A club game in Srinagar’s Hazratbal areaWho knows what they made of Danish Ahsan, as he walked to keep pace with the arrival of dawn? Surely they would have seen him, the men with guns on both sides of the Valley’s barbed wire. The teenager setting off at four every,A club game in Srinagar’s Hazratbal areaWho knows what they made of Danish Ahsan, as he walked to keep pace with the arrival of dawn? Surely they would have seen him, the men with guns on both sides of the Valley’s barbed wire. The teenager setting off at four every morning, the soft tattoo of his footsteps the only sound on the dark, cool road from Dialagam to Anantnag. The boy was neither runaway nor renegade but a dreamer, who would not let distance – or unreliable transport – gets in his way of arriving at his own promised land: a rundown sports ground in Anantnag. By 6:30 a.m. Ahsan’s long walk was complete but his journey just begun. With 200 others, he would change out of his dusty clothes into carefully preserved white shirt and trousers, and for a few hours become someone else. That most unexpected of natives, the Kashmiri cricketer.FEAR FACTOR: Sher-e-Kashmir stadium wears a deserted lookAt the ground, it is match day for boys across three age groups selected from a talent search camp and Ahsan is among them. It’s Friday, the khutba is ringing out from the mosque that overlooks the ground.The men in charge of the cricket exchange shrugs about missing the badi namaaz and keep going. Among them is district captain Ghulam Rasool, who once rushed into a mosque with fellow cricketers, all still in their whites. The puzzled congregation had looked at each other and whispered, “Yeh kaunsi jamaat ke hain?” (Which sect is this?). Rasool’s smile is saucer-size, “We said, ‘hum bat-waale hain’.”This acknowledgement of two varying faiths is both incongrous and organic, but cricket in Kashmir is itself incongrous, something so frivolous and normal in a place that has lost its frivolity, and its normalcy.advertisementCRICKET FEVER: The new ground in SeerThe game in the Valley lives in its own time zone. When the rest of the country’s season ends, Kashmir’s begins; as the others curse the heat, the Valley’s cricketers swarm onto the Polo ground, college playfields and disused golf-courses, each one proof that the game has survived.In 1996, when the Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) decided to open up their home ground, the Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium at Srinagar after a seven-year freeze, it took 20 workers four months to unearth the playing square under four feet high grass. The city’s club league was quietly re-initiated with 15-16 clubs.”When I think about it today, how foolish we were to risk initiating formal cricket again,” says Manzoor Ahmed Wazir, JKCA vice-chairman. Sixty clubs now contest the Srinagar league.PROFILE ABID NABIFirst Down, More To ComeHis name is now uttered across J&K with hope in its echo. Visitors are asked if he will ever play for India. His coach Mansoor Ahmed, knows what will happen, “If Abid goes through, many, many more will follow.” Only two seasons into the game and 40 first-class wickets, Nabi 20, is the first player from J & K to make it to the North Zone Deodhar Trophy team and the first to play a first-class game against a touring side. He was called up to give India’s finest a workout in the nets before the Test against England.Nabi grew up in Srinagar. Spotted in school by Ahmed, Nabi was given two instructions. Just bowl. And just bowl fast. The ACC took him on and everything else was kept simple.Nabi is one of a joint family whose livelihoods depend on learning trades, not sport. Three ACC coaches assured his father, a mason, that the club would look after all expenses and this game would help the young bowler find a job. And play for India.”I didn’t have to worry about a thing,” Abid says, “I was told just perform.” From the time he played juniors, Nabi was told, “You’re the only one from Kashmir who can make it.)”The lean, 6 ft 2 inch baby-face wears weighty expectation like a medal. He is proud to represent his state, his surroundings, even if the state’s Ranji team does not get a proper set of kit and plays matches in a series of assorted white shirts.If things go well, he could wear a shirt given to only the few. Bowling to the Indians in Mohali and then unwinding in the dressing room has left its trace. “You cannot understand what it meant to be there,” he says. “I had dreamt of just seeing players of the calibre of Tendulkar, Dravid. There I was, bowling at Laxman, sitting with them, talking to them-me, a boy from Kashmir, imagine that…”In Anantnag, everyone with anything to do in the district’s cricket is pitching in, led by Abdul Qayuum, the state’s most successful fast bowler (“as fast as Srinath”, they say). Matches are umpired by Mohammed Shafi, opening batsman of the Ranji team and Sajid Nisar, who played state under-17s and under-19s.advertisementThey coach while umpiring, checking footwork and follow through. Mushtaq Ahmed, an ex-intervarsity player lost his son in an accident and has come “because I think of all these boys as my son.”The sentiment and energy found in Kashmir’s scattered grounds is tangible but to the outsider, inexplicable. J&K has only a couple of turf wickets, there is little formal coaching outside Srinagar, no settled calendar. The state team has never made it past the Ranji Trophy first round bar once (in 2002, captained by Qayuum). Role models are thin on the ground and no player from the state has played for India.ON STRONG WICKET: A girl bats in a Gulmarg schoolTo Kashmir’s cricketers, these are home truths, like soldiers and sandbags. Each time they enter the stadium, they show their special ID cards and submit to a security check. The CRPF has occupied the stadium and clubhouse for the last 15 years. The old dressing rooms are now storehouses for ammunition.Still, the players change into whites. Still, bowlers swivel around and holler, “how’s that?” at umpires. Still, batsmen uncurl cover drives and hold their pose a tad longer than modesty demands. In Kashmir, cricket’s mythology is reinvented, its fussy rituals given a new layer of meaning. Besieged by insanity and inhumanity, the game represents order, rootedness, even sanity.Srinagar held its first Ranji Trophy match after a 16-year-gap last season. When former India bowlers T.A. Sekhar and Javagal Srinath came talent scouting for the MRF Pace Foundation, 400 turned up. Fast bowler Abid Nabi has just become the first Jammu & Kashmir player to be picked for the North Zone in the Deodhar Trophy.To a generation that grew up during insurgency, all of this represents a mighty stride. When Shafi was picked for the state junior team for the national under-17 event, militants had put out notices forbidding local boys from representing Kashmir outside the state. So he stayed at home. Nisar says his father sent him to learn cricket to keep him away from the twin scourges of the time-‘the smoking drinking crowd and militancy’. After an average Ranji season, pacer Fayaz Ahmed vanished. “Paar chala gaya” (went across the border), some say, a euphemism for taking up the gun.INNING ENDS: Close of play called over Pulwama’s saffron fieldsThere is a game on in the Mirza Nooruddin Memorial Knock Out run by the Amateur Cricket Club (ACC) and they have hoardings around the boundary. The club has been given a three-year shot at hosting matches on campus and a field on which to prepare new turf wickets. Its location, one long hit from the Dal Lake, delights the ACC’s Mansoor Ahmed, also Nabi’s coach. The breeze off the Dal, he says, helps the ball swing prodigiously. He would like teams from outside Kashmir to come to the Valley in the summer to show locals where they stand.Qayuum wants the state team to be invited to events like Buchi Babu and Moin-ud-Dowla to know how the game is really played. Even as the JKCA’s share of gym equipment sent out by the cash-rich BCCI to all association