Liberal MPs shoot down opposition bid to summon Trudeau over ethics Aga

first_imgOTTAWA – Justin Trudeau has been spared from testifying before a parliamentary committee over his controversial Bahamas vacation, as Liberals on the House of Commons ethics committee said Trudeau and can answer questions about the getaway during a cross-country town hall tour.Opposition MPs on the committee had hoped to convince the Liberal majority to compel Trudeau to appear and address his dealings with the Aga Khan, in particular his family’s contentious December 2016 visit to the billionaire spiritual leader’s private Bahamian island.Predictably, however, their efforts landed short of the mark as the vote fell along party lines, with Liberals voting unanimously to reject the Conservative motion hours after Trudeau dismissed the idea of him testifying as little more than an opposition effort to score political points.Tuesday’s meeting was a prelude of sorts to Wednesday’s main event, when the committee hears from Mary Dawson, the former ethics commissioner who called the prime minister on the carpet over the trip in one of the last official pronouncements of her tenure, which ended Monday.Dawson’s report, released just before Christmas, found Trudeau violated four provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act when he and members of his family accepted the trip, which left taxpayers on the hook for more than $200,000 and which Dawson said could be seen as a gift designed to influence the prime minister.Dawson also said Trudeau should have recused himself from two meetings focused on a $15-million grant to the billionaire philanthropist’s endowment fund of the Global Centre for Pluralism. Trudeau told Dawson he had no qualms about the meeting, describing his role in such scenarios “as ceremonial in nature.”Dawson found no evidence that Trudeau used his position to further the Aga Khan’s private interest.NDP ethics critic Nathan Cullen said there are still several questions for Trudeau to answer from the report, including why the prime minister persists in calling the Aga Khan a family friend, and why Trudeau didn’t recuse himself from the two meetings cited in the report.“We have clear and open questions that we want to put to the prime minister. What we were told today is town halls and question period are just going to have to do,” Cullen said after the meeting.Conservative ethics critic Peter Kent, the architect of Tuesday’s ill-fated motion, said Trudeau has the same obligation to be accountable to Parliament as any other federal politician.“It is his responsibility to make himself available to members of Parliament to discuss the report and his feelings about the commissioner’s findings,” Kent said. “There is no more appropriate location, I believe, than before this committee, which is responsible for the ethical practices of the House of Commons.”The opposition can ask their questions during question period, while ordinary Canadians can grill the prime minister during a series of cross-country town hall meetings that got underway Tuesday in Halifax, said Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.There’s no point in having the committee “re-litigating issues that we’re likely to see in question period,” he added.Trudeau was asked about the trip during two radio appearances Tuesday, and again during the evening town hall meeting, the first in a cross-country tour. Trudeau said he would have gone to the ethics watchdog first for guidance if he had to do it all over again.“We would have followed the recommendations that the ethics commissioner gave on this whatever they were and you can be sure that moving forward that’s exactly what will happen,” he said.“This is something that I take very seriously and I think Canadians can and should take seriously because people expect a lot of their prime minister and they’re right to.“People expect a lot of their elected officials — and they should — and that’s why the service that I offer as prime minister is grounded in trying to do right by the people who entrusted me with this responsibility.”Trudeau said he still believed the Aga Khan was a close family friend — a view that would have exempted the trips from any ethical review and Trudeau from any scrutiny.Dawson determined otherwise, noting that two men barely spoke for three decades before Trudeau became a major political player on the national scene.last_img read more

Couriers gear up for busierthannormal holiday season amid Canada Post strike

first_imgVANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Canadian couriers are bracing for a possible surge in shipments as the Canada Post strike slips into the holiday gift-mailing season.“It seems like a lot of consumers who are looking for an alternate are utilizing our retail network to do that,” UPS Canada communications director Steven Vitale said. “But overall, it’s our busiest time of the year so mixed together we’ve seen some increased volume for sure.”However, he says it’s unclear if the volume boost is because of the strike or just the regular start of the holiday season.He says the last day gift givers could ship something to arrive on Dec. 24 is Dec. 23, but getting parcels in earlier will avoid steep express delivery charges.In an email, FedEx said it hopes negotiations between Canada Post and its employee union, CUPW, are “resolved amicably,” but that it “has put in place a comprehensive contingency plan to manage unexpected volume.”RELATED: ‘We will fight’ in court if back-to-work legislation passes, postal union warnsWhile Canada Post says there are hundreds of trailers filled with mail sitting idle because of the strike, the union says there are only upwards of 80 trailers worth of backlog, which could be dealt with in a couple days.On Thursday, Federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu tabled legislation to force an end to rotating strikes by Canada Post employees. The postal union has warned of a legal battle if the federal government passes the back-to-work legislation. – With files from Mike Lloyd and Stuart McGinnlast_img read more

