MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada remains welcoming to newcomers even as his government takes steps to curb the influx of asylum seekers coming into the country at unofficial entry points.Speaking at a news conference in Mississauga, Ont., on Thursday, the prime minister said Canadians continue to be “overwhelmingly in favour” of immigration even though the issue has become “politically charged” here and south of the border.“One of the reasons Canadians do have confidence in immigration as a positive force in our country is because they have confidence in our immigration system,” he said.“We are dealing with larger than usual numbers and have had to make investments to account for that but the integrity of our immigration system continues to hold.”More than 40,000 people have crossed into Canada on foot through fields and forests since 2017.Trudeau’s comments come days after his government presented a budget that includes a new border-enforcement strategy aimed at detecting, intercepting and removing irregular migrants.The plan, which is expected to cost $1.18 billion over five years, includes more funding for the Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP to beef up enforcement at the border, as well as money to speed up the processing of asylum claims.Some provinces, particularly Quebec and Ontario, have called on Ottawa to reimburse them for hundreds of millions of dollars in housing and other expenses they say have been incurred in accommodating the flow of asylum seekers.The budget did not set aside money for provincial immigration costs, but Trudeau said Thursday his government will continue to work with provinces and municipalities to relieve that pressure.Meanwhile, Border Security Minister Bill Blair said over the weekend he was in talks with lawmakers in the United States to close a loophole in Canada’s border agreement with the U.S. that some say encourages asylum seekers to avoid official checkpoints.Under the Safe Third Country Agreement, asylum seekers can’t claim refugee status in Canada if they arrive at an official border crossing from a country deemed to be safe, such as the U.S. — but they can do so from inside Canada.Blair has said that extending the agreement to those who cross irregularly from the U.S. could help remove the incentive.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
As a spokesperson for Farm Sanctuary’s new Compassionate Communities Campaign, Alicia Silverstone has a simple goal: to help as many people as possible get active for animals.“When people think about helping animals, they generally think about dogs and cats, but chickens, pigs, and other farm animals need our help even more. And science shows that farm animals are just as intelligent and interesting as our pets,” says Alicia Silverstone, whose best-selling book “The Kind Diet” shows just how easy and delicious vegetarian eating can be. “Vegetarian advocacy allows busy people like you and me to spare the lives of thousands of animals every year without a huge time commitment. For example, you can spare at least fifty animals a lifetime of misery on a factory farm with just an hour of leafleting. And there are lots more tips at CompassionateCommunities.org.”Compassionate Communities was created by Farm Sanctuary, North America’s largest and most effective farm animal rescue and protection organization, to promote and train animal advocates and grassroots groups in the most effective forms of animal advocacy and community building.WHY IT MATTERSVegetarian advocacy has proven to be the most effective thing caring individuals can do to help the greatest number of animals in the least amount of time. For each person who reduces the amount of meat they eat, dozens of farm animals will be spared a lifetime of suffering.HOW IT WORKSIndividuals who join the Compassionate Communities Campaign will: Receive direct support, physical resources, and instructions on best practices to help sharpen their advocacy skills. Receive blog updates twice a month delivered straight to their inboxes. Receive challenges that will take their activism to new heights while saving thousands animals. Complete the challenges and report back on their progress to receive recognition and prizes.To find out how to join and watch a video message from Alicia Silverstone, click here.
Rabat – This Friday in Brussels, at a high-level international conference on the Sahel, Minister of cooperation and foreign affairs Nasser Bourita met with several high officials of the European Union, G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad, Niger, Mali) heads of state and government, UN and AU representatives, as well as important officials from friend states such as USA, Japan, and the Golf states.The conference, which was held under the auspices of the European Union, allowed the mobilization of € 414 million, a sum that will wholly be allocated to operations in support of the G5 Sahel Joint Anti-Terrorism Force.During the conference, participants also discussed means to strengthen coordination on security-related strategic issues and reinforce effectiveness regarding sustainable development aids in the region. The meeting, Nasser Bourita shortly afterwards told MAP, was also an occasion to discuss other regional and international issues.The EU, key contributor to stability and security measures in the G5 Sahel area, vowed, after this week’s conference, to double its efforts towards financing the region’s joint anti-terrorism force. In this regard, EU officials at the conference assured participants that Europe would increase its support to € 100 million, which, they said, together with other international supports, will help G5 Sahel countries acquire the necessary means to improve security and crush terrorism in the region.“The EU plays a major role in this Sahel alliance which, launched in July 2017, aims to coordinate and channel, in a more effective way, financial help to the region’s most fragile zones,” said a press release after the conference, adding that the aid initiative is open to all international partners that hope to join the anti-terrorism fight.