is lying unusued, there is talk of building a new stadium outside the Sher-e-Kashmir’s high security surroundings.advertisementTHE BAT MAKERSAn Industry Under SiegeSHARP BLADE: Bats being testedIn a 5 sq km area of a place called Hallamulla Sangam, India’s traditional bat-making industry is grappling with the flickering moods of the times. All through the town, advertising the virtues of the famous Kashmiri willow tree, bats and their colourful bat cases are hung out on display like so many pieces of exotic fruit. The Valley’s willow, an established rival to the more expensvie English willow used to make cricket bats, still travels far. To Jalandhar and Meerut, where the seasoned wood is given the finish needed and sent to the major metros where the big brands put their stickers on it.Kashmir’s 150 bat-making units annually earn between Rs 3 lakhs-Rs 101-12 lakhs depending on the size of their businesses. But today, the bat makers find that business is dipping. Not because of fluctuating tourist numbers, but the smuggling of willow wood outside the state in trucks ostensibly carrying apples. This trend started a decade ago, and has cut into the demand for willow treated and seasoned in the area.A proposal to widen the Srinagar to Anantnag highway is also threatening to push the showrooms and bat shops that now line the road.What does cricket in Kashmir mean? To the game? The national project? The state’s young players learnt to love the game from Doordarshan’s telecasts! Formal coaching to them is not dreary discipline but epiphany. They want to know how to adjust to turf wickets, how to read quality spin. “Dravid’s cover drive? I want to hit the ball like that,” says Raees Ahmed Nedaf, from Pahalgam. In the Anantnag camp, Ahsan was told about the use of the top hand and suddenly, miraculously, could control his strokes.Kashmir’s cricket will always be a little surreal and the only way to build on it is to embrace its imperfections. To accept that the new police ground in Seer near Pahalgam might also do double duty as a helipad. To understand that if the game must go on in this beautiful, blighted landscape, those inside it must think outside its boundaries and those outside must sense the Valley’s will.Danish Ahsan was picked for the Anantnag district under-19 team. Sometime in mid-September, the boy will bat on a real turf wicket for the first time in his life.
Usain Bolt won his third gold medal of the world championships, anchoring Jamaica’s 4×100-meter relay team to victory to match his haul at the Bird’s Nest in the 2008 Olympics.Bolt won the 100- and 200-meter finals, beating Justin Gatlin in both sprints, and added the relay victory on Saturday to successfully defend all three world titles he won in Moscow in 2013.Jamaica won in 37.36 seconds, with a United States team containing Gatlin taking silver in 37.77 and China getting an unexpected bronze in 38.01.The Jamaicans completed a sweep of the sprint relays with the women, anchored by 100-meter champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, also winning.
New Delhi, Jul 12 (PTI) India is “carefully studying” the verdict by an UN-backed tribunal which today ruled that China has no legal basis to claim “historic rights” to islands in South China Sea.”India has noted the Award of the Arbitral Tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the matter concerning the Republic of the Philippines and the Peoples Republic of China and is studying it carefully,” External Affairs Ministry said in a statement here.The Permanent Court of Arbitration said in a statement that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights within the sea areas falling within the nine-dash line.Ruling out against China in a bitter row over territorial claims in South China Sea, the Permanent Court of Arbitration “concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights within the sea areas falling within the nine-dash line.”Asserting that it “does not accept and does not recognise” the ruling, China rejected the verdict as “null and void”.China asserts sovereignty over almost all of the strategically vital waters in the face of rival claims from its Southeast Asian neighbours.Manila had lodged the suit against Beijing in 2013, saying that after 17 years of negotiations it had exhausted all political and diplomatic avenues. PTI PYK VMN
UPDATED: 2:12 PM, 2/6/15We learned this morning that Anthem, the parent company of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, was the target of what they are calling a “sophisticated cyberattack.”We’ll update these FAQs below as more information becomes available:What is Freelancers Union doing?We are closely monitoring the situation and we’re in direct and regular contact with Anthem. At this time, it is not clear if any of our members have been affected.What happened in the attack?According to Anthem, the attackers may have gained unauthorized access to names, birthdays, medical IDs/social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data. Anthem has no evidence that credit card or medical information have been compromised. If you were affected, Anthem will provide you with free credit monitoring and identity protection services. Anthem said it’s going to take about 10 to 14 days to figure out who was affected by a data breach and begin notifying you.Was my information accessed?Anthem is still working to determine the full extent of the attack. They believe it included all members of Anthem, of which Empire BlueCross BlueShield is a subsidiary. We will keep you updated as soon as we learn whether or not your data was accessed.Affected members may include those currently enrolled in Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance through Freelancers Union or those who previously had Freelancers Insurance Company coverage. We will let you know as soon as we have more details on the impact (if any) on our members.What was compromised?Anthem’s initial investigation indicates that the attack included names, dates of birth, member IDs, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and employment information.Where can I find answers?This post will be constantly updated with new information as we learn it.For additional information about the attack, you can also:Go to www.anthemfacts.com for more information about the breachRead Anthem’s FAQsOr call the Anthem hotline at 1-877-263-7995UPDATE:** **(from Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield press release) “New York residents who may have been impacted by the cyber attack against Anthem, should be aware of scam email campaigns targeting current and former Empire BlueCross BlueShield and Empire BlueCross members. These scams, designed to capture personal information (known as “phishing”) are designed to appear as if they are from Anthem, (Empire’s parent company), and the emails include a “click here” link for credit monitoring. These emails are NOT from Anthem or Empire.DO NOT click on any links in email.DO NOT reply to the email or reach out to the senders in any way.DO NOT supply any information on the website that may openDO NOT open any attachments that arrive with email.Empire also is NOT calling members regarding the cyber attack and is not asking for credit card information or social security numbers over the phone.This outreach is from scam artists who are trying to trick consumers into sharing personal data. There is no indication that the scam email campaigns are being conducted by those that committed the cyber attack, or that the information accessed in the attack is being used by the Empire will contact current and former members via mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service about the cyber attack with specific information on how to enroll in credit monitoring.For more guidance on recognizing scam email, please visit the FTC Website: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing. Additional information about the cyber attack against Anthem is available at www.AnthemFacts.com.