Canadas new Trans Mountain consultation plan met with skepticism

first_imgThe Tiny House Warriors are asserting their Indigenous rights and title on the land in Blue River, B.C. and say they have no plans on moving until the Trans Mountain pipeline is dead. File photo.Justin BrakeAPTN NewsCanada will not appeal a federal court’s recent ruling on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and says it will re-engage with First Nations and Métis communities impacted by the project.The announcement by Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi Wednesday morning comes amid ongoing debate around Canada’s duty to consult Indigenous peoples on the pipeline, and on resource projects developed on Indigenous lands more broadly.On Aug. 30 the Federal Court of Appeal ruled on a case brought forth by a number of First Nations, the Cities of Vancouver and Burnaby and the Government of British Columbia that the National Energy Board’s (NEB) “process and findings were so flawed that the Governor in Council could not reasonably rely on the Board’s report,” and that Canada “failed to fulfil the duty to consult owed to Indigenous peoples.”Responding to that decision on Wednesday Sohi announced the federal government is appointing former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci to oversee a new consultation process in which Canada will “work to address concerns of First Nations and Métis communities to move forward in the right way on this project in accordance with the Court’s direction.”Canada intent on getting pipeline builtWhile Canada won’t appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, Indigenous leaders and grassroots people are skeptical of the Trudeau government’s intentions, and whether it will respect Indigenous rights.Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) told APTN Wednesday that UBCIC is “firmly convinced that the Trudeau government is making its best efforts to circumvent the Federal Court of Appeal decision and to reactivate the project as quickly as possible.”On Wednesday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters the feds are “intending to follow the blueprint laid out by the courts,” and that “if we were to appeal [the decision] it would take another few years before we could begin construction.”“We feel that the blueprint that the court laid out for [Trans Mountain pipeline] will allow us to get things done quicker and get our resources to new markets other than the United States in a more rapid fashion.”Watch Annette Francis’ story on the announcement here Eugene Kung, a lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law who has written about Trans Mountain and Aboriginal rights, says Trudeau and Sohi’s comments Wednesday indicate Canada “seems to be focused not on what the Supreme Court of Canada has said” on Aboriginal rights, but rather “on what the federal court said in this one decision.”In a recent article for Policy Options Kung wrote, “It is important to recognize that the Federal Court of Appeal did not create any new law in this decision,” and that judges “simply applied the law as set out by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Federal Court of Appeal in cases such as Haida, Gitxaala, Chippewas of the Thames and Clyde River, among others.”Kung said the Supreme Court of Canada “has said very clearly how to ensure adequate consultation, which is to obtain consent, and it’s very clear that this is not what the intention of this process is.”He echoed Grand Chief Phillip’s concerns that “it looks as though their mind is already made up, which kind of suggests it’s very possible that whatever comes out of the end of this process will end up back in the court again, which is in nobody’s interest.”Stewart said while the UBCIC consults with their legal team on the announcement, they “don’t want to be somewhere off in left field undertaking a grandiose consultation process while construction crews are out laying pipe.”Khelsilem, a councillor and spokesperson for Squamish Nation, a litigant in the case, said in a statement released Wednesday that the Nation “continues to have serious concerns” about Trans Mountain, and that they “expect an honourable consultation process that upholds our nation’s Indigenous rights.“The Trudeau government tried to ram this project through our territory with a predetermined outcome and this was not acceptable to Squamish Nation or the courts,” Khelsilem added.“We would have concerns about any process which had artificial timelines or restrictions on our rights. We have a sacred duty to protect our traditional territory for future generations.”“Accommodation where accommodation is possible”: Sohi In May, Canada announced it was buying the embattled pipeline—which has faced fierce opposition from Indigenous groups for years while garnering the support from some First Nations and Metis communities—from Texas oil giant Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion.At that time Indigenous leaders from a host of Nations and communities—and with grassroots people asserting their rights and jurisdiction on the ground in unceded Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, Musqueam, Sto:lo and Secwepemc territories—vehemently and publicly opposed the Trudeau government’s assertion that it would see the pipeline through to completion.Critics of the project maintain that in building a pipeline through their lands without Indigenous peoples’ free, prior and informed consent violates Aboriginal rights and contradicts Canada’s commitment to upholding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, including the imperative to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Following the federal court of appeal’s announcement in August Indigenous representatives gathered in Vancouver for a joint news conference.“It was a hard fight, but I’m glad today the courts heard the teachings of our culture, and our spirit, and how we carry ourselves,” Tsleil-Waututh Chief Reuben George announced. “The people up here that represent the nations could have negotiated for millions, but we can’t put a price on the things that we love.”Asked by reporters how Canada will carry out its consultations with Indigenous groups, Sohi said Wednesday the feds “are going to engage in good faith and in a meaningful way,” adding Canada will “offer accommodation where accommodation is possible.”Sohi said the NEB is conducting its own review of marine shipping and the impacts on species at risk.Meanwhile, Canada will begin its consultation process, he added.“We will follow the direction that has been given to us by the federal court, [which] has said that meaningful consultation can take place in a focused and efficient manner. “So with that we’ll be going into the communities with an open mind, and engaging and listening and learning from them, and accepting their help in designing and the input into how we need to move on this important project.”Grassroots resistance remains until Indigenous rights respectedMeanwhile, the Tiny House Warriors continue to assert Secwepemc title and jurisdiction on the land in Blue River, B.C. at the site of a proposed worker’s camp.Kanahus Manuel of the Secwepemc Women’s Warriors Society—and granddaughter of George Manuel, the former UBCIC Chief who led the “Constitutional Express” grassroots movement in 1980 and 1981 that ultimately pressured the Pierre Trudeau government to include Indigenous rights in the repatriated constitution in 1982—said Canada still isn’t respecting Indigenous rights by consulting with bands created under Canada’s Indian Act.“The Secwepemc Nation is one nation; it takes up more than 500 kilometres of this pipeline route,” she told APTN by phone Wednesday.Manuel said Canada is “talking to the chief and council system…and those chiefs and councils are violating our Indigenous rights in thinking that they are the proper decision-makers.”Manuel pointed out that Indian Act bands are only able to make decisions on the reserve lands determined by Canada.“When they’re talking about going back and re-establishing consultation with First Nations, they’re talking to the wrong people,” she said.“We have governance laws based on consensus that were given to us from—in our case in Secwepemcul’ecw, from Chief Coyote, and the old ones, those teachings of consensus.“The proper decision-makers are the people who hold that title collectively amongst our Nation. So in Secwepemcul’ecw, that’s 10,000 people who are the rightful title holders.”Critics have long maintained that Canada’s Indian Act divides and conquers Indigenous Nations by creating First Nations bands within broader societies, and then uses negotiating tactics to pressure those bands to consent to resource development on their lands.“Every time our Nations are compromising because they’re holding a gun to those chiefs’ heads and they’re playing Russian Roulette with that trigger. ‘You say yes, we won’t shoot. You say no, we pull funding, you people die,’” Manuel added.Manuel said the Tiny House Warriors are still established in Blue River and have watched pipeline infrastructure being moved north through the community.“We will continue to blockade. And with these continued threats by the federal government, we’re not going to take them lightly. “If they’re going to amp up pushing this pipeline through, then we’re going to amp up the conflict and the confrontation and the blockades that are going to happen to stop this pipeline.”She said her grandfather, and her father Arthur Manuel, helped mobilize thousands to get Indigenous rights into Canada’s constitution, and that it’s up to grassroots people to ensure those rights are respected by Canada.“We need to remember that people fought for that in the constitution,” she said. “Aboriginal title exists.”last_img read more

