BJP to protest against MP Congress govt on Friday

first_imgBhopal: The BJP will stage protests across Madhya Pradesh on Friday against the Congress-led state government’s “apathetic attitude” towards the flood-affected people, a saffron party leader said on Wednesday. The Congress government has “turned a deaf ear” to the problems being faced by cultivators and other people due to heavy rains and subsequent floods in parts of MP, state BJP Chief Rakesh Singh alleged. “The government is not visible on the field. The presence of administration is not seen anywhere,” he claimed. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ “In protest against the apathetic attitude of the Congress government, the BJP would hold protests in every Assembly segment across the state on Friday,” he said. He claimed that thousands of people have become homeless after floods in some parts of the state. The Congress came to power in the state by gaining the sympathy of farmers, but it has done nothing to ease their pain and sufferings, Singh said. “Not a single government representative reached the flood victims to support them,” he claimed. He said the BJP’s district chiefs in the state have been asked to extend help to the flood-hit people in their respective areas.last_img read more

Stocks recover their poise as Italy concerns abate

first_imgLONDON – Stock markets recovered their poise Wednesday amid hopes for a resolution in Italy’s political turmoil that may put a halt to talk of another election this year.KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX climbed 0.6 per cent to 12,748 while the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares rose 0.3 per cent to 7,654. Italy’s FTSE MIB was the region’s standout, jumping 2 per cent to 21,180. The CAC 40 in France though, underperformed, trading 0.4 per cent lower at 5,415. U.S. stocks were poised for a solid open, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.5 per cent.ITALIAN UNCERTAINTY: The main focus in financial markets this week has been Italy with fears growing that a political impasse could lead to another general election that could in effect become a referendum on the pros and cons of the country’s use of the euro currency. However, on Wednesday, hopes were raised that an election could be avoided after Italy’s premier-designate, Carlo Cottarelli, said “new possibilities” had emerged to form a government based on the outcome of the March 4 vote, and that he wanted to give the option time to mature given the negative market reaction to the prospect of new elections. Efforts to create a so-called “political” government failed over the weekend after President Sergio Mattarella vetoed an economy minister proposed by the 5-Star Movement and League, the two big vote-getters in March which had come together to form a populist alliance.ANALYST TAKE: “If a government can be formed that receives the stamp of approval from Mattarella and is therefore seen as not posing a threat to Italy’s place in the eurozone, then this will come as a relief to markets in the near-term,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.CURRENCIES: With hopes raised that another Italian election will be avoided the euro rallied from near-year lows against the dollar, trading 0.9 per cent higher at $1.1639. The dollar, meanwhile, rose 0.1 per cent to 108.90 yen.CHINA TRADE: A U.S. business group said American companies in China are uneasy about Washington’s threat of export and investment controls in a trade dispute with Beijing but see them as a possible way to achieve fairer operating conditions. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was due in Beijing on Saturday after the White House renewed its threat of 25 per cent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods. Washington proposed curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of high-tech goods.ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index dropped 1.5 per cent to 22,018.52. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 2.0 per cent to 2,409.03. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong slipped 1.4 per cent to 30,056.79 and the Shanghai Composite index fell 2.5 per cent to 3,041.44. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 fell 0.5 per cent to 5,984.70. Shares fell in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.ENERGY: U.S. crude oil climbed 43 cents to $67.16 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 71 cent to $76.20 a barrel in London.last_img read more

