Caricom States should not follow Brexit – Deputy Secretary General urges

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first_img…EU Ambassador warns of consequences for Caribbean countriesWith the world still reeling after the revolutionary withdrawal of the United Kingdom from one of the largestThe Caricom Secretariat in Guyanapolitico-economic blocs – the European Union, Member States of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) are being urged to stand together.Caricom Deputy Secretary General, Dr Manorma Soeknandan declared that Caricom should not go through the recent Brexit (British exit) experience, which has left millions of people worldwide facing major economic and political uncertainty.She was at the time speaking at the opening ceremony of a Regional Technical Meeting on the implementation of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) CSME and Economic Integration Programme on June 24.Dr Soeknandan urged all Caricom members to stand in integration and be committed together, and to struggle and achieve together.“Caricom has challenges, hurdles…together putting our shoulders under those will only make us stronger…losing one is not the answer,” she said, as she expressed hope that Caricom would never have to deal with what the EU was currently undergoing.In this regard, the Caricom Deputy Secretary General underscored the importance of regional integration and the need for technical meetings to resolve pertinent issues.Also delivering his remarks at the event was Ambassador Mikael Barfod, the Head of the Delegation of the EU to the Eastern Caribbean Countries (OECS) and Caricom/CARIFORUM, who noted that the Brexit could have consequences for the Caribbean.He explained that some Caricom countries may have to enter into renegotiations of trade deals with the UK as a result of Brexit.Furthermore, the Ambassador stressed that the challenges related to regional integration were well worth taking, even though at times integration had a gloomy reputation.Already, authoritative voices in Jamaica placed on their national agenda the question of whether their country should follow the example of Britain, the former “Mother Country”, and leave Caricom.In fact, the former Foreign Affairs Minister in Jamaica, Oswald Harding, is insisting that the Jamaican Government should follow the UK’s example and hold a referendum on whether Jamaica should remain in Caricom.Several Member States have publicly subscribed to the view that the institution has been incapable of addressing the challenges facing the Caribbean.With the Caricom Summit to be hosted in Guyana next month, Government has not pronounced on whether or not it would consider exiting Caricom.Locally, discussions have commenced on whether Brexit could open an opportunity for the sugar industry to flourish.Guyana’s sugar, which had been shipped to Britain to the Tate & Lyle Sugar (TLS) on the Thames for refining, was incorporated into the EU regime in 1973 and modified accordingly in the following years.Cane sugar has been treated as a stepchild in the EU which pushes beet sugar and TLS has seen its refineries gradually decrease from six to one. Because beet farming in Britain has never been on a scale, as say France and Germany British farmers never received subsidies on the scale of their European counterparts.In 2012, TLS launched a “Save our Sugar” campaign and asserted, “If current and proposed EU policies continue to unfairly restrict access to raw sugar, cane refiners will not survive as part of the supply mix in Europe’s sugar sector”.TLS has been leading the charge for renegotiation of cane sugar trade arrangements before the old arrangement expires in 2017. It can be a potent ally for countries such as Guyana.In the next two years, according to Article 50 of the EU Charter, Britain and the EU will be negotiating the terms of the former’s exit. The EU’s entire sugar regime, which address three main areas: quota management, a reference price and a minimum guaranteed price to growers, and trade measures, will have to be replaced by Britain with a new regime.last_img read more

