VBA to contest all 48 Lok Sabha seats

first_imgVirtually ruling out any pre-poll alliance with the Congress, Prakash Ambedkar, president of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, announced on Tuesday that the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) would contest all 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.With an eye to securing the Dalit-Muslim votes, BBM forged an alliance with the Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) to form the VBA which also comprises of smaller outfits.Speaking in Akola district, Mr. Ambedkar, leader of the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, said the proposals presented by Congress so far were unacceptable and that discussions about joining the ‘anti-BJP front’ led by the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had hit a roadblock.“I do not see this discussion [about a pre-poll alliance] moving any further. I consider all proposals presented to us by the Congress have been exhausted. We cannot take back the names of the 22 candidates we have finalised,” said Mr. Ambedkar.The BBM chief, a grandson of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, said that as the names of 22 VBA candidates had already been announced, the remaining would be announced in Mumbai on March 15.“We had even offered Congress to choose among the 22 candidates we had announced. The candidates, too, had expressed no objection about contesting on a Congress symbol. But with no response forthcoming from the Congress, I do not see any headway in this discussion,” Mr. Ambedkar said. Mr. Ambedkar’s announcement of his candidacy from the Solapur Lok Sabha constituency on Monday is expected to increase the discomfiture of veteran Congressman and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who has been elected several times in the past from that seat before losing to the BJP’s Sharad Bansode in 2014.last_img read more

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Trees Become Refrigerators for Koalas

first_imgWhen they wrap their limbs around the wide trunks of acacia trees, koalas aren’t just trying to keep from falling—the trees help the marsupials cool off, researchers have discovered. The findings could impact koala conservation efforts as well as forecasts on how climate change will affect the animals.“I think this is really exciting,” says koala ecologist William Ellis of the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, in Australia, who was not involved in the new work. “The way koalas use their environment appears to be quite complex, and this just adds another layer to it.”Koalas are known for their limited diet—they survive solely on the leaves of particular species of eucalyptus trees. Even their water is mostly obtained from the leaves, making dehydration a danger, especially during Australia’s heat waves. But despite their reliance on eucalyptus for food and water, the animals also hang out on the trunks of other trees.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(*)“We were puzzled why they’d spend time and energy swapping trees when they were so clearly hot and exhausted,” says zoologist Michael Kearney of the University of Melbourne, Parkville, in Australia. He and his colleagues suspected that the koalas might be trying to find spots with the most shade or breeze. To test their hypothesis, they used a miniature weather station, attached to a pole for easy transportation and control, to gather data on the weather around—and within the branches of—different trees. First, they collected data around trees in southeastern Australia that 37 radio-tagged koalas spent time around during different days. Then, they got a random sampling of readings on hundreds of nearby trees that the koalas didn’t choose to relax on. Finally, to get more information on how heat moved in and out of the trees, the researchers snapped thermal images of the four species of trees most often used by the koalas—three eucalyptus species and the Australian acacia.Whereas koalas sat in acacia trees only 5% of the time on cooler days, they were in the acacia trees almost a third of the time when the temperature exceeded 35°C. The preference couldn’t be explained by local temperature, humidity, or wind speed, which were all similar around the four tree species, and the acacia trees provided no extra shade. But the thermal imaging revealed something else. During hot weather, all four tree species had trunks cooler than the air temperature. Yet whereas eucalyptus trunks were less than 2°C cooler than the surrounding air, acacia tree trunks averaged almost 7°C colder. So the koalas spent more time on the acacia trees in hotter weather to help cool themselves down and avoid water loss, the team reports online today in Biology Letters.“This shows the many tricks that animals have up their sleeve to survive in harsh environments,” Kearney says. “I think it also emphasizes that even warm-blooded animals can be dependent on their environment for temperature regulation.”The new observation suggests that when scientists are trying to restore, protect, or recreate ideal koala habitats, they need to focus on more than just food-bearing trees—cool trunks may be key to helping the animals survive droughts and heat waves. “This certainly has implications for choosing suitable reserves for koalas,” Kearney says. “Now all of a sudden there’s something really important that we weren’t considering in the past.”Ellis says more research will be needed, though, to determine whether the findings hold true in all koala habitats—Kearney’s team studied koalas only in the southern end of the animals’ range, where the climate is generally less harsh. “I’d be interested to see if the advantage of these trees holds true in other areas with increased humidity or longer periods of heat,” Ellis says. “It may be that the animals can’t dump heat into a tree after a certain time.”last_img read more

