Elections in hindsight

first_imgEvery election in India is unique and significant in the historical and evolutionary process of Indian democracy. Our democracy indicates its vibrancy, maturity and sobriety. Despite small drawbacks and inadequacies, 2019 electoral process went down very well. Conducting election in a country of 1.2 billion people, with extreme differences, disparities, and inequalities, is not an ordinary task. It cannot be compared with any country in the world. It is massive and managing the massiveness of the electoral processes and procedures is a great achievement. Also Read – A staunch allyThe political parties have displayed their full energy, enthusiasm, and efforts during electioneering by affirming faith in the constitutional electoral machinery in mobilising people for the political task of casting votes. In this process, voters have been apprised about the issues that are afflicting the country and solutions to be found out through the new regimes of different political fronts. Based on the perception, image, the knowledge they have gained and hope, people have given a dear mandate of the country’s governance to BJP. Also Read – Cuban pathosWhile voting, people give a collective message regarding their priority and preference in selecting the party to be in power. Political parties, both the victor and the vanquished, have to understand in perspective and act further. The intelligence of the political parties lies in understanding the exact mood of the people. BJP and Modi have projected that they stand for India’s pride, security, integrity, unity, and development. Further, BJP has given a signal that it looks at the whole scheme of development through Hindutwa framework. BJP has got a strong leader to do that job and there is no schism either in the party or on the front. On the other hand, the opposition parties joined only to submit a petition and remove Modi. They come together to bring allegations against Modi and not to act cohesively to combat his power. They have not joined together to project themselves as a force to govern the country with a common plan of action. Huge promises are present in the manifestoes of the Indian National Congress and opposition parties, not in BJP’s. Yet people gave priority to BJP and Modi even though rich promises are in the manifesto of the opposition parties. It is easy to comprehend that BJP and its leaders gave a notion to the people that they have credibility, they are united and highly disciplined to deliver what they promised. But the opposition parties criticised Modi and BJP and they criticised each other contemptuously. It gives a sense to the people that BJP and Modi always talk about the country, security, patriotism, and nationalism. The opposition groups have not touched such emotive and sensitive issues. They have given a feeling to the people that for the opposition, nation and national security are not priorities, the prime minister position is the sole aim and every party is interested in increasing their tally to increase their bargaining power during the government’s formation. So opposition parties are interested in strengthening their own position rather than evincing interest in the national issues. Every party in the opposition felt that people have suffered during demonetisation and GST and thereby, they would vote the opposition parties. There is no doubt that people have suffered and yet they rely on the credibility of Modi, not the opposition because the credibility of the opposition parties has been questioned by Modi through the past records. Many of the regional parties suffered set back because of the corrupt image of leaders. This has been effectively used by Modi in the past five years and he continued the same attack during this election also. A very comprehensive, deliverable manifesto has been brought out by the Indian National Congress but it has not reached voters as they have organisational inadequacy. Congress is not clear in its role and hence they have not declared their position on the post of prime ministership. Rahul Gandhi was proposed only by DMK and not by Congress. While taking the decision Congress or other regional and national opposition parties, the Modi factor has to be in the backdrop but not to attack Modi. The opposition parties have to introspect and further act competitively with the government led by BJP. India enters into a new era which is totally market-driven and in market-driven politics, democracy takes a backseat as it has not delivered substantial economic goods to the poor. Many parties have come to stagnation. Hence, political parties need introspection and appropriate action. (Dr. G Palanithurai is a former Professor and Rajiv Gandhi Chair for Panchayati Raj Studies, Gandhigram Rural Institute. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

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After Rohits blistering ton bowlers Pak a deadly punch

first_imgManchester: Chasing India’s mammoth 336, Pakistan were staring down the barrel at 166/6 after 35 overs when the heavens opened up. They were 86 runs behind under the Duckworth Lewis system at the time of the stoppage. Earlier being put in to bat, Rohit Sharma pulverised a pedestrian Pakistan attack with a stylish hundred to lead India to a challenging 336 for five in a marquee World Cup encounter here Sunday. Despite heavy rains and overcast conditions during the past few days, the pitch had very little moisture and turned out to be a batting beauty which Rohit and the other Indian batsmen exploited to the fullest. Also Read – IAF receives its first Rafale fighter jet from FranceThe Indian vice-captain scored his 24th ODI hundred – 140 off 113 balls while KL Rahul (57) played the perfect second fiddle in an opening partnership of 137 runs. Skipper Virat Kohli switched gears effortlessly during his 77 off 65 balls and also became the quickest to 11,000 ODI runs, eclipsing a 17-year record held by iconic Sachin Tendulkar. Mohammed Amir (3/47) pitched the ball up and maintained discipline despite a couple of official ‘warnings’ for running onto the pitch while Wahab Riaz (1/71) and Hasan Ali (1/84) bowled short consistently. Courtesy Amir, Pakistan did manage to pull things back in the final few overs as India managed only 38 runs in the final five overs. Vijay Shankar (15 off 15 balls) struggled with his timing, failing to read Amir’s cutters.last_img read more

