Useless ministries for increased vote bank

first_imgOctober 1985. Venue: Cabinet Secretariat. In the chair: Cabinet Secretary P.K. Kaul. You could call it a meeting on downsizing government. You could even dub it one more attempt at introspection as 55 secretaries of the Government of India presented their ideas on what the Government should do or not,October 1985. Venue: Cabinet Secretariat. In the chair: Cabinet Secretary P.K. Kaul. You could call it a meeting on downsizing government. You could even dub it one more attempt at introspection as 55 secretaries of the Government of India presented their ideas on what the Government should do or not do. Amidst the gab fest, one thought received a lot of attention. Since most of the controls on steel and coal had been withdrawn, should these ministries exist? The question was debated, but never really answered. Since the exercise 22 years ago, inspired by Rajiv Gandhi’s legendary impatience with sloth, the number of secretaries to the Government of India has ballooned to 84, the size of the Union Council of Ministers has nearly doubled from 42 to 79, including 35 Cabinet ministers and seven ministers of state with independent charge. Add 40 ministers of state, who, by their own admission, have little or no work and you get a perspective of the umbrella of patronage. And yes, the Ministry of Steel continues to exist with a staff of 402 despite the fact that steel was fully decontrolled in January 1992.Steel, though, is not the only ministry that defies logic or rationale for existence. At least 20 ministries in the Government of India have no business to exist but have been kept alive by successive regimes to park sections of the vote bank that enable them to stay in power. As alliances are formed, vote banks are exchanged- some would say auctioned-for portfolios. The team is on auto-select depending on the exigencies of alliance politics. Take the formation and the shuffles of the UPA for instance. It isn’t the UPA chairperson or the prime minister but the DMK chief who decides who will drive the critical programme of the highways project or who will replace Dayanidhi Maran as IT and telecom minister. So was the case with the NDA. Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray recalled Suresh Prabhu as minister for power and replaced him with Anant Gite, who was his choice and not that of the then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.advertisementIndeed, the UPA takes the cake. It has created new ministries not just to accommodate the allies but also people who it believes would enhance its relevance. So it split the Ministry of HRD and created ministries like Minority Affairs and Women and Child Development; separated mines from coal; and made a distinction between power and non-conventional energy.The irony is that while creating more parking slots may have helped the parties come to power, the lack of delivery fuels the multiplier effect of incumbency. Every general election sees roughly half the sitting MPs trounced. The trend is worsening if the elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are any indication. Sure the regional parties have reason to rejoice as they carve a niche for themselves in the cake of power. The tragedy is that both the Congress and the BJP-electorally irrelevant in over 200 Lok Sabha seats-seem to be seized of neither the ferment nor the reason for the rising anti-incumbency.This, when the reason is staring at them. Multi-layering and the creation of a plethora of departments have killed accountability and thus delivery. In January 2007, the Finance Ministry, in a confidential note to other ministries, observed that 13 critical ministries had spent less than a third of the budget allocation or just Rs 16,237 crore of an outlay of Rs 59,743 crore. While 40 departments managed to spend only half the allocation of Rs 2,52,594 crore. Year after year, almost all ministries fail to spend a major chunk of their allocation. Yet budget allocations are rising in almost all departments. Plan and non-plan expenditure has trebled between 1997 and 2007-08, from Rs 2,35,245 crore to Rs 6,80,520 crore, which is nearly a sixth of the GDP. This is done by creating new schemes at the Centre in areas that are primarily the concern of the states. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the backward areas development fund and the proposed dole to workers in the unorganised sector are all cut from the same fabric of political expediency. Thanks to this, a new situation has emerged. The district collector now receives funds directly from the Centre even as he reports to the state government. Ergo there is neither delivery nor accountability. Consider this-the Centre spends Rs 3.65 to provide subsidised foodgrain worth Re 1 to a person living below poverty line.The crux of the matter is that departments and ministries are created not on economic or administrative logic but political arithmetic. “The multiplicity of ministries creates layers and nothing is quite delivered,” says Bimal Jalan, MP and former governor of the Reserve Bank of India. As Jalan points out, such is the multi-layering that if one wants to improve sports facilities for women in rural areas it is not one but seven ministries (Rural Development, Social Justice, Sports, Youth Affairs, Finance, Women and Child Welfare and Panchayati Raj besides the Planning Commission) who will be involved. In a seminal paper on administrative reforms, S.R. Maheshwari says, “The number of departments in the Government of India grew from three (Public, Secret, and Revenue) in 1774 to eight in 1833. It then expanded to 10 in 1919 and 18 in 1947. No other country has such a large retinue of ministers.”advertisementArun Shourie, BJP MP and former minister, says, “Accommodation of politicians leads to accumulation of babus.” In 1948, the number of secretaries to the Government of India was 19 and that of IAS officers 143. The expansion has also imposed a huge cost-as high as 2 per cent in terms of GDP growth-on the economy. Today there are 134 IAS officers just at secretarylevel postings, while the number of IAS officers posted in the Central Government is 820. First there is a directorate, then it is upgraded to a department and then to a ministry. And even after the ministry is disbanded-like in the case of disinvestment-the department stays.True. In a developing economy there are new areas that require government attention. C. Rangarajan, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council and former governor of RBI, points out, “There is a need to create new focus areas and retire old positions which have lost relevance.” As he says: “If there is a sunrise sector, there should also be sunsets.” But that hasn’t been the case with India. It is not that the problem has not been studied or discussed. Between 1947 and 2007, no less than 30 committees and commissions have studied the issue. In fact the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) of 1966 had clearly advocated smaller governments. Neither that nor any other report was implemented, and as with the church, sin and evangelism continue to co-exist.By allowing the multi-layered system to continue, political parties face not just a collapse of governance but also their own future. As India turns 60, it is time for some ministries to be retired, the concept of minister of state buried and funding of line ministries critical to social development relocated to the states. In 1947 we made our tryst with destiny. It’s time we made a tryst with the future.Drought of IdeasMINISTRY OF AGRICULTUREStaff: 11,711Wages and allowances: Rs 191.25 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 9,362.21 croreRATIONALE: To formulate and implement national policies and programmes aimed at achieving agricultural growth through optimum utilisation of land, water and plant resources; formulate overall cooperative policy, oversee research and maintain statistics.REALITY CHECK: Production of grains and pulses is stagnant for over a decade, productivity is down, almost 20,000 farmers commit suicide every year. There has been no breakthrough in seeds or yield since the Green Revolution and agriculture is unviable. The Centre’s defence is that the problem lies with the states.advertisementIndeed everything under agriculture-agricultural education and research, protection against pests, prevention of plant diseases and improvement of cattle stock-is listed as a state subject in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. So what is the big idea of hosting an army of people in Krishi Bhavan? Agriculture, which is India’s largest private sector enterprise, supports 56 per cent of the working population while delivering 19 per cent of the GDP.Too many people are dependent on a crashing enterprise. The Indian farmer is growing less on a shrinking holding, spending more for inputs for an income that is not only falling but has to be shared with a growing number of dependents. Yet there has been no attempt to restructure the sector. India needs to go in for manpower-intensive, value-added crops. Postland reforms, with land holdings at less than two hectare per capita, it cannot adopt scale-neutral methods. The situation calls for drastic action, not the usual mix of incrementalism and pious sermons. Yet the focus is on more committees. At least six committees have studied credit to farmers, four have studied use of genetically modified seeds, three have studied investment in irrigation, but there has been no action on the ground. But that has not prevented every minister from expanding the ministry. Established in 1871, the ministry has gone through 48 avataars. It deserves moksha.Caught in Quota WarpMINISTRY OF HRD (DEPARTMENT OF SCHOOL EDUCATION AND LITERACY)Staff: 424Wages and allowances: Rs 7.01 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 23,142.22 crRATIONALE: Universalisation of elementary education, that is, to promote education and adult literacy at primary and secondary school levels.REALITY CHECK: The omnibus ministry created by Rajiv Gandhi by merging Education, Culture, Women and Child, Sports and Youth Welfare has been dismantled into as many ministries, negating any logic of efficiency and delivery that he might have desired. While Culture and Women and Child Development can claim to have some legitimacy for existence, Education is as much a state subject as federal, especially school education and adult literacy. You could argue that primary education in some states requires a push from the Centre, but its report card is stained with failure. In government, spend is never equal to the result. At HRD, even the spend is inefficient. This year, for instance, the department was left with Rs 1,453.76 crore under Elementary Education and Literacy as on February 28.Even under the Education Guarantee Scheme, it achieved only 52 per cent of its target of 47.7 lakh enrolments. The two elaborate schemes launched by the HRD Ministry-the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the Mid-day Meal scheme-have so far remained peripheral in developing these sectors, as implementation is in the hand of the states.Tamil Nadu has successfully experimented with the Mid-day Meal Scheme, leading to a healthy growth from the 1960s onwards, while Central funding for primary education has resulted in a colossal waste in most states, as they tend to underutilise and experiment with the funds. Adult literacy, as the Kerala experiment has shown, is best left to the states. If the HRD must involve itself in policy, it should only be at the higher education level, although after the quota imbroglio, that too is open to debate. It would be best if the ministry focused on opening up higher education. That would force all states to sit up and design their school syllabi to suit the needs of a modern economy.Poor ShowMINISTRY OF HOUSING AND URBAN POVERTY ALLEVIATIONStaff: 139Wages and allowances: Rs 2.59 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 509.75 croreRATIONALE: To shape the policies and programmes of the country as a whole, allocate resources, provide finances through national financial institutions for housing and urban development.REALITY CHECK: Poverty alleviation should be the focus of all policies. This ministry was designed to provide affordable urban housing and create jobs. If the mushrooming of slums or the absence of a framework to create jobs is any indicator, the ministry has failed miserably.Created on October 16, 1999, merged in 2000, and re-formed on May 27, 2004, this ministry, like many others, exists as an instrument of political accommodation. All matters pertaining to housing and urban development are assigned to states and by the 74th Amendment to the Constitution, to urban local bodies. The constitutional and legal authority of the Centre is limited to Delhi and the Union territories. Even if one were to argue the case for Central intervention, neither the structure of governance nor the ministry’s performance would justify it. The Centre can draw up policy, but as long as implementation is with the states, results cannot be guaranteed. The number of urban poor was estimated at 80.7 million by a National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) study in 2004 and housing shortage at 24.71 million units in March 2007.The joke is, the ministry estimates only 42 million of the 285 million urban dwellers live in slums. As for poverty alleviation, it has the Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana. The ministry told Parliament that allocation had been hiked from Rs 160 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 344 crore in 2007-08. That is Rs 43 per urban poor per year. To get a sense of the magnitude of work, consider these statistics: the ministry told Parliament that it assisted just 469 urban poor in Delhi in three years-133 in 2003-04, 181 in 2004-05 and 149 in 2005-06. Perhaps it couldn’t find poverty in Delhi.Urban DecayMINISTRY OF URBAN DEVELOPMENTStaff: 26,535Wages and allowances: Rs 453.83 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 3,814.52 croreRATIONALE: To promote urban growth, transport and housing.REALITY CHECK: Since this is largely a state subject, there is little justification for such a large edifice. This ministry is directly in conflict with the modern urban development mantra, which requires plans to be drawn up in concert with civil society.According to the 2001 Census, India has a population of 1,027 million, of which around 28 per cent or 285 million live in urban areas. To start with, given the overwhelming vote power of rural constituencies, urban development has never been the focus of any government. Add to this the profusion of agencies and entities and you have urban India in a shambles, be it the quality of sanitation, utilities or infrastructure. By the end of the decade, urban India is estimated to deliver two-thirds of the GDP, but little has been achieved through Central intervention. As with other ministries, the Urban Development Ministry can at best preach to state governments.India needs to renew its old cities and develop at least 50 cities like Chandigarh to enable the population to spread out. This requires funds- Rs 1,20,536 crore just in the next seven years -and a plan where local bodies have a say. Yes, the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission is a good idea, but it is in conflict with the idea of decentralised development. The unique model that Dharavi in Mumbai is looking at for regeneration may or may not work in the slums of Delhi. The onus of developing new cities and satellite townships should be on the state governments.Megawatt FailureMINISTRY OF NEW AND RENEWABLE ENERGYStaff: 378Wages and allowances: Rs 17.31 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 632.9 croreRATIONALE: To promote alternative sources of energy and non-fossil fuel energy systems ranging from solar to biogas.REALITY CHECK: At best it can be a section under the Ministry of Power, where alternative sources can be factored into overall power management. The generation of ideas and new systems is best left to the Ministry of Science and Technology.Its performance can only be termed as dismal. Consider this: India has a potential to generate 47,000 MW through wind energy, whereas installed capacity is barely 1,870 MW. Obviously capital costs for renewable energy generation systems are high, the technology is still evolving and perhaps the risks are high too. Yet, it is difficult to defend the performance of the ministry. Indeed while India has the potential of generating 1,83,000 MW across the spectrum of alternative or renewable energy systems-ranging from wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, small hydro, biomass, cogeneration, geothermal, tidal, urban and industrial wastes-total installed capacity achieved (till March 2007) is an abysmal 10,406 MW. This is despite