Man gets 20 years in jail for sexual harassment of minor

first_imgKolkata: A city court recently convicted and awarded 20 years of rigorous imprisonment to man accused of sexually harassing a minor girl.According to police, on March 14, 2016, an elderly woman arrived at the Chetla police station and alleged that her granddaughter has been sexually harassed by one of their relatives. She said the child’s father died few months ago and her mother worked as domestic help to support the family. The elderly woman further said the mother of the minor could not take of the girl as she was busy with her work and therefore the girl lived with her in a slum in Chetla. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAs the elderly woman was not able to keep a watch on the girl, one of their family members took the advantage of the situation and sexually harassed her for four months. The accused person also threatened the girl not to disclose the incident to anyone. If she tells anyone about him, she will be killed, he threatened her. But, as the victim was not able to bear the torture any more, she narrated the whole incident to her grandmother. Upon receiving the information, the police rushed to the place where accused person lived. He was arrested on the same day. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayDuring medical examination, it was indicated that the girl was sexually abused. Immediately, a case was initiated under sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Within a month the police submitted the charge-sheet along with the medical report and substantial evidences. After a long trial, recently the concerned court convicted the accused person. Later, the accused was awarded 20 years rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 30,000. Upon failing to pay the fine amount, the convicted person will have to serve 18 more months in the prison. The court also ordered that half of the fine amount along with Rs 3 lakh as compensation will have to be paid by the state government to the victim girl.last_img read more

The missing voters

first_imgWhat do Maruti Suzuki Chairperson R C Bhargava, Apollo Hospitals Vice Chairperson Shobana Kamineni, and I have in common? All three of our names have been deleted from the voter list by the Election Commission. We are not the only ones, there are reports of thousands of people who have complained that their names don’t feature on the voter list. This number could increase manifold given that many citizens would not even know how to complain or raise an issue or by the time they realise that their names are missing, it would be too late. I can personally vouch that I voted in the West Bengal Assembly polls of 2011; I especially travelled from Delhi to Kolkata to vote in 2014. Obviously, after voting in the last two major elections held in the state, one would expect to feature on the voter list. But imagine my shock when a cursory perusal of the Election Commission’s National Voters’ Service Portal website revealed that I no longer have the right to cast my vote! My mother’s name exists (even though she didn’t vote in 2014 due to ill-health) but mine doesn’t. When I called the EC’s helpline for voters, I was told that since I am not residing at the address, my name was deleted as part of EC’s ‘purification’ programme. Even though my Aadhaar card and passport to carry the same address. But was I informed? Was there any official communication of the impinging of my constitutional right to vote? No. But I would not let matters be. So, I called up a local politician in our area who was witness to me voting both in 2009 and 2014. His party records showed my name till 2014 but this time around, it was deleted. He had no other explanation to offer except that it had happened to many people. This curious situation makes me wonder if the Election Commission has taken into account lakhs of migrant labour (both white and blue collar) who regularly travel for work or stay in other cities for long periods of time. If in the last two elections, those individuals have exercised their right of franchise, what’s the logic behind deleting their name? The Election Commission indeed has the mammoth task of organising the largest elections in the world. But this time there are rampant complaints of ad hoc deletion of names from the voter list based on reasons best known to the Election Commission. The EC’s PR drive has not been effective enough to spread awareness among voters ahead of Lok Sabha polls to verify if their names are on the list. Apparently, the EC did release the voter list to political parties to cross-check names but to leave it entirely to them to decide the right of vote ordained to the citizens by the Constitution of India is problematic. Online check could be done to make sure one’s name is on the voter list, but then how many fellow Indians have access or understanding of digital means of checking the voter list? Around 90 crore Indians are eligible to vote this time with almost 13 crore first-time voters. Should it not be the Election Commission’s responsibility in the years preceding Lok Sabha polls to ensure that every voter gets a chance to vote? The EC needs to devise a better strategy that leads to increase in the number of voters rather than a decline. And what is the use of Aadhaar cards if their data was not used by the EC to determine who should remain on the voter list? The numbers are great enough for two social activists in Bengaluru to start an online petition called ‘My Vote, My Right’ that urges all deleted voters to submit their details. Over 2,000 people have signed this petition, 10,000 have enquired about it, and uncorroborated reports suggest that over 2 lakh voters were deleted in Bengaluru while there are allegations of deletion coming in from parts of Telangana (almost 80,000 couldn’t vote), Gujarat, Delhi, and Tamil Nadu. But these numbers don’t fully expose the reality that this time many willing voters stand a chance to lose out on the opportunity. As for me, I have applied for a change of constituency and followed up my application with calls to the EC helpline. Since the last date of applying for voter registration and/or change of constituency is allowed till the last date of filing nominations for that phase, I am keeping my fingers crossed that my name will just about make it. But several others will have been cheated of their right to vote. Who will take responsibility for that? (The writer is a journalist and media entrepreneur. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Ban deplores appalling murder of kidnapped Italian in Gaza

Mr. Ban extended his condolences to the family of Mr. Arrigoni, who media reports say was a pro-Palestinian activist who arrived in Gaza on a ship that broke through the Israeli naval blockade more than two years ago. A radical Islamist group has reportedly claimed responsibility for kidnapping the 36-year-old, who was found hanged in a house in Gaza City.“This crime was committed against a person who lived and worked among the Palestinian people in Gaza,” noted a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.“The Secretary-General calls for the perpetrators of this appalling crime to be brought to justice as soon as possible,” the statement added. 15 April 2011Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today condemned the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian national who was abducted in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, and called for those responsible to be brought to justice. read more