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Its looking tough Holder glum after WI World Cup loss

first_imgTaunton: Jason Holder says the West Indies face a tough task to reach the World Cup semi-finals after their dismal seven-wicket defeat against Bangladesh on Monday. Holder’s side fell victim to the second highest run chase in World Cup history as Bangladesh reached 322-3 with 8.3 overs to spare at Taunton. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Holder after they had posted a solid 321-8, only to implode with a combination of woeful fielding and sloppy bowling. Also Read – Djokovic heaps praise on ‘very complete’ MedvedevThe West Indies have lost three of their five matches and, with four games left, captain Holder conceded there is only a slim chance they can make the semi-finals in the 10-team tournament. “It’s looking tough at this present moment, but it’s not impossible. We have to play every game here now as a final,” Holder said. “We’ve got to win every game left to give ourselves a really good chance.” New Zealand and India, both in fine form, are the West Indies’ next two opponents and they must beat both to remain in contention. Also Read – Mary Kom enters quarterfinals, Saweety Boora bows out of World C’ships”If we want to go through into the semi-finals we’ve got to beat the best teams,” Holder said. “We’ve got to back ourselves and be more clinical with the ball. “A few top edges didn’t go our way, but we didn’t help ourselves as well. “We’ve also got to score more runs because we haven’t got a batsman with a hundred yet. “I thought with the pitch dimensions we could have got 365-375 but we were well short, 40 or 50 runs.” Meanwhile, West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick urged his side to stick together and come back stronger after suffering a crushing seven-wicket defeat to Bangladesh in the World Cup here. “Stop looking for excuses and start finding solutions,” he said. “If you look at it, I thought we were 60 runs short on that pitch and on that size field. We then didn’t take the opportunities that came our way. We were always behind Bangladesh once they got through to 70/1,” said Estwick after WI lost its third match on the trot in five games. “The big players didn’t kick on but saying that we made 321 runs and should have been able to defend that. But we can stand here, saying ‘if this’ and ‘if that’ — we didn’t play well, we’ve lost the cricket game and that’s that.”last_img read more

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UK minister discusses regional tensions nuclear deal in Iran

first_imgTehran: A minister from Britain’s Foreign Office arrived in Tehran on Sunday and met with a top diplomat from Iran’s foreign ministry amid escalating regional tensions, state-run IRIB news agency reported. Minister of State for the Middle East Andrew Murrison spoke with Kamal Kharazi, head of the Strategic Council of Foreign Relations at Iran’s foreign ministry, on “bilateral ties, regional issues” and the 2015 nuclear deal, the agency said. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: London Murrison is expected to meet deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi later on Sunday. Murrison was to call for an “urgent de-escalation” and raise British concerns “about Iran’s regional conduct and its threat to cease complying with the nuclear deal to which the UK remains fully committed,” according to a statement by Britain’s Foreign Office. Tensions between Washington and Tehran have flared after Iran on Thursday shot down a US drone. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassador Iran said the drone violated its airspace — a claim the US denies — near the strategic Strait of Hormuz. In response, the US was ready to carry out a military strike against Iran but US President Donald Trump said he called it off at the last minute. The downing of the drone came after tensions spiked between the two countries following a series of attacks on commercial vessels that the US has blamed on Iran — accusations vehemently denied by the Islamic Republic. Britain is a signatory to the 2015 nuclear deal which saw Iran scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, but the US unilaterally withdrew from the accord last year and reimposed sanctions. On May 8, Iran said it would reduce some of its nuclear commitments to the deal unless the remaining partners — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – helped it circumvent US sanctions and sell its oil.last_img read more