Iraq top UN envoy welcomes Basra calm displacement continues

At the same time, the UN refugee agency released figures showing the level of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the violence-wracked country had reached nearly 3 million, but was rising more slowly than in previous years. Staffan de Mistura, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Iraq, “hopes the return of calm will allow the Iraqi Government, the United Nations and other bodies to accelerate the delivery of emergency aid into the affected areas,” according to a press release from the UN mission there – known as UNAMI. Mr. de Mistura added that the Government’s quick response to Mr. al Sadr’s stand-down call was a positive step and welcomed the Iraqi Government’s creation of an emergency cell to deal with the humanitarian situation following the recent violence. “Coordination with the international community is essential in order to support Iraqi-led efforts to reduce suffering among the civilian population,” he said. The UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, David Shearer, arrived in Basra yesterday to work with the Iraqi authorities and the emergency cell to assess the situation and develop an appropriate response. Expressing concern over human rights violations committed during the armed clashes, Mr. de Mistura emphasized to all those involved their obligations to minimize harm to civilians, urging all parties to promote the rule of law in the country, UNAMI said. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that of the estimated 2.8 million IDPs in Iraq, 1.2 million were displaced before 2006 and more than 1.5 million were displaced in 2006 and 2007. “Less than one per cent have been displaced in 2008,” spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis said, introducing the new report of UNHCR’s working group on displacement. The large increase between the current count and that released on 31 December 2007 – a difference of 300,000 people – was due to an improved database. Displacement is continuing at a much lower pace because communities had become more homogenous, media campaigns had begun, security incidents had decreased and many families simply could no longer afford to move, among other factors, she said. New secondary displacement has been reported in Baghdad, however, involving Iraqis who decided to return from neighbouring countries at the end of last year – often after having run out of resources – and could not reclaim their properties. The report estimates that the number of IDPs in need of adequate shelter and food is now higher than 1 million, with an equal number having no regular income, and some 300,000 with no access to clean water and other basic services. “In January UNHCR appealed for $261 million for Iraqi refugees and internally displaced. So far, we have received just over a third of that amount,” Ms. Pagonis noted, adding that assisting many of the IDPs is still extremely difficult because of insecurity. 1 April 2008The top United Nations envoy in Iraq today welcomed Shiite leader Muqtada al Sadr’s call for a “stand-down of armed presences” in Basra and other areas where fighting has flared in the past week. read more

India Nepal inaugurate cross border oil pipeline

KATHMANDU, Nepal — The leaders of India and Nepal have inaugurated South Asia’s first cross country oil pipeline, allowing the Himalayan nation of Nepal to receive an uninterrupted supply of oil from its large southern neighbour.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart, Khadga Prasad Oli, hit the switch simultaneously Tuesday from their offices in New Delhi and Kathmandu to open the 69-kilometre (43-mile) pipeline, which will bring gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene across the border to Nepal.The two leaders hailed the pipeline as another step in the friendship between the two nations.Nepal imports all of its oil products from India. Disturbances in the border area have in the past led to disruptions of the supply.The Associated Press

Canadian Olympic champ Cassie Sharpe first in halfpipe World Cup qualifier

The Canadian Press COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. — Canadian Olympic champion Cassie Sharpe finished first in qualifying on Wednesday for this weekend’s ski halfpipe World Cup.The 26-year-old from Comox, B.C., scored 93.75 points on her second of two qualifying runs, outscoring Kelly Sildaru of Estonia by .50 points to top the 24-woman field.The top eight women skiers in qualifying advanced to Saturday’s final.Rachael Karker of Erin, Ont., also booked a spot in the final. The 21-year-old finished fourth in qualifying.Simon D’Artois of Whistler, B.C., was the lone Canadian man to advance through the finals. He placed fourth in his heat.Calgary’s Noah Bowman missed a shot at the finals by .25 points, finishing sixth in his heat. The top 5 competitors from the two 20-man heats advanced.

