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Supreme Court Puts Citizen Group’s Petition on Hold

first_imgJustice-in-Chambers at the Supreme Court, Cllr. Jamesetta Wolokollie, on Wednesday, February 26, told the complainants against the controversial amendment to the Central Bank of Liberia Act to wait until the bill meets all of the requirements of law.Just days after the bill was passed by the House of Representatives, the Citizens’ Solidarity Council of Liberia, represented by Cllrs. Theophilus Gould and Lavala Supuwood, brought the amendment before the Supreme Court of Liberia, seeking to nullify the bill and declare it void in line with Article 2 of the Constitution.In order for a bill to become law in Liberia, the legislature must have passed it; after the legislature has passed said bill, it must be signed by the President and printed into handbills.The Daily Observer has reliably learned that the recently amended CBL Act has not yet been signed by the President since the two houses of the legislature unanimously voted in favor of it — the Senate on February 13 (fifteen calnedar days ago) and the House of Representatives February 18 (ten calendar days ago).Constitutional experts believe that the Justice-in-Chambers’ decision requesting the Citizens’ Solidarity Council to wait for the President’s action on the bill is an indication that the case has merit, which creates a political dilemma for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The President, political analysts on Capitol Hill observed, is currently judging for herself whether she should sign the bill or not.According to our Executive Mansion sources, the Liberian leader considers the bill a bad law, but fears that vetoing it would further strain the already testy relationship between the Executive and the Legislative branches of government.A majority of the lawmakers, this paper is told, are meanwhile poised to override her veto.On the other hand, silence means consent: if the President does not act on the bill within 20 working days while she is in the country, the bill would automatically become law. It has been 8 working days (excluding weekends) since the House voted for the bill, concurring with the Senate. Wednesday, March 19, would mark the twentieth working day (weekends and holidays excluded) before the bill passes into law by default. However, President Sirleaf left the country Wednesday on ‘official visits’ to Nigeria and Chad. Her absence freezes time at only six (6) days since the Legislature passed the bill. She is expected to return over the weekend.An insider from the President’s office said Thursday that President Sirleaf is currently consulting stakeholders on what to do.The Liberian leader’s Annual Message in January is still fresh on the minds of the public.In her Annual Message, the President announced that the government of Liberia (GOL) would take stringent measures against state-owned enterprises from exercising discretionary disbursements approved by their boards.“We will implement stringent guidelines relating to state-owned enterprises which will no longer be allowed to make discretionary disbursements, approved by self-serving Boards that are not in conformity with our priorities and goals,” the President said.While it is not clear that this legislation is in line with that statement, the decision by the Liberian legislature to amend certain portions of the 1999 Financial Institution Act (FIA) establishing the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to ban the governor, his deputies and members of the board of governors from contesting political office for three successive years after the expiration of their respective tenures, has left many Liberians wondering about the actual reason behind the lawmakers’ action.Some political pundits who perceive CBL officials, mainly the governor, as harboring political interests to contest the presidency of Liberia come 2017, accused the CBL boss of engaging in political campaigning using state resources. But the governor’s supporters, who are mostly small and medium-size business owners as well as youths and students, have denied these suggestions.They clarified that the CBL’s loan scheme with the banks and non-bank financial institutions is critical to economic growth and development and poverty alleviation. Those against the bill have described it as a witch hunt since, in fact, it does not cover all public officials occupying senior government positions, including the lawmakers themselves.As proponents of the bill try to explain that it is only intended to guarantee and protect the coffers of the CBL, others are equally pointing out that the bill, as it is, does not provide any protection for the national reserves.As the two groups debate the issue, the Citizens’ Solidarity Council of Liberia, which rushed to the Supreme Court of Liberia seeking to nullify the bill and declare it void in line with Article 2 of the Constitution, .Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

