Changes to the Indian Act needs thorough consultation Lonechild

first_imgAPTN National NewsChanges to the Indian Act were a hot topic in Ottawa Thursday.The standing committee on Aboriginal Affairs is now studying MP Rob Clarke’s private members bill – Bill C-428 – to amend the act.The former chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations took a seat at the table as an individual witness.Guy Lonechild stressed the importance of thorough consultation.Here is some of that exchange.last_img

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Catalonia urges mediation with Spain in secession dispute

first_imgBARCELONA, Spain – Catalan separatists called for international mediation with the Spanish government as they pushed ahead Monday with plans to declare unilateral independence this week after a violent police crackdown scarred a disputed secession referendum.The referendum debacle only deepened Spain’s most serious political crisis since democratic rule was restored in 1978. The violence on Sunday in the prosperous northeastern region left more than 890 civilians and 430 police injured when anti-riot squads moved into polling stations and dispersed voters.Shocking videos and photos of police dragging people by the hair and kicking them were flashed around the globe, leading some European leaders to warn about any further escalation of violence.Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said a regional parliamentary commission would investigate why Spain’s anti-riot squads fired rubber bullets, smashed into polling stations and beat protesters with batons to disperse voters in the independence referendum that Spain opposed. He also urged the 5,000-strong contingent of special Spanish police forces deployed in Catalonia to leave immediately.Puigdemont called Monday for the European Union “to stop looking the other way” and urged Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to accept international mediation in the crisis. He urged the EU to view Catalonia’s desire to break away from Spain as a Europe-wide issue.“This is not a domestic issue. The need for mediation is evident,” Puigdemont said.Calls for restraint came from across Europe, including EU chief Donald Tusk, who appealed to Rajoy to “avoid further escalation and use of force” while agreeing that the independence vote was invalid. Several human rights organizations called for an impartial investigation into the violence.Of the 893 civilians injured in the melee, two suffered serious wounds, Catalan health authorities said. The Interior Ministry said 39 police received immediate medical treatment and 392 others had scrapes and bruises.But Spanish authorities commended the police, saying their response to the voting was professional and proportionate. And Spain’s interior minister said the 5,000 extra officers deployed to Catalonia would stay as long as necessary.“I don’t think there was such a heavy hand, but in any case, they had to react,” said Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis, calling the police reaction videos “a matter of interpretation.”Speaking in Rome, Dastis said “some of the pictures are real, some of them are not real” but that police had simply responded when people prevented them from doing their job.Catalan officials say an overwhelming majority of the 2.26 million who voted supported independence from Spain — they said 90 per cent — but the central government in Madrid has repeatedly condemned the referendum as unconstitutional and invalid.The Catalan president said the regional parliament will be asked to declare independence this week after final results are announced — and plenary sessions are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.The euro and Spanish stocks fell Monday as investors tried to gauge what the weekend unrest in Catalonia means for the future of Spain and European unity.The referendum fiasco brought Spain and Catalonia closer to a potentially disastrous showdown as each side said Sunday’s events proved them right.Rajoy met with his conservative Popular Party members before seeking a parliamentary session to discuss how to confront Spain’s most serious political crisis in decades. He also met with the leaders of the opposition Socialist and Citizens parties to discuss Spain’s options, although no immediate consensus emerged.The impasse developed after Catalan authorities decided to go ahead with Sunday’s referendum even after Spain’s constitutional Court suspended it while assessing the claims by Rajoy’s government that the vote was illegal. The court has previously ruled against unilateral secession attempts.Amnesty International said the Spanish police used “excessive and disproportionate” force against people “passively resisting” a judge’s order to impede the referendum. U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called on Spain’s government to ensure “thorough, independent and impartial investigations” of the violence.Some Catalans said both sides bore some responsibility.“I think both sides involved committed grave mistakes,” said Eric Tigra, 56. “But we must also highlight that if the people of Catalonia go out in the streets and you don’t listen to them, then something is not working right.”In an editorial, the Spanish daily El Pais blamed the Catalan government for Sunday’s “shameful” events but also criticized the Spanish government for its inability to tackle the crisis that began about seven years ago.So far, most European governments, the U.S. and most international bodies have backed Spain in its stance against Catalan independence, fearing that Catalonia could unleash a wave of secessionist movements. French President Emmanuel Macron called Rajoy on Monday to offer support.“These are times for unity and stability,” EU spokesman Margaritis Schinas said, urging all sides in Spain to move from confrontation to dialogue.Catalonia, with the vibrant city of Barcelona as its capital, represents a fifth of Spain’s economy. Polls consistently show that while most of its 7.5 million inhabitants favoured a referendum, they are roughly evenly split on independence from Spain.Those in favour of secession argue that the region contributes more to the national government than it receives in return. Catalans already enjoy a wide measure of autonomy but the central government still controls taxation and other financial levers, as well as infrastructure projects.___Ciaran Giles reported from Madrid.last_img read more

