HC judge recuses from hearing plea of Virbhadra Singh, his wife in DA case

first_imgA Delhi High Court judge on Thursday recused herself from hearing the plea of former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh challenging a trial court order to frame charges against them in a disproportionate assets case.Justice Mukta Gupta said the matter be listed before another judge on Friday.The 82-year-old Congress leader and his wife had approached the high court on Wednesday against the December 10, 2018 trial court order to frame charges against Singh, his wife and seven others in the case lodged by the CBI.The trial court has fixed the matter for January 29 to formally frame the charges against the couple and the other accused.Mr. Singh claimed in the plea that the offence of possessing disproportionate assets under the Prevention of Corruption Act, if any, is said to have been committed in Himachal Pradesh and the consent of the state government is necessary to initiate an investigation.The plea contended that the trial court was only required to look into the effect of the investigation conducted without consent and not to look into the law as to whether consent was necessary.It said the special judge has wrongly held that sanction for prosecution under Section 197 of the CrPC was not required to be taken as the charges are framed under the IPC and Singh was serving as the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh at the time of taking cognisance of the charge sheet.The trial court, in its December, 2018 order, had said that Mr. Singh intended to cause loss to tax authorities by presenting unaccounted money as sale proceeds of apples and had also ordered framing of charges against his wife and seven others for allegedly abetting in the offences.The other seven accused in the case are LIC agent Anand Chauhan, Chunni Lal Chauhan, Joginder Singh Ghalta, Prem Raj, Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, Lawan Kumar Roach and Ram Prakash Bhatia.The trial court in its 105-page order had said that Virbhadra Singh and Anand Chauhan “fraudulently and dishonestly” signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by ante-dating it to give an impression that it was signed on June 15, 2008 by them.It had added that since the document was made for showing unaccounted money as sale proceeds of apples, they were liable to be charged for the offence of forgery.The punishment for the offences of criminal misconduct and disproportionate assets under the PC Act ranges between one to seven years jail term, forgery under IPC entails a maximum of two years imprisonment and the offence of cheating could lead to a maximum sentence of seven years.On the role of his wife, the court had said there was “grave suspicion” that she committed the offence of abetment under the IPC.The CBI had registered the case against Singh and others for allegedly amassing assets worth around Rs 10 crore disproportionate to their known source of income when he was the Union minister in the UPA government.A charge sheet running into over 500 pages, filed in the trial court, claimed that Singh had amassed assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate by 192 per cent of his total income during his tenure as a Union Minister.The final report, filed against nine people for alleged offences punishable under section 109 (abetment) and 465 (punishment for forgery) of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act, arrayed around 225 witnesses and 442 documents.The matter was transferred by the Supreme Court from the Himachal Pradesh High Court to the Delhi High Court, which on April 6, 2016 had asked the CBI not to arrest Singh and had directed him to join the probe.The CBI had approached the apex court against an order of the Himachal Pradesh High Court barring the agency from arresting Singh.The apex court had transferred Singh’s plea from Himachal Pradesh HC to Delhi HC, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, but “simply” transferring the petition “in interest of justice and to save the institution (judiciary) from any embarrassment”.last_img read more

Rigging the ring! Dubious decisions irk Sarita Devi, Devendro Singh

first_imgSarita Devi and Devendro Singh succumbed to controversial decision in boxing eventsThe Indian boxing contingent was left heartbroken after dubious decisions against L Sarita Devi and Devendro Singh Laishram denied the progress of the two boxers in their respective events on Tuesday.Sarita Devi was left in tears after she was adjudged to have lost despite a dominating performance in the women’s lightweight semifinal against home favourite Jina Park while Devendro Singh also succumbed to an umpiring howler against South Korea’s Shin Jonghun in quarterfinal of the men’s light flyweight.The lightweight boxer, Sarita Devi, had matched Park blow for blow in the opening round and was markedly more aggressive and precise thereafter.Sarita, a former Asian champion, fell behind after a rather bizarre turn of events in which Park ended up being the judges’ choice despite barely managing to stay in the fight.Such was the Indian’s ferocity that Park resorted to holding to slow down the pace of the bout after being left with a bloodied nose.But Sarita’s precision and her brilliant ring craft failed to find favour with the judges in the third and fourth rounds which went to the home favourite, who was struggling to stand up to the onslaught of punches from the Manipuri.Sarita Devi being consoled by her husband after being knocked out of the boxing semifinalOn the other hand, Devendro Singh lost 0-3 against his Korean rival despite dominating the second and third round in the quarterfinal. The judges ruled the bout in favour of the Korean boxer in what looked like another games marred by dodgy decisions.advertisementMiffed by the decisions, the Indian boxing contingent lodged a protest after paying a non-refundable USD 500 fee. However, it ended up being for a lost cause as the International Boxing Association’s(AIBA) technical committee rules bar any complaints against judges and protests can only be filed against decision of the referees.Meanwhile, Sarita found support from India’s long-time Cuban coach BI Fernandes and fellow boxer MC Mary Kom, who advanced to the final.”It was pre-decided, the 3-0 verdict is a clear cut indication. The Korean deserved to have been given many standing counts, going by what happened in the ring, and the bout should have been stopped,” Fernandes said.”Sarita was a clear-cut winner but money has talked here and the judges deserve to be thrown out. It happened in Seoul during the 1988 Olympic Games, it’s happening now again.Nothing seems to have changed. The new rules have made no difference,” he fumed.Sarita’s incident, however, wasn’t the only case of the dubious boxing scoring. Moment’s after the Indian’s bout, a Mongolian boxer couldn’t believe that the judges ruled against his favour.The Mongolians were up for a fight and decided to withdraw their entire boxing team as a mark of protest. Unlike the Indian contingent, the Mongolian Chef de Mission, Contingent leader and everyone took the AIBA head on.Amateur boxing last year moved to a pro-style, 10-point scoring system, discarding the latest version of the much-criticized computer punch-count systems implemented after the Seoul Olympics in 1988.last_img read more

