Following on his generous $100,000 scholarship gift made in 2015 through UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) to four deserving college students, actor and comedian Kevin Hart has joined forces with UNCF and KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) to help 18 more KIPP students earn a college degree.Through a new UNCF scholarship program launched in partnership with Kevin Hart’s Help From The Hart Charity and KIPP Public Schools, the $600,000 scholarship will provide funding to support KIPP students from eight different cities who are attending 11 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).UNCF is the largest provider of college scholarships for students of color in the U.S., awarding more than $100 million in college scholarships annually to deserving students. The 18 Help From The Hart Charity Scholarship recipients have been selected based on their academic and personal accomplishments and may receive substantive renewable awards based on need.“The Help From The Hart Charity Scholarship will not only support students, but will also demonstrate support for HBCUs,” said UNCF CEO and President Michael L. Lomax. “Research shows that HBCUs matter, and that HBCU students are having a positive college experience, but they also have an unmet financial need. Together, Kevin and KIPP have made an investment that will have a significant impact. We can’t thank them enough for their support.”“Education and knowledge are powerful,” said Hart. “I just wanted to do my part in providing opportunities for our future leaders, especially from my Philly hometown, and show support for HBCUs. This is just the beginning; trust me when I tell you there are a lot more kids who want to go to college who don’t have the money to make it happen.”The 18 students receiving college scholarships are high school graduates who attended KIPP public charter schools in eight different communities: the Arkansas Delta, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. A recent survey of KIPP alumni across the country showed that the KIPP graduates who attend HBCUs reported a stronger sense of belonging, better mental health, and were more likely to have a mentor than those attending non-HBCUs.“Nothing brings me greater joy than to see the hard work of these 18 KIPP students recognized by Kevin Hart and UNCF through this generous scholarship program,” said John Fisher, chair of the KIPP Foundation Board of Directors. “Michael Lomax has been a longtime KIPP supporter and friend and a tireless champion for young people. We are incredibly grateful to both UNCF and Kevin Hart for their partnership and support to help our students thrive in college and achieve their dreams.”Hart’s gift to fund this new scholarship program puts him in line with many other renowned celebrities — like Lou Rawls, Ella Fitzgerald, Clifton Davis, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Anthony Anderson, Beyonce, Chris Rock, Usher, Pharrell Williams, Ray Charles, John Lennon, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis who, realizing the value of a quality education, have supported UNCF over the years. “Giving back to build better futures is the name of the game, and we hope that others like Kevin will understand why educational investments are so important, especially now, and step up to help more deserving students,” said Lomax.Lomax also added, “Over the last decade, UNCF has been building a relationship with the KIPP public school network, and we are so excited that KIPP’s board of directors and Chairman John Fisher are behind this outstanding new venture. There are more than 1,300 KIPPsters currently enrolled at HBCUs, and together, we are bringing resources and shining a spotlight on these students who are doing all they can to get a college education. This unique partnership will help UNCF continue to bridge the gap from high school success to college achievement and enables UNCF to help more students get to and through college.”
Twitter Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement The opening of King Lear this week marks the 35th anniversary of Canadian Stage’s summer Shakespeare component of its annual programming, Shakespeare in High Park, the longest-running outdoor theatre series in Canada. This King Lear also stars actress Diane D’Aquila in the gender-swapped title role, a Canadian theatre vet who performed as Titania in the first-ever High Park production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1983.But this King (or Queen) Lear is also a testament to the mercy that outdoor theatre productions must throw themselves to the elements: even with such a storied cast and program, opening night was still buzzy with the threat of rain from dark, cloudy skies overhead, and the last-minute casting change that required director Alistair Newton to take the stage (script in hand) to play Lear’s Fool, when actor Robert Persichini had to withdraw from the next week of performances due to health reasons. Besides being a wholesome summer tradition, outdoor theatre is often the definition of “the show must go on.” (Looking on the bright side, there were no outbursts from political protesters at this performance.)READ MORE LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook
There’s good times ahead with Bad Times at the El Royale starring Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges, Cailee Spaeny and Cynthia Eriv. The movie is scheduled to shoot from January 29 to April 6, 2018. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement Bad Times at the El Royale Advertisement There are at least 8 movies scheduled for filming in and around Vancouver this month including 4 feature films and 4 TV movies. Stars you can expect to see around town include Anna Kendrick, Candace Cameron Bure, Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges and Katherine Langford.NoelleIt’s still Christmas time in Vancouver with Pitch Perfect star Anna Kendrick in the Disney holiday movie Noelle. Kendrick plays Santa’s daughter, Nicole Claus, who has to take over the reins (and reindeer) as old Saint Nick retires. Shirley MacLean, Bill Hader and Billy Eichner also co-star. Filming in Vancouver began last October and is scheduled until January 19th. The release date of the movie is slated for November 8, 2019, just in time for next year’s Christmas season. Twitter Facebook
