The National Child Rights Bill, approved by the Sierra Leone Parliament last week, is a “huge step forward for children’s rights,” the agency said in a news release. Superseding all other existing national laws, the legislation offers an opportunity for aligning Sierra Leone with international rights standards for children, according to UNICEF. With non-discrimination as one of the guiding principles of the Bill, it provides the overall framework for ensuring adequate standards of care for all children in Sierra Leone. These include prohibition of early marriage, of conscription of children in to the armed forces, the right to a name and nationality, free and compulsory education, protection against domestic violence and child trafficking, structures and systems for the protection of children at village and chiefdom levels, as well as protection against harmful traditional practices affecting children including female genital mutilation. “The implementation of the Child Rights Bill provides us with an operational framework for the roll-out of child rights in Sierra Leone,” said the UNICEF Representative Geert Cappelaere. The Bill “marks for all children in Sierra Leone one of the most significant events since the end of the war in 2002,” said the Representative. “It is clear also from discussions in Parliament that many more efforts are needed to ensure a fully fledged culture of children’s rights in all parts of society.” Poverty is endemic in Sierra Leone, which was ranked 176 out of 177 countries listed in the UN’s Human Development Index. Infant mortality is estimated at 158 per 1,000 live births, under-five mortality rate at 267 per 1,000 and maternal mortality rate at 1,077 per 100,000 live births – all among the highest rates in the world. Children are exposed to violence, exploitation, abuse and deprivation. Almost one half of children aged 5-14 years are engaged in some form of child labour. About 11 per cent of children are orphans and 20 per cent do not live with their biological parents.UNICEF said despite this bleak picture, “much progress has been made,” citing increased immunization coverage rates and the Government’s commitment to give priority attention to cutting child and maternal mortality. 13 June 2007The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has welcomed new legislation protecting the rights of the young in Sierra Leone, where they suffer disproportionately from poverty and other social ills.
CALGARY — In another sign the bloom is off the boom for the oilsands, the industry has returned almost one million hectares of northern Alberta exploration leases to the province over the past two years — abandoning an area far bigger than P.E.I.The total area covered by oilsands leases remained constant at about nine million hectares between 2011 and 2014. But it fell to 8.5 million hectares in 2015 and 8.1 million in 2016, following the crash in world oil prices from over US$100 to under $60 per barrel in 2014.Most of the returned acreage either represents expired or surrendered leases, according to Alberta Energy, which provided the statistics at the request of The Canadian Press.Observers were surprised by the size of the lease returns which they attributed to industry cost-cutting and disinterest in spending to develop new prospects when there’s no money to build projects already on the books.“It costs money to maintain these lands,” said Brad Hayes, president of Petrel Robertson Consulting in Calgary.“You can’t convince shareholders to continue to put that money out if there’s no prospect for success.”Alberta’s oilsands have been getting little respect lately, thanks to the exit of large foreign companies, the province’s hard cap on oilsands emissions, increasing carbon taxes and the stumbling price of crude oil.Its troubles have been welcomed by environmentalists who point out the industry’s outsized impact on air, land and water pollution.“This is good news. It’s a sign that investment dollars are shifting out of carbon-intensive energy,” said Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada.Energy companies are often very secretive when buying Crown leases, usually acting anonymously through a land broker, and they are almost as secretive when giving up a lease position.Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) reported in disclosure documents that its holdings of oilsands leases fell by 46,000 hectares between 2014 and 2016. But when asked why, spokeswoman Julie Wood said in an email, “We can’t comment on specific dispositions to the Crown or third parties.”Financial considerations, however, were cited in 2015 when junior oilsands company SilverWillow Energy Corp. announced it had returned three leases to the government to avoid $50,000 per year in fees — leases that cost about $2 million to buy at Crown auction in 2011 and were estimated to contain more than 80 million barrels of recoverable bitumen.A few months later, the cash-strapped company, whose stock was worth $90 million in 2012, agreed to sell itself for $1.7 million to another Calgary firm.Alberta Energy spokesman Ryan Cromb said oilsands leases are awarded with an initial 15-year term which can be extended if the company invests, usually by drilling wells or by beginning production. The primary leaseholder is charged rent of $3.50 per hectare, but there’s a rent increase if the lease is extended.The province’s biggest auctions of oilsands leases took place in 2006, when investors paid almost $2 billion to buy 1.5 million hectares at an average price of $1,273 per hectare.In 2016, only 44,000 hectares were sold at just $266 per hectare.Co-owner Darren Rath of Basin Environmental said his consulting company once found plenty of work designing reclamation plans for oilsands exploration programs, but that work has dried up. There were 1,686 oilsands evaluation wells drilled in 2014, but only 387 in 2016, according to Alberta Energy.“Honestly, I don’t expect a ramp up any time soon unless oil prices recover,” Rath said.Rob Bedin, a director with RS Energy Group in Calgary, said many oilsands leases were bought 10 to 15 years ago by speculators who hoped to make a profit by reselling them at a later date.The Alberta oilsands contain an estimated 1.8 trillion barrels of oil, about 168 billion barrels of which are considered recoverable using today’s technology.There are about two dozen operating oilsands projects in Alberta. More than 70 others have regulatory approval, but have not been green-lighted by their proponents.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.
The two sides will discuss efforts at political reconciliation between the Sri Lankan government and Tamils, besides going through the entire checklist of India-Sri Lanka relations such as the pace of rehabilitation process, fishermen’s issue, implementation of linkages in transport and power, utilisation of the Indian line of credit and military cooperation, the Hindu newspaper report said. External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris who will travel to India tomorrow to co-chair the joint commission meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid the next day, will also meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Wednesday.The Hindu newspaper today confirmed that Minister Peiris will meet the Indian Prime Minister for talks. India is Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner with bilateral trade in goods having crossed $ 5 billion last fiscal.
Margaret Thatcher, the former U.K. prime minister who helped end the Cold War and was known as the “Iron Lady” for her uncompromising style, has died. She was 87.“She had a stroke and died peacefully,” her spokesman, Tim Bell, told Sky News television today. “We’ll never see the like of her again. She was one of the great prime ministers of all times. She changed people’s lives. She is a fantastic person. She loved her country. She dedicated herself to improving people’s lives.” “She was, quite simply, one of the most influential political leaders that the U.K., indeed the world, has ever produced,” said Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London and author of “The Conservative Party From Thatcher To Cameron” (2010). (Courtesy Bloomberg) When Thatcher took office in 1979, Britain’s trade unions were strong enough to knock out party leaders they opposed, and key industries, including utilities, were state-owned. By the time she stepped down 11 years later, her arguments for free- market economics, lower taxes and deregulated financial markets had been adopted across the nation’s political spectrum. The transition was painful. Unemployment peaked at more than 3 million in the mid-1980s, and many places in the north of the country that had been world centers of manufacturing struggled to adapt to the new service economy.
The Philadelphia Eagles announced on Tuesday that former running back Brian Westbrook will retire as a member of the team.Westbrook will hold a Wednesday morning press conference and will officially be honored at Lincoln Field prior to a game with the Washington Redskins on Dec. 23.Westbrook made sure to thank Philly fans via Twitter after the team announced the news.“Thank you everyone!” he wrote. “It was a great pleasure to be an Eagle for 8 years. I truly appreciate all of the support! Love you guys.”The versatile Villanova product becomes the third former Eagle this summer to retire with the organization, joining teammates Brian Dawkins and Tra Thomas.In eight years with the Birds, Westbrook rushed for5,995 yards and 37 touchdowns while adding 3,790 receiving yards and another 29 scores. He was a key part of the 2004-05 team that won the NFC Championship before falling to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.The Eagles’ third-round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, Westbrook enjoyed his best season in 2007, rushing for a career-high 1,333 yards and seven touchdowns on 278 carries.He never eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau again as injuries slowed him down, leading the Eagles to eventually release him on March 5, 2010.However, his place in city lore remains firm.“I will always remember Brian for the electrifying, game-changing plays he made during his great career in Philadelphia,” Eagles chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said in a release. “He was one of those players you knew could score from anywhere on the field and one of the most exciting players I have ever watched. He was a great runner, receiver and returner and was certainly a fan favorite.”Westbrook was selected to two Pro Bowls (2004 and 2007) and was named First-team All-Pro in 2007.He last played in the NFL in 2010 with the San Francisco 49ers.
