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Critical third phase of polls in Bengal today
The Trinamool Congress has massively coordinated its pre-poll campaign to bag most of the seats that go to the polls on Tuesday. Not only has the party stepped up the number of rallies compared with last time, it has also engaged Suvendu Adhikari, their key election manager of south Bengal, in the north to enter the Congress’ bastion.Three of the five seats in two central Bengal districts that go to the polls on the day were bagged by the Congress in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll, while the TMC got one in Uttar Dinajpur.Mamata targets ECMeanwhile, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee has targeted the Election Commission’s special observer Ajay Nayak in the run-up to the third phase of polling, following his comments that the law and order situation in Bengal was worse than that in Bihar a decade ago.More than 300 companies of central paramilitary forces will be deployed in 92% of the booths in the third phase. The deployment has sharply escalated from 274 companies in the second phase on April 18 and will continue to grow from now on, Mr. Nayak indicated.Seven-phase polls Bengal will witness seven-phase polling. Tuesday’s polling is particularly critical for two persons — former President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit Mukherjee from the Jangipur seat and Badaruddoza Khan of the CPI(M) from Murshidabad.Both had won by a narrow margin in 2014. However, Mr. Mukherjee has an advantage. Both the TMC and the BJP candidates are considered “weak” by the locals — the TMC candidate is not a professional politician and the BJP candidate was a CPI(M) MLA. “This gives him a chance,” said a local Congress activist.Moreover, the Congress stalwart of Murshidabad district and MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury admitted that it was his “responsibility” to ensure Mr. Mukherkee’s victory. However, Mr. Mukherjee was rarely seen in the constituency, which is “a minus”, a local said. Malda too has been a Congress bastion for many years and the party bagged both the seats — Malda North and Malda South — in 2014. However, Malda North MP of the Congress Mausam Noor is contesting on a TMC ticket, while the CPI(M) candidate in 2014 is a BJP candidate. The CPI(M) has not put up a candidate in Malda South, making it a reasonably easy contest for the sitting Congress MP Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury.However, TMC district president Moazzem Khan has emerged as a strong candidate in Malda South with the rise of the BJP.The fifth seat is in the extreme north, where sitting TMC MP Arpita Ghosh is on a difficult wicket. A TMC leader said: “There is infighting as the TMC local leader Biplab Mitra was denied a ticket and Ms. Ghosh was not active in the constituency.” Moreover, the BJP has emerged as a strong force in Balurghat. The Arpita Ghosh camp, however, is confident of winning following Ms. Banerjee’s systematic campaigns.
Mike Trout hits milestone homer to lead Angels over Royals
Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout, left, gets congratulations from Andrelton Simmons after hitting a solo home run against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday, May 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)ANAHEIM, Calif. — Mike Trout’s 250th home run was memorable in more ways than one.Trout’s solo shot to left-center off traveled 473 feet and made him the sixth AL player to reach 250 homers before his 28th birthday as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Kansas City Royals 6-3 on Saturday night.ADVERTISEMENT Kat Tolentino forgoes last playing year, leaves Ateneo a champion Junis has allowed nine runs in the first inning 10 starts this season. Teams are hitting .333 against him in the opening frame (14 for 42), including four home runs.TRAINER’S ROOMRoyals: Kansas City has requested release waivers on Frank Schwindel, who was designated for assignment Tuesday. Schwindel was the opening day first baseman but had just one hit in 15 at-bats in six games. There is a possibility he could be re-signed to a minor league contract.Angels: OF Justin Upton (turf toe) is doing some throwing and hitting, but the only running he is doing is on a treadmill. He is eligible to come off the 60-day injured list near the end of the month but said that it will “be a while” before he returns.UP NEXTRoyals: LHP Danny Duffy (2-1, 3.97 ERA) has won his last two starts. He is 2-2 in seven career outings against the Angels, including a 5-1 loss on April 26 when he allowed three runs on five hits in five innings.Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (4-3, 5.05 ERA) has won three of his four starts since returning from the injured list (left ankle sprain). Teams have a .268 batting average against him, which is the highest among LA’s starting staff.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Los Angeles added three in the sixth. Trout walked with one out before Ohtani clubbed a two-run shot over the right field wall for his first home run at Angels Stadium this season. Andrelton Simmons followed with a double to left and advanced to third on a throwing error. He scored on Calhoun’s sacrifice fly to center to make it 5-0.Kansas City got on the board with three in the eighth off Taylor Cole. Whit Merrifield had a two-run double and scored on Adalberto Mondesi’s bloop single.Lucroy, who had two hits, singled in Simmons in the eighth inning to extend the Angels’ lead to three runs.Junis also went seven innings and yielded five runs (four earned) on six hits with six strikeouts.“I thought he threw the ball well. He’s just not pitching with a lot of luck right now,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Junis. “Every once in a while, you will throw a fastball down the middle and they will either foul it off or pop it up. That isn’t happening. Just got burned on a couple of mistakes.”TRACKING TROUTTrout joins Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Juan Gonzalez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez as the only AL players to hit 250 or more home runs before their age 28 season.He is also the 13th player to accomplish that milestone overall. Teammate Albert Pujols, Mel Ott, Eddie Mathews, Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Andruw Jones and Giancarlo Stanton reached it while playing in the NL.Eight of Trout’s 10 homers this season have come at home. The tape-measure shot fell 4 feet shy of his career best, which came at Coors Field off Colorado’s Chris Rusin in 2015.ROUGH STARTS 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 View comments MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting LATEST STORIES The first-inning blast off Royals starter Jakob Junis (3-5) was also his second-longest since Statcast began measuring them in 2015 and the third-longest in the majors this season.