Talks the only way to end IsraeliPalestinian conflict Obama tells UN

21 September 2011Peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be attained through negotiations, United States President Barack Obama told the General Assembly today, urging both sides to make compromises to break the current deadlock and saying that “statements and resolutions” at the United Nations will not resolve the conflict. “Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians – not us – who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem,” Mr. Obama said in his speech to the General Assembly’s annual general debate.He stressed that Palestinians deserved their own State and that Israel for its part deserved recognition and normal relations with its neighbours.“Friends of the Palestinians do them no favours by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-State solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.”The fact that each side had legitimate aspirations was one of the reasons why it has been difficult to make peace, Mr. Obama said.“The deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the other’s shoes; each side can see the world through the other’s eyes. That’s what we should be encouraging. That’s what we should be promoting.”Turning to nuclear non-proliferation, Mr. Obama said the US will continue to work for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons and the production of fissile material needed to make them.He urged Iran to demonstrate that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to abandon its nuclear arms development and what he called its belligerent actions against the Republic of Korea.“But if they continue down the path that is outside international law, they must be met with greater pressure and isolation,” he said.Mr. Obama hailed the recent progress made towards democracy in North Africa and the Middle East, including the dramatic political changes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and the groundswell of demands for greater freedoms in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.“Something is happening in our world. The way things have been is not the way that they will be. The humiliating grip of corruption and tyranny is being pried open. Dictators are on notice.”He pledged that the US will stand up for universal rights that have been embraced by the General Assembly, and continue to support States in transition to democracy with greater trade and investment so that freedom is followed by economic opportunities.During their meeting on the margins of the general debate, Mr. Obama and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon discussed current developments in the Arab world, notably the Middle East peace process, Libya and Syria, according to information provided by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.They also exchanged views regarding the situation in Somalia, food security and UN reform. read more

Ex LTTE member Rudrakumaran calls resolution a fudge

The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) led by former LTTE negotiator Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, is to form an international team comprising of international Judges, international lawyers and Human Rights specialists to monitor the implementation of the UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Sri Lanka.The TGTE said that rhe world witnessed two visions of justice at the 30th Session of the UNHRC this month. One vision of justice which States are willing to dispense and then one vision called for by humanity at large demonstrated by the participation of 1.4 million people through the “Million Signatures Campaign” calling for “Referral of Sri Lanka” to the International Criminal Court (ICC). However Rudrakumaran’s TGTE says the Human Rights Council, a state-centric institution, had passed a resolution last week noting that a credible justice process should include independent judicial and prosecutorial institutions led by individuals known for integrity and impartiality and further affirms in this regard the importance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the Special Counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defense lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators. “The Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Nadu State Assembly, and the Transnational Government’s Parliament passed resolutions calling for an international mechanism to investigate and prosecute international crimes namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid, was bold in telling that accountability “requires more than a domestic mechanism” and he called for a special hybrid Court,” the TGTE said. “This Resolution is a fudge. It prioritizes the Sri Lankan Government’s obsession with controlling criminal proceedings over the victims’ rights to effective justice. Any reasonable observer knows that all criminal proceedings within the Sri Lankan justice system will be stymied by racial bias and political interference. The role of the Sri Lankan State in the mass crimes will be whitewashed,” TGTE said.TGTE says based on a treaty between the UN and the Sri Lankan Government, a hybrid criminal tribunal should be established. “We call upon the High Commissioner to make the evidence gathered during the investigation available to states willing to undertake cases through the important legal principle of universal jurisdiction. The TGTE is willing to work with any State in this regard. The TGTE will facilitate the exploration of all techniques available to bring war criminals and perpetrators of genocide to justice through means available under the law. The measures taken by the Sri Lankan Government will not exhaust these remedies unless they are measures that satisfy the standards of international law,” TGTE said.The TGTE for its part will form an international committee comprising international judges, international lawyers and human rights specialists to monitor the implementation of the present HRC Resolution. (Colombo Gazette) read more

CSN top guns Yoshitha Nithantha and others arrested

The owners and top management of the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) including Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Nishantha Ranatunga and Rohan Weliwita were arrested today by the Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) over alleged financial irregularities.They were later produced before the Kaduwela Magistrate. The CSN management was being investigated for financial irregularities alleged to have been committed at CSN. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his wife and family members were present in court while large crowd was seen outside.CSN was launched by Yoshitha Rajapaksa when Mahinda Rajapaksa was President and the network was given exclusive rights to cricket matches featuring Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)

Group Mach offers 14 per share in bid to block Transat sale

Montreal real estate developer Group Mach is offering Transat A.T. shareholders $14 per share in an effort to scoop up 19.5 per cent of the airline’s shares in order to block its sale to Air Canada.Group Mach is making the offer to Class B shareholders, representing an eight per cent premium over Air Canada’s offer of $13 per share which was approved by Transat’s board in June.The developer says in a statement that it believes Air Canada undervalues Transat, that its sale process to Air Canada was flawed and that Air Canada’s offer creates uncertainty for Transat employees and its head office.Shareholders are scheduled to vote on the Air Canada offer on Aug. 23. It requires approval from two-thirds to go through, and faces resistance from major Transat shareholders who feel the price is too low.Letko, Brosseau and Associates and PenderFund Capital Management, which control about 22.06 per cent of Transat shares, have said they would vote against the agreement if the purchase price remained at $13 per share.The deadline for Group Mach’s offer expires Aug. 13. The Canadian Press Companies in this story: (TSX:TRZ, TSX:AC) read more

Thousands of malnourished Liberians threatened with famine by December UN

With one in six Liberians dependent on international food assistance, including 10,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) at a camp in the capital, Monrovia, the World Food Programme (WFP) said it needs another $11 million to buy food for the rest of the year.From 30 June to 6 July, WFP distributed some 2,725 tons of commodities to over 63,625 IDPs, and 1,950 returnees. The agency also distributed 1,327 tons of commodities to about 267,220 children in 710 schools through the school feeding programme.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it faced a $23 million shortfall for its repatriation programme, which was expected to start next October and end in December 2006.Awaiting help are 300,000 refugees in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria, it said.