APTN NewsA teenage girl has been sentenced to just over three years for her role in the beating death of Serena McKay.The girl, who was 17-years-old at the time plead guilty to second-degree murder.The girl, who is now 18, cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.The body of McKay, 19, was found on Sagkeeng First Nation in April 2017.Her death made headlines after a video showing the attacked was circulated on social media.A judge sentenced her killer to 40 months in jail, and 23 and a half months under supervision.McKay’s family made a short statement after the sentencing.“We’re relatively pleased, I guess, even though we can’t change that the plea was made or that the bargains were made and that they were decided before we came to court,” said Delores Daniels, McKay’s mother.“We have no choice in that matter. Before we had hope that it would be an adult sentence unfortunately that didn’t happen.”A second girl plead guilty to manslaughter in January. She will be sentenced later in June.email@example.com@aptnnews
APTN InFocusThis week on InFocus, Host Melissa Ridgen takes a closer look at what we’re teaching our kids in school.Are children — Indigenous and non-Indigenous — getting enough Indigenous content in the classroom?Myra Laramee is the elder and knowledge keeper for the Winnipeg School Division. She’s also a retired teacher.“People are trying to take what we’ve always had as Indigenous people and show others what that looks like, what that sounds like, what that feels like,” said Laramee, who believes what is being taught has improved greatly since she started teaching in the 1970s.“(Teachers) are taking young people to sweat lodges that have never been before. And not just Indigenous kids, but all kids who want to go and want to learn about that. I know that in our school division Indigenous Learning is for everyone.”Kevin Kakegamic, Indigenous Outreach Co-ordinator at Thunder Bay Catholic School Division, said his division is working hard to bring Indigenous teachings to students and build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students“Last year we started with a program called Walking the Path…an 11-module program that specially offers teachings on important topics such as the history of residential school,” he said.“Another module is on reconciliation, the seven Grandfather teachings, the medicine wheel.”The program is being delivered to Grade 6 students at two schools and pairs kids to work on modules together. It will be in several more schools in the new year.“The feedback I get from the teachers and the students and also other staff from the board really think that this is a good program,” Kakegamic said.“It gets the weekly 75-minute engagement learning about the program. And also, too, it’s nice to see the non-Indigenous students getting really interested and engaged too and learning about the culture.”
Ashley BrandsonAPTN NewsThis week marks the return of the annual Manito Ahbee Festival in Winnipeg.The event aims to unite nations from Canada and around the world to celebrate the best of Indigenous culture, music, and arts.The festival kicked off with a grand entry and the lighting of the sacred fire, which burns throughout the five day event.(Grand Entry – David Dandeneau and Eagle Staff Carrier Brent Thompson. Photo: Ashley Brandson/APTN)“It shows the positive aspects of Indigenous culture,” says David Dandeneau, Chair of the Board of Governors for Manito Ahbee.“We see too much negative aspects in the media and I think it’s important that the general population know that’s only a small part of what we see.”Dandeneau says he’s excited to take part in all the events, but one of the highlights of the festival is hearing the different types of music at the Indigenous Music Awards.“According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s probably the most important music award show in North America. I think we can be proud of that.”Along with the Indigenous awards, Manito Ahbee will host a square dance exhibition, a jigging competition, and an Indigenous art expo.For more information check out: firstname.lastname@example.org@ashleybrandson
LEAMINGTON, Ont. – In an unusual move, licensed marijuana producer Aphria Inc. is cutting the amount of cash it is offering for cannabis company Nuuvera Inc. — from $1 to 60 cents per share — as Nuuvera seeks to fully acquire its subsidiary Avanti Rx Analytics.Leamington, Ont.-based Aphria said Tuesday it reached an agreement with Toronto-based Nuuvera to the lower the price but did not elaborate on why.Nuuvera said in a separate release it agreed to the amendment “in order to fund” its own acquisition of the remaining 49 per cent interest of Avanti — which provides research and testing services to the cannabis industry — for an estimated $43 million.The company did not explain why receiving less money from Aphria would help fund its own transaction.