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Leucoderma patients pin hope on ayurvedic drug

first_imgNew Delhi: As the country is gearing up to observe International Vitiligo Day on June 25, the patients of leucoderma pinning hope on herbal drugs to manage the disease as Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) developed ayurvedic medicine is finding greater acceptance among patients suffering from the skin ailment of white patches – a social stigma in the country.The herbal drug Lukoskin has also brought accolades to DRDO’s scientist Hemant Pande, who was conferred with prestigious ‘science award’ on National Technology Day by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for developing the ayurvedic medicine. While talking about lukoskin, Pande, who heads herbal medicine division of the DRDO’s Defence Institute of Bio-energy Research (DIBER), Pithoragarh, said, “Presently, there are various remedies of vitiligo such as allopathic, surgical and adjunctive, but none of these therapies has satisfactorily cure of this disease.” “The other remedies are either costly or single molecule based with very low efficacy. As it develops side-effects like blister, edema, irritation in the skin, most of the patients discontinue the treatment,” said Pande. The herbal drug, which is manufactured by AIMIL Pharma, is developed using Himalayan herbs by exhaustive scientific studies and the medicine is available in the form of ointment and oral liquid. Incidences of leucoderma in India is around 4-5 per cent in some parts of Rajasthan and in Gujarat it’s more than 5-8 per cent.last_img read more

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Emergency crushed Indias soul PM Modi

first_imgNew Delhi: Accused by the Congress of not recognising its leaders’ contribution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday launched a stinging counter-attack, saying the party cannot see beyond the Gandhi family and it began “flying so high” that it was disconnected from the country’s roots.Modi said the Congress members did not mention even former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s work in their speeches in Lok Sabha. In his hour-long replying to a two-day debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address in the House, which was later passed by a voice vote, Modi also called upon lawmakers to rise above partisan politics. Also Read – Rajnath Singh arrives for Rafale handover ceremony in FranceHe was, however, scathing in his criticism of the Congress, targeting the party for not recognising the contributions of leaders outside its ruling Gandhi-Nehru family, missing opportunities to empower Muslim women and “crushing India’s soul” by imposing Emergency, whose anniversary fell on Tuesday. His government’s fight against corruption will continue, he said but asserted that it will not work with a vendetta and it was for courts to send the accused to jail. Also Read – Cosmology trio win Nobel Physics PrizeTargeting the Congress for repeatedly saying that his government does not recognise the contributions of its leaders, he said his dispensation gave Bharat Ratna to a veteran Congress leader like former president Pranab Mukherjee but the opposition party could not think about bestowing the same honour to former prime ministers and its leaders like P V Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh. Talking about the Emergency declared by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Modi said: “on the night of June 25, India’s soul was crushed”. June 25 marks the day former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of Emergency in the country for a 21-month period from 1975 to 1977. The PM said, “A few people were constantly asking during the debate- Who did it? Who did it? I want to ask them- today is 25th June. Who imposed the Emergency? Who trampled over the spirit of the Constitution, gagged the media and bullied the judiciary? We can’t forget those dark days.”last_img read more

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Mandy Moore almost quit acting before This is Us

first_imgNew York: Mandy Moore says before landing “This is Us”, there was a time when she considered giving up on acting. The actor-singer said, who plays Rebecca Pearson in the NBC drama, said she felt so “stuck” that she felt universe was guiding her to walk away from Hollywood. “As an actor, so much of our job is rejection. I think I had started like, I kept smacking into that wall time and time again for quite a number of years and I think it also coincided with some tricky stuff in my personal life and the combination of those two just made me feel so stuck. Also Read – Rihanna to release 500-page ‘visual’ autobiography “I contemplated, I was like, ‘I think this is it. I think this is the universe giving me a sign that maybe this is not what I’m supposed to be doing… Maybe I’m not supposed to be an actor anymore like, I’ve been incredibly lucky, I’ve had this really fruitful time earlier in my life and maybe now I’m supposed to lean into something else,” Moore said during a panel at Popsugar Play/Ground as quoted by Page Six. The 35-year-old actor said she realised there was “no plan B” for her and gradually found her way. Also Read – Hilarie Burton, Jeffery Dean Morgan tie the knot “I think at the end of the day when I did dig deep I was like this (acting) is all, there was no plan B for me personally, this is just that period of building. It’s that period where I know I’m going to need this as fodder and fuel for… when I see the light again.” Talking about “This is Us”, Moore said playing Rebecca has been “the most incredibly fulfilling and satisfying job I’ve ever had in my life”.last_img read more