Big Ten Media Days Urban Meyer fully supportive of suspensions

Junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa put on his helmet during a March 26 practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.Credit: Lantern file photoCHICAGO — A one-game suspension for a quartet of players may have been the first major setback to the 2015 Ohio State season, but members of the defending national champions aren’t letting it break their spirits.OSU announced Thursday that junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa, redshirt sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall, junior H-back Dontre Wilson and redshirt senior wide receiver Corey Smith had each been banned from the Buckeyes’ season opener on Sept. 7 at Virginia Tech for a violation of a Department of Athletics policy.While the suspensions were made public Thursday morning, OSU coach Urban Meyer said later that day during the 2015 Big Ten Media Days that it is an issue that he had been aware of for longer than that.“I kind of knew about this for a little bit,” Meyer said. “The athletic department has policies that we expect, and I 100 percent am fully supportive of it.”Meyer opted not to disclose the details of the violations, saying it was an “internal” team matter.Senior linebacker Joshua Perry said he was disappointed to see the punishments dished out, but he acknowledged there is a team code of taking responsibility for actions.“We’re disappointed because we value a high level of accountability,” Perry said. “But at the same time, you have to realize that guys do make mistakes; nobody is perfect, so as much as you want to eliminate those mistakes, you got to recognize them, you got to do something about them, and then you got to do something about it.”While each of the four suspended players are set to play major roles for the Buckeyes this season, Bosa’s absence against Virginia Tech — a team that handed OSU its only loss of the 2014 season — figures to be the most notable. Bosa was a unanimous 2014 Associated Press first-team All-America selection and finished as a finalist for three major national awards.However, Perry said he has faith in the depth and talent that the Buckeyes have to make up for the absence of the four.“If you go down our roster, and you see some of the other players we have that can step in, it’s not too worrisome,” Perry said.Missing a player who picked up 13.5 sacks last season in Bosa is never ideal for a defense, but Perry said the OSU defense has never been about the individuals.“We’re a no-name kind of defense,” he said. “What I mean by that is we want to take the individual identities away and we want to have a group identity.“We want to focus on that identity, the power of a total unit coming together. So when one guy goes down, it’s not even about the name anyway, you have to have another guy step up and know that with 11 guys doing their job, you can be successful.”The senior singled out players such as redshirt freshmen defensive linemen Sam Hubbard and Darius Slade, as well as sophomore defensive lineman Jalyn Holmes to pick up the defensive slack in the opener with Bosa out, and a pair of wide receivers in sophomore Curtis Samuel and junior Michael Thomas supporting the offense.Senior offensive lineman Taylor Decker was able to draw positives from the suspensions, citing a manufactured sense of urgency that can be valuable to a team.“I think it’s a huge opportunity for those guys who are going to step into those positions,” Decker said. “I think it might create a sense of urgency for the guys who are going to have to sit out that game because they’re probably going to be on scout team for the entirety of camp and those other guys are going to get the opportunity to take that spot and if they do a better job, they’re not going to get that spot back.”“So I think it’s going to create a sense of urgency all around, and I think it’s going to be beneficial, because if you break the rules you are going to punished no matter who you are. I don’t want to say I’m happy it happened, but I think there can be positives that come from it.”OSU — sans the four suspended players — is set to take the field for the season opener on Sept. 7. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m in Blacksburg, Va. read more

Frank Loke two years in TuS NLubbecke

Norwegian national player, the best line player of EURO 2008 in his country, Frank Loke (30) signed two years contract with Bundesliga team, TUS-N Lubbecke. He spent half of the last season in this club, after EHF suspended him from international matches for irregularities in his transfer to C.O Zagreb.To remind, Loke signed two contract in same time, with C.O Zagreb and Danish team Skjern. After investigation, EHF punish him with 10 month suspension in international matches, but he could play for Norway at EURO 2010 in Austria. C.O Zagreb (he wasn’t able to play in Champions League) decided to borrow him to Lubbecke, where he finished last season and quite impress Management of the team. ← Previous Story Heiner Brand: 2013 is the end! Next Story → Daniel Narcisse out for a six months – Missing WC? read more

Incredible new footage shows agedefying Fungi in flying form

first_img[Image: Jeannine Masset and Rudi Schamhart]“HE’S HOLDING HIS own that’s for sure.”Paschal Dower of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group says Fungis’ exploits over the last four days show there’s plenty of life left in Dingle’s most famous resident.Although the mammal, who arrived in Dingle Bay in 1983, is a huge fan of human company, often spending hours swimming alongside boats, locals say that in the past he’s often shunned the friendship of other dolphins.According to Jeannine Masset and Rudi Schamhart, who make regular trips to photograph him:“He has had so many other dolphin visitors this year that he completely avoided — he then hides very close to the rocks and has several other hiding places, or he hides behind our dinghy.“When they come close, he lands on top of them and shows them where to go. However, “with these two he gets along brilliantly.”The other dolphins, who have been spotted in the area before, arrived on Saturday. The three have been darting about and performing an impressive range of acrobatic exploits ever since (well, they are dolphins).Masset and Schamhart were out in the Bay to capture the magic:(Youtube: Rudi Schamhart)Bottlenose dolphins can live up to the age of fifty — although their lifespan in the wild is generally a lot shorter.Dower says no-one’s able to put a figure on Fungi’s age (he was already fully grown when he arrived in Kerry in the early 80s) but he’s sporting a few Clooney-esque wrinkles these days…[Image: Jeannine Masset and Rudi Schamhart]However, Dower says there’s been no rumours of him being ill “or leaving us or anything”.The mammal’s been a huge tourist attraction in Dingle for the last three decades, with boats departing to watch him swim daily.It will have a “huge effect” when he’s no longer around, Dower says.“By the looks of it, that’s not going to happen anytime soon”You can head over to the Fungi Forever Facebook page to see  more pictures dating back to 1993>Fungi the Dolphin is alive and well>last_img read more

