A Valley unchecked

first_imgKashmir has, in recent years, become the fulcrum not only of India’s internal security but also of India-Pakistan relations and our foreign policy at large. It goes to the credit of the Modi government that the problem of Kashmir was first put in its right perspective ending a whole lot of ambiguities that were allowed to be enmeshed around this important border state of India. The three basics of the ‘issue’ in Kashmir were always clear – the state of Jammu & Kashmir was an integral part of India, the Valley-centric polity could not disregard the reality that the state was a composite territory housing multiple faiths and therefore not open to a communally-oriented solution finding and talks with Pakistan on the unfinished agenda symbolised by the existence of LoC fell squarely within the domain of the Centre permitting no third party intervention, external or internal. The earlier regimes – for reasons of our domestic politics largely – seemed to have compromised on these paradigms in a manner that encouraged the pro-Pak separatists in the Valley on one hand and gave leeway to Pakistan to resort to cross-border terrorism in a bid to destabilise the state, on the other. Also Read – A staunch allyIt was known that the political parties of the Valley – National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party – always kept the separatists represented by the Hurriyat on their side for gaining power and did nothing during their rule to check the growing collusion between Pak ISI and the Hurriyat leadership in spreading subversion in the state. The planned ouster of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley forced by Islamic militants in the early Nineties was an ISI project that aimed at creating a totally Muslim territory for Pakistan to lay claim on. Also Read – Cuban pathosIt will always be a shame for the then government at the Centre as well as the so-called mainstream parties of the Valley that they did not make any effective move to prevent a communal tragedy that had engulfed an important segment of the Kashmiri population. Soon, the Pak army-ISI combine launched its plan of replicating Afghan Jihad in Kashmir by sending in Mujahideen to subdue the Valley by unleashing faith-based terror and managed to create a situation where the leaders of the militant outfits of the indigenous Jamaat-e-Islami – HuM and Dukhtaran-e-Millat – were also taking orders directly from Maulana Hafiz Sayeed, the Lashkar-e-Taiba chief based in Pakistan. It is the spineless approach of the then government towards both Pakistan and the issue of cross-border terrorism that in a way brought about the tragedy of 26/11 – a covert offensive of Pak agencies that has been rightly compared with the 9/11 attack of Islamic radicals on the US. The illogical and supine stand of India on the prime threat to national security continued for many years subsequently till the advent of the Modi regime saw a bold and fruitful course correction. The three-pronged policy of Modi government announced that terrorists in Kashmir or anywhere else will be militarily put down, that there will be no talks with Pakistan till this rogue neighbour gave up on cross-border terrorism and that the pro-Pak agents in the Valley, including the separatists, will be pursued legally in a forceful manner. The success of the Modi regime in securing the world’s support to its stand against cross-border terror, ending the US tilt towards Pakistan by getting President Donald Trump to denounce Pakistan for providing safe havens to Islamic terrorists and pushing Pakistan to a position of isolation in the international community, is remarkable indeed – it deserves to be taken further with vigour. Opposition’s defeat in the 2019 general election is to a great extent the result of their shoddy response to the threat of terrorism emanating from Pakistan. What made things worse for it was the widely shared impression that the opposition was being soft towards a belligerent Pakistan because of its strange calculation that it helped to corner the electoral endorsement of the minority here. In the post-Balakot situation, this even produced a certain degree of Hindu backlash that pushed BJP further ahead. At the core of the BJP victory, of course, was the popular appeal of Prime Minister Modi himself. Kashmir remains a prime challenge for the new Home Minister and it is the internal management of the state that has to be put on track by him, first before any policy package brought into play could be expected to yield quick results. All through these years of turbulence in Kashmir, the political rulers of the state tended to morally disassociate themselves from the counter-terror operations of the Army-Para Military combine even when J&K Police was kept in the loop wherever necessary. They teamed up with the separatists in playing up the ‘alienation’ card to run down the effort to neutralise armed terrorists and did not say a word to denounce Pakistan’s incessant attempts to infiltrate Mujahideen into the Valley. And, this was in spite of the fact that the actions of the army under the AFSPA were subject to monitoring by the Unified Command chaired by the Chief Minister. It is now fairly established that the counter-terror operations of the army in Kashmir are all Intelligence based – which guarantees minimal collateral damage and that the tradition of ‘restraint’ in the exercise of powers under the AFSPA has now become a built-in factor in the Army’s approach. That the state administration had evidently thrown up its hand during the civil disturbances caused by stone pelting groups became clear when the top leaders of the Valley parties made an absurd suggestion that India must talk to Pakistan if stone pelting was to be stopped. They were unwittingly accepting that Pak agents were behind the organised stone pelting – it did not occur to them that it was the primary responsibility of the state administration and police at the ground level to identify the ring leaders in the payroll of Pakistan and take deterrent action against them. The non-performance of the state machinery in producing ‘Intelligence from below’ is a major issue in Kashmir – it suits the rulers there to put the entire onus on the central agencies. There is a need to identify and weed out Pak agents hibernating in the state administration. The state governments run by the Valley parties did not fulfil their responsibilities of promoting development, taking care of family welfare and creating opportunities for aspirational youth in the state – all because of corruption and a desire to maintain captive constituencies for political gain. This vicious cycle of vested interests has to be broken. There is no reason why Collectors and SPs of districts should not be holding weekly meetings with citizens to hear their local demands and to draw up lists of youth who want skill training, financial help for launching a start-up or simply desire to get a job with the state or central government. They should have an outreach to families who want to keep their youngsters from drifting towards militancy. The state government must embrace all the people it is ruling and create an atmosphere of openness. It is hoped that the new Home Minister of India will change the course of administration in Kashmir – he will have to show the hardened separatists their place by pursuing relentless legal action against them. For the period ahead when Pakistan is expected to step up its offensive in Kashmir, it is necessary that during the Centre’s rule, the state is put in the charge of a mature civilian of national security background who understands administration, knows about the working of the armed forces and appreciates Intelligence reports on the plans of the Pak agencies for Kashmir. It is not necessary that only a politician would understand the nuances of electoral politics. Administrative management of elections as an event is what is more important. India’s no-nonsense approach to Pakistan on the issue of terror remains valid. Ways have to be found to restore the socio-cultural milieu in the state that makes people resist the imposition of Salafism and get back to the simple all-inclusive Sufi traditions of Kashmiriyat. (The writer is a former Director Intelligence Bureau. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Ottawa says Ontario judges ruling on botched rape case threatens integrity of

