Money laundering case against Prajapati 5 IAS officers

first_imgLucknow/New Delhi: In more trouble for former Uttar Pradesh Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Sunday said it has registered a case of money laundering against him, five IAS officers and others for illegal sand mining in Deoria and Fatehpur districts. A senior ED official in Delhi told IANS: “The agency has registered a case of money laundering against Prajapati, then Principal Secretary Jiwesh Nandan, Special Secretary Santosh Kumar, then District Magistrates Abhay Kumar Singh and Vivek and unknown others.” Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The ED said it registered a criminal case on the basis of a CBI FIR registered last month. The ED had on July 16 questioned Prajapati in Lucknow’s King George’s Medical College for three hours. Prajapati, who is in judicial custody in an alleged gang rape case, was recently shifted to hospital after he complained of being unwell. The ED has questioned Prajapati about his role in giving three sand mining licences to Shiv Singh and Sukhraj in Fatehpur district. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The official said the agency suspects that the money generated from Shiv Singh and Sukhraj was used to buy properties in cities like Lucknow, Rae Bareli and Amethi. The agency also plans to question Prajapati’s sons Anil and Anurag to identify the money trail. The CBI last month searched Bulandshahr District Magistrate Abhay Kumar Singh’s and former Deoria District Magistrate Vivek’s premises among others. Abhay Kumar Singh was earlier the District Magistrate of Fatehpur while Vivek is presently the Director of Training and Employment in Lucknow. During the searches, the CBI seized Rs 47 lakh in cash from Abhay Kumar Singh’s residence while Rs 10 lakh was found from the premises of Devi Sharan Upadhyay, a former Additional District Magistrate of Deoria, now posted as CDO, Azamgarh. The development can spell trouble for former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav since he has been linked to illegal mining. Abhay Kumar Singh has been under the CBI scanner for alleged irregularities in mining when he was the District Magistrate of Fatehpur when Akhilesh Yadav was the Chief Minister (2012-17). Akhilesh Yadav was also the Mining Minister in 2012-13. The illegal mining allegedly took place between 2012 and 2016. According to the CBI sources, a total of 22 tenders passed by the Uttar Pradesh government between 2012 and 2016 were being scrutinised. Of these, 14 were passed when Akhilesh Yadav held the mining portfolio and the rest when Prajapati was the Mining Minister. In June, the CBI searched Prajapati’s three premises in Amethi. In February, the ED registered a case of money laundering against IAS officers B. Chandrakala and others in illegal sand mining cases on the basis of the CBI FIR. The CBI registered the FIR after the Allahabad High Court directed it to investigate allegations of illegal mining in Shamli, Hamirpur, Fatehpur, Siddhartha Nagar and Deoria districts.last_img read more

Settat Businessman Handed Prison Sentence For Inappropriate Sexual Advances

Rabat – While the “Me Too” movement continues to surge in Britain and America, women’s stories of sexual harassment in and out of the workplace have garnered international attention around the world, including in several European countries and Morocco.According to Assabah in its March 28 edition, a “political leader” has been arrested and convicted for sexually harassing the women in his professional network. The incident occurred in Safi, a province in Settat. According to reports, the political leader in question—whose name has not been revealed in news reports—was handed a six-year prison sentence for demanding sexual favors from his female subordinates and other women.The Settat court verdict followed a series of appeals by a number of women (colleagues and others) who said to have received inappropriate sexual advances from the suspect. As the suspect is also a prominent businessman in the Settat region, complainants said in their files that he sexually harassed them and requested sexual favors in exchange for financial help or subvention for their projects. Speaking to the press under conditions of anonymity, a 30-year old president of a civil society organization recounted her experience with the suspect. In her statement, she reported to have paid a visit to the suspect’s office concerning a project her association was undertaking, seeking support—mainly financial—from the businessman.As she prepared to leave the suspect’s office, he told her to stay longer because he needed to “talk about something important,” the woman said, explaining that the suspect suddenly got up and kissed her. When she objected to his advances, he allegedly cooled down and told her: “Consider this as a kiss from your father.” “But my father does not kiss me in this way,” Assabah quoted the woman as saying.According to Assabah, the woman was the first to submit a complaint with the Settat Appeal Court. However, in the course of procedures preceding the trial, she discovered that her case was not an “isolated one”: many other women had been through similar experiences with the same man. Her courage emboldened the other women to sue the suspect, Assabah reported. The suspect reportedly contacted many of the women in a bid to persuade them—mainly by offering them huge sums of money—to withdraw their complaints. But his efforts were countered by many women’s rights associations that convinced the women to continue their fight, promising them support throughout the trial, Assabah added.The man was handed a six-year sentence, as well as a fee of 2,000 to 20,000 MAD if he attempts to approach or contact any of his victims read more

Poll: Losing Amazon second HQ deal was bad for New York

ALBANY, N.Y. — A new poll finds that most voters in the state say it was bad for New York when Amazon’s dropped plans to put one of its second headquarters in Queens.The Siena College poll released Monday found that 67 per cent of registered voters surveyed said the internet retailer’s decision last month was detrimental to New York. Sixty-one per cent support the state and city again offering Amazon up to $3 billion in incentives to create 25,000 jobs if Amazon reconsiders.The company scrapped plans to redevelop a Long Island City neighbourhood for one of its second HQs after the deal met mounting opposition from local elected officials who mostly objected to the incentives package.The poll of 700 registered voters was conducted March 10-14. It has margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.Chris Carola, The Associated Press read more

