Irene Gentle named editor at the Toronto Star first woman to hold

first_imgTORONTO – The Toronto Star has named Irene Gentle as its new editor, the first woman to hold the job.Gentle replaces Michael Cooke, who announced earlier this year that he would be retiring in June.She has been the Star’s managing editor since June 2016. The promotion is effective immediately.Gentle joined the Star in 2011 as business editor and was named assistant managing editor and city editor in 2012.Before the Star, she worked at the Hamilton Spectator.The Star and the Spectator are owned by Torstar Corp. which also owns daily and community newspapers throughout Ontario and a majority interest in VerticalScope.—Torstar holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with a subsidiary of the Globe and Mail and the parent company of Montreal’s La Presse.Companies in this story: (TSX:TS.B)last_img read more

Supriyo engages in altercation with local youths over coal mafia dig against

first_imgKolkata: The outgoing BJP MP from Asansol Babul Supriyo, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the same seat, lost his cool during his election rally on Thursday morning when some local youths protested against him for accusing his political rival Trinamool Congress of running a syndicate with coal mafias.The incident sparked tension at the Dhandadihi area of Andal, where Supriyo was conducting a road show. Some youths, who the BJP claimed to be Trinamool Congress supporters, protested against Supriyo as he was accusing TMC of being involved in a syndicate operating out of coal mine areas. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThis allegedly made Supriyo so angry that he engaged in an altercation with the youths. He also claimed that TMC might have deployed the youths to disrupt his road show. The irate BJP MP allegedly instructed his party workers to ‘throw them out’. The BJP workers finally dissuaded the youths from protesting and dispersed them. Curious onlookers were stranded on both sides of the road. The district election officers are currently looking into the matter. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayIt may be mentioned here that some BJP workers were earlier found sitting in a car with a sticker on it reading ‘On Election duty’. The car was spotted close to the residence of Supriyo in Asansol and there was a BJP flag on the bonnet of the car. The incident has led to a political slugfest between the BJP and Trinamool Congress leaders in Asansol. Supriyo has been under the scanner of the Election Commission after he was found playing the controversial theme song of BJP, defying the commission’s instructions. He has since stopped playing the song but controversy seems to still surround him. A section of TMC leaders in West Midnapore district are saying that Supriyo is losing his cool as BJP is apprehending defeat in the seat in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.last_img read more

MAKAUT launches new courses to boost job prospects

first_imgKolkata: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (Makaut) has launched a number of new vocational courses that are designed to expand the career options for the students. “The new vocational courses will help the students to choose the right career as per their choice and will also open up job avenues for them” said Saikat Maitra, Vice Chancellor, Makaut.The new vocational courses that can be taken up in the undergraduate level include Travel and Tourism, Medical Lab Technology, Medical Imaging Technology, Banking-Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI), Hardware Networking, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Interior Design, Automotive Manufacturing Technology, Retail Management, Industrial Tool Manufacturing, Renewable Energy, Electronic Manufacturing Services, Animation, Beauty and Aesthetics, Theatre Studies, Fashion Designing, Catering Technology and Hotel Management etc. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaEligibility criteria for admission to these subjects are higher secondary or equivalent. There are provisions for exit from the course at the end of completion of first and second year course of their studies with diploma and advanced diploma, respectively. On being asked about the course on Beauty and Aesthetics that has nothing to do with a technology varsity, a senior official of the varsity said that the course will train the students in non-clinical aspects of cosmetology. “Beauty professional courses are in very high demand nowadays and students pursuing this course can explore job opportunities in a salon or spa, as a beauty and skin specialist,” he added. The B voc course in Theatre Study and Acting is also tailor made for students to get associated with film and television media. This course that includes topics like theatre techniques and designing, study of theatrical script and play is expected to develop the intangible concept of creative imagination and its expression within the collective framework of a group.last_img read more

Cong will have direct fight with BJP Chako

first_imgNEW DELHI: PC Chako, All India Congress Committee in-charge of Delhi, on Thursday said his party will have a direct fight with the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi and asserted that the possibility of a triangular contest is “slowly disappearing” in the national capital. The senior Congress leader also raised doubts about AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s seriousness in defeating the BJP. Chacko said the Congress was getting a good response after the party fielded its candidates for all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, which goes to polls on May 12. Also Read – Meeting: Issues related to handling of Airport Entry Passes discussedDelhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) on Thursday introduced its candidates before the media at its party office here. Talking to reporters, Chacko said he has “doubts” about Kejriwal’s seriousness to defeat the Bhartitya Janata Party in Delhi. “Earlier, we thought there is a triangular fight in Delhi, but (the possibility) of a triangular fight is disappearing slowly in Delhi. We have a direct fight with BJP in Delhi,” the party’s general secretary in-charge of Delhi said. Also Read – Arms supplier arested from RajasthanAsked about the possibility of any alliance between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party even after both parties announced its candidates, Chacko said that it is now a closed chapter. “It is difficult to get the AAP into confidence because we have doubts about Kejriwal’s intension…without any reason, he (Kejriwal) stepped back that is why we still have doubt about him being serious in defeating the BJP,” the Congress leader said. Asserting that there will be no split of anti-BJP votes in Delhi, he said in the entire country, there is fight between the Congress and BJP. “Anti-BJP votes will come to Congress. In the entire country, there is fight between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi and in view of this, there will be no split of votes,” Chacko also said. Congress president and North-east candidate Sheila Dikshit said that the Congress candidates are familiar with the people of Delhi as they have been serving them for past many years in various capacities.last_img read more

SC pulls up Bihar govt for delay in appeal

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court has “strongly deprecated” the “casual manner” in which Bihar has filed an appeal before it after a delay of over 700 days and said a clear signal has to be sent to the government authorities that they cannot approach the court as and when they please. A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indira Banerjee dismissed the appeal filed by the Bihar government in a service matter and imposed a cost of Rs 20,000 on the state, saying it was a “complete wastage” of judicial time. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe apex court noted that an appeal against the division bench order of the Patna High Court was filed before it after a delay of 728 days and the state sought condonation of this “extraordinary” delay stating that it took time to obtain all the sanction from the respective departments and receive the affidavit. “We are of the view that a clear signal has to be sent to the government authorities that they cannot approach the court as and when they please, on account of gross incompetence of their officers and that too without taking any action against the concerned officers,” the bench said in its order. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad”No detail of this delay of 728 days have been given as if there is an inherent right to seek condonation of delay by state government. The law of limitation apparently does not apply to the state government according to its conduct,” the bench said. Referring to an earlier judgement of the apex court, the bench noted in its order that such condonation of delay is no more admissible on the pretext of “government working lethargy”. The bench also noted that the state had earlier filed an appeal before a division bench of the high court against an order of its single judge in the matter after a delay of 367 days. The division bench of the high court had dismissed the application filed by the state seeking condonation of delay on the ground that there was no sufficient cause shown for it. “We strongly deprecate the casual manner in which the division bench (of the high court) was approached…,” the bench said.last_img read more