the fact that renewable energy was identified as a resource as early as in 1981, when the Commission for Additional Energy Sources was created (the ministry itself came into being in 1992). However, despite a compelling case for its propagation, the ministry has not been able to promote the idea.This is despite a plethora of incentives being dished out. A host of fiscal incentives are available to both manufacturers and users of renewable energy systems, which include 100 per cent accelerated depreciation for tax purposes in the first year of installation of systems, exemption from excise duty on manufacture of most finished products, low import tariff on capital equipment and components, soft loans, five-year tax holiday for generation projects, etc. Obviously, the ministry’s existence as a solo entity has not enabled or improved performance. Modern energy management requires a holistic approach and standalone entities have no place in this structure.The RelicMINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTINGStaff: 6,908Wages and allowances: Rs 102.51 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 1,681.84 crRATIONALE: To enable free flow of information besides disseminating knowledge and entertainment to all sections of the society, while balancing commercial needs and public interest. It is also the apex body for formulating rules and regulation relating to information and broadcasting, press and films.REALITY CHECK: For almost 30 years now, successive governments have threatened and promised to disband this relic of control raj. Doordarshan and AIR can continue to work under Prasar Bharati.In the Soviet era, for years Czechoslovakians did not know Martina Navratilova was the best woman tennis player ever. For them, Hana Mandlikova reigned in the tennis world. Complete control over all access to information was something the Soviets cherished. India was not far behind. For confirmation of Indira Gandhi’s murder, we had to depend on BBC. I&B ministers notoriously spiked films-our only source of entertainment- for their own entertainment. What is this ministry doing in the era of the Internet, 24-hour news channels and FM radio? Well, besides running a Song & Drama division, it has been devising newer ways of retaining control to suspend that fashion channel, block news on radio or simply politicise film festivals.The Coalition BandwagonClick here to EnlargeThe Government didn’t have a clue that private enterprise had devised ways to connect people to the world of satellite TV. But as soon as the system was in place, it found reason to impose new controls. Do we really need this nanny? Isn’t Prasar Bharati capable of monitoring news? Why should a ministry exist simply to give licences to new entrepreneurs- something that can be done by a board? And then throttle entrepreneurship by insisting on free feed for its channels in the name of national service? DD and AIR can function without state control, as briefly experimented during the NDA regime. The posse of officers parked in Shastri Bhavan can be put to better use in running community radios. Let market forces decide what’s news and how information is broadcast or printed.Alchemy of PoliticsMINISTRY OF CHEMICALS & FERTILISERSStaff: 316+348Wages and allowances: Rs 8.16 cr+Rs 7.23 crTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 22,789 croreRATIONALE: To enable India to play a leading role in the global market; formulate and implement policies to achieve growth of these sectors; ensure mass availability, at reasonable prices, of quality pharmaceuticals.REALITY CHECK: The ministry has had no real role in the march of the pharmaceutical and chemical sector. Theglobal acquisitions have been fuelled by private enterprise. In fertilisers, capacity addition has been poor, with just one plant added in 2005. Worse, nine urea plants, with a combined capacity of over 24 lakh tonne, are closed. Imports, meanwhile, are rising.India is the third largest producer and consumer of fertilisers in the world, with an installed capacity of 12.25 million tonne of nitrogenous and 5.5 million tonne of phosphatic fertilisers. Till August 24, 1992, all fertilisers were covered by controls. Since then, the government has put them under the Essential Commodities Act. While phosphate and potassic fertilisers were decontrolled in 1992, others in the ammonium group were decontrolled in June 1994. Currently anyone is free to import diammonium phosphate and sell it anywhere in India. As per Industrial Policy Resolution dated July 24, 1991, no licence is required for setting up fertiliser plants. However, since the MRP of fertilisers is statutorily fixed or indicated, fertiliser manufacturers are compensated by way of subsidy or concession, for the difference between the cost of production and the MRP. But because new plants entail costs, approval of the Government is required for fertiliser projects. That’s backdoor licence raj for you.Meanwhile, petrochemicals are suffering because there is no clear policy enabling substitution of costly metals with cheaper polymers. Use of plastics in thrust areas like agricultural implements, water supply and management, home construction, consumer electronics and durables, has brought down costs and enabled growth in the sector. But against a global average of 25 kg, per capita consumption of polymers in India is barely 4 kg. In the pharmaceutical sector, the only debate is that of the pricing of essential drugs. With global acquisitions, Indian companies will have not just scale but also access to the latest in drugs. All that is needed is a price regulation system that is best monitored by the Ministry of Health.Thread BareMINISTRY OF TEXTILESStaff: 4,824Wages and allowances: Rs 94.18 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 3,136.68 croreRATIONALE: To oversee policy formulation, planning, development, export promotion and trade regulation of textiles. It is responsible for making raw materials available to both large mills and handlooms. It also coordinates the activities of Textile Research Associations.REALITY CHECK: The industry may be the largest employer in the economy, but there is no role for the Government. One of the boom areas, it is completely open to investment and is licence-free.India ruled the textile world before it was colonised by the British. There may have been the regal support of the maharajas, but textile was always a private enterprise. Perhaps in the post-Independence era, the ministry would have made sense since the sector needed to be nurtured back to health after the debilitating impact of British rule. But it didn’t make sense to Jawaharlal Nehru, so there was no Textiles Ministry in the first Cabinet. Indeed, for three decades after Independence, successive governments didn’t see any need for a Ministry of Textiles. It was only in 1976 that the Department of Textiles was created under the Commerce Ministry, only to be merged into the Department of Industry a year later. An independent ministry was created only on November 15, 1985. Since then it has expanded to include nine PSUs, two institutes, development boards for silk, jute and wool, and nine textile research associations, besides export promotion councils. Recently, it has also added textile/garment parks.The ministry has the dubious distinction of spending less than its allocation through the entire Tenth Plan. Successive ideas like the Apparel Park for Export Schemes and the Textile Centre Infrastructure Development Scheme have failed and the Standing Committee of Parliament for the ministry recommended that instead of loading the sector with a plethora of half-baked schemes, a few effective and well-planned ones should be devised-to assist the industry, to achieve the desired growth of the sector and to make it globally competitive.Rusting AwayMINISTRY OF STEELStaff: 406Wages and allowances: Rs 9.39 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 150 croreRATIONALE: To coordinate and plan the growth and development of the steel industry; formulate policies on pricing, distribution and imports; and development of input industries.REALITY CHECK: Steel was one of the first sectors to be decontrolled in the first wave of Manmohanomics. As early as in January 1992, the Government of India disbanded all the controls that shackled the steel industry. That the ministry exists 15 years later is testimony to the power of pelf and patronage.To get a sense of the size of babudom in a ministry that has been shorn of controls, consider the administrative set-up of the Steel Ministry, headed by a minister assisted by a secretary, an additional secretary and a financial adviser, three joint secretaries, a chief controller of accounts, an economic adviser of the rank of joint secretary, four directors, two deputy secretaries and 13 under-secretaries besides other officers.What is ironic is that despite the disbanding of control, the ministry claims to oversee policies on production, pricing, distribution, imports and exports of steel. In its professed aims, first priority is accorded to “providing single-window clearance for large projects, to be followed by statutory clearances by the concerned ministries”. That mega projects like that of the Tatas (who have projects totalling 27 million tonne lined up in the sector), Korean major Posco and Mittal-Arcelor have been struggling for clearances for over three years gives you a sense of this make-believe situation. With the private sector taking the lead in creating capacity, the ministry must be disbanded without further delay.Colossal WasteMINISTRY OF FOOD PROCESSING INDUSTRIESStaff: 296Wages and allowances: Rs 7.91 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 258.3 croreRATIONALE: To develop a strong food processing sector, with a view to creating increased job opportunities in rural areas; enable farmers to reap benefits from modern technology and create surplus for exports.REALITY CHECK: Nearly two decades after the formation of the ministry in 1988, just 2.2 per cent of the fruits and vegetables produced are processed. Produce worth Rs 58,000 crore-the income of two crore people-is wasted every year for want of processing facilities.Nothing really validates the redundancy of the ministry better. It was only in 2005, that is, 17 years after the formation of the ministry, that the Government finally came out with an Act to oversee investments in the sector. But that too hasn’t delivered the farmers from their wretched existence. When conceptualised, the ministry was supposed to empower the farm sector by enabling the farmer to get remunerative prices for his labour by allowing for warehousing, processing and marketing of produce. It is no secret that the ministry cannot deliver the goods on its own.Fact is, everything or anything that the ministry may want to do is subject to the approval of three other ministries-Agriculture, Food and Health. Even after the passing of the Food Processing Act in 2005, the ministry is unable to attract investments because its policies cannot deliver in isolation. Sure the sector is open to investments, but that is not enough. Food processing the world over has taken off on the back of retail and the establishment of a logistics chain. Curiously, that critical function and its reform are vested with the Commerce Ministry. If food processing has to develop and if farmers are to get their due, it is imperative that the Government gets its act together on incentivising investments in logistics and freeing retail. It doesn’t need a Food Processing Ministry.Fabian ShowcaseMINISTRY OF INDUSTRYStaff: 3,376Wages and allowances: Rs 65.18 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 613.44 croreRATIONALE: To facilitate investment and technology and monitor industrial development. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, established in 1995, was reconstituted in 2000 with the merger of the Department of Industrial Development.REALITY CHECK: In the last two years, Indian companies have gone abroad and acquired companies worth over $25 billion. FDI last year was over $15 billion. Sixteen years after the end of Licence Raj, do we really need a separate ministry for facilitating investment?Bigger By DecadeClick here to EnlargeThe original thinking behind the ministry was direct intervention in the process of industrialisation of backward areas. But after the Industrial Policy of 1991, this role is not possible and industrialisation of backward areas is largely left to state governments. There are, for instance, 26 noindustry districts in the country, but the ministry can do precious little about these. The rationale for the existence of this ministry beyond the issue of politics is to promote industrial development and employment growth. And what is preventing this? A number of studies have been done by the ministry, academics and industry chambers on the bottlenecks hindering investment, implementation of projects and employment growth. All of them point to the plethora of laws regulating projects in various sectors, cumbersome procedures prescribed under various rules and regulations, inadequate transparency and multiplicity of agencies in approvals. Even in its aim of making manufacturing competitive-it costs Rs 100 to make a product made in China for Rs 75-the ministry can do little as the problem of an inverted tax structure can only be fixed by the Ministry of Finance.Sure with India Everywhere and high-profile campaigns, the ministry has attracted investor interest in India, leading to higher FDI. But its ability to push projects or clearances is limited. In a coalition regime it can only promote a concept thus far. More importantly, a large part of the clearances for major projects is now at the state government level.Precious LittleMINISTRY OF MINESStaff: 13,316Wages and allowances: Rs 210.03 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 389.7 croreRATIONALE: Survey and exploration of all minerals (other than natural gas and petroleum), mining and metallurgy of nonferrous metals and administration of the Mines and Minerals Act, 1957, in respect of all mines and minerals, other than coal, natural gas and petroleum.REALITY CHECK: In the federal structure of India, the states are the owners of minerals located within their boundaries and thus the authority on clearances for mining concessions. A ministry just for issuing concessions for minerals in India’s territorial waters is not justified.India is endowed with significant mineral resources. It produces 89 minerals, out of which four are fuel minerals, 11 metallic, 52 non-metallic and 22 minor minerals. Eighty-five per cent of these are mined by PSUs.The Geological Survey of India has mapped an area of approximately 3.146 million sq km, or 94 per cent of the area of India. So we know what we have, where it is and who owns it. Hundred per cent foreign direct investment is permissible for exploration and exploitation of all non-fuel and non-atomic minerals, including gold and silver. FDI up to 74 per cent is permitted in precious stones and diamonds. But it isn’t as if there is a rush of investors at Shastri Bhavan. Nor is there any great buzz amongst investors about the opportunity in India.That is because the system is layered with controls. An application for mining concession by Tata Steel in 2004 is among the 93 approvals pending with the ministry. Its track record in resource utilisation is pathetic. Despite allocations being halved from Rs 8,344.5 crore to Rs 4,485.28 crore, total expenditure during the first four years of the Tenth Plan was Rs 2,042.95 crore, or less than 50 per cent of the revised plan outlay. To enable speedier clearances, it is best to de-layer the system. States should be responsible for mines in their territory and the Centre could institute a regulatory authority for clearances.Self GoalMINISTRY OF YOUTH & SPORTS AFFAIRSStaff: 192Wages and allowances: Rs 65.18 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 613.44 croreRATIONALE: To harness the potential of the youth of the country and involve them in nation-building; create facilities and promote capacity building for broad-basing sports.REALITY CHECK: Promotion of sports is primarily the responsibility of the national sports federations. The ministry’s role is that of an exchequer. And considering that half the populace is under 20 years of age, the need for a Ministry of Youth Affairs is debatable.Click here to EnlargeThe Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports was initially set up as the Department of Sports in 1982 at the time of organisation of the IX Asian Games in Delhi. It was rechristened Department of Youth Affairs and Sports during the celebration of the International Youth Year in 1985, and came to be a ministry only on May 27, 2000. But beyond its role in organising the Asian Games and now its looming presence in the confusion preceding the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the