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Millers memorable day against Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Braxton Miller’s name was repeatedly spelled incorrectly on the Michigan Stadium video boards during the Ohio State football team’s 40-34 loss to Michigan.For the record, it’s “Braxton,” not “Braxston.”Despite Michigan’s victory, Wolverines fans likely won’t forget Miller, or the proper spelling of his first name, after the freshman quarterback’s debut in the UM versus OSU rivalry at the Big House Saturday.Miller helped open the scoring for the Buckeyes when he found sophomore wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown on a 54-yard touchdown pass less than three minutes into the game.That was just the opening act for Miller in a game that featured six lead changes.OSU fell behind Michigan at several points in the first half, but Miller helped OSU overcome one deficit with a 19-yard touchdown run that put the Buckeyes up, 17-16.The freshman collected 100 rushing yards on 16 carries, and averaged six yards per carry.With the Buckeyes trailing, 23-17, with 1:21 to play in the first half, Miller connected with senior receiver DeVier Posey on a 43-yard touchdown pass to retake the lead at 24-23.Miller finished the game with a career-best 235 passing yards on 14-of-25 passing.One pass that Miller didn’t connect on was a deep ball intended for Posey that was overthrown, but even that elicited complimentary remarks on Miller’s command of the offense by Posey.“That was a call that (Miller) made. I just felt that was a grown-man call that he made,” Posey said. “I was like, ‘Let’s go,’ and he just missed it by a little bit.”Miller also went toe-to-toe with Wolverines’ junior quarterback Denard Robinson, whose five touchdowns and 337 total yards of offense were just enough to upend the Buckeyes.Miller said he wasn’t focused on the matchup against Robinson.“I wasn’t paying attention to that. I was just trying to win the game,” Miller said. “I was doing my best to help my team win the game. I had fun doing it.”Despite several overthrown balls by Miller on the day, Posey said he spoke to Miller after the game and offered words of encouragement.“That’s one thing about that kid that I admire so much — at such a young age, (Miller) is such a fighter,” Posey said. “No matter what it is, he’s going to make some plays. He’s a hell of a player.”First-year Michigan head coach Brady Hoke agreed.“Miller threw the ball well,” Hoke said. “With his ability to run the dual threatness that he presents, we got distracted a little bit with our eyes.”Miller led the offense onto the field with less than two minutes to play and a final shot at victory in “The Game.”The Buckeyes’ last-ditch effort to notch a come-from-behind victory was thwarted by Michigan as a Miller pass was intercepted by Wolverines’ sophomore cornerback Courtney Avery.“I was just trying to get the job done,” Miller said.Then the celebration began as Michigan took to a victory formation and downed the ball on its ensuing possession, which brought an end to its seven-game losing streak to the Buckeyes.By the time he addressed the media after the game, Miller had already begun to focus on the 2012 season, though.“I’m just going to go watch film and fix my mistakes,” he said. “I’m just starving for next year.”OSU (6-6, 3-5) will now wait to see if it receives a bid to a postseason bowl game. read more

Ohio State embracing The Grind as it takes the field for spring

The OSU football team returned to the practice field on March 10 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, less than 2 months after the Buckeyes beat Oregon in the 1st-ever College Football Playoff National Championship. Credit: Tim Moody / Sports editorThe Ohio State football team is coming off its eighth national title, returns three Heisman-caliber quarterbacks and a likely Heisman front-runner at running back — but it still has doubters.At least that is what senior linebacker Joshua Perry said Tuesday after the Buckeyes concluded the first day of spring practice.“It’s just the nature of the game and the nature kind of being in the position that we are in. We’re one of those teams that’s got a great tradition and we’ve been good in the past, but you know there’s always that little bit of doubt,” Perry said.While some might say it was indeed a fluke in 2014, the Buckeyes completed “The Chase” and have created a new motto for the 2015 season: “The Grind.”Perry said the new slogan was created by two people not on the playing roster: coach Urban Meyer and strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marrotti.“The grind is a lot of things. It’s what our program is about. You sharpen, you shape, you pulverize. It’s a lot of friction and so we like that,” Perry said. “It’s how you develop players and get the best out of people.”Meyer said he worries about motivating his players to make another run at a title, but that’s not his main focus at the moment.“Right now, we are not into the motivation. It’s just about improving. As long as a player or program feels like it’s getting better, then the motivation is going to be there,” Meyer said.The Buckeyes will have a plethora of experience on the 2015 roster as the offense and defense each graduate just four regular starters.Senior offensive lineman Taylor Decker said while he understands people doubting the Buckeyes, he and his teammates are not buying into any negativity.“I can see why there are reasons people could doubt us, not that I believe in those. We did lose players that were vital to that team last year,” Decker said. “It’s kind of scary, a team coming off a big season like we did, to have a let down because you don’t want guys to think they’ve arrived, or be entitled to winning games.”The current Buckeye senior class enters the 2015 season having won 38 of 41 games, and that figure doesn’t include redshirt-seniors like Braxton Miller. The quarterback returned to practice in a limited role on Tuesday for the first time since August.As Miller returns from a torn labrum, the majority of the Buckeyes are feeling healthy and are ready to begin “The Grind,” Perry said.“I think we did a really good job this offseason being smart and taking care of our bodies. Guys were talking about how fresh they felt, I felt fresh today and ready to go,” Perry said. “I think when you’re anxious to get back out there on the field, a lot of that stuff goes away. If you have a nagging ache or pain, you just wanna get back out there.”Perry said the people who might doubt the OSU football program are the ones who make the Buckeyes want to get back out on the field.“It gives you a little bit of extra energy. It wouldn’t be as fun if everybody was always just cheering you on,” Perry said. “You kind of need those doubters to give you a little bit of that extra edge.”With doubters fueling their drive, Decker said it’s time for the Buckeyes to get back to work, less than two months removed from a national title.“We have to start that next journey for next season,” he said. “We can’t idle because of what we did last season.”The Buckeyes are set for their annual Spring Game on April 18 at Ohio Stadium before opening the 2015 season on the road against Virginia Tech on Sept. 7. read more

