Dera chief Ram Rahim Singh approaches HC, challenges CBI court order

first_imgJailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Moday moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court, challenging a special CBI court’s verdict sentencing him to 20 years in prison for raping two disciples.The CBI court in Panchkula on August 28 had sentenced Ram Rahim to 20 years in prison after his conviction.“We have filed an appeal today in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Through this, we have challenged the order of the CBI court,” defence counsel Vishal Garg Narwana said here.He said the CBI verdict has been challenged on several grounds.“One of the grounds was that there was a delay of more than six years in recording the statements of the women (victims) by the CBI after the incident,” the defence counsel said.The CBI had claimed that the two women followers were sexually exploited in 1999 and the agency recorded their statement in 2005, Garg said. He alleged that the CBI had also concealed some portion of the victims’ statement.Ram Rahim was convicted by the special CBI court on August 25, following which violence and arson had erupted in Panchkula and Sirsa districts which left 41 people dead and scores injured.The judge pronounced two sentences of 10 years rigorous imprisonment in each of the two rapes that date back to 2002.The controversial sect head is currently lodged in Sunaria jail in Rohtak district of Panchkula.In April 2002, an anonymous letter was written to the then chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, complaining about the alleged sexual exploitation of woman followers at the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa.In May 2002, the high court directed the Sirsa district and session judge to probe the allegations in the letter. In September 2002, the high court handed over the matter to the CBI after the district court indicated the possibility of sexual exploitationIn December 2002, the CBI registered a case of rape, criminal intimidation against Ram Rahim.The CBI filed a charge sheet against the Dera head in Ambala court in July 2007. The charge sheet mentioned the sexual exploitation of two ‘sadhvis’ between 1999 and 2001.In September 2008, the special CBI court framed charges of rape and criminal intimidation against Ram Rahim.last_img read more

Pentagon funding program opens door to U.K. collaboration

first_imgA long-running Pentagon program that pumps about $250 million annually into U.S. universities for basic research is taking on an international flavor. This year, for the first time, the Department of Defense (DOD) formally encouraged U.S. applicants to partner with researchers from the United Kingdom in seeking grants from the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program.“Although international collaboration isn’t totally new to us … we decided it was time to formalize cooperation between the U.S. and the U.K.,” Robin Staffin, the director of DOD’s basic research office, recently told ScienceInsider. “There’s been a recognition at senior levels of government that this [international collaboration] is something we should try … to accelerate progress in some key research areas.”Since it was founded in the mid-1980s, MURI has become a mainstay of DOD’s basic research programs, accounting for about one-quarter of the $1 billion in basic research funding that the Pentagon spends annually at U.S. universities. In some fields, including computer science, engineering research, and math, the military is now the dominant U.S. funder of fundamental science. Whereas many of DOD’s funding efforts focus on single-investigator grants, MURI aims to unite researchers from different disciplines and universities on a single project. When MURI began, Staffin says, “there was a perception that the new things were occurring not within the traditional university departmental areas, but in the intersection of traditional disciplines.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In 2014, DOD made 24 new MURI awards totaling $167 million; this year, Staffin expects total U.S. funding to be about $145 million. Additional money, however, could come from the U.K. government for projects that involve universities in that nation working on three specific topics: quantum optics, laser-matter interactions at midinfrared wavelengths, and computer vision. “Should a joint U.S.-U.K. team win [a grant in those areas], then we will pay for the U.S. researchers, and U.K. will pay for U.K. researchers,” Staffin says.The MURI awards so far, some 600, have proved “scientifically very productive,” concludes a recent review of the program by the Institute for Defense Analyses, a think tank based in Alexandria, Virginia. The typical MURI grant produces some 40 published papers, it found, which together get cited more than 1000 times. And although patenting isn’t a major goal of most MURI research efforts, about 25% of the projects ultimately generate an average of four patents each. And the IDA reviewers found academics like the grant structure, which now provides about $1.5 million per year for 3 to 5 years, because it “ensures a stable environment that gives researchers the freedom to take risks, be inventive and explore. The multi-year stability allows a diverse research team to develop and mature … It can also be used to develop a critical mass of experts.”Each year, potential MURI topics are selected by each of DOD’s three main uniformed services: the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy and Marines. In 2015, for example, the services are looking for research teams to explore some 21 topics, including finding ways to emulate the explosive biological forces produced by organisms, such as frogs, fleas, and spiders, when they jump. Other topic areas include studying materials that form in temperatures above 2000°C, using quantum physics to create better computers, and studying how microbial communities may help host organisms respond to stress. The goal, Staffin says, is not just to fund “interesting basic research, but [projects that are] ready to step on the gas” and realize advancements in knowledge.DOD reviewers are now examining the final MURI applications, which arrived on 23 February. The winners will be announced later this year.last_img read more

World Twenty20: MS Dhoni snaps back at Aus mindgames

first_imgMS Dhoni is a master of the longwinded answer, but on this tour to the Emerald Isle for the World Twenty20, he has come up with some surprise quotable quotes.On Thursday, when he was asked about the Australians’ short-pitched bowling plans for Friday’s Super Eights game here, the India skipper snapped back: “For the last five years, whenever we have had press conferences, we say some new things but they have been talking the same thing. There’s nothing new from their side to say. We are concentrating on the areas where we have to work on, and we will keep doing that.”The short ball is as much of a problem for us as it is for anyone else. We have seen every batsman get out to the short ball. It all depends on how quick your bowlers are. If someone is bowling at 140-145 km/h, he will definitely look to bowl short-pitched deliveries.”Australian skipper George Bailey, meanwhile, is not looking to exact any ‘revenge’ from Dhoni, who has played him in only four IPL games for the Chennai Super Kings over the last four years. “The structure of IPL is such that you can’t play more than four overseas players. One thing that I have learnt from my days with CSK is the consistency in team selections. This game can be very fickle and you don’t decide on basis of one or two performances,” Bailey said.The Tasmanian warned his teammates not to focus too heavily on Harbhajan Singh, who is back in form and has a history of run-ins with the Aussies. “We don’t want to focus too heavily on one bowler. It’s not that we focus too much on Harbhajan and don’t focus on Ashwin. All the Indian bowlers are pretty good.”advertisementlast_img read more