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Suspended Sepp Blatter embarrasses FIFA with World Cup appearance

first_imgFIFA was in for some embarrassment on Wednesday as the former president of the global football Sepp Blatter body attended a World Cup match in Moscow.The former FIFA president is currently serving a six-year ban from “all football activities” for unethical conduct after football’s world governing body was rocked by a global corruption scandal in 2015.Blatter’s presence puts current FIFA head Gianni Infantino in a tight spot as he promised to draw a line under FIFAs corruption problems and clean up the organisation.TASS news agency quoted Alexei Sorokin, head of the Russia-2018 organising committee, as saying he had seen Infantino and Blatter at Moscows Luzhniki stadium watching Portugals 1-0 win over Morocco.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGE”Today I saw Infantino and Blatter at the stadium, its true,” TASS quoted Sorokin as saying, adding that the former FIFA head had praised Russia’s organisation of the World Cup.Speaking in an interview with Russian news channel RT, Blatter said he had advocated for Russia to be chosen as the World Cup host in 2010.”When I arrived yesterday, I saw it a little bit, its my World Cup. How I was received here, television, cameras, people photographs and so on,” he said in the interview filmed in front of the Kremlin.Blatter told Reuters in March he had been invited to attend the World Cup by President Vladimir Putin, with whom he has a long-standing close relationship. A spokesman for Blatter said he was scheduled to meet with the Russian leader while in Moscow.advertisementKremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday Blatter was visiting Russia in a non-official capacity.FIFA WORLD CUP: FIXTURES | POINTS TABLE”Any meetings that could be held are being realised in the framework of his private visit and are not official,” he said when asked if Blatter has met or would meet Putin.DEFIANT TONEBlatter’s ban was imposed shortly after the Swiss attorney generals office began criminal proceedings against him on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation.No charges have yet been brought and Blatter has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.The 82-year-old struck a defiant tone in Moscow, describing the criminal probe as an attack on FIFA and saying he was still president of the organisation.”I was suspended, Im still a suspended president. Im still president, but suspended,” he said. It was not an easy time for me, its still not the easiest time.When asked how he had been occupying his time since the ban, Blatter said he was grappling with how to solve the problem of political intervention in world football.”Football should not be dominated by politics. Football should help, perhaps, to solve political problems. But in the past we have seen that there is political intervention for football,” he said.In a separate interview with Sky Sports, Blatter said England, which mounted a failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup, deserved to host it in 2030 and should mount a joint bid with the other UK football nations – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – as well as Ireland.”I think that England, or the islands, they deserve to organise the World Cup,” Blatter told Sky Sports.”They had it in 1966 so its a long time ago. (I was told that) it could be with Wales and Scotland together but I said why not Ireland altogether?” he said.”With 48 teams you need more than one country to host it,” he added, referring to a FIFA plan to expand the competition to 48 teams from 32 now.(With Reuters inputs)last_img read more

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Ajith film Viswasam wrapped up, to release on Pongal 2019

first_imgAfter Vivegam’s overwhelming business at the box office, Ajith and filmmaker Siruthai Siva have joined hands for the fourth time. This time, it is for a rural entertainer titled Viswasam. Earlier, they had teamed up for hit films Veeram and Vedalam.We had earlier reported that the shooting was underway in Pune. The team had wrapped up the talkie portions earlier and was shooting a song in Pune. According to Sathya Jyothi Films, the production house, the shoot of Viswasam has been wrapped up.The film, which is currently in post-production phase, is on track to hit the theatres on Pongal 2019. The production house took to Twitter to share a picture of the team. It looks like Ajith has gone back to his clean-shaven look.#Viswasam shoot wrapped up.@directorsiva @SureshChandraa @vetrivisuals @immancomposer @AntonyLRuben @dhilipaction @DoneChannel1#ViswasamThiruvizha #ViswasamShootWrapped #Pongal2019 pic.twitter.com/JhyzoawKSMSathya Jyothi Films (@SathyaJyothi_) November 10, 2018In Viswasam, Ajith will be seen in dual roles after a long time. For one of his looks, he has dyed his hair black and for the other look, he is sporting a salt-and-pepper hairstyle and a thick moustache.During the making of Viswasam, a back-up dancer fell ill and passed away in the hospital. Ajith went out of his way to help the dancer and his family.ALSO SEE | Fans wait for glimpse of Ajith all night, actor warns them not to waste timeALSO WATCH | Kamal Haasan opens up on Vishwaroopam 2, filmi journey and politicslast_img read more

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Aaradhya teaches mom Aishwarya and Shilpa Shetty how to pose in unseen pic from Ambani wedding

first_imgFashion and fitness icon Shilpa Shetty Kundra shared an adorable picture with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and daughter Aaradhya on her Instagram account that is sure to melt your heart.The picture from Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal’s wedding features Shilpa sharing a heartwarming moment with Aishwarya and her daughter Aaradhya.Aishwarya is seen draped in a deep red Sabyasachi saree with a gold border, with a heavy diamond necklace and her hair tied in a traditional bun.Shilpa Shetty was in a subtle nude shade saree.However, the highlight of the moment remained Aaradhya Bachchan, who is seen holding her mother’s hand on one side.Aaradhya looks adorable wearing a mischievous smile, while standing right between the two #bunt sisters as described by Shilpa in the post.Sharing the picture on Instagram, Shilpa wrote, “My #bunt sister from another mother” and also went on to credit Aaradhya with teaching them both how to pose.Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal tied the knot in a fairytale ceremony at the Ambani residence, Antilia, in Mumbai on December 12. Several A-listers from the worlds of entertainment, politics, sports and business attended the ceremony.The Ambanis and Piramals are hosting a wedding reception for the newlyweds today.advertisementALSO SEE: Isha Ambani wore her mom Nita’s 35-year-old saree on her wedding day.ALSO SEE: Amitabh Bachchan leaves Mukesh Ambani emotional during daughter Isha’s kanyadaanlast_img read more