High Court overturns Royston King’s dismissal

first_imgFormer Town Clerk Royston King’s dismissal was reversed by the High Court on Friday, paving the way for him to be reinstated at the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC).Royston KingKing had challenged a decision by the Local Government Commission (LGC) to fire him back in January for gross misconduct after a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) had recommended criminal charges against him.However, in a ruling on Friday morning, High Court Judge, Justice Simone Ramlall found that the former Town Clerk was unlawfully dismissed. She also ruled that the CoI in its entirety was unlawfully established hence all of its decisions and findings are null, void and of no effect.This includes King’s dismissal, which was based on the findings and recommendations of the probe.According to the Judge, the Commission is only permitted under the Local Government Commission Act to delegate its powers within the Local Government system and not investigative bodies outside such as the CoI that was set up to look into the operations of City Hall.The 2018 CoI was conducted by ret’d Justice Cecil Kennard, who found King guilty of gross misconduct, abuse of office, and misappropriation of funds. He had also stated that King performed the duties of treasurer and other officers of the Council, which were not his designated duties.Prior to his dismissal, King was sent on administrative leave on September 21, 2018, to facilitate the inquiry.The CoI report concluded that King leased lands to Quick Shipping Incorporated at Lombard Street, which is owned by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL). Throughout that time, the company argued, payments of $625,000 were made on three occasions but there were only receipts at the Council for two disbursements.King appeared before the one-man Commission after being subpoenaed and positioned that he was “unaware” or couldn’t “recall” most of the incidents.Moreover, the management of Giftland Mall had also informed that King had a special arrangement between City Hall and the enterprise, whereby he would waive taxes.MCG Investments Inc Consultant, Ray Hugh represented the owner of the mall, Roy Beepat, and exposed that a meeting was convened between the duo whereby it was agreed that all rates and taxes, including penalties and interests, would be waived completely for the years 2015 and 2016.Giftland Mall would only be required to pay a sum of $11,467,500 after the interests and penalties would have been waived. This was after a letter was issued, stating that the mall owed $44,255,183 to the municipality.King reportedly issued a letter sometime after, stating that the agreement “no longer stood” because of the lapse of time and “certain circumstances”.The former Town Clerk admitted that he did attend the meeting, but only at the behest of the Finance Sub-Committee, which thought of it as the best way of obtaining whatever sum was owed. King also refuted claims about the waiving of outstanding rates and taxes.In light of these findings, King appeared before the Local Government Commission to answer to the findings of the report and was also requested to present dialogue on other matters. However, his refusal to discuss the accusations which were brought against him triggered a decision by the Commission to dismiss him with immediate effect.Meanwhile, in his court document, King had asked for a series of orders including the reinstatement of his benefits, which his lawyer, Attorney Patrice Henry, said he will have to be paid.According to his lawyer, King will now have to be reinstated but as per his status quo prior to his termination, he will remain on administrative leave.The attorney told Guyana Times that because King is almost at the age of statutory retirement, his accumulative leave is sufficient to take him to that period.“So Mr King would not return to the job officially given his age. Mr King would just be paid off,” he explained.Meanwhile, the former Town Clerk told reporters after the ruling that he feels vindicated.“I’m very happy. I have always exercised great faith in the judicial system. Today justice has been done and I have been vindicated,” King stated.last_img read more

Doctors deliver twins from mother’s separate uteruses

first_imgMiracle births at GPHCBY SHEMUEL FANFAIRDoctors at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) are receiving praise for having pulled off a rare and intricate feat following the successful delivery of two healthy babies from a mother who carried the twins in separate uteruses. What made the 20-year-old mother’s story particularly special was that her type of pregnancy was so rare that statistics suggested its odds at one in a million. The delivery and discovery was made via Cesarean Section (C-Section) on August 25 and her twins – a boy and a girl, were born with normal weight. The boy’s weight was five pounds, eight ounces, while the girl weighed 5 pounds, six ounces.Depictions of the conditionAt a press conference at the GPHC on Thursday, doctors announced that both mother and children were happy and healthy and were discharged from hospital. Consultant in charge of the case, Dr Lucio Pedro said the mother’s rare condition falls under Mullerian duct anomalies (MDAs) which cause “abnormal embryological development of the Mullerian ducts”. The 20-year-old mother’s MDA is called Didelphys Uterus which means she has two uteruses. She delivered full term at 37 weeks, one day and it was likened to winning the mega lottery, given its chances.Reporters were eager to get into the mind of the doctor who delivered the twins from the separate uteruses, especially considering that the ultrasound did not pick up what was transpiring inside of the mother’s body.“When I actually went in and I delivered the male baby, there was no way to get into the other side; you had to make another incision in order to go over into the other side for the baby girl,” Dr Rafi Rozan stated on Thursday.The Obstetrician and Gynecologist (OBGYN) expressed that he was indeed anxious when he made the discovery, noting that the condition is so rare that he will probably never see another of the same case in Guyana, given that our population is under a million.“During post-graduate studies, you read so many things but you don’t actually get to see them, so this was a first for me, I’ve seen a case on TV that’s why I know that the statistics of that say it’s one in a million but these are very rare and you would often get them one time, if not at all, in your medical career,” stated the doctor who also functions as a Senior Registrar at GPHC.He added that the case was just one of many extraordinary achievements that doctors would normally carry out.“I’m always excited about things. I love a challenge but this is not a challenge compared to the normal things we go over every day. We have a lot of things happening with good outcomes. You may hear about some of the bad things that happen, but every day, OBGYNs save lives,” Dr Rozan affirmed.Given the risk of such pregnancies, the mother has implanted two intrauterine devices (IUD) to prevent additional pregnancies. Dr Lucio Pedro, the consultant, explained that such pregnancies are associated with increased chances for spontaneous abortion, premature labour and cesarean delivery as against normal pregnancies.last_img read more