“I didn’t see it land. I stopped watching,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “As soon as he hit it, I knew it was gone.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsShohei Ohtani also went deep and Griffin Canning pitched seven shutout innings as the Angels got their fourth win in five games this season against the Royals.Ohtani’s two-run homer to right in the sixth was his second of the season. Last season’s AL Rookie of the Year missed the first 34 games following Tommy John surgery. DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP After going hitless in first seven at-bats, Ohtani has gone 12 for 35 with two home runs and has a six-game hitting streak.“I’m getting better each at-bat I get. It is not 100, but getting closer and closer,” Ohtani said through a translator.Canning (2-1) is only the second Angels starter to go at least seven innings, which is worst in the majors. The rookie right-hander retired the first 12 Royals he faced and allowed three hits with five strikeouts. Ty Buttrey worked the final 1 2/3 innings for his second save.“I wasn’t being super tentative and let my stuff work in the zone,” he said.After Trout’s homer, the Angels added another run in the second when Kole Calhoun led off with a double and scored on Jonathan Lucroy’s single.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess
Four members of a family electrocuted
Sivaganga (TN), Mar 25 (PTI) In a tragic incident, four members of a family were electrocuted in Thavatharenthal village in this district today, police said.Lakshmi (24), carrying her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter Priyadarshini, switched on the grinder and both of them were electrocuted.Her father-in-law Vella Kanthan (54) and sister-in-law Meenal (17) were also electrocuted when they tried to rescue the mother and daughter, police said. PTI CORR SSN RC RCJ
IPL 9: Match-winners make Gujarat Lions an exciting side, says Suresh Raina
New Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Gujarat Lions skipper Suresh Raina today said that the presence of multiple match-winners make them an exciting side to watch in the ninth edition of the Twenty20 cricket tournament starting from April 9.Former Australia batsman Brad Hodge has been named coach of the Rajkot-based outfit which also has former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, Ravindra Jadeja, Australian James Faulkner and West Indian Dwayne Bravo.”Gujarat never had a team before, so it will be a great opportunity for the players and specially the youngsters. We do have best coaches now and also a few match-winning players, Bravo, McCullum,” Raina said.”McCullum did not play World T20, we wanted to focus on IPL, this shows how much experience we do have in dressing room. This IPL will surely be exciting. So, I hope all will do well, we are looking forward to it,” Raina said at a press conference at the launch of leading Spanish oil company Repsol’s lubricant business in India.After playing for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for the past eight editions, the hard-hitting middle order batsman will be playing for Gujarat after CSK was suspended for two years by the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Lodha Committee in the spot-fixing and betting scandal.The 29-year-old said that although it will be a challenge for him to play for a new team, he will give his best to make the team victorious.”We are not playing for CSK for next two years. But I think we have got the responsibility. We do have a couple of match winners in our side (Gujarat). I think IPL is a place where captain is just a name. We need match winners to win it for the side.”advertisement”For the last eight years, the youngsters have shared dressing room with world class players, so the next two years will also be the same. We have played in semi-finals in World T20 and won the Asia Cup and in Australia, and so the youngsters are on the right track,” he said.”It will be difficult to get back the fans, like when you are staying in your house and then moving to the next house. But for this there are lot of challenges in our life. That makes a lot of differences. I have played for CSK for eight years, learnt a lot of things there from senior players,” Raina concluded.
Murray impresses Ivan Lendl with fighting spirit at Queen’s
Andy Murray’s renewed partnership with Ivan Lendl got off to a winning start on Sunday and the Briton said the American coach was impressed with his battling qualities as he rallied to lift the Queen’s Club trophy for a record fifth time.Murray, who this month reunited with the man who coached him to a pair of grand slam victories, came from a set and a break down to beat big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic 6-7(5) 6-4 6-3 in the Aegon Championships final, a key Wimbledon warm-up event.The Scot has not won a major title since parting company with Czech-born Lendl in March 2014 after two successful years together, during which he won the 2012 Olympic gold medal, the 2012 U.S. Open and the 2013 Wimbledon titles.”Mainly, actually we spoke about today’s (Sunday’s) match but more about next week and planning for Wimbledon, how I’m going to prepare for that, the things that we’re going to be working on,” Murray told British media of the grass court season.”He was definitely happy with this week because of the way that I fought, the way that I played in the big moments and the preparation, getting five matches when I had literally zero preparation for this event. It’s turned out to be a great week.”Before Sunday’s victory, Murray, who also won the trophy in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015, shared the record of four Queen’s titles with seven other men, including Boris Becker, Roy Emerson and Raonic’s new grasscourt coach John McEnroe.
