Darjeeling tea gardens set to reopen

first_imgWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said the tea gardens in the Darjeeling hills, which have remained closed for over three months because of the shutdown over , will be opened and bonus will be given to all employed there.She made the announcement after meeting Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders Binoy Tamang and Anik Thapa at the state secretariat.“A meeting for opening up the tea gardens will be held at Siliguri on September 21 in presence of the labour commissioner. It will be a tripartite meeting involving owners and union representatives. A decision on opening the gardens has already been taken by the Chief Secretary,” Ms. Banerjee said. About 87 tea gardens in the Darjeeling hills are shut since June 15, following an indefinite strike over the demand for Gorkhaland. Apolitical body formedMeanwhile, with the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC), which was set up by political parties and non-political groups in the hills to take forward the movement of Gorkhaland, turning defunct, members of the civil society in the hills have set up another body called National Gorkhaland Committee ( NGC).The body comprises academicians like Mahendra P. Lama, former vice-chancellor of Sikkim University, Munish Tamang and Shravan Acharya, professors at Delhi University, Lt. Gen. (retd) Shakti Gurung and Trilok Dewan, the former Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh.last_img read more

Novak Djokovic gets another slide at US Open

first_imgTop seed Novak Djokovic cannot seem able to get a match in at the U.S. Open, as the world number one was given another rapid advance when Russian Mikhail Youzhny retired due to a leg injury when trailing 4-2 on Friday. (Watch: Serena Williams dances to her own tunes)Youzhny was treated during the changeover at 4-1 in the third-round match at Arthur Ashe Stadium and had his left thigh taped. He won the next game on his serve but could not continue, giving Djokovic a pass into the round of 16. (Bernard Tomic fined USD 10,000 for outburst at heckler in US Open)The Serb, winner of this year’s Australian Open and French Open to complete a career grand slam, came into the match off a three-day break due to a walkover into the third round when Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic withdrew.”It’s difficult to pick the words now. I don’t think I ever had this kind of situation in my career, where I had a second-round walkover and the third round 30 minutes only,” Djokovic said on court before settling in for some practice.”I’ll try to get the positives out of these six games. Obviously I did start very well with a good intensity and I’ll try to carry that into the next match.”Defending champion Djokovic will next face either 20th-seeded American John Isner or 84th-ranked Briton Kyle Edmund with a berth in the quarter-finals at stake.Djokovic, who has been bothered in recent months by a nagging wrist injury, won his opening match at Flushing Meadows on Monday, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 over 247th-ranked Jerzy Janowicz of Poland and is not expected back on court until Sunday.advertisementThe 29-year-old Serb was asked whether the long layoff was to his advantage or detriment.”Depends at how you look at it,” he told reporters.”Considering the stage of the season, the amount of matches I’ve played, what I’ve been through with my body, I think it’s actually good to have some days off and then shorter matches.”From the other side, sure, as you are approaching second week of the grand slam you want to have match play and you want to have time spent on the centre court before you face one of the top players.”On balance, Djokovic seems content with his situation.”I’m not too concerned about my game itself. I’ve worked hard last couple days. Health-wise, I feel much better than I did at the beginning of the tournament,” he said. “I’m confident that everything is going in the right direction.”last_img read more

Claudio Ranieri not surprised by Chelsea’s wobbly title defence

first_imgPremier League champions Chelsea’s struggle to retain the title is hardly surprising as the club returned to the Champions League and their league rivals strengthened their squads, former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has said.Ranieri won the league with Leicester in 2016 but was sacked nine months after lifting the trophy as the club failed to replicate their impressive form in the subsequent season.While Chelsea have not declined so drastically, the London side have started their current campaign inconsistently, recording three league losses in 10 games to sit in fourth position, nine points behind leaders Manchester City.”It’s always difficult to win the league the second year. Chelsea also has the Champions League and then it’s not easy,” Ranieri, who managed Chelsea from 2000-04, told the Evening Standard.”It’s not easy when a lot of other teams are renovating their players.”Chelsea’s failure to qualify for the Champions League last season helped the well-rested side record just three draws and seven defeats across all competitions to win their sixth league title and reach the FA Cup final.The London side’s troubles have also been linked to their underwhelming transfer window while their league rivals spent heavily to significantly boost their squads.Conte’s side have returned to the European competition strongly as they remain unbeaten at the top of their group and on the verge of qualification to the knockout stages.Ranieri, who currently manages French side Nantes, has backed Antonio Conte to get the team back to their best as Chelsea prepare to travel to AS Roma in the Champions League later on Tuesday.advertisement”He is happy. He is a fantastic manager and tries to do the best for Chelsea,” Ranieri added.After their mid-week trip to Italy, Chelsea host second-placed Manchester United on Sunday.last_img read more