Womens Hockey No 7 Ohio State reopens conference play against No 1

Ohio State then-freshman goalie Andrea Braendli (30) prepares for a shot in the game against Minnesota State on Oct. 11. Ohio State won 4-0. Credit: Wyatt Crosher | Assistant Sports EditorThe Ohio State women’s hockey team is ready to prove that last year’s Frozen Four run was no fluke.The No. 7 Buckeyes (14-6, 8-4 Big Ten) will try to steal a win against No. 1 Wisconsin (19-1, 9-1 Big Ten) as they begin a home series against the Badgers on Friday.Ohio State will face a Wisconsin offense that is No. 2 in the country in goals and No. 1 in scoring margin.With the Badgers entering the weekend on an 11-game winning streak, the Buckeyes’ interim associate head coach Andrew Cassels said the series will test his team’s mettle.“It’s a great way to measure up our team versus the best team in the country,” Cassels said. “It’s going to show us where we are and how far we have to come. It’s a great challenge for the girls.”Ohio State is no stranger to defeating the Badgers. The Buckeyes claimed victories in their past two matchups against the Big Ten rival last year in February.“We had some success against them last year,” Cassels said. “We’ll take a lot of footage from that and try to put that into our game plan.”Cassels emphasized Wisconsin’s speed and said that blocking shots will be key to neutralizing its prolific offense, encouraging his team to get into shooting lanes and making sure the Badgers cannot easily get shots off.Coming on the heels of a three-game win streak, Ohio State’s standout freshman goalie Andrea Braendli said the Buckeyes don’t have many adjustments to make.“I don’t want to change my strategy,” Braendli said. “I have to play my game. The most important thing is that we have to trust each other. We have to have each other’s back.”Braendli, who is No. 8 in the nation with a .939 save percentage, said playing a highly touted conference rival such as Wisconsin provokes a higher sense of anticipation from the team, bringing an excitement to the Ohio State locker room ahead of the weekend.But Ohio State redshirt junior defenseman Jincy Dunne thinks it brings a higher expectation for the team, saying the Buckeyes defense will have to be aggressive in front of Braendli against the creative Wisconsin lines.“We have to be a nightmare to play against,” Dunne said. “We have to be all over them all the time, every second. Any time they’re around us, they’re not being untouched.”With Wisconsin outscoring opponents 81-23 on the season, Dunne said the Badgers defense has yet to face the type of challenge that the Buckeyes can give them.“I don’t think their defense has really had to play defense,” Dunne said. “They’re a very offensive-heavy team so if we can just get pressure on their defense and get pucks behind them, I think we’ll be very successful.”Dunne stressed the impact a series victory against the Badgers could have on the national perception of the Buckeyes. “It would be huge for us to get up in those rankings and show that the Frozen Four wasn’t a mishap,” Dunne said.The Buckeyes face Wisconsin in Columbus at 6:07 p.m. Friday at the OSU Ice Rink and again at 3:07 p.m. Saturday. read more

Cudicini hails unique Cesc Fabregas

first_imgCarlo Cudicini has described Cesc Fabregas as ‘one of a kind’ after his appearance in Chelsea’s 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.Fabregas has been linked with a move to French club Monaco in the January transfer window and his appearance in Chelsea’s FA Cup victory appeared to be his last for the club.The midfielder came off to a standing ovation by the crowd and his team-mates in the second half and came back on the pitch after the game in tears as Chelsea fans sang his name.“I personally don’t know. If it was his last game it was very good that he played in front of his fans and that he was able to have a nice reception. But I don’t know, so I can’t comment,” Cudicini, standing in on press duties for Maurizio Sarri, told Sky Sports.Premier LeaguePremier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“What can I say about Cesc? Five hundred games, he is a player who is unique, he has an unbelievable awareness and vision of where his team-mates are on the pitch.“I think he is one of the few that has the ability to give balls behind the defensive line that are so precise.“He is one of a kind player. He has been fantastic for the teams he played for before us and the contribution he has given this club and to this team has been amazing. Cesc is a top, top player.”last_img read more

Joint Chamber Lunch with Congressman Don Young Next Week

first_imgShanon Davis, Executive Director of the Soldotna Chamber, explains what Don Young will be discussing during the lunch… Davis: “We have a special luncheon it’s going to on Tuesday, not Wednesday. That’s going to be April 23rd and we are going to be hearing from Representative Don Young giving us an update from DC.” Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Soldotna and Kenai Chamber of Commerce will hold a special luncheon at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center on Tuesday, April 23rd.center_img For more information on the joint luncheon and to register, click here.last_img read more