Australian Prime Minister hosts Virat Kohli and Tim Paine’s men at official residence
India cricket team, led by Virat Kohli and their Australian counterparts, led by Tim Paine were hosted by Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison at his official residence, the Kirribilli House in Sydney on the New Year’s Day.Kohli and Paine along with their teammates posed with Morrison during the official photo session. Also seen in the photographs available on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Twitter handle was Team India head coach, Ravi Shastri who was looking dapper in a white shirt and grey blazer and a golden hat.Rishabh Pant, Umesh Yadav and Hardik pandya were the odd ones out as they were wearing the Team India blue blazers. On the other hand, Australia were dressed in their Team Australia t-shirts at the party hosted by their Prime Minister.Rohit Sharma was missing in the photograph as the middle-order batsman had left Australia to Mumbai on December 30 to be with his wife Ritika Sajdeh and newborn baby girl.Striking a pose #TeamIndia & Australia at the Australian Prime Minister’s residence pic.twitter.com/20ttzamgjGBCCI (@BCCI) January 1, 2019Meanwhile, Hardik, Ishant Sharma, and Umesh took to Instagram to share some more clicks from the party.Notably, the Indian players welcomed the new year from Sydney. Captain Virat Kohli had spent the new year’s eve, partying with Bollywood actor and wife, Anushka Sharma. The couple had uploaded some adorable photos of themselves from the colourful streets of Sydney on December 31.India and Australia will meet at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for the fourth and final Test of the fiercely-fought series. Having sealed a 2-1 lead after beating Australia by 137 runs in Melbourne earlier this week, Kohli’s men will be bidding to become the first Indian team to beat the hosts in a Test series at their own backyard.Australia, who are having a horrible time with the bat in the ongoing season, were up early on the New Year’s day as they had an optional training session at the SCG.Australia’s pace quartet of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Peter Siddle along with the Marsh brothers Shaun and Mitchell and Travis Head skipped the training session, according to cricket.com.au.While newest member of their squad, Marnus Labuschagne was bowling at the nets, under-fire Aaron Finch did not bat but was seen taking a few slip catches.Also Read | Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma celebrate New Year in Australia. See picsAlso Read | How Virat Kohli makes newcomers comfortable in the Indian dressing roomAlso Read | How sports stars around the world welcomed 2019Also See:
Forecaster says spring temperatures to be delayed in much of Canada
Spring will arrive a little late and showcase rather volatile weather this year, one of Canada’s most high-profile forecasters predicted Monday.In its spring outlook, the Weather Network said temperatures across much of the country will skew colder through March and early April before eventually warming up toward the end of the season.“Spring tends to be a season where we get a lot of volatility, a lot of ups and downs with our weather, because after all, we’re going from winter to summer,” said Chief Meteorologist Chris Scott. “It’s not a straight line. There’s always a bit of a bumpy road to get there.”This year’s season will see more swings in weather than usual, he said.British Columbia in particular will have a cooler spring than usual, Scott said.“We won’t see that kind of early bursting of spring that we sometimes get through the south of B.C.,” he said.The Prairies will also have to contend with temperatures lower than they’re used to for March and early April, but that, in combination with minimal snowpack, reduces the risk of flooding during the eventual thaw, Scott said.Moving east to Ontario and Quebec, Scott said that while temperatures rose in February, they’re expected to swing back down over the coming weeks.“We think that winter has at least one more show to come, maybe even two,” he said. “March looks to be an even stormier month than we often see.”Whether those storms come in the form of snow, ice or rain depends entirely on the day, Scott said.“We can’t pin down those details until we get within a week of a given storm system,” he added.Atlantic Canada has had a relatively mild winter thus far — but that could change, Scott said.“We’ve hardly seen any snow this winter in St. John’s. It’s been a very tame winter this year by Newfoundlanders’ standards,” he said. “This is not over, though. We expect likely the biggest snowstorms yet to come in March and even into April in parts of the region.”He said Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, too, can expect nor’easters.But in spite of the “bumpy road,” Scott said Canadians shouldn’t give up the hope of warm temperatures.“We will get there eventually,” he said. “Everyone will get their spring weather.”
Stepmother of Quebec girl who died in April now faces seconddegree murder
GRANBY, Que. — The stepmother of a seven-year-old Quebec girl who died under troubling circumstances now faces a charge of second-degree murder.The charge was laid today against the woman on her 36th birthday, while an additional charge of criminal negligence causing death was laid against her co-accused, the girl’s father.The woman had previously been charged with unlawful confinement and aggravated assault.The couple were arrested after police found the girl in critical condition in her family home in Granby, about 80 kilometres east of Montreal. In the hours following their initial court appearance on April 30, the girl died in hospital.The father, 30, was denied bail on June 10. He was already facing three charges: unlawful confinement, failing to provide the necessities of life and child abandonment.The entrance of the courthouse in Granby, Que., was adorned with stuffed animals today in memory of the young victim, whose death has sparked several probes about the state of youth protection services in the province.The Canadian Press
IBM computer proves formidable against 2 human debaters
SAN FRANCISCO – An argumentative computer proved formidable against two human debaters as IBM gave its first public demonstration of new artificial intelligence technology it’s been working on for more than five years.The new skills show that computers are getting better at mastering human language and speech.The computer made its case for government-subsidized space research by pulling in evidence from its huge internal repository of newspapers, journals and other sources. After delivering opening arguments, the computer listened to a professional human debater’s counter-argument and spent four minutes rebutting it.The company unveiled its Project Debater in San Francisco on Monday. IBM selected possible topics based on whether they were debatable, but neither the computer nor the human debaters knew the topic in advance. Nonetheless, the computer championed the topic fiercely with just a few awkward gaps in reasoning.“Subsidizing space exploration is like investing in really good tires,” argued the computer system, its female voice embodied in a 5-foot-tall machine shaped like a monolith with TV screens on its sides. Such research would enrich the human mind, inspire young people and be a “very sound investment,” it said, making it more important even than good roads, schools or health care.After closing arguments it moved on to a second debate about telemedicine.An IBM research team based in Israel began working on the project not long after IBM’s Watson computer beat two human quizmasters on a “Jeopardy” challenge in 2011.But rather than just scanning a giant trove of data in search of factoids, IBM’s latest project taps into several more complex branches of AI. Search engine algorithms used by Google and Microsoft’s Bing use similar technology to digest and summarize written content and compose new paragraphs. Voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa rely on listening comprehension to answer questions posed by people. Google recently demonstrated an eerily human-like voice assistant that can call hair salons or restaurants to make appointments.But IBM says it’s breaking new ground by creating a system that tackles deeper human practices of rhetoric and analysis, and how they’re used to discuss big questions whose answers aren’t always clear.