Goa Cricket Association fraud case co-accused Akbar Mulla quits as treasurer

first_imgGoa Cricket Association treasurer Akbar Mulla has stepped down from his post after being accused in the case of alleged misappropriation of GCA funds worth Rs 3.13 crore.Mulla, along with GCA president Chetan Desai and secretary Vinod Phadke, were arrested by the Economic Offences Cell of local police on June 15 after a complaint was filed claiming that they had allegedly encashed a cheque given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to the cricket association. The trio were later released on bail.Mulla, after tendering his resignation on Thursday, told reporters that he wants to relinquish his position with the GCA while the investigation is going on.”In view of the misappropriation charges levelled against me, proper investigations are needed and I feel that morally I should not be in a position of power while investigations are going on,” Mulla said in his letter to the GCA president dated July 6, 2016.PLEADS INNOCENCE IN MEDIAHe even presented photo-copies of documents, including bank account details and personal ID proofs, that were used while opening the account to show his innocence before the media.He said that he was only a GCA member and not the treasurer when the account was opened in the Development Credit Bank (DCB) in 2007.”I had submitted my passport to get a visa for an official tour to the UK and it was with the GCA. The account was opened during that time,” Mulla said.According to the documents furnished by Mulla, the account was opened on April 12, 2007, while his visa was issued later on April 27, 2007. His contention was that the bank did not verify his identity with the documents and alleged that the then DCB bank manager, Lalita Kakodkar, was also involved in the fraud.advertisement”My name in the passport attached for the opening of the account shows my name as Mulam Agbor Ali whereas the account has been opened showing my name as Akbar A Mulla. The signature on the account opening form also does not tally with my signature which is clear on my passport,” as per a statement from a letter Mulla had written to the police Inspector of the Economic Offences Cell dated June 11, 2016.The transactions, which occurred over a period of about 12 months between May 24, 2007 to March 29, 2008, were done in an arbitrary manner under names like Brijesh, Rajesh, etc, without any surname, he alleged. In his letter to the EOC, Mulla urged the police to investigate his role in the scam and take necessary action.”The whole scam is coming from the GCA office,” he said while claiming that he has not done anything wrong.(With inputs from PTI)last_img read more

Borg/McEnroe to open Toronto International Film Festival

first_imgToronto, Aug 1 (PTI) This years Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will court love of tennis fans all around the world with sports drama “Borg/McEnroe” opening the cinematic extravaganza.The 42nd edition of the fest, which starts from September 7, will showcase one of the most fascinating stories from the sports arena at Roy Thomson Hall.Directed by Janus Metz, the film stars actors Shia LeBeouf as American tennis champ John McEnroe and Sverrir Gudnason as his Swedish counterpart Bjorn Borg.Talking about the film opening the gala, Piers Handling, director-CEO of TIFF said, “Borg/McEnroe has a powerful tension about it that is on par with the electric energy of Toronto on opening night.”The story of this nail-biter match-up changed the sport of tennis forever, and the outstanding performances from LaBeouf and Gudnason will be a spectacular way for festival- goers to kick things off.”While Metz said he was “extremely honoured” by TIFFs gesture for selecting the movie to kick off the event.”It is a great celebration and recognition of everyone in the cast and crew who worked so hard to make this film what it is. We had very high ambitions for this project and have come such a long way together. Im very excited that we can finally let the film out into the world, and I couldnt dream of a better way of doing this.”Apart from the film, which has been penned by Ronnie Sandahl, “Battle Of The Sexes” is the second tennis movie that will be presented at the festival.advertisementIt stars actors Steve Carrell and Emma Stone.TIFF runs through September 17 this year. PTI RDS BKlast_img read more

Cousins looks to make most of chance with US basketball team

first_imgDeMarcus Cousins considers the thought, and one of the NBA’s most recognizable scowls quickly turns into a bright smile.Without saying a word, it’s clear he agrees: For the first time under Mike Krzyzewski, the U.S. Olympic basketball team has a genuine offensive weapon in the middle.The Americans might even have the best center in the world.Cousins had 14 points and 15 rebounds in just 16 minutes of the Americans’ exhibition opener, a 111-74 victory over Argentina. The Sacramento Kings star can score inside and out, and gives the U.S. a dimension it hasn’t had while winning the last two gold medals.“DeMarcus is going to be a force in Rio,” teammate Klay Thompson said.The center spot has almost been an afterthought on recent U.S. teams, who much preferred playing small to pounding the ball inside. Then again, none had a “bulldog” like Cousins, as Kevin Durant called him.“There’s been a lot of great bigs come through this program, so I’m blessed to be in this situation,” Cousins said. “I’m honored to be in this situation. I’m not really in it to say who’s the best at what position, I’m just here to help the team win. So we’ve got one goal in mind, which is the gold, and that’s only thing I’m focused on right now.”Along with that gold, Cousins could bring back something else from the Olympics.His NBA career has been six seasons of bad teams and bad moods, the constant losing in Sacramento and the chaos in the organization often overshadowing his play. He doesn’t hide his unhappiness, and many times if he’s not shouting, it’s only because he’s sulking.The 6-foot-11 center out of Kentucky averaged a career-high 26.9 points last season, fourth in the NBA, and was fifth in the league with 11.5 rebounds per game. But the Kings missed the playoffs again, as they have every season since taking Cousins with the No. 5 pick in the 2010 draft, and his bickering with coach George Karl generated more headlines than anything he or the Kings did on the court.Now he’ll spend a month around a team that does nothing but win, and maybe that mentality will rub off on him.“It can only help him,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said.“I think all the players who play for us are better people for it. They become better players. As a result, they get absorbed in the culture and that culture they bring back to their respective teams, and ultimately they benefit.”Colangelo wasn’t certain about Cousins as a young player, saying in 2012 that he needed to be “more mature as a person, as a player” and had “a lot of growing up to do.”He now believes they have a great relationship that’s developed over time.As has Cousins’ role with the U.S. program. He backed up Anthony Davis in the 2014 Basketball World Cup, but with Davis recovering from injuries, Cousins has a good chance to step into the starting role.The Americans started Dwight Howard at center in 2008 and Tyson Chandler in 2012. Both are former NBA defensive players of the year, but neither possesses Cousins’ offensive repertoire.“DeMarcus is a different player,” said U.S. veteran Carmelo Anthony, who then focused not only on what Cousins brings, but what he can bring home.“He’s a big who can shoot, he’s a big who can post, he’s tough, he’s a hell of a rebounder,” Anthony said. “But the most exciting thing I like about having DeMarcus out here now is he gets a chance to see how everybody else is working. Work ethic. To see him jumping into lines, to see him asking can somebody work with him, staying after, coming in before, that work ethic is something that it spills over to everybody else. When you see your peers working that hard, it makes you want to be a part of that.”Cousins doesn’t like comparing the U.S. experience to his pro one, but praises the way the Americans do little things that get forgotten in the NBA. He came to camp in great shape and seems committed to being a good teammate, whether he starts or backs up the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan.“He’s totally invested in what we’re doing,” Krzyzewski said.Next up for Cousins and the Americans is their second exhibition game on Sunday against China in Los Angeles.When it’s over, Durant and Thompson will return to an NBA team with title hopes. Cousins’ future might be the usual losing and trade rumors, so he’ll miss being around a winning team.But maybe he can help build one.“When you leave winning situations, it’s always going to be hard. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy winning?” Cousins said. “But I’m also always ready to get back. I’m ready to share my experience with my teammates … get the season kicked off on the right foot.” TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