Mahagathbandhan can get 3 of BJP’s 8 in UP’s II phase

first_imgLucknow: Out of the eight seats going to polls in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, the Mahagathbandhan (MGB) might wrest three from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if voting pattern in the 2014 is any indication. The Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) — are contesting unitedly as the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in 2019. They had fought separately in 2014. If the votes polled by these parties in 2014 are added, the BJP would have lost Fatehpur Sikri, Nagina and Amroha but would have won Hathras, Mathura, Bulandshahar, Aligarh and Agra. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details On the five seats where the BJP appears strong despite Mahagathbandhan, the party has changed candidates on three seats. In Hathras reserved seat, Rajvir Diler Balmiki has replaced Rajesh Kumar Diwakar, the winner of last election. In 2014, Diwaker had faced Niranjan Singh Dhangar of RLD, Manoj Kumar Soni of BSP and Ramji Lal Suman of SP. Even if the votes of all his rivals are added, Diwaker still would have emerged the winner comfortably. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday While the Mahagathbandhan appears strong to win back some seats from the BJP, the additional factor in these elections is the Congress and Shivpal Yadav’s Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) fielding their own candidates. From Hathras, the Congress-led UPA has Triloki Ram as the contestant and PDA has Mithlesh Devi. The BJP has changed candidate in Agra as well, where Satya Pal Singh Baghel is leading the party’s charge against Mahagathbandhan’s Manoj Kumar Soni, UPA’s Preeta Harit and Ramji Lal Vidyarthi of PDA. In 2014, Dr. Ram Shankar Katheria had comprehensively beaten all his rivals who would not have matched his numbers even if they had fought together. In Mathura, the BJP has retained Hema Malini, who had defeated Jayant Chaudhary of RLD, Pt. Yogesh Kumar Dwivedi of BSP and Chandan Singh of SP in 2014 is facing Kunwar Narinder Singh of Mahagathbandhan, Mahesh Pathak of UPA and Jagvir Singh of PDA. Constituency-wise analysis of votes polled by main candidates in 2014 on the Uttar Pradesh seats going to polls on April 18. Aligarh 2014 Winner — Satish Kumar (BJP) Votes polled — 5,14,622 Zafar Alam of SP polled 2,26,284 Dr Arvind Kumar Singh of BSP polled 2,27,886 Bijendra Singh of Congress polled 62674 SP + BSP = 4,34,170 If Congress votes are added than BJP would have lost Contestants in 2019 Satish Kumar Gautam — BJP Bijendra Singh Chaudhary — UPA Dr. Ajit Baliyan — MGB Deepak Chaudhary — PDA Hathras 2014 Winner — Rajesh Kumar Diwaker of BJP, votes polled 5,44,277 Niranjan Singh Dhangar of RLD polled 86109 Manoj Kumar Soni of BSP polled 2,17,891 Ramji Lal Suman of SP polled 18,0891 SP+BSP+RLD = 4,84,891 Contestants in 2019 Rajvir Diler Balmiki — BJP Triloki Ram — UPA Ramji Lal Suman — MGB Mithlesh Devi — PDA Mathura in 2014 Winner — Hema Malini votes polled 5,74,633 Jayant Chaudhary RLD polled 2,43,890 Pt. Yogesh Kumar Dwivedi of BSP polled 1,73,572 Chandan Singh of SP polled 36673 SP+BSP+RLD = 4,54,135 Contestants in 2019 Hema Malini — BJP Mahesh Pathak — UPA Kunwar Narendra Singh — MGB Jagvir Singh — PDA Amroha 2014 Winner — Kanwar Tanwar Singh BJP votes polled 5,28,880 Farhat Hasan of BSP polled 1,62,983 Rakesh Tikait of RLD polled 9539 Humera Akhtar of SP polled 3,70,666 SP+BSP+RLD = 5,43,188 Contestants in 2019 Kanwar Singh Tanwar — BJP Sachin Choudhary — UPA Kunwar Danish Ali — MGB Matloon Ahmad — PDA Nagina in 2014 Winner — Yashwant Singh of BJP, votes polled 3,67,825 Girish Chandra of BSP polled 2,45,685 Yashwir Singh of SP polled 2,75,435 SP+BSP= 5,21,120 Contestants in 2019 Dr. Yashwant Singh — BJP Omvati Devi — UPA Girish Chandra — MGB PDA has not fielded candidate Bulandshehar 2014 Winner — Bhola Singh of BJP, votes polled 6,04,449 Anju urf Mushan of RLD polled 59116 Kamlesh of SP polled 1,28,737 Pradeep Kumar Jatav of SP polled 1,82,476 SP+BSP+RLD = 3,70,329 Contestants in 2019 Bhola Singh — BJP Banshi Singh — UPA Yogesh Verma — MGB PDA has not fielded candidate Agra in 2014 Winner — Dr Ram Shankar Katheria of BJP polling 5,83,716 Upendra Singh of Congress polled 34834 Narayan Singh Suman of BSP polled 2,83,453 Maharaj Singh Dhangar of SP polled 1,34,708 SP+BSP = 4,18,161 Contestants in 2019 Satyapal Singh Baghel — BJP Preeta Harit — UPA Manoj Kumar Soni — MGB Ramjilal Vidyarthi — PDA Fatehpur Sikri in 2014 Winner– Babulal of BJP polling 4,26,589 Amar Singh of RLD polled 24185 Rani Pakhwalika Singh of SP polled 2,13,397 Seema Upadhyay of BSP polled 2,53,483 SP+BSP+RLD = 4,52,993 Contestants in 2019 Rajkumar Chahar — BJP Raj Babbar — UPA Bhagwan Sharma aka Guddu Pandit — MGB Manisha Singh — PDAlast_img read more