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Near the borders

first_imgIt is undoubtedly a challenging task to keep governance and administration going together smoothly in any region; add to that the pressures of one close to the national border. There are plenty of problems that co-exist with administering a region adjacent to one that our powers to be have no control over. The constantly tricky situations that abound in remote regions invalidate any pre-meditated methods to keep the regular and functionings and normalcy going unimpeded. However, what can, in fact, be largely drawn up is a method of prevention and averting of any possible untoward incidents. Each region in India that is close to the national border is marked by its own singular challenges. The regions in the east are distinct in terms of ethnicity which also marks the region apart from the rest of India. Smuggling, black marketing, and illegal exchanges from across the border thrive in those regions. Cattle smuggling and foreign nationals infiltrating Indian territory through riverine route are just some examples. Despite the anomaly, matters still do not spiral out of control because the neighbouring state is not a hostile one and there is minimal risk of matters getting blown out of proportion. On the contrary, the ground situation is very different and even unpredictable along the northern frontier, particularly with respect to the hostile and unreliable neighbours Pakistan and China. The Jammu and Kashmir region is particularly volatile and incidents that break out there make serious news nationally, and sometimes even internationally. In an unforeseen event, and a first of its kind, a Chinese drone fitted with a camera flying over the premises of a high-security district jail in Kishtwar was seized by Jammu and Kashmir Police last week after is crashes against one of the watch towers of the jail and fell down. The jail houses 101 inmates which include 25 militants (except for four Kashmiri militants, remaining are from DODA and Kishtwar districts). With respect to the Kashmir valley region of the state, what makes it particularly distinct is the palpable distrust and aversion of the natives for the Indian state owing to the perpetuated conflict. It is very crucial to understand here that taking the local people in confidence and winning their trust is of immense importance and benefit to the procedural workings of the Indian state in terms of security matters. The porters of Vaishno Devi are exemplary of this synergy: they even double up as informers if the need be. Many of them are Kashmiri Muslims who assist numerous Hindu pilgrims and earn their livelihood from this. Anything that might be a threat to security makes its way from the routes that only locals know best. More than ideologies that lead to violence and bloodshed, a peaceful business is dearer. In Kishtwar too, had the locals been aware and alert, the drone could have been intercepted before reaching the jail.last_img read more

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BJP leader injured after being hit on head with revolver

first_imgKolkata: A BJP leader was grievously injured when he was hit on the head with the butt of a revolver by unidentified assailants, who also fired in the air to frighten him, in West Bengal’s Nadia district, police and witnesses said on Thursday. Blaming the ruling Trinamool Congress, BJP workers put up a road blockade at Bogula on Thursay morning, as vehicles kept on the roads and most shops did not open shutters. The trouble was sparked off on Wednesday evening as the group of 20-25 miscreants, allegedly backed by the Trinamool, beat up people at Bogula Railway Bazaar area under Hanskhali police station. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja The gang started beating up local BJP mandal committee president Tilak Burman, who was chatting with his friends. He was hit on the head with a revolver butt, before the miscreants fired 20-25 rounds in the air. The grievously injured Burman was first rushed to a private hospital and then admitted to the district hospital at Shaktinagar. There was tension in the area, the police said.last_img read more

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Dozens wounded as series of blasts rock eastern Afghan city

first_imgJalalabad: Afghanistan’s independence day was marred by bloodshed Monday when a series of explosions shook the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, wounding dozens of people including children. As many as 10 blasts were reported in and around the city in Nangarhar province, authorities said, and casualty numbers appeared to be rising. “The explosions were caused by IEDs in different parts of the city and as groups of people were celebrating independence day,” Nangarhar governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said, referring to improvised explosive devices. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US Jalalabad is the scene of frequent bomb attacks, and the surrounding terrain is home to both Taliban fighters and the Islamic State group’s local affiliate. At least 19 people were wounded, Khogyani said. Zaher Adel, a spokesman for a local hospital, said about 40 wounded people had been brought in with more expected. An AFP correspondent saw children among the victims. This year’s August 19 celebrations mark 100 years of Afghan independence from British influence. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls The day was supposed to be one of national pride and unity, but was overshadowed by an IS suicide attack on a crowded Kabul wedding hall that killed at least 63 people. In Kabul, locals took to the streets to wave the black-red-and-green Afghan flag, but several public events to commemorate the date were scrapped over fears of a fresh attack. “We postponed the celebrations to honour the victims, but we will definitely take revenge for our people,” Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said. “We will avenge the blood of our people, every drop of it.”last_img read more

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JJ ordered to pay USD 572 million for opioid addiction crisis

