Brighton defender Dan Burn values his time with Darlingtonby Paul Vegas12 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBrighton defender Dan Burn values his time with non-league Darlington.The centre-half spent two years at the club as a 17-year-old playing in non-league for Darlington and he talked about what it did for his career.He said: “The people at Darlington were huge for me in terms of what they did for my career at the time.“The youth team manager, Craig Liddle, is someone that really stands out, and I still speak to him today.“He gave me the belief that I could play football properly full time, and not fall out of the game. I am very thankful to someone like that, because having that sort of belief can change your life.“He developed me loads, as I arrived at the club as an average footballer and he pushed me on to be better and reach the next level.“I also have to be thankful to Mark Cooper, who was the first-team manager at the time, as he gave me a good run in the team.“That was a brave decision by him considering my ability and age at the time.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
YouTubeThe Jameis Winston crab legs story was one of the craziest of the year in college football, and based on a clip from ESPN’s “Draft Academy,” we may not have had the whole story after all. On the “Combine” episode of ESPN’s series, while going through interview practice with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, Winston went into detail about the crab legs incident, explaining that a Publix employee had “hooked him up” with the free food before someone else called security on him.This certainly changes the story, and seems like it could be an NCAA issue, especially if this is a common occurence. We’ll continue to update on this new development as more unfolds.
OTTAWA – The federal government says the head of Shopify will chair a strategy group looking for ways to attract more high-tech jobs to the country.Tobias Lutke, founder and CEO of the company, will chair the digital industries table as one of six industry leaders that will lead an economic strategy table.Other group leaders already announced include advanced manufacturing chair Charles Deguire, co-founder of Kinova Robotics, agri-food chair Murad Al-Katib, CEO of AGT Food and Ingredients, health/bio-sciences chair Karimah Es Sabar, CEO of Quark Venture, and clean technology chair Audrey Mascarenhas, CEO of Questor Technology.The government says each chair will preside over a group of about 15 members to help guide federal efforts to create more opportunities for business growth in the sectors as part of the government’s goal of doubling the number of high-growth Canadian companies to 28,000 by 2025.It says the chair of the clean resources table will be announced in the coming weeks.Each table will present a report of its findings and recommendations by summer 2018.
Derek Jeter on Thursday delighted those New York Yankees fans lucky enough — or well-heeled enough — to go to his final home game. First he smashed a near home run (it ended up being a double) in the opening frame. Then he finished his Yankee Stadium career in storybook fashion with a walk-off base hit in the bottom of the ninth:In the minds of most Yankees fans, it was classic Jeter — The Captain stepping up in the clutch, like he’s been doing for years.Then again, Jeter has also had the misfortune of playing his entire career during the sabermetric boom, which for the longest time denied the very existence of a true clutch hitter. Contrary to pinstriped dogma, Jeter couldn’t be something that didn’t exist.Sabermetricians have since softened on that stance, and further research has shown there are players with a demonstrable ability to improve their hitting when it matters most. (Of course, most of those players are guys you’d never expect, provided you’re not a huge Scott Spiezio fan.) Sabermetricians have also devised ever more inventive ways to measure what it means to hit in the clutch, chief among them being Win Probability Added (WPA) and its derivatives.WPA measures the change in win probability resulting from each plate appearance, putting a number on how much every play moved the needle toward a win in either team’s direction. Naturally, clutch situations will carry more WPA weight, because those moments produce the largest swings in win probability; there’s even a metric called Leverage Index that tracks how crucial a given situation is relative to the average plate appearance in Major League Baseball.