European Commission gives Low Carbon Car Fund the green light

News that the Low Carbon Car Fund will not breach European state aid rules has today been welcomed by the motor industry. The ruling is an important step for government to set in place grants for buyers of some of the cleanest, low carbon cars following the collapse of Powershift 14 months ago. http://ec.europa.eu/comm/competition/state_aid/register/ii/by_case_nr_n2005_120.html#142 Schemes like Powershift, managed by the Energy Saving Trust, had offered a total package of £14 million to new car buyers and commercial vehicle operators in 2004/05. However, grants were discontinued in March 2005 amid concerns of a breach of European state aid rules. Since then, none have been available to new car buyers. Six new schemes were submitted to the European Commission by the Department for Transport, with a combined budget totalling £24 million. The Low Carbon Car Fund was one of these programmes. Under the proposals, it is thought that cars emitting 115 g/km CO2 or less would be eligible for a government grant of between £300-1,000. SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan commented, ‘Incentives are a fundamental way to drive a market. The Commission’s ruling has cleared the way for the UK Government to support the scheme as soon as possible and send a clear message to consumers.’Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

Suns Warren ejected at Detroit

DETROIT — Phoenix forward T.J. Warren was ejected from the Suns’ game Sunday at Detroit after receiving two technical fouls with 3:56 left in the first half.Warren appeared to have made a layup in transition for the Suns, but he was whistled for an offensive foul instead. He was clearly displeased with the call and picked up two quick technicals. Phoenix was down 50-45 at the time.The 25-year-old Warren came into the game averaging 18.1 points, second on the team to Devin Booker.___More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsThe Associated Press read more

Liberty beats Navy 7658 behind McGhees 18 points

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Darius McGhee scored 18 points with five 3-pointers, Scottie James added 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Liberty pulled away early to beat Navy 76-58 on Wednesday night.Keenan Gumbs scored 12 points with four assists and Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz added 10 points with five assists for the Flames (6-1), who shot 49 per cent and outscored Navy 32-26 in the paint.Liberty opened a 13-point lead on 67 per cent shooting early in the second half, but Navy closed to 61-52 on Luke Loehr’s free throw. McGhee’s 3 sparked an 11-2 run for a 72-54 advantage with 1:40 left and Navy got no closer.Myo Baxter-Bell’s jumper tied it at 11 and Liberty pulled ahead on a 10-4 run. McGhee’s 3 capped a 10-0 run and Liberty led 35-23 at halftime behind his 15 points.Cam Davis scored 13 points and Danny Ogele added 12 for Navy (2-4), which shot 41 per cent.The Associated Press read more