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Congratulations to our team for a great comeback: Imran Khan after Pakistan win

first_imgPakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has congratulated Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men for making a great comeback in the ongoing World Cup following their emphatic victory over New Zealand in Birmingham.Pakistan were in a spot and were brutally criticized by former cricketers and fans on social media following their loss to arch-rivals India on June 16 at the Old Trafford.However, they made a strong comeback in their next fixture as they defeated South Africa by 49 runs, knocking them out of the competition on June 23 at Lord’s.And on Wednesday, Pakistan came out with a brilliant bowling performance as they first restricted the Black Caps to 237/6 at a tricky Edgbaston wicket. Left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi was the pick of Pakistan bowlers as he scalped three wickets and also bowled three maidens out of his 10 overs, giving away just 28 runs in his spell.The Green Brigade then rode on Babar Azam’s unbeaten century to chase down the target with six wickets in hand. Along with Babar (101*), Haris Sohail also made significant contribution with the bat and scored 68 runs.”Congratulations to our cricket team for a great comeback. Congratulations especially go to Babar, Haris and Shaheen for their brilliant performances,” the Pakistan Prime Minister tweeted on Wednesday night.Congratulations to our cricket team for a great comeback. Congratulations especially go to Babar, Haris and Shaheen for their brilliant performances.Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) June 26, 2019Former cricketers Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis also took to Twitter to congratulate the Pakistan team.”Brilliant batting by Babar Azam and Haris Sohail, special win for Pakistan. Babars batting through the innings has made all the difference. The talent of Haris Sohail, his shot making is pure class. Pakistan are back in this World cup!” tweeted Afridi.advertisementBrilliant batting by Babar Azam and Haris Sohail, special win for Pakistan. Babars batting through the innings has made all the difference. The talent of Haris Sohail, his shot making is pure class. Pakistan are back in this World cup! #WeHaveWeWill #BoomBoomPakistan pic.twitter.com/r6Xz3nwdQMShahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) June 26, 2019″Match winning inning from Babar Azam. Brilliant display of talent by Haris Sohail. What a class act he is turning out to be. Shaheen Afridi bowled with pace & aggression. Pakistan Zindabad. One step closer to the dream,” said Akhtar.Match winning inning from Babar Azam. Brilliant display of talent by Haris Sohail. What a class act he is turning out to be.Shaheen Afridi bowled with pace & aggression.Pakistan Zindabad. One step closer to the dream. #PAKvNZ #CWC19Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) June 26, 2019″Pakistan keep the dream alive!” tweeted Wasim.Pakistan keep the dream alive! #PAKvNZ #CWC19Wasim Akram (@wasimakramlive) June 26, 2019″Congratulations Pakistan and Well done Team Green You guys played like Champions,” said Waqar on the micro-blogging website.The win ensured that Pakistan remain in the hunt for a berth in the semi-finals. And while the team currently has seven points from as many matches, they need both luck and wins in their remaining two matches to ensure a path ahead in the knockout stages.Also Read | I am definitely up there with greats of West Indies cricket: Chris GayleAlso Read | India vs West Indies, World Cup 2019: Weather Updates from Manchester on ThursdayAlso Seelast_img read more

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My social media accounts not hacked Zaira Wasim

first_imgMumbai: Actress Zaira Wasim on Monday shot down rumours that her social media accounts were hacked when she announced her decision to quit the world of showbiz. “This to clarify that none of my social media accounts were or are hacked and are being handled by me personally. Kindly refrain from believing or sharing claims that state otherwise! Thanks,” Zaira posted on Twitter. The post came a day after the “Dangal” and “Secret Superstar” actress said she had decided to say goodbye to her film career as she felt her relationship with her religion was threatened. Also Read – Rihanna to release 500-page ‘visual’ autobiography Her announcement was received with mixed reactions by the industry. Veteran actor Anupam Kher, who was in Delhi on Monday for a film promotion event, said he felt “sad” when he read Zaira’s post. “I think it’s a tragedy that a 16-17 year old girl has to take a decision like that. I do respect her sentiments and I respect that it is her individual choice. But as a person, I feel sad that a 16-17 year old girl has to take a decision like this in her flourishing career. Also Read – Hilarie Burton, Jeffery Dean Morgan tie the knot “On one side, we are talking about women empowerment… Personally, I feel she shouldn’t have done this, but she is an independent girl and our country gives everyone a fundamental right to choose what they want to choose. But the fact that she has gone all out to say that I am doing this for religion, there’s a certain amount of tilt which has gone into it. But she is most welcome to take her decision. I felt sad when I read it. I felt she had to take that decision, and it was not her decision.” In Mumbai, the team of “Jabariya Jodi” was also asked to comment on Zaira’s decision. Actor Sidharth Malhotra said: “Firstly, I only read the headline and did not read the details, so I do not know. Secondly, it is her decision to quit acting and I have no say on that. I think you should ask her why she did that.”last_img read more