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Bombardier on the cusp of breaking even on runway to turnaround says

first_imgMONTREAL – After years of underwhelming results, layoffs and near bankruptcy, Bombardier Inc. says it is on the cusp of breaking even on the runway to a financial turnaround in 2020.“We’re largely there,” chief financial officer John Di Bert told a New York investor day conference Thursday.He said breaking even is “touch and go” in 2017 but next year should deliver positive earnings per share.The Montreal-based transportation giant said it’s on track to deliver on its promised five-year turnaround with better revenues and profits at its aerospace and railway divisions.Chief executive Alain Bellemare said Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) anticipates strong growth now that it is winding down heavy spending to develop the C Series and Global 7000 business jet.“The transformation of Bombardier is well underway and with the significant investment cycle coming to an end we have the right foundation in place to drive profitable growth for years to come,” he told analysts.Bellemare pointed to business jets, which are increasing margins despite flat deliveries. He said the company had expected this key part of its business to have recovered, but industry aircraft deliveries have fallen despite rising corporate profits.“Honestly we were expecting a much better business aircraft rebound than what we’ve seen.”Bellemare said the company’s overall focus is to get the new Global 7000 to market next year and close the Airbus C Series joint venture. After that, he’s open to any other strategic alliances for all parts of its operations.“The good news is we have no time pressure right now to do anything quick. We have time to think, we have time to reflect on where we are and where we want to go.”Asked if there can still be a larger C Series, Bellemare said it’s premature to say how that could strategically fit with the Airbus A320 family.“On a standalone basis I think it would have been a real challenge to launch a CS500,” he added.Bombardier said revenues will grow to between US$17 billion and US$17.5 billion next year.That’s up by about US$1 billion from its guidance for 2017 at the mid-point of the range, but below the US$18.4-billion forecast by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters.Bombardier said the growth in revenue is expected to be driven by the ramp-up of key projects at Bombardier Transportation and higher C Series aircraft deliveries.Over the next three years, the company’s objective is to grow revenue by US$4 billion to reach US$20 billion, which represents a seven per cent compound annual growth rate.It also aims to improve the free cash flow by about US$1 billion to break even in 2018 and generate US$750 million to US$1 billion of cash in 2020.Industry analysts said the updated guidance largely met their expectations although revenue forecasts were lighter than they had expected.“Equity investors own Bombardier for multi-year cash flow improvement and so the unchanged 2020 outlook with good progress in 2018 does not change the investment case and the key from here is execution,” said Seth Seifman of J.P. Morgan.He said questions linger about the future of the commercial aircraft division given lower than expected CRJ and Q400 deliveries and the proposed sale of the C Series program to Airbus.Bombardier expects to deliver just 35 regional planes and 40 C Series aircraft in 2018.Fred Cromer, the head of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, insisted that its workhorse regional jets continue to have a future within Bombardier. While the Airbus partnership won’t directly help that part of the business, he said there would be some unforeseen benefits.“Having that joint venture with Airbus as a partner strengthens all of commercial aircraft and certainly can open doors for new opportunities where we maybe not see them today.”last_img read more

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Second Cup says it may convert Ontario coffee shops to cannabis stores

first_imgOTTAWA – The Second Cup Ltd. says it is actively reviewing locations in Ontario for potential conversion to cannabis retail stores in light of policy changes in the province.The company’s announcement comes after Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government said it would allow private retailers to sell recreational marijuana starting next April.Second Cup had announced a partnership with marijuana clinic operator National Access Cannabis in April to potentially convert coffee shops to retail stores under the brand Meta Cannabis Supply Co.At the time, the companies said they were focused on Western Canada, as Ontario had planned to sell cannabis through provincial liquor commissions, in line with policies in Quebec and several Atlantic provinces.Second Cup and National Access Cannabis say any conversions of coffee shops to cannabis shops is conditional on securing a retail license from provincial regulators, and approval from franchisees and landlords.The coffee shop company says it has more than 130 locations across Ontario that it plans to leverage to enter the cannabis space. National Access Cannabis says it has a target of opening 50 to 70 cannabis retail stores in Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia this year.Companies in this story: (TSX:META, TSX:SCU)last_img read more