GECOM temporarily halts house-to-house registration

first_imgThe Guyana Election CommissionWith house-to-house registration set to commence on June 1, 2019, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has temporarily halted the process. The elections body held out that the exercise was mandatory before the next General and Regional Elections are held.The delay in the commencement of the exercise was confirmed by Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the elections body, Yonlanda Ward, during a telephone interview with Guyana Times“Initially, the plan was to commence on June 1. We anticipate that (house-to-house registration) will commence in June; however, at a little later timeline for which I don’t have an exact date as yet as the Commission is still deliberating on that,” Ward explained.The issue was first raised by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo at a press conference on Thursday.“I asked the Executive Secretary (Zulficar Mustapha) to confirm with (Chief Elections Officer Keith) Lowenfield and Lowenfield has confirmed that they’re not starting when they initially had announced it would start,” Jagdeo told media operatives.However, when asked, the reason behind the delay, the GECOM’s Public Relations Officer was unable to say. “No, I don’t have a reason. That is a matter that is being discussed at the moment,” she said.Earlier in the week, after the statutory meeting, Government-nominated Commisisoner Charles Corbin had disclosed that there were some procurement issues at the election secretariat.“(The Secretariat) did indicate that they did have some issues and delays with respect to some procurement which may cause some delay in moving forward,” Corbin had indicated following Tuesday’s statutory meeting.Nevertheless, Ward told this newspaper on Thursday that all the training of staff required for the exercise has been completed and they are now in the process of tidying up staff placements.GECOM is forging ahead with house-to-house registration as the country awaits a ruling from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on the December 2018 passage of the Opposition’s No-confidence Motion.The Trinidad-based regional court is currently deliberating on several appeals asking it to overturn the Guyana Court of Appeal’s March ruling which invalidated the passage of the motion of no confidence against the coalition Government. The CCJ is being asked to throw out the Appeal Court ruling and uphold the High Court’s January decision that the motion was validly passed and as such, Government should resign and call elections.Earlier this month, the CCJ panel heard submissions from the parties and is expected to hand down its decision sometime in the coming month.According to the Opposition, there are concerns brewing over the length of time the CCJ is taking to deliver its decision, especially since it was critical of the sloth with which the matter was dealt with here in Guyana.Nevertheless, he posited that while they await that ruling, the staff at the Elections Commission should be cautious.“I just want to say to the technical staff at the Commission not to be bullied or pressured by the political Commissioners and the Chairman on (the conduct house-to-house registration). Because at the end of the day, they (the staff) will have a long-term presence at GECOM and careers at GECOM, and have responsibility of acting consistent with the law. And you wouldn’t have the same political backing; people would leave you in the lurch if anything ever goes wrong,” Jagdeo asserted.GECOM and the Government have been arguing that house-to-house registration is necessary to update the voters’ list which expired at the end of April 2019. Initially, GECOM said it would need some nine months to carry out the registration exercise but with the delays now, it could take longer than anticipated. This would result in the elections body being unable to honour the court ruling, if it is mandated for polls to be held promptly.However, the registration exercise is being held amidst contention between the two sides of political Commissioners at GECOM. The Opposition-nominated Commissioner had held out that there was no need for house-to-house registration when the old voters’ list could have been vetted and updated through a ‘claims and objection’ period.In fact, a similar view was recently shared by GECOM’s legal officer, Excellence Dazzle. She submitted a legal opinion, contending that house-to-house registration is not necessary and advised that another less time-consuming process be utilised, in accordance with the law, to update the list. But lawyer’s advice was set aside by GECOM.GECOM’s Public Relations Officer Yolanda Wardlast_img read more

Pederson sprints to victory in Snake Pit Road Race

first_imgThanks to Trevor Kolkea for organizing this event! Racers await the start of the Snake Pit road race on Sunday. Submitted photo. -submitted story- Advertisement -Kent Pedersen won a close sprint for Dawson Creek’s 70 km Challenge Cup road race, Sunday, over Pat Ferris and Kevin Shaw. All had a time of 1:57:51 hours. Gill Neufeld was 4th at 2:01:40 and Chris Garwah 5th at 2:10:06.The Blizzards won the day with 46 points to DC’s 25 and GP’s 3. That puts the defending champion Blizzards back in the lead with 122 points, GP’s 113 and DC’s 68, with four races to go.Jamie Maxwell was 6th at 2:10:08, Warren Miller (GP) 2:11:28, Pat Coppens 2:14:46, Francis Plum (GP) 2:18:00 and Owen Giebelhaus 2:19:59.Sam Keats won the 50 km event with a time of 1:35:22, five seconds ahead of second place Ken Nix.Larry Joice won the 25 km at 54:19. Brenda Coppens was second at 55:55 and Brandon Joice 3rd at 1:03:10.Advertisement Coming up:-Tuesday is the final Baldonnel Duathlon of the season at 7 PM-Wed is a club meeting at 7:30 PM at Wendy’sAdvertisement -Thursday is the Aurora Engineering Personal Best time trial at Baldonnel 7 PM.-Sunday is the club road championship 10:00 am from the tracks on the Old Montney Highway.www.ferrisfastcycles.comlast_img read more

