7 Indian players to play County cricket before World Test Cship opener

first_imgNew Delhi: Seven of India’s Test specialists may play a few games for various English county sides to prepare for the inaugural World Test Championship series in July and August. The players that BCCI have zeroed in are Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari, Mayank Agarwal, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma, who will play County cricket. Pujara already has a three-year contract with Yorkshire and is set to play there again. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”Pujara’s contract was a deal between him and the county and it’s a long term deal,” a senior BCCI official said on Friday. As far as Rahane is concerned, he is likely to sign a deal with Hampshire in the coming week and is waiting for the approval of all three Committee of Administrators. “CoA head Vinod Rai has already given his approval but Diana Edulji and Lt General Ravi Thodage are yet to give their approvals,” the official said. “With India set to play against the Caribbean in about fortnight after the end of the World Cup, the BCCI has prepared a proposal wherein their Test specialists can play some red ball cricket in months of June till mid July,” the senior official added. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterSome of the counties that BCCI is talking to include Leicestershire, Essex, Nottinghamshire. “During the last Test series in England, the BCCI has had discussions with the CEOs of all major counties so that our top Test players can play there in summers,” said the official. Ideally, the BCCI is looking at three to maximum four first class games for its players before the West Indies series. “The conditions are completely different save that they will playing with red Dukes which will also be used in the West Indies. It’s just that they will get game time. We are hopeful that all our seven Test players will be playing either Division 1 or 2 of the English county,” he said. India skipper Virat Kohli was supposed to play for Surrey last year but could not do so due to an injury.last_img read more

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Ghosn wins bail in Japan but banned from seeing wife

first_imgTokyo: Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn emerged from his Tokyo detention centre in the late hours of Thursday after accepting bail of $4.5 million under strict conditions including restrictions on seeing his wife. The 65-year-old tycoon faces four charges of financial misconduct ranging from concealing part of his salary from shareholders to syphoning off Nissan funds for his personal use. His case has captivated Japan and the business community with its multiple twists and turns, as well as shone a spotlight on the Japanese justice system which critics say is overly harsh.last_img read more

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7yearold survives on water for five days in bathroom

first_imgHyderabad: A seven-year-old girl survived for five days on water after falling into the bathroom of her neighbour’s house while playing, police said. The startling incident took place in Makhtal town in Narayanpet district of Telangana, about 160 km from Hyderabad. The house owner was shocked to see the girl lying in his bathroom after he returned home on Thursday from a tour. With no food for five days and surviving only on the water available in the bathroom, the girl had turned very weak and was in a state of shock. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The police investigation revealed that Kuravakacheri Akhila, a class II student, accidentally fell onto the bathroom of a house while playing on the terrace of an adjacent building on April 20. As the roof had an opening fitted with plastic net, she fell through into the bathroom but sustained no injuries as a rope with clothes on it took the impact. The bathroom was bolted from outside and as the inmate was away, her cries for help went unanswered. Police said there was nobody in the adjacent house who could hear her cries. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Her parents Suresh and Mahadevamma lodged a missing complaint the next day after their search yielded no result. According to sub-inspector of police B. Ashok Kumar, the parents suspected she went missing from a local fair. The police had formed a team and alerted police in adjacent districts and Hyderabad but found no clue. It was on Wednesday that, the owner of the house returned from Hyderabad, where his family lives. Venkatesh, a teacher, said he was shocked to see the girl lying in bathroom. He alerted the neighbours, who identified her as the daughter of tenants behind their house. Akhila, who was not even able to speak, was rushed to a local hospital, where she was administered saline. Though schools have summer holidays, Venkatesh had returned to attend a marriage in the town.last_img read more