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City of Fort St John releases construction values for October 2018

first_imgIn comparison to 2017, the overall construction value of the projects is down from $42,277,500.00 to $37,345,190.00; an approximate difference of $4.9 million.Despite being down on the construction value, the number of permits issued for the year is up to 95 from last year’s number of 92; a difference of three building permits.You can view the full October 2018 building permit report here. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John has released the construction value of building permits issued for October 2018.For the month of October, the construction value of the permits was $4,415,000.00 with a number of 10 permits issued.The largest project on the list is for renovations to a multi-family apartment complex located at 9003 86 street. This building suffered extensive fire damage back in May 2018. At the time, the Fort St. John Fire Department said the fire started on the third floor of the building’s west side and approximately 47 residents were forced from their homes due to the fire. The cost of the project is estimated at $2,400,000.00.last_img read more

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Sale shows big loss in investment value of China backed Alberta oil

first_imgPROP was worth more in 2010 when benchmark U.S. oil prices were higher and there was less volatility in heavy oil markets, said analyst Cody Kwong of GMP FirstEnergy. He added Obsidian is a motivated seller because of its high debt load and that also might have affected the price.A simpler answer is that China paid too much for PROP and other Alberta assets as part of its drive to create big international companies and diversify its energy sources beyond the Middle East and Russia, said Houlden.“They got several things wrong,” he said. “They believed our propaganda that there’s going to be pipelines. And they mis-timed _ easy to do _ in terms of pricing.”Amid falling oil prices, a major pipeline leak and a fatal accident, CNOOC shut down the upgrader at Nexen’s centrepiece 50,000-barrel-per-day Long Lake oilsands project in 2016 and has never restarted it, although it continues to produce raw bitumen. Mid-sized Calgary oil and gas producer Obsidian Energy Ltd. struck a deal on May 17 to sell its 55 per cent stake in the Peace River Oil Partnership (PROP) to junior producer Highwood Oil Company Ltd. for $97 million.The other 45 per cent is held by China Investment Corp., a sovereign wealth fund created by the Chinese government in 2007.CIC made its investment in PROP in June 2010 when Obsidian was a much bigger company called Penn West Energy Trust. Along with its $817 million, CIC bought $435 million worth of Penn West trust units, later converted to shares which Obsidian says appear to have been sold about three years ago.The drop in value of the project, which includes 96,000 hectares of oilsands leases in northern Alberta, comes despite growth in production from 2,000 to over 8,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day over the past nine years.Indeed, PROP might be considered a core business if not for the higher profits the company expects to realize from its Cardium light oil drilling program in central Alberta, said Obsidian CEO Mike Faust.“It’s a great asset. It makes money,” he said. “(But) it needs love and it’s not going to get it from us because we can make a lot more money by playing in the Cardium, full-tilt.” CALGARY, A.B. – A Chinese company’s $817-million investment in a northern Alberta heavy oil project nine years ago has collapsed in value to less than $80 million, based on the price its Canadian partner has negotiated for the sale of its majority stake.The fall to less than one-tenth of original value is shocking but consistent with the general record of poor performance from China’s Alberta oilpatch investments, said Gordon Houlden, director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.And it helps explain why China’s spending in the sector has slowed to a trickle since China-based CNOOC bought Calgary’s Nexen Energy for $15.1 billion as spending peaked in 2013.center_img Under the PROP joint venture agreement, CIC has the right for 30 days to step up and buy Obsidian’s stake, and 15 days after that to offer its interest to the same buyer in a “tag-along” deal.The company did not respond to a request for comment but it seems unlikely it would take over the project given its lack of a Canadian office and its stated goal on its website to act as a “financial investor” and not seek control over companies it invests in.Houlden said the tag-along option is also unlikely to be used _ CIC is more likely to keep the asset and hope for a recovery than sell and be forced to recognize a financial loss.“The Chinese state enterprises are loathe to book losses,” he said.The China Institute estimates China has invested a total of $55 billion in Alberta, the majority in energy projects, out of $85 billion in Canada.It doesn’t estimate how much those energy investments are worth now but Houlden said he expects most values have declined.The flow of Chinese investment into Canada declined by 47 per cent to $4.43 billion in 2018 from 2017, partly as a consequence of capital outflow restrictions imposed by Beijing in 2016 and 2017, the institute says. Investment globally dropped by 40 per cent, it said, citing figures from the American Enterprise Institute.Canadian energy investments by China fell by 84 per cent to $140 million in 2018.last_img read more