Europe pledges an extra €30 million to help Syrians in need

first_imgTHE EUROPEAN UNION is to give an extra €30 million in aid for victims of the Syrian conflict.The money is a top-up on the donations of €960 million provided by the European Commission since the start of the crisis in 2011.The funds will be divided between those in need within Syria and refugees living in camps in Jordan and Lebanon. The two neighbouring countries have given shelter to about 60 per cent of the 2.3 million Syrian refugees.The extra aid will help upgrade basic services such as water and sanitation in the camps there with an aim to reduce health risks caused by inadequately treated wastewater.In order to avoid a lost generation, the funding will also be used to support UNICEF in its work  to protect refugee children and to promote access to learning for about 400,000 of those at school-going age.A total of €16 million will go to UNRWA to provide urgent cash assistance to Palestinian refugees from Syria and to help meet the climbing costs associated with the ten-fold increase in the number of Palestinian refugees now facing severe poverty.An estimated 235,000 Palestinian refugees – around half of the total Palestinian refugee population – are displaced within Syria, having effectively become refugees a second time, and 80 per cent of the total 540,000 registered Palestinian refugees in Syria are now in need of critical assistance.Last week, the European Commission signed major contracts with United Nations agencies totalling an initial €147 million to deliver vitally needed aid to people affected by the Syrian crisis.According to the UN, about nine million people (half of the population of Syria) currently require some form of assistance. That figure makes it the greatest humanitarian emergency in decades.Within Syria, more than 6.5 million people are internally displaced. Meanwhile, 2.3 million people have fled the country because of the violence. According to UNHCR estimates, the refugee population in the region could reach over 4 million by the end of 2014.The situation has been exacerbated in the past few weeks as Syria witnesses its coldest, harshest winter in years.Related: At least 42 dead after ‘TNT-packed barrels’ dropped on Syrian city of AleppoMore: British doctor ‘failed by his government and Syrians’Explainer: So what is left of the Arab Spring?last_img read more

White iPad 2 Coming This Week

first_imgHere’s something that’s sure to irk those who have been eagerly awaiting the white iPhone–looks like we might actually see a white iPad before that thing actually arrives. Of course, we’re still in the leaked photo stages for the thing here. That’s the proof above, a white frame sent to 9 to 5 Mac from Shenzhen City.The question, of course, is whether the existence of a white iPad means that the company has finally resolved the problems that have plagued the company since Jobs first held up the white iPhone 4 during the launch event last summer.Apple thus far has only stated that the white version of the phone has been “challenging to manufacturer,” repeatedly pushing back the launch date of the device (at present, it’s said to be due out at some point in the spring). One of the most dominant rumors surrounding the delay is the effect that a white bezel has on the development of photos, letting too much light in and thus ruining shots taken with the device.If the Pad 2 does indeed have the front facing camera we all expect, the release of a white iPad seems to imply that the company has finally tackled the issue.last_img read more

Woodstock 50 Performers JayZ The Killers Miley Cyrus More Announced

first_img Woodstock 50 Performers: Jay-Z, The Killers, Miley Cyrus & More Announced https://twitter.com/TheFestiveOwl/status/1108138820023664641 Email Twitter Woodstock 50 Announces Performers woodstock-50-performers-jay-z-killers-miley-cyrus-more-announced Facebook News Chance the Rapper, Black Keys, Robert Plant, Halsey, Dead & Company, John Fogerty, Santana, and more artists are slated to perform at the 50th anniversary celebration in Watkins Glen, New YorkRachel BrodskyGRAMMYs Mar 19, 2019 – 4:21 pm Woodstock 50, which is taking place in Watkins Glen, New York on Aug. 16 through 18, has confirmed its three-day lineup.According to the festival poster, headlining artists include Jay-Z, The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Dead & Company, Imagine Dragons, Chance The Rapper, Brandi Carlile, and more. Classic artists like John Fogerty, Santana, John Sebastian, Country Joe Mcdonald, Canned Heat and Hot Tuna, all of whom played at the original 1969 fest, are on the bill as well. Tickets for Woodstock 50 go on sale April 22. More information is available on the festival’s website. Check out the full Woodstock 50 lineup below, courtesy of Rolling Stone:Day 1: The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, The Lumineers, The Raconteurs, Robert Plant, John Fogerty, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Run the Jewels, The Head and the Heart, Maggie Rogers, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Anderson East, Princess Nokia, John SebastianDay 2: Dead and Company, Chance the Rapper, Black Keys, Sturgill Simpson, Greta Van Fleet, Portugal. The Man, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Dawes, Margo Price, Country Joe and the Fish, Rival Sons, Emily King, Soccer Mommy, Taylor BennettDay 3: Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons, Halsey, Cage The Elephant, Brandi Carlile, Janelle Monae, Young The Giant, Courtney Barnett, Common, Vince Staples, Judah and the Lion, Earl Sweatshirt, Boygenius, the Zombies, Canned Heat, Hot Tuna, Pussy Riot, Cherry GlazerrTwo Woodstock 50th Anniversary Events Planned For Aug. 2019Read morelast_img read more