100 Victims Still Waiting for Red Cross

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first_imgFourteen days after a fire disaster rendered 100 people homeless on New Kru Town’s Karpeh Street, the victims are still waiting to hear from the Liberia National Red Cross Society, LNRCS. The LNRC team conducted an assessment three days after the incident, and informed the victims that help would be forthcoming. “We are still waiting to hear from the Red Cross,” community chairman Joe Carr told the Daily Observer yesterday. Three days after the incident, an official of the LNRC, Christopher Johnson, admitted to the Daily Observer that he had received a letter about the disaster from Mr. Carr. “We will send a team to assess the situation,” Johnson told the Daily Observer in a telephone interview on April 26. However, Chairman Carr told this newspaper during a visit yesterday that, “Red Cross people came here, but since they left, we have not heard from them.” Seven days after the visit of the LNRC team, Carr said the victims are still sleeping outdoors. “They have nowhere and no one to go to for help,” Carr said. “We need urgent help from the Red Cross, particularly since there are 50 children among them.”  Carr said a representative from the humanitarian group, Oxfam, contacted the community, wanting to help. “We are waiting for Oxfam, too,” Carr said. A visit by the Daily Observer yesterday saw disappointed women, children and older men and women sprawled in several areas, near where their zinc houses had stood. “This is where we sleep since the fire destroyed our place,” one of the women told the Daily Observer. “I lost everything and I am not even able to feed myself and my four children.”  She said Chairman Carr has been assisting with money and food. “How long can he continue to do that?” she asked. A Red Cross representative, who asked not to be identified, told the Daily Observer, yesterday, “We have done our assessment and we’ll get to them as soon as possible.” Carr meanwhile said a humanitarian, Mr. Dixon Siebo, last Saturday made a financial donation of LD15, 000 to the community to help the victims. Carr explained that the victims had lost hope that there was someone out there who was willing to help.“It’s been 14 days now since the fire incident and they are still waiting for a worthy organization to help,” Carr complained. With Red Cross’ promise, he said he is convinced that help will come, but appealed that it should not wait too long. “We don’t want additional problems,” Carr said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Paths differ for Vietnam vets

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first_img“The dishonesty of it was astounding – criminal, really,” Hagel said. “I came to the conclusion that they used those people, used our young people. So I am very careful, especially now. This administration dismissed every tough question we asked. We were assured, `We know what we’re doing.’ That’s what they said in Vietnam.” Hagel was 21 when he arrived in Vietnam in December 1967 in the weeks leading up to the Tet offensive, which is considered the turning point in the war because of the effect it had on Americans back home. Infantrymen patrolling populated areas came in regular contact with civilians, sometimes indistinguishable from enemy combatants. Hagel and his brother, Tom, who served with him, saw children with explosives taped inside their shirts, a woman in a rice field with a tripwire tied to her toe. Under the rules of engagement, U.S. soldiers fired on from a village could open fire or even call in an air strike to obliterate it. Hagel has described seeing a sniper take off the top of the head of a young captain crouching near him in a cemetery. A mine sheared off a fellow soldier at the hips. The execution of the Vietnam war was baffling, he said. “We would take a village, inflict casualties, hold it for a day or two. Then orders come down to get out. You wondered: What was the point?” McCain’s experience in Vietnam was different, though no less grueling. A graduate of the Naval Academy, he reported for duty on the aircraft carrier Oriskany on Sept. 30, 1967, and joined an attack squadron. On his 23rd bombing run, a missile hit his plane. He ejected, breaking a knee and both arms and landing in a lake in Hanoi, where he was taken captive. In the next 51/2 years, he spent two years in solitary confinement, was bound, kicked and stomped, had his left arm broken again, suffered from dysentery and tried to commit suicide. He was released in March 1973 after the Paris peace accords and returned with other POWs to the United States, crowds of well-wishers and a White House dinner. McCain says he rarely thinks about his time in Vietnam. Support a strategy But Mark Salter, McCain’s aide and