Dangal wins Best Asian Film award at AACTA

first_imgMelbourne, Dec 6 (PTI) “Dangal” was unanimously chosen the Best Asian Film at the seventh Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards.Veteran actor Shabana Azmi, who served as one of the jury members on the panel, led by Hollywood star Russell Crowe, for this years inaugural category, took to Twitter to laud the films team.”Dangal wins Best Asian Film at AACTA. Congratulations Team Dangal. With Russel Crowe chairman of the jury. It was a unanimous decision,” wrote Azmi, alongside a selfie with the Oscar-winning actor.The Nitesh Kumar-directed sports drama was based on the life of Haryana wrestler Mahavir Phogat and his daughters. The film starred Aamir Khan as Phogat with Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra play the adult version professional wrestlers Geeta and Babita.Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar portrayed the younger version of the Phogat sisters with Sakshi Tanwar as their mother.Besides “Dangal”, “Pink” and Marathi film “Kasav: Turtle” were among the nine films which were nominated for the inaugural AACTA Best Asian Film award.Actor Anupam Kher also served as a jury member on the panel.The AACTA Awards ceremony took place in Sydney. PTI RDS RDSlast_img read more

NEBRASKA MILITARY EXHIBIT “REMEMBERS THE FALLEN”

first_imgNEBRASKANS WHO PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICE IN SERVING THEIR COUNTRY ARE BEING HONORED IN AN EXHIBIT AT THE COLLEGE CENTER IN SOUTH SIOUX CITY THIS MONTH.“REMEMBERING THE FALLEN” IS A PHOTO AND MEMORABILIA DISPLAY THAT OPENED WITH A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE TUESDAY.LONNIE FORD OF PENDER, NEBRASKA IS A GOLD STAR FATHER WHO SPOKE ABOUT THE SACRIFICE OF HIS SON JOSH AT THE CEREMONY:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/JOSH.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC………TO IRAQ. :22JOSH FORD DIED WHEN AN I-E-D EXPLODED ON A ROAD HE WAS DRIVING ON IN IRAQ.HE SERVED IN THE 189TH TRANSPORTATION COMPANY OUT OF NORFOLK AND WAYNE AND WAS THE ONLY MEMBER OF THE 170 SOLDIERS IN THE GROUP SERVING IN IRAQ TO LOSE HIS LIFE:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/JOSH2.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…WILLING TO TAKE IT. :11THE MEMORIAL EXHIBIT ALSO FEATURES JOHN DOUANGDARA OF SOUTH SIOUX CITY WHO LOST HIS LIFE ALONG WITH HIS MILITARY K-9 SERVING HIS COUNTRY .YOU MAY SEE THE EXHIBIT AT THE COLLEGE CENTER LOCATED AT 1001 COLLEGE WAY IN SOUTH SIOUX CITY FROM NOW THROUGH FEBRUARY 18TH.last_img read more

Tagliafico: We want to take the pressure off Messi

first_imgArgentina left-back Nicolas Tagliafico has said his side want to take the pressure off superstar Lionel Messi ahead of their Copa America campaign. Messi is looking to win his first senior trophy with the Albiceleste, having lost three Copa America finals and one World Cup final during his international career. The 31-year-old is coming off another stellar individual campaign with Barcelona, having netted 51 goals in all competitions.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? An Argentina side in transition will need their talisman to be at his very best at the Copa America, which kicks off in Brazil later this month. But Tagliafico knows that his talismanic team-mate cannot do everything on his own.”It is hard to play against him and a plus watching him in your team,” Tagliafico told Goal. “We must work hard to avoid overloading him with pressure and allow him to enjoy things.”The 26-year-old admitted that winning the Copa America will be difficult for his side, who are trying not to get too ahead of themselves.”We will try to play a great Copa America but we are not thinking about being champions,” Tagliafico said. “We want to show our best version.”We all have the dream of becoming champions but we are in a transition stage and the ultimate goal is not being the champions, but creating a good group for doing everything possible to be champions.”TagliaficoTagliafico is another of those coming off an impressive club campaign with Ajax, where he starred for a side that won a league and cup double, and sensationally reached the Champions League semi-finals. The left-back had plenty of interest from clubs across Europe, but opted to sign a contract extension and stay with the Dutch side for at least one more season.”Together we decided to stay one more season and leave next season if it has to happen,” Tagliafico said. “We are now one of the strongest teams in Europe after reaching the Champions League semi-final. I am so happy in Amsterdam, the people love me and I feel so good.”So it is good to keep enjoying one more season and let’s see what happens in a year.”One player who is not staying in Amsterdam is Frenkie de Jong, with the Dutch midfielder on his way to join Barcelona. Tagliafico believes his former team-mate has everything it takes to succeed at the highest level. “Frenkie has huge qualities and he is so intelligent on the pitch,” Tagliafico said. “Frenkie will have success for sure in Barcelona.”last_img read more

