Aurora Cannabis to buy rival MedReleaf in 32B recordbreaking deal

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first_imgTORONTO – Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s $3.2 billion all-stock offer to take over rival licensed marijuana producer MedReleaf will create what the target company’s CEO described as the “undisputed world leader in cannabis” and the largest-ever deal in Canada’s burgeoning cannabis industry.If approved, the deal announced Monday will create a cannabis behemoth capable of producing more than 570,000 kilograms of marijuana per year, a significant portion of projected demand as the country moves to legalize recreational pot in the coming months.The companies’ combined production capacity totals more than two-thirds of the roughly 800,000 kilogram annual domestic cannabis demand in 2019, as estimated by CIBC analysts in a report earlier this month.However, the acquisition of MedReleaf is about more than just the Canadian market —it is a global play to scale up and capitalize on the larger international medical marijuana opportunity, said Aurora’s chief executive Terry Booth.“This deal checks every box,” he said at a press conference in Toronto. “We’re leaders in every box now, and we’re not looking back and we’re not going to stop here.”Neil Closner, the chief executive of Markham, Ont.-based MedReleaf, said the takeover gives its shareholders an immediate premium and an opportunity for upside.The offer implies a price of $29.44 per MedReleaf common share, 18 per cent above its Friday closing price of $24.90.“This combination makes the two of us now the undisputed world leader of cannabis,” he said at the joint press conference.Edmonton-based Aurora and MedReleaf had confirmed on May 3 they were in discussions after media reports speculating that a deal was in the works, but said they had no agreement at the time.After the announcement Monday, shares of MedReleaf were up as much as seven per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange in morning trading but, by mid-afternoon, were up roughly one per cent at $25.18. Shares of Aurora rose by nearly three per cent on Monday morning, but by mid-afternoon its stock was down by roughly two per cent to $7.89 in Toronto.Vahan Ajamian, an analyst with Beacon Securities, said this was the biggest deal in the Canadian cannabis sector yet and could push other rivals to beef up their presence.“MedReleaf’s shareholders will be getting a healthy premium,” he said in a note. “We believe this development will spark (merger and acquisition) enthusiasm across the sector.”The deal is the latest sign of consolidation in Canada’s cannabis sector.Aurora has been particularly active.It recently completed its $1.1-billion acquisition of Saskatoon-based licensed producer CanniMed, previously the biggest deal in the sector. Aurora and CanniMed struck a stock-and-cash deal in January after an at-times terse takeover battle.Aurora’s rivals have been acquisition hungry too. In February, licensed producer Aphria Inc. completed its acquisition of B.C.-based Broken Coast Cannabis Inc., a transaction valued at more than $200-million in stock and cash.GMP Securities analyst Martin Landry said Aurora’s pace of acquisitions is “extremely fast” and could have negative consequences.“The integration of another major acquisition in such a short time frame could be challenging, putting a strain on management and a distraction on the daily operations,” he said in a note to clients.Booth said Monday the nascent cannabis industry is scaling up at a rapid pace and Aurora needed to act fast.“If we don’t do this now, we’d be doing this later at a higher price,” he said at the press conference.If the friendly deal is completed, current shareholders of Aurora would own 61 per cent of the combined company and MedReleaf shareholders would own about 39 per cent.The combined company would have a market capitalization of roughly $7.44 billion, surpassing that of Canopy Growth Corp., which has long been the largest Canadian licensed producer by market value.Meanwhile, Canopy announced separately on Monday that it has a non-binding agreement to buy the remaining 33 per cent stake of BC Tweed Joint Venture Inc. in return for up to $374 million worth of its shares. Canopy also announced it has applied to list its common shares on the New York Stock Exchange.Booth told reporters on Monday that Aurora too would consider listing in New York, in order to access the larger U.S. investor base, and that there were still more opportunities for acquisitions ahead.The combined entity will have nine production facilities in Canada and two in Denmark as well as distribution agreements with Alcanna liquor stores in Alberta, SAQ provincial liquor stores in Quebec, Pharmasave and Shoppers Drug Mart.The boards of both companies have approved the transaction but the deal requires approval by at least two-thirds of MedReleaf shareholders and a simple majority of Aurora shareholders.Aurora is aiming for completion of the deal by August.The agreement includes a break fee of $80 million if the transaction is terminated under certain circumstances. As well, the deal’s provisions allow for MedReleaf or Aurora to accept a superior proposal in certain circumstances, and both will have five business days to match it.Landry said the likelihood of a superior bid emerging is low, given the deal’s size and the strong support of MedReleaf’s shareholders.“We do not believe that Canopy Growth Corporation will make an offer for MedReleaf as Canopy appears to have enough domestic capacity to capture a leading share of the recreational market.”Companies in this story: (TSX:ACB, TSX:LEAF, TSX:WEED)last_img read more

Sharad Pawar wont contest LS poll

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first_imgPune: NCP chief Sharad Pawar Monday said he will not contest next month’s Lok Sabha election. The 78-year-old veteran politician said as two members of his family are going to contest the polls, “somebody had to step back.””Since I have already won elections 14 times, I decided not to contest the poll (this time),” the Rajya Sabha member told reporters after holding a meeting with party leaders. “Somebody from our family had to step back and I decided to give an opportunity to the young leadership. I thought this was the right time to take this decision,” he said. Pawar announced that his nephew and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s son Parth Pawar will be NCP’s candidate from Maval Lok Sabha constituency. “Jayant Patil (of Peasant and Workers Party of India), whose party has good presence in three of the six Assembly segments in Maval Lok Sabha constituency, urged me to give ticket to Parth as his party is ready to work for him. “We also have strong presence in the other three constituencies and we thought of giving an opportunity to the young leadership by giving ticket to Parth from Maval,” he said.last_img read more