Oklahoma State football starts its season in less than one week. It’s definitely time to start freaking out. And to help you do so, here’s another hype video.I’ve said this before, but I can’t get enough of these. You could give me a Glenn Spencer cam and throw some good tunes on it, and I would watch the thing for 90 minutes.That said, this one is great. Maybe not the best. But still really good.Six days. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Manchester United Mourinho praises ‘extremely professional’ showing from Manchester United Matthew Sherry Last updated 2 years ago 05:53 21/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(2) Getty Images Manchester United José Mourinho Anthony Martial Marcus Rashford Manchester United v Burton Albion Burton Albion League Cup The hard-nosed efficiency demonstrated by his side in beating Burton Albion was gratifying for the Portuguese manager Man Jose Mourinho lauded Manchester United’s professionalism after they began their EFL Cup defence with a comfortable 4-1 win over Burton Albion.Hosting a Championship side showing nine changes from their weekend fixture hardly represented the strongest challenge for Mourinho’s men.Utd 4/7 first Manc club to lose in PL Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing And a strong XI featuring Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford duly illustrated the vast gulf in class. Rashford’s two goals were added to by Jesse Lingard and Martial, with Burton grabbing a last-ditch consolation through Lloyd Dyer.”Sometimes players in these cup matches are not professional,” Mourinho told Sky Sports after the game. “But that was an extremely professional performance.”We gave no chance to the opponent. I think Burton fought for a result that allowed them some dignity and Nigel made it clear their game at the weekend was more important.”I learnt nothing new. They all want to play and are ready to play. I enjoy that commitment.”There were some great performances and the team collectively enjoyed the game. We look happy playing football at this moment.””Of course I’m claiming it – I don’t mind how they go in, as long as I get a goal!”@JesseLingard chats to #MUTV… pic.twitter.com/IJjTdMTTqE— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 20, 2017While Rashford and Martial will take the headlines, Lingard was equally effective with a typically energetic display.And the forward admits he and his team-mates are desperate to retain their crown.”There is always a hunger for many trophies,” he said. “If we keep performing we’ll win many more.”Man United will travel to Swansea in the fourth round of the competition.
Facebook features Pinterest Right wing: Harry Wilson (Hull City) The 21-year-old made a big splash in 14 matches on loan from Liverpool, scoring seven goals. Robert Snodgrass and Junior Hoilett did damage but Wilson singlehandedly lit up a miserable Hull campaign.Attacking midfield: James Maddison (Norwich City) An export from Coventry’s revered academy, he has shimmered in his first full Championship season. Showcased delicate footwork, intricate passing and a knack for the spectacular. Left wing: Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham) His hurtling shuttles have drawn comparisons to Gareth Bale and Marcelo but Sessegnon’s nose for the net (16 goals) is his USP. Capped the season with a cute assist at Wembley.Striker: Bobby Reid (Bristol City) The academy graduate relished the responsibility of leading the line after being pushed further forward by Lee Johnson. A relentless runner, the 25-year-old’s transformation has been seamless. Share on Twitter League One team of the season Kevin McDonald was a deserving play-off final winner with Fulham. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images Bradley Dack is adored by Blackburn’s fans after driving them to promotion from League One. Photograph: Anna Gowthorpe/BPI/REX/Shutterstock Subs: David Raya, Dan Burn, Ben Godfrey, Will Vaulks, Erhun Oztumer, Danny GrahamManager: Paul Hurst (Shrewsbury) Guided a team tipped for relegation to the brink of the Championship. Deservedly given a chance to manage higher after signing a three-year deal at Ipswich.League TwoGoalkeeper: Marek Stech (Luton Town) Kept 15 clean sheets after leaving Sparta Prague to sign for his former Yeovil Town team-mate Nathan Jones. A gentle giant but also one of Luton’s leaders.Right-back: Jack Stacey (Luton) Another impressive season after starring on loan at Exeter in 2016-17. The 22-year-old former Reading trainee caught the eye with marauding, overlapping runs.Centre-back: Mark Hughes (Accrington Stanley) One half of a watertight partnership alongside Jimmy Dunne, the captain played every minute of their title-winning campaign to help the team to the joint-best defensive record.Centre-back: Adam El-Abd (Wycombe Wanderers) The 33-year-old is settled after a difficult couple of years since leaving boyhood club Brighton. By his own admission, one of a “number of captains” in Gareth Ainsworth’s squad.Left-back: Tom James (Yeovil Town) The reliable Welshman made 51 appearances in his breakthrough season. Former Cardiff trainee, 22, could be the latest to depart for a bigger fish. Twitter Subs John Ruddy, Darnell Fisher, Ryan Woods, Tom Cairney, Junior Hoilett, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Lewis GrabbanManager: Neil Warnock (Cardiff City) The marmite Yorkshireman produced his best trick yet in steering Cardiff to the Premier League. A magician when it comes to building team spirit and revitalising also-rans. League OneGoalkeeper: Dean Henderson (Shrewsbury Town) The rapport between the Manchester United loanee and Salop supporters speaks volumes. England Under-21 international made stunning saves look simple – another at Wembley last Sunday. Right-back: Josh Emmanuel (Rotherham United) Another loanee who has relished regular game time, the 20-year-old showed pace and power in abundance. Will fancy his chances of breaking in at Ipswich next season.Centre-back: Toto Nsiala (Shrewsbury) Has had a bumpy ride to becoming a mainstay – he was released by Everton before a stint in Vietnam – but proved a calming presence alongside Omar Beckles.Centre-back: Chey Dunkley (Wigan Athletic) A pillar of the division’s meanest defence – they shut out Manchester City – he has stood out since arriving on a free from Oxford United.Left-back: Charlie Mulgrew (Blackburn Rovers) The versatile captain has shone in the heart of Tony Mowbray’s backline. Scored 14 goals – six penalties – with his left foot, more than any other defender in the country.Centre-midfield: Graham Carey (Plymouth Argyle) Plymouth’s pearl for the past couple of years, the Irishman has enjoyed another stellar season, helping the club to the verge of the play-offs.Centre-midfield: Bradley Dack (Blackburn) Scooped no fewer than 10 awards in his first season since a £750,000 switch from Gillingham. At last has a chance to prove himself in Championship. Twitter Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest Centre-midfield: Nick Powell (Wigan Athletic) Has displayed much of the promise that led Sir Alex Ferguson to talk him up as Paul Scholes’s successor at Old Trafford. An elegant operator, fancied by Brighton.Striker: Brett Pitman (Portsmouth) A serial goalscorer and shrewd summer signing by Kenny Jackett. Hit 23 league goals despite niggling injuries. Striker: Jack Marriott (Peterborough United) Few players’ stock is higher than the 33-goal striker. A revelation since joining from Luton last June, and Posh are resigned to losing their prized asset, a player farmed out to Woking in 2015. Striker: Will Grigg (Wigan Athletic) Followed up making his mark via Northern Ireland supporters’ song with only five league goals in 2016-17. But after conjuring up a good relationship with Powell, has been reborn under manager Paul Cook. Facebook ChampionshipGoalkeeper: Sam Johnstone (Aston Villa) This was his 10th loan from Manchester United but game time allowed the 25-year-old to shine, including preposterous saves against Cardiff and Wolves. Only John Ruddy kept more clean sheets than his 22. Right-back: Ryan Fredericks (Fulham) His athleticism was key in transforming defence into attack. Brimming with energy, he has been a three-in-one figurine, adventurous and efficient in both boxes; a modern touchline-hugging full-back. Centre-back: Conor Coady (Wolves) After being used at right-back and defensive midfield, Coady has flourished at sweeper in a back three. Monstrous in defence and capable in attack.Centre-back: Sean Morrison (Cardiff City) Neil Warnock has waxed lyrical about Sol Bamba but alongside the Ivorian his captain has been the bedrock of success. Six goals since February helped them clinch promotion too.Left-back: Barry Douglas (Wolves) It is impossible to look beyond the flying Scotsman who, amid the lavish spending, has excelled since a €750,000 move from Konyaspor. Deadly from dead balls, the assist-king proved a bargain. Centre-midfield: Rúben Neves (Wolves) The 21-year-old has oozed class, picking passes for fun and racking up a stunning catalogue of strikes, notably that 35-yard volley against Derby. Centre-midfield: Kevin McDonald (Fulham) The anchorman in Slavisa Jokanovic’s three-man midfield and Fulham would not be the same without him. The streetwise Scot allowed Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen to thrive. Twitter Twitter Championship team of the season Share via Email Centre-midfield: Jorge Grant (Notts County) Joined Nottingham Forest in 2013 via Reading and the Nike Academy. His most recent move, across the Trent, has been his most prosperous, though, with Grant regularly grasping centre stage.Centre-midfield: Tom Bayliss (Coventry City) Coventry’s next big thing, the teenager, who joined aged 12, looks set to follow a well-trodden path. Dancing feet, daring and direct, he made his full debut in December.Centre-midfield: Sean McConville (Accrington) Part of the team that missed automatic promotion by one goal in 2016 and a key cog in getting over the line this time. John Coleman demanded more end product and he delivered.Striker: Billy Kee (Accrington) Kee finished as the division’s top scorer after an extraordinary year. Has spoken powerfully about his struggles off the pitch but excelled on it.Striker: Mohamed Eisa (Cheltenham Town) A year on from giving Ryman South defenders the runaround, Eisa is one of the Football League’s most prolific strikers. The Sudan-born striker got 25 goals in his first season as a professional.Striker: Marc McNulty (Coventry) Persuaded by Michael Doyle, Coventry’s captain, to join, McNulty scored 28 goals after a stuttering start. Unselfish and savvy. Twitter Jorge Grant, right, impressed for Notts County after joining from Nottingham Forest. Photograph: Jon Hobley/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock Football League Subs: Aaron Chapman, Dan Potts, Luke O’Nien, Sammie Szmodics, Jayden Stockley, Christian DoidgeManager: John Coleman (Accrington) There is an argument that the ebullient scouser’s achievements put Pep Guardiola’s success in the shade. Promotion was a magnificent reward for his hard-working side. Pinterest Facebook Topics Football League blog Pinterest Facebook Share on Messenger Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Pinterest League Two team of the season Photograph: Guardian Facebook Reuse this content
Zlatan Ibrahimovic always has plenty to say. The LA Galaxy forward has certainly made his mark on the United States, both as a player in MLS and as a personality off the pitch. With 13 goals and three assists across 16 matches played this season, the lucrative new designated player contract the big Swede signed in the offseason is paying off for the club. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? The Galaxy sit third in the Western Conference, though the gap to the team on top of the standings, cross-town rival LAFC, is a massive 12 points through 20 games. Those two sides will meet on Friday in a derby match that has the look of a must-win for the Galaxy if they want to climb back into the race for top seeding in the playoff picture. While that game will be the focus on the pitch for the league this weekend, Ibrahimovic made sure his words would catch plenty of headlines ahead of El Trafico. In an interview with ESPN, the 37-year-old made clear once again the gap he feels there is between himself and all those around him in MLS. “MLS is not the level of Europe, to be honest,” he said. “Before, I played with players either on my level or close to it. Which makes the game connect easier.”Here, I am like a Ferrari among Fiats. And it can happen that the Ferrari can become the Fiat, or the Fiat can become the Ferrari.”I had the same issue with the national [Swedish] team, though not as much. I said, ‘I don’t accept it. I don’t accept when the ball doesn’t arrive, or arrives too late. I want them to come up to my level.’ All of this makes me slow down a bit. The game here [in America] could be so much faster, so much more tactical, so much more rhythmic.”Ibrahimovic is clearly among the top players in the league, but Friday’s showdown will see him face off against another player who has taken the league by storm over the last two years in LAFC’s Carlos Vela. Vela is on pace for a record-setting year. He leads the league with 19 goals and is tied for the lead in assists with 12. His club is also top of the table, thanks in large part to the Mexican star. Vela is the front-runner for the MLS MVP award this season, and Ibrahimovic is one of the few in a position to run him down in the scoring race. But the Galaxy star isn’t worried about the Golden Boot chase, as long as he’s helping his side find results. “If the team goes good, you do good as individuals, but I’m not focusing on [the Golden Boot chase],” he said to the league website. “As long as I can help my team in the best way, I will try to score the goals to help the team.“That’s part of my responsibilities, part of my job. I’m trying, but a race against him? That is not important.”