co-author, said the senator’s year studying the war, his growing up in a military family and his 20 years on the Senate Armed Services Committee shaped his view that “when you go to war, you have to be fully committed to doing everything necessary to win it.” “He very much believes you make decisions about force levels to support a strategy – and not the other way around,” Salter said of McCain, who voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq but criticized the war’s strategy and execution. McCain’s beliefs about the responsibilities of those in command come in part from his sense that civilian and military leaders “failed to speak up when they knew their tactics and strategy were wrong” in Vietnam, Salter said. Christopher Gelpi, a professor at Duke University who has studied the attitudes of military and civilian leaders toward how and when wars should be fought, said McCain’s and Hagel’s divergent positions on the Iraq war struck him as “typical of the two different kinds of reactions that veterans tend to have to the use of force.” On one hand, military leaders and veterans in public office are more likely than nonveterans to oppose military intervention in the politics of smaller states, Gelpi said. They are more sensitive than nonveteran leaders to casualties. On the other hand, they feel a duty to obey civilian control and successfully complete their missions. “The key distinction between being pulled in Hagel’s direction or being pulled in McCain’s is their judgment about whether or not the mission can succeed,” Gelpi said. If they believed success to be possible, they would want to continue fighting and win, but if they believed winning was not possible they would be “especially sensitive to the notion that lives will be wasted. “And they don’t want that.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! At a time when more than half of Americans say the war was a mistake, McCain’s support for continuing it has become one of the biggest challenges his candidacy faces. And Hagel’s status as the war’s most outspoken Republican critic in Congress has become a powerful argument in favor of his running, although he shied away from entering the campaign last week. What role does the Vietnam experience of the two senators, longtime allies and friends, play in their divergent thinking about Iraq? McCain says his years as a pilot and a prisoner of war play no part – although one aide said that the year he spent studying the war at the National War College probably did. Faith worn down Hagel, however, says his Vietnam experiences unquestionably inform his thinking. “Surely it has affected how I have seen this war and why I have spoken out as I have,” Hagel said in an interview last week. “I was part of, I think, the forgotten group of people in all wars – that is, the person at the bottom who is expected to fight and die and has very little to say in policy, even tactics.” His faith in the rightness of the Vietnam War was worn down by reading history and traveling abroad, but what changed his mind most, he said, was listening to tape recordings released in the late 1990s of telephone conversations in which President Lyndon B. Johnson confided that he saw the war as pointless. That was in 1964, and Johnson said he feared impeachment if he tried to withdraw. Chuck Hagel spent 13 months as a grunt in the Mekong Delta in the deadliest period of the Vietnam War. He saw the horror of war from the bottom up – men sheared in half by explosives, half-decapitated by sniper fire, bleeding to death in the gloomy swelter of the jungle. Thirty years later, he came to believe he had been used. John McCain was shot down 3,500 feet above Hanoi on a bombing run one month into his tour. He spent 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war; he was held in solitary confinement, tortured, beaten until he could not stand. An admiral’s son and a Navy pilot, he came to believe, like many pilots, that the war could have been won if only it had been fought right. Memories of Vietnam haunt the public debate on the war in Iraq. They also lurk in the private thoughts of a generation in Congress – men like Sens. Hagel and McCain, who lived through the earlier war, vote on the current one and, despite their shared past, now disagree profoundly on what the United States should do next. McCain, an Arizona Republican who is running for president, is a vocal supporter of the plan President Bush announced in January to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq. It represents, he says, the best hope for success, “our last shot.” Hagel, a Nebraska Republican who has accused the administration of “arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam,” opposes the troop increase and is pressing for a phased withdrawal. last_img read more

