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Roger Khan insists State wrong in interpretation

first_imgPetition for early releaseShaheed Roger KhanIn his bid to be released from prison in the United States, Shaheed Roger Khan is insisting that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) should use his good-conduct credit under the First Step Act to have him released earlier than July.Khan is currently serving a 15-year sentence for drug trafficking to the US and is set to be released on July 8, this year. However, he filed a petition in March for early release, pursuant to good-time credit acquired under the First Step Act (Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act or First Step Act) – which revises sentencing laws and expands reentry and early release programmes.The First Step Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump in December 2018, seeks to ensure that all inmates within the BOP receive the full 54 days of good-conduct credit. This would mean that Khan could have benefited from a three-month early release which would have been in mid-to-late March.But the BOP, according to the petition, has taken the absolute strictest stance in an effort to wait until the very last second to apply this legislative correction. As such, the good conduct credit fix will be applied until after July 19, 2019, which means thousands of prisoners, like Khan, will not benefit from the passage of the First Step Act.In his reply to the response filed by the State, on behalf of the warden at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Miami, Bryan Dobbs – where he is being kept – Khan noted that the dispute is really when the change in laws was supposed to go into effect.He outlined in his submissions that the Respondent’s position is that this change will not go into effect until July 25, 2019, based upon the provision within Section 102 (b) of the First Step Act that holds the “effective date” to “take effect beginning on the date that the Attorney General completes and releases the risk and needs assessment system”.And according to the Respondent, since the Attorney General was granted 210 days to complete the “risk and needs assessment” system, then the good-time fix will not go into effect until July 25, 2019.This, Khan argued, is erroneous. He pointed out that the Attorney General’s directive to complete a “risk and needs assessment” system is independent of, and separate from, the good-time fix.“It was meant to be applied solely toward the separate ‘earned-time’ credits, which has nothing to do with the ‘good-time’ fix. The only part of the law that was supposed to have a delayed implementation was the first [earned-time]; the other part of the law [good-time] was, by congressional intent, to have immediate application,” Khan insisted in his submissions.Furthermore, he posited that the cases that the Respondent cites as supporting its position are not precedent but, in fact, go against the Eleventh Circuit’s directive to give effect to congressional intent, which, he said, is clear in this matter; that these two provisions (earned-time vs good-time) were to be two separate considerations independent of each other.Khan was sentenced in 2009 to 15 years’ imprisonment after he pled guilty to arms trafficking, drug trafficking, conspiracy and witness tampering. He was nabbed in neighbouring Suriname back in June 2006 after fleeing Guyana illegally. Khan had made claims of working to curb an out-of-control crime situation during that period by using extrajudicial methods of execution.last_img read more

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Guyana, 18 other OAS states refuse to recognise Venezuelan Govt