India Today Tourism Awards: Here are places you want to visit in India

first_imgThe India Today Tourism Awards 2019 recognise popular travel destinations and attractions across the country in a range of categories. This year we commissioned market research company Ipsos to sample opinion through online and offline surveys in 10 urban locations from all corners of India. The list of winners holds,The India Today Tourism Awards 2019 recognise popular travel destinations and attractions across the country in a range of categories. This year we commissioned market research company Ipsos to sample opinion through online and offline surveys in 10 urban locations from all corners of India. The list of winners holds some surprises and reflects the public thirst for variety: from thronging beaches to mountain wild­er­nesses, and from riverbanks to highways. To keep things interesting, we’ve introduced some novel categories, such as ‘Iconic Landscapes’ and ‘Scenic Roads’, which we suspect will be bucket-list fodder for many readers. We’re sure you’ll have plenty of opinions on who should have won what. We did too, and since the survey results were out of our hands, we introduced an Editor’s Choice award to anoint our in-house favourite state-tourism-wise. These are the India Today Tourism Awards, after allBest adventure destination: Chadar Trek Ladakh, Jammu and KashmirThe never-ending sheet of white under your feet can be as thrilling to the mind as it is exhausting to the eyes. Walking over the frozen Zanskar river, battling loud winds and temperatures below minus 20 degrees centigrade, this trek can stretch for as long as 105 km should you have the heart to go the whole hog. The trek is best done in February when the ice sheet is most stable, but be prepared for surprises nevertheless. Recommended for experienced trekkers only, the long march starts from the village of Chilling, where the Zanskar river begins to freeze. Magnetic Hill and the confluence of Zanskar and Indus rivers are must-sees along the way. Other stunners include the frozen waterfall at Nerak. The nights are long and best spent in caves. But you can also choose to find a ‘safe’ spot on the ice and pitch a tent.advertisementGetting there: Direct flight from Delhi to Leh. Adventure sports companies drive you to the starting point of the trek.Best beach or coastal destination: Palolem, GoaThe thing about Goa is no matter where you go, the classic combination of sea, stretches of sand and sunshine almost always comes through. While regulars to the state are sharply divided into ‘southies’ and ‘northies’ depending on which part they choose to sink their toes into, it’s a well known fact that those looking for a slice of quintessential Goa as it was 20 years ago make a beeline for the south. Here there is more curated, hotel and resort-driven tourism, and far fewer tourists scrambling for their share of sun and sand at the beach. Palolem beach, located in southern Goa, emerges as the most favoured beach in the state, given its location, natural beauty and the range of activities on offer. (Photo: Alamy)Blessed with a bounty of swaying palm trees, the 1.5-km curved white sand beach transforms into a happy place in season. You are likely to find bamboo hut shacks dishing out seasonal, local fare, locals selling their colourful wares, and yoga and spirituality too. Interestingly, this is one beach that caters to both families and backpackers. The northern part of the beach has gentler waves and the water doesn’t get deep quite as quickly as the rest of the beach, so this is a preferred spot for families while the southern tip is popular with those looking to party by the waves and unleash the hippie within. Palolem has held its position as one of the finest beaches in Goa because of the diversity in experiences it offers.Getting there: There are two railway stations located close to Palolem. The Margao (Madgaon) station is 40 minutes away and is serviced by the Konkan rail line, as is Canacona station, which is a 10-minute drive. Most people fly into Goa’s Dabolim airport, which is a good 90 minutes away from Palolem. You will have to depend on local taxis.Best heritage destination: Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park Jodhpur, RajasthanMehrangarh Fort is a must visit attraction in Jodhpur, but the truly transformative idea was the creation of Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park in its lee, transforming a 70 ha rocky terrain full of volcanic rocks and sandstone. Decades of neglect had made it a wasteland, but a sustained effort to restore it ecologically has resulted in this unique desert heritage park. (Photo: Purushottam Diwakar)Work on the park started in 2006, but it only opened to the public in 2011. Before 2006, the area was overrun by the baavlia (Prosopis juliflora), an invasive, thorny shrub that is extremely difficult to get rid of. The local Khandwaliya miners did it by chiselling into the volcanic rock, often 45 cm deep to kill the baavlia’s roots. Native plants adapted to growing in the arid, rocky areas of the Thar desert were planted in the vacated pits. The Gully, an ancient aquaduct, was also restored and now leads to a network of trails along the driveway to the fort.advertisementAlso restored was the Singhoria Pol, a 17th-century gateway into Jodhpur city. It now houses the visitors’ centre. The Jodhpur Welded Tuff, columns and terraces of weathered Malani volcanics in the fort hill area, has been declared a National Geological Monument by the Geological Survey of India. The park offers lovely views of the fort, parts of Jodhpur city and a cenotaph, the Jaswant Thada.Best mountain destination: Gulmarg Jammu and KashmirRated the seventh best skiing destination in Asia by CNN, Gulmarg is the winter sports hub of India, attracting thousands of tourists and sports lovers from across the country and the world for skiing, tobogganing, snowboarding and heli-skiing. In 1968, the Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering was set up in Gulmarg to train ski instructors, and millions of rupees were poured in by the central government to metamorphose the place into a world-class ski destination. However, tourism suffered a massive setback after militancy erupted in Kashmir. In the past few years, however, tourist footfalls have increased. Though also boasting of the world’s highest golf course (at 2,650 metres) and other attractions, such as the Maharani temple, Gulmarg Gondola and St. Mary’s Church, it is essentially skiing that is synonymous with this saucer-shaped valley in the Pir Panjal range. On a clear day, the breathtaking Nanga Parbat peak, which is over 100 km away, can also be witnessed. The best time to visit Gulmarg is in the winters. (Photo: Abid Bhat)Getting there: The nearest airport is Srinagar and Jammu is the closest rail link. From Srinagar, taxis/ buses take two hours to reach Gulmarg.Best wildlife destination: Gir National Park GujaratOften called the last refuge of the majestic Asiatic lion, which is on the brink of extinction, the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 1,153 sq. km in the semi-arid Saurashtra region of Gujarat. Of this, an area of around 259 sq. km comprises the Gir National Park. The census puts the lion population in the Gir forests at over 500. Gir is also home to a variety of species-the sambar, chowsingha or the four-horned antelope, jackal, hyena, fox, the mugger crocodile that lives in the Kamleshwar lake and over 200 types of birds, such as the Malabar whistling thrush, paradise flycatcher, black-naped blue flycatcher, Indian pitta, Bonelli’s eagle and crested hawk eagle. The park offers lion safaris for eight months between October and June and is closed to visitors during the breeding season. (Photo: Alamy)Getting there: The nearest railway station is Junagadh, about 1.5 hours away. Rajkot is the closest airport. A taxi from there to the sanctuary takes 4-5 hours.Best festival destination: Kumbh Mela Prayagraj, Uttar PradeshThe Kumbh Mela is routinely the world’s largest public gathering and collective act of faith and, in 2017, it was inscribed in the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. The festival’s location rotates between the sacred sites in Prayagraj (commonly known as Allahabad), Haridwar, Nashik and Ujjain, with a ‘Maha Kumbh’ alternating between Prayagraj or Haridwar approximately every 12 years, depending on astrological calendars. This year’s Ardh Kumbh (the ‘half Kumbh’ held between two Maha Kumbhs) in Prayagraj began on the festival day of Makar Sankranti, January 15, and will end on Mahashivratri-March 4. A total 150 million people had visited the festival by mid-February. The event was an unprecedented logistical exercise by the UP government and the arrangements made to receive visitors included 4,200 premium tents, 122,000 public toilets, selfie points for youngsters and more than 40,000 LED lights.advertisement (Photo: Maneesh Agnihotri)Getting there: Prayagraj is connected to all major cities via railways. The new civil airport is served by regular flights, connecting it to Delhi and Lucknow.Spiritual Destination: Golden Temple Amritsar, PunjabConsidered the holiest shrine of Sikhs and a major pilgrimage for people across religions, the Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple is the star attraction of Amritsar, a city that looks as spellbinding during the day as it does during the night. Guru Arjan Dev started the gurdwara’s construction in 1581 and it took eight years to complete. The Golden Temple has been planned at a level lower than the city to emphasise on the need to let go of one’s ego before entering, and the compound is open on all sides, symbolising no discrimination against anyone. In 1830, Maharaja Ranjit Singh donated gold for overlaying of the sanctum. Over centuries, the revered site has seen much destruction from invading armies, but was always rebuilt. In October 2016, the path from the city’s Town Hall to Harmandir Sahib was given a massive facelift, with over 150 buildings lining both sides of the street getting new facades, artwork, metal awnings and wood and metal balconies. (Photo: Prabhjot Gill)Getting there: Flights from Delhi. A vast rail and road network links Amritsar to other cities.Most scenic road: Srinagar-Leh Jammu and KashmirThe mesmerising Leh to Srinagar drive, once an arduous 400-plus km overnight journey, has turned into a pleasant trip thanks to the BRO’s efforts in ensuring good connectivity of the border areas to both Leh and Srinagar. The dreaded Zoji La too has been tamed, thanks to a new alignment and the traffic jams are a thing of the past. (Photo: Alamy)Starting from Leh, the journey winds along the Indus to the Pathar Sahib gurdwara and Magnetic Hill, past the ancient village of Alchi onto the confluence of the Indus-Zanskar rivers. It then climbs onto the Zanskar range to cross Fotu La at about 14,000-feet, past the 1st century Lam­a­yuru monastery. The scenery is spec­tac­ular and rugged as one arrives at Kar­gil, a town that now, unfortunately, needs no introduction. The Kargil-Drass road follows the Drass or the Shingo river and the joyful sound of gurgling water is dampened only by warning signs that you are under enemy observation.Cross the Zoji La and there’s a total cha­nge of scenery. The mountainsides are green and at the base flows the Sindh river. From then on, it’s a straightforward drive to Srinagar.Iconic landscape destination: Mangrove forests, the Sundarbans West BengalSundarbans is often described as one of nature’s most mystical creations. Sprawling across the India-Bangladesh border, where the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Mehgna rivers converge in the Bengal basin, the Sundarbans delta has the largest strand of mangrove forest in the world, spread over nearly 10,000 sq. km across the two countries, with about 40 per cent within Indian territory. A complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of mangroves intersects this delta. It is the biggest delta, backwater and tidal phenomenon of the region and provides diverse habitats for several hundred aquatic, terrestrial and amphibian species, including 260 types of birds and several threatened species, such as the saltwater crocodile and the Indian python. But the biggest attraction is the Royal Bengal tiger-approximately 100 of these big cats rule the area. In fact, the Sundarbans is the only mangrove tigerland in the world. However, spotting a tiger is a matter of luck. (Photo: Shutterstock)The World Heritage property comprises three wildlife sanctuaries and demands time and patience to be explored. Take a week off your work and spend mornings and evenings snaking through the canals of these mangroves, shadowed by an unbroken canopy of dense forest. Even if you fail to encounter the tiger, the breathtaking sites, enhanced by creeks, rivers and meandering streams, along with their rich fauna, will leave you mesmerised. The Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge, run by the West Bengal government, is a good option to stay at. It is well located and reasonably priced. There are several private resorts and homestays as well. They offer budget stays and organise boat safaris.Getting there: The nearest airport is Kolkata. The nearest railhead of Canning, connected to Kolkata, is approximately 50 km away. Sundarbans is accessible only by riverine waterways. One can drive from Kolkata or Canning to multiple spots, such as Namkhana, Raidighi, Sonakhali and Najat, from where motorboats are available.Best state for travel: GoaOver the past few years, the­re’s a Goa that has emerged from the shadow of its past-quicker, surer but equally charming, inviting not just those looking for a beach vacation but others seeking a slower, more immersive cultural experience.With the state stretching at one end to Karnataka and to Maharashtra on the other, and an enviable coastline travelling the entire expanse, every village or wado here has a culture and sensibility of its own. Goa has the finest, most well-maintained beaches in India. (Photo: Alamy)And what makes it so special is that each beach has a distinct personality; while those looking to fall off the map head to the extreme north or south (Arambol or Palolem), regular partygoers favour Baga and Calangute, which is younger and swisher; those looking to unwind at private villas and five-star resorts prefer Palolem and Colva in the south, while Anjuna, with its annual night market, is still a big hit with families and solo travellers alike.The north and south are as different as chalk and cheese in terms of topography, food and activities on offer. Goa is for the tourist who loves nature, wants to be a beach bum, is a foodie, loves art, wants to study its brilliant architecture and also drink its local beers and wine while going on a tour of a spice or cashew estate. In recent times, the state has also emerged as a destination for spiritual seekers as its natural beauty and zen personality attracts yoga lovers and alternative medical practitioners by the dozens.Editor’s choice: Arunachal PradeshThe largest state in India’s Northeast is also blessed with an incredible expanse of forest (covering 79 per cent of its land), mountains that rise to 23,000 feet and rivers that empty snowmelt and the abundance of the monsoon into vast floodplains fringed by some of the last extensive stretches of intact terai landscape in the country. The diversity of languages and cultures of the people in its lush valleys is still a pleasant shock to travellers from the monotonous plains, as is the unselfconscious confidence with which these communities seem to negotiate modernity while holding tradition close to their daily lives and pleasures. In recent years, some infrastructural development and tourist entrepreneurship have made it easier to travel in Arunachal-but, fortunately, not too easy. This is one of the few states that still holds the promise of profiting from tourism without destroying its landscapes in the process (long live the Inner Line Permit!). We love Arunachal Pradesh because it’s very beautiful and it seems to want to stay that way.last_img read more