Morgan suggests USWNT will reject Trump White House visit

first_imgAlex Morgan hinted the United States will snub Donald Trump’s White House invitation and is confident Jill Ellis’ team will not be split on the issue.It is customary for champions to visit the US president after winning a sporting title, with Morgan and her team-mates congratulated by Barack Obama when they won the Women’s World Cup in 2015.However, since Trump succeeded Obama following the 2016 election, teams like the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and NBA’s Golden State Warriors have had their White House offers withdrawn after numerous players from both teams declared they had no intention of making the trip for political reasons. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Morgan’s outspoken team-mate Megan Rapinoe has already she said is “not going to the f****** White House” and though Trump responded to that by inviting Ellis’ squad regardless of whether they beat Netherlands in Sunday’s final, it appears the offer will be rejected.”I think we’ll make that decision after we finish Sunday’s game,” USA captain Morgan said.”I think there’s been a lot of talk prematurely about the White House and about Trump.”First we have to do business and then I think you guys know the answer to the question anyway.”Put on our best for the president! #WNTatWH pic.twitter.com/JBP9InpFP7— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) October 27, 2015The White House pulled the plug on the Eagles’ scheduled visit following their Super Bowl LII victory in 2018 because “the vast majority of the team” wished to stay away.Morgan believes there will be no factions in Ellis’ squad when it comes to their decision.”I can’t say 100 per cent but this team is very close and we’ve always made decisions together so I can’t really see us deciding to part in that way,” she added.”But at the same time, if someone feels strongly then who are we to tell them to do or not do something?”Trump took to Twitter last week to express his disapproval of Rapinoe’s comments, telling the striker to “WIN first before she TALKS!”Women’s soccer player, @mPinoe, just stated that she is “not going to the F…ing White House if we win.” Other than the NBA, which now refuses to call owners, owners (please explain that I just got Criminal Justice Reform passed, Black unemployment is at the lowest level…— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2019 ….invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose. Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2019Yet Rapinoe was unrepentant when speaking ahead of the semi-final victory over England, which she missed with a slight hamstring strain.”I don’t think that I would want to go [to the White House] and I would encourage my team-mates to think hard about lending that platform or having that co-opted by an administration that doesn’t feel the same way and doesn’t fight for the same things that we fight for,” said Rapinoe, who expects to be fit for the final.last_img read more

EPA security chief Superfund head leave amid ethics probes

first_imgWASHINGTON – The two top officials in charge of security and toxic-waste cleanups at the Environmental Protection Agency have abruptly left their jobs, days after EPA administrator Scott Pruitt told lawmakers that his subordinates were to blame for alleged ethical lapses that have prompted more than a dozen federal investigations of the agency.In statements Tuesday, Pruitt praised the two men — security chief Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta and Albert Kelly, a former Oklahoma banker who ran the EPA’s Superfund program — and gave no reason for their unexpected departures.Perrotta is due to appear Wednesday for a transcribed interview by staffers of the House Oversight Committee, one of the congressional bodies and federal agencies that are probing reported excessive spending by Pruitt and other issues at the agency. Committee aides said Perrotta’s resignation was not expected to derail his appearance.EPA spokespeople Jahan Wilcox said the two men’s departures were unrelated to the ongoing federal investigations, and said the agency was fully co-operating with the congressional probe, led by House Oversight Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican.Pruitt’s spending on security, and some of the security contracts with Perrotta, are among the topics of the federal probes involving the EPA under Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general. Pruitt, an ardent advocate of minimizing regulation who moves in conservative political circles, evangelical Christian ones, and business groups, has survived the kind of scandals that have brought down several other Cabinet appointees of President Donald Trump.On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that a Pruitt trip to Morocco last December was partly arranged by a longtime friend and lobbyist, Richard Smotkin, who last month received a $40,000-a-month contract with the Moroccan government to promote its cultural and economic interests. The trip, which has drawn scrutiny from federal watchdogs, cost more than $100,000, more than twice the amount previously estimated, the Post said.At House hearings last week, Pruitt weathered six hours of scathing questions, criticism, and a couple calls from congressional Democrat to resign over the steady flow of news reports and announcements of new investigations involving alleged ethical lapses at his agency. They include spending on Pruitt’s behalf for round-the-clock security guards, first-class plane tickets, and a $43,000 soundproof telephone booth.Pruitt repeatedly deflected blame last week, describing subordinates as going too far in carrying out their duties, in excesses that occurred without his knowledge.In the case of the $43,000 booth, for example, Pruitt acknowledged to lawmakers he had asked for a private and secure phone line when he arrived at the agency, but said staffers took it upon themselves to spend tens of thousands of dollars in providing it. It was security officials, not Pruitt, who decided he should fly first-class, he said.Pruitt pledged last week to take care of the problems. “Ultimately, as the administrator of the EPA, the responsibility of identifying and making necessary changes rests with me and no one else,” Pruitt told lawmakers then.Notably, most Republican lawmakers at the hearings declined to join the Democratic dog-pile on Pruitt.It was unclear Tuesday whether lawmakers from Pruitt’s majority party would take the internal shake-up as a needed and promised house-cleaning by Pruitt or indication of even greater trouble at the agency.“I don’t know how to take this, yet,” Rep. Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, one of the few Republican lawmakers last week to fault Pruitt on expenditures such as taking bodyguards with him to Disneyland and the Rose Bowl, said in a statement by email. “I’m waiting on more details …to shed more light on what, if anything, to make of it.”Pruitt said in his statements that Perrotta was retiring after a 23-year government career that included time in the Secret Service and under previous EPA administrators. He praised Perrotta for hard work and dedication.Pruitt thanked Kelly for what he said was his “tremendous impact” in Kelly’s year overseeing the nation’s Superfund program, charged with handling the cleanup of toxic waste sites.Pruitt hired Kelly, an Oklahoma banker, at the EPA after federal banking regulators banned the man from banking for life. Regulators have not publicly specified the actions that led to the banking ban. . Days ago, Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., pressed Pruitt for more details about why exactly Kelly had been sanctioned by regulators.“I think Mr. Kelly, if he’s willing to share that with you, he should do that,” Pruitt said Thursday.The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, believing Kelly “violated a law or regulation,” a year ago fined him $125,000. The undisclosed incident involved a loan by SpiritBank — which Kelly’s family has owned for generations — allegedly made without FDIC approval.Democrats in Congress also are asking for federal investigations of Kelly’s reported loans to Pruitt himself while the two were still in Oklahoma. Kelly is not among the EPA officials whom the House Oversight Committee members had summoned for questioning.Rep. Don Beyer, a Virginia Democrat who has been one of those pushing for more federal probes into newspaper reports of ethical problems under Pruitt, said in a statement Tuesday that “Pruitt should be the next to go.”“Albert Kelly was never qualified to run Superfund, his banking ban was a huge red flag, and his resignation is a positive development,” Beyer said.Separately, three House Democrats raised new allegations Tuesday that staffers working on Pruitt’s behalf in early 2017 looked into the possibility of opening an EPA office in Tulsa, a city of 400,0000 and Pruitt’s home.They provided no supporting documentation. Neither EPA spokesmen nor any of the people supposed to have knowledge of the alleged request could be reached for comment at the close of the business day, when the Democrats’ letter with the allegations was released. Pruitt has drawn criticism for frequent trips home to Tulsa at taxpayer expense.last_img read more

