first_imgThe frugal Azim Premji, chairman of Bangalore-based IT giant Wipro, has reason to be annoyed with India’s Union Budget, which was announced last week. The man who switches off the lights when he leaves a room has been hit by a double whammy by finance minister Arun Jaitley. Not only has the surcharge for individuals who earn more than Rs. 1 crore ($149,000) a year been raised to 15% from the existing 12%, an additional tax of 10% — a new dividend distribution tax (DDT) — has been proposed on dividend income of more than Rs. 1 million from domestic companies.Premji is the top casualty of this new tax. While other well-heeled promoters have increased public holding and set up trusts and foundations to take care of ownership issues, Premji has kept his shareholding close to home. According to Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) data, the Wipro promoter and promoter group entities held 73.35% of the shares in the company as of December 2015Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information and Broadcasting Arun Jaitleyarrives at Parliament House to present the General Budget 2016-17.Will the government do a better job with the money it has squeezed out of the rich? Well, certainly not with the $32 million it expects to extract from Premji. Besides, for Premji, it’s loose change. The Hurun India Philanthropy List 2015, published in January this year, names him the “Most Generous Indian” making up 80% of the donations on the list. His total giving during the year is estimated at $4.1 billion, more than 10 times the contribution of former Infosys chief Nandan Nilekani and family ($358.9 million).Not that the givers are carping about this diversion of their generosity to pay bureaucrats’ salaries; the seventh pay commission has recommended a $15.23 billion bonanza for civil servants, most of which will have to be accommodated in the current Budget.“On the DDT tax, while I am personally going to be affected, I agree with the government as it is a progressive tax measure,” says Nilekani. “No comment,” says Premji.Negative ReactionIs that all one can highlight in a financial roadmap that affects the lives of 1.31 billion Indians? Initially, the response to the Budget was negative. Everyone was waiting for the fine-print which, in the past, has bedeviled the headline announcements. The BSE sensitive index (Sensex) fell to its 52-week low. “The Sensex fell as much as 2.85%, or 659 points, to 22,494 as market participants gave a thumbs down to Jaitley’s announcements, particularly with respect to taxing of dividend income in the hands of high net-worth individuals,” opined business daily Mint. (The markets recovered later to end the day 152 points down.) According to The Times of India, “Jaitley made a strong push to counter the suit-boot ki sarkar [government for the rich] tag conferred on it by [Congress leader] Rahul Gandhi by unveiling a Budget that focused on wooing farmers and the poor while conspicuously soaking the rich.”The rich may get a bit wet but, frankly, they would welcome a soaking — literally. India has had two bad monsoons in a row; a third would be a disaster. Although agriculture contributes less than 15% to the country’s GDP, the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations estimates that some 50% of the workforce is engaged in farming. Rural family sizes are larger than urban ones, which means close to 60% of India’s population is farm-dependent. The rich in their Antillas and Cadillacs get short shrift when farmers are committing suicide after crop failures. (Incidentally, the Budget proposes tax at source at the rate of 1% on purchase of luxury cars exceeding a value of Rs. 1 million.)The Economic Survey, presented before the Budget, sees more scope for rich pickings; it says, the rich enjoy Rs. 1 trillion annually in “implicit subsidies.” The survey states, “Rectifying some egregious anomalies may be good not only from a fiscal and welfare perspective, but also from a political economy welfare perspective, lending credibility to other market-oriented reforms.”Does all this imply a return to Nehruvian socialism? No. While big-ticket reforms are missing, there are several green shoots of intentions. The markets feel so, too; the Sensex has galloped some 1600 points in just four days after falling on Budget day.The pundits have resumed hard-selling equity. “The Budget has been very encouraging for the long-term equity market,” says Sankaran Naren, chief investment officer at ICICI Prudential Asset Management. The problem during the past few months – the Sensex plunged from 30,024 in March 2015 to 22,494 (during Jaitley’s speech this year) — has been a foreign institutional investor (FII) pullout. FIIs sold nearly $2 billion in January 2016, bringing the index to its knees. But, says Naren, an analysis of data for the past 20 years shows that maximum gains are made if you buy when the FIIs flee a market.On Budget day, of course, it was all very different. “Austerity by tokenism,” said a report by Emkay, a financial services company. “Overall, the Budget is heavily oriented towards addressing rural and agri-sector distress, boosting demand and the imperatives of upcoming state elections.” Four states and one union territory go to the polls in April-May.Jaitley Knew LimitationsJewellers protest against the one percent excise duty proposed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitleyin the 2016-17 national budget outside Jaitley’s residence in New Delhi.But Jaitley was aware of these limitations. “The financial years 2015-16 and 2016-17 have been and will be extremely challenging for government expenditure,” he said in his Budget speech. “The next financial year 2016-17 will cast an additional burden on account of the recommendations of the Seventh pay commission…. The government, therefore, has to prioritize its expenditure. We wish to enhance expenditure in the farm and rural sector, the social sector, the infrastructure sector and provide for recapitalization of the banks. This will address those sectors which need immediate attention.”Jaitley could have done more. His options were to stick to the fiscal deficit target or bypass it and loosen purse strings. He opted to retain the fiscal deficit in the estimates for 2015-16 and 2016-17 at 3.9% and 3.5% of GDP, respectively.“Given anemic conditions and broken balance sheets, higher spend is unlikely to have kick started growth and instead increased vulnerability to global vagaries,” says Nandan Chakraborty, managing director of institutional equity research at Axis Capital. “The arithmetic [of the Budget] is realistic.” Adds a report by Crisil, a Standard & Poor’s company: “The fiscal math mostly ties up. The government has done a fine balancing act and maintained its credibility by sticking to the target of bringing down fiscal deficit to 3.5% of GDP in fiscal 2017 after having met the 3.9% target for fiscal 2016.”Two Conflicting Goals“The government seeks to reconcile two often conflicting goals – induce growth and restrain spending,” says Ravi Aron, professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. “Given the constraints that it faces, the government cannot run a larger deficit. It is important to note that, this year, international investors have already pulled over $2 billion from the Indian equity markets and have driven the rupee down by nearly 4%. Private investment too is at near its lowest point, given the debt levels of private corporations coupled with low earnings. As many Indian companies have dollar-denominated debt, private investment is unlikely to rise quickly in the short term. The government has been realistic in the face of these constraints.”“Three factors — globally weak aggregate demand, bank rates becoming negative in Japan and near zero in most developed countries, and subdued inflation in India — make the monetary policy space much wider. The fiscal policy space is limited,” says Jayanta Nath Mukhopadhyaya, director of the department of management at the J.D. Birla Institute. “Sticking to fiscal discipline sends a strong signal to the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) to lower rates.”“Keeping the fiscal deficit at 3.5% along with lower government borrowings will work well for the bond, currency and eventually the equity markets,” notes S. Raghunath, professor of corporate strategy and policy at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. “Fiscal discipline is required in order to maximize confidence and boost macroeconomic performance. This is a well-balanced Budget. There are credible initiatives relating to agriculture reforms, social sector spending and rural electrification.”“It is a pragmatic approach,” says an analysis by Anand Rathi Financial Services. “We approached the crucial 2016-17 Budget presentation with a fair slice of skepticism. There was talk of the long-term capital gains tax tenure being increased to three years and introduction of higher service tax rates. That would have been construed as negative. Given the backdrop of negative expectations, we reckon that the Budget should be looked at positively.”Should the absence of bad news be interpreted as good news? No, but it leaves the talking heads with nothing to talk about on TV. This perhaps explains why the fresh taxes on the rich (they aren’t complaining) should be hogging so much headline space.But Jaitley, like prime minister Narendra Modi, is excellent at packaging. His speech unveiled “nine distinct pillars” to transform India. (Modi’s plan for Digital India has nine pillars, too.) The pillars, as set out by the FM are: Agriculture and farmers’ welfare – “Farmers’ income will be doubled in five years”; Rural sector; Social sector including health care; Education, skills and job creation; Infrastructure and investment; Financial sector reforms; Governance and ease of doing business; Fiscal discipline; and Tax reforms.The budget says nothing about a Goods and Services Tax (GST) timeline. The GST is a key reform that has widespread support. But, while in the opposition, the now-ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had successfully prevented it from being passed. Now the Congress has so far done the same thing.The budge had some incentives for foreign investors — 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) will be allowed in marketing of food products produced and manufactured in India. But whether that will attract the Walmarts of the world, who have been lobbying intensely for FDI in multi-brand retail, remains to be seen.Dealing with DefaultersIn another initiative, Jaitley invited alleged tax defaulters like Vodafone and Cairn to buy peace, proposing that they settle their tax arrears, waiving interest and penalty. There have been no takers so far.Jaitley’s Budget thus has the broad-brush strokes of the big picture but is weak on specifics. On bank recapitalization, he has provided $40 billion, but that will not be enough. “The market expected $60 billion,” says Mukhopadhyaya. “It looks more sensible to have a stressed asset fund rather than bad banks.” Says Jaitley: “We will find the money.”Traders track the national budget 2016-17 at Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai.Where will he find the money (and growth)? India is actually in a ‘sweet spot.’ The Economic Survey projects the GDP growth rate at 7% to 7.5% in 2016-17. But the numbers have a lot of assumptions behind them. “On the domestic side, two factors could boost consumption,” says the Economic Survey. The first is increased spending from higher wages and allowances of government workers, courtesy the pay commission largesse. “If, in addition, the monsoon returns to normal, agricultural incomes will improve, with attendant gains for rural consumption.”There are other grey areas. The Indian corporate sector is adept at finding ways to avoid taxes. One instance is the new DDT, which comes into effect from April 1, 2016. The Economic Times did a back-of-the-envelope calculation and arrived at a figure of $1.2 billion in additional tax. But hundreds of companies are rushing to pay interim dividends before April 1, so those expectations may not be met. When accused of tax avoidance (not evasion), companies argue that the tax is ethically objectionable. The same income is being taxed three times. First, the company pays tax on the profits it makes. Second, it pays a DDT. Now, the dividend recipient has to pay DDT also.This may be peanuts in the overall Budget numbers, but there are other targets that cause more concern. “While the tax revenue arithmetic is realistic, the risk of undershooting resides in non-tax revenues specifically the ambitious divestment target of $8.4 billion,” says Crisil chief economist Dharmakirti Joshi. “If this risk materializes, the government may have to axe capital spending in its zeal to meet the deficit target. This will dent India’s growth potential. To avoid this, it important for the government to frontload its divestment program.”“There is only one source of funds that the government can count on without adding to the already high debt,” says Aron. “It must divest its holdings in the ’public sector’ corporations. The government has missed its divestment targets every year for the past five years. Divestment has three benefits. First, it brings critically needed revenues for investment in infrastructure, education and public health, all of which are very important for growth.“Second, it will produce substantial savings in the government’s huge and recurring salary bill – about $16 billion starting 2016 will be paid towards the salaries and pensions of the 10 million or so employees and retirees. Third, it will reduce by some measure the graft and corruption involved in running these firms. For decades, they have been chronic underperformers as they have been managed as private fiefdoms by ministers who extracted rents from them, aided and abetted by a pliant bureaucracy. There can be no justification for the government owning stakes in companies as varied as hotels, machine tools, airlines, electronics and telecom service providers. These are of no strategic value and nor do they safeguard scarce national resources. There is no public interest in the public sector holdings of the Indian government. It is time that these enterprises were divested and the capital used where it is vitally needed — in investing in India’s future.”Bright FutureLast year, India overtook China to become the fastest-growing large economy in the world. The IMF expects it to stay that way. The future, everyone agrees, is bright. “In addition to lower oil prices, the Indian economy needs another dose of good luck from monsoons and interest rate cuts to support the nascent recovery,” says Joshi.Rate cuts are in the hands of RBI governor Raghuram Rajan who has thus far disappointed both government and industry by giving priority to fighting inflation. As long as the price-rise ogre is knocking at the door (governments in India have fallen because onions turned costlier), Rajan is unlikely to relent in any substantial manner. The rest may be up to the rain gods. Related Itemslast_img read more