Catalina fire turns away from main town

first_imgAbout 3,800 residents and tourists fled, Schwarzenegger said. As people lined up at the harbor Thursday night to board ferries to the mainland, many covered their faces with towels and bandanas to ward off ashes. Resident Kathy Troeger fled with her three children and a friend’s daughter, while her husband, a fire captain, stayed behind to fight the blaze. “It was like a nightmare when we left,” she said after arriving at the mainland port of Long Beach. “You couldn’t breathe, and ash was falling like snow.” Anita Bussing, a therapist who has a second home on the island, described a sky “completely gray with orange streaks.” The helicopters were flying all over the place,” she said. “People were freaking out, children were crying.” Island hotel worker Susana Garcia, 22, waited long into the night at the dock looking for her father. She had gone to the mainland to do errands before the fire started and was unable to reach her father, who had stayed behind. “I’ve been asking everybody if they’ve seen him, but I haven’t found him yet,” Garcia said. Dozens of fire engines arrived through the night from as far away as Fresno, carried by giant military hovercraft from the Marine Corps’ Camp Pendleton. One firefighter was overcome by inhalation and was in stable condition. Wind that reached 20 mph Thursday calmed and were expected to blow the fire westward, away from Avalon and toward the island’s sparsely populated center. Despite being well offshore, Catalina has been left parched by the lack of rainfall that has made the rest of Southern California particularly susceptible to wildfires like the one in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park this week. Television actor Steven W. Bailey, who lives near the park, had gone to Catalina with his wife to escape the smoke and heat on Thursday. As they approached the island, he spotted the smoke of the island blaze, and when they arrived, they weren’t allowed to check into their hotel. “It just descended into more and more fire, more and more smoke, more and more ash,” Bailey told KABC-TV. Firefighters were still working Friday to surround what remained of the Griffith Park fire, which briefly chased people from homes and threatened the park’s landmark observatory and zoo. Elsewhere around the country, firefighters battled the second Georgia wildfire to burn more than 100,000 acres as gusty wind spread the fast-moving blaze further into northern Florida and toward the tiny town of Fargo west of the Okefenokee Swamp. Officials said the wildfire, ignited Saturday by lightning, had grown so rapidly that after six days it already rivaled a fire that has scorched 116,480 acres, or 182 square miles, of southeastern Georgia forest and swampland since April 16 – the state’s largest wildfire on record. About 570 homes in northern Columbia County, Fla., were evacuated overnight, and heavy smoke blanketed the area. A haze was seen in Miami, more than 300 miles away. To the north, a wildfire grew to nearly 86 square miles in northeastern Minnesota and across the border into Canada, cutting power and phone lines to many resorts and lake homes. The fire, driven by high wind Thursday and fed by drought-parched forest, has already destroyed 45 structures and was threatening about 200 more. The chance of desperately needed rainfall was still days away. — Associated Press writers Daisy Nguyen and Christina Almeida in Los Angeles, and Gillian Flaccus in Long Beach contributed to this report.165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Most of the 76-square-mile island is owned by a land conservancy, home to wildlife including the Catalina Island fox, North American bison and bald eagle. Flames that had menaced the main city of Avalon the night before were no longer visible from there on Friday. But a layer of ash and a puff of smoke that rose from a hillside overlooking the crescent harbor were reminders of a harrowing night. “The risk has been reduced significantly,” Fire Chief Steven Hoefs said. “Most of the structures have been protected.” The blaze broke out Thursday afternoon in the island’s rugged interior, feeding on dry brush and fanned by a steady wind into the night. One home and a few small structures in the canyons outside the city burned. Photo Gallery: Catalina fire Firefighters turned back flames that threatened Santa Catalina Island’s main city and some residents planned to return to their homes today after thousands were forced to evacuate yesterday. The wildfire was 4,000 acres, or more than 6 square miles, and was only 10 percent contained early Friday. But worries were eased by the day’s favorable weather forecast and the arrival of dozens of fire trucks and air tankers on the narrow, mountainous island 30 miles off Los Angeles. “Everyone is working very hard to make sure that the people are safe and the animals are safe,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday. last_img read more