Stock markets and loonie soar to levels not seen in months as

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TORONTO — North American stock markets continued their climb and the Canadian dollar traded at a nine-month high after a reported deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia to cut oil production sent energy prices higher.The Canadian dollar gained for a third consecutive day, adding 0.85 of a U.S. cent to 78.38 cents US. The last time it was near this level was July 14, when it closed at 78.49 cents US.Looking for signs that Canada is in recovery mode? Check out our big bank stocksJohn Ivison: Trudeau convinced that pipeline strategy must be top priorityOil bust leaves energy industry, real-estate sector locked in battle over empty oilfield worker campsThe oil-fuelled currency was pushed up by energy prices, as the May contract for North American benchmark crude rose $1.81 to US$42.17 a barrel. Earlier in the day, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that the deal with Saudi Arabia to freeze oil output would not require compliance by Iran. OPEC ministers meet this Sunday in Doha, Qatar.Energy stocks also helped provide support for Toronto’s S&P/TSX composite index, which rocketed 158.66 points to 13,581.42.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average also enjoyed a strong triple-digit gain, up 164.84 points at 17,721.25, while the broader S&P 500 also rose 19.73 points to 2,061.72. The Nasdaq composite added 38.69 points to 4,872.09.Elsewhere in commodities, May natural gas rose nine cents to US$2 per mmBtu, May copper advanced six cents to US$2.15 a pound and June gold rose $2.90 to US$1,260.90 a troy ounce. read more

Torontos MintChip launches digital cash app as it prepares for shift to

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TORONTO — MintChip, the digital cash platform started by the Royal Canadian Mint and acquired earlier this year by Toronto financial technology startup nanoPay, will be available to consumers starting today.All Canadians are now able to download and use the MintChip app to send and receive digital cash between family and friends for free.The digital cash is also being accepted by select merchants in Toronto’s Liberty Village neighbourhood until Labour Day.No cryptocurrency anytime soon, Bank of Canada says: ‘We’re very far off’Bank of Canada experimenting with digital currency system to better understand the technologyBitcoin and blockchain could be the start of a bigger revolution than the Internet itselfMintChip was founded in 2012 by the Royal Canadian Mint as a secure way to send and spend money.Like cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, it is an encrypted system that processes payments instantaneously, therefore removing the need for a third party to process or settle the transaction.This results in lower fees for merchants.Unlike Bitcoin, however — whose value tends to fluctuate wildly because it is not tied to any underlying economy — MintChip uses digital cash that is linked to a country’s currency.Consumers can use a credit card to load money into the app just like if they were making a regular purchase, and they can withdraw money from the app by having it deposited into a bank account.Laurence Cooke, founder and chief executive of nanoPay, says MintChip provides Canadians with a glimpse at of what a cashless society could look like.“With the launch of MintChip in Canada, we demonstrate that it is feasible to replace physical cash with digital cash, while showing the viability of the platform to banks, merchants and developers worldwide,” Cooke said in a statement. read more

Lankan refugee challenges detention

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Many are also Sri Lankan Tamils who have been found to be refugees but have also had adverse security assessments.Manne says central to her case is the denial of natural justice.“She’s never broken any law and she’s never had the chance to defend herself in court against this security assessment,” he said. But a subsequent adverse security assessment saw her flown to Sydney with her nine and seven-year-old sons and new born baby and detained at Villawood Detention Centre, where she has now been for 14 months. Ranjini is the widow of a former senior LTTE member. She admits to membership of the group in her youth but she has not been able to find out the reasons for ASIO’s decision.The woman’s lawyer David Manne, from the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, says her challenge will be used as a test case for more than 50 other people in indefinite detention. “Ranjini is a refugee and mother of two young boys and a five-month-old baby and she’s asking court to decide whether its lawful for the Government to detain her indefinitely on and possibly forever the basis of a secret security assessment,” he said.“There are more than 50 people in a similar situation that is refugees with adverse security assessments and this case will have significant implications for their liberty too.” A High Court challenge has been launched in Australia against the indefinite detention of a Sri Lankan woman who received an adverse security assessment from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), ABC news in Australia reported.The woman, Ranjini, was pregnant and living in Melbourne when she was originally granted refugee status. Manne says the court will be asked to rule whether her continued detention is lawful. Ranjini’s children are also living in detention with their mother and remain indefinitely detained in Australia unless a third country will take them. read more

World Cup viewership increases over 2010 opener in US

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AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email World Cup viewership increases over 2010 opener in US by The Associated Press Posted Jun 13, 2014 4:52 pm MDT NEW YORK, N.Y. – Television viewership of the World Cup’s opening game was up 8 per cent over 2010, due to increased interest in ESPN’s English-language telecast.The Nielsen company said Friday that 9.5 million people in the U.S. watched Brazil’s tournament-opening victory over Croatia, compared to the 8.8 million who saw Mexico take on South Africa in 2010’s first game.Univision’s Spanish-language audience of 5.1 million was down from the 5.9 million who watched in 2010. That’s not a surprise, given the game four years ago involved Mexico, and a large percentage of Univision’s audience is of Mexican descent.ESPN’s opening day audience Thursday was 4.4 million, up 55 per cent from the 2.9 million who watched in 2010.Facebook said that some 58 million people worldwide posted messages about the first game, 16 million of them in the host country of Brazil, which won the game.Twitter said that more than 12.2 million tweets were sent about the first day’s match during the live telecast. Neymar was the most tweeted-about player for Brazil, and he gained 165,000 followers. read more

