zoom Australian energy company AGL has selected Crib Point, Western Port, in Victoria as the preferred site for the construction of a gas import terminal.The company said that a gas import jetty and pipeline would be built in order to increase energy security and supply in south eastern Australia.“Crib Point is best placed to serve Victoria, Australia’s largest gas market, as well as take advantage of the existing pipeline network, industrial port facility and associated infrastructure,” AGL added.AGL will continue to engage with the relevant stakeholders, including Government authorities and the Western Port community, to complete feasibility studies on the proposed site.“This doesn’t signal the end of the feasibility studies for the proposed site but now accelerates the process. We look forward to ongoing consultation with the local community to answer their questions and proceed towards a formal application to the Victorian Government,” Richard Wrightson, AGL Executive General Manager, Wholesale Markets, said.“If all goes to plan, AGL would invest roughly AUD 250 million, commence construction in 2019 and bring the terminal into operation by 2020/21.”
The 52,400 dwt bulk carrier Nur Allya, that went missing off eastern Indonesia in late August, has been located.According to local media reports, the Indonesia-flagged ship was found in the Halmahera Sea, north of Buru Island in Maluku.Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Commission (NTSC) has reportedly determined the location of the ship by using a pinger locator.Nur Allya went missing shortly after sending a distress signal on August 20. At the time, the vessel was carrying some 50,000 tons of nickel ore from Sagea, Gebe island, to Morosi, southeast Sulawesi. The 2002-built ship had a crew of 25 seafarers onboard.Indonesia launched a search and rescue mission immediately afterwards. The search operations were called off on September 9, eighteen days after the vessel went missing, however, active monitoring by alerting the fleet and personnel continued.The mystery of the missing bulker was slightly revealed when the search and rescue teams found a damaged lifeboat on the coast of Gambaru Village, South Obi District. The ship’s owner earlier confirmed that the lifeboat was part of the missing cargo ship.In late August, relevant authorities identified oil spills in the southern waters of Obi Island, North Maluku, reportedly linked to Nur Allya.World Maritime News Staff
Though the snow may have stopped, the Department ofTransportation and Public Works’ crews are still on the jobtoday, Jan. 25, continuing to plow, salt and sand Nova Scotia’shighways and roads. Despite high winds and blowing snow, which often covered roadsalready plowed on both Sunday, Jan. 23, and Monday, Jan. 24, theprovince’s 100-series highways were cleared within eight hours ofthe end of the storm, meeting department guidelines. Transportation and Public Works Minister Ron Russell praised theefforts of highway workers who worked to open the roads for safetravel. “Our snowplow crews worked around the clock for two daysand did a great job under extreme conditions,” said the minister. The department halted snowplowing on Highway 101 Sunday night asblowing snow reduced visibility to zero. “Making the roads safefor motorists is our primary concern,” Mr. Russell said, “but theroad is the workplace for many of our crews and their safety isalso our concern.” All highways, trunks, routes and local paved roads throughout theprovince are passable but some are still snow-packed. Most gravelroads are open now and all roads should be clear by Wednesday,Jan. 26. Crews will be pushing back snowbanks in the coming days, somotorists are advised to use caution near intersections wherevisibility is reduced. Parents are asked to remind children notplay or tunnel in snowbanks along roads. The Department of Transportation and Public Works highwaysdivision manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in NovaScotia.
Construction of Nova Scotia’s new liquefied natural gas (LNG)terminal and re-gasification plant at Bear Head is set to beginthis summer. Nova Scotia Business Inc (NSBI) has announced completion of thesale of an industrial site at Bear Head, Richmond Co., for $4.62million to the Bear Head LNG Corporation, which will build andoperate a $600-million LNG terminal and re-gasification plant onthe site. Stephen Lund, president and CEO of NSBI, made the announcementtoday, May 2. The property includes 179 acres of land and a67-acre water lot. “The completion of the land sale represents a major milestone inthe life of the project,” said Mr. Lund. “Construction of thefacility will begin this summer, and we look forward to the firstflow of gas into the pipeline from the Bear Head LNG plant in2008.” Acting as the project manager for the Bear Head LNG opportunityon behalf of the province, NSBI completed the transaction as partof its energy-sector strategy. In order to maximize the potentialeconomic gains from the LNG opportunity, NSBI is also activelypursuing new, promising gas-related commercial opportunities. The Bear Head LNG terminal and re-gasification plant will ensurea long-term gas supply to the province and the northeast UnitedStates. The operation, taken together with Nova Scotia’s currentoffshore gas resource base, will result in the expansion ofexisting pipeline infrastructure into the New England market andenhance the province’s position as a key energy supply region inNorth America. “This project in the Strait of Canso region will have a majorimpact on the economic future of the province and the energysupply chain in North America,” said Mr. Lund. “Communityleadership, a world class site, and strong commercial partnerswith a solid business plan combined to make this massive projecta reality.” Following an August 2004 project announcement, the industrialsite and access road were prepared for the beginning of plantconstruction, which will start in the summer of 2005. Theterminal and re-gasification plant will be operational by mid2008. Re-gasification is the process by which liquefied naturalgas is converted back to a gaseous state prior to transmissionthrough a pipeline. The three-year construction phase of the project will create anaverage of 600 jobs, with 35 to 40 permanent positions whenoperations begin. Nova Scotia Business Inc. is the business development agency forNova Scotia, led by a private-sector board of directors. It isthe investment attraction arm of the province and helps companiesin Nova Scotia meet their growth potential through businessadvisory, export development and financing services.