As tragedies shock Europe a bigger crisis looms in the Middle East

first_imgAL-MINYA, Lebanon — While the world’s attention is fixed on the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees swarming into Europe, a potentially far more profound crisis is unfolding in the countries of the Middle East that have borne the brunt of the world’s failure to resolve the Syrian war.Those reaching Europe represent a small percentage of the 4 million Syrians who have fled into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, making Syria the biggest single source of refugees in the world and the worst humanitarian emergency in more than four decades.As the fighting grinds into a fifth year, the realization is dawning on aid agencies, the countries hosting the refugees and the Syrians themselves that most won’t be going home any time soon, presenting the international community with a long-term crisis that it is ill-equipped to address and could prove deeply destabilizing, for the region and the wider world.The failure is first and foremost one of diplomacy, said António Guterres, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The conflict has left at least 250,000 people dead in the strategic heart of the Middle East and displaced more than 11 million overall, yet there is still no peace process, no discernible solution and no end in sight.Now, the humanitarian effort is failing, too, ground down by dwindling interest, falling donations and spiraling needs. The United Nations has received less than half the amount it said was needed to care for the refugees over the past four years. Aid is being cut and programs are being suspended at the very moment when those who left Syria in haste, expecting they soon would go home, are running out of savings and wearing out the welcome they initially received.“It is a tragedy without parallel in the recent past,” Guterres said in an interview, warning that millions could eventually end up without the help they need to stay alive.“There are many battles being won,” he added. “Unfortunately, the number of battles being lost is more.” A 15-year-old bride receives well-wishers at a Syrian refugee settlement near Tripoli, Lebanon. The Damascus girl married a resident of the camp in April after losing both of her parents to the fighting in Syria. Photo for The Washington Post by Sam TarlingIt is a crisis whose true cost has yet to be realized.Helpless, destitute refugees are strewn around the cities, towns and farms of the Middle East, a highly visible reminder of the world’s neglect. They throng the streets of Beirut, Istanbul, Amman and towns and villages in between, selling Kleenex or roses or simply begging for change.Mothers clutching children sleep on traffic circles, under bridges, in parks and in the doorways of shops.Families camp out on farmland in shacks made of plastic sheeting, planks of wood and salvaged billboards advertising restaurants, movies, apartments and other trappings of lives they may never lead again.“This is not a life,” said Jalimah Mahmoud, 53, who lives on handouts with her 7-year old granddaughter in Al-Minya, a settlement of crudely constructed tents alongside the coastal highway in northern Lebanon. “We are only alive because we are not dead.”Inevitably, those who can are leaving. Families pool their savings and borrow from friends to pay smugglers who pile them onto boats crossing the Mediterranean to Europe and the chance of a better life.There they are duplicating, on a lesser scale, the scenes of misery playing out across the Middle East — camping out on the beaches of Greece, sleeping on the streets of European cities and joining the queue for asylum. A sign of the dangers of their journeys emerged this past week in Austria, when authorities discovered the decomposing bodies of 71 people in an abandoned truck — apparently migrants being smuggled into the country.Syrians accounted for the largest percentage of asylum-seekers in Europe over the past two years, and their numbers are growing fast — 63 percent of the 160,000 people who have washed up in Greece so far this year were Syrian.But Europe is an option available only to refugees with the means to pay the $5,000 or $6,000 fee demanded by smugglers.Anecdotal evidence based on interviews with Syrians in Turkey and Lebanon suggests those who have already made the journey tend to be people who were better off before war erupted. Others are saving what little they receive or earn, selling their land and possessions, in the hope that they, too, will eventually be able to make the journey.“Everyone I know is trying to go,” said Nada Mansour, 37, a mother of two girls who is waiting for approval to join her husband in Sweden after he paid $6,500 to be smuggled there via Libya.“I am so happy,” she added, her eyes shining with anticipation, “because I will guarantee my children a good life.”For most refugees, there is no escape from the squalid settlements, the humiliation of panhandling or the quiet despair of waiting out the war in the camps set up by governments or the United Nations. The UNHCR estimates that two-thirds of the refugees in Lebanon and Jordan live in absolute poverty.“We would leave if we could, but we don’t have money,” said Fitnah al-Ali, 40, who has seven daughters as well as a son, who occasionally finds daywork. She said the family’s aid was cut off by the United Nations after she sold food vouchers to pay for her sick husband’s medical care.“On some days we don’t eat at all,” she said. Faraj al-Ali, 43, who was left blind and suffering from kidney failure after being imprisoned by the Syrian regime in 2011, sits with his daughters Bushra, 11, and Ayesha, 6, in their tent in a refugee settlement in Al-Minya, Lebanon. His wife, Fitnah al-Ali, says the familyís aid was cut off after she sold food vouchers to pay for his medical care. Photo for The Washington Post by Sam TarlingThe risk to the stability of the already fragile, volatile countries that have taken in this wave of human misery is evident. About 750,000 children are not attending school, their parents are idling away their productive years, and teens are coming of age without hope of ever finding full-time work.The crisis has gone on so long that some children have forgotten where they are from. Rashid Hamadi, 9, remembers his house, with bedrooms for himself and his siblings and a garden where roses grew. He remembers tanks and bullets and running in fear from bombs.But he hesitated when asked the name of his home town. “I don’t remember,” he said.Ali’s daughter Bushra, 11, is forgetting how to read.At school in Syria three years ago, reading was her favorite subject, she said. Her face lit up as she rushed to retrieve her only reading material from the back of the family’s gloomy tent — an anti-smoking leaflet distributed by an Islamic charity.As her fingers traced the words, her voice faltered. “I can read less and less,” she said. “It’s getting more difficult.”The long-term future of children such as these is bleak, and the risk of radicalization is real, said Peter Harling, senior Middle East adviser with the Brussels-based International Crisis Group think tank“This is a whole generation of people deprived of anything they can hope for or believe in,” he said. “The scary thing is to what extent this conflict is sowing the seeds of something else in the future that is chronic.”That there has not yet been any significant refugee-related unrest is a testament to the resilience of both the Syrians and the nations hosting them, said Rochelle Davis, an associate professor in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University.But, she added, “you can’t have 25 percent of your country full of another citizenry and not have problems. There are going to be problems in Lebanon, and the same with Jordan.”In Turkey, the only country in the region that has made a point of welcoming the refugees, some Syrians are allowed to work, attend school and receive medical care. The Turkish government has already warned Turks to prepare for the eventuality that the presence of 1.9 million Syrians in their country of 75 million may be permanent.In Lebanon, memories of the role played by Palestinian refugees in triggering the country’s 1975-1990 civil war have deterred government action to improve the lives of the 1.1 million Syrians registered as refugees with the United Nations.At least 1 out of every 4 people living in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee. Most of them are Sunni Muslims, and their presence risks upsetting the country’s delicate sectarian balance, just as the arrival of 100,000 Sunni Palestinian refugees after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 skewed the Muslim-Christian balance — eventually triggering the tensions that plunged Lebanon into civil war.The Lebanese government has refused to allow the construction of camps for the Syrians, so the refugees are left to fend for themselves. They rent often-substandard apartments or live in the hundreds of informal settlements that have sprouted around the country, typically paying landowners about $100 a month for the privilege of sleeping in tents.New government restrictions have made it harder for Syrians to work or renew their residency papers, making many afraid to leave their settlements at all. Some Lebanese towns have imposed curfews on Syrians.