As commanders fall, militants lose links to handlers

first_img Of late, technological inputs have died down as militants have stopped using cellphones frequently in south Kashmir. Human intelligence now remains the core of counter-insurgency grid, officials say.The Army and the police credit “well-knit overground human intelligence as the main source of a tip-off that led to the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Abdul Qayoom Najar, in an encounter along the LoC, north of Uri, on September 27. He was being infiltrated to take control of the Hizb. After trapping him in a cordon operation in a village in Shopian, the operation lasted 15 hours.The structure of command-control of LeT has district commanders and a small group at the lower level, followed by operational chief, overseeing all 11 districts in the Valley.“The job of the operational chief is to coordinate with handlers in Pakistan and identify potential targets and lay down logistical support requirements,” said the counter-insurgency official in Srinagar.Strong networkUnlike the LeT, the Hizb structure has a “strong network of overground workers, district-wise militants, district commanders, divisional commanders and operational commanders at the top”.  A day earlier, the same bunch of terrorists had tried to block, in the same area, an Army patrol on an operation. They attacked a couple of Garud Commandos from the Air Force, who had been embedded with the unit for operational experience, and they died later in hospital.Replacements comingThe more terrorist “commanders” are killed, the more easily their replacements seem to spring forward. A top counter-insurgency official, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Militant handlers in Pakistan are using the twin routes of Poonch in Jammu and the Kupwara-Baramulla forest areas in the Valley to infiltrate commanders every time the LeT loses its commander.The official told The Hindu that “the passes in the higher reaches of Hafruda and Shambhari forest ranges close to the Line of Control (LoC) have also opened up”. “Snow has completely melted there as summer peaked this year, making it easy to infiltrate and find hideouts in crevices and foliage,” he said.The terrorist outfits, especially the LeT, tend to fill the top positions from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir “to uphold morale down the ranks, as soon as its commander gets killed in an operation”. It is difficult to find local people.Operational leaders hitSince the Army’s “Operation All-Out” aimed at flushing Jammu and Kashmir of terrorists was launched in May, as south Kashmir slipped into the hands of 250 militants dominated by local commanders, operational commanders Abu Dujana and Abu Ismail have been killed. Dujana was a prized target. He had taken over the mantle after Abu Qasin was killed on October 29, 2016.Dujana was suspected of masterminding the suicide attack at the Entrepreneurship Development Institute in Pampore that led to a 56-hour standoff in February 2016.Dujana was cornered, along with Arif Lelhari, in a village in Pulwama before dawn. Hours later, an exchange of fire began.When he refused to surrender, the security forces blew up the house he was sheltering in. He had escaped a cordon-and-search operation five times before his luck ran out on August 1.He was placed on the A++ category with a reward of ₹15 lakh on his head.Mission All OutSince “Operation All Out” began, over 10 district commanders, including battle-hardened Arif Lelhari, Junaid Mattoo and Bashir Lashkari in south Kashmir, had been killed. Some 21 commanders, including Hizbul Mujahideen’s Sabzar Bhat, Shahbaz Shafi alias Rayees Kachroo and Commander Aijaz Mir, have been killed so far as well.In addition, over 150 militants have been killed in the encounters that erupted in the Valley this year. During the previous year, 165 were killed till December. | Photo Credit: The Hindu Abu Ismail, operational commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, had been elusive till he was shot and killed on a desolate stretch of road a mere 8 km from Srinagar, in the Aribagh area of Nowgam. He was in a truck with a fellow terrorist when it came to a security checkpoint in the afternoon. Ismail and his companion tried to run into a paddy field and head to a nearby residential area where they could have created a standoff.The encounter lasted only 10 minutes. At the end of it, the two terrorists lay dead. It was September 14, two months almost to the day that seven Amarnath Yatra pilgrims had been shot at indiscriminately after their bus was waylaid. Ismail was held responsible for the killing of seven pilgrims.Soon after Ismail fell, B.S. Raju, General Officer Commanding, Victor Force, which has been spearheading counterinsurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, declared that he “expected a vacuum in the outfit’s top leadership”.Four days later, Mehmood Bhai, a foreigner, had emerged as his replacement, his footprints all over Bandipora in north Kashmir, when his men barged into the home of BSF constable Ramzan Parrey, dragged him out and killed him late in the evening. The constable had come on vacation. Jawans gather around the bodies of Abu Ismail and another militant after an encounter in Nowgam on September 14, 2017.center_img Abu Ismail, an LeT operational commander who led the attack on Amarnath pilgrims.  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement A militant attends the funeral of another. File  | Photo Credit: The Hindu “As of now, the Hizb has no Valley-based operational commander after its top-ranking commanders were killed this year,” officials say.However, Hizb commanders like Saddam Paddar, alias Zaid, a district commander and an ‘A++’ category militant, has influence in Shopian and remains active since 2015.Reyaz Ahmad Naikoo, alias Zubair, active since December 2012, portrays himself as a Hizb ideologue and mainly recruits youth in south Kashmir.Despite encounter killings of militants, recruitment continues. In South Kashmir, out of 50, as many as 30 from in and around Pulwama have been recruited by the Hizb and Lashkar in the past five months. They are mostly overground workers or protesters who have been regularly converging at the funerals of those killed by the security forces.A splinter group of Zakir Rashid Bhatt alias Musa, once divisional commander of Hizb, has recruited people in small numbers, pushing youth towards a more hardline ideology, with al-Qaeda already declaring him in-charge of its affiliate in Kashmir.Jaish challengeMore than Hizb and LeT, security agencies say the resurfacing of Moulana Masood Azhar-founded Jaish-e-Muhammad poses a “more potent threat.”“Jaish believes in sensational attacks. We have to deal with them differently,” said Inspector-General of Police, Muneer Khan, after the recent sensational fidayeen attack on a BSF installation close to Srinagar airport.Security agencies say the killing of Jaish operational commander Khalid Bhai in Baramulla some days ago “cut the umbilical cord of its ranks with handlers across the border”.A small group of Jaish fidayeen still is a threat in and around Srinagar. However, Khalid’s killing has cut the link with the handlers, officials say. South Kashmir remained a battleground with the emergence of Burhan Wani in 2013, but militants are shifting base to north Kashmir “to make use of the forests in Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara”. Even after all the killing, the winter is set to be hot, with foreign militant numbers, according to Army figures, being as high as 70 in north Kashmir alone.“We fear local recruitment has picked up in north Kashmir, in Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora,” a police official said.last_img read more