How Pervasive Is Homophobia In US Sports

A new study estimates that 83 percent of gay male youth athletes in the United States are keeping their sexual orientation hidden from some or all of their teammates. Lesbian athletes in the same age group (under 22 years old) were more willing to be public about it — 63 percent said they were hiding their orientation.The reason for the secrecy — even in an age when polls show that acceptance has been increasing — is often fear. Nearly half of gay men and 44 percent of lesbians around the world who kept their sexual orientation hidden said they did so in order not to be bullied. In addition, fear of discrimination from coaches or officials was mentioned by 32 percent of gay men and 28 percent of lesbians.The survey found that 80 percent of the respondents, both gay and heterosexual, had witnessed or experienced homophobia in sports.Titled “Out On The Fields,” the report was based on a survey of nearly 9,500 gay, bisexual and heterosexual people and claims to be the largest-ever study on homophobia in sports. (The questions only related to sexual orientation, not gender identity, so the study offers no information about transgender athletes.)After publicizing the anonymous online questionnaire through various media outlets,1 They included Outsports, Gay News Network, Star Observer, Same Same, Fairfax Media, The Guardian, ESPN, EILE Magazine Ireland, Gay NZ, GayStar News, Daily Xtra and Pink News UK. the researchers received answers from several English-speaking countries. The highest numbers of responses came from Australia (3,006), the United States (2,064), the United Kingdom (1,796), Canada (1,123), New Zealand (631) and Ireland (501).The United States received the lowest overall “inclusion score” of all the countries analyzed, with a high number of respondents saying the U.S. was not accepting of gay athletes. (Though because of the small sample sizes for respondents from New Zealand and Ireland, it isn’t necessarily fair to say that the U.S. ranks worst.)In a phone interview, the survey’s lead author, Erik Denison, said attitudes about privacy among athletes are often related to the perception of homophobia in sports.“I made that decision myself when I kept in the closet,” he said. “Implicitly it is about discrimination, though. The straight men can talk openly in conversations about what you did at the weekend, the women they met. If you’re gay though, you either have to make up stories or be excluded. It’s not the same.”The large scale of the survey, though, doesn’t mean that it is the definitive word on homophobia in sports. Even in countries that had a high number of respondents, it can be difficult to tease out more detailed trends because the subgroups are far too small. Responses were split into youth and adult sports (i.e. under age 22 and over age 22) but also broken out by sports played and the sexual orientation of the respondents.What’s more, not everyone even said they played sports — among U.S. respondents, for example, 81 percent of gay women and 75 percent of gay men said they participated in youth sports, while 63 percent of gay women and 42 percent of gay men said they participated in adult sports. As a result, the finding that 83 percent of gay male youth athletes keep their sexuality hidden from teammates is based on just 114 individuals.Denison and his co-author, Alistair Kitchen, both members of Australia’s first gay rugby team, said they were are aware of those limitations. Their international approach was partly informed by the fact that past smaller-scale studies on homophobia in sport have been dismissed for being too limited in scope. The final methodology and findings were reviewed by seven academic experts prior to publication.Overall, these results should be treated as estimates in an under-researched area filled with speculation, rather than definitive numbers about gay athletes.Gay respondents were more likely than heterosexual ones to say that homophobia was more common in team sporting environments than in general society. But LGB athletes also related positive reactions to revealing their orientation to their teammates. In its write-up of the report, the gay sports site Outsports.com acknowledged many of the issues cited by respondents but added that “people in sports behave very differently when an athlete actually comes out,” often welcoming the LGB athlete and apologizing for language used in the past.Denison also described what he called “the snowball effect” — the notion that the more LGB athletes there are who are open about their sexual orientation, the more accepted gay athletes will become in sports. As evidence for that, Denison pointed to the higher share of lesbian athletes in the U.S. who are open about their sexuality with their teammates and the fact that lesbian athletes around the world are more likely to say teams offer them a “supportive and safe environment.”Because of their visibility, LGB professional athletes are likely more influential than amateurs in getting the snowball effect rolling, but few seem comfortable speaking publicly. The survey allowed respondents to submit detailed stories about themselves — around 1,600 did so. Denison said that about three dozen of those who provided narrative accounts were professional athletes, including at least two on their respective countries’ national teams.Last year, after the professional football player Michael Sam told ESPN and The New York Times that he is gay, he said he received messages from many fellow athletes who “had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out.”So far, Sam’s decision has not created a snowball effect in the U.S. — partly because there will need to be other outspoken gay athletes before the sport reaches what Denison describes as “a critical mass.” read more

VIDEO 123 VS Omeyer in Celje

“1, 2,3” by RK Celje Pivovarna Laško youngstars. Trio Arthur Patrianova, Blaž Janc and Šime Ivić made one of the most beautiful actions of the last weekend at VELUX EHF Champions League against PSG Handball 30:32 in “sold-out” Zlatorog hal with 5.300 fans.See how it works in joint peace of magic by Brazilian, Slovenian and Croatian player…PHOTO: SLAVKO KOLAR ← Previous Story CASE “40 SECONDS IN KIELCE”: To improve or to die… Next Story → SG Flensburg sign Krešimir Kozina! RK Celje PL read more

Borough Assembly Set To Finally Vote On Bed Tax Ballot Measure

first_imgThe proposal went to the voters on the ballot for the October 3, 2017, regular election and ultimately failed. Bagley went onto write “I propose that we pass the temporary lodging tax ordinance and submit it to the voters for consideration in the next regular election. If approved it would be effective April 1, 2019 to allow time to properly implement it.” Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is expected to finally vote on the most recent attempt at instituting a bed tax ballot initiative at tonight’s meeting. If approved the proposal would go before the voters in the regular election on October 2, 2018. The proposal would establish a 6 percent areawide sales tax on temporary lodging and overnight camping facilities. It would also levy an up to 3 percent exemption on temporary lodging and overnight facilities within that boundaries of the borough that levy a similar sales tax. Kenai Peninsula Borough Assemblyman Dale Bagley introduced the ordinance over a year ago, in a memo put before the assembly:  “The borough is currently facing a budgetary shortfall of approximately $4,000,000. Ordinance 2017-17, which would have asked the voters to approve a bed tax, was defeated by the assembly on August 15, 2017 when the assembly decided to instead submit to the voters the option of increasing the sales tax cap to $1,000.”last_img read more