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Cong will fight polls in UP on its own strength

first_imgNew Delhi: The Congress will fight the general election in Uttar Pradesh on its own strength, party’s west UP incharge Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Saturday, asserting the path of his party may be different from that of the SP and the BSP but their objective is the same.Scindia also said that as far as talks for alliances are concerned, “like-minded parties should also think in a like-minded way”. The AICC general secretary incharge UP west’s remarks assume significance as they come amid reports that there may be a rethink on the grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh to include the Congress. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!On Akhilesh Yadav’s remarks that the Congress was very much in the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance and two seats were being left for it, Scindia said, “If this is his thinking, then we may also leave 2-3 seats for them.” “The current situation is that the SP and the BSP have taken a decision that they want to walk on a different path with the same objective that the Congress has. Our paths can be different, but the objective is the same,” he said. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedScindia asserted that the Congress wants to have a UPA government at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh it was determined to come back to power by 2022. “We have said time and again that our objective is the same that UPA government must be formed at the Centre. In Uttar Pradesh, the Congress is going to fight this election on its own strength,” Scindia told reporters here. “We believe that be it BSP or SP, they have taken a decision and we respect that decision. They have the right to choose their path. They have chosen their path and the Congress is going to fight this election on its own strength,” he said. Asked about whether talks should be held to bring like-minded parties together, he said dialogue should take place but it should be from both sides. wlast_img read more

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2pronged training programme for polling personnel

first_imgKolkata: In a bid to make the polling personnel equipped to perform their duties in a proper manner during the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections, two-pronged training programmes would be conducted among all the polling personnel in the state.Apart from training workshops, online trainings may be imparted among them so that they can conduct the elections without any problem. Various training programmes would be conducted among the polling personnel in phases starting from the end of the current month. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersSenior ECI officials would conduct training among the polling personnel when the latter would be given a detailed outline on how to perform their assigned tasks and to mobilise the election machinery. There may be an online training where the poll personnel would be given various modules containing several questions related to the procedure of conducting elections. If a poll personnel is able to answer the questions of a particular module correctly, then he/she will be able to proceed to the next module. Attempting the question-answer format will help them clear their confusion regarding poll-related issues. There will be a set of master trainers who will train the participants in various batches. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe programme aims at empowering the trainers of all categories with training techniques and methodologies, thereby ensuring better delivery and interactive training programmes. It may be mentioned that a certification programme had already been conducted among the District Election Officers (DEO) and Returning Officers (RO). Leadership and motivational training have already been imparted among important election officers involved in various processes of the elections. Meanwhile, it may be mentioned here that around 10 companies of the Central Forces would arrive in the state within March 15. According to sources in the CEO office, the Central Forces would be deployed in various districts as soon as they arrive. They would also be asked to carry out route marches in various places to boost the confidence of the voters. The Central Forces will be deployed well in advance for area domination, route marches in vulnerable pockets and to carry out other confidence-building measures in the districts, an official said.last_img read more

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Rahul promises exclusive Ministry for Fisheries

first_imgThrissur (Kerala): Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday assured the fishermen community that a Congress-led government will form a special Ministry for fisheries. Gandhi said this while addressing a meeting here at the ‘Fishermen’s Parliament’. “I am not like Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi who does not keep his promises. I assure you and promise you that when our government comes to power in 2019, there will be a dedicated Ministry for fisheries,” said Gandhi. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! “Go through my speeches. Whatever I have said will be done, has been done. The exclusive ministry for your needs will be like a non-violent weapon for all of you. Issues with the Sri Lankan Navy, Coastal Regulation Zone and trawlers will all be addressed,” added Gandhi. Gandhi arrived here on Wednesday night. After meeting the families of three Congress workers killed by alleged CPI-M workers in Kannur and Kasargode, he will return to Kozhikode to kickstart the Lok Sabha poll campaign in the state.last_img read more

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BJP supporters protest against nomination of outsiders turncoats