Cyclone Fani damage assessment set to begin in Odisha from May 14

first_imgWith a month left for the Southwest monsoon to hit Odisha, the State government on Monday said it would begin a door-to-door house damage survey from May 14 and issue work orders for the construction of houses on June 1 in cyclone-affected areas.11-member teamAn 11-member Central team, split into two groups led by Vivek Bharadwaj, Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, and Ajay Kumar, Director in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, visited Puri and parts of Khurdha district.The Central team was apprised of the devastation wrought by Cyclone Fani by the Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi, before going for a field visit. Earlier, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanking him for the support rendered to Odisha by the Union government.‘Devastating experience’“While the people of the affected districts have gone through immense hardship, the loss of shelter has been a devastating experience The State government is undertaking a detailed house damage assessment which would be completed shortly. The exact number of houses damaged completely or substantially will be arrived at after the survey,” Mr. Patnaik noted in the letter.“However, according to preliminary estimation, about 5 lakh houses have been completely or substantially damaged across 14 districts with the major loss occurring in Puri district,” he observed.Mr. Modi had undertaken aerial survey of the cyclone-affected areas during his visit to the State on May 6. ‘Dire need’“A presentation on the extent of damage was also made by the State administration, highlighting the dire need for building disaster resilient housing along the coastal belt of Odisha, vulnerable to cyclonic storms,” Mr. Patnaik said, requesting the Centre to sanction 5 lakh Prime Minister Awas Yojna (PMAY) houses initially. Emphasising the need for waiver of the Permanent Wait List (PWL) criterion for this particular allocation, Mr. Patnaik also urged Mr. Modi to consider a Centre-State fund sharing pattern of 90:10 as a special case.last_img read more

Japan’s ancient sport of sumo needs some brighter days

first_imgHe was hurt after a group of Mongolian wrestlers had assembled at a restaurant during a regional tour.Harumafuji was reported to have become aggravated when Takanoiwa repeatedly checked his mobile phone while the two were conversing.In addition to Harumafuji, who was forced to retire last November in the wake of the incident, Grand champion Hakuho was also present and had to defend his inability to intervene before the situation got out of control.The altercation dominated news programs and headlines for weeks. Adding to the bad publicity, the sport’s top-ranked referee was forced to resign earlier this year over a sexual harassment scandal.Shikimori Inosuke apologized to the Japan Sumo Association for allegedly kissing a teenage referee and touching him on the chest while intoxicated during a regional tour of Okinawa in December.ADVERTISEMENT Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving View comments Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Read Next LATEST STORIES FILE – In this Sept. 16, 2017, file photo, then Mongolian sumo grand champion Harumafuji, left, pushes opponent Takanoiwa out of the ring to win their bout at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo. Takanoiwa, who fractured his skull in an altercation with former grand champion Harumafuji in a restaurant October 2017, is hoping to make a comeback at the March 11-25 Osaka tournament. (Kyodo News via AP)TOKYO — The most damage inflicted in sumo in recent times has been to the image of Japan’s tradition-steeped national sport.An alcohol-fueled restaurant brawl that left a Mongolian wrestler with a fractured skull and a sexual assault scandal involving the sport’s highest-ranked referee have rocked the sport in recent months. Those episodes followed a match-fixing investigation in 2011 and the death of a teenage wrestler in training in 2007 that have tainted sumo over the last decade.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Gamescenter_img “Our goal is the preservation of sumo,” committee chairman Keiichi Tadaki, a former prosecutor general, said. Organizers are hoping to restore its battered reputation when the Spring Grand Sumo tournament starts on the weekend.Takanoiwa, who fractured his skull in an altercation with former Grand Champion Harumafuji in a restaurant last October, is hoping to make a comeback at the Osaka event.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I’m just focusing on doing my best,” the 28-year-old Takanoiwa told reporters last week during a training session for the tournament. “It will take a bit more time to be ready.”A healthy Takanoiwa wouldn’t solve all sumo’s problems but would be a big step in the road to recovery. MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa NU-La Salle rematch set this weekend as UAAP volleyball 2nd round opens Inosuke said he had no recollection of the incident, and the junior referee declined to file charges.In the wake of the scandal, though, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko didn’t attend January’s New Year tournament for the first time in four years.Weeks after that, Egyptian wrestler Osunaarashi was caught driving without a license after a vehicle collision and was ordered to pay a $4,700 fine.The recent incidents are just the latest scandals to rock the sumo world.In 2011, the JSA decided to cancel the Spring tournament after revelations that 14 wrestlers were involved with match-fixing.In 2010, grand champion Asashoryu, also of Mongolia, announced his retirement following reports that he injured a man while intoxicated.In the most troubling case in 2007, the 17-year-old wrestler Takashi Saito died when he was beaten over the head with a beer bottle at the direction of his trainer.Saito’s stable master Junichi Yamamoto and three wrestlers were subsequently arrested and charged with manslaughter. In May 2009, Yamamoto was sentenced to six years in prison.The incident brought substantial political pressure to the governance of the sport in Japan.In response to the latest scandals this year, the Japan Sumo Association announced that a third-party committee has been convened and will question every member of the JSA. About 900 people, including active wrestlers and elders, will be included in the inquiry. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s weddinglast_img read more