“The acquisition of Avanti is an important step in the history of Nuuvera and is expected to result in synergies at the combined Nuuvera/Aphria which will enhance the value of the arrangement to shareholders of Nuuvera,” said Ronald Schmeichel, Nuuvera’s chairman, in a statement.Neither company could not be immediately reached for further comment.Nuuvera said it entered into a letter of intent to acquire the remaining interest of Avanti from a single minority shareholder. As part of the deal, Nuuvera also anticipates acquiring Avanti’s facility in Brampton, Ont.The original agreement was valued at $826 million, according to Aphria and Nuuvera’s Jan. 29 release. The revised offer, with the reduced cash component and using Aphria’s latest closing price of $14.06, based on 80.13 million outstanding Nuuvera shares would be valued at $447.9 million.Under the amended deal, Aphria is offering 60 cents in cash plus 0.3546 of an Aphria share. Nuuvera noted in its release “the consideration has been reduced… provided that the cash consideration will be increased to the extent the company’s unrestricted cash exceeds the revised required level.”Shares of Aphria and Nuuvera have fallen since the original deal was first announced on Jan. 29. Under the initial agreement, the licensed producer offered $1 plus 0.3546 of an Aphria share for each Nuuvera share. That would value the offer at roughly $8.50 per share, based on Aphria’s 10-day volume-weighted average price for the period ended Jan. 26 of $21.15. Nuuvera’s 10-day volume-weighted price for the same period was $6.51.On Friday, Aphria shares closed at $14.06 on the Toronto Stock Exchange while Nuuvera shares closed at $5.56 on the TSX Venture Exchange. Based on Friday’s share price, Aphria’s amended offer of 60 cents in cash plus 0.3546 of a common share would be valued at $5.59 per share.Aphria’s stock was up $1.13 or 8.04 per cent to $15.19 in early afternoon trading on Tuesday, while Nuuvera was up 14 cents or 2.52 per cent to $5.70.Aphria said Tuesday it also sought and received consent for the reduction from shareholders who had signed lock-up agreements, that together with Nuuvera shares already owned by Aphria represent approximately 65 per cent of Nuuvera’s outstanding shares and over 57 per cent of the requisite minority shareholders of Nuuvera.Aphria added that its board of directors received an opinion from its financial adviser, Cormark Securities Inc., that said as of Feb. 19 the amendment is “fair, from a financial point of view, to Aphria.”Nuuvera noted its board also obtained legal and financial advice from Canaccord Genuity Group Inc., which concluded that as of Feb. 19 that “the consideration to be received by Nuuvera shareholders is fair, from a financial point of view, to such shareholders.”Aphria said the deal is expected to close in April, on schedule.Companies in this story: (TSX:APH, TSXV:NUU, TSX:CF)
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – It was an evening full of emotion, compassion and understanding on Thursday at the Lido for the FSJ Community Couch Conversation.Collaboratively hosted by Healthy FSJ and the Fort St. John Community Action Team, the Opioid Dialogues was co-hosted by Julianne Kucheran and Edwina Nearhood.Mayor Lori Ackerman gave an emotional dedication to the event in honour of those who are affected by drug addictions. Ackerman lost her brother to substance use. Afterwards, personal stories of addiction were shared by those who have been touched by drugs and addiction.Each guest stated that there is no shame in addictions and that it can happen to anyone no matter your background.In a statement from Healthy FSJ, the goal of Community Couch Conversation is to foster a supportive evening, where the community comes together to learn, listen and think about how we can be there for one another to build a healthy and resilient community in the face of the opioid crisis. Six health professionals, who specialize in drug use and addictions were part of the opioid panel.The main message conveyed by the panel is that community support is key when dealing with addictions.“Those who suffer from addictions within Fort St. John are a part of your family and that the community must come together and work as one”, said Amanda Trotter executive director for the Women’s Resource Society.The panel agreed that more resources need to be made available for substance users in Fort St. John.“There is a disparity for those who receive help and treatment. The poor suffer. You’re very lucky if you are able to afford it”, said Connie Greyeyes of the Nenan Dane zaa Deh Zona Family Services Society.The panel concluded that there is more work to be done and the discussions must continue.
New Delhi: To fast-track strategic sale of CPSEs, the Cabinet Thursday allowed the Alternative Mechanism to decide on the timing, price and quantum of shares of a state-run company to be put on the block for outright sale.”The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA ) has approved delegation of the following Alternative Mechanism in all the cases of strategic disinvestment of CPSEs where CCEA has given ‘in-principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment,” an official statement said. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepThe Alternative Mechanism (AM) on strategic disinvestment was set up in 2017 and consists of the finance minister, the road transport and highways minister and the minister representing respective administrative department. So far, the AM has decided on the terms and conditions of the sale from the stage of inviting of expressions of interest (EoIs) till inviting of financial bid. With Thursday’s decision, the panel has been permitted to take decisions on final pricing of the transaction, quantum of shares to be sold and the selection of strategic partner or buyer. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to Customs”This will facilitate quick decision-making and obviate the need for multiple instances of approval by CCEA for the same CPSE,” the statement said after the Cabinet meeting, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As many as 35 central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) have already been lined up for strategic sale. The companies that have been shortlisted for strategic sale include Pawan Hans, Air India, Air India subsidiary AIATSL, Dredging Corporation of India, BEML, Scooters India, Bharat Pumps Compressors, and Bhadrawati, Salem and Durgapur units of steel major SAIL. The other CPSEs for which approvals are in place for outright sale include Hindustan Fluorocarbon, Hindustan Newsprint, HLL Life Care, Central Electronics, Bridge & Roof India, Nagarnar Steel plant of NMDC and units of Cement Corporation of India and ITDC.