first_imgWashington: An Oklahoma judge has ordered US health care giant Johnson & Johnson to pay USD 572 million in damages for its role in fostering the state’s opioid addiction crisis. In the first civil trial of a drugmaker over an epidemic that has caused hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths, Judge Thad Balkman on Monday said prosecutors had demonstrated that J&J contributed to a “public nuisance” in its deceptive promotion of highly addictive prescription painkillers. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal “Those actions compromised the health and safety of thousands of Oklahomans,” he said. According to the ruling, the company and its Janssen pharmaceuticals division will fund an “abatement plan” for care for addicts, families and communities ravaged by the crisis. “The defendants Janssen and Johnson & Johnson’s misleading marketing and promotion of opioids created a nuisance,” Balkman said. J&J was the first pharmaceutical company tried over the US opioid crisis, which fuelled over 70,000 overdose deaths in 2017 alone. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost But there are some 2,000 outstanding lawsuits against many drugmakers and distributors filed by state and local governments, many overwhelmed by the costs of an epidemic that has only slightly abated. Most of those are being rolled into a case to go to trial in October in Ohio that will likely set the basis for potentially many billions of dollars in settlements across the country. Prosecutors had sought USD 17 billion in damages against J&J for an abatement program to be spread over 30 years. But Balkman said the state had not made a strong case for the future costs of the crisis to it and the community beyond one year, and so limited his ruling to that. J&J’s shares rose about two percent to USD 130 in after-market trade following the decision. The company immediately said it would appeal the decision. “Janssen did not cause the opioid crisis in Oklahoma, and neither the facts nor the law support this outcome,” said J&J executive vice president Michael Ullmann. “The unprecedented award for the state’s ‘abatement plan’ has sweeping ramifications for many industries and bears no relation to the company’s medicines or conduct.” J&J argued that the law was being inappropriately applied and that its products had a very small role in the addiction epidemic in Oklahoma and nationally. Balkman said J&J had promoted its drugs by telling doctors and patients that pain was not being treated enough and that “there was a low risk of abuse and a low danger” in the drugs themselves. “The defendants used the phrase ‘pseudoaddiction’ to convince doctors that patients who exhibited signs of addiction… were not actually suffering from addiction, but from the undertreatment of pain,” he said in his decision. He also said the company consciously downplayed risks it knew were present, pointing to the 2007 USD 600 million fine in a Virginia trial of Purdue Pharma, one of the leading prescription opioid makers, for misleading the health industry and the public about the highly addictive properties of its Oxycontin painkiller. J&J is the first drugmaker to go to trial and the case is seen as a bellwether for thousands of possible criminal and civil suits over the seeming uncontrolled distribution of highly addictive painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone, and J&J’s Nucynta and Duragesic, between 2000 and 2015. Two other major drugmakers accused in the same suit, Purdue Pharma of the United States and Israel’s Teva, settled with Oklahoma before the case went to trial. Purdue, which produced the widely abused opioid Oxycontin, agreed to pay the state USD 270 million in March and Teva negotiated an USD 85 million settlement. Dozens of local and state governments across the country have also already exacted settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors to address their problems.last_img read more

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BJP MPs replace Cong leaders as heads of 2 parliamentary panels

first_imgNew Delhi: Two crucial parliamentary panels, the standing committees on finance and external affairs, which were headed by Congress MPs in previous Lok Sabha are now chaired by BJP MPs. The Lok Sabha Secretariat updated the details of parliament’s standing committees for the newly constituted 17th Lok Sabha late night on Friday night. BJP MPs Jayant Sinha and P P Choudhary will head the panels on finance and external affairs respectively. In the previous Lok Sabha, Congress’ Veerappa Moily and Shashi Tharoor used to head the two committees. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Moily lost the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Tharoor, who retained his Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat in the last general elections, has now been made the head of the Standing Committee on Information Technology. Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi who was a member of the panel on external affairs has now been moved to the parliamentary panel on defence, which is headed by Jual Oram. TMC’s Derek O’Brien, who was chairing the committee on transport, tourism and culture has been replaced by erstwhile TDP leader T G Venkatesh, who recently joined BJP. O’Brien is now a member of the panel on Human Resource Development, which BJP’s Satyanarayan Jatiya continues to head. With these changes, the Congress which was earlier heading two committees of the Lok Sabha will now be heading only one. Standing committees are allocated by Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman on the recommendation of the government.last_img read more

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Jays closer Osuna charged with assault placed on administrative leave

