Global demographic trends have shifted in recent years as life expectancy has increased and birth rates decreased, said Professor Sarah Harper, director of the institute. Contrary to the commonly held belief that older people are draining state resources, the study indicates they are more independent and active in social and economic life than previously thought. “People in their 50s and 70s are very different now than they were before. They are making a tremendous contribution to society,” Harper said. Older people volunteer for more than 13 million hours per year, which in Britain alone amounts to $3.1 billion worth of unpaid work. Older people in the U.S. have reported being healthier than the global average, with 72 percent of 70- to 79-year-olds reporting feeling in good health. One-fifth of people in this age group continue to work. LONDON – Senior citizens are important engines of society, not dependent burdens, according to an international study on aging released Tuesday that shows that one in 10 people in their 70s still works. People in their 60s and 70s continue to play a vital role in the economy as many report feeling healthier and choosing to reject a quiet retirement, the study from Oxford University’s Institute of Aging shows. “The future of old people is not penury or dependence. They have become turbos rather than the brakes of our community,” said Clive Bannister, managing director of HSBC Insurance, which asked the institute to conduct the study so it could learn about consumer behavior. Researchers interviewed more than 21,000 people between the ages of 40 and 79 in about 20 countries for the largest study of its kind. The aim was to explore attitudes about life in the elder years and retirement. Seniors who postpone retirement also boost tax revenues. Nearly half of individuals in their 40s and 50s surveyed said they would work for as long as possible and more than one-third of people in their 60s are still working now. Eleven percent of people in their 70s still work.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
OK, so these “cheeseheads” aren’t triangular wedges. They’re round.And you don’t wear them on your head.The folks at Levi’s Stadium decided to have a little fun with the Green Bay Packers fans and Wisconsin traditions as the team heads to Santa Clara on Sunday to take on the San Francisco 49ers.They’ve teamed up with Tostitos to offer a cheesy menu item with bratwurst, one of the other food groups in Wisconsin. Called Cheesy Beer Brat Nachos, the dish dreamed up by executive chef Jon …
A summer house transforms into a boutique resort on the hills of Dhanachuli, an unfrequented village that seduces you with an unhurried pace of life, moments of solitude and abundant sunshine. Text by Aditi SenGupta; photographs by Subhojit PaulLittle Miss Sunshine. The Hollywood drama from the last decade occupies a special place in my humble collection and is a surefire recipe for turning your mood from murderous to happy and even generous. But my mood is not dark as I stand on a white deck facing a valley dressed in various shades of green. It’s the sun, in fact, that brings to mind the laughter-filled movie and I quickly borrow the title (barring the word ‘little’ of course) for myself. I feel every bit of a Miss Sunshine as I enjoy the warmth of an early May morning up in the hills of Dhanachuli, a near unheard-of village near Mukteshwar. The sunshine spreads across the valley as smoothly as butter on a hot toast, allowing me an unparalleled view of the densely forested slopes and a glimpse of Himalayan peaks behind them.The geometry of the entire picture before my eyes fascinates me. At one level I find the hills. Small stone houses in the surrounding villages punctuate the heavy greenness, columns of smoke from their chimneys adding a vertical dimension of sorts. The vegetation, too, follows a pattern I find most intriguing. The arrangement of oak and cedar trees, not to forget the many varieties I don’t know the names of, reminds me of the Mexican wave. Stacked behind the hills–coming to the next level of natural geometry–are the majestic peaks, sporting signs of winter. The view of the peaks, notwithstanding the abundant sunshine, is sadly unclear. Through the haze, I manage a glimpse of the fabled Nanda Devi peak as well as the Panchachuli.I indulge my newfound interest in geometry with a tour of Te Aroha, a boutique resort in Dhanachuli that is less than two months old. It’s my home for the weekend and also the reason to drive into this village that most tourist maps of Uttarakhand don’t show. For those following the tried-and-tested circuits, the journey ends at Bhimtal, about 30 km below Dhanachuli.Only a few of those who drive up to Mukteshwar, the other well-known neighbour, make a detour to Dhanachuli. It was one such detour that led to the birth of Te Aroha, which means ‘a place of love’ in the language of Maoris. Sumant Batra’s summer house, built 12 years ago after he fell in love with the little village, is now a resort with 10 rooms and suites.I start from Level One. Going up a flight of wide wooden stairs, I am instantly attracted by the yellow roofing. The sloping roofs are arranged at