(To give an example of WPA in action, Jeter’s final plate appearance at Yankee Stadium began with a 69 percent chance of New York winning. When the plate appearance ended, the Yankees had a 100 percent chance of a win — having, you know, won the ballgame. Therefore, Jeter earned 0.31 units of WPA with that single, making it the most impactful hit of the game for the Yankees.)If you add up all of those incremental pieces of win probability throughout the season, you’ll arrive at the total estimated number of wins a player added at the plate, giving a great deal of weight to when the player’s numbers were produced.That’s WPA.But there’s also a way to measure what a player’s WPA would be if we didn’t weigh clutch moments so much heavier than ordinary ones. To do that, sabermetricians have developed WPA/LI, which divides a batter’s WPA by the average Leverage Index of all his plate appearances, effectively producing a context-neutral version of WPA.Because any discrepancies between the two metrics are necessarily driven by contradictions in performance between big and routine moments, the difference between WPA and WPA/LI has been used to quantify clutch performance. And Jeter — despite his reputation, despite hits like Thursday night’s game-winner — hasn’t hit appreciably better or worse in pressure situations than in typical ones.As is the case with a few notable advanced metrics, the “Clutch” figures at Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs don’t match up exactly (here, probably because of slight differences in the sites’ win probability models). But both data sets tell similar stories. According to Baseball-Reference.com, there have been 1,077 players to have 1000-plus career games since 1940, and Jeter ranks 634th in Clutch — right ahead of Nate McLouth, Nick Swisher and Shane Victorino. FanGraphs’ Clutch data only goes back to 1974, but among the 1,663 qualifiers with 1,000 or more plate appearances since then, Jeter ranks 639th, slightly outpaced by Deion Sanders. Relative to the universe of MLB players past and present, Jeter’s Clutch differentials are only remarkable for how unremarkable they are.Maybe that’s the point. This particular statistical conception of clutch focuses narrowly on just one definition of the term — how much a player’s numbers improved or declined in big moments — but ignores the baseline level of performance from which each player was starting. Sanders was a relatively mediocre hitter who was relatively mediocre in the clutch as well. By contrast, Jeter was a fantastic hitter (and not just “for a shortstop”) for most of his career, regardless of the circumstance, so it means something that he performed to his usual high standards in clutch situations as well. That’s how you end up producing as many career WPA as a Hall of Famer like Ernie Banks, for instance.If anything is puzzling about Jeter’s relatively average crunch-time metrics, it’s not the contrast against his game-raising reputation as Captain Clutch — a good amount of which was myth-making hooey anyway. It’s that his style of play has traditionally been quite conducive to outperforming one’s baseline statistics during high-leverage at bats. Running a regression between FanGraphs’ version of Clutch and its various component stats, including walk rate, strikeout rate, isolated power and speed score, the two metrics most strongly associated with a player’s Clutch number are a lack of strikeouts and a lack of power. Jeter’s career K-rate was 2.9 percentage points below the MLB average, and his career isolated power was 25 points below the norm, so you’d think he’d have a leg up in the clutch. Not so, say the statistics.But his curtain call at Yankee Stadium demonstrated those traits perfectly. On Wednesday, my colleague Jonah Keri wrote extensively about Jeter’s signature inside-out swing, and his propensity for going to the opposite field. About how Jeter perfected the art of going the other way through hours of practice, gaining the consistency required to shoot the ball precisely into the gap between the first and second basemen. It was fitting, then, that his walk-off single showcased all of that. Jeter the “technician” produced hits like Thursday night’s farewell stroke in clutch and non-clutch moments alike.
Wide receiver Duron Carter, son of Ohio State legend Cris Carter, has left OSU and enrolled at a community college in Kansas, coach Jim Tressel confirmed Monday in a statement released by the OSU athletic department.Carter caught 13 passes for 179 yards and one touchdown in his freshman season, but was ruled academically ineligible for the Rose Bowl. He also sat out all of spring practices because of academic issues.BuckeyeSports.com first reported Carter’s withdrawal from OSU. According to the report, Carter enrolled at Coffeyville Community College. Division I athletes can transfer to a non-Division I school without losing a year of eligibility. An athlete transferring to another Division I school must sit out a year.Carter would still have three years of eligibility remaining should he transfer to another Division I school or back to OSU after a year at Coffeyville.Carter posted a message on his Twitter account Monday morning, saying: “yes, the rumors are true.”He posted Monday afternoon that he would ideally return to OSU after getting his academics back on track, saying: “yes i would love to go back to OSU! im a buckeye all the way!”Tressel also announced that defensive lineman Keith Wells will not be a part of the team in 2010. Wells saw limited action as a freshman in 2008, then redshirted last season.