SecretaryGeneral pays tribute to fallen colleagues killed in Algiers

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today honoured the 17 United Nations staff members who lost their lives in last month’s terrorist attack in Algeria, telling a memorial ceremony in Geneva that their deaths were a “savage loss.” Speaking at the ceremony, held at the UN Office in Geneva, Mr. Ban said that he was “humbled by their courage, dedication and sacrifice.”The UN staff members were killed when a car bomb destroyed the offices of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and damaged those of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Algiers, the Algerian capital. A second car bomb exploded near a court building. Following a minute of silence at the ceremony, the Secretary-General – who visited the bombing site shortly after the incident – said that the recent tragedy highlights the “acts of unbelievable courage and sacrifice performed in the face of evil and death,” stressing that the fallen staff members leave behind grieving children, parents and spouses. “It is the people of Algeria and of the entire Arab and Muslim world, just as much as the United Nations, who have lost men and women in this brutal and despicable deed,” Mr. Ban noted. During the emotional event, the Secretary-General unveiled the tattered flag that had flown outside the UN offices in Algiers at the time of the attack, saying that it “stands for the sacrifice of our colleagues” and “for our determination to persevere.” He told those gathered at the ceremony that several important lessons can be drawn from the Algiers attack. “We must do even better in explaining, to the public and the media wherever we have a presence, what we stand for and what we don’t, why we are there and who we are,” Mr. Ban stated. In addition, he underscored the importance of bolstering security for UN staff around the world. To this end, he has appointed an independent panel of experts to assess the safety and security of UN personnel worldwide, and said today that he hopes the composition of this team will be decided shortly.In a press conference after the ceremony, the Secretary-General said the Algiers attack has “strengthened my resolve and commitment to work tirelessly” to curb terrorism.He expressed sadness that the UN has become a terrorist target for the second time – a bomb destroyed the world body’s Baghdad headquarters in August 2003, killing 22 people, including top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.“Primarily, the responsibility of protecting United Nations staff and premises falls on the host government,” Mr. Ban told journalists.Clarifying “incorrect reporting” regarding the consultation process between the UN and the Government of Algeria, he said that he has held “extensive consultations” and has gotten the “understanding” of the countries concerned. 23 January 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today honoured the 17 United Nations staff members who lost their lives in last month’s terrorist attack in Algeria, telling a memorial ceremony in Geneva that their deaths were a “savage loss.” read more

Western Sahara UNs family visits exchange scheme set to shift to second

A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ron Redmond, told reporters today in Geneva that flights carrying Saharans will operate between Dakhla in the Territory and the Algerian town of Tindouf for about four weeks starting next Friday. Since early last month, the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has been operating flights so that refugees who have lived near Tindouf for years because of the conflict in the Territory can see their relatives, and vice versa, for five-day periods. “The operation has been going extremely well,” Mr. Redmond said. “People are overjoyed at finally getting a chance to see their relatives, sometimes after a separation of nearly 30 years.” The UNHCR has registered more than 8,500 Saharans who want to take part, with priority being given to the elderly and the sick. So far the programme has been restricted to flights between Tindouf, where thousands of Saharan refugees live in five nearby camps, and the city of Laayoune in the Territory. Today another round of flights carried more than 50 people between those two areas. Mr. Redmond said that after the Dakhla phase, flights will shift to Smara and Boujdour before returning to Laayoune. The programme is designed to promote face-to-face contact between people who have been separated since the outbreak of war after Spain withdrew from the Territory in the mid-1970s. Since then, Morocco and the Frente POLISARIO (Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro) have been in conflict over Western Sahara’s future status. MINURSO has been in place since April 1991 to try to resolve the dispute. read more

ICC adds one year to Bembas conviction for attempted bribery of witnesses

The United Nations-backed International Criminal Court (ICC) today sentenced the former Congolese Vice-President, Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, to another year in prison and about $325,000 in fines for interfering with his trial. Judges ordered the that the sentence be served consecutively to Mr. Bemba’s existing 18 year sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Central African Republic between October 2002 and March 2003. In their ruling, the judges ordered the fine to be paid within three months to the ICC and then transferred to the Trust Fund for Victims, according to a press release. Mr. Bemba, along with two of the four other people accused, were found guilty in October “for having jointly committed the offences of intentionally corruptly influencing 14 defence witnesses, and presenting their false evidence to the court.” Mr. Bemba was also found guilty of soliciting the giving of false testimony by the 14 defence witnesses and attempting to corruptly influence two defence witnesses. These charges were in addition to the main ruling issued in March 2016, in which the ICC found Mr. Bemba guilty beyond reasonable doubt on two counts of crimes against humanity (murder and rape) and three counts of war crimes (murder, rape and pillaging) committed in the Central African Republic in 2002-2003.Mr. Bemba had been the commander-in-chief of the former Congolese rebel group, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo, as well as a vice-president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the 2003-2006 transition. read more

