In a first, the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has published an compendium of animal species in the Indian Sundarbans, estimating that there are 2,626 of them in the fragile island ecosystem. The listing includes a diverse 25 phyla, as they are biologically classified.The Indian segment of the Sundarbans, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, forms part of the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta across 9,630 sq. km, distributed among 104 islands. The region hosts 2,487 species that come under the zoological kingdom of Animalia, and 140 under the more primitive Protista.“The publication titled Fauna of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve is the first consolidated and updated information of the faunal diversity of the Sundarbans. It lists over 2,600 species, including the new species described from the mangrove ecosystem as well as threats faced by them due to climate change,” ZSI Director Kailash Chandra told The Hindu.Biswajit Roy Chowdhury, secretary of Nature Environment and Wildlife Society, a non-governmental organisation and one of the authors of the publication, says it is encyclopedic in its scope.“When we talk about Sundarbans we refer to only a few major species in the reserve forest area in about 4,260 sq. km. The publication catalogues the entire faunal diversity of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve covering 9,630 sq. km spread over 19 blocks in South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas of West Bengal,” Mr. Roy Chowdhury said.Gone missingThe researchers document the famous tigers of these islands, which have adapted to aquatic conditions around, the human-tiger conflict, and behaviour of the big cat. The fortunes of 50 mammalian species including the Asian small-clawed Otter, Gangetic Dolphin, Grey and Marsh Mongoose and the wild Rhesus Monkey, the only primate here, are also documented.“Due to pressure on habitat from people and natural threats that have shrunk the mangrove swamp habitat, mammal numbers are declining,” the authors say. Two Rhinos, Swamp deer, Barking deer and Hog deer and Asiatic Wild Water Buffalo are not found in Sundarbans anymore, they say.There are 356 species of birds, the most spectacular being raptors, or birds of prey, that occupy the highest canopies of the forest. Osprey, Brahminy Kite and White-Bellied Sea Eagle are dominant, while Rose-ringed parakeets, flycatchers and warblers are also found in the middle tier, while in the lower tier, kingfishers abound — and the Sundarbans has nine of them. There are 11 turtles, including the famous Olive Ridley and Hawskbill sea turtles and the most threatened freshwater species, the River Terrapin. A crocodile, 13 lizards including three species of Monitor Lizards and five Geckos are found here. The rivers, creeks channels and the islands together harbour about 30 snake species, led by the King Cobra, considered vulnerable by IUCN. Others documented are the Monocellate or monocled cobra, Russell’s viper, common and banded kraits. Besides, ten species of frogs and toads are found.Cartilaginous fishThe mangrove ecosystem covers about 350 species of fish. Cartilaginous fish, which have skeletons of cartilage rather than bone, make up 10.3%. The IUCN conservation status shows 6.3% fish are near-threatened and 4.85% are threatened. Also, there are 173 molluscs. In another indication of its richness, 753 insect species are encountered in the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve. Of these, 210 are butterflies and moths. Moreover, Crustaceans — crabs, shrimp and prawns — constitute 334 species.
Joining the list of BJP leaders linking modern developments with ancient India, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma has claimed that journalism began during the time of the Mahabharata.Speaking at an event in Mathurs on Wednesday to mark ‘Hindi Journalism Day,’ the Minister cited various instances from the Indian epic to buttress his claim.He said the mythological character, Sanjaya, sitting in Hastinapur, gave Dhritarashtra a “bird’s eye view” of the war of Mahabharata. “Yeh live telecast nahi to aur kya hai? [If that is not live telecast, then what is it?),” Mr. Sharma said.Ancient India’s GoogleThe Minister also equated another mythological character, Narada, with the present-day Google. “Your Google has started only now. But our Google started a long time back. ‘Narad Muni’ was the epitome of information. He could reach anywhere and transfer a message from one place to another by chanting ‘Narayana’ three times,” he said.Several BJP leaders have earlier courted controversy by claiming that advance medical procedures like cataract and plastic surgery, nuclear tests and the internet were all available in ancient times.