Wimbledon 2019: Serena Williams battles to reach semis, Simona Halep eases through

first_imgSerena Williams was pushed to three sets on Centre Court before beating fellow American Alison Riske 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to reach her 12th Wimbledon semifinal.Williams broke for a 5-3 lead in the third set when Riske double-faulted on the fourth break point of the game, and then served out the win with an ace.Williams was down a break twice in the opening set but came back both times and broke again in the final game. But in the second set, Riske broke for a 5-4 lead before holding serve to even the match.Riske converted all five break points she created, while Williams needed 16 opportunities to break six times.Williams is seeking an eighth Wimbledon title and 24th Grand Slam victory, while Riske was playing her first quarterfinal at a major tournament.Simona Halep reached the Wimbledon semifinals for the second time, beating Zhang Shuai 7-6 (4), 6-1.Halep was broken in her first service game as Zhang raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set, and the Romanian faced four more break points at 4-1. But she eventually held serve in a game that featured six deuces, and then broke back to make it 4-3. In the tiebreaker, she converted her first set point with a forehand winner.In the second set, Halep broke twice for a 5-1 lead and converted her second match point with another forehand.The 2018 French Open champion is looking for her second career Grand Slam title but had not reached the semifinals at the All England Club since 2014. She will next face either Elina Svitolina or Karolina Muchova.advertisementAlso Read | I am a little bit more than Ashleigh Barty: Rafael Nadal on Centre Court status at Wimbledon 2019Also Read | Wimbledon 2019: Ashleigh Barty’s run ends, Alison Riske reaches quarterfinalsAlso Seelast_img read more

Jim Harbaugh Ripped The Officiating After Loss To Ohio State

first_imgJim Harbaugh answers questions after the Ohio State loss.ESPN.Jim Harbaugh is not happy.Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is pretty upset with the officiating that took place in the Wolverines’ double-overtime loss to Ohio State.There was a controversial spot on the Buckeyes’ game-winning drive in double-overtime and a penalty called on Harbaugh in the second half that led to an OSU touchdown.Well pic.twitter.com/E3ORGyiDhN— IGIFRY (@IGIFRY) November 26, 2016Following the game, Harbaugh expressed his distaste for the officiating.He says he didn’t think it was a first down by Barrett and disagreed with the penalty called on himself that led to Ohio State’s touchdown.”Harbaugh: That wasn’t a first down. I’m bitterly disappointed with the officiating today.— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) November 26, 2016Official told Jim Harbaugh unsportsmanlike penalty “would have been technical (foul) in basketball.” Harbaugh: “Well, this isn’t basketball”— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) November 26, 2016Here’s video of Harbaugh’s comments, from Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit News.Harbaugh “bitterly disappointed with the officiating ” pic.twitter.com/dAfSeulW6A— angelique (@chengelis) November 26, 2016Harbaugh furious pic.twitter.com/rEA6ycDXDq— angelique (@chengelis) November 26, 2016With the loss, Michigan falls to 10-2 and will likely play in a non-College Football Playoff New Year’s Six bowl game.Ohio State improved to 11-1 and likely locked up a spot in the College Football Playoff, unless the Buckeyes make the Big Ten Championship Game and lose to Wisconsin.last_img read more

Urban Meyer’s Wife Trashes ESPN’s Paul Finebaum

first_imgUrban Meyer with his wife after an Ohio State football game.NORMAN, OK – SEPTEMBER 17: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes walks off the field alongside his wife Shelley after his team won 45-24 against the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Norman, Oklahoma. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum has been quite critical of Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer this season and he hasn’t been letting up lately.Finebaum, following Ohio State’s loss to Purdue, said he believes the Buckeyes’ head coach will quit after the season.“I’ve been suggesting that Urban Meyer has been done for a while based on the bad marriage and based on body language. The admission by him that he is still struggling with some health issues. On Saturday night, he looked like the saddest man in America, and he probably was because when you think about the potential of that program and of that team and where they are right now, it’s pretty scary,” he said.Finebaum continued:“I just don’t think Urban Meyer has the makeup to deal with much more adversity. I know it’s an easy thing to say, ‘Hey, look what happened at Florida,’ but it’s precedent and it’s who I think Urban Meyer is,” Finebaum said. “When things get tough, he runs away and quits.”That’s not very nice, Paul.Urban Meyer’s wife, Shelley Meyer, has responded to the comments:“He gets NONE OF MY ATTENTION. Should get no one else’s either. I don’t listen or watch him or his network anymore,” she wrote.Ummmm, newsflash? Or Maybe not. He gets NONE OF MY ATTENTION. Should get no one else’s either. I don’t listen or watch him or his network anymore. ? https://t.co/7zoFJ8tGkg— Shelley Meyer (@spinnershells) October 26, 2018OK then.Ohio State is off this week, set to host Nebraska next Saturday at Ohio Stadium.last_img read more

Boskalis Bags $95m Deals

first_imgzoom The breakwater and the tunnel building contracts are to be executed in the UK and in Sweden.In the UK, Boskalis is to build a breakwater in Clacton-on-Sea for Tendring District Council over a distance of five kilometers between Clacton Pier and Holland Haven.The breakwater will consist of 23 stone groynes with sand fill to create beaches in between. Boskalis will execute the project through the VBA JV Ltd (a consortium of Volker Stevin, Boskalis Westminster and Atkins).Work is scheduled to begin this summer and will be complete late 2015. Two medium-sized trailing suction hopper dredgers will be deployed on this project, with all the stone work being performed by dry equipment.In Sweden, a joint venture of Boskalis and Züblin Scandinavia AB has won a contract from Trafikverket Göteborg for the design and construction of the Marieholm Tunnel and construction of quay walls in the city of Gothenburg.This new traffic tunnel under the Göta Älv River will connect the urban districts of Marieholm and Tingstad in Gothenburg. The Design & Construct contract runs until end-2020.For the realization of this project Boskalis will dredge a trench with a depth of around 20 meters into which the tunnel will be submerged, install the sand beneath and alongside the submerged tunnel and install a layer of rubble to protect the tunnel roof. June 5, 2014last_img read more