“If you think of the rules of debate, they’re far more open-ended than the rules of a board game,” said Ranit Aharonov, who manages the debater project.IBM doesn’t try to declare a winner of the debates, but Noa Ovadia, one of the human debaters, said the computer was a formidable opponent even if it made a few too many blanket statements about space exploration being the pinnacle of human achievement.Ovadia, a national debate champion in Israel, said she was impressed by its fluency in language and ability to construct sentences. She said the computer was able to “get to the bottom line of my arguments” and respond to them.Among several outside experts IBM invited to attend Project Debater’s debut was Chris Reed, who directs the Centre for Argument Technology at the University of Dundee in Scotland. Reed said he was impressed by its grasp of “procatalepsis” — a rhetorical technique that involves anticipating an opponent’s argument and preemptively rebutting it.As expected, the machine tends to be better than humans at bringing in numbers and other detailed supporting evidence. It’s also able to latch onto the most salient and attention-getting elements of an argument, and can even deliver some self-referential jokes about being a computer.But it lacks tact, researchers said. Sometimes the jokes don’t come out right. And on Monday, some of the sources it cited — such as a German official and an Arab sheikh — didn’t seem particularly germane.“Humans tend to be better at using more expressive language, more original language,” said Dario Gil, IBM’s vice-president of AI research. “They bring in their own personal experience as a way to illustrate the point. The machine doesn’t live in the real world or have a life that it’s able to tap into.”There are no immediate plans to turn Project Debater into a commercial product, but Gil said it could be useful in the future in helping lawyers or other human workers make informed decisions.
Morocco, US discuss ways to boost cooperation in field of energy
Rabat – Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment, Abdelkader Amara, held talks Monday in Rabat, with Ambassador of the United States of America in Morocco, Dwight L. Bush Sr., on ways to promote cooperation in the field of energy, including renewable energy.This meeting was an opportunity to discuss several topics including energy and ways to further promote the Moroccan-American cooperation in the energy field as well as the Free Trade agreement, Amara told the press.The two officials also discussed means to expand the prospects of this cooperation toward sub-Saharan countries, given the particular interest shown by HM King Mohammed VI and President Barack Obama toward the continent, he added, noting that Africa suffers from a shortage of equipment in terms of electrification and energy in general. In a similar statement, the American diplomat said he was “very happy” to be in Morocco, a “longtime friend,” deeming as “constructive” the talks with the Moroccan Minister.This meeting also discussed “the opportunities to work together,” Bush said, noting that they also focused on the commitment of His Majesty the King to expanding access to energy.
Gaz Cylinder Explosion Kills 1, Injures 54 in Central Morocco
Ain Aouda (Skhirat-Témara) – A gas cylinder exploded on Monday inside a shop in the weekly market of Ain Aouda (Skhirat-Témara prefecture), killing one person and injuring 54 others, local authorities said.The victim, a woman, succumbed to her injuries after she was rushed to the hospital, while 54 other people were wounded and had multiple degree burns, said local authorities in the Skhirat-Témara prefecture.The injured were rushed to the Sidi Lahcen hospital in Témara and Rabat Avicenne hospital to receive the necessary health care, they added.
Venezuelan MP: Morocco’s Western Sahara Autonomy Plan Is Wise Initiative
Rabat – A Venezuelan MP on a working visit to Morocco has thrown his country’s weight behind Morocco’s Western Sahara position, praising Morocco’s Autonomy Plan for settling the territorial conflict.Francisco Sucre, president of the Venezuelan Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Wednesday in Rabat that the international community should give more credit to Morocco’s efforts in finding a definitive end to the decades-long dispute in Western Sahara.“Morocco’s proposal, local autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, is a welcome and wise initiative,” Sucre said, referring to Morocco’s 2007 plan to solve the Western Sahara territorial dispute. The Autonomy Plan seeks to establish a platform of autonomous local governments under Morocco’s watch.For Morocco, the point is to grant Sahrawi locals full autonomy while making sure that they remain connected to their “historical motherland”: Morocco.Closeness with Juan GuaidoSucre, who is known to support opposition leader Juan Guaido, said that Venezuela will unconditionally support Morocco’s plan once the international community intervenes to end President Maduro’s “illegitimate rule.”Referring to Guaido’s stance on Morocco’s plan for Western Sahara, Sucre said, “This is the position that we will defend in international forums and at the UN once we are fully established in our rightful place in Venezuela, after an end is put to the grip of the current regime.”He showed appreciation for Morocco’s support for Guaido, explaining that Venezuela’s Parliament had designated the 35-year-old as interim president on the grounds of power vacancy.Sucre was roundly dismissive of President Nicolas Maduro’s regime. Maduro, he said, won elections that “were not transparent” and were rife with irregularities, including “mass imprisonment or exile of opposition leaders and an abstention rate that reached 82 percent.”Morocco said it would support Guaido’s work to fulfill the “aspirations” of the Venezuelan people shortly after he announced that Maduro’s rule was illegitimate and declared himself interim president.The international community has since been divided, with the EU-US axis calling for the end of the Maduro regime, and countries like Russia, China, and Turkey dismissing international pressure as “interference in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.”For Sucre, ousting Maduro will “save Venezuela’s democracy and benefit the world and the region.”Sucre’s comments come as Morocco takes part in the second Geneva roundtable along with other parties in the Western Sahara conflict.The routable started Thursday, March 21, and is scheduled to end Friday. The UN hopes that the two-day event will pave the way for building trust and brokering the necessary compromises to settle the Western Sahara political stalemate.In recent years, Morocco’s increasingly assertive diplomacy has succeeded in securing international support for its position in Western Sahara.In addition to the French and the US governments, a number of African and Latin American countries have lauded the Autonomy Plan. It however remains to be seen whether Rabat’s turn toward South-South cooperation and versatile diplomacy will eventually pay off as it wishes.