Karl-Anthony Towns, who had 26 points, said the Timberwolves tried to summon energy but admitted, “We knew coming in here the odds were going to be stacked against us. But we’re professionals so we got to go out there and get the job done.”Mitchell converted his scintillating drive and dunk on the baseline and then a tough lay-in from the right angle. The game was within single digits most of the way, but the Jazz led by 24 in the closing minutes as the Timberwolves ran out of steam.The Jazz improved to 17-1 when Mitchell shoots at least 45 percent from the field and has at least five assists (he had six).Utah claimed the season series 3-1 and moved into a tie for sixth in the tight Western Conference, but it wasn’t really decided until the end.Towns had 14 in the third quarter as the Timberwolves drew within 71-70.ADVERTISEMENT 1 dead, 3 injured in Quezon road crash “For that one instance in the third, we found a way to bring it all together,” Towns said. “We need to do that for 48 minutes.”Utah finished the period on a scoring burst and led 91-81 entering the fourth on a rare dunk by Joe Ingles.Andrew Wiggins scored 14 points but shot 6 of 17. Tyus Jones had 12 points and nine assists for the Wolves.JAZZ OWNER SETS TONEJazz owner Gail Miller released a statement and spoke to the crowd prior to the game to address an encounter between Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook and a fan Tuesday. Utah permanently banned the fan from all arena events, and Westbrook was fined $25,000 by the league.Miller, who has owned the team for 34 years with her late husband Larry, implored the crowd to do better and said, “We are not a racist community.”She exhorted fans to enjoy the competition and cheer the Jazz as loudly as ever but cautioned, “No one wins when respect goes away.”Players from both teams listened intently and applauded the speech.“To have your owner to be so forward and so out there and back us the way she did, and back Russell … that’s amazing,” Mitchell said. “That’s the incredible thing about the NBA, because, as we all know, all sports aren’t like that.”TIP-INS View comments Timberwolves: Derrick Rose (elbow), Jeff Teague (foot), Luol Deng (Achilles) and Robert Covington (knee) all missed the game for Minnesota. … Towns caught Mitchell in the back of the head during a scramble for a rebound and received a Flagrant 1 foul. … The Timberwolves went 5 for 24 on 3-point attempts.Jazz: Dante Exum, who missed 25 games with an ankle issue and only returned Monday, left the game after three minutes with knee soreness. … Utah outrebounded Minnesota 49-38. … The Jazz had 30 assists on their 44 field goals. “We moved the ball, that’s what it was,” Crowder said.UP NEXTTimberwolves: Visit Houston on Sunday.Jazz: Host Brooklyn on Saturday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Raptors beat Lakers as LeBron James struggles with limited minutes Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) lays the ball up as Minnesota Timberwolves’ Josh Okogie (20) and Karl-Anthony Towns (32) defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)SALT LAKE CITY— When Donovan Mitchell lifted off for the baseline dunk that put the exclamation point on Utah’s win over Minnesota, he didn’t even know if he was going to get above the rim.“My legs were kind of heavy on that one and I was surprised it went in, to be honest,” said Mitchell, who scored 24 points as the Jazz beat the Timberwolves 120-100 on Thursday night.ADVERTISEMENT Trump campaign, GOP groups attack Google’s new ad policy Urgent reply from Philippine football chief SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Hong Kong tunnel reopens, campus siege nears end MOST READ P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed Both teams got winded, but the Jazz got determined and defensive-minded when Minnesota trimmed their lead to one in the third quarter.“Once you play some defense, it’ll lead to offense and change the whole game,” said Jae Crowder, who had 18 points. “We were able to get stops, get out and run and open up the whole court while frustrating those guys.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesDerrick Favors had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Ruby Gobert contributed 10 points and 13 boards for the Jazz, who played Wednesday night but didn’t have nearly the travel adventures that beset Minnesota.The Timberwolves didn’t arrive in Salt Lake City until Thursday morning due to a severe snowstorm in Denver that prevented the team from flying. The team showed up for its charter flight a little after 10 a.m. on Wednesday but was stranded at the airport for nearly 10 hours because of high winds before returning to the hotel. Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss
Advertisement(Photo Credits: News.com.au)Hearing about one of the greatest players failing to take penalties sounds weird, isn’t it? Well the player we’re going to talk about is Lionel Messi, yes the same Lionel Messi who has five Ballon d’Ors to his name.Hannes Halldórsson (Iceland): “It’s been my dream to play against the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, and it was an honor to save his penalty.” [fox] pic.twitter.com/10neLB4pB8— Barça Centre (@barcacentre) June 16, 2018Iceland has finally showed that their impressive run in Euro 2016 was no fluke. On Saturday when Iceland took on South American giants Argentina it was them who had their luck as they held Argentina to a 1-1 draw at Spartak Stadium in Moscow. Messi was knocking on the door throughout the entire match, but he saw himself missing a spot-kick in the second half of the game.The game saw off a far greater proportion of possession, shots and passes all in Argentina’s favour, and even it was the Albiceleste’s who took the lead through Sergio Aguero in the 19th minute. But the lead was short lived after Finnbogason equalised in the 23rd minute. However after all this Iceland stood their ground and registered an emphatic draw against the South American giants. Lionel Messi❌ MISSED 4 of his last 7 penalties. Cristiano Ronaldo✅ SCORED all his last 6 penalties. pic.twitter.com/NzxHUQCs3B— 9GAG Football ⚽ (@9GAGFootball) June 17, 2018Speaking after the game Messi accepted that it “hurts” after his penalty was saved during Argentina’s draw with Iceland. Messi said: “If I scored the penalty, it would have changed everything in the game. I take full responsibility for missing it and letting the team down. We have to look forward from here.”Messi: “If I scored penalty, it would have changed everything in game. I take full responsibility for missing it & letting the team down. We have to look forward from here.” pic.twitter.com/t1LSlerQ9F— Barca Galaxy (@barcagalaxy) June 17, 2018Also Read: Argentina Vs Iceland: Match ReviewAdvertisement
Photo Attribution: USATSII refused to even think about it before Baylor and even now it seems a bit silly but to channel Lloyd Christmas here’s how Oklahoma State would find itself playing in the national title game in 50 days.First, beat OU — This is obvious but it feels like it’s being a bit overlooked right now. Everybody’s like “we’re headed to the Fiesta!” except for that 9-2 OU team coming on Dec. 7….After that there are six teams ahead of OSU right now in the BCS standings. You have to get five of them out of the way by the end of the day on Dec. 7. Here they are:1. Bama2. Florida State3. Ohio State4. Auburn5. Missouri6. Clemson7. Oklahoma StateLet’s get rid of those one-by-one…Clemson — Have to lose at South Carolina this Saturday. South Carolina is a 5-point favorite. Bye, Clemson. Missouri — Have to lose at home to A&M on Saturday. Do your thing, JFF. Go get that Heisman. Missouri is a 4-point favorite, though. The alternative to this is Missouri winning this week and getting killed in the SEC Championship where it will be an underdog to Alabama.[1. If Alabama gets there which we’ll get to in a second.] Bye, Mizzou.If you’re scoring at home, that’s zero upsets OSU needs so far. SC over Clemson and Bama over Mizzou. A&M over Mizzou would be an upset.Auburn — Have to lose to Bama on Saturday. Bama is an 11-point favorite so that should happen. Three not-upsets so far. Bye, Auburn.So if South Carolina, A&M, and Bama win this weekend, we have ourselves a situation. Oklahoma State would likely be No. 4 in next week’s BCS as no teams behind it would jump ahead of the Pokes (I don’t think).Then…Ohio State — Have to lose at Michigan on Saturday where it is a 14-point favorite or to Michigan State in the Big 10 title game where it will likely be a 10ish-point favorite. Maybe seven or eight. I don’t think Ohio State is anything special so either one could happen. Not likely, though. Let’s give Michigan State the Big 10 title for fun. Bye, tOSU.Side note: If Ohio State loses in the Big House on Saturday in addition to Clemson, Mizzou, and Auburn losing, Oklahoma State will almost definitely be No. 3 going to Bedlam. That’s a code red alert situation, by the way. Ohio State will drop below Oklahoma State because Michigan and WVU are nearly equivalent losses (I know that’s hard to believe for Michigan fans) and the silliness of the polls will help our OSU.Why do I say the silliness of the polls? Because when you lose matters. Don’t believe me? Oklahoma State has a chance for the national title and Baylor doesn’t. Tell me which team had a worse loss. Go ahead. Now tell me which had a more recent loss.Because Baylor’s is the freshest in our memory they are penalized. Case in point: If Oklahoma State loses to Iowa State in September 2011, it probably plays for the national title. That’s insanity, when you think about it.Anyway, back to the exercise..Florida State — Have to lose at Flolrida or in the ACC Championship game against either Duke or Virginia Tech. The chances of any of the three happening are