After leasing and operating Upper Clements Park for the past 10 years, the Hanse Society will soon be the park’s new owner. The society will purchase the Annapolis County park for $1 and undertake capital improvements to help ensure continued safety and quality. The provincial government will provide about $1 million for the improvements and $310,000 in transitional operating funding. “The Hanse Society has done an excellent job operating Upper Clements Park and expressed an interest in ownership,” said Len Goucher, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. “They’re a passionate group of community-minded Nova Scotians and we’re pleased that they’ve accepted our offer to own and operate the park.” The park has been open since 1989. The not-for-profit society has run it on a 10-year lease with $310,000 in annual operating funding from government. “We’ve had a very good relationship with the provincial government over the years and we’re happy to accept this offer to own Upper Clements Park,” said David Brown, chair of the Hanse Society’s board of directors. “This is a great opportunity for us to ensure the long-term future of the park and contribute to employment in our community.” The provincial government will maintain ownership of the adjacent Upper Clements Wildlife Park. The society will continue to operate it through its existing lease agreement with the Department of Natural Resources.
Premier Rodney MacDonald offered congratulations today, Aug, 29, to 28-year-old Dwight D’Eon, who ended his Canadian Idol journey last night. Mr. D’Eon, a lobster fisherman from West Pubnico, was a top four finalist on Canadian Idol, before his elimination from the popular TV show Tuesday night. “All Nova Scotians are proud of Dwight, his superb talent and his achievements on Canadian Idol,” said Premier MacDonald. “In our eyes, ears, minds and hearts, he is undoubtedly number one.” Mr. D’Eon, was recognized for his exceptional guitar skills during the contest, which started last spring with thousands of amateur musicians from across Canada trying to become a Canadian Idol. DOR BROADCAST USE: The province today (August 28th) congratulated Canadian Idol top four finalist Dwight D’Eon on behalf of all Nova Scotians. The 28-year-old lobster fisherman from West Pubnico was eliminated from the popular television show Tuesday night. Premier Rodney MacDonald says all Nova Scotians are proud of Dwight and that he is number one in our eyes, ears, minds and hearts. -30-
thousands of households carry out needed health and safety related home repairs hundreds of seniors or persons with disabilities to adapt or modify their homes so they can continue to live independently in their communities to create new affordable rental units through new construction or conversion of existing non-residential buildings developers preserve affordable rental units. Our efforts are making a difference in the lives of many Nova Scotians. Working closely with our housing partners, we know we can do even more to reduce housing poverty and provide more affordable and sustainable housing throughout the province. We recently heard from the people that lead the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada and they recognized our work with housing co-operatives to help protect, preserve and restore the valuable supply of mixed-income, affordable housing. In fact, Nova Scotia was one of the very few provinces to earmark funding for co-operative housing in its last budget. An innovative pilot project is targeting people living in shelters to help transition them to long-term, supportive housing. So far, this initiative has helped 200 people make the move into safe, long-term housing. While it is important to celebrate the progress we’ve made so far, we must now turn our attention to the challenges ahead. Later this fall, a series of public consultations will get underway that will help shape a bold and comprehensive long-term housing strategy. I encourage everyone to get involved so we can continue to build more prosperous and inclusive communities. For more information about affordable housing in Nova Scotia, visit www.gov.ns.ca/coms/affordablehousing . -30- Access to adequate, affordable housing is the foundation of our fight to end poverty. As Minister of Community Services, I am proud to say that more Nova Scotians today have a safe and affordable place to call home compared to previous years. In partnership with the federal government, the province has invested $145 million into affordable housing since 2009. On the first day of October, Nova Scotia is marking World Habitat Day by reflecting on recent accomplishments and focusing on the work ahead to address the housing needs of many Nova Scotians. Last year alone, the Nova Scotia Housing Development Corporation provided assistance to create or preserve thousands of homes across the province, helping:
African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Percy Paris expressed sadness today, Feb. 18, over the passing of prominent human rights advocate Patricia Skinner. Ms. Skinner died Friday, Feb. 15, at the age of 78. “Pat was well known and well loved,” said Mr. Paris. “Her work helped to advance the human rights movement in Nova Scotia, particularly in the Antigonish area. Pat worked tirelessly and selflessly to give back to her community and her contributions to the African Nova Scotian community are deeply appreciated. “On behalf of all Nova Scotians, I want to share my deepest condolences with Pat’s family and friends. She will be greatly missed.” Ms. Skinner was a dedicated leader and worked for the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission for a number of years. She was a founding member and chair of the Antigonish Human Rights Affirmative Action Committee, past-president of the Antigonish-Guysborough Chapter of the Congress of Black Women, and chairperson for the Antigonish Black Development Association. She was also a founding member of the Nova Scotia Black Cultural Society and served on its board. In 2005, Ms. Skinner was awarded the Human Rights Award by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission for introducing housing programs for communities in Upper Big Tracadie, Antigonish Co., and Lincolnville and Sunnyville, Guysborough Co.