Microphones Cut During Senate Hearing On Oil Production

first_imgAfter rejecting a request that oil industry experts be required to testify under oath, the Senate Resources Chair cut off microphones when the Minority Leader attempted to explain why he thought the request was appropriate.Sen. Cathy Giessel, an Anchorage Republican, said it was “inappropriate” and “unprofessional” of Sen. Hollis French to “spring an under-oath requirement on invited citizens” during a Wednesday hearing of the Resources Committee. Representatives from Exxon, BP, ConocoPhillips, and Repsol were there to give updates on how their work was proceeding under a new oil tax regime.When French – an Anchorage Democrat — asked for a chance to respond, he was again denied.GIESSEL: As the chair it is my decision, and I’ve gotten a legal consultation on that.FRENCH: I guess I’ll just — As a point of person privilege I will say that …GIESSEL: Sen. French, you are out of order.FRENCH: The only …GIESSEL: Brief at ease.FRENCH: I’m going to keep talking …What followed was a half-minute of silence on the Legislature’s official recordings of the proceedings, even though French continued to address the committee and its audience in the room. French and Giessel later sparred on the Senate floor, through a pair of seething speeches.In his address, French said his request complied with statute, even if that statute was rarely used. He also argued that the state has historically been too trusting of the oil industry.“What does it say about us when we think it is unprofessional to use these statutes in the furtherance of our duties, of our obligations as Alaska state legislators?” French asked the body.Giessel responded by pointing out that the last time the statute to compel testifiers to speak under oath was last used in 1997.“I think that if we distrust the citizens who are coming, than we need to execute a different process. But simply asking for informational reports to a committee does not justify placing them under oath,” said Giessel.Giessel also noted that it was “unfortunate” that the tension between the two senators had come to a verbal “duel” on the floor.last_img read more

Breaking Afghanistan on way to upsetting Pakistan

first_imgAfter looking to effect an unbelievable turnaround in their World Cup campaign, Pakistani batting has come a cropper again when faced with a modest target against minnows Afghanistan. Chasing just 228, Pakistan have been reduced to 169/6 in 42 overs and have only Imad Wasim left as a recognised frontline batsman. The only saving grace and the ray of hope that Pakistan has is the presence of Shadab Khan at the other end. He is a capable batsman and has played some very useful innings. However, Pakistan taem would be hugely disappointed after the poor showing that has been witnessed in this game from their batsmen after a brilliant chase against New Zealand in the last game. Babar Azam was once again leading the chase and batting beautifully but when he was dismissed for 45 at the team score of 81 in the 18th over, the game turned. Mohammad Hafeez and Haris Sohail resurrected the innings and seemed to taking their team towards safety but this partnership was broken in the 30th over with the score at 121. The wicket of Haris Sohai followed in the 35th over but the killer blow came when captain Sarfaraz Ahmed got run out in the 39th over and Pakistan were reduced to 156/6. The damage has been done by spin again for Afghanistan. Mujib-ur-Rahman, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi strangled Pakistan the same way they had India. Mujib and Nabi have picked two wickets each and Rashid has one so far. With five overs from Rashid and Mujib left out of eight, things are not looking good.last_img read more

Barkatullah 22 other BNP leaders face arrest warrant

first_imgFile Photo: Barkatullah BuluA Dhaka court on Sunday issued a warrant for the arrest of 23 Bangladesh Nationalist Party leaders and activists, including its joint secretary general Barkatullah Bulu, in a sabotage case with Ramna police station, reports UNB. M Kamrul Hossain Mollah, judge of the Metropolitan Session’s Court, passed the order taking cognisance of the charge-sheet.It ordered the officer-in-charge of Ramna police station to submit a report on 27 March complying with the arrest warrant.The warranted leaders include BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s press secretary Maruf Kamal Khan, chairperson’s personal secretary Shimul Biswas, BNP leaders Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel, Shafiul Bari, Mir Sharafat Ali and Shirin Sultana.In the case, 17 BNP leaders were, earlier, granted bail and one kept in the jail.According to the case statement, a group of miscreants torched a passenger-carrying bus in front of National Bank branch in city’s Malibagh area under Ramna police station on 3 February, 2015 during the indefinite blockade programme enforced by the BNP-led 20 party alliance.Following the incident, police filed a case under the Explosive Substances Act and Special Power Act.Later in March, 2015, police submitted the charge sheets accusing 41 people in the case under the Explosive Substances Act and Special Power Act.last_img read more