somewhere between laughable and “Marcus Smart playing a middle schooler one-on-one.” Even if FSU lost to, say, Duke in the ACC Championship (which, oh my!) I’m not sure it would fall enough for OSU to replace it. We’d definitely have a 2011 situation on our hands all over again, except this time OSU would be playing the role of Alabama.So that’s an issue. But let’s give Duke the ACC title. They play it at Cameron, yes? Bye, FSU.The other thing is the Famous Jameis case. I don’t know how it plays in but I feel like it’s probably going to at some point.Alabama — Oklahoma State needs Bama to win out. Badly.If Bama loses to Auburn, the dream is likely dead because I don’t think Florida State AND Ohio State are losing AND OSU is jumping Bama. That’s just too unlikely.But if Bama smokes Auburn and Mizzou as it will be favored to do and South Carolina beats Clemson as it is favored to do then Oklahoma State only needs to win and have two upsets (albeit two monstrous ones): Duke or Florida over FSU and Michigan or Michigan State over Ohio State.That’s it.I’ve seen crazier things.I’ve seen Ames on a Friday night in November.Can somebody FedEx me a Cameron Crazy outfit?If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
Good day for a poll, eh?I’m curious to see who everyone thinks is most vital to Oklahoma State’s success going forward. I picked three of the biggest names on the team but not the most obvious (Justice, Mason, Vincent).These are guys who are a little more under the radar than those stars.Poll: Who is most important to the success of this year’s #okstate team going forward?— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 8, 2016As always, vote and leave your comments below. I will follow up on Wednesday.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 01: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes on the sidelines during the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)Ohio State is getting ready for kickoff against Minnesota at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes will apparently be without a couple of key starters.OSU’s defense, which has struggled at times this season, is missing two key starters against the Golden Gophers today.Urban Meyer’s team will be without Jonathon Cooper and Malik Harrison.Eleven Warriors has the details:Both Cooper and Harrison left last week’s game against Indiana and were in concussion protocol this week, but neither will play against the Gophers.In their place, Justin Hilliard was warming up with the first-team defense and looks to get the start at linebacker while Jashon Cornell looks to get the start at defensive end opposite of Chase Young.Cornell and Hilliard committed on the same day as part of the 2015 class, now they’ll make their first starts together.Ohio State and Minnesota are set to kick off at noon.The game will be on FOX.
GUYSBOROUGH COUNTY: Highway 104 Highway 104 at Aulds Cove, west of the weigh scales on the Canso Causeway, will have a one-lane closure from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13. Speed will be reduced to 60 km/h through the detour area. Traffic control will consist of traffic control persons. Local Area Office: 902-863-0364 902-863-7482 -30-
Un système météorologique complexe entraînera une combinaison de conditions de tempête d’hiver, de pluie verglaçante et d’ondes de tempête possibles dans certaines parties de la Nouvelle-Écosse ce soir, 26 janvier, et demain, 27 janvier. La tempête continue de se développer et est encore difficile à prévoir, mais on recommande aux Néo-Écossais de prendre les précautions nécessaires et de se préparer en vue de l’interruption possible de services, de conditions routières difficiles et d’inondations possibles dans les régions côtières. « Ces tempêtes peuvent entraîner des conditions violentes et imprévisibles, a dit Ross Landry, ministre de la Gestion des urgences. Soyez prêts pour rester en toute sécurité pendant une période de 72 heures. » Environnement Canada prévoit de la neige abondante dans les régions côtières de l’ouest et du nord de la Nouvelle-Écosse, incluant le passage de Cobequid. On recommande aux automobilistes de faire preuve de prudence. Les résidents des régions de l’ouest, où de la pluie verglaçante est prévue, devraient avoir d’autres sources de chaleur et de lumière. Des ondes de tempête pourraient se produire pendant les marées hautes le long du détroit de Northumberland. On demande aux résidents de surveiller les conditions météorologiques locales et d’écouter les avertissements d’Environnement Canada ou les conseils des responsables de la gestion des urgences. Pour obtenir des conseils sur la préparation en cas de tempête violente, consultez le www.gov.ns.ca/emo (en anglais seulement). Les conditions routières peuvent être vérifiées sur le site www.gov.ns.ca/tran et les avertissements météorologiques sont publiés sur le site www.meteo.gc.ca/warnings/ns_f.html.