What’s a few zeroes?

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first_imgMedical plan confusion: In an inexplicable turn, Florida seniors who were attempting to decide on which new Medicare prescription plan to choose, wound up selecting Pat Buchanan. Economy humming along: Treasury Secretary John W. Snow informed Congress that the country’s debt ceiling should be raised from its current level of $8,184,000,000,000. While Snow admitted that some people might think that $8 trillion sounds like a lot, he just thinks of it as only $8,000 billion. Elsewhere, Jane D’oh, a California single mother of three who cannot get any more credit after going into debt due to an inability to pay her children’s medical bills, was refused bankruptcy. George Clooney blames Democrats for Iraqi quagmire: Blames Republicans for “Ocean’s 12.” Valley Idol can’t lose for trying: Katharine McPhee, Sherman Oaks’ gorgeous and talented entry in this year’s “American Idol” show, displayed her brimming confidence this past week by humming “The Monster Mash” while chewing on a peanut butter and cream cheese sandwich. Judge Simon Cowell called her performance “daring and quite tasty, and I hate peanut butter.” The teary-eyed Paula Abdul said McPhee’s ability to get a sound out with the peanut butter stuck to the roof of her mouth reminded her of herself when she was “young, talented and eating peanut butter.” But the most enamored was Judge Randy Jackson, who said “Dawg!” Milosevic bites the big one: The countries of Who Gives a Damn and He Deserved Much Worse go into mourning. No mutton chops in Iraq … yet: Acknowledging that Iraq has had an awful lot of sectarian violence, but cannot be considered to be in the midst of a civil war, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was unable to explain the difference between sectarian violence and civil war. Still, the whimsical secretary said whatever it ended up being, it would not resemble our Civil War. “There’s absolutely no abolitionists,” declared Rumsfeld. “And if you can show me evidence of either the Merrimac or Monitor, I’ll eat my folksiness.” No butts south of Ventura: The nation’s toughest cigarette law went into effect Friday in Calabasas. If you’re caught smoking tobacco in a nonsmoking area, it’s death by lethal injection. If you smoke in a smoking area, you’ll still die. Just slower and more painfully. Wallace retires from “60 Minutes”: The legendary 87-year-old investigative reporter said he wanted to spend more time with his family, catching them ripping off the paper boy. Playing sorry: After his apology to a Valley resident for an insensitive joke, “The Tonight Show” host Jay Leno spent the rest of the day calling to apologize to President Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton and Howard Dean, as well as all the comedians who have seen him do actual funny material in clubs. Neverland Nevermore: Michael Jackson’s home and playland to children of all ages as long as they were boys under 12 was closed down this past week due to delinquent workers’ compensation payments. A Jackson spokesperson said it was all just a misunderstanding and that Michael would soon be reopening the estate under the new name of “Never Tell on the Owner Land.” Target, where presidential advisers shoplift: Former Bush adviser Claude Allen was caught in what most Bush administration crime experts call penny ante misconduct. “With no redistricting to gain congressional seats, payoffs from military contractors or just plain getting pre-war intelligence dead wrong,” explained political historian Les Teryear, “there’s absolutely no chance this guy’s ever gonna end up with a Medal of Honor.” Chef quits South Park: Isaac Hayes, the throaty soul singer-turned-voice behind Chef on Comedy Central’s “South Park,” has quit the show, citing the show’s incessant ridicule of religion. “South Park” had taken on Christianity, Judaism, Islam and others during its 10-year run with nary a peep from Hayes, but it wasn’t until the show made fun of Scientology that Hayes walked. “Mr. Hayes hadn’t actually watched the show until last week,” explained Scientologist attorneys who showed up at my door while I was writing this column. “If you have some time, would you mind taking this personality test?” they added. Steve Young is author of “Great Failures of the Extremely Successful.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Remand for Letterkenny man who is ‘down a very dark path’

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first_imgA Letterkenny man has been remanded in custody at Castlerea Prison after being arrested on foot of a bench warrant.Francis McConnell (29), of 10 Leck Cottages, Letterkenny is charged with assault at the Department of Psychiatry, Letterkenny General Hospital on May 8, 2017. McConnell was arrested on Friday afternoon at Neil T Blaney Road, Letterkenny, after Judge Paul Kelly had issued a bench warrant for his arrest earlier in the day. McConnell made no reply when cautioned and charged by Gardai.Judge Kelly remanded McConnell at Castlerea to appear via video link on April 19. Judge Kelly directed that McConnell undergo medical assessment and treatment, and ordered that a psychiatric assessment and report be carried out.Solicitor Patsy Gallagher said his client had ‘an underlying difficulty that has to be got to’.“He fully accepts that he has gone down a very dark path and assistance is required,” Mr Gallagher said.“It doesn’t seem that he can manage it on his own. He is well aware of the difficulties that are facing him.”Remand for Letterkenny man who is ‘down a very dark path’ was last modified: April 14th, 2018 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Francis McConnellJudge Paul KellyletterkennyLetterkenny District CourtPatsy Gallagherlast_img read more

Make Taste of India your perfect pit-stop this Rally weekend

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first_imgA Taste of India in Letterkenny is gearing up to feed all hungry Rally fans with exciting offers this weekend.The multi-cuisine takeaway, on Lower Main Street, is a hotspot for hungry customers who want a varied menu to satisfy every craving.From authentic curries to fast food favourites and pizzas – you’ll get a top feed here.  Taste of India is located at the heart of Letterkenny’s entertainment scene – just across the road from McCafferty’s Bar – and offers late night opening Taste of India Express A Taste of India has a packed menu of exceptional Indian dishes and delicious vegetarian options. But their fresh kebabs, hoggies and munch boxes really tickle the taste buds late into the night.As a top Tuesday treat, the takeaway offers buy one get one free pizzas. So you pay for one and get two!All special offers and meal deals are just a tap away, as Taste of India have a handy app for all collections and deliveries. Get 15% discount on online orders over €20.Download the app now for all the latest offers: and discover all the tasty deals for yourself. You can order through the app or call 074 91 25753 Make Taste of India your perfect pit-stop this Rally weekend was last modified: June 19th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegal rallylate-night food letterkennyletterkennyRALLY WEEKENDtakeawaytaste of indialast_img read more