US oil prices predicted to climb in 2019 on lower supply

first_imgAfter a turbulent two months during which oil prices plummeted from a four-year high to a one-year low, investors may wonder what comes next for U.S. crude.Analysts at Swiss bank UBS are among those who predict prices will recover in 2019, as oil cartel OPEC, the U.S. and Russia curb output from the current record level.“We believe the market’s cautious turn is overdone,” UBS analysts wrote in their recently published 2019 outlook. “On balance, we keep a positive view on crude.”U.S. crude plunged 22 per cent in November, its worst month in a decade. That followed a nearly 11 per cent drop in October. “The decline in oil over the last month or two has been shocking to the market,” said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA.The sudden sell-off was sparked after investors grew concerned the global economy was slowing even as major producers continued to pump oil at high rates. The U.S. decision to hold off sanctioning countries that import oil from Iran boosted supplies further, and uncertainty over the escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China added to concerns of a slowdown.After peaking at $76.41 a barrel on Oct. 3, oil prices bottomed out at $50.31 a barrel on November 28. Since then, oil has edged higher in choppy trading. It settled at $52.15 a barrel on Wednesday.UBS forecasts U.S. crude oil will climb back to $73 a barrel by mid-2019, as supply cuts offset lower demand due to the slowing economy. Oil should pull back to around $68 a barrel by the end of next year, UBS predicts, assuming that OPEC will “maintain production discipline.”Oil prices steadied last week after OPEC and other major oil producers, including Russia, agreed to cut global crude production by 1.2 million barrels a day. The cuts are slated to begin in January and last six months.In its forecast, UBS sees other factors supporting higher oil prices next year. The analysts noted that global oil spare capacity is running at around a 10-year low. That can set the stage for prices to climb, especially if there’s unexpected, sharp rise in demand for oil, say in the event a major hurricane strikes production facilities or a key port.UBS also predicts a slowdown in U.S. shale production next year because new pipelines are not expected to be operational until the second half of 2019.Alex Veiga, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Security Council votes to establish Hariri assassination tribunal

A resolution endorsing the tribunal’s formal establishment was adopted after 10 Council members voted in favour and no members voted against. Five countries – China, Russia, Indonesia, Qatar and South Africa – abstained.The resolution was introduced after Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora sent a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this month asking for the Council to put the tribunal into effect as a matter of urgency.Mr. Ban told Council members in a subsequent letter that he concurred with Mr. Siniora “that, regrettably, all domestic options for the ratification of the Special Tribunal now appear to be exhausted, although it would have been preferable had the Lebanese parties been able to resolve the issue among themselves based on a national consensus.”The tribunal will be of “an international character” to deal with the assassination of Mr. Hariri, who was killed along with 22 others in a massive car bombing in downtown Beirut in February 2005.Once it is formally established, it will be up to the tribunal to determine whether other political killings in Lebanon since October 2004 were connected to Mr. Hariri’s assassination and could therefore be dealt with by the tribunal. In April 2005 the Security Council set up the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon’s own inquiry into the Hariri assassination was seriously flawed and that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that preceded the attack. Serge Brammertz, the current head of the IIIC, told the Council last September that evidence obtained so far suggests that a young, male suicide bomber, probably non-Lebanese, detonated up to 1,800 kilograms of explosives inside a van to assassinate Mr. Hariri. 30 May 2007The Security Council agreed today that the special tribunal set up to try the suspected killers of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri will enter into force on 10 June unless Lebanon ratifies the tribunal itself before that date. read more

UN chief says Eastern Europe can serve as example to 2011s emerging

6 May 2011The countries of Central and Eastern Europe that experienced their transitions to democracy 20 years ago offer important lessons for the Arab nations that are currently undergoing revolutions, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today during a visit to Bulgaria. “As the people of North Africa look for experience, you in particular have much to offer,” Mr. Ban said in an address to a major conference in the capital, Sofia, which is looking at how Europe in 1989 can help show the way forward for the emerging democracies of 2011.“You know the difficulties of transforming political and economic systems… establishing effective political parties… retooling State-owned industries… dismantling a police state and fighting corruption. “You also know the mistakes – the disappointments that can cause people to doubt democracy and its benefits. You are already reaching out, I know. This is encouraging, for the emerging democracies of North Africa need your help and engagement. Your experiences offer important lessons for everyone.” He also noted that fundamental principles of freedom, democracy and human rights are on the line in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria – where authorities have engaged in crackdowns on protesters demanding greater rights and freedoms. “What we are seeing in Libya, and elsewhere, is more than a conflict rooted in the aspirations of a long-repressed people seeking a better future,” said the Secretary-General. “We are also seeing the international community acting quickly, with resolve, to protect civilians facing violence from their own government,” he added, noting that the same happened in the case of Côte d’Ivoire.Mr. Ban described what is happening in Libya, Côte d’Ivoire and elsewhere as “an historic precedent… a watershed in the emerging doctrine of the responsibility to protect,” referring to the principle agreed to by world leaders in 2005 to come to the aid of civilians under attack by their own governments. “The age of impunity is dead,” he stated. “Today, we are moving decisively towards a new age of sovereignty as responsibility… an era where those who commit crimes against humanity and violate the human rights of their people will be held accountable.“More broadly, we can expect that, in the future, the Security Council will increasingly place civilian protection at the centre of the UN peace and security agenda,” he added.While in Sofia, the Secretary-General held talks with President Georgi Parvanov and Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov and visited the ancient city of Plovdiv. Earlier in the day, he met members of the Global Compact Network and with UN staff based in the capital. read more

Fancy a bid on a 12bedroom 10bath restored power station realtors turn

An online auction for a luxury home in Abbotsford, B.C., is drawing attention for its novel approach, which some observers say has potential to inspire new sales even if it doesn’t have any notable impact on the housing landscape.Bidding opens Tuesday on the 12-bedroom, 10-bath restored train power station known as the “Sumas Powerhouse,” which was previously listed for $5 million and has an assessed value of $2.2 million on B.C. Assessment.It’s one of three properties in Canada listed on global firm Concierge Auction’s website. A news release says it’s targeting Chinese buyers and will be sold in co-operation with Re/Max.The market is motivated because there’s a fear of missing out Canadian Press/HO-Concierge Auctions Scott Pate, a project sales manager with Concierge, said luxury real estate has been a buyers market for quite some time in both the United States and Canada and auctions are a way to give sellers more certainty.“We’ll bring the market to this sale instead of the normal way of selling real estate, which is putting it on the market and waiting for an offer, which could take years and years,” he said.“The market is motivated because there’s a fear of missing out. This auction is going to end on a certain day … so it creates a lot of interest.”A room in the Abbotsford, B.C. house shown online. Real estate auctions are typical in Australia and New Zealand, but the model is less common in Canada.A real estate agent in Victoria tried the in-person auction approach in 2016 with a property in the city’s upscale Rockland neighbourhood, holding a public auction featuring a pianist playing a grand piano in the ballroom at the event.But local media reported that although 60 people filled the room, only one was an interested buyer so the auction was cancelled. In 2017, the B.C. Supreme Court accepted a $1.8-million offer for the historic mansion in foreclosure.Tom Davidoff, director of the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, said online auctions aren’t all that different from the way we buy and sell homes traditionally in Canada, especially in cases where there are multiple interested buyers and a bidding war.That could make it comfortable for Canadian buyers to transition to the model.“It certainly could be a direction the market could go. In segments where the market is slow today, people will try different approaches to move product, so it’s certainly possible,” he said.The deck at the Abbotsford house. Online auctions allow the company to post more information than might be available through MLS listings, like copies of home inspections and agreements of purchase and sale, which makes it less likely for a sale to fall through. But beyond creating another way for potential buyers to bid, he said he doesn’t believe there will be an impact on the market in terms of housing prices or competition.“This will have no impact on the market overall,” Davidoff said.In Toronto, On the Block sells real estate both the traditional way and through its online auction platform but doesn’t focus on luxury sales.Co-founder Daniel Steinfeld said online auctions offer a way around some of the frustrations that come with silent bidding wars under the traditional system.As part of the company’s model, buyers must sign agreements to make the value of their bids public while their identities remain protected. Real estate board regulations otherwise prohibit real estate agents from disclosing the substance of competing bids.“Buyers, especially in the Toronto and Vancouver markets, have grown pretty frustrated with the blind bidding approach,” he said.The platform also allows the company to post more information than might be available through MLS listings, like copies of home inspections and agreements of purchase and sale, which makes it less likely for a sale to fall through.The most important factor in a successful real estate auction is the starting price, which can inspire competitive bids, Steinfeld said. So when identifying potential properties for auction, the company interviews the sellers to determine their objectives and market expectations.If the seller has unreasonable expectations about the market value of their property, it’s probably not the right fit for auction.Market conditions matter less, he said.“We have seen in both good and bad market conditions that it can work, it really just comes down to the appropriate pricing strategy,” Steinfeld said.Auction properties are typically first-time listings and the company sets a reserve price, which represents the minimum value at which the seller is obligated to sell.“Once bidding reaches that number, everyone knows for sure that property will sell,” he said.“Then everyone starts to bid quite a bit more because they know at that point that if they win, it’s theirs.” read more