London: The publicist of Manny Pacquiao has denied the claims of Philippine boxing legend signing a contract to take on British boxer Amir Khan in Saudi Arabia later this year. On Tuesday, Khan claimed that he had agreed to a deal to fight Pacquiao in Riyadh on November 8. Following his stoppage win over Australia’s Billy Dib in the Middle East last Friday, Khan told British media the clash with Pacquiao would happen even if the 40-year-old were to lose to American Keith Thurman in Las Vegas on Saturday. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together However, Pacquiao’s spokesperson Fred Sternberg told BBC Sport that “Manny has not signed any contract. “As far as I know it hasn’t been even discussed. “He’s been in training camp for the past eight weeks, four in the Philippines and four in the States, and he hasn’t met with Amir Khan during that time,” he added. Sternberg also said he did not know what prompted the Briton to make the claims. “That’s a question you need to ask Amir Khan,” he said. In 2017, Khan and Pacquiao were slated to have a bout but an agreement could not be reached between the two.
MONTREAL — Privileged Quebec politicians shouldn’t accept generous cheques from taxpayers when they quit politics or lose elections, says a recently departed member of the legislature.Amir Khadir announced over the weekend he would donate the $90,000 payment he received after leaving office in 2018 as a member of the Quebec solidaire party. He said all the cash will go to community groups in his former Montreal riding.Quebec politicians are entitled to up to a year’s salary when they leave office. They can only collect the money if they served a full mandate, lost an election or retired due to a serious family or health-related matter.The so-called “transition allowance” is supposed to help pay the bills while they find new work after having sacrificed their time serving the public.Khadir — a physician — says he doesn’t need the money and wants to send a message to all the other privileged politicians in the province.“If people like me quit and immediately return to their work as lawyers, engineers or doctors, and they have a source of revenue, I don’t see why they should collect that money,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press Sunday.He says he’s still bothered by the decision of former education minister Yves Bolduc, who quit politics in 2015 — in the middle of the Liberals’ mandate — and went back to work as a doctor after pocketing a $150,000 transition allowance.That episode embarrassed the Liberals and helped push them to change the law. In late 2015, the legislature unanimously adopted a bill removing the automatic right to a cash payment for retiring politicians.The new rules stipulate departing members can only collect transition allowances if they complete their term in office, with strict exceptions.But Khadir says the 2015 law isn’t strict enough.“We need to plant the idea in the heads of our colleagues that the money should be seen as a transition allowance,” he said, “and not as a bonus that we have a right to, and that we can pocket no matter the circumstance.”Ewan Sauves, spokesman for Premier Francois Legault, said Monday that the Coalition Avenir Quebec government has no intention of modifying the law. He said in an email that Khadir’s decision “belongs to him” and declined further comment.Renaud Brossard, Quebec director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, an advocacy group that lobbies for lower taxes and less government spending, said politicians shouldn’t receive any money for leaving office. He said a number of other provinces offer similar allowances, but Alberta scrapped its program in 2012.“Yes, politics is a hard job, but it’s also a privilege,” he said in an interview Monday. “This privilege shouldn’t be a reason for politicians to enrich themselves.”Elected members of the Quebec legislature receive a base salary of $95,704, which increases for cabinet members and other parliamentary office holders.“The salaries of politicians are already high compared with the average Quebecer,” Brossard said. “Why should the taxpayer finance a transition for people who are among the richest in society?”Caroline Plante and Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press
APTN National NewsCalls are growing stronger for Wally Oppal’s resignation from the Pickton inquiry.Over 100 people still got together to discuss the upcoming inquiry.As APTN National News reporter Tina House was there.