first_imgJorge Barrera APTN National NewsThe federal government says an Ontario judge’s ruling which eviscerated the handling of a residential school rape case threatens the multi-billion dollar Indian residential school settlement agreement, according to court documents filed Wednesday.Ontario Superior court Justice Paul Perell ordered Ottawa this past July to enter into compensation negotiations with a man who was raped as a boy by a priest at the Spanish Boys Indian residential school which was located near Spanish, Ont. Perell ruled the officials tasked with determining the legitimacy of claims and compensation levels under the settlement agreement’s Independent Assessment Process (IAP) botched the case.Ottawa appealed the decision and in a document filed Wednesday argued Perell’s ruling overreached in its decision to accept the claim and oversee the setting of the compensation level instead of sending it back to the IAP for a rehearing.“At issue are the finality and integrity of the IAP and IRSSA (Indian residential school settlement agreement),” said Ottawa’s appeal factum, which was filed with the Ontario Court of Appeal by Catherine Coughlan on behalf of the deputy Attorney General of Canada William Pentney.Perell said in the ruling the IAP adjudicator relied on a “perverse finding of fact” to reject the claim of the man who was raped in the storage room of the chapel at the residential school. The adjudicator’s rejection was upheld in successive appeals launched by the man, identified as M.F. in court filings, as a result of reasoning based on “myopic logic,” said Perell in the ruling.Ottawa said Perell’s ruling threatened the IAP and the settlement agreement as a whole.“Only an independent adjudicator, including the chief adjudicator, is an appropriate ‘referee’ for the assessment of an IAP claim,” states Ottawa, in its court filing. “The overbroad declaration by the administrative judge poses serious risk to the integrity of the IAP, including its privacy and compensation rules.”Ottawa argues that the IAP is a “post-litigation claims assessment process” which was the product of a negotiated settlement. Ottawa’s filing states the IAP is a closed process, meaning the courts can only intervene under “very exceptional circumstances” in decisions on compensation and claims.“The IAP is a negotiated contract and a complete code,” said Ottawa’s filing. “Only a patent failure by the Chief Adjudicator or his designate to undertake his duties may provide grounds for judicial intervention.”Ottawa claims Perell’s ruling unilaterally amended the settlement agreement.“The administrative judge has added a fourth level of judicial decision-making to the IAP, varying the terms of the IRSSA. Had the parties intended such recourse, they would have included a general appeal provision…and widened the ambit of judicial making on IAP claims,” said the filing.When Indian residential school survivors reached a multi-billion dollar settlement agreement with Ottawa and the Churches it led to the creation of a compensation process led by adjudicators who determined the legitimacy of claims and compensation amounts based on documents and arguments by federal lawyers along with submissions from Indian residential school survivors.The adjudicators are required to follow criteria set out in the settlement agreement when making decisions. Survivors can appeal the decisions of adjudicators before a review adjudicator and then a re-review adjudicator, according to the settlement agreement.Perell’s ruling essentially sets a precedent that would allow residential school claimants to challenge decisions delivered by the IAP. It’s a scenario Ottawa clearly wants to avoid given the arguments laid out in the appeal filing.The IAP has faced a litany of controversies over the tactics of federal lawyers who have used legalistic and technical arguments, while facing accusations of suppressing documents, to defeat compensation claims by residential school survivors.The IAP has also been beset by serious cases involving the questionable actions of lawyers who may have tainted potentially thousands of residential school claims.This past August, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde wrote Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett and Dan Shapiro, chief adjudicator of the IAP Secretariat, asking for a review of cases involving sexual abuse. The letter was in response to a Manitoba judge’s decision to re-open a claim with the IAP that had been rejected because the adjudicator determined the nun’s “sexual intent” couldn’t be determined, according to a report in the Winnipeg Free Press.In May, Perell ordered the re-hearing before the IAP of a case involving a survivor who attended the notorious St. Anne’s Indian residential school in Ontario’s James Bay region. The survivor took his case to court after he lost before the IAP because federal lawyers suppressed thousands of OPP investigation documents that supported his claim of sexual abuse.This past February, APTN reported on a residential school survivor who was denied compensation for a rape she suffered as a 7 year-old girl at St. Michael’s Indian residential school in Alert Bay, B.C. IAP adjudicators sided with federal lawyers who argued the claim didn’t qualify because Indian Affairs’ Indian day-school branch paid the teachers who worked in the building where the attack happened. Day-schools were not covered by the settlement agreement.In another case, federal lawyers were successful in defeating a claim from a residential school survivor who suffered a broken arm at the hands of a nun and suffered partial paralysis after a misapplied polio shot at the Grouard Indian residential school in Alberta. Federal lawyers successfully argued Ottawa had transferred responsibility of the school to provincial authorities at the time of the incident. Yet the institution continued to accept “Treaty Indians” and receive dollars from Ottawa when the incident happened.In that case, an Alberta court ruled IAP adjudicators had the power to disqualify claims from survivors who attended residential schools listed as part of the settlement agreement, even if the same survivors received common experience payments.It’s believed Justice Canada lawyers have used tactics like these against claims from about 50 schools, impacting potentially thousands of cases.Ottawa has previously said it would be reviewing these types of cases.In addition to this, thousands of IAP cases may have been compromised by the questionable actions of some lawyers. One high-profile case involved Calgary lawyer David Blott who was disbarred after it was found he improperly represented his residential school clients.Blott was handling about 6,000 cases, but the IAP provided little recourse for his clients and instead told them to find a civil lawyer. The IAP Secretariat refused to review Blott’s clients’ files even after it was shown some survivors had their testimony change by people working for the disgraced lawyer.Other lawyers handling residential school cases in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Kenora, Ont., have faced or are currently facing investigations or disciplinary hearings.jbarrera@aptn.calast_img read more

