CCJ no-confidence cases…says Govt dodging of elections raises questions about its self-confidenceEven as the coalition Government fights for its survival in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), a Trinidad and Tobago (T&T)-based political analyst has opined that the Caribbean at large on a daily basis questions the reason Government even went to court in the first place.Senior Lecturer at UWI, Dr Bishnu RagoonathThis is according to Dr Bishnu Ragoonath, a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of West Indies at its St Augustine campus in Trinidad. Dr Ragoonath was at the time making an appearance on a Globespan24x7 Town Hall panel discussion.According to Dr Ragoonath, observers of the case in the Caribbean have been questioning the reasoning behind the Guyana Government going to the courts, ever since they first approached the High Court.“For all intents and purposes, there was the feeling that ever since the matter went to the High Court, ‘why is this matter going to the High Court?’ Because as far as most of us were concerned, within the context of all our laws in the Caribbean, once you have faced a no-confidence vote and you have lost, it is anticipated that the Government will hand over or call elections within three months,” he said.“So it is something that most of us, as political scientists and lay people in the Caribbean, would have (asked) why is Guyana going down this route. Why are they not going and call elections when they should? And why is the Government now challenging this thing when initially they accepted it?”Indeed, on the very night of the no-confidence vote, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo had accepted that Government must follow the Constitution and call elections in three months, in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana.Article 106 (6) and (7) of the Constitution states, respectively: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”Three of the CCJ Judges during the hearingAnd “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.”According to Dr Ragoonath, the Government’s about-turn has caused many in the Caribbean to question whether the Government is afraid of going to the polls and whether this fear stems from a lack of confidence in itself and its record.“I think the eyes of the Caribbean looking at Guyana believe that if the Guyana Government felt so confident in themselves, they should have gone back to the polls and let the people give them another mandate to take the Government forward for the next five years. But there is that concern, that maybe they’re not as confident as they should be.”The courtroomBut Dr Ragoonath noted that the big question was how far Government would be willing to go, if the court should return a ruling unfavourable to it. He noted that the way the case has been progressing and the way the CCJ Judges have reacted to the State lawyers’ submissions in the two days the cases were heard is very telling.“While we cannot say what will be the verdict in this matter, the Judges did in fact ask some very telling questions, to the legal representatives of both the Government and the Opposition. For instance, they kept on asking the question of why did the courts in Guyana take so long knowing full well that there was a 90-day limit beyond the no-confidence motion, that the elections were to be held and the (Cabinet) should have resigned.”“The fact that the Appeal Court in Guyana went beyond the three-month deadline to give their ruling, thus pushing the whole issue back. The issue being raised about whether or not if a verdict does go in favour of the Opposition against the Government, how soon can an election be held in Guyana,” the scholar said.He made it clear that he was not surprised by the questions the Judges put to the Attorneys. According to Dr Ragoonath, having sat and observed events in Guyana and how they were playing out, it was merely a matter of determining the next step forward.He also noted the fact that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has given the Government a November earliest date in which elections can be held. This is a date well outside the timeframe the Constitution of Guyana sets for holding elections.“I think if we are to follow the questions, I think there were serious concerns that the CCJ would have had about how the Government but also the institutions acted… the Elections Commission and the Court of Appeal in how they operated in this matter,” he said.The three no-confidence motion cases deal with Christopher Ram v the Attorney General of Guyana, the Leader of the Opposition and Joseph Harmon; Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo v the Attorney General of Guyana, Dr Barton Scotland and Joseph Harmon; and Charrandas Persaud v Compton Herbert Reid, Dr Barton Scotland, Bharrat Jagdeo and Joseph Harmon; the last of which deals with Persaud’s eligibility to vote in the House. The oral arguments concluded on Friday, with the whole nation awaiting a ruling.
6 July 2015This year’s National Arts Festival – which runs from 2 to 12 July – not only features a number of strong and visible women in most genres, but also numerous productions and exhibitions that interrogate and question fixed thinking in relation to gender more broadly.At the closing of the PEN World Voices Festival in New York earlier this year, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoke out against the “codes of silence” that governed American life. “The fear of causing offence, the fear of ruffling the careful layers of comfort, becomes a fetish,” Adichie said.Practising what she preaches, the award-winning writer recently spoke out against the criminalisation of homosexuality in her home country. But, she told The Guardian: “I have often been told that I cannot speak on certain issues because I am young, and female, or, to use the disparaging Nigerian speak, because I am a ‘small girl’. I have also been told that I should not speak because I am a fiction writer. But I am as much a citizen as I am a writer.”Adichie’s critique could equally be levelled at South Africa’s slow-burning culture of consent in relation to everyday gender inequities and the often unspoken violence that plagues the lives of many South African women. This year, the National Arts Festival tackles this seam of gender inequality head on.This focus forms part of the overall thrust of this year’s festival to bring urgent social matters to light and present material that explores the limits of expressive liberty, provoking audiences and taking them beyond their comfort zones.“The arts need to challenge and provoke,” says the festival’s artistic director, Ismail Mahomed – and that includes provocation in relation to the most intimate questions of gender identity, sexuality and power relations.More female artists have been consciously featured in the programme this year in an effort to amplify female voices in the theatrical, performing and visual arts. Among the many female writers, directors, performers, curators and trailblazing artists across all genres appearing this year, the leading lights include:Tara Louise Notcutt’s Three Blind Mice in which she directs James Cairns, Albert Pretorius and Rob van Vuuren in an unforgiving journey into the dark heart of South African justice, which looks to the horrific and barely believable narratives (Pistorius, Dewani) that have dominated our media recently.Patricia Boyer brings Miss Margarida’s Way to Grahamstown. Audiences and critics in over 50 countries have cheered this allegory about totalitarianism, which uses as its central metaphor a classroom. Also, Florence: A Script Reading explores the life of Lady Florence Phillips and the circumstances that led to the creation of the Johannesburg Art Gallery.In Jolynn Minaar’s Unearthed the young South African filmmaker swallows her optimism on the potential shale gas could bring to her people after travelling to ground zero and uncovering the dirty secrets of the fracking industry.Between Darkness and Light is the first major mid-career retrospective of internationally acclaimed photographer Jodi Bieber. It includes a selection of her work from 1993 to the present. The show has been exhibited at Stadhaus Ulm and Museum Goch in Germany as well as the Wits Art Museum.Monique Pelser’s Conversations with My Father is a continuous dialogue (2011 – to date) between the artist and the objects, images, sound recordings and documents she inherited after her father died of a rare motor neuron disease which rendered him unable to speak for the last year-and-a-half of his life. Her father was “a good man, a good father”. As a member of the South African Police force, he was also a product of his environment.The Guardian recently called Thandiswa Mazwai “South Africa’s finest female contemporary singer”. One of South Africa’s most influential musicians, her music defies categorisation, but reflects elements of African traditional, jazz, Afro- soul and house.Also catch pianist Kai-ya Chang and gifted vocalists Nomfundo Xaluva, Lindiwe Maxolo, Auriol Hays and Siya Makuzeni (vocals/trombone) at the Standard Bank Jazz Festival.Lerato Bereng is this year’s Featured Young Curator. Having graduated with a Masters in Fine Art (with distinction) from Rhodes University, she will be returning to her stomping ground. Bereng, who is a curator at Stevenson gallery in Johannesburg, has curated Nine O’Clock, an exhibition featuring a selection of works by Simon Gush, including elements from his project, Red (2014), and Kemang wa Lehulere’s exhibition History Will Break Your Heart.For gripping theatre based on harrowing true stories about women rising up against the odds, see Woman Alone, Christo Davids’ adaptation of Dannelene Noach’s autobiographical novel, Arabian Nightmare. It tells the story of a woman working as a nursing co-ordinator in one of the large, modern hospitals in Riyadh who is abducted and incarcerated in a Saudi Arabian jail.A Muslim woman comes her rescue in a poignant tale about personal courage in the context of current-day religious conflicts.The National Arts Festival runs from 2 to 12 July 2015 in the small university town of Grahamstown in Eastern Cape.Source: National Arts Festival
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has introduced 17 bills that cover a range of energy issues as part of a push to pass the first bipartisan energy package in Congress since 2007. UtilityDive reports the bills would deal with issues such as distributed generation, net metering, the distribution of electricity over the grid, and the development of microgrids.Murkowski, the Republican chairwoman of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in January she would push for legislation in four areas: efficiency, infrastructure, supply, and government accountability, according to UtilityDive. The committee has already held hearings on the efficiency bills and planned hearings in other areas later in the month.She also called on other members of the committee to file any energy bills they have so they could be considered for inclusion in her legislation. A number of senators have, including Senator Angus King of Maine, whose proposal is summarized below. The House Energy and Commerce Committee also is considering energy legislation.Fact sheets for each of the bills can be found at the committee’s website. Other bills in the packageAmong the other proposals Murkowski has submitted were these: S. 1217 would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission new resources to reduce siting delays for electric power line projects that require environmental reviews and approval from more than one federal agency. A new ombudsman would help settle differences in permit applications for new utility lines. S. 1223 changes the rules for federal loans designed to encourage innovative energy programs. Among other things, the bill would prohibit the subordination of taxpayer interests to the interests of private investors, as was the case when the Department of Energy restructured a loan guarantee to Solyndra. The failed solar panel maker in California had hundreds of millions of dollars in federal loan guarantees. S. 1227 is designed to promote the development of “hybrid micro-grid” systems for isolated communities that aren’t connected to larger electric grids, a problem faced by a number of remote communities in Alaska and the U.S. territories. Another bill would require ‘reasonable’ interconnection feesA second bill on distributed generation, submitted by King, a Maine independent, would establish the right of a homeowner to connect a PV or wind system to the grid “in a reasonable time frame” and for “just and reasonable” fees.The bill, called the Free Market Energy Act of 2015, “creates the outlines of a free market, but allows states to set the specific rules in order to reflect each state’s unique needs,” according to a summary of the bill given to UtilityDive by the senators’s office.The bill would require states to look at rates for distributed generation “in an unbundled manner” (“unbundled” means electric rates are itemized rather than lumped together in a single charge). States would have to consider such things as time-of-use pricing, societal benefits of distributed generation, and “locational value” of the resources, UtilityDive reported.In states that didn’t comply with the requirements, residential solar and wind systems would be considered “Qualifying Facilities” under the 1978 Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA), meaning that utilities would be required by law to purchase power they generated at the utility’s full retail electricity rate, a UtilityDive report on King’s plan said.“We’re trying to provide some sort of policy parameters, if you will, to help the states as they work through this,” King told UtilityDive. “That’s really the purpose. The idea of the bill is to try to guide us in that direction [of unbundled pricing and accurate DER valuation], so that we don’t have low-level warfare around the country in trying to establish this.” A look at distributed generationOne key area for legislation is distributed generation, the production of electricity close to its point of use, such as residential and small-scale solar and wind projects. As the price of solar electricity has fallen, the installation of residential photovoltaic (PV) systems has become more widespread, touching off regulatory battles between state regulators, utilities, and solar advocates all over the country.One of Murkowski’s bills, S. 1219, would direct utility commissioners to review the effects of net metering on customers who don’t have PV systems of their own and decide whether net metering rates are reasonable, according to a summary bill published by SNL Financial.This point has been pivotal, with many utilities around the country arguing that customers without solar electricity end up subsidizing those who do. Regulators in some states have approved surcharges on solar customers to help utilities recoup lower sales, a move the solar industry says discourages sales of new systems.“At the retail level, the rise of distributed generation, such as solar rooftop panels, has resulted in a new, bi-directional flow of electricity, where customers both receive power and transmit power back onto the system,” the bill’s summary says. “As a result, the grid is now being operated in ways for which it was not designed. These transformative changes require closer consideration of ancillary services, such as generation imbalance and frequency response, that are necessary to maintain grid reliability.”Murkowski said at a briefing May 7 she expected opposition to the bill from both states and electric utilities.“Are we going to get pushback from all corners? Yes, because things are changing,” she said, according to the SNL account. “How we anticipate that [issue] is going to be part of our challenge as we try to draft a bill that acknowledges that we haven’t even looked at these systems because we haven’t needed to.“Distributed generation is going to be one of those areas where you’re going to see some robust debate and perhaps not as great a certainty in terms of a resolution right away as many would like,” she continued. “But it goes back to the need as to why it’s so important that we advance an energy bill now, not having done anything since 2007. We are so far behind in updating.”
Krawietz: Klopp feels same about Liverpool as BVB, Mainzby Ansser Sadiq16 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool assistant manager Peter Krawietz believes that he and boss Jurgen Klopp found an instant connection with the club when they joined.Fans were unsure of what to expect of Klopp when he arrived, given the way his tenure at Borussia Dortmund ended.However, he managed to take the club to new heights, winning the Champions League last season.And Krawietz believes that part of the success is due to the incredible feeling that he and Klopp have for the club, which is similar to how they felt about previous clubs Mainz and Borussia Dortmund.”We always felt something like an identity with the club we were working for. In Mainz, it was our hometown where we grew up – so obviously it was easy because it was natural,” Krawietz told the Liverpool website. “We found this in Dortmund pretty quickly. And it is, and was, the same here in Liverpool. The more you learn about this city, of course adapting a little bit, and learn how people think and what they expect…of course, it helps if you have a little bit of success! “Then people can see from the outside things are going forward. This is what we always wanted. We thought the things we want to invent take a bit of time – a long-term idea – and we’d come somewhere where we’d try to make an impact for the whole club, something that stays for longer even if you are not here anymore. “Something which stays – not only trophies and a good time – and that it can go on. It worked in Mainz, it worked in Dortmund and I hope we are in a good way to do it as well in Liverpool.” About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say
oklahoma state phantom first downIt’s been a tough year for the the Big 12’s referees. It’s about to get worse.During Saturday’s contest between Oklahoma State and Kansas State, it appears that the Cowboys were given a phantom first down when they should have been four yards short of the line to gain. Facing a 3rd and 23 from Oklahoma State’s 42-yard line, Mason Rudolph connected with Marcell Ateman for a 19-yard gain. Fox Sports 1 showed a replay of the play, and when they panned back to the live action, OSU had somehow been given a first down.A user took video of the entire sequence. The play in question comes at around the 2:30 mark.Jake Trotter, who covers the Big 12 for ESPN, confirmed that the officials made a mistake. As he notes, Oklahoma State scored a touchdown just four plays later.Big 12 officials did in fact award Oklahoma St a phantom first down when it should’ve been fourth-and-four. OSU scored TD four plays later— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 4, 2015How does this happen? We’re not sure. But with the Cowboys eking out a two-point win over the Wildcats, there are going to be lots of questions here.
santa surprises urban meyerLast year, Ohio State’s strength and conditioning team dressed up as Santa and his elves to greet head coach Urban Meyer as he made his way to the locker room a few days before Christmas. Apparently, it’s now a tradition. Monday morning, Meyer was surprised by a similar scene, and was even given a present. No word on what was in the box.Ohio State is currently preparing for the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day. But there’s still apparently time for a little Christmas cheer.
GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 01: Running back Ezekiel Elliott #15 of the Ohio State Buckeyes (left) celebrates his second quarter touchdown with running back Jalin Marshall #7 (right) during the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)The Dallas Cowboys just made the most beloved pick of the NFL Draft, taking injured Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith with the No. 34 overall selection. Smith injured his knee in the Fiesta Bowl and likely won’t play at all during the 2016 season. One of the players he faced in that Fiesta Bowl, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, is now his teammate. Elliott welcomed Smith to the team on Twitter. Welcome to the family brother @thejaylonsmith— EzekielElliott (@EzekielElliott) April 29, 2016The Cowboys have drafted two of college football’s most-likable players in Elliott and Smith. The NFL Draft is being televised on ESPN and the NFL Network.
GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – The Grande Prairie RCMP have received countless phone calls reporting aggressive contacts from people claiming to be collecting money for the Canada Revenue Agency.The scam often involves telling the victim that taxes are owed and they must be paid immediately or there will be a warrant for their arrest. The caller will then request payment in the form of gift cards or prepaid credit cards. Callers may even “spoof” a phone number so that the call will appear as the CRA on call display.Residents in the B.C. Peace are also sharing on facebook, copies of text messages that suggest in order to receive your child benefit payment, you should click a link to share your auto deposit information. Do not click the link. A copy of the text message being sent to area residents asking for banking information.Please keep the following information in mind:There is no legitimate agency, CRA, RCMP, or otherwise, that will accept payment in the form of gift cards or prepaid credit cards.If you feel the call may be legitimate, hang up the phone and look up the number for the CRA to call and get verification. Do not call back the number on your call display.If the caller alludes to police or RCMP involvement, hang up and call your local RCMP or police detachment directly for verification.Please report any calls of this nature to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca. If you’ve received a phone call like this and paid out money or gift cards, please attend the Grande Prairie RCMP detachment to file a report.
Darjeeling: Tourism in North Bengal is all set to receive a further boost with new accommodations coming up in the form of eco-friendly cottages in tourist hotspots.The state Tourism department, in collaboration with the Parks & Gardens Wing (North) of the state Forest department will be constructing these cottages at Gajoldoba, Tiger Hill and Tonglu. “15 cottages will come up at Bhorer Alo of Gajoldoba, with 5 cottages at Tiger Hill and 5 cottages at Tonglu. We will try to finish the cottages by Durga Puja this year,” said Anjan Guha, the divisional forest officer of the P&G Wing (North). Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersDetailed Project Reports of the projects have already been submitted to the Tourism department. The project is pegged at Rs 11 crore. Rs 6 crore will be spent for the cottages at Tonglu and Tiger Hill, while the 15 cottages at Bhorer Alo will be built at a cost of Rs 5 crore. Bhorer Alo, located at Gajoldoba in the Jalpaiguri district is located at a distance of 15 km from Siliguri town. Spread across a sprawling 210 acre area, Bhorer Alo is a dream project of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaUpon completion, the project will boast of a budget hotel, 2-star category hotels and a high-end hotel, along with a 9 hole golf course spread across 60 acres of land. Tourists will also be able to enjoy cycling, boating and camping facilities. It will also have a trekking route through Saraswati Tea Estate to the Bengal Safari. Work is on by the Forest department for developing the route. The project also includes a jungle safari, sunset point, orchid park, bird park and an amphitheatre. The cottages will not be constructed out of concrete. They will be made of wood and will have double occupancy, with all modern amenities on offer. Tiger Hill, a famous sunrise point, is located 11 km from Darjeeling town. An old British bungalow at the location that had been burnt down during the violent agitation of the 1980s is currently under renovation. The new cottages will come up surrounding the British cottage. At Tonglu, two separate dormitories for men and women will be there. Each dormitory will have a ten bed facility. Tonglu is located on the world famous trekking trail to Sandakphu- the highest point of the state at an altitude of 12,000 ft.
Washington DC: No date has been set yet for a summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the White House said on Monday noting that the trade negotiations between the two countries still continues. “In terms of whether or not we have a date set, not yet. We’re continuing the negotiations with China.” “When we have an announcement for the two leaders to sit down, we’ll certainly let you know,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her news conference. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi JinpingShe was responding to questions on reports that a summit meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in the US state of Florida has been put off as China considers the US President as “unreliable” in view of him walking away from talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Sanders ridiculed such a view. “I would say that’s absurd. The President is going to make a deal if it’s a good deal. He’s going to make a deal if it’s in the best interest of America. If he doesn’t feel like it’s a good deal, it’s not worth just signing a piece of paper,” Sanders Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in Xinjiangsaid. She argued that the President didn’t feel like what was on the table was enough. “The President is 100 per cent committed to denuclearization of the Peninsula, and he’s going to make sure that whatever we do furthers that process.” “We’ll see what happens with North Korea, the same way we’re going to see what happens in the negotiations with China. They’re ongoing,” she said. Trump is going to make sure whatever deal the US gets is in its best interest — that it’s fair and reciprocal trade; that it protects intellectual property; and that it actually has safeguards to make sure that the Chinese follow through with whatever commitments that they make, Sanders said. The two leaders will sit down for talks only when the negotiations are complete, she asserted.