Weeks before World Cup 2019, England break India’s ODI record

first_imgEngland chased down another 300 plus total to beat Pakistan by three wickets in the fourth one-day international at Trent Bridge on Friday. With this win, 2019 World Cup hosts attained an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.England have now hunted down 340 plus totals record four times thus eclipsing India’s record, who boasted of doing it three times. The entire squad has been performing well. The batting line up which boasts of impact players like Jos Buttler, Johnny Bairstow, Ben Stokes has played a pivotal role in the overall performance.Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Morgan, Jos Buttler and Joe Root have been in the form of their life. Ben Stokes also managed to get some quick runs against Pakistan after a lacklustre IPL outing. Buttler, Stokes, Bairstow on their day can make the best of attacks look pedestrian.They have had different players stepping up in all the three victories against a poor Pakistani side. England won 2nd ODI and went 1-0 up in the series, due to a scintillating innings by Buttler and a good-enough bowling performance.In the third ODI, Buttler less hosts managed to chase down a total of 359 with five overs to spare, thanks to Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy’s 159-run stand. Whereas Jason Roy scored his 8th ton in just 75 balls and that gave England the platform from where Ben Stokes picked up and helped England wrap-up the series 3-0.Having hunted down a 359-run target with ease in Bristol in the third ODI, England steadily chipped away at Pakistan’s total with Roy leading the charge, bringing up his eighth ODI century in 75 balls.advertisementAt that point, the hosts looked set for another routine win on a ground where they had twice scored more than 400 in the last three years.Yet when Roy departed for 114 with England on 201-2 their momentum ground to a halt as they lost three further wickets for another 15 runs with Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali departing for ducks.All-rounder Stokes rode to the rescue, however, smacking 71 not out off 64 balls, assisted by 31 from Tom Curran, who had earlier claimed 4-75 with the ball.England side has managed to win all of their previous 16 games while chasing targets. Three lions couldn’t have timed it any better with World Cup lurking around the corner.The hosts enter the 2019 World Cup not just as favourites but as a bunch of players who have changed the way one day cricket functions.Also Watch:last_img read more

