For all of his complaints, Mr. Trump has only himself and his own party to blame for the delayed vote count in a number of states.State and local Republican officials refused to let localities tally mail-in votes before Tuesday in some states. And because of Mr. Trump’s monthslong attacks on mail ballots, more Democrats than Republicans voted in that fashion, which has allowed Mr. Biden to pick up the bulk of the votes arriving in the mail. Hours later, in a stunning news conference, Mr. Trump lied about the vote-counting underway in several states, conjuring up a conspiracy of “legal” and “illegal” ballots being tabulated and claiming without evidence that states were trying to deny him re-election.“They’re trying to steal an election, they’re trying to rig an election,” the president said from the White House briefing room. He also baselessly suggested nefarious behavior in Philadelphia and Detroit, cities that he called “two of the most corrupt political places.”Mr. Trump’s remarks, mostly read off notes, were at times more valedictory than defiant. Far from insisting that he would stay in power, he used much of his appearance to complain about pre-election polls, demonize the news media and try to put the best face on Tuesday’s results, trumpeting his party’s congressional gains. He did not take questions from reporters.- Advertisement – He urged calm and emphasized that “each ballot must be counted.”- Advertisement – Mr. Biden’s advantage in Arizona, a state The Associated Press has already called for the former vice president, narrowed as thousands of votes were tabulated. But in Georgia and Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump saw his early advantage dwindle as mail-in ballots were counted.Until Mr. Trump’s remarks on Thursday night, he had not appeared in public since he used a middle-of-the-night appearance Wednesday to insist he had already won. But he has posted angry Twitter messages, and he continued to do so Thursday.“All of the recent Biden claimed States will be legally challenged by us for Voter Fraud and State Election Fraud,” he said in one message, without elaborating on what precisely that would involve. “STOP THE COUNT!” he exclaimed in another tweet.Rebuking the president, Twitter labeled some of the messages “disputed” and said they “might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”In any event, stopping the count now would only ensure that Mr. Biden wins the presidency, because he is leading in Arizona and Nevada — states that together would give him 270 electoral votes.The presidential contest was not the only tight race drawing attention. A key Georgia Senate race that could decide the majority in the chamber grew even closer as Senator David Perdue, a Republican, saw his vote share slip under 50 percent in his race against Jon Ossoff, a Democrat. If neither wins a majority, the race would head to a January runoff, setting up the prospect of a hotly contested battle for two Senate seats in Georgia. A runoff is already planned in the special election for the state’s other seat. Joseph R. Biden Jr. gained ground in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia on Thursday as the slow-moving vote count in those contested battleground states moved him closer to capturing an electoral majority and defeating President Trump.As an anxious country waited to learn the winner, the two candidates emerged toward day’s end to make remarks that were dramatically different in tone and content.- Advertisement – Georgia’s Republican Party has said it plans to bring up to a dozen lawsuits in the state.In Arizona, Mr. Biden’s lead was down to about 46,000 votes, significantly less than it was on election night. There are several hundred thousand ballots left to count, with many coming from Phoenix’s Maricopa County, which was expected to release an update on Thursday evening.Adrian Fontes, the Democrat who oversees elections in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, said that officials would continue to release updates daily at 7 p.m. Eastern, including over the weekend.“We’re plugging along and making it happen,” Mr. Fontes said. The vote count in Maricopa has grown tense, however, since several armed protesters showed up at the county office Wednesday night. On Thursday afternoon, about 200 supporters of Mr. Trump also gathered in front of the headquarters of the Arizona Republican Party after a protest earlier in the day involving about 50 Trump supporters dissipated in front of City Hall in Phoenix.Some in the crowd held signs reading “Don’t Steal Elections,” “Shame on Fox News” and “Recall Fontes.” (Fox News called Arizona for Mr. Biden on Tuesday night, inflaming Trump supporters.)Mr. Biden led by just over 11,000 votes in Nevada, but local officials in Las Vegas announced Thursday that 51,000 ballots from Clark County there were being tallied and would be announced Friday. Mr. Biden was winning the county by about eight percentage points. If he wins the bulk of the new votes, it would make it almost impossible for Mr. Trump to take the state, because about 70 percent of Nevada’s voters live in Clark County. In a brief appearance before reporters in Wilmington, Del., Mr. Biden said he remained confident that he would ultimately prevail but did not lay claim to the White House.