Stop Shops grocery pods will bring the store to your house

first_imgChevrolet CorvetteMoving up from the 10th-place slot last year is the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette. While we’ve all been ogling the new mid-engine Corvette, it’s easy to forget what a performance bargain the current-generation ‘Vette is. From the base trim to the Grand Sport to the bonkers ZR1, the Corvette is an American icon.My preference is for the Grand Sport, which strikes a perfect balance between everyday drivability and canyon-carving performance. The 6.2-liter V8 puts out 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. You can get it with a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission, but the kicker is the borrowed chassis and aero parts from the beefier Z06. Like I said, perfect balance. The Corvette is made in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Comments 2019 Honda Ridgeline review: Light duty, heavy punch Enlarge ImageThe pod might be autonomous, but there’ll be a pilot making sure the pod gets where it needs to. Stop & Shop Later this year, instead of prebagged groceries arriving at your doorstep, you might end up with an entire grocery aisle, ready for the pluckin’.Stop & Shop announced this week that it intends to deploy a small fleet of driverless grocery delivery vehicles in and around the Boston area. Beginning this spring, the pods won’t be like other delivery services — they will offer consumers a selection of produce and meal kits, and folks can pick what they want, like they were in the produce aisle at the store.”[M]any of our customers want the opportunity to make their own choices when it comes to fresh produce, and we’re proud to be the first retailer to engage with Robomart to address our customers’ needs with their cutting-edge solution,” said Mark McGowan, president of Stop & Shop, in a statement. Robomart, a San Francisco-based startup, will be supplying the vehicles for the pilot program.Read more: The best meal-kit delivery services  Here’s how it will work. Using a smartphone app, Stop & Shop customers can request a visit from Robomart’s vehicle. When it shows up, they’ll walk outside, unlock the doors and pick the produce and products they want. All that’s left is to close the door and walk away. The vehicle itself uses RFID tech to determine which products have been purchase, and it’ll email the consumer a receipt. This setup is a little different than what Kroger and Nuro are running in a pilot program, which requires the consumer to pre-order groceries online, with a bagged order eventually arriving at their door.While the vehicle is referred to as driverless, it’s technically driverless in the sense that the vehicle doesn’t have a driver inside of it. The electric pods will actually have a remote pilot in charge of moving them around. They’ll be periodically restocked so consumers don’t have mostly empty pods showing up with a dearth of produce. 4 2019 Honda Passport: A well-rounded midsize offering More From Roadshow 2019 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison: An off-road animal More From Roadshow Share your voice 1 Car Industry Auto Tech,Enlarge ImageIt’s all in a day’s work for the Jeep Cherokee, the most American-made car in 2019. Jeep With high trade tensions looming and increasing talk of tariffs, more and more consumers are looking to buy American. has released its annual American Made Index, showcasing companies that use the most American-sourced parts and labor in their vehicles. The results may surprise analyzed more than 100 US-built vehicles for five key data points: manufacturing location, parts sourcing, US employment, engine sourcing and transmission sourcing. You might think something like the Ford F-150 would top the list, but it drops from its No. 5 spot for 2018 and out of the top 10 completely. Even the first-place holder, the Jeep Cherokee, is a pretty global product. It’s a Jeep, sure, but that brand is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, an Italian-owned surveyed 1,000 people and found that half are concerned about automotive import tariffs, with 41% saying they are unsure if tariffs would make them more likely to buy American. Either way, we’re big fans of all the vehicles on this list. These days, buying American doesn’t necessarily mean sticking with a US-based automaker. 2019 Jeep Cherokee can handle the rough stuff Honda PassportThe Honda Passport is a new (well, reborn) entry to both the Honda lineup and the American Made Index. This midsize crossover comes to the fray with great driving dynamics and plenty of tech like the standard Honda Sensing suite of active safety features. An available 8-inch touchscreen gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot.Under the hood is the stalwart 3.5-liter V6 producing 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. However unlike the Ridgeline, the Passport sends that power through a nine-speed automatic transmission. Having said that, just like the Ridgeline, this is the only powertrain available. The Honda Passport is built in Lincoln, Alabama. 52 Photos Share your voice Car Industry 2019 GMC Sierra Denali review: So close to greatness 18 Photos 49 Photos 18 Photos General Motors Chevrolet Honda Jeep Acura 26 Photos 68 Photos 12 Photos Tags 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport loves to hustlecenter_img 2019 Honda Pilot Elite: A smoother, tech-rich crossover SUV 10 Photos Chevrolet ColoradoMaking its debut in the top 10 is the Chevrolet Colorado. Shown here in the tough ZR2 Bison off-road spec, the Chevy Colorado is an excellent truck and one of the two midsize pickups you can get with a diesel engine. Adding to the ZR2’s two-inch lift and front and rear locking differentials, the Bison gets beefier skid plates (trust me, that’s a good thing), steel bumpers and integrated recovery points. Heck, you can even get a snorkel.Base models get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual transmission, but a more popular choice is the 3.6-liter V6 gas engine with 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile, the 2.8-liter diesel pumps out 186 horsepower and a delicious 369 pound-feet of twist and is mated to a six-speed automatic. The Chevy Colorado is built in Wentzville, Missouri. Honda PilotDropping down to seventh place for 2019 is the Honda Pilot. Like its two-row Passport sibling, the three-row Pilot offers parent-focused technology like Cabin Talk as well as myriad standard driver-assistance features through the Honda Sensing tech suite. Honda’s largest crossover offers up nearly 84 cubic feet of cargo space. Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 engine shows up again, making a serviceable 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Touring and Elite trims get a nine-speed automatic transmission while lower trims have to make do with a six-speed auto. The Honda Pilot is made in Lincoln, Alabama. 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec: Sharp handling, sharper looks 2018 GMC Terrain Denali: Chrome and tech come at a price 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison: A tougher off-roader 69 Photos Ford’s ‘self-driving’ delivery vans bamboozle the public for good reason 2019 GMC Canyon: A fancier Colorado Tags 2019 Acura MDX adds new features and an A-Spec model Honda OdysseyThe feature-rich Honda Odyssey minivan also retains its number-two slot from last year’s list. While the 2019 model doesn’t see any changes from last, it’s still a darn good choice for families on the go with reconfigurable seats, Wi-Fi and an excellent rear-seat entertainment system. The Cabin Watch video system lets parents keep an eye on their little darlings without turning around in their seats, while Cabin Talk amplifies their voice so no yelling is required.The Odyssey is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 rated for 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Most trims get a nine-speed automatic but the top Touring and Elite trims now use a 10-speed automatic with stop-start technology. The Honda Odyssey is made in Lincoln, Alabama. Acura MDXMoving up one slot to sixth place on the American Made Index is the non-hybrid variant of the Acura MDX. With its SH-AWD system, the MDX is one of the better handling midsize luxury crossovers, and for 2019 the company gives us the A-Spec treatment with a new front fascia and side skirts, 20-inch wheels, wider exhaust tips, unique gauges, a new steering wheel, carbon fiber trim and various Alcantara interior touches.However, both the standard and A-Spec models get a 3.5-liter V6 engine, rated for 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque going through a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Acura MDX is made in East Liberty, Ohio.  Acura RDXThe third-generation Acura RDX squeaks into the top ten list with larger proportions, plenty of interior space and better handling than its predecessor. Forward collision warning with collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control that works even in low-speed traffic, lane-keeping steering assist and road departure mitigation are all standard across the board. Like its MDX counterpart, the RDX is available with the A-Spec styling package.The RDX sports a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine. Output is stated at 273 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, and it’s mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The new RDX is built in East Liberty, Ohio. 71 Photos Comment 81 Photos Honda RidgelineAgain keeping the status quo, the Honda Ridgeline maintains third place on the American Made Index. This crossover-that-looks-like-a-truck provides a better ride than a traditional pickup and gets an awesome lockable trunk right in the floor of the bed. And it doesn’t do the truck stuff too badly, either, as it’s able to carry 1,860 pounds of payload and tow 3,500 pounds.The Ridgeline is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 good for 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. That is channeled through a six-speed automatic transmission with available all-wheel drive. It’s built in Lincoln, Alabama. 2019 Toyota RAV4 review: A lovable SUV, but rough around the edges 2019 Honda Ridgeline: The commuter’s pickup truck 2019 Honda Odyssey offers plenty of room and features for families GMC CanyonIf you’re looking for a slightly fancier version of the Colorado that’s more focused on luxe than dirt, check out the GMC Canyon. The top Denali trim gets standard heated and ventilated front seats as well as a heated steering wheel. Maximum payload capability is 1,665 pounds while max towing is a fairly healthy 7,600 pounds.The Canyon is available with the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, 3.6-liter V6 or 2.8-liter diesel as the Chevrolet Colorado. It’s also built in Wentzville, Missouri. 2020 Toyota Corolla review: More emotional, still sensible Jeep CherokeeKeeping its top-of-the-list placement, the Jeep Cherokee is 2019’s most American-made car. Refreshed for 2019, the compact crossover now features more tech, better cargo space and a slightly tweaked look. It’s available in no fewer the nine trims, including the off-road specific Trailhawk and a fancy-pants Trailhawk Elite.For 2019, the Cherokee gets a new 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine with 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, though naturally aspirated I4 and V6 choices are also available. Regardless of engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission gets the power to the pavement — or dirt as the case may be. The Cherokee is made in Belvidere, Illinois.last_img read more