Escape to the Sanctuary that is Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California

first_img World’s First Hybrid-Electric Cruise Ship Sails the Northwest Passage Deep Sleep: The World’s Most Incredible Underwater Hotel Rooms Welcome to Funner, California (Yes, It’s a Real Place) Image Courtesy of Sherman Chu/Post Ranch Inn Editors’ Recommendations The Best Campgrounds Near Major U.S. Cities Rob Lowe’s Montecito Millon-Dollar Manse Hits the Market North of Los Angeles, before you hit San Jose, is an ethereal cliff-side escape perched 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean.The only hotel in Big Sur with an ocean-front view, Post Ranch Inn has been called, “a sanctuary for the soul,” and recognized as one of the top luxury resorts in the U.S.Hidden along California’s scenic Highway One that winds from Los Angeles to San Francisco (you must access Post Ranch Inn heading south from San Jose/San Francisco), the retreat seems to grow out of its surrounds — which include state parks, beaches, and waterfalls — to form a natural getaway complete with gourmet food, outdoor activities, basking pools, and a private on-site gallery.Image Courtesy of Kodiak Greenwood/Post Ranch InnThe 40 architecturally unique guest rooms and suites all differ, except for their placement along the ridge that parallels a drop to the Pacific and an expanse of mountains. No matter where you lodge, the views are aplenty. A hearty mix of earth tones, organic hues, textures, and original art form the profile for the interior, which can be defined as rustic elegant with a splash of contemporary. Examples include rugs hand-woven by indigenous weavers and reclaimed redwood from wine casks re-filled to panel the walls.If you’re going big, opt for the Post House, a 1,800- square- foot, open-concept space equipped with a kitchen, dining room, media room, master bedroom and bathroom, living room, a multi-person hot tub outside, heated slate flooring, and coastal views. However, even the most “humble” suite will gain you access to Post Ranch Inn’s insane list of amenities, such as infinity and wading pools dropping off to the Pacific, complimentary morning yoga and meditation, a culinary tour through the site’s organic vegetable garden, guided hikes, and night time star-gazing.Our suggested not-to-miss activity: star-gazing. Post Ranch has one of the largest hotel telescopes in the country, and Big Sur offers some of the clearest atmospheric conditions for viewing the stars, nebulas, and even the rings of Saturn.All that intergalactic exploration can build up an appetite, and what retreat would be complete without an award-winning dinner. (None. The answer is none.) Post Ranch Inn houses the Sierra Mar restaurant from executive head chef Elizabeth Murray, who curates her menu around “inquisitive food creations,” says Post Ranch Inn. “Her dishes feature bold, primal flavors along with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.”Image Courtesy of Sherman Chu/Post Ranch InnFor those who fled west for wine, Sierra Mar boasts one of the largest wine selections in North America, offering more than 14,000 bottles. Wine director Dominque Da Cruz — who helped earn Wine Spectator’s prestigious Grand Award the past four years — places strong emphasis on both Old and New World wines from Europe, Australia, California, and Washington, as well as artisan producers.The level of detail and intention resonating throughout Post Ranch Inn extends to its very foundation, as the dwellings themselves feature bio-structure architecture, using natural materials like glass, wood, stone, and COR-TEN steel, and, when possible, passive solar heat. “The architects’ design was intended to make onlookers feel like a part of nature, not just observers of it,” says the Inn.Other green initiatives include hybrid Lexus vehicles to transport guests around the property, water pumped onsite and bottled into renewable glass bottles, drought-resistant landscaping using native plants, and a 990-panel solar array— the largest hotel solar project in California. The grounds of Post Ranch also provide a habitat for the endangered Smith’s Blue Butterfly, California Red-Legged Frog, Western Pond Turtle, and California Condor.The feeling walking away after a stay at Post Ranch Inn? Grounded in nature and wrapped in a celestial calm. It’s both out of this world and entwined deeply in its roots.Image Courtesy of Kodiak Greenwood and Sherman Chu/Post Ranch Inn. Previous 1 of 12 Next last_img read more

BJP in damage control mode PM says wont forgive Pragya

first_imgNEW DELHI: Following the huge outcry over comments by BJP leaders glorifying Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, including by Pragya Singh Thakur who called him a “deshbhakt (patriot)”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a television channel on Friday: “I will never be able to forgive them for insulting Bapu.”On Thursday, Pragya Thakur had said: “Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt (patriot), is a ‘deshbhakt’ and will remain a ‘deshbhakt’. People calling him a terrorist should instead look within, such people will be given a fitting reply in the election.” This was followed by more comments from three more leaders, Anant Kumar Hegde, Nalin Kumar Kateel and Anil Saumitra. The BJP tweeted PM Modi as saying in an interview to the channel: “The comments on Gandhi and Godse are deplorable, disgusting and are not language fit for civilised society. Those who say such things should think 100 times. It is a different issue that they have apologized, but I will not be able to forgive them from my heart.” The ruling BJP Friday launched damage control after a rash of comments in favour of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, just two days before the final round of voting for the national election. Pragya Singh Thakur, Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde and Nalin Kumar Kateel, all contesting the election, have been asked for an explanation within 10 days, BJP president Amit Shah said in a series of tweets on Thursday. “These comments have nothing to do with the party. All three have apologized, but these comments are against the ideology of the BJP and are being referred to the disciplinary committee,” Amit Shah tweeted. Friday, Nalin Kumar Kateel, a BJP lawmaker compared Godse with former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Another Karnataka parliamentarian, Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde, tweeted that “seven decades later, the condemned were being heard”. Both the tweets have disappeared from their Twitter timelines. Anant Kumar Hegde put out a message claiming his account had been breached.last_img read more