Five years ago in Davos, Mr. Annan launched a Global Compact aimed at involving the private sector in upgrading environmental, labour and human rights conditions. According to UN officials, during his keynote address to the Forum on 20 January, the Secretary-General will laud progress achieved since then while warning that the current critical juncture in international affairs requires continued efforts to build an open, rules-based global economy that works for the world’s people. Towards that end, he will enlist the intensified help of the business community.The Davos speech will come on the second day of a 12-day, seven-city, European trip set to begin on Monday evening, when Mr. Annan will arrive in Baden-Baden, Germany, a UN spokesman announced today. He will receive the German Media Prize on Wednesday and hold talks with the country’s Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer.After the World Economic Forum, Mr. Annan will travel to Stockholm, where on 25 January, he will meet the Prime Minister. The following day he will address the opening of the Stockholm International Forum 2004 – Preventing Genocide: Threats and Responsibilities.In Paris the following day, the Secretary-General is scheduled to attend a working luncheon hosted by French President Jacques Chirac and to address a Global Compact meeting.On 28 January, Mr. Annan will be in Brussels for meetings with the NATO Secretary-General, the European Union College of Commissioners, the European Commission President and the Irish European Union Presidency. The following day, he will receive the Sakharov Prize at a European Parliament ceremony. After that he has meetings scheduled with top Belgian officials.Still in Belgium that Friday, the Secretary-General will be receiving an honorary doctorate awarded to him last year by the University of Gent.On his final stop, in Geneva, Mr. Annan has meetings scheduled with President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil and President Chirac. He will also meet – separately and later jointly – with President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Paul Biya of Cameroon.
Indonesia’s incoming president gets boost after meeting rival, but tough challenges await by Ali Kotarumalos And Niniek Karmini, The Associated Press Posted Oct 18, 2014 12:03 am MDT JAKARTA, Indonesia – Rebooting a slowing economy in a nation of 250 million where inequality is rising, a looming decision on raising fuel prices and vulnerability to any U.S. interest rate hikes would be enough to tax any incoming president.But Indonesia’s Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who takes office Monday, must also find a way to work with a powerful and well-funded opposition that could block moves to address the challenges holding back the country’s rise as an emerging market powerhouse.At least eight heads of state and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will attend the inauguration, a sign of Indonesia’s regional and international clout. After years of dictatorship, the country was convulsed by unrest in the late 1990s and turned to democracy amid the upheaval of the Asian financial crisis. It is the biggest economy in Southeast Asia and home to more Muslims than any other nation.In a positive sign for the minority government that Jokowi will lead, the head of the opposition and losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto met with him Friday for the first time since the polls, finally conceding defeat and offering qualified support. Many analysts still fear that Subianto could play an obstructive role, but the meeting offered at least some hope that the rancour of the bitterly contested polls might be subsiding.Jokowi is taking over from Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has overseen consolidation of Indonesia’s young democracy and steady economic growth, albeit now at just over 5 per cent, its slowest pace in five years. Slowing demand in China for Indonesia’s natural resources has dulled exports. High interest rates to rein in a yawning current account deficit have also taken the steam out of the economy.The deficit makes Indonesia highly vulnerable to the hikes expected next year in what are record-low U.S. interest rates, which could suck funds from the country, pressurizing the rupiah and spooking the markets. Jokowi will also have to quickly take steps to fix the country’s massive infrastructure problems and tackle corruption, both of which hurt efforts to attract the foreign investment needed to create jobs.The first major test of his reform credentials will be one of the hardest: how much to cut subsidies on fuel that unless trimmed will cost the government more than $30 billion this year. The subsidies keep fuel cheap, but drain government funds that could be spent more productively on building bridges, schools or hospitals, for example.Cutting subsidies means prices rise at the pump. That leads to follow-on hikes to the cost of basic goods and bus fares that hit the poor directly and will stoke anger at the super wealthy minority who have benefited most from Indonesia’s growth as well as Jokowi. But economists, political commentators and investors all say he has no choice if he wants to show economic responsibility and free up funds.“There are many unpopular policies, including raising fuel prices, that have to be taken, although that may lead to anger and resistance from the opposition coalition in the first year,” said Sofyan Wanandi, a high-profile businessman and chairman of the Indonesian Employers Association. “But there is no pleasant-tasting medicine to fix the economy. If we don’t take it, our economy will be destroyed.”Jokowi doesn’t need parliamentary approval to cut the subsidies, but he is likely to be criticized by the opposition and sections of the media. Previous hikes in fuel prices have led to street demonstrations and riots, and were a factor in the downfall of former dictator Suharto.Jokowi, a former furniture seller, won 54 per cent of the votes in the July elections after a grassroots campaign that stressed his ordinariness, honesty and record of hard work and uncorrupt service as Jakarta governor. He is the seventh Indonesian president, and the only one that hasn’t been drawn from the country’s political, economic and military elite.After the inauguration, Jakarta is planning a street celebration and live music concert at which it is rumoured Jokowi, who is a guitarist and heavy metal fan, will play.Subianto, who has been trying to become president for more than 10 years, has a poor human rights record and close ties to the elite that governed the country during the Suharto years. Many democracy activists have expressed fears that he would go to any lengths, including undemocratic ones, to secure the presidency.His refusal to concede defeat and unsuccessful legal campaign to get the vote overturned had only added to those concerns.Last month, legislators loyal to Subianto voted to scrap direct elections for local officials, triggering anger at what many regarded as a grave setback to democracy that would return power to the mostly corrupt political parties. Jokowi rose to national prominence after being directly elected a regional governor.The meeting Friday served to allay those concerns, though much remains uncertain.It took place at the house of Subianto’s father in southern Jakarta.“I told him that I will ask my friends and supporters to support him and the government he will lead,” Subianto said. “If there are things that we feel unprofitable, we will not hesitate to express criticism.”Jokowi has yet to name his Cabinet. He could offer places to opposition members, broadening his support.Economic professor Fransiskus Xaverius Sugiyanto said he thought it likely that the government could function even with such a large opposition, though its members would try and block legislation that was harmful to their business interests.“As long as the government’s policies and strategies are really based on the people’s needs and interests, I am sure he will survive for the next five years,” he said. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