CWG scam: Order on Kalmadi’s bail plea deferred for May 26

first_imgThe bail plea of sacked CWG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, which was to be decided by a Delhi court on Saturday, has been postponed for May 26 after he said he would place ‘new facts’ to prove his innocence in a corruption case relating to awarding of a Games-related contract to a Swiss firm.Special CBI Judge Talwant Singh, before whom CBI filed the charge sheet against him, deferred the order on his bail plea by five days after taking into consideration Kalmadi’s plea seeking to argue his case on “new” grounds.CBI filed a 50-page charge sheet against him and ten others including two companies.Others named in the chargesheet are OC Director General (Procurement) Surjit Lal, Joint Director General (sports) A S V Prasad, Treasurer M Jayachandran, A K Reddy, Managing Director of Hyderabad-based AKR Constructions, and the promoters of Faridabad-based Gem International, A K Madan and P D Arya. The Faridabad firm was outsourced a substantial portion of the contract that Swiss Timing-Omega won for the Commonwealth Games.It also names the two companies AKR Constructions and Swiss Timing-Omega.All accused have been charged under sections 120(B) (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery) and 471 (using forged documents) of Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act. The chargesheet will be taken up for cognizance on Monday.CBI said it might file a supplementary charge sheet, if need be, as further investigation is going on and certain aspects are yet to be investigated.Arguments on the bail pleas of Surjit Lal and A S V Prasad will also be heard on May 26.advertisementBhanot and Verma were arrested on February 23 while Kalmadi, Prasad and Lal was apprehended on April 26.They stand accused of awarding TSR contract to Swiss Firm Swiss Timing which caused an estimated loss of over Rs 90 crore to the exchequer.- With PTI inputslast_img read more

Whatever it takes

first_imgTerrence Romeo talks to reporters as he attends his first practice with San Miguel. INQUIRER photo/Denison DalupangFor those wondering how a troubled superstar can fit himself into a title-studded roster, here’s an encouraging start: Terrence Romeo knows his place in the San Miguel Beer lineup.“Wala talaga akong maipag-mamalaki sa kahit kanino sa team na ‘to,” the controversial playmaker told reporters after his first practice with the Beermen Thursday.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games PLAY LIST 01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Jimmy Alapag as SMB assistant coach has homecoming feel to it “I’ll just have to play the right way of basketball,” said Romeo. And that means leaving the past way behind him.The PBA’s three-time scoring champion refuses to dwell on his unceremonious exit from the KaTropa, who reportedly dealt him away to preserve their cherished chemistry.“Kung sasabihin ko ‘yung totoong dahilan, hahaba lang ‘yung usapan,” he said. “I’m moving on.”“Whatever they say about me, whatever the writeups say about me—about going Awol, about being unreachable during our Christmas party, I don’t know any more … I have no control over that now,” he added in Filipino.Before his tour of duty with KaTropa, Romeo played for GlobalPort for five years, a partnership that also ended on a sour note after a spat with coach Pido Jarencio that was caught on national TV.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue “I’ll just make the most out of it with my new team. It is what it is,” said the 26-year-old guard known for his isolation skills. “We’re in a world that sometimes, there are things you just couldn’t control.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? MOST READcenter_img View comments LATEST STORIES Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte It’s a mind-set he needs to hold on to if he wants to squeeze out the most of this last chance to smooth out a career that has alternated between highlights and unsavory headlines: “I have nothing on the guys on this team.”“I want to learn from them. I want to learn how to become a champion,” he said of the stars of the team that has won four straight all-Filipino titles.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionReportedly on a demand by the stars of his former team, Romeo was shipped out by TNT for San Miguel’s Brian Heruela, David Semerad, and a 2021 first round pick. The transaction ended Romeo’s affair with the KaTropa, one that didn’t even last a whole season.To make this shot at relevance work, Romeo knows he has his work cut out for him. LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviñolast_img read more