Texas AG Ken Paxton Says He Received 84000 In Gifts For His

first_imgMarjorie Kamys Cotera/ The Texas TribuneTexas Attorney General Ken Paxton during a news conference on Jan. 12, 2017.Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has been fighting securities fraud charges for most of his first term, collected $84,000 in gifts last year to help pay for his legal defense, he says in a newly released financial disclosure statement.That means he has now gotten a total of over $630,000 for his legal defense from people he has described over the past three years as family friends or others who are not covered by state bribery laws. The $84,000 that Paxton received in 2017 is much less than he received for his legal defense in the two previous years: nearly $218,000 in 2016 and over $329,000 in 2015.State bribery laws say that elected officials cannot accept gifts from parties subject to their authority. But Paxton has justified the contributions to his legal defense by claiming an exemption that allows him to take gifts from people with whom he as a relationship that is “independent” of his “official status.”The $84,000 that Paxton got in 2017 for his legal defense came from 10 sources, including two couples that gave $25,000 each. One couple was Shawn Clayton, the president and CEO of Dallas landscape company Superscapes, and his wife, Erin. The other $25,000 givers were Steven and Carrie Parsons, a Dallas husband and wife who have previously contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Paxton’s legal defense.Eight of the donors to Paxton’s legal defense in 2017 are identified as a “former client/family friend” on the disclosure statement. The two others are listed as a “Legacy Christian friend,” a reference to the Frisco school where Paxton’s wife, Angela Paxton, has worked.Since the summer of 2015, Paxton has been under indictment on criminal charges in state court alleging he misled investors in a company from before his time as attorney general. In 2016, he beat a similar, civil case brought by federal prosecutors.Paxton has pleaded not guilty in the long-running criminal case. Currently, it is effectively on pause as prosecutors await a state appeals court ruling in a separate case on whether they can get paid to continue working.Monday was the deadline for 2018 candidates to file their personal financial statements for 2017 with the Texas Ethics Commission. As part of the gifts that the attorney general disclosed, he also said he and his wife received tickets to the Grammy Awards from Raphael Hernandez of Washington. Sharelast_img read more

ACB to probe graft charges against its chief

first_imgAccording to sources, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has directed Directorate of Vigilance, the administrative department of ACB, to take further action on a complaint of embezzlement of Rs 20 lakh against Meena lodged by a retired inspector of Delhi police on Thursday.In the complaint Meena has been accused of purchasing curtains and curtain rods during his tenure as Principal of Police Training College, Jharoda Kalan between May 11 and July 25, 2005. “The items were purchased without requirement, without approval from higher authorities and without tender. Three local suppliers were selected for tenders and payment was made on fake bills,” said  Jawahar Lal, the complainant. The complainant has also alleged that as the Principal, Meena did not have the power to purchase items worth over Rs 5,000, fake bills were created with amounts less than Rs 5,000. “The records indicate that the quotations were obtained from a single source and in a similar handwriting as if a single person supplied the material on the name of three different firms. Curtains were procured at an exorbitant price that too of inferior quality,” added Lal.Interestingly, the then Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal in 2008 had recommended ‘disciplinary action’ against Meena and also referred the matter to Delhi government for further probe and action but it was silently buried in 2011. “Disciplinary action will also have to be taken against Meena now posted as Additional CP (Security). We may make a reference in this regard to the Delhi government,” wrote Dadwal on January 15, 2008. According to sources former Delhi CP R K Paul had also recommended action against Meena but in 2011 then Chief Secretary of Delhi Government ordered not to proceed further into the matter.last_img read more

Court directs Babul Supriyo to retract defamatory statements against Abhishek

first_imgKolkata: The City Civil Court on Tuesday directed the Union Minister of State for Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Babul Supriyo, to retract the defamatory statements that he made against TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee.It may be recalled that in November 2017, Supriyo had made the “malicious and defamatory” statements against Banerjee at a Press conference stating that the latter “illegitimately profiteered to the tune of Rs 17 to Rs 18 crore against smuggling of coal in Bengal.” It got published and circulated widely in different media and even on social networking sites. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIt led to defamation of Banerjee and his counsels moved court in December 2017.The Third Bench of the City Civil Court had granted an interim order of injunction in this connection restraining Supriyo “not to make any derogatory comment or defamatory statement against Banerjee”. The Court on July 24 ordered Supriyo “to retract the defamatory statements made in November 2017 at the Press conference in Asansol against Abhishek Banerjee by sending a letter or otherwise within a fortnight from the date of the order.” Sanjay Basu, Advocate for Banerjee, said: “Babul Supriyo failed to produce any evidence in support of his defamatory statement and hence the Court passed the order of injunction and retraction in favour of Abhishek Banerjee. The falsity in Babul Supriyo’s statement has been exposed.”last_img read more

Cruising biz better than ever Cruise3Sixty

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=af663c61″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A The heads of cruising companies across the industry shared their views on the resurgence of cruising post Concordia in a General Session at Cruise3Sixty in Fort Lauderdale last month. With the main message at this conference being that safety has always been and will continue to be of paramount importance to cruise lines, company heads including Dan Hanrahan and Rick Sasso expressed their belief that 2012 will represent a stellar year in sales for agents. “The level of cruise rejection didn’t change (post Concordia). We didn’t get people who were cruisers before saying they wouldn’t cruise again,” Celebrity Cruises president and CEO Dan Hanrahan said. “I really think there is an opportunity to tap into that pent up demand. Those people who didn’t book during that time period are still out there, so we just have to figure out how to get them.”Confirming that the industry as a whole pulled the plug on advertising post Concordia, Mr Hanrahan and Mr Sasso assured agents that the industry is back and committed to highlighting the benefits of cruising to consumers with their focus being on promoting bookings through travel agents. “I could not imagine a cruise industry without a travel agent,” MSC Cruises president Rick Sasso said to a rousing applause.  “Travel agents are a brand just like we are. But you are the key brand. You’re the ones who make it all work. Cruise lines are successful because of your brand.“So I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if we all did direct business and we didn’t have our travel agents supporting us…you’re going to always be the dominant place where cruise sales take place.”e-Travel Blackboard flights to Cruise3Sixty proudly sponsored by Hawaiian Airlineslast_img read more

Nordic telco TeliaSoneras overall pay TV base gre

first_imgNordic telco TeliaSonera’s overall pay TV base grew by 43,000 in the fourth quarter to reach 1.3 million, including 600,000 in Sweden. The total number of broadband subscriptions grew by 25,000 during the quarter to reach 2.5 million.TeliaSonera had 643,000 fibre subscribers at the end of 2012, up 23% year-on-year.TeliaSonera recognized a loss of SEK1.6 billion (€186 million) in the fourth quarter from a write-down of goodwill related to its decision to divest Norwegian service provider NextGenTel.last_img read more