EU opens case against 6 US movie studios Sky UK for limits

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EU opens case against 6 US movie studios, Sky UK for limits on cross-border distribution BRUSSELS – The European Union on Thursday launched an antitrust case against six major U.S. movie studios and British satellite broadcaster Sky UK, in a move that could profoundly shake up the highly lucrative pay-television market in Europe.The EU’s executive Commission has sent a so-called statement of objections to the companies regarding what it says are “contractual restrictions” preventing EU consumers outside Britain and Ireland from accessing the services of Sky UK.“European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channels of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU,” EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said. “Our investigation shows that they cannot do this today.”The companies involved are all household names and produce some of the most popular — and profitable — movies around.In addition to Sky, which has cornered a large chunk of the British pay-TV market through its acquisition of sports and movie rights, the Commission sent its objections to NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, Disney and Warner Bros.In a statement, the Commission said it found clauses requiring Sky to block access to films through its online or satellite pay-TV services to consumers outside Britain and Ireland — so-called “geo-blocking.”As well as preventing consumers around Europe from accessing Sky’s services, the Commission says contract clauses that grant “absolute territorial exclusivity” also run counter to the ideals of a free market.It also said it found some contracts requiring studios to prevent their services from being made available in the two countries to companies other than Sky, another potential restrictive practice.“We believe that this may be in breach of EU competition rules,” Vestager said.In a reaction, the Walt Disney Company said that “the impact of the Commission’s analysis is destructive of consumer value and we will oppose the proposed action vigorously.”“Our approach is one that supports local creative industries, local digital and broadcast partners and most importantly consumers in every country across the EU,” the Disney statement said. Other U.S. studios either declined to comment or did not immediately answer requests for comment.The charges, if upheld, run counter to one of the EU’s cornerstones — that of removing barriers to trade within its borders. They also raise questions for other European broadcasters.The Commission, which wields vast powers when it comes to antitrust and anticompetitive practices in the EU, confirmed it is also looking into similar cases including Canal Plus of France, Sky Italia of Italy, Germany’s Sky Deutschland and DTS of Spain. Together, the five nations represent over 300 million consumers in the wealthiest trade bloc on earth.The probes all started at the same time in January 2014, but the U.K. investigation was the first to reach the stage of an official, legal statement of objection.“We continue to examine cross-border access to pay-TV services in these member states,” said Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso.If upheld, the charges could change the way subscription television services are paid for and watched throughout the 28-country EU. With pay-TV stations largely operating within national boundaries, there are potential big repercussions for a market of more than 500 million consumers.The firms named Thursday now have the right to respond. There is no legal deadline for the Commission to complete antitrust inquiries.If the Commission decides that antitrust rules have been infringed, companies can be forced to pay a fine which can theoretically go as high 10 per cent of gross revenue.In a statement, Sky acknowledged receipt of the Commission’s objections and said it will “respond in due course.”___Jill Lawless contributed from London, Jake Coyle from New York FILE – This Dec. 18, 2014, file photi, shows a Sony Pictures Entertainment studio lot entrance from Culver Blvd. in Culver City, Calif. The European Union announced Thursday, July 23, 2015, that it has opened an antitrust case against six major U.S. movie studios, including Sony, for what it sees as a restriction of trade within the 28-nation bloc because consumers outside Britain and Ireland are prevented from tapping into their products through Sky UK. The other studios include Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File) by Raf Casert, The Associated Press Posted Jul 23, 2015 4:19 am MDT Last Updated Jul 23, 2015 at 10:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Five things to know about the new national floor price for carbon

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Five things to know about the new national floor price for carbon emissions MONTREAL – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a bombshell in the House of Commons on Monday as federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers were meeting in Montreal to negotiate a pan-Canadian climate plan. Here are five things to know:1. Trudeau’s announcement appeared to stun just about everyone in the Montreal hotel room where environment ministers were cloistered. Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna raised her hand to speak at the meeting at exactly the same time Trudeau was addressing Parliament, in what one observer in the room said was a carefully orchestrated intervention. McKenna told her fellow ministers what Trudeau was announcing and briefing notes were handed around. “Well, the air was sucked out of the room,” Yukon minister Currie Dixon later said. “It was a very surprising way to do a collaborative process.”2. The plan announced Monday leaves Quebec and Ontario completely untouched. The federal government said provinces can choose one of two tracks: broad-based carbon taxes starting at $10 per tonne, or cap-and-trade markets that cap emissions at or below the federal target, which is a 30 per cent cut below 2005 level by 2030. Both Quebec and Ontario are already on track to meet their targets, which exceed the federal ambition by a significant measure.3. Saskatchewan’s environment minister Scott Moe said his government has calculated that the carbon tax would cost the “average family” about $1,250 a year. At $50 per tonne, he said, the federal carbon tax would “remove $2.5 billion from Saskatchewan’s economy.” But the federal government has repeatedly said that all revenues raised will remain in the province where they are collected, and could be fully rebated as income tax cuts or other tax breaks if the province chooses. When Moe was reminded of this by a reporter, he responded, “Those are the things we’re going to have to discuss right now.”4. All carbon taxes are not created equal, according to a study by Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, a cross-partisan think tank that advocates pricing carbon. Stringency, or how much of the economy is covered by the tax, is a key metric. A federal official said the Liberal floor of $10 per tonne is based on using the British Columbia model, which currently covers about 70 per cent of B.C.’s provincial economy.5. Despite the hot political rhetoric that greeted Monday’s carbon pricing announcement, some provinces expect that matters may cool down once the political calculations are fully explored. As one provincial official said, it may prove beneficial to let Ottawa impose the “Trudeau Tax” and take all the flak, and then have the province take the revenues and offer politically popular income tax cuts.— Follow @BCheadle on Twitter by The Canadian Press Posted Oct 3, 2016 4:38 pm MDT Last Updated Oct 3, 2016 at 5:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