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Parent and Child Early (PACE) Coaching Project is quickly reaching its deadline at the end of August to accept new participants.The PACE project is working with their partner agency in the North, the Fort St. John Child Development Centre. The Project is looking for parents of children aged 15 months to 34 months which the parents recognize the child has some sort of social communication delay, that would like to participate in the program.Pat Mirenda Ph.D., BCBA-D, Project Director for PACE shares, with young children there is a lot of reasons for a social delay to be happening such as late talkers. The project is looking specifically for children whom social communication delays put them at risk for the autism spectrum disorder, according to Mirenda.The first step in the process for parents that reach out to the project is to screen the child for Autism Spectrum Disorder with a 20 question interview to find out ‘could’ the social communication delay be because of Autism shared Mirenda.If it could be, according to Mirenda information is given to the parent to find out it really is as this is a whole different process. The child/ parent are then eligible for the study. The study is explained to the parent and asked if they want to participate.The program does assessments and then delivers one of two interventions with a 50/50 chance of receiving either-or.One is being apart of 24 weeks of parenting coaching, receiving one on one coaching from a coach in the community to learn strategies to help the child with social development skills. The other is a monitor group in which there is no coaching yet access to books and online modules made for parents to support social development. Both groups receive a service to help answer the question, does parent coaching make a difference verse access to materials which is less intensive and expensive.Parents only have until the end of August to sign up. Mirenda shared it is important to get in touch right away.To contact PACE Coaching Project; CLICK HERE
Taipei: Taiwan’s parliament legalised same-sex marriage on Friday in a landmark first for Asia as the government survived a last-minute attempt by conservatives to pass watered-down legislation. Lawmakers comfortably passed a bill allowing same-sex couples to form “exclusive permanent unions” and another clause that would let them apply for a “marriage registration” with government agencies. The vote — which took place on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia — is a major victory for the island’s LGBT community and it places the island at the vanguard of Asia’s burgeoning gay rights movement. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportThousands of gay rights supporters gathered outside parliament despite heavy downpours, waving rainbow flags, flashing victory signs and breaking into cheers as the news filtered out. In recent months conservatives had mobilised to rid the law of any reference to marriage, instead putting forward rival bills that offered something closer to limited same-sex unions. But those bills struggled to receive enough votes. Gay rights groups hailed the vote on Friday, saying the ability to apply for a “marriage registration” — known as Clause Four — put their community much closer to parity with heterosexual couples. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protests”The passage of Clause Four ensures that two persons of the same-sex can register their marriage on May 24th and ensure that Taiwan becomes the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage and to successfully open a new page in history,” said the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights. Two years ago Taiwan’s top court ruled that not allowing same-sex couples to marry violates the constitution with judges giving the government until May 24, 2019 to make the changes or see marriage equality enacted automatically. Other key sections of the law were still being debated and voted on Friday, including what, if any, provisions there will be for same-sex couples to adopt. That resulted in more muted celebrations outside parliament as gay marriage supporters continued to keep a close eye on voting.
PARIS — Two of France’s richest men, long locked in a very public rivalry, are once again pitted against each other — this time over flashy and competing donations to rebuild Notre Dame.Billionaire luxury tycoons — Bernard Arnault, 70, and Francois Pinault, 82 — are among France’s fiercest business competitors and patrons.On Tuesday, their rivalry reached dramatic heights when it was announced Pinault, his son and their company Artemis would immediately donate 100 million euros ($113 million) to help finance renovations to Notre Dame after it was seriously damaged in an inferno during building works.Hours later, Arnault shot back with an announcement that he, his family and his luxury company LVMH would pledge double that amount — 200 million euros ($226 million) — for the restoration of the church that was immortalized in Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” — an eternal story of obsession and jealousy.The famed rivalry of Arnault and Pinault, whose names rhyme, goes back decades.“They’re like competing boys, but the stakes run into the billions,” said Long Nguyen, fashion editor at Flaunt magazine.Arnault is France’s — and Europe’s — richest man and CEO of the world’s biggest luxury group, LVMH, the owner of iconic fashion houses Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. Pinault founded the world’s second-biggest, Kering, formerly PPR, that acquired rival brand Saint Laurent in a face-off.