New Delhi: A member of the banned terrorist group and an associate of Jarnail Singh Bhinderwale, who was killed by the Indian Army in ‘Operation Blue Star’ in 1984 was nabbed by the Delhi police, officials said on Wednesday. The accused Gursewak Singh (53), is a member of Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) and was planning to re-constitute his organization on directions of KCF chief Paramjeet Singh Panjwad, who was based in Pakistan, police said. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic items Singh was also in touch with Jagtaar Singh Hawara and other terrorists lodged in various jails in India including Tihar jail, police said adding Gursewak was arrested by the crime branch from ISBT Delhi on March 12 where he had come to meet one of his contacts. Gursewak was previously involved in more than 50 cases of terrorist activities, murders of police officials and informers, robberies in banks and police station among others, said Ajit Kumar Singla, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime). Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder He remained in jail for more than 26 years in different cases and was in regular touch with some Pakistan based terrorists. Police said Singh was born in a farmer family residing in Raikot village in Punjab’s Ludhiana district. His elder brother Swaran Singh was a member of terrorist group led by Bhinderwale in Punjab in 1980s. Gursewak also joined the group in 1982, the police official said. In 1984, when Binderwale was killed, most of his associates fled to Pakistan where they were trained and supported by ISI. During that time, Gursewak joined the newly formed KCF constituted by terrorist Manveer Singh Chehdu and actively participated in anti national activities, he said. Gursewak along with his associates remained involved in dozens of murders of suspected informers of Indian security agencies and bank robberies in Punjab, Delhi and Rajasthan. In May 1984, the accused along with his associates, Labh Singh, Gurinder Singh and Swaranjit Singh had also killed group editor of Hind Samachar newspaper Ramesh Chander in Jallandhar, Singla said. In 1986, Singh along with his associates attacked the residence of Julio Riberio, Ex-DGP Punjab in Jallandhar. In the same year, the accused along with his associates killed eight police personnel of Punjab Police while freeing the KCF Chief Jarnal Labh Singh and terrorists Gurinder Pal Singh Bhola and Swaranjit Singh from police custody in court complex in Jallandhar after a shootout, the officer said. The accused persons had also attacked on a police station in Punjab and robbed 16 rifles, six carbines, cartridges, two revolvers, police jeep and a Fiat car. The accused along with his associates had also killed all nine members of a family in Punjab, he said. Singh remained in jail and most of the time in High Risk Ward of Tihar Jail till 2004 for period of about 18 years. While at Tihar Jail, he planned to smuggle arms including AK-47 and explosives from Pakistan in order to carry out an attack in Delhi. However, this conspiracy of the accused persons was foiled by Crime Branch of Delhi Police, which arrested two terrorists from the area of Punjabi Bagh on July 9, 1998, the officer said. After coming out of jail in 2010, he remained involved in several cases of robbery and was arrested thrice by Ludhiana Police in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. During this period, he remained in contact with Paramjeet Singh Panjwad. He was again arrested by Delhi Police in 2017 under the Arms Act. He is facing trial in a case in Patiala House Court and was not attending the court following which the court had issued non-bailable warrants against him, police said.
The ensuing long-drawn general elections are just around the corner. Manifestos or not, narratives in public meets and through the media are for everyone to see. Let us first take the party and alliance in power. There are four pillars to the BJP/NDA narrative. First, there is the pitch for a visibly strong nation high on nationalism and pro-active military action as illustrated through the Balakot strike post Pulwama massacre and reiterated through the Mission Shakti recently. On March 27, 2019, India conducted Mission Shakti, an anti-satellite missile test, from the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island launch complex. This was a technological mission carried out by DRDO. The satellite used in the mission was one of India’s existing satellites operating in lower orbit. The test was successful and achieved all parameters as per plans. The test required an extremely high degree of precision and technical capability. The significance of the test is that India has tested and successfully demonstrated its capability to interdict and intercept a satellite in outer space based on completely indigenous technology. With this test, India joins an exclusive group of space-faring nations consisting of USA, Russia and China. Second, there is the pitch for a stable government led by a strong-willed leader Narendra Modi and his version of BJP ably assisted by party president Amit Shah. This underplays the fact that BJP is the leading power among 24 parties in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). There are a few more strong BJP leaders like Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh with a mass base, and there has been a litany of conflicts, major and minor, with alliance partners leading to Shiv Sena, Paswan’s LJP and Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) being accommodated with a long rope. Alliance partners are temporarily fine as they expect a Modi-driven almost Presidential type of campaign will reap rich benefits. Third, there is an unmistakable tilt towards using the communal lingo in the polls with every passing day. The way Hindu-Muslim rhetoric is being used by the PM himself with reference to the Samjhauta blast alleged miscarriage of justice and about the strong Muslim electorate in