BBC defends decision to air how to decorate your breasts with glitter

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first_imgThe BBC has defended its decision to create a video tutorial on how women can decorate their breasts with glitter.A clip showing a woman spray-painting her body and applying jewelled stickers over her nipples was uploaded by BBC Scotland’s The Social, showing women how to get the look that has been spotted at festivals including Glastonbury this summer. Festivalgoer Will Hagerty with a glitter-decorated beard at Glastonbury Festival “In this case the content was all produced by young women and aimed at their peers.”The overwhelming response from the 160,000 who viewed it was very positive.”One Facebook user commented on the video: “Complained about this last week, got told to expect more of the same so unfollowed after seeing this again today. What a shame as your other content is good but I think you need to have a think about what messages your sending out with this content.”  But critics of the content labelled it inappropriate in the comments section of the video.A BBC spokesman responded: “The Social has a specific remit to create content aimed at 18 to 34 year olds and the topics covered are led by our audience. A woman at Glastonbury who decorated her breasts with glitter and paint 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.center_img A woman at Glastonbury who decorated her breasts with glitter and paintCredit: Julie Edwards/Avalon Someone else added: “Licence fee refund please!”But not everyone was offended by the tutorial.One person wrote: “Great for festivals. Love it well done you girl… can’t see what all the fuss is about no nipples showing.. guess some don’t understand it’s just art.”Another added: “I honestly can’t believe the negativity towards this woman. Glitter boobs? How could you be offended by that. I love it. In a world gone PC mad it’s refreshing. Irrelevant if she’s had a boob job or not. She’s beautiful and fun.” Festivalgoer Will Hagerty with a glitter-decorated beard at Glastonbury FestivalCredit: Yui Mok/PA Wire Another wrote: “Just because her nipples are covered, doesn’t make it burlesque. This really strikes me as inappropriate content.”last_img read more

Daily Mail settles Ryanair defamation action

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first_imgTHE DAILY MAIL has settled a defamation action taken by Ryanair over an article which repeated claims made in a television programme last month.Following the High Court hearing, Ryanair said that it “acknowledges and appreciates the prompt and comprehensive manner in which the Mail have acted to set the record straight” in relation to what the company describes as “false and misleading statements” taken from a Dispatches investigation aired on Channel 4.The airline still intends to pursue libel actions against the broadcaster in Dublin’s High Court “as soon as possible”.‘Ryanair: Secrets from the Cockpit’, which aired in August, featured claims by a group called The Ryanair Pilot Group – which is not recognised by Ryanair but which says it represents more than half of all its pilots – about the airline’s safety procedures.In a statement read in open court, Associated Newspapers Ltd and Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd, which published the Irish Daily Mail and Mail Online, accepted the recent confirmation by the Irish Aviation Authority that “Ryanair’s safety is on a par with the safest airlines in Europe”.(Paul Tweed, Michael O’Leary and Ray Conway speaking outside Belfast High Court today. Video: RyanairNews/YouTube) Chief pilot at Ryanair, Captain Ray Conway, said after the hearing, “While I am unable to make specific comments concerning our ongoing legal proceedings regarding Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, I wish to emphasise that Ryanair cannot and will not tolerate what were totally unjustified and inappropriate allegations in relation to our industry leading safety.”Read: Ryanair issues profit warning, sees €1 billion wiped off share valueMore: Ryanair drops legal action after newspaper apologiseslast_img read more

The 9 at 9 Monday

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first_img 12,403 Views By Órla Ryan EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the stories you need to know as you wake up.1. #MEATH: An 11-year-old boy has died a week after being struck by a truck on a road in Navan, Co Meath.2. #MALTA: A small plane has crashed near the runway at Malta International Airport. A number of EU officials are said to be on board and it is not clear if there are any survivors.3. #TIPPERARY: 11 units of the fire brigade have been working through the night to tackle a blaze which engulfed a furniture plant in Nenagh yesterday evening.4. #CALIFORNIA: 13 people have died after a tour bus collided with a truck in California yesterday.5. #CALAIS: Authorities in France have begun to clear the Jungle migrant camp in Calais, where between 6,000 to 8,000 people live.6. #CARE ORDERS: Some 14,124 child care orders were put through the court system in 2015, up from 9,864 the previous year, a new study has found.7. #CYBER SECURITY: Irish banks have serious gaps in their security systems which need to be addressed to properly protect against cyber attacks, according to one of the country’s leading cyber experts.8. #TRAINS: A number of rail routes face closure due to funding issues at Iarnród Éireann, the Irish Times reports.9. #GSOC: The Garda Ombudsman’s investigation into the treatment of whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe has been delayed as it tries to access relevant documents, the Irish Examiner reports. Oct 24th 2016, 8:50 AM Image: Shutterstock/Ekaterina Bratova The 9 at 9: Monday Here’s everything you need to know as you start your day. http://jrnl.ie/3042817 Image: Shutterstock/Ekaterina Bratova Short URL No Comments Monday 24 Oct 2016, 8:50 AM Share1 Tweet Email Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

File sent to unauthorised third party in one of four alleged data

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first_imgFile sent to unauthorised third party in one of four alleged data breaches at Gsoc Gsoc has apologised to one of the men affected by the breach. 14,125 Views Thursday 21 Mar 2019, 6:10 AM By Garreth MacNamee Share10 Tweet Email1 THE DATA PROTECTION Commissioner has been informed of an alleged data breach after Gsoc accidentally sent a complainant’s file including their full name and case file reference to an unauthorised third-party, TheJournal.ie has learned. A man had made a complaint about alleged racist abuse he received from gardaí while he lived in Galway. The complaint is still being processed. However, late last year, the man was sent correspondence which informed him that Gsoc had accidentally sent his file, including his case number and other personal details to an incorrect recipient. The senior case officers wrote to him and explained that “correspondence relating to your complaint was inadvertently sent to a third party”.Gsoc explained that the “correspondence contained your contact details (name and address) and the reference number above”.“The correspondence was returned to Gsoc and no other information in relation to you was released,” the garda watchdog continued. Gsoc admitted it had made an administrative error and apologised to the man for any distress it may have caused him. His case officer said that staff at Gsoc have been reminded of the “care required when issuing correspondence” and that the body is taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. There are a number of current investigations ongoing within Gsoc with regards to the unauthorised sharing of sensitive information so far this year. TheJournal.ie has learned that Gsoc has reported a number of data breaches to the DPC since the start of last year.A spokeswoman confirmed: “Gsoc has reported four data breaches to the Data Protection Commissioner since January 2018.“We will not comment on individual cases.”The future of GsocThe Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) came into force in May 2007 and took over responsibility for receiving and dealing with all complaints made by the public about the conduct of gardai. The report from the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland published late last year recommended that Gsoc should be superseded by a new independent complaints body, to be called the Independent Office of the Police Ombudsman (IOPO).In 2016, more than half of investigations by Gsoc did not disclose a criminal offence and were referred back to An Garda Síochána for investigation.The report found Gsoc does not have the resources to investigate independently the volume of complaints it is receiving. It also noted that many fall into the category of “performance management complaints”, where members are alleged to have been impolite, incorrect or negligent in their dealings with individuals or organisations.“Investigations have focused on the individuals against whom a complaint has been made rather than on the incident concerned to determine where the fault lies, for instance with an individual, or with a policy or wider organisational issues, such as inadequate training.”The report recommended the work of the IOPO should be that it investigates incidents rather than individuals “so as to find fault where appropriate, identify what needs to be learned, and make recommendations for change as required”. Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland https://jrnl.ie/4549643 Mar 21st 2019, 6:11 AM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 4 Comments Short URL Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Irelandlast_img read more

From working to homeless and back again — a story of hope

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first_imgMike Hindman at the Brother Francis Shelter. (Hillman/KSKA)People don’t usually plan to experience homelessness; life just takes unexpected turns. But for some guests of the Brother Francis Shelter in Anchorage, like Michael Hindman, the experience leaves them with more hope than anything else. When KSKA’s Anne Hillman spent the night at the shelter late last month, he greeted her and other guests at the door.Download Audio“Alright, anybody and everybody who wants inside, please line up on the right hand side,” 26-year-old Hindman says as he opens the self-locking door to the shelter. He greets a guest. “How you doing, sir?”It was an unusually calm summer evening. Hindman was monitoring the entrance area to the shelter and checking for contraband like weapons or alcohol.“Anything inside of your pockets I can see?” he asks a woman as she gazes a bit past him.Burly and tall with a goofy smile, the name of an ex-girlfriend tattooed in delicate script on his arm, Hindman never saw himself in a place like Brother Francis. He was young, strong, making good money.“In the back of my mind I thought, ‘Why are people homeless? And I’ve always had a job. Why don’t people work and why don’t people do this?’ Maybe I didn’t have compassion or sympathy at first,” he recalled.But a few years ago, he made a mistake.“This is the part of the story where I’ve got to tell the truth, ok? This is my big blip. I was in Dutch Harbor, Alaska working as a longshoreman…” he starts his history.Hindman got involved with drugs, was busted for buying narcotics for an undercover cop, pleaded guilty to a felony, and went to prison.“I learned my lesson right off the bat. My first 30 minutes in jail I realized this is not for me and then besides that 30 minutes I had another 18 months to learn the same lesson thinking, ‘This is definitively not for me.’”As part of the plea deal he gave the state everything he owned. He was released this spring with nothing but purple prison underwear, donated clothing, and a quarter in his pocket. After sleeping rough for a couple nights, someone told Hindman about Brother Francis. He began volunteering as a door monitor in exchange for secure housing at the shelter and help finding a job. Hindman said it completely changed his perspective.“I no longer pass judgment when I walk by somebody, its more what can I do to help? Because whether the person, maybe they are an alcoholic, or maybe they do have a temper problem, or maybe they do have a flaw, but I think all of us do. What I worry about now is, is that person cold?”Working at the door lets him see people’s lives turn around, he said. One day they’re tired and stressed and a few weeks later they have a job and are looking bright. That’s his story, too. He was recently hired as a cook on the North Slope.But during his off weeks he’ll be back at the shelter, helping out, and saving money to rent a place of his own. Hindman sees beauty in the echo-filled concrete halls.“I’ve seen people with nothing to their name but they give everything they can to the next guy who also has nothing,” he said, recalling people offering up their only jacket to protect others from the rain. “I know people that make $100,000 a year that probably wouldn’t let you borrow their jacket, you know?”He says he stays positive and hopes it helps others stay that way, too.last_img read more

Senate passes its version of state budget after charged debate

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first_imgSenators and onlookers gather in the Senate chambers in the Alaska Capitol shortly before debating state operating budget amendments on Thursday. The Senate passed the measure later in the day. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)The Alaska Senate voted to pass its version of the state operating budget Thursday.Listen nowThe budget is the first in the state’s history that would draw from Alaska Permanent Fund earnings to pay for government services.The Senate voted 13 to 7 to pass the budget, House Bill 286, after a sometimes charged debate. The vote came after the Senate defeated 24 proposed amendments, including one that would have raised permanent fund dividends to the full amount under a formula set by state law.Eagle River Republican Sen. Anna MacKinnon said the majority chose not to pursue more budget cuts.“The people of Alaska expect us to come together,” MacKinnon said. “The people of Alaska are divided. If we cannot unite around a position at this point in our history, they are confused.”The Senate bill would spend $4.2 billion on the portion of the budget the Legislature focuses on each year. Four out of 10 of those dollars would come from permanent fund earnings.The budget includes $1 billion to pay for permanent fund dividends. Dividends would be $1,600, which lines up with the House’s budget bill.Anchorage Democratic Sen. Berta Gardner said the budget is imbalanced.“This body, in this budget, is relying on our savings accounts and dividend reductions,” Gardner said. “And that’s not a fiscal plan – it’s a permanent fund-only plan.”Bethel Democratic Sen. Lyman Hoffman defended the budget.“It does provide services that Alaskans have grown to depend upon,” Hoffman said. “Everyone is not pleased. And my friend and co-chairman when I was in the House of Representatives Ron Larson said, ‘If not everyone is happy, then maybe we’ve done a good job.’”The Senate version of the budget doesn’t include $1.28 billion for school funding. The Senate would provide that money in separate legislation, House Bill 287.Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski proposed the PFD amendment, which would have set dividends at roughly $2,700. That’s the amount they would have been under the formula used until two years ago. Wielechowski said the Legislature is ignoring its laws by lowering the dividend.“Well, we’re not following those statutes with the way the bill is currently written,” Wielechowski said.  The PFD amendment failed in an 8 to 12 vote.Another budget amendment would have added $10 million to the University of Alaska budget. The amendment would have restored most of the money the Senate Finance Committee cut from the House version of the budget.Anchorage Republican Sen. Natasha von Imhof spoke against it.“While cuts and restructuring have been painful for students, for faculty and staff as well as communities, the university system is just one of 17 statewide departments that we the Legislature are responsible for funding,” von Imhof said. The university funding amendment was defeated, with only the five minority-caucus Democrats voting in favor of it.A conference committee is expected to resolve differences between the House and Senate budgets.The legislative session is scheduled to end on Sunday. But lawmakers will likely miss that deadline. While voters passed a law in 2006 setting the session at 90 days, the Alaska Constitution allows sessions to be up to 121 days.last_img read more

Best of both worlds for actor Kirti Kulhari

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first_imgKirti KulhariPR HandoutActor Kirti Kulhari, who was last seen in two extremely appreciated projects URI: The Surgical Strike and Amazon Prime’s Four More Shorts Please, is one of the very few actors who has projects on both the mediums that is the Feature Films as well as OTT Platforms.Kirti who made her short film debut this year with Maya, also won a Filmfare award for best actress in the short film category.Kirti Kulhari recently wrapped the shoot of Netflix’s Bard of Blood in Rajasthan, and she also started filming for another untitled film where she will be seen playing a musician. Apart from this she has a big release-Mission Mangal this independence day and also a few more interesting projects that are yet to be announced.Kirti says, “For me content is the king. I sign up to the projects that I feel have great content and thus length of the role doesn’t bother me. I am blessed that I got to be a part of some such amazing projects and I hope audiences like my upcoming projects as well.”last_img read more

Reliance Jio continues to hurt rivals as its subscriber base spikes

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first_imgA woman checks her mobile phone as she walks past a mobile store of Reliance Industries’ Jio telecoms unit, in Mumbai, India, July 11, 2017.REUTERS/Shailesh AndradeMukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio has continued its great run in the Indian telecom sector as the relatively new entrant is eating up the subscribers from rival players. As per the data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) for the month of October, Reliance Jio has added 10.5 million users while its rivals Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have lost 7.3 million and 1.8 million users, respectively. Meanwhile, India’s overall wireless user base witnessed a growth by just 724,725 subscribers during the same period.Mint, a financial daily, has reported that the rise of Reliance Jio was largely attributed to smaller telecom players exiting the market due to stiff tariff war initiated by Jio when it entered the market in 2016. But even at a time when consolidation wave has resulted in only three major players being left in the market, Jio has continued to add new subscribers.In fact, last year RJio managed to add close to 10 million users almost every month. This implies that the war to dominate telecom is far from over, at least in the near future.  Similarly, in September, Jio was ahead of Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel; TRAI data for the month revealed that Reliance Jio added 13.02 million subscribers, while Vodafone Idea lost 6.68 million subscribers and Bharti Airtel lost 2.35 million users.It is to be noted that the till the end of August, Vodafone and Idea existed as separate entities. Interestingly, during the first eight months of last year, Airtel did not lose its subscribers base. A rickshaw puller speaks on his mobile phone as he waits for customers in front of advertisement billboards belonging to telecom companies in Kolkata February 3, 2014.REUTERS/Rupak De ChowdhuriMahesh Uppal, director at communications consulting firm ComFirst India, said, “It would appear that while incumbents are shedding marginal subscribers, Reliance Jio is acquiring new ones. However, it would be useful to know the number of subscribers who use Jio as their primary SIM. The incumbents are undoubtedly under great pressure and are struggling to compete. The large debt sitting on their books further impacts their ability to raise funds and invest in their networks.”The numbers for the September quarter are also not encouraging for RJio’s rivals as Vodafone Idea registered a Rs 4,970 crore loss in the July-September quarter, while Airtel posted a profit of just Rs 118 crore. In contrast, Reliance Jio posted a profit of Rs 681 crore during the same period.last_img read more

Kitniyot or not As Jewish traditions merge in Israel a Passover debate

Kitniyot or not As Jewish traditions merge in Israel a Passover debate

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first_img Emperor performs ritual to report abdication to Shinto gods TagsAshkenazi Jews dietary laws holidays homepage featured Israel kitniyot kosher legumes meals Passover Sephardic Jews Top Story,You may also like Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,JERUSALEM (RNS) — Growing up in Massachusetts, Sarah Halevi observed Passover like most other Jews: by not consuming chametz — leavened foods made from wheat, barley, spelt, oats or rye — during the holiday, which celebrates the biblical Israelites’ exodus from Egypt.Following the tradition of her Eastern European Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, Halevi also abstained from eating kitniyot: legumes such as chickpeas and soybeans. Sephardic Jews, whose ancestry is Spanish and Portuguese and who comprise a little more than half of Israel’s Jewish population, have no such prohibition.Halevi continued her Ashkenazi practice when she moved to Israel, until her children protested.Raised in Israel — largely on the Sephardic traditional dishes that dominate the food scene here, especially during Passover — Halevi’s kids hatched a fiendishly clever plan to convince their parents to allow them to eat kitniyot, a key ingredient of many Israeli snack foods.“Our kids staged a mock rabbinical court and let us have it,” Halevi recalled, smiling at her children’s creativity. “They were really convincing! Bottom line, they noted that refraining from eating kitniyot was never a custom in Israel and creates an artificial separation between Sephardim and Ashkenazim.”And that, her socially minded children insisted, “is the opposite of what we need. What we need is unity among the Jewish people,” the mother of four said.Halevi is one of the many Ashkenazi Israelis who have added kitniyot to their Passover diet.Convenience is one factor: In Israel, most packaged kosher-for-Passover foods and restaurant items are prepared with kitniyot or kitniyot oils, and rice and chickpeas (what hummus is made of) are year-round staples.Jewish law is another factor: Kitniyot isn’t chametz. Unlike bread, for example, it doesn’t need to be discarded and ritually sold to a non-Jew in the days before Passover.For immigrants, a third factor often comes into play: the desire to feel part of larger Israeli society after living as a minority in their countries of origin.A variety of legumes. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons Share This! Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Instagram apostasy stirs controversy over Christian ‘influencers’ August 30, 2019 Columns • Opinion • Simran Jeet Singh: Articles of Faith News Share This! Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Share This! Michele Chabin Share This! By: Michele Chabin By: Michele Chabin “When you live as a minority somewhere like America, it doesn’t matter if you follow Ashkenazi or Sephardi customs. You’re part of a minority,” said Barry Leff, a Conservative rabbi who divides his time between Israel and the U.S. “One of the joys of living in Israel is being part of the majority culture. So why follow a more restrictive custom that both keeps you feeling like a minority, and that makes Passover more difficult?”The Ashkenazi ban on kitniyot began in medieval times, according to Daniel Sperber, a modern-Orthodox community rabbi in Jerusalem.“In the 13th century in France a certain rabbi declared that kitniyot is forbidden because they employed a crop rotation system that left a residue of wheat in the legumes field,” Sperber explained.Over time, other rabbis expanded the kitniyot ban — as well as the definition of what constitutes kitniyot — even to communities where wheat residue wasn’t a threat, and applied it to all Ashkenazi Jews, Sperber, a retired Bar Ilan University professor, noted.The issue of kitniyot contamination is less relevant today thanks to modern farming methods.“Farming is completely different today, when things are produced very carefully. Furthermore, the original prohibition was very limited and included very few of the things now considered kitniyot,” Sperber said.Arguably, the most important factor is the merger of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews through intermarriage, Sperber said. “The lines are becoming blurred. If you consider the sociological situation and new food technologies, it’s understandable why so many people are no longer adhering to the kitniyot prohibition.”While Jewish Facebook and Twitter are full of anecdotes from Ashkenazi Jews who have adopted kitniyot, other Ashkenazi Jews are wondering what all the angst is about.“Pesach is one week, people, so what is your problem?” Shoshana Bloom, an Orthodox Israeli, wrote in a Jewish women’s Facebook group, using the Hebrew word for Passover. “We are supposed to feel like we came out of Egypt – remember! We had then the basic necessities and that is how we should eat today. Not to make Pesach as ordinary as everyday eating. One week only matza, meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and fruit and oil and salt all make lovely menus.”Bakol Ruben Gellar, a Jerusalem resident, used to feel this way, until her adult son, who was born in Israel, wanted to bring hummus into the house during Passover.“It was three or four years ago and our son stayed with us during the seder and part of the holiday. He suggested we have kitniyot, since we live in Israel. We thought about it and for me, it didn’t feel like a big deal to have hummus in my fridge. The important thing is to not eat bread, and we don’t,” she said.The Gellars already had some experience with kitniyot, Gellar said, because her stepdaughter is married to a Sephardic man of Yemenite descent. According to Jewish tradition, a wife adopts the religious customs of her husband.“We’d get together for picnics during Pesach and she’d warn us which foods contained humous or tahini,” foods made from kitniyot that her Ashkenazi relatives didn’t consume.Gellar said she continues to keep Passover according to Jewish law, but has become more tolerant over time.“As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to feel that there’s so much obsessiveness around Pesach foods and cleaning.”What’s most important about Passover, Gellar said, is the holiday’s emphasis on freedom and community.In 2013, when Gellar’s father died, a secular neighbor knocked on her door to gift her with homemade jam.“I knew her home wasn’t kosher for Pesach, but I accepted it gratefully. Her kindness was way more important to me than the status of her kitchen. It was a real turning point for me,” Gellar said. By: Michele Chabin Michele Chabin,Add Comment Click here to post a comment Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.,Holy Week services go on in Paris despite Notre Dame fire As Amazon burns, Vatican prepares for summit on region’s faith and sustainabilit … August 30, 2019 We are not all the same, and in our difference we are divine August 30, 2019 Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,About the authorView All Posts Share This! Catholicismlast_img read more