first_imgTORONTO – Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball Tuesday after being charged with assault.The league said it was investigating the circumstances of the charges in accordance with the joint domestic violence policy between the league and the MLB Players Association.Toronto Police said Osuna will appear in court June 18, but wouldn’t provide more details.The administrative leave, which is not considered discipline by MLB, is a seven-day period that gives the league time to investigate. But Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said the length of the leave will be fluid.“It depends on the investigation, it depends on the information that comes,” Atkins told media before Tuesday’s game against the Seattle Mariners at Rogers Centre.“I think there are scenarios where this leave could be extended, it could be shortened, it could be seven days. The seven days is a default. … (it depends) on the investigation whether that turns into more.”Major League Baseball and the Players Association agreed on a domestic violence policy in 2015. It allows the league to discipline a player for an alleged domestic violence incident regardless of whether it results in a trial.Relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman was the first player to be disciplined under the terms of the policy when the league suspended him for the first 30 games of the 2016 season for an alleged incident on Dec. 7, 2015. Days later, shortstop Jose Reyes was suspended for the first 51 games of the 2016 season for an alleged incident.“I think what we’ve seen over the years is Major League Baseball has taken very strong stances on situations like this one,” Atkins said.“We support Major League Baseball in that effort and we respect everything they’ve done not just to heighten awareness but to understand that this is much more than baseball, it’s much bigger than just coming out here and trying to beat the Seattle Mariners.”Both Atkins and manager John Gibbons said they had spoken with Osuna at the ballpark earlier in the day, though neither would get into specifics about their conversations.There was a half-empty water bottle at Osuna’s locker, which was stocked with his uniforms and caps, hours before the game. Atkins said Osuna will not be around the team or at the stadium while he’s on leave.The Blue Jays issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying they “fully support” MLB’s decision to place Osuna on leave and that they were “taking the matter extremely seriously, as the type of conduct associated with this incident is not reflective of our values as an organization.”Atkins echoed that sentiment when speaking to media.“As it relates to the allegations, to say that we don’t condone things of this nature is taking it very lightly,” he said. “Specifically as to our emotions and to get that type of information as an organization, it’s difficult to come up with words just to how seriously we are taking it.”The 23-year-old Osuna is in his fourth MLB season, all with the Blue Jays.The native of Juan Jose Rios, Mexico, has nine saves in 15 appearances this season with a 2.93 earned-run average and 13 strikeouts.Toronto signed Osuna as an international free agent in 2011. He made his major league debut in 2015, cracking the roster out of spring training.“Hopefully there’s nothing there,” Gibbons said before the game. “I love the kid not because of what he’s done for us on the field but because of who he is and my relationship with him over the years. But really in society in general there’s got to be zero tolerance. You’ve got to protect the vulnerable and those who can’t protect themselves a lot. Hopefully when it’s all said and done he’s back with us and it’s all behind him and things turn out fine.”Gibbons said it remains to be seen who will take over the closer role.“We’ll see how the games develop,” he said. “We got a few guys who can do it. (Tyler) Clippard, (Ryan) Tepera can do it, (Seunghwan) Oh can do it. Ax (John Axford) can even do it. Still feel pretty good about what’s down there.”The Blue Jays started a six-game homestand Tuesday night against Seattle. The team had planned give away Osuna T-shirts to the first 15,000 fans attending Thursday’s series finale against the Mariners, but have changed the giveaway to shirts featuring infielder Yangervis Solarte.The Blue Jays recalled right-hander Jake Petricka from triple-A Buffalo to take Osuna’s spot on the roster.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly stated Osuna is in his third season.last_img read more

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QuickList April inflation rates for Canadian provinces territories

first_imgOTTAWA – Canada’s national annual inflation rate was 1.6 per cent in April, Statistics Canada says. Here’s what happened in the provinces and territories (previous month in brackets):— Newfoundland and Labrador: 3.6 per cent (3.8)— Prince Edward Island: 1.6 (1.7)— Nova Scotia: 0.8 (1.3)— New Brunswick: 2.7 (2.8)— Quebec: 0.8 (0.9)— Ontario: 1.9 (1.9)— Manitoba: 1.6 (1.6)— Saskatchewan: 1.4 (0.6)— Alberta: 1.7 (1.3)— British Columbia: 2.1 (2.0)— Whitehorse, Yukon: 2.6 (2.7)— Yellowknife, N.W.T.: 1.2 (1.5)last_img read more

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Lawyers in Oland case say there are some matters we need to