Wayanad which Congress president Rahul Gandhi has picked up as his second seat, it is obvious that the ferocity of communal card shall be more aggressive down the line; as is seen in the speeches of UP CM Adityanath. Fourth, the BJP leadership is harping on the dynastic roots of Rahul Gandhi and several other regional political leaders of other opposition parties, and that the opposition alliances are all opportunistic and weak. And, interestingly, there is a fifth narrative, and it is a narrative in absentia. There is virtually no discourse on the very things which brought Modi to power in 2014 or have highlighted while in power; no talks on corruption at high-places, black money from abroad, double-digit GDP growth, benefits of demonetisation, digital or start-up India missions, Namami Gange, bullet train, Beti padhao beti bachao, multi-layered GST, et al. Now, let us look at the main opposition to the government. After bumbling on opposition alliances in Delhi, Haryana, Andhra, Bengal, Telangana, and being left out of UP, etc., Congress is now settling down with alliances in Bihar, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu in place. But this is surely a month late. With initial noises of a Mahagatbandhan, Congress seems to have got the successes in recent state elections a bit too much in the head. The scar of being left out of the UP battle has led them to put the two best faces, Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, to sweat it out in the sweltering summer heat and dust of Uttar Pradesh. Even the friends wonder why are they not best used in MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Having apparently fumbled, the Congress narrative is picking up steadily now with the promise of its mind-boggling NYAY scheme (Nyuntom Aye Yojana) in which, if voted to power, it promises to ensure minimum income of Rs 12,000 a month for the poorest 5 crore families (20 crore people) incurring an expense of Rs 3.6 lacs crores a year, thereby ensuring the universal concept of Basic Minimum Income in India, along with all other welfare measures like MGNREGA, NRHM, etc., which cover rural, urban and tribal poor. This surely has brought back the narrative on their side, along with the promise of directly elected mayors across India to ensure better urban governance and people’s control over the same. And, ahead of BJP, Congress has now come out with their manifesto too. Apart from NYAY, the promises in the manifesto include commitment to legislate women’s reservation bill and reserve one-third of all government jobs for women, double education outlay at every level, free and compulsory school education up to Class XII in public education, review AFSPA, omit Section 124A of the IPC that is known as the Sedition Law, fill up around 30 lacs of jobs at various levels of the government, separate Kisan budget, legislate Right to Healthcare Act, GST 2.0 with a single moderate tax-rate, implement Forests Rights Act for tribal welfare in letter and spirit, abolish opaque electoral bonds, stringency against hate crimes, establish Environment Protection Authority, enact Right to Homestead Act for the rural homeless, et al. With this, Congress has surely moved ahead with an ‘inclusive development’ campaign narrative. It, however, remains to be seen how far its candidates and cadre can take these promises – music to every Indian ear – down to the grassroots.And the contrasting narratives of both the parties show some positives, in spite of the communal undertone in the ongoing campaign. While BJP scores heavily on the national pride and power front, Congress scores on specific aspects of inclusive justice, especially through its NYAY scheme. Congress will be forced to talk about handling cross-border terror, its possible outlook towards Kashmiri militancy in today’s context, and sprucing up the military arsenal of the nation. It has already got a dossier on national security prepared by the army officer who led the post-Uri surgical strikes, Lt Gen DS Hooda, and has promised in the manifesto to upgrade defence budget and military modernisation. On the other hand, unabated communal rhetoric may not pay desired dividends to BJP and the revival of Ram Janmabhoomi movement did not meet much enthusiasm of the people at large in spite of a well organised Kumbha Mela to launch the same. The Congress approach will require the rulers of the day to turn to a more development-focused narrative especially with regards to jobs, basic income, women’s issues, health and education, among other things. That surely is good for the nation. As electioneering goes ahead, it is also expected that a re-thinking on the role, independence and neutrality of the Election Commission and the media, apart from the fundamental premises of the Constitution, shall emerge. And, that, to my mind is another good outcome of this largest festival of democracy in the world: the Indian General Elections (along with assembly polls of several states too). (The author is a media academic and columnist, currently the Dean of School of Media, Pearl Academy, and earlier the Dean of Symbiosis and Amity Universities. The views expressed are strictly personal)
New Delhi: SDMC has been taking swift action against hoardings, banners and posters in its all 4 zones keeping in view of the implementation of code of conduct immediately after announcement of 2019 general elections in the country. Under this action, all publicity material related to political matters/ elections are being removed. Under Najafgarh zone, 2,127 hoardings, banners/posters, 1,162 in central zone, 214 in west zone and 259 hoardings, banners/posters in South Zone have been removed; in all total 3,762 hoardings and posters have been removed. It is also stated that since announcement general election till Wednesday total 97,594 hoardings, banners/posters have been removed; the zone wise break up is the highest 33,384 in Najafgarh Zone, followed by 32,154 in Central Zone, 18,273 in South Zone and 13,783 in West Zone.