BC rejects copper and gold mine proposal on concerns over salmon

VICTORIA — The B.C. government has rejected plans for a copper and gold mine in the province’s northwest, saying the project could endanger salmon in the Skeena River.Pacific Booker Minerals Inc. had proposed the mine at Morrison Lake, a 15-kilometre-long lake surrounded by Crown land near Smithers.The lake is at the headwaters of the Skeena River, which produces the second-largest amount of sockeye salmon in B.C.[np-related]The government’s environmental assessment of the project found the mine could affect sockeye salmon populations as well as water quality in the lake, and the long-term environmental risks of the mine outweighed the potential benefits to the province.Pacific Booker had planned to dig out 30,000 tonnes of copper and gold ore from the site each day over 21 years.The nearby Babine Lake First Nation had earlier raised concerns about conservation of habitat and fish in the area if the mine was approved.The Canadian Press read more

Sajin Vass further remanded till August 4

Former United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Parliamentarian Sajin Vass Gunawardena was ordered to be further remanded by Court today.The Colombo Fort Magistrate remanded the former Parliamentarian till August 4. Sajin Vass Gunawardena was arrested over allegations he had misused vehicles belonging to the Presidential Secretariat when he was the Monitoring MP of the Foreign Ministry. (Colombo Gazette)

Somalia UN envoy condemns latest terrorist attacks

“I am appalled to learn of the murder of many innocent civilians killed in terrorist attacks yesterday. Yet again the proponents of violence show that they have nothing to offer but continued suffering for the Somali people,” said Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay.I a press statement, he called on all to co-operate fully with the authorities as they investigate “these heinous crimes” to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice swiftly.“We remain resolute in our support for the Somali people as they work to realise their hope for a peaceful and stable future. This should be a time for reconciliation in the interests of all Somali people and I echo the Federal Government’s recent call for those prepared to renounce violence and join the political process,” he added.Mr. Kay extended his sincere condolences to the families and friends of all those who have suffered as a result of the attacks. read more