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Former homeless man donates 10K to Ontario shelter that supported him

first_imgAn Ontario man who was homeless for years has donated $10,000 to a shelter that supported him after receiving compensation from a residential school settlement.The act of kindness has triggered a slew of donations for Shelter House in Thunder Bay, Ont., which had to close an outreach program on April 1 after it ran out of funds for the operation.That program, known as Street Outreach Services, or SOS, involved two staffers driving around and checking on the city’s homeless, intoxicated and others at risk on the streets, and taking them to hospitals, detox facilities and shelters, said Alexandra Calderon, a development officer at Shelter House.A van used to run the program was operated 12 hours a day from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. and helped alleviate the strain on the city’s emergency services, she said.A few weeks ago, a First Nations man who had used the shelter and the outreach program extensively walked into Calderon’s office and said he wanted to give back, she recalled.“My first reaction was ‘I’m sure you need this money more and you should take it and keep it for yourself,’” Calderon said. “He said, ‘No, no, I want to make sure my friends are safe and the SOS is out there so that if they need help, or a ride, they can get one.’”Both Calderon and the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, then broke into tears.“He was so proud to do it,” Calderon said. “It’s such a moving donation because it comes from somebody who has nothing.”Calderon said the man, who now has his own apartment, was at the shelter in early April during a news conference where David Paul Achneepineskum, the CEO of Matawa First Nation, pledged $10,000 per year for the next five years to the organization on behalf of the First Nation.At that time, Achneepineskum called on others to step up.Inspired by that call, the man made his donation after he received compensation from a class action suit against the federal government involving Canada’s notorious residential school system.Calderon said the shelter is a “low-barrier” facility, meaning it will accept those who are under the influence, which isn’t the case in many shelters throughout the country.“Just because somebody is intoxicated, doesn’t mean they deserve to be incarcerated,” she said.“We’ll pick them up and bring them to where they need to go, whether it’s to a friend’s house or whether it’s back to the shelter or to the hospital. But we need money to get the program going to be able to do that.”The shelter has raised $75,000, but needs $125,000 in order to get the outreach program running again.“This comes at a particularly good time for Thunder Bay,” Calderon said of the man’s donation. “He wants to make sure, as do we, that no one else is going to be out on the riverbanks alone.”In the past month, two First Nation teenagers were pulled from local waterways, prompting area chiefs to call for the RCMP to investigate. The chiefs slammed the Thunder Bay Police for what they called an ongoing indifference of indigenous people.last_img read more

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Aphria earns 129M Q3 profit boosted by sale of Liberty Health Sciences

first_imgTORONTO – Shares of licensed medical marijuana producer Aphria Inc. surged Monday on better than expected quarterly results and after news of a changing political tone on cannabis south of the border.Aphria reported a $12.9-million profit in its fiscal third quarter, boosted by the sale of some of its shares in U.S. company Liberty Health Sciences, and reduced production costs per gram of cannabis.The Leamington, Ont.-based producer’s stock rose as much as 8.95 per cent the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday, before closing at $12.24, up 7.37 per cent.Aphria’s chief executive Vic Neufeld said Monday the company is “very excited” about political developments south of the border, where cannabis is an illegal Schedule 1 drug under U.S. federal law, including President Donald Trump’s commitment last week to support congressional efforts to protect states that have legalized cannabis.Neufeld said Liberty, which has interests in states where pot is legal and in which Aphria has a 28 per cent stake, has been “given a stamp of validation by key political leaders.”“We are very excited that this has happened,” he told analysts discussing its latest quarterly results. “We were very confident it would…. Liberty was just ahead of the curve.”Liberty shares slipped by roughly six per cent on Monday, to $0.93 on the Canadian Securities Exchange, after seeing a more than 19 per cent bump on Friday.Aphria moved to reduce its stake in Liberty earlier this year after Canada’s biggest exchange operator warned in October that U.S. federal law takes precedence over state laws, and cannabis firms with cross-border activities may face delisting. In January, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era memo that suggested that the federal government would not intervene in states where cannabis is legal, and said he was leaving it to federal prosecutors in those states to decide how aggressively to enforce federal law.Aphria sold 26.7 million Liberty shares at a price of $1.25 per share, representing all its shares in the company that are not subject to Canadian Securities Exchange escrow requirements and maintained a 28.1 per cent after the transaction.But on Friday, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner said he received a commitment from Trump that the memo’s recission would not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.While Neufeld viewed this as positive, he told analysts Monday he did not expect the TMX Group, which operates the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Venture exchange, to change its stance soon.Aphria does not anticipate “enough advancement” between now and late July, when the licensed producer is due to reduce its stake in Liberty further to 20 per cent, said Neufeld.“This is just another advancement of eventually getting to the position of where medical cannabis moves to Schedule 2,” he told analysts. “That journey is still a long way off.”TMX spokesman Shane Quinn said Monday it is “aware that legislation applicable to the marijuana sector continues to evolve.“While we continue to monitor legal developments affecting this sector, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug under the U.S. federal Controlled Substances Act,” he said in an emailed statement. “From our perspective, United States federal law has jurisdiction over state law in this matter.”Meanwhile, Aphria reported quarterly revenues that more than doubled to $10.3 million, compared with a year ago, and an improvement in its all-in costs of sales of dried cannabis per gram to $1.56, down from $2.13 from the previous quarter. It also reduced its cash costs per gram to $0.96, compared to $1.45 in the second quarter of 2018.The company said its latest quarterly profit amounted to eight cents per share for the quarter ended Feb. 28 compared with a profit of nearly $5 million or four cents per share a year ago when it had fewer shares outstanding.Companies in this story: (TSX:APH)Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version stated that Aphria’s all-in costs of dried cannabis per gram was $2.13 in the third quarter of 2017.last_img read more