David Ortiz back in Boston after being shot in Dominican bar

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — David Ortiz was back in Boston on Monday night for medical care, a day after authorities said the former Red Sox slugger affectionately known as Big Papi was ambushed by a gunman at a bar in his native Dominican Republic.A plane carrying the 43-year-old retired athlete landed after a flight from the Dominican, the team said.Ortiz had been in stable condition in intensive care at a Santo Domingo hospital after doctors removed his gallbladder and part of his intestine, according to his spokesman, Leo Lopez. He said Ortiz’s liver was also damaged in the shooting Sunday night.Ortiz is one of the most beloved figures in sports history in the Dominican Republic and Boston, a fearsome power hitter with a ready smile. He led the Red Sox to three World Series championships, was a 10-time All-Star and hit 541 home runs. “He is resting … Big Papi will be around for a long time.”Dozens of fans crowded the hospital earlier Monday, causing a traffic jam. In the U.S., fans prayed for his recovery and wished him well, with New England Patriots star Julian Edelman assuring him on Instagram: “Papi, all of New England has your back.”The Red Sox offered “all available resources” and sent an air ambulance to bring him back to Boston.“He’s on the Mount Rushmore of Boston sports,” said Eddie Romero, the team’s assistant general manager.The club asked fans to observe a moment of reflection shortly before playing the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park and posted on the videoboard: “We send our love to David Ortiz.”Ortiz was at the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo on Sunday night when a gunman approached from behind and shot him at close range in the torso, authorities said.The gunman was not immediately identified or arrested and the motive for the shooting was under investigation, with authorities trying to determine whether Ortiz was the target.The operator of the motorcycle that was carrying the gunman was captured and beaten by a crowd of people at the bar, authorities said.“He’s on the Mount Rushmore of Boston sports.”Eliezer Salvador, who was at the scene, said the gunman said nothing, just fired once. Salvador then drove a wounded Ortiz to the hospital, telling reporters they had a brief conversation in the car as he urged the baseball great to stay calm and breathe.“Do you have any problems with anyone?” Salvador recalled asking him, to which Ortiz replied: “No, my brother, I’ve never wronged anyone.”Salvador held up Ortiz’s bloody belongings for reporters, along with some of his jewelry. He also apologized for hitting several cars while rushing to the hospital: “That wrongdoing was justified.”Ortiz’s father, Leo, said he had no idea why someone would have shot at his son.“He is resting,” the elder Ortiz said. “Big Papi will be around for a long time.”He added that he is pleased with the medical attention Ortiz has received but that he will be transferred to Boston so he can be with his wife and the Red Sox medical team.Two other people were wounded, including Jhoel Lopez, a Dominican TV host who was with Ortiz. Police believe Lopez was wounded by the same bullet, said National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte. Lopez was shot in the leg, and his injuries were not life-threatening, said his wife, Liza Blanco, who is also a TV host.Police did not identify the third person or detail that person’s injuries.The bar is in a bustling nightlife district packed with dance clubs and expensive bars that Ortiz is known to frequent.Chicago White Sox pitcher Ivan Nova, who’s from the Dominican, said the shooting rattled him.“The way that everything is going right now back in my country, I’ve got to be honest, I’m not very happy to say what is going on right now over there,” Nova said. “A lot of times I see guys who play on my team coming to the United States to live. The dream that you have as a baseball player is to have a good career, and then go back home and spend time with your family. Now you’ve got to think about if DR is a safe place for you to be in. It’s a tough situation.”Ortiz, who retired after the 2016 season and lives at least part of the year in the Dominican Republic, is often seen getting his cars washed and hanging out with friends, including other baseball players, artists and entertainers.The Red Sox retired his number, 34, in 2017, and Boston renamed a bridge and a stretch of road outside Fenway Park in his honour. He maintains a home in Weston, on the outskirts of Boston.Ortiz galvanized the city in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that left three people dead, bellowing through a megaphone at Fenway Park: “This is our (expletive) city!”“In 2013, when we needed David Ortiz the most, he was there for us,” Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy said Monday. “Our focus is on his health and on getting him back here for treatment.” ___ Associated Press reporter Bill Kole in Boston contributed to this report. Ortiz’s father, Leo, said he had no idea why someone would have shot at his son.The Red Sox offered “all available resources” and sent an air ambulance to bring him back to Boston.Two other people were wounded in the shooting. BROWSE Big Papi | david ortiz | shooting Related Stories Red Sox, Big Papi fans rally around Ortiz after shootingEx-Boston slugger David Ortiz shot at Dominican Republic bar Summary read more

Atheist parents take primary school to court as they say assembly prayers 

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Atheist parents are taking their children’s primary school to the High Court, claiming that biblical re-enactments and praying in assembly are a breach of their human rights.  Lee Harris and his wife Lizanne have won permission to bring a judicial review against Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) after arguing that Burford Primary School is acting “unlawfully”.They allege that since ODST took over the running of the community school in 2015, they noticed “harmful aspects of evangelism spreading into assembly” and other parts of their pupils’ education. In the first case of its kind, the parents are arguing that this interferes with their children’s right to receive an education “free from religious interference”.ODST is a multi-academy trust that runs 33 schools, all of which are Church of England bar four, including  Burford Primary, which are designated as non-religious “community schools”.  The trust says on its website that it “operates within the family of the Diocese of Oxford” adding: “We are motivated by our Christian values to serve our local communities, but we do not impose those values”.Humanists UK, which is supporting Mr and Mrs Harris, believe this will be a test case to challenge schools which hold a daily act of Christian worship without providing a suitable alternative for non-Christians. Parents are arguing that this interferes with their children's right to receive an education “free from religious interference” All church and community schools are required, by law, to provide a “daily act of collective worship”. Burford Primary holds a daily assembly for children which features “exclusively Christian prayer”, Mr and Mrs Harris say.They add that once a week there is a longer assembly which involves an external Christian group “dressing as biblical characters” and acting out Christian stories including the crucifixion. When they asked to withdraw their children, aged eight and ten, from the longer assembly, they were “left to play with an iPad” while a teaching assistant watched over them, according to the parents.By failing to provide an alternative that is of “equal educational worth”, the school has breached it public sector equality duty to have “due regard” to people’s beliefs and has also breached the children’s human right by denying them education.The school also holds various functions in a Church, including a harvest event and the Year Six leavers event, where every pupil is given a bible.Mr and Mrs Harris say that they do not want their children to attend these events, which leaves them “deprived of the benefit of what should be important elements of school and community life”. This amounts to another breach of equalities laws since their children are effectively being discriminated against, they argue. In a joint statement, they say the parents say are bringing the case “reluctantly”, but added that they “feel strongly that we need to try to make our children’s education as inclusive as possible”.Andrew Copson, chief executive of Humanists UK, said: “We are the only sovereign state in the world to require schools to hold daily Christian worship, yet 80 per cent of our young people and 75 per cent of people of parental age are not Christians.”He added that requiring children to participate in religious worship and then “marginalising them if in good conscience they cannot”, ignores their right to freedom of religion or belief.Anne Davey, chief executive of ODST, said it is “not appropriate” to comment on legal proceedings while the case is ongoing.  “ODST is confident that Burford Primary School has acted entirely appropriately, and has followed statute in ways that are similar to all local or indeed national schools,” she said.  “It has provided exactly what the law requires, which includes provision for children to be withdrawn if parents so request.”  Burford Primary was judged to be “Good” in its most recent Ofsted report. Inspectors  said that pupils “speak with confidence about different faiths and cultures”, and added that pupils “have a keen sense of equalities and their work demonstrates a deep understanding of British Values”. Parents are arguing that this interferes with their children’s right to receive an education “free from religious interference” read more