Sri Lanka attacks carried out by suicide bombers

first_imgSri Lankan Special Task Force (STF) personnel gesture outside a house during a raid — after a suicide blast had killed police searching the property — in the Orugodawatta area of the capital Colombo on 21 April, 2019, following a series of blasts in churches and hotels. Photo: AFPSeven suicide bombers took part in the devastating attacks on churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka that killed 290 people and wounded more than 500, a senior investigator said on Monday.Two of the suicide bombers blew themselves up at the luxury Shangri-La Hotel on Colombo’s seafront, said Ariyananda Welianga, a senior official at the government’s forensic division. The others targeted three churches and two other hotels.A fourth hotel and a house in a suburb of the capital Colombo were also targeted, but it was not immediately known how the attacks were carried out.”Still the investigations are going on,” Welianga said.There was no claim of responsibility for the Easter Sunday attacks, which mainly took place during church services or at hotel breakfast buffets.”Guests who had come for breakfast were lying on the floor, blood all over,” an employee at Kingsbury Hotel, one of those targeted, told Reuters.”We just picked up everyone, dead or alive and evacuated them.”Four of the bombs went off at roughly the same time, at 8.45 a.m., with two others coming within 20 minutes. The explosions at the fourth hotel and the house were in the afternoon.Sri Lankans accounted for the bulk of the dead and wounded although government officials said 32 foreigners were killed, including British, U.S., Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese nationals.President Maithripala Sirisena, who was abroad when the attacks happened, had called a meeting of the National Security Council on Monday, a government source said. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would attend the meeting, the source said.The U.S. State Department said in a travel advisory “terrorist groups” were continuing to plot possible attacks in Sri Lanka and targets could included tourist spots, transport hubs, shopping malls, hotels, places of worship, airports and other public areas.The government announced a curfew in Colombo from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. A Sunday night curfew was lifted in the morning.The Sri Lankan military, who were clearing the route from Colombo airport late on Sunday in preparation for Sirisena’s return, found a crude bomb near the departure gate, an air force spokesman said.They destroyed the device in a controlled explosion.There were fears the attacks could spark a renewal of communal violence, with police also reporting late on Sunday there had been a petrol bomb attack on a mosque in the northwest and arson attacks on two shops owned by Muslims in the west.Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka was at war for decades with ethnic minority Tamil separatists but violence had largely ended since the government victory in the civil war, 10 years ago.Sri Lanka’s 22 million people include Christian, Muslim and Hindu minority populations.The explosion at the house in the Colombo suburb occurred when security forces raided a house there on Sunday afternoon, several hours after the attack. Police reported an explosion at the house and said three officers were killed.Police said on Monday 24 people had been arrested, all of whom were Sri Lankan.SOCIAL MEDIA BLOCKEDTraffic was uncharacteristically thin in normally bustling Colombo after the island-wide curfew was lifted.Soldiers with automatic weapons stood guard outside major hotels and the World Trade Centre in the business district, where the four hotels were targeted, a Reuters witness said.Scores of people who were stranded overnight at the main airport began making their way home as restrictions were lifted.The government also blocked access to social media and messaging sites, including Facebook and WhatsApp, making information hard to gather.A British mother and son eating breakfast at the luxury Shangri-La hotel were among those killed, British media reported.An Australian survivor, identified only as Sam, told Australia’s 3AW radio the hotel was a scene of “absolute carnage”.He said he and a travel partner were also having breakfast at the Shangri-La when two blasts went off. He said he had seen two men wearing backpacks seconds before the blasts.”There were people screaming and dead bodies all around,” he said. “Kids crying, kids on the ground, I don’t know if they were dead or not, just crazy.”There were similar scenes of carnage at two churches in or near Colombo, and a third church in the northeast town of Batticaloa, where worshippers had gathered for Easter Sunday services. Pictures from the scene showed bodies on the ground and blood-spattered pews and statues.Dozens were killed in one of the blasts at the Gothic-style St. Sebastian church in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo. Police said they suspected that blast was a suicide attack.DOMESTIC FEUDWickremesinghe acknowledged on Sunday that the government had some prior information about possible attacks on churches involving a little-known Islamist group but said ministers had not been told.The apparent lapse could feed into a feud between the prime minister and the president.Sirisena fired the premier last year and installed opposition strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in his stead. Weeks later, he was forced to re-instate Wickremesinghe because of pressure from the Supreme Court but their relationship is still fraught as a presidential election nears.last_img read more

Three destinations in three days for Emirates

first_imgEmirates are preparing to launch three new A380 destinations in three days from this week- destinations the airline has had dealings with in some capacity previously.The first will be San Francisco that has seen Emirates flying to since 2008 and where it has sponsored the San Francisco Orchestra since 2011.The second destination will be Milan, home of AC Milan, who has sponsored the footballing giant since 2007.Since Emirates launched flights to the city in 2000, the airline has flown 3.1 million people on the route, that’s enough to fill the San Siro stadium 38 times.Emirates launched its daily service to Houston in 2007, and since then has flown over 1.2 million people on the route. Known as the “Energy Capital of the World” Houston is the last of the trio to take off on 3 December. Between them, the three flights will have travelled 61,784 kilometres to and from Emirates’ A380 hub in Dubai.The inclusion of these three destinations, means Emirates’ A380 route network will total 33 destinations; from Auckland to Los Angeles.Emirates divisional senior vice president, commercial operations west, Hubert Frach said this was a large scale operation, and paid tribute to the airline’s staff and vision.“Emirates has 55 A380s in its fleet, one third of all A380s currently in the skies. Having the ability to launch three new A380 destinations in three days is no small feat. It requires careful planning, multi-department coordination, airport preparedness and above all the tenacity to make it happen. The logistics of launching three new A380 destinations would be, for many, an insurmountable task –  but it’s challenges likes this that the team at Emirates relish.”Over 32 million passengers have now flown the Emirates A380 experience.Source = ETB Travel News: Basil Naimetlast_img read more

New non stop service San Francisco to Copenhagen

first_imgNew non stop service San Francisco to CopenhagenNew non stop service San Francisco to CopenhagenTraveling to Denmark has just become a whole lot easier for San Franciscans with yesterday’s launch of Norwegian Air’s new nonstop Boeing 787 Dreamliner two-class service from Oakland to Copenhagen.Denmark is one of Americans’ most beloved destinations, whose historic-modern capital, Copenhagen, is known for its royal palaces, castles, Tivoli Gardens, eclectic design and what many food experts describe as the world’s most creative cuisine, with more Michelin-starred restaurants than ever before. A city that continues to innovate, Copenhagen saw more bikes than cars on its streets last year, and seven new hotels are planned to open in 2017 alone. In 2016, a record number of Americans visited Denmark, and 2017 is already showing a 10% increase.Norwegian Air is one of the world’s fastest growing low-cost airlines, with flights to Copenhagen from Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, and now the Bay Area.“Expanding our West Coast service has always been a part of Norwegian’s growth plan,” said Thomas Ramdahl, Norwegian’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Oakland International Airport has been – and continues to be – a great partner, and if the response we’ve seen from travelers in the Oakland/San Francisco area continues, we look forward to even more growth from the Bay Area.”“We’re thrilled with the launch of this new direct route to Copenhagen,” says Kathrine Simonsen, VisitDenmark’s Public Relations Manager, “making it easy for Northern Californians of all incomes to experience all that Denmark has to offer.”Source = Visit Denmark – Norwegian Airlast_img read more