SAAM Gets Nod for Costa Rica Port Concessions

first_imgzoom Chilean port, towage and logistics services provider SAAM materialized the acquisition of the two concessions in Puerto Caldera, the major terminal on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast.The acquisition agreement for the concessions was signed with Colombia’s Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Buenaventura (spbrun) in September 2016 and now the company has received the approval for the deal from local regulatory authorities.With the materialization of this milestone, SAAM now controls 51% of Sociedad Portuaria de Caldera (SPC) and of Sociedad Portuaria Granelera de Caldera (SPGC), whose transferred annual volume totals 5.5 million tons.The operation involved a disbursement of USD 48.5 million for the mentioned percentage of the share capital of both companies, which jointly reported revenues for USD 55.5 million in 2016, according to SAAM.“The acquisition of 51% of Puerto Caldera allows us to grow in a country where we have had good results, through a well-managed company to which we can add value, and at the same time, allows us to join efforts with knowledgeable and experienced partners,” Macario Valdés, SAAM’s CEO, said.The company includes, apart from SAAM’s majority position, Costa Rican companies Saret (21%) and Grain Logistics (19%), as well as Colombian “Grupo Empresarial del Pacífico” (9%).last_img read more

BC premier denies crisis says one investment doesnt make an economy

first_imgKinder Morgan announced Sunday it was stopping all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, saying opposition from the B.C. government puts the project at risk. It has set a deadline of May 31 for talks with various stakeholders to reach an agreement that could allow the project to proceed.“All of a sudden when the shareholders in Texas issue a press release there’s a constitutional crisis,” Horgan said.The government announced in February that it will ask the court to decided if it has the right to protect its environment by restricting diluted bitumen in the Trans Mountain pipeline. The decisions to refer the matter to the courts prompted Alberta to suspend a ban on wine imports from B.C.“What we’re talking about here is the province of B.C. going to court to assert our jurisdiction and protect the interests of British Columbians,” Horgan told the legislature. “We said in an election campaign a year ago this is what we would do.”He said B.C. is in court to defend its coast and its interests from a project that will triple bitumen shipments from Alberta to Burnaby and increase tanker traffic seven-fold in B.C. waters.Horgan said he spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley on Sunday and told both leaders to build more oil refineries instead of pipelines. VICTORIA, B.C. — British Columbia Premier John Horgan showed no signs Monday of backing down on the battle over the Kinder Morgan pipeline, rejecting widespread claims his government’s challenge of the $7.4 billion project is hurting the economy and tearing apart the country.His tone ran from calm to exasperated during a 30-minute question period in the legislature where the Opposition Liberals accused his government of hurting investor confidence, ignoring the rule of law and picking an unwinnable fight with Alberta and the federal government.“One investment project does not an economy make,” said Horgan, adding B.C. has the lowest jobless rate in Canada and a solid credit rating. “The premier stands alone in his opinions,” he told the legislature. “Is this burgeoning fiasco his definition of success?”Wilkinson urged Horgan to meet with the prime minister to resolve the dispute and ensure certainty for the federally-approved project.Greg D’Avignon, president of the B.C. Business Council, said the government’s decision to prolong the process threatens the credibility of the country’s regulatory and project approval systems.British Columbia’s Chamber of Commerce said the implications of the decision by Kinder Morgan are “seismic,” and if this project can’t be built it will show the world that government approvals count for nothing.Opposition to the pipeline has ramped up in recent weeks, with several dozen people arrested near the Burnaby marine terminal in the last month.Trudeau said last week in Victoria the pipeline will be built.By Dirk MeissnerTHE CANADIAN PRESScenter_img “That would be leadership,” he said.Notley said Monday she told Horgan in a telephone call that B.C.’s opposition to the pipeline threatens the rule of law in Canada and she made it clear her province will retaliate.Notley said she will introduce legislation this week to give Alberta the power to reduce oil flows to B.C., which could send gas prices in the province soaring.Opposition Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson said Horgan’s reckless pipeline battle ignores the law, creates uncertainty and tears at the fabric of the nation.last_img read more