Rapid access to reliable affordable power to keep pace with rebounding demand

first_imgThe collapse in commodity prices caused many projects across the African continent to stall. Companies also have been reluctant to build new projects, and the latest report from PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that the mining sector in this region has suffered $4.2 billion (R60 billion) worth of impairments. In total, the mining industry has decreased by about 30% over the past three years, and while commodity prices have increased in recent months, experts predict that the industry is likely to still see substantial volatility and slow growth in 2017. According to Colm Quinn, Regional Sales Director at APR Energy, the rebound in commodity prices should usher in new projects as well as expansions to existing operations. At the same time, he points out that the lack of investment in the sector over recent years will result in significant challenges for mining in 2017. “The availability of power will be one of the biggest challenges for mining over the coming years,” Quinn said. “Mining operations in the region historically have experienced a lot of difficulty with power failures, and the absence of new developments since 2014 means that sufficient electricity generation and distribution infrastructure are not yet available to many new sites.“Given the vast amount of power required to run a mining operation, this directly translates to a lack of production capabilities and ultimately a lack of revenue. Installing new permanent generation and distribution capacity can take anywhere from three to five years – or even longer – which would severely limit the pace of a mining recovery in Southern Africa. Permanent generation also is capital intensive, which could further slow this process,” Quinn continues. He notes that there are many other challenges to growth that still threaten mining companies in the region. “Operational costs for mines, especially in South Africa, are approaching record levels, and we have seen some mines being placed under business rescue. There are many aspects to consider, but one of the most important things for mines right now is to be able to increase production as quickly as possible, and to be able to deliver consistently with as little downtime as possible.”Quinn states that deploying mobile fast-track power to expanding and new sites as an interim solution could translate directly into revenue for a mining operation. “Simply put, the quicker a mine can start to increase its production, the quicker it can start earning revenue and attract further investment. There is also no reason to wait years for the infrastructure. Fast-track power solutions can be deployed as quickly as 30 to 60 days, bringing guaranteed power supply and uptime to an operation.”He adds that finding a fast-track power supplier that can deliver is paramount. “You need a supplier that can deploy in the shortest possible time. It is also vital to find a fuel-flexible solution because choosing the wrong kind of fuel, or not being able to switch between fuel sources as cheaper options become available, could needlessly drive up costs.”APR Energy provides a broad range mobile fast-track power solutions that can be scaled to the requirements of any operation. “APR Energy has the youngest, most advanced fleet of generating capacity in the industry, and our technology goes beyond the diesel power modules and HFO engines typically used in the mining sector. As the world’s leading provider of mobile turbine power solutions, we are the only fast-track power company able to offer the flexibility to seamlessly switch between conventional fuels like diesel and natural gas as well as readily available liquid petroleum gas (LPG). The ability to use a range of fuels depending on price and availability can result in significant cost saving for mines operations.”The company also is introducing solar hybrids, which will enable mining operations to benefit from low-cost, emission-free solar power when the sun is shining while providing the assurance of uninterrupted electricity thanks to the accompanying diesel generating capacity. “One final advantage is that APR Energy’s full-service solution includes staffing to operate and maintain the plant, allowing a mine to focus on its core activities,” Quinn states. “Global commodity prices are staging a recovery, and Southern Africa’s mining operations will need to mobilise as quickly as possible if they are going to take full advantage of the coming rebound. Access to reliable, cost-effective power should not be stumbling block,” concludes Quinn.last_img read more

Foxcom hacked again employee profiles defaced

first_imgSony might be dealing with the lion’s share of hacking fallout right now (thanks to that whole PSN fiasco), but Fox has plenty of trouble of its own to deal with. After having details of its X-factor contestants swiped recently, Fox now finds itself with a slightly larger problem on its hands.Lulz Security has struck again, this time breaking into Fox servers and making off with a database full of employee usernames and passwords — which the group then shared online. And like an unfortunately large number of Web users, many Fox employees obviously think it’s perfectly fine to use the same credentials on every site which requires registration. That discovery inevitably led the ne’er-do-wells of LulzSec to head to sites like Twitter and LinkedIn where the raid took a more social turn. In addition to posting status updates, some Fox employees have had LinkedIn profiles defaced (albeit fairly innocuously), though it now appears that LinkedIn has temporarily locked down and hidden the affected profiles.While it’s certainly unfortunate that employees — who may not have any connection to whatever it is Fox did which drew LulzSec’s ire — are caught in the crossfire, situations like this can be easily avoided by making sure you’re making intelligent password usage decisions. Don’t use one password (or even a handful of passwords) everywhere. Learn about and make use of tools like LastPass and KeePass which will automatically generate strong passwords for you and remember them so you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. As LulzSec itself tweeted, “Don’t use the same password twice. Your laziness will not end well.”And make sure you use a unique password at work. There’s obviously no telling when or where a hack might take place nowadays, so making sure your business credentials don’t line up with any of your important personal creds (like those used for webmail, Facebook, or online banking) is critically important.More at Sophoslast_img read more