Unboxing Reeses Minis

first_imgYou’ve got to hand it to Reese’s, the company made an unexpected splash at this year’s ces, thanks to the extended media push regarding its “big announcement” at the show. Yesterday, the company held an extremely well attended press conference, announcing a new model of Reese’s candy: Minis.These are the iPod shuffles of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, retaining the shape and tatse of the classic candy, in a form factor roughly the size of one’s thumbnail (there’s no display on these one’s, either.We managed to snag some hands-on time with the Minis. Here are the vital specs on the “King Size” configuration: 360 Calories180 Calories22g Fat0g TransFat180mg SodiumCarbs 41gCheck out some unboxing shots, after the jump.last_img

Main Street merchants save Vancouvers cruisein

first_imgLadies and gentlemen, start your engines! While you can’t Cruise the Gut this summer, on July 15 you can definitely Cruise the Couve.“When it was clear that (Cruise the Gut organizer) Phil (Medina) was going to back out, a bunch of local businesses all sat in a room and figured out how to move forward,” said Bryan Shull, the owner of Trap Door Brewing in Vancouver’s Uptown Village. “The businesses that stepped up to help from Day One … are all on Main Street,” he said. Shull is now the project manager and owner of a new organization called Cruise the Couve, which has jump-started the mobile homage to vintage cars that Medina launched in 2009 but decided not to stage this year — taking much of Vancouver’s car-loving community by surprise. Hot rods and worshippers would have swarmed downtown Vancouver anyway, Shull said, and area merchants would have welcomed them. What would have been missing, though, is the infrastructure and organization needed to keep a mass takeover of downtown by big moving machines from getting out of hand. “This event has its own weather,” Shull said. “Angry people would have shown up anyway, blaming the city for this and that. Even if it was half the size it was before, that would be 10,000 or 15,000 people showing up — with no infrastructure.”last_img read more

Official NJ mall shooter only wanted to hurt himself

first_imgPARAMUS, N.J. — A 20-year-old gunman intent on dying fired multiple shots inside New Jersey’s largest shopping mall, trapping hundreds of customers and employees for hours as police scoured stores for the shooter, who was found dead early Tuesday of a self-inflicted wound, authorities said. There were no other injuries.Investigators don’t believe the gunman, identified as 20-year-old Richard Shoop of Teaneck, intended to shoot anyone when he began firing at the ceiling and elsewhere at the Garden State Plaza on Monday night shortly before the mall’s closing time, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said.“We think he went in with the intent that he was not going to come out alive,” Molinelli said.He said Shoop was known to authorities and had had a problem with drugs, but he did not elaborate.The prosecutor said Shoop left an ambiguous note with his family. While Molinelli would not call it a suicide note, he said it did “express that an end is coming. It could have been prison. … It could have been what he did last night. It gave his family reason to reach out to us.”The suspect’s brother, Kevin Shoop told reporters outside their home on a quiet suburban block in Teaneck that he had no advance warning about what Richard intended to do.“He just sadly decided to make an act of — an act of, I guess, self-indulgence — by taking his own life publicly,” Kevin Shoop said. “And it’s a tragedy to us all. And we’re going to now handle matters and deal with them.”last_img read more

Washougal schools kitchen gets makeover grant

first_imgHathaway Elementary in Washougal is one of 39 schools throughout the state to receive U.S. Department of Agriculture grant funding for new kitchen equipment this fall. Hathaway, the only school in Clark County to take home one of the grants this year, received $10,816, which will go toward purchasing two new double-door freezers. In all, the agency doled out $590,372, and the money was targeted at helping schools with the highest number of students signed up for free or reduced price meals.The freezers are a welcome addition, as aging equipment all over the Washougal School District has begun to fall apart at about the same time, said Mark Jasper, the district’s food services manager. When temperatures began heating up last spring, Hathaway lost some food after two old freezers broke down, and repairs were no longer cost-effective.“The equipment we’re repairing, it’s over 12 years old, and it’s failing,” Jasper said. “This was great timing, and we’re lucky to be chosen.”Program in the redJasper was especially appreciative because there’s little money to go around in food services. The program operates at a loss every year, sitting about $80,000 in the red in the 2012-2013 school year, he said.last_img read more