GAA RESULTS: DONEGAL NORTH

first_imgUnder 12 Go Games League Section 2Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment21-May-2012 St Eunans B 0 – 5 0 Glenswilly B O Donnell Park-Letterkenny Crawfords Trophies U-14 League Div 2 Section 2Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment16-May-2012 Glenswilly 5 – 9 0 – 2 Milford Glenswilly-Pairc Naomh Columba Crawfords Trophies U-14 League Div 2 Section 1Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment16-May-2012 Buncrana 3 – 10 4 – 7 Convoy Scarvey-BuncranaCrawfords Trophies U-14 League Div 1Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment16-May-2012 St Michaels 1 – 2 8 – 18 St Eunans Dunfanaghy Crawfords Trophies U-14 League Div 2 Section 2Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment16-May-2012 St Eunans B 5 – 8 3 – 2 Termon O Donnell Park-LetterkennyCrawfords Trophies U-14 League Div 2 Section 1 Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment16-May-2012 Red Hughs 4 – 4 3 – 7 Carndonagh CrossroadsCrawfords Trophies U-14 League Div 1Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment16-May-2012 Cloughaneely 1 – 5 5 – 10 Sean MacCumhaills CloughaneelyCrawfords Trophies U-14 League Div 2 Section 1Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment16-May-2012 Naomh Colmcille Newtown 7 – 10 3 – 4 Malin Pairc Colmcille Newton16-May-2012 Glenfin 8 – 10 2 – 1 Naomh Padraig Lifford Pairce TaobhoigeCrawfords Trophies U-14 League Div 3Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment16-May-2012 Downings 1 – 5 0 Robert Emmets Downings16-May-2012 Urris 5 – 16 2 – 7 St Eunans C Urris-Pairc Ui Chraimhsaigh16-May-2012 Letterkenny Gaels 2 – 7 4 – 8 Moville Pairc Na nGael-LetterkennyUnder 12 Go Games League Section 2Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment14-May-2012 Robert Emmets 2 – 7 1 – 11 St Eunans B Pairc Eimead14-May-2012 Red Hughs 1 – 1 2 – 18 Buncrana CrossroadsUnder 12 Go Games League Section 1Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment14-May-2012 Termon 3 – 9 0 – 4 St Michaels The Burn RoadUnder 12 Go Games League Section 2Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment14-May-2012 Glenswilly B 0 0 – 5 Glenfin Glenswilly-Pairc Naomh Columba14-May-2012 Naomh Padraig Lifford 1 – 3 4 – 11 Sean MacCumhaills Lifford-Pairc Mac DiarmadaUnder 12 Go Games League Section 1Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment14-May-2012 Fanad Gaels 1 – 13 2 – 5 Letterkenny Gaels Fanad Gaels Portsalon14-May-2012 Gaoth Dobhair 3 – 7 3 – 8 Downings Machaire GathlanUnder 12 Go Games League Section 2Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment14-May-2012 Convoy 0 – 4 2 – 8 Naomh Colmcille Newtown ConvoyUnder 12 Go Games League Section 1Date Team 1 Score Score Team 2 Venue Comment14-May-2012 Milford 3 – 6 2 – 5 Glenswilly Moyle Park Milford14-May-2012 Cloughaneely 1 – 6 3 – 10 St Eunans CloughaneelyGAA RESULTS: DONEGAL NORTH was last modified: May 20th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:GAA RESULTS: DONEGAL NORTHlast_img read more

South Africa to host Commonwealth Games in 2022

first_img2 September 2015South Africa’s coastal city of Durban has been named as host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The announcement took place Auckland, New Zealand on Wednesday after a unanimous vote by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).It will be the first time the event is held on the African continent.“Over more than eight decades, many great Commonwealth cities, nations and territories have hosted the games in order to build peaceful, prosperous and sustainable communities, inspired by the actions and achievements of our Commonwealth athletes, and underpinned by our values of humanity, equality and destiny,” said outgoing CGF President HRH Tunku Imran.“Our friends from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa are now primed to make the most of that responsibility and opportunity, and it gives me very great pleasure to welcome the South African City of Durban as proud host of the XXII Commonwealth Games. As a movement, we stand together to welcome and support the very first Commonwealth Games on African soil.”South Africa ended up being the sole bidder after the Canadian city of Edmonton withdrew its bid because of financial concerns related to the oil price.Bid Committee Chairman, Mark Alexander expressed his thanks to the CGF for awarding the games to Durban. “It will accelerate the progress the city is making in construction and development, and in building a more inclusive citizenry,” he said.See the delegates break out in song in New Zealand:Already inspiring @thecgf delegates at the 2022 Host City announcement @Durban2022pic.twitter.com/7b5zbtNMxo— Helen Phillips(@HelenPhillips05)September 2, 2015“Through the Games we aim to build greater social cohesion, create opportunities for empowerment, boost prosperity and ensure equality, while also fast-tracking economic growth in our country. The Commonwealth Games in Durban will be a game changer for the city,” added Alexander.Durban’s mayor James Nxumalo said it was a huge step. “Today marks a gigantic leap in the affirmation and positive trajectory for the continent of Africa,” he said. “It is a moment to seize and firmly anchor our position as a decisive force in sports worldwide.”We’re ready“Durban’s vision supports and contributes to South Africa’s 2030 National Development Plan and is rooted in the desire to engage citizens (especially young people), athletes and the Commonwealth,” reads the Durban 2022 website.“The Games concept features a compact venue plan centred on the sporting super-precinct of the Moses Mabhida Stadium and adjacent coastline, providing excellent opportunities for innovative sport presentation and enhanced athlete experience. The Opening Ceremony would take place on Mandela Day, 18 July 2022.”Trending on TwitterThe hashtags #ReadyToInspire and #Durban2022 quickly became the top trending topics on Twitter on Wednesday morning.It was celebrations all around for South Africans and many took to Twitter to show their pride and excitement.We are proud to announce that we are the official Host City for @Durban2022@thecgf #ReadyToInspire – GO #Durban!pic.twitter.com/20T7KOz4JY— Durban Tourism (@durbanxperience) September 2, 2015#Durban the very first city to host the Commonwealth Games on African soil @Durban2022#ReadyToInspire pic.twitter.com/8Rwl0Vh7Qe— Durban Chamber (@DurbanChamber)September 2, 2015About the gamesThe Commonwealth Games is a multi-sport, international event for athletes from many territories that were part of the British Empire.They were first held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada, where 11 countries sent 400 athletes to take part in six sports and 59 events. The Games take place every four years; the only years they skipped were 1942 and 1946 because of World War II.From 1930 to 1950, the Games were known as the British Empire Games; from 1954 until 1966, they were called the British Empire and Commonwealth Games; and from 1970 to 1974 they took on the title of British Commonwealth Games. At the 1978 Games in Edmonton, the name was changed to the Commonwealth Games.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Farmers’ protest: Fault lines in the fields