demolition and hazardous materials remediation structural modifications interior partitions doors frames and hardware ceilings, flooring, wall finishes millwork mechanical and electrical rough-in and fit-out fire protection building automation systems The expansion and renovations will result in space for 48 beds on the fifth floor plus eight new operating rooms to replace four existing operating rooms. Outpatient care areas and diagnostic imaging areas will also be expanded. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 31. Details of the request for proposals are available at novascotia.ca/tenders/tenders/ns-tenders.aspx. Along with the expansion and renovations at the Dartmouth General Hospital, the QEII redevelopment project includes improvements to the QEII Health Sciences Centre’s Halifax Infirmary site and Hants Community Hospital that will support the eventual closure of the Centennial and Victoria buildings on the Victoria General campus. For updates on the QEII redevelopment project, go to: http://QE2redevelopment.ca. The Dartmouth General Hospital’s expansion and renovation, part of the QEII redevelopment project, continues to move forward. The third tender for construction services at the hospital was issued today, Dec. 20. This is for interior work for the new addition and renovations within the existing hospital. The work includes:
Following a long campaign supported by Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson, the abused elephant named Sunder has finally been taken to a rescue center.Sunder En Route To Rescue CenterCredit/Copyright: PETA UKPhotos by the animal rights organisation PETA India show the much-loved yet much-abused young elephant Sunder as he is moved to a 49.5 hectare forested elephant care centre in Bangalore. Sunder was placed onto a truck by a team of experts who had travelled to Kolhapur to work with the Maharashtra Forest Department, and he is now on his way to the sanctuary, as per an order of India’s Supreme Court. At the centre, he will have the company of 13 other elephants.The expert team endured numerous setbacks, including having their truck tires likely deliberately punctured by people who wished to keep Sunder on the property of Indian politician Vinay Kore, where he had been abused for months. They also had to contend with the fact that Sunder was deliberately let loose by his abusive mahout (handler) to make him more difficult to handle. Earlier in the week, the Maharashtra Forest Department failed to clear the area of people who were shouting at Sunder and blowing whistles to confuse him, and had failed to control the mahout (previously caught on film beating Sunder) who was giving Sunder the wrong commands to prevent him from stepping onto the truck and pulling hard on his ears to upset him. Those wishing to obstruct Sunder’s move continued to follow the truck menacingly on their motorcycles. But Sunder has now made it across the state border into Karnataka.The Jyotiba temple received Sunder as a gift in 2007, but after many instances of cruelty, including the use of spiked chains and beatings, came to light, the Indian Ministry of Environment & Forests issued an order on 9 November 2012 for Sunder’s rescue. In order to avoid the order, Kore arranged to hide Sunder in an old poultry shed, where he continued to be beaten and was so heavily chained that he sustained a serious leg injury.“Despite every obstacle thrown in his rescuers’ path, this abused young elephant is now on his way to safety,” says PETA UK Associate Director Mimi Bekhechi. “Sunder has known only cruelty, misery and neglect. We’re absolutely thrilled that Sunder will soon be able to roam, bathe in ponds and be in the company of other elephants.”Campaigns by PETA UK, PETA India and other international PETA affiliates to release Sunder have garnered the support of celebrities such as Pamela Anderson and Paul McCartney, the latter of whom broke off rehearsals for his Olympic ceremony show in 2012 to write to India’s Forest Minister about Sunder’s plight.
(Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Chief Robert Bertrand photographed with his organization’s Eagle Staff. CAP/handout)Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsThe former national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) was detained by Ottawa police after he tried to seize the organization’s Eagle Staff during a meeting in Ottawa on Saturday.Kevin Daniels, who was national chief of CAP in 2009, said he wanted to take the Eagle Staff back and “burn it” because it had been “tainted” by the current leadership of the organization.Daniels made the move to take the Eagle Staff on Saturday during CAP’s morning annual general assembly session at the Marriott Hotel’s ballroom after he took the microphone to challenge CAP’s current National Chief Robert Bertrand over his claims to Indigenous ancestry and dealings with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO).“I began my questioning of national leader Robert Bertrand and I asked him a simple question of how much money the (NWMO) was giving this organization,” said Daniels, who originally brought the Eagle Staff to CAP. “I called for his genealogy, I called for his resignation…. I walked up and said, ‘I’m retrieving it, it’s tainted. I grabbed the Eagle Staff and was walking out and was cornered by about 50 people.”Daniels managed to grab the staff and ended up in a backroom of the ballroom where he remained until Ottawa Police arrived. After Ottawa Police ran his name they discovered he had an outstanding warrant with police in Gatineau, Que., said Daniels.Ottawa Police Const. Chuck Benoit confirmed Daniels was detained and handed over to Gatineau police on Saturday. He said the police reports from the incident included mention of an Eagle Staff.“He was apprehended for that warrant and the rest of the information can only be given by Gatineau Police,” said Benoit.Gatineau Police confirmed the arrest, but did not provide information on the warrant.Daniels said the warrant was for an assault charge stemming from an incident near Indigenous Affairs’ Gatineau head-quarters when a woman accused him of knocking off her glasses. He said Gatineau police held him overnight and released him on Sunday on a promise to appear at his next court date in January 2018.Former CAP national chiefs Sen. Patrick Brazeau (left) and Kevin Daniels walk together in 2009. Photo courtesy of Mark Taylor.Daniels said his battle with CAP is far from over.“There has been a lot of lateral violence, a lot of greed and corruption within this organization that has been going on for a long, long time,” he said.APTN contacted Brad Darch, executive assistant to Bertrand, seeking comment. Darch said Bertrand, a former Liberal MP, was in meetings and wouldn’t be available for an interview until Tuesday.APTN followed up requesting a statement on the Eagle Staff incident and the organization’s dealings with NWMO, but received no response.CAP says it represents off-reserve and non-status Indigenous peoples.According to financial documents released by CAP during their annual general meeting, NWMO gave CAP $119,000 for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.NWMO also sponsored the meeting, according to a spokesperson for the nuclear waste organization.NWMO is currently trying to find a location to store used nuclear fuel and has whittled down potential sites to seven from an original list of 22.“As part of our ongoing work to identify a single preferred location with informed and willing hosts, we frequently interact with Aboriginal people, communities, treaty and political organizations, such as the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples,” said NWMO spokesperson Bradly Hammond. “As we have done in previous years, we had the honour of being among the sponsors of the annual general assembly in Ottawa. This was an excellent opportunity to provide an update about our project, the site selection process and our ongoing engagement with Indigenous people.”CAP also received about $4.5 million from several federal departments in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, including from Indigenous Affairs, Human Resources and Skills Development and Status of Women Canada.Roger Fleury, a former Green Party federal candidate and chief of the off-reserve Algonquins of Fort-Coulonge, Que., was in attendance at the meeting when Daniels attempted to seize the Eagle Staff.He said he is concerned with how Bertrand is running CAP and his dealings with NWMO.