Court questions Assam’s jumbo transport to Gujarat

first_imgThe Gauhati High Court on Monday asked Assam’s Chief Wildlife Warden Ranjana Gupta whether she had taken note of a 2016 Supreme Court order against transfer of elephants while clearing the transit of four juvenile elephants to Gujarat for a religious event.Hearing separate petitions filed by Kerala-born Canadian Sangita Iyer and Guwahati-based NGO Avinava Prayash, a division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice Manish Choudhury sought clarification from the Centre with regard to the operation of the apex court’s interim order in 2016 prohibiting transfer of elephants outside a State by their possessors.The Bench also asked Ms. Gupta to clarify whether she had taken note of the Supreme Court’s interim order when she authorised on June 12 the transit of the elephants to Ahmedabad’s Jagannath Temple for a Rath Yatra on July 4.The oldest of the four elephants — females Joytara and Rani, and males Babulal and Rupsing — is nine years old. ‘Will not survive trip’Wildlife activists had argued that these juvenile elephants would not survive the heatwave while travelling in a metal railway wagon 3,106 km from eastern Assam’s Tinsukia to Ahmedabad.Noting that the railways too had sought clarification on the Supreme Court’s interim order before transporting the elephants, the Bench referred to the March 8 letter of the Project Elephant Division of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change seeking legal steps for the “welfare of the captive elephants, etc., and strict monitoring” to prevent illegal transport of elephants between States.The petitioners’ counsel Bhaskar Dev Konwar, argued that the elephants would face adverse climatic conditions during their train journey to Gujarat.He also pointed out that unlike Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Assam has not framed rules for management and maintenance of captive elephants under Section 64(2) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. He also contended that none of the elephants sent outside Assam on temporary leases have returned till date. The case is scheduled to come up for hearing again on Tuesday.last_img read more

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Faster, higher, rustier: Medals from Rio Olympics damaged

first_imgHe went to a party at the Team USA house in Rio, where he said multiple people handled the medal as they celebrated. Snyder said he later discovered a scratch on the back of it, though he added there has been no further damage.Snyder said he has until the end of the week to return his gold medal and has no idea when he’ll receive his replacement.“It wasn’t too big of a deal,” Snyder said. “But since they’re giving me a new one, it’s kind of cool.”Rio de Janeiro spent about $12 billion to organize the games, which were plagued by cost-cutting, poor attendance and reports of bribes and corruption linked to the building of some Olympic-related facilities.Nine months later, many of the venues are empty and have no tenants or income — with the maintenance costs dumped on the federal government. In addition to the issues with the medals, which featured the Rio and Olympic logos, the local organizing committee still owes creditors about $30 millionGreg Massialas, a national coach for the U.S. fencing team in Rio, said in a message to AP that the silver medal his son, Alex, won is damage free. He added that he hasn’t heard about any issues with other American fencers.U.S. shooter Ginny Thrasher and boxer Claressa Shields, along with men’s tennis bronze medalist Kei Nishikori of Japan, also reported that their gold medals are intact. Lakers win 9th straight, hold off Pelicans Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. South Korea to suspend 25% of coal plants to fight pollution SEA Games: PH beats Indonesia, enters gold medal round in polo Irving’s 42, LeBron’s 34 push Cavs past Celtics in Game 4 Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend This photo provided by Kevin Snyder show Kyle Snyder’s damaged gold metal from the 2016 Rio Olympics. The medal will soon replaced by the IOC and Rio organizers because of damage. Snyder and Helen Maroulis, another U.S. gold medalist wrestler, are among a group of more than 100 athletes from around the world with defective Olympic medals. APMore than 80 American athletes have sent medals they won at the Rio Olympics to U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters to be shipped to games organizers, who will replace them due to flaking, black spots and other damage, the USOC said Tuesday (Wednesday Manila time).The Americans, including gold-medal wrestlers Kyle Snyder and Helen Maroulis, are among at least 100 Olympians from across the globe with defective medals.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games LOOK: Vhong Navarro’s romantic posts spark speculations he’s marrying longtime GF ‘Coming Home For Christmas’ is the holiday movie you’ve been waiting for, here’s why More than 5,000 measles deaths in DR Congo this year — WHO LATEST STORIES Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes MOST READ Beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings is also among the group; she says her bronze medal is flaking and rusting, and USA Swimming spokesman Scott Leightman said some swimmers have damaged medals as well.The USOC learned about the problems in December and reached out to all the American sports federations in January to begin the process.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingRio Games spokesman Mario Andrada said officials have noted problems with the covering on 6 to 7 percent of the medals.“The most common issue is that they were dropped or mishandled, and the varnish has come off and they’ve rusted or gone black in the spot where they were damaged,” Andrada said. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next It’s not uncommon for medals to be passed around at post-Games parties and handled by hundreds. But this amount of damage is unusual.Walsh Jennings, who won three golds in previous Olympics, says her medals tend to get beaten up because she doesn’t hesitate to let people touch them or try them on. But she won’t consider locking them up because people are inspired by them.“They’ve offered to replace them. I’m not sure if I want to swap it out,” Walsh-Jennings told The Associated Press, adding the reason was “100 percent sentimental.”USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller said the organization reached out to its players and seven — three men and four women — reported they believe there is an issue with their medals.Snyder, who wrestles for Ohio State, was 20 when he won his medal. He noticed an issue with the award the day after he won it.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more