After the offseason from hell, the Ohio State football team could enter a phase the program not seen in Columbus in a long time. Because of the recent dominance of OSU football over the last decade, these four words have been seemingly absent from the central Ohio vernacular: It’s a rebuilding year. Tuesday, quarterback Terrelle Pryor announced that he would not be returning to OSU for his senior season. Pryor had a 31-4 record as a starter at OSU, second most wins by a quarterback at OSU, behind Art Schlichter. Pryor passed for a career total of 6,177 yards, ran for 2,164 yards and was responsible for 74 touchdowns. That is 444 points of offense, driving away in a Nissan 350Z. Who is going to step up as Pryor’s replacement? Eventually it will be Braxton Miller, a true freshman from Huber Heights, Ohio. For now, Miller is an unrefined passer, a threat on the ground and 100 percent unproven. When Pryor announced his departure through his attorney on Tuesday, almost immediately, “Braxton Miller” was trending on Twitter in Columbus. It is evident that Buckeye fans are ready for the next chapter, but unfortunately for them, the storybook ending is a long way off. Miller was shaky at best in the jersey scrimmage that replaced the Spring Game this year, and got most of his production against the second-team defense. While he has the athletic ability to succeed, Miller has yet to take a snap in front of an opposing defense at the collegiate level. On top of being without Pryor, the 2011 squad will be without running back Dan Herron for the first five games of the season. Herron led the team in rushing in 2010 with 1,155 yards and 16 touchdowns. The Scarlet and Gray will also be without DeVier Posey for the first five games of the 2011 season. Posey was the Buckeyes’ second-leading receiver, 100 yards behind team leader Dane Sanzenbacher, who had 948 receiving yards. OSU will also be without offensive lineman Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas for the first five games of the upcoming season. Linebacker Jordan Whiting earned a one-game suspension. In those five games, OSU will play at Miami (Fla.) and at home against Michigan State. These are two teams that could be difficult to beat without a productive offense. These deficiencies don’t even include a young squad that has to replace seven starters on the defensive side of the ball, two starters on the interior offensive line and the lack of experience at wide receiver. If that’s not enough to scream rebuilding year, what is? Former head coach Jim Tressel resigned from his position on Memorial Day, following conversations with athletic director Gene Smith. Tressel said it was “in the best interest of Ohio State” that he resign from his position. Tressel amassed a 106-22 record while at OSU. He went 9-1 against Michigan. He won a National Championship in 2002. And he is gone. OSU announced it would not be pursuing any other coaches until the conclusion of the 2011 season. The fate of the 2011 Buckeyes lies with interim head coach Luke Fickell. Fickell has never had a head-coaching job. Fickell is the team’s former assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and linebacker coach. No offense to Fickell, but with names like Urban Meyer, Bo Pelini, Jon Gruden and Mark Dantonio being thrown into the mix for 2012, his coaching experience is coming into question. The reality of the situation is that the Buckeyes are not a top-10 team. OSU is not going to breeze its way through the regular season. And in the first year the Big Ten has planned an official Big Ten Championship Game, OSU can count itself out of the Dec. 3 affair.
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 03 Feb 2015 – Thwarting bribes was the focus of a two day workshop held recently at Blue Haven resort and hosted by the UK Ministry of Justice. Some thirty actors from the TCI private and public sector were a part of the sessions where Roderick Maccauley and Peter Monday of the UK, led the sessions which dealt with international perspectives on bribery, how to enforce anti-bribery legislation, a review of the UK’s Bribery Act 2010 and Corporate liability and incentives. The governor was on hand, and welcomed the delegates for the workshop, which was the second to be held in a Caribbean UK Overseas Territory; the first was delivered in Bermuda. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:bribes, ministry of justice, peter monday, Roderick Maccauley
Related Items:#magneticmedianews, #TropicalStormHarvey Texas with unprecedented flooding Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppLynden Rose HoustonUnited States, August 28, 2017 – Texas – Bahamians in Houston, Texas are safe and secure reported Bahamas Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield; he was debriefed by Lynden Rose Honorary Consul in the state over the weekend. One Bahamian woman was said to have been displaced by then category four, Hurricane Harvey which touched down in what is America’s fourth largest city over the weekend and remains even now with rain, causing catastrophic flooding. We will continue to keep Texas in prayer as now #TropicalStormHarvey continues to bring rain to the state, where the unprecedented situation is blamed for severe flooding, massive damages, displacement of residents and at least two deaths.#MagneticMediaNews Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp
June 14, 2019 Updated: 12:31 PM KUSI Newsroom, VISTA (KUSI) – Ex-NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II, who was convicted of forcible rape and misdemeanor indecent exposure and lewd conduct counts earlier this week, will be retried on charges involving two other alleged victims on which jurors deadlocked, prosecutors announced Friday.Jury selection is tentatively set for Sept. 30 at the Vista courthouse, with opening statements and testimony expected Oct. 7 in Winslow’s retrial on eight felony and misdemeanor counts, including forcible rape and kidnapping.Following about a week of deliberations, jurors found Winslow guilty of raping a woman in Encinitas and exposing himself to two others. The panelists indicated that they were leaning toward guilty verdicts on each count on which they were ultimately unable to reach a consensus, leading San Diego Superior Court Judge Blaine Bowman to declare a mistrial on those counts Tuesday morning.Winslow was convicted of raping a 58-year-old homeless woman — Jane Doe 2 — last May, exposing himself the same month to Jane Doe 3, who was gardening in her front yard in Cardiff, and touching himself in front of a 77- year-old woman — Jane Doe 5 — at a Carlsbad gym in February. He faces nine years in prison on those three counts.The 35-year-old son of former San Diego Chargers legend Kellen Winslow was acquitted of masturbating in front of Jane Doe 5 on a separate occasion.The jury was unable to reach consensus on rape and kidnapping charges involving a 54-year-old hitchhiker allegedly targeted last March in Encinitas, and a 17-year-old girl who was allegedly raped in 2003 at a Scripps Ranch house party.Winslow was initially charged last summer with raping Jane Doe 1 and 2 in Encinitas in early 2018, as well as exposing himself to Jane Doe 3 in her yard. Following his highly publicized arrest, Jane Doe 4 subsequently came forward to allege that he raped her in 2003 at a home in Scripps Ranch, when she was 17 and he was 19.Earlier this year, while Winslow was out on bail, he was arrested for exposing himself to Jane Doe 5 at a Carlsbad gym. Bail was revoked following his arrest in that case.At a hearing Friday morning, defense attorney Brian Watkins unsuccessfully argued Friday that Winslow should be released on $1 million bail, as the charge on which he was acquitted was the basis for revoking his bail earlier this year. But the judge ruled that Winslow will remain held without bail because he’s facing time in prison, making him a flight risk and “a substantial danger to the community.”Winslow is due back in court on Aug. 14 for a hearing on pretrial motions.In his closing argument last week, Deputy District Attorney Dan Owens told the jury that Winslow “took from these women what he wanted. Kellen Winslow took from these women again and again and again. This man took what he wanted from them and threw them away like trash because that’s what he thought of them.”Owens said none of the five women knew each other, yet their accounts yielded common details and similar physical descriptions of the suspect.Winslow’s attorneys, Marc Carlos and Brian Watkins, told the jury that the charged incidents were either consensual sex or never occurred at all.Winslow II grew up in San Diego and attended Patrick Henry and Scripps Ranch high schools before heading to the University of Miami. He played for four NFL teams between 2004 and 2013.RELATED STORY: Jury finds Kellen Winslow II guilty on multiple charges including rape KUSI Newsroom Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Posted: June 14, 2019 Prosecuters to retry ex-NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II
Prevention Magazine announced four new hires: Lori Powell (former food director at Real Simple and deputy editor, food and entertaining at Martha Stewart Living) as food director; Cass Spencer (former deputy art director at people) as design director, Marybeth Dulany (most recently photography director for Health) as photography director and Mia Song (who has worked with Glamour, Men’s Health and Businessweek) as deputy art director. UBM TechWeb named Ed Grossman as executive vice president of InformationWeek Business Technology Network. In doing so, UBM is eliminating the traditional “publisher” role. Grossman comes to TechWeb from sister company UBM Medica, where he oversaw all digital media efforts as executive vice president. CurtCo Media tapped Jamie Rhind as vice president, associate publisher for Robb Report. Rhind was most recently senior vice president/group director at ZenithOptimedia. Former Thomson Reuters vice president of product development and strategy Mark Goodrich joins PCWorld | MacWorld as senior vice president of digital media. Legal publisher ALM named Scott Pierce vice president/group publisher for the ALM magazines division. He previously served as vice president of digital product development. Dave Freygang was promoted to senior vice president of Bonnier’s newly formed Special Interest Division, which includes nearly 40 brands such as Transworld SKATEboarding, Islands, Scuba Diving and Boating. Previously, Freygang was vice president, publishing for the TransWold and Water Sports titles.
Further, Facebook lost its prominence by July 2012 as the top downloaded social app, falling to the third spot behind Instagram and Twitter (as measured across Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Korea, United Kingdom, and the U.S.).For the full report, click here. A new report conducted by app store analytics firm Distimo finds that the United States is the most “socially savvy” country by virtue of its download volume of social apps. According to Distimo, out of the most popular apps downloaded, 20 percent of the volume is apps from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like. In countries in Europe and South East Asia, social app download volume doesn’t exceed 10 percent. These findings are part of a larger look at how social media app downloads compare to other apps. As an example, the report finds that while download volume among the 100 most popular apps in Apple’s App Store increased 43 percent over the last two years, the top 100 social applications increased 193 percent between July 2010 and July 2012.
My girlfriends were engulfed in the world of Self, Glamour and Marie Claire. Some of us even dabbled with Sassy, and later, Jane and Bust. They were the cool smart chicks of the bunch, but I always felt they were just…lacking. Sassy and Jane fell under (but Jane Pratt is going strong on xojane, and though Bust is still chugging along, its voice has gotten younger, cheekier and hipster. It may be the major magazine for a good pop-feminist read, but I’ve outgrown it.Consider the sequence of a typical women’s magazine: letters, trends, fashion spreads, maybe an interview with a celebrity, more on trends (fashion, beauty, exercise), some obligatory group of “light” recipes, along with a longer editorial on A Serious Topic like genital mutilation or being catfished by a prisoner. It’s content crafted to make women feel guilty for not knowing what’s hot, smart for knowing that this magazine will reveal it, then ashamed for not being able to afford whatever this magazine has revealed. It’s cyclical, and it’s boring. I thought perhaps I was in the minority, being a woman who loves men’s magazines. All of the Big Three’s media kits boast audiences with 30 percent women, so I’m clearly not the only one. Do women read men’s magazines differently from men? In a very unscientific survey (of my two brothers in their twenties and my friend Greg, in his forties), I asked what they liked about Esquire and GQ. My brothers prefer GQ and its fashion tips, the profiles of the women and food. Greg only reads Esquire. As he puts it, “Esquire is not about being a well-dressed, cool man. It’s about being the best man you can be. And even though you can’t necessarily glean any of that knowledge from a magazine, it does a valiant job of trying.”Men’s magazines revolve around cultivating taste: fashion, music, film, books, food, celebrity, sports, cars and (in Details’ case) design. They review where we’ve been and where we’re going, culturally speaking. They’d do better to incorporate more female writers—Stacey Grenrock Woods is a shining example of excellent men’s writing by a female and Jessica Pressler has pushed out some decent profiles for GQ. They don’t always get it right, but the point is: they dare. Yes, they, like women’s magazines, often commoditize gender and make money on reinforcing certain gender stereotypes. But they’re just so glib about it. Where women’s magazines champion us, trying to help us channel our inner sisterhood and answer our Burning Questions, men’s wryly acknowledge that, like most Americans, they’re just stumbling through this crazy mixed-up world, and even they don’t have all the answers. I have plenty of female friends who read women’s mags because they’re mindless entertainment, and I get that. More than anything, I’m an advocate of reading what you enjoy.But that’s just the point that men’s magazines make: entertainment needn’t be mindless.Men’s magazines don’t curate culture; they curate content. They tell me what’s going on culturally and how they feel about it. Women’s magazines ignore what’s going on, because they themselves don’t know how to feel about it. They seem stunted, like the world is just too big for them to comment on—or worse!—that we won’t appreciate a woman magazine’s commentary on larger cultural paradigms. So women’s magazines overcompensate for telling us nothing by telling us everything about nothing (the healing powers of purple fruits! animal prints!). Men’s magazines have their share of frivolity, but they give me the thought stuff too—the national budget, war and PTSD, robotics, a profile of the Vice President. One of the best articles I read was Chris Heath’s coverage in GQ about the massacre of the escaped exotic animals in Zanesville, Ohio. It was a tragic story brilliantly told; and the story of the war between GQ and Esquire competing for the story was just as good. Both magazines published accounts of tragedy; both had writers (Chris Jones for Esquire) on site in the same hotel chasing the same story; both ran in each’s March 2012 