Five things Ohio State fans should take away from Big Ten Media

OSU football coach Urban Meyer answers questions from the media at the 2014 Big Ten Media Days July 29 in Chicago.Credit: Tim Moody / Lantern sports editorIt’s long been understood that championships are not won or lost behind the podium.That being said, there is, however, plenty that fans can glean from what a coach or player might say at events like the Big Ten Media Days, which took place on Monday and Tuesday in Chicago.Here are five things that fans can take away from the comments of the Ohio State representatives who took part in the 2014 Big Ten Media Days.1. The OSU defensive line has historic potentialFollowing breakout seasons from senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett and sophomore defensive lineman Joey Bosa, the OSU defensive front could be one of the best coach Urban Meyer has ever laid his eyes on.“2006 was our best defensive line,” Meyer said, referring back to his time at the University of Florida. “If they all perform and stay healthy, this one could be on that level.”For reference, that 2006 defensive line that Meyer referred to boasted defensive end Jarvis Moss, the 17th overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft to the Denver Broncos, and defensive end Derrick Harvey, the 8th overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft to the Jacksonville Jaguars, both of whom helped Florida to beat OSU in the 2007 National Championship Game.If Meyer believes it, Bennett does too.“The fact that coach Meyer said it means that it’s pretty real,” Bennett said following Meyer’s comparison. “But as much as we have the potential to be it, potential doesn’t mean anything if you don’t do it, so we have to keep working.”2. Braxton Miller is the undoubted face of the Buckeyes and has a lot on his mind heading into his final seasonAs if there was any doubt who the most important player on the OSU roster was heading into Monday morning’s press conferences at Big Ten Media Day, Meyer removed all doubt.Without prompting or without a single question tossed his way, Meyer’s first comment addressed his senior quarterback: Braxton Miller.“Our quarterback, I know I’ll get asked that question, is ready to go,” Meyer said. “He’s full-speed, in the best shape of his life.”While Miller may be the face of Big Ten football, having won both the Big Ten offensive player and quarterback of the year the past two seasons, the quarterback feels as if injuries derailed what he believes might have been a Heisman-caliber 2013 season.“It could’ve been a different situation at the end of the season,” Miller said. “I fell off the Heisman radar, injury wise. That’s what happens, you miss a couple of games and your name gets quickly pushed aside.”Health may not necessarily be in his control, but Miller is certainly using last season’s happenings, as well as added talent around him, to push his name back into the national limelight.“I’ve been in the Heisman race the last two years, so I have to take advantage of what we’ve got in front of me this year,” Miller said. “If I’m in the Heisman situation again, hopefully, I get to walk across that podium and accept that award.”Ultimately, however, Miller said that following his tumultuous, four-year career at OSU, rather than being remembered as a Heisman Trophy winner, his goal is more team based.“Being in the situations I overcame as a freshman and sophomore, it’s not easy,” Miller said. “I just want to go out with a nice run this year and be known as a champion.”3. Miller already knows the targets that could elevate him to those Heisman heightsWith the Heisman talk lingering around No. 5, Miller seems to have developed quite the chemistry with a few potential receiving targets, starting with senior tight end Jeff Heuerman.“Them guys is 6’6, 260, man, you know you can’t miss those targets,” Miller said. “They’re a mismatch for any linebacker, any corner, any safety, so I’m going to make sure they get that ball early this year.”While the tight ends seem to be the primary targets for Miller, and therefore for opposing defenders as well, Miller’s favorite wideouts seem to be under-the-radar players who haven’t quite made an impact for the Buckeyes thus far.Miller thinks that some of his receivers will emerge from the bottom of the depth chart and become playmakers for the Buckeyes this fall.“Corey Smith, Mike Thomas, the guys on the outside, ” Miller said. “Those are the guys who are going to make some people like, ‘wow, where have these guys been at?” and it’s going to be fun.”Miller isn’t alone in his belief in his receivers, however.Coach Meyer, long a detractor of the receivers at OSU, finally seems to be confident in the pass-catchers to the outside.“I’ll be disappointed now if the receivers aren’t able to carry their own weight,” Meyer said.4. An unproven offensive line remains a huge concern for the BuckeyesA season after losing four starting offensive linemen, one of whom was a captain, the Buckeyes are searching for answers on the line.In his opening remarks to the media on Monday Meyer made it clear that the protection up-front is alarming.“The offensive line is No. 1,” Meyer said of his concerns heading into the new season. “I was a little disappointed with what happened in the spring. We just didn’t see the growth we would like to see.”If the offensive line is to grow from a weakness to a strength, who will lead the charge?Meyer believes it is the veterans that will ultimately decide the direction of the group.“Chase Farris, Antonio Underwood, Jacoby Boren, the new guy from Alabama Chad Lindsay, Darryl Baldwin… there’s a common theme there,” Meyer said, listing the offensive linemen who’ve yet to make a true impact for the Buckeyes. “They’re all nice players, nice people, who’ve been around for a while and haven’t played, so we have to get something out of them.”5. Despite glaring uncertainty, hope springs eternal for the new OSU pass defenseRanked 112th out of the 125 FBS teams in terms of pass defense, the OSU defensive backfield was a disappointment for the Buckeyes last season, calling for a revamping.Meyer brought in former Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash to oversee the defensive remodeling, and thus far Meyer seemed to be pleased with the complete overhaul.“Chris Ash has done an admirable job installing a brand new pass defense,” Meyer said in his Monday presser. “We completely have blown up and started from scratch an area that we were not very strong in.”Bennett has seen the merits of the move as well, but feels that the play of the defensive backfield is impacted by the defensive front as well.“I feel like we’re a lot more aggressive,” Bennett explained. “The DB’s are a lot more aggressive. The d-line needs to get to the quarterback more or else we’re going hang the DB’s out to dry.”With the new defensive schemes of Ash under wraps and a potentially top-rated defensive line ready to contribute, the defensive backfield may be headed in the right direction, but is still a giant unknown heading into training camp. read more

Russia frees one Pussy Riot member keeps two in jail

first_imgA RUSSIAN APPEALS court today ordered the release of one member of punk band Pussy Riot after turning her two-year prison sentence into a suspended term but kept two others in jail with unchanged verdicts.The judge at the Moscow city court ordered the release of Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, after giving her a two-year suspended prison camp term for performing a protest stunt against President Vladimir Putin in Russia’s main church.However the two-year prison camp sentences of Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, were upheld by the court.Judge Larisa Polyakova ruled “to leave Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova’s sentences without changes” while bowing to the appeal filed on behalf of Samutsevich, who was judged not to have taken actual involvement in the “punk prayer” performance.The judge stressed that Samutsevich could be jailed again if she “violates several restrictions established by law or commits some other crime.”- © AFP, 2012Read: Putin hails Pussy Riot jail terms – report>last_img read more

Nokia reportedly kills Meltemi OS development

first_imgIn the middle of 2011, a leaked video captured Nokia chief Stephen Elop talking about Meltemi, a mobile OS project they’d managed to keep secret. Nokia was working on Meltemi as an option for the kind of low-end phones that have made the company such a dominant force in emerging markets around the world. Now, however, they’re pulling the plug — just as they did with Meego after announcing the new Windows Phone partnership with Microsoft last year.Rumors first began surfacing last month that Meltemi’s end was near. With Nokia’s profits dropping and belt-tightening the order of the day, several research and development projects had been called into question. With Nokia set on sticking with S40 as its platform of choice for phones like the Asha Touch line pictured above, Meltemi was deemed expendable. The unreleased, Linux-based OS isn’t the only thing Nokia is cutting. There are also some 10,000 jobs on the line, with talks currently under way in Finland to figure out who stays and who goes.It certainly looks as though things are going to get worse before they get better for Nokia. Recent reports suggest that the Lumia phones aren’t selling as well as hoped, and sales are no doubt being hampered by the recent announcement that Windows Phone 8 is on the way this fall and that current phones won’t be receiving the update to Microsoft’s next-gen mobile OS.It’s important, then, for Nokia to narrow its focus. As nice as it would have been to see the company bring Meltemi to market on at least one device, it simply can’t spare the necessary human and financial resources to make that happen right now.More at Reuterslast_img read more