India look to clinch series on Virat Kohli’s birthday eve

first_imgIndia are poised for their third T20 International series triumph in five years but would be wary of a strong fightback from the usually plucky New Zealand when the two sides clash in the second game of the three-match series in Rajkot on Saturday.The comprehensive 53-run victory in the series opener at Delhi has put India firmly in the position to register a winning 2-0 lead at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here in Kandheri.The resounding victory, riding on the exhilarating batting exploits of their top-order and, in particular openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, was the country’s first-ever over the Kiwis in the shortest form of the game.The 2007 World T20 champions have produced impressive death bowling with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah leading the pace department, while the spinners also pitched in with some excellent bowling in the middle overs.Considering the immense all-round strength that the hosts boast of, it’s going to be a Herculean task for the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand to prevent India from surging to a third T20I series victory in eight contests, going back to 2012-13, three of which were drawn encounters.The last game is scheduled at Thiruvananthapuram on November 7.The Indian top order batting, with superb stroke-makers in Dhawan, Sharma and Kohli, has to be tamed early if New Zealand hope to carry on the fight till the series-ending game.Dhawan and Sharma put on a record 158-run partnership that went into the 16th over to ensure that India ended up with a plus-200 total despite a brief wobble towards the end.advertisementThe Black Caps’ new ball attack of Trent Boult and Tim Southee lacked discipline in Delhi. It’s a bit of a surprise that these two experienced Kiwi bowlers have been ineffective with yorkers at the death, unlike the Indian duo of Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar.The fielding too let the Black Caps down in contrast to some superb outfield efforts by the Men in Blue.”We were outplayed in all the areas, fielding included, which is something we pride ourselves on and something we need to be much better at in Twenty20 cricket,” Williamson had said after the Delhi loss to Virat Kohli-led India.Kohli has led the team from the front and is himself fast approaching the 2000-run landmark in T20Is.If the top batsmen fall cheaply, there are others spearheaded by former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to come to the home team’s rescue.In slow bowling too, leggie Yuzvendra Chahal has continued to trouble the Black Caps’ batsmen, in particular captain Williamson and senior pro Ross Taylor who are unable to read the twirl on the ball off the wrist spinner’s hand.Only the left-handed Tom Latham, among the visiting team’s batsmen, has shown a consistently sound and effective approach against the spin bowlers.India had clinched back-to-back wins in the last two games of the 50-over ODI rubber for a 2-1 verdict in their favour.Incidentally, this would be the second T20 International to be played at this venue on the outskirts of the city which was the home venue of IPL side Gujarat Lions earlier this year. The first one was against Australia in October, 2013, won by the home side.The stadium has also hosted two ODIs in 2013 and 2015 and in both these games, India ended up on the losing side against England and South African respectively.It became a Test venue last season when India played against England.Teams: India: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, KL Rahul.New Zealand: Kane Williamson (C), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Henry Nicholls, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee.Match commences at 7pm IST.last_img read more

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley looking at four bids in excess of £300m for club

first_imgMike Ashley is considering four bids in excess of £300m for Newcastle United as the owner attempts to push through a sale before January.The sportswear tycoon revealed on Monday evening that he was in talks with several potential purchasers 14 months after placing the club on the market, and voiced his hope that a deal could be done within weeks. Rafael Benítez remains diplomatic on subject of protest by Newcastle fans Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Read more Mike Ashley Share on Twitter It is understood there are at least four interested parties, all of them based overseas, who have tabled offers and that talks are continuing amid optimism that Ashley’s timescale could be realistic. Peter Kenyon, the former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive, is reportedly ready to show his hand after spending several weeks attempting to put funding in place, while there have been suggestions that prospective purchasers from the United States, the Middle East and Turkey have made contact.Ashley revealed in a rare television interview that ongoing negotiations were “at a more progressed stage than they’ve ever been” and, although his comments were greeted with scepticism by fans who saw Amanda Staveley’s proposed takeover collapse earlier this year, things appear to be developing apace.He is keen to finally offload the club at the third time of asking after a turbulent 11 and a half years on Tyneside, during which he has been at odds with many of the supporters.Disgruntled fans have made their feelings clear over his repeated failure to provide his managers, and in particular Rafael Benítez, with the funding to compete in the transfer market, with Ashley saying he cannot afford to do so. That has left Benítez’s future in doubt, with his current contract due to expire at the end of this season, and supporters will be hoping a swift and successful conclusion to talks could both secure the Spaniard’s continued presence and provide him with a meaningful budget for players.Benítez insisted as he prepared for Wednesday night’s Premier League trip to Everton that it was “business as usual” and expressed his hope that his players would not be distracted by events behind the scenes. He said: “I will say that I hope it will not be a distraction. Why? Because the players, they know that they have to perform, that’s it.“For us, we have experience of this. We are in the same situation that we were in before. When we say ‘business as usual’, it’s because we know that it will not change our plans. Our plans are to look for the [transfer] targets. Fine. We are looking for the targets, so it depends who is there and who is available. But for me, we carry on and thinking that Mike will be there, and we have to choose the right players for us. That’s it.” Share on Messenger Reuse this contentcenter_img Topics news Share via Email The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Business Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook Newcastle Unitedlast_img read more