BJP will win this Lok Sabha election on proincumbency sentiment Ashish Sood

first_imgIn an exclusive interview with Abhinay Lakshman of the Millennium Post, BJP’s South Delhi Lok Sabha in-charge Ashish Sood said that the saffron party will win this election on a pro-incumbency sentiment that runs deep within the country. Excerpts: How is this year’s campaign going to be different from the one BJP ran in 2014? You see, last time we did not have the achievements of Narendra Modi. So, as a result, this time around we have a huge base of beneficiaries who have reaped the advantages of various government schemes introduced in the last five years. This sentiment is very strong among people, so this will be our poll plank for MPs and party activists. We now have a class of voters to whom we need not showcase what we will do. They are already satisfied with our government’s work. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderDo you really believe there is no anti-incumbency sentiment running through the country? Look, the pro-incumbency runs deep this time around. And the reason anti-incumbency has been a feature in every other election is there used to be an opposition that was after the blood of the incumbent government on a list of corruption issues. This time, with this government, you don’t have that in hand. The opposition only has fake issues. Five years down the line, what they are charging us with is: this is a dictatorial government. They are presenting themselves as saviours of democracy. If we have not done the work in the last five years, then the opposition must come out with the issues instead of misleading voters. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsWill your campaign then only focus on the work your government has done? In Delhi, what our MPs have done, what the Central Government has done, and it could have done will be showcased. As a result, it will also be important to show the inability of the incumbent Delhi government to deliver on what they promised their electorate. For example, we could have and we wanted to give Ayushman Bharat to the poor of Delhi. It was denied. These will be the issues. The Delhi government made promises they knew they couldn’t keep, and hence they are now raising issues such as the demand for full statehood in the Capital. BJP had also made demands on statehood. What do you think made the party switch its stand? We have not switched our stand on it. Look the statehood issue was addressed in 1991 when Delhi became a National Capital Territory and a resolution was adopted. No doubt we were asking for more powers for the state but parties always can change their stand. And moreover, no one else except the present AAP govt is responsible for harming the cause for full statehood when they tried to stop Republic Day celebrations. Do you believe that any parliament will grant full statehood if these kinds of scenarios are created? You see, we still want more powers to be granted to the state government. In terms of grievance redressal of people, the multiplicity of governance should be changed. But more importantly, some kind of uniformity in the system of governance is required. The basic idea is to solve governance issues created by the complicated system in Delhi and not fixate on wanting autonomy. What are the challenges in campaigning this time? The biggest thing we would want to implement is door-to-door campaigning (like mera parivaar, bhajpa parivaar). And reaching out to more of the electorate who at the time of anti-corruption agitation of Anna Hazare had stood by Kejriwal. More and more of those households have to be reached so that the present AAP government is exposed. As South Delhi in-charge, what are your plans for the campaign in the constituency? There is only one plan. The plan is to reach out to the beneficiaries, reach out to workers and make sure they vote at the earliest on the voting day. See, what we are going with in this election will be to highlight the failure of AAP to deliver even after getting 67 seats in the assembly. The only points will be about the 500 schools, the CCTV cameras, and the jobs that were promised. We won’t let them go scot-free for their failures on these issues. Do you think the proposed alliance may affect the way you run your campaign? You see, we are not worried about that. Regardless of whether it actually happens or not, it won’t change the fact that the opposition has failed to deliver. And even if it does come through, it just goes to show the hypocrisy of opposition members. A gentleman who had once vowed to fight corruption in Sheila Dikshit’s government is now ready to ally with her. BJP govt in the Centre and we in Delhi are wanting to contest the election on the achievements of our central government. Is AAP contesting on their achievements of the last four and half years? All they have to show for themselves is their failures and then they go as far as blaming it on the absence of full statehood.last_img read more

Alarmed by Growing Appeal Of Morocco 2026 United 2026 Announces Change

Rabat – In a move aimed at countering and undermining the growing appeal of Morocco’s 2026 bid within the international footballing community, authorities in charge of piloting the North American bid have taken upon themselves to announce the creation of a “tripartite committee” which will from now on be charged with organizing and supervising the North American bid.According to a letter  that United 2026 sent to all members of FIFA, this change of strategy—the bid was until now led by the United States’ football federation—is a response to the recent resignation of Sunil Gulati. Although recently voted out of the presidency of the US’s football federation (he chose not to run in the election), Sunil Gulati maintained his post as chief of the United 2026’s organizing committee, with the North American bid hoping, until recently at least, to capitalize on his long-standing “positive image” within footballing communities.  Now, instead of the bid being led by US footballing authorities, a joint committee of Canadian, American, and Mexican federations will oversee the countries’ associated bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. According to a recent ESPN report, the organizing committee will from now on be presided over by a joint presidency, namely America’s Carlos Cardeiro, Mexico’s Decio de Maria, and Canada’s Steve Reed. “United, as one, Canada, Mexico, and the United States are ready to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026 and help propel the global game to new insights,” the letter also said. “The joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico to win the hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup has undergone a leadership shuffle aimed at changing the bid’s campaign tactics,” ESPN wrote, adding that it “reported last week that the bid could be in jeopardy.”Although “United 2026” (the organizing committee) has explained on its website that “the strategic change” is purely a traditional and needed formality aimed at showcasing and strengthening “unity” within the three federations, especially following Gulati’s resignation, ESPN has offered a different reading of the situation. According to the sporting media giant, this abrupt change speaks volumes about the seriousness of “the Moroccan threat”, especially given the fact that the new FIFA bidding regulations are, at least on paper, bordering on a Moroccan Victor on June 13. “The move comes as amid concerns that the joint bid, long considered the favorite to win the hosting rights, is in danger of losing out to Morocco,” ESPN further noted.It should be noted here that Morocco, which has already secured the voting bloc of Africa, its home continent, is also said to be the most favored bid for the Arab world, many European federations, as well as South America (said to be holding “special grudges” against Trump’s America).Politics-wise, however, this new strategy might also be aimed at undermining the effect of any malign influence that Trump’s unfavorable international reputation could have on “United 2026.” After all, by saying that the US is no longer single-handedly leading the bid, “United 2026” is surreptitiously telling national federations not to consider Donald Trump while voting on June 13. But, with the Kingdom being said to “finally deserve a World Cup, for the sake of Africa”, will United 2026’s new strategy succeed in dislodging Morocco’s already established reputation as an appropriate  and serious candidate for holding the 2026 FIFAWorld Cup? Considering recent reports, the answer to that question is a resounding “No.” read more