first_imgAs the major commercial supplier in this region, Nashik may have become the epicentre of the farmers’ movement but it all started in a village called Puntamba in Ahmednagar district three months ago on April 3, when the village’s gram panchayat passed a resolution warning of a ‘Shetkari Sampa’ (Strike of the Ryots) from June 1. Their charter of demands addressed to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis included ensuring crop procurement prices at least 50% above production costs, a complete waiver of farm loans, 100% subsidy on drip/sprinkler irrigation systems, and a minimum milk purchase price of ₹50.Farmers across the region may find a specific resonance in one or the other of these demands but what seems to have really helped the movement spread from Puntamba across the Nashik-Ahmednagar-Pune stretch of Maharashtra is the language in which the idea of the strike was communicated. “Farmers face many hardships but this was the first time I’ve seen farmers actually willing to go on strike to and risk everything to see that they are given some recognition,” says Abhijit Dige, who owns an eight-acre farm about 60 km from Nashik. “Politicians don’t know what farmers go through, it’s not like other businesses. Devendra Fadnavis should come and work in the field for 14 hours a day, work at night in the cold to tend to onion crops, and then maybe he’ll understand,” he says.That same sentiment is echoed by Deepak Rane who has a one-acre farm just off Niphad where he grows cauliflower. “The strike should not stop because people don’t realise what we go through. I am not able to recover the cost that I bear to treat my crops with chemicals and fertilizers. I work from 6 in the morning; what is it all for?” he says.“People from all walks of life face hardships but have you ever considered why it is only farmer suicides you have heard of?” asks Dinesh Nikam, another trader in Nashik who has refused to take orders for onions and other vegetables because he says he stands in solidarity with the farmers.The illusion of prosperityWhen farm distress was first reported in Maharashtra, it focussed mainly on the prices of tur and arhar dal and the difficulties faced by farmers in the drought-prone Marathwada and Amaravati regions. After two years of consecutive drought, a good monsoon in 2016 brought in a bountiful harvest and the markets were simply swamped with produce. Record harvests were offset by a steep fall in procurement prices for both crops.The plight of those farmers is often referenced by prominent leaders of the movement in Nashik and Ahmednagar though it has to be noted that this region is substantially different. The stretch from Ahmednagar to Nashik, and down to Kolhapur and Sangli where the movement spread is a fairly contiguous belt that is home to relatively more prosperous farmers. The majority of farmers in the region over the past two decades have moved from cultivation of crops like bajra (pearl millet) and jowar (sorghum) to cash crops like grapes and onions. Many have invested in dairy farming (Puntamba, for instance, is home to many dairy farmers).Vegetables, then, are actually only a small part of the produce from this region and while the enduring visual images of the strike may be of vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage being dumped on the road, there are many places where people show us pictures shot on cell phones of roads lined with pomegranates, which is the most recent entry to the crop market here.In Nitaley, for instance, a village about 10 km from Niphad that was the one of the centres of the agitation, Swarupananda Bhorgade says that about 80% of the village of 5,000-odd farmers is involved in grape farming, sometimes done in rotation with onions. “I have been growing grapes for the last 20 years and till about seven or eight years ago I used to sell it for about ₹50 a kilo,” says Bhorgade. “So it was only natural that I planted grapes on every inch of my 15 acres. Now it costs me about ₹15 to harvest a kilo of grapes and all I can get on the market is ₹9 to ₹18 a kilo,” he says.Bhorgade attributes this to a number of factors, the most important of which is ‘climate’ — storms would come unseasonably and the crops would be destroyed. Or there would be hailstorms. This past year, the weather was regular and the crop was good for once but there is no price. “You have to take into account how much we have spent on growing these crops and how we will recover it. It costs a lot to invest in crops like grapes and pomegranates,” he says, adding that farmers from the region initially tried to rope in their counterparts from Amaravati who grew tur dal but their situation was completely different. “They have larger landholdings and their crop is rain-fed. They don’t have to spend on irrigation and other chemicals and fertilizer like we do.”On June 3, a faction of farmer leaders decided to call off the strike after Mr. Fadnavis announced a partial loan waiver for small and marginal farmers that would come into effect on October 31. In a large meeting on June 8 in Nashik that included about 3,000 farmers and 150 representatives of farmer associations from across the State, that compromise was rejected. “The people who met the Chief Minister did so late at night without anybody knowing and the agreement was not along the lines of what we were originally demanding,” said Raju Shetti, president of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana that has taken a major role in advancing the agenda. If the government did not accede to the demand to waive all loans immediately and bump up procurement prices, the meeting decided that the strike would move to a new phase of hartals across district and collectors offices from June 12 and ‘rail rokos’ in some areas. As of June 8, the meeting concluded that farmers should be allowed to take their produce to the market in order to meet their minimum needs. “Look for Puntamba on that day (June 12),” says one of the farmers who attended the meeting. “The first rail roko will be there, where it all started.” Bitter harvest: Traders have not been able to send onions to other parts of the country due to the farmers’ strike. Picture shows a worker checking sacks of onion in the market yard at Niphad near Nashik, Maharashtra. In the town of Niphad in Maharashtra’s Nashik district, the main vegetable market, located in a large yard opposite the tehsil office, lies deserted. In a series of godowns that lie adjacent to the yard there is a pink gleam as sunlight filters through to large sacks of onions that are waiting to be transported. In Vittal Sanap’s godown, which is nearly packed to capacity with produce, a large truck with a tarpaulin cover has been parked inside for three days even as workers go about their usual task of loading onions into bright red sacks.