“It’s like being in prison,” said Nour Msaitef, 25, who fled Idlib province three years ago and dares not leave his camp, on the outskirts of the Bekaa Valley town of Zahle, even in daylight for fear of being detained by the Lebanese authorities or beaten up by local residents.In the communities where refugees are concentrated, the friction is palpable.“They are breeding camps for terrorists and disease,” said Ali Rahimi, a shopkeeper in the nearby town of Talabaya.“The Lebanese are being squeezed because of them. They have less food. They don’t have jobs,” said Rahimi, who is a Shiite Muslim. “If this situation continues much longer, there will be war” between the refugees and the native population. Rashid Hamadi, 9, holds a picture he drew at a school set up by a charity inside a Syrian refugee settlement in Al-Minya, Lebanon. Rashid says he remembers his house but not the name of his home town in Syria. Photo for The Washington Post by Sam TarlingIncreasingly, aid agencies are casting their appeals for money not in terms of humanitarian need, but as a strategic imperative. This year, funds are also being earmarked for the poorest communities hosting the refugees.“It’s a humanitarian issue, but it’s also a security issue,” said Ross Mountain, the outgoing coordinator of the overall U.N. humanitarian effort in Lebanon. “Poor people who are desperate are inconsistent with security and stability.”But the aid effort overall is increasingly underfunded. The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has spent more than $5.6 billion on housing, feeding and caring for Syrians since the conflict began, but that was less than half the amount it said was needed. Over halfway through this year, donors have contributed only 37 percent of the $4.5 billion the United Nations says is required to provide for the refugees in 2015.The World Food Program has steadily reduced its monthly per-capita food allowance to $13.50 from $40 last year and will halt aid entirely next month to more than 200,000 of the neediest 1.6 million refugees, the agency said.After Turkey, which says it has spent $6 billion taking care of refugees, the United States is the largest single donor to the Syrian humanitarian effort, with $4 billion provided so far to refugees as well as the people displaced inside Syria.But the amount — which worked out to $3.1 million a day in 2014 and is set to be an equivalent figure this year — is less than a third of the $10.5 million being spent daily on the U.S.-led air war against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, according to U.S. government figures.Private donations are slipping, too. For a multitude of reasons, the Syrian crisis has defied the best efforts of fundraisers to stir the sympathy of ordinary people who might in the past have contributed, aid agencies say.The U.S.-based aid group World Vision raised $8 million in two weeks for victims of the Nepal earthquake, which left 500,000 people homeless. In four years, appeals for the Syrian refugees have raised only $2.7 million, according to the organization’s president, Richard Stearns. He attributes the disinterest mostly to the complexity of Syria’s conflict and a broader mistrust of Muslims.“This is a crisis that is mind-numbing for the American people. They look at the Middle East, they say, ‘This is crazy. They’re all attacking each other. We don’t understand it.’ It’s like a tangled ball of yarn, and they tune it out,” he said.“People just don’t feel as warm and fuzzy and compassionate when it comes to helping Muslims,” he added. “There’s a perception that Muslims aren’t very warm to the United States, and that’s another reason people tune it out.”Syria is, moreover, not the only crisis demanding the attention of donors.An unusual convergence of wars and disasters erupting around the world pushed the number of people displaced from their homes to 59.5 million by the end of 2014, a post-World War II record, according to the UNHCR.Of those, more than 13 million were displaced in the past year, by conflicts in countries such as Ukraine, Yemen, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Iraq. The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and the earthquake in Nepal have compounded the burden on aid agencies. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that it will need $52 billion in 2015 to cope with emergencies, in addition to the $6.2 billion sought by the world body’s refugee agency. A makeshift settlement near the Bekaa Valley town of Zahle, Lebanon. The Lebanese government has refused to allow the construction of camps for the Syrians, so the refugees there have been left to fend for themselves. Photo for The Washington Post by Sam TarlingGovernment aid budgets don’t extend to those amounts, and the wider aid community simply doesn’t have the means to manage so many disasters at the same time, aid agencies say.“We are all stretched beyond the breaking point,” said Andrea Koppel, vice president of advocacy at Mercy Corps. “We don’t have the people, let alone the money, to meet the needs of all those who have been affected. There aren’t enough people with the skill sets to deploy to those places. The international donors are stretched. There just isn’t enough to go around.“And we are asking ourselves the question, is this the new normal? And if so, what do we need to do to cope?”The question increasingly resonates in the aid community.One problem is an asylum system designed in the wake of World War II, to take in a few thousand citizens escaping repression in the Soviet bloc, that is now confronted with an exodus of millions every year, said Michael W. Doyle, who heads Columbia University’s Global Policy Initiative.“The system we have is poorly designed for the challenges we face,” he said. “There’s no coherent asylum policy worldwide that would share around the burden of looking after the people who are fleeing.”Germany announced earlier this month that it will grant temporary residence to all Syrian refugees arriving there and predicts an influx of more than 800,000 by the end of 2015. The United Nations is urging countries worldwide to grant asylum to 130,000 Syrians in the coming year.The United States has accepted 1,500 Syrians for resettlement since the conflict began in 2011, but it hopes to admit more next year, said Julia Straker, a spokeswoman for the State Department.Humanitarian workers say the biggest problem for Syrian refugees, however, is the war itself. “What we badly need here is peace in Syria, not only to stop Syrians being killed but so that the refugees can go back home,” said Mountain, the U.N. coordinator.That’s what the refugees say they want — but increasingly fear won’t happen.Some fled the excesses of the Islamic State, others government forces. Many now find their home towns on the wrong side of front lines that are unlikely to budge.Fitnah al-Ali’s nephew returned last year to the family’s home in Homs, an epicenter of the anti-government revolt in 2011 that led to the civil war. The city is now under government control. He was detained and has not been heard from. “Just because you fled, they will say you were with the revolution,” said her son, Abdullah, who dares not go back.Some of the refugee dwellings are acquiring small signs of permanence. Shakoud Sharqi, who worked as a carpenter in Homs, has planted geraniums, rhododendrons and marigolds around his tent in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, a blaze of color and life amid the drab dwellings and piles of uncollected garbage.Watfa Assad Saleh and her family have added a wooden roof, walls and little shelves decorated with china dogs to the shack they inhabit just across the border from Syria, within earshot of the daily airstrikes pounding their hometown of Zabadani, another early focus of the revolt. Their house there has been leveled, neighbors have told them, and she questions whether they will ever go back.“We say, ‘God willing,’” she sighed. “But I don’t believe we will ever return.”Suzan Haidamous and Sam Rifaie contributed to this report.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Calls for action on Europe’s migrant crisis after Austrian tragedy Germany reinstates border controls over refugee surge Costa Rica now will accept Syrian refugees after president reverses course Myth: Refugees are a burdenlast_img read more