first_imgAthletes of African descent are back in focus at the middle and long distance events in the London Olympics and people are once again scratching their heads as to how they keep replicating these efforts.In this edition of the Olympics itself, there are some outstanding names which catch your attention as Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba became the first woman in history to retain the Olympic women’s 10,000 m race title.Add to it Somali-born British athlete Mo Farah, winning gold in the men’s 10,000 m, Ethiopia’s Tiki Gelana finishing the cross-line in women’s marathon and Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi triumphing in the men’s 3000 m steeplechase, the list is huge.Scientists have attempted various studies to find out what is it about these athletes who come from poor countries where they do not get proper food to eat and still run the gruelling events so well.Someone like Michael Johnson says it is not a secret at all. “You can’t buy into the clichs about what makes an athlete successful. Certainly genealogy plays a part in it. It doesn’t mean that if you are of African descent that you are going to dominate sprints and those who aren’t won’t,” feels Johnson.Almost nine years ago, some Australian scientists had come up with a study that black sprinters have a gene called ACTN3 which is involved in fast muscle twitching.Their belief was this gene helps the muscles to run fast and was more common in Jamaicans and those of West African origin.If one flips through the annals of athletics history, the turning point for the Kenyans was the 1968 Mexico Olympics when Kenyan icon Kipchoge Keino, won a gold medal in 1,500 metres. He then went on to add a silver medal in the 5,000 metres race.advertisementFrom then till his day, the Kenyans have made news in the distance events around the globe. There has been intense speculation as well as research as to what makes them such strong runners.In economically rich countries, you will find that even the common man or woman keeps running to lose weight and fat.But if you look at the Kenyans, Ethiopians and the Somali athletes, they look almost emaciated. Yet, when you put them in a middle distance race or a half marathon or a full marathon, they just cruise along.There is no panting, no gasping for breath and their cardio systems seem designed for sheer running.It has also been researched that most of the Kenyan runners come from one small ethnic group — the Nandi sub-tribe.”Out of the last 25 Boston Marathons, Kenyans have won 19 of them. This year Wilson Kipsang won the London marathon, ensuring that out of the last nine London marathons, eight have been won by Kenyans,” said an official from the international athletics federation (IAAF).Several former Kenyan greats have always been enthused and from Kipkoech to Kipchoge Keino have said that the Kenyan success is a natural phenomenon.The Kenyan and Somali athletes have no distractions in life. Over here, running is something as natural as having to walk many kilometres in a hilly areas in India to fetch drinking water.Yes, these athletes are lean and with a low body fat percentage as studies have shown. But the catch is in their natural leg length, better calf muscles and training naturally at high altitude.If you take the case of the Indian middle distance runner, with KT Irfan now a hero after finishing 10th in the 10km walk, they have to set up a high altitude base in Ooty and train.However, for the Kenyan stars and someone like Mo Farah who comes from Somali land, running is a way of life.Unlike the economically rich countries, where children aspire to play football, tennis or other elite sport, they can only run.Running never paid but now it does. In fact, Mo Farah is called a “plastic” athlete as he changed passports.It’s a phenomenon which has been in existence for decades and that is why you will find Black athletes migrating to Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.They give up their nationalities and in return get a better quality of life.It is well known that given the political turmoil in Somalia, people are leaving the country. And with American universities hunting for talent and recruiting athletes for their universities, the exposure which these African athletes get is huge.In addition to the natural flair for running and having an athletic body, more competitions make them sharper.advertisementWhile countries like India have also started sending the middle distance athletes to Kenya for training in high altitude, the natural advantage which a Kenyan or an Ethiopian runner has cannot be discounted.One also cannot forget the advantage of running bare feet as these Africans do in hilly terrain. And that’s why runners like Wilson Kipketer changed nationality and ran with great distinction for Denmark.Similarly, Ethiopian-born 800m and 1500 m specialist Maryam Yusuf Jamal, originally named ZenebechTola, now represents Bahrain.As of now, none can stop the economically stronger nations from importing natural talent and making them “plastic athletes” for winning medals.Mo Farah also belongs to this category as he makes headlines daily in Britain and Somalis watch helplessly.last_img read more

