first_imgDilip Bora could not hold back his tears when he met members the family of a colleague he lost 34 years ago, in central Assam’s Hojai on Tuesday. The occasion was National Forest Martyrs’ Day.Meeting them reminded him of a night in 1984 when a team of 10 forest guards had laid in wait for a timber smuggling gang. None, including his colleague Karuna Kakati, had any firearm or sharp weapon. “We had sticks, torches and umbrellas, but were determined to catch the timber smugglers who were using a 16 ft wide hill stream to take logs out of the Kharkhari Reserve Forest near Boko (65 km west of Guwahati),” Mr. Bora, pushing 60 and set to retire as Forest Ranger in six months, told The Hindu from Hojai.The team was high on confidence. But what it did not factor in was the number of people they were up against and the weapons they wielded. “Some of us tried to stop the logs as they floated down on rafts while some chased the men who followed the logs. Before we knew anything, there were several armed people rushing at us. We thought it best to run and live to catch them another day,” he said.Karuna Kalita and another forest guard, Boloram Das, weren’t quick enough. “I heard Karuna scream before jumping into the river and drift with the current,” Mr. Bora said. Hacked in the head and neck, Mr. Kalita died in Guwahati Medical College Hospital nine days later. Mr Das died on the way to the hospital.Martyrs for earthThe Assam Forest Department prepared a list of 68 people who died in the line of duty during the last 35 years. They include Altaf Ahmed, Biren Boro, Madhuram Basumatary, Pradip Barma and 22 others killed by extremist groups such as National Democratic Front of Boroland and United Liberation Front of Asom, mostly in the 1980s and early 1990s.The extremists had during the time made jungles their hideouts, felled trees and killed wildlife to smuggle timber and animal body parts for money to buy firearms.“Our men are unsung heroes of the earth. They work in very difficult conditions and without any complaint, mostly for the passion of protecting the biodiversity that is so essential for humanity,” N.K. Vasu, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, said.Extremists abducted and killed some green guards such as Forest Ranger Ibrahim Ali Khan. He was waylaid in Manas National Park in June 1997, moved in captivity from one place to another only to be shot two months later.Others have been killed by the animals they protect. For instance, a rhino gored Home Guard Ranjit Medhi in Kaziranga National Park in November 2008. “These are occupational hazards,” the park’s Division Forest Officer Rohini Ballave Saikia said.last_img read more

first_imgStringent security arrangements have been put in place to ensure peaceful and free and fair polling in the ninth and final phase of the Jammu and Kashmir panchayat elections to be held on Tuesday, State Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra said on Monday. The voting will begin at 8 a.m. at 452 polling stations in Kashmir division, he said. Mr. Kabra said 346 polling stations have been categorised as hypersensitive in this phase. 430 in the frayAs many as 430 candidates are in the fray for 55 sarpanch and 138 panch seats while 68 sarpanchs and 433 panchs have been elected unopposed in this phase, he said. Mr. Kabra said an electorate of 68,745 will be voting for sarpanch constituencies and 20,688 for panch constituencies. “Photo voter slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling station,” he said. Nine-phase pollsThe nine-phased panchayat elections commenced on November 17, recording 74.1 percentage polling in the first phase across the State. The eighth phase was conducted on December 8 and recorded 79.3% polling. The results have been announced for all the eighth phases by the respective returning officers. The CEO said Basic Minimum Facilities have been ensured in all the polling stations across the State for the final phase. Senior government officers have been appointed as general observers to oversee the smooth, fair and orderly conduct of the elections, he said, adding expenditure observers are keeping a watch on candidates. He said control rooms have been established in all the districts to respond promptly to any complaints of violation of the model code of conduct and to disseminate information to the people. Security arrangements have been made including deployment of Central Armed Police Forces, he said. Mr. Kabra appealed to the voters to come forward and exercise their right to franchise.last_img read more