Kitten stuck in car escapes with barely a scratch

first_imgAs Andrea Duvall climbed into her car at 4:30 a.m. Monday, she thought she heard the faint sound of a cat meowing.She searched her garage but couldn’t find a cat. As she backed down the driveway, she heard it again.“I could just hear him cry, he was just mewing away as I drove,” she said.She woke up her husband and the two searched her car. When they finally gave up and Duvall tried to drive away, they heard meowing yet again. “He yelled, ‘It’s in your car,’” she said. This time, they “tore the car apart,” searching the back seat, the trunk and wheel wells. “We couldn’t find him anywhere,” she said.They finally realized that the small kitten was somewhere under the hood of her 2013 Audi A5. Not knowing what else to do, Duvall drove from her house in Woodland to downtown Vancouver. “I drove all the way to work really, really slowly,” she said. When she arrived to work about an hour later, the cat was still meowing. Her co-workers tried to reach up under her wheel well. The Vancouver Fire Department responded and tried to free the cat, but ultimately couldn’t help. In hopes the cat would climb out on its own, Duvall put some chicken from a co-worker’s lunch on the ground. But after two hours, the kitten still hadn’t emerged.last_img read more

Bonnie Tyler To Sing Total Eclipse Of The Heart During Eclipse

first_img Aug. 21 Will See A “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” bonnie-tyler-sing-total-eclipse-heart-during-eclipse News Email Twitter Classic power ballad will get a special moment in the sun — and the moon — on Aug. 21 Tim McPhateGRAMMYs Aug 17, 2017 – 9:06 am GRAMMY.comEvery now and then, music and science get a little bit lonely. However, Bonnie Tyler will turn that around when she performs her GRAMMY-nominated hit “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” during the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.Her performance, which will be backed by Joe Jonas’ DNCE collective, will take place aboard … wait for it … Royal Caribbean’s Total Eclipse Cruise. According to Time, the performance will take place at the very moment the “moon sails across the sun.”Appropriately, the song is quite popular when an eclipse beckons. Spotify reported a 75 percent increase in streams of the song following the March 2016 eclipse. Meanwhile, the video of the song is gobbling up views, currently sitting north of 303 million.Penned and produced by Jim Steinman, “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” garnered Tyler a nod for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female at the 26th GRAMMY Awards in 1984, a show during which she performed the No. 2 hit. The award ultimately went to “Flashdance…What A Feeling”  by Irene Cara.For those not fortunate enough to attend the cruise, at least there will be YouTube. Meanwhile, The New York Times has published a helpful tutorial for those looking for a few tips on how to best view the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.Spoiler: There Is No “Dark Side Of The Moon”Read more Facebook Bonnie Tyler To Sing “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” During Eclipse last_img read more

Like Most Things In America Dogs Migrated From Overseas

first_img A new study suggests dogs were domesticated before migrating to the Americas.By analyzing DNA of ancient North American and Siberian pups, researchers were able to better understand the history of the continents’ first canine inhabitants.The oldest remains date back about 9,000 years—millenia after people began crossing a land bridge connecting present-day Siberia and Alaska; dogs would have moved with their human counterparts, spreading across North and South America.These animals—likely having originated in North Asia—persevered for thousands of years. Until contact with European colonists, at which point they all but vanished.“This suggests something catastrophic must have happened, and it’s likely associated with European colonization,” senior lead author Laurent Frantz, a lecturer at Queen Mary University and co-investigator at the University of Oxford.Unfortunately, there is not yet enough evidence to explain this sudden disappearance.Ancient dog burials like this one found at the Janey B. Goode site near Brooklyn, Ill., provided genetic material for a new study of dogs in the Americas (via Illinois State Archaeological Survey)This is the first comprehensive genomic study of its kind to analyze nuclear DNA (inherited from both parents) and mitochondrial DNA (passed down only from mothers).“Few modern dogs have any trace of these ancient lineages,” according to Kelsey Witt, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Merced, who led the mitochondrial DNA genome work as a graduate student at the University of Illinois.The team also discovered the genomic signature of a hereditary dog cancer, which could be one of the last “living” remnants of early canine genetic heritage.“This suggests that this tumor originated in or near the Americas,” Witt said.These findings, published by the journal Science, reinforce the idea that early man—and his best friend—faced many of the same challenges after European contact, U. of I. anthropology professor Ripan Malhi said.“It is known how Indigenous peoples of the Americas suffered from the genocidal practices of European colonists after contact,” Malhi, a co-author of the study, said in a statement. “What we found is that the dogs of Indigenous peoples experienced an even more devastating history and a near-total loss, possibly as a result of forced cultural changes and disease.”Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target Geek Pick: Fi Smart Dog Collar Sniffs Out Your PetMan Saves Dog Left Tied to Electrical Cord on Side of Interstate Overpass last_img read more