“We had an order for onions to go to Madras (Chennai) a few days back but the truck was accosted on the road before it could get to Nashik and all the onions were dumped on the road,” says Sanap. Onions that are left at the mercy of the elements lose their value almost immediately, so for now Sanap is just waiting for things to tide over. “The hartal (strike) will have to end soon because there are many farmers who have no choice but to sell their goods even if prices are bad.”Onions and other vegetables from godowns like Sanap’s go to the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) market in Nashik from where they are taken to other cities in Maharashtra like Mumbai and Pune as well as to other States in the south like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and even Sri Lanka. The APMC market in Nashik is appropriately mammoth — on either side of a dusty road are two large open halls, each the size of a large bus terminus with tall pillars running right through. On June 8, a day after the one-week strike called by farmers in the region officially ended, a small group of women have set up shop to sell vegetables like cabbage, chillies, tomatoes and cucumber. They take up barely a quarter of one hall but as produce is brought in by farmers in smaller trucks, there are murmurs of anger outside with some arguments breaking out as the produce is passed inside. “These women are not from Maharashtra, you can tell from their earrings that they are from Rajasthan. These are just small local farmers who want to break the strike,” says one of the men. Still, even these small traces of activity raise the suspicion that divisions are beginning to form in what was till now a unified movement in the district.United in adversity  Price pinch in MalwaBarkheda Path is typical of the villages in this region. With an approximate population of 3,500, 95% of the population is engaged in farming in landholdings that are less than a hectare per family. Abhishek’s family members narrate their tale of loss. “The last three years have crushed our backbone because prices have plunged, forcing us to sell our produce at rates where we don’t even recover our investment,” says Dinesh, adding, “today’s market price for soybean is ₹2,500-2,700 per quintal while our cost to produce one quintal is above ₹3,000.” Not only soybean, prices of onion, gram, methi, vegetables, milk have bottomed while input costs have soared for seeds, fertilizers, labour and transport, he says. Abhishek Patidar, 19, had just passed his Class 11 exam this year with dreams of becoming a doctor. His family owns a piece of land — about 27 bighas — in Barkheda Path, a village 22 km north of Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh where they grow soybean, methi (fenugreek) and chana (gram). On June 6, Abhishek went to Mandsaur along with hundreds of others from his village to protest against the falling crop prices that were pushing his family to the brink of desperation. Tragically, he became one of the victims of police firing, taking three bullets on a day when farmer protests across the western belt stretching from Madhya Pradesh to Maharashtra reached a frenzied pitch. “He was too young but was keen to join the protest. We grow everything in our 27-bigha land but in the last three years, prices have plunged and ruined us,” says Abhishek’s father, Dinesh Patidar, 55, tears rolling down his eyes.Also Readcenter_img U.P. loan waiver puts 2 BJP-ruled States in a fix | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre  Madhya Pradesh consistently boasts of double-digit growth in agriculture — averaging 13.9% during 2010-15 — and like many other States, had a bumper harvest following a good monsoon in 2016. Yet as per the National Crime Records Bureau statistics, as many as 1,982 farmers committed suicide in the State in 2016-17. A combination of factors — falling procurement prices because of a glut of produce in the market, a cash crunch due to last year’s demonetisation policy and the predominance of smaller landholdings which are expensive to maintain — have led to a simmering anger. Like their counterparts in many parts of Maharashtra, farmers in Mandsaur launched an agitation demanding remunerative prices for their onion, soybean and pulses. As thousands of farmers poured onto the streets, stopping traffic, attacking trucks and confronting police, things turned violent and five farmers were killed as a result of police firing and a curfew was imposed across five districts.Farmers from the Mandsaur-Neemuch stretch in the Malwa region, aside from growing soybean and chana, also grow a range of spices and medicinal plants like methi, dhaniya (coriander), jeera (cumin) and ajwain (carom seeds). Yet, farmers in the region claim that prices for these cash crops have been falling for the past few years. “We never sold methi below ₹4,000 per quintal during the Manmohan Singh’s government. But ever since Modi became PM, methi prices have collapsed,” says Dinesh, showing methi gunny bags stored in his house.In addition to low prices, what has aggravated the situation is the Central government’s demonetisation move late last year that has adversely hit the rural and agrarian economy. “Notebandi has almost finished us in the rural areas. Even after selling our produce, we don’t get money in our hands before at least two-three weeks and sometimes even a month,” says Lalchand Mali, a farmer from Barkheda Panth.Interestingly, not many farmers in the region are seeking loan waiver as is being claimed in the media. Most of them want better and remunerative prices that cover their costs and provide them income for survival. “Believe me, no true farmer would want loan waiver. If the government provides better prices, we will repay our debt. The problem is the government never provides better prices,” adds Lalchand, who owns a two-hectare plot in the village.The Maharashtra stirlast_img read more