Plastic in the Ocean

first_imgBirds are now turning up dead on remote beaches with stomachs full of plastic. Certain areas of Alaska’s remote coast are now littered with debris that was carried there by ocean currents. Not only is the amount of this debris growing, but the amount of money available for cleaning it up is far too small.Download AudioHOST: Steve Heimel, Alaska Public Radio NetworkGUESTS:Nicole Trenhom, Ocean Research ProjectCallers statewidePARTICIPATE:Post your comment before, during or after the live broadcast (comments may be read on air).Send e-mail to talk [at] alaskapublic [dot] org (comments may be read on air)Call 550-8422 in Anchorage or 1-800-478-8255 if you’re outside Anchorage during the live broadcastLIVE Broadcast: Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. on APRN stations statewide.SUBSCRIBE: Get Talk of Alaska updates automatically by e-mail, RSS or podcast.TALK OF ALASKA ARCHIVElast_img read more

This Alaskan crossed the Bering Sea in an eightfoot dinghy Russia wants

first_imgThis screenshot from Russian television in November shows John W. Martin III standing in downtown Anadyr, a city of roughly 15,000 people in Russia’s far east. (Screenshot by CoastAlaska)Crossing the Bering Sea in an eight-foot dinghy is no small feat. It was a bold, dangerous, and reckless attempt on the part of John Martin III to reach China. But instead the 46-year-old Kenai man landed in far eastern Russia.Martin’s bizarre boat journey from Alaska to Russia briefly made headlines this fall.Russian television channels also picked up the story of the Alaskan who’d spent 11 days at sea before washing up on shore in Russia’s Far East.Four months later, Martin remains in legal limbo while Russian authorities figure out what to do with him. All along he’s insisted his landfall in Russia was an accident.“Well, I was trying to reach China. Of course I didn’t make it,” he said by phone.Here’s the long-story-short: Martin doesn’t have a passport — he said it was revoked over unpaid child support.Intent on crossing the Pacific anyway, he bought an eight-foot Walker Bay sailboat this summer. Packed with provisions, he floated down the Tanana and Yukon rivers with the aim of crossing to Asia. His blog details his wife and son in China whom he hasn’t seen in more than a decade.But ocean currents carried him north up the Bering Strait. He eventually made landfall at a fish camp near the tiny village of Lavrentia.A family took him in.“They dried my clothes for me, they let me dry out and they let me sleep in their bed,” Martin recalled. “And when I woke up the authorities had arrived.”He was flown to Anadyr, the administrative capital of Chukotka, in Russia’s extreme northeast.At first he was confined to the hospital. But the local courts accepted his defense that he’d crossed into Russia accidentally and acquitted him. That was in mid-October.“I have not been under guard since then,” he said. “So really what they did was give me some great freedom being in Russia without documentation, and yet I’m free to come and go within the city as I please.”Martin is writing a book about his journey. He keeps a blog: No Ocean Too Wide. It details his journey and his life in the Russian city where he remains a curiosity.This is the route of John W. Martin III’s journey so far. (Map courtesy of his discharge from the hospital last month, Martin has been staying with a family and living off the kindness of strangers.“When winter started coming, just the clothes that showed up and the jackets and boots and shoes and just everything that you would need,” Martin said. “Just people have been really good to me here.”He’s used to public attention. In 2011, he camped out in front of the Anchorage mayor’s office for five months to protest the city’s crackdown on homeless camps.“Because we’ve chased so many out of the woods, we have people doing time in jail for nothing else than trying to survive,” he testified to the Anchorage Assembly that year.He had demanded a meeting with then-mayor Dan Sullivan.The mayor refused and reportedly grew irritated over the Martin’s relentless vigil.“I really try and limit my conversations with first-degree sex offenders,” Sullivan said at a press conference. “I really don’t know what the discussion would be. If he needs social service help, there are social service agencies that can help him.”Sullivan was referencing Martin’s 1997 conviction for sexual abuse of a minor. It involved a 15-year-old foster child that had lived in his household when he was 23.Following his arrest, he spent eight years in prison, his wife divorced him and he lost contact with his kids.He’s no longer on the sex offender registry. But he says his passport was revoked in 2007 for unpaid child support. That’s why he attempted the dangerous ocean crossing rather than buy an airplane ticket.But Martin’s strange chapter in Russia is likely coming to a close. Four months after he’d first arrived, a judge ruled he was in the country illegally after all. Now, he said, Russian authorities have begun the deportation process. He’s appealing but resigned to the fact he’ll likely be sent back to the States.“But even once they do deport me, you know, I do hope to reach China,” Martin said Monday. “So my focus I suppose will be to get my book finished and try to get it published so that I can make enough money to pay the child support and get my passport back.”To be repatriated by the Russian government, the U.S. citizen would need documents issued by an American consulate.U.S. officials at the consulate in Vladivostok didn’t respond to multiple inquiries into the case.That leaves basic questions unanswered, like who pays for the travel or whether Martin will fly around the globe or back over the Bering Strait.Editor’s note: A previous version of this story characterized the sexual abuse of a minor as an “affair.” An affair is generally considered to be a consensual sexual relationship, and minors are legally unable to consent to sexual relations with adults, so the term “affair” is inaccurate. The sentence has been changed.last_img read more

Protesters target SAExploration in Texas over Arctic Refuge

first_imgProtesters filmed themselves in the Houston office of SAExploration. (Photo: Facebook Live)A group of Native American protesters went to the offices of SAExploration in Houston today to object to work the company wants to do in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.Protesters streamed video of their event in Texas on Facebook. It showed the group crowded into the reception area of the company’s office. They left a stack of boxes they said contained more than 100,000 messages urging SAExploration to give up its ANWR project.Organizers included the Sierra Club and Alaskan Bernadette Demientieff, director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee.SAExploration has applied for permission to conduct a seismic survey in the refuge this winter and next, using a fleet of tracked vehicles to thump the ground. The plan is to survey the entire 1002 area, the coastal plain that Congress opened for leasing.Before the partial government shutdown, the company was in talks with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to resolve concerns about denning polar bears. The CEO told the Anchorage Daily News last month the shutdown was delaying their plans.The company did not respond to phone and email messages Monday.Despite the shutdown, the Bureau of Land Management is advancing a plan to hold a lease sale in the refuge this year.last_img read more