first_imgThe Oil India Limited (OIL) has released an employment notification inviting interested, eligible candidates to apply attend the walk-in interview for the positions of Graduate Engineers on contractual basis. The contract would be for a minimum period of six months, extendable by another six months tenure upto a maximum period of one year depending upon requirement and the performance of the individual.Vacancy detailsTotal posts: 2Name of the posts:Graduate EngineersEligibility criteriaEducational qualification:The candidate interested in applying for this post should be a Graduate Engineer in instrumentation engineering of minimum four years duration from a recognised university approved by AICTE/UGC.Selection procedure:The candidates will be selected on the basis of a skill test and an interview. The selected candidates shall be entitled for 15 days paid leave every six months which can be availed to a maximum of five days at a time.(Read: SSA, Assam hiring for Assistant Teacher posts: Apply for 3914 posts at Pay scale: The selected candidates will be getting a monthly salary of Rs 50,000.How to apply:The candidates interested in these posts are required to appear for the interview and carry along original mark sheets, certificates, self attested photocopies of the same and two passport size recent photographs.Important dates:The interview will be conducted on October 21 at 8:30 am.Venue: Centre of Excellence for Energy Studies on INTEGRA, Rukmigaon, GS Road,  Guwahati, Assam – 781022.Read: Air India Limited is hiring graduates: Hiring on for Supervisor post, apply now! advertisementRead: Air India Limited is offering attractive salary packages: Apply for Manager vacancies and earn upto Rs 80,000 per month! For information on more latest government jobs, click here.last_img read more

