It has been one of best holiday seasons for the tourism industry in Darjeeling but the sudden shutdown in the hills over the demand for a separate State of Gorkhaland has abruptly put an end to it.On Friday, when there was a complete shutdown in Darjeeling, a huge crowd of tourists gathered at the Chowk Bazaar area, waiting for hours for a vehicle to take them back to Siliguri.With the indefinite shutdown called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) after a raid at party president Bimal Gurung’s residence, hotels in the hills have asked tourists to leave one of the country’s most sought after holiday destinations as early as possible, citing limited supply of food and other essentials. Private vehicle operators have completely stopped operating. A resident of Kolkata’s Salt Lake area, Tithi Mukhopadhay and her father Tapas Mukhopadhyay had already waited for six hours at Chowk Bazaar. “We have two children and two senior citizens who have had nothing except biscuits since yesterday,” Ms. Mukhopadhyay told The Hindu.The family had arrived in the hills on June 11 and had booking till June 17 (Saturday) but had to leave the hotel early on Friday morning. “We have been standing here since 6 a.m. Now it is past noon and not a single vehicle has come,” Ms. Mukhopadhyay said.Tourists from different States across the country as well as foreign tourists waited for hours, hoping the State government would provide vehicles.“Darjeeling is a very nice place but there is no food and water. We are forced to go back,” said Sebastain, a tourist from France.Long waitAlmost 1,000 tourists waited for State government vehicles to take them to Siliguri. By the evening, there was a near stampede-like situation when tourists tried to force their way into the vehicles. The State government was able to provide about half a dozen buses and one truck. The owner of a reputed hotel in Darjeeling town rued the fact that the shutdown had brought life to a complete halt. “We had full bookings till the first week of July. With the shutdown, there is not a single tourist in our hotel,” he said. Tourism is the backbone of the Darjeeling economy.
Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet “The players just made the right plays and big plays,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela.Castro capped off his brilliant showing with a clutch triple that gave TNT a 107-103 edge with 35.8 seconds left.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsTNT overcame a monster effort by import LaDontae Henton, who had 42 points and 22 rebounds for Alaska, which blew a 95-82 lead with 7:01 remaining.Henton, however, missed a potential game-winning jumper as time ran out. Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant PBA IMAGESTNT rose from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to stun Alaska, 107-106, in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.Jayson Castro just missed a triple-double with 23 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists for the KaTropa, who bounced back from a sorry loss to the San Miguel Beermen on Wednesday.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress LATEST STORIES Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ View comments Pacio sees potential title fight if victorious in ONE Macau tilt The Aces just couldn’t catch a break as their woes continued with their losing skid now at 12 games dating back to last conference.Calvin Abueva played his first game for Alaska since his mysterious disappearance and notched a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.Michael Craig Jr. led TNT, which hiked its record to 2-1, in scoring with 28 points while Roger Pogoy added 25 points.Alaska dropped to 0-4 this conference, joining Kia at the bottom of the standings.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ
Consider this your daily reminder that the solar system is even more beautiful than you realised. And with the availability of fore-running technology, we have been discovering many interesting things from the advent of International Space Agency NASA.Out of many of those discoveries, Mars or the Red planet, stands as one of the most interesting subjects all the way. From the very beginning, there are a plethora of theories on the availability of water and oxygen on this nearby Red-planet.Once again NASA has given us an image from Mars, that will make us more excited about the neighbouring planet. NASA’s Mars orbiter has beamed back a stunning image of the red planet’s snow-covered dunes creating beautiful patterns over the rust coloured background.NASA The image was taken on May 21 in the Northern hemisphere of Mars by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on US space agency’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.Snow on the Red planet is differentUnlike on Earth, the snow and ice is carbon dioxide, better known to us as dry ice. When the Sun starts shining on it in the spring, the ice on the smooth surface of the dune cracks and escaping gas carries dark sand out from the dune below, often creating beautiful patterns.On the rough surface between the dunes, frost is trapped behind small sheltered ridges.NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which was launched in 2005 and attained Martian orbit on March 10, 2006.(With inputs from PTI)Interested in General Knowledge and Current Affairs? Click here to stay informed and know what is happening around the world with our G.K. and Current Affairs section.advertisementTo get more updates on Current Affairs, send in your query by mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Harbhajan Singh lauded Virat Kohli and Team India after the visitors outplayed England in the third Test at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.India wrapped up victory in the third Test against England to secure a 203-run victory. The victory narrows England’s lead in the five-Test series to 2-1.India needed just 17 balls and 10 minutes to get the final wicket with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin removing James Anderson who gloved a catch to Ajinkya Rahane.England ended their second innings 317 all out after Jos Buttler’s maiden Test century on Tuesday provided some cheer in what was a poor batting display against fine Indian seam bowling.READ – Cheteshwar Pujara elated after Trent Bridge Test win: Onto the next oneIt was an excellent all-round performance from India as they bounced back in some style from defeats in the opening two Tests at Edgbaston and Lord’s.Player of the Match goes to #TeamIndia Skipper @imVkohli.#ENGvIND pic.twitter.com/4MTJj87MmYBCCI (@BCCI) August 22, 2018″India have done really well to win this game and kept themselves alive in the series. India outplayed England in the third Test at Trent Bridge. It was a complete effort by Team India, they batted well, bowled well and more importantly, they took the catches. Everyone is so excited and India are finally at their best. From here onwards, it will be an exciting series,” Harbhajan told India Today.READ – India complete historic Test triumph in England: Recapping all seven victoriesSkipper Kohli was named man of the match after knocks of 97 and 103 for the tourists. Kohli had managed to score on 134 in 10 innings the last time India toured England in 2014.advertisementWATCH – Kohli is doing wonders in England: HarbhajanKohli worked hard on his batting and has scored two centuries and as many fifties in six innings so far in the ongoing series. He now aggregates 440 runs from three Tests in the series.READ – Virat Kohli breaks Sourav Ganguly’s record as Test captain”Virat Kohli has done wonders in England in this series. The way he has batted seems like he’s batting on a different pitch. Hats off to him. He worked really hard and to come to England and score runs is something really special. It means a lot to him as the last time he struggled in England. This was one country where he wanted to score runs and his hard work has really paid off. Well done to Virat Kohli for showing will power can change everything,” Harbhajan said.READ – Virat Kohli dedicates historic Test triumph to Kerala flood victimsThe result has helped India register their seventh Test victory in England. But that would not have been possible had other batsmen not come to the party. Both Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane overcame woeful form and scored half-centuries.READ – Anushka Sharma keeps me motivated, I dedicate my innings to her: Virat Kohli”It’s nice to see other batsmen also scoring runs. Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara batted really well. You can’t just depend on Virat Kohli. Yes, he’s your No.1 batsman but he can’t be scoring runs all the time. It’s a great sign that Team India batsmen are coming back in form. We can expect a similar result in the fourth Test as we have the bowlers who can take 20 wickets in the match,” he said.England and India play the fourth match of the series at Southampton from August 30.