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CESC deploys 200 mobile vans to tackle power disruptions

first_imgKolkata: Power utility CESC said on Friday that it has deployed 200 mobile vans around the city to tackle any likely disruption caused by cyclonic storm ‘Fani’, which is headed to Bengal from neighbouring Odisha.A CESC spokesman said the mobile vans are fitted with dedicated radio communication sets and are capable of promptly springing into action in the event of power supply failure. Focus will also be on electricity supply to drainage pumping stations, to reduce waterlogging in and around the city, he said. “Teams comprising engineers, workmen and contractors are on standby to respond to consumer requirements across 567 sq km of licensed area,” he added. Company representatives will be present at the Kolkata Police control room and Kolkata Municipal Corporation control rooms, the spokesperson said.last_img read more

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Cong fields Priyanka against PM Modi in MP poll campaign

first_imgNew Delhi: Congress, which preferred not to field Priyanka Vadra Gandhi from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has come out with a new strategy to take on PM Modi during electioneering by pitching Priyanka against him.The star campaigner of Congress — Priyanka Vadra Gandhi — has been pitched against PM Modi, the BJP’s star campaigner, in BJP’s stronghold Madhya Pradesh’s Malwa-Nimar region. The region would go to polls in the last phase on May 19. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghIn a bid to take a lead during the campaigning for the last phase of the general elections by making it a straight ‘fight’ between Priyanka and Modi, the Congress has scheduled the public meetings of Priyanka in places where either Modi is addressing masses the same day or after a gap of 24 hours. As per the party insiders, the move is aimed at giving an impression that besides Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the grand old party has other leaders too to engage directly with PM Modi in public discourse. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadThe war of words between Modi and Priyanka would start from Indore as PM Modi is scheduled to address a political rally on Sunday, while Priyanka, will make her maiden visit to Indore three days later to turn the situation in favour of Congress candidate Pankaj Sanghvi, who is pitted against BJP’s fresh face Shankar Lalwani. PM Modi is also scheduled to address a political rally in Khandwa. A day later, on Monday, both the leaders would be in Jhabua-Ratlam, the reserved Schedule Tribe seat that traditionally has been with the Congress. The BJP won this constituency only in 2014 and that when Congress rebel Dilip Singh Bhuria crossed over to defeat Kantilal Bhuria — a veteran Congressman. However, Congress MP Kantilal wrested the seat in a bypoll and now he is facing the challenge from BJP’s GS Damor. As per the campaign tour released by the Congress, Priyanka, after landing in Indore on Monday at 12.30 pm, would take a chopper to seek blessings of Mahakal — Lord Shiva in Ujjain and then proceed for the public meetings.last_img read more

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The Latest Zimbabwe rights commission says 8 killed

HARARE, Zimbabwe — The Latest on Zimbabwe’s deadly unrest (all times local):11:30 a.m.The government-backed Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission says it has documented eight deaths in a days-long crackdown on protests over a dramatic fuel price increase.The constitutional body’s statement on Tuesday came hours after President Emmerson Mnangagwa cut short an overseas trip to return home and announced that violence by security forces would be investigated.The rights commission criticizes the use of the military and live ammunition and says the government has not learned from the deadly post-election crackdown in August in which six people died.The commission says the government should “ensure compensation for those that have been victims of military and police brutality.”___9 a.m.Zimbabwe’s president calls violence by security forces “unacceptable” and says it will be investigated after a week of economic crisis and crackdown in which activists said a dozen people were killed.President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday called for a “national dialogue” among political parties. He spoke upon returning home after skipping a visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to deal with unrest.Zimbabwe’s military was in the streets last week for the first time since post-election violence in August in which six people were killed. This time, people reported being hunted down in their homes by security forces and severely beaten.Mnangagwa says chaos and insubordination will not be tolerated and “if required, heads will roll.”He defends the dramatic fuel price increase that began the unrest.The Associated Press read more

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Benkirane New Government Will Be Revealed After COP22

