have mountain experts warning outdoor enthusiasts about the natural snow hazard — a space of loose, deep snow that can form around tree trunks.They are most common around evergreen trees and can be deeper in heavy snowfall years.“Calculating (five) fatalities in tree wells is almost kind of shocking,” said Jeff Bullock, a certified guide who is mountain programs manager at the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre.“Honestly, I don’t recall a year where there have been multiple fatalities in tree wells.”On March 2, a Calgary man was found dead in a tree well at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Charles Herr, 56, was skiing at the Montana resort with a friend when they lost sight of each other.Herr’s death was the fifth tree-well fatality in the western provinces and states in the same week.A 19-year old female skier and a 24-year old male snowboarder fell separately into tree wells at Mt. Bachelor ski resort in Oregon, also on March 2.A day earlier, an Alberta man died near Floe Lake in Kootenay National Park on a backcountry ski trip.And on Feb. 26, a Vancouver man died near Keefer Lake Lodge in B.C.’s North Okanagan. The skier became separated from his group during a cat-skiing tour and was found unconscious in a tree well. He died in hospital.The Vancouver man has not been publicly identified, but his friend Adam Campbell of Canmore, Alta., said his death hit close to home.“It would just be a horrible way to go. You’re suffocating and you know you’ve got friends close by,” Campbell said.“You get stuck in this environment with people close by and, for whatever reason, they can’t hear you.”Campbell, who regularly skis in the backcountry, said tree wells are one of the many hazards in the mountains.“Avalanche awareness is huge — as it should be — but there’s a lot of other risks out there as well and that’s one of them,” he said. “It’s not talked about as much.”Mountain experts say tree wells can be dangerous in the backcountry as well as at controlled ski resorts.“Anywhere there is a tree and there’s a hole there, there’s certainly potential that could happen,” said Steve Holeczi, a visitor safety specialist in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks.Holeczi said it’s important to always ski with a friend and try to stay in visual contact and within earshot.“You should always travel with a partner and be really cognizant of where your partner is,” he said. “If you are … falling in a tree well, your most likely chance of getting rescued is by that person.”Bullock advises it’s important to get your skis or snowboard off if you do get stuck in a tree well. That makes it easier to flip around and breathe.If that’s impossible to do, it’s important to remain calm and try to find an air pocket.Any rescue needs to be done with a sense of urgency, he said.“It may not seem as serious as an avalanche but, as we are learning, they are fairly serious.”— Follow @cderworiz on Twitterlast_img read more


first_imgTISDALE, Sask. – Last Friday, Myles Shumlanski sped down the highway to the scene of a nightmare.He stopped there again Tuesday, looking through snow for wallets, cellphones and other belongings of the 16 people who died.“It’s starting to melt,” he told The Canadian Press.“I’m sure some parents would really appreciate something returned.”For Shumlanski, the rural intersection he passes each day on the way to his home in northeastern Saskatchewan will never be the same.He was one of the first to arrive after a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team collided with a semi truck about 20 kilometres north of Tisdale. The team was on its way to a playoff game in nearby Nipawin.Shumlanski’s 20-year-old son, Nick, a forward who had recently joined the Broncos, was on the bus.He was miraculously able to walk away from the wreckage, grab a phone lying in the debris and call home.His parents, sitting in their house along the highway just a kilometre away, had seen the bus go by.“You know, I kind of heard something. But we’ve got dogs so we really never paid attention,” said Shumlanski. “All of a sudden, a phone call. It was him. They were in an accident.”He said he jumped in his vehicle and headed down the road. It was a devastating site.“I don’t know how to explain it even as a nightmare, because it’s past a nightmare,” said Shumlanski.“When you come up you see that bus and you didn’t know it was a bus … the roof was beside the bus. It was torn off.“Some people thought it was just part of the trailer before they started seeing that carnage.”Shumlanski said he helped those he could.“I looked under the roof. The boys under there were still alive so I put blankets over them.”Shumlanski said his shaken son waited in the family’s vehicle.“I had to run back to give him a hug because you just knew, ‘Oh my God you’re a fortunate guy.’”Most of the debris has been removed since police reopened the intersection on Sunday. A large tarp remained over some of the muddy frozen ground where the bus landed.A memorial was set up — two crosses made of hockey sticks with the words “Humboldt Strong” written on them, with stuffed animals, hundreds of bouquets of flowers and messages of condolences as well as a small wooden altar covered in flowers and candles.“April 6, 2018. For those who were lost. For those that survived.”Lorrie White and his father Norman, who live on farms across the road from the crash came to pay their respects.“Dad kind of wanted to come and have a look and I was here last night just to show respect for the ones that lost their lives here. It’s terrible,” said Lorrie.He said he heard the collision.“I thought it was maybe the train because the train had just been here hooking up cars and when they do that it bangs, you know? But my wife said, ‘No. I think that was a different bang.’”Shumlanski said Nick is strong and doing okay despite what he has gone through and visits the hospital every day. Most of the 13 injured are still being treated for various injuries.“I think his counselling is staying at the hospitals with his buddies and talking to his hockey friends. The other night he was going to the hospital. It was a little late. I said are you sure you want to go. He said those boys need to see a survivor and so do their parents,” he said.RCMP said they continue to investigate the cause of the crash, but Myles Shumlanski said he can’t help but be angry at the truck driver, who wasn’t injured.“An accident of this magnitude shouldn’t have happened. But it happened and there’s nothing we can do about it now,” he said.“Of course I’m angry, because there’s a stop sign. What happened? Why would this happen?”— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitterlast_img read more