PM Holness arrives in Namibia for Historic State Visit

first_img The Prime Minister, who arrived at the Namibian Hosea Kutako Airport, was welcomed with traditional festivities at the Airport by Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Corporation, The Hon Netumbo Nandi-Ndtaitwah, Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of Environment and Tourism and the Hon Christine //Hoebes, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and other dignitaries. Prime Minister Andrew Holness has arrived in Namibia for what is the first official State visit by a Jamaican Head of Government to that country. Story Highlightscenter_img Prime Minister Andrew Holness has arrived in Namibia for what is the first official State visit by a Jamaican Head of Government to that country.The Prime Minister, who arrived at the Namibian Hosea Kutako Airport, was welcomed with traditional festivities at the Airport by Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Corporation, The Hon Netumbo Nandi-Ndtaitwah, Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of Environment and Tourism and the Hon Christine //Hoebes, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and other dignitaries.Prime Minister Holness is accompanied on his visit by Minister of Culture Hon Olivia Grange, High Commissioner for Jamaica to South Africa, H.E. Ms Angella Comfort, Ms Shorna-Kay Richards, Director of Bilateral Relations at the Ministry Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Honourary Counsel for Jamaica in Namibia Professor Earl Taylor, and son of Marcus Garvey, Dr. Julius Garvey.The Prime Minister engaged in a brief courtesy call with Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon Netumbo Nandi-Ndtaitwah. He was then transported in convoy to the Namibian State House where he had a short meeting with the President of the Republic of Namibia, H.E. Dr Hage G Geingob.Both leaders expressed sincere appreciation for the strong ties between Jamaica and Namibia and spoke of the history of cooperation between the two countries in relation to Namibia’s independence struggle.Prime Minister Holness will tomorrow commence the main program of his State visit, where he will hold official talks with the Namibian President, during which an MOU on cooperation in the field of Sports and one for political consultations will be signed.Also tomorrow, Prime Minister Holness will meet with members of the Namibian Private sector at a luncheon to be hosted by the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.Prime Minister Holness will then join the President of Namibia for the renaming of a street in the Capital City of Windhoek, in Honour of Jamaica’s First National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey.last_img read more

RCMP officer suspect hospitalized after member involved shooting near Turtleford

A Saskatchewan RCMP officer and a male suspect were both taken to hospital after what RCMP described as a “member involved shooting” near Turtleford.The incident began just after 7:30 a.m. when officers at the RMCP detachment in Loon Lake received reports of a possible impaired driver who was driving at high speeds, Mark Fisher, the commanding officer of the Saskatchewan RCMP, told media at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. Fisher noted that officers who were dispatched to locate the driver failed to do so.The vehicle was spotted again over the following few hours by officers in several different locations, but they were also unable to stop the vehicle.Fisher said officers were successful stopping the vehicle just after 10:30 a.m. outside the town of Mervin, Sask. but as RCMP approached the vehicle, one officer sustained a serious but non-life threatening gunshot wound. Fisher noted that the suspect was the only person in the vehicle at the time of the alleged gunshot.The officers then discharged their firearms, Fisher said.The officer was taken to hospital in Turtleford and the suspect was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital with what Fisher said are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.The extent of the suspect’s injuries are not yet known, Fisher confirmed. The suspect’s name was not released and no charge has been laid.RCMP were then able to confirm that there was no further threat to public safety.“These are incidents that stick in your mind whenever they happen, wherever they happen,” Fisher said. “These incidents have a significant impact on the law enforcement family as a whole and obviously on all our extended families.”Fisher said RCMP have asked the Regina Police Service to conduct an independent external investigation into the circumstances of the incident, which The RCMP Act states is protocol for any incident that involves death or serious injury.An increased police presence was expected to be in place for several hours west of Mervin on the Highway 794 grid. read more

New project to clean up pollution in Western Indian Ocean – UN

The three-year project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Government of Norway, will help eight East African countries devise action plans to curb sewage, chemicals and other pollutants coming from the land into the region’s rivers and coastal waters. The Western Indian Ocean – one of the most wildlife-rich in the world with important mangrove forests, seagrass beds, lagoons and coral reefs – is thought to hold more than 11,000 species of plants and animals including such creatures as the dugong, a marine mammal believed to be the inspiration for sea-farers tales of mermaids; the coelacanth, a fossil fish; and more than a fifth of the world’s tropical inshore fish species. According to UNEP, some 30 million people in the five mainland countries of Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa and Tanzania and on the islands of the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles, depend upon the area’s marine and coastal resources for food, livelihoods and recreation. The project was announced at the Fourth Conference of the Parties to the Nairobi Convention for the protection, management and development of the marine and coastal environment of the eastern African region. The meeting is taking place through Thursday in the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo. The treaty is a regional mechanism established by UNEP through which global treaties and agreements, including the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from land-based activities (UNEP/GPA) and those relating to the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO), can be implemented. The GEF is a multi-billion-dollar fund that invests in projects in developing countries. UNEP, along with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, play key roles in managing the Fund’s projects on the ground. read more