Murray, Mabulu on the podium in Glasgow

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first_img25 July 2014Team South African bagged two medals on the opening day of the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Thursday, with Richard Murray claiming bronze in the triathlon and Siyabulela Mabulu also winning bronze in the men’s judo competition.Murray won South Africa’s first medal when he finished third behind England’s Brownlee brothers, with Olympic champion Alistair taking the win ahead of Jonathan, the Olympic bronze medallist.‘I realised what this would mean’“Wow! It was only half way through the run that I realised what this would mean,” an ecstatic Murray said afterwards.“Before the race, I was a bit concerned. The water heated up and it meant no wet suits. That can sometimes change the dynamics sometimes, but it was wonderful out there.”South Africa’s Henri Schoeman led the swim covering the 1.5km in 17:54, which gave him a four-second advantage over the Brownlees. The brothers pulled an additional six swimmers into the lead group, which had around 20 seconds advantage at the beginning of the 40km cycle.‘The start was pretty rough’“The start was pretty rough, but I managed to get through to the front at the end of the swim and tried to create a bit of a gap for a break away (in the cycle),” said a disappointed Schoeman, who skidded into a barrier on the first lap. “My brakes locked up. I’m lucky to have been upright. Without that it could have been much better.”Murray posted the sixth-fastest time on the bike to come through in fifth place as he entered the 10km run.“On the bike, I knew that first and second was probably out of the question, because it started to become tactical,” Murray explained. “I positioned myself right on the bike and made sure no one got away. It came down to the run and I knew third was possible for me and I just had to avoid injury or cramp.”WinnerOlder brother Alistair Brownlee took gold in 1:48:50, with his younger brother Jonny settling for silver only 11 seconds adrift.Although Schoeman’s cycling incident cost him some time, he was able to continue on, starting the run in 18th position and moving up to finish in 16th place in 1:53:46. Wian Sullwald claimed 15th place, just three seconds ahead of his team mate.In the women’s race, Kate Roberts was within touch of the lead group when Canada’s Ellen Pennock clipped the back wheel of Robert’s bike, sending the South African tumbling. After getting going again, she went on to finish 15th, one place behind team-mate Gillian Sanders.Judo bronzeSiyabulela Mabulu earned a surprise bronze medal in the 66kg division of the men’s judo after defeating India’s Manjeet Nandal for third place.“I’m very happy and excited,” Mabulu told Road to Rio 2016 as he headed back to the athletes’ village. “I came to Glasgow to win a medal and now I’ve done that. I’m glad to win Team South Africa’s next medal.”Mabulu’s fellow judoka, Daniel le Grange came close to adding a third bronze, but lost out to Scotland’s John Buchannon in the battle for third in the 60kg division.Stars shine in the poolIn the swimming pool, Chad le Clos and Roland Schoeman sped into the final of the 50m butterfly, but Myles Brown, shockingly, missed out on qualifying for the 400m freestyle final.“It’s a really good vibe in the squad with a mix of youth and maturity. It’s rewarding and good to be able to provide some knowledge and recommendations to them,” said the vastly experienced 34-year-old Schoeman after winning his heat to qualify for the semi-finals.Le Clos won his heat in 23.65 and then made a major step up in the semi-finals.Schoeman won his semi-final, clocking a fast 23.25 seconds, while Le Clos was only four-hundredths-of-a-second slower in finishing second to England’s Ben Proud in the second semi. Proud’s 23.16 was the fastest time of the day.Missed outBased on his consistent form, Myles Brown should have been a shoo-in to qualify for the final of the 400m freestyle, but his time of 3:48.65 left him in ninth place, just one position too low to reach the final.“I really don’t know what happened. I really should have been there. Maybe I went out too fast,” he admitted with disappointment afterwards. Brown will now focus on the 4x200m relay and the 1500m on Monday.Karin Prinsloo contested the final of the women’s 200m freestyle, but did not have a good swim and finished last. She had earlier complained of tightness of her chest during the heats.Fast breaststroke timeGames’ novice Tara Lynn Nicholas couldn’t stop smiling after clocking 31.48 for the 50m breaststroke to rank ninth and secure a semi-final place. “I’m really pleased. It’s the fastest I’ve gone,” Nicholas said.In the semis, sadly, she could not reproduce the same form and clocked 32.32 to finish sixth in her heat. A repeat of her earlier swim would have seen Nicholas into the final.Darren Murray reached the semi-finals of the 100m backstroke, but finished in sixth place in his heat to miss out on a place in the title-decider.Like Murray, Marne Erasmus reached the semi-finals, but could not progress beyond that point, competing in the women’s 100m butterfly.DisqualifiedThere was big disappointment for the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay squad, which was disqualified after botching a change over in the semi-finals. They had finished second behind Canada.South Africa’s women’s fours bowls team suffered a shock 13-17 loss to the Norfolk Islands in their first outing.last_img read more