Although Mark Titus’ blog gave outsiders an unprecedented look at life as a college basketball player, its content was not without filter. Restricted by both NCAA and Ohio State overseers, some of Titus’ best stories might have gone untold.But now that he has broken the shackles of censorship, Titus plans to make it up to his fans. Free to tell all the stories he was forbidden to reveal, the former Buckeye benchwarmer has plenty to say. “I am going to write a book whenever I’m done,” Titus said. “I have some stories that need to be told that some people might not want me telling.” Titus, who said he plans to begin writing his book after he graduates in June, was witness to several exciting years as an OSU walk-on. He sat on the sideline during the Buckeyes’ Final Four run in 2007, an NIT title the following year, and he warmed the bench for this season’s Big Ten regular season and tournament championship team. With all that he’s seen, Titus said a book is the only way to tell it all. “Basically, it’s just going to be stories from all four years at Ohio State,” Titus said. “My first years here, I didn’t have my blog going, so there’s stuff from then, some Final Four stuff that I haven’t been able to write about, a lot of experiences.” Perhaps the most high-profile name Titus plans to write about is former Buckeye Greg Oden. Titus said that Oden, who made news earlier this year when some revealing photos of the NBA center found their way onto the Internet, should expect to be a popular subject of the book. “I’ve had the chance to play with some pretty great players at Ohio State,” Titus said. “There are a lot of stories to go with playing with such great players that I haven’t been able to tell. “Let me put it this way: I hope my book makes Greg Oden’s penis one of the least talked about stories involving him, because I have some good ones about him.”
It was going to happen sooner or later, and we all knew it would be expensive when it did. OCZ have been the first to jump though, managing to bring a 1TB SSD to market for an eye-watering $1,300.The OCZ Octane SSD is a 2.5-inch drive with a 6Gbps SATA-III interface offered in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and the all new 1TB size. OCZ is claiming that the Octane series offers a new level of performance for “varied workloads,” meaning the drives have been tailored for general use such as transferring files of all different sizes and compression.This new level of performance is down to the use of the Indilinx Everest controller, which sees the drives able to achieve 560MB/s read speeds and 400MB/s writes. 4K IOPS random reads is rated at 45,000, and latency is pegged at 0.06ms and 0.09ms for reads and writes respectively. The drives are also complemented by a large 512MB DRAM cache.Investing a lot of money in an SSD is always a tough decision due to their limited life span compared to hard drives. OCZ has alleviated that worry to some extent by including its proprietary NDurance Technology. NDurance is thought to double the life of the NAND storage and increases the program/erase cycles possible from 5,000 to 10,000.If you don’t have $1,300 to spend on the 1TB model, the 128GB starts at $166, the 256GB is around $310 although final pricing hasn’t been confirmed.OCZ also announced a second, slower Octane-S2 series that offers the same levels of storage, but relies on a 3Gbps SATA-II connection. The S2 drives achieve 275MB/s and 265MB/s read and write speeds respectively. 4K IOPS is rated at 30,000. No prices were given, but they are sure to be cheaper than the SATA-III Octanes.Read more at OCZ, via ComputerWorld
Real incomes in Greece dropped by a massive 25.3 percent in 2011 from the year before, according to an annual report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which uses data forwarded by the Greek Finance Ministry. It adds that Greek salary workers pay relatively low taxes but high social security contributions. Maurice Nettley, senior tax policy economist at the OECD, told Kathimerini that the average gross salary in 2011 dropped from 20,457 euros to 15,729 euros. The reduction amounts to 23.1 percent, but actually grows to 25.3 per cent when taking inflation into account. After-tax incomes (for unmarried workers) went down by 25.5 per cent to 16,180 euros. The OECD report further notes that Greeks pay particularly high social security contributions, but the tax they pay is among the lowest in the member states of the organization. In fact, social security contributions are deemed disproportionately high with regard to the service offered by the pension funds. In total, the share of tax and social security contributions (by employers and employees) amounts to 38 per cent of total salary costs. This breaks down to 3 per cent for taxes, 12.8 per cent for salary workers’ social security contributions and 22.2 percent for the employers’ contributions to the funds. The OECD report argues that taxes in employment are harmful to growth. It adds that governments that need to collect more revenues should focus on reducing tax exemptions on matters such as pension contributions and mortgage loan interest, as well as exemptions from tax on sales that are less harmful. Meanwhile Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis stated that: “obviously, had the fiscal adjustment process been less abrupt, the impact on growth would have been smaller, and a slightly longer period of fiscal streamlining would also have had a smaller effect on growth.” However, he added that such an option would require more funding than that which is currently available for Greece. Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