first_imgThe Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) ignored Shoaib Malik and Danish Kaneria while announcing the 2011 World Cup preliminary squad on Tuesday.However, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal’s name figures in the 30-member probable list.The PCB released the initial squad for the World Cup after a nearly three-hour meeting of the national selection committee. “Apparently these two players were not able to satisfy the cricket board’s integrity committee about their recent activities but Kamran managed to win the confidence of the Board back by submitting all relevant documents the integrity committee asked for,” one PCB source said.As expected the squad does not include players who were involved in the spot-fixing scandal – Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt. The trio are being examined by an independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal formed by the International Cricket Council (ICC).Kamran, Malik, Kaneira and Rana Naved too are under the ICC scanner and the PCB had sought a deadline of January 5 from the ICC to finalise their preliminary squad because of the ongoing inquiry.Rana was also apparently found not guilty of any links with bookmakers and has been included in the preliminary squad. The squad also includes some new faces.The probables: Shahid Afridi, Muhammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shahzad, Nasir Jamshed, Asad Ali, Umar Akmal, Younis Khan, Muhammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Sohail Tanvir, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Tanvir Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Abdul Rehman, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Salman Ahmed, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Taufiq Umar, Zulfiqar Babar, Rana Naved, Yasir Arafat, Yasir Shah, Aizaz Cheema and Naved Yasin.advertisement- With PTI inputslast_img read more

first_imgThe destination of the Premier League trophy will not be decided when current champions Chelsea meet their immediate predecessors Manchester City on Sunday, but the winners will get a welcome psychological boost for the long campaign ahead.Also read: Courtois to miss Man City game after losing red card appeal The meeting between two of the main title contenders has come early in the season but three points are three points whether they are won in August or May.If Manchester City take them they will already be five clear of Chelsea whereas last season they never got their noses in front of Jose Mourinho’s side.City began their campaign with an easy 3-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on Monday with Yaya Toure looking back to his imperious best, scoring the best goal of the season so far with City’s second from the edge of the box.Also read: Arsenal erred, Chelsea held in first weekend of new EPL season Toure’s excellent display and an equally emphatic statement of intent from City’s captain Vincent Kompany were both in contrast to many of their performances last season.”I know what I have to do and I don’t care what people say about me. I’m not back — I’ve always been there,” a defiant Toure said at the Hawthorns.His manager Manuel Pellegrini, who has just signed a new deal with the club, did say Toure had had problems last season following the death of his brother Ibrahim, when Toure struggled in matches against the top sides.advertisementSo he will be under scrutiny when Chelsea visit on Sunday.INDIFFERENT STARTChelsea made an indifferent start with a 2-2 draw against Swansea City at Stamford Bridge but much of the focus since has been on the curious aftermath of the match with Mourinho banning the club’s first team doctor Eva Carneiro from the bench.Mourinho was unhappy that Carneiro and physio Jon Fearn went on the pitch to treat Eden Hazard near the end.Chelsea were down to 10 men following the dismissal of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and because the medics had come on to the pitch, Hazard had to go off before he could resume playing, leaving Chelsea with nine men on the field.That incensed Mourinho and his banning order has made headlines since but what should concern him more was the way his team played.Courtois will miss Sunday’s game with newly-arrived deputy Asmir Begovic taking his place.last_img read more

first_imgNorthern Ireland’s Rory Mcllroy won the Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta with a total of 12-under 268 following a play-off with Americans Kevin Chappell and Ryan Moore.McIlroy, Chappell and Moore finished the four rounds with 268 total on Sunday. So they had to face a play-off on the par-five 18th hole where Chappell was the first to be eliminated as he played five strokes, while McIlroy and Moore each had four, reports Xinhua. (Golfer Rory McIlroy withdraws from Rio Olympics over Zika fears )They both finished in five strokes in the next effort, then with three hits each, until at the fourth play-off hole, McIlroy beat his opponent with three shots against four. American Dustin Johnson, the leader of the first three days of the tournament, did not have a good final day with 73.last_img read more