There has been some questions about how the Cape Breton District Health Authority purchased a new CT scanner for the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital. I would like to explain how the purchase worked, and why we believe it’s the best way to ensure residents of Inverness County get the CT scans they need quickly, through our public medicare system, and close to home. Government heard people’s concerns about a lack of CT scanner in the community and agreed to provide funding. The district then took advantage of a provincial clause in all district health authority equipment purchases to “piggyback” on an existing request for proposal. This allows districts to get a better price by working together. It also allows them to get new equipment in place more quickly, something the residents of Inverness told us strongly they wanted. That’s why General Electric is providing the new CT scanner for the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital. By purchasing a new machine, the province is able to save money for taxpayers. Atlantic Medical Imaging Services has proposed installing a machine and charging Nova Scotians what MSI currently pays when someone gets a scan outside the province. That cost is $670. The local health authority has calculated the cost per exam at about $250 if the scanner is purchased and operated by the public health-care system. Senior staff and I met with Atlantic Medical Imaging Services last year. My department received some preliminary information about their offer in recent weeks. The purchasing process for the Inverness CT scanner was already months in the making by that point. The company’s offer is interesting, but would represent a fundamental change in our health-care system by inserting private equipment into a public hospital. Government is not prepared to enter into this type of arrangement, which could have significant implications for our public system. We must keep in mind there are many unanswered questions. What would happen if a company were to put privately owned equipment in a public hospital, then go out of business? How could we ensure fees remained fair, and quality remained high? How might this arrangement impact the Canada Health Act? What could this mean for other areas of our publicly funded health-care system? Nova Scotians want to be confident that when we buy high-tech, expensive equipment for our publicly funded hospitals, we are ensuring value for their tax dollars and access for patients. They also want their government to understand fully the implications of new arrangements when we enter them. Simply put, my department did not have enough information to enter an arrangement that could forever alter how we operate services within our public health-care system. We had two choices: wait, research the offer fully, and delay the CT scanner for months, or even a year, or move forward with the purchase now. We believe we have made the best choice for the residents of Inverness County. -30-
LUNENBURG COUNTY: Fitch Road, Conquerall Mills Fitch Road from Conquerall Road to Lake Road, Conquerall Mills, has alternating lane closures for gravelling and grading until Wednesday, Nov. 15. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: North West Arm Drive Both southbound lanes on North West Arm Drive are closed during repairs to the bridge over the Chain of Lakes Trail beside First Chain Lake. Traffic is being detoured to the northbound bridge where there is one lane for each direction. Repairs to both bridges are expected to be completed by Thursday, Nov. 30. HANTS COUNTY: Highway 1 Highway 1 from Avon River Bridge, Windsor, to Holmes Hill Road, Hantsport, is reduced to one lane for road work until Tuesday, Oct. 31. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. INVERNESS COUNTY: West Lake Ainslie Road The Hayes River Bridge on West Lake Ainslie Road has a 15-tonne weight restriction. GUYSBOROUGH COUNTY: Route 316, Goshen Route 316, from the intersection of Route 276 in Goshen north to the Antigonish-Guysborough county line, has alternating lane closures for paving and patching until Friday, Oct. 20. Traffic signals and traffic control people are on site. Work takes place from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. LUNENBURG COUNTY: Watermills Road, Lunenburg Watermills Road from Italy Cross Road to New Cumberland Road, Lunenburg, has alternating lane closures for gravelling and grading until Wednesday, Nov. 15. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. ANNAPOLIS COUNTY: Phinney Bridge, Old Mill Road Phinney Bridge on Old Mill Road in Wilmot, is closed for maintenance work until Friday, Oct. 20. A detour is in place. LUNENBURG COUNTY: Route 329 Route 329, from Deep Cove Road to New Harbour Road, has alternating lane closures for repaving and upgrades. The work is expected to be completed Monday, Oct 16. CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Mira Gut Bridge The Mira Gut Bridge on Mira Bay Drive is temporarily closed for inspection. There is a detour route via Brickyard Road and Hornes Road. HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Highway 103, Hubbards to Ingramport Highway 103, from the Lunenburg County/Halifax Regional Municipality line, easterly for nine kilometres is reduced to one lane for repaving, shoulder work, gravelling and guardrail work until Tuesday, Oct. 31. Alternate route is on Exit 5A off Highway 103 at Ingramport, to Trunk 3 (St. Margarets Bay Road) and back to Highway 103 at Exit 6. Work takes place during daytime hours. LUNENBURG COUNTY: Mullock Road Mullock Road, from Route 325 going south to Trunk 3, has alternating lane closures for repaving and upgrades. The work is expected to be completed Monday, Oct. 16. CONTINUING WORK NEW WORK LUNENBURG COUNTY: Garber Road, Newcombville Garber Road from Route 210 to Lapland Road, Newcombville, has alternating lane closures for gravelling and grading until Wednesday, Nov. 15. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. LUNENBURG COUNTY: New Cumberland Road, south of Bridgewater New Cumberland Road from Lakefield Road to Mount Pleasant, has alternating lane closures for resurfacing and upgrades. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset until Friday, Oct. 20. GUYSBOROUGH COUNTY: Route 316 Route 316, from Coddles Harbour Bridge to Drum Head Wharf Road, is reduced to one lane for upgrades and repairs until Friday, Nov. 15. Traffic lights are in place but delays are expected. Work takes place from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Route 333, Prospect Road, Hatchet Lake The intersection of MacDonald Lake Drive and Route 333 (Prospect Road) in Hatchet Lake has occasional stop-and-go traffic during work to widen and pave the road. Work will continue until Sunday, Oct. 15. Drivers should reduce speed and expect delays. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. LUNENBURG COUNTY: Lapland Road, west of Bridgewater Lapland Road, from the intersection of Route 325 south for 6.5 kilometres, has alternating lane closures for resurfacing and upgrades. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset until Friday, Oct. 20. HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Highway 102, Exit 2, Night Work Highway 102, southbound lanes, from Exit 2 to Bayers Road are reduced to one lane for road repairs until Friday, Oct. 20. This is for night work only. Work takes place from 7:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. LUNENBURG COUNTY: Blue Rocks Road Blue Rocks Road, east of the Lunenburg town line to Stonehurst Road, has alternating lane closures for repaving and upgrades. The work is expected to be completed Monday, Oct. 16. YARMOUTH COUNTY: Eel Brook Eel Brook Lake Bridge on the Eel Brook Lake Road has been closed for repairs with detours on Hwy 103 and Trunk 3 until Friday, Oct 27. -30- YARMOUTH COUNTY: Route 3, Argyle Route 3, between Exit 32 and Ye Old Argyle Road, is reduced to one lane for paving and construction until Tuesday, Oct. 31. Drivers should expect delays. Work takes place form sunrise to sunset. LUNENBURG COUNTY: Hirtle Road, Lunenburg Hirtle Road from Route 325, Lunenburg, southerly for 1.6 kilometres has alternating lane closures for gravelling and grading until Wednesday, Nov. 15. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset.
Kolkata: Buddha Air, one of the leading airline companies of Nepal on Monday started its maiden flight from Kolkata to Kathmandu, an official said. “On its inaugural flight, 56 passengers arrived from Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu by flight number U4 163,” an official statement of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport said. Also, 64 passengers departed from Kolkata on flight number U4 164. “The airline will operate three ATR-72 flights weekly between Kathmandu and Kolkata,” it added.
Patna: Irregular expenditures in excess of Rs 650 crore between 1987 and 1997 – the period during which the fodder scam happened – are being scrutinized by courts probing the multi-crore-rupee scandal, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi has said in the assembly.Modi, who also holds the finance portfolio, was one of those who had filed a PIL in the case at Patna High Court following which the probe was handed over to the CBI.Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo (RJD) Lalu Prasad, who was the chief minister of undivided Bihar till 1997, is serving prison sentences in a number of cases related to the scam, while his predecessor Jagannath Mishra is out on bail and undergoing treatment for cancer. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Citing examples of the massive financial irregularities during the 80s and the 90s, Modi told the House, “Fodder worth Rs 10.5 crore was required for cattle and poultry in Chaibasa, Gumla, Dumka, Jamshedpur and Ranchi (now in Jharkhand) besides Patna. But an expenditure of Rs 253.33 crore was shown by the animal husbandry department.” For these six districts, purchase of yellow corn and almond straw – used in very small proportions for fodder – had been shown multiple times the actual requirement, the senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said on Wednesday. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”The extent of the financial indiscipline can be gauged from a single example – the then general manager of a dairy farm at Hotwar – near Ranchi – showed an expenditure of Rs 15.50 lakh towards purchase of mustard oil for applying on the horns of buffaloes,” Modi said evoking peals of laughter.The RJD supremo’s son, Tejashwi Yadav, also drew sharp criticism from the deputy CM over his failure to attend the House during the ongoing session which began a month ago. Notably, RJD MLAs had staged a walkout when Modi was making his submission. The government’s appropriation bill was also passed by a voice vote at that time.The Lalu Prasad-led party later reacted indignantly, with its MLA and spokesman Shakti Singh Yadav issuing a statement accusing the deputy CM of “trying to hide his own failures and diverting public attention through false and out-of-context criticisms of Lalu Prasad and his family members”.