SM Chandrasena appears before FCID to make a statement
Former Minister S M Chandrasena appeared before the police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) today to make a statement.He was asked to appear to give a statement on allegations of financial malpractice.
Speaker defends informing polls commission on Geethas seat
The court ruling was referred to the Secretary General of Parliament by the Speaker, as appropriate. Thereafter, subsequent to consulting the Attorney General as well about the measures to be taken by the Secretary General of Parliament, it was referred to the Elections Commission in the afternoon of the 8th 0f May (08.05.2017) for further action, the Speaker’s office said.The relevant ruling of the Court of Appeal had not been subjected to any reconsideration or stay by any superior court up to that point. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya defended the decision taken by his office to inform the Elections Commission about the Court of Appeal ruling on the Parliament seat of Geetha Kumarasinghe.A statement by the Speaker’s media unit said that certain parties have made statements targeting the Speaker, criticizing the informing of the ruling issued by the Court of Appeal with relevance to the case filed in relation to dual citizenship which disqualified Geetha Kumarasinghe from holding a seat in Parliament, to the Elections Commission. “However, we wish to point out that the relevant matter was informed to the Elections Commission by Parliament after a lapse of three working days while similar rulings had been conveyed to the Commissioner of Elections after a lapse of one working day in certain earlier occasions. Accordingly, we wish to emphasize that no undue urgency or delay was involved in conveying the relevant ruling to the Elections Commission and that the ordinary procedure has been followed in compliance with the Constitution and the elections law,” the statement said.The Speaker’s office said that any claim by any party that informing the Elections Commission about the ruling of the Court of Appeal regarding Geetha Kumarasinghe’s Parliamentary seat was faulty and that the Speaker has acted on the agenda of the Government, is a total distortion of facts or one made out of ignorance. (Colombo Gazette) “We consider it our responsibility to furnish an explanation as such comments were given publicity by the media as well. When a seat in Parliament falls vacant due to some reason, informing that to the Elections Commission immediately in compliance with the Constitution and the elections law, is a task assigned to the Secretary General of Parliament,” the Speaker’s office said. The ruling regarding Geetha Kumarasinghe’s seat in Parliament was conveyed to the Speaker in the afternoon of the 3rd of May (03.05.2017).
Aer Lingus confirms new takeover bid by British Airways parent IAG considers
by Shawn Pogatchnik, The Associated Press Posted Jan 26, 2015 12:28 am MDT FILE – In this Wednesday June 20, 2012 file photo a flock of sheep stand in a field as two Aer Lingus jets taxi and take off at Dublin Airport, Ireland. Aer Lingus announced Monday Jan. 26, 2015 that British Airways parent IAG has made an improved takeover offer of 2.55 euros ($2.85) per share, and the board of the Irish airline says it is considering the proposal. (AP Photo/Shawn Pogatchnik, File) Aer Lingus confirms new takeover bid by British Airways parent IAG, considers improved offer AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email DUBLIN – Aer Lingus announced Monday that British Airways parent IAG has made an improved takeover offer of 2.55 euros ($2.85) per share, and the board of the Irish airline says it is considering the proposal.The offer — the third by IAG in the past month — values Aer Lingus at more than 1.3 billion euros ($1.45 billion). Unlike previous offers, the Aer Lingus board did not reject this offer outright.Instead, Aer Lingus said acceptance of IAG’s all-cash offer would require “irrevocable commitments” from the two biggest shareholders: rival budget carrier Ryanair and the Irish government. Ryanair has a nearly 30-per cent stake, the government 25 per cent.Monday’s published offer is higher than the figure of 2.50 euros per share that airline officials circulated to British and Irish media over the weekend. It includes payment of an extra 5 cent dividend per share.IAG, which was formed in 2009 by a merger between British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, is led by Willie Walsh, the Irishman who was chief executive of Aer Lingus from 2001 to 2005. It long has been considered a logical suitor for Aer Lingus following the failure of three hostile takeover bids by Dublin competitor Ryanair.Walsh opened IAG’s bidding last month with a 2.30 euros-per-share offer, and raised it to 2.40 euros. The move coincided with the imminent departure of Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller, who is taking the same position at troubled Malaysia Airlines.Aer Lingus is most prized for its ownership of 24 landing slots at Heathrow Airport near London, British Airways’ primary base. Those are valued at 400 million euros ($450 million) alone.Aer Lingus also has a profitable, growing trans-Atlantic network to the United States operating from two Irish airports that, uniquely in Europe, allow U.S.-bound passengers to clear American immigration and customs checks on Irish soil. Industry analysts believe IAG could funnel hundreds of thousands of European travellers annually to the United States through Irish airports rather than overcrowded Heathrow.The government is pulling Ireland out of six years of austerity, and the offer would deliver an estimated 335 million euros to reduce debt. But surrendering the remaining state hold on Aer Lingus — an emotional totem of Irish independence, with its emerald green fuselages and shamrock-bedecked tailfins — risks bringing the government into conflict with nationalist opposition leaders and labour unions, which fear cuts to Aer Lingus’ 3,900-strong unionized work force.