“Democracy’s sometimes messy,” said Mr. Biden, who remained ahead in Arizona Thursday night but lost some ground there. “It sometimes requires a little patience as well. But that patience has been rewarded now for more than 240 years with a system of governance that’s been the envy of the world.” For its part, publicly and privately, the Biden campaign spent much of Thursday trying to tamp down expectations about the certainty of results in individual states, even as his supporters were on edge when the margins turned out to be far closer than many had expected.In a briefing with reporters, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, acknowledged that his leads in Arizona and Nevada might tighten or otherwise fluctuate. It was a departure from her position the day earlier when she referred to a “historic victory in a place like Arizona,” though she still expressed optimism about victories in both states.“We do expect, similar to Nevada, that some of the margin will continue to close today,” she said of Arizona, a state she has focused on for months. “The story of Arizona is one where Joe Biden is going to win, but it’s going to take us time and patience as we go through the counting.”“The story of today,” she said at another point, “is going to be a very positive story for the vice president, but also one where folks are going to need to stay patient and stay calm.”Reporting was contributed by Catie Edmondson in Washington, Nick Corasaniti in Philadelphia, Richard Fausset in Atlanta, and Jennifer Medina and Simon Romero in Phoenix. In his speech, Mr. Trump expressed no concern about the protracted vote count in Arizona, a state where he has been cutting into Mr. Biden’s lead as more ballots are tabulated.Republican leaders offered no immediate response to Mr. Trump’s remarks, but a small group of maverick lawmakers in the party denounced his comments, seeking to reassure voters that there was no reason to believe the integrity of the election had been undermined.Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois and a frequent critic of Mr. Trump, offered the sharpest rebuke, saying “this is getting insane” and demanding that the president stop “spreading debunked misinformation.”Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, wrote, “There is no defense for the President’s comments tonight undermining our Democratic process.”Yet there were also Republican lawmakers who rushed to Mr. Trump’s defense, siding with him in falsely asserting that the vote counting was illegal and Democrats were trying to cheat. “Radical Dems tried to do away with law and order and are now trying to do away with law and order at the ballot box,” wrote Representative Roger Williams of Texas. Updated Nov. 5, 2020, 8:30 p.m. ET On Thursday, an array of Mr. Trump’s political surrogates fanned out to some of the contested states to rally his supporters. And the president’s lawyers filed lawsuits in several states questioning the integrity of the vote count in hopes of slowing down the process. With the counting proceeding slowly in the West, much of the focus on Thursday fell on Pennsylvania, where a victory would deliver Mr. Biden the presidency no matter the results in the other states, the top election official in the state said on Thursday evening that counties were “still counting” and did not offer any timetable for when the tally would be complete.Mr. Trump’s lead in the state was shrinking as mail-in ballots were counted in the heavily Democratic cities and suburbs.The two parties held dueling news conferences in Philadelphia early in the day, with Mr. Trump’s supporters insisting his lead would hold statewide and the city’s Democrats, led by former Representative Robert A. Brady, unveiling an analysis of the remaining vote count that concluded Mr. Biden would win Pennsylvania convincingly.In Georgia, the counting of ballots in numerous counties continued to erode Mr. Trump’s advantage in the traditionally Republican state: By Thursday night, he was leading by about 2,500 votes out of nearly five million cast.Tens of thousands of ballots remained to be counted in the state late in the day, including many in Chatham County, a Democratic-leaning county along the Georgia coast