different levels, giving, once again, a strange beauty to the planned haphazardness. My first stop is the reception, a wood-and-glass structure where everyone is greeted with a glass of rhododendron juice. Continuing the walk up to the resort, I stop to admire the little birdhouses at the landscaped gardens. The grass is just sprouting and several wild blooms have begun to make an appearance. A patch has been devoted to fruit trees, with the aim of wooing back the birds who flew away during the construction. And I am delighted to see the sparrow, a bird that I haven’t seen in the city for years now.The spacious lobby at Te Aroha transports you to the colonial era. A fireplace, piano, a cosy poker room on the side… everything put together runs high on nostalgia. On my way to the sunny, cheerful restaurant–a glasshouse with two trees in the middle–I get distracted by a door on the left. It reads “Three Steps Down”. Quite literally three steps down I go and find myself in the prettiest of suites. Hints of purple blend beautifully in the cosy bedroom with a white, very French-looking bed. Facing the bed is a French window that is almost twice my height. A tea table and a couple of chairs on the deck complete the picture of indolence. The other rooms and suites, too, are alluring but Three Steps Down bowls me three times over. Onward to the restaurant, I am drawn to a flight of stairs that goes down to a spacious room. There is nothing much here other than a low table and two benches one of which, interestingly, comes from the Parliament in Delhi. This is where I come for a glass or two of red wine in the evenings followed by sumptuous meals of Kumaoni Palak, Mutton Stew and Fowl Curry.The new wing of the summer house is one level higher, the best part of which is what the owner calls The Attic. It is what I would call a combo of a library and a recreation room. It is the kind of place where you can sit for hours and do just nothing. The Attic deserves at least one lazy afternoon but I have none to spare on this trip. Sunset beckons me to a hilltop behind Te Aroha and I prepare for the climb by getting my forty winks. The drama in the sky takes a backseat as a bevy of village lasses catch our attention. Each of them has stunning features and obliges my camera-wielding friend with smiles that could make any toothpaste company hunt them down for brand endorsements. I return with the promise of catching up with the girls next morning at the jungle. Bedtime comes early, simultaneously with thunder, lightning and rain. The temperature drop brings out the jacket and woollen socks. I literally climb to the bed, thanks to a footstool, and sink into a cocoon of quilts. Interestingly, I am in a room named Morning Sun–a complete mismatch for a night owl like me.A firm knock on the door at 5 a.m. and I jump out of bed to keep my date. Fit-as-fiddle Vinod leads the way as our group of four takes to a jungle path that villagers use for collecting firewood. The walk is simple and within 45 minutes we are out in the open. Sunlight filters through a canopy of tall, moss-laden trees and it becomes warm enough for me to get out of my heavy jacket. The village girls, however, are nowhere in sight. Ah well. It’s not the first time I have been stood up on a date.Hot poori bhaji for breakfast helps me banish regrets of the failed meeting to a corner of the mind. I spend the last two hours at Te Aroha lolling on the deck. I watch the hills change colour with the slow movement of the clouds. A ride through the congested towns of Uttar Pradesh is only a few minutes away but I am far from done with Dhanachuli. A trip to this small but once prosperous village (some say the name comes from the words ‘dhan’ as in wealth and ‘chulha’ or the hearth) is a lesson in getting everything out of nothing.advertisementadvertisementAt a glanceGetting there: The most convenient way to get to Dhanachuli from Delhi is to take an overnight train to Kathgodam, 90 minutes from the village. By road, Dhanachuli is 7-8 hours from Delhi. Start at the crack of dawn to avoid nightmarish traffic at Rampur.When to go: This is a year-round destination. The best mountain views, however, can be enjoyed in winter.Must doStay: Te Aroha, Dhanachuli Bend, District Nainital; tel: (05942) 214 377, (0) 87550 80735; www.tearoha.inEat: Kumaoni fare at the Te Aroha restaurant. Request the chef for mutton stew and rotis made from the locally grown atta.Shop: Apricot preserve and orange marmalade from NGO-run shops.See: Spend a day at Bhimtal, 30 km from below Dhanachuli.FYIOff to Mukteshwar: About 12 km from Dhanachuli is Mukteshwar, which is famous for its Shiva Temple. Set on the highest point in town, the temple is architecturally insignificant. What is interesting is a path at the base of the temple’s steps. advertisementIt leads you to a rocky outcrop with some beautiful rock formations. It requires some nerve to climb up and peek over any of the ragged edges. If you manage to, however, you’d get a breathtaking view of the valley.Hot dealBreak away: For Rs. 17,900, get 2 nights’ stay at Te Aroha for 2 people. Offer includes all meals and free stay for children below 5 years of age. Valid till July 15.