first_imgKolkata, July 20 (PTI) Aiming to throw a serious challenge to the Trinamool Congress in next years panchayat poll ahead of the bigger battle in 2019, the BJP is looking at novel ways to court the masses.And what better way to reach a common Bengalis heart than through fish, music and sports?So, the saffron brigade has lined up a fish festival, a music fest and two-month-long sports meets across the state to shore up its popularity among the masses.In fact, the BJP has already started the ball rolling, organising football matches and cricket and kabaddi tournaments.Some of the associates of the BJP, who closely work with the party and Sangh Parivar, have planned to organise a fish festival.”The people of Bengal love sports and music. From football to cricket, from kabaddi to carrom, people of this state love sports. So we decided to organise a two-month-long sports tournaments across the state. We have asked our youth wing to organise these festivals,” West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh told PTI.According to the state BJP leadership, the tournaments and contests will be used to spread the message of development and progress being pursued by the Narendra Modi government.A senior BJP leader said, “The cadre at the grassroot level have to be politically sound and physically fit in order to counter the hooligans of TMC.”Apart from being an exercise to move closer to masses, the sports meets will also serve as a means to keep the cadre physically fit and proper to rise to the challenge posed by TMC cadre.advertisement”Classes are being regularly taken to make them politically sound as well,” another senior leader said.In order to attract women to the saffron fold, the womens wing of BJP has been asked to organise festival of patriotic songs from August 1.Perhaps the easiest way to gain attention of a Bengali is to treat him with Hilsa fish, the universal favourite. So a Hilsa festival is looming in the horizon too.”This year the production of Hilsa is not that good. So we will wait out this month,” another senior BJP leader said.”We are accused of being ignorant about Bengals culture and heritage and that we are party of traders. So, we think such events will help us dispel the misconception,” a state BJP leader said. PTI PNT MD KKlast_img read more

first_imgShare on Twitter World Cup 2018 Share on Messenger Russia 2018 World Cup: the complete guide to all the stadiums Share on Pinterest Read more Russia Topics England fans told to stick to a pint on World Cup matchdays if they want to stay safe Share on LinkedIn “There will definitely be no ban on wearing rainbow symbols in Russia,” he said. “It’s clear you can come here and not be fined for expressing feelings. The law is about propaganda to minors. I can’t imagine that anyone is going to go into a school and propagate that way to children.”Activists held a forum in the basement of a hotel two kilometres further down the Moskva river from the Kremlin on Thursday, away from the main tourist attractions. They discussed the country’s equality and human rights concerns and discrimination issues in football.Smertin’s remarks were welcomed by the Fare network, which advises Fifa on discrimination issues. “He’s giving some reassurances and that’s all that people want,” the Fare executive director, Piara Powar, said. “People want to know that they can come here safely, that they will be protected, that they are wanted.”center_img World Cup Share on Facebook Fans at Russia 2018 will be allowed to fly rainbow flags to highlight the rights of LGBT supporters but must not promote same-sex relationships to minors, according to the former Chelsea player Alexei Smertin.Smertin, now a Russian Football Union official and World Cup ambassador, said rainbow paraphernalia will be tolerated. Being gay is not illegal in Russia but the country has a law banning teaching about homosexuality in schools. Share via Email Read more Homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia in 1993, but homophobic sentiment remains strong. Russia passed a federal law banning so-called propaganda of homosexuality to minors in 2013, which has been widely criticised for leading to the banning of gay pride events or discussions of gay rights in public spaces where children could be present.In the lead-up to Russia’s hosting of the Winter Olympics in 2014, President Vladimir Putin said gay people would be welcome in Sochi but must “leave the children in peace”. Share on WhatsApp news Reuse this contentlast_img read more

first_imgpenn state wide receiver deandre thompkins can't make a catchPISCATAWAY, NJ – NOVEMBER 17: DeAndre Thompkins #3 of the Penn State Nittany Lions can’t make a catch on an overthrown pass during the fourth quarter at Stadium on November 17, 2018 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Penn State won 20-7. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)The Penn State Nittany Lions finished with a 9-3 record and are in the running for a New Year’s Six game this January. Let’s take a look at the latest regarding where the team could land.Penn State had a solid season but suffered losses to Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan. The Nittany Lions, assuming Ohio State knocks off Northwestern on Saturday, are likely third in pecking order in the Big Ten.If Ohio State wins and makes the Playoff, Michigan will land in the Rose Bowl, leaving Penn State as an option for either the Fiesta Bowl or the Peach Bowl.If Ohio State wins and doesn’t make the Playoff, the Buckeyes will head to Pasadena and Michigan will get the next New Year’s Six spot.Friday, Sports Illustrated’s Eric Single released a new set of bowl projections. He has the Nittany Lions taking on Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida.Obviously, while it’s a prestigious game, it’s not a New Year’s Six contest.Penn State will know its fate on Sunday afternoon.last_img read more