that is home to Savannah, and many thousands more from Atlanta-area counties that also lean Democratic. He suffered two legal setbacks on Thursday when judges in Georgia and Michigan ruled against his campaign. But Mr. Trump notched a minor victory in Pennsylvania when a state appellate court acceded to its request to force Philadelphia election officials to grant its election observers better access to areas where workers are counting ballots. With the world watching to see if one of the most unusual presidencies in the country’s history was coming to an end, America’s patchwork of electoral laws created a confusing and angst-inducing day for both parties, to say nothing of millions of Americans eager for the campaign’s conclusion. As part of the effort to sow doubt on the state’s election, Mr. Trump’s Nevada state director sent a letter to supporters on Thursday asking them “to go on camera/on the record with the issues they faced voting this election” to “expose issues we are seeing at polling locations/clerks offices.” – Advertisement –
The Ghana Football Association President says Sports Minister, Nii Lante Vanderpuye is to blame for the lack of concrete decision on bonsuses for the Black Stars in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.Kwasi Nyantakyi says management team has been denied involvement in bonus negotiations because of the Minister’s “Strange modern management style.”At a media briefing in Accra Tuesday, Mr Nyantakyi said the Sports Minister has disregarded the caretakers of the Black Stars because of his belief that they are siphoning state funds.”On the eve of the match with Uganda he had a meeting with players without management for well over three hours and at the end of the meeting the players did not have enough time to rest,” he said reprovingly.Mr Vanderpuye has had issues with members of the Black Stars management team over suspicion that they are not acting in the interest of Ghana.Relations between him and the FA President has been frosty since he was sworn-in as Minister by the outgoing President John Mahama. In August, 2016 Mr Nyantakyi had accused the Minister of engaging the media more than he did with the Football Association.”We do not have any problem with the Minister; he has chosen to engage us through the media [and] anytime we hear of any meeting between him and us, we hear it through the media,” he mockingly said.Mr Vanderpuye was also to state during a media interview in August that he has nothing against the FA and its leadership.He stated that “When the President swore me in as the Sports Minister, he told me to work to raise the image of football in Ghana high but people think I have problem with them.””I only want the right thing to be done,” he said. But the FA says the Minister has refused to do the right thing since he was put in charge of the Youth and Sports Ministry.Mr Nyantakyi said one of the FA conventions is that the management should be involved in decision making but the Minister’s style of leadership does not permit that.”He [had met the Black Stars] twice without our involvement. The first one was in Alisa Hotel and the second one in Tamale when we went to play Uganda,” he said, adding the three hour meeting could be partially blamed for the team’s poor performance.He, however, said a meeting has been scheduled between the team and the incoming government to finalise the arrangements regarding “financial issues and the bonus structure.”Mr Nyantakyi argued this is important for the players to know what they stand to gain or lose in the Gabon competition.
The Okanagan Rockets, a team loaded with Western Hockey League protected players, beat up on the Kootenay Ice during BC Hockey Major Midget Hockey League weekend action this past weekend at the Rossland Arena.The Rockets out scored the Ice 16-1 in the two-game series to sweep the weekend set.Saturday, Liam Finlay, property of the WHL’s Regina Pats, scored three times leading Okanagan to an 8-0 win. The Rockets held period leads of 2-0 and 4-0.Sunday, Tyson Jost of the Everett Silvertips and Branden Wagner each scored twice as the Rockets dumped Kootenay 8-1.Okanagan held period leads of 3-0 and 4-1.Coy Provost of Kimberley scored the lone goal for Kootenay. The two losses drops the season record of Kootenay to 3-15-4.Next up for Kootenay is a weekend series Saturday and Sunday in Trail at the Cominco Arena against Vancouver Northeast Chiefs.Games times are 4 p.m. Saturday and 9:45 a.m. Sunday.The BC Hockey Major Midget League was established in 2004 to provide elite level 15, 16 and 17 year olds an opportunity to play within their own age group at a high level and be developed for the next level of hockey. Kootenay Ice roster has players from East and West Kootenay and Boundary regions.
Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams has kicked up a stink with school pupils in Co Donegal.The television star, author and comedian recorded a special video message for schoolchildren across the county who chose his book Mr Stink as part of a reading initiative.The video was shown to shocked pupils at the Educate Together National School in Letterkenny to mark the closing of Read DL 2019. In his message David Walliams spoke of how thrilled he was that Donegal had selected Mr Stink for this initiative and he wished all participants well.He said “Hello to everyone at Read Donegal. I want to say a huge thank you for picking my book Mr Stink to read.“I’ve never actually read it myself, I must do. I hope you enjoyed it, I hope you’ve enjoyed discussing it and thinking about it and I hope to meet you all one day.”Mr Stink is a hilarious and charming story, filled with love, life and surprising secrets! Chloe, the loneliest girl in the world, makes friends with Mr Stink, the local tramp. One day, she decides to help him out when she realises he might be driven out of town. How does she do that? Well, she hides him in her shed. She has to make sure that no one finds out her secret and speaking of secrets, there just might be more to Mr Stink than what meets the eyes (or the nose).This year saw the Read DL initiative grow to include 56 Primary Schools, 13 post primary schools, all Youthreach Centres, all ‘Learning for Living’ Centres, 3 community-based groups, students at LYIT and families.Speaking at the closing ceremony Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr. Seamus O’Domhnaill congratulated all those who participated in this year’s initiative.He told pupils how “reading is a pastime that will reap long term rewards”. He also thanked the committee for their “collaboration and dedication to making this years’ initiative one of the best yet.”Courtesy of the LYIT and ETB, a total of 2285 books were distributed throughout the county and 100 copies were made publically available through the library network. In addition, new dimensions were added; such as the development of a Read DL app, 3 library family events, 2 public reading events and an exhibition of artwork at the LYIT.This year’s short story competition was once again very popular receiving almost 200 entries with winning entries in the primary category by Alice O’Connor from Drumman N.S. and in the post primary by Sofia Fullerton from Crana College.Now in its 9th year, the Read DL “One Book, One Community” initiative is designed to bring local people together through reading and discussing the same book/author. The objective of the project is to get as many people reading a book from a particular author at the same time, therefore building a sense of community while also promoting literacy.Read DL has a multiagency committee including the School Completion Programme (SCP) and Home School Community Liaison (HSCL) coordinators from Errigal College, Letterkenny Educate Together NS; Donegal ETB Learning for Living; the local LYIT; retired ETB staff members & Donegal County Council Library Service. The success of the Project can be attributed to the strength of the cooperation between the various organisations. You can also visit www.readdonegal.com for further information and learning activities to accompany ‘Mr Stink and previous READ DL titles. Stay up to date by following Read DL on Facebook @readdlsocial and Twitter @ReadDonegal.Britain’s Got Talent star David Walliams kicks up a ‘stink’ with Donegal pupils was last modified: April 16th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:David WalliamsDonegal Educate TogetherREAD DL
10 August 2011 South Africa’s Commission for Gender Equality has called for men and women to play equal roles when it comes to tackling issues such as gender-based violence and human trafficking. “Gender issues are not women’s issues alone,” commission spokesperson Javu Baloyi said as the country marked Women’s Day on Tuesday. “For far too long, women’s organisations have taken the sole responsibility for issues like violence against women, violence against lesbians and gays, human trafficking, maintenance and inheritance to property – as if men had nothing to do with them. “This has to change,” Baloyi said. “Men must assume their share of responsibility and join the feminist struggle against these issues.” Women’s Day offers an opportunity for South Africans to reflect on the position of women in today’s society, and the progress made in raising the profile and importance of the role of women. Baloyi said women could only be considered “inferior” if men were considered “superior”. “We need to understand that femininity does not exist in isolation from masculinity. The image and the power of one determines the image and power of the other … Women can be and are subordinate only if men are willing and enabled to subordinate them,” he said. Baloyi challenged the social constructs resulting from patriarchy, and suggested a number of interventions that might begin to reverse gender inequality. He said a national gender equality training programme should be established, targeting men from all walks of life including rural areas, hostels, informal settlements, townships, correctional centres and suburban areas. “These trainings should be in all official languages,” Baloyi said. “The impact of these trainings … should further be monitored and evaluated on an annual basis.” He called for sufficient attention to be paid to gender equality and gender-based violence in the school curriculum, adding that “there should be a revision of materials to ensure that these are gender-sensitive.” “Men should be encouraged to be involved in reproductive health issues, domestic and child-care responsibilities in the home, and mentoring and assisting young girls to take up previously male-dominated professions,” said Baloyi. He encouraged men to form men’s forums to tackle gender equality issues in their own localities. Source: BuaNews