first_imgKolkata: Infighting in BJP came to light once again, with party supporters protesting against party nominees in different parts of the state.Supporters were vocal against the nomination of Nisith Pramanik, who has been fielded from the Cooch Behar Lok Sabha seat while the party’s vice-president Rajkamal Pathak announced his resignation from the post after being denied ticket for the Lok Sabha. Pathak had wanted to contest from either the Sreerampur or Hooghly seat. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaSoon after the candidate list was announced, a section of workers ransacked the BJP party office at Cooch Behar and demanded resignation of their district president Malati Rava. Pramanik had recently joined the saffron party from Trinamool Congress. “We do not want any turncoat to be selected from Cooch Behar. The party did not consider leaders who have been fighting against Trinamool for years. The list is finalised after consultation with the party’s top district leadership,” a worker said. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe car of Rava was ransacked and when she tried to walk home, she was allegedly heckled by some agitators. Refuting allegations against her, Rava said the central leadership had nominated Pramanik and district leaders had “no say” regarding the same. It may be mentioned that Pramanaik had joined the saffron party on February 28 in Delhi from Trinamool Congress. “They do not accept him as the Cooch Behar candidate and have expressed their dissatisfaction. It is a natural phenomenon in a political party and everything would be sorted out,” Rava said. According to party sources, Dipak Barman, a long-time party worker, may fight from the seat as an Independent Candidate. The situation has taken such an alarming turn that under the instructions of BJP president Amit Shah, the party’s observer in Bengal Arvind Menon reached Cooch Behar on Friday night to bring things under control. BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said on Friday that the party workers have to accept the decision of the central leadership. Meanwhile, Pathak expressed his discontentment over party leadership alleging that the party has ignored old and veteran leadership in fielding candidates. The party’s women’s wing president Locket Chatterjee has been fielded from Hooghly, while state youth wing (Yuba Morcha) chief Debojit Sarkar has been fielded from Sreerampur. Pathak has already sent his resignation to Dilip Ghosh. Meanwhile, posters put up in protest against the candidature of state BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu were also seen in North 24-Parganas. A banner, which bore the names of the district BJP leaders, termed Basu as an ‘outsider’.last_img read more

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Centre to help artisans manufacture items made from sal leaves sabai grass

first_imgKolkata: The Centre of Excellence for manufacturing household articles from sal leaves and sabai grass set up by the West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board (WBKVIB) at Jhargram is expected to provide livelihood support to self-help groups associated with the craft.The centre, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on March 6, is imparting training in manufacturing of diversified products from sal leaves and sabai grass and at the same time providing the infrastructure for storage of the leaves and Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Pujagrass. Around 1800 self-help groups in the district are associated with manufacturing articles from sal leaves and sabai grass. “There is a certain time in the year — a period of around three months usually during the monsoon season when the production of the leaves and grass are very high. It compels the growers to sell their stuff at a very low price sometimes resulting in distress sale. The centre is expected to address this issue,” a senior official of WBKVIB said. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayArtisans from economically-backward sections of the society and tribal communities manufacture plates and bowls from sal leaves while the grass is used in making bio-degradable ropes and baskets. The Khadi Board will be purchasing the stuff directly from the producers at a flat rate of Rs 70 per 100 leaves and will store them at the centre. Accordingly, the self-help groups, associated in the manufacture of products, will be encouraged to make diversified products from sal leaves such as wall hangings, curtain, table tops and various other articles that can deck up the interiors of a home. The workers also will be trained in making products like caps and bags with sabai grass. “We will also provide marketing support to them and at the same time encourage research and development,” the official said. The self-help groups associated with the manufacturing process are adept but the products need to be constantly upgraded and diversified to cater to the market demand. “This is where the Board has chipped in,” the official said. The Khadi Board has also come up with a facility centre for hand gloves meant for industrial use particularly in thermal plants. Eighty people at Bhuniakhali area of Moyna block in East Midnapore are associated with manufacturing of these gloves. The centre will provide infrastructure for storage , provide modern machineries and other requisite raw material to boost production.last_img read more

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Voting for Congress in Delhi equivalent to voting for BJP AAP

first_imgNEW DELHI: The Aam Aadmi Party said Tuesday that voting for the Congress in Delhi is equivalent to voting for the BJP as the role of the grand old party is nothing more than that of a “vote cutter” in the national Capital. Senior AAP leader Gopal Rai, in the first Press conference after all seven party candidates in Delhi filed their nomination papers, said before the Congress and the BJP go asking for votes, they should justify why they went back on their promise of full statehood. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”BJP, which has all seven MPs in Delhi, was confused till the last moment on who to field against our candidates who have immense popularity on the ground,” Rai said. The seven AAP candidates were present with Rai and they asserted they would win all the seats in the national capital. Rai ruled out any possibility of an alliance with the Congress in Delhi. He urged people to vote for AAP which is fighting the election on the agenda of full statehood. “Voting for Congress in Delhi is equivalent to voting for BJP as the Congress is nothing more than a vote cutter in the national capital,” he said. Rai also announced that on April 25, the party would come up with its manifesto that would lay out the roadmap of how the AAP will take the agenda of statehood forward if elected to power. “Other than a central manifesto, each candidate would also come up with a constituency-wise manifesto which would list out local issues and how the party plans to counter them,” Rai said. He also said his party would start the third phase of its campaign after April 25, during which there would be targeted campaigning.last_img read more