New Delhi: The Income Tax Department has attached Rs 254 crore worth of “benami” equity of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri which he is stated to have allegedly received from a suspect in the VVIP chopper scam via shell companies, officials said on Tuesday.Ratul Puri, the chairman of Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt (HPP) Ltd, is already under scanner of the tax department and the Enforcement Directorate on charges of tax evasion and money laundering. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Officials said a provisional order for attachment of the shares or non-cumulative compulsory convertible preference shares (CCPS) has been issued under section 24 (3) of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act by the Delhi-based office of the department. The funds were received as FDI (foreign direct investment) in Optima Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, a group concern of Moser Baer, a firm promoted by Ratul Puri’s father Deepak Puri, they said. The I-T department alleges that the investment of Rs 254 crore was generated through “over-invoicing of imports of solar panel’s by another group company, HEPCL, and was “facilitated through shell companies” of Dubai-based operator Rajiv Saxena, an accused in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam case. Saxena was deported from Dubai by Indian agencies in January. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KHe is under arrest by the ED in the chopper scam case, while Ratul Puri is being questioned. They said Ratul Puri is the beneficial owner of these benami equity shares and has been charged under the relevant law. These alleged benami and illegal funds, officials alleged, were generated by using “third party remittances” received by Saxena on behalf of Ratul Puri and were routed back to India via a Mauritius-based shell or dummy company– Rigel Power Limited. Further, they said quoting the order, the equity amount of Rs 254 crore introduced in Optima Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. was “immediately” transferred to another group company Unocon Infradevelopers Pvt Ltd., which in turn is holding investment of the group companies. The department has attached investments in Unocon Infradevelopers too as part of the probe, they said. Benami properties are those in which the real beneficiary is not the one in whose name the property has been purchased. Violators of the anti-benami law, enacted in 1988 but implemented from November 2016 by the Narendra Modi government, attract a rigorous imprisonment of up to seven years and fine up to 25 per cent of the fair market value of the property. The Act allows for prosecution of the beneficial owner, the benamidar, the abettor and the inducer to benami transactions.
The other day, in a personal discussion, a well-respected ideologue of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) told me about his concerns of the consecutive actuality of ‘shrinking space’ in India for the debate by common individuals. I was astonished to hear him say, “Bhai Sa’ab, governments will come and go and politicians of every shade will always try to paint their constituencies with the colour they like, but the real danger to the democracy will never emerge from the activities of one individual ruler of any particular political party, it will arrive with rapidly diminishing physical and mental space for deliberations on real issues. Therefore, we all, every political and social outfit of any constitutional shade, must fight against any efforts by any government to support such policies as a result of which this space is shrinking.” Also Read – A special kind of bondConditioning of my mind propelled me to microscopically look for butterflies in his statement, but ultimately, I found his apprehensions honest. He felt that after liberalisation, the space for public debate is falling off quickly, not because of the governments heavily influenced by this or that ideology, but because of the reason that capitalist market forces want a world where public discourse is totally absent, where there is no scope for any argument and where no ambit is available for commoners’ views. As a result of this, most of our debating haunts have lost somewhere in the process of making a new India. Also Read – Insider threat managementI recall my school days when long internecine discussions on social issues and local problems were a daily affair at the village meeting place—Choupal. I recall my university days when college corridors and hostel canteens were full of fierce debates on socio-political topics in my town. I also recall my introductory days in Bombay and New Delhi when from office canteen to art galleries, from nearby dhabas of Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg to Coffee House at Mohan Singh Place, from Mandi House to the campuses of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University and from trade union offices to the Press Club of India, there were various evening stands where everyone was free to assert his/her viewpoint, no matter in what ideology s/he believed in. Things have entirely changed in the past two decades. Our coffee houses where on an affordable cup of coffee and a plate of sambhar-vada one could have taken a world tour of current affairs for hours have been swallowed by unaffordable CCDs located in celebrity markets and malls where commoners find themselves misfit. Our vibrant tea stalls, where on ‘two into three’ or ‘one into two’ cut chai, one was free to give his opinion on from Washington to Moscow and Beijing to Jerusalem have disappeared to give space to green tea clubs. Our dhabas where sitting on a charpai and having the satisfying daal-roti-lassi, everyone from truck drivers to scholars felt empowered to discuss the follies of a prime minister to the tricks of exploiting common people by Tata-Birla-Ambanis have gone with the wind of modernisation and converted themselves into roadside ‘resorts’. McDonaldisation and PizzaHutaisation have gulped most of the urban and semi-urban head-rooms that were accessible for healthy debating. Consumers of new market corners have different topics to be discussed—girlfriends and boyfriends, bikes and cars, mobiles and gadgets, night bars and foreign vacations. Most of them are far from the originals and have no interest in the fundamental national and global issues. Their fairy determination for contributing to social causes is confined to FaceBook posts, WhatsApp chats, Instagram photos and TikTok videos. Netflix is their world. Unproductive late-night phone conversation discussing useless thesis is their life. Their total revolution is limited to the transient pleasure of candle marches. Seminars and round tables are held in gated institutions, think tank premises and centres where no entry pass is available for insignificant civilians. Participants there make every attempt to terrorise others present in the conference room with the bullets of their intellectual tone, vocabulary and quotes. This has become a more nuanced and convenient way of only talking about the problems of exclusion and repression faced by political, social and civil rights movements and practically