Oregon school shooting He just tried to do the right thing one

first_imgThursday was a very special day for Chris Mintz: Oct. 1 was his son’s sixth birthday. Though the child was too young to see it, the proud dad posted a happy birthday message on Facebook anyway on Wednesday night.Hours later, as the former U.S. Army infantryman and Umpqua Community College student confronted a gunman on the rural Oregon campus, Mintz’s son was at the forefront of his mind, according to accounts provided by Mintz’s family.Mintz, 30, encountered the gunman as he attempted to block the door of the classroom, his aunt Wanda Mintz told The Washington Post. Her nephew was shot three times, then fell to the ground. In that moment, she said, he tried to reason with the gunman.“He hit the ground and looked up at him and said, ‘It’s my son’s birthday, don’t do this,’” Wanda Mintz recounted, after speaking to the mother of Mintz’s son. “And the guy shot him at least two more times.”When Wanda Mintz spoke to her nephew Friday morning he was weak but awake after undergoing surgery for multiple gunshot wounds.“He just tried to do the right thing,” Wanda Mintz said. “That’s just how he is. If he sees someone who needs help, he just helps. He just tried to intervene.”Roseburg, Oregon, has now been added to the grim list of U.S. communities devastated by a mass shooting; the incident left 10 dead, including the shooter, and others injured.And Chris Mintz is now counted among a group of heroes caught in the crossfire while trying to intervene. Police officers stand guard outside the apartment building where the alleged gunman, Chris Harper Mercer, lived in Winchester, outside Roseburg, Oregon, on Oct. 2, 2015. Josh Edelson/AFPMintz sustained gunshot wounds to his upper back, abdomen, left hand and upper and lower leg, according to a Facebook post by Jayme Skinner, the mother of Mintz’s son.Both of Mintz’s legs were broken during the shooting, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his family to cover medical and childcare costs. Photos on the page show Mintz smiling from a hospital bed. His aunt said Skinner has been by his side.After spending 6 1/2 hours in surgery, “he is conscious and he understands what is going on,” Skinner wrote on Facebook.“He will have a long road ahead of him of recovery. However, he is one tough dude and he will do just fine,” she continued, adding, “Today he became a hero.”Relatives have spoken to Mintz often since the shooting. His uncle Jerry Brown — who along with most of Mintz’s family lives in Randleman, North Carolina — also confirmed that Mintz had been shot multiple times while rushing the shooter, and said he was doing well in the hospital.“We’re just so glad that he’s okay,” Brown said from North Carolina. “He always had determination. In a situation like that, you knew he would be the one to respond.”Mintz was born and raised in Randleman, where he graduated from high school in 2003. He joined the Army and was stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington, where he met Skinner, Wanda Mintz said.He also has a wrestling and mixed martial arts background, having fought twice on the MMA amateur circuit in 2011 and 2012.“He was on the wrestling team and he’s done cage-fighting so it does not surprise me that he would act heroically,” aunt Sheila Brown told NBC News on Friday.Mintz moved to Oregon six years ago when the North Carolina economy collapsed, Brown said. He had been working in the furniture business and living in a trailer with his young family but wanted something new.“He’s gone out that way for a fresh start,” Brown said. “Things were going good out there for him. That’s what he was looking for — being with his family, raising his son, being in school.”Mintz’s Facebook page is filled with motivational memes, reflections on the importance of faith and photos of him playing with his son.Wanda Mintz said her nephew’s 6-year-old boy is autistic and is too young, anyway, to comprehend what happened to his father, who might need more surgeries and could be stuck in a wheelchair for some time after Thursday’s shooting.“His son will never understand,” she said.As the story of Mintz’s courageous actions became national news, a new post popped up on his Faecbook wall:“This is Chris’s friend,” it reads. “Chris asked me to thank everyone for their support, he is grateful and keeping our community and all victims in his thoughts.”© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Gunman at Oregon college appeared armed for an extended siege Multiple fatalities reported after mass school shooting in Oregon In New Hampshire, Clinton pledges to stand up to the gun lobby Two US journalists killed during live TV broadcastlast_img read more