Asia Cup 2018: Will Virat Kohli’s absence hurt India’s chances?

first_imgIndia will look to defend their claim as Asia’s best when they take the field in the 2018 Asia Cup which starts 15 September in the United Arab Emirates.Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will play the tournament-opener in Dubai on September 15, with the title clash being played on September 28 also in Dubai.India will open their campaign against Hong Kong, who had defeated UAE in the final of the qualifiers, on September 18 in Dubai and then play arch-rivals Pakistan at the same venue.Rohit Sharma will be leading the Indian team in absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, who has been rested keeping in mind his heavy workload.READ – MS Dhoni’s chance to answer critics after average England seriesAnd on Thursday afternoon, Rohit led nine members of the Indian team to Dubai, with the rest of the players – who competed in the gruelling Test series in England – joining the squad on September 16 after a two-day break.And this is not the first time that Kohli has opted to take a break from a tournament since becoming India’s fulltime captain. (READ FULL STORY HERE)At the previous tournament in 2016 in Bangladesh, which was organised in the Twenty20 format, Kohli was India’s leading run-scorer with 153 runs in their title-winning camping. The current skipper for the upcoming edition, Rohit, was the second best with 138 runs.But that was a different format and the 2018 edition of the Asia Cup will be played in the 50-over format – as the 50-over World Cup is scheduled to be held in England and Wales next year.advertisementREAD – Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni and 7 other Team India members depart early for Asia CupKohli was easily India’s best batsman, with 191 runs, in the latest white ball series (the three ODIs against England). Rohit was second best again with 154 runs.So how will the Indian batting line-up cope in the absence of Kohli this time around?READ – Will miss bowling at him: Hasan Ali on Kohli’s absence from Asia CupIn the lead up to the tournament Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali felt Kohli’s absence was good news for his team’s chances, even though he would have liked to have taken the Indian captain’s wicket.”Virat Kohli is a very good player. Everybody knows that he is a match-winner. Though India are still a good side, his absence is going to be an advantage for us. He can drive his team out of pressure anytime and any newcomer won’t be good enough to handle the pressure. I am definitely going to miss bowling at him. It’s natural that every young bowler would like to have his wicket.WATCH – Rohit Sharma & Co. depart for Asia Cup 2018″But it’s okay if he is not coming … I will look for him the next time. I wasn’t targeting Kohli only. We are not going to play only against India as there are other teams [in the tournament] as well. Our main focus is the entire tournament rather than winning one game and losing others. We have do well to beat every team and try to win the tournament,” Ali had said before leaving for the UAE.Kohli was one of the brightest lights in an otherwise gloomy Test series against England, scoring 593 runs at an average of 59.3 in five matches including two centuries.READ – Laxman names Shoaib Malik as real threat for India vs PakistanAs for Kohli’s record against India’s neighbours Pakistan – it is impressive to say the least. He has scored 459 runs in 12 ODIs and that too at an average of 45.90. Kohli also has two centuries, with one of them being his highest ODI score of 183, which came in the Asia Cup in 2012.And according to another Pakistan pacer Faheem Ashraf, India are a world class team despite the absence of number one ranked batsman in ODI cricket.”Look, India even if Virat Kohli is not coming, India is a world class team. So you can’t take them lightly at any time. We are practising with hundred per cent effort, even if it is a batsman or a bowler and even in fielding. Our job is to give hundred per cent in training and, Inshallah (God Willing), we will surely win the match as well,” Ashraf said at a press conference after reaching the tournament venue.So what does Kohli’s absence mean for the Team India at the Asia Cup?The issue can be studied under the light of added pressure for the rest of the Indian batting line-up. But the situation can also be taken as an opportunity for the others to perform and stake a claim in the side running up to World Cup.advertisementWith doubts over India’s best choice batsman for the No.4 and No.6 position, the trio of Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav have a chance to prove themselves. KL Rahul, who capped off a rather disappointing tour of England with a century, will also be itching to be score more runs in Dubai and finalise his seat on the flight to England next year.last_img read more

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