ministry has little to show for its existence. Especially if you go by India’s Olympics medals tally since 1984, which is a grand total of three. Promotion of sports may be the responsibility of federations, but the ministry, which may itself be a victim of cross-party political linkages of sports administrators, cannot escape the fact that it has failed to bring slack federations in line. With a shoestring budget-which is gobbled up by canny federation experts for promoting dubious coaching camps and overseas junkets-there is little the ministry can do even in terms of capacity creation other than support bids for major events.As for its role in promoting youth activities, the Standing Committee of Parliament has criticised the ministry’s inability to achieve desired results and for “injudiciously” launching new schemes, not allocating funds for old ones and underutilising allocations. Clearly the unspent balances of various schemes indicate that the very idea of the ministry is out of tune with modern times.Number CrunchMINISTRY OF STATISTICS AND PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATIONStaff: 7,883Wages and allowances: Rs 131.27 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 1,853.54 croreRATIONALE: To act as an apex organisation for timely dissemination of reliable statistics consistent with international standards; ensure efficient use of resources through monitoring of projects.REALITY CHECK: In most countries the collection and dissemination of statistical information is done by a commission and programme implementation is part of the key result area of the ministries. Why should it be any different in India?Consider the administrative set-up of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. The ministry is charged with the responsibility of periodically giving a statistical picture of India. The numbers themselves are collected and disseminated by three different organisations: the National Statistical Commission, the Central Statistical Organisation and the NSSO. Together, they provide different sets of statistics on different facets of the economy and the nation, at different times. But somehow the mandarins use all or a combination of some data to make sense of where the nation is headed. When you consider that the Government already has 35 Cabinet-rank ministers and seven ministers of state with independent charge heading over 45 ministries, you wonder why we would need someone just to oversee statistics. Isn’t this better done by the ministries themselves? After all, the Reserve Bank of India or the Securities and Exchange Board of India do a splendid job on their own.The Department of Programme Implementation is an even more mystifying entity. Apparently it monitors the performance of critical projects. Of the 350 government projects across ministries costing Rs 100 crore and more, 148 are delayed, entailing a cost escalation of 40 per cent. Now the question is: can it do anything about it? Obviously not. So would it not be better to ask ministries to submit a report to Parliament every session? It would at least make the other ministries accountable.Without a JobMINISTRY OF LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENTStaff: 9,067Wages and allowances: Rs 169.48 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 1,633.48 croreRATIONALE: To devise policy and legislation for labour concerning health, safety and welfare of workers; compile statistics; oversee labour courts and tribunals.REALITY CHECK: Barely 5 per cent of the working population of 459 million enjoys the patronage of this ministry. The rest are outside the purview of the laws the Labour Ministry ostensibly implements. Fact is it can do little as long as the powers to change labour laws are vested in state governments.Click here to EnlargeEvery statistic on labour paints a depressing picture of the inability of the ministry to reform the laws. The NSSO recently revealed that 17 per cent of the labour force in rural areas and 45 per cent in urban areas were not usually employed. Worse, the unemployment rate among the educated (secondary school and above) was higher than that among those whose education level was lower. The inability of the ministry to tune the laws to the needs of a modern economy has delivered these numbers. It could act as the motivator and get states to amend laws so that more jobs could be created. But successive ministers are unconvinced. Even where it can make a difference, say in promoting skills training, the ministry has been a miserable failure.Last year, the Government announced that 500 ITIs in the country would be converted into centres of excellence. A FICCI survey reveals that in a majority of ITIs, unutilised seats are as high as 35 per cent. Obviously because the courses offered are not worth the time and anyway “a disproportionately large amount of funds” was allocated to salaries. Despite this, the ministry has been resisting a joint initiative of the Ministry of Finance and Commerce Ministry to allow industry chambers to adopt these ITIs. It claims to look after the health of workers, but reality is shocking. Employees depend on ESI hospitals, where 14,800 posts are vacant, including 1,500 of doctors. As for the courts and tribunals, they need to be housed in the Law Ministry.Public DisinterestMINISTRY OF HEAVY INDUSTRIES AND PUBLIC ENTERPRISESStaff: 436Wages and allowances: Rs 8.34 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 920.73 croreRATIONALE: To administer 48 Central PSUs and assist them in their effort to improve capacity utilisation and profitability, besides generating resources for them to become competitive.REALITY CHECK: Nehru’s temples of modern India are nearly in ruins because politicians preyed on it. PSEs need to be made autonomous. If corporatised and listed with widespread public holdings, they can emerge as competitive forces and deliver returns.The road to hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. During the Third Lok Sabha, the Estimates Committee observed “the absence of any organisation in the Government to provide policy and overall guidance to the Central Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs)” and stressed the need for setting up a centralised coordinating unit which could also make continuous appraisal of the performance of public enterprises. In their wisdom, the government of the day and the ministers created the ministry. Nothing in the performance record indicates that the existence of a ministry has helped the PSEs. Worse, despite sermons on autonomy, the Government is unwilling to even appoint independent directors who could question the actions of the minister. Minister for Heavy Industries Santosh Mohan Dev told the Rajya Sabha on May 15 that in 2005-06, 58 of the 225 Central PSEs were making losses. The cumulative loss of the 107 lossmaking CPSUs between 2001-2003 was Rs 30,437 crore. Worse, for 10 central PSEs there was no information available.Forget outstanding loans, the CAG reveals that outstanding interest from 33 PSUs, till March 2006, amounted to Rs 13,761.4 crore. Loans were outstanding since 1978-79. PSUs need to be afforded true autonomy. Every report, every statistic on the subject only justifies the dismantling of this ministry. Yes, there is a role for public sector industries, particularly utilities, but we don’t need a ministry for it. For a truly public character, PSEs need to be housed in a special purpose vehicle accountable to Parliament.Mere TokenismMINISTRY OF MINORITY AFFAIRSStaff: 250Wages and allowances: Rs 5.15 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 512.83 croreRATIONALE: Overall policy, planning, coordination, evaluation and review of the regulatory and developmental programmes of the minority communities; driving policy initiatives for minorities in consultation with other ministries and state governments.REALITY CHECK: The fact that the Government of India could do without a ministry for minority affairs for 57 years is perhaps the best argument against the formation, existence and continuation of this ministry. Its creation under the UPA is also testimony to the tokenism being practised by the Congress and its allies.Sure there is a dire need to ensure delivery of resources to the economically backward groups in the country. This could range from creation of policies that enhance education, enable employment and afford a shot at entrepreneurship. All of these are really in the domain of the respective ministries, from education to health to finance, which are in any case supposed to ensure that the weak get the first charge of the resources. Assuming that this was not happening, is the Ministry of Minority Affairs empowered to deliver? Indeed there is little evidence of the ministry having even made its presence felt even in the debate following the findings of the Sachar Committee on the educational and employment status of Muslims in India.The ministry was charged with the implementation of programmes for uplifting the minorities. But the Ministry of External Affairs refused to part with the Haj Committee, and the HRD Ministry refused to part with minority institutions. Eventually, the ministry was asked to oversee the implementation of the 15-point programme-ranging from improvement of educational institutions and scholarships to promoting entrepreneurship and acting on communal harmony. The irony is that all these functions are carried out by eight other ministries. The Ministry of Minority Affairs-which has expanded its staff strength from 159 in 2004 to 250 now-is merely a spectator.No PrecipitationMINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCESStaff: 13,076Wages and allowances: Rs 218.3 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 871.76 croreRATIONALE: To formulate general policy on water resources development, conservation and technical assistance to states; oversee the regulation and development of inter-state rivers.REALITY CHECK: Water is a national resource. Its management, though, is largely a state subject in the federal structure. Barring inter-state disputes, the responsibility for everything from irrigation to water supply lies with state governments, municipal corporations, local bodies and panchayats.You could argue that given the enormity of the water crisis, it is necessary to have a Central ministry to create policy and monitor implementation. But the track record of the Water Resources Ministry doesn’t inspire confidence. The crux of the matter is that water management, or rather mismanagement, involves nine ministries-Water Resources, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Urban Development, Food, Agriculture, Health, Power and Environment-and consensus is an elusive goal. So nothing quite gets done. Nearly 60 years after Independence, over two-thirds of the cultivable land continues to be vulnerable to the vagaries of the monsoon. A recent report reveals that 159 major projects, 251 medium-scale projects and 94 renovation works have been pending since the 1960s. In fact, for nearly three decades the ministry has failed to come to a conclusion whether inter-linking of rivers across India is a good idea or not.A Small WorldClick here to EnlargeIn reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on the inadequate irrigation facilities, Minister for Water Resources Saifuddin Soz said, “Irrigation being a state subject, projects are conceived, planned and implemented by the state governments as per their own priority.” As early as in 1919, irrigation was deemed a provincial subject and the responsibility of the Government of India was confined to advice. In other words, there is little the Centre can do beyond coaxing the states. The much-vaunted Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, for instance, is a classic carrot-andstick scheme where states are “rewarded” for better performance in completing irrigation projects. The same is the case with drinking water supply. Barely a third of the rural populace has access to water on tap. A study of 12 major cities revealed that the shortfall in water supply is 4,000 million litre a day, which is what Mumbai needs every day, or in volume terms, water enough to fill 4 lakh big water tankers.Even in terms of resolving inter-state watersharing conflicts, the record is hardly satisfactory. The track record of the Eradi Commission set up for resolving disputes between Punjab and Haryana in 1985, or the annual flare-up of the Cauvery dispute, is testimony to the powerlessness of the Centre. The hard fact is that the administrative control and responsibility for development of water rests with state governments-be it irrigation projects, drinking water supply or even hydro power, which is the responsibility of state electricity boards. Sure the Ministry of Water Resources does a splendid job in terms of collating national data, scenario reports and evangelism. But does every evangelist need a ministry?Small ChangeMINISTRY OF AGRO AND RURAL INDUSTRIES AND SMALL SCALE INDUSTRIESStaff: 2,934Wages and allowances: Rs 45.38 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 1,785.04 croreRATIONALE: To design policies and schemes and monitor their implementation for the growth of small and micro enterprises; oversee promotion of traditional, village and khadi enterprises.REALITY CHECK: The small scale sector is an enclave created to encourage entrepreneurship and employment via tax arbitrage. Be that as it may, the presence of a ministry for SSI or creation of one for agro industry has done little for the sectors.In September 2001, the Ministry of Agro and Rural Industries was created in recognition of the fact that long-term growth depends on tapping the potential of the farm sector. What would this ministry do that those of agriculture, rural development, Panchayati Raj or food processing are not doing? On the face of it, it would generate employment in rural areas, develop entrepreneurial skill, achieve rural industrialisation and facilitate credit. Now isn’t that what is being done by the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, six Centrally sponsored schemes on self employment and the Finance Ministry?Rural industry is promoted by the Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) through the Khadi and Village Industries Commission and the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Yojana (PMRY), instead of being run by the Ministry for Rural Development. Assistance to rural entrepreneurs under REGP has gone up from Rs 265 crore to Rs 320 crore. Under PMRY, the states could use only Rs 16.82 crore out of the Rs 20.48 crore released in 2005-06. The picture is not very different in the more SSI sector, which accounts for 39 per cent of the manufacturing output and 34 per cent of exports, delivering Rs 4,76,201 crore to the GDP. In what can only happen in India, the ministry has revealed to Parliament that of the 123 lakh units, over 104 lakh units are unregistered. And despite the ministry’s efforts, net bank credit has gone down from 17.5 per cent to 8.1 per cent. With such a track record, the two ministries deserve to be shut down post-haste. In a modern economy, it is size that delivers economies and market share.Fossilled in TimeMINISTRY OF COALStaff: 437Wages and allowances: Rs 6.99 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 288 croreRATIONALE: To determine policies and strategies for exploration and development of coal and lignite reserves; run public sector units who monopolise coal output in India.REALITY CHECK: India is projected to import about 44 million tonne of coal this year, despite the fact that the country is sitting on indicated reserves of a whopping 252 billion tonne and proven reserves of 95 billion tonne.Thanks to the combined efforts of the ministry and the public sector units, coal production has “improved” from 70 million tonne at the time of nationalisation in 1973 to 343.37 million tonne in 2005-06. In 2006-07, it has risen to 361 million tonne, an improvement of 5.2 per cent. India, incidentally, is among the foremost producers of coal, having begun mining as early as 1774. At the time of Independence, India’s output was 30 million tonne. But that was due to private sector involvement.Ironically the CIL Board sees opportunity in rising imports and has sent a proposal to form a whollyowned subsidiary of CIL called Coal Videsh, a la ONGC Videsh, to invest abroad. In fact CIL officers visited Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa to explore possibilities of acquiring stakes in operating mines and green-field coal blocks. Any attempt to involve the private sector-beyond the concessions for captive use by private steel and power plants-has been repeatedly thwarted. A Bill to amend the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act to further open up the coal sector is pending in the Rajya Sabha from April 2000.last_img read more

