KALIBO, Aklan – The ProvincialEnvironment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) here will conduct aninvestigation into the cutting of trees during the province’s road clearingoperations. “There has been a massive confusion asto the policies of the road clearing and road widening program. The policyissued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government only meant forroad clearing which excludes cutting of trees,” he added. Provincial environment officer AranRubin on Thursday said they received reports that the towns of Banga and NewWashington cut trees along the highway. “Aside from the two towns mentioned,there were also other towns which cut trees but immediately stopped as soon asthey were warned. Nevertheless, other local governments may still be fined,”Rubin said. The PENRO conducted an inventory ofthe trees cut and their monetary values. The cutting of trees by the localgovernment was allegedly undertaken without proper consultation from the PENRO. It will also fine the local governmentinvolved in the said activity./PN
The Uttar Pradesh Board of Madrasa Education has issued an advisory to all madrasas in the State to celebrate Independence Day with traditional fervour, but the missive has not gone down well with the representative teachers’ body. There are 16,461 madrasas in Uttar Pradesh. “You should direct all madrasas in your divisions and districts to celebrate Independence Day with traditional pomp and gaiety,” said a letter sent by the board’s registrar S.N. Pandey. ‘Pay tribute to martyrs’The letter, sent to all deputy directors of minority department and district minority welfare officers on Wednesday, also asked madrasas to pay tributes to martyrs and acquaint students with contribution of freedom fighters. The letter advised them to promote good quality programmes and also send their report to the board. U.P.’s lone Muslim Minister Mohsin Raza said, “Madrasas will have to send within a week a report of the programmes on whose basis the government will award madrasa students.” “We have to create awareness among people about patriotism. Madrasa students should have love for the country,” the Minister of State for Waqf and Haj said. The advisory, however, did not seem to have gone down well with the Teachers’ Association Madaris Arabia.‘We will object’ When asked about the move, its president Diwan Sahab Zaman said, “Such letters were not issued earlier by the board every year. If district minority welfare officers seek a report, they will be provided with it but if any proof of the Independence Day celebrations is sought, we will object to it.” After Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath assumed office in 2017, such advisories are issued every year to madrasas and this is the third year that such a letter has been issued. There is nothing new in it, Mr. Zaman said. He said since Independence, madrasas celebrated the day as it was a “matter of pride” for them. Besides flag hoisting and singing of the national anthem, the letter asked them to pay tributes to martyrs, highlight importance of Independence Day, presentation of national song by madrasa students, giving information about freedom struggle and its background and acquainting students with lives of freedom fighters. Tree plantation by students, cultural programmes on national integration and sport activities should also be held, it said.
Happy with his contribution and rapport with the top boxers, the Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) is keen to extend its association with Cuban coach Blas Iglesias Fernandez, whose contract expired after London Olympics.Fernandez, who has been working with Indian boxers for more than 20 years now, barring a few breaks in between, has prepared the likes of Vijender Kumar and Mary Kom for the Olympics.IBF wants to gain from the Cuban’s expertise again and is considering recommending his name to the Sports Authority of India (SAI).”The federation is most likely to recommend Fernandez’s name for the post of foreign coach. He has brought us good results in major competitions, including the Olympics, and the boxers are quite comfortable working under him,” an IBF official told MAIL TODAY on condition of anonymity.”We will request SAI to ask the Cuban Sports Authority for the re-appointment of Fernandez,” said the official.For the appointment of a foreign coach, the concerned national federation conveys its preference to the SAI, which in return writes to the sports authorities of the respective nations.If the sports authority of that country agrees to the terms and conditions spelt out by the SAI, it sends the foreign coach on a contract to India.The IBF official, however, said that the federation can also ask for coaches other than Fernandez.”At a time we give three or four options to the SAI. So, it will not only be Fernandez whose name will be given, there may be two or three other options,” he said.advertisementThe federation is yet to decide when it will recommend Fernandez’s name to the SAI, but most likely it will be after the IBF elections, scheduled for September 23.”Since elections are approaching, the new panel can recommend the options. But the outgoing panel has also full right to take a decision,” he said.Fernandez will leave for his native country by the end of this month. If he gets a new contract subsequently, he will likely work with the team till the end of the 2014 Asian Games.
