ISIS Executes Two Alleged Gays Two Thieves Woman Charged For Adultery

Marrakech – The so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has posted graphic photographs showing the brutal execution of four men and one woman on charges of homosexuality, theft, and infidelity to Islam.Photographs posted on the ISIS website show two allegedly homosexual men in Iraq being thrown off a tall building as a large crowd of onlookers watches their bodies plummet and shatter as they hit the ground.The two men are seen with blindfolds at the top of a building being held by two ISIS members before being thrown off the building, after having been “convicted” of being homosexual. The “sentence” was imposed under a provision of the law that requires “execution of prescribed penalties against all those who commit an act against Lot’s nation,” according to the ISIS website. Beside the pictures is the following commentary by the ISIS official website managers: “Execution of the legitimate verdict on those who have committed the Great Corruption.”Another photograph posted on ISIS’s official website shows two men being crucified on charges of being thieves.An ISIS member reads the charges against the two alleged thieves out loud before they are then shot by other ISIS militants in the head.ISIS also published a photo showing a woman draped in an all-black niqab standing in front of an ISIS member, about to be stoned to death on an accusation of infidelity.Since ISIS proclaimed itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, it has committed numerous crimes and human rights abuses which have been condemned by the world, precipitating a military response against the self-proclaimed state by several countries including the United States and Morocco. read more

New UN envoy to TimorLeste takes up post

Ms. Haq, who is the Secretary-General’s new Special Representative to Timor-Leste, most recently served as deputy envoy and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan from 2007 to 2009. Prior to that, she was served the same functions in Afghanistan.She has broad management experience of complex missions, especially in Asia, making her “well-placed to lead the integrated peacekeeping mission in Timor-Leste,” known as UNMIT, according to a press release.The official has also worked as the Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery at the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in New York, as well as the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in both Malaysia and in Laos.Her career with the UN has also taken her to Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan and Indonesia. 5 January 2010Ameerah Haq of Bangladesh, a humanitarian official with over three decades of experience with the United Nations, arrived today in Timor-Leste to take up her post as the world body’s top envoy to the fledgling Asian nation. read more

NB chief health officer warns of boomtown effect with shale gas

It was one of two reports released Monday as the cash-strapped government weighs the economic benefits of shale gas development and the concerns of some in the public who have voiced their opposition to growing the industry.FREDERICTON — New Brunswick’s infrastructure and legislation aren’t strong enough to ensure public health is protected should the shale gas industry be expanded, the province’s chief medical officer of health warns in a report released Monday.In her report, Dr. Eilish Cleary makes 30 recommendations that aim to address what she says is a lack of research on the health effects of the shale gas sector.Cleary’s report highlights the possible benefits a thriving shale gas industry could offer the province such as increased employment and tax revenues, but it also flags a gamut of potential health risks that include deteriorating air and water quality, increased truck traffic accidents and a “Boomtown Effect.”“These negative impacts can include increases in crime, drug and alcohol abuse, sexually-transmitted infections and domestic violence,” Cleary says in her report.“Because the Boomtown Effect is thought to be more intense for small communities with a traditional way of life that did not previously involve the industrial sector responsible for the boom, there may be a risk to New Brunswick communities unless this effect is anticipated and mitigated through strategic investments.”As it stands, the province is not ready for shale gas development, she says.“Proper controls and mechanisms to protect and monitor health must be put in place to reduce the risk of spoiling the potential benefits from economic gains through adverse health outcomes,” the report says.“Action should be taken well in advance of any proposed expansion. Current infrastructure, capacity, processes and legislation are not adequate to meet the needs. The funding of these recommendations will not be insignificant; however there may be opportunity to have much of the costs absorbed by the industry.”Cleary calls for measures that include monitoring the health of people who live or work near a shale gas site, disclosing all chemical compounds used by the shale gas industry, and provisions for the handling and disposal of wastewater.The province’s Health Department said Cleary and Health Minister Hugh Flemming were unavailable to comment Monday. Cleary is scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday to discuss the report.The Progressive Conservative government initially said earlier this month that it would not release Cleary’s report because it was considered confidential and designated as ministerial advice.But days later, former health minister Madeleine Dube said parts of the report would be released. Environment Minister Bruce Fitch then promised to release the report in its entirety.It was one of two reports released Monday as the cash-strapped government weighs the economic benefits of shale gas development and the concerns of some in the public who have voiced their opposition to growing the industry.In his report released earlier in the day, University of Moncton biologist Louis LaPierre says New Brunswick should proceed with shale gas exploration but with a phased-in approach that would limit it to one to three sites to allow for research and development.LaPierre, who was hired by the provincial government in May to study the shale gas industry, released his report following public meetings throughout the summer.LaPierre’s report rejects a moratorium on shale gas development as sought by the Opposition Liberals, saying it would halt research on the issue and not be in the province’s interests.“A moratorium on future shale gas exploration activities would not provide the opportunity to address the concerns of the citizens nor would it enable government to define the economic potential of the shale gas industry,” he says in the report.Interim Liberal Leader Victor Boudreau took issue with that.“This is a commercial exploitation of shale gas that is occurring in the province of New Brunswick,” Boudreau said.“In no way would a moratorium prevent research from happening. It may prevent the commercial exploitation, but it doesn’t have to stop the research.”LaPierre began his review following the release earlier this year of a government paper on shale gas containing 116 recommendations that addressed issues such as well designs, royalties and protection of water supplies.LaPierre told a news conference that he repeatedly heard the public’s concerns over water during his consultations.“Citizens in New Brunswick spoke passionately to me on the need to protect their water,” he said.LaPierre also said he would like to see four universities — Mount Allison University, the University of New Brunswick, St. Thomas University and his own — work together to establish a research institute that would gather data on the shale gas sector.“We need credible data for New Brunswick, not extrapolated data from away.”Energy Minister Craig Leonard said he needed more time to study LaPierre’s report, but added that he was interested with its recommendations.“The approach that he is suggesting for a way forward is intriguing,” Leonard said. “It would certainly reduce the amount of risk that’s out there and give a better comfort level to people about moving forward.”Green party Leader David Coon accused LaPierre of not taking environmental concerns seriously.“We believe you can’t make shale gas and fracking safe with regulations,” Coon said. “Besides, it’s a fossil fuel, and he seems to have forgotten we have a climate crisis.”LaPierre also recommends that a portion of any shale gas developed in New Brunswick should be reserved for use within the province. read more