first_imgPower Star Pawan Kalyan has been occupied with his political commitments these days. He has been touring Andhra Pradesh campaigning for his Jana Sena party. In most of the events, he is seen sporting sunglasses which has raised a lot of eyebrows.Pawan Kalyan, in one of the events, revealed that he had to wear sunglasses as he had contracted an eye infection. He has been suffering for a long time now and consulted a doctor at a popular eye institute in Hyderabad.Reportedly, his doctor suggested an eye surgery and also added that it can wait for some more time. Now, it is said that Pawan Kalyan will finish his political tour and then get the eye surgery done. He will finish his tour by the end of June and then make his way to Hyderabad.On the work front, Pawan Kalyan was last seen in Agnyaathavaasi which was a disaster at the box office. He, along with director Trivikram Srinivas and producer Radha Krishna, paid Rs 25 crore to the distributors who had incurred losses because of the film’s poor theatrical run.Recently, we had reported that Rana Daggubati will undergo eye surgery abroad due to his vision problems.ALSO SEE | I am blind in one eye, reveals Baahubali actor Rana DaggubatiALSO WATCH | In conversation with actor Pawan Kalyanlast_img read more

first_imgIndonesia Indonesia will dethrone Thailand in three years’ time – Andik Zulhilmi Zainal Last updated 2 years ago 06:11 10/7/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Andik Vermansyah - Indonesia & Thailand AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 Goal / Abi Yazid Indonesia Selangor The winger is confident that his country will take the place of current South East Asian giants Thailand, judging by the quality of their youngsters. BY   MUHAMAD RAIS ADNANIndonesia and Selangor star Andik Vermansah has praised the potential of in Indonesia’s U16, U19 and U22 players. The winger, who follows the updates on the teams, has remarked that Indonesia have a good chance of usurping Thailand as the best side in South East Asia.”Looking at the quality of the U16, U19 and U22 players, I think in three years’ time we can dethroneThailand. In the recent SEA Games, we were simply unlucky.”Although the tournament was won by Thailand, I think in terms of performance Indonesia were the best side,” said the 25-year old winger. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. According to the former Persebaya Surabaya man, one of the junior sides’ strengths is their maturity, which to him shows that they have the potential to be absorbed into the senior national team in the future.”From the goalkeepers, defenders, to the attackers they all have good individual skills in terms of ball control. They are also able to play in a composed manner, with the back line not simply lobbing the ball forward,” he remarked.On Wednesday Andik helped the Garudas defeat Cambodia 3-1 in a non-official friendly match, that was held at the Patriot Candrabhaga Stadium, Bekasi.last_img read more

first_imgManchester United ‘I signed a three-year contract’ – Mourinho refuses to be drawn on future plans Goal Last updated 1 year ago 07:49 11/16/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Jose Mourinho, Chelsea v Man Utd, 17/18 Getty Images Manchester United José Mourinho Manchester United v Newcastle United Newcastle United Premier League June 2019 is as far as the Special One will look ahead, while he insists that a Premier League title is not the only measure of success for his team Jose Mourinho is looking to see out his current deal at Manchester United, but refuses to answer whether he will stay at Old Trafford long term. The Special One took over from Louis van Gaal at the start of the 2016-17 season, and led United to Europa League and League Cup titles in his maiden campaign. United 3/4 to beat Toon to nil Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player United have built on that promising start, sitting second in the Premier League behind Manchester City and on track to make the Champions League last 16. But Mourinho is not looking any further than the three-year deal he signed with the club, as he approaches the midway point of that agreement.“I signed a three-year contract and when I signed that three-year contract it was basically to try and improve the direction of the football team,” he explained to the Mirror.“And obviously when we want to improve the direction of the football team, it means to try and win titles which we did already last season.Jose Mourinho Manchester United 2017“But when we speak about titles, everyone obviously thinks about the Premier League.”United currently lag eight points behind their Manchester rivals, who have made an astounding unbeaten start to the Premier League season. And Mourinho admits that catching Pep Guardiola’s charges and taking the title will be no easy task. “Of course [Premier League] is an objective but to say the only way we are improving is to win the Premier League is not quite fair because the other teams, the other five or six teams, have the same objectives, the same responsibility, the same tools, they have the same qualities to do it, or even more because they have the stability over the past three years,” he said. Mourinho and United will be back in action after the international break on Saturday, when the Red Devils host Newcastle.last_img read more