Canadian Corey Conners wins in Texas earns invitation to Masters
Up until last year, Mike Weir shared a spot in the champions’ locker room at Augusta National with 1957 winner Doug Ford. Ford passed away in May 2018, and now Weir is alone.And up until Sunday night, there wasn’t even another Canadian in the Masters field next week.Enter Corey Conners.Conners, of Listowel, Ont., captured the Valero Texas Open by two shots Sunday for his first PGA Tour win. The victory comes with a plethora of opportunities including a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and a US$1.3-million payday, which is the most beneficial career-wise. But the very last Masters invitation is the most thrilling.Ask those closest to Conners and you’ll quickly realize a win on the PGA Tour was an issue of “when” and not “if.”Golf Canada National Team head coach Derek Ingram told Sportsnet he believes Conners is a Jim Furyk/Matt Kuchar-type player who will be a consistent winner on the PGA Tour for more than a decade.“He’s just that consistent, smart, and committed,” said Ingram. “He is getting more and more comfortable on the PGA Tour, and as this continues … watch out. He is going to be in this position more and more.”The 27-year-old Conners wasn’t even in the Texas Open field to start the week.Given his standing on the PGA Tour’s season-long FedEx Cup race last year, he doesn’t have full status for 2019. Conners had to enter an open qualifier on Monday to try and earn one of four final spots.He tied for third in the qualifier and won a 6-for-1 playoff to get into the field. Two of the three other qualifiers missed the cut, and one finished next-to-last.Conners became just the fifth Monday Qualifier ever on the PGA Tour to go on to win a title and the first since 2010. Fellow Canadian Brooke Henderson is one of two Monday Qualifiers on the LPGA Tour to do it.Congratulations to Leafs Nation’s very own @coreconn on winning the Valero Texas Open and punching his ticket to @TheMasters.Let’s get you set up with some more blue & white as you go for the green jacket, Corey! https://t.co/t1DEOr5pvZ— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 7, 2019Despite a torrid start Sunday where Conners make birdies on four of his first five holes, he struggled in the middle of his round making four-straight bogeys. But his routine and demeanour never changed. He made six birdies on the back nine to finish with a 6-under 66.Back at Conners’ home club, the semi-private Listowel Golf Club (Listowel is about two hours northwest of Toronto), the membership didn’t get together in person to watch, but head golf professional Brenden Parsons was at the hub of every text, tweet, and call.“Panic has set it,” he admitted to Sportsnet after Conners made his fourth bogey of the day. That came about 45 minutes after he said four members texted him saying they were all starting to “freak out,” with Air Canada on the other line, destination Augusta, Ga.But when Parsons realized the win was official, he was crying tears of joy and said there were roars coming from Conners’s hometown.Conners worked in the pro shop in Listowel for a few years and even moonlighted one afternoon – in full PGA Tour-gear – when his sister was off sick. He remains a popular figure in town, at the golf course, and across Canada.Everyone at the club, according to Parsons, raves about his ball striking (and with reason, he’s fourth on the PGA Tour in Greens in Regulation percentage this year). His putting is the lone part of the game Conners struggles with — ranking 201st in Total Putting in 2019 – but this week he was clutch on the greens.“If he putts well, he will have a great chance to win and this week he has made some great putts,” said Ingram, who said it’s “just a matter of time” before Conners is a household name.Former world No. 1, Justin Thomas, has already recognized Conners’ mettle. He dubbed Conners a “quiet assassin” on Twitter late last year.“Love his tempo and demeanour,” said Thomas.The tempo never wavered for Conners Sunday, although the score fluctuated and the victory became less and less certain.Parsons said one member mentioned voodoo charms being cast onto their television. There was talk of sacrificing a chicken. Conners’ caddie, Kyle Peters, was on the hunt for a hot dog at the turn (he ate them before and after every round this week so figured there might be some good-luck there).Nothing was necessary.Conners’ wife Malory (they got married last October and she follows him to every tournament) became a bit of celebrity during the final round with her every enthusiastic reaction recorded by television cameras.Malory was there to embrace Conners on the 72nd green. Conners’ friend and fellow professional Taylor Pendrith was driving to a mini-tour event but pulled into a bar to watch the final round unfold. Fellow Canadian PGA Tour winners Nick Taylor and Mackenzie Hughes were on the 72nd green in Texas, beers in hand – like good Canadian boys.They were all there to see Conners answer the question of when he would win on the PGA Tour with an emphatic, “now.”Weir will have company next week at the Masters. And maybe, one day, some company in the champions locker room too.