Barry Bonds Back With Giants as Instructional Coach

Significantly trimmer and offering smiles not often seen in his final playing days with the San Francisco Giants, Barry Bonds was back in uniform for the first time in seven years, as he began a seven-day stint as a roving instructor for the franchise.“I’m more nervous at this than when I was playing, because as a player, it was only my mind, me,”  said Bonds, the home-run king who was mired in controversy over suspected steroid use. “Now I’m trying to put that [knowledge] into other players’ minds. I’m a little more nervous being on this side than that side. Hopefully, I can just bring some good value to the ball club. Hopefully, I can bring value to these guys and then let (manager Bruce) Bochy see how I do. I would rather let them evaluate me, and then hopefully something good can come out of this.”Bonds, as he has been, was evasive about steroids.“I already went to court, and that’s where I’ll leave it,” he said when confronted on the subject. “And I think anything outside that doesn’t need to be commented on.”He did say that with 762 career home runs, the most by anyone, he deserves a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. His said that his only regret was that he did not have a more congenial relationship with the media.“I was different character playing,” he said. “Now I’ve had to slow down and do different things. I think we all do. I think when you’ve been gone a while you have time to reflect on things. But I needed ‘that guy’ to play. I needed him. It was who I was at the time. It was not who I am in my day-to-day life.“I’m the same person but a different character. I was like this guy over here who is crazy, and this guy over here who is not. I’m more in the middle. I can still be crazy, but I’m a lot calmer now.”As for coaching, he said, “I have to learn [about] them. But that will never take me more than a minute. All you have to do is go into a batting cage and I’ll tell you everything that’s going on. Very fast.“I think they did pretty good without me. They won two World Series championships. I don’t know if I can help. I know I can do one thing: I can help you do a little better than you already are. But I don’t know how much I can do. But I will have time to find out.” read more

Construction worker gets 3 years jail for trafficking 21 grams of

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedLabourer to spend three years behind bars for narco traffickingJuly 20, 2016In “Court”Clothes vendor remanded on cannabis possession chargeSeptember 18, 2018In “Court”Two jailed for possession of cannabis …in separate chargesMay 7, 2018In “Court” Sataka Joseph, a 25-year-old construction worker opted not to waste the court’s time as he entered into a guilty plea to a charge of trafficking in narcotics when he was arraigned before Magistrate Judy Latchman at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on Monday morning.Joseph was  in possession of 21 grams of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking on November 16, 2017, at America Street in Georgetown.Police Prosecutor Shawn Gonsalves appeared for the prosecution and related that on the day in question, ranks of the Brickdam Police Station on patrol in the area came into contact with the defendant and conducted a search on his person.A quantity of seeds, leaves and stems suspected to be cannabis was found in his front left side pants pocket contained in a transparent plastic bag.He was arrested and taken into custody where he gave a confession in an oral statement, acknowledging ownership of the suspected prohibited herb. Joseph remained in silence and indicated that he did not wish to say anything when given the chance to speak.Taking all mitigating factors into consideration, Magistrate Latchman imposed a fine of $30,000 along with a mandatory term of three years in prison. read more

The 9 at 9 Friday

first_imgEVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things you need to know with your morning cup of coffee.1. #POWER: The strong winds across the country overnight have left 70,000 people without power this morning. ESB described it as “the worst storm in 15 years” and said it expects the numbers without power to rise as the morning progresses.2.#FOOD SAFETY: The Irish Times reports horror stories of some food businesses with cockroaches and dead rats among the reasons for 142 enforcement orders by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland in 2013 – the highest number in the history of the FSAI.3. #DEADLINE: The Taoiseach has admitted that his own target for Ireland getting retroactive recapitalisation of our banks will not be met, though he still expects something to happen in the latter half of 2014.4. #PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Minister of State Alan Kelly wants to add five million extra people to the numbers using public transport in Ireland in 2014. In an interview with TheJournal.ie, Kelly said he never used the word ‘snobbish’ but again repeated comments about those on higher incomes using public transport less.5. #PHONE TAPPING: Documents from 1983 reveal the Garda Commissioner at the time believed he had no choice but to retire after a massive phone-tapping scandal was uncovered, despite assertions by the government at the time that he was not asked to resign. The scandal ultimately led to the downfall of Taoiseach Charles Haughey after allegations he was shown transcripts of recorded conversations.6. #CHILD BENEFIT: Minister Brendan Howlin has told the Irish Independent that child benefit it now safe from any further cuts or means testing measures. This comes despite Fine Gael’s plans for a reform of the social welfare system.7. #CREDIT UNION: Over the last three years, Irish credit unions have pursued members for debts of nearly €35 million through the courts, the Irish Examiner reports. The single highest judgement was in Roscrea at almost €750,000.8. #SADDAM: The man who oversaw the hanging of Saddam Hussein said, in an interview with AFP, that the former Iraqi dictator was “normal and relaxed” right before his death. Just before he was hanged, the man said Hussein began to recite the Muslim testament of faith.9. #SOUTH SUDAN: Leaders from east African countries will come together today to discuss the escalating violence in South Sudan, with more than 1,000 people now believed to have been killed, BBc reports.last_img read more

