Governor Satya Pal Malik’s comments hinting at the future Mayor of Srinagar, even as elections to the urban local bodies in the State are yet to be concluded, drew sharp criticism from several parties including the Congress, the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).“The way the Governor has unequivocally expressed his intentions, by hinting towards a particular individual beforehand for Mayor’s post of Srinagar, is what casts a shadow on the whole election process, already mired in controversies,” senior NC leader and MLA Eidgah Mubarak Gul said on Tuesday. “It puts a big question mark on the impartiality of the Governor’s office.” In an interview to a national TV news channel, Mr. Malik said “a foreign educated candidate is likely to become new Mayor of Srinagar.” Elections are yet to be held for 73 out of the 76 wards in Srinagar. Mr. Malik was likely hinting at Junaid Azim Mattu, who has a foreign degree and is contesting from one of Srinagar’s wards. Mr. Mattu quit the NC to contest the polls.Congress state vice president and MLC Ghulam Nabi Monga said, “The Governor being the constitutional head of the State should not play in the hands of BJP-RSS, which is trying to make Raj Bhavan a tool to decide the fate of democratic institutions. It has put a question mark on the credibility of these elections. The results seem decided in advance,” Mr. Monga told The Hindu.Senior PDP leader Nayeem Akhtar described the current electoral exercise as “worse than 1987 elections,” which had been marred by allegations of rigging. “Candidates are imported and results are being declared beforehand. It’s unprecedented and will only erode people’s faith in democratic institutions,” said Mr. Akhtar.Poll timing irks Cong.The State Election Commission’s move to advance polling time by an hour to 6 a.m. for the second phase of elections to the urban local bodies has irked the Congress.Terming the move “an attempt to ferry bogus voters,” Mr. Monga asked: “How can the State Election Commission hold elections before the first light of the day. The sunrise timing is 6:32 a.m. in Srinagar and the election timing should have been ideally moved to 8 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. It’s a ploy to facilitate bogus voting. The state machinery is being misused to favour the BJP candidates in this election,” he said.A total of 1,094 candidates are in the fray for the 384 wards that will be covered in the second phase of the civic body polls in J&K on Wednesday. Sixty five candidates have already been declared elected without a contest. As many as 11 wards were uncontested in central Kashmir’s Chrar-e-Sharief tehsil, followed by Langate with nine wards, and Anantnag with nine wards — with the sole candidates, fielded by the BJP, emerging as winners.J&K is witnessing civic body elections after a gap of 10 years. However, the two main regional parties, the NC and the PDP, have boycotted the polls in protest against the Centre’s stand on J&K’s special status.
Devotees of Sai Baba can now book their darshan tickets online through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website.Obtaining darshan tickets usually requires standing in long queues. From Saturday, the tickets can be obtained online thanks to a joint initiative by the IRCTC and the Shri Sai Sansthan in Shirdi. IRCTC officials said that the option is currently being extended to customers who book online train tickets to travel to Shirdi Sai Nagar, Kopargaon, Manmad, Nashik and Nagarsol. The darshan dates can either be the date of arrival at the destination station or any of the following days after arrival and only one darshan transaction will be allowed per user. The tickets can be obtained using the PNR numbers of the train tickets, officials said. “This will benefit those travelling to the five stations, who want to go for Sai Baba’s darshan,” said Pinakin Morawala, PRO, IRCTC, Western Zone Mumbai.While the first phase of the initiative extends the facility to paid darshan ticket holders, it will later be extended to those opting for free ones as well, officials said.
Former Brazil striker Ronaldo has become the majority stakeholder in Spanish La Liga team Real Valladolid after buying 51 percent of the club from president Carlos Suarez.The former Barcelona and Real Madrid forward paid around 30 million euros ($35 million), according to Spanish media reports.Valladolid were promoted this season and Ronaldo said the aim was to keep the team in the Spanish top flight.”We want Real Valladolid to consolidate in the top flight and keep building hopes from there,” said Ronaldo.@ronaldo ya presume de la blanquivioleta #RealValladolid pic.twitter.com/CVT5ePqQD4Real Valladolid C.F. (@realvalladolid) September 3, 2018″It will not stop there because we want to grow to where our hopes allow us to.”Suarez will continue as club president.”The arrival of Ronaldo puts Valladolid on the map and will allow the club to take a leap forward in quality. I welcome him to his home,” said Suarez.
BOULDER, CO – OCTOBER 04: A helmet of the Texas Longhorns lies on the field as the team warms up prior to facing the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on October 4, 2008 in Boulder, Colorado. Texas defeated Colorado 38-14. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)Texas’ quarterback depth chart is taking a hit this offseason, as many projected. The program confirmed this morning that junior Shane Buechele has entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal and that freshman four-star Cameron Rising had left the program.Casey Thompson, another freshman four-star QB, reportedly also placed his name in the portal, indicating he is considering a transfer. However, a report last night from 247Sports’ Chip Brown claimed Thompson had made up his mind to remove himself from the portal and return to school.Not so, says Thompson, who denied the report on Twitter today.“I shouldn’t have to do this but I haven’t made a decision and the reports did not come from me,” he wrote. “I hate finding out news from twitter and so should any coach. That’s not the right way to do things—it’s unprofessional. I like to inform and be informed myself. Deleting this tweet.”I shouldn’t have to do this but I haven’t made a decision and the reports did not come from me. I hate finding out news from twitter and so should any coach. That’s not the right way to do things—it’s unprofessional. I like to inform and be informed myself. Deleting this tweet.— Casey Thompson (@LilThurm) January 17, 2019When a player places his name in the transfer portal, it enables him to have contact with other programs. It is not a guarantee that the player will transfer from his current institution.Thompson still could return to Texas. Right now, starter Sam Ehlinger and 2019 signeee Roschon Johnson are the only scholarship quarterbacks locked into the roster for next fall.The Longhorns also received a commitment from 2019 three-star QB Sam Saxton earlier today.Dream come true, very excited to announce that I will be continuing my athletic and academic career at the University of Texas ? #HookEm @TexasFootball pic.twitter.com/TzqE4V09HF— Sam Saxton (@SAMSAXT0N) January 17, 2019If Thompson does elect to transfer, expect Texas to turn to the grad transfer market to add some much-needed insurance behind Ehlinger.
zoom Norwegian ship owner Ocean Yield ASA has taken delivery of the Ultra Large Container Vessel (ULCV) MSC Eloane from South Korea’s shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries.After being delivered from the shipyard today, the vessel commenced a 15-year bareboat charter with Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company for a charter rate of USD 46,250 per day, according to data provided by VesselsValue.Featuring 202,000 dwt, the vessel is capable of carrying 19,500 TEU.This is the third vessel to be delivered in a series of six mega container vessels that Ocean Yield owns in a joint venture with private shipowner Quantum Pacific Shipping, a part of Quantum Pacific Group.The company acquired a 49.5% equity interest in the newbuildings for a total of USD 162 million in June 2016.The remaining boxships, all of which are on 15-year bareboat charters to the European container line, are scheduled for delivery by February 2017.
Nova Scotians are encouraged to get a flu shot as soon as possible. “Vaccination is the safest and most effective way to protect yourself and loved ones from the flu,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine. “We encourage everyone to plan ahead and get the flu vaccine before the Christmas holidays.” Seasonal flu vaccine is available from most pharmacies, family doctors, family practice nurses, nurse practitioners, many workplaces and through clinics offered by some public health offices. “Last year, 40 per cent of Nova Scotians got a flu shot, and we hope to see more this year,” said Dr. Frank Atherton, Nova Scotia’s deputy chief medical officer of health. “Our publicly funded immunization program is an important part of the government’s commitment to promote health and prevent illness.” The province is providing the quadrivalent vaccine recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. The vaccine contains two influenza A strains and two influenza B strains. High-risk groups strongly encouraged to get a flu shot are: seniors children six months to five years of age Aboriginal people pregnant women people with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes people who live with, or care for, people in high-risk groups Proper hygiene such as hand washing and covering noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing is also important to prevent the spread of influenza and many other infections. People with flu symptoms should stay home and minimize close contact with others. Flu symptoms often include a sudden high fever, headache, general aches and pains, fatigue and weakness, a runny, stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat. It can lead to more severe illness such as pneumonia or even death. For more information on the flu, visit novascotia.ca/flu .
Prizeo is giving you the chance to win a shiny birthday lunch with Nathan Fillion… and all you have to do to enter is donate to charity.“For a $10 donation to Sawla Children’s Home, you’ll be entered to win a trip to Los Angeles to have a birthday lunch with me!” says Nathan. “If you donate more to Sawla, we’ll give you extra chances to win and rewards at each of the different donation levels — t-shirts, signed scripts and posters, thank you videos, so many options!“This truly means the world to me, helping me celebrate my birthday by supporting such a great cause.”International Assistance Program has impacted the lives of thousands of people through its professional involvement in implementing challenging western business practices in underdeveloped countries.In June, 2007, IAP established the Sawla Children’s Home in northwest Ghana. Sawla Children’s Home has cared for almost 50 orphans, providing for their basic needs and more. Now fed and healthy, these children are rising to the top of their classes in school and are showing great promise for the future. Each child is now loved and part of an amazing family that is impacting the surrounding villages and communities.To find out more about entering, click here.“Already a lot of people excited about lunch!” tweeted Nathan. “I think I’ll start with a salad. With a hamburger on it.”
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Executive Committee met with President Maithripala Sirisena late this evening.The SLFP members were expected to discuss the future of the SLFP in the Government.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Malcolm Morrison, The Canadian Press Posted May 8, 2014 6:31 am MDT TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed at a four-month high Thursday while traders digested a stronger than expected reading on the housing sector and awaited the release of the April employment report Friday morning.The currency gained 0.61 of a cent to 92.4 cents US as Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported that housing starts came in at an annualized rate of 195,000 in April, higher than the 175,000 that economists had expected.Meanwhile, Statistics Canada is expected to report the economy created about 16,000 jobs last month.Other data showed that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 26,000 last week to 319,000, the latest sign that the job market is slowly improving.Applications, a proxy for layoffs, are returning to pre-recession levels. The average for April was 312,000, the fewest since October 2007.Investors were also encouraged Thursday by China’s April trade data that showed an improvement in exports. Exports rose 0.9 per cent from the previous year, compared with a 6.6 per cent decline in March. Imports also grew after a contraction in March but at a subdued level.Tensions arising from the Ukraine crisis eased a bit after Russian President Vladimir Putin softened his tone. Putin endorsed plans for fresh elections in Ukraine following the ouster earlier this year of its pro-Russian leader and called on pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine to delay referendums on autonomy.Elsewhere, the European Central Bank has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.25 per cent amid growing signs that the economic recovery in the 18-country eurozone is gaining momentum.A rate cut could give growth a small boost in theory by lowering borrowing costs for banks and companies. It could also help lower the euro, which is near a 2 1/2-year high against the U.S. dollar at around $1.395. A weaker euro would help exporters and boost inflation, which at an annual 0.7 per cent is well under the bank’s two per cent goal.On the commodity markets, July copper in New York edged up three cents to US$3.06 a pound, June bullion was down $1.20 to US$1,287.70 an ounce while June crude was 51 cents lower to US$100.26 a barrel. Canadian dollars (loonies) are pictured in Vancouver, Sept. 22, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward Loonie at four-month high amid strong housing data; traders look to jobs report
SMMT’s weekly round-up, including all the latest news from UK automotive and a message from SMMT’s Chief Executive.CLICK HERE: SMMT Update 305 online.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
Ohio State men’s ice hockey coach Mark Osiecki maintained the ebbs and flows of this season haven’t unnerved his team. But a sweep against Lake Superior State last weekend likely boosted their spirits. “I don’t think our guys have lost any confidence (all year), but it certainly helps to win,” Osiecki said. “Now we have to turn the page and get ready for the Irish.” The Buckeyes are set to host Notre Dame for a two-game series this Friday and Saturday at the Schottenstein Center. After all, only five points separate OSU and the Irish in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings. And, in the process, OSU might have a chance at upsetting the No. 11 team in the country. The Fighting Irish (16-10-0, 12-6-0-0 CCHA), losers of five of their last six games, have recently dropped from first to third in the CCHA standings. The Buckeyes, coming off back-to-back wins against the Lakers, sit sixth out of the league’s 11 teams. The weekend will showcase the teams’ only two meetings of the regular season. Goals will likely be at a premium all weekend as both teams are in the top seven schools in the country in goals allowed per game. OSU junior forward Alex Szczechura said scoring first in the game, as his team did twice last weekend, is crucial. “It’s something we really emphasize, jumping on teams early on. We’ve struggled with that in the past,” Szczechura said. Osiecki said he hopes to break through the stingy Notre Dame defense with the pace of his players’ attack. “Our strength is our transition, and our strength is our speed,” Osiecki said. Although Notre Dame’s defense has allowed .08 fewer goals per game than OSU’s defense has this season, the advantage between the posts goes to the Buckeyes. OSU senior goalie Brady Hjelle is second in the conference to Miami’s Ryan McKay in both goals-against average (1.60) and save percentage (0.946). McKay, though, has only played nine games this season, compared to Hjelle’s 32. Hjelle was named CCHA Goaltender of the Week for the fourth time this season after making 64 saves in the sweep of Lake Superior State. The series marks the tail end of a four-game home stand for OSU. Junior defenseman Curtis Gedig said he loves the Schottenstein Center’s atmosphere as well as other aspects of playing in Columbus. “Guys are a lot more positive in a way,” Gedig said. “We don’t have to worry about catching up on school because we’re traveling.” OSU is set to open its series with Notre Dame Friday at 7:05 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Correction: January 31, 2013 An earlier version of this story said that OSU’s men’s hockey won back-to-back games against Northern Michigan last weekend. They actually played Lake Superior State.
One of the best and most popular games on iOS, Infinity Blade, is getting a sequel. Mike Capps from Epic Games took the stage and announced that the sword-fighting game with breathtaking graphics will be followed up by a new title that has, well, more sword-fighting and even more breathtaking graphics.The game was announced in conjunction with the revelation of the A5 chip in the iPhone 4S. Of course Infinity Blade takes similar mechanics from the NES classic Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. Having mostly static environments with a variety of reskinned enemies allows Epic to focus more on impressive visuals than other titles might be able to (much like Punch-Out did back in the 80’s).It will be available December 1, so it won’t quite be in time for the iOS 5/iPhone 4S launch, but it’s on its way about a year after the original. Check out some more screenshots below: via Thisismynext
After this weekend, around a third of a million computers may no longer be able to browse web pages, send or receive email, or do anything else on the internet without knowing specific IP addresses. That’s because those machines are still infected by the DNSChanger malware.For the past year, those machines have been humming along happily. Users probably haven’t noticed anything unusual, and that’s because the FBI seized control of the rogue servers and has been corralling users to their desired destinations. On July 9th, however, the FBI is going to pull the plug. Running servers costs money, after all.Unfortunately, that means some users are going to be left in the lurch. With all the press DNSChanger has gotten in recent weeks, it’s almost hard to believe machines are still infected — but they are. In the grand scheme of things 300,000 systems isn’t that many — there’s billions of internet-connected computers. Despite the odds of your own machine being infected being quite small (fewer than 20,000 in the UK, for example), it’s still a good idea to check.So how do you figure out if you’re one of the machines that are still affected by DNSChanger? The easiest way is to head on over to Google and do a quick search. Thanks to some script wizardry, the popular search engine will tell you almost instantly whether or not you’re infected. You’ll see the banner above if something is wrong.The Australian government has set up a page that will test your system, too.If a problem is detected, you can use the DNS Check tool from F-Secure to correct the problematic DNS server settings.You’ll want to do this quickly, of course, because if your system is infected it’ll be a little more problematic to troubleshoot and repair after the 9th.More at Google and F-Secure
Labor’s Steve Georganas has reclaimed the Adelaide seat of Hindmarsh.Mr Georganas, who held the seat from 2004 to 2013 benefited from absentee and late declaration votes to pip sitting Liberal MP Matt Williams to the post.With more than 87 per cent of the votes counted Mr Georganas leads the preference count by 50.1 per cent to Mr Williams’ 49.9 per cent, once again confirming Hindmarsh’s position as one of Australia’s most marginal seats.Mr Georganas was re-elected in 2007 and 2010 before being defeated at the 2013 election.A former taxi driver, union organiser and ALP policy adviser, Mr Georganas is no stranger to close contests. In his first foray into federal politics in 2004 he won by just 108 votes.“You really appreciate it when you win by a small margin,” he told reporters on Wednesday, before Labor Leader Bill Shorten congratulated him for conducting a “sensational campaign”.On hearing the result Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese echoed Mr Shorten’s praise, describing Mr Georganas as “a tireless fighter for his community”. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
Something for the weekend: Employees daydreaming about being the next Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell may be interested to discover that their dream job could earn them an average salary of £40,624 a year, according to research by job search website Indeed.The analysis, which looked at average salaries based on a 37.5 hour working week as of 21 August 2018, also found that aspiring fashion buyers could receive an average annual salary of £31,404, while those looking to pound the pavements as a private investigator might earn £29,637 as an average salary.Green fingered individuals may be interested to find out that horticulturists earn an average salary of £17,101, which equates to £8.77 an hour, while pet lovers may be inspired to give dog walking a try as their next career, with an average salary of £24,219, or £12.42 an hour. Food technologists, on the other hand, have an average salary of £26,207, compared to pen-wielding journalists, who earn £25,146 a year on average.Wine experts may view being a sommelier as their dream job; this could earn an average salary of £23,114. An in-ground football correspondent, meanwhile, can expect an average salary of £20,628, while a wedding planner could receive £19,491.Bill Richards, UK managing director at Indeed, said: “Having a job that allows us to feel truly fulfilled is something worth chasing, and it can be mutually beneficial. For employers, finding an employee who is entirely suited to the role will lead to more innovative and committed team players whose intuition and drive can lead to better results.“The jobs we have identified on our list combine leisure hobbies with bringing home a solid salary. By striking a balance between the two, people are able to become masters of their field, and their own destinies. When [employees] spend the majority of [their] day doing something [they] love, [they] will be even prouder of the work [they] produce.“By highlighting that many dream jobs are within touching distance, we hope this will inspire people to invest in themselves and achieve fulfilment both personally and professionally.”Here at Employee Benefits, we are chuffed that many consider being a journalist a dream job, just like we do. We might be tempted to try and nab a model’s salary if we had the chance, though…
A biologist from the U.S. Geological Survey has been appointed to lead the state’s Habitat division.Download AudioTony DeGange is currently the chief of the ecosystem and geography offices at the Alaska Science Center. DeGange says he was recruited by Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten about the job, and that he supports the division’s conservation mission.“As more and more people live on the earth and there’s a lot more development, we have a responsibility to take care of our natural resources, and when we do development to try to do it in a way that minimizes impacts to fish and wildlife,” says DeGange.DeGange has worked for USGS for more than 30 years, and has previously collaborated with Fish and Game on salmon habitat projects. He has also represented the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.DeGange takes over the position at a time when the division is reconsidering its habitat management process. Management plans for the state’s sanctuaries and reserves — like the McNeil River bear refuge and Minto Flats — were being rewritten under the previous director, Randy Bates. The policies were targeted by a petition campaign that described the changes as a “rollback,” and Bates was removed from the position earlier this January.The process is currently on hold. DeGange says he will now have to figure out what to do with those plans.“The criticisms were that the state wasn’t following a highly transparent and public process,” says DeGange. “One of the first things that Sam Cotten has charged me with is coming up with a recommendation on how to move forward.”DeGange says those recommendations will likely come next month.
OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty ImagesGold prices surpassed about Rs 97,458 on Friday before retreating, still holding near a six-year high on the U.S. central bank’s dovish stance on monetary policy.Prices also found support from worries about a potential U.S. military strike against Iran and a global trade conflict.Spot gold rose 0.6 percent to about Rs 97,179 per ounce as of 1:50 p.m. EDT (1750 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled 0.2 per cent higher at about Rs 97,458 per ounce.Prices surged to about Rs 98,151 in the session, a high not seen since early September 2013, and were set to mark their best week in over three years.Bullion rates have jumped more than 5 per cent since the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday hinted interest rate cuts were possible later this year, as it responded to increased economic uncertainty and tepid inflation.”Gold is seeing a continuation move from bullish comments throughout the week, most notably the fact that world central banks easing monetary policy is generally very supportive for commodities overall, particularly gold,” said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.Middle East tensions have supported the gold market, while the U.S.-China trade war continues to concern investors, he added.After initially approving military strikes against Iran in retaliation for the downing of an unmanned surveillance drone, U.S. President Donald Trump pulled back from launching the attacks.Gold is often considered a safe haven in times of political and economic uncertainty.U.S.-China trade talks are set to resume ahead of a G20 meeting next week. Hopes for an agreement have grown somewhat, but neither side has signalled a shift from positions that led to an impasse last month.Gold prices traded within a wide range of about Rs 2,018, retreating from the more than Rs 97,458 level touched earlier in the day.”The levels above Rs 97,458 are near term resistance, so you would not be surprised to see the market consolidate around this psychological level,” High Ridge Futures’ Meger said.The next Fed meeting is six weeks away and investors are digesting this week’s signal for a rate cut, analysts said, indicating there may be few bullish cues to lift bullion prices any higher for now.”To sustain it (the bullish run in gold), you can’t go too quickly too fast,” said Ross Norman, chief executive at bullion dealer Sharps Pixley.Among other precious metals, silver dipped 1percent to about Rs 1,043 per ounce, while platinum was up 0.8 per cent at about Rs 56,279.Palladium climbed 1.5 per cent to about Rs 1,04,328 an ounce and was headed for a third consecutive weekly gain.
.Biman Bangladesh Airlines will restart direct cargo flights to the United Kingdom from Wednesday, after two years of ban, reports UNB.The direct cargo-flight operation will resume with a flight of the national flag carrier, BG-001, leaving Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for London at 10:45am, according to a Biman press release issued on Tuesday.The operation is going to resume three weeks after the withdrawal of the ban that had been in place for two years.Biman Bangladesh Airlines received ‘Air Cargo or Mail Carrier operating into the Union from a Third Country Airport (ACC3)’ certificate, a prerequisite to begin the direct flights to the UK.Last month, the UK withdrew the ban on direct air cargo from Dhaka after two years.Earlier on 8 March 2016, the British government slapped the ban on direct cargo flights from Dhaka to London after Biman had failed to pass the safety and security tests.As per the recommendations of the UK government, the Bangladesh government took some immediate measures such as recruiting UK-based aviation security agency for two years, developing Export Cargo Complex with three layers of security system, introducing European standard training for cargo handling, establishing two explosive detection systems (EDS), introducing Explosive Detection Dog (EDD), Cargo Scanning system and so on.Later, from 13-16 November 2017, an independent auditor was in Bangladesh to review Biman Bangladesh Airlines’ eligibility for the certificate and came up with the approval on 24 February 2018.Biman’s cargo business shrank 22.54 per cent in the last fiscal year on the back of the ban on direct freight flight from Dhaka to London, according to available data.
US House of RepresentativesUS Congressman William Richard Keating placed a resolution in the House of Representatives urging political leaders and judicial authorities to respect the will of voters and ensure that all Bangladeshis will be able to participate freely in the upcoming elections which will be impartial and inclusive, reports UNB.The resolution also reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to promote free, fair, transparent and credible elections in Bangladesh.Congressman William Richard Keating placed the resolution in the House of Representatives on Thursday, said US Congress website source.The resolution also called on the Government of Bangladesh to respect the freedom of speech and of the press and to heed the Bangladesh Election Commission’s request to ensure security for minorities and maintain communal harmony for a peaceful election.The resolution also commended the government and the people of Bangladesh for their generosity in hosting Rohingya refugees despite the hardships associated with responding to this man-made humanitarian disaster created by the Burmese military and security force’s crimes against humanity and genocide against the Rohingya in Northern Rakhine State.
A roundtable titled ‘Ride Sharing Services Policy 2017: Application, limitations and solutions’ is held at the Prothom Alo conference room at CA Bhaban in the capital on Tuesday. Photo: Prothom AloSome of the clauses in the Ride Sharing Services Policy 2017 needs to be reviewed for the sake of the growing ride-sharing industry, stakeholders said at a roundtable on Tuesday.Clauses like ‘one-driver one-application’, ‘no vehicle that is less than a year old’ and ‘data storage inside national boundary’ needed further review, they observed at the roundtable titled ‘Ride Sharing Services Policy 2017: Application, limitations and solutions’ at the Prothom Alo conference room at CA Bhaban in the capital.Addressing the roundtable, Hussain Mohammad Ilias, managing director and CEO of Pathao, said, “We see this policy positively, but for the sake of the vision Digital Bangladesh, a number of things need change.”The authorities, sometimes, are worried about the number of vehicles. But, nothing is to be worried about as Bangladesh now has only 600,000 registered motorbikes while India has 15 million and Vietnam has 30 million, said Mohammad Ilias.”The policy says a car has to be more than a year old to join the ride sharing platforms. But the customers want new vehicles. There is another clause that says ‘one-driver one-application’. A vehicle is not active all through the day. It is basically a part-time service. It will discourage the users,” he added.”The policy also says vehicles registered outside Dhaka will not be allowed to use the platform. But already there is a scarcity. This will affect the supply,” he further said.”The policy wants to bring the services under the VAT net. It will hamper the growth of the new industry,” he observed.Hossain Zillur Rahman, executive chairman of Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC), said, “It’s an interesting sector. But, policy should be through discussion and there should be short-term and medium-term approach.“I’ve just heard that the number of cars has decreased, but the number of bikes has increased. Increasing number of bikes link to pedestrian safety. The pedestrian testimony is not welcoming in this regard.“I think the one-driver one-app issue would be reviewed. The authorities are concerned on the management of the huge number of vehicles. This should be on the table for discussion as well. Besides, the data-offshoring and data on-shoring should be addressed, too.” he added.Maliha Kadir, managing director of Shohoz, said, “It is a good policy, no doubt. But, we should also keep in mind that it is not a taxi service. It’s micro-entrepreneurship.”She said, let everybody in and let decide the market forces what and how they want it.Kaniz Fatema Mitu, a user of the ride-sharing services, said, “I live in an area from where there is no direct public transport service to my office. So, I’ve to use the ride-sharing services.”“I feel secured and it has brought changes in my lifestyle in Dhaka.”Kazi Md Aminul Islam, executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), said, “I see it as an option. If I don’t want to use bus or my car I’ve an option. It’s a freedom. I think a democratic government has a duty to expand the space of freedom in the public life.”“My involvement with ride-sharing is long. When Uber first came to Dhaka, it was illegal. I went to the BRTA with the Uber people. I talked to them and said – the law is for the people, let’s change it for the people again. The government is cooperative and this policy is a clear indication of that.”“The policy might have some mistakes. We do not want monopoly either. The market should be competitive,” Aminul Islam said.Shahadat Hossain, owner of a vehicle, said the clause ‘one-driver one-app’ clashes with the idea of freelancing.“Suppose, if any company tries to exploit us, as a user we won’t have any option. It’ll discourage us,” he added.”The clause that may bar vehicles registered outside Dhaka from using the platform also needs review. It may be for controlling the traffic, but this cap will not help the people outside Dhaka as the unemployment problem is acute there.””So, I would like to request BRTA to focus on proper licensing,” he further said.”Then there is the issue of income tax return. As it is a part time job, we do not have evaluation and it is not possible for us either,” Shahadat added.Another user said, “We three colleagues used three vehicles previously, but now after the arrival of the ride sharing services, we jointly use one vehicle.”Lokman Hossain Molla, director of Bangladesh Road Transportation Authority (BRTA), said, “We don’t have any baseline survey. We have done this on the basis of some assumptions. There may have been some errors. When the errors were noticed, those were tabled in the intra-ministry meetings.”“On behalf of the BRTA, we have already updated some issues on certification. If any changes come from this meeting, that would be redesigned. We are going online for the sake of transparency.”The main thing is that the government is very positive. It is part-time for the drivers and owners, but it is full time for companies,” Lokman said.Hussain Mamtaz, programmer at BRTA, said a clause said the storage should be inside the country. As there is no service, they use Google.“We have put this provision, thinking future investment of Google and Amazon. It can be for a transitional period,” he added.Nazmul Islam, additional deputy commissioner, cyber security and crime unit, said, “Apps have data, so there is question of security of people. It should be ensured.”“I’ll urge the companies to remain alert as hackers see everything. Please use disclaimer in a proper way before taking information from them,” he added.Asif Saleh, senior director (strategy, communication and empowerment) at BRAC, and Naeem Ashraf, team leader of Startup Bangladesh, also spoke.