Mobile technology research and development company

first_imgMobile technology research and development company, InterDigital, has completed its acquisition of Technicolor’s patent licensing business.InterDigital paid Technicolor US$150 million in cash and under the terms of the deal Technicolor will receive 42.5% of future cash receipts, after operating expenses, from InterDigital’s patent licensing in the consumer electronics field.There is no revenue sharing associated with licensing to the mobile industry, though InterDigital will also grant back to Technicolor a perpetual license for patents acquired in the transaction.InterDigital has acquired approximately 18,000 patents across a range of technologies – including some 3,000 worldwide video coding patents and applications.The portfolio will also be supplemented by a jointly-funded R&D collaboration, which will bring together the efforts of hundreds of engineers in InterDigital Labs and Technicolor Research and Innovation.Members of Technicolor’s licensing, legal and other support teams in offices in France, New Jersey, and other locations join InterDigital’s team of more than 300 R&D and other staff in eleven locations around the world.“During the months that have followed the initial announcement, we’ve had the opportunity to meet and appreciate the tremendous capabilities of Technicolor’s team and gain additional insight into the strength of the portfolio, which strengthens our licensing efforts in the mobile field while opening new markets for InterDigital,” said William Merritt, president and CEO of InterDigital.“We’ve also been able to gauge the tremendous capabilities of Technicolor’s Research and Innovation team, and the alignment between their research initiatives and our own in the video field.”Technicolor announced in March that it had agreed to sell its patent licensing business to InterDigital, in a deal that valued the business at US$475 million (€390 million).last_img read more

As Ted also pointed out da boyz are still in co

first_imgAs Ted also pointed out, ‘da boyz’ are still in control of the metal markets…and show no signs of backing off at the moment.The gold price didn’t do much of anything through all of Far East, European and North American trading on Tuesday.  But then about one minute before 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, the bid disappeared, sell stops were hit…and that, as they say, was that.By the time the low was in [$1,637.90 spot] an hour later, the gold price was down very close to forty bucks from Monday’s close.  Gold gained back about nine bucks of its loses going into the close of electronic trading in New York…and finished at $1,645.80 spot…down $31.20 on the day.  For such a big price move, net volume wasn’t overly heavy…around 143,000 contracts.The silver price on Tuesday was far more volatile…and far more interesting.  The price hardly moved from the $33 spot price level all night long…but at 9:00 a.m. in London, about 20 cents got carved off the price.The next rally of any substance began around 1:00 p.m. in London…about twenty minutes before the Comex open at 8:20 a.m. Eastern time.  It was obvious from that point onward that the silver price really wanted to sail…but as you can tell from the saw-tooth price pattern during the Comex trading session, even the smallest price advance was running into ‘resistance’…especially the vertical price spike that occurred just minutes before the Comex close.  Then JPMorgan et al showed up at 2:00 p.m…and that was it for the day.The high tick…$33.42 spot…came at 1:25 p.m. Eastern time. Sixty-five minutes later the low price tick was in at $32.40 spot.  The silver price gained back 28 cents from that low, closing the New York electronic trading session at $32.68 spot…down only 31 cents on the day.  Net volume was in the neighbourhood of 37,000 contracts.The dollar index trading just under the 79.00 mark right up until a few minutes before 2:00 p.m. in New York.  The index went vertical…and by the time the high of he day was in precisely sixty minutes later, the dollar index had gained just under 70 basis points.  The index gave up a bit of those gains going into the New York close, but not a lot.  When all was said and done, the dollar index was up a hair over 50 basis points yesterday, which is hardly a big move in the grand scheme of things.Yesterday was another example of ‘ramp the dollar/kill the precious metals’…as the both events began simultaneously…which is impossible in the real world.  What happened yesterday was a mini version of the drive-by shooting on February 29th.The gold stocks opened lower yesterday…and the share price action pretty much reflected the move in the gold price that began about one or two minutes before 2:00 p.m. Eastern time.  At one point the HUI was down over four percent…but managed to reduce those loses going into the close.  The HUI finished down 3.34%.The silver stocks got it in the neck as well…and Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed down 3.15%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 313 gold and one lonely silver contract were posted for delivery on Thursday.  In gold, the biggest short/issuers were the Bank of Nova Scotia and Goldman Sachs with 172 and 98 contracts respectively.  The biggest long/stopper by far was JPMorgan with 165 contracts in its client accounts and 136 in its in-house trading account.  The Issuers and Stoppers Report is linked here.There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday…and there was a minor withdrawal from SLV…only 135,735 troy ounces, which I would guess was a fee payment of some type.The U.S. Mint had a rather smallish sales report.  They sold 2,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes, along with 125,000 silver eagles.After a busy Friday, there wasn’t much activity over at the Comex-approved depositories on Monday.  They didn’t receive any silver…and shipped a smallish 109,320 troy ounces out the door.I have fewer stories for you today, which I’m quite happy about.Well, I can’t add too much to what Jim Sinclair had to say yesterday.  If you honestly believe that what was in the minutes of that meeting had anything remotely to do with the hit on the metals yesterday, then I have a bridge that I can sell you.With gold, silver, platinum and copper all shows signs of a break-out to the upside, JPMorgan et al showed up in force to crush these rallies in their tracks.  This was especially easy to see in silver.As I said at the top of this column, every rally attempt in silver during the New York trading session got hit before it could go anywhere.  And the big smack came at 2:00 p.m…which was half an hour after the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report.  Coincidence?  I think not.  As you know, they pull this stunt all the time.In my daily conversation with Ted Butler yesterday, he was wondering out loud just how much technical fund long liquidation there was associated with that engineered price decline…as we were pretty much all cleaned out to the downside as it was…and the volumes in both gold and silver were not particularly high.  If they’d cleaned out a lot of leveraged longs, the volume would have been significantly higher than it was.And as Ted also pointed out, ‘da boyz’ are still in control of the metal markets…and show no signs of backing off at the moment.  To quote a couple of sentences of what Ted had to say in this column yesterday…”Can the commercials still collusively rig prices lower? Of course, they can, but that will only make the set up better…Just make no mistake, this paper trading on the COMEX is the sole determinant of short term price movement. This is price setting, pure and simple. This is also about as far removed from the price discovery function of futures markets intended under commodity law as can be imagined.”When charges were brought against the Royal Bank of Canada on Monday, CFTC Enforcement Director David Meister had this to say…”Today’s action should make clear that the CFTC will not hesitate to bring charges against even the most sophisticated market participants who unlawfully exploit the futures markets for their own gain.”Should one laugh…or should one cry?As reader R.A. Lee, who sent me the above quote yesterday, said…”It gave me such a warm and fuzzy feeling, that I could barely contain myself.”That’s one way of putting it.In overnight trading it was easy to see that the high frequency traders were out and about early.  Around 10:30 a.m. Hong Kong time, there was the smallest of spikes in the dollar index…and that resulted in a three dollar sell-off in gold…and almost 50 cents in silver.  After that, gold and silver prices were comatose until the open of London trading…and then down went the prices again.Volumes in both metals [as of 5:19 a.m. Eastern time] is significantly higher than this time yesterday.  The dollar index is up a magnificent 22 basis points from Tuesday’s New York close…and half of that was from that small spike in early Hong Kong trading.As I hit the ‘send’ button, gold is down a hair over fifteen bucks from yesterday’s close in New York…and silver is down almost 70 cents, and is now just below the $32 spot price mark.Yep, as Ted Butler said…”this paper trading on the COMEX/GLOBEX is the sole determinant of short term price movement. This is price setting, pure and simple.”With JPMorgan et al stomping about this early in the trading day, I’m not overly optimistic about what might occur during the Comex session when it begins at 8:20 a.m. in New York.I think I’ll take the blue pill before I hit the sack.See you on Thursday. Pelangio Exploration Inc. (PX:TSX-V; PGXPF:OTC) announced the results of seven diamond drill holes totaling 1,574 metres from its ongoing drilling program at the Pokukrom East zone on the Manfo Property in Ghana.  Highlights of the results included:·        1.19 g/t gold over 113 metres, including 9.05 g/t gold over 7 metres; ·        2.60 g/t gold over 64 metres, including 11.94 g/t gold over 10 metres; and ·        16.72 g/t gold over 4 metres.The results continued to confirm a higher grade, shallow north plunging core of Pokukrom East zone with an open plunge of 600 metres from near surface in previously reported hole SPDD-088 (7.01 g/t gold over 19 metres) to 210 metres depth in the holes reported this week.  Warren Bates, Senior Vice President Exploration, commented: “These are our best holes on the Manfo Property to date. These holes represent the north-plunging core of higher grade mineralization at Pokukrom East, now demonstrating an open plunge length of 600 metres.” Please visit our website to learn more about the project and request additional information. Sponsor Advertisementlast_img read more

