TDSB reassures parents who were worried about the future of gifted ed

first_imgTORONTO – A Toronto District School Board task force has walked back a proposal to restructure gifted and special education programs, which stoked major concerns among parents and advocates last week.Many families were alarmed by an initial draft report from a TDSB task force which recommended, in part, that gifted students and students who need “special education” be integrated into regular classrooms.Teachers would receive special ed and gifted training, and kids would still get the specially tailored learning they need. But, instead of travelling to one of the TDSB schools that offers “congregated” classes of exclusively gifted kids or exclusively special ed kids, the students would be in schools closer to home, mixed into regular stream classes.In the updated finalized version of the report posted late Friday, the task force – which is dedicated to making the district more accepting, inclusive and fair for low-income, racialized and otherwise marginalized students – changed its gifted and special ed proposal, saying the board should retain congregated classes “while exploring options to include Special Education” at local schools.Under this new proposal, the board would examine ways in which gifted and special ed programs could be made available at more schools in more communities, so kids with those special needs could access them closer to home.One of the concerns identified by the board’s task force on equity was that students in lower-income areas had to leave their community to go to schools with special programming, leading to a perceived division between “good” schools in affluent areas and “bad schools” in less affluent areas.TDSB trustees will discuss the finalized report at their meeting on Wednesday, and propose next steps. No final decisions will be made until early 2018.“There will absolutely be more opportunity for the community to have input before any decisions are made by the board,” the TDSB says on its website.The TDSB’s gifted program is lacking in racial diversity, and needs a total overhaul, said Carl James, a York University professor who specializes in the education of minority students.“The larger process of getting students identified as gifted will have to be looked at,” James said, adding that black students in particular are less likely to be in gifted programs than their peers.“We have to look at the extent to which the gifted test might have inherent cultural biases, that might disadvantage some students,” James said.“There is (also) the extent to which teachers identify some students and even suggest that they be tested for being gifted.”The prospect of having gifted students integrated in regular-stream classrooms was a major point of concern for parents who said their kids needed special accommodations in special classes to fulfil their academic potential.Amanda Gotlib, a Grade 10 student in the gifted program at Northern Secondary School, tested as gifted when she was in Grade 4, and entered gifted classes in Grade 7. Her time in the regular-stream classes was hard, Amanda said. She had trouble concentrating, and would take hours to finish even short assignments.Although regular-stream teachers knew she was gifted and promised to provide her with special accommodations, they didn’t really understand her needs, she said.“I have some techniques I use when I’m trying to listen or focus and a lot of regular-stream teachers don’t really get that,” Amanda said. “I often draw. I like to do art and doodling while the lesson is going on.”The term “gifted” gives people the false impression that kids like Amanda are effortlessly brilliant, said Amanda’s mother Gail Agensky. The reality is their brains work differently from other kids’ and they have different learning styles. They may not fit in socially with their peers, and often struggle with regular school work.Placing gifted students in classes with only other gifted students takes away many of the anxieties and misunderstandings, Agensky added.Cuts to special ed programs across the province have already resulted in many kids with learning disabilities, behavioural issues and other education needs being placed in regular classrooms, said Katharine Buchan, educational material co-ordinator with Autism Ontario.“With the right supports, every student typically could be integrated into a regular classroom, but for high needs students or some students with autism that’s not always the answer,” Buchan said.There are longstanding concerns about the burden placed on teachers by putting kids with special ed needs in regular-stream classes, said Andy Lomnicki, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario’s Toronto chapter.“There’s nothing wrong with applying the lens of equity, but it can distort what you’re looking at and how you’re trying to fix (equity problems),” Lomnicki said.“An equitable lens could say that every student (should be) in the same classroom, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is serving their needs, or their parents needs, or the other kids in the classroom’s needs, or the teacher’s needs.”last_img read more

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SNCLavalin cuts 100 jobs as politicians say it is vulnerable to takeover

first_imgCompanies in this story: (TSX:SNC)Julien Arsenault, The Canadian Press MONTREAL — SNC-Lavalin Inc. is eliminating about 100 positions in Canada at the same time as the Quebec engineering firm is being described by political leaders as being vulnerable to a foreign takeover.The Montreal-based firm says the workforce reduction is attributable to the completion of various projects across the country.“We are hiring employees based on the needs of our current projects and adjusting when they come to an end. This strategy is crucial to remain competitive,” said spokesman Nicolas Ryan.The eliminated positions represent a fraction of the 8,700 Canadian workforce.SNC-Lavalin is preparing to open a new office next year in London, the former headquarters of WS Atkins, acquired in 2017 for $3.5 billion. Ryan said no positions from the Montreal head office would be transferred to the British capital.Quebec Premier Francois Legault told a Montreal radio station Thursday that the government’s investment agency may have to get involved to protect the company from a foreign takeover.“In the future, when it comes time to protect head offices, I would like the leader to be Investissement Quebec,” he said in an interview.Montreal’s La Presse reported this week that the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec — which was already SNC-Lavalin’s largest shareholder — had increased its stake since the spring to about 20 per cent, valued at about $1.6 billion.SNC-Lavalin’s share price has dropped about 10 per cent since October, when federal prosecutors refused to set aside criminal charges against the company by approving a deferred prosecution agreement.The RCMP charged the company in 2015 with fraud and corruption for alleged actions in Libya. It has pleaded not guilty but could be excluded from federal tenders for up to 10 years if convicted.Some analysts have suggested that the current situation could result in the sale of some company assets or make it vulnerable to a takeover offer.“It puts the company in a difficult situation,” said Legault. “There is no controlling shareholder.”He added that other investors could be approached to ensure that any outside offer is blocked.last_img read more

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Five Egyptian diplomats seized in Libya in 24 hours

first_imgTRIPOLI- Kidnappers seized Egypt’s cultural attache and three other embassy staff in the Libyan capital on Saturday a day after a group snatched another Egyptian official in the city. In the south, meanwhile, the toll from ethnic clashes rose to 88 dead and more than 130 wounded, a further sign of the chronic instability that has plagued Libya since the 2011 uprising ousted dictator Moamer Kadhafi.The four diplomats were kidnapped early on Saturday morning, a Libyan foreign ministry spokesman said, “The cultural attache and three other staff were kidnapped in Tripoli,” Said Lassoued told AFP.The abductions came a day after an unknown group seized an administrative adviser at Egypt’s embassy, and despite Libya’s announcement of “reinforced security measures” there.Foreigners have been targeted several times in recent weeks: two Italians were seized last week in east Libya and a South Korean trade representative was released by security forces on Wednesday, three days after he was abducted in Tripoli.Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was himself briefly abducted by a former rebel militia last October.A Libyan security official would not rule out that the kidnapping of the Egyptian administrative official was a response to the arrest in Egypt on Friday of a prominent former rebel commander who fought in the uprising.Shaaban Hadeia, head of the Operations Centre of Libya’s Thuwar (revolutionaries), was arrested in Alexandria, the source added.The Operations Centre had posted on Facebook that there could be a “possible reaction from the thuwars”.But one of the group’s leaders, Adel al-Ghariani, told AFP the group was not involved in the kidnappings and called for Hadeia’s release.The presidency of the General National Congress, Libya’s highest political authority, also ordered its mission in Cairo to demand an explanation for the ex-rebel leader’s arrest and to seek his release.Cairo has yet to confirm his detention.Libya has struggled to integrate rebel groups that helped topple Kadhafi into the security forces. Some militias have carved out their own fiefdoms, each with its own ideology and regional allegiances.The situation is also dire in eastern Libya, where radical Islamists have been accused of carrying out dozens of attacks on security forces and Western interests, mostly in second city Benghazi.Two blasts hit Benghazi on Saturday without causing any casualties, one targeting a military intelligence base and the other a Koranic school.Security forces said on Friday they had arrested four people who had a “list of officers who had already been assassinated and to assassinate” in an operation that left one soldier dead.Authorities are also faced with sporadic unrest in the south, where the death toll from two weeks of ethnic clashes near the region’s main city of Sebha rose to 88 dead on Saturday.“Between the outbreak of the fighting on January 11 and Friday evening, the number of dead totalled 88,” Abdallah Ouheida, director of Sebha hospital, told AFP.He said the full death toll was almost certainly higher as casualties had also been taken to other hospitals.He said there had been sporadic clashes on Saturday but no new reports of casualties.The fighting erupted between members of the Toubou minority, a non-Arab ethnic group, and armed Arab tribesmen of the Awled Sleiman.There has since between fighting between the Awled Sleiman and other Arab tribes that is reported to have involved Kadhafi supporters.Libya’s General National Congress declared a state of emergency in the south on January 18 at an extraordinary session to discuss the violence in Sebha.last_img read more

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Barrick helps facilitate Acacia Mining deal with Tanzanian government

TORONTO — Barrick Gold Corp. says it has helped facilitate a deal between Acacia Mining and the government in Tanzania.Under the agreement, the economic benefits from Acacia’s operations will be shared on an equal basis with Tanzania’s government in the form of royalties, taxes and a 16 per cent free carry interest in the Tanzanian operations.A US$300-million payment to the government will also be made over time to resolve outstanding tax claims.Barrick holds a 63.9 per cent interest in Acacia, a publicly traded company that is operated independently.The Toronto-based company says work is underway to finalize the definitive agreements, which must be approved by Acacia and the Tanzanian government.Barrick chief executive Mark Bristow says the proposal will allow the business to focus on rebuilding its mining operations in partnership with their respective stakeholders. Companies in this story: (TSX:ABX)The Canadian Press read more

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Events to mark remembrance of victims of final war begin

Events to mark the remembrance of victims of the final war began today. Northern provincial council members and families of those killed during the final stages of the war attended the event held in the North today.The events which began today will be held for a week at different locations with the final event set to take place at Mullivaikal. Northern Provincial Council member M.K Sivajilingham said earlier that there was an attempt to block the events but yet the events will go ahead as planned. In the past the authorities had attempted to prevent the Mullivaikal commemoration events from being held as it was seen as paying respects to LTTE cadres killed during the war. (Colombo Gazette) Sivajilingham said the main event will be staged in Mullivaikal on May 18.

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Annan pledges UN cooperation with Pacific island States

“Indeed, while responses to the vulnerabilities and challenges in the Pacific region should come first and foremost from your communities, our joint efforts and international solidarity can make a critical difference in responding to your peoples’ aspirations,” Mr. Annan told the 35th Pacific Islands Forum Summit meeting in Apia, Samoa, yesterday.”I am strongly committed to an ever-stronger partnership between our two Organizations across the full range of our common concerns,” he said in a message delivered by Anwarul K. Chowdhury, UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.He praised the 16-member Forum’s ability to cooperate on the basis of equality and mutual respect despite huge differences in size, population and level of economic development – ranging from the vastness of Australia with some 20 million people spread over nearly 8 million square kilometres to tiny Niue, with a population of 1,700 over 259 square kilometres.”Together, we can achieve the Millennium Development Goals and fulfil the vision set out in the Millennium Declaration,” Mr. Annan said, referring to specific targets set out by a UN summit four years ago, such as halving poverty and lagging access to education, improving gender equality, child mortality and maternal health rates, and combating HIV/AIDS and environmental degradation, all by 2015. read more

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Iraq UN reports preparations largely complete for constitutional referendum

With UN technical and planning support, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) has delivered almost 2 million kilos of materials such as ballots, polling boxes and voter screens to governorate electoral hubs across the country for more than 15 million eligible Iraqis. “The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq has put into place an effective operation to carry out the 15 October referendum,” the Director of the UN Electoral Assistance Division (EAD), Carina Perelli, said. “Important work has been carried out by this national institution to ensure that Iraqis are both responsible for organizing the referendum as well as voting in it.”The UN, which has a mandate to provide strategic advice and technical assistance to the IECI under Security Council Resolution 1546, has been supporting the IECI since its establishment in May 2004. Under the coordination of the UN Electoral Assistance Team, some 45 foreign specialists have been providing advice and technical support to IECI headquarters and its 1,000 staff members for the organization of the referendum. Specialized assistance has been provided for Information Technology management, the drafting of electoral regulations, polling procedures training, and activities such as the funding and training of domestic observers’ networks.The IECI has hired more than 100,000 polling staff across the country and has carried out a public outreach campaign featuring television commercials, leaflets and education materials. Training of polling staff has also been undertaken. “As in any electoral process there are bound to be some technical problems in some areas of the country, each of which will be addressed individually by the competent Iraqi electoral authorities,” Ms. Perelli said. “The same case-by-case approach will be used for any security problems that arise on polling day.” read more

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Sudan Independent UN expert urges action on security sectors human rights abuses

“I must emphasise that violations of human rights by the NISS [National Intelligence and Security Services] have been raised consistently by most stakeholders I met during this visit and I urge the Government to take this matter seriously,” said the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mashood Adebayo Baderin. Voicing concern at the apparent restrictions on civil society organizations, he told a news conference in the capital, Khartoum, yesterday that the Government must create a conducive environment in which these organizations can operate.“It is evident that the Government through the NISS has clamped down on some civil society organizations and prevented them from submitting a complaint to the National Commission on Human Rights in Khartoum,” said Mr. Baderin, who last visited the country in June. “I again call on the Government to allow civil society organizations to operate freely, to respect the right to freedom of assembly, the freedom of expression, press freedom and also create an enabling environment of free and open political discourse in the ongoing constitution-making process.” Mr. Baderin, who plans to present his final report to the Human Rights Council in September, said he was also concerned about the arrest and detention of political opposition figures and other individuals by the NISS.Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.During the eight-day mission, Mr. Baderin met with Government officials and civil society organizations in Khartoum and El-Fasher, Darfur, as well as members of the diplomatic community and UN agencies, funds and programmes. He also visited a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Abu Shouk near El-Fasher. On issues in Darfur, he highlighted the safety of IDP returnees, protection of civilians in conflict areas – particularly women and children – and impunity. During the field visit, Mr. Baderin stopped by a modern juvenile reformatory centre and court which he called “steps in the right direction” to counter poor conditions in prisons and the need to improve juvenile justice. Before leaving, he praised the Government for steps taken towards implementing the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Recommendations which he will be watching, particularly in the areas of administration of justice, law reform, and ratification of identified human rights treaties. read more

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Ecuador top UN relief official stresses solidarity as earthquake recovery efforts continue

Speaking to reporters from a tarmac in Canoa, a coastal town near the earthquake’s epicentre, Stephen O’Brien, who leads the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said that, according to the latest assessment, more than 480 people died in central Ecuador – a number which is likely to rise to about 500 – and that hundreds more are still missing, although services for the immediate detection of life have concluded. “I have seen and spoken to a number of people in a number of communities who have gone through terrible suffering,” he said on a call in to the daily briefing at UN Headquarters in New York. “This is a massive earthquake with devastating consequences to people and buildings, and basic services,” he underscored. Thousands of people are living outdoors, there are lines for food, and drinking water is needed, as many of the systems have broken, Mr. O’Brien said. “The Government is very much stepping up with its plans to meet the needs as best as it can, and it’s clear that they have been working extremely hard and urgently,” he said. Upon his return to New York on Thursday or Friday, Mr. O’Brien said he plans to work with Member States and the international community to allocate resources from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in order to complement and make available the necessary extra resources to support the Government’s recovery programme. “We at the United Nations certainly in solidarity [with] the people and in support of the Government of Ecuador’s plans and actions to meet the needs of their people,” he emphasized. Mr. O’Brien noted that the Disaster and Assessment Coordination Team (UNDAC) has been making quick assessments regarding immediate life-saving and also shelter. In addition, UN agencies and other partners, among them the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), are assisting with recovery efforts. Asked by a reporter whether grant aid should be given to Ecuador, Mr. O’Brien said his focus is on humanitarian and immediate needs, although it is also important to mobilize international resources to help the people of Ecuador. read more

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Dr Malcom Scoble outstanding educator inducted into IM Technology Hall of Fame

first_imgDr Malcolm Scoble a Professor at the University of British Columbia specialising in surface and underground mine design and planning: mine-mill integration: occupational health and safety: sustainable mining and mining with communities, is the first person to be inducted into the IM Technology Hall of Fame in 2018, in the Outstanding Innovator category. Jonathan Peck, PhD. a past inductee (Surface Mining) and CEO & President of Peck Tech Consulting Ltd, made the initial nomination and wrote, “he was my PhD supervisor and served as the same for several people that went on to dramatically transform mining in many ways. Malcolm also had a profound impact on the mining engineering programs at McGill and then UBC. Thus, the energy he injected and changes he made allowed these mining schools to continue to grow and thrive. Mining rarely acknowledges the role that academics play to ensure a healthy industry. But without the contributions and dedication of people like Malcolm, mining graduates would be poorly prepared to enter the workforce with the right skills…”International Mining’s Founder, John Chadwick, counts himself very fortunate to have had Malcolm as his  tutor at Nottingham University’s Mining Department back in the 1970s.Two of the current panel of judges for the Hall of Fame were also beneficiaries of Malcolm’s enthusiasm, help and mentoring – Peter Knights, Professor of Mining Engineering at the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, The University of Queensland; and Mark Richards, Manager Mining Technology Teck Resources Ltd, who notes “Malcolm has been a great mentor for many people.”Malcolm is a firm supporter of industry associations, particularly the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, as well as the Mining Association of British Columbia.This year he was awarded the CIM Distinguished Service Medal, “in recognition of a passionate and visionary proponent of mining education at all levels.” He has been a dedicated member and supporter of CIM and its branches in Flin Flon, Snow Lake, Montreal, and Vancouver since the 1960s.  Among prior awards are CIM’s Fellowship {1994} and Distinguished Lecturer Award {1996}. In 2012 he was awarded the Inaugural Gold Medal for distinguished service by the Canadian Mining Innovation Council.last_img read more

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Special enrollment offers alternative to COBRA

first_imgWashington Healthplanfinder is offering a limited special enrollment period for those who are currently covered by COBRA but would rather purchase a plan through the state-based insurance exchange.People who purchase plans through the exchange may be eligible to receive tax credits to help cover the cost of insurance coverage — something not available with COBRA. COBRA allows people to temporarily continue to participate in group health insurance after leaving an employer’s plan, but the cost is generally much greater than their former contribution.“Switching to a plan on Washington Healthplanfinder can, in some instances, save a person hundreds or thousands of dollars,” said Michael Marchand, exchange spokesman. “For many people, COBRA may have been their only option, and it may have been an expensive option.”Completed applications must be submitted to the exchange, www.wahealthplanfinder.org, by 11:59 p.m. July 1. Washington Healthplanfinder does offer special enrollment throughout the year for people with qualifying life events, such as getting married, having a child, adopting a child, involuntarily losing health coverage, moving to a new coverage area or aging out of a parent’s plan.Limited window to enrollThe exchange requires verifying information — a marriage certificate or birth certificate, for example — to confirm the change, Marchand said. Residents have 60 days from the date of the qualifying life event to enroll in a plan through the exchange.last_img read more

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Actress Minissha Lamba turns Poker player reveals why she left Bollywood

first_imgMinissha LambaInstagramActress Minissha Lamba, who was seen in movies like Bachana Ae Haseeno and Yahaan among others, has now become a professional poker player.The actress said that she initially was not interested in it, but gradually she became a pro in the game. Apparently, a friend first introduced her to Poker, and it did not take long for her to develop a hand in it.”It happened randomly over one Diwali. A friend upon returning from America insisted on teaching us poker. I shied away from it because playing cards wasn’t something that interested me. But as you get to this game, the complexities and sheer need for being on the ball give you a feeling of achievement for a hand well played,” she told Mumbai Mirror.Minissha further said that she is no longer seen in movies because nothing interesting came her way. However, she is interested to appear on the big screen again if something interesting comes up.”Unfortunately, I didn’t end up getting the kind of roles I would have liked at that point in time. Now things have changed. For movies, I would love to do interesting characters. I have been doing theatre actively. Web and television offers are coming in. Right now, I am just waiting for that role which surprises me and then I will be all in,” she told the publication.Despite being extremely hooked to the game of Poker currently, Minissha said that she would not want to play it with anyone from the Bollywood industry as she wants to keep the game and her relationships from the industry people separate.last_img read more

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Pandora Acquisition Bites Into SiriusXMs FirstQuarter Profits

Pandora Acquisition Bites Into SiriusXMs FirstQuarter Profits

first_img“We are right where we want to be and moving very fast,” said CEO Jim Meyer (pictured above) on the earnings call. “It’s still the first inning, but I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made so far,” he added, noting that the “hunt for Pandora cost synergies is going better than expected.”Those synergies include the creation of Pandora’s first-ever content team and the production of the companies’ first joint offering, Pandora NOW, a full-time SiriusXM channel and Pandora station and playlist, curated from Pandora data of the top-trending artists. The companies also announced an array of SiriusXM’s top sports, comedy and talk hosts’ shows are now available as podcasts on Pandora.Other bright spots cited in the report include the company adding 132,000 net subscribers, with more than 34.2 million total SiriusXM subscribers at the end of the quarter. The company’s first quarter revenue of $1.5 billion grew 8% compared to the prior year period, and gross profit in the quarter totaled $926 million, increasing 8% over the first quarter of 2018, and produced a gross margin of 62%, approximately flat compared to the prior year period.It also noted that Pandora advertising revenue reached a first quarter record of $231 million, growing 7% over the first quarter of 2018, although monthly active users were down to 66.0 million in the first quarter from 72.3 million in the prior year period. SiriusXM today announced first quarter 2019 operating and financial results — the first since the company completed its acquisition of Pandora Media on Feb. 1 — and its quarterly profit was down 44% from the previous year. It attributed that drop to approximately $76 million of acquisition and other costs related to the Pandora deal, a $31 million one-time benefit to other income in the prior year period and a higher tax rate.Total revenue of $1.7 billion increased 27% compared to the prior year period, while the company’s net income totaled $162 million in the first quarter, compared to $289 million in the prior year period, according to the announcement. Net income per diluted common share was $0.03 in the first quarter, compared to $0.06 in the prior year period. Pandora Execs Explain Why Everyone Is Obsessed With Podcasts SiriusXM Announces $4 Streaming Plan for Students Popular on Variety Pro forma revenue increased 10% to $1.9 billion in the first quarter, up from $1.7 billion in the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA grew 27% to $567 million in the first quarter and resulted in an adjusted EBITDA margin of 30.5%, growing over 400 basis points from 26.3% in the first quarter 2018. The adjusted EBITDA margin in the quarter was driven primarily by revenue growth across the combined businesses and cost efficiencies in subscriber acquisition costs and revenue share and royalties, the announcement says. Related ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15last_img read more

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Delhi Tourism launches Hindi Website

Delhi Tourism launches Hindi Website

first_imgIn order to reach out to the masses and to promote tourism, Delhi Tourism has launched a dedicated Hindi version of the official web portal of DTTDC. The website was launched by  G.G Saxena, MD & CEO, DTTDC in the presence of other senior officials of Delhi Tourism.The launch of the Hindi website is another step forward towards making Delhi a tourist friendly destination. The sole purpose of launching this website is to attract more domestic tourists from across the country.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The website is developed in Unicode encoding so that it can be seamlessly viewed in all the computers. It is created by IT Division, DTTDC through Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC).  Detailed information regarding tourist places, seasonal tours, city sightseeing, transport, accommodation, e– booking, bed and breakfast accommodations, eateries etc are available in the Hindi version of the website. Further a website with list of properties empanelled with bed and breakfast scheme of the tourism department. This B&B website will facilitate to the national/international tourists seeking homely accommodation in Delhi. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe idea behind the Hindi website is to promote Delhi as a tourist destination and is an endeavor of an aggressive marketing plan to promote Delhi. The Hindi website is expected to enhance domestic tourist inflow and allow people to enjoy and get information about Delhi in their preferred language. Delhi Tourism is seamlessly working towards promoting Delhi as a tourist friendly destination and this initiative is yet, another milestone.last_img read more

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Siddhi brings alive southern sensibilities

Siddhi brings alive southern sensibilities

first_imgTo walk into the NGMA lawns on Monday, October 16 was to witness the hallmark of a celebration that extolled the virtues of Indian heritage. The drum beats reverberating through the autumn air as you glimpsed the Siddhi Gomaal dancers giving it their all to an enraptured crowd that gathered for the inauguration of “Dhvani se Sabdaur Chinh” a show that puts the spotlight on Southern artists and their journeys, an in house curatorial effort spear headed by NGMA Director General Adwaita Gadanayak who has been slowly unraveling jewels from the NGMA archives. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe dancers festooned faces painted in shades of ash white and grey with designs symbolising traditional African body art, they wore bright blue weed like skirts, straw caps and breathed zest in every step. The members of the Siddi tribe who don different avatars at different times of the day were invited to set the tone for a pageant of pomp and revelry. The Siddis are originally from the Bantu people of Southern Africa brought to India by the Portuguese as slaves. A lot of them took up Islam as their religion, while some took up Christianity. Very few became Hindus as the caste system did not leave much opportunity for them. African by origin, Indian by nationality with Gujarati as their lingua franca – the Siddhi tribe live in a village called Jambur in the heart of Gujarat. “They have completed more than 300 years in Gujarat and this is their fourth generation in India,” said Gadanayak who matched a few steps in rhythm after felicitating them. While the brum beats seemed very African it is the primeval tone of the music and their songs that spoke of faraway places and an ethos that was at once exotic if not strange and curious. They brought alive the evening at the NGMA and one thought of the many artists whose works adorned the walls thinking that it completed the aesthetics of an entire movement that was seeking to find identities. The Siddi’s claim to fame is their origin. Some of them have a dual profession – although they do small time jobs in the day, they dance to the African beats at night. “There are many tourists visiting Gir and we entertain them with our performance. This helps us make some extra money,” said one member from the tribe in fluent Gujarati. The Siddi tribe has also seen a little stardom. They have been made a part of an important Gujarat tourism video called “Khushboo Gujarat Ki.” On a daily basis, the tribals are engaged in various occupations. They work on the fields, in the forest department, and some as tourist guides and truck drivers. And as the night sets in, the Siddis once again dress up in their tiger prints and set out to perform another spectacular tribal tradition.last_img read more

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Exciting news and vacancies available in this weeks Ladysmith Gazette so get

Exciting news and vacancies available in this weeks Ladysmith Gazette so get

first_imgThe Ladysmith Gazette newspaper is out today, so you’d be wise to get your copy as soon as possible.Read our front-page story about a disabled man who lives on the banks of the Klip River. His story is heart-rending to say the least…We have plenty of hard news stories on page 2 and 3, including one about an armed house robbery that has left a Ladysmith family in shock.If you are looking for a job or want to buy / sell items, then check out the vacancies and classifieds pages!Many of our stories are “PRINT ONLY”, so you have to purchase a copy of the Ladysmith Gazette to read these stories, as they will not appear online.Not forgetting our community articles, school news and sport.You can purchase your copy on the streets and at various shops around town; the newspaper is not hard to find!The cost of the Ladysmith Gazette is ONLY R5.30. So what are you waiting for? Go and grab your copy NOW!Click to receive news links via WhatsApp. Or  for the latest news, visit our webpage or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Join us there! WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite last_img read more

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Critics say politics tainting trial of Iraqi VP

first_imgAssociated PressBAGHDAD (AP) – Iraq’s first major trial dealing with the country’s savage Sunni-Shiite sectarian killings is tainted by politics, critics say _ an ominous sign for those hoping for justice for tens of thousands of victims of street executions, bombings and kidnappings.The defendant, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, says charges that he ran Sunni death squads are part of a political vendetta by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite. Al-Hashemi’s nine-member legal team walked out in protest in the second court session late last month, citing judicial bias. And the prosecution’s case relies heavily on the testimony of co-defendants, that the defense claimed was coerced, pointing to one who died in custody. More broadly, regardless of the merits of the case against al-Hashemi _ the highest-ranking Sunni in Iraq’s leadership _ the Shiite-dominated government has shown no sign of trying to prosecute those behind Shiite militias behind slayings of Sunnis. Several of those militias were linked to Shiite political parties that are now crucial backers of al-Maliki’s government.Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh denied any bias in charging al-Hashemi or that he was singled out, saying the case was strictly a legal matter. “Courts look into the crime itself, not the sectarian background” of the suspect, he said.However, al-Maliki himself has acknowledged that politics played a role in the timing of the charges against al-Hashemi. The prime minister has said he was aware of incriminating evidence against the vice president three years ago, but didn’t press the case then “for the sake of the political process.”Prosecutors charged al-Maliki’s often irksome rival only in December, a day after U.S. troops left Iraq, effectively ending the direct influence in Baghdad of the United States, which had pressured Sunnis and Shiites to get along. Al-Hashemi fled before he could be arrested, first to Kurdish-run northern Iraq where he was out of Baghdad’s reach, then abroad. Iraq remains paralyzed by the sectarian power struggles even if violence has dropped off since the worst bloodshed of 2006 and 2007.Some say that even if there was a political will to go after the major perpetrators, regardless of sect, Iraq doesn’t have the tools for such an enormous task, particularly an independent judiciary not intimidated by politicians or the threat of violence.“There has not been any investigation into the atrocities,” said Samer Muscati, a researcher at the international group Human Rights Watch. “The killings were on such a scale, and given the priorities of the current government and ongoing violence, it is hard for them to look at what happened a few years ago.”Long-running tensions between Iraq’s Shiite majority and Sunni minority exploded three years after U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq in 2003 and toppled Saddam Hussein, a Sunni. In February 2006, al-Qaida-linked insurgents bombed a major Shiite shrine, an attack that unleashed tit-for-tat killings, forcing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to flee their homes and pushing the country to the brink of civil war.Among those involved in sectarian violence were the Shiite Mahdi Army, a militia loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, as well as gangs of al-Qaida-linked Sunni insurgents trying to drive out U.S. troops. Another Shiite group, the Iranian-linked Badr Brigades, was suspected of assassinating Saddam-linked army officers and officials of his Baath Party, targeting Shiites and Sunnis alike. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Iraq’s Human Rights Ministry says about 70,000 Iraqis have been killed since 2003 and an additional 15,000 are missing and presumed dead. In a sign of the slow pace of digging up the blood-drenched past, authorities received tips about 76 locations where bodies might have been buried, but retrieved only three dozen bodies in six areas, said Kamil Ameen, a senior ministry official.Prosecutors say al-Hashemi and his son-in-law, Ahmed Qahtan, ran death squads between 2005 and 2011, using a troupe of dozens of bodyguards to carry out bombings and shootings that targeted, among others, Shiite Muslim pilgrims and government officials.The pair face 150 separate charges, but are currently standing trial only for alleged roles in three killings _ of a lawyer, an Interior Ministry official and a member of the security forces. Al-Hashemi has denied wrongdoing.The head of a human rights group in Iraq, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said he believes the government is trying to pin most of the blame for the sectarian violence on Sunnis.“I am not defending al-Hashemi as I believe almost all politicians were involved in the killings of Iraqis in the past years, and their hands are stained with the blood of the Iraqi people,” he said. “All Iraqis know that.” Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments   Share   5 treatments for adult scoliosis More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements A former commander of the Badr Brigades, Hadi al-Amiri, now serves as Transport Minister.Al-Hashemi’s defense team contends testimony against him was obtained through coercion. His co-defendants include more than 70 former aides and bodyguards, several of whom have testified for the prosecution. One bodyguard died in custody; the defense says he was tortured, while the government insists he died from kidney failure.In three hearings so far, several bodyguards told the three-judge panel they were usually approached by al-Hashemi’s son-in-law and asked to carry out attacks. They said that on occasion, al-Hashemi thanked them afterward and paid them.The defense walked out of the second hearing after the court denied a request to obtain evidence that lawyers argued could exonerate the defendants, including the son-in-law’s phone records. In the third hearing last week, defense lawyers sat among fewer than two dozen spectators and only approached the court once, to request that Iraq’s president be called as a character witness.The next hearing is set for June 19. Justice Ministry officials did not provide figures on trials against others involved in post-war sectarian attacks. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group think tank said politics loom large in the case.“Nobody is investigating anything. This is a file pulled out of the drawer,” Hiltermann said of the al-Hashemi case. “The charges could have a basis, but there is no independent way of determining that” because Iraq lacks a functioning judiciary.Hiltermann added that such charges “can be brought against any number of people on all sides.”Among those walking free is al-Sadr, whose support is key to al-Maliki’s continued rule. Sadrists command 40 seats in the 325-member parliament and are part of an unwieldy ruling coalition that also includes the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya bloc and Kurdish groups.Al-Sadr has sided with Sunni and Kurd politicians in a recent attempt to unseat al-Maliki, accused by his coalition partners of monopolizing power. But the cleric is also under intense pressure from his Iranian mentors not to topple the government.Any legal action against al-Sadr would surely disrupt al-Maliki’s efforts to keep him in the fold.Al-Sadr was able in the past to leverage his political clout to avoid prosecution. Several years ago, an arrest warrant was issued for al-Sadr and two aides in the 2003 killing of a Shiite cleric who was hacked to death by a mob. Legal proceedings were suspended in 2004, as part of a deal to end fighting between al-Sadr’s militiamen and U.S. troops in the southern city of Najaf. Sponsored Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

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