Play all of the Fallout games prior to Fallout 4 for 20

first_imgBuying a new Fallout game on launch day is always a risky proposition. The sheer scale of these games (combined with Bethesda’s track record on quality control) means there will be bugs, and they will take weeks to fix. So, with the recent launch of Fallout 4, why not play all the Fallout games that came before it first?That decision has been made a lot easier this week by Bundle Stars. They are offering every Fallout game that came before Fallout 4 on PC for $20.39. Normally such a package would cost you $60, so that’s a serious saving.Included in the bundle are 5 games and all available DLC packs. Here’s the complete list:FalloutFallout 2Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of SteelFallout 3Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage DLCFallout 3: The Pitt DLCFallout 3: Broken Steel DLCFallout 3: Point Lookout DLCFallout 3: Mothership Zeta DLCFallout New VegasFallout New Vegas: Dead Money DLCFallout New Vegas: Honest Hearts DLCFallout New Vegas: Old World Blues DLCFallout New Vegas: Lonesome Road DLCPlaying through all of those will not only give you a very good grounding in the Fallout universe, it should also take you long enough that the inevitable Fallout 4: Game of the Year edition is hitting store shelves. So technically this bundle will save you some money twice over. First on all these older games, and then on the complete Fallout 4 collection.If you want this bundle, then don’t hang around. Bundle Stars is only offering it for sale until November 24. Once purchased you’ll get Steam keys for all the games and DLC. However, don’t try and buy the bundle if you live in the Russian Federation, Poland, India, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, or Lebanon. The keys won’t work.last_img read more