first_img Associated Press CanberraFebruary 3, 2019UPDATED: February 3, 2019 09:54 IST Kusal Perera tried to continue and add to his 29 but play was stopped again shortly after as the batsman left the field (AP Photo)HIGHLIGHTSPerera ducked into a ball from Australian fast bowler Jhye Richardson and received treatment on the fieldPerera was replaced by Dimuth Karunaratne, who had retired hurt on day two after being hit in the neckOpener Karunaratne was cleared to return to the crease, less than 24 hours after being felled by a Pat Cummins deliveryBatsman Kusal Perera left the field in the second Test against Australia on Sunday after he was hit on the helmet, the second Sri Lankan player in two days to leave with a head injury.Perera was to undergo a mandatory concussion test after he was unable to continue batting at Canberra’s Manuka Oval in the first session of the third day.At lunch Sunday, Sri Lanka was 215-7 chasing Australia 534-5 declared, trailing by 319 runs. Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella was out lbw for 25 on the last bowl before lunch, and with Perera unsure of returning, could be eight wickets down.Fast bowler Mitchell Starc has taken 3-54 for Australia.Perera ducked into a ball from Australian fast bowler Jhye Richardson and received treatment on the field, with play stopping for several minutes. He tried to continue and add to his 29 but play was stopped again shortly after as Perera left the field, which ended a promising 37-run partnership with Dhananjaya de Silva.Perera was replaced by Dimuth Karunaratne, who had retired hurt on day two after being hit in the neck by a bouncer. Opener Karunaratne was cleared to return to the crease, less than 24 hours after being felled by a Pat Cummins delivery.Play was stopped for almost 15 minutes on Saturday as Karunaratne was treated on the field before he was put on a stretcher and taken from the field to Canberra Hospital by ambulance.He was released on Saturday night and given the all clear before Sri Lankan officials confirmed he could return to the crease.advertisementAustralia beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs in the first Test at Brisbane.Also Read | Alzarri Joseph plays Test vs England hours after mother’s demise, gets standing ovationAlso Read | Dimuth Karunaratne discharged from hospital after blow to neck in Canberra TestAlso See:For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAkshay Ramesh Tags :Follow Australia vs Sri LankaFollow Kusal PereraFollow Dimuth Karunaratne 2nd Test: Sri Lanka’s Kusal Perera hit on helmet, retires hurt on Day 3 vs AustraliaKusal Perera became the second Sri Lankan player in two days to leave the field with a head injury as Dimuth Karunaratne had suffered a bouncer blow during Day 2 of the ongoing second Test vs Australia in Canberra. advertisementlast_img read more

first_img 1 of 17 Previous Deep Sleep: The World’s Most Incredible Underwater Hotel Rooms The Best Campgrounds Near Major U.S. Cities Editors’ Recommendations Next center_img Live Out Your Westworld Dreams at Casteel Creek Retreat Treat yo-self to a winter vacation for the books by renting out Luxury Retreats’ Makini ski-in/ski-out luxury chalet snowed into the middle of the Swiss Alps.That is, if you and nine friends have $13-$25k to spare.This newly constructed alpine home with five bedrooms and five ensuite bathrooms features direct access to the Le Rouge ski lift in Verbier, Switzerland, so be sure to pack a pair of the best 2017 ski goggles and skis.Where? Verbier is a cosmopolitan holiday resort situated on a sun-filled plateau with crazy panoramic views of Mont Blanc (the highest mountain in the Alps).After a day of skiing, skinning, and browsing Verbier village’s city center, you’ll be eager to return to the comfort of this luxury chalet, which come straight from the scene of a James Bond film. Construction elements blend natural stone with rich, exposed wooden beams, and polished oak flooring for a warm yet crisp atmosphere.Rustic and refined, we can already imagine melting into a fur rug beside the grand stone fireplace, surrounded by modern art pieces and posh glass chandeliers. Yes, you may be traveling with buddies that way back when would shotgun beers in the backyard, but now you’ll be sipping cognac or Chateau Margaux in the private wine cellar (fully stocked).Not in the mood to cook? After all, it is vacation. Enlist the culinary help from Makini’s private chef for a dinner served around a 12-seat baronial table set.In love yet? Well, take a look at these bedroom views.A mixing of lounge and seating areas are sprinkled around the floor-plan, with a jaw-dropping balcony that opens out to the snowy wonderland that is the iconic Swiss Alps. Dibs on the Master Suite (Jacuzzi tub in room).And no true vacation home would be complete without a private pool. Makini takes this amenity a step further with access to a private sauna, Jacuzzi, hammam (a Turkish-bath style steam room), and massage room. Don’t mind if we do.Bring your work with you and extend the stay, making use of the study area. And if this spot is sounding like the perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas getaway for the family, you’ll enjoy watching movies together in the cozy Media room.Other perks we love: Wi-Fi, a coffee machine, fitness room, and antique red sled in the foyer.So why go all-out for a lavish winter vacation retreat? Our thought is that if you’re going to go through the trouble of traveling during the hellish winter months, better make it worth it.Spend a few days at Makini before moving on to the world’s first open-air hotel in the mountains of Switzerland. (We weren’t joking when we said this would be an epic trip.) Rob Lowe’s Montecito Millon-Dollar Manse Hits the Market 14 Scandinavian Clothing Brands You Need to Knowlast_img read more