doing nothing more than to publish a paper. Academicians and scholars have failed to realise how directly harmful is the absence of any contemporary discourse. The size of massively de-politicised civil society is increasing with an alarming rate, not only in India but everywhere in the world. The freedom of association, assembly and expression mostly remains on papers now. Where are the physical fields which can promote the harvest of alternative consideration? Where is the support base against intersecting dynamics that limit an individual or collective ability to organise around pertinent matters? ‘Shrinking space’ is a part of a wider struggle. Neo-liberalism is sparing no stone unturned to marketise the state. It wants to hollow-out the democracy. It desires to reduce opposition by redefining the established contours. It is hell-bent on installing a new mode of governance where civil society has to negotiate both with the state and private corporations. Gatekeepers of mainstream political spaces are playing the role of conduits of neo-riches in this game. The failure of Indian civil society, worker’s unions and individual activists have paved the way for the demonisation of causes that address the nerve of any established power. It is because of the liberal elites that common people are bearing the brunt of a new authoritarianism. I agree with my RSS ideologue friend that the problem of ‘shrinking space’ cannot be solved merely by lip-service. We need a better response from all the concerned corners to tackle this question. We need to first define the problem in a perspective where the politics of clampdown and its relationship to neo-liberalism trying to gain control on everything. We need to rediscover genuine solidarity that resurrects the proposition that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Why can’t we create a chain of ‘Chaai Choupals’ across the nation to provide a highly modest platform to commoners to routinely discuss and debate the real issues? Why can’t our union and state governments, corporate-owned think tanks and NGOs support such move to free the flow of expression from the clutches of gated communities? Why can’t this be done with the help of extensive crowd-funding? Why can’t there be a national framework for people’s participation in shaping their country? Why can’t we formulate a national civic charter that serves as a reference point for people claiming their civic and political rights? If we commit ourselves to fight for local, national, regional and global issues, we must have a pan-Indian network of civic participation. Everything cannot be left to the whims of a few individuals comfortably sitting in the ruling dispensation of the time. It is high time that we properly address the long-lamented paradox of ‘closing space’. (The author is Editor & CEO of News Views India and a national office bearer of the Congress party. The views expressed are strictly personal)
Denali National Park: Three hundred tourists are stranded in a national park in Alaska after heavy rains triggered mudslides and caused excess water from a culvert to damage a road. The superintendent of Denali National Park and Preserve closed Denali Park Road to all traffic at mile 30 on Friday. The road is the only one inside the vast park. The National Park Service said in a news release it anticipates reopening the road Saturday. The park service says officials are working to ensure the safety and comfort of those effected. Shuttle buses are gathering people at the Toklat Rest Area temporarily while road crews continue to address hazard areas. Similar debris flows led to daylong traffic restrictions last week. Continued heavy rains since kept the road and surrounding tundra saturated with water.
Kolkata: Nineteen out of 30 persons arrested by National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with Khagragarh blast case were pronounced guilty on Wednesday.The quantum of punishment is scheduled to be announced on Friday. According to sources, on October 2, 2014, an explosion took place at a house at Khagragarh in Budwan which was taken on rent by a person identified as Sakil Ahmad alias Sakil Gazi. Sakil died on the spot several others were injured. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaOne of the injured persons succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital. During investigation, several objects and explosives used for preparation of bombs, grenades and components used to manufacture ammunition and machinery used in cutting and shaping iron pipes were seized. Primary investigation revealed the occupants of the house were active members of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a terrorist organisation of Bangladesh. Following the case was handed over to NIA, 30 persons were arrested by the central agency and multiple charge-sheets were submitted before the court. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayA few days ago, 19 accused persons pleaded guilty to the magistrate. After submission of their prayer, magistrate of Special NIA Court accepted the appeal and on Wednesday he pronounced them guilty of criminal conspiracy and allegations under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The quantum of punishment is scheduled to be announced on Friday. The JMB terrorist arrested by Special Task Force (STF) of Kolkata Police had planned explosions at some temples in India in order to prove their existence. According to sources, during interrogation it was revealed that Salauddin, founder of JMB in Bangladesh did not wanted Ejaz Ahmed to be made the top most leader in India. But Kausar, who has been arrested by NIA, and is in judicial custody at present wanted Ejaz to be the second in command in India so that he could take over in case of Kausar’s absence. The police also came to know that Salauddin had come to India approximately two years ago and went to Bengaluru and Dhuliyan. Police came to know that recently Ejaz brought some Bangladeshi youths to India and provided them training. After completion their trainings, these youths were given tasks. After knowing their inputs, the police are trying to locate Salauddin and those youths. It is still unknown whether they have plans to explode bombs in any part of the country.
New Delhi: The Quinton de Kock-led South Africa team set foot on India on Saturday for the upcoming three-match T20 series. “Excited to be back in India and looking forward to playing cricket again,” pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada tweeted. South Africa will start the tour with the T20 matches, the first of which is in Dharamsala on September 15 followed by Mohali (September 18) and Bengaluru (September 22). That will be followed by Tests in Visakhapatnam (Oct. 2-6), Pune (Oct. 10-14) and Ranchi (Oct 19-23) as the Proteas open their campaign in the ICC World Test Championship. The team is scheduled to meet South Africa’s High Commissioner in the capital on Monday and are expected to touch down to Dharamsala on September 9, six days before the first T20 International. The squad will be led by interim team director Enoch Nkwe, filling the role after the decision not to renew the contract of West Indian coach Ottis Gibson.