Rain postpones Federer, Nadal and Djokovic matches in Rome

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:44Djokovic wins Laureus Sportsman of Year Award02:42PH 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 Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport View comments Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Bucks finish with a flourish, rally to beat Raptors in East Finals game 1 Also, top-ranked Naomi Osaka was to play Dominika Cibulkova.But consistent rain at the Foro Italico wiped out the entire day and evening sessions.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, logisticsBetter weather is forecast for Thursday and Friday. MOST READ The central court is covered as all the matches are temporarily suspended due to the rain at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Riccardo Antimiani/ANSA via AP)ROME — Play at the Italian Open has been wiped out by rain, meaning Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will have to wait until Thursday to play their opening matches at the clay-court tournament.Federer was slated to meet Joao Sousa on Wednesday, eight-time Rome champion Nadal was scheduled to play Jeremy Chardy and Djokovic was up against Denis Shapovalov.ADVERTISEMENT ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess LATEST STORIES DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Duterte wants probe of SEA Games messlast_img read more

Ventriculoperitoneal shunt- discharge

first_imgAlternate NamesShunt – ventriculoperitoneal – discharge; VP shunt – discharge; Shunt revision – dischargeWhen Your Child Was in the HospitalYour child has hydrocephalus and needed a shunt placed to drain excess fluid and relieve pressure in the brain. This buildup of brain and spinal cord fluid (cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF) and pressure causes the brain tissue to press (become compressed) against the skull. Too much pressure or pressure that is present too long can damage the brain tissue.Your child had an incision behind their ear and a small hole drilled through the skull. A small incision or cut was also made in the belly. A valve was placed underneath the skin behind the ear. One catheter was placed into the brain to bring the fluid to the valve. Another catheter was connected to the valve and threaded underneath the skin down into your childs belly.What to Expect at HomeAny stitches or staples that you can see will be taken out in about 7 – 14 days.All parts of the shunt are underneath the skin. At first, the area at the top of the shunt may be raised up underneath the skin. As the swelling goes away and your childs hair grows back, there will be a small raised area about the size of a quarter that is usually not noticeable.Self-care Do not shower or shampoo your child?s head until their stitches and staples have been taken out. Give your child a sponge bath instead. The wound should not soak in water at all until the skin is completely healed.advertisementDo not push on the part of the shunt that you can feel or see underneath your child?s skin behind the ear.Your child should be able to eat their normal diet when they go home.Your child should be able to do most activities.If you have a baby, handle your baby the way you would normally. It is okay to bounce your baby.Older children can perform most regular activities. Talk with your doctor about contact sports.Most of the time, your child may sleep in any position. Ask your doctor or nurse.Your child may have some pain when they go home. Children under 4 years old may take acetaminophen (Tylenol). Children age 4 and older may be prescribed stronger pain medicines, if needed.When to Call the Doctor The major problems to watch for are an infected shunt and a blocked shunt.Call your child?s doctor if your child has:Confusion or seems less awareFever of 101 F or higherPain in the belly that does not go awayStiff neck or headacheNo appetite or is not eating wellVeins on the head or scalp that look larger than they used toProblems in schoolPoor development or has lost a developmental skill previously attainedBecome more cranky or irritableRedness, swelling, bleeding, or increased discharge from the incisionVomiting that does not go awaySleep problems or is more sleepy than usualHigh-pitched cryBeen looking more paleA head that is growing largerBulging or tenderness in the soft spot at the top of the headSwelling around the valve or around the tube going from the valve to their bellyA seizureReferencesEtilogical categories of neurological disease. In: Goetz CG, ed. Textbook of Clinical Neurology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 28.Kinsman SL, Johnston MV. Congential anomalies of the central nervous system. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 585.Review Date:8/20/2012Reviewed By:Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Inc.last_img read more