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Communal politics takes centrestage in WB as TMC BJP fight for supremacy

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal, where the electoral discourse has largely steered clear of communal politics, has been drawn into the vortex with the TMC and the BJP accusing each other of resorting to polarisation to get a larger share of the pie in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. A minor player in the state till a few years ago, the BJP is emerging as the new opposition, pushing the once formidable Left and the Congress to the fringes. The saffron party holds only one assembly seat and two of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, where ideology and people’s problems have traditionally been the poll planks, but hopes to better its tally this time. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja BJP president Amit Shah has set a target of 23 seats for the party in the state where the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) has held power since 2011. Admitting that religion and caste have pervaded West Bengal politics, veteran TMC leader and state Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee held the BJP responsible for the import and asserted that his party is only countering the former’s narrative. BJP state president Dilip Ghosh denied the charges and in turn blamed the TMC’s alleged appeasement politics for communal tensions in the state. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway Both the TMC and the BJP are working hard to woo the Matuas, a Scheduled Caste community, mostly comprising backward class Hindus who migrated from Bangladesh. The community has a significant presence in seats in North 24 Parganas and Nadia districts of south Bengal. Matua votes also hold key in the neighbouring Ranaghat and Barrackpore constituencies. In February, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an election meeting in Thakurnagar in North 24 Parganas and met Matua community matriarch Binapani Devi, fondly known as ‘Boro Maa’. Following Binapani Devi’s death in March, the family has been divided over its political leanings. Mamata Bala Thakur, widow of Binapani Devi’s elder son Kapil Krishna Thakur is a TMC MP and has been re-nominated by the party from Bongaon seat. The BJP has Shantanu, the son of the Matua community matriarch’s younger son Manjul Krishna, from the constituency. Mukherjee said he has not seen religion-based polarisation in West Bengal politics before. “Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani also used to talk about religion, but never in this manner. They never said Muslims will be thrown out of the country,” the TMC leader told PTI. Referring to illegal immigrants in the country, Shah said at a rally in Raiganj last week that after his party returns to power, it will send back every single “infiltrator”, except Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus. “In West Bengal, no political party indulged in religion-based propaganda. But now, since the main opposition party is doing it, we have to counter it to make people understand their game,” said Mukherjee, who is contesting from the Bankura Lok Sabha constituency. Banerjee, who is also the chief minister of West Bengal, has been spearheading her party’s efforts to check the BJP’s aggressive campaigning. She has repeatedly underscored her Hindu credentials, while asserting that she stands for peaceful co-existence of people of all religions in the state. Popularly known as ‘Didi’ (elder sister), Banerjee, at an election rally on Tuesday, said she was ready to risk her life but would not allow politics of division. “They (BJP) claim to be the champions of Hinduism, are we not Hindus?” she asked. Banerjee, who is a Brahmin, said she chants Chandi mantra every morning. The firebrand TMC chief said her parents had taught her to respect all religions and to treat them equally. “The BJP is imposing on us a religion which has no relation to Hinduism or our country; we believe in togetherness of different faiths and languages,” Banerjee said. Ghosh dismissed the chief minister’s accusations that the BJP is trying to create communal tension in West Bengal. “She is saying all this out of the fear of losing the elections,” Ghosh told PTI. “We are only saying that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh will be sent back. Those without valid documents cannot enjoy the rights of the citizens of our country,” he said. Religious minorities from the neighbouring country, who have come to India, will be given shelter as per international convention, he added. The BJP leader said West Bengal — where Muslims constitute 30 per cent of the total population — had witnessed a number of communal clashes, including those in Raniganj and Dhulagarh. “Has there been any such communal clash in the other parts of the country?” Ghosh asked. He alleged that the TMC’s appeasement politics has led to creation of communal tension in West Bengal.last_img read more

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UN World Court to give opinion on legality of Kosovos independence

8 October 2008The General Assembly voted today to ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a non-binding advisory opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia. At UN Headquarters, 77 Member States voted in favour of the resolution – which was put forward by Serbia – and six voted against, with 74 abstentions. Today’s meeting heard from nearly two dozen speakers, including Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić. Kosovo, which has been administered by the UN since Western forces drove out Yugoslav forces amid inter-ethnic fighting in 1999, declared its independence in February. At last month’s annual high-level General Debate, Serbian President Boris Tadić said that as a result of Kosovo’s “unilateral, illegal illegitimate” move, “the very nature of the international system has been called into question.” read more

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Strategies to improve situation of Iraqi women aim of UN Baghdad forum