“We have a major problem,” he said. “I agree with Kevin Daniels, who had the nerve to go up there and grab the staff. There is something wrong with this.”Audrey Redman, a residential school survivor, stepped outside the ballroom when the Eagle Staff incident unfolded.Redman said she was upset with how events were handled and believes Bertrand needs to be clear about his Indigenous ancestry.“That is the big question. When he asked about genealogy, they just booed, there was a big row over that,” she said. “What was the problem with that? Don’t we, as Native people, have a right to know? Everybody else has a right to that. We want to know who is a First Nations person. We only know by your bloodline and where you come from.”Bertrand’s biography on the CAP website is silent about his Indigenous ancestry.Sen. Patrick Brazeau, who was national chief of CAP from 2006 until he left for his Senate appointment in 2009, attended the organization’s meetings last Friday. Brazeau said he heard many delegates questioning Bertrand’s Indigenous roots.“I did have a lot of delegates approach me and asking me if I knew Bertrand personally and about his ancestry,” said Brazeau. “Delegates were requesting his ancestry and it poses some problems. I have no opinion on it. I am no longer part of the organization.”Brazeau said he was “sad” to see the current state of CAP.“I worked hard and I dedicated a lot of time to raise the profile of the organization and now it seems to be a ghost organization,” said Brazeau. “You don’t hear about it very often and I find it unfortunate for the constituency of CAP. Things could be fixed, but we’ll wait and see.”firstname.lastname@example.org@JorgeBarrera
WASHINGTON – Sweeping tax legislation from Senate Republicans includes a one-year delay in plans for a major corporate tax cut despite strident opposition from the White House and others in their own party. Their bill would leave the prized mortgage interest deduction untouched for homeowners in a concession to the powerful real estate lobby but would ignore a House compromise on the hot-button issue of state and local tax deductions.On the other side of the Capitol on Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved its own version of the legislation on a party-line 24-16 vote, amid intense political pressure on the GOP to push forward on the first major rewrite of the U.S. tax code in three decades. It’s President Donald Trump’s top priority and a goal many Republicans believe has grown even more urgent in the wake of election losses on Tuesday that displayed an energized Democratic electorate.Yet as the Senate Finance Committee unveiled its bill, a few stark differences emerged with the version approved by the House tax-writing committee, underscoring the challenges ahead in getting both chambers to agree on the complex and far-reaching legislation that would affect nearly every American.The Senate measure fails to repeal the estate tax, though it doubles the size of estates exempted from the tax. It makes couples earning up to $1 million eligible for a $1,650 per-child tax credit. It creates a new 38.5 per cent tax bracket for couples earning more than $1 million and individuals making more than $500,000 per year. And it takes a different approach to cutting taxes for businesses not organized as corporations that is less generous but applies to more businesses.Democrats are strongly opposed to the GOP rewrite, so the Republicans must find agreement among themselves to have any hope of passage.The Senate bill would fully repeal the state and local deduction claimed by many taxpayers, an idea that has drawn vigorous opposition from House Republicans in New York and New Jersey and resulted in a compromise in the House version of the bill that would allow property taxes to be deducted up to $10,000.House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told The Associated Press that the Senate’s total-repeal approach would face tough sledding in his chamber. As for the hard-fought compromise, he said, “I think it’d be difficult not to have it in the final bill.”On the other hand, the House bill would lower the cap on the mortgage interest deduction, an idea that caused intense blowback from the real estate lobby, but the Senate tax measure would leave it unchanged. That means homebuyers would continue to be able to deduct interest payments on loans of up to $1 million as permitted under current law; the House bill would reduce the limit to $500,000 for new home purchases.The feverish efforts by Republicans in both chambers are aimed at fulfilling a self-imposed deadline to get legislation out of the House and Senate before Thanksgiving so the period between then and Christmas can be devoted to reconciling the two versions. But the Senate already seems unlikely to meet that deadline because of complex rules governing how it must consider the tax bill.In one provision sure to cause a major dispute, the Senate measure includes a one-year delay in lowering the corporate tax rate, which is to be cut from 35 per cent to 20 per cent. Delaying that reduction would lower the cost of the bill to the Treasury, but the delay is opposed by the White House and some Senate Republicans.“The president would like this to go into effect right away,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday on Fox Business Network.Other obstacles remain, among them a band of deficit hawks in the Senate who are unhappy about the $1.5 trillion the legislation would add to the national debt over the coming decade.“I remain concerned over how the current tax reform proposals will grow the already staggering national debt by opting for short-term fixes while ignoring long-term problems,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ala. “We must achieve real tax reform crafted in a fiscally responsible manner.”The House and Senate bills are broadly similar in their outlines. Both would drastically reduce the corporate tax rate and also lower rates for individuals, while eliminating deductions claimed by many people.The House version would collapse the current seven tax brackets into four, while the Senate would retain seven. The House bill would entirely eliminate the estate tax, while the Senate version would retain it while doubling the exemption level. Both versions would retain an adoption tax credit that had initially been eliminated in the House bill, but that adoption advocates fought to restore.Both would increase a child tax credit, though not to levels sought by Sens. Marco Rubio and others, an indication of how individual provisions will need to be negotiated with one lawmaker after another in the weeks to come. House Republicans appear on track to pass their version of the bill next week, but in the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a slim 52-48 majority that has proven difficult to corral.Democrats are angrily opposed to the GOP rewrite, arguing it’s a giveaway to the rich and corporate America. Republicans contend that the tax reductions will help the middle class, even though some independent analyses have found that the wealthy and corporations benefit disproportionately.The tax bill must deepen federal deficits by no more than $1.5 trillion over the coming decade. If Republicans don’t meet that, the measure would be vulnerable to a bill-killing Senate filibuster by Democrats that GOP senators lack the votes to block. It also cannot add to red ink beyond the first 10 years without facing the same fate.___Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Erica Werner contributed to this report.