Stillwater Mining comments on robust palladium outlook in the surging PGM market

first_imgStillwater Mining Co (SWC) yesterday commented on the impressive 2009 recovery in PGM prices following the collapse in those prices in the fourth quarter of 2008 during the economic meltdown. PGM (palladium, platinum and rhodium) prices have moved strongly ahead in recent days, continuing a steady recovery that began in early 2009. Palladium, which just over a year ago had fallen 72% from its 2008 high of $582/oz to a 2008 fourth quarter low of $164/oz, yesterday was quoted in London at $422/oz, up 157% from the 2008 low. Platinum, which fell 66% from its record high of $2,273/oz in early 2008 to a low of $763/oz a few months later, had recovered by 104% to $1,556/oz. Rhodium, which fell 90% from its 2008 peak of $10,100/oz to bottom out at $1,000/oz, yesterday was quoted at $2,750/oz, up 170%. Commenting on the recent buoyancy in PGM prices, SWC Chairman and CEO Frank McAllister observed, “Given the severity of the 2008 economic meltdown, the depth of the corresponding downward price movement in PGMs perhaps was understandable, but the magnitude and momentum of the subsequent recovery in PGM prices clearly has caught many observers by surprise. Palladium at the moment is faring best, having fallen the least and recovered the most, currently off just 27% from its 2008 high. Platinum also has done well, at present down 32% from its high. Rhodium remains down 73%.“Within the recovery we also see a modest convergence of the palladium price towards the platinum price. Last March palladium was trading at just 18% of the price of platinum. Today palladium is priced at 27% of platinum, having closed some of the price gap, but still priced very attractively relative to platinum and rhodium. We expect to see this price gap narrow further going forward as research from the past several years comes to market that increases the opportunity to substitute palladium for platinum and even rhodium.“Both the stronger PGM prices and the narrowing of the price gap between palladium and platinum are good for Stillwater with its 3.3 to 1 palladium to platinum mine production ratio. Recently, we have focused on the factors behind the strengthening in PGM prices over the past year, as well as the price gap between palladium and platinum. Some of these factors are outlined below and we expect to offer a more detailed analysis of the price drivers in the Stillwater 2009 Annual Report to Shareholders now in preparation.”Financial factors are having a significant influence on PGM prices in general. Those with the most impact include weakness in the US dollar, a surge in precious metal sentiment and investment (both as a safe haven and as an attractive investment), and the newly approved US ETF securities for both platinum and palladium.South African PGM production has fallen steadily since making record highs in 2006, despite strong PGM pricing and earlier projections of aggressive growth. Still, South African production for 2009 will constitute 78% of the platinum, 35% of the palladium and a whopping 86% of the rhodium produced worldwide last year. The issue: multiple challenges face the PGM miners in South Africa, according to SWC – “work interruptions related to mine safety; shortages of and conflicting priorities for electricity and water supplies; a strong Rand (local currency); aggressive wage demands and labour actions; failure to meet increasing capital expenditure requirements needed just to maintain production in ever deepening mines; worker skill shortages; failure to develop adequate replacement mines; and political involvement in mining. Concerns about South African production have driven the stronger PGM pricing we have seen over the past year. And given the predominant role of South African production in meeting world PGM requirements, PGM pricing in the end will always be influenced by the South African PGM market basket with its 2 to 1 platinum to palladium bias, in particular during times of a market shortage of the metals. The bias also suggests a continuing need for a strong platinum price to entice the production necessary to meet world PGM requirements. Yet even today’s $1,276/oz market basket price still leaves the cost structure and capital sustainability of many key South African mines at risk.”Automotive catalytic converter technology is made possible by the unique properties of PGMs, the enabling element in the devices that have cleansed the atmosphere of major auto emission pollutants since a platinum-fitted catalyst was first introduced in 1974. From that time forward, driven by price and by surging environmental requirements, the technology has steadily evolved. In the 1990s, palladium technology emerged largely replacing platinum as the catalyst of choice for converting gasoline emissions. More recently palladium has drawn even with platinum in applications converting diesel emissions; and now palladium can even replace scarce rhodium, albeit at high prices given a replacement ratio of 8 to 1, in converting NOx emissions. Such applications today account for over 50% of worldwide PGM consumption. Price driven substitution toward palladium in this whole arena is underway and continuing.Surging auto demand and environmental requirements in the developing world are the largest growth factor for PGMs. Going forward auto build is projected to grow an aggressive 2% to 3% a year, as will environmental requirements. At present in the US and Western Europe, the recession-driven slump in new-car output is masking this broader trend. One must but look to China where auto build grew a stunning 40% in 2009, placing China at a build rate currently exceeding that of the mature US market. In India and Brazil, growth rates are surging as well, and with nascent US and European economic recoveries now in progress, demand shortly could once again outstrip PGM mine production. Auto emissions limits in these developing countries are now being tightened, similar to the regulatory climate the developed world faced during the 1990s. Despite efforts to develop alternatives, it appears that for the foreseeable future the internal combustion engine will continue to dominate in this compounding numbers phenomenon — as surging developing world demand for automobiles and ever tighter emissions control limits on them feeds a growing demand for PGMs, led by palladium.Palladium jewelry is not expected to have much effect on the market for platinum jewelry, but is now a widely accepted jewelry metal in its own right and commands a growing market following. This acceptance expanded further this week when on January 5, 2010, the UK officially recognised palladium as a precious metal by making use of its hallmark compulsory. Stillwater says it “has nurtured the palladium jewellery market since its infancy in 2004. Jewellery now represents about 14% of the demand for palladium and over 25% of the demand for platinum.“Russian government palladium stocks remain a state secret and thus a market wild card. At one time sales from these stocks totaled nearly 2 Moz/y. Because such sales have diminished in the last couple of years many consider the stocks near to, or at a point of, exhaustion. Putting the stocks into perspective is critical to an understanding of their market impact. Total worldwide production of platinum and palladium has been in nearly equal quantities for the past 20 years — amounting in aggregate to a little over 100 Moz of each. Some speculate that sales from the Russian palladium stockpile over the same time period exceeded 25 Moz. This market perspective suggests: 1) because of the stockpile sales, over 25% more palladium has been consumed during the past 20 years than platinum; and 2) when the palladium stocks are exhausted the available supply flow of palladium will run short of market requirements.”Price disparity between products that compete for the same market is a curious thing. In the end, in the absence of compelling product differences, such competition is settled by price. For most of the catalytic converter market there is little compelling product difference between palladium and platinum — except price. With over 50% of the demand for all PGM metals now competing for the catalytic converter market, price is now the determining factor, which makes palladium the metal of choice. With this shift progressing, the auto market growing, and the exhaustion of Russian stocks nearing, price convergence between palladium and platinum will shortly become a reality and determining the appropriate price equilibrium between the two will be a new market riddle.Stillwater Mining is the only US producer of palladium and platinum and is the largest primary producer of PGMs outside of South Africa and the Russian Federation.last_img read more