first_imgTORONTO – Doug Ford is set to officially become Ontario’s premier on Friday and he’s inviting the public to come watch.A ceremony is scheduled to take place on the steps of the legislature after the Progressive Conservative leader and his cabinet are sworn in inside Queen’s Park.While the indoor portion is closed to the public, the ceremony outside — which will see Ford reaffirm his oath of office and give a speech — is open to everyone.Ford, who was elected to a majority earlier this month, has yet to say what size his cabinet will be or who will be appointed to each portfolio.But he has made several other major announcements, including a pledge to scrap the province’s cap-and-trade system immediately once the legislature resumes.He has also placed the public service under a hiring freeze and ordered that all discretionary spending be put on hold.last_img read more


first_imgLENDRUM TOWNSHIP, Ont. – Police say four people killed in a two-vehicle crash in northern Ontario over the weekend were from Calgary and Winnipeg.Ontario provincial police say the collision happened Sunday in Lendrum Township, about 15 kilometres south of Wawa, Ont., when a southbound vehicle struck a moose and crossed into oncoming traffic, hitting a northbound vehicle.They say all five people in the northbound vehicle were taken to hospital with serious injuries and two of them died.Police have identified those two people as 51-year-old Cynthia Caraoa and nine-year-old Anika Caraoa of Winnipeg.They say two people in the southbound vehicle were pronounced dead on scene and two others were also transported to hospital with serious injuries.Police identified the deceased as 45-year-old Fatos Metko and 14-year-old Fioralb Metko of Calgary.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly said five people were in the vehicle that struck the moose.last_img read more