FREDERICTON – The New Brunswick government is hoping legalized cannabis will help ignite the province’s economy — but a possible change in government after a deadlocked election has created uncertainties about how the retail regime might eventually look.The Liberals under Premier Brian Gallant have seen cannabis as green gold — a chance to create production and retail jobs and rake in profits through the new Crown agency, Cannabis NB.They announced that marijuana is to be a pillar of the province’s economic strategy, developed a community college program for cannabis technicians, and gave financial assistance to a number of cannabis producers to locate in New Brunswick.New Brunswick now has three licensed producers: OrganiGram Inc., Tidal Health Solutions Ltd., and Zenabis Ltd.But the Liberals failed to win a majority in last month’s election and are at risk of being toppled by the Progressive Conservatives when the legislature begins sitting next week.Tory member Ross Wetmore says his party was in favour of privately run cannabis dispensaries instead of a Crown corporation, but will review the contracts if they form government.“We’ve already asked to look at the contracts. We’d review the contracts and see what the cost would be to change the model over,” Wetmore said Monday.“We supported the private model, working with dispensaries. It would have been much cheaper,” he said.Brian Harriman, the president of Cannabis NB, said the model can be changed, but it would take some time.“We are essentially operating under a service agreement with the province of New Brunswick. At the end of the day, if the province were to choose other retailers or to switch to a mixed or private market, it’s an option but not something we could turn on overnight,” he said.Harriman said 6,000 people had applied for 330 Cannabis NB jobs.The provincial Opportunities NB agency, meantime, said Monday it had expected 600 cannabis-related jobs in the province by the end of 2018 — but were pleasantly surprised.“Job growth in this sector has exceed expectations and close to 1,000 cannabis-related jobs have already been created in New Brunswick,” a spokesperson said in a statement Monday.The agency said New Brunswick could have 3,000 cannabis-related jobs by 2022.Ottawa’s decision to delay the start of sales came at a cost to provincial coffers, though. The New Brunswick government originally forecast retail revenues in the first year of $73 million, but with the start delayed from July to October, the forecast is now $45 million.Harriman said with overhead and start-up costs, he hopes the 20 stores will at least break even in their first fiscal year.Those 20 stores — offering weed at prices ranging from $8 to $16 a gram — are a bigger investment than many of the other provinces have made.In neighbouring Nova Scotia, cannabis will be sold in 12 government-operated stores alongside alcohol. Prince Edward Island will have four government-run retail locations as well, while Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to have more than 20 licensed private retailers on day one.Ontario won’t have any locations on Oct. 17, but the recently elected Progressive Conservative government plans to have cannabis in private retail stores by April 1, 2019. British Columbia will only have one location, in Kamloops, at the outset.Quebec is expected to open 12 stores run by the Societe quebecoise du cannabis while the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission has issued 17 interim licences to private retailers.In Saskatchewan, 51 retail licenses have been issued. In Manitoba, four organizations have been approved to operate shops, allowing them to apply for multiple locations.In the north, there will be just six brick-and-mortar locations: none in Nunavut, one in the Yukon, and five outlets in the Northwest Territories where cannabis will be sold alongside alcohol.While New Brunswick has its retail model in place, there’s still work to do on the enforcement side.John Jurcina, assistant deputy minister of Justice and Public Safety, said as of Monday, police forces in the province had 32 drug recognition experts in place, but the target is to have at least 62 by 2022.Another target is to have at least 50 per cent of frontline police officers trained in field sobriety tests.Jurcina said while 49 per cent of municipal police officers have been trained, only 19 per cent of frontline RCMP officers have had the training. He said the RCMP will be prioritized in training this fall.
“Pressures on land are increasing as a result of speculation on farmland, the expansion of agrofuels production, and demographic growth in rural areas,” Special Rapporteur on the right to food Olivier De Schutter noted. “In this context, moving swiftly towards protecting the rights of land users is vital. The livelihoods of peasants, fishers, pastoralists, and indigenous peoples in particular are threatened on a large scale as a result of the global enclosures movement that we are witnessing.”Last week, the Committee on World Food Security met in Rome, its first session since it was reformed in light of the 2008 food crisisThe UN-led meeting brought together 123 governmental delegates, 46 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and 11 international agencies to identify ways to combat global hunger and malnutrition. The Committee agreed that volatility was a serious problem that required policy responses, with a high-level panel of experts studying the causes and consequences of price volatility, ways to lessen vulnerability through social and productive safety nets, and the effects of climate change on food security and nutrition.“This is key for the future,” Mr. De Schutter said. “Climate change and changing weather patterns shall mean more instability in the future. Speculation by commodity index funds on the derivatives markets of agricultural commodities shall worsen the problem. We need both to make agriculture more resilient to these shocks, and to address speculation itself, which destabilizes the markets.”An unpaid expert, Mr. De Schutter reports to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. 18 October 2010Protecting the rights of land users from speculation, stepped up production of agrofuels and population growth is vital to combat global hunger and malnutrition, an independent United Nations expert said today.
The cabinet has approved a proposal to impose a spot fine on drivers who violate seat belt rules, cabinet spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said today.Addressing the weekly cabinet press briefing the Minister said that the Motor Traffic Act will be amended to accommodate the change. Following its implementation a spot fine of Rs. 1000 will be charged from drivers violating the seat belt rules and Rs. 100 from front seat passengers.At present drivers must appear in court to pay a fine for violating the rule which came into effect last year.
Photo by NBAE.comDoc Rivers calls himself an emotional guy. So, it was no wonder that he said he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love — including a standing ovation — the Boston Celtics fans showed their old coach in his return with the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday night.“It was just a really nice day,” said Rivers, fighting back tears after his team defeated the Celtics, 96-88 at the TD Garden. “This is, it’s just such a classy place here. . . . They cheer for their teams and they love their athletes. The best decision I ever made was 10 years ago, when I decided to come.”Fans roared and applauded Rivers, who led the Celtics to the 2008 NBA championship, when he walked onto the court and they gave him a rousing standing ovation during pregame introductions. The former NBA point guard was visibly moved.“It was really nice,” he said. “When I walked out. … All those guys, people lined up. … I was basically useless for the first 18 minutes of the game. … It didn’t surprise me. You’ve got to live here to understand that. Just an amazing fan base. … I want everything to go well for them.”His new team added to Boston’s struggles. In a close game, reserve guard Jamal Crawford (21 points) scored six points on a pair of three-point shots to help the Clippers pull away in the final 3 minutes. Point guard Chris Paul had typical solid floor game with 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. And high-flyer Blake Griffin added 18 points for LA, which won for the seventh time in 10 games.“It was a really special win,” Crawford said. “You could see his emotions. I don’t know what he was going through inside.”According to Celtic Jeff Green, he and his team that Rivers left behind did not feel the nostalgia of the coach’s return. “It wasn’t emotional,” said Green, one of just a handful of Celtics remaining from last year’s team. “We were just trying to win a game, plain and simple.”