Casablanca – Abdelilah Benkirane, current Moroccan Head of Government since 2011 and leader of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), has stated that no announcement regarding the composition of the new government will be made until after the end of the COP22 climate conference in Marrakech.In a recent statement made to the press, Benkirane declared that no formal agreements have been made with any of the political parties aside from the PPS and the Istiqlal.Benkirane further said that his party “doesn’t want the RNI (National Assembly of Independents), with its 56 seats, and the UC (Constitutional Union), to position itself in a way that will push the Istiqlal party aside.” Several parties have also not been vocal about their plans regarding the new government, like the MP (Popular Movement Party) and the USFP (The Socialist Union of Populist Forces), who have yet to make a formal statement regarding the government make-up.In terms of those excluded from this conversation, Benkirane has expressed time and time again that he is not in favor of the PAM (Party of Authenticity and Modernity), the PJD’s main competitor in last October’s elections, taking part in the new government.In the elections that took place on October 7, the PJD party won with 99 seats, while the PAM party followed closely with 80 seats. The PJD has been leading the government since 2011, and this is their second time they obtained the majority in the parliamentary elections. read more

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Al Hoceima Development Projects Sacked Ministers Will Not Face Charges for

Rabat – It appears that the King’s move to sack three ministers and two high officials for negligence in overseeing Al Hoceima’s development projects is the only punishment they will receive. In terms of legal sanctions, the King’s attorney general, Mohamed Abdel Nabawi, has found that, despite their projects’ massive slowdowns, they are not guilty of any crimes.In a report presented to the King late October, the Court of Auditors criticized the sluggishness and lack of coherence and cooperation of the ministers responsible for managing the development project. The King responded by sacking them.“I am disappointed in their performance at their respective ministries, and I would never again entrust them with any public missions,” stated the King after reading the report. His attorney general Abdel Nabawi agrees. “Court of Auditors President Driss Jettou’s report was accurate and clear when he revealed the errors observed in the project,” he said during a press conference in Rabat on November 7.However, Abdel Nabawi drew from “his expertise as the Attorney General” to say that “we must distinguish between imbalances in management and crimes.”For the King’s attorney, the dysfunctions in Al Hoceima project are “not embezzlements, but rather imbalances that had to do with the lack of respect for deadlines in the implementation of projects.”Thus, the report is “free of criminal charges” and does “not require any judicial review before the criminal justice.”The Court of Auditors’ report indicated that the development project “did not meet a strategic vision integrated and shared by all stakeholders.”The project’s committee was unable to mobilize the other partners for “actual contribution and reactivity,” nor was it capable of giving “the necessary momentum to launch the program on a solid foundation.” This, the implementation of the project suffered a slow start.From the signing of the project’s framework convention in 2015 until February 2017, the Court of Auditors noted that most stakeholders at both central and locals levels experienced significant delays in carrying out their duties.By the end of 2016, of the total 644 projects planned, there were only five fully implemented projects, at a budget of MAD 146.8 million, and 45 ongoing projects at MAD 565 million. read more

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European Union Pleased by Fisheries Agreement with Morocco

Rabat – The EU fisheries agreement with Morocco is bearing fruit. According to recent report by the European Executive, 75 percent of the socio-economic impacts of this agreement are mainly to the benefit of the Moroccan southern regions.The European Union (EU) is “pleased” with the socio-economic benefits of its fisheries agreement with Morocco, reads a report prepared by the Directorate of Maritime Affairs to the European executive.Recently submitted to the EU Council and the European Parliament, the evaluating report on the Protocol to the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco considers that the agreement has proved “effective in achieving its objective of sustainability of exploitation.” According to the report, the fisheries agreement has also achieved its objective of supporting the sustainable development of the sector, mainly due to the implementation of Halieutis strategy projects and the signing of nearly 1,000 boarding contracts with Moroccan sailors with European fishing vessels.The document also notes that the implementation of the sectoral support of the fisheries agreement is proceeding at “a very satisfactory pace,” recalling that the regions of Dakhla-Oued Eddahab and Laayoune-Boujour-Sakia El Hamra account for 66 percent of the total budget at approximately USD 37 million.According to the report, the first estimates of the socio-economic benefits of this agreement already show the creation of 180 direct jobs and the improvement of the working conditions of about 59,000 people working in the sector or its related activities, stating that 75 percent of the socio-economic impacts are for the benefit of the Moroccan southern provinces.As regards the economic benefits for the EU, the report mentions a good return on investment for the Union, which means that every euro invested is estimated to support the creation of EUR 2.78 of total added value for the European fisheries sector, compared to EUR 0.65 in 2010.The European Assessment Report further notes that the agreement is relevant to the needs of the EU in that it complements a network of agreements covering the range of small pelagic species in Africa as well as the existing tuna agreements, while meeting the fishing needs of the operators.The document also stresses the coherence of the agreement with other EU initiatives in that it ensures complementarity between sectoral support and the “Succeeding the Advanced Status” program.The EU’s reports also recommended the renewal of this agreement, which will expire in July 2018, as “an instrument of in-depth cooperation with Morocco, strongly involved in South-South partnership” and to enable “the achievement of its actions in favor of the sustainability of stocks within regional fisheries organizations.”During his last visit to the kingdom on the occasion of his participation in Halieutis, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs, and Fisheries had stressed the EU’s willingness to maintain its cooperation with Morocco in this area and give it new momentum.The current fisheries agreement between Morocco and the EU entered into force in 2014 for a period of four years. It gives European vessels access to the kingdom’s Atlantic fishing zone in exchange for a financial contribution of EUR 30 million per year, financed by the EU and a contribution by shipowners of EUR 10 million.The first fisheries agreement between Morocco and the EU dates back to 1988. read more

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Moroccos Unemployment Falls Slightly Youth Unemployment at 275

Rabat – According to a note by the High Commission for Planning (HCP), 122,000 jobs were created: 118,000 in urban areas and 4,000 in rural areas.The service sector and “industry including traditional industry” generated 98,000 jobs and 19,000 jobs, respectively.Agriculture, forestry, and fishing generated 9,000 jobs, while construction and public works lost 4,000 jobs. HCP added that, during the same period, there were just over 1 million unemployed people, down by 64,000 people at the national level since the same period last year.The unemployment rate in urban areas fell from 14.9 percent to 14.3 percent. In rural areas it fell from 4.6 percent to 3.9 percent.However, the unemployment rate remains relatively high among youth aged 15-24 (27.5 percent). The rate among women and those with degrees is 13.8 percent and 17.1 percent, respectively. The unemployment rate of those with a vocational training certificate is 23.9 percent: 36.5 percent for women and 19.3 percent for men. HCP found that approximately 57 percent of unemployed people have never worked before, and 67.7 percent have been unemployed for a year or more.Approximately 26.8 percent are unemployed because they were fired or their employer’s activity was suspended. read more

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Vape pen causes small fire as passengers board plane

NEW YORK — A small fire caused by an overheated vape pen battery delayed a Houston-bound flight from New York’s LaGuardia airport.The incident occurred on Wednesday during the boarding of a SkyWest flight operating as s Delta Connection.Video posted online shows a flight attendant using a fire extinguisher on a flaming bag, which was in an overhead storage bin.A passenger, Rex Sakamoto of New York City, tells WCBS someone yelled “fire” and there was a smell “like a campfire.”An airline statement says passengers “deplaned routinely” and continued on a different aircraft.___Information from: WCBS-TV, http://www.cbs2ny.comThe Associated Press read more

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Morocco is Most Popular NonEuropean Tourist Destination for Spaniards

By zackaria wadghiriRabat – Spain is determined to improve cooperation with Morocco in the tourism sector, Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade, and Tourism Reyes Maroto said Wednesday in Madrid.Spain and Morocco are strong partners “who share a common history and enjoy strong relations,” added Maroto after a meeting with Moroccan Minister of Tourism, Air transport, Crafts, and Social Economy Mohammed Sajid, at the 39th International Tourism Fair (FITUR) in Madrid.Read Also: Morocco and Bahrain Discuss Tourism Cooperation“Spain is the second [most popular] market for tourists to Morocco after France and Morocco is the top destination for Spanish tourists outside Europe,” said Secretary of State to the Minister of Tourism Lamia Boutaleb. Maroto asserted that the renewed memorandum of understanding between the two kingdoms in tourism, expected in 2019, will add new momentum to this cooperation.Read Also: Tourism in Morocco: High Occupancy Rates Despite Murders of 2 TouristsThrough the new memorandum, said Maroto, “we will be able to formalize the future of our relations in the tourism industry, not least by finding in the common culture, we share a project that will allow visitors who come to Spain to enjoy Morocco” and vice versa.Held for the first time in 1980, FITUR is a global gathering of tourism professionals. The event attracted 251,000 visitors in 2018.Over 12 million tourists visited Morocco in 2018, up 8 percent from 2017. Inbound tourism in Spain dropped by 4.9 percent in July 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, the largest fall in eight years, reported the Telegraph. read more

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Technology companies banks power US stocks solidly higher

Stocks rose broadly in early trading Tuesday on Wall Street, erasing the market’s modest losses from a day earlier.Technology companies powered the rally, with chipmakers among the biggest gainers. Nvidia rose 3.7 per cent and Advanced Micro Devices added 2.3 per cent.Banks also notched solid gains as bond prices headed lower, sending yields slightly higher. That helps banks charge higher interest rates on loans. Morgan Stanley rose 1.8 per cent.Health care and communications stocks also notched solid gains. Energy companies climbed as the price of U.S. crude oil moved above $60 a barrel. Oil hasn’t settled above that price since November.The rally marked a reversal for the market, which started the week on a downbeat note after racking up losses last week as investors’ jitters over a global economic slowdown intensified. That led to a troubling drop in long-term bond yields, which many see as a warning sign of a possible recession.The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.43 per cent in early trading Tuesday, up from 2.41 per cent late Monday. It’s still slightly below the yield on the three-month Treasury bill.Despite the market’s recent gyrations, the benchmark S&P 500 index is still up more than 12 per cent so far in 2019, an unusually strong start to a year, and on course for a solid first quarter for the market.KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 218 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 25,735 as of 10:12 a.m. Eastern Time. The S&P 500 index gained 0.9 per cent and the Nasdaq composite jumped 1.1 per cent. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 0.9 per cent.Major European indexes were also headed higher, rebounding from a day earlier.BIG APPLE: Shares in Apple climbed 1.9 per cent a day after the consumer electronics giant announced a suite of new services to run on its devices.The company plans to launch a subscription TV service dubbed Apple TV Plus, which will be ad-free and will compete with big streaming services including Netflix and Amazon Video.BOARDROOM BRAWL: Bed Bath & Beyond soared 26.7 per cent in heavy trading after The Wall Street Journal reported that the troubled retailer is being targeted by three activist investors.ROUGH SEAS: Carnival slumped 7.3 per cent after the cruise line operator’s latest quarterly results fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts. The company also issued a weaker-than-expected second-quarter earnings outlook.ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude climbed 2.1 per cent to $60.06 a barrel. Oil has not closed above $60 a barrel since Nov. 9. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 1.3 per cent to $67.66 a barrel.Alex Veiga, The Associated Press read more

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Talks to avert teachers strike in Poland stalled

WARSAW, Poland — Polish teachers may be going on strike next week after last-ditch talks with the government over their demands for higher pay appear to have stalled.Just days before key school exams, teachers’ unions rejected Friday government proposals of drawn-out pay hikes and changes to the monthly salary system.Deputy Prime Minister Beata Szydlo appealed to teachers to consider the end-of-primary school exams Wednesday through Friday, and middle school exams the following week.The strike is due to start Monday.Poland’s teachers have previously refrained from cancelling classes despite consistent calls for higher pay.Their latest demand follows the ruling party’s promises of more spending on family benefits ahead of May elections to the European Parliament.Teacher’s average net monthly earnings range between 1,800 zlotys to 3,000 zlotys ($470 to $780).The Associated Press read more

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Mazda recalls more than 200K cars in US Canada due to failing

OTTAWA — Mazda is recalling more than 200,000 Mazda 3 compact cars in the U.S. and Canada because the windshield wipers can fail.The company says in documents posted Saturday by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the recall covers cars from the 2016 through 2018 model years.The Japanese automaker traced the problem to metal deposits that can cause a wiper relay to stick, knocking out the wipers and limiting driver visibility.It says it has no reports of crashes or injuries due to the problem.Transport Canada says the recall affects more than 51,000 units in Canada.It says owners can take their vehicle to a dealer to have the front body control module replaced.— with files from The Associated PressThe Canadian Press read more

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Morocco Is Largest Recipient of African Development Bank Funds in 2019

Rabat – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has 35 projects in Morocco for a total investment of about $3 billion so far in 2019, making the country AfDB’s top recipient, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).AfDB’s funding in Morocco focused on the sectors of energy (31.5%), transportation (19.8%), water and sanitation (15.5%), and multi-sectoral and social development operations (12.7%). Some investment (11.2%) also went to the private sector and to agriculture (9.4%), according to the latest synthetic review of the bank’s results, unveiled Thursday, September 26, in Rabat.On a scale of 1 to 4, the performance of the bank’s portfolio in Morocco is “very satisfactory,” progressing from 2.6 in 2009 to 3.7 in 2018. The score improved because there are no high-risk projects, said Rudolphe Petras, senior results specialist at AfDB, who presented the review. The amount of annually approved funding increased from €607 million in 2009 to €733 million in 2018, Petras added.The official highlighted the progress Morocco made from 2009 to 2018 and the bank’s contribution to that progress. Petras stressed that 16 million people got better access to transportation infrastructure, and the loans connected 6.9 million people to the electrical grid for the first time.He added that about 8.5 million people, including 4.5 million women, got access to better health services. And 3.5 million people, over half of them are women, benefited from improved access to drinking water and sanitation.The review underlined Morocco’s significant progress in the areas of governance, business climate, and gender equality. It also approved of Morocco’s leading Africa in renewable energy and the fight against climate change.The AfDB has a mission of improving lives by fighting poverty and investing in socio-economic projects. The bank has been present in Morocco since 1970. The first projects it financed were to develop potable water and sanitation in 1978.Between 1978 and 2017, the AfDB approved 160 operations for a total of $10 billion, according to AfDB.Read also: AfDB, CGEM Sign $560,000 Partnership to Support Moroccan Companies in Africa read more

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USChina relations near new low amid trade battle

WASHINGTON — The U.S. and China have gone through rough patches before.The American public recoiled — and the U.S. government imposed sanctions — after the People’s Liberation Army slaughtered hundreds of civilians in the streets of Beijing in June 1989, crushing the Tiananmen Square protests.Ordinary Chinese were outraged 10 years later when the Americans bombed China’s embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, rejecting the U.S. insistence that it was an accident.And tensions crackled when China detained an American Navy flight crew following the midair collision of a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese fighter in 2001.But U.S.-Chinese relations may be testing a new low.“The United States and China are on a collision course,” the Asia Society concluded in an assessment of the two countries’ relations in February. “The foundations of goodwill that took decades to build are rapidly breaking down.”Likewise, Michael Swaine of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace declared in January that “the U.S.-China relationship is confronting its most daunting challenge in the 40 years since the normalization of relations. Current trends portend steadily worsening relations over the long haul.”The world’s two biggest economies are engaged in the bitterest trade war since the 1930s. President Donald Trump more than doubled import taxes on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods Friday — the same day that U.S. and Chinese negotiators ended their 11th round of trade talks without reaching an agreement. After the Chinese left town, the U.S. announced plans to target the $300 billion in Chinese goods that don’t already face tariffs.But the widening divide between Washington and Beijing goes beyond trade.China is engaging in a massive military buildup. It is flexing its maritime muscle, claiming ownership of the South China Sea and disregarding the territorial claims of its neighbours and a 2016 ruling by the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. It is cracking down on political dissent in its ostensibly autonomous region of Hong Kong. And it is turning up pressure on Taiwan, an island that enjoys de facto political independence but which Beijing views as a renegade province that must one day reunite with the motherland.Under President Xi Jinping, who took office in 2012, the Communist Party has grown increasingly repressive. In the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in western China, it has detained up to 2 million minority Muslims and forced them to undergo reeducation. Xi himself has overturned a four-decade tradition of collective leadership in Beijing and essentially established himself as president for life.“With the large number of issues we have with China, I wouldn’t rank the trade issues so high,” said David Dollar, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former official at the World Bank and U.S. Treasury. “And I’m an economist.”The developments are a bracing rebuke to the optimists in America who assumed that China’s 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization would lead Beijing to embrace economic and perhaps political openness, that China would become more like world’s industrialized democracies.“Many countries, the U.S. being one of the prime players, gave China pretty much a bye for a number of years during the honeymoon period right after its entrance in the WTO,” said Michael Wessel, a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressionally appointed watchdog.The financial crisis and ensuing 2007-2009 Great Recession helped change the way the countries viewed themselves and each other. Suddenly, the United States looked less like the world’s invincible lone superpower and more like a deeply divided nation that had to struggle to meet the challenge of the deepest economic downturn in seven decades. China’s response was sharp contrast: It quickly enacted a massive stimulus campaign that super-charged economic growth and helped pull the entire world economy out of the ditch.Newly confident, China began to expand its ambitions. After Xi took office, Beijing announced an initiative called Made in China 2025 designed to make Chinese companies world leaders in advanced fields like robotics and artificial intelligence.But the U.S. says China is trying to meet its aspirations by cheating — stealing trade secrets, forcing foreign companies to hand over technology, subsidizing its own firms and burying in red tape foreign competitors that want to compete in the Chinese market. Those allegations are at the heart of the yearlong trade dispute that has rattled financial markets and cast a cloud over the prospects for world economic growth.In the ongoing trade talks, the U.S. is insisting that China change its ways and agree to let the United States check and enforce compliance.Andrew Nathan, a China specialist at Columbia University, said the Chinese would be perfectly willing to buy more American products and put a dent in America’s trade deficit with China, a record $379 billion last year.But abandoning their grander economic vision is another matter.“For the Chinese, the bottom line is, they can accept no effective limitation on their race to the technological summit,” Nathan said. “If you want them to bury the Made in China 2025 program, they will never stop that program, but they can stop talking about it. If you want them to stop the PLA from industrial espionage, they can make the PLA do it more secretly. … If you want them to stop ‘coerced technology transfer,’ they can change the language of the relevant rules so that the same thing happens in a less blatant manner.”The two countries have very different views of the sources of their troubles.“Many American opinion makers are starting to see China as a rising power seeking to unfairly undercut America’s economic prosperity, threaten its security, and challenge its values,” the Asia Society declared, “while their Chinese counterparts are starting to see the United States as a declining power seeking to prolong its dominance by unfairly containing China’s rise.”___Follow Paul Wiseman on Twitter at https://twitter.com/PaulWisemanAPPaul Wiseman, Jill Colvin And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press read more

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Alberta regulator restricts fracking operations near March earthquake zone