“There is clearly no shortage of human rights challenges which my Office is working on with partners and stakeholders,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said at the opening of the Council’s 21st session in Geneva.She highlighted numerous human rights challenges that continue to persist and preoccupy the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): poverty, impunity, armed conflicts, refugee flows, discrimination, religious intolerance, arbitrary executions, and the impact of the pervasive economic and financial crises. “Regrettably, lives and livelihoods continue to hang in the balance,” she stated. “My Office remains vigilant in supporting States in addressing these scourges, doing what it can within limited means to improve conditions that result in far too many human rights victims.”Made up of 47 Member States elected by the General Assembly, the Council is an inter-governmental body within the UN system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them. She voiced grave concern about the ongoing conflict in Syria, where more than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the uprising against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad began some 18 months ago, citing the continuing “devastating” consequences on civilians. “I reiterate the call I made at the last session of the Council for the international community to overcome divisions and work to end the violence and human rights violations to which the people of Syria have been subjected and to ensure accountability for all perpetrators,” she said.Other country situations that also deserved the attention of the Council and her Office include Bahrain, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Greece, Kenya, the Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the occupied Palestinian territory, South Africa, Sudan and Tunisia, she said. Ms. Pillay also called on the Council to address issues such as gender equality, the targeting of religious minorities and the rising number of executions in some countries. Also addressing the Council’s opening session today was Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who commended the body for its quick response to the crisis in Syria.“While the Security Council has been divided on the situation, the General Assembly and this Council have acted. I welcome this stepped-up engagement,” he said. “I regret that your recommendations were not followed up by other relevant United Nations organs.”The UN chief encouraged the Council to maintain its vigilance on Syria, including on the question of accountability. “We must ensure that anyone, on any side, who commits war crimes, crimes against humanity or other violations of international human rights or humanitarian law is brought to justice,” he stated.The Secretary-General highlighted five challenges that warranted the Council’s attention. They included the need to do more to ensure that the output of the Council and other UN human rights mechanisms shapes policy-making across the Organization, as well as the responsibility of States to protect those who courageously advocate and risk their lives to defend human rights and the values of the UN Charter.He also stressed the need for the Council to respond to all human rights violations in an even-handed manner, without disproportionately emphasizing any one situation over another. “Taking a selective approach to human rights violations has the effect of damaging the credibility of the institutions concerned,” he said. “Your efforts must be universal and consistent.”
Some good news just broke for all you Call of Duty: Black Ops fans out there. The game’s second DLC map pack, Escalation, is on the way. Australian gaming site, Game.com.au, seems to have accidentally posted a flyer for the DLC which stated that the release date would be May 3rd (03.05.2011 for those of us who aren’t in the US) and it wil include 5 maps. There are almost no other details, but we do know the map names: Zoo, Hotel, Convoy, Stockpile, and Survive. Based on the art it looks like Survive is a zombie map while the others will be standard multiplayer ones.We don’t know if the date is worldwide, but it was for the first one (First Strike) so long as you wanted to play it on the Xbox 360. We also don’t know for a fact that this is legit–online retailer leaks are extremely hit and miss–but the art looks real and we have been expecting more BlOps maps some time in May so it seems safe to start to get excited about this one.AdChoices广告As per usual, the map pack will land on the Xbox 360 first and then the PC and PS3 later on.via This Is XboxFull image:
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram For Marios Frixou, 36, and Fanos Eleftheriades, 26, last week saw a dream of theirs came true, when they said ‘I do’ in what was Cyprus’ first public gay wedding.The only unconventional aspect of the wedding was the two grooms at the front of the altar; from there on it was as traditional as they come. Mr Frixou’s mother greeted the couple by handing both a gold coin – old family heirlooms – that they each hung around their necks. The couple then danced to the traditional wedding song, with guests feasting on roasted pork and lining up with offerings of cash-filled envelopes.Overjoyed to be finally be wed after seven years together, the couple said they opted for the traditional trimmings to encourage others on the island to be open and proud of their own love.“We wanted to give courage to other couples and to all gay and transgender people to accept themselves and not to be ashamed of who they are,” said Mr Frixou. “We’ve gotten scores of messages from people telling us how much courage we’ve given them.”The simple yet meaningful ceremony, which took place before the Nicosia District Officer, was made possible late last year, when lawmakers passed a civil union law recognising gay marriage. The move was a big step forward for gay rights across the globe, and for Cyprus itself, which decriminalised homosexuality just 18 years ago.The newlyweds exchanged vows in the presence of their two best women, along with a few friends and family, before heading to the reception where hundreds turned out to wish the couple well. Though the civil union law grants gay couples the same legal rights as heterosexual couples, there continues to be a restriction against joint adoption of children.While the church and local religious groups continue to hold their stance in opposition of gay marriage, they haven’t been as vocal of late says Costas Gavrielides, president of gay rights group ACCEPT.“People are coming to terms with the fact that the rights of all people must be respected and actually enshrined in law,” said Mr Gavrielides.“Same-sex couples have been given the opportunity to feel legitimised.”