Une espèce de singes réapparait grâce à la protection des pandas

first_imgUne espèce de singes réapparait grâce à la protection des pandas Depuis vingt ans, le rhinopithèque, un petit singe reconnaissable grâce à son nez qui semble avoir été coupé, avait disparu de la région du Sichuan. Mais les primates auraient bénéficié des mesures de protection mises en place pour sauver le panda géant de l’extinction. De nombreux rhinopithèques ont en effet été aperçus dans la réserve de Jiuzhaigou, créée pour les pandas.Les autorités chinoises ont réalisé beaucoup d’efforts pour assurer la protection du panda géant, et ce plan de sauvegarde de l’espèce menacée aurait aussi été profitable aux rhinopithèques, dont toute la population vit en Asie du sud-est. La réserve de Jiuzhaigou, a été créée en 1978, et certaines parties du site sont accessibles au public. C’est dans l’une de ces zones que près de 200 singes auraient été aperçus récemment par un habitant de la région, rapporte le site Green et Vert. L’homme a averti les responsables de la réserve de cette découverte, et ces derniers ont retrouvé après plusieurs jours de recherche, de nombreux rhinopithèques. Hélas, aucune photo des primates n’a été prise. Il n’existe donc aucune preuve de leur réapparition dans le Sichuan, où ils n’avaient plus été vus depuis vingt ans. Certains remettent alors en doute la découverte des gardiens de la réserve, mais l’on imagine qu’ils vont à nouveau partir à la recherche des singes, et cette fois, prendre avec eux un appareil photo.Le 23 avril 2011 à 20:01 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

United States immigration policy causes uproar amid family separation controversy

first_img 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsEarlier Story: Trump digs in on immigration policy amid ‘family separation’ controversyWASHINGTON (AP) — Facing rising outrage from some Republicans as well as Democrats over the forced separation of migrant children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, President Donald Trump dug in Monday, again blaming Democrats and declaring he would keep the U.S. from becoming “a migrant camp.”Democrats have turned up the pressure over the administration policy, and some Republicans have joined the chorus of criticism. Former first lady Laura Bush has called the separation policy “cruel” and “immoral” while GOP Sen. Susan Collins expressed concern about it and a former adviser to Trump questioned using the policy to pressure Democrats on immigration legislation.Trump continued to cast blame on Democrats Monday, as he detoured from planned remarks on U.S. space policy to defend his administration’s policies. “I say it’s very strongly the Democrats’ fault,” he said at the White House.“The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility,” he added. “Not on my watch.”“We are doing none of those things. We are enforcing the laws passed by Congress,” she said in an appearance before the National Sheriffs’ Association in New Orleans. Like Trump, she called on Congress to reform immigration laws.Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “zero-tolerance” policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution. U.S. protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.Nielsen said that releasing parents with their children amounts to a “get out of jail free card” policy for those in the country illegally.Speaking at the same conference, Sessions echoed Nielsen’s defense of the policy, and called on Congress to act.“We do not want to separate parents from their children,” Sessions said. “If we build the wall, if we pass legislation to end the lawlessness, we won’t face these terrible choices.”Trump asserted Monday that children “are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth” as a way to enter the United States. He tweeted: “Has anyone been looking at the Crime taking place south of the border,” calling it “historic.”Criticism is rising from both sides of the political aisle. In a guest column for The Washington Post Sunday, Mrs. Bush made some of the strongest comments yet from a Republican.“I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart,” she wrote. She compared it to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, which she called “one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.” Posted: June 19, 2018 Read my statement on the Department of Homeland Security immigration policy here: https://t.co/aA3TjX55Bj— Rep. Duncan Hunter (@Rep_Hunter) June 18, 2018___AP writers Colleen Long, Zeke Miller, and Ken Thomas in Washington and Kevin McGill in New Orleans contributed. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen rejected criticism accusing her department of inhuman and immoral actions. Monday, DHS Secretary Nielsen took questions to clarify some of the misleading talking points that have arisen regarding the Trump administration’s immigration policy. The Trump administration says they are not separating all immigrant families, but that it must be done in cases where they need to detain the adult for a crime. President Trump weighed in on the controversy over separation of illegal immigrant families at the US-Mexico border today saying, “The United States will not be a migrant camp. And it will not be a refugee holding facility. It won’t be. You look at what’s happening in Europe, you look at what is happening in other places, we cannot allow that to happen to the United States, not on my watch.” I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.https://t.co/he1uw1E96A— Laura Bush (@laurawbush) June 18, 2018 AP Updated: 4:42 PM AP, center_img 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsThe issue has sparked outrage from both democrats and republicans. President Trump continually pushes back claiming democrats created the problem, and he is determined to fix it. In studio to talk more about the issues going on at the border is Principal Attorney of Valdes & Associates, and Coronado School Board Candidate, Esther Valdes. Her complete interview can be seen in the video below. Stay up to date on the latest from the George W. Bush Institute and President and Mrs. Bush. Sign up to receive updates: https://t.co/mHu9WTZNbN pic.twitter.com/OGjwo1cWyt— George W. Bush Presidential Center (@TheBushCenter) June 18, 2018Underscoring the emotional tension, first lady Melania Trump, who has tended to stay out of contentious policy debates, waded into the issue. Her spokeswoman said that Mrs. Trump believes “we need to be a country that follows all laws,” but also one “that governs with heart.”“Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,” spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.RELATED STORY: House minority leader Nancy Pelosi visits US-Mexico border and tours illegal immigrant detention centersThe signs of splintering GOP support are spreading.The Rev. Franklin Graham, a longtime Trump ally, called the policy “disgraceful.” Several religious groups, including some conservative ones, have pushed to stop the practice of separating immigrant children from their parents.Former Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci said Monday on CNN that it “doesn’t feel right” for the Trump administration to blame Democrats and use the issue as a way of pressuring Democrats into negotiating on a Republican immigration bill.Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she favors tighter border security, but expressed deep concerns about the child separation policy.“What the administration has decided to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you,” she said. “That’s traumatizing to the children who are innocent victims, and it is contrary to our values in this country.”House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the policy “leaves a dark stain on our nation.”“Ripping vulnerable little children away from their parents is an utter atrocity that debases America’s values and our legacy as a beacon of hope, opportunity and freedom,” she said Monday.Trump plans to meet with House Republicans on Tuesday to discuss pending immigration legislation amid the election-season debate over what has been one of his favorite issues. The House is expected to vote this week on a bill pushed by conservatives that may not have enough support to pass, and a compromise measure with key proposals supported by the president. The White House has said Trump would sign either one.Both House proposals face broad opposition from Democrats, and even if a bill does pass, the closely divided Senate seems unlikely to go along.Trump’s former chief strategist said Republicans would face steep consequences for pushing the compromise bill because it provides a path to citizenship for young “Dreamer” immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Steve Bannon argued that that effort risks alienating Trump’s political base and could lead to election losses in November, when Republicans hope to preserve their congressional majorities. June 19, 2018 SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Tuesday, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer released a statement on the controversy surrounding parents being separated from their children after entering the United States illegally.Later Tuesday evening, Congressman Juan Vargas (D-Chula Vista) yelled, “Don’t you have kids?” at President Trump as he departed the US capitol following his meeting with the House GOP caucus on immigration. The congressman’s actions can be seen in the video posted below. United States immigration policy causes uproar amid ‘family separation’ controversy Categories: Local San Diego News, National & International News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Dozer Day record demolished