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say INSIDER: Real Madrid fancy De Bruyne as Hazard alternativeby Carlos Volcano9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid are planning a move for Manchester City attacker Kevin de Bruyne.Okdiario’s chief pundit Eduardo Inda, speaking on El Chiringuito, has revealed Real have De Bruyne under consideration as an alternative to Chelsea ace Eden Hazard.And adding to the story, Inda says Real intend to use Isco as a makeweight in negotiations.He said, “Madrid are going to try to put Isco in the operation for Hazard or in a possible operation with De Bruyne. “In the Bernabéu they say that he is not to be sold. “(But) the hard core of the locker room is not with Isco because they consider that he is loose and out of shape. In addition, they have seen the rudeness to the coach, although they liked it when he asked for forgiveness. “Real Madrid now wants to keep things in house because it knows that he is an asset of the club and his price can drop if it affects public opinion.” last_img read more

first_imgzoom The 165,960 dwt containership MSC Clorinda is hindering traffic in the Suez Canal as the vessel stopped in the waterway due to undetermined issues, according to Wilhelmsen Ships Service.According to a spokesperson from Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the containership reported a machinery transmission malfunction and subsequently grounded around 05:00 UTC on January 4. It was then cleared and afloat again by around 08:10 UTC.“MSC Clorinda is now ready to resume passage and will be doing so imminently, once other vessel traffic has cleared,” the spokesperson added.At the time of the incident, MSC Clorinda was transiting Northbound through the canal.Traffic in both Southbound and Northbound convoys is obstructed and the Southbound convoy which has already entered the canal will be required to drop anchor and wait at the Great Bitter Lake until the issue is resolved, WSS said.WSS added that Suez Canal Authority tugs are already alongside the vessel.According to AIS data provide by MarineTraffic, the 2012-built containership is still stopped off Egypt’s Al Saiyid Abu Hatab region.last_img read more

first_imgTRANSPORTATION/PUBLIC WORKS–Province Building Stronger Roads inInverness County The Department of Transportation and Public Works highways division manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in NovaScotia. It maintains an inventory of 3,800 bridges and operatesseven provincial ferries. Staff provide services from districtoffices located in Bridgewater, Bedford, Truro and Sydney. Government spent $88.5 million in capital dollars on Cape Bretonroads and bridges over the last five years. Nova Scotia is planning to build stronger roads and generategreater prosperity in Inverness County. Tenders were announced recently this week for two paving jobs in Inverness County, including a substantial repaving project onthe Cabot Trail. “Strong roads help build a strong economy,” said Ron Russell,Minister of Transportation and Public Works. “We are puttingdollars into our transportation network and these investmentswill help Nova Scotia compete locally and internationally.” The department plans to pave part of the Chemin De L’anse De BoisMaries and to repave 8.3 kilometres of the Cabot Trail from PointDe Havre Road north to Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Thework is to be completed by June 15. The province also plans to do surface treatment to severalsections of Inverness County roads, including:center_img North Highlands Road, from Trunk 19 to Foote Cape Road, about 1.3 kilometres; Shore Road, South Harbour, from the Cabot Trail south about 2.2 kilometres; and Trunk 19, from Campbell Road north, about 3.6 kilometres.last_img read more

first_img Local Area Office: 902-637-4104 Fax: 902-447-4105 SHELBURNE COUNTY: Highway 103 Lane Closure A section of Highway 103 over the Roseway River, 500 metres west of Exit 26 at Shelburne, is reduced to one lane until Thursday, July 31 to allow for bridge repairs. Traffic delays are expected. Drivers should allow extra time if travelling on this section. Please obey signs and drive with extra care in construction zones. -30-last_img

first_imgTWILLINGATE, N.L. – For years, drivers along Newfoundland’s Road to the Isles thought the orange circles around the highway’s notorious potholes were put there by the Department of Transportation.The spray-painted markings were actually the work of Ernest Barnes, the “Pothole Man.”The 70-year-old resident of Summerford, N.L., has made it his mission to keep drivers safe by drawing attention to the holes in the road.“All the tourists I’ve talked to, they really love Newfoundland and the people of Newfoundland,” he says. “But the roads, they don’t like.”Barnes hits the highways along the province’s north coast for four to five hours every day, looking for potholes to paint.He’s already covered an area from Twillingate to Lewisporte, paying close attention to Port Albert, where tourists travel to take the ferry to picturesque Fogo Island.As a motorcycle rider, Barnes says he’s particularly concerned for riders who could be injured, and for tourists who aren’t prepared for such rough roads.Barnes has been spray-painting potholes for years, but he says this year’s crop is particularly large — he’s already emptied about two dozen cans of paint, and he’s cleared the local hardware store of its stock.It might seem like an expensive enterprise for a senior, but as word of Barnes’ safety crusade has spread, others have stepped in to help.Some supporters have approached Barnes in parking lots and out on the road to offer change and paint to help with his cause.The provincial Transport Department says road repairs in the area will be carried out over the next three years. In an emailed statement, the department said maintenance on the province’s roads is arranged on a priority basis.The department also says the Pothole Man is taking big risks.“Residents taking it upon themselves to mark sections of the highway for repairs pose potential safety risks to themselves and other motorists, and the department does not condone this activity,” spokesperson Brian Scott said in an email.But Barnes isn’t concerned about his safety. He says the government should direct its attention to the motorists at risk when driving on uneven roads.“I still have eyes, and I’m not deaf so I can hear the vehicles, and I do have a vest that I can wear, a safety vest,” said Barnes. “I’m gonna die sometime, so if I get killed, well at least they can say he was trying to help someone else, right?”Now that his identity as the highway’s pothole protector is out, drivers sometimes honk their horns and stop to thank him. Last week, one woman pulled over to hand him a can of paint.Barnes has been marking potholes all spring and summer. He says he’ll keep at it as long as he has the means.“As long as people are donating paint and donating a few dollars to buy it — because I can’t buy it on my own. I’m only a senior, right? And there’s only so much money you’ve got and you can spend.”— By Holly McKenzie-Sutter in St. John’s.last_img read more