SHIMLA: Power Minster R K Singhon Thursday addressed the inaugural session of third Nepal Infrastructure Summit at Kathmandu, Nepal. During the visit, the Minister also inspected 900 MW Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project being executed by SJVN through its wholly owned subsidiary SJVN Arun-3 Power Development Company Pvt Ltd (SAPDC) on river Arun in Nepal. He was accompanied by S K G Rahate, Additional Secretary Power; Prabodh Saxena, Special Secretary Power (GoHP); Dr Ajay Kumar, Deputy Chief of Mission (Indian Mission); Nand Lal Sharma, CMD SJVN. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalDuring the visit, he also inaugurated the construction of intake works at dam site of Arun-3 HEP and executed the last blast of excavation of central gullet at Power House. Arun-3 HEP has generation capacity of 900 MW and has the potential to generate 3,924 million unit of electricity per annum. Besides, the project also involves erection of 217 km long 400 kV double circuit associated transmission line (up to Indo- Nepal Border). SJVN, aims to be a 5,000 MW company by 2023, 12,000 MW company by 2030 and 25,000 MW company by 2040.
ALTON, Ont. – Glen Abbey may be the focus of the golf world this week, but a rough-hewn diamond in the heart of the Credit River Valley is quietly charting a course towards becoming Ontario’s ultimate golf destination, a vision that’s been 25 years in the making — and counting.On a day when none other than Jack Nicklaus was in Oakville, Ont., to celebrate this week’s RBC Canadian Open at the course he designed, the lesser-known but no less formative Heathlands course at Osprey Valley Resort, an hour’s drive north, was celebrating a quarter-century in business.Devotees know the place simply as Osprey: a 220-hectare expanse of 54 top-shelf golf holes that began life with the Heathlands, a fescue-snarled, hillock-dotted brute that introduced linksland golf to Ontario and helped cement Doug Carrick’s reputation as one of Canada’s premier designers.In those early days in 1992, there was no practice range or even a clubhouse. Golfers who knew of the place — there was no social media or marketing plan to speak of, either, only word of mouth — would change their shoes in a pitted gravel parking lot and pay their green fees in the cart barn.And they did so happily because, well, what a golf course.Generous fairways framed by towering berms invited aggressive play, especially on tantalizingly short par 5s, but wayward tee shots — often buffeted by strong prevailing winds — were claimed forever by thick meadow grasses or snared by deep, shaggy greenside bunkers.Dogleg par 4s demanded, and rewarded, precision off the tee. Gorgeous par 3s over water made conservative play impossible. Firm, subtle greens scolded the overconfident. On windy days, the only birdies to be had were the resort’s namesake raptors circling overhead.“I’d have to say that of all the courses I’ve designed, I probably get the most compliments about the Heathlands course,” said Carrick, who was on hand Tuesday to hit the ceremonial opening tee shot as the resort celebrated its 25th anniversary.“It just shows me the golf purists really appreciate the origins of the game as it developed in Scotland and Ireland on those links courses.”Carrick’s inspiration came during a trip to the breathtaking Portmarnock Golf Club in Dublin, where he fell in love with the windswept, hop-and-skip style of golf on the ground, emblematic of the game’s origins on the shores of the British Isles.“I was really intrigued by the creativity required to play a links golf course — the different shots you have to play in the wind, and especially around the greens, the ground game, hitting little bump-and-run shots, putting from off the green — those sorts of things.“That really inspired me to try something different.”On Tuesday, the Heathlands hosted players for the princely sum of $25, a fraction of Osprey’s regular $79 weekday rate. Tee times sold out in no time and the waiting list numbered in the hundreds, prompting a tweet early Wednesday proclaiming that the promotional rate would be extended through Friday.Like so many rounds it has hosted in the last 25 years, the Heathlands itself got off to a rough start, as golf course developments often do.The original owner ran into money trouble before the property changed hands. A derelict foundation, a remnant of the aborted clubhouse build, is still there today, just steps from the original first tee, which was rechristened as such on Tuesday by the skirl of a lone bagpiper.Jerry Humeniuk and his brother Roman, first-generation Canadians whose parents emigrated from Ukraine, were partners as real estate developers who soon found their golf venture blossoming — albeit very slowly, it seemed — into a fun-loving family business.For nearly a decade, Osprey Valley seemed to run on a shoestring, with no facilities or amenities beyond the fairways. But when construction did resume near the end of the 1990s, it wasn’t just on a modest new A-frame clubhouse: two more golf courses and an expansive practice range were born on the other side of the railroad tracks.Both were Carrick originals that provide the perfect foil to the golf-ball-gobbling Heathlands. The Hoot, a rollicking wastelands-style layout that evokes New Jersey classic Pine Valley in look, if not in difficulty, was bookended by the gorgeous and often-overlooked Toot course, a highly playable parkland gem.Wait, what? Hoot and Toot?“That was Jerry,” smiles Andrew Humeniuk, Roman’s son and Osprey’s director of marketing.“It’s a play on the railway that runs through the property, and you know, Jerry, he’s a bit irreverent. I think for him it was a bit of taking the starch out of golf industry a little bit. It was his way of saying, ‘Look, guys, it’s not really that serious; it’s a fun game. Let’s enjoy it.’”That sensibility — golf for the sake of the game, not as a status symbol — has long motivated and informed the family’s counter-intuitive approach to slowly building a golf resort, one that to this day still has no place to even take a shower, let alone host a fancy dinner or formal wedding reception.“Jerry’s a very salt-of-the-earth, self-made man, and he said, ‘Why can’t we, the regular people, play at a world-class course?’ We’ve really tried to be true to that.“The bottom line is it’s nice to have a $25-million clubhouse, but you build it, and then that’s got to go on your green fee.”That said, construction is far from over at Osprey. Plans are afoot for a proper clubhouse, which would allow the resort to host large tournaments, as well as onsite accommodations and some sort of an additional event venue for large weddings, receptions and the like.Osprey wants to raise its game, but it won’t do it at the expense of the folksy charm that has made it such a refreshing place to play for an entire generation of golfers, says Chris Humeniuk, Andrew’s brother and chief executive of Osprey Valley Golf.“We cherish those customers who are here for that reason, and we don’t want to change that,” he says.“We love the property, we love being here, it’s a wonderful part of the family portfolio — but it’s time to take it to the next level, and the way we do that will be very respectful and mindful of Jerry and Roman’s vision.”