Raft of officebuying fuels disgust from Chinese

first_img How do cataracts affect your vision? “What he paid was simply a drizzle,” said Xu Huaiwei, a 68-year-old retired engineer. “It’s too common in China, and people have paid far more _ millions, or tens of millions of yuan _ for a government job.”Fan was a small player in the latest of countless office-buying scandals that have touched Chinese officials from the village up to the provincial level. Some scandals implicate hundreds of officials, and state media reports show that the practice has spread to all arms of the government, including the legislature, police and courts.Buying and selling office is so rampant in China that it has battered the ruling Communist Party’s image as an institution that promotes the competent, not the connected. The practice continues despite vows by Chinese leaders to eradicate it, and the public has grown increasingly disgusted.Fighting corruption will be one of the biggest challenges for the party leadership that will be installed in November in a once-a-decade transition.Anti-corruption crusaders have particularly warned against personnel corruption, saying it inevitably breeds other forms of corruption as office buyers seek returns on their money. But there have been no recent signs of new action from the government; the last time a leading official talked publicly about office-buying was two years ago. Now, a criminal investigation against Huang Sheng, formerly the vice governor of eastern China’s Shandong province, has silenced the Dezhou government, where many officials were promoted during Huang’s tenure as the city’s party secretary, according to state media.Office-buying is just one facet of the pervasive corruption culture in China, where government officials routinely embezzle public funds, take bribes in awarding contracts, and favor family and friends in promotion.China’s most notorious corruption scandal in years involves disgraced politician Bo Xilai, who is accused of taking “huge amounts” of money to seek profits for others through public power. His deputy Wang Lijun took money from businesspeople and other contacts, and in exchange, he released detained criminal suspects when his contributors asked. But there is no confirmed report that Bo bought or sold public office.In Xilinhot, the mood alternates between indignation and resignation among retired cadres who gather every day in an old hospital administration building to exchange gossip over mahjong tiles and playing cards.“I cannot understand today’s corruption. No one dared to do that under Mao,” said 73-year-old Wu Lagai, a retired weather bureau official who was watching a game of Chinese chess. Office-buying is difficult to root out in part because it is so prevalent in China. Those tasked with combatting corruption _ such as party chiefs and prosecutors _ are often guilty of it themselves.Sometimes office-buying is uncovered by chance. In northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province, a scandal emerged following an assault on police officers who were investigating prostitution in a bath center.The assault led authorities to examine the business’s finances. They found problematic loans that implicated a senior official at a local state-run bank, according to state media.Investigators uncovered a pyramid of graft. One official, Li Gang, accepted bribes totaling 2,100,000 yuan ($330,000) from more than 35 people over promotional issues. Li himself paid Suihua party secretary Ma De to be a county party secretary. And Ma got his job by paying 800,000 yuan ($127,000) to Han Guizhi, a Heilongjiang party official in charge of personnel affairs.Han sold other top positions as well, including the chief prosecutor, the chief of the provincial supreme court and the chief of the personnel bureau, according to state media reports.In 2010, several senior officials fell to corruption charges, including Huang Yao, former deputy party secretary for southwestern China’s Guizhou province, and Wang Huayuan, a party standing committee member overseeing discipline inspection in eastern China’s Zhejiang province. State media said they had profited from “job assignments” but did not offer more details. How men can have a healthy 2019 Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressXILINHOT, China (AP) – In a small town in northern China’s Inner Mongolia where sheep and cattle easily outnumber humans, Fan Chen paid a Communist Party boss three times an average urban resident’s annual salary to become a local police chief.The scheme was exposed and fell apart, but it was hardly explosive news. It received just a one-line mention in state media. And a friend of Fan’s defended him by saying that by current standards, his misdeeds were insignificant. He said local governments are recruiting and promoting cadres through democratic, fair and transparent competitions that value merit above anything else.Many experts, however, say graft continues to flourish thanks to opaque government, a lack of accountability, the absence of independent supervision and ineffective punishment. They say that in China’s one-party government, personnel decisions are made by a few powerful people despite policies and procedures stipulating collective rulings.“Simply put, in China’s cadre selection procedure, the party chief, the deputy chief for personnel, and the director of personnel wield the real power. For office-seekers, it is far more cost-effective to bribe them than to bribe voters in a democratic election,” said He Zengke, who has studied China’s corruption for more than 20 years. He is director of the China Center for Comparative Politics and Economics, a Beijing-based think tank.In a heavily regulated country where the government controls resources, it seems almost all government offices can be a profit-making enterprise.Transportation officials take kickbacks for road projects. Planning directors cash in on their approval powers. Police chiefs dismiss cases for private payments. Judges accept bribes for lighter sentences. Top Stories center_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   “We want those who sell offices to be utterly discredited, and those who buy offices to suffer a double loss,” Li Yuanchao, head of the party’s central organization commission, said in 2010, when Beijing introduced a set of new personnel measures and waged a crackdown.Xilinhot, nearly 400 miles north of Beijing, is a growing town that presents ripe opportunities for graft. It is the government seat to Xilingol, a Nebraska-sized region of about 1 million people where coal-mine pits are emerging from the premium grasslands.In the region’s largest city, Western-style villas have mushroomed along a man-made lake in one of its newest developments, and young families go to the KFC, but sheep traders still haul their animals to a business-filled street to find buyers.Fan was part of a web of office-buying centered on Liu Zhuozhi. First as Xilingol’s top executive and then as its chief party secretary, Liu ran the region from 2001 to 2008 before advancing to a vice governor post in Inner Mongolia’s capital city, Hohhot.Last summer in a Beijing court, Liu was sentenced to life in prison for corruption, including selling various government jobs, according to the state-run Beijing News. Liu’s lawyer Xu Lanting confirmed the report, which says Liu took more than 8 million yuan ($1.2 million) in bribes _ mostly by selling positions, including the one for Fan. Sponsored Stories “I simply cannot accept it. Is this because the punishment is too light? I think that might be the problem’s source,” he said.“There are countless Liu Zhuozhis,” said Wang Qi, a 70-year-old retired economic development official. “For village cadre and up, if you want any position, you pay for it. The more money you pay, the higher position you get. That’s an open secret. The public knows, but there’s nothing they can do.“Unless Chairman Mao came back,” Xu said.“Not even Chairman Mao,” Wang said. “It needs a thorough reform.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The report said Liu took 650,000 yuan ($103,000) from a man who eventually became the chief planner for Xilinhot, sold the city’s party secretary position for 640,000 yuan ($101,000), and accepted 500,000 yuan ($80,000) to promote a person to oversee government archives.The report identifies Fan Chen only by his family name and said he paid 100,000 yuan ($16,000) to be promoted from a deputy to a chief in a different government unit.The Associated Press could not reach Fan for comment. His friend Xu said Fan paid 300,000 ($48,000) for the promotion to be the police chief in Sunitezuoqi, another town in Xilingol. A propaganda officer from Sunitezuoqi confirmed that Fan Cheng was its last police chief.An official government site also showed Fan was to be promoted to be the police chief of Sunitezuoqi from a lower-ranked deputy position in Xilinhot. Xu said Fan lost his rank last year when he was implicated during the investigation against Liu, and is now a regular police officer.In Xilingol, local officials said Liu’s case is a thing of past and that office-buying is limited to a handful.“The majority of our cadres are good. Only a few are corrupt,” said Yao Situ, director of foreign affairs. Patients with chronic pain give advicelast_img read more