Khalid MasoodCredit:Metropolitan police “He was a psychopath and I mean that in the very medical definition of the word. He came from a nice family, had everything, but there was something very wrong with him.“They were living in Crawley [West Sussex] and he was knocking around with a crew of not very nice people.“He was a loner, but the friends he had were basically criminals.” After one particularly violent confrontation, Ms Isaq ran away from their home to friends in Middlesbrough.”That’s how bad it was”, the relative continued.Ms Isaq was allegedly “terrified” of the “dangerous man”.According to her relative: “She got out with a suitcase, just her clothes. 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. According to a relative of the Westminster attacker’s ex-wife, Khalid Masood was a violent and controlling husband.The knifeman, who killed four people in his rampage in Westminster on Wednesday before being shot by police, allegedly told his ex-wife Farzana Isaq what to do and what to wear.The Mirror reports that Ms Isaq, now 38, fled their home in fear after a three-month marriage in which he acted like a “psychopath”.The relative told the tabloid: “He was very violent towards her, controlling in every aspect of her life – what she wore, where she went, everything. “She went to the other end of the country, she was scared of him.” Jane Harvey, one of Khalid Masood’s ex-girlfriends Members of public and police officers pay their respects to the victims of Westminster terror attack in Parliament Square, LondonCredit:London News pictures
…cites sloth in enacting legislation, transgressions against nurse Marks as examplesTransparency Institute of Guyana Inc (TIGI) is putting the Government on blast for its sloth in bringing forward legislation to protect whistle-blowers.The anti-corruption advocate also criticised the Government’s actions against a particular whistle-blower – Nurse Sherilyn Marks – for revealing a People’s National Congress Councillor’s abuse of pain medication. Marks has been repaid by being transferred and subjected to a probe by the Public Service Commission (PSC).Councillor Carol Joseph“In a very corrupt society and one in which the will of the people has been side-lined as politicians pursue narrow interests, whistle-blowing is an important avenue through which corruption can be uncovered,” the group said in a statement.“Unless whistle-blower legislation is ratified and supported by a will to implement, whistle-blowing will remain costly to whistle-blowers. It is not altogether surprising that the coalition Government appears to have lost its appetite for implementation though it had drafted an act and held consultations after taking office.”TIGI noted that such law is yet to be enacted. According to the group, a comparison with other laws the Government has pushed through within the two years of Government makes it easy to deduce the order of priorities.“Without whistle-blower legislation, retaliation by the politically connected and the powerful can mean dire consequences for those who attempt to expose wrongdoing. Such retaliation can range from public labelling and ridiculing to loss of employment, other employment hardships and even worse.”Consequences may also extend beyond the person directly drawing awareness, to family, friends and loved ones, the TIGI said, adding that awareness of the potential for such retaliation can instil fear and serve as a warning to those who might contemplate exposing corruption.TIGI President Dr Troy ThomasTIGI referenced the case of Marks, who it noted was bludgeoned into oblivion or worse, “for exposing the abuse of power by [A Partnership for National Unity] APNU Councillor, Carol Joseph.”“In this case, Marks who was a nurse at the Fort Wellington Hospital revealed that Joseph, while a sitting APNU Councillor in the Local Government Council of Region Five, abused her power to leverage prescription painkiller injections.”This revelation by the nurse was made following two complaints to her superiors in Region Five and to the Public Health Minister.“Marks was in a position where she considered herself exposed to eventually being held accountable for administering the prescription narcotic, Pethidine, more frequently and in a larger amount than usual to Joseph, but her cries for help went unanswered by her superiors at the level of the region and by the Minister of Health.”TIGI noted that the failure of the Public Health Ministry and the officials in the region to act was amplified and encouraged by the absence of a functional Integrity Commission to which Marks could have complained.“Exposing the situation was the correct thing to do given that the system and the individuals in authority failed her. If all that the Ministry had done was ignore Marks, this would be better than that which has occurred and that which has been set in motion. Instead, it retaliated. Condoning retaliation against whistle-blowers is a backward step in the fight against corruption.”The first bit of retaliation was the transferring of Marks to another facility without her having requested it, the TIGI pointed out. It added that Marks’ move to address the matter publicly after two attempts to urge the responsible officers to act appears to have embarrassed people of power who condoned Joseph’s actions.Calling the transfer a pathetic response, TIGI noted that the transfer was done without consideration of any hardships or other changes in Marks’s circumstances. The group noted that the nurse was therefore treated like an expendable pawn for going public.“The response is now being taken further to the stage of attempting to institute charges against Marks for breach of confidentiality. A disproportionate and public response has a long history of setting the stage for control and the message to be gleaned is that vicious retaliation by those with connections and power towards those who dare to expose wrongdoing is alive and well in Guyana.”The TIGI stated that it does not support breaking the law, however, when those who have abused their power and those who have ignored their responsibility as public officials do so with impunity while those who dare to expose wrongdoings are made to feel the consequence, it is mere lip service to the idea for those in authority to proclaim support for whistle-blowers. 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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZxGwDaJJyoFIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin has said that the Taoiseach has rebuked his Cabinet colleagues, including the Tánaiste, with his comments on the garda whistleblower controversy this evening.Speaking in Killarney, Martin said that Enda Kenny’s comments in Brussels this evening were “by any yardstick” a “severe rebuke” of the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar and Joan Burton who have all expressed the view that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan should withdraw the ‘disgusting’ remark about two whistleblowers.Kenny said that these views should be aired at Cabinet, prompting Martin to say: “He clearly wants to shut this debate down as fast as he possibly can.” “He understands more than most that the longer this debate carries on in the public domain the more it inevitably undermines the position of his close colleague the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.” Martin answered several questions on the controversy as the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis gets under way at the INEC in Killarney this evening.He said that comments from Varadkar and Labour ministers over the last 24 hours show that they are “no longer prepared to defend the indefensible”.He said that Callinan should withdraw his remarks that the actions of two garda whistleblowers, Maurice McCabe and John Wilson, were “disgusting”. But he said it was more important that Shatter should withdraw remarks on the Dáil record about the whistleblowers not cooperating with an internal garda inquiry into the penalty points controversy.Martin said that Shatter’s position is “untenable” but stopped short of saying that Callinan should resign, saying the commissioner has been “taking comfort” from Shatter who has been “consistently undermining” the whistleblowers.“The Minister seems to have a huge problem saying: ‘I got it wrong,’” he added.Meanwhile, Sinn Féin’s justice spokesperson Padraig Mac Lochlainn has accused the Taoiseach of “appalling” leadership during the controversy and said that Shatter and Callinan “must correct the record by apologising and withdrawing these comments”. Follow @oconnellhugh for updates from the INEC this weekend.Read: Ministers should not air their concerns ‘in public’: Kenny criticises his own CabinetRead: Shutting down social media and 11 other motions at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis