Five Indians qualify for World Amateur Golfers Championship

first_imgBengaluru: Five Indians, competing at the 11th Sara Futura Karnataka Golf Festival (KGF), have qualified for the World Amateur Golfers Championship (WAGC) to be held in Borneo, Malaysia in October. The winners of KGF, which is an amateur golf championship supported by Karnataka Tourism, earned the rights to represent India at the WAGC. On Sunday on the concluding day of the event, Narender Kudwa won the 21-24 handicap category with a gross score of 40, while Sandeep Malhan (16-20, 41 points), MK Aiyappa (11-15, 41 points), Amit Khansaheb (6-10, 40 points) and David D’Souza (0-5, 39 points) emerged as the overall winners. The KGF, which is an annual event, saw participation from over 500 golfers from across the country. Among the star names that participated in the tournament include former India cricketers Karun Nair, Subramaniam Badrinath, Sujith Somasunder, along with Lakshmipathy Balaji and Venkatesh Prasad.last_img read more

Global Affairs aware of Canadians detained in Syria

first_imgGlobal Affairs Canada says it is aware of Canadian citizens being detained in Syria.The confirmation comes in the wake of a CNN report which spoke to two women – a college student from Toronto and graphic designer from Alberta – who say they recently fled the former ISIS controlled town of Baghouz Al-Fawqani in eastern Syria.Syrian Democratic Forces said more than 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the IS-held area as U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian forces launched a final push to defeat the Islamic State group from a small pocket of land near the border with Iraq.A woman identified by CNN as Dura Ahmed said she left Toronto in 2014 with her husband, claiming she didn’t know anything about ISIS despite studying “English and Middle Eastern studies.”“It was an easy life. It was a city. It was stable,” she tells CNN about her arrival in Raqqa. “You’re there and you’re eating Pringles and Twix bars. You’re just there. You don’t feel like you’re in a war.”The Alberta woman, whom CNN says did not identify herself, also claimed not to know anything about ISIS before arriving in Syria. She also left Canada at the insistence of her husband.“He’s like, ‘it’s obligatory for you to come here. You have no choice, and as your husband I’m telling you to come here.’ And as a Muslim wife you have to obey, even though it was really hard for me to do it,” she tells CNN.Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Richard Walker says given the security situation on the ground in Syria, their ability to provide consular assistance is extremely limited.“Canadian diplomats have established a communications channel with local Kurdish authorities in order to verify the whereabouts of some Canadian citizens,” he said in a statement to CityNews.“Reports of an agreement concerning the repatriation of Canadian citizens from Syria are false.”Even if the two women were able to leave Syria, they would likely face arrest and prosecution in neighbouring countries if they were found to be affiliated with ISIS.U.S. officials have said in recent weeks that IS has lost 99.5 per cent of its territory and is holding onto fewer than 5 square kilometres in Syria, or less than 2 square miles, where the bulk of the fighters are concentrated. But activists and residents say IS still has sleeper cells in Syria and Iraq, and is laying the groundwork for an insurgency. The U.S. military has warned the group could stage a comeback if the military and counterterrorism pressure on it is eased.Files from The Associated Press were used in this reportlast_img read more

King Mohammed VI Holds Phone Call with Rwandan President

Rabat – King Mohammed VI and the Rwandan president, who is also the chairman of the African Union,  “discussed the positive dynamics ad promising prospects in the bilateral relations between the kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Rwanda in all areas.”The meeting comes on the eve of the Extraordinary African Union Summit.In June 2016, King Mohammed VI received Kagame in Rabat. During his visit to Morocco, King Mohammed VI decorated Kagame with the Grand Collar of Wissam Al-Mohammadi, Morocco’s highest national Award of honor, before hosting him to an official iftar (breaking iftar) in observance of the holy month of Ramadan. In October 2016, King Mohammed VI along with a delegation visited  Uganda. During the visit, both leaders charged the signing of bilateral agreements in business, political and social sectors.The delegation that accompanied Kin Mohammed VI explored investment opportunities and partnerships in Rwanda.Among the agreements signed during King Mohammed VI’s visit to Rwanda a Memorandum of Understanding on political consultation mechanism, an air service agreement, an agreement on the exemption of visa and an agreement on security cooperation and tourism.Following Morocco’s return to the AU in 2017, King Mohammed VI expressed the country’s commitment to Africa’s development as a top priority.Kagame is one of the African leaders who welcomed Morocco’s return to the AU.In January, Kagame told Hommes d’Afrique Magazine at the 30th Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa that “with the return of Morocco, Africa becomes greater and stronger.” read more

NGOs to offer fresh hope and perspective to World Summit 2005

“Governments can do a lot in fighting drugs, crime or terrorism, and they should do more. But they can’t do everything,” Executive Director of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Antonio Maria Costa told a press conference highlighting a special UN forum to bring together private entities with governments.”We need and require the commitment of society at large, whether it is society understood as the education system, or the places of faith, or places of sport,” he added. NGOs are “essential partners” in the process of “curbing the threats to security.”The forum, in its second day, is sponsored by the UN Department of Information (DPI) and NGOs, and comes a week before the 2005 World Summit, the largest ever gathering of international leaders at UN Headquarters in New York from 14 to 16 September.Former Lt. Gen. Daniel Opande of the UN Mission in Liberia, representing the military point of view, said: “My conviction is that civil society has played a leading role exploring the ills that bring conflict.” It is also their role to “tell the bad guys who are ruling by the sword, to stop doing what they are doing,” he added.One NGO representative at the press briefing, Gareth Evans, President of the International Crisis Group said that on “all key principles,” such as peace building, government use of force, human rights council, arms control, and policy on terrorism, there was very little agreement among UN Members prior to the Summit. “If nothing else, I hope [the results of the forum] can be a wake-up call, a cry of pain from civil society.”Mr. Evans was referring to the marathon discussions by a General Assembly panel that have so far been unable to produce an agreed draft document on issues ranging from enacting UN reform to promoting development to battling terrorism.Speaking at this morning’s session, the UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Anwarul K. Chowdhury, encouraged the NGOs to be more engaged in the development process with the international community. “Your role is to monitor international agreements and commitments, share your findings and create a database detailing the performance of countries. You must participate in the inter-governmental process and help governments achieve their commitments,” he said.Speaking at the conference yesterday, UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Shashi Tharoor called for civil organizations to help deliver people every where to greater freedom and achieve better standards of life by working closely with their governments and the UN.”In no small way, you are the guardians of reform of the international system,” he said. “What is more, I hope you use your voices and your expertise to praise the achievements of the Summit, and, of course to call for more where more is needed,” he added.Also speaking yesterday was UN General Assembly President Jean Ping of Gabon who praised non-governmental and private concerns for their desire to help the international community, and called on them to continue their good work in pursuing peace and the protection of human rights.The forum, “Our Challenge: Voices for Peace, Partnership and Renewal,” is taking place in preparation for the issues to be dealt with by Member States at the 2005 World Summit next week. Over 2,000 civil society groups and activists are attending, along with Member States and UN representatives. read more

Global increase in HIV infection despite a decrease in some countries –

Despite the fact that Kenya, Zimbabwe and some countries in the Caribbean region show declines in HIV infection rates due to behavioural changes, the number of people around the world living with HIV continues to rise past 40 million, its highest level ever, according to a United Nations report released today.The AIDS Epidemic Update 2005, the annual report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO), stressed that increased, long-term HIV prevention and treatment efforts were needed to slow and reverse the epidemic.“We are encouraged by the gains that have been made in some countries and by the fact that sustained HIV prevention programmes have played a key part in bringing down infections. But the reality is that the AIDS epidemic continues to outstrip global and national efforts to contain it,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot. “It is clear that a rapid increase in the scale and scope of HIV prevention programmes is urgently needed. We must move from small projects with short-term horizons to long-term, comprehensive strategies,” he added.Among other decreases, the report says that in Kenya adult prevalence rates dropped from a peak of 10 per cent in the late 1990s to seven per cent in 2003, HIV rates among pregnant women in Zimbabwe dropped from 26 per cent in 2003 to 21 per cent in 2004. In those countries and in the Caribbean region (Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Dominican Republic and Haiti), it said there was evidence that the declines were caused by such behavioural changes as increased condom use among sex workers and expansion of voluntary HIV testing and counselling.Despite those decreases, however, infection rates continued to increase in all regions except the Caribbean, with an additional five million new infections in 2005. The 40.3 million people living with HIV is up from an estimated 37.5 million in 2003. More than three million people died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2005, the report says. Of these, more than 500,000 were children.At the same time, HIV treatment has improved markedly over the past two years, with an estimated 250,000 to 350,000 deaths averted this year because of expanded access to HIV treatment.The report emphasizes that a comprehensive response to HIV and AIDS requires the simultaneous acceleration of treatment and prevention efforts with the ultimate goal of universal access to prevention, treatment and care.”We can now see the clear benefit of scaling up HIV treatment and prevention together and not as isolated interventions,” said WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook. At a UN Headquarters press conference to introduce the report, Jim Kim, Director of the WHO HIV/AIDS Department, emphasized the need for integrated strategies in prevention itself, using all possible modes.He said those modes include abstinence, especially for children, behavioural change when it is relevant, and condom use. Harm reduction – methadone and needle programmes to prevent transmission through intravenous drug use – should also be included.“We’ll never really know for sure exactly what particular intervention led to a particular change in a person’s behaviour. And so what we recommend is that the full range of preventions and interventions must be utilized,” he said.“Any time you take one or the other out of it for ideological or political reasons, you are really putting a country and individuals at risk,” he added. read more

US rapprochement with Cuba creating investment window for Canada ambassador

by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Mar 30, 2016 1:33 pm MDT Last Updated Mar 31, 2016 at 7:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email U.S. rapprochement with Cuba creating investment window for Canada: ambassador MONTREAL – Cuba’s rapprochement with the United States is creating a window of opportunity for Canadian business to invest in the island country, its ambassador said Wednesday.Ambassador Julio Garmendia Pena said that despite decades of friendly relations between Canada and Cuba, the lengthy U.S. “blockade” has made many Canadian companies reluctant to invest so as not to risk American sanctions.But he said the more than 50-year-old relic of the Cold War will eventually slide into “the dustbin of history.”“When that happens we’d like to see many Canadian investors,” Pena said during a speech to the Montreal Council of Foreign Relations.He said Canada has underinvested in Cuba’s tourism sector even though more than 1.3 million Canadians vacation on the Caribbean’s largest island each year.Currently, Canada is Cuba’s fourth-largest trading partner. Among its biggest investors is Sherritt International (TSX:S), which has extensive oil and power operations there.Pena said Canada has a “moral advantage” over other countries seeking to do business because it has worked with Cuba in difficult times. But he said there is no financial advantage when competing for business against foreign rivals.The communist government is looking to secure billions of dollars in foreign investment in the coming years and hopes to tap into Canada’s expertise in clean energy, agriculture, mining and biotechnology.In addition, the two countries are enhancing sports and cultural ties. Cuba’s national baseball team will visit this summer for about 20 games to be played in Ottawa and several Quebec cities.Pena said the recent state visit to Cuba by U.S. President Barack Obama has fostered unprecedented interest from potential foreign investors.Delegations from Europe and elsewhere have helped to fill Havana hotels while a growing number of American congressmen and senators have visited for a first-hand look.“Cuba is in fashion,” Pena said. “My suggestion is (investors) come today or tomorrow and not to wait until the embargo is over.”Cuba has changed some laws to encourage investment. No taxes are paid on profits earned in the first eight years and are set at 15 per cent in subsequent years. There is also a free transfer of corporate dividends.However, investors must have some level of ownership partnership with Cuban companies, often 50 per cent. The government also vows to preserve its socialist policies and defend its sovereignty and independence.While relations have improved through Obama’s executive actions, normalization can only follow the ending of the embargo by the U.S. Congress and the occupation of the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, said Pena.He said such dramatic change is inevitable although he wouldn’t say how long he thinks it will take.“The genie came out of the bottle and to put it back would be very difficult for anyone in the United States,” he said. “I even think the visit of Obama helped a little bit to make this process irreversible.”The ambassador declined to weigh in on the impact of the U.S. presidential election, saying Cuba hopes to work with whomever is elected this fall.Meanwhile, Cuba hopes to build upon its strong relationship with Canada by enhancing ties with the new Liberal government and rekindling the historic bond that existed between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s father and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.Pena said he hopes state visits will take place soon, although no dates have been confirmed. read more

In Afghanistans deadliest year civilian casualties top 10000 in 2014 – UN

As Western nations withdrew their military forces and combat support in 2014, UNAMA observed a rise in deadly ground battles. Civilian deaths and injuries from ground engagements, operations and attacks by Pro-Government Forces rose significantly with 921 civilian casualties (336 killed and 585 injured). This is an increase of 141 per cent increase from 2013. An increase in civilian casualties by Anti-Government Elements was also documented with 1,551 civilian casualties (438 deaths and 1,113 injured), up 51 per cent from 2013. Women and children were particularly hard hit by the armed conflict in 2014, the report found, documenting a 40 per cent increase in children casualties with 2,474 children casualties (714 killed and 1,760 injured) compared to 2013. Women casualties increased by 21 per cent with 298 women killed and 611 injured. In speaking with dozens of women from all regions in Afghanistan whose husbands –all civilians – were killed or seriously injured, UNAMA found that women who were left as sole income-providers for their households faced poverty forcing many women to give their daughters in marriage in exchange for debts or to take their children out of school to work. Widowed women were particularly vulnerable to forms of violence from family and community members. The UN Mission had shared a draft of its 2014 Annual Report with the Government of Afghanistan, the Taliban and NATO’s Resolute Support Mission. In its recommendations to all three groups, UNAMA called on Anti-Government Elements to cease carrying out indiscriminate attacks and deliberately targeting civilians. Armed groups must also enforce statements made by Taliban leadership that prohibit attacks on civilians. Meanwhile, UNAMA called on the Government of Afghanistan to cease firing rockets and grenades into civilian areas and enforce efforts to protect its people. It must also disarm armed groups and ensure accountability for human rights abuses. To international forces, UNAMA urged them to ensure all foreign intelligence or security forces take all necessary measures to protect civilians during ground and aerial operations. Since 2009, the conflict in Afghanistan has caused 47,745 civilian casualties with 17,774 Afghan civilians killed and 29,971 injured. Civilian casualties in Afghanistan topped 10,000 in 2014, a 22 per cent increase compared to the past year, reflecting increased ground battles between armed groups and the Government, and a drastic drawdown of Western troop presence in the country, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said today. A total of 3,699 civilians were killed and 6,849 injured in 2014. The figures, released today in the Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict and prepared in coordination with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, are the highest number of civilian casualties recorded in a single year since the UN started keeping track in 2007. The report also found that for the first time since 2009, more Afghan civilians were killed and injured in ground engagements than improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Civilian deaths and injuries from ground operations surged 54 per cent in 2014. Parties to the conflict are increasingly using mortars, rockets and grenades, sometimes indiscriminately, in civilian areas. “Rising civilian deaths and injuries in 2014 attests to a failure to fulfil commitments to protect Afghan civilians from harm,” the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Nicholas Haysom, said today as he presented the report in Kabul. “Parties to the conflict should understand the impact of their actions and take responsibility for them, uphold the values they claim to defend, and make protecting civilians their first priority. We need to see concrete steps and a real drop in civilian casualties in 2015,” Mr. Haysom stressed further. The UNAMA report highlighted that ‘Anti-Government Elements’ remain responsible for 72 per cent of all civilian casualties. Meanwhile, Pro-Government Forces are responsible for 14 per cent of civilian casualties with 12 per cent of that linked to the Afghan national security forces and two per cent to international military forces. Ten per cent of civilian casualties could not be attributed to a specific party and three per cent were caused by explosive remnants of war. read more

FROM THE FIELD Free tutorials in Mali a lifesaver for Fatouma

But listening to local radio one day, she heard about an education programme for girls and young women offered by UN Women. Here’s what happened next. “Leaving school without a diploma meant that I could only find a job as an unskilled worker for the rest of my life” she said. Having failed the national high school exam twice, coupled with expensive school fees, Fatouma had little choice but to drop out to become a cleaner, earning around $17 a month.

Make trespassing a criminal offence to stop travellers moving onto private land

A police officer was bitten by a dog as cops evicted a group of travellers and their caravans from an abandoned leisure centre in West London earlier this monthCredit:Get West London/BPM Media Caravans parked on Cranleigh Common in Surrey Mr Sharma, who ordered the consultation on the law which closed several weeks ago, said: “My view is clear – the law needs strengthening and trespass needs to be made a criminal offence.“This is the case in the Republic of Ireland and we need this change here. It will deter illegal encampments as the individuals concerned will understand they will face criminal law sanctions, rather than civil ones, right from the start.” Government officials have admitted that since 2010 that the number of traveller caravans on authorised sites has increased.A Housing department spokesman said: “The vast majority of the travelling community are decent and law-abiding people, but we are very concerned about unauthorised traveller encampments and some of the anti-social behaviour they can give rise to.“The rule of law must be applied and we are committed to tackling illegal behaviours wherever they occur. We have consulted on the effectiveness of enforcement powers and we are considering the responses before deciding on next steps.” Dozens of Conservative MPs including several former Cabinet ministers are demanding that the Government makes trespassing a criminal offence to stop travellers moving onto private land.The MPs, led by Mark Francois and John Baron, have written to Theresa May and Housing Secretary James Brokenshire urging them to make “acts of deliberate trespass a criminal offence”.They say that people “have a right to expect that the law should be applied equally and fairly to all and they want to see the authorities given additional powers to deal with unauthorised encampments, which are an increasing problem, particularly in the spring and summer months”.The news has emerged days after a police force in Surrey failed to take action to remove a group of travellers who had set up camp illegally in a park in Thames Ditton.The group were eventually evicted by the local council after three days, but left behind significant damage and mess, including “rutted” football pitches from drag racing cars, two dogs, and a water-logged cricket pitch, forcing this weekend’s games to be cancelled.The council also hired a specialist cleaning company to carry out a “cleanse” of the the park’s playground following their stay.  Paul Gregory, 42, a Long Ditton resident who lives opposite the park, agrees with the proposals to criminalise trespass.He said: “It would mean the police could actually do something about it and confront the issue straight away, rather than the long-winded civil process. “There are double-standards to the way travellers are treated and what they are able to get away with, compared to ordinary citizens. A friend of mine recently got fined £80 for dropping some litter on the ground in that park, but travellers can come and do what they like without facing the consequences.”Some 59 Tory MPs – nearly a third of the backbench Conservative party – have signed the letter include former Cabinet ministers John Whittingdale, Sir Michael Fallon and Priti Patel and submitted it to a Government consultation on travellers.The MPs said the new criminal power “would provide a timely method of dealing with unauthorised encampments on private or public land, in contrast to the current powers which are either very limited in scope or require often time consuming recourse to the courts”.The group of MPs met with James Brokenshire, the Housing secretary, days before Parliament broke up for its summer recess last month.The proposal to criminalise trespass was first mooted by the Tories in the party’s 2010 general election manifesto.The MPs’ call has also been backed by Alok Sharma, a senior Work and Pensions minister and a Housing minister until January this year, in his capacity as a MP for Reading West.Earlier this he launched a petition on tackling illegal encampments calling for a change in the law to make trespass a criminal offence.The petition said that “the residents of Berkshire have suffered an intolerable imposition from an increasing number of unauthorised encampments. “The Petitioners therefore urge the Government to introduce legislation to make trespass a criminal offence. “This will strengthen the powers used by the police to deal with illegal encampments, in addition to those already available under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.” Caravans parked on Cranleigh Common in SurreyCredit:BPM Media A police officer was bitten by a dog as cops evicted a group of travellers and their caravans from an abandoned leisure centre in West London earlier this month Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Movember power rankings the top 10 sporting mos week 1

first_imgONCE AGAIN WE’RE fully behind the Movember cause here at HQ and we’re delighted to see sports stars getting into the spirit.But as with last year, it’s not about taking part. It’s about winning.So we’ve ranked ten of the best efforts so far and we’ll track their progress over the rest of the month.If you spot a particularly nice nose neighbour that we’ve missed, let us know and your favourite might break into the top 10 next week.May the best mo’ win.last_img

Column Atheist gatherings take the positive aspects of church like the sense

first_imgColumn: Religion should be taken out of schools. Leave it at home> SAMUEL BECKETT ONCE wrote a letter in response to a young boy who had written to say that he was living in the author’s old childhood home. After remising about the house, Beckett signs off by saying “If you ever meet my ghost wandering the house or grounds, give it my regards”.The letter currently resides among many other quirky treasures in The Little Museum of Dublin on Stephen’s Green. Other items of interest include James Joyce’s death mask, a mobile altar from the early 1900s, a Harry Clark stain glass window retrieved from a skip and a collection of 24-carat gold plated Monster Munch.Celebration of lifeAlthough accustomed to housing the unusual, on the night of 1 November The Little Museum was inhabited by something even more rare; a Church for Atheists called The Sunday Assembly whose aim is to bring together a godless congregation in celebration of life. It seems fitting to hold this secular convention among the artifacts of such confirmed non-believers as Beckett and Joyce.The Sunday Assembly aims to take the positive aspects of church, such as a sense of community and a place for self-reflection and use them to create a new space for atheist gatherings. Founded in January by two stand-up comedians from London, Pippa Evans and Sanderson Johnson say were astounded by the success of their first gathering that attracted a few hundred attendants to a de-consecrated church in North London.They now intend to roll out The Sunday Assembly worldwide with the Dublin date being just one of their 40 Days and 40 Nights global road show. Their motto: live better, help often, wonder more.November 1st was a cold, crisp night in Dublin with more than a hint of winter in the air. The Little Museum of Dublin offered an inviting façade, with its bright Georgian windows looking out on to the darkness of Stephen’s Green. There is an air of trepidation and nervous smiles are exchanged as people huddle their way up the steps to the big, green door. Expectations were high after an email from the founder, Sanderson Johnson, declaring this night would be: “a ton of fun and pretty damn historic too! You will want to say you were there!”Godless congregationThe gathering has attracted a godless congregation of over 100 people, with ages ranging from 7 to 70. Gary, 28 from Dublin, has come because: “I heard about it and was interested to see what it would be like. Plus it’s something to do for free on Friday night!” Others express a similar curiosity to see what an atheist church-like gathering would entail. One of the answers turns out to be singing, lots of singing.Mr. Jones, with his lanky frame, long straggly blond hair and thick beard bears an uncomfortably strong resemblance to Jesus, something to which he jokingly makes reference. As he entered we all stood to sing The Beatles ‘I Get by with a Little Help from my Friends’, with lyrics helpfully provided on a big screen. This seems to have had the desired effect of lowering inhibitions in a room of strangers and giving a sense of unity.However, it was quickly followed by another sing-a-long, this time U2′s ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ which was less of a success. The song, solely rolled out for the Irish assembly, happened to contain the unfortunate lyrics: “I believe in Kingdom come”, to which someone shouted out panto-style: “Oh no we don’t!”Mr. Jones, who seems to have based his performance on those of a Southern Baptist preacher, fizzes with zeal as he bids the crowd to join in hand clapping, singing and general wonderment at the magnificence of simply being alive. “There’s darkness before we’re alive and darkness after, but in between is this beautiful thing called life and I think we should all enjoy it together”. All cynicism is to be checked at the door.The Sunday AssemblyGuest speakers of the night included Dr. Shane Bergin who spoke about the wonder of physics and Dublin poet Colm Keegan. He wrote a poem especially for the event to encourage people to recapture a sense of wonder about life. “You’re alive for roughly two and a half billion seconds…and you should make every one of them matter”. The Sunday Assembly is about positivity and, according to Mr. Keegan, “The world is full of people asking ‘why?’ You should surround yourself with those who ask ‘why not?’”However, Mr. Keegan also had some issues with the night’s proceedings, specifically how closely it resembled a mass service. “I had a bit of a problem with things like: ‘Everyone stand up now! Everyone sit down now!’ I mean, that’s what I hated about church, people telling me what to do!”BlasphemyAisling O’Brien was there as the sole representative of Atheist Ireland. Many other members were away in Galway for the Convention on the Constitution where Michael Nugent, Chairperson of Atheist Ireland, continued the on-going fight to get blasphemy removed from the constitution of Ireland.Ms. O’Brien had similar misgivings to Mr. Keegan. “For me, I was just preached to for the night and that was a total turn off”. Ms. O’Brien, who organises gatherings for atheists and agnostics on MeetUp, didn’t enjoy the lack of a communal dialogue. “I think there is a need for an atheist community. And that’s why we have MeetUps so we can get to know one another. It’s not about bringing everyone together and saying ‘Hallelujah!’ It’s a quick-fix way to create a feeling of community; a blunt tool to use”.Mr. Jones said they purposefully use the church service format as their priority is to reconnect people with a sense of wonder about life “and you see people that have that feeling of wonder being connected with God, so we just take the same techniques and use them to connect with other things”.When confronted with Ms. O’Brien’s complaint about the one-way nature of the dialogue, Mr. Jones responds: “Does Lady Gaga offer a Q & A session? No! She offers an emotional experience.” That’s what he claims The Sunday Assembly also aims to do: “We’re creating an experience designed to appeal to people’s heads and hearts”.Struck a chordMr. Jones admits their particular style of atheism-light won’t appeal to all. “Everyone likes different things, there’s never going to be one thing for everyone”. However, there were people at the event for whom it struck a chord.Christina is a former evangelical Christian from rural Ohio who has recently moved to Dublin. As a pastor’s daughter in a small town, she claimed she found it difficult to talk about her religious misgivings in her youth. “Where I’m from no one would ever use the ‘A’ word!”Her lack of faith began at a young age: “I didn’t have the words to express myself as a kid, but I always remember having this sinking feeling about religion. In my church at home, they preach that a woman’s place is in the home. Only men can pray in front of the congregation and young boys would be brought up to pray. I would sit there thinking ‘Why are a young boy’s words considered more important than mine?”AtheismIt was only when Christina left for college and began to read atheist literature online that she realised she was a confirmed non-believer. She claims “becoming an atheist made me feel free for the first time”. However, she also admitted that leaving behind religion created a void in her life. “Since I became an atheist and left church my life has changed. I miss having people that would take me under their wing. Tonight has given me a sense of community that I had been missing, it’s just so nice to be surrounded with people like me”.In the room above where The Sunday Assembly took place lies the 19th century mobile altar, a remnant of a more religious time, slowly collecting dust. Above it hangs the cracked Harry Clarke stain glass window depicting the eve of St Agnes. Once considered a hallowed object, it now hangs in a fractured state, being admired for craftsmanship more so than what it depicts. Perhaps the time is coming for religion to be viewed as a relic from a bygone era?The day is fast approaching when Ireland is due to exit the bailout, December 15th, which happens to be the same day as Dublin’s 2nd Sunday Assembly. One of the main the ethos’ of the Assembly is that we all come from nothing and go back to nothing, but hopefully Ireland’s final exit will lead to something better than what we came from. Their overriding message of life affirming positivity is something we could all use more of. With the departure of the troika imminent, let’s hope Ireland can remain as positive as the Sunday Assembly while facing up to a future with no high power to watch over us.Deirdre Mc Mahon is free lance writer from Dublin who writes on popular culture. She contributes to and reviews movies for Film Ireland.Read: Column: Why it’s time to get rid of Ireland’s blasphemy laws>last_img read more

Man in his 40s appears in court after gardaí seize €200000 worth

first_img Short URL By Cormac Fitzgerald Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Man in his 40s appears in court after gardaí seize €200,000 worth of cannabis in Kerry raid Gardaí made the seizure at about 4.30pm at a property in in the Kilmorna area of Listowel. 13,696 Views File photo Source: RollingNews.ieA 42 YEAR old man who had been arrested at Listowel garda station in relation to a €200,000 cannabis seizure has appeared before a special sitting of Tralee District Court this evening charged in connection with yesterday’s seizure.As part of an ongoing operation targeting the illegal sale and supply of controlled drugs in the Kerry area, gardaí seized 100 mature cannabis plants and 6.5kg of herb.Gardaí made the seizure at about 4.30pm at a property in the Kilmorna area of Listowel.The raid was carried out by officers from the Kerry Divisional Drugs Unit and the Listowel District Drugs Unit. The property has been preserved for a technical examination.Comments have been turned off as legal proceedings are ongoing.Read: Direct Provision centre shut over ‘safety fears’ was paid €12.7 million by the StateRead: Gardaí seize more cash and cannabis in organised crime crackdown Share Tweet Email Jan 27th 2017, 8:21 AM 35 Comments Friday 27 Jan 2017, 8:21 AMlast_img read more

Audit « antiintrusion » dans les centrales

first_imgAudit « anti-intrusion » dans les centrales Suite à l’action fortement médiatisée de militants de Greenpeace s’introduisant dans une centrale nucléaire, le premier ministre a annoncé que l’audit de sécurité des sites nucléaires qui était prévu serait complété par une évaluation des risques d’intrusion.Greenpeace avait mis en place une opération d’infiltration de plusieurs sites nucléaires français, pour démontrer que “le nucléaire sûr n’existe pas”. Le 5 décembre, dans plusieurs endroits, la démonstration avait échoué. Ce n’était pas le cas à Nogent-sur-Seine, dans l’Aube, où neuf militants avaient réussi à monter sur le dôme d’un réacteur et à tendre une banderole. De même dans la centrale de Cruas, en Ardèche où deux autres étaient restés cachés 14 heures.En réaction à ces infiltrations humaines, le Premier ministre François Fillon a confirmé que la France allait lancer un audit de la sécurité de ses sites nucléaires qui tiendrait compte des risque d’intrusion, ce qui n’était pas prévu initialement. L’audit portera sur les installations nucléaires qui ont fait l’objet en 2011 d’une évaluation complémentaire de sûreté, précise-t-il.Dans une lettre aux ministres concernés, M. Fillon a demandé que les premières conclusions lui soient communiquées le 31 janvier prochain et le rapport définitif le 30 juin 2012. Les services d’inspection devront examiner “l’adéquation des dispositions de protection physique aux scénarios de menaces” prévus dans la directive nationale de sécurité. À lire aussiLe pied d’éléphant, cette effrayante masse radioactive cachée dans les entrailles de TchernobylLe Premier ministre a également assuré hier que le gouvernement respecterait l’ensemble des recommandations post-Fukushima que doit formuler en janvier l’Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN). “Si nous nous sommes dotés d’une autorité indépendante, ce n’est pas pour ensuite interpréter ses décisions, choisir parmi les propositions qui sont faites”, a-t-il indiqué lors d’une conférence de presse. “Quelles que soient les conséquences, y compris si c’est une fermeture de centrale, nous nous y conformerons”, a-t-il affirmé. Il a également souligné que “toutes les conséquences” seraient tirées des récentes intrusions des militants de Greenpeace indiquant que “nous devrons certainement envisager de durcir les mesures de protection passive : systèmes d’alarme, clôtures, vidéoprotection”. Pourtant, pas moins de 740 gendarmes sont déjà, à l’heure actuelle, chargés de veiller sur le parc des centrales françaises. Le ministre de l’Intérieur, Claude Guéant, avait cependant précisé que le resserrement du dispositif de sécurité autour des centrales nucléaires avait été décidé le jour même de l’infiltration au cours d’une réunion organisée par le Premier ministre. Avec le nouvel audit annoncé, ce dispositif devrait être encore renforcé… au moins sur le plan matériel, rapporte 24 décembre 2011 à 10:00 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Trippier backs Kane for being the captain

first_imgGareth Southgate decided to name Harry Kane the England national team captain over Jordan Henderson and Kieran Trippier insisted that it was a good choice by the manager because Kane is a great leader.Trippier is Kane’s teammate from Tottenham Hotspurs and they are about to play together in the national team as well – he insisted that the English star has helped the youngster a lot and he is a great role model.The full-back spoke about Kane’s leadership as he said, according to Football London🙂“I didn’t know anything about it. He is a top professional, on and off the field.”“He helps all the youngsters out at Tottenham, and us. He’s a real leader, all the boys know that and I couldn’t be happier for him.”Jadon Sancho, Borussia DortmundCrouch: Liverpool could beat Man United to Jadon Sancho Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Peter Crouch wouldn’t be surprised to see Jadon Sancho end up at Liverpool one day instead of his long-term pursuers Manchester United.“He’s got that fire inside him like everybody. He’s not the one to talk bad about people off the field.”“He’s just a top lad, top professional and I couldn’t be any happier and I think the lads are as well.”“We’ve got leaders all the way around the dressing room, everyone’s a leader.”“Everyone will help each other out – that’s the most important thing.”last_img read more

The Ministry of Border Control and Employment Improves Passport Application Process

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks nd Caicos, June 15, 2017 – Providenciales – The Ministry of Border Control and Employment recently undertook a review of the passport process in light of the numerous complaints from the public and their dissatisfaction with the process, especially the increased length of time being taken for the renewal of a Turks and Caicos Islands Passport.The Ministry, this week, concluded several discussions with Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) and the members of the Registration and Citizenship department within the Ministry, in which it was identified that the key factors impacting the service delivery of passports are the lack of dedicated resources to the passport processing unit and the need for further knowledge development in the various British Nationality Acts and their applications. While these gaps are the main contributors to the significant delays, it was further identified that a smaller number of passport applications are being affected by incomplete submissions of documents by customers.The passport application process is two-pronged, with a local approval process prior to them being uploaded electronically to the processing site utilized by HMPO for verification of details and the final printing of the passport facility.On Tuesday May 30, 2017, management within the Ministry undertook a reassignment of duties among the personnel within the Registration and Citizenship Department to increase the number of resources that are now dedicated to the processing of passport applications. This, along with the temporary staff that the Ministry recently employed, will assist in decreasing the backlog locally, while efforts are being made to organize the much needed training in the BNA and other HMPO policies for the overall reduction in the inaccuracies being recorded in the application process.While the Office of the Deputy Premier and Ministry of Border Control and Employment regrets the inconvenience caused to its clients in recent months, management remains committed to ensuring that there is marked and noticeable improvements in the processing of passports and the delivery of all services that fall under the Ministry.#magneticmedianews#tcipassportprocessimproves Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:#magneticmedianews #tcipassportprocessimproveslast_img read more

3 cars tractor trailer involved in crash along I95

first_imgNORTH MIAMI, FLA. (WSVN) – Three cars and a tractor trailer were involved in a crash, early Friday morning, on Interstate 95.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, one of the three vehicles ended up underneath the tractor trailer. No injuries were reported, although crews were on the scene, which caused heavy traffic delays.Only one lane remained open as officials and crews work in the area to remove the cars and truck, but traffic has since cleared.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img

US officials issue Mexico travel warning

first_img(WSVN) – A travel warning has been issued for Americans who are planning to travel to Mexico.The U.S. State Department said U.S. citizens should avoid certain parts of Mexico because of an increase in violent criminal activity.According to officials, this includes gun battles in the daytime, narcotics trafficking and kidnappings.If you’d like to read more about the affected areas in Mexico, go to this link.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img

Doctors protest against NMC Bill in Tirupati

first_imgTirupati: Protesting against the passage of the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill in the Lok Sabha, doctors and medical students have closed their clinics on Wednesday and attended only emergency cases.About 1,000 doctors of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Tirupati Branch and medical students have taken part in the protest. They took out a rally from Ruia Hospital to SV Medical College and staged a demonstration and criticised the NMC saying that the controversial bill was ‘draconian’ and against the interests of people, poor and students. Also Read – Three of a family commits suicide at Amalapuram in East Godavari Advertise With Us The doctors said that they have given number of representations to the Central government against the proposed bill during the last two years which were turned down. They recalled that the Centre was saying that as the Medical Council of India (MCI) is corrupted, the new NMC will replace it. But is there any guarantee that NMC will function without corruption, they asked. Also Read – Saaho movie tickets pricey in Nellore Advertise With Us It was proposed to allow anyone connected with modern medicine to get registered in NMC and practice through which those do not having any medical background may become eligible to practice and prescribe medicines. It legalises quackery, they criticised. The new bill also proposed a National Exit Test (NEXT) for final year MBBS students which was being opposed by the medical fraternity. The NMC will regulate the fees for 50 per cent of seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities, which will increase the cost of medical education and poor and middle class students will be deprived of it, they criticised. IMA State President Dr D Srihari Rao, Tirupati branch President Dr G Parthasarathi Reddy, Dr Yugandhar, Dr C Subramanyam and others spoke on the occasion. The government doctors, however, have participated in the strike for one hour and joined duties later wearing black badges.last_img read more

District Libraries AARP Provide Free Tax Service

first_imgPatricia Banks-Helman, a retired medical illustrator, has been coming to Southwest Library for three years to have her taxes filed.The April 15 federal deadline for filing taxes is right around the corner. The District’s libraries, in conjunction with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Foundation, are providing free services to taxpayers with low to moderate income, especially seniors.Patricia Banks-Helman, a retired medical illustrator, sat reading a book, waiting patiently at Southwest Library last week to see a tax assistant. She had her tax documents tucked away in a folder with a rubber band securing them. “I heard it from my daughter who was working at the time in Virginia and the AARP would go to her center and do the taxes,” Helman, 80, said. “That’s when I thought, ‘Well why don’t I? Why do I pay someone $300-plus to do very simple tax forms. So I’ve been very satisfied.”This has been Helman’s third year coming to Southwest library to have her taxes filed. AARP Tax-Aide has about 11 tax assistance programs in the District similar to the one at Southwest library. The average site is open from four to five hours a day, one to two days a week.John Willging, volunteers as the local AARP coordinator at Southwest Library. He has been volunteering with the program for 15 years and has been at the Southwest library for the past two years. “Anyone can volunteer for the tax assistance program, but you are required to pass an IRS test,” Willging, 78, said. “You are put through a training program that usually runs for five days. Then you take the test. If you pass the test, then you are qualified to prepare tax returns.”Prior to filing her taxes at the Southeast Library, Helman would pay an accountant to file her taxes. “It’s been wonderful,” she said. “The tax aides are very knowledgeable and thorough. Otherwise I wouldn’t be coming back. If I had any kind of trepidation, I wouldn’t be here.”Kenneth Reavis, a transportation screener, was waiting for his name to be called. Reavis, 24, heard about the program from his mother, and this was his second year coming to the library. “It’s been great,” Reavis said. “They’re nice and helpful. It’s pretty simple and easy, right to the point. Get in and get out and I like it.”Willging said the process is simple and modern. “It’s all electronic filing on all the tax returns that we do, except where there is a rare case where there may be a rejection on a return for some reason and we can’t get it through the system,” he said. “Then, we tell the tax preparer you have to mail in a copy.”For more information about tax assistance, visit the AARP Tax-Aide program online to find a nearby location.last_img read more