10 Movies That Would Have Been Better Split in HalfCasio G-SHOCK Unveils ‘Akira’-Inspired ‘Neo Tokyo̵… A live-action Akira movie has been an on again, off again project at Warner Bros. for years. However, the latest attempt to bring Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga to the silver screen may have one of Hollywood’s hottest new director’s at the helm. According to Tracking Board, industry insiders say that Warner Bros. is looking to have Jordan Peele take the helm of the project.Peele is still basking in the success of his directorial debut, Get Out, which grossed $150 million off of a less than $5 million budget. That sort of success would be appealing to Warner Bros. who has attempted to get an Akira movie off the ground several times with no success. The latest try almost made it into production and would have had House of Wax director Jaume Collet-Serra at the helm and would have starred Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart.The latest iteration of the Akira live-action movie is being produced by Appian Way, known for its success with films starring company founder Leonardo DiCaprio, and Producer Andrew Lazar. The current script was penned by Marco Ramirez, though if Jordan Peele is brought on tradition dictates that a new director has the right to make their own pass over the script before it’s finalized.The deal is far from a lock, in fact, Warner Bros. and Peele haven’t commented on it at all yet. However, it makes sense enough to seem very plausible. Peele has already proven he can get huge returns on a small investment, and Warner Bros. may be looking to get more bang for their buck after years of incurring losses on failed Akira productions. Stay on target
Vancouver’s voice at the table as Oregon considers tolling has been selected. Mayor Pro Tem, and mayoral candidate, Anne McEnerny-Ogle was unanimously appointed by the Vancouver City Council Monday evening.Vancouver was invited to join the policy advisory committee discussing tolls after Sen. Patty Murray asked Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to give Southwest Washington not only a voice in the discussion but also voting privileges.The Washington State Department of Transportation already had a member on the committee, Southwest Regional Administrator Kris Strickler, but that seat was without voting privileges. The committee will vote Oct. 19 to affirm or deny those voting privileges.Mayor Tim Leavitt recommended McEnerny-Ogle’s appointment to the committee in a memo to council.“Her familiarity with the interstate corridor issues spans from her service on the Transportation and Trade Partnership study in the early 2000’s through her current representation of the city on the Regional Transportation Council and C-Tran, as well as her service as an alternate on the Bi-State Transportation Committee, Metro’s Joint Policy Committee on Transportation (JPACT) and the Metropolitan Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC),” Leavitt wrote.McEnerny-Ogle said it’s exciting to have input on the issue.“I’m grateful Sen. Patty Murray jumped in there to get not one but two votes,” she said.McEnerny-Ogle said the committee will look at tolling Interstates 205 and 5 but also have a conversation about if the tolling region should be larger.“Does it extend into Washington? Into the confluence of 205 and I-5?” she said. “What does it mean for perhaps a tax deduction for our commuters?” Anne McEnerny-Ogle
Reports in Spain have revealed that Juventus have decided to propose a trade deal, involving Paulo Dybala, to Atletico Madrid for Antoine GriezmannThe Serie A leaders are very unhappy with the Argentine’s poor display in their 3-0 defeat to Real Madrid for the first leg of their quarter-final clash in the Champions League, which also saw Dybala being sent off with a second yellow card after Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning second goal.Don Balon have now reported that Juventus have now decided to look for a suitable replacement for the 24 year-old and they have concluded that Griezmann would make a great addition to the Turin side.Fiorentina owner: “Ribery played better than Ronaldo!” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso was left gushing over Franck Ribery’s performance against Juventus, which he rates above that of even Cristiano Ronaldo’s.Although Griezmann has been strongly linked with a move to Barcelona in the summer, Juventus are now pushing hard to make the transfer happen and are convinced that the French international can breathe new life into their attacking options.Meanwhile, the future of Dyabala is not looking promising with Real president Florentino Perez having taken the forward off his list of potential candidates for a move this summer with Barcelona having done the same at the request of Lionel Messi, due to the star believing that the addition of Dybala will not be good for the team
Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil has confirmed that he was unable to take part of the team’s final training session on Thursday, but added that he was able to complete some running exercisesThe German Football Federation had previously announced that the Arsenal midfielder is suffering from a bruised knee that was sustained in the friendly against Austria last Saturday.Joachim Low’s side lost 2-1 in the friendly, despite Ozil having opened the scoring for the world champions.However, the 29-year-old was later taken off after 76 minutes and has since been training by himself.“I didn’t take part in final team training today, but some running exercises were possible again,” Ozil wrote on Twitter.Top 5 Bundesliga players to watch during the weekend Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 11, 2019 With the international activity cooling down for the next month, we go back to the Bundesliga’s Top 5 players to watch next weekend.The German…I didn’t take part in final team training today, but some running exercises were possible again ???????? #DieMannschaft #RoadToRussia #ZSMMN @dfb_team pic.twitter.com/VN7nK4z9bp— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) June 7, 2018Germany will begin the defence of their World Cup title by first playing Mexico in Moscow on June 17 before later facing South Korea and Sweden in the remaining fixtures of Group F.
Harper’s Bazaar announced a new digital-only series for 2014 called Harper’s Bazaar Reports. The first of the series will be Runway Report—the brand’s first click-to-buy electronic special interest publication. The October 2013 Runway Report, created in partnership with high-end American retailer Lord & Taylor, is the first of six Harper’s Bazaar Reports planned for release in the next year.“Runway Report appeals to our discerning reader,” says Carol Smith, Bazaar vice president, publisher and chief revenue officer, in a statement. Smith says the report is perfect for consumers “deconstructing the runway and digitally scaling our editors’ picks as one master shopping list.”Of the half-dozen issues planned, two are specially dedicated to runway collections and beauty and luxury extras, respectively. Runway Report’s digital-only nature helps link the title to the Lord & Taylor directly, organically driving consumers from the page to the online storefront through its Web site runwayreport.harpersbazaar.com and via download with the purchase of Harper’s Bazaar’s October issue.The reports will also be available on digital newsstands at a $6.95 cover price.
Greg Kim, KYUK – Bethel Associated Press Krysti Shallenberger, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Bethel Stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @AKPublicNews Nathaniel Herz, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage Searchers work to recover Napaskiak man who drowned in Kuskokwim River UAF relocating long-standing reindeer herd off campus farm Leila Kheiry, KRBD – Ketchikan AK: Silver-haired Haines athletes go for gold NTSB releases preliminary report for Metlakatla floatplane crash The visit to Western Alaska continues Barr’s tour of the state, meeting with public officials and Alaska Native leaders to discuss public safety, the lack of law enforcement in rural communities and how the federal government can help. Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks The preliminary report on the fatal May 20 floatplane crash near Metlakatla was released by the National Transportation Safety Board on Friday. Claire Stremple, KHNS – Haines Competitors in Haines are gearing up for the National Senior Games. The golden years are no time to slow down–they’re a time to bring home gold medals. Wasilla police say the pilot who died Thursday in a crash near the Wasilla Airport was flying a home-built airplane. Federal researchers open formal investigation into gray whale deaths, including Alaska’s A man charged with first-degree murder in a Yukon River village told investigators he acted in self-defense. Suspect in village fatal shooting makes self-defense claim Pilot dies in crash of experimental airplane near Wasilla The University of Alaska Fairbanks plans to relocate reindeer from a campus farm to an Alaska Native owned ranch in Delta Junction this summer. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has tapped his former legislative aide to serve on the Board of Fisheries. Matanuska-Susitna Borough resident John Wood is largely unknown by fishing groups. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday that the 70 dead whales seen this year it constitutes an “unusual mortality event.” 49 Voices: Shane Baldwin of St. Paul Paul Kaganak fell into the Kuskokwim River two Saturdays ago. Since then, dozens of men and women from Scammon Bay to Akiachak have volunteered to drag the river to find him. Attorney General Barr says ‘very basics of public safety are lacking in the villages’ Associated Press Dunleavy taps former aide for vacant Board of Fish seat Aaron Bolton, KBBI – Homer Laura Kraegel, KUCB – Unalaska This week we’re hearing from Shane Baldwin in St. Paul. Baldwin makes his living as a halibut fisherman.
Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system Comments Share 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Boko Haram once again attacked the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Tuesday, waking residents with deafening explosions in the early hours of the morning and then a suicide bombing that witnesses said killed as many as 20 people.The extremist group which seeks to impose Islamic law across northern Nigeria has repeatedly attacked Maiduguri, the largest city in the northeast, since the newly elected president has designated it as the new headquarters in the war to curb the Islamic uprising. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober There was no explanation for his absence. Nigeria’s military has claimed many times to have killed Shekau — only to have him later resurface.In Tuesday’s video, an armed fighter said Boko Haram still holds several northeastern towns and has thousands of fighters — claims impossible to substantiate.The video gloats over alleged disunity in the multinational force that in March announced it had driven Boko Haram from all towns and villages. Nigerian neighbors Chad and Niger have said the fight against Boko Haram would be long over if they had better cooperation from Nigeria.President Muhammadu Buhari is traveling to Chad and Niger on Wednesday on his first official trip outside Nigeria, spokesman Garba Shehu said.The chief of naval staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibril, said the military chiefs briefed Buhari on the security situation, especially the fight against Boko Haram, and received a presidential directive to move the military headquarters for the fight against the insurgents to Maiduguri.The uprising has killed some 13,000 people and driven 1.5 million from their homes.___Faul reported from Lagos, Nigeria. Associated Press writer Bashir Adigun contributed to this report from Abuja, Nigeria. Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. “We are under siege,” Sumaila Ayuba, her voice shaking, told The Associated Press by telephone just after midnight from her home on the city’s western flank after her sleep was shattered by the explosions. “The shooting is quite deafening. Please, we need prayers.”Hours later, a man blew himself up at Gamboru cattle market, the site of previous bombings, officials said. One witness said he counted at least 20 bodies. The National Emergency Management Agency said 10 people were killed and many others injured. The witness spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.Some onlookers began stoning the agency’s rescue workers, for unknown reasons. Soldiers fired into the air to disperse the crowd.Over the weekend, more than 30 people died in another Boko Haram assault involving another suicide bombing and rocket-propelled grenades.Also Tuesday, Boko Haram released a new video that allegedly shows militants shooting wounded Nigerian soldiers in the head and beheading a man in civilian clothes as well as charred parts claimed to be the remnants of a downed Nigerian jet fighter.The video, the first released since it pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, has no sign of longtime leader Abubakar Shekau, previously a mainstay of the group’s videos.
How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation The number of IS fighters in Iraq and Syria is estimated between 30,000 to 60,000, according to the Iraqi officers. Former officers from the military of ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein have helped the group organize its fighters. Veteran jihadis with combat experience in Afghanistan, Chechnya or Somalia have brought valuable experience.Foreigners who join IS often end up as suicide bombers. “People go to the Islamic State looking to die, and the Islamic State is happy to help them,” said Patrick Skinner, a former CIA officer now with The Soufan Group, a private geopolitical risk assessment company.The group’s tactics carried it to a sweep of northern and western Iraq a year ago, capturing Mosul, Iraq’s second-biggest city. Shortly thereafter, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a “caliphate” spanning its territory in Iraq and Syria.In May, it captured Ramadi, capital of Iraq’s vast western Anbar province. In Syria, it seized the central city of Palmyra.The elite shock troops were crucial in capturing Ramadi. First came a wave of more than a dozen suicide bombings that hammered the military’s positions, then the fighters moved in during a sandstorm. Iraqi troops crumbled and fled as a larger IS force marched in. “They cause chaos and then their main ground offensive begins,” said Redur Khalil, spokesman for the U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which have led a string of military successes against the IS in Syria.Though best known for its horrific brutalities, the Islamic State group has proved to be a highly organized and flexible fighting force, according to senior Iraqi military and intelligence officials and Syrian Kurdish commanders on the front lines.Its tactics are often creative, whether it’s using a sandstorm as cover for an assault or a lone sniper tying himself to the top of a palm tree to pick off troops below. Its forces switch between conventional and guerrilla warfare, using the latter to wear down their opponents before massed fighters backed by armored vehicles, Humvees and sometimes even artillery move to take over territory. The fighters incorporate suicide bombings as a battlefield tactic to break through lines and demoralize enemies, and they hone them to make them more effective. Recently, they beefed up armor of the vehicles used in those attacks to prevent gunfire from killing the driver or detonating explosives.Those strategies are being carried into new fronts as well, appearing in Egypt in last week’s dramatic attack by an IS-linked militant group against the military in the Sinai Peninsula. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Andreas Krieg, a professor at King’s College London who embedded with Iraqi Kurdish fighters, said IS local commanders receive overall orders on strategy but are given freedom to operate as they see fit to achieve them. That’s a sharp contrast to the rigid hierarchies of the Iraqi and Syrian militaries, where officers often fear acting without direct approval.IS fighters are highly disciplined — swift execution is the punishment for deserting battle or falling asleep on guard duty, Iraqi officers said. The group also is flush with weaponry looted from Iraqi forces.IS stands out in its ability to conduct multiple battles simultaneously, Iraqi army Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi said.“In the Iraqi army, we can only run one big battle at a time,” said al-Saadi, who was wounded twice in the past year as he led forces that retook the key cities of Beiji and Tikrit.Even the group’s atrocities are in part a tactic to terrorize its enemies. It beheads captured soldiers, releasing videos of the killings online. Stepping up the shock value, recent videos showed caged captives being lowered into a pool to drown and the heads blown off other captives with explosive wire around their necks. Since US-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria have hampered the group’s movements, IS has lost ground. Iraqi troops and Shiite militiamen retook some cities, like Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit. In Syria, Kurdish fighters backed by heavy U.S. airstrikes recaptured the border town of Kobani after weeks of devastating battles. More recently, IS lost Tal Abyad, another Syrian border town.Despite that loss, IS shock troops attacked Kobani again last month. Around 70 fighters battled a much larger Kurdish force for two days. They were all slain, but not before killing more than 230 civilians, including roughly 100 children, and more than 30 Kurdish fighters. Around the same time, they also attacked Tal Abyad, where they battled for days until they were killed, and the northeast Syrian city of Hassakeh, where they continue to hold out.“They weren’t planning to leave alive,” Kurdish commander Ghalia Nehme said of the IS fighters in Kobani. “It seems they were longing for heaven.”___Mroue reported from Beirut, Lebanon. AP correspondents Lori Hinnant in Paris and John-Thor Dahlberg in Brussels, Belgium contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories BAGHDAD (AP) — They are the Islamic State group’s elite shock troops. Fanatical and disciplined, they infiltrate cities of Iraq and Syria, unleash mayhem and fight to the death, wearing explosives belts to blow themselves up among their opponents if they face defeat.IS calls them “Inghemasiyoun,” Arabic for “those who immerse themselves,” a sort of special forces unit parallel to its regular forces that is credited with many of the group’s stunning battlefield successes. A recent online video from the group showed a unit preparing to launch an eventually successful attack on the central Syrian town of al-Sukhna. “Victory or martyrdom,” the fighters, wearing blue bandanas, scream in a circle around their commander, pledging their allegiance to God and vowing never to retreat. Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility In this photo released on June 23, 2015 by a website of Islamic State militants, an Islamic State militant looks through the scope of his rifle in Kirkuk, northern Iraq. Though best known for its horrific brutalities _ from its grotesque killings of captives to enslavement of women _ the Islamic State group has proved to be a highly organized and flexible fighting force, according to senior Iraqi military and intelligence officials and Syrian Kurdish commanders on the front lines. (Militant website via AP) Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Mesa family survives lightning strike to home
Fiji Airways’ inaugural Adelaide flight takes off todayToday marks the much-anticipated launch of Fiji’s National Airline, Fiji Airways’ new non-stop service between Adelaide, South Australia and the tropical paradise of Fiji.Passengers on the inaugural flight (FJ961) from Fiji will arrive at Adelaide Airport tonight at 2030PM (ACST), with the first flight to Fiji (FJ960) departing at 2200PM (ACST).The new route marks the fourth direct service from Australia and the first new route in this market in 10 years, with the full service airline already flying nonstop from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.“This is an exciting day for Fiji Airways as it marks our expansion and growth in our most significant market, after Fiji. We are thrilled to now have a connection with South Australia, and along with getting more Fijians to experience that wonderful part of Australia – and having easier accessibility to friends and family there – we are looking forward to welcoming more South Australians to our beautiful home,” said Andre Viljoen, CEO & MD of Fiji Airways.Available year round, the new direct service will run twice weekly on Fridays and Mondays, making the timings also convenient for a long weekend away. Flying on the B737-800, the journey time is approximately 5 – 6 hours each way.Mark Young, Adelaide Airport Managing Director, adds: “Fiji has always been a hugely popular destination with South Australian travellers, and Fiji Airways’ new link now makes it even more attractive.“This also creates another one-stop connection with the US West Coast with the added bonus of being able to stopover in beautiful Fiji.“We also understand the new services have been embraced by South Australia’s strong Fijian community, who are excited about the direct link with Nadi bringing them closer to their family and friends.”“The direct services to Nadi from Adelaide mean more Aussies beyond the eastern seaboard will easily be able to experience Fiji, which we’re really excited about,” said Hal Caldwell, Regional Director Australia for Tourism Fiji.“Australia is Fiji’s top tourism market not only for its unique culture and the friendliest population on the planet but also, because it’s so close. It’s the perfect place for Aussies to enjoy an overseas holiday without the burden of jetlag. The Fijian tourism sector is ready and raring to extend a big bula welcome to South Australians,” added Mr Caldwell.Fiji Airways currently flies twice daily from Sydney, daily from Brisbane and five times a week from Melbourne, with onward connections to San Francisco (recently extended to year round), Los Angeles and Honolulu. The airline also codeshares with Qantas for passengers wishing to travel from other Australian capital cities.Specials from Adelaide to Nadi start at AUD$588 return (economy ticket including taxes) and includes checked baggage, meals and refreshments. Book or sign up to Bula Mail at www.fijiairways.com for the latest offers.Source = Fiji Airways