The palladium chart was somewhat similar to the pr

first_img The palladium chart was somewhat similar to the price action in silver, with all the major price inflection points coming at the same times. Palladium was closed at $801 spot, down 4 bucks from Monday. The gold stocks, which gapped down about 3 percent at the open, began to rally at the 10 a.m. EST London p.m. gold fix.  But once the highs of the day were in for all four precious metals at 11 a.m. EST an hour later, the gold stocks topped out—and from there they got sold back down to their 9:55 a.m. low tick, but rallied a bit in the close from there.  The HUI finished the Tuesday session down 3.21%. Platinum had a very similar pattern to gold—and most of the day’s losses were in by the London p.m. gold fix, which was 10 a.m. in New York.   Platinum was closed down $22 on the day. The dollar index closed late on Monday afternoon in New York at 87.98—and the rally that had begun at the London p.m. gold fix on that day, continued unabated until its 88.67 high tick, which came around 2:40 p.m. EST on Tuesday.  From there it gave up a few basis points into the close.  The index finished the trading day at 88.63—up 65 basis points. Considering the rally in the dollar index, gold and silver prices held up pretty well. Here’s the 3-day dollar index chart, so you can see the 10 a.m. EST low tick at the London p.m. gold fix on Monday morning in New York—and how the rally off that low has progressed over the last couple of days. As I’ve said on many occasions, I’ve always felt like that there were times when the precious metals shares were being actively managed.  Yesterday was one of those days. The CME Daily Delivery Report for Day 4 of the December delivery month showed that 8 gold and 110 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday.  In silver, the two largest short/issuers were Jefferies with 76 contracts—and JPMorgan with 31 contracts out of its client account.  The only long/stopper of note was HSBC USA with 89 contracts.  Jefferies was a distant second with 11 contracts.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here. The CME Preliminary Report for the Tuesday session showed that December open interest in gold fell by 1,359 contracts—and now sits at 2,250 contracts—minus the deliveries mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Silver’s December open interest declined by 190 contracts, leaving 736 contracts still open—minus the 110 posted for delivery tomorrow. An authorized participant added 76,869 troy ounces of gold to GLD on Tuesday—and there was a huge withdrawal from SLV, as an a.p. took out 2,730,965 troy ounces.  I’m sure that Ted Butler will have something to say about the activity in SLV during the last two trading days when he posts his mid-week commentary to his paying subscribers this afternoon. The good folks over at Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank updated their website with the activity in their gold and silver ETFs for the week ending on Friday, November 28—and this is what they had to report.  Their gold ETF dropped 8,741 troy ounces; but their silver ETF actually took in some metal—17,324 troy ounces to be exact.  Not a lot, to be sure, but better than the alternative. The U.S. Mint had a smallish sales report.  They didn’t sell any gold yesterday, but they did sell another 139,500 silver eagles. Retail bullion sales continue to be as slow as molasses in January, so it’s a lead-pipe cinch that almost all the silver eagles sold are being purchase by ‘Mr. Big’. There wasn’t must in/out activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday, as only 100 kilobars were reported received—and 1 lonely kilobar was shipped out.  The link to that activity is here.  In silver, there was 600,072 troy ounces received—and 615,470 troy ounces were shipped out.  The link to that action is here. I don’t have all that many stories for you today—and I hope there’s the odd one that you’ll find interesting. It remains to be seen if [Friday’s] high volume sell-off in shares of SLV, the big silver ETF, will result in any liquidation of metal holdings, or if the sell-off was used by short sellers to buy back previously shorted shares. Along with the relative disparity of Silver Eagle sales compared to sales of Gold Eagles, the disparity between the metal holdings in the big gold ETF, GLD, and the holdings in SLV continue to amaze. The holdings in GLD slid to another new low not seen since late 2008, while the holdings in SLV remain close to the all-time highs and nearly 150 million oz above the levels of late 2008. Some might suggest that relative sales of Silver Eagles and holdings in SLV are so much stronger than their gold counterparts because silver is so much cheaper than gold and that’s hard to argue with; but I would add a slightly different twist. It seems to me that these relative measures of comparison has more to do with the deliberate effort of JPMorgan to manipulate silver prices lower on the COMEX for the express intent of acquiring as much physical silver as possible through any means available. The alternative explanation, I suppose, is that the physical silver fell magically into JPMorgan’s lap. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 29 November 2014 Well, there was absolutely no follow-through to Monday’s giant rally in London and New York on Tuesday—and it was as I feared, another one-day wonder—a painted key reversal to the upside that ‘failed’ once again. But, in all fairness, I suppose that I should give this rally more time to materialize, but with half of Wednesday’s trading session already done, with zero price movement in any of the precious metals, its hard to get get enthusiastic about a rally continuation at this point. It should be noted that gold was closed back below its 50-day moving average—and the other three precious metals were stopped cold at their respective 50 and 200-day moving averages as well. Here are their 6-month charts. The silver price action had a lot more shape to it, but followed a very similar path to gold.  From its Far East high, which came shortly after 2 p.m. Hong Kong time, the silver price bottomed out shortly before 1 p.m. in New York.  From there it rallied [with some resistance] until 11 a.m. EST, which corresponded with the 4 p.m. GMT close of trading in London.  After that it traded more or less sideways until the 5:15 p.m. EST close of electronic trading. The low and high ticks were reported as $16.07 and $16.535 in the March contract. Silver finished the Tuesday session in New York at $16.465 spot, up a half a cent from Monday’s close.  Net volume was up there at 66,000 contracts.center_img The silver equities started off the trading day with the same price pattern as the gold stocks.  The high tick [in positive territory] also came minutes after 11 a.m. EST—and it was all down hill from there—and after 2 p.m. EST, the index traded sideways.  The silver equities came close to finishing on their low ticks—and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down a chunky 4.51%—giving up well over half of their Monday gains, even though the metal itself closed in positive territory, if only by a hair. And as I write this paragraph, the London open is about 25 minutes away.  Precious metal prices, as I said already, are doing precisely nothing—and all, except for silver of course, are up a bit from their closing prices in New York yesterday afternoon.  Gold and silver volumes—21,000 and 6,700 contracts respectively—are very light, at least compared to what we’ve seen since Friday at this time of day, but their still a little chunkier than I’d like to see.  The dollar index hasn’t done much of anything so far in the Wednesday trading session, but is up 7 basis points during the last hour or so. With so little price action in any of the precious metals yesterday, we’ll get an excellent read on what happened last Friday, and on Monday of this week, when the new Commitment of Traders Report hits the street at 3:30 p.m. EST this coming Friday—and I’ll be very interested in what this report shows, especially in the Managed Money category.  And as I said in this space yesterday, we also get the December Bank Participation Report—and the data in that will be extremely helpful as well. And as I send this out the door at 5:30 a.m. EST, I see that all four precious metals rallied by tiny amounts starting just before the London open.  None were allowed above their respective 50-day moving averages—and palladium was turn back at its 200-day moving average once again. Net gold volume is approaching 39,000 contracts—and silver’s net volume is around 10,500 contracts.  The dollar index is now up 18 basis points, so considering the fact that dollar index is up a bit over 100 basis points since the Monday p.m. gold fix in London, the precious metals aren’t doing all that badly. I’ll be more than interested in the price action when I check the charts later this morning. That’s all I have for today—and I’ll see here tomorrow. A painted key reversal to the upside that ‘failed’ once again After getting sold down five bucks or so in the first hour of trading in New York on Monday evening, the price did nothing until the early afternoon in Far East trading.  The tiny rally that developed at that point didn’t last long—and minutes after 9 a.m. GMT in London, the gold price was back under the $1,200 per ounce price mark.  That’s where it stayed for the most of the remainder of the Tuesday trading session. The high tick was the Monday close in New York—and the CME Group recorded that as $1,212.60 in the February contract.  The low was reported as $1,191.40. Gold finished the day at $1,198.50 spot, down $14.30 from Monday’s close—and safely back below it’s 50-day moving average.  Net volume was  pretty heavy at 176,000 contracts. First Majestic is a mining company focused on silver production in México and is aggressively pursuing the development of its existing mineral property assets. The Company presently owns and operates five producing silver mines; the La Parrilla Silver Mine, the San Martin Silver Mine, the La Encantada Silver Mine, the La Guitarra Silver Mine, and the Del Toro Silver Mine. Production from these five mines is anticipated to be between 12.70 to 13.35 million ounces of pure silver or 14.85 to 15.60 million ounces of silver equivalents in 2014. Please visit our website for more information.last_img read more