In a written response, PAGCOR said that POGO operations “have been contributing significantly to PAGCOR’s overall revenues which eventually go to the government’s coffers and various mandated beneficiaries.”It added that POGO contributed Php657 million in 2016, improving to Php3.924 billion in 2017 and Php7.365 billion last year.PAGCOR also emphasized that enforcement of POGO was the role of multiple government agencies, not just PAGCOR.“While gaming operations fall within the ambit of the gaming industry thereby subjecting the same to pertinent regulatory bodies such as PAGCOR, other components of operations fall under the jurisdiction of [other] sectors making each component subjected to the regulation of each concerned government agencies,” it said.In particular, PAGCOR stated that taxation of licensed operators is undertaken by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, while foreign workers are regulated by both the Department of Labor and Employment and the Bureau of Immigration.“For our part, PAGCOR upholds lawful employment,” it said. “Employing undocumented foreign workers by licensed operations and their accredited service providers is a violation warranting imposition of demerits, fines and other administrative penalties, without prejudice to suspension of operations and/or cancellation of license or accreditation.“PAGCOR expresses its commitment to uphold the integrity of gaming in the country. By partaking in inter-agency efforts in regulating offshore gaming operations, PAGCOR has always supported the government’s policy of equitable and progressive taxation, lawful employment, and promotion of public welfare.” Philippines rejects China’s call to ban online gambling Load More RelatedPosts Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR has revealed that its Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) scheme contributed revenue of Php7.365 billion (US$139.3 million) in 2018 – almost double the amount contributed in the previous year.The figures were produced as part of a press statement issued over the weekend in which PAGCOR launched a passionate defense of its POGO regulatory procedures following criticism by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who stated last week that the government was missing out on more than Php3 billion per month in tax revenue from foreign workers. It is estimated that there are around 100,000 foreign POGO workers in the country. 181 Chinese nationals arrested in dispute over POGO accreditation status South Korea’s foreigner-only casinos see revenues grow in August
WILMINGTON, MA — The Aleppo Shriners are holding their fourth annual Car Show on Sunday, August 19, 10am to 2pm, at the Shriners Auditorium (99 Fordham Street). Proceeds will benefit the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children.Admission is free to the public. The event includes music, prizes, food and a 50/50 raffle.Registration for show vehicles begins at 9am. A $20 donation is required. Contact Steve at 617-628-6251 or sshrdude[at]gmail.com to learn more.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWilmington’s Shriners Auditorium To Host Huge Car Show On August 25In “Community”SAVE THE DATE: Feztival of Trees Coming To Shriners Auditorium On November 22-24In “Community”COMING TO THE SHRINERS: Car Show On August 28In “Community”
More Stan Lee Post a comment 0 18 Photos Stan Lee is best known for co-creating the comic book superheroes Spider-Man, Thor and more. Marvel Marvel comics icon Stan Lee may no longer be with us, but he’ll never be forgotten. Especially on the New York street that will likely bear his name. The New York City Council voted Tuesday to approve a proposal to name a Bronx street after Lee, according to the New York Post. The proposal suggests co-naming University Avenue between Brandt Place and West 176th as Stan Lee Way. Co-naming means the old street name will still show up on maps, as well as on street signs alongside the new name. Lee has a personal history with the Bronx. He once lived at 1720 University Avenue and attended high school at DeWitt Clinton HS in the Bronx. TV and Movies Comics Stan Lee dies at 95: A look back at his most iconic characters on screen All that’s still needed to make the proposal official is a mayoral sign-off. The New York City Council didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Lee died in November 2018 at 95. He’ll be back as a kid in an upcoming animated project called The Amazing Stan. Tags Share your voice Stan Lee sang to me: My 10 craziest Comic-Con moments Stan Lee returns in new animated series Marvel to release video of all Stan Lee MCU movie cameos Stan Lee Marvel
Download Audio A few fishermen from the communities in the Kuskokwim caught king salmon before the scheduled closures last week. In a typical year the first catch is a time of joy but this year it’s bringing uncertainty.