FIFA World Cup 2018: Stats of the Day – Day 14

first_imgAdvertisement AdvertisementThe former French defender, Laurent Blanc.Greetings readers! We bring to you today’s edition of FIFA’s “Stats of the Day” feature. Read about all the interesting trivia associated with your favourite footballers and teams right here.Here is an excerpt of FIFA’s “Stats of the Day”: 1958 – France overpower Germany FR 6-3 in the match for third place with help from four goals by Just Fontaine. The French forward finishes the tournament as the top scorer with 13 goals, which remains the highest individual tally netted in a single edition of the FIFA World Cup.1994 – Two records are set during Russia’s 6-1 win over Cameroon. Firstly, Russia’s Oleg Salenko bags five goals, the most by any player in a single FIFA World Cup match. In addition, Cameroon’s Roger Milla becomes the oldest goalscorer at a FIFA World Cup at the age of 42 years and 39 days.1998 – France’s Laurent Blanc fires the first golden goal in FIFA World Cup history, in the 114th minute of a round-of-16 match against Paraguay.To read more click here: FIFA Stats of the Day: June 28 Read also: Football: Italian giants face European Football ban for one year.Football: Portuguese right back Joao Cancelo signs for the Old Lady.last_img read more

ANOTHER PUNCH IN THE FIGHT AGAINST DRUGS

first_imgThe updated Australian Touch Association Anti-Doping Policy has been approved by the ATA Board of Directors and the Australian Sports Commission and is effective from 1 January 2005. The new policy puts in place the latest requirements of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA). These are the guidelines and policy that the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Sports Drug Agency have provided to the ATA as part of funding terms and conditions. The following is an extract from the ASC regarding the implementation of the World Ant-Doping Code: “The reasons for the changes are that the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA) Act has been amended. As such ASDA is required to comply with the World Anti-Doping Program legislative amendments. The changes to the policy are: * New anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) under the Code are recognised * Ability to publicly name athletes appearing the register of notifiable events (RNE) * Allows increased information collection, exchange and dissemination powers Which ADRVs will ASDA make entries onto the RNE? * Tampering with ASDA process (athletes) * Evasion * Violation of athlete availability requirements: * Failure to provide whereabouts information * Missed tests * Positive tests * Failure to comply Are there other ADRVs? In relation to use or attempted use, possession, trafficking and administration of prohibited substances or methods, ASDA will collect and examine information and pass it onto the relevant sport to action in accordance with the anti-doping policy. ASDA would publicly name an athlete after the outcome of a hearing has been disclosed. ASDA will disclose the following information: Information pertaining to athlete whereabouts, therapeutic use exemptions, test histories and results or information relating to potential ADRVs. Information exchange/disclosure may be to WADA, International or National Federations, National Anti-Doping Organisations, Australian Customs Service, Australian Federal Police, Australian Sports Commission or the Australian Olympic Committee.” The Australian Touch Association has been presenting the updated drug policy to members of the National Training Squads at camps over the past 12 months. If you require further information please do not hesitate to contact Peter Topp at the Australian Touch Association on (02) 6285 2703. The new policy has been posted on the MyClubTouch website at the link below. Simply click on the link and then select `download file’ on the top left hand corner of the My Club Touch page that appears. ATA ANTI-DOPING POLICY The new policy will be permanently located on the My Club Touch website, under `Down Loads’, then `Data Files’, the `ATA Anti-Doping Policy’.last_img

Weekly Traffic Advisories

first_imgNEW WORK HANTS COUNTY: Highway 102 The northbound lanes of Highway 102 from Exit 9 to Exit 10 near Shubenacadie will have one-lane closures for paving. The work will take place from sunrise to sunset until Tuesday, Oct. 31. Traffic control will consist of traffic barrels and signs. Speed reductions in the work zone will be enforced. Drivers should expect slower travel through the work zone. Local Area Office: 902-893-5784 Fax: 902-896-2259 Local Area Office: 902-568-3378 Fax: 902-563-3379 KINGS COUNTY: Old Baxters Mill Bridge Weight Restrictions The Old Baxters Mill Bridge, near Baxters Harbour in Kings County, is open to one-lane of traffic. Vehicles weighing more than 5,000 kilograms are restricted from using the bridge. Local Area Office: 902-893-5797 Fax: 902-896-2259 Local Area Office: 902-883-9789 Fax: 902-883-8732 Local Area Office: 902-625-4200 Fax: 902-625-1946 Local Area Office: 902-565-6841 Fax: 902-563-2517 CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Highway 125, Trunk 4 Highway 125, Trunk 4 in Sydney River, will have a single-lane closure for paving until Thursday, Aug. 31. Traffic control consists of traffic control persons. Motorists should expect delays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. with the lane closures and are advised to use alternate routes. CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: North Sydney Rail Road Overpass The North Sydney Rail Road Overpass on Highway 105 will be reduced to one lane for repairs for 24 hours per day, until Tuesday, Aug. 15. Automated signals will control traffic. An alternate route is available through Northside Industrial Park. CONTINUING WORK ANTIGONISH COUNTY: West Side South River Road West Side South River Road, from 1.2 kilometres south of Highway 104, will have a one-lane closure for slope stabilization until Monday, July 31. Traffic control consists of traffic lights. Work takes place 24 hours per day. Local Area Office: 902-396-8426 Fax: 902-755-7184 Local Area Office: 902-755-7060 Fax: 902-755-7049 Local Area Office: 902-835-2702 Fax: 902-835-1860 VICTORIA COUNTY: Cabot Trail The Cabot Trail from Highway 105 to Yankee Line Road will have a one-lane closure for patching and re-paving from Monday, July 17, until Tuesday, Oct. 31. Work takes place from 6 a.m. to sunset. CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Highway 125 Exit 5A on Highway 125 will be closed for gravelling and the installation of a guardrail until Wednesday, Aug. 30. Detour signs are posted. Work takes place from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. VICTORIA COUNTY: Highway 105 Highway 105 from Exit 11 (St. Ann’s), to Exit 12 (Englishtown), will be reduced to one lane for re-paving until Tuesday, Oct. 31. Work takes palace from 6 a.m. to sunset. PICTOU COUNTY: Upper Stellarton – Church Bridge The Upper Stellarton-Church Bridge will be closed to all traffic until Friday, Aug. 11, for replacement of the deck. No detours will be posted. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes. Local Area Office: 902-863-0364 Fax: 902-863-7482 -30- LUNENBURG COUNTY: Sperry Bridge No. 2 Sperry Bridge No. 2 on Petite Riviere Road is closed until further notice. Detours are posted. Local Area Office: 902-752-6224 Fax: 902-755-7184 PICTOU COUNTY: Carmichael Road Toney River Bridge on Carmichael Road is closed until further notice. Traffic control consists of signs. Detours are available on Poplar Hill Road and Meadowville Station Road. Local Area Office: 902-893-5797 Fax: 902-896-2259 Local Area Office: 902-863-3420 Fax: 902-863-7365 INVERNESS COUNTY: Cabot Trail Cabot Trail (Trunk 30) from 6.2 kilometres south of Margaree Harbour to the new pavement at Margaree Harbour will have a one-lane closure for repaving until Thursday, Aug. 31. Traffic control consists of a traffic control person. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Local Area Office: 902-354-5035 Fax: 902-354-3106 Local Area Office: 902-667-6586 Fax: 902-667-3424 GUYSBOROUGH COUNTY: Molasses Harbour Bridge Molasses Harbour Bridge on Route 316 in Port Felix is reduced to one lane for repairs until Thursday, Nov. 30. Temporary traffic signals are in place. Local Area Office: 902-679-6122 Fax: 902-679-6187 HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Highway 103 Highway 103 from Exit 3 to Exit 5 will be under construction for gravelling and paving until Saturday, Sept. 30. A reduced speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour is posted for the duration of the project. Traffic control consists of traffic control persons. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Local Area Office: 902-893-5784 Fax: 902-896-2259 CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Trunk 22 Trunk 22, from Louisbourg town limits, northerly for about 4.6 kilometres, will be reduced to one lane for patching and re-paving until Tuesday, Oct. 31. Work takes place from 6 a.m. to sunset. KINGS COUNTY: Gaspereau River Road Gaspereau River Road is closed until further notice from the intersection of Oak Island Road to the intersection of West Brooklyn Mountain Road. The closure is necessary because of a washed out culvert. A marked, seven-kilometre detour route is available on Oak Island Road to West Brooklyn Road to West Brooklyn Mountain Road. Local Area Office: 902-563-2518 Fax: 902-563-2517 HANTS COUNTY: Route 224 Route 224, from Cooks Brook easterly to Exhibition Grounds Road will have a one-lane closure for gravelling and paving until Thursday, Aug. 31. Traffic control consists of traffic control persons and a follow-me truck. Work takes place from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Local Area Office: 902-424-6144 Fax: 902-424-7116center_img Local Area Office: 902-794-5120 Fax: 902-794-5141 QUEENS COUNTY: Cameron River Bridge Cameron River Bridge, Trunk 2, will be reduced to one lane until Friday, July 21, for maintenance and repairs. Traffic control lights will be in operation 24 hours a day until completion. Loads wider than three metres should use detour routes via Hibernia Road at Caledonia and South Brookfield. Local Area Office: 902-543-4733 Fax: 902-543-5596 INVERNESS COUNTY: River Inhabitants Road and Cenotaph Road River Inhabitants Road from Highway 105 at Exit 2, southerly for 8.4 kilometres to the intersection at Cenotaph Road, and Cenotaph Road, from River Inhabitants Road about 2.5 kilometres east through the Village of West Bay Road, will have a one-lane closure until Tuesday, Oct. 31, for repaving. Traffic control consists of traffic control persons. Work takes place from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. INVERNESS COUNTY: Cabot Trail The Cabot Trail (Trunk 30) from north of the East Margaree-Belle Cote intersection, north for seven kilometres, will be reduced to one lane for repaving until Tuesday, Oct. 31. A traffic-control person will be on site. Local Area Office: 902-679-4308 Fax: 902-679-6124 HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Wyse Road Bridge Wyse Road Bridge in Middle Musquodoboit will be closed to truck traffic while the bridge is being repaired. Trucks will detour via Route 356 and Route 213 until further notice. Traffic control consists of signs. COLCHESTER: Highway 104 – Cobequid Pass There are intermittent single-lane closures for maintenance on the eastbound lanes of Highway 104 (Cobequid Pass), between the toll plaza and Masstown. The work that began in early July is expected to take about three weeks and will occur during daylight hours. A single-lane closure of about three kilometres will be used to separate the work zone from traffic. Motorists should reduce speed in the work zones. Local Area Office: 902-674-2146 Fax: 902-674-2170 Local Area Office: 902-667-2972 Fax: 902-667-3424 PICTOU COUNTY: Durham Bridge Durham Bridge, located on Green Hill Road and Route 376, will be closed for replacement until Monday, Oct. 30. Motorists are advised to follow detour signs. Local Area Office: 902-674-2146 Fax: 902-674-2170 Local Area Office: 902-424-4409 Fax: 902-424-0568 CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Route 327 Route 327 from the Highway 125 overpass to Caribou Marsh Road will have a one-lane closure for road repairs until Thursday, Aug. 31. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Local Area Office: 902-893-6194 Fax: 902-893-6196 Local Area Office: 902-674-2146 Fax: 902-674-2170 Local Area Office: 902-542-6344 Fax: 902-542-6342 KINGS COUNTY: Highway 101 Highway 101, Exit 9 (Avonport) interchange, on and off ramps and roundabout on Trunk 1 will have one-lane closures until Monday, July 31, for paving. Traffic control consists of traffic control persons. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. COLCHESTER COUNTY: Highway 102 Highway 102 southbound will have a one-lane closure between exits 13A and 15 (Highway 104) until Thursday, Aug. 31. Traffic control consists of signs. Commuters are advised to expect delays. Work takes place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. KINGS COUNTY: Trunk 1 Trunk 1 will be reduced to one lane from the intersection of Route 358, for 1.6 kilometres to the intersection of Deep Hollow Road, to allow for repaving. Work will take place until Tuesday, Oct. 31. Work hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Traffic control consists of flagpersons. Local Area Office: 902-542-6344 Fax: 902-542-6342 COLCHESTER COUNTY: Trunk 2 Trunk 2 from Portapique River to Little Bass River will have intermittent one-lane closures until Tuesday, Oct. 31, for paving. Traffic control consists of traffic control persons. Work takes place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. CUMBERLAND COUNTY: Mount Whatley Road Bridge The bridge on Mount Whatley Road at the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border will be closed until further notice. SHELBURNE COUNTY: Port Clyde Bridge Port Clyde Bridge on Route 309 will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Monday, July 17, until Friday, July 21, for painting. A detour is available via the Clyde River Bridge on Highway 103. Local Area Office: 902-883-9789 Fax: 902-883-8732 Local Area Office: 902-755-7147 Fax: 902-755-7188 COLCHESTER COUNTY: Lilyvale Bridge Lilyvale Bridge on the Lilyvale Road is closed for repairs until further notice. Traffic control consists of signs. Detours are available on Camden Road and Riversdale Road. PICTOU COUNTY: White Hill Road White Hill Road has a one-lane closure varying in length and location during ongoing work until Thursday, Aug. 31. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Local Area Office: 902-625-4200 Fax: 902-625-1946 PICTOU COUNTY: West River East Side Road The West River East Side Road near Salt Springs is reduced to one lane for repairs until further notice. Traffic control consists of traffic signals. HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Highway 118-Wright Avenue Interchange Between the intersection at Highway 111 and the airport, Highway 118 will have intermittent lane closures in both directions for interchange construction. Traffic control consists of cones, barrels and jersey barriers. Local Area Office: 902-543-8169 Fax: 902-543-0686 CUMBERLAND COUNTY: West Advocate Road Detour Reids Brook Bridge on West Advocate Road will be closed for replacement until Tuesday, Aug. 1. Traffic will be handled by a two-lane gravel detour now in place beside the existing bridge. PICTOU COUNTY: Broadway Overpass – Highway 104 Broadway Overpass on Highway 104, about 11.1 kilometres east of Sutherland’s River bridge will have a one-lane closure and a wide load restriction of 4.7 metres, for bridge rehabilitation until Tuesday, Oct. 31. Traffic control will consist of signals. Work will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and occasionally on weekends. Local Area Office: 902-625-4200 Fax: 902-625-1946 Local Area Office: 902-485-5254 Fax: 902-485-7047last_img read more