Afghanistan donation from Germany will boost UN efforts to help poor farmers

The donation will go to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to provide drought-resistant wheat and chickpea seeds, as well as fertilizer and agricultural advice, to 8,000 poor families in Samangan Province – one of the areas most severely affected by the drought. According to the Islamabad-based Office of the UN Coordinator for Afghanistan, the relief effort aims to give farmers improved seed of suitable varieties in order to increase crop yields. In addition to boosting food production, the project is expected to create opportunities for seasonal employment for labourers engaged in harvesting and processing the seed. After harvesting the crops, the farmers are expected to keep enough of the seeds produced to cover the same area the next year. FAO encourages farmers to exchange surplus improved seeds with neighbours and relatives. The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan as a whole is in a sharp downwards spiral that will continue until at least next summer. Since summer 2000, over 1 million Afghans have left their homes, including over 700,000 who are internally displaced within their country. The UN estimates that during this year the number of internally displaced Afghans will top 1 million. read more

Iraq UN envoy calls for quick formation of government as violence worsens

“Iraq must come together to overcome violence. There is a need, more than ever before, to speed up the formation of a government that will assert respect for Human Rights and the rule of law in an alarmingly deteriorating security situation in Iraq,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Ashraf Qazi said today. Sectarian tensions are higher than ever and mutilated bodies continue to appear on the streets on a daily basis, he added in a statement, stating that he was appalled by the daily cases of torture, arbitrary arrests, and extrajudicial executions that have affected all communities and led to the internal displacement of Iraqi civilians. He called on the Iraqi authorities to take firm action to stop the violence and ensure that citizens enjoy the rights and protection stipulated by Iraqi and international laws. Mr. Qazi’s statement followed his address yesterday to the Arab League Summit conference in Khartoum, Sudan, in which he declared that a government in such a crisis situation should seek to the fullest extent possible to govern by consent and win the trust of Iraq’s citizens regardless of their ethnic and sectarian background.“While fully upholding respect for the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, the international community has a duty to caution Iraq’s political leaders that there is no alternative to the creation of a national government,” he said. “An administration which is perceived as merely a loose collection of interest groups will not succeed and is far below what Iraqis deserve.”He stressed the need for a new atmosphere in Iraq to establish mutual confidence and a more imaginative political discourse built on political flexibility to counter the perception that there are only two alternatives: civil war or dismemberment of the country.“An inclusive political process built on objectives which are directed to serve the public national interest should be given priority,” he said. “These in turn depend on the willingness of Iraq’s leaders to see beyond their opponent’s identity politics, and to articulate a future vision of Iraq that sees in multilateralism an important balance to serve Iraq’s national unity.” He noted that the lack of adequate security serious hampered rehabilitation and reconstruction and disruption to basic services, with a huge financial and social cost. “All Iraqi parties have to work towards achieving joint national reconciliation instead of local conflicting interests,” he said. “The neighboring and regional states have a special responsibility to assure the Iraqi people that their involvement in supporting Iraq’s political process is intended to ensure the success of the national accord,” he added, referring to the Arab League’s involvement in convening the National Accord preparatory conference in Cairo last November. The conference itself is slated to be held in Baghdad in June. read more