Ban mourns death of force commander of UN Haiti mission

In a press release issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said he learned “with great sadness the sudden passing” of Lieutenant General José Luiz Jaborandy, Jr., 30 August 2015 in Miami, while was on a trip to Brazil, where he was born.Lieutenant General Jaborandy, Jr., has been the Force Commander of MINUSTAH since March 2014.The Secretary-General said he was grateful to the Lt. General for his ledership and dedication to the cause of peace he has shown during his deployment.Mr. Ban expressed his sincere condolences to the bereaved family and to the Government of Brazil for this “tragic loss.” read more

The Cubs Pitchers Are Making Their Own Luck

Midseason is rapidly approaching, and the Chicago Cubs are still making the rest of Major League Baseball look bad. They’re World Series favorites by a mile according to our Elo predictions — which also have them pegged for 104 wins — and they’ve outscored their opponents by an average of 2.3 runs per game, the most of any team through 70 games since the legendary 1939 Yankees.The Cubs have excelled on offense, scoring the third-most runs in the majors, but to an even greater degree the team owes its extreme success to run prevention. Chicago’s current 2.73 team ERA would be the lowest full-season1So, not counting the strike-shortened 1981 campaign. figure in the designated hitter era (since 1973), and the lowest relative to the MLB average since World War II.This Cubs staff is pretty good at making guys miss — it ranks fifth in the majors in K-BB rate — but that alone isn’t enough to explain such a microscopic ERA. Chicago has also allowed a .254 batting average on balls in play, 42 points below the major-league average and 19 points lower than the next-closest team. If the Cubs were to finish the year that far below the norm, their BABIP would also be the lowest relative to average since World War II. As a byproduct, the gap between Chicago’s ERA and its Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) is 0.64 runs, the widest positive gap in the majors.We know of three things that could contribute to such a separation. One is flat-out luck, but the others are a good defense and a pitching staff that induces especially fieldable batted balls. Prior to the advent of Statcast, MLB’s new radar-based motion-tracking system, it was almost impossible to separate the latter two elements, parsing out a pitcher’s impact on batted balls from that of his fellow defenders. But now we can start to unravel those relationships and assign partial credit to each possible factor at work.To do that, we built a couple of models. The first model estimated each MLB pitcher’s effect on the exit velocities and launch angles he allows by comparing his rates to the same hitters’ numbers against all other pitchers.2Specifically, we used two mixed models that incorporate effects for each batter, pitcher and park to predict exit velocity and launch angle. Because 20 to 25 percent of batted balls are missed by the tracking system, all models in this piece imputed missing Statcast data using the average of similarly classified batted balls and outcomes. Then we calculated what would happen if we replaced each team’s actual pitchers with a staff full of generic arms that allowed league-average exit velocities and launch angles. The difference between those actual and generic figures gives us a number of runs attributable to each pitching staff’s contact-management skills, i.e., its tendency to allow batted balls that do less damage.Next, we modeled fielding on a team-by-team basis by estimating how much each batted ball “should” have been worth (in terms of linear-weight run value) based on its exit velocity and launch angle.3This was a random forest model, as described in an earlier piece. Then we compared those estimated values to the actual values of the same batted balls.4Using a separate model to adjust for ballpark effects. If a batted ball with an exit velocity and launch angle that would typically produce a single actually yielded an out, the model credited some of the difference to the defense, which we assume prevented the single through some combination of good range, good hands and good positioning.Finally, we combined those two values into one total figure to see how many runs each team has saved on its balls in play, relative to a team with average contact-management and defense. TEAMFIELDINGPITCHINGTOTAL Angels-6.42.4-4.1 Braves3.1-5.4-2.4 Diamondbacks4.6-23.4-18.8 Reds1.8-49.9-48.1 Pirates-6.815.58.7 Dodgers2.927.330.2 Royals0.5-12.6-12.0 Cardinals6.413.419.8 RUNS SAVED Rangers18.5-6.212.3 Indians6.7-7.1-0.4 Nationals-3.816.312.6 Phillies-3.9-31.2-35.1 Marlins5.3-2.82.5 Twins-12.1-39.0-51.1 Yankees-11.215.84.6 Blue Jays14.16.520.6 Brewers-10.9-3.4-14.4 Giants6.717.524.2 Red Sox9.7-3.85.9 Padres2.4-9.2-6.8 White Sox3.125.428.5 Mariners-0.27.67.4 Cubs12.644.557.1 Mets-4.026.422.3 Rockies9.8-24.9-15.1 There’s a moderate, statistically significant relationship5A correlation coefficient of 0.44. between a team’s ERA-FIP gap and our estimate of its runs saved from contact management and defense. Add in sequencing (as measured by Left on Base Percentage), and we can explain about 60 percent of the difference between a team’s ERA and its FIP. The rest can be chalked up to random variation, plus a variety of smaller factors6Such as the way pitchers influence other batted-ball characteristics (i.e., spray angle), the tendency of good pitch-framing catchers — such as the Cubs’ Miguel Montero and David Ross — to produce more favorable counts and make batters swing at bad pitches (which can’t be hit as hard), and the ability of batters and pitchers to restrict the running game (the rare area in which the Cubs don’t excel). and, admittedly, other unknown elements that we can’t conceive of or are unable to calculate using current data.According to our models, the Cubs’ defense — aided perhaps by data-driven positioning, if not frequent infield shifting — has been the third-best in baseball, behind the Rangers and Blue Jays. But fielding is a relatively small piece of Chicago’s run-preventing puzzle. Its pitching staff’s collective ability to manage contact leads the next-best team by close to 20 runs. As a group, Cubs pitchers have depressed exit velocity by 0.4 miles per hour and launch angle by almost 2 degrees, relative to average.7As of June 19.That leads to a larger takeaway from our models: Leaguewide, the impact of pitchers’ contact management is more than twice that of defense, which seems to contradict the traditional defense-independent pitching theory that most pitchers have little ability to prevent hits on balls in play. (It’s probably no coincidence that the career leader in Inside Edge’s Soft Contact rate is fabled bat breaker Mariano Rivera.) In other words, much of what appears to be good or bad defense might really be good or bad contact management, which can produce easier (or more difficult) fielding opportunities that make certain fielders look better or worse than they are. In theory, only a Statcast-derived defensive stat could account for this heretofore-camouflaged effect.Exit velocity is meaningful even over small samples, but at this early stage of the Statcast Era, we still don’t know enough about how pitchers control contact to say whether the Cubs’ BABIP is sustainable, or if it stems from a conscious pitching (or even pitching-acquisition) approach. As with any extreme observation, it seems safe to expect some regression to the mean for Chicago’s pitchers. Still, we can conclude that the Cubs’ historically low BABIP through their first 69 games isn’t merely luck. One way or another, the Cubs have earned a lot of those outs. Tigers-10.69.9-0.7 Includes games through June 19Source: MLBAM, PitchInfo Astros-10.310.0-0.3 Rays4.2-19.6-15.4 The Cubs Are The Best At Controlling Contact Athletics-5.7-8.8-14.5 Orioles-2.7-4.9-7.7 read more