first_imgMore than $100,000 was raised at this year’s Dozer Day and that money will go to local children’s charitable groups. Grant applications will be accepted until June 15 at http://nutterfoundation.org.The Nutter family started its heavy construction business in 1992 and Nutter Corporation is at 7211 N.E. 43rd Ave. The company does excavation, grading and underground utilities; see them online at http://nuttercorp.com.Dozer Day, where kids are king on giant machines, just keeps getting more popular.An estimated 24,600 folks of all sizes got down in the dirt over the weekend at the 77-acre Cemex/Fisher Quarry at 192nd Avenue, just off state Highway 14. That’s a record for the 7-year-old event.The Nutter Foundation puts on the big show with help from dozens of sponsors and 900 volunteers.The pipe castle was a huge attraction at the Saturday-Sunday extravaganza. And why not? Kids could crawl through five pipes and three manholes. There were some portholes to spy through, too.“Overall, it’s 75 tons of concrete,” said Ron Sparks of Hockinson. He is the West Coast sales manager for Hanson Pipe & Precast. It took three days to put the play structure together, with help from Campbell Crane and Nutter Corporation.last_img read more

Official Virginia driver that drove into parade likely had medical condition

first_imgDAMASCUS, Va. — Authorities believe the driver who plowed into dozens of hikers marching in a Virginia mountain town parade suffered from a medical condition and did not cause the crash intentionally, an emergency official said Sunday.Officials did not have a formal confirmation or any specifics on the condition, but based on the accounts of authorities and witnesses on the scene, they are confident the issue was medical, according to Pokey Harris, Washington County’s director of emergency management. “There is no reason to believe this was intentional,” she said.In what witnesses called a frantic scene at the parade, about 50 to 60 people suffered injuries ranging from critical to superficial Saturday. No fatalities were reported. Three of the worst injured were flown by helicopter to area hospitals.Two people were kept at hospitals overnight, but their injuries were not critical as of Sunday, Harris said. “For the most part, everyone was treated and released,” she said.The crash happened around 2:10 p.m. Saturday during the Hikers Parade at the Trail Days festival, an annual celebration of the Appalachian Trail in Damascus, near the Tennessee state line about a half-hour drive east of Bristol.last_img read more

NPFMC Meets in Nome Bering Sea Pollock Remains Flat Chinook Bycatch Is

first_imgAfter days of scientific subcommittees, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council had its first round of meetings Wednesday in Nome. The Council heard reports from fisheries across the North Pacific.Download AudioWhen it comes to Bering Sea pollock, catches remain flat. Glenn Merrill, an Assistant Regional Administrator for the Council, said this year’s catch is “almost identical to what it was last year at this time.”But the Chinook bycatch within the pollock fishery is higher than last year’s rates—a major issue as subsistence fishermen along the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers face unprecedented restrictions in anticipation of one of the worst king salmon runs on record.Merrill reported, “The total Chinook salmon bycatch last year at this time last year was 8,237 fish. And the current Chinook salmon bycatch is 11,536. The rates are slightly higher this year for that same metric tonnage.”Merrill also said, halibut bycatch is also higher—by about 12-percent—this year.On the Russian side of the Strait, pollock fisheries are in full swing as well. Coast Guard Capt. Phillip Thorne said the Russian pollock fishery opened on May 15 of this year. Seven vessels are operating within 20 nautical miles of the maritime boundary line. Thorne said the Coast Guard patrolled the line May 29 through 31 and is continuing to send out patrol ships and aircraft as the season progresses.As for other species in the Bering Sea, snow crab were slightly down. Karla Bush with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said the season ended about two weeks earlier than it had in the past.When the floor opened for public comment, representatives from At-Sea Processors Association, United States Seafood, and Glacier Fish Company asked the Council to reapportion 100 metric tons of halibut bycatch for this year. The representatives said the measure would help “maximize” catches of yellowfin sole and cod. The representatives said fisheries could enter a voluntary agreement to capture 60-percent of the reapportion and leave 40-percent in the water for future savings. The Council said it will examine this request on Saturday at 1:00 pm.The Council continues its meetings in Nome today at the Mini Convention Center. Today’s two topics are the Observer Program for Tendering and Electronic Monitoring.last_img read more

UN urges India Pakistan to take steps to defuse tensions

first_imgIndian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel hold candles and pay tribute to their colleagues in Hyderabad on 15 February the day after an attack on a paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in the Lethpora area of Kashmir. Photo: AFPUN secretary general Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called on India and Pakistan to take immediate steps to defuse tensions and offered to help broker a solution if both sides agree.The two countries have been locked in a diplomatic clash following a suicide attack on 14 February in Kashmir that killed 40 Indian security personnel, triggering counter-operations by Indian forces in the area.“We are deeply concerned at the increasing tensions between the two countries,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.Guterres “stresses the importance of both sides to exercise maximum restraint and take immediate steps” to de-escalate, while also offering to mediate “should both sides ask,” said Dujarric.Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi appealed to Guterres to step in to defuse tensions, in a letter seen by AFP.“It is imperative to take steps for de-escalation. The United Nations must step in to defuse tensions,” said the letter sent on Monday.The attack was claimed by Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), but the foreign minister insisted that “attributing it to Pakistan even before investigations is absurd.”In response to the rising tensions, France, Britain and the United States were considering a new push at the Security Council to place Masood Azhar, the leader of JeM, on the UN terror list, but faced opposition from China, diplomats said.China has twice blocked—in 2016 and 2017 — attempts to put the JeM leader on the blacklist. The group itself was added to the terror list in 2001.Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947. Both countries claim the former Himalayan kingdom in full and have fought two wars over it.India has long accused Pakistan of harboring militants who launch attacks on its soil.Pakistan’s UN ambassador Maleeha Lodhi met with Guterres and with the president of the Security Council to appeal for action, warning that a flareup in Kashmir could undermine peace efforts in Afghanistan.“The escalation in the subcontinent poses a threat to prospects for peace in Afghanistan,” Lodhi told AFP.The United States is holding talks with the Taliban on ending 17 years of war.US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad’s talks also involve Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the three countries that recognized the Taliban regime in Kabul before the US-led coalition toppled it following the 11 September, 2001 attacks.last_img read more