first_imgSAINT JOHN, N.B. – Crown prosecutors and lawyers for Dennis Oland say there are details they need to finalize before asking the New Brunswick courts to set a date for a new second-degree murder trial.“There are some matters we need to iron out,” prosecutor P.J. Veniot told the Court of Queen’s Bench Tuesday morning in Saint John.He said lawyers for both sides would be in a better position to address those matters later in the month.“Hopefully we’ll be much better prepared for the next court appearance,” Veniot said.A judge agreed to the request — bumping the scheduling hearing to Sept. 5.Dennis Oland — a financial planner and scion of one of the Maritimes’ most prominent families, the founders of Moosehead Breweries — was not in court Tuesday, but was represented by lawyer Bill Teed.Oland is charged in the 2011 bludgeoning death of his multimillionaire father, Richard Oland, who was found face down in a pool of blood in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.An autopsy showed he suffered 45 sharp and blunt force blows to his head, neck and hands. A murder weapon was never found.During Dennis Oland’s trial, the court heard he had visited his father’s office the night before and was the last known person to see him alive.Oland was convicted in 2015, but was released on bail last October when the New Brunswick Court of Appeal ordered a new trial, citing an error in the judge’s instructions to the jury.Dennis Oland had told police he was wearing a navy blazer when he visited his father that evening, but witnesses and video evidence showed him wearing a brown Hugo Boss jacket that was later found to have tiny traces of blood and DNA that matched his father’s profile.The Crown portrayed Oland’s original statement about the jacket as an intentional lie, while the defence said it was an honest mistake. The appeal court said the trial judge did not properly instruct the jurors as to the probative value of that statement.Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an application by the Crown to restore the conviction, and a cross-appeal seeking an acquittal.Veniot said he is “hopeful” the retrial will be heard sometime in 2018.Crown prosecutors Derek Weaver and Jill Knee will also handle the retrial along with Veniot.Court documents indicate the retrial is expected to last up to 65 days — the same as the original trial.Outside court, Veniot wouldn’t comment on the trial length, saying that will be set on Sept. 5.Judge Terrence Morrison of Fredericton is slated to hear the retrial.last_img read more

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Accused kidnapper testifies he lied to police did not receive ransom money

first_imgOTTAWA – A man accused of holding Amanda Lindhout hostage in Somalia testified in court he did not receive ransom money — even though he twice told undercover RCMP officers he got $10,000 US.Ali Omar Ader told Ontario Superior Court on Tuesday that he lied in 2013 about being paid to a Mountie posing as his business agent because it was what the man wanted to hear.At the time, Ader believed he was meeting the businessman on the island of Mauritius to discuss plans to publish his book about Somalia.The seeds of the phoney book project were planted three years earlier when Ader tried to make contact with Lindhout’s mother, months after her daughter was freed. The undercover Mountie phoned Ader in Somalia, saying he had been hired by the shaken family to respond to all queries.They stayed in touch about Ader’s book, leading to the face-to-face meeting in Mauritius. The Mounties saw the elaborate scheme as a way to get Ader to admit involvement in the hostage-taking.Ader told the court Tuesday he feared his business associate would not trust him if he denied responsibility for the kidnapping.Ader said he repeated the lie about getting $10,000 US two years later in Ottawa — this time with his supposed agent and a second Mountie posing as a Vancouver publisher — because he wanted to make his dream of being an author a reality.“To tell you the truth, I did not receive any money,” Ader said under questioning from Samir Adam, one of his lawyers.Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan were abducted by armed men while working on a story near Mogadishu in August 2008, the beginning of 15 months in captivity. Both were released upon payment of a ransom.Ader, a 40-year-old Somalian national who speaks some English, has pleaded not guilty to a criminal charge of hostage-taking for his alleged role as a negotiator and translator.In a secretly recorded sting video of the 2015 Ottawa meeting, Ader acknowledges being paid for helping the shadowy group of armed kidnappers.In the witness box, however, Ader has told a different story.He has painted himself as a victim who was coerced into assisting three gang leaders and a posse of gun-toting youths over several months through threats, a beating and an attack on his family.He said he was detained by the group and forced to make ransom calls to Lindhout’s mother. Ader described escaping at one point, and later surrendering to the kidnappers after they assaulted his family and threatened to do worse.In fact, Ader said, he then moved his wife and children into a house with the kidnappers as it was the only option at the time.Ader insisted he tried to tell his supposed business agent in Mauritius that he had no choice but to work with the hostage-takers, but the man wasn’t interested. “He did not listen to me — he did not pay attention to me.”Ader said since his associate kept closing down the conversation, he told him what he liked hearing.He said he felt compelled to repeat the lie about being paid to help the gang to secure the book deal at the meeting in Ottawa.In cross-examining Ader, prosecutor Croft Michaelson challenged this latest version of events, saying his testimony was “largely untruthful.”Michaelson wondered why Ader would make up a story in Mauritius for a man he had come to see as a trusted business partner, instead of telling him he was forced to co-operate with a gang of kidnappers.“Why wouldn’t you have told him the story you have told us today?” Michaelson asked.“Wouldn’t it have made more sense to tell him the truth than to manufacture a lie?”Michaelson also quizzed Ader about moving his family into a house with the hostage-takers.“Why would you bring your wife and children with you to live with gunmen?”Ader replied: “It was part of the surrender.”— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