first_imgNova Scotia sports fans will have a tough decision in March — they will have two great events to choose from. From March 6 to 14, curling fans will be able to attend the 2010 Tim Horton’s Brier at the Halifax Metro Centre. From March 12 to 14, basketball fans will be able to catch the Atlantic University Sport men’s basketball championship at Centre 200 in Sydney. The AUS announced the new location today, Oct. 8, in Sydney. Both events highlight the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle. “I’m very pleased that two such fantastic sporting events will be happening in our province this March,” said Health Promotion and Protection Minister Maureen MacDonald. “I know the people in both Halifax and Cape Breton will do an excellent job as hosts.” The province wishes all athletes the best of luck in these two events.last_img read more

NEW YORK — Stocks flopped on Friday, and investors herded into the safety of bonds after the market’s reading of the U.S.-China trade war flipped back to worry.U.S. stock indexes fell as soon as trading opened, following European and Asian markets lower. Industrial companies had the sharpest losses after equipment maker Deere cut its profit forecast for the year, citing slower sales from farmers worried about exports, among other factors. More than 80% of the stocks in the S&P 500 fell.It’s the latest swing for a market that has pivoted for two weeks on each turn in the U.S. trade dispute with China. President Donald Trump made good on a threat to raise tariffs on Chinese-made products and China retaliated with tariffs of its own. The threats were interspersed with some signs of reconciliation. Over the last week, the S&P 500 followed up its second worst day of the year with three straight gains before falling again on Friday.The escalating tensions between the world’s largest economies have upended the calm that dominated markets for the early part of this year, when expectations rose that a trade agreement was in the works. The S&P 500 has twice dropped by at least 1.5% in the last two weeks, the same number it had in the first four months of the year.With Friday’s loss, the S&P 500 is on track to close out its second straight down week. If it does, it would be the first time that’s happened this year where the index is up more than 14%.KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was down 0.6%, as of 9:50 a.m. Eastern time. It remains just 3% below its record, set last month.The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 130 points, or 0.5%, to 25,732, and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.7%.WORLDWIDE PRESSURE: In China, Shanghai’s stock index fell 2.5%, its worst drop since a 5.6% plunge last week. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.2%, and South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.6%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was an outlier, up 0.9%.In Europe, Germany’s Dax dropped 1.1%, the French CAC 40 lost 0.7% and the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.5%.SEEKING SAFETY: When investors are nervous, they often turn to the safety of U.S. government bonds. When bond prices rise, their yields drop, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.37% from 2.40% late Thursday. The 10 year yield has been dropping since November, when it was above 3.20%.TRADE FRONTS: The Trump administration has issued an executive order aimed at banning Huawei equipment from U.S. networks. Another sanction that subjects the Chinese telecommunications giant to strict export controls took effect on Thursday. China has threatened to retaliate. It remains to be seen how the move will affect trade negotiations, which are expected to continue.“The trade issue could still get worse before it gets better, but our view remains that a deal will ultimately be reached to resolve the issue given the economic (and in Trump’s case political) damage that would be caused if a deal is not reached,” Shane Oliver of AMP Capital said in a commentary.Besides China, investors are also watching how the U.S. deals with closer rivals on trade. President Trump on Friday delayed any decision to impose tariffs on car and auto part imports as negotiations continue with Europe and Japan.OH DEERE: Agricultural equipment maker Deere had the biggest drop in the S&P 500 after it reported weaker earnings for the latest quarter than analysts expected and cut its forecast for sales and income this fiscal year.The company may be feeling the effects of the U.S.-China trade war. CEO Samuel Allen said that farmers are becoming more cautious about making big purchases, citing “ongoing concerns about export-market access.”Deere dropped 4.4%.___AP Writer Annabelle Liang contributed from Singapore.Stan Choe, The Associated Press read more

12 October 2010A scheme supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) seeks to help needy households – mostly headed by poor single mothers – send their children to school and receive health care. A scheme supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) seeks to help needy households – mostly headed by poor single mothers – send their children to school and receive health care.UNDP is providing technical support to the fledgling nation’s Ministry of Social Solidarity for its Conditional Cash Transfers programme, which aims to end inter-generational poverty and protect the vulnerable by incentivizing families to improve their education levels and economic situations.Ten employees from the Ministry will interview members of 500 households in under one week on the composition of their families, the livestock and crops they own, their education, employment, languages spoken, vaccinations received and the distance from their homes to schools and health clinics.“The point of this survey is to establish how people survive through the level of vulnerability they find themselves in, how we can best support them and to what extent they are dependent on other people, or the state, to live,” said Alexandre Sarmento, a national consultant to the UNDP project.Interviewers met a girl, who may have slipped under the radar. Her family and neighbours say she is 8 years old, but her age cannot be verified since she does not have a birth certificate.The mother of a four-year-old daughter, the girl lives with her parents and two siblings in an isolated area of Timor-Leste which is completely cut off from civilization for half of the year due to flooding. Even in the dry season, it takes up to three hours to walk to the nearest secondary school, health clinic and market.Her family owns no livestock and survives entirely on the local palm trees, from which they make palm wine to sell in the market. Her parents are illiterate and speak only Baiqueno, a local language.Veronica Das Dores works at MSS and is one of the interviewers conducting this survey.“In the last two days I have encountered many stories of people who have been forgotten by society,” said Veronica Das Dores, who works at the Ministry of Social Solidarity and is one of the interviewers carrying out the survey.“We have found examples of elderly people who aren’t receiving the correct pension payment, children who aren’t receiving enough protection, and numerous cases of chronic generational poverty,” she added. “These issues cannot be solved overnight, but we can try to strengthen the Conditional Cash Transfers scheme so that the most vulnerable people in our society are the beneficiaries.”Timor-Leste, which the UN shepherded to independence in 2002, is among the poorest in Asia, with some one third of its population regularly experiencing food shortages. It ranks 162 out of 182 countries in UNDP’s 2009 Human Development Index (HDI) report, the lowest among all Asian nations. read more

Reports from the area said that at least three people were injured when a landmine exploded and the injured were admitted to hospital.HALO is the world’s oldest and largest humanitarian landmine clearance organisation and it is involved in mine clearance in parts of the north. An explosion occurred at a demining site in Muhamalai, officials told the Colombo Gazette this afternoon.The explosion had occurred at a site where HALO Trust is involved in de-mining work, Halo Trust officials said but did not wish to provide further details.