Behind peagreen curtains in a steamy office in th

first_imgBehind pea-green curtains in a steamy office in the Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui, comic book artist Didier Kassai carefully dips his paintbrush into a nut brown pigment on his palette, wipes it on a scratch sheet then slowly puts it to paper. His brush strokes bring a watercolor to life – itself a scene of death. The brown is used to color the butt of a rebel’s gun in a strip chronicling his country’s spiraling conflict.Kassai is one of a small coterie of comic-book artists in CAR using their work for social good — in a struggling and impoverished country. CAR’s government wields little authority beyond the capital. Armed groups control vast stretches of the country, where roads and phone networks are at best unreliable. Even Bangui — with U.N. peacekeepers everywhere — is not immune from violence. Last week more than a dozen people were killed and scores wounded in clashes in the capital. State services like health-care, meanwhile, are in short supply.That’s why comic strips like Kassai’s have such power: They’re a means of reaching a struggling population with valuable information about navigating daily life and survival in turbulent times.The front page of the local L’Hirondelle newspaper regularly features a comic strip. Aid organizations and U.N. agencies throughout CAR commission comics drawn by Kassai and his colleagues on a range of topics: wound treatment, sexual violence, security, sanitation, health services, how to turn in weapons and more.”They [comics] can transmit a message,” 42-year-old Kassai explains. “The work I’m doing now is to raise awareness. The most important thing is to recount what is happening in CAR.”The Central African Republic has been plagued by conflict since 2013, when a predominantly Muslim rebel coalition overthrew the government. The rebels committed atrocities on their path to power and largely-Christian militias formed to fight back. Thousands died in sectarian violence. While the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping mission helped stem the bloodshed, violence has spiked over the past year. As of the end of February, the number of displaced civilians was 694,000 — the highest since the conflict began.The upsurge in violence comes as more than half the population of around 4.6 million needs urgent humanitarian assistance – with the U.N. calling the situation “dire.” CAR ranks last on the world development index and and the adult literacy rate is just 36.8 percent – meaning that reaching the masses through written messaging isn’t an effective option.”There’s a big struggle with diffusing information here,” Mercy Corps country director Rodolphe Moinaux says. “A lot of people can’t read or write so the images can speak to them.”That’s why aid organizations and other agencies hire artists like Kassai, printing their work as posters, leaflets, billboards and manuals.”[Comics are] easier to understand, you can reach children,” echoes Duccio Staderini, a spokesman for a coalition of international NGOs in CAR. “It works – people are crazy about it.”There was no real comic-book culture when Kassai was growing up near the northern city of Birao. But he was attracted to artistry from a young age, watching his mother decorate curtains for women in their village.The first strips he saw were imports from France – like the “Rangers” series about WWII. Once he flipped those pages, Kassai was hooked.”They told a story,” he says with a broad smile. “It allowed us to know what was happening in another world, a different world.”His father didn’t think an artist’s life was a “good path,” so Kassai drew in the dirt outside his home or secretly in his room.”My father would check my notebooks when I came home from school to see if I had been drawing,” he recalls.When he was older a U.S. missionary saw his talent and hired him to illustrate manuals. Those gigs helped convince Kassai’s father that his pastime paid well – especially once his father lost his job.”Cartoons saved our family,” Kassai explains. And now they might be helping to save others.Medecins Sans Frontieres has hired him for a series of illustrations showing that weapons aren’t allowed in their hospitals, that violent behavior is not appropriate in hospitals and that ambulances need safe passage. They printed 400 posters and 1,000 leaflets to distribute in areas where the organization works.”I needed an illustration that everyone can understand just by looking at,” MSF’s field communications manager Natacha Buhler says. Her colleagues in the northwest – in an area riven by recent clashes – told her they’d seen an armed man notice one of Kassai’s posters outside their health center. He stopped short and put down his gun before entering.”I said wow – we had an impact,” she recalls.Kassai typically arrives at his studio around 8 a.m. The long office is packed with drawings in every stage of completion. Picture frames are stacked on the floor, books are piled behind the work space, which is totally clear save for paint bottles and paper.On a recent Friday morning the studio was already hot but Kassai left his small blue fan off and the radio on in the background, broadcasting calls from listeners about politics and a report about the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.He painted slowly and deliberately, one coat of color at a time to fill in an outline on the page. The scene showed a rebel roadblock set up to collect unofficial taxes. Kassai mixed a blue, dabbed it, then painted in a man’s shirt. Shoulders hunched, he painted steadily for 30 minutes, then paused to check his phone before redipping his brush.While Kassai still does NGO work, he’s also working on a new graphic novel — a follow-up to his first, Tempete Sur Bangui (Tempest in Bangui) — which will continue telling the story of CAR’s struggles. This is his passion, recording his country’s history for future generations. He’s writing the word bubbles as well as doing the drawings.He is drawing gold mines run by armed groups, rebels torching houses. Other scenes show market women carrying their wares and a fisherman carting his catch along the river — all portrayed in meticulous and stunning watercolor.To ensure that the tradition of comics lives on, Kassai has been training young artists.One of Kassai’s proteges, 27-year-old Yvon Gandro, is a ready disciple.”I put everything into my art,” he declares.Gandro lost both parents as a boy and was raised by an aunt. Smiling, he recounts how he’d steal her black eyeliner, eyeshadow and lipstick to draw since he couldn’t afford crayons.”The drawings were my only friend,” he says, voice going soft. “They replaced my parents. It gave me a bit of paradise, a little joy, to create an imaginary world.”When his aunt discovered where her makeup had been going, she wasn’t angry – she was impressed by his talent and devoted herself to supporting his artistry.Gandro did a stint in art school and met Kassai in 2008 at a workshop, where he was introduced to comic strips and watercolor — “so different” from all he’d previously learned.”It was another world,” he recalls. “It was great.”Like his teacher, he has done work for U.N. groups on road safety, first aid, hospital protocols and more.While he doesn’t like depicting violence – “I get sad when I do those” – he believes such images have a greater purpose.”If we don’t do this work, tell the stories, our children won’t understand and they will suffer another violence,” he says earnestly.Take a strip on disarmament that he did for the U.N. At the end of the illustrated sequence, the disarmed rebel gets a job.”It shows that good can happen,” Gandro says. “Maybe it will show that the path of violence isn’t a good one.”That’s why he’s dedicated to continuing his work.With a boyish smile, he observes that his father had wanted him to be a doctor.”I became a doctor with images,” he says, “a healer through images.”Having young artists like Gandro carry on with comic strips in CAR means everything to Kassai.”For someone who is not Central African to tell our story, it won’t work,” he insists. “I want to show the reality [here].”Cassandra Vinograd is a freelance journalist working in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. She previously worked for NBC News, the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal. Reach her @CassVinogradReporting for this story was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit read more