first_imgWARSAW, Poland — Poland’s anti-corruption officers have detained the former head of a financial regulatory body who resigned recently after a media report he sought a bribe.The Central Anti-Corruption Office said Tuesday that Marek Chrzanowski is being taken to Katowice, in the south, where he will be questioned by prosecutors over suspected corruption.Chrzanowski was appointed in 2016 by the current ruling party to be the director of the Financial Supervision Authority that ensures proper banking practices.He resigned this month after the Gazeta Wyborcza daily reported that he had sought a multimillion-dollar bribe from a troubled bank’s owner in exchange for favours. The banker recorded the meeting.Chrzanowski insists he is innocent.The anti-corruption office was started by the ruling Law and Justice party in 2006 when it was previously in power.The Associated Presslast_img read more

first_imgCALGARY, A.B. – Enbridge Inc. has signed a deal to sell its natural gas distribution business in New Brunswick to Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. for $331 million in cash.Enbridge Gas New Brunswick operates and maintains more than 1,200 km of natural gas distribution pipeline in 12 communities in New Brunswick with 12,000 customers.The company says employees, customers, partners and suppliers can expect no change to the day-to-day operations as it works to complete the deal. Algonquin says it plans to maintain local employment and the existing operating and management structure.The sale is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.It is expected to close in 2019.(THE CANADIAN PRESS)last_img read more

first_imgGhaziabad: In a tragic incident, two youths were killed when a speeding Mahindra pickup truck rammed into their car from behind at elevated road in Indirapuram area of Ghaziabad on early Thursday morning. Cops said that the truck driver was arrested later in the evening as he fled the spot, leaving the truck behind, fromthe spot. According to police, the incident occurred around 5 am at Hindon elevated road when the duo of victims were travelling from Raj Nagar extension to Delhi. The deceased were identified as Akshay (24), a resident of Shalimar garden in Sahibabad area of Ghaziabad and Karan (22), resident of Laxmi Nagar in delhi. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”The information was conveyed around 5:15 am by a passerby who reported the incident to police. A police team immediately rushed to the spot and took the victims to max hospital in Indirapuram where both the victims succumbed to injuries while getting treatment. Both the victims received severe head injuries in the incident” said Sandeep Kumar Singh, Station House officer of Indirapuram police station. The officer further said that the truck driver was later arrested from Indirapuram area in the evening while a case under relevant sections Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsof IPC has been registered against him. “Following the incident, police registered a case under sections 279 (punishment for Rash driving), 304A (causing death by negligence) and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) of Indian Penal Code. Police have seized the truck while the accused driver will be produced before the court and will be sent to the jail” added Singh. Police said that the accused driver has been identified as Pramod kumar (28), a native of Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh. Kumar was moving towards Ghazipur area in delhi when the incident took place. Meanwhile, deceased Akshay’s uncle Pradeep Maheshwari told Millennium Post that Akshay had went to a his friend’s place in Raj Nagar area to attend a party. “Akshay’s father had also expired in a road accident around three years ago while his mother was looking after the family and was working at a private company in Noida. In February he had undergone a tuberculosis surgery and got discharged from the hospital after getting treatment. We are saddened with his demise and want strict actions to be initiated against the accused” said Maheshwari.last_img read more

The number of people without adequate access to food in Iraq has been slashed by three-quarters between 2005 and 2007, according to a new assessment conducted jointly by the war-torn nation’s Government and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).The Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment (CFSVA) found that the 930,000 people were hungry in 2007, down from some 4 million in 2005.But Edward Kallon, WFP Country Director for Iraq, said that he could only give a “cautious welcome” to the figures “because 930,000 is still far too many for a relatively wealthy country.”He added that there are an additional 6.4 million people who would go hungry were it not for safety nets such as the Government-run Public Distribution System (PDS).Under that mechanism, all Iraqis are entitled to a monthly food basket, but frequent shortfalls and distribution delays have hurt vulnerable families.Mr. Kallon credited increased economic activity in Iraq, triggered by improved security conditions and the humanitarian efforts of the international community, to the reversal of food insecurity.“But the situation remains volatile and any deterioration could undermine the whole process,” he noted.The Assessment surveyed the food security situation of 26,000 people across the country. It also looked closely at the nutritional status of children under the age of five, and found an improvement in national acute malnutrition rates, little change in chronic malnutrition rates and alarming stunting rates in five districts.The new study – carried out last year with support from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – called for continued food aid to those most in need and ongoing collaboration with the Government to reform the PDS.It also urged bolstered nutrition and caring practices for mothers and children, as well as scaling up micronutrient programmes and providing food education in the poorest areas, focusing on girls’ school enrollment and attendance. 12 November 2008The number of people without adequate access to food in Iraq has been slashed by three-quarters between 2005 and 2007, according to a new assessment conducted jointly by the war-torn nation’s Government and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). read more