Two jabs against swine flu

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Greek Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Friday heralded the announcement by the Greek Government of a swine flu action plan that will see Greece’s entire population of 11 million, including thousands of illegal immigrants vaccinated against swine flu.Greece announced on Friday it would vaccinate its whole population against swine flu, the first country to introduce such a broad measure amid the current pandemic.The government intends “to vaccinate all citizens and residents of the country without exception,” Greek Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos told a news conference after a cabinet meeting.“Our country will be among the first to obtain the vaccines but they will not be used before official international and European authorisation,” he added.He later added that the vaccine would be administered to all submitting a written application accompanied by a medical evaluation.The measure would also apply to more than a million registered and unregistered migrants, many of them from Albania, Bulgaria and Romania, that make up Greece’s 11-million population.Avramopoulos added that authorities will order some 24 million doses of the flu vaccine, to secure the recommended two shots for each resident, and will start administering the drugs once they have been approved by international authorities. The drugs are to be administered from mid-September, when deliveries are expected to arrive, starting with health workers and vulnerable citizens, including children, the elderly and the sick. Each citizen will have to sign a form registering for his or her inoculation.A national action plan for dealing with a possible pandemic of the H1N1 virus was also discussed by the Greek Cabinet. The plan envisages the establishment of special vaccination centers as well as the mobilisation of the private health sector and includes seven alternative scenarios for tackling the spread of the virus. The more serious scenarios foresee the use of military and private hospitals and even hotels to treat patients and the mobilisation of trainee and retired doctors, according to sources.But Avramopoulos maintained a cautiously upbeat outlook yesterday, stressing that the flu’s “mortality rates are exceptionally low” and reiterating that “we should get on with our lives as usual without concern.”last_img read more

Chelsea could face potential transfer ban

first_imgChelsea Football Club could face a two-year transfer ban from FIFA after breaching transfer rules regarding under-age transfer.The Blues have an impressive start to the season, remaining unbeaten in all competitions including the Premier League, UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup.Maurizio Sarri’s side have been linked with a number of transfer additions to their squad with Inter Milan defender, Milan Skriniar and Juventus’ Alex Sandro on top of that list.However, the London club could find themselves without the opportunity to bring in more players for two years due to an ongoing investigation over the signing of under-age foreign players.A FIFA statement read, according to Express:Jose Mourinho is sold on Lampard succeeding at Chelsea Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho wanted to give his two cents on Frank Lampard’s odds as the new Chelsea FC manager, he thinks he will succeed.There really…“As communicated in September 2017, investigations were opened concerning the club Chelsea FC as well as other English clubs in relation to potential breaches of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.“The proceedings are ongoing and, to date, no decision has been passed by the Fifa judicial bodies.”Thus, the clubs are to be presumed innocent unless decided otherwise.“No further information can be provided as the cases are ongoing.”Chelsea now turns their attention to the Premier League where they will come against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.last_img read more

Chelsea reveal recordhigh profit of £62m

first_imgChelsea Football Club has made a record £62m profit according to their latest published accounts on Monday.Chelsea recorded a 22.7 percent in turnover as it rose from £361.3m to £443.4m in the financial year ending June 30, 2018.Broadcasting revenues increased by £41.7m to £204.1m, while commercial revenue grew by £32.0m after the club signed several partnership deals including with the new official kit supplier, Nike.The West London club made a profit of £113.0m on player sales, and achieved a record-high profit of £62.0m, after tax.“The club has now posted a series of record-breaking revenue figures and our profit margin has increased in consecutive years,” Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck told the official Chelsea website.Tammy Abraham, ChelseaChelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.“This has occurred against a backdrop of varying participation in European football, and different degrees of achievement in the Premier League, which demonstrates we have built a sound business footing to support our on-pitch quest for success.“With our matchday income steady, despite not finishing in the top four of the Premier League last season, and our global fanbase increasing, we thank our loyal supporters as well as our hard-working staff and valued partners for helping to make a successful financial year.”These financial results mean that Chelsea continue to comply with the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.last_img read more