Market forces more oil companies to idle operations

Market forces more oil companies to idle operations by Jonathan Muma Posted Jan 13, 2016 7:38 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email (Stock photo: FreeImages.com) As the price of oil continues its historic slide, more companies are shutting down wells and going into survival mode.West Texas Intermediate fell to its lowest level in more than 12 years Tuesday, briefly dipping below US$30 a barrel, before closing at US$30.44Many companies made budget assumptions that oil would rebound to at least US$40 or US$50 a barrel to start the year, but now that that hasn’t happened, they’re in the process of putting the cap on wells and slashing spending.David Yager, national leader Oilfield Service MNP LLP, explains why it’s hitting heavy oil producers in Alberta so hard:“In some cases it costs more to lift it out of the ground than you can fetch for it, so it’s sort of like selling dollar bills for 85 cents,” he said.That’s especially true for those pumping heavy oil, which is more expensive to convert to a useable product.For example, the Globe and Mail reports output at Canadian company Gear Energy Ltd’s wells cost upward of CAN$37.50 a barrel for crude which is selling for less than CAN$20 a barrel.The paper says Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd. has cut production by 3,000 barrels a day, Baytex Energy Corp. is suspending about 2,400 barrels a day at its operations and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd is cutting back a whopping 10,000 barrels a day.Yager says it makes sense, and may actually lead to higher prices.“People say, ‘Well this is stupid, I can’t throw good money into that,’ they shut-in their wells, all of a sudden the supply/demand equation reverses, the prices go up and things return to normal, albeit at a slower pace,” he said.Some analysts say larger companies have the financial backing to keep pumping even at sharp losses. read more

Russell Westbrook For MVP Whatever That Means

The NBA MVP derby was once a two-man race between James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.Not anymore.After recording his fourth straight triple-double on Wednesday night with a ridiculous stat line of 49 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is undeniably an MVP contender.Westbrook’s recent output has been mind-blowing: He’s averaging 37 points, 13.5 rebounds and 10.5 assists per game during his triple-double streak, which began as he was closing out one of the best statistical months in NBA history. As ESPN’s Stats and Info group noted, Westbrook’s performance in February (31.2 PPG/10.3 APG/9.1 RPG) was just the second time an NBA player ever averaged 30 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists per game over a calendar month.1Minimum 10 games played in the month. (The first — and, until recently, only — player to do it was inner-circle Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson.)But there are barriers to Westbrook’s MVP candidacy. Algorithms based on previous MVP voting trends still consider him a long shot for the award, with Basketball-Reference.com’s MVP tracker assigning Westbrook a mere 6.6 percent probability of winning. By contrast, the tracker says it’s about 66 percent likely that either Curry or Harden takes home the hardware.The key determinant there: Oklahoma City’s record. Both Curry’s and Harden’s teams have won in excess of two-thirds of their games — good for the first- and fourth-ranked records in the Western Conference, respectively — while Westbrook’s Thunder have a winning percentage of 55.7 percent and are clinging to the eighth (and final) playoff spot in the West. Fair or not, team performance has historically mattered to MVP voters. (Although Westbrook will likely get bonus points for keeping the Thunder afloat in the playoff race during spells in which defending MVP Kevin Durant was injured.)Plus there’s the question of where Westbrook ranks statistically, even after his recent streak of brilliance. Single-season Real Plus-Minus (RPM), Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) and Win Shares all have Harden and Curry ranked No. 1 and 2 in terms of value produced this season. So if things hold steady over the next six weeks, Westbrook will have to overcome both the stats and historical patterns of MVP voting if he is to win the award. It’s been done before, but not all that often.Then again, what does “Most Valuable” even mean? It’s a debate that comes up every year, in every sport, and it never ends with a satisfactory answer. The great sportswriter Joe Posnanski put it best in a podcast last fall:I love [the MVP] because it makes us argue about the word ‘valuable.’ … When somebody named the MVP award, you know in their mind they just had: ‘Best Player.’ The best player ought to get an award, and what are you going to call it? Just call it the ‘Most Valuable Player’ award. OK, great.And ever since then, we have been parsing that word to absolute death. I think my favorite argument against somebody winning the MVP award is when they say, ‘Look, it’s not the Player of the Year Award or the Most Outstanding Player — it’s the Most Valuable Player.’ Like there is any difference between any of those things. You’re just pulling synonyms out.I love that, and in a way, I would never want that to change because it brings up such extraordinarily stupid arguments that just rage on and on every year.And this year’s NBA race brings a particularly interesting twist. According to long-term predictive RPM, which is the best single-number assessment of a player’s current talent level,2In the sense that it best predicts out-of-sample lineup results. the best player in the league is still probably Cleveland’s LeBron James — as he has been for the past three seasons running.James was so far out in front of his peers a few seasons ago that he could afford a relative down year (by his standards). But therein lies the problem — the game’s best player hasn’t quite played like it this season. By just about any metric, Harden, Curry and Westbrook have been better than James in 2014-15.This kind of thing happens all the time in baseball, where performance fluctuates wildly around true talent. (Or did anyone really think Ken Caminiti was the best player in a league that featured Barry Bonds in his prime?) But basketball is supposed to be different — in the absence of voter fatigue, there’s a lot of crossover between MVP and “best player” in the NBA, to the point that the former can circle back to become a referendum on the latter.So do you still give the 2014-15 MVP to the best player? OK, then give it to James. Or do you honor the player who has had the best season? Then you have to decide between Harden and Curry. Or maybe you just eschew the whole process and give it to Westbrook — if not the Most Valuable, possibly the Most Electrifying Player in the NBA right now. read more