Regent Seven Seas Cruises announces new grand voyage

first_imgRegent Seven Seas Cruises announces new grand voyageRegent Seven Seas Cruises announces  new grand voyageLuxurious all-inclusive cruise line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises®, has enhanced its circumnavigating of Australia itinerary aboard the recently refurbished Seven Seas Mariner®.Now part of their ‘Grand Voyages’ collection, the 36-night itinerary departs Sydney on 15th December 2018 aboard the intimate, all-suite and all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner®. Grand Voyages allow extra time for leisurely exploration of one particular region and spend more time at each port with many overnight stays and extra amenities.Bespoke amenities include one night’s accommodation and dinner in a luxury hotel pre-cruise, phone time in each suite, unlimited laundry services, a commemorative gift, an exclusive ashore New Year’s Eve party in Bali and an exclusive shore side experience. Guests will also enjoy the benefits of all-inclusive cruising, with unlimited shore excursions, meals in specialty restaurants, premium fine wines and beverages, in-suite mini bar replenished daily, open bars and lounges, unlimited WiFi and pre-paid gratuities.Visit a wealth of diverse destinations ranging from sophisticated capital cities to tropical islands and idyllic beaches to wine country, culturally-significant indigenous locations and 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Beyond Australia, the cruise will also visit Papua New Guinea and the remote island of Komodo in Indonesia, famed for its rare dragons.“Our new Grand Voyage will give local travellers a unique opportunity to experience our country’s diverse destinations with up to 64 shore excursions included in the fare. From the sails of the iconic Opera House to the balmy beaches of Broome and the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. And then further south the rugged coastlines and rare wildlife of Kangaroo Island and a chance to experience the sophistication of Melbourne,” said Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Mr Steve Odell.Deluxe Veranda Suites start from AU$33,120 per person twin share.About Regent Seven Seas CruisesCelebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the world’s most inclusive luxury experience with a four-ship fleet that visits more than 450 destinations around the world. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is currently undergoing a US$125 million fleetwide refurbishment that will elevate the level of elegance found throughout the fleet to the standard set by Seven Seas Explorer, which entered service on July 20, 2016, and has since been recognised as the most luxurious ship ever built™. The cruise line’s next industry game-changing ship Seven Seas Splendor will launch in 2020. A leader in luxury cruising, the line’s fares include all-suite accommodations, , highly personalised service, exquisite cuisine, fine wines and spirits, unlimited internet access, sightseeing excursions in every port, gratuities, ground transfers and one-night, pre-cruise hotel package for guests staying in Concierge-level suites and higher.To book a cruise with Regent Seven Seas Cruises, please call 1300 455 200 (AU) or 0800 625 692 (NZ), visit or contact your preferred Travel Agent.Source = Regent Seven Seas Cruiseslast_img read more

New York New York – Reported by Elite Traveler t

first_imgNew York, New York – Reported by Elite Traveler, the Private Jet Lifestyle MagazineIguazú Grand Resort, Spa & Casino, was the scene for the New 7 Wonders organization’s press conference announcing that Iguazú Falls is the only Argentine destination to be one of the 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders contest, in which 224 countries and 430 candidates participated.An online campaign to spur voting for the natural wonder has been launched at includes the promotion of Argentine and Brazilian figures, such as former soccer player Gabriel Batistuta and the Lalo Mir, as well as the promotion of the Falls as an international tourist site and natural phenomenon.www.iguazugrand.comlast_img