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Mistaken identity Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

first_imgMOOSE JAW, Sask. – A Saskatchewan family is once again searching for their missing dog after a case of mistaken identity.On Tuesday, Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found near Moose Jaw.Duncan was certain that the dog was his beloved Georgia that had run off from his wife’s parents’ farm in July 2017 about 500 kilometres away during a thunderstorm.A vet said the big dog showed signs of starvation, has a tumour on her tail, a little bit of arthritis in her hips, and some sores around her eyes.But after CTV News broadcast a story about the reunion, Duncan’s phone rang — it was a woman from a farm in nearby Caron, Sask., who said she thought the dog belonged to her and is named Bella.Duncan says to be certain they met Wednesday morning and the dog went straight from him to her real master.“They have had her since she was a pup for 13 years now and when she got out of my truck, I could just tell that she knew the owner right away,” he said in an email.“She jumped into the car just like she had belonged all along.”Duncan says he shared pictures of Georgia with Bella’s owner and they couldn’t believe how much they look alike.He says right up to their meeting, he was very sure the dog was his, especially after how she responded to his two young sons.Duncan says it was a sad day for his family, but a happy one too, because the dog is really home.“We are happy for Bella to go back to her farm with her family. In a way, it was kind of like we got to spend one last day with Georgia.” (The Canadian Press, CTV Regina)last_img read more

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Psychologist explains why people like fear as Halloween approaches

first_imgWINNIPEG (CITYNEWS) – Ghosts, ghouls and goblins will emerge later this month for Halloween. Part of this holiday for many people is the scare factor, but there are some scientific reasons why people seem to love being scared. Jo Ann Unger, Clinical Psychologist and President of Manitoba Psychological Society, says fear activates the fight, flight, and freeze response, and for some people, this is exhilarating. “Their body is wired that, that fight, flight, freeze response is really rewarding for them internally, and so then they seek that out because it feels really good for them, but it’s not the same for every person,” she said. Unger said some people even feel a sense of accomplishment after making it through a haunted house, plus it can be a bonding experience if you made it through with people you know.  “Those memories are encoded in a special kind of way and if we do that with friends and family you know we talk about it after and we have this its very vivid right and so it also creates this sense of connection and closeness,” she said. -with files from Stefanie Lasiuk, CityNews Winnipeglast_img read more

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NASA spacecraft lands on Mars to dig deep

first_imgCAPE CANAVERAL, FL – A NASA spacecraft designed to burrow beneath the surface of Mars landed on the red planet Monday after a six-month, 482 million-kilometer journey and a perilous, six-minute descent through the rose-hued atmosphere.After waiting in white-knuckle suspense for confirmation to arrive from space, flight controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, leaped out of their seats and erupted in screams, applause and laughter as the news came in that the three-legged InSight spacecraft had successfully touched down.People hugged, shook hands, exchanged high-fives, pumped their fists, wiped away tears and danced in the aisles.“Flawless,” declared JPL’s chief engineer, Rob Manning.“This is what we really hoped and imagined in our mind’s eye,” he said. “Sometimes things work out in your favor.”A pair of mini satellites trailing InSight since their May liftoff provided practically real-time updates of the spacecraft’s supersonic descent through the reddish skies. The satellite also shot back a quick photo from Mars’ surface.The image was marred by specks of debris on the camera cover. But the quick look at the vista showed a flat surface with few if any rocks — just what scientists were hoping for. Much better pictures will arrive in the hours and days ahead.last_img read more

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Chris Hadfields iconic photos from outer space to be available to public

first_imgHALIFAX — Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s famous photos from the International Space Station will soon be available to the public.Hadfield donated more than 13,000 photos to Dalhousie University in Halifax, where they will be preserved and available for educational and research purposes.Marlo MacKay of the Dalhousie Libraries says they will be available as of Thursday, when the university will hold a public launch.Hadfield took 45,000 photographs while circling the world’s continents during a five-month mission commanding the International Space Station that ended in May 2013.The photos — and a video of Hadfield doing a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in the station — made him an international celebrity, with 2.4 million Twitter followers.MacKay says Dalhousie is one of two Canadian institutions to have the photos — the other being the Nova Scotia Community College’s Centre of Geographic Sciences in the Annapolis Valley, which is using them in course work.After the launch, the Chris Hadfield Space Photographs Collection will be open to the public through the Dalhousie Libraries’ website.“We are honoured that Chris Hadfield has entrusted the Dal Libraries to preserve his collection,” said Donna Bourne-Tyson, the university librarian.“Commander Hadfield can’t be with us at the launch but he is thrilled with the work we’ve done so that his photos can be an ongoing resource for students and the space-curious. The potential for these photos to inspire teaching and research is limited only by our imaginations and extends far beyond Dalhousie.”A Dalhousie researcher has created an interactive map using several hundred of the donated photos.A compilation of about 200 photos by Hadfield was turned into a book: “You Are Here: Around The World in 92 Minutes.”The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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