New bats could change complexion of college baseball

When athletes on the Ohio State baseball team step up to the plate next season, they’ll be gripping a new and relatively unfamiliar type of bat. Beginning Jan. 1, all NCAA teams must use bats that are aluminum — like the bats they have used in the past — but are designed to knock the ball slower, at the same speeds as wooden bats. “It’s definitely going to change our game,” OSU coach Greg Beals said. “It’s not going to be as offensive.” The new regulation is a response to rising offensive statistics by college baseball teams. Some say the aluminum bats are to blame for the offensive outburst and hope the new bats will level the playing field. “The teams that are going to be successful are teams that get ahead of the curve,” Beals said. “You don’t want to play 15 to 20 games and realize, ‘Oh hey, the games are going to be different.’“ Players also have to adjust to using the new bat. “A well-struck ball that sometimes might go for a double or even a home run, stays in the yard or is cut down to a single,” senior infielder Tyler Engle said. Although teams aren’t required to use the new bats until January, OSU has been practicing with them all fall. “We’ve seen enough in our scrimmage games here in the fall that we know the games are going to be different,” Beals said. “We’ve got to value each base runner and each base that we can get.” Athletes said the Jan. 1 deadline to switch over to new bats won’t be a problem. “Nike is our bat manufacturer and Nike has supplied us with a full line of the new bats for our guys to use,” Beals said. The new regulation also aims to protect pitchers, who have taken more hits from fast-flying balls in recent years. But Engle said he doesn’t think pitchers will be much safer. “They are such a short distance away and the force (of the ball) coming off the bat, I don’t think they have enough time to react anyway,” he said. Some athletes have said the new bats have a smaller “sweet spot,” but the bats aren’t expected to stump batters who have been successful in the past. “Good hitters are still going to get hits, and good teams are still going to score runs,” Beals said. Using an aluminum bat similar to their wooden counterparts might help college players prepare for using wooden bats at the professional level. “It definitely will prepare our guys a little bit more for playing at the professional level,” Beals said. The Buckeyes won’t be the only ones getting used to the new bats, but Engle said to expect lower-scoring games next spring. “I think everybody in the country is going to have to (change) because the balls aren’t leaving the yard,” Engle said. “You won’t see too many double-digit run games.” read more

La perte du pelage chez lhomme une adaptation à la course bipède

first_imgLa perte du pelage chez l’homme : une adaptation à la course bipèdeAu terme d’une recherche basée sur des modélisations informatiques, des universitaires britanniques proposent une explication simple à notre ‘nudité’ – caractéristique unique parmi les mammifères, généralement couverts de fourrure : la nécessité, pour nos ancêtres homininés africains, de moins transpirer lors de leurs déplacements rapides… sur deux pattes. Pouvoir courir plus vite, plus longtemps et sur de plus longues distances pour se procurer de la nourriture : telle est la raison pour laquelle les ancêtres de l’Homme ont progressivement perdu leur pelage, selon le Dr David Wilkinson, de l’Université John Moores à Liverpool et le Pr Graeme Ruxton, de l’Université de Glasgow. À l’aide de puissants outils de modélisation sur ordinateur, ils ont étudié l’adaptation du corps humain à la course, et notamment la fonction de sudation.À lire aussiCette vidéo retrace l’évolution de nos ancêtres en moins de 2 minutes”Notre modèle informatique nous permet d’éprouver la théorie selon laquelle la forme du corps humain est une adaptation pour courir sur de longues distances sous un climat chaud. Il suggère que si le premier humain dressé devait bien marcher ou courir sur de courtes distances (vers un arbre pour échapper à un prédateur, par exemple), il ne pouvait pas courir sur de longues distances pour attraper son dîner. Les humains sont des mammifères transpirants – une chose peu répandue – et nos résultats montrent combien les taux de sudation comptent lorsqu’il s’agit de courir sur de longues distances, sous les tropiques”, explique le Dr Wilkinson.Le chercheur voit ainsi dans ces travaux la confirmation d’une “très bonne théorie”, émise dès les années 1980 par le Pr Peter Wheeler, également de l’Université de Liverpool. Le 15 septembre 2011 à 11:05 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Ouverture du 11e Apple Store de France à La Défense

first_imgOuverture du 11e Apple Store de France à La DéfenseUn nouvel Apple Store a ouvert ses portes le 25 mai, dans le quartier de La Défense, en banlieue parisienne. Il est ainsi le onzième magasin de la firme ouvert en France, le sixième en Île-de-France.Les magasins de “pomme” se multiplient partout dans le monde. En France, le onzième apple store vient d’ouvrir ses portes le 25 mai. Le sixième magasin d’Île-de-France se trouve dans la galerie commerciale les Quatre Temps, dans le quartier de La Défense, en banlieue parisienne. Il est ouvert de 9 heures à 20 heures du lundi au samedi. Ainsi que le dimanche de 11 heures à 19 heures.Une heure avant l’inauguration du magasin, une centaine d’Apple Addict faisaient déjà la queue devant la boutique. Les milles premiers arrivés ont pu recevoir un tee-shirt et découvrir des employés tout feu tout flamme, accueillant les nouveaux clients dans une ambiance bon enfant.Ce nouvel emplacement s’avère stratégique pour la firme, puisque ce n’est pas moins de 44 millions de visiteurs qui se rendent dans le centre commercial chaque année. Néanmoins, la boutique des Quatre Temps ne se distingue pas des autres Apple Store en France, contrairement à celui d’Opera qui dispose d’une “Briefing Room”, un espace dédié aux professionnels.À lire aussiiPhone 6 : un smartphone fragile qui se plierait en restant dans une poche ?D’autres magasins sont en projets. À venir, une boutique à Strasbourg et une autre dans la région de Dijon pour sûr. Viendrait ensuite un magasin à Aix-en-Provence, dont le conseil municipal a reçu les plans d’un futur Apple store, ainsi qu’à Marseille, à en croire le site macgeneration.La multiplication de ces sites de vente pourrait également revêtir un autre but tactique : contrer Samsung et ses futurs “Samsung Zone”, le plus tôt, le plus vite et dans le plus de lieux géographiques possibles.En ce qui concerne l’ouverture du 11ème Apple Store français, Maxisciences était à la Défense pour l’occasion et vous invite à suivre son reportage sur l’évènement, en vidéo.Le 29 mai 2012 à 16:21 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Litigation education Local high schools students participate in mock trial

first_imgThe attorneys who appeared before Judge Robert Lewis on Thursday afternoon received something few litigants ever do from a judge: A standing ovation.They had sparred over whether a racing bicyclist nicknamed “Menacin’ Tennyson” was guilty of life insurance fraud because she was partaking in dangerous behavior at the time of her death, which would have violated terms of her insurance policy.Instead of a verdict, the judge gave the attorneys applause. The life insurance scenario was fictitious and the crux of the trial was how well the litigants could explain facts of the case, introduce evidence and cite case law.After the two-hour trial, the judge gave them a thumbs-up, but still offered the nervous-looking rookies dressed in business suits a few pointers.“First and foremost, find ways to slow down,” Lewis said. “Get down to the heart of a case to what a jury really wants to know.”The “attorneys” were students from Hudson’s Bay High School and Columbia High School in White Salmon participating in the annual district mock trial tournament at the Clark County Courthouse.The tournament began Wednesday with 10 teams from seven area schools competing in six rounds. In addition to Bay and Columbia, the schools included Camas, Fort Vancouver, Ridgefield, Seton Catholic and Stevenson high schools.last_img read more

Hokkaido to host 1st Japan IR Expo in December

first_img Mohegan reveals details of Hokkaido IR concept Load More “In response to the great success of the ‘1st Hokkaido IR Showcase’ held in January 2019, the demand for trade shows of the ‘IR industry is increasing,” Innovent said in an announcement.“Therefore, we have decided to hold an exhibition that brings together products and services indispensable for Japanese IRs.”More information can be found at www.ir-expo.jp/hokkaido-ir/ Japan to conduct nationwide prefectural survey to confirm IR intentions Japan’s Innovent Inc has announced that it will host the 1st Japan IR Expo at Hokkaido’s AXES Sapporo on Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 December 2019.Supported by The Federation of Hokkaido Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hokkaido Economic Federation, Hokkaido Keizai Doyukai and Hokkaido Tourism Organization, the 1st Japan IR Expo will be held for the first time in Hokkaido as an exhibition specializing in the IR industry. It is aimed at creating opportunities for local companies to enter the IR industry in Hokkaido should the region be selected as one of three locations for Japan’s first integrated resorts. RelatedPosts Hokkaido sets some budget aside for IR marketing as latest public survey shows promiselast_img read more

BOEM Drafting Environmental Impact Statement For Proposed Cook Inlet Oil Gas Lease

first_imgThe Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is in the process of drafting an Environmental Impact Statement on a proposed Cook Inlet Oil and Gas Lease Sale. It’s could open up the federally-managed waters of Cook Inlet to oil and gas exploration. BOEM held a series of public scoping meetings on the Kenai Peninsula last week.Download Audiolast_img

Paytm to Raise 375 Million to Become Indias Fourth Most Valuable Internet

first_imgPaytm, a mobile payment services firm, has obtained the nod of its board to raise $375 million from an affiliate of its present investor, Alibaba Group.The current fund raising puts the valuation of the online payments processor at $1.83 billion, allowing it to become one of the most valuable internet startups in the country.The board has approved the latest funding as the company surpassed the targets laid out by the stakeholder regarding the doling out of funds.Paytm, owned by One97 Communications Ltd, is expected to receive the latest funding within a span of six months, sources close to the development said, Live Mint reports.The transaction will raise the stake of Ant Financial Services, a unit of Alibaba, to 41 percent in the company.Prior to this, Alipay Singapore E-commerce Pvt. Ltd had invested $200 million into Paytm, taking its stake to 25.88 percent, according to documents filed with the registrar of companies (RoC).Alibaba had changed the name of Alipay financial services to Ant Financial Services Group in October, last year.”When a strategic investor steps in, you tend to go with the strategic partner for follow-on rounds,” said Vineet Toshniwal, managing director of investment bank Equirus Capital.With a valuation of $1.83 billion, Paytm finds a place among the most valued startups in the Indian e-commerce space, next to online retailers Flipkart and Snapdeal and cab aggregator OlaCabs.”Paytm has already surpassed the business targets set aside for it,” said the source.Flipkart is currently the most valued startup backed by big venture capital firms, with its valuation skyrocketing to $15 billion from $1.5 billion in October 2013, followed by Snapdeal and Ola.Recently, Noida-based Paytm announced its plans to enter the e-commerce sector. The company expects its secure platform and the range of options will enable it to take on Snapdeal and Flipkart.”We have 33,000 sellers and we expect this to touch one lakh by year-end. They can list their products in simple steps and customers can also communicate with the seller through chat that is built into the platform,” Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma told The Economic Times.SAIF Partners, a venture capital firm, is also an investor in the company holding 37 percent stake.last_img read more

Accused killed in city gunfight

first_imgAn accused in a case filed over the ‘gun attack’ on a senior police officer was killed in a reported gunfight between detectives and criminals in Jurain graveyard area of the city early Tuesday, reports UNB. The detectives recovered two pistols, two magazines and, a bullet from the spot after the ‘gun battle’ that also left three members of the Detective Branch of police injured.The deceased, aged around 30, could not be identified yet.Senior assistant commissioner (DB, West Zonal Team) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Md Shahadat Hossain said his team arrested Delwar Hossain Shanta, an accused in the case filed with Shyampur police station over the gun attack on DB AC Rahul Patwari, from Jatrabari area on Monday night.According to his statement, the DB team conducted a drive near Gate-2 of Jurain graveyard around 1:40am today to arrest his cohorts, he said.Sensing the presence of the detectives, the criminals, numbering four, opened fire on them which forced the law enforcers to retaliate, Shahadat said.During the exchange of fire, one of the criminals sustained bullet injuries while others fled the scene, he said, adding that three DB men were also injured in the incident.Later, the bullet-hit criminal was taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where physicians declared him dead around 4:00am, said Mahbubul Haque, sub-inspector of Shyampur police station.Senior AC Rahul sustained bullet injuries as criminals fired gunshots when he along with his team members was conducting an operation against illegal firearms in Shyampur area on 12 August.last_img read more