STUBA celebrates first successful year

first_imgSource = stuba.com Stuba celebrates first successful yearStuba is celebrating their first birthday by announcing the merger has proved extremely successful.CEO, Ruchir Bang said, “We have absolutely smashed our targets and milestones of year 1.  Our objectives were to launch Stuba as a recognised brand in the trade wholesaler space, but more importantly to ensure a unified team and migrate all clients over to a common platform.” Stuba has reported that in the last twelve months they have increased business with existing clients as well as seen a 45% increase in the number of new client bookings.  The migration of the majority of clients has been completed, with the remaining to go live in the next two weeks. Stuba sales have increased in all markets; Australia and New Zealand has seen 58% growth year on year in Q1.  The UK & Ireland has seen 52% growth year on year and 29% in the Middle East, all of which like Australia have been established markets for Stuba. Mark Luckey, Stuba Pacific MD and global CIO says  “The growth is a reflection of living up to our promise of driving volume, lowering prices and optimising operations.”In Australia and New Zealand, longhaul bookings have seen the biggest increases in sales year on year.  Cyprus is +429% compared with Q1 of 2018, Chile is +338% and Turkey is +330% up.  Europe sales are also faring well with Sweden +184%, Malta +175% and Denmark +127% and the Netherlands +102%.Bang continues “A lot of businesses stagnate after a merger, due to taking their eye off the ball to combine the business; however, we have bucked this trend with fantastic sales growth year on year, which is huge testimony to our great teams and a successful merger.  Moving forward, we are expecting healthy double-digit growth this year and our vision is to only go after quality business. Stuba goes on to report their direct connectivity business has increased 315% in Q1 of 2019 compared to 2018 and attribute this to working with direct connections that offer better pricing and greater availability.  Stuba will also shortly be announcing some radical changes and investments to the technology division to improve and innovate to help their customers sell more effectively. www.stuba.com learn more about stuba.com herelast_img read more

Lender Profits Looking Up

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Market Studies, News Doug Duncan Fannie Mae Lender Sentiment Lenders 2019-03-13 Seth Welborn March 13, 2019 815 Views Sharecenter_img According to Fannie Mae’s Q1 2019 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey, mortgage lenders net profit margin outlook has improved significantly in the past three months, despite still being negative. Fannie Mae cites stronger demand expectations for both purchase and refinance mortgages for the increases.”Lenders appear less pessimistic regarding mortgage demand expectations; thus their profit margin outlook over the next three months is also slightly improved,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae. “While the results seem to portray the gloomiest picture of purchase mortgage demand during the prior three months in the survey’s five-year history, the net share of lenders expecting rising demand over the next three months exceeded the level recorded in the same quarter last year. Lenders’ view of the refinance market was somewhat rosier, as both recent and expected demand improved to the best showing in two years, helping to support lenders’ improved profit margin outlook.”According to the survey, the net share of lenders reporting purchase loan demand growth across all loan types reached a survey low, but demand growth expectations for the next three months has improved. Meanwhile, the refinance mortgage demand saw a significant increase. The net share of lenders to report demand growth over the prior three months hit its highest number in two years. Lenders have also reported easing credit standards across all loan types”While more lenders anticipate declining rather than rising profit margins, continuing the trend that started in the fourth quarter of 2016, the net share expecting falling profit margins decreased from a survey high in the prior quarter to the lowest share in nearly two years,” continued Duncan. “Lenders’ improved demand outlook going into the spring selling season bodes well for our forecast of relatively flat mortgage volume this year following the double-digit drop in 2018.”Find out more about Fannie Mae’s Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey here. Lender Profits Looking Uplast_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Rosewood Hotels Reso

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterRosewood Hotels & Resorts has launched a new agent specialist course on the premier travel industry e-learning platform, Travel Agent University. Travel Agent University (TAU), with 45,000 plus active members, is the industry’s largest online travel agent community, having graduated more specialists than any other industry education programme, awarding over one million diplomas since inception.“We are very proud to partner with Travel Agent University, the travel agent’s preferred e-learning platform,” says Radha Arora, President of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. “We look forward to many years of continued collaboration educating agents about our elite suite of products.”Rosewood Hotels & Resorts manages 19 one-of-a-kind luxury properties in 11 countries, with 16 new hotels under development. Each Rosewood hotel embraces the brand’s A Sense of Place philosophy to reflect the individual location’s history, culture and sensibilities. The Rosewood collection includes some of the world’s most legendary hotels and resorts, including The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel in New York, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris, as well as new classics such as Rosewood Beijing and Rosewood London.Kimberly Newbury, Questex Travel Group Managing Director of e-learning & loyalty said TAU is thrilled to partner with a brand that truly sees the value of agent training and specialisation.“The Questex Travel Group has been deeply invested in travel agent education for more than 23 years, and has proven time and again that agents who specialise are seven times more likely to sell a supplier’s products, than a non-specialist.”Launched in 1993, Travel Agent University is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The e-learning site’s resource centre provides access to valuable sales tools, webinars, videos itineraries and other assets designed to help agents increase sales after they graduate. Agents also can utilise a central dashboard to review their course activity, track the status of their progress and access rewards, including gift cards, bonus commissions, familiarisation trips and monthly giveaways.Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more

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Everyone involved is a student in the area. read more