This month one of the big news stories is about p

first_imgThis month, one of the big news stories is about parents who bribed and cheated to get their kids into prestigious universities.And then there’s the college admissions story of John Awiel Chol Diing. Diing, 25, is a former refugee from South Sudan and grew up in U.N.-supported camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. His family couldn’t even afford high school fees, let alone college tuition.But today, thanks to an unlikely series of events, he is a student at Earth University in Costa Rica, finishing up his fourth year studying agricultural science.Diing, who is tall, lean and soft-spoken, was in Washington, D.C., this week for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Global Food Security Symposium. He was there to network with policymakers in his field, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the World Bank. Diing talked to NPR about his grandmother’s advice (and mattress) — and how two scholarships changed his life. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. When you were 4 years old, in 1997, your family fled the civil war in South Sudan. What was it like going to school at a refugee camp? When I was a young boy, there was only one textbook — the one the teacher used to teach the class. We learned underneath a tree. We used the dirt on the ground as a chalkboard. Still, I was always in the top of my class. And what was life like at the camp? I was occasionally forced to go to school late or missed school because I was delayed fetching water. Lack of potable water at the Kakuma camp in Kenya made life very unbearable. I couldn’t count the times we slept without food because there was no water to cook. Despite this hardship, you were able to do well in school. Why is that? I think because of my background, what I’ve gone through as a refugee. I needed something to change my life. And I felt that education was the only way to do it — this was the advice given to me by my grandmother Mary. Were you very close to your grandmother?She was the only one who was taking care of me at [Kakuma] camp. In 2005, my mother and sisters left and went back to South Sudan. [His father had stayed in the country because he was in the military.] My grandmother was too old to make the journey so stayed behind. I decided to stay with her at the camp and finish my schooling. In 2006, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then in 2007, when I was 14, she died. She left me a mattress — the one that the hospital had given her. It was the first one I’d slept on in my life. Before, I was just sleeping on the ground of the hut.And she also left me some advice: Continue going to school. She believed that my life would change if I could stick to it. So this is a reason why I wanted to do well in school. It was the best thing I could do for her. Now I’m getting emotional. You say that your background as a refugee helped motivate you in school. Any other motivations?I guess I am a daydreamer. Every time I was at the camp, I realized that this is not the place I should be. I imagined doing something else, doing something great. People see the camp as the end zone. Everyone is suffering from the same problem. You feel like you’re in a confined zone where all you see is frustration. People are hopeless. There’s nothing that motivates you to excel. What made me stand out was my own motivation. Were you ever inspired by a book or a TV show or movie?TV? There were no movies at the camp! From 2001 to 2007, we never owned a TV in my house. We didn’t even have lights! You almost didn’t make it through high school.In 2010, I moved in with my uncle in Nakuru [a town near his refugee camp in Kenya] and started going to the Kabiyet Boys High School. My father [who came briefly to the Kakuma camp in 2007 after the grandmother’s death] told me after the first year he couldn’t afford the $400 in school fees which covered pretty much everything — boarding, books. I stopped going to school. Then someone told me one Friday, a few months after not being in school, that a group called Sudan Foundation was giving out scholarships. Testing for it was at a community hall that Sunday. I took a five-question math test for one hour, then there was a writing prompt. I wrote about how the scholarship was my last hope to finish my education. I was one of 15 students who won, and 200 applied. They paid for the rest of fees at Kabiyet. I graduated in the top three in my class, excelling in biology, English and geography. After you graduated, did you want to go to college? I applied for universities like Arizona State, but I couldn’t complete it because I needed an SAT or a GRE — I had no idea what that was. And I tried applying to McGill University in Canada, but the internet stopped working before I could complete the online application. So what did you do? I volunteered at UNHCR as a translator, and I worked as an elementary school teacher for about $60 a month. I had to go to a bank to get this money. And that’s where you found out about an opportunity.Yes. One time when I was at the bank, there was a TV showing a program called Wings To Fly from the MasterCard Foundation. They pick students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to get scholarships and study abroad. On TV, they had this story of this one guy who did well in high school but came from a poor area in Kenya. And I said: This guy has my same story! So I applied and got the scholarship to go to Earth Institute in Costa Rica. What do you hope to do after college? My passion is to work with refugees. When I was in the camp, I felt that people who worked in NGOs and refugee camps never got us. They don’t understand our stories. I can help them because I can relate to them. For example, when our family first arrived to the refugee camp, the camp workers did not give us our correct date of birth. They gave us all “January 1.” This made it difficult for me to correct my papers later in life. They did not treat us with dignity. If I get a job to return to my refugee camp or any one, I will take it. In the U.S., we’re reading news stories about wealthy families who cheated and bribed to get their children accepted in prestigious schools. How do you feel about that? Frustrated. We depend on a just [system]. It means that people like me — we have to struggle harder. It breaks my heart. Is this your first visit to the U.S.?I was telling a friend yesterday, the first time I came to the States was in 2016. When I was 16, I remember telling a friend that I wanted to go to the Empire State Building in New York one day. Four years later, I had the chance to climb it. And I cried. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit read more