James Harden Traded to Houston In NBA Shocker

James Harden, one of the Oklahoma City trio of stars that led the Thunder to the NBA Finals in June, was traded to the Houston Rockets when he refused a $55-million contract extension offer.The news that OKC had broken up its dynamic young core of Harden, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook was met with shock around the league. But it came down to money. Harden, an all-star who was a  member of the London Olympic gold-medal-winning team, wanted a maximum contract of $60 million. The Thunder, according to reports, offered four years and $55 million.“We wanted to sign James to an extension, but at the end of the day, these situations have to work for all those involved,” Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti said. “Our ownership group again showed their commitment to the organization with several significant offers.”Finally, OKC made a move, acquiring veteran scoring guard Kevin Martin and rookie Jeremy Lamb, two first-round draft picks and a second-round selection, too. Oklahoma City also sent center Cole Aldrich, Dequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to the Rockets, who will sign Harden to the max deal he sought.Wednesday’s deadline to extend Harden or allow him to become a restricted free agent next July had been hanging over the Thunder from the moment they reported to training camp, but sources told ESPN.com late Saturday the Rockets intended to sign the swingman to the max contract extension he was seeking before Wednesday’s midnight deadline.“We were unable to reach a mutual agreement, and therefore executed a trade that capitalized on the opportunity to bring in a player of Kevin’s caliber, a young talent like Jeremy and draft picks, which will be important to our organizational goal of a sustainable team.”The small-market Thunder had already signed Durant, Westbrook and Serge Ibaka  to long-term deals, and apparently realized Harden was going to want a bigger salary than they would offer.Harden averaged 16.8 points and 3.7 assists last season, and joined Durant and Westbrook on the U.S. men’s Olympic team. He struggled badly in Oklahoma City’s loss to Miami in the NBA Finals, but the Thunder felt good about their chances of getting back there with another year of experience for their young stars, all 24 or younger.The Thunder got back a good scorer in Martin, who has averaged 18.4 points in his eight NBA seasons, and a promising young player in Lamb, the No. 12 pick in the draft who helped Connecticut win the 2011 NCAA championship. He led Houston’s summer league team in scoring with 20 points per game.Had the Thunder been able to ink Harden to that $13.5 million annual contract, a franchise playing in the league’s third smallest market would have owed $69 million to just five players next season. That figure would have increased to $72 million in 2014-15 for those same five players.The tax threshold for this season is $70.3 million. Starting next season, teams must pay an incremental rate starting at $1.50 for every dollar they exceed the threshold.“At the end of the day, you have to do the best thing for the organization,” Presti said at his preseason press conference. “That’s what my job is. The day that I stop doing what’s in the best interest of the organization is the day that you should get somebody else.” read more