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by David Friend, The Canadian Press Posted Oct 1, 2012 4:30 pm MDT TSX heads higher as US manufacturing data provides optimism beside Fed comments TORONTO – The Toronto stock market closed the session in positive territory on Monday, but well off earlier gains, as trader sentiment improved on good manufacturing numbers out of the U.S.The S&P/TSX composite index ended ahead 52.73 points to 12,370.19 on the first trading day of the fourth quarter. The main index had moved as much as 135 points higher earlier in the session.The TSX Venture Exchange crept up 4.19 points to 1,338.70, and the Canadian dollar gained 0.05 of a cent to 101.76 cents US.Ben Bernanke defended the Fed’s moves to stimulate the economy in a speech to the Economic Club of Indiana in Indianapolis. He said the Fed’s strategy remains the same, and that it needs to drive down borrowing rates because the economy isn’t growing fast enough to reduce high unemployment.The state of the U.S. economy has been a persistent concern, though the latest data from the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of U.S. purchasing managers, offered a little relief. The index of factory activity rose to 51.5 in September, up from 49.6 in August. A reading above 50 signals expansion and below indicates contraction.“You are going to see some signs of encouragement from that, but at the same time exports are still shrinking,” said Gavin Graham, president of Graham Investment Strategy Ltd.China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index for September came in at 49.8, marking a further contraction in activity in the region. Meanwhile, the eurozone’s manufacturing sector experienced a better month, though its September PMI still contracted for the 14th consecutive month.“If the weakness in China and Europe continues, those are major markets for the U.S., it’s going to be difficult for it to disclose strength,” Graham added.Also, the results of an independent audit of 14 Spanish banks were released after the market close on Friday and showed lenders need an extra €60 billion (US$77.6 billion) in capital. The figure is roughly as expected and well within the €100 billion in rescue loans that Madrid can get from fellow eurozone countries to help the banks.But there were still concerns that Moody’s ratings agency could downgrade Spain’s debt rating to junk status.On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials rose 77.98 points to 13,515.11. The Nasdaq composite index slid 2.70 points to 3,113.53 and the S&P 500 index was up 3.82 points to 1,444.49.In commodities, November crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 29 cents to US$92.48 a barrel. The TSX energy sector was up 1.3 per cent.The gold sector moved higher as December gold bullion increased $9.40 to US$1,783.30 an ounce, while December copper was up 2.8 cents at US$3.79 a pound.In Canadian corporate developments, Magna International Inc. (TSX:MG) said it has signed a deal to buy Ixetic Verwaltungs GmbH, a manufacturer of automotive vacuum, engine and transmission pumps for €308 million. The company also said a subsidiary has signed a deal with a joint-venture partner to buy the remaining 50 per cent stake in STT Technologies, a supplier of transmission and engine oil pumps. Shares of Magna rose 1.8 per cent, or 76 cents, to $43.27.Wi-LAN Inc. (TSX:WIN) said it has bought a portfolio of more than 150 patents and patent applications from Alvarion Ltd. for $19 million. Its shares were down two cents to $5.51.Agrium Inc. shares (TSX:AGU) rose nearly 1.7 per cent to C$103.69 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. In New York, the stock shot up 2.1 per cent to US$105.53. An investor pushing for changes at Agrium laid out its case publicly for the first time on Monday, arguing it could add US$50 to the Canadian fertilizer company’s share price.And two Canadian companies made changes to their top positions.Molson Coors Brewing Co. (TSX:TPX.B) appointed a new chief executive to head its Canadian operations while merging its U.K. business with the recently acquired StarBev. Its shares were off five per cent, or $2.45, at $42.55.SNC-Lavalin’s chief executive made his first speech while in the new role. Robert Card said he is keeping all options open as he looks to regain investor confidence in the embattled engineering and construction company. Shares fell 35 cents to $37.60. read more

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – Sales of new U.S. homes rose in May to the highest level in six years, providing the strongest signal yet that housing is recovering from a recent slowdown.New home sales jumped 18.6 per cent last month following a 3.7 per cent increase in April, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The gains followed declines in February and March that were blamed in part on harsh winter weather.The big May increase pushed the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate to 504,000, the highest level since May 2008.“This is the strongest level since the end of the recession and is an encouraging sign that housing activity improved in the second quarter,” Cooper Howes, an economist at Barclays Research, said in an analyst note.Home sales peaked last year at an annual rate of 459,000 in June, but then lost altitude. The decline reflected an increase in mortgage rates that occurred after the Federal Reserve began discussing pulling back on its monthly bond purchases that were keeping long-term interest rates low.The inventory of unsold new homes was unchanged at 189,000 homes at the end of May, the same as April. That inventory level would be depleted in 4.5 months at the May sales pace, an extremely low level that underscored the fact that the supply of new homes remains well below historic averages.Sales were up in all regions of the country in May, led by a 54.5 per cent surge in sales in the Northeast. New home sales rose 34 per cent in the West and 14.2 per cent in the South. The Midwest had the smallest month-over-month sales gain of just 1.4 per cent.Even with the big overall gain, sales of new homes are still running at just about half the pace of a healthy real estate market.But there have been some encouraging signs of a spring rebound in housing.The National Association of Realtors reported Monday that sales of previously owned homes jumped 4.9 per cent in May, the biggest one-month gain in nearly three years. That increase pushed the sales rate to 4.89 million homes, the strongest showing since last October.While economists were encouraged by the second straight monthly gain in existing home sales, they noted that the sales rate is still below the recent peak of 5.38 million sales hit last July.Higher mortgage rates and the bad weather weighed on sales of both existing and new homes in late 2013 and early 2014. But sales seem to be staging a rebound, helped by solid job growth and growing inventories of homes for sale, a development that has helped to hold down price increases.Economists say there is significant pent-up demand for homes as many potential buyers put off purchases over the past few years because of concerns about the economy. US new home sales surge 18.6 per cent in May to annual rate of 504,000, fastest pace in 6 years by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted Jun 24, 2014 8:09 am MDT read more