The Padma Obsession

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first_imgOn the eve of every Republic Day, which commemorates its recognition as a sovereign democracy and marks the commencement of its Constitution, India — or, more precisely, the Indian Government — announces the annual list of its best and brightest. And every year, as far as one can recall for at least the past three decades, the announcement of the Padma awards triggers an undignified barrage of acrimonious debate and controversy.   This year the controversy was “globalized” because one of the names that raised eyebrows is of New York-based Sant Singh Chatwal.Had the disagreements stemmed solely from disgruntled rivals, they could be attributed to that great human frailty called jealousy. Or maybe, if the dissatisfaction targeted a harmless — if vacuous — ritual, we might be forgiven for defending the practice as one of the necessary accoutrements of fledgling nationhood.But it’s neither. The criticisms have gone beyond the realm of individual awardees and their qualifications and are now gnawing at the very root. There is a growing feeling that the awards, devalued over the years of appalling selections, are in fact corrupting the nation’s public life. Former Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar excused himself from accepting the award in order “to keep public life free from any pollution.” (see sidebar) The activist-judge was referring obliquely to something that’s become sickeningly routine. When moneybags camp in New Delhi weeks before the announcement to wine and dine and line the pockets of the powers-that-be, and when the list includes names with family connections rather than genuine contributions to public welfare, you begin to see the wisdom of an old saying: What you can’t mend, you better end.This year’s list has its usual share of shady choices. This time the controversy was “globalized” because one of the names that raised eyebrows is of New York-based Sant Singh Chatwal. Speaking long-distance to a reporter, allegedly from his yacht in the Caribbean where he’d flown in his private jet, the NRI hotelier, who hobnobs with the Clintons and their ilk, countered allegations of wrong-doing with: “If there was the slightest whiff of fraud, do you think presidents and ministers would walk into my home?” Perhaps Chatwal might want to rewind the Godfather DVD to Michael Corleone’s memorable line on the dubious ethics of modern politicians — “Who’s being naïve, Kay?” — when his girlfriend tells him presidents and senators, unlike his father (an underworld don), don’t have men killed.Saif Ali Khan’s case is a more benign symptom of the same kind of political affliction. The Bollywood actor, whose innately boorish personality and trademark scowl made him the ideal choice for his best role and only decent performance to date in Omkara, has little to commend himself for a Padma Shri other than a genetic link with a royal family that’s known to cozy up to the Gandhis. Khan defended his inclusion by pointing out that the list also contained names of people who haven’t invented the atomic bomb. In the process, he unwittingly exposed an unspoken truth: he was in the good company of other nincompoops.  How else does one describe Hashmatullah Khan, a small-time exporter of shawls from Kashmir, who made it on last year’s list as a “master weaver and craftsman” and persons like Mekhala Jha who should have, in all fairness, claimed the “Padma Shrimati” instead of the Padma Shri because her decoration had everything to do with her marital status as the wife of the then Lt. Governor of Delhi, L.K.Jha.Apart from nincompoops, Saif Ali Khan — who, like his father Tiger Pataudi, was charged for poaching the endangered black buck — jostles in the award list with people who have had run-ins with the law. Ghulam Mohammed Mir is a notable example. A surrendered Kashmiri militant against whom cases of extortion and attempted murder are pending, Mir has been honored this year with a Padma Shri for public service.Worse, awardees are known to deploy the awards as shields against due-process investigations. When Dr. K. Khalilullah faced charges of financial fraud as director of Delhi’s G.B. Pant Hospital, the authorities refused to initiate disciplinary action on the grounds that the good doctor happened to be “a nationally recognized specialist who has been honored with a Padma Shri and a Padma Bhushan.”  Personal whims and political calculations of the country’s presidents and prime ministers are no less potent motivators of selection for such awards. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India’s first president, ensured that his favorite nurse was given a Padma Shri. Rajiv Gandhi ensured one for his Doon School principal and gave M.G. Ramachandran a posthumous Bharat Ratna to woo the Tamil Nadu electorate for an important assembly election, notwithstanding the fact that MGR was cited for massive tax evasion. V.P. Singh’s Bharat Ratna for the late Dr. B.R. Ambedkar betrayed an anxiety to bolster his narrow pro-Dalit political agenda. President Giani Zail Singh, Prime Ministers Atal Behari Vajpayee and Dr. Manmohan Singh all sought to honor their eye, knee and heart surgeons respectively — with Vajpayee, an amateur poet, additionally bestowing a Padma Shri on a minor singer who vocalized his poetry in an act of unabashed hagiography. But Indira Gandhi took the cake: she decorated herself with a Bharat Ratna.The latest Chatwal imbroglio too has a creepy political subtext. Insiders reveal that his nomination is part of a turf war between the Manmohan Singh administration and the Congress Party. While the latter’s spokespersons repeatedly emphasized that the Padma awards should never be associated with tainted names — thus hinting at Chatwal’s financial shenanigans involving Indian banks — the Home Ministry issued an official press statement describing Chatwal as “a tireless advocate of India’s interest in USA” and justifying the Padma Bhushan for his efforts “to strengthen bilateral relationships between India and the United States.”  Long-standing public outrage over such revelations prompted several lawsuits. The most high-profile of them was heard in the country’s Supreme Court, which upheld the decorations on arguably thin grounds. On the misuse of the decorations, the Court noted with cryptic impatience that “it is axiomatic that the misuse of a concept does not change its inherent nature.” What it failed to note was the equally applicable axiom that the long-term systemic abuse vitiates it beyond repair and thus renders it unsuitable for the very purpose for which it was instituted. This failure is particularly significant in the light of the Court’s own observation that the criticism of misuse was leveled by no less a person than the freedom fighter Acharya Kripalani who, after chairing the Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights, which abolished the colonial concept of “titles” like Rao Bahadur and Khan Bahadur for pliant natives, sought to abolish the Padma awards as well by introducing a Bill in Parliament. Kripalani’s failure was a victory for the vested interests in government.To be fair, the Supreme Court did attempt an overhaul of sorts. But its guidelines have been breached with impunity. It mandated, for instance, that the awards shall not be used with the names of the awardees and ruled that such use shall render the awardee liable to be stripped of the award. In reality, the award names are used rampantly as prefixes even in public announcements. And at least one worthy, who  This year the controversy was “globalized”because one of the names that raised eyebrows is of New York-based Sant Singh Chatwalnarrowly missed the boat, is known to have printed “considered for Padma Shri” on his business card!Lamenting the absence of clear and transparent criteria for selection, the Court also mandated that the number of awardees in all categories be restricted to 50 or less. The number routinely exceeds 100: there are 130 awardees this year.Leave aside, for a moment, the courts and the constitution. Let us ask ourselves some simple questions: Is the government really equipped to judge works of art, science and literature? Does a private-sector industrialist with no record of public service deserve a governmental award of any kind? Doesn’t such an award compromise the independence and integrity of citizens who are beholden to criticize and protest against ill-advised government policies and actions? And finally, do the truly great need any official endorsement of their greatness? Remember, a certain Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi still remains the world’s beloved Mahatma six decades after his death, despite being denied the Nobel Peace Prize during his lifetime.  …And some said noA roster of those who refused the Padma Award:MAULANA ABUL KALAM AZAD: As Education Minister, he laughed off Pandit Nehru’s recommendation with the classic line — “How can the Government give itself an award?”ROMILA THAPAR: The eminent historian has consistently voiced her protest against all state awards.RAJINDER SACHAR: The former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court and now a human rights activist believes the state’s duty is to govern, not to award its citizens. He is also wary of the polluting effect of such awards on public life.K. SUBRAHMANYAM: As strategic analyst and journalist, he thought it was “inappropriate” to accept any state award as this would “compromise my independence vis-à-vis the state.”P. SAINATH: Another journalist, whose pioneering work documents the severity of India’s rural poverty, believes it is wrong for journalists to accept state awards.SUKUMAR AZHIKODE: The Malayalam author dubbed the Padma Awards “unconstitutional.”USTAD VILAYAT KHAN: The sitar virtuoso thought the committee which selected him was “incompetent” to judge his artistry.SITARA DEVI: Fumed that it was “an insult, not an honor” to be given a Padma award that ranked lower than the one conferred on a comparatively junior artiste like tabla player Zakir Hussain.And finally, there is veteran Bollywood comedian David Abraham. Even though Abraham accepted the award, the roving-eye bachelor joked, “I’ll take Padma, you can keep her Shri.”  Related Itemslast_img read more