first_img– resolution adopted urging return to democracy, free and fair electionsOn the same day as the swearing-in of Venezuela President Nicholás Maduro, Guyana was among 19 countries to support a resolution refusing to recognise the legitimacy of a Maduro Government and to call for fresh elections.This resolution was taken at the level of the Permanent Council of Organisation of American States (OAS), of which Guyana is a member. When the dust from voting had settled, OAS Assistant Secretary General Nestor Mendez announced that 19 voted in favour of the resolution, six were against it and there were eight abstentions and one member completely absent.According to the resolution, the OAS would not recognise the legitimacy of Maduro’s new term as President. The resolution also urges member states to use lawful, diplomatic, economic and financial measures to restore democracy to Venezuela.Among other things, it also calls for new, free and fair presidential elections to be held. The resolution notes that last year’s election failed to meet international standards for elections and lacked legitimacy.The resolution also seeks “to invite Member States and Permanent Observers to implement measures to address the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and impacted countries, through the support to appropriate international and regional organisations.It also urges “the Venezuelan regime to allow the immediate entry of humanitarian aid to the people in Venezuela, including epidemiological surveillance, to prevent the aggravation of the humanitarian and public health crisis, particularly against the reappearance and propagation of diseases,” going on to demand “the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.”The OAS resolution also assures the Venezuelan people of its solidarity andThe voting at the Permanent Council of the Organisation ofAmerican States (OAS Photo)intention to restore democracy to the beleaguered Spanish speaking country, adding that the resolution will also be presented before the United Nations (UN).It was noted in the resolution that Maduro’s Government has presided over “worsening political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis, resulting from the breakdown of democratic order and serious human rights violations in that state, and the Government of Venezuela’s negligence to meet the fundamental Inter-American standards of human rights and democracy.”It adds that “as a consequence, a significant number of Venezuelans are being forced to flee the country because their basic needs have not been met.” The OAS also noted that with the collapse of Venezuela’s healthcare system, there has been a reemergence of previously eradicated infectious diseases across that country and into its neighbors and the wider region.It is understood that besides Guyana, the other 18 votes in favour of the resolution came from Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, United States, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, and St Lucia.On the other hand, the six countries voting against were: Bolivia, Nicaragua, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Suriname, and Venezuela. The eight countries that abstained were: Mexico, St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, and El Salvador. Grenada was absent.IntimidationIt was only a week ago that Guyana’s Government had called on Venezuela to cease its intimidation tactics and respect Guyana’s territory. This had followed complaints late last year from ExxonMobil that the Venezuelan navy had intercepted one of its vessels while doing research work.On December 22, ExxonMobil’s local subsidiary announced it was suspending the 3-D seismic tests it started only a month ago in Guyana’s Stabroek Block; after the appearance and approach of the Venezuelan navy caused the company’s seismic vessel to pack up shop and vacate the area.Ramform Tethys, the vessel in question is owned by Norwegian company Petroleum and Geo Services (PGS). The company was contracted by Exxon to carry out tests and acquire seismic data.The incident came at a time when Guyana has an ongoing territorial integrity case with Venezuela. While Guyana has submitted the relevant paperwork to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) the Venezuelan Government is yet to join the proceedings. During the 2019 budget debates, Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge had revealed that April 18, 2019 has been set for Venezuela to submit its counter memorial.Guyana approached the ICJ in the hopes of a final judicial settlement of longstanding border controversies with Venezuela. When US oil giant ExxonMobil announced the first of multiple oil finds in local waters in 2015, Venezuela renewed its claim to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. Venezuela has been against oil exploration in Guyana’s Stabroek Block, where multiple oil deposits were found by ExxonMobil, and has since renewed claims to the Essequibo region.On January 30, 2018, Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres concluded that the Good Offices Process – which the parties had engaged in for almost 30 years, but it failed to achieve a solution to the controversy – and chose the ICJ as the next means of settlement, for which Guyana has long been advocating. Sir Shridath Ramphal and Ambassador Audrey Waddell are assisting Minister Greenidge.last_img read more

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Electranet could see light of day