According to information compiled by various UN agencies, some of the greatest disparities between women and men in Iraq are in the areas of literacy and labour force participation. Around 70 per cent of all illiterate Iraqis are women, and female illiteracy is particularly serious in 39 out of the country’s 115 districts. In the area of work, women make up 82 per cent of all Iraqis outside the labour force.In the personal sphere, 1 in 10 Iraqi households are headed by women, more than 80 per cent of whom are widows. In addition, one in five married Iraqi women has been a victim of physical domestic violence, while one in three has been subject to emotional violence. “Over the years, the women of Iraq have borne the brunt of the effects of violence, conflict and sanctions,” David Shearer, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Iraq, told the opening of the conference on women’s rights. “We have an obligation to make women the centre of Iraq’s recovery and ensure they thrive in their homes, schools, jobs and in public life,” he added.Organized by the human rights section of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), the two-day conference is expected to set forth a series of recommendations to Iraq’s Government and Parliament on issues holding back women’s equality in the country. It aims to set a strategy to improve women’s political participation and to provide constitutional guarantees that address violence against women and the general impact of conflict.Participants at the meeting include high-level Iraqi officials and representatives from a number of human rights and women’s organizations from around the region. 19 March 2009With the illiteracy rate among Iraqi women twice as high as that of men and women making up only 18 per cent of the country’s labour force, a United Nations conference that opened in Baghdad today is seeking ways to improve the situation of women in the fledgling democracy. read more

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Government insists it is legal and continues its work

Samarasinghe said the appointment of the new cabinet has not been challenged in court.The cabinet co-spokesman also said that the Government recognises Tamil National Alliance leader R. Sampanthan as the opposition leader. (Colombo Gazette) “The cabinet is meeting, portfolios have been gazetted and departments are operating,” Samarasinghe said. The Government today insisted that it is a legally appointed Government and continues its work uninterrupted.Cabinet co-spokesman Mahinda Samarasinghe said that claims the cabinet is illegal is being used purely for political gain. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya ruled in Parliament recently that he will not recognise the cabinet as newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa lost a no-confidence vote in Parliament. read more

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Oxford teen charged after youth stabbed seriously injured in Tillsonburg

A 17-year-old has been charged with aggravated assault after a stabbing Friday night in Tillsonburg.Police said two youths were involved in a verbal and physical confrontation in a restaurant parking lot on Broadway Street about 9:30 p.m. Friday. One person was injured with an “edged weapon” during the incident, police said.The suspect fled the scene but was located in the area by officers and taken into custody, police said.The injured person was taken to hospital with what police described as serious, life-threatening injuries.The accused, a 17-year-old from Oxford County, is being held in custody and scheduled to appear in a Woodstock court at a later date. read more

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Why we should care The Justin Trudeau brownface scandal

Is there any coming back from this?Leader-Post political experts Arthur White-Crummey and Murray Mandryk discuss what Justin Trudeau’s brownface costume scandal means for the election campaign.Why we should care is a new video series by the Leader-Post looking at what issues are of concern to voters in the 2019 federal election.

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UN intellectual property organization offers courses from next week

With disputes over rights to inventions, discoveries and traditional knowledge sometimes leading to expensive lawsuits, the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) prepares to accept new students next week for its online courses.The introductory general course on intellectual property issues is offered free of charge in seven languages from some 80 teachers and tutors and is a pre-requisite to any other WIPO Academy course, it said.The general course includes such areas as copyright, patents, trademarks, geographical indications, industrial design, plant breeders’ rights, unfair competition and international registration systems. Some 38,000 people from over 180 countries have taken it since the Academy was founded in 1998.The Academy will also offer advanced courses in copyright, patents and trademarks, starting in May.Later in the year, the WIPO Academy will launch, for a range of fees, first-time courses on the intellectual property aspects of traditional knowledge, biotechnology and the “international protection of plant varieties.”Meanwhile, WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Centre received 1,179 cases claiming “cyber-squatting,” or abusive registration of trademarks as domain names, last year, a 6.6 per cent increase over 2003, it said.WIPO Deputy Director Francis Gurry, who oversees the Centre, said over 80 per cent of the decisions had been decided in favour of the trademark-holder and had created a deterrent effect against cyber-squatting.Among those who used the Centre’s services were Madonna, Julia Roberts, Eminem, Pamela Anderson, JK Rowling and Michael Crichton, WIPO said.Cases have come in from both developed and developing countries to its 400 independent panellists from 50 countries, it said. read more

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UN envoy urges Ivorian rebels to take chances so as to restore

At a meeting earlier this week between the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG), Pierre Schori, two representatives of mediating South African President Thabo Mbeki and members of the Monitoring Committee for the peace process, the leaders of the rebel Forces Nouvelles said they were sceptical about holding national elections on 30 October, the mission said.Forces Nouvelles told Mr. Schori in Bouaké, the rebel stronghold, that, despite the increased involvement of the UN in organizing the elections, the basic problem that had led to the political crisis in 2002, the dispute over citizenship qualifications for presidential candidates, had not been resolved, the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) said. The rebels favour northern political leader Alassane Ouattara, the citizenship of whose parents has been contested. A 2002 coup attempt against President Laurent Gbagbo failed.In addition, the 2003 Linas-Marcoussis Agreement that ended the bitter fighting against the Government had not set an electoral deadline and the October date had been unilaterally chosen by Mr. Gbagbo, Forces Nouvelles said.In response, Mr. Schori said, “You must take risks for the return of peace.”He noted that the latest Security Council resolution contained guarantees for the organization of the electoral process and had taken into consideration the safety of the political leaders.The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process had to more forward now and the South African team which arrived yesterday in Boaké would discuss the follow-up to the Pretoria Agreement, an accord which filled some gaps in Linas-Marcoussis, Mr. Schori said. read more