Traffic Advisory Pictou County

first_img Sinclair Island Road is reduced to one lane Quarry Island Road is passable with caution due to water on the road Big Island Road is closed Smith No. 3 Road is closed St. Andrews Cemetary Road is closed Motorists should use caution and watch for flooding and debris. Call 511 for road condition information. -30- PICTOU COUNTY: The following roads in Pictou County are affected by flooding:last_img

Le salaire minimum augmente à 1015

first_imgLe salaire minimum en Nouvelle-Écosse augmente à 10,15 $ le 1er avril. Le salaire minimum des travailleurs sans expérience, c’est-à-dire qui ont moins de trois mois d’expérience dans l’emploi pour lequel ils ont été embauchés, passe à 9,65 $. À compter de cette année, les augmentations du salaire minimum auront lieu chaque année en avril selon l’indice des prix à la consommation de l’année civile précédente. Ainsi, le salaire correspondra au seuil de faible revenu établi par Statistique Canada. Il s’agit du seuil où les gens consacrent une portion de leur revenu considérablement plus grande que la moyenne aux besoins fondamentaux, c’est-à-dire la nourriture, le logement et les vêtements.last_img

Three new attempted murder charges for man accused in Toronto van attack

first_imgTORONTO – Three new charges of attempted murder have been laid against the man accused in a deadly van attack in Toronto last month.Police have said eight women and two men died, and 16 people were injured, after Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ont., allegedly drove a rental van down a busy sidewalk on April 23.The dead ranged in age from 22 to 94, and included a student from South Korea and a man from Jordan.Police initially said there were 13 injured that day, but further investigation revealed three others were also hurt.Minassian was already charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.He appeared in a north Toronto court by video today and said nothing as the three new charges were laid.Minassian appears on the screen wearing an orange prison jump suit. He’s standing very still with his hands straight by his side. Looking calm— Momin Qureshi (@Momin680NEWS) May 10, 2018Insp. Bryan Bott, the head of Toronto’s homicide squad, said shortly after the attack that police hadn’t identified a motive, but that the evidence they had didn’t meet the threshold for terrorism charges.last_img read more

Minister of Sport hints at big changes for handling of abuse cases

first_imgTORONTO — There could be a major shift in the way sexual abuse and harassment cases are handled in Canadian amateur sport.Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s Minister of Science, Sport and People with Disabilities, hinted Monday that an independent party might be implemented in the near future to investigate cases. Her comments come during a CBC investigation into abuse in amateur sport.“We are working on a third party,” Duncan told The Canadian Press in a phone interview Monday.Safe sport has been governed through the Sport Canada Accountability Framework since it was implemented in 1996 in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal involving former junior hockey coach Graham James. National sport organizations must have a safe sport policy — and a designated individual to handle complaints — in place to receive government funding.But in recent months and in light of a handful of high-profile cases in Canada, athletes and administrators — Olympic wrestling champion Erica Wiebe and Sheldon Kennedy, a retired NHL player and sex abuse victim among them — have publicly called for an independent party to handle cases.Abuse, discrimination and harassment were among the topics of Duncan’s working group on gender equity, which was assembled shortly after she was appointed sport minister in January of 2018.“The report has come forward, I will be addressing it, and you will see actions coming of their recommendations,” Duncan said.The minister said a meeting is scheduled for this week in Red Deer, Alta., with representatives at the federal, provincial and territorial levels ahead of the 2019 Canada Winter Games, and that ending abuse and harassment in sport had already been a top priority.  A CBC investigation, published Sunday as the first of a three-part series, reported “at least 222 coaches” were convicted of sexual offences from 1998-2018. The report also said 34 other cases of accused coaches are currently before the courts.“My heart goes out to all those who have been affected, and I have one goal: it’s to close the gap, to do the hard systemic cultural change and make this right going forward, to do everything we can to protect our athletes and kids,” said Duncan, a former gymnast and longtime coach. “I can’t say it enough, this is my top priority. One athlete, one child is too many.”Wiebe, who won gold at the 2018 Rio Olympics, was among a group of Canada wrestlers who appealed to Duncan in writing in December to establish an independent body to investigate harassment and abuse, claiming a conflict of interest and inconsistency in the current system had created an environment of fear and mistrust.“Sometimes when you have a problem with your boss, it’s really awkward to go to your boss and complain about it,” Wiebe told The Canadian Press in December. “And so, if you’re having an issue with your coach, and your coach is employed by your CEO, we’ve seen it so many times where organizations are protecting the coaches, they’re protecting their employees rather than their athletes.“So at times it doesn’t feel safe or comfortable for an athlete to come forward because we don’t want to put our goal, our lifelong dream of making an Olympic Games in jeopardy. Sometimes it’s this fear of keeping the status quo, rather than shifting the boat, because there’s been no independent body that we can go to and feel safe.”Athletics Canada released a statement Monday applauding the CBC’s investigation.“All members and participants need to trust the sport system with their safety,” the release said. “It should not matter what sport an athlete chooses, safety should be universally understood, expected and applied with no exceptions.”While the sentencing of U.S. gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar last year might have been a watershed moment for sexual harassment and assault in sport, Canada has had its own high-profile cases. Marcel Aubut resigned as COC president in 2015 after an investigation over numerous sexual harassment complaints.In June, several former members of Canada’s ski team spoke publicly about the abuse suffered at the hands of former coach Bertrand Charest in the 1990s. Charest was convicted last year of 37 offences of sexual assault and exploitation.Former Canadian women’s gymnastics coach Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation, and Justice Deborah Austin is expected to deliver her decision on Wednesday.Duncan applauded the CBC’s investigation, saying “I really think this is the power of the media to shine a light on a longstanding problem, a dirty secret in sport, and I made it my priority from Week 1 that I was going to address this long-standing problem of abuse, discrimination and harassment.”Lori Ewing , The Canadian Presslast_img read more