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for you TCI: Dear Teachers, ‘You make it possible’ says Education Minister Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks and Caicos, March 13, 2017 – Providenciales – Students of the prestigious Mills Institute toured Providenciales International Airport and its Airport Fire Department on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.As a part of Education Week, teacher of grade 2, Mrs. Alexander wanted to take the students on a behind the scenes tour of the airport. As children learn in many different ways it was important to arrange a tour that was not only educational, but also fun for the student. The tour group consisted of 19 students and their chaperones who were guided by the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority’s (TCIAA), Assistant Terminal Manager; Kelisa Forbes.The students toured the Domestic Airport operations, from check-in to departures. They were all escorted to the tarmac where they excitedly watched a local aircraft taxi to the runway and take off for their island destination.The focus of the tour was to highlight the Fire Department. The students were thrilled to see the firemen conduct their emergency drills. They witnessed the alarm sound off, followed by firemen sliding down the pole then getting dressed in full suit to respond to a possible emergency. Firemen gave a demonstration of their breathing apparatus and other tools. No tour would be complete without the viewing of the fire trucks. The fire trucks were driven to a testing site where water was sprayed to show their capabilities. Students got to tour inside of the vehicles and even take pictures of this momentous occasion.“My son and his classmates truly enjoyed the airport tour, especially visiting the firemen who proudly demonstrated their skills to the group. I think that he may want to be a fireman one day as this outing really inspired him.” Said parent, Donneka Hall. Team TCIAA have conducted many tours over the years to a number of schools and groups. We are always proud to show others what we do and what we have accomplished over the years.#MillsInstitute #EducationWeek #TCIAirportFireDepartment Related Items:#EducationWeek, #MillsInstitute, #TCIAirportFireDepartment Mills Institute gets training by Community College
KUSI Newsroom 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsPOWAY (CNS) – Bereaved relatives, grieving fellow congregants and an array of political leaders gathered today to mourn the death and celebrate the life of a woman gunned down at a Poway synagogue on the final day of Passover during a shooting rampage allegedly fueled by anti-Semitism.Lori Gilbert Kaye, described by her rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, as one of Chabad of Poway’s “pioneers,” was a former bank employee who helped get the congregation a loan to build its house of worship in northern San Diego County.The afternoon funeral for Kaye, 60, took place just two days after a gunman opened fire with an assault rifle at the synagogue, killing her and wounding three others, including Goldstein. Some witnesses said Kaye suffered the fatal wound while trying to protect the rabbi from the gunfire.Kaye was shot late Saturday morning while at the temple with her husband and daughter to honor her recently deceased mother, according to Goldstein, who lost one index finger in the shooting and spent hours in surgery as doctors worked to save the other.After the shooter’s gun jammed, he was chased out of the building by a Border Patrol agent who is a member of the congregation. The suspect, 19-year-old John T. Earnest of Rancho Penasquitos, fled in a vehicle but was arrested nearby a short time later.Another worshipper, 34-year-old Almog Peretz, suffered a gunshot wound while shepherding children to safety, including his 8-year-old niece, Noya Dahan, who was hit by shrapnel. Both have been released from hospital care and are expected to recover.During the memorial service, Goldstein, at times gesturing with his mutilated and bandaged right hand, told the overflow crowd there were “no adequate words to describe what we all endured in this room this past (Sabbath).”During the attack, the congregation “saw the darkest of humanity,” Goldstein told the gathering, which was attended by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, several members of the county Board of Supervisors and other local and state elected leaders.“I saw it face to face,” the rabbi said. “I wish to never see that ever again. I wish no one ever sees that ever again. At the same moment, we saw the heroic efforts of humanity, running into the line of fire to spare other lives, putting their lives in danger. This is the best of humanity.”The rabbi insisted the congregation will rise above the trauma wreaked by the tragedy.“What we are going to take from this event is (that) it’s not going to knock us down,” he said. “It’s going to lift us up.”The victim’s husband praised his late wife as a highly generous and loving person.“She had a soul that was greater than any of us ever could believe,” said Howard Kaye, a physician who tried in vain to save his spouse’s life with CPR while she lay mortally wounded at the temple.The grieving husband also had a message for perpetrators of the type of crime that took his wife’s life.