Pro soccer TV analyst pleads guilty to drug kickback scheme by The Associated Press Posted Jul 19, 2016 1:37 pm MDT Last Updated Jul 19, 2016 at 2:26 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email NEWARK, N.J. – A TV analyst for Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union pleaded guilty Tuesday to receiving nearly $500,000 in kickbacks for filling unneeded prescriptions for himself and recruiting others to the scheme.Peter Pappas, of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health fraud in federal court in Newark. The pharmaceutical salesman admitted he was recruited by a marketing company that was paid by pharmacies to refer people whose insurance paid for compounded medication including pain creams, scar creams and vitamins.Pappas admitted that he recruited others to join the scheme, including people using a health benefit program for service members and their families managed by the U.S. Department of Defence. He admitted that he attempted to recruit beneficiaries from TRICARE because they gave high reimbursements for compounded medication and cream, federal prosecutors said.Prosecutors said that while he received $481,773 from the marketing company, his employer, TRICARE and other insurance companies lost at least $3.69 million. Pappas faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on Oct. 25.The former goalkeeper on the defunct Philadelphia Kixx indoor soccer team has been the Union’s TV analyst since 2013. He is a district sales manager for New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company Celgene, according to his LinkedIn page.On Twitter, he described himself as a “Canadian former soccer pro turned Rx slinger.”Pappas’ LinkedIn and Twitter pages were no longer available online late Tuesday afternoon.Neither the Union, Celgene nor Pappas’ attorneys were immediately available for comment. read more

Parker’s Maple Barn employee Kyle Gay pours maple tree sap into a larger bucket, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, in Brookline, N.H. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, led a discussion with maple syrup producers in New Hampshire about how climate change is impacting their industry. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) DURHAM, N.H. – New Hampshire’s maple syrup producers say they are feeling the impact of climate change, as winters become warmer and frigid nights so critical to their business become fewer.Producers joined climate experts and Democratic U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire on Tuesday to talk about the state’s changing climate and how it is affecting one of the state’s most important industries.Some producers talked of seeing a steep drop in the amounts of sap they are getting, while others are dealing with another trend attributed to warmer temperatures in which the sap goes up to the top of the trees rather than down to taps. Others complained about a drop in the sugar content of their sap.“When I purchased the farm in 2000, “I was getting 75 gallons of sap,” said Ray LaRoche of LaRoche Farm in Durham. “With the environmental changes we’ve been seeing, it’s down to 15 gallons. That’s a dramatic loss for us. And I don’t know what to do about it.”Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont produced 3.78 million gallons of syrup in 2016, according to a Northeast maple syrup production statistics service run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Vermont is the clear leader, alone producing more than 47 per cent of the country’s maple syrup.Hassan said the state’s changing climate can have dramatic effects on the natural resources that “define us as a state and are critical to our economy, our environment, and our way of life in New Hampshire.”“Unfortunately, we are already seeing the real impacts of climate change on our economy — including on our maple syrup and ski industries,” she said, referring to warmer winters and a decline in snow cover.The ideal temperatures for sap production are in the 20s at night and 30s and 40s during the day. When the climate is in the 50s and 60s during the day and the nights stay warm, sap runs not to the taps, but to the tops of the trees, causing the tree to bloom. That can lead to a cloudy and off-tasting product.“The other day we had a nice 50-degree day which is kind of the new normal but still not normal,” said Jeff Moore of Windswept farm. “One of the challenges we’ve had to start weighing is when do we actually tap because putting a tap into a tree is a wound, the trees naturally act to try to compartmentalize that wound and wall it off.”The longer the tap has been exposed to the environment, the sooner the tree is going to wall it off, Moore said.“When I was growing up,” he added, “you didn’t want to tap too early, because if you tapped too early you’d miss all of the good weather at the end of the season, when most of your sap is running. So that gets a little more challenging now.”But despite the challenges, some producers and experts at the University of New Hampshire say technological fixes are helping the industry adapt — and even extend the season.“Climate change is man-made, and that’s the good news,” said Cameron Wake, who leads a research program at the University of New Hampshire that’s investigating regional climate change. “Because if we caused the problem, we can fix the problem.” by Melanie Plenda, The Associated Press Posted Feb 21, 2017 4:44 pm MDT Last Updated Feb 21, 2017 at 5:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Maple syrup producers face challenges in warming world read more