TSX higher amid strong Chinese data positive earnings

The Toronto stock market was higher Friday amid strong economic data from China and solid earnings reports from General Electric, Morgan Stanley and Google.The S&P/TSX composite index rose 74.87 points to 13,111.23 after closing above 13,000 Thursday for the first time in more than two years amid relief that U.S. lawmakers had reached an agreement to extend the debt limit, thus averting a possible default.The Canadian dollar was up 0.06 of a cent to 97.21 cents US as inflation pressures increased slightly in September.Statistics Canada said the Consumer Price Index rose by 0.2 per cent month over month in September. That was on top of a 0.1 per cent rise in August.The agency says the CPI was up 1.1 per cent in the 12 months to September, which matched the annual rate in August.U.S. indexes were mixed as the Dow Jones industrials dipped 2.42 points to 15,369.23 while the Nasdaq rose 35.66 points to 3,898.81 as Google’s stock price cracked the US$1,000 level.The S&P 500 index was ahead 6.57 points at 1,739.72 after hitting another record high close Thursday.There was positive news from the world’s second-biggest economy as China’s growth rebounded in the latest quarter to 7.8 per cent from a two-decade low of 7.5 per cent in the second quarter, helped by government stimulus measures.Telecoms led TSX advancers, up 0.7 per cent with Telus (TSX:T) ahead 48 cents to $34.98.The industrials sector rose 0.65 per cent. The aerospace division of Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) says one of China’s top leasing companies is the previously unidentified customer for up to 30 of its new CSeries aircraft.The buyer, CDB Leasing Co. Ltd., known as CLC, placed a conditional order in July 2011. Based on list prices, the initial contract would be worth about US$1.02 billion, and at US$2.07 billion if all options were exercised and Bombardier shares gained 16 cents to $5.15.The energy sector rose 0.55 per cent as oil also advanced with the November contract in New York 31 cents higher at US$100.98 a barrel. Canadian Oil Sands (TSX:COS) gained 21 cents to C$20.61.Copper prices advanced in the wake of the data from China, the world’s biggest consumer of the metal. The December contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose one cent to US$US$3.30 a pound. The TSX base metals sector advanced 0.4 per cent and Rio Alto Mining (TSX:RIO) climbed four cents to C$1.80.The gold sector was the sole decliner, down a slight 0.05 per cent while December gold bullion lost $6.60 to US$1,316.40 an ounce after running ahead more than $40 on Thursday.In earnings news, General Electric’s net income fell nine per cent in the third quarter to $3.19 billion, or 31 cents per share, on revenue of $35.7 billion. Ex-items, GE earned 40 cents per share, five cents higher than forecast and its shares rose 49 cents to US$25.17.Investment bank Morgan Stanley said its third-quarter earnings almost doubled as the firm’s equity sales and trading revenue rose. The bank earned $1.01 billion, or 50 cents a share, after stripping out an accounting charge, a dime higher than analysts forecasts. Its shares gained 67 cents to $29.60.And after the close Thursday, Google Inc. posted earnings of nearly $3 billion, or $8.75 per share, for the three months ended in September. If not for its expenses for employee stock compensation, Google said it would have earned $10.74 per share, topping the average estimate of $10.36 per share among analysts polled by FactSet.Revenue for the third quarter rose 12 per cent from last year to $14.9 billion. After subtracting commissions paid to Google’s ad partners, Google’s revenue stood at $11.9 billion, about $227 million above analysts’ predictions and its stock surged $116.71, or 13.1 per cent, to $1,005.50.European bourses also advanced as London’s FTSE 100 index gained 0.6 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.38 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 was ahead 0.77 per cent.In Asia, the solid Chinese data pushed Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 0.9 per cent, China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.4 per cent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 bucked the trend, dropping 0.2 per cent. read more

East Ruimveldt man on trial for dredge owners murder

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedEast Ruimveldt man to spend 25 years behind bars for dredge owner’s murderJune 12, 2017In “Court”Duo to stand High Court trial for murder of BusinessmanJuly 15, 2015In “Crime”Second suspect charged with murder of Pike Street BusinessmanAugust 26, 2014In “Crime” Travis McDougal, who was accused of killing 43-year-old Dredge owner, Ashok Raghu, outside of the Botanical Gardens on Vlissingen Road, Georgetown in August 2014, is standing trial at the High Court in Georgetown. In July 2015, McDougal was committed to stand trial for murder along with pork knocker Jermaine Otto who was one of the prisoners that perished in the deadly Camp Street prison fire, following riots in March last year.Travis McDougalMcDougal of East Ruimveldt Housing Scheme, and his accomplice, Otto, were both accused of killing the 43-year-old man on August 18, 2014, during the furtherance of a robbery of $4M, committed on the now deceased man and his wife Shyrazadi Raghu. On Monday, a 12-member jury was empaneled to hear the case for which 17 witnesses are expected to testify. McDougal who has pleaded not guilty to the allegation is being represented by Defence Counsel, Nigel Hughes.It was contended that on the day in question, the couple was in their car – PGG 8291 – when they stopped at the traffic light on Vlissingen Road and Regent Street junction. Otto and an accomplice allegedly rode up on a CG motorcycle at the driver’s side of the vehicle and shot Raghu to his chest.DECEASED: Jermaine OttoIt had been further alleged that one of the men grabbed a haversack containing Gy$4 million, but Shyrazadi held on to the haversack when she was shot in the thigh. Raghu was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital.The State’s case is being led by Prosecutor Tuanna Hardy. The trial begins before Justice Navindra Singh on Tuesday morning. read more

Dismissed DPP charges Jordan files 200M lawsuit against Edghill

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedEdghill, Jordan trade barbs over $200M lawsuitJune 25, 2018In “Court”Jagdeo questions double standard in DPP discontinuing private charges of Gov’t MinistersApril 30, 2018In “latest news”Charges against Lawrence, Norton discontinued by the DPPApril 23, 2018In “Court” By Vahnu ManikchandFinance Minister Winston JordanFinance Minister Winston Jordan has filed a $200 million lawsuit against Opposition Parliamentarian Juan Edghill, whose private criminal charges against several Government ministers, including Jordan, have since been dismissed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).In the court document seen by this publication, Jordan is claiming damages in the sum of $200,000,000; for the “Malicious Prosecution of the Offence of Misconduct in Public Office” and other damages.On April 23, Edghill initiated private criminal charges against Minister Jordan and Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson jointly as well as against Public Service Minister Dr Rupert Roopnaraine.The charges against the Ministers allege a breach of the Procurement Act in relation to the expenditure of $906 million in public funds to a private company, Homestretch Development Inc, for the construction of the controversial D’Urban Park Project, which has been a contentious issue for some time now.Jordan and Patterson were jointly charged with misconduct and abuse of public trust for having allegedly authorised the payment, while Dr Roopnaraine, who was a director of the company, was charged with alleged misconduct and the abuse of public trust for having received, in his capacity as director, the $906 million in public funds while serving as minister.However, those charges were subsequently discontinued by the DDP, Shalimar Ali-Hack, who said that in the interest of good governance, such allegations against serving ministers ought first to have been reported to the Guyana Police Force for an investigation to be launched and the advice of the DPP sought.Former Junior Finance Minister, Juan EdghillDespite the charges being dismissed, Jordan, in his application to the court, said the private criminal charges filed by the Opposition Parliamentarian was intended to embarrass, humiliate, and cause him to suffer public odium and contempt.“…the institution of the aforesaid Criminal Charge of Misconduct in Public Office against me were widely reported in the local newspapers, radio, electronic media, and was accessible and circulated on the World Wide Web and I thereafter received telephone calls from family, friends and overseas officials, inclusive of officials employed at international financial organisations… [and as such] I have suffered significant harm to my reputation and integrity as a direct result of the institution of the criminal proceeding by the respondent against me,” Jordan said in the court document.The Finance Minister went on to explain in his application that the $906 million was approved by the National Assembly, and thereafter, made available to the Public Infrastructure Ministry from the Consolidated Fund. He noted that as a Member of Parliament, Edghill could not honestly believe that he acted without reasonable excuse or justification in respect of issuing a Warrant to effect disbursements and allocation of the money to the Public Infrastructure Ministry.“…the respondent was therefore aware, or ought to have been reasonably aware, that the sum of $906,000,000… was approved by the National Assembly and as Minister of Finance, I was obligated by Law to issue the necessary warrant to ensure that the said approved sum of money was available to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, and as such there could be no honest belief that I willfully misconducted myself as alleged by the Respondent,” Jordan argued.Furthermore, he pointed out that as Finance Minister, he did not and could not have paid or authorise the payment of the $906 million to Homestretch Development Inc., as alleged by the Opposition Parliamentarian.“…notwithstanding that the Respondent was… a former Minister of Finance within the Ministry of Finance…; even an ordinary prudent and cautious citizen placed as a Complainant in the said Criminal Proceedings of Misconduct in Public Office against me could not have reasonably concluded that I was guilty of the offence or even draw an inference that I was guilty of the offence of Misconduct in Public Office as alleged…,” Jordan stated.Those private charges that Edghill had initiated where the second set of charges filed by the Opposition that the DPP had thrown out, citing the same reasons.Two days before dismissing the charges against Ministers Jordan and Patterson, the DPP also discontinued charges against Government Ministers Volda Lawrence and George Norton.Those charges were previously filed over the sole sourcing of over $600 million in drugs and other pharmaceuticals for the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, and the rental of a house in Sussex Street, Albouystown, Georgetown to be utilised as a drug bond at a cost of $12M monthly respectively. read more

77 memorial vandalised in London on anniversary of the 2005 attacks

first_img Source: James Banks/Twitter POLICE IN LONDON are investigating after the memorial for the events of 7 July 2005 was vandalised overnight.The attack on the memorial in Hyde Park in central London took place nine years to the day after the bombings by Islamic extremists which left 52 people dead and more than 700 injured. BREAKING NEWS: 7/7 memorial in Hyde Park vandalised on 9th anniversary of attack. More on @LondonLive pic.twitter.com/gALNPyPAx5— James Banks (@Tweetingbanksy) July 7, 2014center_img The Metropolitan Police were alerted by a member of the public shortly before 3.30am today to the vandalism on the 52 pillars, which represent each of the people who died.The graffiti consisted of several short sentences written in red and black paint saying “4 innocent Muslims” and “Blair lied thousands died”. It has already been cleaned off.https://vine.co/v/MPm17nJjKFjA memorial service is due to take place at the site in Hyde Park later today.Police said there have been no arrests but the investigation is ongoing, and urged anyone with information to contact them.Read: Calls for review of UK security services as families react to 7/7 inquest verdict > Read: 4 men admit al-Qaida inspired plot to blow up London Stock Exchange >last_img read more