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As Brexit talks begin Europe sees economic upswing over UK

by Pan Pylas, The Associated Press Posted Jun 20, 2017 5:24 am MDT Last Updated Jun 20, 2017 at 11:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email As Brexit talks begin, Europe sees economic upswing over UK European Union flags fly at half staff in front of EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday, June 19, 2017. The flags were lowered on Monday to show solidarity for the victims of deadly forest fires in Portugal. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert) LONDON – When Britain voted to leave the European Union a year ago, proponents argued that the British economy was being held back by the slow-growing, dysfunctional bloc.A year on, and with the Brexit divorce talks finally starting, the situation is radically different.Britain’s economy is growing more slowly than Greece’s, its households are getting poorer as inflation rises and the government is struggling to stay in power. The remaining 27 members of the EU, meanwhile, appear to have pushed into a higher gear and found renewed vigour from the election of pro-EU governments like that of France.“The tables have turned somewhat,” said James Nixon, chief European economist at Oxford Economics. “The European economy is now enjoying a solid upswing and sentiment, especially towards the EU, is improving.”The situation could embolden the EU negotiators in the Brexit talks, though it is still far from certain how the talks, which are due to last two years, will play out.Still, it’s a role reversal for Britain, which had been buoyed by strong growth in recent times — even after the momentous vote on June 23, 2016 to leave the EU.Instead of falling into recession in the wake of the Brexit vote, as many economists had predicted, Britain was last year one of the fastest-growing economy among the Group of Seven industrial nations. That was largely due to the sharp fall in the value of the pound in the wake of the Brexit vote, which made British exports cheaper in international markets.For the EU, the Brexit vote was another body blow to go with the debt crisis that raised questions over the future of its euro currency and the struggle in dealing with the flow of refugees from Syria.Since that post-Brexit rebound, things have clearly gotten worse for Britain this year.Prime Minister Theresa May failed spectacularly to achieve a majority for her Conservative Party in the general election she called for earlier this month, undermining confidence in her ability to remain in the top job.And the economy started showing signs of worsening.The 15 per cent post-Brexit drop in the pound has pushed up inflation as it makes imports, such as food and energy, more expensive, causing living standards to fall as wage increases fail to keep up pace. The consequence is households are spending less — retail sales haven’t grown at a slower rate in four years.Uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the Brexit talks, such as the possibility that Britain crashes out of the EU with no trade deal, is also likely to make consumers cautious.As will the prospect of higher interest rates from the Bank of England, though Governor Mark Carney sought on Tuesday to rein back expectations of any imminent hikes. Expectations of higher borrowing costs had been stoked by the outcome of last week’s policy meeting, which showed that three of eight rate-setters surprisingly backed the first increase in nearly a decade.Whatever happens with interest rates and in the Brexit talks, credit ratings agency DBRS says uncertainty “is likely to adversely impact the economy and the fiscal accounts.”The upshot is that Britain is now at the bottom of the G-7 growth table. Even Greece, which is just coming out of an economic depression and is operating under the strictures of its international bailout, is doing better, with quarterly growth in the first three months of the year of 0.4 per cent, double Britain’s.Philip Hammond, the Treasury chief, has grown increasingly vocal about the need for business to be the key issue in the Brexit discussions, over and above any other consideration, such as reclaiming sovereignty or clamping down on immigration.“When the British people voted last June, they did not vote to become poorer, or less secure,” Hammond said Tuesday. “They did vote to leave the EU. And we will leave the EU. But it must be done in a way that works for Britain. In a way that prioritizes British jobs, and underpins Britain’s prosperity.”Hammond’s more frequent and pointed interventions in the Brexit debate have come amid mounting evidence that the economic situation in Britain has worsened just as it has gotten brighter for the rest of the EU.Populist, Euroskeptic politicians in Austria, the Netherlands and France failed to make the headway they had hoped for in recent elections, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel is widely expected to win again in elections this autumn. Meanwhile, the region’s debt crisis doesn’t look like it’s going to flare up again anytime soon as Greece got the money it needed to meet a big summer repayment hump.“The second half of the year now looks far less threatening,” said Simon Derrick, chief markets strategist at BNY Mellon.Perhaps the most important development for the economy has been the election of Emmanuel Macron as France’s new president, and his party’s big success in legislative elections on Sunday.The staunchly pro-EU Macron was elected on a mandate to deeply reform France’s economy, such as giving employers more flexibility on setting working hours and wages. The French economy is performing better than at any time in years, which could make it more palatable for people to accept the changes.All the signs are that the French economy, for years one of the many laggards in Europe, is pushing into a higher gear. The same can be said for the wider 19-country eurozone economy, which grew by 0.6 per cent in the first three months of the year.Investors are getting more confident about its prospects, with some funds, including Blackrock and Morgan Stanley, recommending clients to go “overweight” on European stocks.It’s still unclear how this divergence in performance between the two sides of the Brexit negotiating table will play out. The worry for Britain is that the EU will be able to tough it out a bit more than it could have done a year ago. read more