thyssenkrupp Barge Loader delivered to EGA bauxite project in Guinea

first_imgThe final major piece of equipment for Emirates Global Aluminium’s in-development bauxite mining project in the Republic of Guinea has arrived in the West African country, the company reports.The Barge Loader was shipped to Guinea from thyssenkrupp’s fabrication facility in India. It will be installed at the end of the project’s 1.5 km pier, where it will load bauxite ore into self-propelled barges for transport to waiting bulk cargo ships offshore, EGA said.The Barge Loader is the last in a series of massive pieces of equipment for the project to arrive in Guinea, which includes some of the largest ever installed in a mining project in Africa, according to EGA.Abdulla Kalban, EGA’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, said: “All the major pieces of equipment for our Guinea project have now safely arrived, completing a series of challenging engineering and logistical feats. Construction overall is very well advanced and we look forward to its safe completion and the start of bauxite exports later this year.”The project is being developed by EGA’s subsidiary, Guinea Alumina Corp, and has a total budgeted project cost of around $1.4 billion. First bauxite exports are expected during the second half of 2019.Just last month, the company loaded the first batch of bauxite from the project.last_img read more

Gameloft Launches Twitter Advent Calendar

first_imgBack in elementary school, I had a friend whose parents would buy him an advent calendar every year. And every year, invariably, all of the door would be pried open and all of the chocolates eaten by, oh, December 3rd or so. But now we’re all grownups here, right? We can finally have a proper advent calendar without cheating chronology.Gameloft thinks so. The publisher is offering up a Twitter advent calendar, counting down the days until Christmas by offering up a “surprise gift” every day between now and the holiday.The company will be offering up something each day on its Twitter feed, including free games for the iPhone, Android, iPad, and Facebook; previews of upcoming games; and “crazy” discounts on Gameloft products. All deals can be found over on @gameloft.last_img read more

Hack your rooted Android handset to enable Netflix streaming

Just recently, the Netflix app for Android finally arrived… sort of. Netflix wants to ensure the “best possible experience,” so it’s only approved for use on certain handsets at the moment. If you happen to own a device which isn’t among the chosen few right now, you’re out of luck. At least you were out of luck until one member of the Android community had a few extra minutes to do some hacking.It turns out all that’s required is a quick tweak to your Android’s build.prop file, which is located in /system/. Your device must be rooted in able to proceed, so assuming you’ve already accomplished that feat here’s what to do next:Using ES File Explorer (or your favorite root-friendly file manager), browse to /system/Copy build.prop and paste it to your SDcard or another safe location just in case something should go wrongOpen build.prop using a text editor (ESFE has one built in, and it works just fine)look for ro.product.model= and change the text after the = to HTC Visionlook for ro.product.manufacturer= and change the text after the = to HTCalternatively, you can substitute Nexus S and Samsung for the model and manufacturer, respectively.reboot your phoneinstall the Netflix appVarying degrees of success have been reported, and you may find that the Samsung edits work better than HTC on your device. But hey, half the fun of having a rooted phone is that you get to experiment with cool little hacks like this. Some work, some don’t, but the payoff is certainly worth it in this case if you’re jonesing for a Netflix fix on your unsupported Android device.Those who aren’t as keen to root or hack will have to be patient, though Netflix has promised to continue adding new models as they’re “certified.”More at Reddit read more

Ginsburg missing Supreme Court arguments for 1st time

first_imgWASHINGTON — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is missing arguments for the first time in more than 25 years as she recuperates from cancer surgery last month, the Supreme Court said.Ginsburg was not on the bench as the court met Monday to hear arguments. It was not clear when she would return to the court, which will hear more cases on Tuesday and Wednesday, and again next week.Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said the 85-year-old justice is continuing to recuperate and work from home after doctors removed two cancerous growths from her left lung on Dec. 21.Ginsburg was discharged from a New York hospital on Dec. 25.Chief Justice John Roberts said in the courtroom Monday that Ginsburg would participate in deciding the argued cases “on the basis of the briefs and transcripts of oral arguments.”Ginsburg had two earlier cancer surgeries in 1999 and 2009 that did not cause her to miss court sessions. She also has broken ribs on at least two occasions.last_img read more