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SCs Rafale verdict has no apparent error warranting its review Centre

first_imgNew Delhi: The Centre has told the Supreme Court that “categorical and emphatic” findings recorded by the top court in its December 14 last year verdict in the Rafale deal case has no apparent error warranting its review. It said the petitioners, in the garb of seeking review of the verdict and placing reliance on some press reports and some incomplete internal file notings procured unauthorisedly and illegally, cannot seek to re-open the whole matter since the scope of review petition is “extremely limited”. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework The Centre’s reply came on pleas filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist-advocate Prashant Bhushan seeking review of the December 14 verdict by which their plea seeking probe into alleged irregularities in the multi-crore Rafale fighter jet deal was dismissed. Two other review petitions have been filed by AAP leader Sanjay Singh and advocate Vineet Dhandha. All the review petitions are scheduled to be taken up for hearing next week by a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygen “The review petition…is an attempt to get a fishing and roving inquiry ordered, which this court has specifically declined to go into based on perception of individuals. A non-existent distinction is sought to be created between an inquiry by the CBI and the court by playing on words,” the Centre’s affidavit said. It said the apex court had come to the conclusion that on all the three aspects — the decision making process, pricing and choosing Indian offset partner — there is no reason for intervention by the court on the sensitive issue of purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft. The Centre said media reports cannot form the basis for seeking review of the judgement since it is well settled law that courts do not take decision on the basis of media reports. It said that internal file notings and views contained therein are mere expression of opinion or views for consideration of the competent authority for taking final decision in the matter. “It cannot form the basis for a litigant to question the final decision. Therefore, there is no ground made out either for entertaining the review petition on this ground either,” the Centre said. It added that the review petitioners were relying on information which are based on unsubstantial media reports or part of internal file notings deliberately projected in a selective manner which cannot form the basis for a review of the verdict. Referring to the April 10 order of the apex court, by which the Centre’s preliminary objection to placing reliance on leaked documents was rejected by the top court, the Centre’s reply said the order “would imply that any document marked secret obtained by whatever means and placed in public domain can be used without attracting any penal action”. It said, “This has happened in the case of Combat Aircraft which the Court has upheld by its Judgment dated 10th April, 2019. This could lead to the revelation of all closely guarded State Secrets relating to space, nuclear installations, strategic defence capabilities, operational deployment of forces, intelligence resources in the country and outside, counter-terrorism and counter insurgency measures etc.” “This could have implications in the financial sector also if say budget proposals are published before they are presented in Parliament. Such disclosures of Secret Government information will have grave repercussions on the very existence of the Indian State,” it said. It said that the April 10 order “opens the window for any person making the request not only to seek papers from Ministry of Defence but from other Ministries and Departments dealing with subjects mentioned above if they are stolen and placed in public domain by the Press or a Website.” The Centre pointed out that all papers and files have been made available to the CAG who has given his report “concluding that the price of 36 Rafale is 2.86 per cent lower than the audit aligned price, apart from additional benefits which would accrue because of change from firm and fixed pricing to non-firm price.” It said that waiver of sovereign or bank guarantee in government-to-government agreements or contracts is not unusual. “Furthermore, assuming that Dassault Aviation or MBDA France meet difficulties in the execution of their respective supply protocols and would have to reimburse all or part of the intermediary payments to the Government of the Republic of India, the Government of the French Republic will take appropriate measures so as to make sure that said payments or reimbursements will be made at the earliest,” it said while seeking dismissal of the review plea. In an another reply to an application filed by review petitioners, the Centre said that “monitoring of the progress by PMO of this government-to-government process cannot be construed as interference or parallel negotiations.” “It is submitted that in the garb of seeking review of the judgement, and placing reliance on some media reports and some incomplete internal file notings procured unauthorisedly and illegally, the petitioners cannot seek to re-open the whole matter by asking for production of documents in review petition since the scope of review petition itself is extremely limited,” the reply said.last_img read more

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Amid seething controversy Anupam campaigns with icons lookalike

first_imgKolkata: Despite several BJP supporters and workers were allegedly seen vandalising the Vidyasagar College in video clips, BJP candidate in Jadavpur constituency Anupam Hazra without bothering about the party’s humiliation started campaigning with a man dressed up as Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. On Thursday, during Hazra’s campaigning, which started from Jadavpur 8B bus terminus, a person dressed up as Vidyasagar was seen with him. Hazra said it was his style of protest against how Vidyasagar has been politicised by the TMC. Though in the video clips, BJP supporters and workers were seen vandalising Vidyasagar College, Hazra refused to believe that. Leaders from various political parties said what BJP workers and supporters did on Tuesday, after that Hazra was just maligning Vidyasagar by using him during campaigning. But Hazra claimed the TMC was maligning Vidyasagar. He claimed the BJP had nothing to do with the vandalism though several workers of the saffron party have been arrested after being identified from the video clips.last_img read more