“And for all of the people who perpetrate hate through this world, you’re feeding on blood,” he said. “You’re lowering yourselves to a level below an animal, and for that reason get out while you can. Turn your life around. Come back into the real world, the world of Lori, which is peace and love on Earth.”One of the victim’s sisters told the gathering that Kaye “was taken from us in a tragic way, but not in vain.”“This is a house of God,” Randi Grossman said. “We are a people who believe in God. And we believe God does things for the good. If he chose Lori … there is a reason. And although we don’t know what the reason is, we know that it’s for the greater good. Lori died on (the Sabbath). Lori died on Passover. Lori died in a synagogue. And Lori died saving our rabbi.”Donna Doan, a self-described Catholic, told a reporter she attended the funeral in support of the Jewish community.“I feel like I have to be here,” the Rancho Bernardo woman said outside the synagogue.Another attendee, a Carlsbad resident and Christian who identified herself only as Caryn, said she was at the memorial to show support for the victimized congregation.“I love the Jewish community,” she said. “I hate to see senseless and irrational crimes committed.”The alleged shooter is being held without bail at San Diego Central Jail and is scheduled make his initial court appearance in the case Wednesday. He was booked on suspicion of one count of murder and three charges of attempted murder.Though he allegedly shouted anti-Semitic slurs during the rampage — including a statement that Jews were “ruining the world” — Earnest was not believed to be part of an organized hate group, according to law enforcement officials.“We believe he acted alone and without outside support in carrying out the attack,” according to a county Sheriff’s Department statement. “We are continuing to explore every investigative avenue to bring out all the facts in the case.”Earnest, a Cal State San Marcos student, posted an “open letter” online shortly before the shooting, claiming responsibility for the imminent attack and for a suspected arson fire that damaged the Islamic Center of Escondido last month. The screed includes anti-Semitic references and racist comments, authorities said.“We are dismayed and disheartened that the alleged shooter now in custody is a CSUSM student,” university President Karen Haynes said. “CSUSM is working collaboratively with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to assist and gain more information. We extend our deepest condolences to all of the victims, their families, friends and our entire community. We share yourgrief. … We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and reject the rhetoric of divisiveness that feeds hatred.”The family of the alleged shooter issued a statement decrying the deadly assault and bemoaning Earnest’s alleged culpability in the crime, which could result in the death penalty.“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the terrible attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue,” they wrote. “But our sadness pales in comparison to the grief and anguish our son has caused for so many innocent people. He has killed and injured the faithful who were gathered in a sacred place on a sacred day. To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries.”The family added that Earnest’s apparent hateful attitudes had been “informed by people we do not know and ideas we do not hold.”“Like our other five children, he was raised in a family, a faith and a community that all rejected hate and taught that love must be the motive for everything we do,” they stated. “How our son was attracted to such darkness is a terrifying mystery to us, though we are confident that law enforcement will uncover many details of the path that he took to this evil and despicable act.” April 29, 2019 Posted: April 29, 2019 Updated: 8:48 PM KUSI Newsroom, Hundreds of people celebrate the life of Lori Kaye Categories: Local San Diego News, Trending FacebookTwitter
Spotify Premium users can get Hulu for free. Hulu Editor’s note, May 16, 2019: Spotify stopped accepting new sign ups for its Premium with Hulu deal on May 14. The company has announced a new Premium offer, where new or free-tier users who previously haven’t tried Premium can get a three-month trial for 99 cents. (Spotify Premium users that canceled their Premium account before April 15, 2019 can also sign up for a three-month trial for $9.99). The Spotify plus Hulu combination deal, detailed in the article below, is now available only to students who sign up for Spotify’s Premium for Students plan. If you have Spotify Premium, you can now get Hulu’s ad-supported service at no extra cost. New and existing subscribers to Spotify Premium and Hulu can sign up for the specially priced bundle through June 10. If you’re new to Spotify Premium, after you sign up for the offer, you’ll get the ad-free music streaming service and Hulu’s ad-supported TV service for 30 days. After the first month, you’ll pay $10 per month thereafter. Digital Media Mobile Spotify buys Gimlet and Anchor on its march to rule