North Dakota sweeps OSU in 2 physical matchups

The No. 8 North Dakota women’s hockey team swept Ohio State this weekend, winning two physical games by a goal each. OSU coach Jackie Barto sees these close losses as a positive, knowing her team is just one step away from getting over the top. “I thought we competed hard and played six good periods this weekend,” Barto said. The Buckeyes (14-14-2, 8-14-2-2 WCHA) have lost three games to the Fighting Sioux (17-8-3, 15-7-2-0 WCHA) by one goal this season, losing Friday, 4-3, in overtime and Saturday, 3-2. “We need to take that step and get over that last hurdle in these games,” Barto said. “Stay positive, keep working and keep getting after it.” On Saturday the Buckeyes led North Dakota in shots, 32-31, but failed to cash in on five power-play opportunities. “The power play never really got settled,” Barto said. “It’s a combination of winning face-offs, winning battles, outnumbering the puck, having good retrieval skills and then having the poise to set your power play up under pressure.” The referees had to break up a number of skirmishes over the weekend after a few big hits and several rushes on goal left players down on the ice. “We knew we were in a war and we had to battle,” Barto said. “North Dakota’s a physical team and the refs let them play.” Junior forward Laura McIntosh continued to shine, adding two more points to her career assists record and cashing in a goal this weekend. With the Buckeyes down, 1-0, on Saturday, McIntosh led a three-on-one breakaway that featured a nifty pass across the crease to junior defenseman Kelly Wild, who passed it back across the crease where sophomore forward Paige Semenza buried the puck in the net to tie the game. “When everyone gets involved it’s good for the team,” McIntosh said. “I think this weekend we played really well and a lot of people were involved.” The Buckeyes ran out of time in both games, though, as North Dakota scored with seconds left in overtime Friday night, and the Buckeyes failed to score in the third period Saturday. “Getting down to the end of the season we’re just gonna have to keep working hard,” McIntosh said. “Other teams know that we work hard, so if we keep doing that and battling through we’ll be good the rest of the way.” The Buckeyes host Minnesota Duluth (16-7-3, 14-7-3 WCHA) at 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink. “We need to keep our heads up,” senior defenseman Shannon Reilly said. “We played two awesome games this weekend and we didn’t get the bounces we wanted. I think that we can carry how hard everyone worked and gave 110 percent on every shift into next weekend and then the following weekend to come.” read more

Sandvik Newtrax partner on UG digital future

first_imgSandvik is proud to announce it has partnered with Newtrax, the global leader in wireless IoT for the underground metal mining industry, “to deliver world-class mining safety, efficiency, and productivity to underground metal mines through digitalisation.”Sandvik’s OEM-independent OptiMine® digital platform “will seamlessly integrate with Newtrax’s system of wireless IoT to provide all relevant data in one source, delivering both real-time and predictive insights to improve operations.”“We are eager to see our partnership with Sandvik’s OptiMine® help our customers more rapidly and effectively realise their crucial mine digitisation objectives. Sandvik shares our core values, and this partnership ultimately will deliver more value to our joint customers faster, and at a lower cost,” said Alexandre Cervinka, CEO of Newtrax.“Together, I truly believe we truly have the best solution for our customers. With OptiMine® software as the ‘brain,’ and the Newtrax IoT system as the ‘nervous system’ monitoring machines, people, and the environment, our customers will have all they need to leverage the power of machine learning, and more effectively realise the value of their digital investments,” said Patrick Murphy, President, Rock Drills & Technologies, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology.The integrated system will be deployed at select mines and showcased in the Sandvik test mine in Tampere, Finland in early 2019. Hindustan Zinc’s Sindesar Khurd (SK) is the first mine to implement integrated Newtrax and OptiMine® solutions to drive their digital transformation.last_img read more

Womens EHF EURO 2012 Denmark beat France – Ukraine goes home

Ukraine goes home as the first team after two rounds at the Women’s EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia. Norway had hard 60 minutes against good Czech Republic 21:19 (10:12) and broke resistance of the rival in the last 10 minutes. Now is known that Norway will take all four points to the Main Round, while Serbia and Czech Republic will fight for the last two.In Nis, Denmark beat France 28:27. Macedonia still have chances for the Main Round after another “black day” against Sweden 15:26.STANDING:Norway 4Serbia 2Czech Republic 2Ukraine 0STANDING:Sweden 4France 2Denmark 2Macedonia 0 ← Previous Story Draw for EHF Cup Group stage: KIF and RNL in Group B! Next Story → Women’s EHF EURO 2012 DAY 4 – Croatia or Germany, Iceland or Russia? Women’s EHF EURO 2012 read more

Swiss Play Off Final Kadetten leads 20

Kadetten SchaffhausenRares JurcaSwiss handballSwiss play offwacker thun After an away win, Kadetten Schaffhausen beat Wacker Thun 32:26 (15:13) for 2:0 lead in the Swiss Play Off Final series. In front of 1600 domestic fans Kadetten came only one step ahead of 7th championship trophy!Kadetten Schaffhausen – Wacker Thun 32:26 (15:13)Kadetten Schaffhausen: Quadrelli (45. – 52. Aleksejev); Bucher, Emrich, Jurca (10/6), Kukucka (1), Mamic (5), Pendic (6/1), Prieto, Starczan, Stojanovic (1), Tominec (3), Ursic (4), Göpfert (2).Wacker Thun: Merz (45. Winkler); Buri, Caspar (3/1), Dähler (4), Franic (1), Friedli (3), Isailovic (3), Lanz (1), Linder (2), Rathgeb (2), Studer (1), von Deschwanden (6/1).Results: 0:2, 1:3 (4.), 4:3 (10.), 4:5, (13.), 7:5, 9:6 (18.), 9:8, 11:8, 11:11, 13:11, 13:13, 15:13; 16:13, 18:14 (36.), 18:17 (38.), 19:18, 21:18, 22:19, 23:20, 24:21, 24:24 (49.), 26:24 (51.), 26:25, 30:25, 32:26. – ← Previous Story Anouar Ayed to leave Toulouse Next Story → Officialy: Katarina Bulatovic to Gyor! read more