A deal between one of Canada’s oldest retailers and a fast-growing U.S. startup that wants to convert portions of its flagship stores into shared offices is the latest evidence that coworking spaces are increasingly hot properties — and demand for retail real estate is cooling.This week, Hudson’s Bay Company (TSX:HBC) sold off its storied Lord & Taylor property in the heart of New York City to a joint venture between WeWork Inc., the largest provider of coworking spaces, and private equity firm Rhone Capital.As part of the $1.6 billion deal, HBC will also lease out office space in its other locations, including floors of its downtown Toronto and Vancouver stores.It’s a manifestation of technology’s impact on the economy, with consumers increasingly moving to online shopping and away from big stores and a workforce no longer tied to a static desk and looking to coworking spaces — which offer shared amenities and spots for lease on a short-term basis.WeWork, a startup founded in 2010 which now has more than 150,000 members in 56 cities, has been capitalizing on this shift at a breakneck pace, doubling its customer base last year. The New York-based startup raised $760 million in funding in July with a valuation of roughly $25.6 billion, according to Forbes, which would make WeWork the fifth-most valuable tech startup at the time.“There’s lots of change in the economy, and the availability of solutions that give people greater flexibility, and a greater opportunity to connect with other like-minded folks and collaborate is something that people are really responding to,” said Dave McLaughlin, WeWork’s general manager of east U.S. and Canada.The rise of coworking spaces reflects the increasing “disconnection of work from having a job,” says Tsur Somerville, a senior fellow at the UBC Centre of Urban Economics and Real Estate.“Instead of joining a company, working in the company and working your way up, there are a lot of people who work on contract basis,” he said. “This a way for them to have a professional space, but without the … commitment.”Even before the Lord & Taylor purchase, WeWork was the 11th-largest tenant in New York City, with roughly 197,000 square metres, surpassing Goldman Sachs, according to a PwC report on real estate trends released Thursday.The New-York based company already has locations in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto (with a new location due to open soon). But the ability to tap HBC’s retail footprint and its prime locations across Canada will allow WeWork to extend its reach more easily, said Roberto D’Abate, a vice-president in PwC’s real estate division.“It gives them an excellent facility to expand very quickly into the marketplace,” he said.McLaughlin would not comment further on its deal with HBC. However, he said that WeWork sees plenty of demand for the company across the country.“There is opportunity in other cities, but for right now, our focus is principally on those, on Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal for the time being,” he said.Coworking is probably the “strongest growing trend in the office market,” including in Canada, says D’Abate.Beyond WeWork, there are several independent coworking spaces which cater to different niches, such as technology or arts. It is not just the domain of startups and freelancers, as WeWork’s customers include the likes of Microsoft Inc. and Samsung Ltd.Coworking spaces allow large companies to avoid committing to a typical 10-year-plus lease, which is costly to get out and can limit future moves, said Queen’s University professor John Andrew.“It really handcuffs their use of space,” he said. “Whereas this kind of flexible space, especially the way a lot of people work today with telecommuting and a lot of travel, this really can give a lot of flexibility.”It also allows companies to test the waters in a new location or have access to office space in multiple locations. For example, Microsoft’s partnership with WeWork announced in November 2016 gives its employees access to WeWork spaces globally.The open concept work environments, with living-room style common areas and perks such as micro-roasted coffee, craft beer on draft and social events, also appeals to the sought-after millennial workforce, which has surpassed the Baby Boomer generation in size, said D’Abate.“Everyone is chasing that younger millennial workforce. And the way to do it is to have these open concept spaces, services, coffee shops… All those sort of creative incentives for people to come work for them.”