UN says report on Lanka taken seriously

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson says the report on Sri Lanka on the UN actions during the final stages of the war was taken seriously.“I was asked by the Secretary-General, to head a group to look, go through the recommendations of the report, and above all, look forward to the future so that we avoid coming in such situations as we did in Sri Lanka, and as we have in several other tragic situations. This group was established in January, and they have worked very diligently. It is co-chaired by Andrew Gilmour of the Political Unit, and Paul Akiwumi, my Chief of Staff. And we have a very good secretariat headed by Michael Keating, who is a very respected colleague, who was the Deputy SRSG [Special Representative of the Secretary-General] in Afghanistan,” the UN qouted him as saying. He said that he found most important was to bring was to bring in all the agencies, departments, programmes, funds, who indirectly or directly are involved in the situation or the role of the United Nations in Sri Lanka. “So, we have had a working group with representatives of all groups working very intensely on taking these recommendations seriously. We also have invited experts from the outside for hearings. Today, I had a hearing with a group of very respectable colleagues of mine and many others — Jan Egeland, Staffan De Mistura, Michael Van Den Schulenberg — I can’t give you the whole list, but we had a video conference of one and a half hours today, where we got their reactions to the report. So, it is a big process right now. And I suppose I will, within a month or so, receive the report and then it is up to me to assess these recommendations and go to the Secretary-General and discuss what measures should be taken. I hope this whole process will be finished by the middle of June at the latest, I would hope. We take it very seriously,” he added. Jan Eliasson says the UN now needs to really prepare as good as possible for such a situation in the future. read more