JeM chief Masood Azhar injured in Pakistan hospital blast

first_imgNews coverage of the blast in Rawalpindi Military Hospital is banned by the Pakistan army according to claims on Twitter.TwitterAt least 10 people were injured in a bomb blast at a military hospital in Pakistan’s Rawalpindi on Monday. Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar was reportedly admitted at the hospital. Quetta-based human right activist Ahsan Ullah MiaKhail claims that news coverage of the blast was banned by the Pakistan Army.  Huge #blast at Military Hospital in #Rawalpindi, #Pakistan. 10 injured shifted to emergency.Jaish-E-Mohammad Chief Maulana Masood Azahar is admitted here.Completely Media blackout by Army. Media asked Strictly not to cover this story@a_siab @nidkirm @GulBukhari @mazdaki— Ahsan Ullah MiaKhail (@AhsanUlMiakhail) June 23, 2019While the reason behind the “blast” is not known yet, Twitter users claimed that it was an “attack”.Blast in Military Hospital Rawalpindi, near AFIC… hope everyone is safe.— Ali Moeen Nawazish (@am_nawazish) June 23, 2019#RAWALPINDI footage from the scene of the explosion. Rescue 1122 are on scene! Rescue 1122 are on scene, 7 injured people have been transported to A&E.— Asfand Khan (@_rescueranger) June 23, 2019A explosion in MH, AFIC Rawalpindi… some reports suggest it was gas pipeline thing.#MHExplosion #Rawalpindi— ??طیب حُسین (@Tayyab5245) June 23, 2019There is no official confirmation regarding the incident by the Pakistan government. (With inputs from agencies)last_img read more

13 killed in Crimea college blast Officials

first_imgMap locating city of Kerch in Crimea where at least 10 people were killed in an explosion at a technical college. Photo: AFPThirteen people were killed and 50 more wounded on Wednesday, most of them teenagers, after a blast tore into a college canteen in Russian-annexed Crimea in what Moscow called a “terrorist” attack.Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major incidents, said it had “opened a criminal case into a terrorist attack” after an “unidentified explosive device” went off in the polytechnical college in Kerch city.A committee spokeswoman said the death toll had risen to 13 after initial reports 10 people were killed in the explosion that detonated at around 12 noon (0900 GMT).Investigators said the explosive device went off in the college’s canteen and that it was “packed with metal objects.””Currently we know of 13 dead and around 50 injured,” Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said in televised comments.The “most of the (victims) are teenagers,” the committee said. The college’s website says it accepts students in the last three grades of school, from the age of 14.An unnamed witness who worked nearby said in a video on website victims “were taken away in public transport, in minibuses and buses, with 2 or 3 people in each ambulance.””They are children and staff,” the witness said. “I saw people without legs, without arms.”Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said president Vladimir Putin had been informed of the “tragic news” from Kerch and that he “expresses deep condolences to those who lost relatives and loved ones.”Crimean leader Sergei Aksyonov said on Facebook he had gone to the scene and “all the necessary services are working at the scene of the incident.”The emergency services ministry said that it had flown out three helicopters and a plane with rescuers.Kerch is linked to the Russian mainland by a bridge opened by Putin in May this year.last_img read more

Mental Health Advocates Kick Off Community Conversations Outreach Series

first_img 00:00 /00:46 Davis Land/Houston Public MediaHouston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks to mental health advocates at a kickoff round table event for the City’s “Community Conversations” public meeting series.As kids continue to recover from trauma related to Hurricane Harvey, advocates are learning more about who needs the most help.Symptoms of trauma tend to peak 18 months after a disaster, care providers say. Ahead of that mark, mental health leaders are starting a series of “community conversations” in each City Council district, asking people how to better meet mental health needs.While meetings will be held in all parts of Houston, City and community leaders say they especially want to hear from families who were already struggling before the storm. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listencenter_img X “For many of these families, they’ve been dealing with stress a long time, this just added to their anxieties,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a press conference kicking off the meetings. Julie Kaplow heads the Trauma and Grief Center at Texas Children’s Hospital. She says that in the year since Harvey, care providers have seen trends form similar to after Hurricane Katrina. “The vast majority of these kids have not only experienced prior trauma but also prior losses, meaning the death of a loved one, and so the interventions we’re now using in the schools not only address post-traumatic stress or reactions to trauma, but also grief and reactions to loss,” Kaplow said.Public meetings will be held at these locations:September 25: District D, Sunnyside Multi-Service CenterSeptember 27: District I, Magnolia Multi-Service CenterOctober 2: District C, West-End Multi-Service CenterOctober 3: District J, Southwest Multi-Service CenterOctober 9: District F, Alief Community CenterOctober 11: District B, Kashmere Multi-Service CenterOctober 17: District G, HCC Alief Hayes CampusOctober 18: District H, HCC Northline CampusOctober 23: District A, Region 4 Education CenterNovember 1: District E, Kingwood Community CenterNovember 6: District K, Stimley-Blue Ridge Library Sharelast_img read more