New Vancouver Clinic the Cheers of health care

first_imgThis is not your parents’ clinic.There are wooden shelves holding books and board games such as Mancala, Trivial Pursuit and Jumanji at the Vancouver Clinic at Vancouver Plaza.It’s all part of a modern approach to health care by Vancouver Clinic, which is partnering with Humana at this location. The idea is that you can come to receive treatment but won’t want to leave immediately after.The clinic, at 7809 N.E. Vancouver Plaza Drive, saw its first patient Tuesday, and is currently providing care on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It will expand care to all weekdays in early February once a second doctor joins the staff.Health education classes, individual and group counseling, exercise classes, group activities and wellness presentations will be available through the clinic. Mark Mantei, Vancouver Clinic CEO, said patients will be encouraged to take the games and books off the shelf for fun.“The facility itself is built for people being able to address other needs beyond medical,” Mantei explained. “The exercise classes, the nutrition classes, the ability to just hang out and make a friend, it’s huge.”It’s something that Humana Market President for the Intermountain Region Catherine Field calls “‘Cheers’ for health care,” referring to the TV sitcom.“People know your name, and they want you to come and you’re not a bother,” Field said. “I think as we age, we end up feeling like we’re kind of a bother to a lot of people.”last_img read more

2000 dead Mother mourns grim milestone in Afghanistan

first_img Lisa Freeman was cradling her 6-day-old grandson in her left arm and watching the news on her iPad while her daughter and son-in-law caught some much-needed sleep. She was taking notes with her free hand when she heard the news: The nation had suffered its 2,000th military casualty in the Afghan war.On Sept. 29, Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Metcalfe was on patrol in the country’s rugged Wardak Province when his unit came under small-arms fire.As the announcer droned on, all Freeman could do was shake her head and stare at little Matthew — named for an uncle he would never know. Marine Capt. Matthew C. Freeman fell to a sniper’s bullet on Aug. 7, 2009, northeast of Kabul, not far from where Metcalfe perished.It is almost certain that Metcalfe and Freeman — both 29 when they died — never met. Freeman grew up in the Savannah suburb of Richmond Hill, Ga.; Metcalfe was from the village of Liverpool, N.Y., population about 2,400, a few miles north of Syracuse.Nonetheless, they were brothers, casualties in what has become America’s longest war.“I just sat here,” said Lisa Freeman, “reliving the pain and wondering: Where is America’s outrage? Where is America’s concern that we’re still at war?” This 2009 photo provided by Lisa Freeman shows her son, Marine Capt. Matthew C. Freeman, left, in Afghanistan. Barely two weeks into his deployment, Freeman and a fire support team set out to do reconnaissance in the Shpee Valley when they came under almost immediate enemy attack and became pinned down. According to an official account, Freeman fought his way into a nearby building and up to the roof to get a better angle on the enemy position. Once atop, he spotted an insurgent with a rocket-propelled grenade and was firing at the man when he was shot in the back of the head. A comrade told Lisa Freeman her son was found with his finger on the trigger of his rifle; its magazine was nearly empty.last_img read more

Miami doctor to join NASA Astronaut Candidate Class

first_img Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. #ICYMI: Yesterday, we announced #NewAstronauts; 12 chosen from 18,300+ applicants. Get to know them: https://t.co/w2q9sC9Whz pic.twitter.com/JtuxtlW0MA— NASA (@NASA) June 8, 2017Rubio, a U.S. Army major and board certified family physician, said he’s thrilled to be going to the Johnson Space Center in Houston. “The people that you’re surrounded by, through the assessment process, it’s very humbling to be selected from that group, so it’s an honor,” he said during a news conference, Wednesday. “We cried a little bit, my wife and I did, but we’re ecstatic to be here.”Rubio and the rest of the 2017 class will report for duty in August to start a two-year training program. After that, NASA could assign them to missions in outer space. MIAMI (WSVN) – A South Florida man is shooting for the stars, as he prepares to join NASA.The space agency just announced the 12 members selected for their 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class, out of 18,000 applicants.Among them is Dr. Frank Rubio, a Miami native.last_img read more

49 Voices Josh Lynch of Fairbanks

first_imgThis week we’re hearing from Josh Lynch in Fairbanks. Originally from Texas and Arkansas, Lynch will be experiencing his first snowy winter this year.Listen Now Josh Lynch of Fairbanks (Photo courtesy of Josh Lynch)LYNCH: I feel like I have what any person from the south would consider a moderate exposure to snow. I can remember maybe a day every two or three years where school would be cancelled on account of snow.  But of course in Arkansas, school gets cancelled on account of an inch maybe an inch and a half of snow and often that’s gone by lunch time.The last 5 or 6 years, I’ve spent three or four months traveling around in Alaska every year, but only in the summer when I can sleep in my tent and it’s not so scary outside. I’m pretty nervous about being in a place that’s cold and dark and snowy for the first time ever.I’ve tried to all the things that you can sort of do to be prepared I suppose: firewood, extra jackets, blankets. I’ve got all my friends coaching me with advice on how best to survive and stay active.A light north face flannel, a light north face half zip is a winter jacket in Texas. You’re lucky if you get to wear it three days a year. So moving into cold weather gear is totally foreign to me. I don’t have the first idea of how to begin to shop for this kind of stuff. So anytime that I’m looking at any kind of item at all, I have four or five different people I turn to opinions for. People I trust don’t want to see me turn into a Popsicle.Now you make a good point in that, if there was anything worse than it being incredibly cold and incredibly dark and snowy it might just be incredibly cold and incredibly dark. That’s something I’m not quite prepared for mentally yet either as I sort of imagine Alaskan winters it’s that snowy white on top of spruce trees, up on top of your cabin the whole 9 yards, but if there’s not any snow, I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle it too well emotionally anyway.last_img read more