A fire broke out on Wednesday at the soccer World Cup venue under construction in the southern Russian city of Volgograd, authorities said, attributing its cause to neglected safety regulations.Russia will host the opening match for FIFA’s Confederations Cup on Saturday in St. Petersburg, a tournament widely seen as a dress rehearsal for the 2018 World Cup finals.Volgograd, an industrial city 865 km (540 miles) south of Moscow, is not part of the Confederations Cup line up but will host four group-stage matches in the 2018 tournament.Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said the blaze, which was put out just before 7 a.m. (0400 GMT), had been caused by a “violation of fire safety regulations during welding”.No people were injured or killed in the fire, the ministry said in a statement.A spokeswoman for Stroytransgaz, the company building the stadium, told Reuters the fire was thought to have been caused by a welding spark that ignited thermal insulation materials before spreading to some plastic foam nearby.The company – which is controlled by businessman Gennady Timchenko, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin who was slapped with U.S. sanctions after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 – has yet to estimate the damage but expects it to be small, the spokeswoman said.Video footage of the blaze circulated by Russian media showed a plume of thick smoke rising from the carcass of the 45,000-seat stadium.”There was simply a lot of smoke, which made it look really bad, but no major damage,” a source in the local World Cup organising committee told Reuters. “Some smoke damage to one of the columns but that can be painted over.”advertisementRussia will host the World Cup finals next year in 12 venues spread across 11 cities, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi and Kazan.These four cities are hosting the Confederations Cup, a two-week tournament that will feature the host country, world champions Germany and the various regional champions.
The number of foreign students heading to U.S. colleges and universities fell again last year, the second straight decline after more than a decade of growth, a new report finds.Enrolment of new international students dropped by about 7 per cent in fall 2017, according to an annual report released Tuesday by the State Department and the Institute of International Education, a non-profit research group based in New York.The overall number of foreign students in the U.S. still increased slightly, by 1.5 per cent, fueled by growing numbers of students who stayed for temporary work after graduation. But the number of newly arriving students slid to about 271,000, the lowest levels since 2013.The report’s authors cited sharper competition from other countries including Australia and Canada, along with the rising cost of education in the U.S. They largely dismissed worries among some colleges that the White House’s policies and rhetoric surrounding immigration could be driving students away.“We’re not hearing that students feel they can’t come here. We’re hearing that they have choices,” Allan Goodman, president and CEO of the institute, said in a call with reporters. “For the first time, we have real competition.”But some schools contacted by The Associated Press say the political climate in the U.S. has made international students feel unwelcome, leading some to enrol elsewhere.State Department officials underscored that the U.S. hosted nearly 1.1 million international students last year, more than any other country in the world.Yet the 1.5 per cent growth is the slowest since a period from 2002 through 2005, when international enrolment fell by 4 per cent following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, according to data provided by the institute.Among new students, the steepest losses came from Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Mexico, while China and India continued to send the largest numbers, accounting for more than half of all foreign students in the U.S.The 15 per cent decrease from Saudi Arabia comes a year after the kingdom scaled back a scholarship program that covered costs for Saudis studying abroad.Although the report focuses on data from 2017, it also included preliminary findings for fall 2018. Among 540 schools surveyed, total international enrolment held level while the number of new students fell by about 2 per cent, marking the third straight year of declines.Compared to the previous year, more schools attributed decreases to challenges in the visa process, the U.S. social and political climate, and student decisions to enrol in other countries.At the University of Central Missouri, foreign enrolment surged to 2,600 in 2016 before plummeting to just 650 this year, according to data obtained by The AP. University officials have noticed increased competition but also cite the nation’s political climate.