Nearly a third of organisations fail to measure longterm sickness absence

first_imgAlthough just over half (56%) of organisations record their levels of long-term sickness absence, which refers to leave of 20 working days or more, almost a third (29%) do not, according to research by manufacturers’ organisation EEF.The EEF health and work survey 2018, published in association with insurance provider Howden, polled 165 employers in May 2018. It also revealed that just under a third (29%) of organisations identify work-related sickness absence levels, but that almost two-fifths (37%) do not. Mean sickness absence attributed to work is 4%.The most common cause of long-term sickness absence for just under two-fifths (37%) of employers is a result of employees waiting for medical investigations or recovering from surgery.Approximately four-fifths (81%) of organisations have access to occupational health (OH) services and the most common utilised OH services for just over three-quarters (76%) are task fitness assessments. Audiometry is the most common type of health surveillance for the majority (82%) of organisations.Almost all organisations are implementing measures to help reintegrate employees back into work, the foremost being phased returns to work (89%), reduced or different hours (84%) and time off for medical appointments (70%).Terry Woolmer (pictured), head of health and safety and policy at EEF, said: “It has long been recognised that a healthy workforce is a more productive workforce. Investment in the wellbeing of employees by both the employer and government makes sense not just for good business practice but also the benefits to wider society from reduced benefits and pressure on a stretched NHS.“The focus on occupational health needs to regain momentum, however, especially given the upward trend of a number of causes of long-term absence. This should involve practical short-term measures such as a replacement for the ‘Fit for Work’ service, as well as a long-term focus on a wider strategy for employee health that goes way beyond just managing absence.”last_img read more

Wednesday Update Swan Lake Crews Prepare For Warmer Weather

first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Swan Lake fire remains at approximately 100,812 acres and is 25% contained. The fire has been smoldering and creeping in the drainages on the eastern flank, while fire activity is anticipated to pick up due to an increase in temperatures starting Wednesday. Steve Bekkerus with the Incident Command Team:“Numbers have not changed, but we are now reporting that 50 percent of the objectives for managing the fire have been accomplished. This includes control lines in place to stop the spread towards Sterling and Cooper Landing, point protection for valued historic cabins and trails, and monitoring and water drops to reduce hot spots that are smoldering in duff that can be 24 inches deep.”Crews are utilizing natural features and existing trails as fire lines to establish control lines to curb eastward fire spread. Mop up efforts to the west remain a challenge as extremely dry fuels are very susceptible to ignition. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) has expanded to include the western portion of the Chugach National Forest and still includes the Sterling Highway corridor. Watch for construction zones and smoke along the Sterling Highway. Helicopters will be very active in the southeast corner of the fire along Sterling highway near Upper Jean Lake. Continued updates will be posted as they are made available. Temperatures will be in the mid 70’s with light northeasterly winds in the morning, shifting to northerly winds in the afternoon which could be challenging for the 441 crew members on staff. Cooper Landing could see smoke in the area in the afternoon and evening.  Sections of Sterling Highway may see light smoke overnight. Bekkerus: “Our firefighters are working and travelling along Sterling Highway near Upper Jean Lake and we greatly appreciate the public’s cooperation by keeping alert and traffic speeds low. Please DO NOT STOP to watch or take pictures. It is not worth your life or a firefighter. “last_img read more

Niche Media Shutters Atlanta Peach

first_imgIt was not immediately clear what would become of the magazines employees (there were fewer than 10). Niche Media CEO Jason Binn did not immediately return a request for comment.Powers, who founded Ocean Drive Media, launched Atlanta Peach in 2006. Initial circulation was about 50,000—mostly controlled with copies going into retail outlets, hotels and mailed direct to high-end home owners.In fall 2007, Niche Media finalized an agreement that effectively unified its operations with Ocean Drive Media and Greenspun Media Group.The closing of Atlanta Peach comes a little more than a month after Niche Media announced a restructuring to reduce staffing redundancies. Owner Greenspun recently reduced its workforce by about 10 percent. Luxury regional lifestyle publisher Niche Media has shuttered Atlanta Peach magazine. The December issue will be its last.The monthly was folded in order for Niche to “focus resources and energy on the strategic investments that are best suited to continue our growth objectives for the future success of our business,” founder Jerry Powers said in a statement. The magazine’s Web site also was shut down.last_img read more