Compton rues Alaska’s defensive lapses in loss to Magnolia

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first_imgThere were a lot of things that Alaska can point to when it lost 108-95 to Magnolia in its PBA Philippine Cup opener, but for head coach Alex Compton it boiled down to the very basic.ADVERTISEMENT Do not bring these items in SEA Games venues LATEST STORIES Read Next 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 MOST READ “The thing is, our hearts are on the right places, but we need to be mentally sharper and relaxed.”Alaska allowed Magnolia to shoot 11-of-26  from distance with Paul Lee playing the main gunner for the Hotshots.Lee finished with 30 points, seven rebounds, and six assists and went 6-of-8 from deep, including a dagger with 3:26 left that gave Magnolia a 103-92 lead.“We obviously have to be way sharper, we had 22 turnovers, a ton of missed free throws, missed rotations on defense that gave them easy layups, and too much Paul Lee,” said Compton.Magnolia capitalized on Alaska’s miscues scoring 22 points off turnovers while scoring 46 points in the shaded area.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Asian shares slide on weak Japan data; US markets closed BI on alert for illegally deployed OFWs to Iraqcenter_img 8th Top Leaders Forum assessed the progress of public-private efforts in building climate and disaster resilient communities Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Healthy again, Paul Lee leads way for Hotshots Cayetano: 4 social media groups behind SEA Games ‘sabotage’ “We came in the game and really forgot some of our fundamental stuff defensively,” said Compton Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre. “In the second quarter, we gave up a ton of layups. I don’t like to call timeouts to stop the bleeding, but there were so many fundamental things that we had to correct.”Alaska had a respectable 22-12 lead midway through the first quarter but the Hotshots slowly chipped it away and managed to take the 36-35 bubble at the 6:56 mark of the second period after a 24-13 run.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutMagnolia then, ended the second period on a 15-5 run for a 57-47 lead heading into the break.“We don’t usually lose our defensive intensity, on offense we rush sometimes, we get too excited,” said Compton. “As a whole team, we were all so amped up, and that’s the sort of a theme we had in the pre-season.” Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH View commentslast_img read more

Novak Djokovic sails through French Open first round

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first_imgTrending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:44Djokovic wins Laureus Sportsman of Year Award00:50Trending Articles02:42PH 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 “I was very solid. I’m happy with my game today,” said the top seed. “It’s a long tournament… But I just want to concentrate on my next match.”A single break in the opening game of the match proved enough for Djokovic to take the first set, and the Serb raced through the second in under half an hour.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsThe 22-year-old Hurkacz, who has claimed three wins over top-10 players this season, had no answer to the 2016 French Open winner, as Djokovic sealed a second-round spot after another dominant set on his first match point. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Rio champion Nurudinov DQ’d from London Olympics for doping DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Serbia’s Novak Djokovic gestures and celebrates after winning against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz during their men’s singles first round match on day two of The Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 27, 2019. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)Novak Djokovic laid down an early marker in his bid to hold all four Grand Slam titles for the second time on Monday, powering past Polish youngster Hubert Hurkacz in the Roland Garros first round.The 15-time major champion impressed with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 triumph and will face Swiss lucky loser Henri Laaksonen in round two.ADVERTISEMENT Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP MOST READ Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too View comments Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug warlast_img read more