“The Notre Dame donations are the latest in a long line … They run competing fashion houses and both like the centre stage,” he added.Both men also possess a sizeable art collection — and a desire to show it off in competing museums.Pinault’s son Francois-Henri married actress Salma Hayek and is often in the society pages, while Arnault’s son Antoine fathered children to supermodel Natalia Vodianova.The two were reportedly on friendly business terms until the late 1990s. Some commentators have linked the souring of pair’s relations to a bidding battle over the ownership of Italian fashion house Gucci, which eventually went to Pinault’s Kering group.Then, the battling turned to art.Arnault opened the Louis Vuitton Foundation, designed by architect Frank Gehry, in 2014 to showcase his vast personal art trove in Paris’ far western suburbs. Some critics have branded it a vanity project, with French media claiming that the glimmering building’s final price tag came in at close to $900 million.Meanwhile Pinault, who with his son is estimated to represent France’s sixth fortune, is following hot on Arnault’s heels and is set to open his multimillion-dollar contemporary art museum, the Collection Pinault-Paris, next spring.Since 2001, Pinault has gradually been ceding control of his business interests to his eldest son Francois-Henri, 56, to concentrate on his art collecting. The museum, designed by another big-name architect, Tadao Ando, will display the octogenarian tycoon’s personal contemporary art collection.The website highlights its prime central location “in the very heart of Paris” in the city’s former stock exchange.The Bettencourt Meyers family, which owns cosmetics giant L’Oreal, and Total also each pledged 100 million euros to go toward the restoration over the 850-year-old cathedral.___Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_KThomas Adamson, The Associated Press
Rabat – The Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca, Morocco’s main international airport is once again at the heart of a public uproar.This time around, however, the public irritation does not stem for a passenger mistreatment that went viral or even the airport’s typical overcrowding problem. This time, the problem is with an eye-catching nameplate whose authors managed to turn both English and Arabic on their heads, producing a sentence that is as confusing as it is laughable.In a strongly-worded Facebook post earlier today, communication specialist Ali Hassan Eddehbi, who brought the matter to public attention, vented his frustration with what he called a “vulgar” and unforgivable blunder whose very presence at Morocco’s leading airport is a “disgrace” to Morocco’s image as a nation. The nameplate, which appears to be advertising the newly announced initiative to ease traffic at the Casablanca-based airport, read: “Exit Moroccan passports stamped.” The writing came alongside its Arabic version. Both versions, Eddehbi quipped, constitute a slap in the face of effective, professional communication.“The initiative is indeed laudable and I would like to congratulate those responsible for it,” began Eddehbi. “However, neither the [sentence’s] assignee nor the airport personnel (and I guess in this case the guys at ONDA’s communication department are the ones concerned) were able to spot two serious mistakes [in the message].”(ONDA stands for Moroccan Airports Authority, and is the body in charge of administrative and logistics operations at Moroccan airports.)While the policy advertised in the sentence, saving passengers the endless waiting time and the interminable queues, such a communication mistake stains Moroccan national image, pride. Morocco being a country where Arabic is widely spoken, Eddehbi suggested, it is unacceptable to have such meaningless Arabic sentence in a respectable public space.The problem with the sentence, as Eddehbi lamented, is the message it sends to foreigners who land at said airport.As far as first impressions go for countries, airports are often vital in the image we associate with countries. With sentences as the one at the Casablanca airport travelers would easily associate the country with sloppiness and unprofessionalism.Eddehbi went on to describe the “grammatical mistakes” in both versions as a total disgrace to Morocco’s image and an “infringement of its official language.” While the Arabic version was confusing, he noted, the English translation of it was even more bafflingly unprofessional. The grammar is “lame” whereas the meaning is ludicrous.“When it comes to the English, it is obvious that that he sentence was naively translated from Arabic. The right formulation should have been something like: exit reserved for stamped Moroccan passports.”Critics may debate whether Eddehbi’s proposed formulation is the most ideal. Some would perhaps argue that the “for” in his version is unnecessary and could be left out for more direct, effective communication. Others may propose a new formulation altogether.But that would miss the central point of his criticism of the “unforgivable” mistakes in the formulation used by the airport personnel and put on display in an unmissable spot at the country’s foremost international airport.The point here is the sense of national shame that comes with having an advertisement board read “passports stamped” at the country’s top airport.