Bran Stark is the Night KingFacebookSince the very first season of Game of Thrones, fans from around the world are speculating that Bran Stark is going to become the Night King. There have been hundreds of such theories but Game of Thrones season 8 star Isaac Hempstead-Wright has just called the Bran Stark-Night King theory a “cheesy” one.In the very first season of Game of Thrones, we saw how Jaime Lannister pushed young Bran Stark from the top of the tower. As a result of which, he becomes crippled by the fall. However, Bran’s life took an altogether different turn when he found out that he could warg himself. In Game of Thrones, warging is considered a very important thing.Furthermore, Bran Stark starts to see the dreams of a three-eyed raven/crow. The raven speaks to Bran and tells him it can teach him how to fly, other times it screeches the words, “fly or die.” After meeting the old Three-Eyed Raven, who lived in the tree, Bran Stark learned how to see into the past and possibly has the knowledge of seeing the future.Ever since then, fans have been speculating that in Game of Thrones season 8, we will finally get to know how Bran Stark became the Night King or the other way around. At the same time, in the released trailer of Game of Thrones, Bran Stark was not physically present and it made many to wonder that the ice that comes in the trailer is Bran’s transformation into the Night King. However, show’s star Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who is playing Bran Stark from the beginning, recently talked about this theory. Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark (L) and Max von Sydow as the Three-Eyed Raven (R)Game of Thrones/FacebookDuring his recent interview with a British weekly magazine, Radio Times, Isaac Hempstead-Wright said that whenever he posts anything on the Instagram account, fans from around the world start commenting, “Night King! You are Night King! Hell the Night King!”The 19-year-old Wright stated that he understands why fans are fascinated with Bran Stark as he can travel in time while adding that, “you can kind of get away with anything theory-wise and make it sound convincing if you’ve got time travel involved.”In addition to this, Isaac stated that the Bran Stark-Night King theory is an interesting one but called it “a bit obvious. A bit cheesy.”Game of Thrones season eight is going to premiere in April and it will only be the final season that will reveal whether or not Bran Stark is truly a Night King or there are some different twists hidden with this amazing character.
Indian federal government representatives will meet the Dalai Lama when he visits a sensitive border region controlled by India but claimed by China, officials said, despite a warning from Beijing that it would damage ties.India says the Tibetan spiritual leader will make a religious trip to Arunachal Pradesh next month, and as a secular democracy it would not stop him from travelling to any part of the country.China claims the state in the eastern Himalayas as “South Tibet”, and has denounced foreign and even Indian leaders’ visits to the region as attempts to bolster New Delhi’s territorial claims.A trip by the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese regard as a dangerous separatist, would ratchet up tensions at a time when New Delhi is at odds with China on strategic and security issues and unnerved by Beijing’s growing ties with arch-rival Pakistan.Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is raising its public engagement with the Tibetan leader, a change from earlier governments’ reluctance to anger Beijing by sharing a public platform with him.“It’s a behavioural change you are seeing. India is more assertive,” junior home minister Kiren Rijiju told Reuters in an interview.Rijiju, who is from Arunachal and is Modi’s point man on Tibetan issues, said he would meet the Dalai Lama, who is visiting the Buddhist Tawang monastery after an eight-year interval.“He is going there as a religious leader, there is no reason to stop him. His devotees are demanding he should come, what harm can he do? He is a lama.”The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday the Dalai Lama’s trip would cause serious damage to India-China ties, and warned New Delhi not to provide him a platform for anti-China activities.“The Dalai clique has for a long time carried out anti-China separatist activities and on the issue of the China-India border has a history of disgraceful performances,” spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing.CHINA INVESTING NEARBYVisits of the Dalai Lama are initiated months, if not years in advance, and approval for the April 4-13 trip predates recent disagreements between the neighbours.But the decision to go ahead at a time of strained relations signals Modi’s readiness to use diplomatic tools at a time when China’s economic and political clout across South Asia is growing.China is helping to fund a new trade corridor across India’s neighbour and arch-foe Pakistan, and has also invested in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, raising fears of strategic encirclement.Last month a Taiwanese parliamentary delegation visited Delhi, angering Beijing, which regards Taiwan as an integral part of China.In December, President Pranab Mukherjee hosted the Dalai Lama at his official residence with other Nobel prize winners, the first public meeting with an Indian head of state in 60 years.Some officials said India’s approach to the Tibetan issue remained cautious, reflecting a gradual evolution in policy rather than a sudden shift, and Modi appears reluctant to go too far for fear of upsetting its large northern neighbour.India’s foreign secretary, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, was in Beijing last week on a visit that analysts said was aimed at stabilising relations between the world’s most populous countries.TANGIBLE SHIFTThat said, Modi’s desire to pursue a more assertive foreign policy since his election in 2014 was quickly felt in contacts with China.At one bilateral meeting early in his tenure, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj asked her Chinese counterpart whether Beijing had a “one India” policy, according to a source familiar with India-China talks, a pointed reference to Beijing’s demand that countries recognise its “one China” policy.“One India” would imply that China recognise India’s claims to Kashmir, contested by Pakistan, as well as border regions like Arunachal Pradesh.India’s hosting of the Dalai Lama since he fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule has long irritated Beijing. But government ministers often shied away from regular public meetings with the Buddhist monk.“These meetings were happening before. Now it is public,” Lobsang Sangay, head of the Tibetan government-in-exile based in the Indian town of Dharamsala, said in an interview.“I notice a tangible shift. With all the Chinese investments in all the neighbouring countries, that has generated debate within India,” he said.The chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, a member of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, met the Dalai Lama in New Delhi in October and officially invited him to visit the state.On the Dalai Lama’s last visit in 2009, the state’s chief minister met him. This time he will be joined by federal minister Rijiju, a move the Chinese may see as giving the trip an official imprimatur.New Delhi has been hurt by China’s refusal to let it join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the global cartel that controls nuclear commerce.India has also criticised Beijing for stonewalling its request to add the head of a banned Pakistani militant group to a U.N. Security Council blacklist.Rory Medcalf, Head of the National Security College at the Australian National University, said New Delhi appeared to have been surprised by China’s inflexibility since Modi came to power, fuelling distrust in the Indian security establishment.“India does feel that the cards are stacked against it and that it should retain and play the cards that it does have,” he said. “The Dalai Lama and Tibetan exile community is clearly one of those cards.”