first_imgFuturistic as it may sound, experts say that despite resistance from utilities and sluggish state bureaucracies, newly designed distribution grids could be just a decade away. And California, which long ago began crediting customers for generating solar and wind electricity, is leading the nation. Last year Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law the Million Solar Roofs bill, written by Sen. Kevin Murray, D-Culver City. Beyond building a million solar roofs in the next decade, the law also increases the credit that customers can get for generating their own solar energy. Meanwhile, the state also has moved to decouple utility revenues from sales as a way to promote energy efficiency. Going green In the Southland, about 5,000 Southern California Edison customers are now generating their own power, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has installed 600 solar systems that allow users to get credit for producing excess electricity. “What Gore is talking about is not fantasy,” said Joe Ramallo, spokesman for the LADWP. “California is the first state to understand that we need to rethink the social contract between the public and the utilities,” added Reid Detchon, executive director of Energy Future Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based group of energy executives and environmentalists. When it comes to creating a smart grid, Detchon said, “California is furthest down the road.” You can see it in the home of Jim Chuda, a green architect whose ecologically safe Hollywood Hills home features recycled aluminum bathroom tiles, energy-efficient ceiling fans and insulation made from old blue jeans. A battery backup that looks like a chrome refrigerator sits in Chuda’s garage and automatically maximizes the use of his solar panels by ensuring the electricity generated by them is used first, before any is taken from the grid. “If I’m providing more power than I’m using, then I would turn the power back,” he explained. Chuda’s grid-tiered battery backup, known as GridPoint Connect, is among a slew of intelligent energy management innovations that have the power to let any home or business become a net provider of electricity back to the grid. “Most of the technology sits on a shelf today,” said Kurt Yeager, former president of the Electric Power Research Institute. “It’s just a matter of incentivizing the system to change.” Yeager, who now heads the Galvin Electricity Initiative, a campaign to create a new power system, noted that today’s electricity grid is antiquated. With strung wires, transformers hanging at meters and overbuilt infrastructure designed to accommodate peak usages, electricity is – as activists have long pointed out – the last industry to digitize. Designing a system that allows your dishwasher or refrigerator to sense changes in the power grid and automatically reduce a home’s electricity consumption, or let homeowners see how many kilowatts of electricity they are using at any given minute, is close to a reality. The difficult part is changing the system. “Anything that improves efficiency becomes a business problem,” Yeager said, noting that outside of California, utilities are compensated based on the number of kilowatt hours they sell, not on efficiency. But he and others maintain that rising electricity prices – coupled with continually improving technology that uses sensors, controls and information technology to precisely manage electricity flows – will spark monumental changes. “The kind of thing Gore is talking about might start to happen,” said Steven Hauser, executive director of the GridWise Alliance, a nonprofit consortium of companies focused on modernizing the country’s power grid through new technologies. “People will say, `I can put a fuel cell over here, or I could sell electricity to this neighborhood,”‘ Hauser said. Getting rid of caps Gore, however, goes even one step further: advocating the elimination of caps. Currently, even in California, customers generating their own electricity don’t actually get a check from their local utilities. Rather, they are granted credit against electricity they may use during peak or other times. Gerry Torribio, customer generation manager at Southern California Edison, said he didn’t want to comment on the idea of eliminating caps. But he warned that decentralizing electricity generation comes with costs. “The challenge of utilities and regulators is to strike a balance between the environmental and costs,” he said. The fact that small solar and wind projects still get state subsidies, he noted, is an indication that they are still evolving in the marketplace. Even Yeager called the idea of eliminating caps political hyperbole. Still, he and others stressed that as technologies evolve, new business models to compensate utilities likely will as well. The result, many said, will be a cleaner earth. “If you allow this flexible, adaptable system to allow local solutions to flourish, you will get a lot more solar and clean energy systems,” Hauser said. lisa.friedman@langnews.com (202) 662-8731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – With his new-found movie star clout, former Vice President Al Gore has begun an aggressive environmental crusade for ground-breaking technology and policy changes to the nation’s electricity grid. Using the momentum of his Oscar-winning documentary on global warming, Gore is advocating a decentralized “smart grid” that would allow anyone to set up their own generator and buy or sell surplus electricity without caps. Such an “Electranet” would eliminate the need for new-generation plants, spark widespread use of renewable energy and, ultimately, beat back global warming. “In the same way the Internet took off and stimulated the information revolution, we could see a revolution all across this country with small-scale generation of electricity everywhere,” Gore told a House committee on climate change last week. last_img

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Brazil’s Dani Alves undergoes knee surgery – PSG

first_img“We waited for the right moment to operate so he would be fit again as soon as possible,” the club said.In his 17-year career, he won his first trophy with boyhood club Esporte Clube de Bahia followed by five at Sevilla, 23 with Barcelona, two at Juventus and four so far at PSG.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Dani Alves had surgery on a knee in Paris on Tuesday © AFP/File / François-Xavier MARITPARIS, France, Jun 6 – Brazilian defender Dani Alves went under the knife Tuesday for the injured knee that ruled him out of the World Cup, his club Paris Saint-Germain announced.The 35-year-old former Barcelona star Alves suffered knee ligament injuries on May 8 during the French Cup final, meaning Brazil lost a senior player with 107 international appearances for the World Cup.last_img read more

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Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Hull: Abel Hernandez earns Tigers point at Hillsborough

first_img1 Hull staged a second-half recovery to earn a point in a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday in the Sky Bet Championship.Steve Bruce’s men failed to impress in the opening 45 minutes of this Yorkshire derby as the Owls deservedly led through Fernando Forestieri’s instinctive finish after 28 minutes.But Bruce clearly had words with his men at the half-time interval and they came out firing in the second half, with Abel Hernandez’s 50th-minute strike earning a draw.Both sides will feel they could have won, as several chances were missed during their respective dominant 45 minutes, but Wednesday and Hull both extend their impressive unbeaten runs.Wednesday’s first-half domination could have began much earlier had referee Keith Stroud awarded them a spot-kick inside the opening 10 minutes when Kieran Lee burst into the box and looked to be fouled by Tigers skipper Michael Dawson.However, after continuing to look the more threatening, they took the lead in the 28th minute through Forestieri.After a corner was cleared Ross Wallace stood a ball back into the area which Tom Lees headed down for Forestieri to hook home from eight yards.Hull threatened an immediate response when Jake Livermore’s low effort forced Owls goalkeeper Keiren Westwood into a scrambling save, but it was Wednesday who continued to boss matters.Lucas Joao almost doubled the lead when he made space for himself on the edge of the area and sent in a stinging low shot, which Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor failed to hold, with Forestieri denied as he was about to follow up.And then Barry Bannan squandered an even better opportunity after blazing over at the far post following good work by Lee.After a poor first-half showing from the Tigers it took them only five minutes to improve after the break and they levelled through Hernandez.Westwood beat away two efforts from Livermore but he was helpless to Hernandez driving in his fifth goal of the season.Hull were a different side and only the fingertips of Westwood stopped them taking the lead on the hour mark.Ahmed Elmohamady whipped in an inviting cross and Hernandez’s precise header was superbly tipped around the post.Sam Clucas and Andrew Robertson both drilled over as Hull continued to press, though there was a rare moment of danger at the other end as McGregor had to produce a fine save after Robertson diverted a Wednesday free-kick goalwards.Hull sent three men up front in the final 10 minutes in a bid to force a winner, but the only late drama was Stroud suffering an injury after taking a tumble, with the referee replaced for the four minutes of time added on by fourth official Darren Handley. Steve Bruce last_img read more

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Enron accountant says he fixed books

first_img Colwell agreed it was proper to establish such reserves, but stood his ground that raiding them to pump up earnings was not. When Oppenheimer asked whether Colwell opposed the timing of the reserves reduction, Colwell responded, “No, the timing in my mind was not an issue with the changes, it was the way.” Colwell conceded that no one told him to do anything improper with a reserve account, nor did he voice concern that his action was wrong. “You never said, ‘Gee, I don’t want to do this?”‘ Oppenheimer asked. “I did not say that, you’re right,” Colwell replied. Other witnesses have testified that Skilling either ordered or had authority to order the last-minute increase in reported earnings per share in the second quarter of 2000. Colwell’s predecessor, Wanda Curry, took the stand Monday and testified that the trading division’s then-chief executive, Cliff Baxter, told her in February 2000 that Colwell would replace her as chief accounting officer of Enron North America because she “was incapable of making aggressive accounting decisions.” Causey then assigned her to work for Enron’s retail energy unit. In autumn 2000, he directed Curry to analyze its trading contracts and billing procedures in an assignment dubbed “Project Deep Dive.” Curry said she found wildly overvalued contracts stemming from the retail unit’s trading operation and piles of uncashed checks from customers, which translated to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for the unit. “It was a complete do-over because we couldn’t trust what was in those books,” she said of efforts to assign more reasonable values to contracts. She reported her findings to Causey and other superiors in February 2001, and learned in March of that year that the retail unit’s trading operation had been folded into Enron’s wholesale division, which encompassed the company’s larger trading franchise. Skilling told analysts the move consolidated similar functions to increase efficiency. But Curry testified that his explanation didn’t make sense because retail contracts were more complicated and wholesale traders lacked the expertise to handle them. “I believed the decision (to move retail trading into wholesale) was made at the end of March or early April because of documented large losses, referring specifically to the retail side of the business,” Curry declared sternly. Curry’s testimony was expected to wrap up today, but it wasn’t clear who would testify next. Prosecutors expected to call Delainey, who pleaded guilty to insider trading in October 2003, but the defense teams said they weren’t ready to cross-examine him because they didn’t expect Colwell and Curry to finish so quickly. Prosecutors said they might instead call Timothy Belden, a former top Enron trader who pleaded guilty in October 2002 to wire fraud for manipulating California power markets during that state’s power crunch in 2000-2001. Before the trial began, Jan. 30, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake ruled that Belden could not testify about audiotapes of Enron traders often profanely discussing how they gamed California’s power system for higher profit because neither Skilling nor Lay is charged with manipulating that state’s market. Prosecutors contend that Lay and Skilling repeatedly lied about Enron’s financial health while knowing fraudulent accounting propped up the company before it crashed into bankruptcy proceedings in December 2001. The defendants say there was no fraud at Enron, and that negative publicity coupled with diminishing market confidence fueled the company’s swift collapse. Colwell, 46, testified as part of an immunity deal he obtained from prosecutors. In October 2003 he paid half a million dollars to settle Securities and Exchange Commission civil allegations of manipulating Enron’s earnings, but has not been charged with a crime. “If I tell the truth and don’t withhold any information, I will not be prosecuted for my crimes while at Enron,” Colwell told jurors Monday when explaining his deal. The SEC complaint alleged that Colwell and others improperly set aside higher-than-expected trading profit to report in future quarters so Enron would appear to be a stable, growing company rather than one vulnerable to market volatility. In addition to paying a fine to settle the SEC allegations, Colwell lost his CPA license and is barred from being an officer in a publicly traded company. He is not a felon. Skilling faces 31 counts of fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and lying to auditors, while Lay faces seven counts of fraud and conspiracy. If convicted, both face decades in prison. Only Skilling faces allegations of improper stock sales. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant “I didn’t talk to Skilling,” Colwell said. Twice within a five-day stretch between the close of the second quarter in 2000 and Enron’s announcement of earnings, Colwell reduced reserves by $7 million. The total $14 million was added to reported income so Enron could announce earnings-per-share of 34 cents rather than the 32 cents Wall Street expected, making the company appear more successful than it was. “Did you use reserve accounts at Enron North America to fraudulently manipulate Enron’s reported earnings?” prosecutor Sean Berkowitz asked. “Yes,” Colwell replied. Skilling lawyer Randall Oppenheimer tried to establish that reserve accounts are part of normal operations to protect companies against losses or liabilities. He also noted that amounts of those reserves fluctuated with efforts to keep adequate financial cushions. HOUSTON – The former top accountant for Enron Corp.’s profitable trading division said Monday that he improperly raided reserves to increase earnings in mid-2000 when he understood that former Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling and other superiors wanted results that would wow Wall Street. Wesley H. Colwell kicked off the fifth week of the fraud and conspiracy trial of Skilling and Enron founder Kenneth Lay, telling jurors he helped the company fraudulently manipulate earnings to meet or beat analysts’ expectations by dipping into reserves when Enron needed an income boost that business operations didn’t provide. Colwell didn’t say Skilling ordered him to plunder reserves to boost earnings. He said, however, that he e-mailed his boss – then-Enron North America chief executive David Delainey – days before Enron released second-quarter 2000 earnings to say he understood that it was Skilling’s “preference” to surpass expectations. Colwell explained later he had found out about Skilling’s preference third-hand from accounting executive Mark Lindsey, who told Colwell that then-Enron Chief Accounting Officer Richard Causey had discussed it with Skilling. last_img read more

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BURT ARE COUNTY HURLING CHAMPIONS

first_imgDONEGAL SHC FINAL/Burt 3-11 Setanta 2-7:Niall Campbell was the Burt hero as he scored two goals and eight points as his side regained the Donegal title at O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny today.Campbell scored the first five minutes from the end of the first half as the Inishowen men came from six points down to lead 1-7 to 1-6 at half-time. He got his second, and Burt’s third, with 10 minutes left to open up a nine-point lead after Jonathan McGrath had scored the second. Setanta’s Kevin Campbell’s injury-time goal was too late.BURT: P OBrien; C McDermott, C Dowds, K Glenn; B Harrigan, J Boyle, C McLaughlin; A McDermott, J McGrath (1-0); S Boyle (0-2), P Strain, R McDermott; N Campbell (2-8, six frees), E McDermott, M McCann (0-1). Subs: D Grant for Glenn (39 mins), S Gillespie for S Boyle (47 mins), S Murphy for Strain (59 mins).SETANTA: M Campbell; B Tourish, J Callaghan, S Gallen; C Bonner, D Cullen (1-0), T Cotter; J Browne, P Browne; D Browne (0-1), S McMenamin, M McGhee (0-1); K Campbell (1-4, 1-3 frees), S Flynn, M Bonner. Subs: R Kee (0-1) for McGhee (5 mins), C Gallen for S McMenamin (34 mins), M Callaghan for S Flynn (44 mins).Referee: E Hasson (Derry). BURT ARE COUNTY HURLING CHAMPIONS was last modified: September 28th, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:BURT GAASETANTAlast_img read more

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OKEY DOKE – RTE LEGEND SAYS PACKIE’S WORLD CUP SAVE WAS HIS FAVOURITE MOMENT!

first_imgHe has brought us sports news from around the globe for almost 50 years.Packie Bonner and THAT save!And now presenter Bill O’Herlihy is set to hang up his microphone after tonight’s World Cup Final.And now the 75 year old has revealed that his favourite sporting moment of that career was Packie Bonner’s World Cup penalty save against Romania at Italia ’90. The Corkman revealed “It was very exciting in the studio and a fantastic time for Ireland.“Everyone knows where they were when the big Donegal man pulled off that wonderful save.”O’Herlihy has been described as the “best in the business” by his old pal and fellow pundit Eamon Dunphy.As Bill would say himself – “We’ll leave it there so.” OKEY DOKE – RTE LEGEND SAYS PACKIE’S WORLD CUP SAVE WAS HIS FAVOURITE MOMENT! was last modified: July 13th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Bill O’HerlihydonegalItalia ’90Packie Bonnersavelast_img read more

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Kerr says Looney is getting closer to return, updates Draymond, Smailagić injuries

first_imgClick here if you’re unable to view the photo gallery on your mobile device.SAN FRANCISCO — Kevon Looney’s health is trending in the right direction, but he’s not quite ready to return after practicing on Sunday.Head coach Steve Kerr announced Looney, who has missed all but one game this season dealing with a neuropathic condition in his right hamstring, will not play on Monday and Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls, respectively.Golden State will re-evaluate …last_img read more

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Pan-African passport launched at AU Summit

first_imgThe promised pan-African passport was launched and the financing of the African Union (AU) was among the many issues discussed by heads of state at the 27th AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda over the weekend.Discussions centred on the continent’s actions regarding the AU’s Agenda 2063.This strategic framework sets a path for socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. It was adopted at the Organization of African Unity (OAU) / AU 50th Anniversary Celebration, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2013.Agenda 2063 lies at the heart of the future Africa envisions for itself. The leaders who signed it imagined a prosperous continent at peace with itself.One of the foundations of Agenda 2063 is the AU vision: “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena”.The summit, which started on 10 July and ended yesterday, is themed 2016: African Year of Human Rights. Leaders in Kigali focused particularly on the rights of African women.ElectionsElections were held on Sunday, 17 July for a new chairperson of the AU Commission to replace South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, along with a roster of new AU commissioners. The new commissioner was to be announced as the summit closed on Monday.The three candidates for the post AU Commissioner, two of them women, were: former Uganda vice-president Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, Botswana foreign minister Pelonomi Venson Moitoi, and Equatorial Guinea foreign minister Agapito Mba Mokuy, according to the international multimedia broadcasting service, Voice of America.Leaders from across Africa gather in Kigali for the 27th AU Summit, from 10-18 July 2016. (Image: 27th AU Summit)Briefing the media on 15 July, AU chief of staff Jennifer Chiriga, said that African heads of state would meet for the first time at a closed session the following day. “They will be discussing strategic issues, particularly the financing of the union. We have a report that will be represented.“We also had a special envoy who has been going around the continent, getting views of the heads of state on how we can improve our peace fund,” she said.The out-going Commission has three months from the election date to compile a handover report before exiting. Chiriga said the highlight of the summit would be the elections. “We are anticipating the summit will be electing a chairperson and a deputy chairperson. The executive council will elect eight commissioners. They will form a new Commission.”Pan-African passportThe Pan-African passport, which will be made available to diplomats and heads of state first, will allow free movement across national borders. Louise Mushikiwabo, foreign affairs minister of Rwanda, explained that although security was a major concern, this would not stop them. “Our strategic thinking is that the fear of insecurity should not stop Africans from moving freely from one country to another.”Passports would be delivered symbolically to some heads of state, foreign ministers and a few officials of the AU, she said. Thereafter each AU member state would discuss country-specific design of the passports. “How soon the passports will be implemented will depend on each country and their preparation to distribute widely,” she said.The first two recipients were the leaders of Chad and Rwanda. Chadian President Idriss Déby, the body’s current chairperson, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame were presented with the passports by Dlamini-Zuma.The passport was launched on Sunday, 17 July at the opening ceremony of the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union:Video of first @_AfricanUnion passports being issued at #27thAUSummit #KigaliConvention pic.twitter.com/rgiVrWrcYs via @abi_negn— Calestous Juma (@calestous) July 17, 2016South SudanThe most critical issue that was discussed was the resurgence of violence in South Sudan, Mushikiwabo said on 14 July. “We are expecting the secretary-general of the United Nations to meet some leaders on the continent on this matter. This is a very important topic on everybody’s mind.”Their first concern was the protection of civilians in South Sudan, and then the political process could be put back on track, she added.Agenda 2063In her statement on Sunday, Dlamini-Zuma said they were hopeful regarding the implementation of Agenda 2063. “Work started on the Agenda 2063 flagship projects and the first Ten-Year Implementation Plan, and over two-thirds of countries and (regional economic communities) began domesticating this collective vision of the Africa we want.“On the sidelines of this summit, the commission met African editors, discussing the role they should play in popularising Agenda 2063, in holding up a mirror that reflects Africanstories in their great diversity, in changing mindsets, shaping an African narrative that is pan-African and promoting our Renaissance. To do this, they told me to transmit humbly to the excellencies, they require freedom of the press and not to be persecuted for telling the truth,” she said.Dlamini-Zuma also spoke about the third High Level Panel on Gender Equality.“Over 400 mainly women and some men from across the continent and the diasporarepeated their call to strengthen financing for gender and the role of women inpeace processes.”The AU and the OAUThe OAU was founded by 32 African countries at a meeting in Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia in 1963. By 2002, membership had grown to 53, when the organisation of African states was renamed the African Union. In 2011 it grew by one, when South Sudan became a member following that country’s creation.According to the AU website, the OAU’s main objectives, as set out in the OAU Charter, were:to promote the unity and solidarity of African states;to co-ordinate and intensify their co-operation and efforts to achieve a betterlife for the people of Africa;to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states;to rid the continent of colonisation and apartheid;to promote international co-operation within the United Nations framework;and,to harmonise members’ political, diplomatic, economic, educational, cultural,health, welfare, scientific, technical and defence policies.Source: Rwanda Broadcasting Agency and SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

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