Businessman attacked with machetes forced to strip in Bengaluru

first_imgmacheteFlickrA Bengaluru businessman went through a harrowing experience when he was forcefully pulled out of his car, forced to strip naked and attacked with machetes by eight men. He managed to escape by first hiding under a bus and then behind a bush. The incident happened at Nandini Layout in Bengaluru when the victim, Dhananjay, and four other friends were returning home after dinner last week. Dhananjay was sitting in the front passenger seat while his friend Sagar, a driver by profession, was driving the car, reports Bangalore Mirror.In his complaint, Sagar said, “On Friday night, Dhananjay had called me and three other friends and we went for dinner after work. We were carrying about Rs 2.3 lakh with us and were heading back home. Around 11:30 pm, when we were going from Jai Maruthi Nagar circle towards Kurubarahalli, we saw two men standing in the middle of the road and blocking our way. Dhananjay got down from the car and asked them to move their bikes when the two picked up a fight.”He went on to explain that the rest of them too got out of the car to make peace with the two men and asked them to let the car pass through. They agreed and the men went back to the car.However, as the five of them got into the car, the vehicle was surrounded by eight men with machetes and they began attacking the car. Sagar said that he tried to move the car, but the assailants stopped it and dragged Dhananjay out of the vehicle.Sagar recounted that the friends found Dhananjay half-naked. He was only wearing his shirt and it was stained with blood. He was hiding behind a bush and waiting for the assailants to go away.Dhananjay sustained injuries behind his ears, four gashes on his head, and a cut on his left leg. “We immediately alerted the police and took him to a private hospital and later shifted him to Ramaiah hospital. Meanwhile, the police caught a couple of the suspects. I immediately recognised them and informed the police, who arrested them. Two of them had shirts stained with my friend’s blood. They had even hidden their weapons,” Sagar said.Sagar filed a complaint with the police on Saturday. The Nandini Layout police have charged them under section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.When asked for the reason behind the attack, the police said that it was just to show power since the cash wasn’t taken from the vehicle.last_img read more

Trump Putin test ties in Baltic showdown

first_imgUS president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin. Photo: ReutersAfter months of anticipation, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet Monday to put to the test the US president’s ambition to forge a personal bond with the Kremlin chief.If Trump’s instinct is right and he finds common ground with Putin, then the pair’s Helsinki Summit may take the heat out of some of the world’s most dangerous conflicts.But the Washington-Moscow rivalry has a long history and there are there many points of friction that could yet spoil Trump’s hoped-for beautiful friendship.With the foes at loggerheads over Syria, Ukraine, pipeline policy, espionage and election interference, even Trump cautioned: “I’m not going with high expectations.”The brash billionaire property magnate has been president for 18 months, while the 65-year-old former KGB officer has run Russia for the past 18 years.The 72-year-old president nevertheless has a high opinion of his ability to woo tough opponents, such as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, whom he met at a summit last month.“I think it’s a good thing to meet. I do believe in meetings,” Trump insisted in an interview with CBS News that aired before he touched down in Helsinki.In the same interview, Trump admitted that Russia remains a foe, but he put Moscow on a par with China and the European Union as economic and diplomatic rivals.The Kremlin has also played down hopes that the odd couple will emerge from their first formal one-on-one summit having resolved the issues poisoning relations.Putin, who played host at the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday and was due to arrive in Finland later Monday, has remained terse in the run up to the summit.But on Friday his adviser Yuri Ushakov also played down expectations, saying: “The state of bilateral relations is very bad…. We have to start to set them right.”Giving up ground?Indeed, after a week in which Trump threatened to up-end a summit of the NATO allies, anxious European leaders may be relieved if not much comes of the Helsinki meeting.Many fear that Trump-in his eagerness to prove that he was right to seek the summit with Putin despite Russia’s often hostile stance-may give up too much ground.In the run-up to talks, Trump has refused to personally commit to the US refusal to recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea, leaving open the possibility of a climb-down.If Washington were to de facto accept Russia’s 2014 land-grab, this would break with decades of US policy send tremors through NATO’s exposed eastern flank.Trump’s critics in Washington will be watching this-and also how he handles the growing evidence that Russian agents intervened in America’s 2016 presidential race.Last week US special prosecutor Robert Mueller indicted 12 more Russian intelligence officers for allegedly hacking Trump rival Hillary Clinton’s computer server.There will be outrage at home if Trump does not confront Putin over the scandal, but the mercurial US leader would not say whether he would demand the suspects’ extradition.“Well, I might. I hadn’t thought of that. But I certainly…. I’ll be asking about it,” Trump told CBS.Senior diplomat and now chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass said that for centuries world order has depended on “non-interference in the internal affairs of others and respect for sovereignty.”“Russia has violated this norm by seizing Crimea and by interfering in the 2016 US election. We must deal with Putin’s Russia as the rogue state it is,” he tweeted.But of all the topics that may come up in the meetings it is Syria that may prove most important.Despite the doubts of his top national security advisers, Trump is keen to withdraw US troops from eastern Syria, where they have been battling the Islamic State.Reports suggest he may seek a deal that Russia work with Israel to contain Iran’s influence, in exchange for allowing Putin’s ally Bashar al-Assad to stay in power.This could free up US troops to withdraw, but would also-as with Crimea-mark a major victory for Putin and a betrayal of local US allies on the ground.‘Not good enough’Trump certainly does not expect to win over the Washington media and foreign policy establishment.In a bitter tweet sent as he flew between his golf resort in Scotland to the Finnish capital, he said even if he was handed the keys to Moscow “it would not be good enough.”Helsinki may not be impressed either.On the eve of the summit, more than 2,000 people denounced Trump and Putin and hailed human rights, press freedom and dissent as they marched in the city’s Senate Square.last_img read more