first_imgOTTAWA — The federal Liberals are attacking the Ontario Progressive Conservative government’s first budget since Doug Ford was elected premier, hoping voters across the country will connect the document’s cuts to social spending and the yet-to-be-announced policy leanings of Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives.The provincial budget proposes cuts in post-secondary education and social services, scaling back the growth in spending projected by Ontario’s former Liberal government.Federal Employment Minister Patty Hajdu, an MP from Thunder Bay in northern Ontario, called the budget “reckless” in how it takes a knife to programs that affect everything from social security and job creation to northern development and the province’s ability to fight forest fires.At almost every turn at a news conference Friday, Hajdu told reporters in Ottawa that voters across the country can expect the same kind of “cruel” fiscal slashing from the federal Conservatives under Scheer’s leadership, should they choose him to govern the nation in the October election.“From my perspective, Doug Ford and his cronies are trying to pull a fast one on Ontarians,” Hajdu said. “It’s quite clear that Andrew Scheer would take exactly the same tactic.”Much as the federal Liberals did in 2015, the Ford government is pledging to balance Ontario’s books several years down the road.Justin Trudeau didn’t deliver on his campaign pledge of “modest” deficit spending with a plan to balance the federal budget by 2019. Every year, his government has produced bigger deficits than it promised, and this year’s is nearly $20 billion.Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said Thursday he expected the province would eliminate its budget deficit by the 2023-24 fiscal year, two years later than the provincial Tories promised when they were campaigning.“We have developed a reasonable path to balance,” Fedeli said. “Our path to balance in five years is a thoughtful and a measured approach to take.”Federal Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre, who for months has been hounding the Trudeau Liberals to say when the federal books will be balanced, said Friday he understands the Ontario PC government was handed a tenuous fiscal situation by the province’s former Liberal government.With that in mind, the Ford government has taken a responsible approach with a plan to bring deficit spending to an eventual end, Poilievre said.“They inherited a disastrous financial situation and they’ve tried to balance fiscal responsibility against the continuing needs of the people while constrained by enormous record debt,” he said. “I think they got the balance right.”Under the Ontario budget, program expenses in the province are to rise over three years by an average of 0.8 per cent, compared to the 3.3 per cent in growth that the former Liberal government had projected.The document talks about fighting climate change “without a carbon tax,” but provides no new money for climate programs. It does, however, earmark cash for clean-technology investments that could create jobs in industries producing solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicle charging stations.“Canadians want us to take action on things like climate,” Hajdu said, denouncing the Ford government’s criticism of the federal carbon tax. “They know that their children’s health and safety depends on governments that are going to take responsible action.”Hajdu wasn’t focused only on the Ford government Friday. She lumped Jason Kenney’s Alberta Conservatives together with the Ford government in warning Canadians that they can expect “cuts, cuts, cuts” to spending under a Scheer government similar to those announced in Ontario and proposed in Alberta where Kenney is fighting to unseat his province’s NDP government.“We see the Conservative governments behave the same way no matter where they are elected,” said Hajdu.Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgHAMILTON — The federal NDP says if it is elected this fall it will expand Canada’s health-care system, starting with fast-tracking a universal drug plan to ensure a late 2020 start date.NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says if his party forms government after the October federal election, it will inject $10 billion annually into a national pharmacare program.The NDP proposal would see the pharmacare program start sooner than an expert panel recently recommended.The panel said a national list of prescription drugs for pharmacare should be established by Jan. 1, 2022, and be expanded no later than Jan. 1, 2027.The NDP policy comes in a new “commitments document” — dubbed A New Deal for People — unveiled today at the Ontario NDP convention in Hamilton.In remarks provided to the media in advance of his convention speech Sunday morning, Singh says the plan would save families who already have insurance coverage $550 a year.“For the first time, every single Canadian can count on this,” he said. “If you need medication, if someone you love needs medication, you can get it — period. Paid for with your health card, not your credit card.”Singh said the NDP plan would also eventually expand universal coverage to dental, vision and hearing care as well.The 109-page document also contains promises to create 500,000 more affordable housing units, expand grant programs for post-secondary education and address the cost of cellphone service and high-speed broadband.The party is pledging to spend a billion dollars in 2020 to enhance child care across the country.The document also promises to restore door-to-door mail delivery to all communities that have lost it — which would cost $100 million — and to establish a gasoline-price watchdog to monitor fuel prices and prevent “gouging.”The party says it would raise government revenues to pay for its policies through a number of measures including increasing corporate taxes and by creating a so-called “wealth tax.”Taxes on the richest Canadians — those with net worth of $20 million or more — would jump by one per cent, generating several billion dollars annually in revenue.“The Liberals and Conservatives have been working for the people at the very top instead of working for you,” Singh said. “We are going to change that.”The party would roll back corporate tax cuts provided by previous governments to 2010 levels, an increase from the current 15 to 18 per cent, generating billions more for government coffers a year.Singh said the party would also institute a 15 per cent foreign buyers tax on residential purchases to prevent housing markets from overheating.The NDP does not make a specific promise to balance the federal budget.“In all cases, we will manage debt and deficits responsibly, borrowing when required to defend the services that Canadians and their families rely on, and moving to balance when prudent,” the document says.Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgOTTAWA (NEWS 1130) –  The Prime Minister’s ethics violations in the SNC-Lavalin affair may have caused some bad headlines, but they don’t appear to be making a big impact in the polls.The Conservatives and the Liberals remain locked in a statistical dead heat. And Mike Colledge, President of Ipsos Public Affairs, says even with the ethics commissioner’s report, there hasn’t been a significant change.“We saw the Conservatives drop two points, the Liberals up two points, all well within the margin of error,” he says. “So, they have the Conservatives at 35 per cent [and] the Liberals at 33.”Colledge says the scandal is likely not having a big impact so far because voters already made up their minds about the Prime Minister’s actions in the spring.RELATED: SNC-Lavalin stock takes a new tumble after credit downgrade, political flare-up“So when the ethics commissioner came out last week for the majority of the population it was yes, that confirms either that side or that side, whichever [they] felt going into that.”But, he adds, there is a risk for the Liberals if the negative headlines continue in the coming weeks.“The longer this discussion is going on, the less likely the Liberals are able to move their numbers up. So, if the Conservatives and NDP can keep them talking about SNC-Lavalin, then I think they’d be happy to see that.”The other parties are still well back in the polls, with the NDP at 18 per cent and the Greens at nine.The federal election takes place this October.last_img read more


first_imgHan Geng, the singer, dancer and actor known as ‘the most influential male celebrity in China’ delivered last Saturday a speech that motivated the new generation of aspiring Chinese business leaders.Han Geng at LSBF Hope EventCredit/Copyright: LSBFHundreds of fans were inspired by the words of one of the most famous and influential Chinese men of our time. The event was hosted in support of the LSBF HOPE Foundation, a charity which aims to give young people the chance to achieve their dreams and career goals.Known as “King of Popularity” and having won the MTV’s EMA ‘Best Worldwide Act’, Han Geng is one of the most influential artists in China. During his speech, Han Geng showed how his way to the top was a story of struggle, fighting and striving to succeed overseas. His fans were able to discover the “man behind the success” and be inspired by Han Geng’s story.The event was hosted at the Westminster Central Hall, one of the most impressive venues in London. Before Han Geng’s speech, the audience had the chance to listen to the Director at LSBF School of English, Fay Drewry, who spoke about the challenges of studying and living in a foreign country, and the importance that English plays in the world today. The audience also watched a fashion show with the creations of students from the London College of Contemporary Arts and from the School of Fashion and Design London.Han Geng was received at the stage by LSBF’s Rector and CEO, Professor Maurits Van Rooijen, who presented him with an Award of Appreciation for his support to the LSBF HOPE cause.Members of the LSBF Board were at the event giving students the chance to learn more on how investing in education can help them to achieve more and take their careers further.The entire amount raised with donations at the event will be reverted to LSBF HOPE Foundation, which will be used for investing in charity schools in China.If you would like to learn more about how to develop you career with LSBF, click here.last_img read more