podcasts Now playing: Watch this: Originally posted March 12 at 10:18 am PT. Updated to add frequently asked questions, 1:48 pm PT. Updated March 27 to note new competitive offerings from Apple. Updated May 16 to note expiration of deal. 6 3:09 Apple will finally reveal its $1 billion-budget TV service Now playing: Watch this: Share your voice Comments Hulu Spotify 2:28 If you already have Spotify Premium, you can activate Hulu for no additional cost by signing up here.Hulu and Spotify offered a similar deal last April and bundled their services for $13 per month. If you’re still paying last year’s bundle price, you’ll be automatically migrated to the new $10 deal.Here’s everything else you need to know about the current promotion:The basicsSpotify and Hulu teamed up on a discounted bundle deal that was first announced on March 12. Whether you’re brand-new to both, an existing subscriber of one but not the other — or both already — you’re eligible for the promotion, which includes access to Spotify’s ad-free premium service (normally $9.99 per month) and Hulu’s ad-supported service (normally $5.99) for a total of $9.99 per month. You can sign up for the specially priced bundle now through June 10. The caveats There are a few catches here, mostly for existing Spotify and Hulu subscribers. Current Spotify subscribers who have a “Students Tier” membership or the “Family Plan” — where up to four members of a household can listen to different songs concurrently — are not eligible for this promotion. Same goes for Hulu subscribers who have the “No Ads” or “Hulu + Live TV” plans. Check out all of the terms and conditions here.This deal includes Spotify’s Premium tier of service, which is ad-free, and Hulu’s “ad-supported” plan, which includes ad interruptions. The company says that the number of ads on Hulu is “generally less than half of that of traditional broadcast and cable TV” and that the platform will accommodate your ad preferences. The time frameYou can sign up for the special bundle pricing bundle until June 10.I’m brand-new to Spotify and Hulu. Am I eligible for this deal?Yes. You can sign up here.I already have Hulu but not Spotify. Am I eligible for this deal?Yes. You can sign up here. But to qualify for the special pricing, current Hulu subscribers need to switch their billing over to Spotify. Note that you you won’t get a prorated credit or refund from Hulu for the current month of service — and you’ll forfeit any credit balances on your account.I already have Spotify but not Hulu. Am I eligible for this deal?If you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber, yes. You can sign up here. Current Spotify subscribers who have a “Students Tier” membership or the “Family Plan” — where up to four members of a household can listen to different songs concurrently — are not eligible for this promotion.I already have Spotify and Hulu. Am I eligible for this deal?Yes. You can sign up here. But to qualify for the special pricing, current Hulu subscribers need to switch their billing over to Spotify. Note that you you won’t get a prorated credit or refund from Hulu for the current month of service — and you’ll forfeit any credit balances on your account.I am a Spotify Family Plan subscriber. Am I eligible for this deal?No. Current Spotify subscribers who have the “Family Plan” — where up to four members of a household can listen to different songs concurrently — are not eligible for this promotion.I am a Spotify Student Tier subscriber. Am I eligible for this deal?No. Current Spotify subscribers who have a “Students Tier” membership are not eligible for this promotion.Are there any time commitments or contractual obligations?No. Unlike a cable service or gym membership, this is a month-by-month plan. You can cancel at any time.Seems too good to be true. Why now?The announcement came one day after Apple revealed that it’s having its own event on March 25. That event will reportedly focus on several new Apple services, including a video service with Apple-exclusive content. While Apple’s exact plans and pricing aren’t known, Spotify and Hulu are no doubt hoping that this music-plus-video offering for $10 per month will be a strong counteroffer to whatever Apple has in the wings. Tags
As many as 17 percent of those polled said that they wouldn’t consider buying another truck, citing fuel economy and cost of maintenance as the primary factors for leaving the segment. Of those that have already dumped their trucks, 35 percent switched to a sedan and, surprisingly, only 37 percent moved to an SUV or crossover. This goes against the broader market trends we’re seeing, where SUVs are crushing sedan sales.What we’d be curious to see is how these types of sentiments found by CarGurus translate across different kinds of trucks. For example, does a midsize truck owner care more about their brand than a full-size truck owner? Or is the person who buys an F-150 more of a tech evangelist than the person who drives a Ram 3500 HD?We’ll have to wait until next year to find out. More From Roadshow 45 Photos Share your voice 21 Photos Car Culture Trucks Enlarge ImageTrucks have always been big business, but now buyers are more price-conscious and less brand loyal and that could