AP Women accuse opera legend Domingo of sexual harassment

For decades, Placido Domingo, one of the most celebrated and powerful men in opera, has tried to pressure women into sexual relationships by dangling jobs and then sometimes punishing the women professionally when they refused his advances, numerous accusers told The Associated Press.Regarded as one of the greatest opera singers of all time, Domingo also is a prolific conductor and the director of the Los Angeles Opera. The multiple Grammy winner is an immensely respected figure in his rarefied world, described by colleagues as a man of prodigious charm and energy who works tirelessly to promote his art form.But his accusers and others in the industry say there is a troubling side to the 78-year-old Domingo — one they say has long been an open secret in the opera world.Eight singers and a dancer have told the AP that they were sexually harassed by the long-married, Spanish-born superstar in encounters that took place over three decades beginning in the late 1980s, at venues that included opera companies where he held top managerial positions.One accuser said Domingo stuck his hand down her skirt and three others said he forced wet kisses on their lips — in a dressing room, a hotel room and at a lunch meeting.“A business lunch is not strange,” said one of the singers. “Somebody trying to hold your hand during a business lunch is strange — or putting their hand on your knee is a little strange. He was always touching you in some way, and always kissing you.”In addition to the nine accusers, a half-dozen other women told the AP that suggestive overtures by Domingo made them uncomfortable, including one singer who said he repeatedly asked her out on dates after hiring her to sing a series of concerts with him in the 1990s.The AP also spoke to almost three dozen other singers, dancers, orchestra musicians, backstage staff, voice teachers and administrators who said they witnessed inappropriate sexually tinged behaviour by Domingo and that he pursued younger women with impunity.Domingo did not respond to detailed questions from the AP about specific incidents, but issued a statement saying: “The allegations from these unnamed individuals dating back as many as thirty years are deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate.“Still, it is painful to hear that I may have upset anyone or made them feel uncomfortable — no matter how long ago and despite my best intentions. I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual. People who know me or who have worked with me know that I am not someone who would intentionally harm, offend, or embarrass anyone.“However, I recognize that the rules and standards by which we are — and should be — measured against today are very different than they were in the past. I am blessed and privileged to have had a more than 50-year career in opera and will hold myself to the highest standards.”Seven of the nine accusers told the AP they feel their careers were adversely impacted after they rejected Domingo’s advances, with some saying that roles he promised never materialized and several noting that while they went on to work with other companies, they were never hired to work with him again.Only one of the nine women would allow her name to be used — Patricia Wulf, a mezzo-soprano who sang with Domingo at the Washington Opera. The others requested anonymity, saying they either still work in the business and feared reprisals or worried they might be publicly humiliated and even harassed.The accusers’ stories lay out strikingly similar patterns of behaviour that included Domingo persistently contacting them — often calling them repeatedly at home late at night — expressing interest in their careers and urging them to meet him privately under the guise of offering professional advice.None of the women could offer documentation, such as phone messages, but the AP spoke to many colleagues and friends that they confided in. In addition, the AP independently verified that the women worked where they said they did and that Domingo overlapped with them at those locations.Two of the women said they briefly gave in to Domingo’s advances, feeling they couldn’t risk jeopardizing their careers by saying no to the most powerful man in their profession.One of them said she had sex with him twice, including at the Biltmore hotel in Los Angeles. When Domingo left for a performance, the woman said, he put $10 on the dresser, saying, “I don’t want you to feel like a prostitute, but I also don’t want you to have to pay to park.”The women making the accusations — who said they were emboldened to speak out by the #MeToo movement — were mostly young and starting their careers at the time.Several said they took extreme measures to avoid Domingo, including asking colleagues to stick with them while at work and not answering their home phones. The dancer called her avoidance technique “the bob and weave, the giggle and get out,” and one soprano labeled it “walking the tightrope.”One singer who is among Domingo’s accusers was 23 and performing in the LA Opera chorus when she first met the superstar in 1988. She said she remembers wiping his saliva off her face from a sloppy, wet stage kiss after which he whispered in her ear, “I wish we weren’t on stage.”Domingo started calling her at home frequently, she said, although she had not given him her number. “He would say things like, ‘Come to my apartment. Let’s sing through some arias. I’ll give you coaching. I’d like to hear what you can do for casting,’” she said.Whenever he returned to Los Angeles over the course of the next three years, she said he was uncomfortably affectionate, slipping a hand around her waist or kissing her on the cheek too close to her mouth. He would enter her dressing room uninvited, she said, which she said she assumed was to catch her undressed.The mezzo-soprano said she strenuously tried to avoid being alone with him, while also striving not to insult him. But he did not take the hint, she said.She said she agreed to meet Domingo about 11 p.m. one night “and then I had a full-blown panic attack. I freaked out, and I just kept not answering the phone. He just filled up the machine, calling me until 3:30 in the morning.”In 1991, she said, “I finally gave in and slept with him. I ran out of excuses. It was like, ‘OK, I guess this is what I have to do.’”She said she had sex with Domingo on two occasions, at his Los Angeles apartment and at the Biltmore hotel, where he left the money on the dresser.Another young singer at the LA Opera, where Domingo was the incoming artistic director, said he immediately started calling her at home after she met him at a rehearsal in 1988.“He would say, ‘I’m going to talk to you as the future artistic director of the company’” and discuss possible roles, she said. “Then he would lower his voice and say, ‘Now I’m going to talk to you as Placido,’” she said, and ask her to meet him — for a drink, to see a movie, to come to his apartment so he could cook her breakfast.During one of his frequent visits to her dressing room, he admired her costume, leaning forward to kiss her cheeks and placing one hand on the side of her breast, she said.The singer — who was 27 and just starting her career — said she felt trapped.“I was totally intimidated and felt like saying no to him would be saying no to God. How do you say no to God?” she said.As the calls wore on, she stopped picking up the phone. In person, she gave excuses, she said: She was busy, she was tired, she was married. Finally, she said, she surrendered to “a feeling of impending doom” that “I wasn’t going to have an opera career if I didn’t give in.”She said she went to his apartment, where they engaged in “heavy petting” and “groping.”In the days and weeks after, she said Domingo repeatedly called her. “I felt like prey. I felt like I was being hunted by him,” she said.The singer said that once Domingo took over control of casting decisions at the LA Opera in 2000, he never hired her again.Another singer who worked in Los Angeles in the mid-2000s told the AP that she already knew of Domingo’s reputation when he took an extreme interest in her career and made sure she always had an excuse for leaving right after work.One night after rehearsal, however, he caught her off-guard by asking her for a ride home, she said, which she found “ridiculous. Why would Placido Domingo not have a ride home? But what was I going to do?”In the car, she said, he put his hand on her leg, told her to pull over near his building and then “leaned in and tried to kiss me.” She said he asked her upstairs, which she avoided by saying she had other plans.Several weeks later, she said, Domingo approached her on a night he knew she was scheduled to stay late and invited her to his apartment to run through an aria.She went, she said, because “I felt like I have dragged this out and avoided him for six weeks and he is Placido and he is my boss and he is offering to work with me on this role.”After he poured two glasses of wine, she said, “He sat down at the grand piano and we really did sing this aria, and we worked on it. And he gave me coaching and was very complimentary.”But then, she said, “When it was over, he stood up and slid his hand down my skirt, and that was when I had to get out of there.”“I went home and was terrified to go back to work,” she said. “I was frozen in terror for that whole contract.”Since then, she has sung at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the San Francisco Opera and elsewhere, but said she has never again been hired to sing at the Los Angeles house or with Domingo.At the Washington Opera, where Domingo served as artistic and then general director for 15 years, mezzo-soprano Patricia Wulf said the star would confront her night after night with the same whispered question.“Every time I would walk off stage, he would be in the wings waiting for me,” she said. “He would come right up to me, as close as could be, put his face right in my face, lower his voice and say, ‘Patricia, do you have to go home tonight?’”She said she regularly would rebuff him, but that his pursuit remained relentless.It got to a point, Wulf said, that she would try to hide from Domingo behind a pillar. She also would hide in her dressing room and peek to make sure he was not in the hallway before she left, she said.“As soon as you walk away and get away, you think, ‘Did I just ruin my career?’ And that went on through that entire production.”A dancer who worked with the superstar in several cities said a flirtatious Domingo called her late at night on-and-off for about a decade in the 1990s, leaving brazen messages that she would listen to in shock with her husband.Domingo would ask her to meet him, including in his hotel room, but she said she would only go to lunch with him, always framed as a business meal. Still, she said, his hands would wander to her knee or he would hold her hand or kiss her cheek in ways that made her uncomfortable.She said she would wonder to her husband: “‘Does he understand the risk he’s putting me in, that he could wreck my marriage, wreck my career? ““When you’re working for the most powerful man in the opera, you try to play ball,” she said.One afternoon when they were working together at the Washington Opera, she said Domingo asked her to meet for lunch at his hotel restaurant to discuss work. After the meal, he said he needed to stop at his room before they walked to a rehearsal.“He took me up to his room, ostensibly to pick up his stuff, and he invites me in,” she said. “And he starts hugging me and kissing me.”She pushed him away, she said, and insisted she had to get to rehearsal.“When I clearly was not going to have sex with him, he just walked me to the elevator and went back to his room,” she said. “The elevator doors opened, and I dropped. I just fell to the floor in the elevator and was sweating profusely.”A former opera administrator said he was aware for years that Domingo was “constantly chasing” the dancer. And a conductor who is friends with the dancer said he recalled after she “said no to Domingo, she had the rug pulled out for several years.”After the hotel incident, the dancer said she didn’t work with the superstar for several years.“There were years when I was a wreck about it and scared that I’d never be hired again,” the dancer said. Eventually, she said, she was “let back into his good graces.”“What he did is wrong,” she said. “He used his power, he stalked women, he put women in positions of vulnerability. People have dropped out of the business and been just erased because of submitting or not submitting to him.”___Contact Associated Press writer Jocelyn Gecker via Twitter: https://twitter.com/jgeckerJocelyn Gecker, The Associated Press read more