In this 22 June, 2016, file photo, workers guide a boom pouring concrete on the top floor of 3 World Trade Center in New York. Behind them is One World Trade Center. The new skyscraper opens Monday. Photo : AP Meta : An 80-story office building set to open this week at the World Trade Center will be the third completed skyscraper at the site where the twin towers stood.An 80-story office building set to open this week at the World Trade Center will be the third completed skyscraper at the site where the twin towers stood.Monday’s ribbon-cutting for the 1,079-foot (329-meter) 3 World Trade Center marks a major step in the rebuilding of the site, stalled for years by disputes among government agencies, trade center developer Larry Silverstein, insurers and 9/11 victims’ family members who wanted the entire site to be preserved for eternity as a memorial.The new $2.7 billion building, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Rogers, has been the fifth-tallest building in New York City since construction topped out in 2016.That designation seemed elusive in 2009 when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the trade center site and was battling with Silverstein over costs associated with rebuilding, sought to reduce 3 World Trade to a four-story “stump.”After arbitration in the dispute between the developer and the property owner, construction started in 2010 but was halted at seven stories due to a lack of financing.The financial situation improved in 2012, Silverstein said. “It was like somebody came to us and said, ‘The curtain has gone up, you can now access this pool of financing.'”The Port Authority’s current executive director, Rick Cotton, joined the agency in 2017 and missed out on the fights with Silverstein. Cotton said the opening of 3 World Trade is “really a major transformative step in the ongoing evolution of the World Trade Center from a construction site to an active, living, breathing campus of office buildings and a memorial.”Three World Trade’s 62-foot (19-meter) lobby faces the National Sept. 11 Museum. Wedged between the Santiago Calatrava-designed transportation hub and 4 World Trade Center, also built by Silverstein, the new building consists of an 80-story tower straddling a 17-story “podium.”Zigzagging beams down the east and west faces of the tower look like an embellishment but are actually structural components that will allow for column-free spaces inside. “It’s a load-bearing system,” said Carlos Valverde, a Silverstein Properties vice president who has supervised construction of the building.The skyscraper boasts an annealed glass exterior with 10,000 glass panels that have been cooled slowly to reduce internal stress, meaning the glass shouldn’t break into shards if it is struck.Inside, office space is being readied for anchor tenant 3M, an advertising firm, with exposed ceilings that suggest a Soho loft.There are outdoor terraces on the 17th, 60th and 76th floors including an outdoor deck that will be shared by all the building’s tenants.A mural of a dancer in a red dress adorns a wall on the otherwise bare 68th floor, which will eventually be covered with street artists’ work.The new building is the second Silverstein skyscraper to feature graffiti artists’ work. Street artists were invited to wield their spray cans on the 69th floor of the new building’s neighbor, 4 World Trade, last year. The artwork inspired the streaming service Spotify to sign a lease for the top floors of the building including the “graffiti in the sky” floor.Silverstein said 40 per cent of 3 World Trade’s office space is leased. GroupM will start moving in July 16, Valverde said. Management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. has leased space and will move in next year.Myers Mermel, the chief executive of TenantWise, a real estate advisory firm, said the McKinsey deal will spur other prestigious financial services firms to consider moving to the area. “McKinsey marks a turning point in front office acceptance of the new World Trade Center,” he said.Silverstein, now 87, thought he had gotten “the brass ring” when he signed a 99-year lease on the trade center in July 2001. Two planes piloted by terrorists destroyed the trade center complex six weeks later.Silverstein recalled a conversation with his wife, Klara, about whether he should try to rebuild or not. “We can either walk away from this place as many people are advising me to do and as the insurers want me to do or we can stay and rebuild,” Silverstein recalled saying. “But I said, ‘It’s going to be a tough 10 years,’ because I thought we could do it all in 10 years.”Seventeen years later, Silverstein has completed 4 World Trade and 3 World Trade. One World Trade, the tallest building on the site, was developed by the Port Authority.The still unfinished 2 World Trade Center, immediately north of the transportation hub, is awaiting an anchor tenant and financing before it can be built beyond a stump. “We’ve just got to find the occupant of that last tower. Get that done,” Silverstein said.Also starting construction after years of delays is the nearby Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center, named for the billionaire investor after he made a $75 million donation. Its scheduled completion date is 2020.