change the whole game. Emme Hall/Roadshow Truck buyers are an interesting group of people. Among them, you’ll traditionally find some of the most brand-loyal consumers in the automotive space as well as some of the most price-conscious. The truck segment is also interesting because of how quickly it’s changing. What were once utilitarian penalty boxes on wheels are now rivaling some of the world’s most popular luxury cars when it comes to opulence. To help make sense of what’s going on in the world of trucks, CarGurus.com has again conducted a survey of truck owners. This time around, CarGurus expanded its sample size significantly to more than a thousand current and former truck owners. What were the takeaways?To start with, the upward march of truck prices is beginning to undermine some of that fierce brand tribalism that we’ve traditionally associated with truck buyers. CarGurus found that 67 percent of buyers think trucks are too expensive in 2019, with more than 80 percent of survey participants over the age of 45 agreeing with that. 68 Photos Go west, young trucker, in the 2019 Ram 1500 Post a comment Tags 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value 0 The 2020 Chevy Silverado HD gets a new look to match its capability Around 54 percent of those surveyed said that price would cause them to consider switching brands, with 70 percent saying that they’d jump ship to another brand if their current make boosted prices by $10,000. The second biggest cause for switching was fuel economy, which 47 percent of buyers said would make them change up.One of the factors driving prices of trucks up — apart from luxury touches like leather and wood — is the massive increase in the amount of tech that trucks have seen in recent years. Whether that is something as simple as a touchscreen infotainment system or as complex as Chevrolet’s super-advanced cylinder deactivation system, it all costs money. Still, a slim majority of 54 percent of buyers approve of how tech-laden their trucks are. “With pickup truck prices on the rise, many owners are reconsidering their current brand, or in some cases whether they will repurchase a pickup at all,” said Madison Gross, director of consumer insights at CarGurus, in a statement. “While truck owners still have strong brand and category loyalty, the challenge for car manufacturers and dealerships is that loyalty is increasingly less reliable as a driver of sales.” The 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty gets a new look and more capability 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better Ram Chevrolet Ford Nissan Toyota
Election Commission logo. File PhotoThe election commission starts its dialogues with 40 registered political parties on Thursday to take their opinions over its preparation for the next parliamentary elections.The commission will first sit in talks with Sangskritik Muktijote at 3:00pm at the conference room of Nirbachan Bhaban in the capital city.Earlier, a 10-member delegation of Muktijote was invited to join the dialogue to be held with chief election commission KM Nurul Huda in the chair.As per the EC’s schedule, the EC was supposed to sit in the first dialogue with Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF) at 11:00am on Thursday, but BNF has asked the EC to reschedule its dialogue saying that it would not be able to join the dialogue in the next one month due to the ongoing flood situation in different parts of the country.BNF president SM Abul Kalam Azad, MP said his party leaders are scheduled to visit the flood-hit areas in Jamalpur on Thursday and they would distribute relief items among flood victims there.“We’ve informed the EC that we cannot join the dialogue halting our relief activities for flood victims. We asked the EC to delay the talks with us at least by one month,” he told UNB.Director (PR) at the EC secretariat SM Asaduzzaman said the commission has yet to take any decision whether the talks with BNF will be rescheduled.“So far, 12 political parties have been invited to join the EC’s dialogue. Separate dialogues with two parties will be held in a day. The first talks will be held at 11:00am, while the second one at 3:00pm everyday,” he told UNB.As per the schedule, the EC will also sit with Bangladesh Muslim League (BML) and Khelafat Majlish on 28 August, Bangladesher Biplobi Workers Party and Jagpa on 30 August, Bangladesh Islami Front and Islami Andolan Bangladesh on 10 September, Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish and Islami Oikya Jote on 12 September, and Bangladesh Kalyan Party and Islamic Front Bangladesh on 14 September.The commission will seek opinions from the political parties over different issues, including electoral law reform and delimitation of constituencies, updating voter list, fixation of polling stations and awarding registration to new political parties.Earlier, the commission held talks with civil society members on 31 July, media representatives on 16 and 17 August as part of taking opinions of its different stakeholders over preparation of the 11th national election likely to be held in late December 2018.The constitutional body will also sit with election observers, women leaders and election experts.