CALGARY — The Alberta Energy Regulator is moving to restrict oilfield fracking activity near the Brazeau Reservoir in east central Alberta as a precaution following a 4.4 magnitude earthquake in the area in March.The AER says hydraulic fracturing operations targeting the Duvernay underground formation or deeper are prohibited within five kilometres of the Brazeau dam infrastructure.Hydraulic fracturing or fracking — where water, sand and chemicals are injected under high pressure to break up tight rock and free trapped oil and gas — is also banned for shallower operations within three kilometres.Oilfield firms that engage in hydraulic fracturing within five kilometres of the dam must report any seismic events greater than 1.0 magnitude and operations must cease if any event of 2.5 magnitude or greater is detected, the AER says.The epicentre of the earthquake in March was estimated to be about 32 kilometres northwest of Rocky Mountain House but it was not immediately linked to fracking activity. It was strong enough to be felt by local residents but no damage was initially reported.A 4.6 magnitude earthquake a week earlier was felt in Red Deer and Sylvan Lake in central Alberta and prompted the AER to order producer Vesta Energy Ltd. to suspend fracking at its well site, report all previous seismic activity and file a plan to eliminate or reduce future seismic activity from fracking.“Earthquakes induced by hydraulic fracturing have not been observed or reported near the Brazeau dam,” the AER says on the website.“While there is no immediate risk to public safety or the environment, we have developed these requirements as a precaution to limit the potential for an induced earthquake to happen near the Brazeau dam.”The Canadian Press read more

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Citizen sleuth prompts cleanup in canal that supplies NL towns water

DEER LAKE, N.L. — Dozens of aging metal barrels are being pulled out of a canal that supplies drinking water to a Newfoundland town thanks to the efforts of a concerned citizen who first brought the issue to light.Deer Lake resident Richard Dewey used a GoPro camera in late 2016 to record video footage of the sunken waste.His efforts spurred the cleanup after years of speculation about debris at the bottom of the Humber Canal and possible related health risks.This week, about 55 barrels are being pulled from a 30-metre stretch of the canal in a cleanup effort by Kruger Inc., which owns nearby Corner Brook Pulp and Paper and Deer Lake Power.General manager Darren Pelley said the company expects to remove the last barrel today. It’s unknown how long the barrels have been in the canal and what their contents are, but Pelley said a scientific analysis of their contents will be made public.Pelley said two sunken barges known to be at the bottom of the canal are staying put because tests suggested removing them would lift sediment and pose a greater risk to the water supply.The Canadian Press read more

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Darfur UN African Union envoys hold talks with senior Sudanese officials

13 February 2007The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Darfur and his African Union (AU) counterpart have held talks with senior Sudanese Government officials and a prominent former rebel at the start of their joint five-day mission to try to re-energize the stalled peace process in the war-torn region. Jan Eliasson and the AU’s Salim Ahmed Salim met Foreign Minister Lam Akol and the presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie yesterday in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, according to a statement released by the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).The envoys spoke today with Minni Minawi, the senior presidential assistant who is also chairman of the faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) that signed last year’s Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) with the Government. They also met the presidential adviser Majzoub al-Khalifa and representatives of other movements which had signed the DPA.Tomorrow Mr. Eliasson and Dr. Salim are scheduled to travel to Darfur to hold meetings mainly with rebel groups that have not signed the DPA.Before departing on their visit, the envoys said they “will be delivering a strong message” on the urgent need for an end to the political and humanitarian crisis engulfing Darfur, where at least 200,000 people have been killed and 2 million others displaced from their homes since 2003.A cessation of hostilities is seen as the first priority so that humanitarian operations can take place and the suffering of civilians can be alleviated. An estimated 4 million people across the vast and impoverished region now depend on aid for survival.Mr. Eliasson and Dr. Salim have repeatedly emphasized that a tangible reduction in violence is vital to create the conditions necessary for serious and all-inclusive political dialogue that includes both signatories and non-signatories to the DPA.Last month Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the situation in Darfur as “the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”As the envoys began their mission, the acting Special Representative for Sudan, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, briefed the AU Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa yesterday on the latest political, security and humanitarian developments in Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR), especially the border areas between those two countries and Darfur.Mr. Zerihoun told the meeting that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has initiated the necessary steps to deploy an advance mission to Chad and the CAR, which would prepare for the possible multi-dimensional UN presence as foreshadowed in a Security Council presidential statement last month.A separate assessment mission has just concluded its visit to the region, and will deliver its final report – including details of the size, scope and mandate of the proposed UN presence – to the Council in the coming days. read more

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