Shoplifter caught on Google Street View after IT worker browsing online spots
She was pictured by the camera, which had been taking shots in the street, emerging from the store with her haul in a Sports Direct carrier bag.McIvor is shown running away as a member of staff gave chase. Store bosses were unable to identify McIvor, who has a string of previous convictions, from the stills.But, while her face had been blurred out by Google, Cleveland Police identified McIvor from her distinctive white outfit, which she was wearing when she was arrested. The series of pictures show McIvor running away as a member of staff gave chase from the discount storeCredit:Google Street View In 2013, she was jailed after burgling two properties in one night, took drugs into prison and used someone else’s name to get out of trouble.The judge at the time told McIvor she should keep away from the “undesirable influences” that led her into drugs and crime.But, with her long criminal record, he said he had no alternative to jailing her for her crime spree. A court heard how McIvor, then 26, had been a heroin addict from the age of 16.After the case, a friend of McIvor, said: “She’s harmless but she gets into trouble for shoplifting quite a bit.”A lot of the shops in Middlesbrough and Stockton already know her and look out for her, but she’s never been caught like this before. “Google’s camera-equipped cars, designed to build up an efficient map of the world’s urban and rural areas, allow 360-degree pictures to be taken and searched by anyone around the world. It has been blurring out the faces of people captured on camera to protect their identity since 2008.Mr Darby, of Leyland, Lancashire, added: “It is unbelievable technology and I’ve found a lot of funny things on there, but this is up there with the best.”It was like an action scene from a cop show. I followed it right along the street but obviously couldn’t tell whether she got away or not. “It was bad luck on her part to be running away just as the Google camera was passing.” A shoplifter has been prosecuted for stealing £60 of washing-up goods – after she was caught fleeing a store on Google Street View.Tammy McIvor thought she had got away with the theft from a branch of Savers, the discount chain, in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire.But she was caught in the act when an IT worker stumbled across images online of the 30-year-old making her escape with the shoplifted items. A third image clearly shows the store member running after Tammy McIvor, far leftCredit:Google Street View Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. It is unbelievable technology and I’ve found a lot of funny things on there, but this is up there with the bestPeter Darby, IT worker who spotted theft on Street View Peter Darby, an IT worker, stumbled across the images of McIvor fleeing the store while he killing time online.The 34-year-old said: “I’m an ex-Teesside University student so I thought I would see my old stomping ground, and as soon as I spotted it I thought ‘that seemed a bit strange’.“I moved further down the street and you could see a bloke pursuing her. By the end she was going full speed.”You could tell as soon as you looked at the pictures that something was up as she came out of there very angrily.“She was running around with the Sports Direct bag and it was obvious she was up to no good.” Tammy McIvor has previously been told by a judge to keep away from the ‘undesirable influences’ that led her into drugs and crimeCredit:Facebook The images were filmed as McIvor, who has a string of previous convictions, targeted the store at around 2.45pm on June 19.She appeared before Teesside magistrates, where she was handed a year-long community order, which has a drug rehabilitation requirement, after pleading guilty to theft.The court heard McIvor, of Middlesbrough, has a long history of offending and drug abuse.
British tourist in Egypt painkillers trial sobs after mistake confession
She replied “yes” and the judge then instructed the session clerk to record that she “confessed”.But when the defence translator later explained the question, she denied she was guilty.“She meant that she is admitting that she had the Tramadol, but not admitting of being guilty. The judge jumped to the conclusion that she confesses before clarifying that she understood the question and this is worrying,” Dia al-Bassal, Ms Plummer’s lawyer told the Telegraph. She meant that she is admitting that she had the Tramadol, but not admitting being guiltyDia al-Bassal Lawyers for a British tourist held in Egypt accused of smuggling painkillers will write to her trial judge appealing to correct her plea, after she misunderstood questions and admitted importing the drugs.Laura Plummer sobbed in an Egyption courtroom when she realised what had happened and tried to correct her plea on the first day of her trial in the Red Sea town of Safaga.The 33-year-old shop worker from Hull was arrested at Hurghada airport after she was found to be carrying 290 tramadol tablets in her suitcase.She has insisted the tablets were for her Egyptian partner Omar Abdel Aziz, known as “Caboo”, 31, who suffers from chronic back pain. She said she was unaware the drug, which is legal in the UK, was banned in Egypt.Standing before the judge in court, Ms Plummer was asked: “You are accused of smuggling and possessing Tramadol to Egypt?” Laura Plummer pictured with her sisters Rachel Plummer and Jayne SynclairCredit: Facebook Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “You can imagine the pressure – this is her life.”Ms Plummer is being kept in a 15ft-by-15ft cell with three other women in Hurghada’s Police station.There is no women’s prison in the Red Sea governorate, so those awaiting trail are locked in a police cells.In a visit to her cell before the trial, the Telegraph was told Ms Plummer has been locked up around the clock and has been sleeping on the floor without a bed.“She is well-treated by the authorities in Egypt to the extent that she receives distinguished treatment comparing to Egyptian citizens,”“I didn’t know that she will bring it, I will not send my wife to prison in my country,” Mr Abdel Aziz told the Telegraph.Ms Plummer met Mr Abdel Aziz in 2014 in Sharm El Sheikh when he was working as a hotel lifeguard.The couple had what is known as an Urfi marriage, which is a customary marriage contract that requires witnesses but is not legally recognised by the state. Ms Plummer has since visited him two or three time a year. Her last visit was scheduled to last for two weeks according to Mr Abdel Aziz. Her legal team will enter a written submission from her explaining she had not admitted guilt, but had meant to say she carried the drug without knowing it was illegal and with no intention of selling it.“Don’t be afraid [when speaking to the judge] be brave. Pray and I will pray for you,” Mr Bassal told Laura during the break.“It’s not fair,” Laura told her lawyer.The case was adjourned until Tuesday when her lawyers are expected to begin her defence and submit documents showing Omar Abdel Azim and his mother are being treated for illnesses that need Tramadol.Mr Bassal said: “In order for the drug crime elements to be complete, two conditions must be met. First advance knowledge that the substance is forbidden in the country of destination, and second it was brought for trading,” Mr Bassal told the Telegraph after the session.“Both conditions are not available in Laura’s case. The British Foreign Office has updated its travel instructions after Laura’s case. The new instructions included Tramadol in the drug list and mentioned Laura’s case by name.”Ms Plummer’s sister, Rachel, said her sister was visibly nervous, upset and sleep deprived.She said: “She’s answered some questions wrong because she’s not understanding them, she obviously can’t think straight. Ms Plummer broke down in tears during the session as her lawyers told her she should not have answered yes to the judge.
Man arrested after taxi driver hijacking in Cork
A MAN HAS been arrested following an assault of a taxi driver and the hijacking of his car at Lower Killeens Blarney Cork.The incident occurred at in the early hours of this morning at 1.30am when a taxi driver, a man in his early 70s, picked up two men at Dillons Cross.AssaultedWhile heading in the direction of Cork City the driver was threatened and then assaulted.The offenders removed the driver from the vehicle at a service station on the Carrigohane Straight and drove off in the car.They subsequently crashed at Lower Killeens a short time later. One man was arrested at the scene, while the other fled the scene on foot. The man believed to be in his early 30s is currently detained at Gurranbraher Garda Station under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.The taxi driver was taken to hospital with a facial injury and released a short time later.Read: Appeal for witnesses after woman in her 80s seriously hurt in car crash>Read: Man killed, 9-year-old boy injured in Galway single-car crash>
Field Stream Cover Brings In a New Audience
Like a lot of covers Field & Stream has put out over the last 119 years, the May issue of the magazine shows a camo-clad hunter, bow in hand, looking ready to prowl off into the wilderness.It’s a departure from the norm though—for the first time since 1974, and only the second time in the magazine’s history, that hunter is a woman.The appearance of Eva Shockey, a hunting community celebrity and costar of an Outdoor Network TV show, generated a lot of buzz for Field & Stream, so we talked to Anthony Licata, editorial director of Bonnier’s Men’s Group, about the decision to run with it and how they’ve been able to turn that into lasting gains for the title. —FOLIO: Take me through the discussions in your initial editorial meetings when you were considering putting Eva on the cover.Anthony Licata: The theme of the issue is ‘What’s Next?’ so the cover package is looking at what the latest trends are in hunting and fishing with an eye toward the future-what’s changing, what are we going to be talking about in the next five years. One of those trends is the growth of women hunters, fishers and shooters. The ranks of female hunters have grown by 10 percent from 2008 to 2012 and it’s a growing segment of our audience.FOLIO: Has that growth translated into a demographic shift for you? What are the magazine’s demographics and how did that play into the decision?Licata: The vast majority of Field & Stream’s readers are men [print readership is 84 percent male, according to GfkMRI numbers from Fall 2013 later provided by Licata], however, we’ve seen a growth there in print and an even bigger growth online. Over the last 12 months, FieldandStream.com has grown its audience by double digits, with the percentage of female unique visitors growing by 39 percent, whereas male users are growing by 22 percent.Anecdotally, even if a subscriber is a man, a lot of times his wife reads the magazine and we get a fair amount of interaction from female readers through letters to the editor and traditional methods, and also through social media and online.FOLIO: Were you looking to reach that new, growing female audience with this cover?Licata: Absolutely. Our circulation is 1.25 million and is predominately a subscription-based business. That’s what we depend on for consumer marketing. The newsstand is important, but not as important [as subscriptions]. But something we factor in with the newsstand is a desire to reach that audience that maybe isn’t fully committed, isn’t a subscriber, might be new to the sport. We felt by putting a woman on the cover, we’d have a chance to reach out to some of those women outdoorsmen.What we didn’t do was make a big statement and big splash and put a woman on the cover just for the sake of putting a woman on the cover. This was part of a larger story looking at current trends and where the sports are going. It fits. Not only would it possibly attract new people, but it’s core to what our readers are seeing.FOLIO: Once you realized it was gaining steam on social and traditional media did you promote the issue any differently?Licata: Eva Shockey has a television show, a good social media presence, she has her fans, so we worked closely with her and her team to promote it social and get it in front of a new audience.It’s not something we do very often. Most of our covers are animals or locations or gear and when we do feature a person, that person usually stands for an idea and they’re not necessarily a celebrity.It was a big success on social media though. We had hundreds of shares and thousands of likes and got an additional 10,000 Facebook followers for the brand since it came out. And on Twitter there’s been a social campaign to take a selfie holding the cover.