Myanmar president Htin Kyaw resigns

first_imgMyanmar President U Htin KyawMyanmar’s president Htin Kyaw resigned suddenly on Wednesday leaving the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi without a close confidant and political ally as she faces rising international opprobrium over the Rakhine crisis.The president, an old school friend of Suu Kyi, served as her proxy in an office she was barred from occupying under Myanmar’s military-drafted constitution.His role was largely ceremonial with Suu Kyi calling the shots within her civilian administration, under the self-appointed title of State Counsellor.But he was nonetheless the country’s head of state and a key domestic ally for Suu Kyi within her party.Myanmar’s vice president Myint Swe, a retired general close to the former junta leader Than Shwe, will temporarily move into the role until a new president is in place, according to the constitution.Observers say this will likely make some inside Suu Kyi’s ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party queasy as, in theory, decisions could be pushed through – or held back – in this time.Speculation had swirled for months about the health of Htin Kyaw, 72, who had recently lost weight and has had heart problems in the past.“Myanmar president U Htin Kyaw resigned on 21March 2018,” a statement on the president’s official Facebook page said.His office did not give many details for why he resigned Wednesday, only saying that “he wanted to take a rest from his current duty”.It added that a new leader will be selected “within seven working days”.Shortly after the announcement, speaker of the lower house and Suu Kyi ally Win Myint resigned from his position, narrowing his odds of taking up Myanmar’s top civilian office.“Anyone she selects as president will be someone she has complete trust in,” said independent analyst Richard Horsey.“That trust is the basis of her being the seat of power in Myanmar. She has no power under the constitution. Any power comes from that relationship with the president.”Loyal school friendHtin Kyaw, the country’s first civilian president since 1962, was widely respected and seen as unerringly devoted to Suu Kyi, who said she would rule “above” him after he was elected in 2016.He has stood firmly by her side even as as her reputation has been shredded internationally for not speaking up on behalf of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim community.A violent military crackdown has forced some 700,000 Rohingya to flee over the border into squalid camps in Bangladesh, in what the UN has branded “ethnic cleansing” with possible “hallmarks of genocide”.The military justifies its campaign as a legitimate response to Rohingya militant attacks against police posts in August.The civilian government is in a transitional power-sharing arrangement with the army which still retains huge political and economic power.The army controls three key ministries-home affairs, borders and defence-effectively giving it a carte blanche to conduct any security operations it chooses.It also has a quarter of legislative seats reserved for officers, giving the military a de facto veto over any constitutional change.Defenders of Suu Kyi say her government’s hands are tied by the military but critics maintain it could and should have done more to speak up against alleged army atrocities, particularly in Rakhine state.Domestically Suu Kyi still enjoys broad popular support but, two years into government, her party has disappointed sky-high expectations of rapid development and economic growth, while the Rakhine crisis has recast the international narrative of the country.Htin Kyaw is the son of a revered poet and helped run Suu Kyi’s charitable foundation before taking over the presidency.According to an official biography, he studied at the University of London’s Institute of Computer Science from 1971 to 1972.In a varied career he worked as a university teacher and also held positions in the finance and national planning and foreign affairs ministries in the late 1970s and 80s before retiring from government service as the military tightened its grip.last_img read more

Congress Looks To PostKatrina Tax Relief As Model For Harvey

first_img X Share Listen 00:00 /03:59 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public MediaRep. Kevin Brady touring NRG Center shelter with Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Sen. John Cornyn, and Rep. Ted Poe & in background.On Labor Day, just about every member of the Houston-area congressional delegation descended on the shelter at NRG Center. One after another, Republicans and Democrats took the podium to pledge massive assistance for Texans devastated by Harvey.Then came Congressman Kevin Brady’s turn. “In addition to funding help, our communities will need tax help as well,” he said.Tax help is Brady’s specialty. He chairs the House Ways and Means Committee. Until Harvey struck, his main focus was cutting taxes for high-earners and corporations – popular with Republicans, anything but with Democrats. But Brady struck a different note here: “tax help that I imagine will include lifting the charitable contribution limits, so our businesses and families can continue to give to us as we rebuild in this time of crisis. Finding ways so there is easy access to retirement funds and retirement plans for rebuilding your home.”There’s a model for Brady’s proposals. After Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, Congress passed the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act. It provides a clue for how Harvey tax relief might work in southeast Texas. One of its biggest provisions was to make it easier for people to write off property losses from storm damage.“In order to get a tax benefit from a casualty loss deduction, the amount of the loss would need to exceed 10 percent of their income,” says IRS spokesman Eric Smith. “So what Congress did for 2005 Hurricane Katrina, Rita and Wilma is to eliminate that threshold.” The Katrina law also helped filers get a refund sooner so they could rebuild.But economist John Edwards of Tulane University says there was a catch. “If your property is not worth that much,” says Edwards, “then that’s not really going to help you very much.”That’s a big concern for Congressman Al Green. Nearly a fifth of his constituents in southwest Houston live below the poverty line.“When these events occur,” says Green, “people who work for wages are hit very hard, especially when they occur to the extent that we experienced here with Harvey.”Green is co-sponsoring a bill by Austin Congressman Lloyd Doggett, the ranking Democrat on Ways and Means. Doggett’s bill would help low-income workers get bigger, quicker tax refunds via the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. It too uses Katrina tax relief as a model.Kevin Brady says he likes the idea, “so I’ve told Congressman Doggett I’m really eager to work with him.”Brady also wants to use tax credits to help businesses hire people who lost their jobs because of Harvey, as well as keep people they might otherwise have to lay off because of the storm. Such subsidies, another legacy of the Katrina tax bill, made a big difference to businesses in New Orleans.“Through this bill, Congress was saying, ‘We want our businesses there to come back. We want them to stabilize. We want them to hire the good people that they had before,’” says Jennifer Bernard-Allen, director of tax services at LaPorte CPAs and Business Advisors.“Certainly we need to bring businesses back. But we need to think also: who are these businesses going to employ?” says Tulane’s John Edwards. He says this is one area where post-Katrina legislation may provide little guidance. “New Orleans wouldn’t have come back anywhere near as quickly as it did had it not been for the influx of mainly Hispanic undocumented workers.”Undocumented immigrants were among the Houstonians worst hit by Harvey. Federal, state, and local officials have spent the past three weeks trying to reassure such residents that they can get help and that they won’t be deported if they do. But it’s far from clear how much of the post-Harvey tax relief they’ll ever see.last_img read more