Akansha Pandey | New DelhiThe Scandinavian Tourist Board (comprising Visit Sweden, Norway Tourism, and Visit Denmark) along with 21 suppliers and three tourism boards conducted a three-city “Explore Scandinavia” roadshow covering Delhi, Chennai, and Mumbai. Speaking to Travel News Digest, Mohit Batra, India Representative, Scandinavian Tourist Board, said that the honeymoon travel segment is a low hanging fruit and they are planning to enhance the destination’s awareness in the segment through educating the travel trade and press.“Honeymoon travel hasn’t been tapped much by us. Going forward, we will try to bridge the gap to attract honeymooners from India. The direct flight from Air India now connects in almost 7.5 hours to Scandinavian countries. Easy access will eventually push people to plan their getaways to the serene and pristine locations of Scandinavia. Also, self-drive is another potential travel segment which we aim to highlight in 2018,” added Batra.The Indian arrivals are growing strongly to Norway, highlighted Per Holte, Market Director Tourism-Asia and New Markets, Visit Norway inviting Indians to go for Hurtigruten cruise sailings which happen daily round the year.Flemming Bruhn, Director, Visit Denmark lamented on the hotel capacity constraint in the country and assured that the additional inventory is in the pipeline. He also unveiled five new signature routes exclusively in the Indian market.Though he doesn’t have the exact count of Indian arrivals to some Scandinavian regions, he shared that in 2016 over 300,000 overnights were recorded from India to the region of Scandinavia. This year we are again hopeful of a 10% increase, he commented.Rutth Dolla, Project Manager-India, Visit Sweden shared that so far this year they have witnessed 18% increase as compared to the last year.The top trends from the Indian market this year remained incentive travel and visiting in the winter season. Currently, the average length of stay from the Indian market is 12 nights and the India office is trying to extend it over two weeks. The Scandinavian Tourist Board plans to organise press and trade FAMs in 2018.
One woman is determined to provide “a warm full tummy” for refugees and the homeless in Nicosia in the run up for Christmas.Rosie Charalambous, one of the founders of charity Cans for Kids, is organising a Christmas dinner for vulnerable groups on December 20 at the old municipal market in Nicosia’s old city.“I have never done anything like that before, but I don’t like the commercialisation of Christmas. It should be about sharing and giving love,” she said about the reason for her decision to put together the meal.The location was chosen as the area around the ‘agora’ is where many of the refugees and asylum seekers live, and it will be right on their doorstep.After figuring out what is needed, Rosie is now looking for volunteers to help and for sponsors.“We need volunteers to serve, clear up, refill and also talk to people who are lonely and impoverished,” she said.“We are aiming at around 100 people, hoping this is not too many and not too few,” she said about her potential guests.Up to now, she has found two drinks sponsors, Zambartas and Lanitis, and a large supermarket may provide much of the ingredients for the food free of charge, items which would be distributed to the volunteering cooks.The food will be a traditional turkey meal with vegetarian and even vegan options, choices which came up after the organiser first broached her idea on Facebook.Within minutes, people responded online, saying it was a great idea, and offered to help in various ways.As there is no kitchen at the market, the food needs to be prepared by the volunteers at their homes. Each of them will be given an amount to prepare that they can handle, such as a few kilos of potatoes to roast in an oven. They will then bring the food to the venue where it will be kept warm – Rosie is hoping to get her hands on some dishes used in hotels for that purpose – after the volunteers deliver it.To avoid the use of plastic, some donated cutlery will be used, and paper plates and cups.There is more to the event than food and drinks. Rosie hopes to drum up some live music, one of the many things which still need to be finalised. If it does not become available, some other music will be arranged, the seasoned organiser said.Some toys have been donated, which will be placed in a box so the kids can dig around and find themselves a present. But more are needed and readers of this article are welcome to supply those.Helpers are asked to arrive at 5pm on the day to arrange chairs and tables, and the guests are expected between 6pm and 7pm. The serving of the food will last until around 8.30pm.And how will the refugees and homeless get to know about what is in store for them? Nearer the time flyers will be handed out in the area, and the Nicosia municipality multi-purpose centre, where many of these vulnerable groups spend their time, will also be informed.Volunteers may contact Rosie by phone at 99-666011. At a later date details about the event will be announced on the Cans for Kids Facebook page.You May LikeYahoo SearchThe Early Signs Of Type 2 Diabetes. Search Type 2 Diabetes TreatmentsYahoo SearchUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
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