19 April 2011A senior United Nations human rights official today urged Nepal to quickly enact the draft laws that will establish a commission to probe enforced disappearances in the Asian country and create a mechanism to seek the truth about conflict-related abuses and facilitate national reconciliation. “Establishing these mechanisms in Nepal – in particular the Disappearances Commission and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – is both necessary and urgent,” said Kyung-wha Kang, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, addressing members of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly in the country’s capital, Kathmandu.“The Constituent Assembly must swiftly adopt the necessary draft legislation to establish these commissions. Furthermore, to ensure that the claims of the victims are genuinely addressed, these laws must be in line with international human rights standards,” she said.Ms. Kang, however, added commissions cannot replace the regular criminal justice process, which guarantees the rule of law in society.“It is an obligation for all States to undertake investigations and prosecutions of all cases of gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Post-conflict amnesties cannot be granted to prevent prosecution of egregious human rights violations, including through pardons or the withdrawal of criminal charges.”She voiced concern that no one has to date been held accountable for crimes committed during the conflict, noting that criminal investigations have not progressed and that some perpetrators have even been promoted, with little attention paid to redressing the grievance of the victims.“In particular, families of the disappeared have remained in the dark about the fate of their loved ones, and to this day, continue to suffer as they await the truth – and justice. They need to be relieved of this terrible burden; seeing those responsible held to account will allow them, and all of Nepali society, to move beyond the past conflict period and build confidence in the mechanisms of the State.”Ms. Kang said the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is pleased that the Nepalese legislature is considering two important bills aimed at advancing the protection and promotion of the human rights of one of the most marginalized groups in Nepali society – the Dalit community.“I am speaking of the bill to properly criminalize untouchability practices and the bill to create a strong, independent, and adequately resourced National Dalit Commission to focus on the defence of the rights of the community.“Passing these three laws – following the necessary amendments to ensure their consistency with international human rights standards and best practices – is of significant importance,” she added.The Deputy High Commissioner said she was also encouraged by the decision by parliament to instruct the Government to proceed with the ratification of the Rome Statute, the legal instrument that created the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Four Cuban athletes competing at the Pan Am rowing venue in St. Catharines have defected to the U.S., their coach confirming earlier today. The four have crossed the Niagara border with the help of friends in the U.S.The Cuban coach confirmed today four rowers had defected after the Cuban Lightweight men’s fours were forced to scratch on the henley course in St. Catharines during the race this morning.28 year old Leosmel Ramos and 32 year old Wilbur Turro dropped out before the regatta began on Saturday.Their teammates 25 year old Manuel Suarez and 18 year old Orlando Sotolongo left Brock University after they had both won silver medals.U.S. rower Keane Johnson says he started hearing rumblings around the residence that Cubans were defecting days ago.“Last Sunday when we were racing in our eight we heard that one of the Cuban athletes on that boat was missing and they had to use a sub at the last minute.”At this point Cubans still have special status with U.S. Immigration. Their application for refugee status will be accepted on the spot.Relations between the United States and Cuba are warming, but if these athletes can take advantage of the open door policy for Cubans right now, they won’t have to line up for Visas sometime in the future.
Damage is estimated at $350,000 after fire destroyed a barn and its contents Saturday afternoon near Waterford.Michael Atkins, fire prevention officer with the Norfolk County Fire Department, said crews were dispatched to the blaze at about 2:30 p.m. on Concession 8, Townsend.No one was home at the time the fire broke out and horses belonging to the family were already outside when firefighters arrived to discover heavy smoke and flames.Atkins said a passerby called 911 after noticing heavy smoke at the rear of the structure.“The person who called 911 was able to save three dogs by getting them out of the barn before police or firefighters arrived on scene,” Atkins said in a media release. “The homeowner was very thankful that his dogs were rescued.”Fire crews had to set up a tanker truck relay protocol, shuttling water to a portable reservoir set up at the rural farm, which is not serviced by fire hydrants.“Our crews did a great job,” noted Atkins. “Unfortunately, the fire was already well advanced by the time someone noticed it and called 911.”A cause of the fire has yet to be determined, but it is not considered to be suspicious. A pickup truck parked adjacent to the barn sustained some damage from the heat of the blaze.Norfolk County roads department sanding trucks were on scene to help prevent the road becoming icy due to the water from firefighting efforts.
“I deserved the T,” Jason Kidd declared, after the former basketball player turned head coach walked onto the court to argue with the referee.Kidd, the new Brooklyn Nets head coach, made a rookie mistake during a Summer League game when he marched out of the coaching box and was punished immediately.“I’ve seen some of these coaches be all the way down on the other end, so I can’t follow their lead in that aspect,” said Kidd, “I learned real quickly where the box is.”