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Toronto homicide squad being revamped under new leader after tough year

first_imgToronto’s homicide squad has had a difficult year — the team has had to investigate a record-breaking number of killings in Canada’s most populous city, grapple with a rise in deadly gang violence, address criticism about a perceived lack of action in some cases and deal with several high-profile slayings that have strained resources.Heading into 2019, however, the team’s new leader is revamping the unit by bringing in more members and launching a video analysis unit in an effort to solve more cases faster — changes that are needed if the city’s homicide figures stay around their current levels.“I think 2019 will be a real decision-making year,” Insp. Hank Idsinga says in an interview at police headquarters. “If we’re going to keep a pace of 90-100 murders a year, we have to re-think how we’re staffing investigations.”Toronto recorded 96 homicides in 2018, a figure that broke the record of 89 homicides in 1991.About 70 per cent of those cases have been solved, Idsinga says, although that success is also an indicator of more work ahead for his team.“That means about 70 cases will go before the courts, and that takes up a lot of manpower and time,” he says.The force’s statistics indicate 51 of the year’s homicides were by shooting, 20 by stabbing, 10 were part of an April van attack and 15 were by “other means.”The city’s police chief has attributed the overall rise in homicides to an increase in gang violence.But the force has also noted that the city’s homicide figures have remained relatively stable in the years since 1991 even as the city’s population has grown considerably. Toronto boasted 2.3 million residents in 1991, compared to a population of 2.7 million as of the 2016 census.For Idsinga, who was told in early December that he was formally being made head of the homicide squad, the year has been marked by several high-profile cases and new developments within the team.The 51-year-old spent the first six months of 2018 as the lead detective on the investigation into alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur, who faces eight counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of men with ties to the city’s gay village.In July, Idsinga became the acting head of the homicide squad and began planning his transformation of the team.“We will have a lot of new faces and a lot of movement within the squad,” he says, noting six detectives have already been brought to help alleviate the workload of the unit’s 48 detectives.A new missing persons unit has also begun operating under his watch with four detectives — a team formed in response to complaints from the community about how the force dealt with missing people. Members of the LGBTQ community in particular had long said there was a serial killer preying on men in the gay village, raising their concerns before McArthur’s arrest.Idsinga is also starting a video analysis unit to help ease the squad’s workload.“The nature of homicide work in 2018 involves an awful lot of video surveillance,” he says. “To properly extract that video surveillance, to properly analyze that surveillance, to make it presentable for court, it’s a lot of work and is labour intensive.”He points to the van attack in April that killed 10 and injured 16 in the city’s north end as an “extreme example” of video collection and analysis. Detectives are still working on video collected from dozens of businesses and scores more from cellphones to build the case. The trial for the alleged attacker, Alek Minassian, is set for early 2020.That incident along with a shooting rampage in Toronto’s Greektown in July that left two dead —  and 13 others injured — was a “game changer” for the city, according to Police Chief Mark Saunders.“It’s one thing when you’re dealing with gunplay,” Saunders said last week. “It’s another thing when you’re walking down the street and looking over your shoulder.”Other brazen gun-related incidents in the city this year included the daylight killing of rising rapper Smoke Dawg and brand manager Ernest Modekwe in June, several drive-by shootings and a shooting at a playground that wounded two young girls earlier this year.Idsinga said he hopes to be able to provide closure in one prominent case early in the new year, with plans to have a report on the Greektown shooting presented at a public police board meeting. Shooter Faisal Hussain killed a 10-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman before killing himself. Because Hussain died by suicide, there is no formal avenue for police to present their case, as prosecutors would do in court.“We’ll never be able to answer everybody’s questions, but we’ll say here’s what we know and you can draw your own conclusions,” Idsinga says.The homicide squad is also wrapping its investigation into McArthur, confident that there are no other alleged victims, Idsinga says. Officers and cadaver dogs searched 100 properties linked to McArthur and found nothing, he says, calling it the biggest forensic investigation in the force’s history.The force’s cold case squad also continues to look into cases dating back to the 1970s, but so far they haven’t linked any of those deaths to McArthur, Idsinga says.Another big case that has dogged the squad is the unsolved late 2017 murders of billionaire couple Barry and Honey Sherman.The family has blasted the force for numerous alleged errors and lapses, and hired its own team of former homicide detectives, Ontario’s former chief pathologist and forensic experts to perform a separate private probe. The family recently announced a $10-million reward for information that would solve the case and proposed a “public-private partnership” with police where the shadow team would work alongside the force.Idsinga called the proposal “interesting” but said it would involve onerous restrictions. He welcomed any tips and information but wouldn’t go for a situation where police would have to share information with the family’s team.Looking ahead, Idsinga hopes 2019 will bring fewer homicides.“We’re very tired,” he says, rubbing his temples. “The pace really picked up in the summer of 2017 and it was just constant for a year.”Liam Casey, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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