Five years after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found that Israel’s building of a barrier in the occupied Palestinian territory was illegal, the situation has not improved, the United Nations human rights arm said today, calling for the dismantlement of the barrier.Tomorrow marks the five-year anniversary of the Court’s Advisory Opinion, in which it called on Israel to halt construction and bring an end to its system of curbing the freedom of movement of Palestinians in the West Bank.By a majority of 14 to 1, the judges found that the barrier’s construction breaches international law, saying it violated principles outlined in the UN Charter and long-standing global conventions that prohibit the threat or use of force and the acquisition of territory that way, as well as principles upholding the right of peoples to self-determination.Although Israel claims the barrier is only a temporary security measure, the ICJ said that the specific route chosen is unnecessary to achieve its security objectives, with most of the barrier running inside the West Bank, instead of the so-called Green Line, or 1949 Armistice Line.But in the five years since the Advisory Opinion was issued, “Israel continues to disregard the views of the ICJ, and the Wall remains under construction,” being 60 per cent completed, the West Bank branch of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said today.“The Wall is but one element of the wider system of severe restrictions on the freedom of movement imposed by the Israeli authorities on Palestinian residents of the West Bank,” according to a press release issued by OHCHR.At present, more than 600 closures block Palestinians’ movement in the West Bank, while an increasingly segregated road system restrict travel for them while Israelis can move freely.Such constraints not only curtail Palestinians’ freedom of movement, but also impede a host of other human rights, including the right to work, health, education and an adequate standard of living.“And Palestinian residents currently lack meaningful access to an effective remedy – judicial or otherwise – for their plight,” OHCHR said, calling on Israel to comply with the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion and make reparations for any damage caused.For his part, Maxwell Gaylard, the top UN humanitarian official in the occupied Palestinian territory, said today in Jerusalem that “there is still time to change the situation.” UN humanitarian agencies, he added, are calling for a freeze in the construction of the barrier in the West Bank and its re-routing to the Green Line, in light of both the Advisory Opinion and the humanitarian impact.In Gaza, Karen AbuZayd, Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), welcomed a group of Gazan youth who recently returned from a three-week recreational tour to Poland to her office today.Organized by the Polish Government with the aim of helping children affected by the recent hostilities in Gaza, more than 70 youngsters spent one week in the capital, Warsaw, undergoing psychological and medical treatment, and then the next two weeks touring the Eastern European nation.They visited castles, a water park, a zoo and a cinema, with one child telling Ms. AbuZayd that the day he boarded the plane to Warsaw was “the best day of his life.”One of the children on the tour, 12-year-old Mahmoud Samouni, lost 48 members of his extended family during the three-week clashes which killed at least 1,300 Palestinians and wounded some 5,300. The heavy bombardment and fighting also reduced buildings and other infrastructure to rubble. 8 July 2009Five years after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found that Israel’s building of a barrier in the occupied Palestinian territory was illegal, the situation has not improved, the United Nations human rights arm said today, calling for the dismantlement of the barrier. read more

19 February 2010Developing countries with energy intensive industries will benefit from a United Nations-backed project launched today to draw up a technological blueprint for capturing and storing global warming gas emissions, a crucial step in averting dangerous climate change. “There still remain significant knowledge gaps in moving towards commercial implementation of carbon capture and storage (CCS), especially in industry,” UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella said in Vienna in announcing the global technology road map for CCS for industrial processes.“This project will help address these obstacles by developing a technology roadmap for CCS across different industry sectors, and assist developing countries in their transition to a low-carbon economy.” UNIDO, which is entrusted with accelerating environmentally sustainable industrial development in poorer countries, has teamed up with the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Global Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Institute, an independent legal entity launched by the Australian Government in 2009, in the €500,000 project, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.Recent studies suggest that CCS could contribute about 20 per cent of the global mitigation needed for halving global greenhouse gases by 2050, a reduction that scientists believe is necessary to prevent dangerous climate change. While there has been significant effort in assessing such technology in the context of power generation, considerably less attention has been paid to industrial applications despite the significant potential for emission reductions. The project will provide a vision of industrial CCS storage up to 2050, to be implemented in close cooperation with the International Energy Agency (IEA), an intergovernmental organization that acts as energy policy adviser to 28 mainly industrialized countries. The road map will inform policymakers and investors about the potential of CCS and the practical milestones that need to be achieved to realize that potential.“Industrial activity accounts for a large part of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the world, and is increasing in developing countries,” Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Riis-Johansen said. “CO2 management is important to reduce emissions from these sources. Our support to this project will help facilitate increased use of CO2-management within the industry in developing countries.”Global CCS Institute chief Nick Otter noted that many people think of CCS as a greenhouse mitigation option for coal-fired power stations only. “They don’t realize that CCS is a greenhouse mitigation option for any large industrial source of CO2. There is therefore a need for industrial sector-specific analysis,” he said. “Developing countries need to be part of the solution, so it is essential they are involved.” read more