After CIA torture revelations US must now recover moral high ground –

“The example set by the United States on the use of torture has been a big draw-back in the fight against such practice in many other countries throughout the world,” Juan Mendez, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, said in a news release today.As a Special Rapporteur with a mandate to visit numerous countries across the globe, he added that now Member States were either implicitly or explicitly telling him “Why look at us? If the US tortures, why can’t we do it?” “We have lost a little bit of the moral high ground,” he continued. “But it can be regained and it should be regained.” Mr. Mendez’s comments follow the long-awaited release of the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA interrogation techniques which concluded that US high officials promoted, encouraged and allowed the use of torture after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and during President George W. Bush’s administration. The practice, known as “enhanced interrogation techniques,” was terminated by President Barack Obama. The Special Rapporteur commended the “thorough and frank” report, particularly as it managed to break through a wall of silence put into place by the former administration which, he said, had “aggressively and repeatedly rejected the principles of transparency and accountability and maintains the pattern of denial and defense.” “It is the Government’s responsibility to let the US people know what happened during the years when extraordinary rendition, secret detention, and so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were practiced, and to ensure accountability and transparency to the fullest extent possible.” Mr. Mendez noted that despite the United States’ continued use of torture in interrogating prisoners suspected of affiliations with terrorist groups, the practice was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees. Instead, he added, the torture programmes had made the matter of terrorism worse and provided “a breeding ground for more terrorism.” “As a nation that has publicly affirmed its belief that respect for truth advances respect for the rule of law, and as a nation that frequently calls for transparency and accountability in other countries, the United States must rise to meet the standards it has set both for itself and for others.” read more

University commemorates death of namesake

Prof. David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, co-founder of the University’s commemoration ceremony for Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock, leads re-enactors from Fort George onto campus Friday. Photo by Bob Tymczyszyn.The front of the Schmon Tower looked like a page out of a history book Friday morning.War of 1812 re-enactors from Fort George marched onto campus to commemorate the death of Sir Isaac Brock by firing muskets while members of The Lincoln and Welland Regiment lowered flags to mark the occasion and Last Post was performed.The University’s namesake was killed on Oct. 13, 1812 by a sniper’s bullet while leading the charge in the Battle of Queenston Heights.Several University dignitaries spoke about the role of the Major-General and the two-year war in shaping Canada as a nation.“That war made Canada a possibility,” President Jack Lightstone said. “Had the war gone differently, Canada would have surely been an impossibility.”Rev. David Galston, a chaplain with the University’s Faith and Life Centre, noted that the story of Brock’s death, when he is rumoured to have uttered to his troops what would become the University’s motto – surgite or push on – is more about the inspiration of the human spirit rather than “history as a set of facts.”“Not all of the facts are clear about General Brock but what has persisted as oral tradition is the spirit of his character,” Galston said.“It is this spirit of Isaac Brock that we recall and celebrate today. His seeming refusal to place himself above others, his care for the quality of relationships he held with others and his regard for honesty above all are characteristics we can celebrate as good Canadian qualities and as significant qualities to uphold in a learning environment like Brock University.“Even though we cannot know all the facts about General Isaac Brock, we can still remember and celebrate him as an inspiring icon in Canadian history and for this university. In this spirit, we can all say ‘Rest in peace, Sir Isaac.’” read more