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A flyover that took two decades to be completed

first_imgNew Delhi: For the residents of north Delhi, Rani Jhansi flyover, which was inaugurated last year, is a classic example of how a government project should not be executed — with cost overruns and painfully long delays in completion. The flyover is one of the slowest ever constructed, with the project spanning two decades and witnessing a cost escalation of around Rs 600 crore. Infamous for missing deadlines, the flyover was finally inaugurated in October last year. Due to inordinate delays, the project witnessed several fold cost escalation from the initial estimates of Rs 178 crore to Rs 725 crore. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: Javadekar Conceived in 1998 and commissioned by the erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi in 2006, the 1.6-km-long flyover from St Stephens Hospital to Filmistaan Cinema, was originally scheduled to be completed by September 2010, ahead of the Commonwealth Games in the national Capital. The flyover, which starts at Filmistan Cinema, passes through the congested stretches of Azad Market Chowk, Pul Bangash and DCM Chowk. Officials said that the flyover benefits over five lakh commuters who take this stretch. Also Read – Union min Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi L-G lay foundation stones for various projects in Dwarka With the flyover getting operational, the residents of the nearby areas have heaved a sigh of relief last year as they finally saw the never ending construction work coming to a stop. “I was just happy to see the construction work come to an end. The exorbitant time taken for construction can only be attributed to the apathy of the authorities’ in-charge. Many shops were demolished to make way for it. Dust would fill your lungs and during monsoons the site became a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” said Gulab Singh, a resident of Bara Hindu Rao area. The flyover has decongested the roads going towards Kamla Market and Delhi Ridge and has connected Pusa Road, Upper Ridge and Rohtak Road through Filmistan Cinema, DCM Chowk, Azad Market and Roshanara Road extending to ISBT (Kashmere Gate), providing a major relief to the heavily congested area. The flyover has drastically reduced the travel time for the commuters who used to be stuck in jams stretching for about an hour near Kashmere Gate, Yamuna Bazaar and Sadar Bazaar areas. Officials claimed that the flyover has been able to cut the travel time of the commuters by as much as 90 per cent. “With the opening of this flyover, the traffic entering from the states such as Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir straight away reaches Dhaula Kuan. This has drastically reduced the congestion at the Kashmere Gate bus terminal and the New Delhi area. Commuters coming from Rajouri Garden, Punjabi Bagh and other areas in west Delhi towards the ISBT, are also able to avoid traffic snarls,” an official with the North Delhi Municipal Corporation said. The biggest obstacle faced by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation in completing the project was land acquisition in the highly congested area. Several shops on the stretch had to be relocated to make way for the construction work. Apart from this, the removal of the two religious structures falling on the way was also a big challenge for the authorities. Officials said that the Supreme Court also barred the land acquisition for the project several times. They point out that the biggest reason for the project escalation cost was land acquisition. Initially, the land acquisition was worth about Rs 70 crore but its figure reached nearly Rs 550 crore. Officials said that apart from land acquisition from private property owners, the work involved several other complicated issues such as exchange of land with Railways and “Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board” (DUSIB), shifting of DDA market, shifting of schools and markets. Involvement of multiple agencies including Railways, Jal Board, Traffic Police, Municipal Corporation and other civic agencies also contributed in the delays. Apart from this, the project was conceived at the time the national Capital had a unified MCD and during the tenure of the erstwhile Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. In 2012, the MCD was trifurcated and the project was handed over to the North Delhi Municipal Corporation.last_img read more

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Another opportunity for Indian Boxing World to enhance the greatness of this

first_imgBangkok: WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman is in support of Mr. Amjad Khan for his great contribution towards promoting boxers all over India. Consistently he has been involved in expanding boxing activities in India, recently he arranged a meeting with officials of World Boxing Council in Bangkok this week to expand boxing all over India.Chutitorn Sam Gongsakdi, Ambassador of Thailand India with Mr. Khan has up the Fighting event going to be held between India and Bangkok soon. Mr. Gonksakdi said he will always be in the support of these type of events organise to promote sports culture with Mr. Amjad Khan (International Boxing Promoter). Also, Its been an honour for us to appreciate Mr. Saahil Peerzada, Business Tycoon of India who stood by the youth with Mr. Khan at a time when they need them the most. He is the real inspiration for youth to develop them as a new character under his presence. Entire Amjad Khan boxing foundation appreciate his contribution. Seems like King Khan is taking Indian boxing to the next level.last_img read more