Doha: P U Chitra defended her 1500m title to give India its third gold medal while Ajay Kumar Saroj and Dutee Chand won a silver and a bronze in men’s 1500m and women’s 200m respectively on the fourth and final day of the Asian Athletics Championships here on Wednesday. Chitra overtook Bahraini runner Tigest Gashaw just a few metres before the finishing line to win the race in 4 minute 14.56 seconds at the Khalifa Stadium. This was India’s third gold of the championships after Gomathi Marimuthu (women’s 800m) and Tejinder Pal Singh Toor (men’s shot put) won a yellow metal each on the second day on Monday. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhGashaw clocked 4:14.81 for the silver while another Bahraini Mutile Winfred Yavi took the bronze in 4:16.18. “Got a little nervous towards the end being next to Bahraini runner (Gashaw Tigest). She beat me to third place in Asian Games. “I had to really push hard in the end,” said the 23-year-old Chitra who had won a bronze in the Jakarta Asian Games. Chitra had won gold in the 2017 edition in Bhubaneswar in 4:17.92. Her male counterpart, Saroj clocked a season best time of 3 minute 43.18 seconds to clinch a silver behind Bahrain’s Abraham Kipchirchir Rotich who clocked 3:42.85. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterDutee, who had finished a disappointing fifth in the 100m final on Tuesday after smashing national record twice, clocked 23.24 seconds to win the bronze in the women’s 200m. After falling behind in the first 100m, she covered a lot of ground in the final 100m stretch and got past three competitors at the finish line. Salwa Naser of Bahrain expectedly took the gold in 22.74 while Olga Safronova of Kazakhstan was second in 22.87. The 23-year-old Dutee, who had won a 200m silver in the Jakarta Asian Games, still missed the World Championships qualifying mark of 23.02. She has a personal best of 23.00. “I am really very happy. I missed a medal in 100m & relay. I put too much effort in 100m, was not sure of medal in 200m. Just did my best & I am happy,” Dutee said. In the women’s discus throw, Navjeet Kaur (57.47m) and Kamalpreet Kaur (55.59m) came up with disappointing shows to finish fourth and fifth respectively.
Kolkata: Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee said on Saturday that some heavyweight CPI(M) leaders are keen to join the BJP which has become clear with leaders like Khagen Murmu and Mahfuza Khatun joining the saffron party.”A number of ground-level and middle-level CPI(M) leaders have been constantly shifting to the BJP for the last few years. But now, we are witnessing that openly with some senior leaders of the party running after the BJP leaders. The cases of Khagen Murmu and Mahfuza Khatun shifting to the saffron party just before the elections is a clear pointer. The leadership lacks organisational strength and the CPI(M) should try to prevent this trend of their party people rubbing shoulders with the BJP,” Chatterjee said at ‘Meet the Press’ programme hosted by Calcutta Press Club. Chatterjee’s reactions came in reply to a poser when CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra alleging that TMC and BJP are having a tacit understanding. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”No other leader from the country has been fighting against the anti-people policies of the BJP government so strongly like our party supremo Mamata Banerjee. The people of the country are well aware of this,” he reiterated. It may be mentioned that Murmu, who was the former CPI(M) MLA from Habibpur in Malda, had already contested the Lok Sabha elections from Malda North with a BJP ticket. He had joined the BJP in March. Khatun, who was an elected CPI(M) MLA from Kumarganj Assembly constituency in 2001 and 2006, left the party to contest with a BJP ticket from Jangipur parliamentary constituency. Khatun had, however, lost to Trinamool Congress during the 2011 and 2016 Assembly elections. Chatterjee alleged that the BJP is trying to influence the functioning of the Election Commission to function in a partial manner. “I have never seen earlier in Bengal that seven officers at the Inspector level are being removed just before the polls. The BJP knows very well that they will not win a single seat and in frustration, they are trying to use the Commission to do such things,” he said.