Bucks wallop Walsh

The Ohio State men’s basketball team got its 2009-10 campaign off to a strong start, beating the Walsh Cavaliers 86-48 in an exhibition game Wednesday.Junior Evan Turner made his debut at point guard and had little trouble adapting to his new position. Turner finished the night with 15 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, just four assists shy of a triple-double.Sophomore William Buford also scored 15 points, including 11 in the first half.Buford was six of eight from the field and made his only three point attempt.Junior David Lighty added 11 points and, perhaps more importantly, appeared to be fully recovered from last year’s season-ending foot injury.The Buckeyes officially begin their season Monday against Alcorn State at the Schottenstein Center.

Mining industry leaders optimistic about global demand

first_imgAt the opening of MINExpo at the beginning of the week, world mining leaders voiced strong optimism that durable demand for coal, minerals and metals will accompany the resumption in global economic growth, giving new life to the commodity market. Mining executives from four of the world’s leading producers of mining equipment, coal and minerals agreed that underlying global demand, powered by accelerating urbanisation and energy consumption in the developing world, will benefit an industry that starts the global supply chain.  More minerals, metals and coal will be needed to supply China, India and the African continent, regions dominated by massive urbanisation and a rapidly growing middle class, they said. The industry will be increasingly challenged by lower quality orebodies, a shortage of mining engineers and an uncertain global financial system.  But long-term fundamentals favor a bullish outlook, said four senior executives that spoke at the record-breaking mining exhibition hosted by the National Mining Association,the US industry’s trade group in Washington, DC.Red Conger, president of Freeport-McMoRan Americas, a global leader in copper production, said the current market is in balance.  “Even if copper grows only modestly – at 2% annually – supply will be challenged,” he said.Gregory Boyce, Chairman and CEO of Peabody Energy, documented the strong growth in global coal demand, powered by rapidly expanding Asian economies.  “Energy is a basic human right, yet today 3.6 billion people in the world have either little or no access to electricity,” said Boyce.  Coal will be critically important for providing this vast region of the world with affordable electricity, he said.Richard O’Brien, CEO of Newmont Mining, a major gold producer, observed the strong intervention of sovereign banks in the global gold market, with government purchases of gold up by 500% in the past decade. At the same time, supplying new gold to the market will be constrained by more difficult mining conditions. Today, gold is found not in large veins but “in grams per ton,” explained O’Brien.MINExpo 2012 Chairman Michael Sutherlin, President and CEO of Joy Global, said developing countries in Asia are only mid-way in their growth curve as measured by metal intensity per capita.  Viewed from the perspective of parity with the developed world, said Sutherlin, “China is today where Japan was in the 1950s.”  Because mining operations are now moving into more challenging environments that make mining more costly, Joy Global’s emphasis is increasingly on manufacturing machines that increase mining productivity, efficiency and safety.The CEOs put to rest a prevalent myth: that global competition for natural resources may come at the expense of the environment and safety.  On the contrary, they said, mining operations anywhere in the world that are the safest and most environmentally sound are also the most productive mines with the most talented workforce.  “If we don’t get the environment and safety right, we will lose our social license to operate,” said Newmont’s O’Brien.MINExpo 2012 surpassed all previous mining exhibitions, with 860,000 square feet of exhibition space and more than 53,000 attendees from 36 countries. Global mining equipment and after-market sales are valued at $52 billionlast_img read more

Croatia with 17 players to Rouen Minimum quarterfinal

Croatian NT coach Zeljko Babic announced squad for the World Championship in France on today’s press conference in Zagreb. Croatia will have 17 players in the roster as only question which is still open, whether goalkeeper in trio Ivic, Stevanovic and Pesic, will have to stay on the stands.Two players who will stay at home are right back Sime Ivic and line-player Kresimir Kozina.“Our minimum goal is to play quarter-finals, but primary goal is to built squad for the Men’s EHF EURO 2018 in Croatia”, said Babic.Croatian squad for France 2017:uGoalkeepers:Filip Ivić – HC Vive Tauron KielceIvan Stevanović – RK PPD ZagrebIvan Pešić – HC Meshkov BrestWings:Josip Božić-Pavletić – RK NEXEManuel Štrlek – HC Vive Tauron KielceLovro Mihić – HC Wisla PlockZlatko Horvat –  RK PPD ZagrebLine players:Tin Kontrec – RK PPD ZagrebŽeljko Musa – HC MagdeburgBack line:Marko Mamić – DunkerqueStipe Mandalinić – RK PPD ZagrebLovro Jotić – RK PPD ZagrebLuka Cindrić – HC VardarLuka Stepančić – HC Paris Saint-GermainLuka Šebetić – RK PPD ZagrebJakov Gojun – HC Füsche BerlinDomagoj Duvnjak – HC THW Kiel ← Previous Story ROBOT GOES TO POLAND: Blaž Janc to Vive Tauron Kielce! Next Story → HP WCh 2017 PREDICTION: Spain and Germany to attack France for the gold! Croatia handballFrance 2017 read more