Doctor Who Underrated Villain of the Week Adipose

first_imgStay on target You know Daleks and Davros and Missy the Master, Angels, and Silence hell-bent on disaster. But do you recall the most underrated Doctor Who villains of all?Each week, I will dig into the depths of the Whoniverse to examine one rejected, misjudged, or altogether forgotten big (or little, as the case may be) bad. And I’m kicking things off with my favorite fatty friends.DailymotionADIPOSEFirst appearance: “Partners in Crime” (2008)—episode 1, season 4Home planet: Adipose 3Doctor: TenthCompanion: Donna NobleAdorable and innocent, Adipose are not the enemy. Rather, Miss Foster—née Matron Cofelia, of the Five-Straighten, Classabindi Nursery Fleet, Intergalactic Class—is the real agent of destruction.Masquerading as the head of diet company Adipose Industries in London, Foster is the alien using the UK’s overweight population to spawn lardaceous babies for the Adiposian First Family.She was hired to rear a new generation of cuddly, fleshy cherubs after the creatures’ breeding planet was lost—”an outer space supernanny,” as Donna puts it.DailymotionIn this season four opener, the millions of locals who put their faith in the miracle Adipose pills experience Alien-like chestbursters: hand-sized, marshmallow-shaped vermin climb out of their bodies like someone emerging from the deep end of the pool.As the fat just walks away (literally)—waddling and squeaking out the cat flap or through the bathroom window. It’s easy to forget the smiling critters are toxic little monsters converting hair, bones, and other bodily material into blubber.Behind their friendly facade lies a deadly creation; pop just one Adipose pill, and you’ll be falling to pieces within hours. Just think of the damage those creatures could do to the Sontarans or Zygons, the Foretold or Gangers. (Possible effects on tin cans like Cybermen and Daleks remain unclear.)Dreamed up by then-showrunner Russell T. Davies, the Adipose are based on the idea that alien genetics are hidden in doses of a Botox-like drug; those injected with it become overwhelmed by the genetic code and transform into aliens.But are the Adipose, as any plump newborn would be, simply mommy’s little darlings? Or are they maleficent parasites, using London as their new playpen?“Partners in Crime” reunites the Doctor—newly bereft of Martha Jones—and Donna Noble—searching for the alien time traveller for two years—in a perfect setup to the characters’ playful, buoyant 15-episode run. (It also features one of the most brilliant Doctor Who scenes. You’ll know it when you see it.) Doctor Who Underrated Villain of the Week: Clockwork DroidDoctor Who Underrated Villain of the Week: Lady Cassandra last_img read more

Colins 2018 NFL Mock Draft 50

first_imgAs the draft approaches, more teams are rumored to be looking to move up to snag a QB, and the Giants trading Jason Pierre Paul sends a signal that they are open for business with the second overall pick. Colin’s Mock Draft 5.0 reflects how the impending run on quarterbacks will shake up the Top 10:Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC – Darnold aced his pro day in unexpectedly rainy SoCal conditions, and locked up the #1 pick in the process. Colin has said all along that Darnold is his top QB in the draft. He’s the only pick for the Browns here.(1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 – Sam Darnold, QB, USC)Non mais quelle fin de match ! QB Sam Darnold pour WR Deontay Burnett. TD Trojans !USC 24, Texas 17— TBP College Football (@thebluepennant) September 17, 2017 3. Jets (From Colts): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming – Colin had the Bills trading up with the Niners into the 9 slot to grab Allen in previous mocks, but the QB frenzy has the Jets grabbing him after trading up to 3. Allen has by far the best physical tools of any QB in the draft, and his body type and huge arm are a perfect fit for the nasty second half AFC East weather conditions. He’ll need to sit for a year, but Teddy Bridgewater and/or Josh McCown can bridge the gap. Allen is boom or bust, but the Jets shoot their shot.(Colts: 1.0 – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State) (Colts: 2.0 – Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State) (3.0, 4.0 – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA)Amazing stuff from Josh Allen at the NFL Combine. Has looked the best out of the first group. Baker, Rudolph and Rosen are in the second group.— Buffalo Sports Talk (@BUFSportsTalk) March 3, 2018 4. Browns (From Houston):  Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State – The biggest home run hitter in the draft falls to the Browns after the Jets and Cardinals go QB. Colin doesn’t think Barkley is a 20+ carry-a-game NFL back, but he’s dynamic and gives the Browns another offensive cornerstone to go with Darnold. It’s a good day in Cleveland.(1.0, 2.0 – Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama) (3.0 – Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame) (4.0 – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State) 6. Colts (From Jets) : Denzel Ward, DB, Ohio State –  GM Chris Ballard starts to reshape a listless defense with the draft’s best corner in Ward. He ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at the combine and his stock is rising as fast as any of this year’s prospects. He’s also a sure tackler. The Colts have so many holes on their roster, a number of picks would make sense here. Ward fills a huge need and get picks by trading down. Win, win.(1.0 – Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State) (2.0, 3.0 – Calvin  Ridley, WR, Alabama) (4.0 – Quenton Nelson, OL, Notre Dame)Does Denzel Ward get docked for doing this?— Marcus Chai (@OaklandScout) February 1, 2018 9. Bills (From Niners): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma – With the other top quarterback prospects off the board, Buffalo trades into the Niners slot to grab Baker Mayfield. Colin has been critical of Mayfield for maturity issues, but he’s accurate and is one of three rookie QB’s that can play right away. Colin thinks Mayfield’s lack of size and arm strength are a bad fit for the winter conditions in Buffalo.(1.0 – Niners: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State) (2.0, 3.0, 4.0 – Josh Allen – QB, Wyoming)Showing off the arm!! @bakermayfield feeling good throwing deep balls to his guys on @OU_Football Pro Day #Sooners #proday #OUDNA— Sooner Sports TV (@SoonerSportsTV) March 14, 2018 10. Raiders: Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio – He’s a relatively unknown pass rusher with limitless athletic ability, and Jon Gruden needs defensive help. Davenport may not have the big school pedigree, but made his presence known by dominating the competition at the Senior Bowl. Khalil Mack and Davenport would make a formidable pass rush combo.(1.0, 2.0, 4.0- Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas San-Antonio) (3.0 Roquon Smith, LB, Georgia)Wanna see some hands and nuanced footwork, check out Marcus Davenport here. Makes it seem like such an easy sack, but if you watch how well he sets up the tackle you see why— Coach Coker (@filmstudybuddy) February 6, 2018 5. Broncos: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State – John Elway may have considered a quarterback if one falls to him, but that ship has sailed. Instead, he goes best available player with explosive pass rusher Chubb. The Broncos D has been on a slow decline since winning the Super Bowl and Chubb would help reignite the pass rush opposite Von Miller.(1.0 – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama) (2.0 – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA) (3.0, 4.0 – Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State)Whew. Bradley Chubb speed rush 🔥🔥🔥— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) February 18, 2018center_img Advertisement Watch Colin break down his Top 10, 5.0:1. Browns – Sam Darnold2. *Cardinals – Josh Rosen3. Jets – Josh Allen4. Browns – Saquon Barkley5. Broncos – Bradley Chubb@ColinCowherd unveils his Mock Draft 5.0— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) March 22, 2018 2. Cardinals (From Giants): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA – Colin’s last mock had Rosen to the Jets with the third selection, but Arizona GM Steve Keim needs a QB so he jumps in front by working a deal with the Giants for Rosen. Most scouts think he’s the most refined passer in the draft. Durability and personality questions don’t scare off Arizona.(1.0 – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA) (2.0, 3.0, 4.0 – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State)Josh Rosen with a Dan Marino FAKE SPIKE— Eric Elizondo (@EricElizondo8) September 4, 2017 8. Bears: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame –  The Bears give Mitchell Trubisky some interior line protection with the dominant Nelson. He’s been compared to Cowboys Pro Bowl guard Zach Martin, and will step in and play at a high level immediately. Nelson is a mauler and plays like a throwback. Not a sexy pick, but a solid one.(1.0 – Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M) (2.0, 3.0 – Denzel Ward, DB, Ohio State) (4.0 – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech)Quenton Nelson (LG #56) is an elite prospect. Blocks like this are why 😳— J.R. (@JReidDraftScout) January 29, 2018 7. Bucs: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama – For the third mock in a row, Colin has Fitzpatrick falling to the Bucs. Tampa needs secondary help and Fitzpatrick is the prototype hybrid DB that can play safety or cover the slot. He provides attitude and leadership to a Tampa D that’s been average. Day 1 starter on a defense that needs a tone setter.(1.0, 2.0 – Quenton Nelson, OL, Notre Dame) (3.0, 4.0 – Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama)Minkah is a God.— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) February 11, 2018last_img read more