Colin and Rob Parker Talk Baseball Mega Contracts and Embracing Star Power

Colin and Rob Parker Talk Baseball Mega Contracts and Embracing Star Power

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first_imgToday, Colin and Baseball Hall of Fame Voter – and FS1 Contributor – Rob Parker discuss his new all-baseball podcast, Inside the Parker, baseball mega contracts, if the superstar is overrated in today’s game, and why the Red Sox have struggled to start the year.They also discuss the changing media landscape, and transitioning from print media to TV.Download and subscribe to The Herd: Saturday Special Podcast, and all the podcasts from the Colin Cowherd Podcast Network, exclusively at TheHerdNow.com, iHeart Radio, Google Play, or Apple Podcasts!last_img

Muslim hajj crowds thinned by virus concerns

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first_imgMECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) – Muslims from across the world poured Sunday into a sprawling tent city in the Saudi desert before the start of the annual Islamic hajj pilgrimage, but the number of the pilgrims this year has been reduced in part by concerns over a respiratory virus centered in the Arabian peninsula.More than 2 million pilgrims _ about 1 million fewer than last year _ streamed from the holy city of Mecca to a huge tent encampment in Mina about five kilometers (three miles) away to begin preparations for the hajj with a day of prayer and supplication. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Saudi authorities sharply cut back on visas for groups such as the elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses as a precaution against a new respiratory virus related to SARS that has killed more than 50 people in the kingdom this past year. The Saudi health minister, Abdullah al-Rabiah, said late Saturday that no cases of the coronavirus infection have been detected among pilgrims.Further visa restrictions were imposed because of massive construction projects underway in Mecca.The hajj, a central pillar of Islam and one that able-bodied Muslims must make once in their lives, is a four-day spiritual cleansing based on centuries of interpretation of the traditions of Prophet Muhammad.Muslims traditionally visit the mosque where the Prophet Muhammad is buried in the city of Medina, and begin the hajj in Mecca with a set of rituals at the Kaaba, the cube-shaped structure in the city’s Grand Mosque that Muslims around the world face in prayer five times a day. When there, Muslims circle the Kaaba counterclockwise with their hearts tilted toward it.“Labayk Allahuma Labayk,” or “Here I am, God, answering your call. Here I am,” chant thousands of Muslims throughout the pilgrimage as individual voices become engulfed in a sea of worshippers all dressed in seamless white terrycloth robes and shoes. The simple, mandatory outfit is meant to foster unity, equality and humility. Comments   Share   ___Associated Press writers Aya Batrawy in Cairo and Abdullah al-Shihri in Riyadh contributed to this report.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies From Mina, the pilgrims will head on Monday to the area of Mount Arafat near a hill called Jabal al-Rahman, meaning Mountain of Mercy.It is in Mount Arafat, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of Mecca, that Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad called on people to abolish their feuds and put aside their racial, economic and tribal differences. Some 1,400 years later, Muslims believe on that day and at this place, the gates of heaven are open for prayers to be answered.This year, though, some pilgrims are wearing masks as a precaution against the Middle East respiratory syndrome, which has stricken nearly 100 people, most of them in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. The new virus is related to SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which killed hundreds in a global outbreak in 2003. It belongs to a family of viruses that most often causes the common cold.Fears of a possible outbreak among pilgrims have prompted Saudi authorities to reduce quotas by 20 percent for hajj visas for each country this year. Ismail bin Mohammed, the head of the Medical Supply Directorate at the Health Department in Mecca, was quoted in the Saudi state-owned Arab News website saying there are eight hospitals and 24 health centers set up at points along the pilgrimage. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches In recent years, the hajj also has reflected the concerns of unrest and bloodshed across the Arab world, including the civil war in Syria that has claimed more than 100,000 lives and sent millions of people fleeing across borders.“Syria is suffering and that means that the Arabs and the Muslims are also suffering,” said Abdel-Karim Ahmed while in Mecca before heading to Mina. “I ask God … to lift the suffering of the Syrian people and stop the bloodshed.”Similarly, Egyptian pilgrim Essam Hassouna said he is praying for his country, which saw its worst violence in August when more than 1,000 people were killed in clashes after the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi from power.“I am praying to God to bring stability and unity to Egypt so we can advance and prosper,” Hassouna said. “As an Egyptian, it is more important for me to pray for Egypt rather than to pray for myself and my children.”Though hajj is an ancient ritual, innovations have modified its rites. Pilgrims are often seen using touch screen technology to read the Quran, rather than carrying it in printed form. The Grand Mosque in Mecca has also changed dramatically, expanding to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims. The first phase of the mosque’s new expansion project is estimated to accommodate 450,000 worshipers this hajj. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more