MSC Cruises launches MSC Voyagers Club

first_imgMSC Cruises launches MSC Voyagers ClubNew MSC Voyagers Club reinforces company’s commitment to provide its guests with best in class services across its expanding fleet.MSC Cruises has just launched the MSC Voyagers Club, the Company’s new loyalty programme that rewards experienced travellers and reinforces the Company’s consistent commitment to offer guests an exceptional all-around experience before, during, and after their cruise.MSC Voyagers Club rewards passion for adventure and the love of discovering new places. Joining is free of charge and is possible before taking a cruise – all that is required is a confirmed booking. Personalised cruise cards will be made available to MSC Voyagers Club members at the beginning of each sailing.MSC Voyagers Club points are earned according to the onboard experience that guests opt for when cruising with MSC Cruises: Bella, Fantastica, Aurea or MSC Yacht Club. In addition, prepaid onboard services and expenses will earn additional points.The range of privileges extended to MSC Voyagers Club members includes, among others, dedicated events, milestone rewards, and exclusive onboard offers. Exclusive events, complimentary gifts, and a special booklet with onboard offers on every cruise – or priority boarding and late cabin check-out for top tier members – can also be enjoyed by MSC Voyagers Club members.From 20 July 2015, MSC Voyagers Club members have an exclusive 5% discount on all future cruises. In addition, a broad array of selected cruises – called Voyages Selection – will be available to them in advance with additional discounts of up to 15%. When MSC Voyagers Club members book a cruise from the Voyages Selection, Silver, Gold and Black members will also receive €/$50 of onboard credit per person.The loyalty club enhancements are a complement to MSC Cruises’ determination to provide best-in-class cruising experiences while partnering with multiple global brands that are epitomes of excellence in their fields. Indeed, examples are the partnerships with the Lego Group and Chicco that are rooted in the Company’s commitment to creating unforgettable holidays for children and families. A partnership with restaurant brand Eataly adds high-end Italian cuisine made with exceptional ingredients to the fleet’s rich dining offer, while collaborations with Samsung and Expo 2015 – for which MSC Cruises is the Official Cruise Carrier – confirm the Company’s focus on technological innovation. MSC Cruises become a member of MSC Voyagers Club here Source = MSC Cruiseslast_img read more

Take our quick survey now and enter a prize draw f

first_imgTake our quick survey now and enter a prize draw for a Kindle Fire HD. Just click here.Terms and Conditions1. The organiser of this competition is:Skyscanner LimitedQuartermile One15 Lauriston PlaceEdinburghEH3 9ENUK2. The competition starts at 9am on Tues 9 September 2014 and ends at 5pm on Fri 19 September 2014.3. One winner will be selected based on Skyscanner’s choice of the best caption. The winner will be chosen on Fri 19 September 2014 and will be notified by Mon 22 September 2014.4. Entry is prohibited to directors, management and employees of Skyscanner, and their immediate families of Skyscanner.5. Skyscanner reserves the right to terminate or modify the competition at any time prior to the closing date by publishing any modifications on the Skyscanner website.6. Skyscanner’s decision in regard to the winner and all other matters relating to the competition are final, and no discussions will be entered into.7. Participants must be resident in the UK or Ireland and aged 18 years or over as at 9 September 2014.8. One entry per person9. Skyscanner accepts no responsibility for any tax implications that may arise from accepting a Prize and recommends that entrants obtain independent financial advice in this regard.10. The prize consists of a Kindle Fire HD.11. The Prize is non-refundable and no cash alternative will be given. In the event that the stated Prize is not available, an alternative of the same value will be supplied.12. By entering the competition, the entrant grants Skyscanner an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferrable, sub-licensable, royalty-free license to use the entry for competition/marketing purposes, including but not limited to reproducing the entry on its websites, blogs, social networking accounts and newsletters. The licence includes the right to modify and edit the entry at the discretion of Skyscanner, such as the correction of any spelling, typographic or grammatical errors.13. If any act, omission, event or circumstance occurs which is beyond the reasonable control of Skyscanner and which prevents Skyscanner from complying with these terms and conditions, Skyscanner will not be liable for any failure to perform or delay in performing its obligations.14. Except in respect of liability for death or personal injury caused by its negligence, or for any fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation or any other liability which cannot be excluded by law, Skyscanner will not be liable for any losses, damages, expenses, costs or claims arising out of or relating to this competition or the use of the Prize, whether in contract, tort (including negligence), breach of statutory duty or otherwise.15. These Terms & Conditions and the competition are governed by the laws of England & WalesReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map RelatedWIN flights worth £500 with lounge access!WIN flights worth £500 with lounge access.Enter our #DestinationDraw competition!Win a trip to a mystery destination in our new competitionWin a trip to Ibiza in our #SkyscannerRocks competition!Win a pair of tickets to party at Ibiza Rocks this summer!last_img read more

Circulatory disease and cancer two main causes of death

first_imgThe two main causes of death in Cyprus in 2016 were circulatory system diseases and neoplasms caused by cancer, according to figures published on Friday by the statistical service.In total, 5,587 deaths were recorded on the island in 2016 –comprised of both residents and visitors. Of those, 54 per cent were male and 46 per cent were female. The leading causes of death were circulatory system diseases, which affected 33.1 per cent of cases, followed by neoplasms, which were 23.7 per cent.Respiratory problems accounted for 8.9 per cent of deaths, endocrine gland diseases, nutrition and metabolism for 6.9 per cent and trauma and poisoning 5.4 per cent. In the same year, a total of 78,486 people were admitted to public hospitals, similar to 2015 when the figures amounted to 78,988. There was a 5.3 per cent drop in the number of patients admitted to rural hospitals in Kyperounda and Polis from 1,481 in 2016 to 1,564 in 2015. In 2016, the number of beds occupied in public hospitals came to 73.1 per cent, which was a slight drop from 2015, which amounted to 74.7 per cent. In rural hospitals, the figures were 46.9 per cent in 2016, another drop from 2015 which had been 51.3 per cent. You May LikeCampusPlus5 College Degrees That Will be Useless In the Near FutureCampusPlusUndoHorizontimesThese Are The Smartest Dogs According To Vets, You’ll Be Surprised Which Made The CutHorizontimesUndoAutoversedCan You Drop the Hammer on the 2-Stroke Engines Quiz?AutoversedUndo Verstappen wins crazy German Grand PrixUndoCyprus’ Dothraki warriorUndoFilms and food at RialtoUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more