“We have had conversations with parents who feel like their children will not be safe here, that their son or daughter may not be physically safe,” said Karen Goos, the school’s assistant vice provost for enrolment management. “I do think that it’s a contributing factor.”At Purdue University, one of the nation’s biggest hubs for international students, total foreign enrolment fell by 2 per cent this year. Officials said they intentionally admitted fewer undergraduates from abroad amid worries that they might not accept the offer.“There was concern that students might not find the U.S. to be as an attractive destination given certain political rhetoric these past two years,” Michael Brzezinski, Purdue’s dean of international programs, said in an email.Losing foreign students can carry financial implications for schools that rely on them for revenue. Unlike U.S. citizens, who often get scholarships or discounts, students from abroad are typically charged full tuition.At Central Missouri, the declines have worsened a budget hole that led to more than $20 million in cuts last year.At the same time, some other nations have drawn surging numbers of students from abroad. Canada reported a 20 per cent jump in 2017, while Australia saw a 12 per cent increase. Both countries have set ambitious goals to bolster international enrollments in the coming years.Yet officials in Australia said they shouldn’t be blamed for America’s slowdown. Phil Honeywood, CEO of the International Education Association of Australia, said pinning it on competition is “pure blame shifting,” adding that Australia hasn’t significantly changed its recruiting strategy over the past two years.“Rather, everything we hear from prospective students and their education agents in Muslim countries and Latin American nations is that they no longer feel welcome or safe studying at U.S. colleges under President Trump,” Honeywood said in a statement.Despite the downturn in new students, officials behind the report are optimistic that the U.S. will rebound. While foreign students account for a heavy share of the overall enrolment in Australia and other countries, they account for just 5 per cent of all students in the United States.“The U.S. has real competition,” Goodman said. “What we have going for us, though, is we have more space and capacity.”The report also found that the number of U.S. students studying abroad ticked up by 2 per cent last year, continuing eight years of slow but steady growth. Europe remained the top destination, followed by Latin America and Asia.___Follow Collin Binkley on Twitter at https://twitter.com/cbinkleyCollin Binkley, The Associated Press
UPDATE – The RCMP have released information about this incident. Click here for the details.TAYLOR, B.C. – The RCMP are investigating at the Spruce Manor Apartment building in Taylor after an incident early Sunday morning.The RCMP have not yet released any information about the incident, but eyewitnesses confirm there is police tape covering the front entrance to the building and in one of the stairwells. The RCMP have said the incident is still unfolding and they should have more information to release on Monday. The apartment building is located at 9816 Spruce Street. Two RCMP vehicles were still at the vehicle just before noon on Sunday.If you have any information to share about what happened, email [email protected] As we get more information from the RCMP we will post updates to this story.
CHETWYND, B.C. – With the Province conducting a socio-economic study regarding the proposed economic impact of Section 11 and Partnership Agreements for caribou recovery and habitat protection, the District of Chetwynd is also gathering data to help project those numbers.In a post on the District’s Facebook page, they are asking residents and businesses to fill out and submit surveys in order to get a better understanding of how the caribou recovery could affect the community.Within the survey, it asks business owners and residents what their employment is and what possible impacts the recovery program would have on them. All surveys must be completed and submitted no later than Friday, May 17, 2019.Survey submissions can be sent via email, [email protected], or in-person at the District of Chetwynd or the Chamber of Commerce offices.The socio-economic study survey can be found on the District of Chetwynd’s website.