Paris, Dec 10 (IANS) French President Emmanuel Macron will hold talks with business leaders and trade unions on Monday after a fourth weekend of the violent “gilets jaunes,” or “yellow vest” nationwide protests that have challenged his grip on power.Macron, who will also meet political leaders and local officials, wants to “hear their voices, their proposals and with the aim of mobilising them to act”, CNN quoted a spokeswoman for the Elysee Palace as saying on Sunday.Le Figaro newspaper said that Prime Minister douard Philippe and nine government ministers will also be present at Macron’s meeting.The meetings will come ahead of Macron’s address to the nation which is expected to centre around national unity. Macron is anticipated to urge the “gilets jaunes,” or “yellow vest” protesters to seek dialogue after a weekend in which 1,723 people were taken in for questioning and 1,220 were taken into custody, according to the Interior Ministry. Across the country, 135 people were reported injured.Macron is facing criticism with demonstrators marching against the rise of living costs, the scrapping of the “fortune tax” and accusations that the former banker has done little to address the inequality in French society.Further pressure grew over the weekend with police firing rubber bullets and hundreds of canisters of tear gas at the demonstrators, some of whom set vehicles on fire during Saturday’s protests.The protests, which have stretched as far and wide as the southern cities of Marseille and Toulouse, brought out 136,000 people across the country on Saturday, police said.About 8,000 police were on the streets of Paris and tens of thousands more deployed across the country.Paris landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre have been closed to the public, some metro stations were shut and sporting events across the country have been called off, CNN said.Originally a grassroots movement, the “gilets jaunes” first emerged online with Facebook events set up by citizens mostly from deprived rural areas.They began by coordinating road blockades across France to protest the fuel tax hike but the protests have since mushroomed into a broader demonstration of anger against Macron.An opinion poll on Friday suggested a dip in support for the protests, but it still stood at 66 per cent.Meanwhile, President Macron’s ratings have fallen to 23% amid the crisis, polls suggest.–IANSkskadvertisement
Ravichandran Ashwin was forced out of the second India-Australia Test at Perth, due to a left abdominal strain.India decided to go in with four frontline seamers – only for the third time in their Test history – and had the option of spin from part-timers Hanuma Vihari and Murali Vijay. The pacers toiled hard as Australia finished day 1 at 277/6.Vihari looked to be troubling the Australian batsmen with his spin and bounce on a pitch that was clearly going to offer something for the spinners despite the outwardly green tinge.Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey said that India will surely feel the loss of Ashwin, which may prove to be a big blow for India.Ashwin had a good outing in the previous Test in Adelaide, which India won by 31 runs, taking six wickets.”It’ll definitely throw the team balance out quite a lot I would have thought,” Hussey, who played 79 Tests for Australia during his career, was quoted as saying in cricket.com.au.”You could tell quite clearly in Adelaide they liked to use the spinner – much like Australia really – to bowl a lot of overs from one end and then rotate the faster men from the other end.”Sunil Gavaskar rued R Ashwin’s side strain and said the off-spinner would have been an easy choice if he were fit.”He [Ashwin] definitely would have because I don’t think they would have included an extra bowler and gone in with a five-bowler attack. They would have included Hanuma Vihari as Rohit wasn’t fit but Ashwin definitely would have played,” Gavaskar told Sony Pictures India on Friday.advertisement”They would have had a little more variety in the attack. If the ball turns, even Jadeja can turn it. Going in with four new ball bowlers, does leave you a little lopsided. It’s like saying I will play six opening batsmen. There are specialties with every batting unit, similarly with every bowling unit,” he added.(With inputs from PTI)Also Read | Were India conned into playing 4 pacers in Perth? Experts disagree with Kohli’s callAlso Read | Hanuma Vihari wanted to give India pacers some rest. He ended up taking 2 wicketsAlso Read | Finch thrilled with Vihari’s spell, expects Lyon to wreak havoc vs India
Former University of Nebraska Regent and 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chuck Hassebrook is running for an open seat in the state legislature.Hassebrook announced Wednesday that he will seek to represent District 16, an area that includes Burt, Cuming and Washington counties.He is hoping to replace Senator Lydia Brasch of Bancroft, who is ineligible to run again because of term limits.Hassebrook spent 18 years as a university regent, from 1994 to 2012. He ran for governor in the 2014 election but lost to Pete Ricketts.He currently works as a vice president for Sandhills Energy, where he develops wind and solar energy projects in rural communities.He previously worked at the Center for Rural Affairs.
Coming off his closest re-election win Tuesday night, Iowa Congressman Steve King visited South Dakota’s Lewis & Clark Regional Water System treatment plant north of Vermillion Thursday.The project also serves northwest Iowa and King, who was at the ground breaking of the plant, says he wants to be there when the project is completed:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/LC.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC………has been :13The project is set to get about fifteen million dollars in federal funding next year.King says it has been more difficult to get adequate funding without earmarks:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/LC2.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…….stuck with it. :27King says he will push for more funding next year:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/LC3.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…..do that. :11The project, still under construction, is serving towns and cities in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota from wells near the Missouri River south of Vermillion.Thanks to Jerry Oster WNAX
Chelsea boss Sarri puts Ampadu on notice: Our new Jorginho?by Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has revealed he is considering Ethan Ampadu for a midfield role.Sarri made the revelation when discussing Jorginho’s performance for victory over Newcastle.”After 20 minutes he [Jorginho] lost a lot of balls and it is unusual,” analysed Sarri, “so I think he was in trouble. Maybe he was tired, I don’t know, but if Fabregas was on the bench I think in the second half Fabregas would have been on the pitch instead of Jorginho.”Sarri made it clear there are not many areas where the squad needs strengthening and he acknowledges Ampadu has potential to play the Jorginho way.”In the future maybe but we have to work,” he points out. “The player who plays in that position usually touches about 120 to 130 balls [a match] and so I think we need a specialist there.”The bench is not really very short. It is left short for only one position at the moment because Hudson-Odoi is improving, Hudson-Odoi in one or two months will be at the same level as the other players. I hope the same for Ampadu. Of course playing as a central midfielder in our team is not easy, we need to try and try and try in training.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Liverpool boss Klopp drops Milner contract hintby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has hinted veteran James Milner is in line for a new deal.Milner played a key role in midweek, helping to guide a youthful Liverpool team to a 2-0 win away to MK Dons in the Carabao Cup.Klopp enthused, “Millie is unbelievably important. I have said it a couple of times. He is Mr Professional, that is how he is.“In a game like this against MK Dons, you go there and play with five kids, that is nice and you have six regular first-team players on the pitch. The others didn’t even travel.“There could be a feeling like ‘Oh yes, we play MK Dons – thank you very much boys’, but there is no chance in the team as long as guys like James and Adam [Lallana] are in the team.“From the first moment they give everything. He is a role model for the young boys. What an exceptional career. He looks like he has a few more years in the locker.“Contract situations, we don’t talk about here in this room, but we are really happy with him.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Story Highlights Mr. Samuda said he was highly encouraged by the female farmers and manufacturers who showcased at the event, which is staged annually by the Trelawny Association of Branch Societies of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS). Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, has expressed delight at the large number of young persons, particularly female farmers, who were directly involved in the 63rd Hague Agricultural and Industrial Show in Trelawny, on February 14.“I am so happy to see so many young people. When you look out there, you see an army of young people in the effort at building agriculture, which is the most solid pillar on which the economy must be based if we are to be developed,” Mr. Samuda said at the opening ceremony of the event.Mr. Samuda said he was highly encouraged by the female farmers and manufacturers who showcased at the event, which is staged annually by the Trelawny Association of Branch Societies of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS).“I want to encourage the women. I am impressed by persons who have demonstrated the level of commitment that assures a bright future in agriculture,” he said.The Minister encouraged the farmers to improve the level of productivity in the field, “so that when you bring your crops to be sold, it is the envy not only of the country but of the world where you export,” the Minister said.Following the Minister’s presentation, JIS News spoke to 23-year-old Godfrey Levy, a farmer and final-year Animal Science student at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), and his college mate, Sonique Bennett, who were among the youth participants at the event.Mr. Levy said he was in attendance at the show to provide support in its execution, including showcasing and tending to cattle which were involved in the livestock competitions. He said agriculture is a passion of his from childhood days, as his father is deeply involved in agriculture.“I was exposed at a very young age. Today at Hague, it is a very exciting event because we are exposed to different livestock, different technologies and different companies that are helping the agricultural sector,” Mr. Levy, a former Herbert Morrison Technical High School student, said.For her part, Miss Bennett, a past student of the Anchovy High School, said agriculture has been a passion of hers since her early years growing up in Somerton, St. James. She has plans to become a veterinarian and to specialise in the production of the resilient native Jamaican goats.“I am planning to restart my goat herd. My goats are the native breed of goats. I like my native goats because they are sturdier,” she said. The Minister encouraged the farmers to improve the level of productivity in the field, “so that when you bring your crops to be sold, it is the envy not only of the country but of the world where you export,” the Minister said. Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, has expressed delight at the large number of young persons, particularly female farmers, who were directly involved in the 63rd Hague Agricultural and Industrial Show in Trelawny, on February 14.
zoom The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for a missing crew member of the Marshall Islands-flagged container ship Ibrahim Dede who was reported missing on August 11, while the ship was transiting from Bayonne, New Jersey to Ocean City, Maryland.Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads received notification at approximately 4:30 pm local time Wednesday from the 600-foot Ibrahim Dede of the missing crew member, suspected to have fallen overboard.The crew member was last reported on board after departing Bayonne, New Jersey. The crew discovered the man was missing while the boxship was in transit to Ocean City.A Coast Guard Station New York 45-Foot Response Boat crew, a Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and an Air Station Elizabeth City C-130 Hercules airplane crew were launched in response to aid the search. They covered the areas along the coast from Bayonne to Ocean City. Coast Guard crews also searched farther north up to New York Harbor and farther south to Chincoteague, Virginia.The 2008-built Ibrahim Dede continued to Norfolk International Terminal to dock.The vessel is operated by the U.K.-based Turkon Line, and owned by Germany’s Kalkavan Shipmanagement Hamburg.
Nova Scotians’ concerns about crime and public safety were front and centre during meetings this week of federal, provincial and territorial justice ministers. Nova Scotia Minister Cecil Clarke spoke on a variety of key issues, including strengthening the Youth Criminal Justice Act, introducing serious penalties for auto theft, and the need for stronger federal legislation to address organized crime. “While there are many ways we are fighting crime provincially, there are some issues that can only be addressed at the federal level,” said Mr. Clarke. “I am pleased with the support and co-operation we are seeing from the federal government, including upcoming amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act and their comprehensive crime bill C-2, currently before the House of Commons.” Earlier this fall federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson came to Nova Scotia to announce proposed changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act that will give the courts more flexibility to hold a young person before trial when they are a danger to themselves or others. Mr. Clarke said he has re-affirmed support for the amendments to federal legislators. “Introducing the bill is only the first step,” said Mr. Clarke. “I want to make sure all members of Parliament are aware that Nova Scotians expect these amendments to pass into law.” Mr. Clarke also proposed that the federal government make auto theft a stand-alone offence under the Criminal Code. “We know from the Nunn Commission and regular reports that auto theft is a serious, and potentially life-threatening crime,” said Mr. Clarke. “Designating auto theft as a stand-alone offence, with enhanced penalties for serious repeat offenders and those who make their living stealing cars, will create a much stronger response to this crime.” Mr. Clarke joined his counterparts in calling on the federal government to strengthen how the criminal code fights organized crime. This includes creating a new offence, with penalties for drive-by shootings, specifying that gang murders will be treated as first-degree murders, and stronger penalties for assaults against peace officers, an issue previously raised by Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia will soon introduce a comprehensive crime-prevention strategy to support public safety and security. The strategy will build on current initiatives and tools to fight crime, including adding 250 provincially funded police officers across the province, new supervision and programs for young offenders, and a new civil tool to shut down drug houses and sites of other illegal activities. Other issues discussed were the on-going need for increased federal legal aid funding and the need for the federal government to move quickly on their commitment to provide 2,500 new police officers. Mr. Clarke said it is important that all levels of government work together to support communities and make them safer. “These talks are critical to ensuring our work is co-ordinated and reflects the unique needs of individual provinces and communities,” said Mr. Clarke. “We want to ensure that our Nova Scotian communities receive the full benefit of available programs and funding at the federal, provincial and municipal level.”
Guillaume Soro, the Secretary-General of the rebel Forces Nouvelles, which controls the north of the country, has been designated to replace Charles Konan Banny as Prime Minister under a supplementary agreement struck on Monday.An integrated command centre, which is tasked with reintegrating combatant forces and restructuring the country’s defence and security forces and will be run jointly by the Government and the rebels, was also established on 16 March.In a statement issued by his spokesperson today, Mr. Ban commended Mr. Soro and President Laurent Gbagbo, whose Government holds the south of Côte d’Ivoire, for the steps they have taken to implement the Ouagadougou political agreement.That agreement, reached in the capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso on 4 March, commits both sides to honouring all Security Council resolutions on the issue, including the need to abide by free, fair and transparent elections.It also tackles other key issues such as disarmament, reform and restructuring of the armed forces and the restoration of State authority throughout the country.Mr. Ban’s statement thanked Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré for his work to facilitate this week’s supplementary agreement and assured Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Soro that the UN will work closely with them to implement the rest of the Ouagadougou agreement.He also voiced gratitude to Mr. Banny “for his significant contribution to the peace process, in particular for his tireless efforts to rebuild trust among the Ivorian parties and launch the key disarmament and identification processes over the past 16 months.”The Security Council also welcomed Mr. Soro’s appointment today and called on Ivorian political leaders to implement the remainder of their commitments under the Ouagadougou accord within the prescribed timetable.Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma of South Africa, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency this month, read out a presidential statement in which the 15-member panel hailed the “spirit of compromise and sense of responsibility” that led to the deal in Ouagadougou.The statement reiterated the Council’s view that the agreement provides a good basis for a comprehensive peace deal to end the stand-off in Côte d’Ivoire.The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) has nearly 9,000 total uniformed personnel in the country, including 7,850 troops and almost 1,000 police with a mandate to monitor the cessation of hostilities and movements of armed groups, help in disarmament and dismantling of militias and contribute to the security of the operation of identifying the population and registering voters.National elections originally slated for last October have been postponed until this year. 28 March 2007Commending the efforts of both sides to implement this month’s peace deal between rival political leaders in the divided West African nation of Côte d’Ivoire, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the agreement earlier this week that has led to the appointment of a new prime minister.
Mr. Ban is scheduled to meet Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Foreign Minister Franco Frattini while in Rome, and he will also attend events commemorating national reunification in 1861.The Secretary-General is also slated to open a high-level conference on the topic of inter-ethnic cities that is being staged by the Alliance of Civilizations, Italy, Canada and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 31 May 2011Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon heads to Rome later today for a three-day visit to the Italian capital to coincide with celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the country’s unification.
Internationally renown oscar-winning actor and screenwriter Matt Damon has just returned from Zambia, where he visited United Nations anti-poverty project as part of a “listening and learning” trip sponsored by the advocacy group founded by U2 front-man and actvist Bono, the UN Volunteers Programme (UNV) said today.“To see so much hope from people who have so little made this an inspiring and life changing journey for me,” Mr. Damon said of his five-day journey in early May to Chongwe, a rural district some 60 kilometres from the Zambian capital of Lusaka. The Chongwe district is home to a small-scale loan initiative carried out by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in conjuction with UNV which uses the successful Grameen Bank of Bangladesh microfinance model to support poor women locally in establishing empowering and profitable small- to medium-sized businesses.Under the initiative, qualified women are provided with small loans collateral-free to open a business or expand an existing one. Once selected, the recipients regularly meet in groups to discuss, share and learn from each other, receive guidance from the project team and make payments on their loans.The microfinance team consists of two Bangladeshi and ten Zambian UN Volunteers who have for the past two years supported the two local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) providing hands-on assistance to the women’s groups. “Before we could afford to eat only one meal per day, and that was lunch,” said the Zambian group’s leader Catherine Miwanda. “Now we can feed our families three times a day.”In addition to the microfinance project, nearly 100 Zambian UN Volunteers work with the local government and the UN to implement initiatives in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with the main focus aimed at raising awareness and providing technical assistance in carrying out mitigation activities.Mr. Damon and his brother Kyle conversed with the local women’s group to learn of the project’s impact. “The promises America and other rich countries have made to Africa must be more than words,” the actor stated. “Those promises need to put hopeful children in school; help parents put roofs over the heads of their children; and get life saving AIDS medicines to the patients who need them now.”His trip was sponsored by DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa), the African advocacy group co-founded by U2 lead singer Bono, and the American NGO, ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History.
Mr Evans posted on Facebook that he flew to Rome on Tuesday evening and met the Pope on Wednesday morning.Posting photos of himself kissing Pope Francis’s hand, he wrote: “No sleep! No food! No tie! No Care!”Last night I jumped on a plane and come to the Vatican, Rome, to meet the Pope one hour ago and here we are.” Tom Evans, pictured right, after flying to Rome to meet the PopeCredit:Tiziana Fabi/AFP But Lord Justice Davis, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan ruled against them after an appeal court hearing in London. In a video streamed on Wednesday morning Mr Evans said he was waiting for the Pope to mention Alfie in front of crowds at the Vatican.Crowds calling themselves ‘Alfie’s Army’ ended their fifth day of protests outside Alder Hey on Monday following a plea from the parents.During his general audience afterwards, the Pope led the crowd in a moment of silent prayer for Alfie.At the beginning of April, Francis tweeted his support for the youngster, posting: “It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans, and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard.”I am praying for Alfie, for his family and for all who are involved.”Earlier this week Francis said: “It’s our duty to do everything to care for life.” In February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.Specialists at Alder Hey said life-support treatment should stop and Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence which showed that further treatment was futile.Alfie’s parents say “the state” is wrongly interfering with their parental choice.They want to move Alfie to a hospital in Rome.Mr Justice Hayden said flying Alfie to a foreign hospital would be wrong and pointless. Court of Appeal judges upheld his decisions.Supreme Court justices and European Court of Human Rights judges refused to intervene. Alfie Evans in hospitalCredit:Alfie’s Army Official/PA After a sleepless journey to the Vatican, Tom Evans, father of terminally-ill toddler Alfie, attends Pope Francis’ general audience in St Peter’s SquareCredit:Gregorio Borgia/AP Alfie Evans, pictured right, and his parents Tom Evans, pictured right in the left picture, and Kate JamesCredit:PA The father of Alfie Evans kissed the hand of the Pope and begged him to save the life of his son after flying to Rome.Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, want to move their son from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool to the Italian capital for treatment and have launched a second application to the Supreme Court.They have already lost fights in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights after Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors could stop providing life-support treatment for the 23-month old.Judges have heard that Alfie, born on May 9 2016, is in a semi-vegetative state and has a degenerative neurological condition doctors have not definitively diagnosed. Mr Justice Hayden said flying Alfie to a foreign hospital would be wrong and pointless.But his parents are desperate to move their son abroad, and Mr Evans is seeking support from the head of the Catholic Church. Alfie Evans’ parents latest legal battle to fly their son to Rome ends in defeatThe parents of Alfie Evans who has been at the centre of a life-support treatment battle lost their latest legal challenge on Monday.A lawyer representing Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, returned to the Court of Appeal to ask judges to rule that the 23 month-old should be allowed to travel to a foreign hospital. Tom Evans, the father of Aflie Evans, meets the pope at the Vatican in Italy Wednesday morning “Alfie, we will do everything for you. You’re not dying so we won’t allow your life to be taken.”Your holiness save our son.” Last week, Mr Justice Hayden endorsed a detailed plan put forward by Alder Hey doctors for withdrawing life-support treatment, after considering a number of issues at a follow-up High Court hearing.Barrister Paul Diamond, who represented Alfie’s parents, on Monday asked the three appeal judges to overturn decisions made by Mr Justice Hayden last week.Alfie’s parents say their son has improved in recent weeks and had asked Mr Justice Hayden to allow a new assessment, but Mr Hayden refused that request. He said medical experts’ unanimous view was that Alfie’s brain had been eroded by disease and further assessment was pointless.They also suggested that Alfie was being unlawfully detained at Alder Hey.The judge also dismissed that suggestion.Appeal court officials said an appeal court judge had decided that Alfie should continue to receive treatment pending the outcome of Monday’s Court of Appeal hearing. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.