Ric Flair talks about recovery admits alcoholism caused health issues

first_img September 20, 2017 at 5:15 pm Twitter Nothing against his recovery, but I used to live in Charlotte, NC and his name was in the paper every other month for D & D arrests. Along with his late son Reid, who was down that path and it cost him his life. Pinterest Now Playing Up Next WWE celebrates Smackdown’s 20th anniversary on the first episode on FOX on October 4 Triple H Videos Articles Facebook Best thing he can do now after what he’s been through is to keep on the mend and follow through on his vow not to drink again. Hulk Hogan Wrestling Fans Mourn The Loss Of WWE Legend Mean Gene Okerlund The Northwesterner Comments are closed. WWE RAW Results – 7/22/19 (RAW Reunion show, Hall of Famers and Legends return) Videos Articles NupeNDallas Suicide Is Skyrocketing In America, And Nurses Are Faring Even Worse Videos Articles Kevin Nash Shares Heartfelt Condolences For WWEs Mean Gene Okerlund Stone Cold Steve Austin People TV recently interviewed WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair at a rehab facility in Georgia where he continues to recover from multiple organ failures.The interview notes that doctors were unsure at one point if Flair would ever recover after he was put into a medically induced coma. Flair abusing alcohol during his lengthy wrestling career was among the main topics of discussion with the profile, with Flair noting it was only natural to begin drinking after driving 3,000 miles a week on the road.“I didn’t think I was an alcoholic, but I obviously was. I never drank when I was working. But as soon as work was over, right to the mill.”Wendy Barlow, Ric Flair’s fiancé, was interviewed as well when Flair’s personal life was explored including being married four different times and having four children. Barlow talked about the day Flair began complaining about a bad stomach ache and why that ended up being the day that saved his life by going to the hospital.Barlow, who said she became very concerned about Flair’s “excessive drinking”, expressed this concern to Flair and that he never wanted to talk about it. It was revealed Flair underwent treatment for drinking and that while he didn’t stop, he was “in a better place.” Flair said Wendy tried repeatedly to confront him and he would only get angry about it saying he was an adult and she couldn’t tell him what to do.Flair noted that the drinking started to get out of control, with Barlow saying Flair became more aggressive in public when he would drink. Barlow also revealed around this same time Flair started complaining about feeling dizzy all the time and that the doctors pinpointed this as the first early signs of Flair having issues with his heart. When Flair went to the hospital, he was admitted to the ICU and he began experiencing organ failure including severe issues with his bowel. This forced the decision to put him in a medically induced coma.Barlow said when Flair had to be taken in for surgery, doctors told her he only had about a 20% chance of survival and that they also informed his daughter (WWE star Charlotte Flair) that it was wise she come see him because they didn’t think he was going to make it. An emotional Flair said he was never told it was that serious at the time. He is now undergoing physical therapy and was described as having a “long road ahead.” Flair is still unable to walk by himself and requires either a walker or wheelchair to get around right now. Barlow talked about the support she got from the wrestling community and how both Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan stayed in constant contact with her and Flair during the hard time.Flair vowed during the interview that he will never drink again.Source: People TVRecommended videosPowered by AnyClipWrestling Fans Mourn The Loss Of WWE Legend Mean Gene OkerlundVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmuteDuration 0:38/Current Time 0:02Loaded: 100.00%0:02Remaining Time -0:36 FullscreenUp NextThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Replay the list Adam Martin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR WhatsApp Now Playing Up Next September 20, 2017 at 11:51 pm U-Dog Now Playing Up Next Al79 Wow Flair looks really aged in that pic- wish him the best in his recovery September 21, 2017 at 1:54 am WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair Hospitalized Jeffery Adam Phillips Ric Flair Opens Up About 2017 Health Scare Great piece by People… we’re pulling for you Naitch! Now Playing Up Next RAW Preview: Hall of Famers and Legends return for RAW Reunion, Live Post-Show tonight September 21, 2017 at 12:14 pm 5 COMMENTS Now Playing Up Next September 23, 2017 at 9:38 pm Ric, I love you, but…no shit you were an alcoholic. Google+last_img read more

Tough budget decisions remain in Alaska

first_imgIt took two special sessions for Alaska legislators to agree to a budget after a crash in oil prices contributed to a severe reduction in the state’s available revenue.Barring a huge rebound in oil prices, things aren’t expected to get much easier.While legislators made big cuts in spending, they won’t be able to repeat the same level of cuts to Alaska’s infrastructure budget, for which state money was reduced largely to the amount needed to meet federal match requirements. And Legislative Finance Division Director David Teal says finding cuts in government operations is always tough.Walker spokeswoman Katie Marquette said Walker signed the operating and capital budgets late Monday. The signing was not announced, and details were not immediately released. The new fiscal year starts Wednesday.last_img read more

Game of Thrones star Isaac HempsteadWrights college life as a Massacre Bran

first_imgIsaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark (L) and Max von Sydow as the Three-Eyed Raven (R)Game of Thrones/FacebookBran Stark did not see university life coming it seems. Isaac Hempstead-Wright’s experience at university as a celebrity may not have been entirely pleasant. Apparently, the Game of Thrones star was recognized wherever he went.Reportedly Isaac Hempstead-Wright revealed he didn’t have a typical student experience when he studied at the University of Birmingham. Speaking to Esquire, the actor, confessed it was like ‘a massacre’ when he went to some ‘awful club night’ with his new flatmates on the day he moved in.He said: ‘I walked in and this girl just looked at me. And I was like: “Hello”, and they were like “Hi(!)”.’I went down to get some more stuff and when I came back, they’d had like a flat conference to say: “Oh my god, what the f*** is going on.”Isaac isn’t the first celebrity to have an awkward university experience. Many Hollywood stars before him have faced star struck fans coming up to them and asking for selfies and autographs. The Bran Stark actor added: ‘We went for dinner and they didn’t actually say anything until, eventually, one of their mates was like: “So apparently you’re in Game of Thrones?!”‘I went out to some awful club night, and it was just… a massacre.’  Bran Stark is the Night KingFacebookApparently, the actor, attended university for a year before dropping out. He said he received ‘billions of emails’ from fans because his student email address was in the public domain. This kind of bombardment will make anyone feel overwhelmed. It makes us wonder if that was the reason he dropped out?He said: ‘There were so many tweets. And because your email is public domain, I got like, billions of emails from people going: “Hi Three-Eyed Raven!”‘I was just trying to find out where my next lecture was.’Well, it seems that the craziness of fans is only going to increase with the final season of Game of Thrones right around the corner.last_img read more

Was Kusal Pereras innings better than Ben Stokes epic knock

first_imgWho did it better, Perera or Stokes?Twitter/ICCThe cricket world is in a state of frenzy after witnessing the miracle in the third Ashes Test at Headingley. Many fans and experts are deeming Ben Stokes’ knock as the greatest ever in Test cricket history. No less a person than Sir Geoffrey Boycott has said that Stokes’ knock was the finest ever he has witnessed in his many decades of watching cricket.But some people have expressed a differing opinion. They have argued that Kusal Perera, the Sri Lankan batsman, played an even better innings earlier this year. This innings came in the first match of a two-Test series played in February. Sri Lanka were chasing a target of 304 and were in a lot of trouble at 226/9.But thanks to Kusal Perera’s 153 not out, they won the match by one wicket. So, who played the better innings: Perera or Stokes? Let’s try and find out the answer by looking at the facts.Length of the inningsStokes made 135 runs from 219 balls while Perera scored 153 from 200 balls. So, while Perera had more runs, Stokes had to battle it out for a longer time. Jack Leach faced just 17 balls and scored merely one run in the 76-run partnershipTwitter/ICCSupport from no. 11The partnership between Stokes and the last batsman Jack Leach was worth 76 runs when they needed 73 to win. On the other hand, Perera added 78 runs, the amount required, with his no. 11 colleague Vishwa Fernando. Leach faced 17 deliveries and scored 1 run while Fernando dealt with 27 balls and scored 6 runs. The partnership between the Sri Lankan pair lasted for 95 deliveries while the English last wicket duo had to be out there on the pitch for 62 balls.Quality of opposition bowling attackThe South African bowling attack that Perera negated had Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander, Duanne Olivier and Keshav Maharaj. Stokes’ opponents were Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Nathan Lyon. The South African pace attack looks the better one, hands down. It had the best fast bowler of the century in Dale Steyn, the man who could take that title in the future – Kagiso Rabada, and three other highly capable men.But it must be remembered that Steyn was a shadow of his former self. Compared to them, the Australian bowlers had just bowled out their opponents for 67 in the same Test. So, it is hard to say which attack was more difficult to deal with but one may just tilt towards Australia’s. Perera and Fernando had 95 balls in their partnershipTwitter/ICCPitches in the two gamesWhen it comes to pitches, some people may look at the scorecard and deem the wicket in Headingley as very tough for batting. However, on the third and fourth day, the conditions had become very batsmen-friendly and there was no assistance to the bowlers. Even Nathan Lyon was struggling to be sharp due to no footholes outside the right-hander’s off-stump. So, even with the conditions, it’s hard to say who faced the tougher odds.The occasionThis is where Stokes has a clear advantage. The Ashes is the biggest series for the two teams involved whereas Sri Lanka vs South Africa has never been a big contest. The English all-rounder was batting in front of a raucous full-house and with the revered urn on the line. If England had lost this match, Australia would have retained the Ashes. There was no such pressure on Perera. On this parameter alone, one can give the advantage to Ben. Stokes was playing on a much bigger stage than PereraTwitter/ICCConclusionIt is very hard to decide on the basis of the facts, who played the better innings. However, the atmosphere at the two venues was completely different. For some unexplainable reason, the innings by Stokes seemed much more powerful and dazzling than that by Perera. Is it just an optical illusion? One can make that point but playing on a bigger stage also means there is greater pressure. Stokes handled that pressure brilliantly. Still, the Sri Lankan left-hander also would have had pressure on him.So, in conclusion, it’s up to you to decide which innings you consider as the better one.last_img read more

Dutch queen arrives in Dhaka Tuesday

first_imgDutch queen Maxima. Photo: AFPDutch queen Maxima arrives in Dhaka on Tuesday on a four-day official visit to see various development activities on the ground and hold meetings with Bangladesh leadership, including development partners, reports UNB.Queen Maxima has served as the UN secretary-general’s special advocate for inclusive finance for development (UNSGSA) since 2009.As special advocate, she is a leading global voice on advancing universal access to and responsible usage of affordable, effective and safe financial services.Queen Maxima is scheduled to arrive at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport by an Emirates flight at 5:20pm. Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen will receive her.The Dutch queen will have a meeting with prime minister Sheikh Hasina at 7:00pm on Wednesday at her Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban office.She will hold a meeting with representatives of development partners and will visit Zindari union parishad complex of Palash in Narsingdi and a boutique shop at Tongi on Wednesday.On Thursday, the Dutch queen will attend a roundtable discussion with representatives of private sector.She will have a meeting with Bangladesh Bank governor Fazle Kabir and officials of finance and posts and telecommunications ministries.In the afternoon, she will meet president Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban.The Dutch queen is scheduled to leave Dhaka on 12 July.last_img read more