Bob Daemmrich for the Texas TribuneGov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus meet at the short Cash Management Committee meeting on July 18, 2017.Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick marked the halfway point of the special session Tuesday by calling for “better communications” with the House, which has moved much slower on Gov. Greg Abbott’s agenda than Patrick’s Senate has. “Like you would do in any business, you’d sit down with the three leaders and have a plan, but we have no communication with the House,” Patrick said in an interview with a conservative group, suggesting House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, has repeatedly rebuffed his requests to sit down together and game out the special session. “We have to have someone we can communicate with.” “I’ve not had one meeting with the speaker of the House in nine months, face to face, on policy,” Patrick added, noting that for himself and Abbott, “it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen or work out in a seamless way to do the people’s business if no one will sit down and talk with us. So the special session is really left up to the governor and I to try to direct it.” The Big Three — Abbott, Patrick and Straus — regularly shared breakfast together on Wednesdays during the first half of the regular session. But those breakfasts came to an end during the second half as tensions between the House and Senate intensified, leading to a legislative standoff that sparked the current overtime round. Straus’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Patrick’s remarks Tuesday, which were made during an interview on Facebook Live with Michael Quinn Sullivan, the president of the influential conservative group Empower Texans. Patrick’s tone Tuesday was somewhat more conciliatory than at the end of the regular session and the start of the special session, when he accused of Straus of laying the groundwork for a state income tax with his school finance plan, a claim the speaker has called “laughable.” Patrick has also taken aim at Straus aides, saying in one instance that the speaker’s chief of staff is a Democrat despite scant evidence to back it up. “My door is open,” Patrick said Tuesday. “The speaker has my phone number. He knows where I am most of the time. I don’t care about our differences. I don’t care anything that’s been said in the past. I want to sit down and find a way to complete the governor’s agenda.” Yet he still had some harsh words for Straus on Tuesday, especially when it came to one of Patrick’s biggest priorities: a “bathroom bill” that would regulate which restroom transgender Texans can use. Straus opposes such legislation, which has not yet received a committee hearing in the House. “Right now, if that bill fails,” Patrick said, “he alone will have killed it.” This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/08/01/halfway-through-special-session-patrick-wants-better-communications-ho/.The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. Share
The 448-page redacted Mueller Report is not on most people’s summer reading list.But you can still fulfill your civic duty by watching a star-studded live reading of the document, recorded Monday by bipartisan organization Law Works.“The Investigation: A Search For the Truth in 10 Acts” was penned by Robert Schenkkan, directed by Scott Ellis, and stars some of stage and screen’s biggest celebrities.The live reading takes viewers into the heart of the Mueller report—publicly released in April. Specifically, it references the 10 episodes of potential obstruction of justice by Donald Trump before and during his presidency.“Robert Mueller says the report speaks for itself,” journalist and political commentator Bill Moyers said Monday as he introduced the special event. “Tonight, that voice resonates through a cast of remarkable actors.”Annette Bening, Kevin Kline, John Lithgow, Michael Shannon, Gina Gershon, Alyssa Milano, Kyra Sedgwick, Alfre Woodard, and Zachary Quinto joined Frederick Weller, Ben McKenzie, Noah Emmerich, Justin Long, Jason Alexander, Wilson Cruz, Joel Grey, Piper Perabo, and Aidan Quinn on a New York stage this week.Mark Hamill, Sigourney Weaver, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Bob Balaban, and Mark Ruffalo also made video appearances.Despite the serious nature of the report, a live audience managed to find some humor in the performance—particularly Lithgow’s dramatics and Master of Ceremonies’ Joel Grey’s drawl.“The Mueller Report is required reading for every American who cares about defending our democracy,” the Law Works Facebook page said. “It shows that President Trump likely obstructed justice and that his campaign not only knew Russia wanted them to win, but welcomed it.”Missed the livestream? Watch the full one-hour-and-17-minute event online, where you can donate to Law Works’ political mission.More on Geek.com:U.S. Intelligence Has Known Russian Hackers Infiltrated Power GridsTwitter Emails 677,775 U.S. Users About Russian Election InterferenceRussia Reportedly Hacked Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — Personnel from Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente (Profeco) have again, placed suspension stamps at the Aguakan offices throughout Playa del Carmen.According to René Medrano, General Director of Legal Affairs of the Solidarity City Council, “We received bills from the concessionaire for about 69 services or accounts throughout the city from places such as schools, clinics, the Youth Institute, sports units, etc.“Inside the bills we found excessive and unjustified charges as well as citizens complaints about the rates, so we presented a complaint to Profeco to investigate.”He said that “In the investigations it was found that Aguakan uses 12 lots of the municipal government for its facilities such as water treatment, which have a registered value of more than 60 million peso, properties that the concessionaire occupies and which are properties of the municipal government.“Now regarding the payment of the property, Aguakan owes 62 million peso, because as a historical fact, this company has never paid this tax.“I am surprised that the company has not approached the city to talk about these issues, that is, they send us bills about the collection of the water that the municipal government uses. Aguakan must pay what they owe,” he explained.He added that the city could proceed by “first, requiring the payment of the property tax and the second with respect to the lots that the concessionaire it’s using, in which case those properties can be auctioned in a public tender for the commercial value.”Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)