Photo: CollectedWestern powers accused Russia on Thursday of orchestrating a string of global cyber attacks including a bungled plot to hack the world’s chemical weapons watchdog in The Netherlands.The United States indicted seven alleged Russian members of the GRU military intelligence agency for targeting the Hague-based OPCW, the US Democratic party, world sports bodies and US nuclear energy company Westinghouse.The charges came as part of a coordinated pushback by allies Britain, The Netherlands, Canada and the United States against a series of hacking attempts by what London dubbed “pariah state” Russia.Russia scathingly accused the West of “spy mania”, with the Russian foreign office describing the accusations as “propaganda directed against our country”.In scenes reminiscent of a Cold War spy novel, Dutch security services said they had expelled four Russian GRU agents in April after they attempted a cyber-attack on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, from a car parked in a nearby hotel.The OPCW was at the time probing the nerve agent poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Britain and an alleged chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma by the Moscow-backed regime in Damascus.The Dutch and British prime ministers Mark Rutte and Theresa May in a joint statement accused the GRU of “disregard for global values” and lashed out at the Russian agency’s “unacceptable cyber activities”.Unacceptable cyber activitiesThe Russians were tracked by Dutch and British secret services from their arrival in Amsterdam on diplomatic passports in April, and then seen hiring a Citroen car which they parked outside the Marriott hotel next to the OPCW.When Dutch agents swooped on April 13 they found electronic equipment in the boot of the car to intercept the OPCW’s wifi and login codes, including an antenna hidden in the back of the car, facing the chemical weapons watchdog.Marriott manager Vincent Pahlplatz told AFP there was “no James Bond involved” and that the Russians had been arrested without the use of force as they emerged from a lift into the hotel lobby.Investigations found the Russians had originally taken a taxi from GRU barracks in Moscow to the airport, for which Dutch agents later found a receipt from their hotel. Some of their mobile phones were also activated in Moscow near the agency’s headquarters.“They were clearly not here on holiday,” said the head of the Dutch MIVD intelligence service, Major-General Onno Eichelsheim.A laptop belonging to one of the four was linked to Brazil, Switzerland and Malaysia—while the activities in Malaysia were related to the investigation into the 2014 shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine.It also revealed that the agents had also made searches for the OPCW-affiliated Spiez laboratory in Switzerland—which the Swiss last month said had been targeted by Russia.Dutch authorities released the Russian diplomatic passports of the four men identifying them as Oleg Sotnikov, Alexei Morenets, Alexei Minin and Yevgeny Serebryakov. They also showed photos of the men outside the hotel.Rutte said they had taken the “unusual and powerful” step of releasing details of an intelligence sting in order to bring Russia to account.“I do not think that Moscow has a nice day, because it is impossible for them to deny what has come out,” the Dutch PM told broadcaster NOS.The OPCW confirmed it had suffered “increased cyber-related activities” since the beginning of the year and had “undertaken measures to mitigate them”.Pariah stateThe four Russians allegedly involved in the OPCW attack were included in the list of seven men indicted by the US Justice Department.John Demers, US assistant attorney general for National Security, confirmed that known attack targets included the OPCW, football body FIFA, the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) and Westinghouse.Demers said the operations dating back to 2014 “involved sophisticated, persistent and unauthorised access into the victims’ computer networks.”The case also overlaps with US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling, with two of the men targeted on Thursday having featured in an earlier indictment on interference in the US polls.US intelligence says the GRU conducted the 2016 Democratic party hack in an effort to help Donald Trump win the presidency.Canada confirmed Thursday it believes itself to have been targeted by Russian cyber attacks, citing breaches at its centre for ethics in sports and at the Montreal-based WADA.Britain and Australia had just hours earlier pointed the blame directly at alleged GRU front operations such as Fancy Bear and APT 28 for the same string of worldwide attacks.The West’s coordinated response also saw NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warning Russia to halt its “reckless” behaviour and the European Union condemning “aggressive” Russian spying.British defence secretary Gavin Williamson said that these were “not the actions of a great power, this is the actions of a pariah state”.Spy maniaRussia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the allegations had been mixed together “indiscriminately”.“That’s a hell of a mix for a perfume,” she told reporters.London has accused two of GRU’s officers of poisoning former double-agent Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March, using a perfume bottle containing the powerful nerve agent Novichok.A Russian foreign ministry representative told AFP separately: “Western spy mania is gathering pace.”GRU stands for the Main Intelligence Directorate, Russia’s military intelligence agency which is one of Moscow’s three spy agencies along with the FSB security service and the SVR foreign intelligence agency.
Holey Artisan. File PhotoToday marks three years since the militant attack on Holey Artisan Bakery on road 79, Gulshan in the capital city. On 1 July 2016, members of an IS-backed militant group stormed into the restaurant and killed 22 persons there, hacking and shooting them to death. The entire country was gripped in panic. The situation is under control now. Two and a half years after the incident, the charge sheet of the case was submitted and the trial has begun.So far 60 persons have given their testimony as witnesses during 27 working days of the special anti-terrorism tribunal. The witnesses appearing in court include police members who tackled the situation from the outset, the employees who had hid in the bathroom of Holey Artisan throughout the night, Sharmeen Parveen who had been held hostage and also those who had unwittingly rented their premises to the mutants who had posed as university students.It has been learnt that there had been an exchange of fire between the militants inside Holey Artisan Bakery and the police members outside at the beginning of the incident. Two members of the police, Banani police station’s officer in charge (OC) Salahuddin and senior assistant commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Detective Branch (DB) Rabiul Karim, were killed.However, on 18 June this year, constable of the Armed Police Battalion, Md Badsha, told the court that in the early morning when the commandos began their operation, he militants opened fire at the law enforcers for the last time. It was not known at the time if any of the militants were injured before the operation began on 2 July morning. On 21 May this year, Bhatara police station sub inspector Faruk Hossain told the court that Nibras Islam was injured in police fire in the night. On 27 May, restaurant employee Didar Hossain told the court that they were almost suffocating to death in the bathroom. The militants pulled them out in the morning and made them stand up in front of the dead bodies strewn all over.Munna Dewan informed the court that Holey Artisan chef Saiful Chowkidar and his assistant Shawon were his colleagues, employees of the restaurant, not militants. After the end of the killing and the hostage situation, at a press briefing in the army headquarters it was said that one suspect had been arrested alive. It was suspected that this was actually Shawon who had been injured with a splinter and was undergoing treatment at hospital. Saiful Chowkidar’s dead body had been lying in front of the militants. Munna Dewan had injured his leg when jumping from the roof, but he still went to see Shawon at hospital.Discrepancies in the listFaruk Ahmad is the legal counsel in this case for Rakibul Islam Regan, Aslam Hossain alias Rashed alias Rash and Shariful Islam Khaled. He repeatedly wants to drive the point home that the deaths inside Holey Artisan were caused by police fire from outside. In court, he also pointed to at last three other discrepancies.The case was filed with Gulshan police station by the police station’s sub inspector Ripon Kumar Das. He was the first witness in the case too. Investigating officer Humayun Kabir pointed to mistakes in the evidence list presented in the charge sheet. The list included 5 9mm pistols, but there were actually 2 pistols of 7.62 calibre. There other was of 9 mm caliber and one of the pistol had no hammer. And of the 28 bullets, two had marks on the back. And the AK-22 bore rifle was listed as AK-22 machine gun. It was said that there were live bullets of the AK-22. The defendants’ lawyer said there can be no scope to change the list now.It was also said that the investigating officer took written testimony from the witnesses, but so far none of the witnesses have given their testimony in writing other than one or two. Other discrepancies were also pointed out.Head of the police’s Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit Munirul Islam told Prothom Alo, the Holey Artisan investigations were complex. One clue led to another. In this case, the main accused ere all killed. The charge sheet was drawn up based on the confessions of those who had been arrested and documents which they provided. He says that personally he was not happy with the charge sheet. It would have been better if the accused were alive.Police submitted the charge sheet in court on 23 July last year. There were 21 persons evidently involved in the incident, 5 who had been killed on the spot. Eight more were killed in operations carried out by the law enforcement later. And 75 clues were found at the spot of the incident. There are 211 witnesses in this case and 149 of them are eye witnesses. Speaking to Prothom Alo last night, law minister Anisul Huq said the trial of the Holey Artisan case has begun as soon as possible, in keeping with all legal regulations. The government has taken this case very seriously. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has declared zero tolerance towards corruption and militancy. In that sense, this case is extremely important to the government.