In a report to the UN Security Council, the five-member Panel of Experts on Liberia says instead of spending its funds on health care, education, water and roads, the National Transitional Government (NTGL) appropriated 52 per cent of the annual budget for personnel and 15 per cent for security, although the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) currently bears the major responsibility for security.The panel was appointed to monitor Security Council sanctions against Liberia, imposed in 2001 and re-imposed last year. They include diamond exports, an arms embargo, restrictions on the export of round logs and timber products and travel bans on individuals posing a threat to Liberia’s stability and security.In the 23-page report, the panel says the Government is willing to satisfy the requirements of the Kimberley Process certification that would authenticate local rough diamonds and allow them to be sold internationally, but lacks the finances and trained personnel to stop illegal mining.As a consequence, “violations of the Security Council embargo on the export of Liberian diamonds are set to increase in the short to medium term,” it predicts.In response to an offer of funding from the United States, the NTGL has drawn up lists of equipment and other necessities to ensure Kimberley compliance, but “it appears to be experiencing difficulty in achieving an actual, accurate financial costing.”Reliable sources told panellists that “up to five small, ad-hoc diamond-buying offices have opened in (the capital) Monrovia that are purchasing production from both Nimba County and the Lofa River basin.”The Forestry Development Authority (FDA), meanwhile, has enforced widespread compliance with sanctions against timber exports, despite security concerns in the field, the panel says.Few of the needed reforms have been implemented, however, and “a growing domestic market is being supplied by ex-generals who are hiring ex-combatant labourers,” it says, calling for a professional management team to run FDA.The Government has not accounted for the money allocated in the previous two budgets, but has overspent, “most of the revenue-generating parastatals or units have not been audited” and many teachers have not been paid for up to 24 months.”In addition to unapproved excess spending, it appears that the National Transitional Government is tolerating substantial leakage of revenue. The Panel documented three major sources: loss of customs duties, loss of taxation on petroleum imports and loss of revenue from the sale of iron ore,” the panel says.The NTGL sold 700,000 tons of iron ore in January for $10 per ton, instead of the going rate of $40 a ton, and then failed to deposit the proceeds in the Central Bank of Liberia, as required. Sued by civil society organizations, the Justice Ministry pledged to the Supreme Court of Liberia in September that all future proceeds would be properly handled, the panel reports.On the question of the action the Security Council requested against certain associates of ousted President Charles Taylor, the report says the Ministry of Justice gave two of the 26 people designated to have their assets frozen, Benoni Urey and Emmanuel Shaw, enough time to dispose of their holdings.No action was taken against the others and when the panel asked the Ministry for an explanation, “no reply was furnished.”The panel has also learned that Mr. Taylor, who is in exile in Nigeria, is still receiving money from Liberia, but it has been unable to collect direct evidence since “the general lack of any type of financial control and rampant corruption” facilitate the diversion of funds.The five experts are: Chairman Atabou Bodian of Senegal, Arthur Blundell of Canada, Damien Callamand of France, Caspar Fithen of the United Kingdom and Tommy Garnett of Sierra Leone. read more

Nice try, Tiger.That “press release” apology was less than amusing and far from convincing.Sure, you admit that you are a disappointment, but you are more than a disappointment; you are a disgrace.You apologized to your fans, co-workers and the millions of children who look up to you, but they do not accept.Your foundation provided hope and education to millions of children, children who no longer look to you as a role model, but as a failure. They will no longer cheer for you or support you.We no longer have to question who you are. The media has exposed the true you.You have the audacity to blame the media for the explosive controversy concerning your affairs. The media is not at fault, though. You are.I’m sorry the media is following your children to school and stalking your wife. You should have considered how the ramifications of your actions would affect your family. You exposed your family to the public eye and it is your job to protect them, not the media’s.      You claim that your wife does not deserve blame, but deserves praise. I agree. By no means are your extramarital affairs her fault, and on the same note she deserves more than praise. She deserves respect. Who deemed you worthy of playing by these “different rules”?You claim that you deserve to enjoy temptations because of money and fame. What you deserve is a one-bedroom apartment just big enough for you to write child support checks from. Your repeated irresponsibility has proven that you have blatant disregard for your wife, children, mother and friends, not to mention your sponsors and loyal fans.   Instead of convincing yourself that the rules do not apply to you, try convincing yourself that one day your children will be old enough to understand this, with the hope that they forgive you. You put your needs above the needs of your family, and for that they may never forgive you.The shame you have brought to your family will fade but will never disappear. Take another good long look at yourself. I hope you see that your lying and cheating has earned you nothing but disgust. Making amends? We just hope you don’t repeat those mistakes.You say it is not what you achieve, it’s what you overcome. You have achieved a lot, but you sure as hell have a lot to overcome.You are correct. When setting an example, character and decency are what really count. Your character will forever be tarnished and you have shown you have no decency.Go back to your Buddhist ways. Stop following every impulse and restrain instead. An indefinite leave of absence from golf is the understatement of the year. You can’t possibly be considering playing in the Masters in April, let alone at all this year. It doesn’t matter how great of a player you are; you have single-handedly destroyed your character and furthermore your career. Do us all a favor and retire from golf all together. You have wasted more skill than any other one person. You bring nothing to the game but shame.If you want your family, fans and the media to make room in our hearts to believe you, make your apology concrete.As hard as it may be to express sincere regret in a press conference apology, the true testament to your apology with be followed by your actions. That is why I’d like to see you remove yourself from the golf course long enough to prove to your wife that you love her and are committed to fixing your family. Endless therapy is a good start, but spend every waking moment with your family. Show your wife that she is more important than therapy, golf and other women.  The public may one day believe that you are truly sorry, but by no means will we cheer for you again. read more