Asia’s world city set to welcome the Year of the PigAsia’s world city set to welcome the Year of the PigRegarded as one of Hong Kong’s largest and most colourful festivals, visitors and locals alike will be caught up in the energy and atmosphere of Hong Kong’s Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations.Squeeze into temples to pray for good fortune, browse festive markets selling auspicious foods and blooms, take in the red lanterns that adorn the city or sit back and enjoy one of Hong Kong’s most anticipated annual events, the International Chinese New Year Night Parade.Join the CNY festivities with highlights including:Discover local flower markets: Join locals for a sensory overload as they shop for seasonal flowers at one of the colourful flower markets. Plants and blooms symbolise different well wishes during the CNY period, including: cherry blossoms which are believed to improve personal, particularly romantic, relationships; and water bamboo plants which are said to bring wealth. Spend a few hours browsing the large range of creative products and delicacies that reflect the unique Hong Kong cultures.What: Flower marketsWhere: Fa Hui Park, Mong Kok and Victoria Park, Causeway BayWhen: Fa Hui Park market is open from 7am on 4 February to 7am on 5 February and Victoria Park market is open from 8am on 4 February to 8am on 5 FebruaryStart the new year in the Great Outdoors: In Chinese culture physical uphill climbing signifies progress in life, so hiking is a popular activity around CNY. For some great outdoors action head to Lantau Island via the cable car from Tung Chung, then wander around the world’s tallest outdoor sitting Buddha statue, before stopping at Ngong Ping Village to visit the “Good Luck Garden”. End the day by sampling some traditional Chinese vegetarian dishes at the Po Lin Monastery.What: Hiking Where: Lantau Island – Ngong Ping Village, Po Lin Monastery, Big BuddhaWhen: The cable car operates on weekdays from 10am to 6pm and weekends and public holidays from 9am to 6:30pmJoin the biggest CNY soiree in town: Head to Tsim Sha Tsui early on 5 February to secure a spot to watch the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade, a signature event dating back to 1996. Starting from 6pm roving performers will emerge along the parade route, before dazzling floats, ebullient dancers, acrobats and other performers from around the world follow and fill the area with colour and excitement. Paid spectator seats located at the starting point, next to the iconic Hong Kong Cultural Centre, are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.What: Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night ParadeWhere: Tsim Sha Tsui, running through Canton Road, Haiphong Road and Nathan RoadWhen: 5 February from 8pm to 9:45pmMake a wish: Venture to the New Territories to experience the local Hong Kong Well-Wishing Festival in Lam Tsuen, Tai Po, which takes place from 5 to 19 February. Visitors can try their hand at placard throwing by purchasing a placard tied to an orange. They then write their wishes for the new year on it, before throwing it at the imitation wishing tree. The higher the placard hangs, the greater chance that the wishes will be granted. The floats from the International Chinese New Year Night Parade will also be on display until 19 February.What: Hong Kong Well-wishing Festival 2019Where: Lam Tsuen Wishing Square, Lam Tsuen, Tai PoWhen: 5 to 19 February from 8:45am to 6:30pmDon’t forget to look up: Fireworks, or literally “smoke flower” in Cantonese, is an integral part of festive celebrations in Hong Kong. For many years, an extravagant fireworks display is staged above the iconic Victoria Harbour on the second day of Chinese New Year. The 30-minute spectacle can be best viewed for free along the harbourfront in Tsim Sha Tsui, the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, or ifc in Central; or for dinner and a show, book one of the restaurants overlooking the harbour.What: Lunar New Year Fireworks DisplayWhere: Victoria HarbourWhen: 6 February from 8pm to 8:30pm Spin the windmill for good fortune: Paying respect to the deities is a customary practice among the locals, especially the older generation. For a glimpse into this tradition, visitors can visit Che Kung Temple in Tai Wai, which attracts crowds of avid worshippers around CNY every year. Try “Kau Chim”, or fortune stick drawing, to see what fortune awaits in the Year of the Pig. Remember to spin the temple’s famous copper windmill clockwise to summon good luck.What: Che Kung TempleWhere: Tai WaiWhen: 7 February from 8am to 6pmPut the new year good fortune to the test: The Chinese New Year Race Day at the Sha Tin Racecourse will be the first race for the Year of the Pig calendar and provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to experience Hong Kong’s iconic horseracing culture and put their new year good fortune to the test. Join locals for a day of entertainment, hospitality and lots of horse racing!What: Chinese New Year Race DayWhere: Sha Tin RacecourseWhen: 7 February from 11am to 6pmFor more information on CNY visit www.discoverhongkong.com/au/search.jsp?keyword=Chinese New YearFor more information von Hong Kong visit www.DiscoverHongKong.com/au or www.DiscoverHongKong.com/nz@DiscoverHongKong // #DiscoverHongKongSource = Hong Kong Tourism Board