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King Mohammed VI holds phone conversation with King Juan Carlos I

Rabat – King Mohammed VI held, on Monday, a phone conversation with King Juan Carlos I of Spain and Prince Felipe, Prince of Asturias, said a statement by the Royal Office.King Mohammed recalled that the Spanish Royal family has always been close to the Moroccan Royal family, it said.During this phone conversation, the King paid a heartfelt tribute to King Juan Carlos I for his crucial role in the political and democratic transition and in favor of the establishment of the values of freedom and peace during his reign, it added. The sovereign has, afterwards, extended his congratulations and wishes of success to Prince Felipe on the occasion of the abdication decision in his favor, the same source said.

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Morocco High Speed Train Delayed Till 2017

Marrakech- The delay of Tangier-Casablanca high-speed train (TGV) is costing Morocco more than was expected.The TGV was originally scheduled to be finished in 2015, but it was recently postponed to late 2016. The delay does not stop there: it is now being reported that it will not be effective by even 2017.According to Telquel, unexpected difficulties involving o land expropriation procedures are causing the delay. The program has already gone over its MAD 25 billion budget, which was meant to last the entire project. The Moroccan government is a strong advocate of the TGV. The government sees the project as an important step on the path to modernity. On the contrary, the movement “Stop TGV” heavily criticizes the project, and believes that the TGV budget might be better spent building thousands of schools and hospitals and buildings more highways.The French company Alstom, in charge of implementing the project, will only provide the TGV trains once it has received the money in advance. The company is enacting this policy because it did not receive all of its money after collaborating with Casa Tramway. Besides these difficulties, the TGV project budget is being strained by landowners who seek to be better compensated.Meanwhile, the National Railways (ONCF) must pay for thirteen TGV trains parked in Alstom facilities during the 18-month delay period.Edited by Timothy Filla© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

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Air Strikes in Idlib Syria Kill 26

Rabat – Air strikes on Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate in the country’s northwest on Tuesday killed 26 people, including civilians, a monitoring group said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 10 air strikes battered the headquarters of Fateh al-Sham Front and the surrounding neighborhood in Idlib city at dawn on Tuesday.“Ten civilians, mostly women, are among the dead,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.“The toll could rise because some people are trapped under the rubble and unaccounted for,” he added. Abdel Rahman said the raids were likely carried out by Russian warplanes — allied with Syria’s government — or by a US-backed air coalition.Fateh al-Sham has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks in Idlib province, the only remaining opposition-held province in war-ravaged Syria.Bombing raids against the group have escalated, including one US strike in January that killed more than 100 fighters at a training camp in Idlib province.Rebel groups have held Idlib province since the spring of 2015, four years after conflict first broke out in March 2011. read more

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ISIS Leader Abu Bakr alBaghdadi Killed in Raqqa Air Strike

Rabat – Major new sources have reported that the world’s most wanted terrorist, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi , was killed in a coalition air strike in Raqqa Saturday.The reports are being met with a certain degree of skepticism, however, as this is not the first time the terror kingpin has been reported killed.Syrian television published the initial report. It remains unconfirmed for now, as ISIS has not yet released a statement. Nor has there been any response from the US-led coalition force. Raqqa 24, an organization of Syrina activists, have confirmed that airstrikes in Raqqa killed at least seven civilians but made no mention of Al-Baghdadi.Born in Samarra, Iraq, in 1971, Al-Baghdadi joined the insurgency in 2003, which cropped up following the US-led invasion of Iraq. He went on to become the world’s most hunted terrorist, with a $25-million-dollar bounty on his head.According to coalition intelligence, he had been in hiding in Mosul but escaped when the Coalition launched their main offensive in the city. It was thought that he had fled to Raqqa.Syrian tv reports have also claimed that Al-Baghdadi’s deputy, Ayad al-Jamaili, was killed in an air strike near the Syrian border.Back in December, US Petagon spokesman, Peter Cook, told CNN that the coalition was determined to “deliver him the justice he deserves.”“We’re doing everything we can,” he said at the time. “This is something we’re spending a lot of time on.”Just last Spring, US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, predicted a gruesome end for Baghdadi. “Nearly all of Abu Bkr al-Baghdadi’s deputies are now dead, including the masterminds behind the attacks in Brussels, Paris and elsewhere. It is only a matter of time before Baghdadi himself meets the same fate.”This is breaking news and will be updated as new details come to light. read more

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