by Antoine LAMBROSCHINITUNIS- Tunisia was waiting Friday for the president to task Premier-designate Mehdi Jomaa with forming a cabinet of independents to lead the country to fresh elections after the Islamist-led government finally quit.Outgoing Prime Minister Ali Larayedh’s resignation on Thursday, under an agreement to end months of political deadlock and get Tunisia’s democratic transition back on track, comes nearly three years after veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s overthrow in the first Arab Spring uprising. The new premier, who is a relative political novice, will have to confront mounting social unrest and the persistent threat of jihadist violence, in a political climate that remains tense.President Moncef Marzouki is now expected to ask the head of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party, Rachid Ghannouchi, to submit a candidate, with Jomaa nominated as the consensus choice to head the interim administration during crisis negotiations last month.The little-known industry minister will have 15 days to form his cabinet, which must be then approved by the national assembly.The Tunisian press welcomed Larayedh’s departure with relief, while also stressing the challenges that his successor faces.Shortly before his resignation, Larayedh announced the suspension of a new vehicle tax which came into force this year and has triggered strikes and nationwide protests, notably in the country’s impoverished interior where the 2011 uprising began.Poverty and unemployment were driving factors behind the revolution that unseated Ben Ali and remain pressing problems in Tunisia, amid lackluster economic growth and an unemployment rate of more than 30 percent among school leavers.Another key issue for Jomaa is the threat posed by armed jihadists, blamed for the assassination of two opposition politicians last year, which triggered the latest political crisis and finally forced the departure of the Ennahda-led government.“The hardest part has just begun,” warned Tunisian daily Le Quotidien, saying Jomaa had inherited a “poisoned chalice.”“With uprisings in all corners of the country, an ailing economy and a precarious situation, the future government will have its work cut out,” it said.Ahead of its formation, the national assembly is pushing ahead with the adoption of a long-delayed new constitution, voting on it intensively article by article.“We will work on it day and night,” said parliament speaker Mustapha Ben Jafaa on Thursday evening. “Maybe we’ll have a nice surprise and the constitution will be adopted on January 13,” the eve of the anniversary of the revolution.The “general principles” and the essential “rights and freedoms” in the charter have already been approved, although other chapters, including on the functioning of public institutions, have yet to be ratified.Lawmakers began examining those chapters on Friday, starting with legislative powers.There has been major progress on the issue of women’s rights, with the assembly passing an article last week that enshrines gender equality, and another on Thursday that commits the state to promoting equality of representation in elected bodies.There had been fears among secular politicians, which Ennahda has been at pains to disprove, that it would seek to roll back the extensive rights that women have enjoyed in Tunisia since independence, compared with the rest of the Arab world.The formation of an independent authority to oversee fresh elections, which the Islamists had set as a condition for stepping down, finally took place on Wednesday.
Washington – US Department of State highlighted, on Wednesday, guarantees laid down in the Moroccan constitution in terms of religious freedom, as well as efforts made by Rabat and Washington to promote tolerance as part of the Strategic Dialogue.“The constitution guarantees the freedom of thought and practice of one’s religious affairs,” wrote the International Religious Freedom Report for 2014, by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.The report recalled that in May “King Mohammed VI broke ground on a new royal regional imam training institute as part of a royal initiative to promote openness and tolerance among the new generation of male and female spiritual guides.” It underlined that “Jewish citizens attended services at synagogues and lived in safety throughout the country,” adding that the government allows foreign Christian communities to attend worship services in approved places.“The U.S. government promoted religious tolerance in the bilateral strategic dialogue,” it said, adding that “the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs led a working group that discussed interfaith dialogue and youth.The working group sponsored a joint international conference on women in monotheistic religions held in Rabat in November.”
Moscow – The creation on Monday of a new economic council with the aim of promoting relations between Morocco and Russia will give a new impetus to the economic partnership between the two countries.The creation of this council, which was announced on the occasion of a meeting held in Moscow on the sidelines of the official visit of HM King Mohammed VI to Russia, will enable private operators in the two countries develop their relations.Speaking on this occasion, chairwoman of employers’ association CGEM Miriem Bensaleh-Cheqroun said that the creation of this economic council aims at strengthening the strategic partnership between Morocco and Russia, noting that the Kingdom offers several opportunities to Russian investors, especially in industry, renewable energy, agriculture, fishing and tourism. The chairman of the Russian-Moroccan Business Council Yuri Sharov said that this meeting will boost economic cooperation between the two countries, adding that the new economic council will promote economic relations and increase the volume of investments between the two countries.The meeting was also marked by the signing of four partnership agreements between economic operators from both countries, covering the areas of industry, energy, pharmaceutical and food industries.With MAP