FHA Reform Is Just as Important as GSE Reform

first_img Share While the government works toward GSE reform, “”Keefe, Bruyette & Woods””: (KBW), a financial services provider; says reform for the “”Federal Housing Administration””: (FHA) should also be a top concern. [IMAGE]””While FHA reform has been discussed, it has clearly played a secondary role to the more pressing issue of GSE reform,”” KBW stated in a recent report. KBW continued, “”However, we continue to believe that the two have to be done in conjunction to avoid a potential shift in volume back to the FHA.”” The agency grew from a portfolio of about $400 billion before the housing crisis to about $1.1 trillion since, all while its capital reserves fell to -1.44 percent in 2012 despite a mandated minimum of 2 percent. The FHA reported a projected capital reserve of -0.4 percent for this year before a rise to 0.2 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, the agency has upped its premiums and received $1.7 billion from the Treasury to bolster its financial status and keep the agency viable.[COLUMN_BREAK] In addition, the FHA plans to sell about 40,000 distressed loans in its portfolio this year, and it is focused on loss mitigation strategies in order to reduce potential losses. While its portfolio remains large, the FHA has reduced its footprint in the market somewhat. In particular, the agency has reduced its share of low down payment loans from more than 80 percent of the market to about 50 percent, according to KBW. Additionally, “”Going forward, we believe that higher-quality borrowers will take GSE loans with private mortgage insurance as opposed to FHA loans because of the significant price advantage,”” KBW stated. “”The longer-term role of the FHA should continue to narrow,”” according to KBW, which also pointed out, “”The price changes that are in place should help give the FHA a meaningful start in this direction.”” KBW praises the Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners (PATH) Act–a House of Representatives Bill introduced in July–for its attention to FHA reform. However, the financial services company doubts the act’s viability. The PATH Act would reduce the FHA’s role in the market, concentrating its efforts on first-time homebuyers, low- to moderate-income buyers, and homebuyers purchasing in disaster areas. The act also calls for risk-sharing on 10 percent of the FHA’s business. While these provisions are “”aligned with the government’s goal of supporting the low-income housing market”” and “”the government’s goal of bringing more private capital into the mortgage market,”” KBW does “”not expect it to get traction,”” because it calls for the eradication of the GSEs. October 22, 2013 438 Views in Governmentcenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Fannie Mae FHA Freddie Mac Investors Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Insurance Politics Service Providers 2013-10-22 Krista Franks Brock FHA Reform Is Just as Important as GSE Reformlast_img read more

by The Associated Press Posted Mar 6 2018 21

first_img by The Associated Press Posted Mar 6, 2018 2:18 pm PDT Last Updated Mar 6, 2018 at 2:40 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email NEW YORK, N.Y. – Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Feb. 26-March 4. Listings include the week’s ranking and viewership.1. “Academy Awards,” ABC, 26.54 million.2. “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 13.75 million.3. “Live From the Red Carpet” (7:30-8 p.m., Sunday), ABC, 13.13 million.4. “NCIS,” CBS, 12.46 million.5. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 12.42 million.6. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 12.32 million.7. “The Voice” (Tuesday), NBC, 10.84 million.8. “Bull,” CBS, 10.7 million.9. “Live From the Red Carpet” (7-7:30 p.m., Sunday), ABC, 10 million.10. “This is Us,” NBC, 9.74 million.11. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 9.06 million.12. “Mom,” CBS, 8.95 million.13. “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 8.27 million.14. “Survivor,” CBS, 8.19 million.15. “Hawaii Five-0,” CBS, 8 million.16. “The Good Doctor,” ABC, 7.83 million.17. “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 7.52 million.18. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 7.28 million.19. “MacGyver,” CBS, 6.93 million.20. “The Walking Dead,” AMC, 6.82 million.___ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.; CBS is a division of CBS Corp.; Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox; NBC is owned by NBC Universal. Nielsen’s top programs for Feb. 26-March 4last_img read more