Islamabad: Pakistan expects to resume talks with India to finalise the agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor once the new government takes charge in New Delhi, according to a Pakistani media report. The Kartarpur Corridor links Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Narowal with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district in Punjab. The corridor, once operational, will provide a visa-free access to Sikhs from India to their holiest Shrine located inside Pakistan. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghPakistan expects the resumption of talks on the Kartarpur Corridor once the new government takes charge in India, official sources were quoted as saying by the Express Tribune on Sunday. The last phase of six-week long general elections in India is scheduled to take place on May 19 and final results would be announced on May 23. A senior Pakistani official said there was no delay on Pakistan’s part. “It is India that is not willing to engage at this juncture,” the official added while requesting anonymity. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadHowever, the official said Pakistan was confident that India would resume talks after the elections. The two countries, nevertheless, held technical level talks at Zero Point (Kartarpur) on April 16. The Indian team was supposed to pay a return visit to Pakistan in April but New Delhi pulled out of the meeting at the last minute citing concerns over the committee formed by Pakistan to facilitate the Sikh pilgrims. India as expressed concerns over the presence of several Khalistani separatists in the ten-member Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) appointed by Pakistan on the Kartarpur Corridor. Last November, India and Pakistan agreed to set up the border crossing linking Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district. Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. The Shrine is visible from the Indian side of the border and everyday a larger number of Sikh devotees gather to perform Darshan or sacred viewings of the site.
Washington – The expulsion by Algeria of Syrian refugees, including women and children, to Moroccan borders was condemned by US experts as immoral and shocking, all the more as this act comes at a time where the international community, and not only the Arab-Islamic nation, is concerned by the serious humanitarian situation in this country.“How can civilized nations turn their back to desperate Syrians seeking refuge” wonders Peter Pham, head of the Atlantic council’s African center, who called this a “regrettable gesture”.While stressing that he was not surprised by this act, the expert noted that the Algerian regime has been for a long time disregarding all international conventions related to refugees’ rights by allowing a guerilla group to sequester on its territory (Tindouf camps) populations for cynical considerations. Peter Pham also argues that by expelling Syrian refugees, the Algerian authorities are violating neighborliness principles and seriously jeopardizing the region peoples’ aspirations to economic integration.For Joe Grieboski, chairman of the administrative board of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy (IRPP), Washington, considers that this “immoral” expulsion of Syrian refugees experiencing an extremely vulnerable situation is a “typical” practice by Algerian authorities who are once again “shying away from their international obligations”.“It is no surprise”, says Grieboski, knowing that for three decades now Algerian authorities have not been concerned and did not show any sign of humanitarian feeling for sub-Sahran refugees on its borders not for the plague of populations sequestered in the Tindouf camps.This deportation is actually a form of support to Bashar Al-Assad’s regime and shows that the Algerian regime does not heed the tragedy experienced by the Syrians, he went on.By expelling the Syrian refugees, Algerian authorities fail to show any empathy for a humanitarian tragedy, he charged.
This gesture caused Tony Parker lots of backlash. Photo by forward.com.San Antonio Spurs star guard Tony Parker issued a long statement apologizing for making a perceived anti-Semitic gesture in old published photographs with French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala.On Sunday, the photos were published by media outlets in France.A similar photo has also been published of Spur teammate and Frenchman, Boris Diaw, with the comedian/activist.In the pictures, Parker and Diaw are seen doing what is known as the “quenelle,” which has become a symbol of anti-Semitism in that country. Parker said, in part, in his statement: “While this gesture has been part of French culture for many years, it was not until recently that I learned of the very negative concerns associated with it. When l was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful.”“Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions. Hopefully this incident will serve to educate others that we need to be more aware that things that may seem innocuous can actually have a history of hate and hurt.”The league office confirmed Monday night that it is reviewing the matter.The controversy involving Parker and Diaw comes after French soccer player Nicolas Anelka displayed the quenelle following a goal he scored Saturday for his English Premier League team, West Bromwich Albion, in a match against West Ham United. Anelka, who has a history of being involved in various controversies, later said the gesture was meant as a salute to his friend, the comedian known just as Dieudonne.The quenelle, which is performed by holding one arm straight by one’s side while touching that arm’s shoulder with the opposite hand, has been called a reverse Nazi salute. It has been popularized by Dieudonne, who is a well-known actor, comedian and political figure in France.Dieudonne has said the gesture is a symbol of defiance. In France, anti-Semitic symbols and speech are banned, and Dieudonne has been convicted of such speech in the past. In the wake of Anelka’s actions, France’s interior minister, Manuel Valls, has said he will seek to ban Dieudonne from performing in public over safety concerns.