20 January 2015South Africa is committed to improving its global competitiveness and reputation with a view to delivering on its growth and developmental imperatives. South Africa continues to compare well with other emerging markets.According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Restrictiveness Index, South Africa ranks among the most open jurisdictions for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the world.Openness is reflected in the overall trend of growing FDI into South Africa over the past 22 years post-1994. South Africa’s stock of FDI now accounts for around 42% of GDP.Over the past five years, South Africa accounted for the bulk of new investment projects in Africa with investment arriving from the USA, some member states of the EU, and increasingly from China, India and other Asian countries.The country attracted around 24% of all the FDI projects in Africa between 2007 and 2013. In this light, and notwithstanding the challenging global economic conditions, in August 2013, the Global Financial Times Magazine of United Kingdom voted South Africa overall winner for best investment destination in Africa for 2013 and 2014.Confidence indexThe 2014 AT Kearney Foreign Direct Confidence Index ranks South Africa in position 13 among 25 leading economies moving up two places from 2013. South Africa ranks higher than countries such as Switzerland, Sweden and Netherlands.Research by the International Investment Initiative director at the University of Bern’s World Trade Institute, Dr Stephen Gelb, shows that more than 130 foreign firms either entered South Africa or expanded their investments during 2013; that is about 2.5 foreign firms per week announced an investment in South Africa.Ease of doing businessThe 2015 Ease of Doing Business report that ranks 189 countries has been released by the World Bank. The results of the report show that South Africa’s overall performance in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index dropped from 41st to 43rd this year, and this comes at a time of subdued GDP outlook.The report attributes the drop in rankings to South Africa’s poor or limited access to electricity, which is one of the biggest hurdles to doing business in the country, where it takes on average five procedures and 226 days to get connected to the grid.Despite this, South Africa has improved in a range of indicators:Starting a business – 64 to 61Registering Property – 99 to 97Trading across borders – 106 to 100Enforcing contracts – 80 to 46Paying taxes – 24 to 19The improvement in the trading across borders indicator is a critical area that impacts on performance of a range of manufactured and mineral products shipped from South Africa to international markets.South Africa’s fall in the rankings can also be attributed to counter-productive credit policies, namely making access to credit information more difficult by requiring credit bureaus to remove negative credit information from their databases.Collective responsibilityThe results of the 2015 Ease of Doing Business Report suggest that South Africa has some work to do in creating an enabling environment to attract inward flows of investment. The challenges are, however, not insurmountable and many are already being addressed by the relevant authorities.South Africa’s global competitiveness is our collective responsibility and in line with the National Development Plan, we need to begin to collectively respond to creating the conditions that improve our competitiveness.According the World Bank, “the 20 economies at the top of the ease of doing business ranking perform well not only on the Doing Business indicators but also in other international data sets capturing dimensions of competitiveness”.Powerful interventionsAs a developing nation, South Africa will be continually confronted with considerable socio-economic challenges that need to be resolved.However, the development of powerful interventions such as the National Development Plan and the New Growth Path, provide broad yet strong blueprints for dealing with these structural issues, and the focus should remain firmly on the implementation of such plans for the good of the country and all its citizens.We must not lose sight of the things we are getting right and government and society need to work in genuine partnership to pursue the country’s current economic vision with conviction and vigour. In the meantime, South Africa needs to continue to send a message to the world that it is still very much “open for business”.Team South Africa in DavosFollow Team South Africa at WEF Davos on @Brand_SA #SAinDavos or @Brand_SA #CompetitiveSA.Davies is South Africa’s Minister of Trade and IndustrySource: SAnews.gov
Canali understands the pleasure of donning a well cut handmade jacket, with sartorial elegance. So do Indian men. From Aamir Khan at the screening of Dhobi Ghat in Delhi to Arjun Rampal at the 56th National Awards and even music maestro AR Rahman while accepting the Global Icon of the,Canali understands the pleasure of donning a well cut handmade jacket, with sartorial elegance. So do Indian men. From Aamir Khan at the screening of Dhobi Ghat in Delhi to Arjun Rampal at the 56th National Awards and even music maestro AR Rahman while accepting the Global Icon of the Year Award-they all sported Canali’s Nawab jacket which is a rendition of the classic Indian bandhgala, constructed to fine Italian tailoring standards. Awed by India’s cultural heritage and the luxurious lifestyle enjoyed by Indian royalty, the brand launched its first Nawab jacket in 2009, as a tribute to India. This special launch coincided with the brand’s 75th year celebrations. The success of the Nawab collection has resulted in multiple variations of the original. The grey Nawab from the current season is designed using a wool-mohair-silk blend and is lined with a central placket, a collar that is lower in front and higher at the back, a watch pocket and five black Mother of Pearl buttons. Stylish, elegant, sleek and tailormade- Canali definitely knows how to separate the boys from the men.
CALGARY – One of the most destructive ecological impacts of oil and gas exploration happens long before a litre of oil flows into a pipeline or a single atom of carbon enters the atmosphere.Seismic surveying — the exploration activity that helps identify where to drill — can result in as much as 15 per cent of the forest being chopped down and mulched.But a new kind of seismic survey promises to leave only boot prints in the forest. And that’s good news for species such as the threatened woodland caribou that live alongside the oilsands industry in northern Alberta.“We can do it, it works. We don’t have to cut the forest down anymore,” said Allan Chatenay, co-owner of Explor Geophysical Ltd. and inventor of its PinPoint technology.The Calgary-based company worked with oilsands giant Suncor Energy Inc. over the past winter to see how the technology stacks up in comparison with traditional seismic techniques on one of its unexplored oilsands leases.The next step will be a commercial-scale trial aimed at proving it can compete on cost as well as effectiveness.Put simply, seismic surveying involves creating sound waves in the earth that bounce off rocky formations hundreds of metres underground and then are recorded by sensors on the surface for analysis.Traditionally, surveys were conducted using truck-mounted drilling gear, heavy sensors and explosive devices weighing several kilograms each. Straight, six- to eight-metre-wide seismic lines were chopped through the forest on rectangular grids to permit access and ensure the equipment was positioned to achieve the best results.The current standard, called low-impact seismic, cuts lines that are about three metres wide, often in a zig-zag pattern on the assumption that it prevents predators from being able to see their prey from a distance.PinPoint takes the technology one step further by scaling down the size of the sensors and charges so they can be carried into the forest by people on foot. By greatly increasing the number of lower powered seismic events and their recordings, and processing them using detailed GPS readings and exact timing, Chatenay says the survey results are just as detailed as traditional seismic.Finding new ways to acquire seismic data fits in with goals by the industry, regulators and the Indigenous community to support caribou conservation, said Christine Daly, a senior technology adviser for land reclamation at Suncor.“Any fragmentation of the boreal forest has an impact on the animals in that ecosystem, including boreal woodland caribou, which are a threatened species,” she said.“We realized one of the root causes of the impact from our industry are these seismic lines, so completely removing them is a huge step in opening more responsible development and caribou conservation.”Only about 25 per cent of caribou ranges in the oilsands area are considered undisturbed, said Simon Dyer, deputy executive director of the Pembina Institute environmental think-tank.That’s well below the 65 per cent undisturbed ratio required to allow threatened caribou populations be self-sustaining, according to a 2012 federal government Species at Risk Act recovery strategy report.“A big contributor to that fragmentation and loss of habitat is the seismic footprint so any technologies that can prevent additional losses of habitat are obviously welcome,” he said.“Slowing the rate of loss of habitat is not good enough …. Any responsible company should be proposing a plan that has a net improvement in caribou habitat, not just a reduced impact.”The PinPoint technology requires more labour than other form of seismic so it costs more, Chatenay said, without being specific.On the other hand, he said, it saves users the cost of having to later replant and remediate seismic lines and may help companies fall in line with future environmental regulation.Suncor is looking at several technologies to reduce the impact of its seismic surveys and it will likely be years before any can be implemented on a commercial scale, said Gary Bunio, general manager of oilsands strategy technology development.He said the cost is important to consider but it’s not the only issue — Suncor could decide on a more expensive option if it provides a solution that is effective and is endorsed by community stakeholders and regulators.Follow @HealingSlowly on TwitterCompanies mentioned in this article: (TSX:SU)
Indianapolis: In a largely symbolic gesture to a group that helped him win the White House, President Donald Trump said Friday he is pulling the US back from an international agreement on the arms trade, telling the National Rifle Association the treaty is “badly misguided.” Trump made the announcement at the NRA’s annual convention, where he vowed to fight for gun rights and implored members of the nation’s largest pro-gun group struggling to maintain its influence to rally behind his re-election bid. Also Read – Enemies seek to sow discord’ between Iran & Iraq, says Khamenei “It’s under assault,” he said of the constitutional right to bear arms. “But not while we’re here.” With pro-gun legislation largely stalled in Congress and few deliverables during Trump’s term so far, the president told the group that he would be revoking the United States’ status as a signatory of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which regulates the multibillion-dollar global arms trade in conventional weapons, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: Report President Barack Obama signed the pact, which has long been opposed by the NRA, in 2013. But it has never been ratified by US lawmakers. “Under my administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone,” Trump said, before signing a document on stage directing the Senate to halt the ratification process. “We will never allow foreign diplomats to trample on your Second Amendment freedom.” “I hope you’re happy,” he told the group, then appeared surprised by the cheers. “I’m impressed,” he said. “I didn’t think too many of you would