Rabat – Morocco and Germany signed on Tuesday a declaration of intent to reinforce economic and political cooperation in the energy sector between the two countries and promote investment in renewable energy in Morocco.Under this declaration, signed on the sidelines of an economic roundtable on the investment climate in the energy sector in Morocco by Energy, Mines, Water and Environment Minister, Abdelkader Amara, and Vice Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Federal Minister of Economy and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, both parties emphasize that, in both countries, the energy transition should be considered globally and in synergy with the various sectors, including transport, industry and construction.The steering committee and working groups of the energy partnership are mandated to prepare a work plan with concrete goals. This work plan shall also include the development of a prospective vision of Morocco in the energy planning by 2050 (energy scenarios), taking into account the marine STEP, offshore wind and the joint organization of a side-event during the COP22, scheduled for November 2016 in Marrakech.With MAP
By Wassima BoujradIfrane – As part of the ongoing discussions about the issue of the Western Sahara, the Moroccan Politics Club at Al Akhawayn University Ifran (AUI) organized a talk entitled “How Ban Ki-moon Failed to Help the Parties Achieve a Political Solution” by Samir Bennis, PhD.Following the controversy over statements made by UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon earlier in March during his trip to the Tindouf camps and Algiers, AUI’s Moroccan Politics Club (MPC) organized a talk that took place on March 17, hosting the political analyst and Editor-in Chief at Morocco World News (MWN), Samir Bennis, PhD, as a speaker. The talk, which lasted almost three hours, attracted an audience of more than 80 people, including students, professors and AUI staff. The talk featured a high degree of speaker-audience interaction, with Bennis accepting many questions from the students in attendance.Bennis began the talk by analyzing the UNSG statement in a legal framework. The controversy surrounding Ban Ki-moon’s statements comes from the usage of the particular word “occupation.”According to Bennis, Ban Ki-moon showed prejudice and bias in his statements, something that is outlawed by international legal norms. Bennis argued that as Secretary-General of a body that advocates peace and equality, Ban Ki-moon should maintain an impartial stance on the Western Sahara dispute.“Being a UNSG binds him to neutrality,” Bennis said.Instead of merely verbally claiming the Western Sahara as part of the Moroccan territory, Bennis argued that state institutions should take actions to supplement the arguments they have. In this context, he advocated for the use of educational tools like historical documentaries with subtitles in English and other languages to promote the issue internationally.In his talk, Bennis highlighted the role that Morocco World News plays in defending the issue of the Western Sahara by providing news stories reflecting the reality of the situation as well as the historical background surrounding the issue. MWN publishes news stories in three languages – Arabic, French and English – with English playing a key role in reaching a viewership of 1,500 communities worldwide.Bennis criticized the carelessness of the mainstream Moroccan media in defending the Sahara question.“One or two media outlets cannot be effective in spreading knowledge about the issue. Every political and social body should massively work on it,” he said.Bennis urged the audience to look for reliable sources and references that prove the Sahara is Moroccan, and will remain Moroccan.The political adviser also lauded King Mohammed VI’s visit to Russia. As one of the five permanent members of the UNSC, Bennis asserted that addressing Russia could assure security in the issue and draw the attention of China as a potential ally.During the talk, Bennis also clarified that the reason behind the use of the term “Western Sahara” in MWN news stories – rather than “Moroccan Sahara” which is more commonly used in Morocco – is not a symbol of neutrality, but rather a means to reach out to readers around the world. Researchers on the topic use the term “Western Sahara” rather than “Moroccan Sahara.” He clarified that this is part of MWN policy to reach a wider audience interested in the issue and to bring in the international community as much as possible.Moroccan Politics Club – the organizers of the event – is the only student-led organization at AUI that addresses political issues. The club has a stated mission of encouraging student participation in political discourse. Established in 2011, MPC has hosted a variety of different events, such as educational trips to the Moroccan and European Parliaments, weekly group debates, conferences, and other related activities.As the event came to a close, Bennis stressed the importance of student engagement in such issues. Bennis argued that the government is unable to solve the question of the Western Sahara on its own and that Moroccan society must take collective action.
Rabat –Aicha Less, a Moroccan-British member of the Labour Party, was elected Councilor for the Church Street Ward in the City of Westminster on May 5.The Moroccan politician, who was born in Larache, a northern Moroccan city, and moved to London as a child in 1983, was elected Councilor in Church Street by-election on May 5, following the resignation of Vincenzo Rampulla.Less won the five-way race with 2,174 votes. Her fellow Moroccan challenger Rachid Boufas, from the Conservative Party, obtained 512 votes, followed by Barr Alistair Graeme, of the Liberal Democrats, with 205, Jill Sarah De Quincey, from the UK Independence Party (UKIP), with 175 and Andreas Habeland, of the Pirate Party UK, with just 26 votes. After nearly 20 years of experience working in local government, Less became the first Moroccan to land a seat in British local elections.Less campaigned on her passion for the area and loyalty to the issues and causes of her community.During her campaign, Less said, “I want to be the people’s advocate and work on their behalf, particularly in raising their concerns about problems with the futures plan for Church Street including the lack of consultation from the Council.”The Moroccan politician gained the trust of the Westminster residents who voted for her, winning the election with 70 percent of the vote.Her Labour colleagues have expressed their faith in her capacities and dedication to serving her community.Ahead of the elections, Labour Group Leader Councilor Adam Hug said, “Westminster Labour group is delighted that local members have selected such a committed and passionate candidate for Church Street. Aicha will be a great voice for local residents if elected as the new councilor for Church Street on May 5th.”The election of the Moroccan woman as Councilor for the Church Street Ward in Westminster comes only a few weeks after Sadiq Khan, also from the Labour Party, was elected London’s first Muslim mayor.