Mamata greets PM Modi on his birthday

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 68th birthday. “Birthday greetings to Prime Minister @narendramodiji,” Banerjee, who is currently on 13-day official tour to Europe, tweeted in the morning. Modi will celebrate his 68th birthday in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi. The PM is scheduled to spend the day with children of a primary school, aided by a non-profit organisation. In Tamil Nadu, the BJP celebrated Modi’s birthday by gifting gold rings to newborns.last_img read more

Anastasiades to contact Akinci with meeting on the cards Updated

first_imgPresident Nicos Anastasiades said on Friday he will meet next week with the Special Representative of UN Secretary General in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar to assess the prospects for the resumption of the settlement talks.Anastasiades, who is reportedly to contact Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci next week in a bid to resume stalled reunification talks, said that during his meeting with Spehar, they will ‘explore’ whether there are prospects that ‘could give hope for a dialogue on the correct basis, on what had been agreed’.“I will do my utmost, whatever is possible to see whether the prospects are there,” he said.His next move on the settlement talks will depend, he said, on the basis of public statements and prerequisites set out and on the stances of the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey.He also urged Turkish Cypriots to realise ‘that they also need to recognise the anxiety and expectations and concerns of the victims of the invasion’.On when he is to convene the National Council, he said, this would happen ‘as long as there are some developments, before any meeting (with Akinci)’.According to daily Politis, Anastasiades plans on seeking a meeting with Akinci towards the end of next week. Media reports in the north said Akinci will agree to a meeting with AnastasiadesGovernment spokesman Nicos Christodouldies said on Friday the president will ‘engage in certain actions’ after meeting party chiefs. He said the meeting will take place soon but did not disclose what the actions would be.Turkish Cypriot daily Detay, said that despite the hardline rhetoric used by the Turkish side on the Cyprus problem, Akinci will accept an invitation from Anastasiades.It also said it was highly probable that the two leaders would be having dinner together.The UN, the daily said, is not expected to mediate for a meeting at this stage, as the aim will be to exchange views on how to proceed.Sources cited by Politis said it will take time for the two leaders to find common ground due to lack of trust, but also because thorough preparation is necessary before a new conference on Cyprus is convened.Finding common ground could be difficult however. Greek Cypriots want things to pick up where they left off, while the Turkish Cypriot side has been calling for a new approach.In an interview with the Athens News Agency, Anastasiades said he is determined to continue the dialogue as soon as possible, ‘at least concerning the internal aspects’.Anastasiades said he hoped he would not be faced with a similar attitude during his meeting with Akinci as the one exhibited by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who said last week that new negotiations based on the same framework would be doomed.If it was up to the Greek Cypriot side he said, ‘we would not have reached the unfortunate results’ of the settlement talks last year in Switzerland.If Turkey’s positions are not known beforehand and if they are not in line with the parameters of the UN Secretary-General, a new conference on Cyprus ‘will again be led to failure’.Anastasiades stated on several occasions that the problem lies in the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot negotiating side’s refusal to compromise on the issue of Turkey’s right to intervene, and on the presence of Turkish troops on the island.Akinci has said that he is not thinking of appointing a new negotiator at the moment, as he does not want for negotiations to drag on in the same way for another 50 years. He called for a results-oriented procedure and not an open-ended one.Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary General Farhan Haq, said on Friday that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres continues to see what influence the UN can have to bring the Cyprus talks forward.“Guterres continues to be advised, including from Elizabeth Spehar who is our senior official currently dealing with the Cyprus file about all the events, and he continues to see what influence we can have to bring the talks forward,” he said. You May LikeLiverMD | SupplementTop Doctor Recommends Liver Health SolutionLiverMD | SupplementUndoDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Man remanded after digging up cannabis stash

first_imgA 34-year-old was remanded for seven days by the Paphos district court on Wednesday after he was spotted unearthing 124g of cannabis from a field in Yeroskipou.The 34-year-old was arrested at 8pm on Tuesday night by members of the drug squad who were staking out an empty field in the Yeroskipou industrial area after receiving a tip.The 34-year-old was spotted digging out of the ground a package containing 124g of cannabis, believed to have been buried in the field by another person.A sum of €380 found on the 34-year-old was confiscated. Nothing else was found during a police search of his vehicle and home.Police said that they have had multiple dealings with the 34-year-old in the past, though the suspect denied involvement in this specific case. You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoIcePopMan Notices A Strange Hole In This Lake, So He Gets A Drone, Flies It Inside And Captures ThisIcePopUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more