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Croydon tram was travelling at almost four times the speed limit investigation

first_img“We will also be looking into previous occurrences of over-speeding in this area and underlying management issues.”Our final report will include recommendations to reduce the likelihood and consequences of similar events occurring in the future.”The RAIB’s initial findings were published as Transport for London offered to pay for the funerals of the seven people killed. The operator pledged to do “everything we can to support the families and all those affected”, following the derailment almost a week ago.The tram derailed on a tight bend before flipping on to its side during the morning rush on Nov 9. Initial analysis shows the driver did apply the brake after coming out of the tunnel but only enough to reduce his speed from 50mph out of the tunnel to 43.5mph.The tram travelled 25m before stopping.There were thought to be around 60 people on the tram at the time of the crash and the driver was the only member of staff onboard. Floral tributes left near the scene where the tram crashed In the report, the RAIB issued “urgent safety advice” to First Group, which carries out the day-to-day operation of the trams, and Transport for London, which manages the overall performance of the network.Both organisations were urged to take measures to reduce the risk of trams approaching the location of the crash “at an excessive speed” once the line is reopened.This could be done with a further speed restriction before the start of the 12mph limit and additional warning signs, the report suggested. The RAIB noted it was dark and raining heavily at the time of the crash but said there is a reflective board noting the 12.5 mph speed restriction – around 30 metres before the point where the derailment occurred.  The tram which crashed in Croydon, killing seven people, was  travelling at at almost four times the speed limit for the section of track  where it derailed, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch said today. An interim report into the fatal accident, which also left more than 50 injured, said the tram was “travelling at a speed of approximately 43.5 mph as it entered the curve, which had a maximum permitted speed of 12.5mph”.  Floral tributes left near the scene where the tram crashedCredit:PA Croydon tram victims, from left, Dane Chinnery, Philip Logan, Philip Seary and Donald CollettCredit:Facebook/PA/British Transport Policecenter_img The tram’s driver, 42-year-old Alfred Dorris, from Beckenham, south London, was arrested at the scene and was questioned on suspicion of manslaughter before being bailed until May.A spokeswoman for First Group, which carries out the day-to-day operation of the trams, said he had worked at the company since March 2008.It is understood that establishing if Mr Dorris was asleep or had blacked out are lines of inquiry.The contents of a so-called black box data recorder on the tram were downloaded by investigators.The seven victims of the crash were Dane Chinnery, 19, Philip Logan, 52, Philip Seary, 57, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, and Robert Huxley, 63, all from New Addington, and Mark Smith, 35 and Donald Collett, 62, both from Croydon. The investigation also found there was no evidence of track defects or a malfunction of the tram’s braking system.Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents Simon French said he would be in contact with the casualties and the families of those who died to keep them updated throughout the investigation “which will take some months to complete”.He went on: “Our ongoing detailed investigation will now look at the wider context of the accident, including the sequence of events, the way the tram was driven, the infrastructure and how people received their injuries. Croydon tram victims, from left, Dane Chinnery, Philip Logan, Philip Seary and Donald Collett Mike Brown, London’s Transport Commissioner, described the RAIB’s interim investigation as “thorough and swift” and confirmed that additional temporary speed restrictions and signage would be implemented “to supplement existing safety arrangements”.He said TfL is carrying out a “thorough safety assessment and taking advice from an independent panel of tram experts”. Engineers have repaired the track and associated equipment, and trams have run over that section of the line.But Mr Brown said services will only resume once a “rigorous assurance process” has been completed.The RAIB is the UK’s independent body for the investigation of tramway and railway accidents and acts independently from British Transport Police or the Office of Rail and Road. Their full report is not expected for several months. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Jacob ReesMogg reveals that going forward and the Oxford comma will be

Jacob Rees-Mogg has revealed that ‘going forward’ and the Oxford comma will be added to his list of banned words that previously went viral. The Leader of the House of Commons provided staff with a ‘style guide’ of banned words and phrases when he moved into his new office in July, as well as instructions on how to address MPs and constituents.The list, which included the words ‘equal’, ‘disappointment’ and ‘very’ as well as rules that stated that his staff should double space after fullstops and ‘CHECK your work’, quickly went viral. Now, two new additions have made their way onto the list. “My apologies to those who wrote in to note that ‘going forward’ was not on the list — it is an otiose phrase that will be included in any future editions,” he wrote in the Spectator.  He said: “They asked how I like my letters done and I said: ‘Well I have got a list of how things are done in my office upstairs’.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. He added: “Generally, my aim is to be polite to my constituents, who after all employ me — to address them correctly and be clear. Also I dislike the Oxford comma but that is mere prejudice.” The son of former Times editor William Rees-Mogg previously told the Telegraph that the list was brought down from his parliamentary office at the request of his staff.  “I had it brought down from my House of Commons office. “It’s just a thing listing banned words, which are sort of New Labour words like ‘unacceptable’.”  Show more read more

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