really know what it is.” His move against the treaty came as Trump sought to excite an organization that was pivotal to his victory in 2016 but, three years later, is limping toward the next election divided and diminished. And it represents just the latest in a series of withdrawals from international pacts and organizations joined by previous administrations, like the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal. Gun activists had denounced the treaty when it was under negotiation as an infringement of civilian firearm ownership, despite the well-enshrined legal principle that says no treaty can override the Constitution or U.S. laws. The treaty is aimed at cracking down on illicit trading in small arms, thereby curbing violence in some of the most troubled corners of the world. It was the first legally binding treaty to regulate the international trade in conventional arms and was overwhelmingly approved by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly in April 2013. It has been ratified by 101 countries but key arms exporters including Russia and China and major importers such as India and Egypt have given no indication that they will sign it. Advocates of tighter gun restrictions and those who had helped negotiate the treaty denounced Trump’s decision Friday. Kris Brown, president of the Brady organization, said will “only embolden terrorists and other dangerous actors around the world.” And Rachel Stohl, managing director of the Stimson Center and a consultant to the treaty negotiations, said: “By turning its back on multilateral diplomacy yet again, the United States is disregarding global norms and allowing nefarious actors to trade weapons with impunity.” Yet Trump’s showy rejection of the agreement from the stage has limited effect because it has been unlikely all along that he would send the treaty to the Senate for ratification. At the United Nations, spokesman Stephane Dujarric called the treaty “a landmark achievement in the efforts to ensure responsibility in international arms transfers” and particularly important at a time of renewed interest in expanding weapons arsenals. Trump’s speech came at a troubled time for the gun rights organization, a one-time Republican kingmaker, which has been grappling with infighting, bleeding money and facing a series of investigations into its operating practices, including allegations that covert Russian agents seeking to influence the 2016 election courted its officials and funneled money through the group. As Trump landed in Indianapolis, a judge imposed an 18-month prison term on gun rights activist Maria Butina, an admitted Russian agent who, according to her plea agreement, worked with a former Russian lawmaker to use their contacts in the NRA to pursue back channels to American conservatives during the 2016 presidential campaign. While the group had high hopes for easing gun regulations after pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into 2016 campaigns, much of the legislation the group championed has stalled, due, in part, to a series of mass shootings, including the massacre at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 dead. Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor and expert on gun policy, allowed that the group had scored some victories under Trump, including the appointment of two Supreme Court justices who may be open to striking down gun laws. But overall, he said, “On the legislative front, the NRA has been frustrated,” with priorities like national reciprocity for conceal carry laws and a repeal of the ban on silencers stalled.
People who use their smartphones for making calls, texting or listening to music while shopping at a store are more likely to make unplanned purchases and forget items they had planned to buy, according to a study. Researchers from the Fairfield University in the US investigated the impact of mobile phone use on in-store shopping behaviour. They found that those who used mobile phones in store for purposes unrelated to shopping, such as making phone calls, texting, checking emails or listening to music, were more likely to make unplanned purchases and forget items they had planned to buy. Also Read – The Puja carnivalThe study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, observed this effect even when phones were only used for part of the shopping trip, suggesting that in-store mobile phone use may consume attentional resources even after the phone is put away. “Our finding that phone use that is unrelated to shopping negatively affects shopping behaviour was in stark contrast to beliefs held by consumers,” said Michael Sciandra, corresponding author of the study. Also Read – Wave City brings special offers this Navratra”The vast majority of shoppers we asked thought that mobile phones did not have any negative effect,” Sciandra said. The researchers asked 231 participants to complete a simulated shopping task. While the participants either refrained from using their phone, or used it for an unrelated task either constantly (simulated phone call) or intermittently, they were shown a first person perspective video of someone grocery shopping. The participants were given a shopping list of items and were asked to compare the list to the products the person in the video placed in the cart, or picked up and put down. The participants’ mobile phone dependence was assessed via self-report. The researchers found that consumers who are highly dependent upon mobile phones, characterised by excessive use of and reliance on the device, were the most at risk of deviating from a shopping plan while engaging in shopping-unrelated mobile phone use. “Mobile phones are quickly becoming the principal distractor for many consumers and they offer a unique form of interruption,” Sciandra said. “Our findings may influence consumers’ attitudes towards mobile phone use while shopping and persuade them to reflect on how these devices impact our lives, both positively and negatively,” he said.