12yearold suspected of fatally poisoning 2 girls in China

first_img Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Xinhua said the suspect was familiar with the victims, but the news agency did not identify him.On Tuesday, a 13-year-old boy and his three younger sisters died after they drank pesticide in a village in the southwestern province of Guizhou, according to state media reports and local government statements. The siblings had been living on their own, with their father working in a faraway city and their mother abandoning the family for a while.China has tens of millions of rural children whose parents have left their home villages to seek work and better pay in industrial cities. With their parents absent from their lives, the children are prone to psychological issues.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall BEIJING (AP) — A 12-year-old boy was identified as the prime suspect in the fatal poisoning of two sisters in rural southern China, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday.It was the second tragedy of the week to raise concerns over the well-being of rural Chinese children.The boy told police in Hunan province that the girls, aged 8 and 14, drank cola that he had laced with poison, Xinhua said. The girls died on Wednesday. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   last_img read more

New Home Sales are Struggling to Measure Up

first_imgNew Home Sales are Struggling to Measure Up New Home Sales 2016-10-26 ScottMorgan1 in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News New single-family home sales in September continued to be solid compared to recent numbers, but are still far off where some in the industry think they should be.“If we look past the monthly volatility by using the 12-month rolling total of new home sales, September was the best month since August 2008,” said Trulia chief economist Ralph McLaughlin. “By historical standards, however, new home sales per household are still about 36 percent below the long-run average.”According to the HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau, sales of new single-family houses in September were 593,000. This is up 3 percent from August, and 30 percent above September 2015. The median sales price of new houses sold in September was $313,500; the seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of September was 235,000. This represents a supply of 4.8 months at the current sales rate.“Some of the large year-over-year jump was due to a low bar set in September 2015,” McLaughlin said. Still, year-to-date new home sales also grew 13 percent year-over-year, which he said “reflects healthy demand for new homes by otherwise inventory-constrained homebuyers.”“New homes comprised 11.8 percent of all home sales in September, increasing for the seventh straight month. As new construction continues its upward march, we should expect the share to increase accordingly. While new home sales represented about 11.8 percent of all sales, it’s still less than half of the pre-recession average of 23.6 percent. Clearly, there is still much potential for new housing to relieve inventory-constrained buyers.”That said, McLaughlin is far from bullish on what September’s numbers mean overall. While September’s increase was statistically significant, he said, the range is wide.“The true number could be as low as 6.4 percent or as high as 53.2 percent,” he said. “A less volatile number to look at is the 12-month rolling total. The increase over last year puts the 12-month total at 84.1 percent of the 50-year average, up 0.7 percentage points from August.”However, the 12-month rolling total of new home sales compared to the 50-year average looks a little worse when taking into account the size of the U.S. population. New home sales per 1,000 U.S. households was 4.7 in September, McLaughlin said. That’s 64.3 percent back to normal, though up from 63.4 percent last month.If September didn’t look favorable to past peaks, it certainly looked encouraging. Sales in September increased for the seventh straight month, and new construction could keep things rolling.“As new construction continues its upward march, we should expect the share to continue to increase accordingly,” McLaughlin said. “While new home sales represented about 11.8 percent of all sales, it’s still less than half of the pre-recession average of 23.6 percent. Clearly, there is still much potential for new housing to relieve inventory-constrained buyers.”Click here to view the complete new home sales report for September from HUD and the Census Bureau.center_img October 26, 2016 588 Views Sharelast_img read more