issue. I read both articles voraciously, and came out in favor of GQ’s coverage. To my happiness, GQ got an ASME nomination for its story; Esquire didn’t. That’s the other thing I like about men’s magazines: they’re nominated for awards for their journalism, like actual awards, against giants such as The New Yorker, the Atlantic and Rolling Stone. GQ and Esquire are for literary-minded people, for people who care about the actual words on the page. Women’s magazines don’t say anything interesting about the state of culture, they just buy into it. They don’t have a sense of humor about themselves.That’s why I’m sticking with the men—they’re funny, self-effacing and have some of the best editorial content around. None are offering the keys to the universe, but they have a good time trying. I am [spoiler alert!] a woman. But women’s magazines have nothing for me. They’re great when I’m in the salon, but when it comes to reading magazines with bones, with guts, with something to say, the men take it every time. I’m not talking about lad mags, those British imports from 15 years ago. I’m talking about “gentlemen’s magazines”: namely Esquire and GQ, but I also love Details, the dandier kid brother of the other two.I have subscribed to these Big Three for years. I first started reading my father’s Esquire when I was a teenager. Its commentary on music, film and literature was second to none, and its tone was hilarious. Plus it was so cleverly wrapped: a high-end glossy chock full of honest, no-nonsense stuff that I felt smarter for knowing. Sure, it was peppered with self-indulgent photos of female celebrities barely concealing their ladyparts. But to me, it was an obvious statement on American consumerism: that to get people to read smart content, you’re going to have to sell it with sex.
Robert Kennedy Publishing parent Canusa declared bankruptcy in June 2013 and AIM bought the three brands in cash through an auction process that kicked off in July. Andrew Clurman, AIM’s president and chief operating officer, says the company has been quietly building up its health and fitness division, anchored by its Yoga Journal and Vegetarian Times brands. “We track everyone who’s in our competitive neighborhood and we’ve been aware of and kept an eye on Clean Eating and Oxygen,” says Clurman. “We were impressed with the newsstand and subscription sales, both have been growing—the right way, not through artificial means.”Oxygen is currently at about 125,000 subscribers, with an additional 60,000 in newsstand sales. Clean Eating has 140,000 subscribers with another 80,000 sold at retail. And MuscleMag has about 50,000 readers with 32,000 subscribers and 18,000 single-copy sales.Prior to this deal, AIM’s healthy living group also included martial arts title Black Belt, Muscle & Performance, Better Nutrition, Amazing Wellness and The Box, a magazine for enthusiasts of the CrossFit style of exercise. Amazing Wellness and Muscle & Performance are both custom published for and distributed through The Vitamin Shoppe.The deal is characterized by a particularly traditional media framework, but Clurman says AIM’s approach has been to launch, or buy, a magazine and then surround it with a diversified platform. Prior to the acquisition, 42 percent of AIM’s revenues were advertising sourced (print and digital), with the rest coming from events, services and book and product sales. “This [deal] will increase our print advertising quotient, but our goal is to then diversify around these brands,” says Clurman.Most of the existing staff from the Kennedy titles were displaced as a result of the bankruptcy, but AIM is working with a firm in Toronto to restart the business and move some of the staff to the U.S. Oxygen and MuscleMag International will be moved to AIM’s California office, while Clean Eating will start operating out of the Boulder office. Enthusiast publisher Active Interest Media has acquired three titles from Robert Kennedy Publishing, based in Ontario, Canada. Included in the cash deal are women’s health and fitness title Oxygen, recipe and nutrition magazine Clean Eating and MuscleMag International.
WILMINGTON, MA — Incumbents Greg Bendel and Kevin Caira, and challengers Rob Fasulo, Mark Maselli, Dan Murphy, and Suzanne Sullivan, are running for TWO three-year seats on the Wilmington Board of Selectmen.Wilmington Apple is asking the candidates multiple questions each week leading up to the April 27 Town Election.The latest question:Is the Town of Wilmington heading in the right direction? Explain.Below are the candidates’ responses, in their own words:Greg BendelDo I believe Wilmington is headed in the right direction? Yes, I do. Wilmington is a great place to live and we are fortunate to be able to offer something for everyone who lives here. Like many communities we do have challenges that we face. But, I believe that with the combination of a good Town Administration, countless volunteers and residents who are engaged in local government, we are prepared to face these challenges head on. First and for most Wilmington is a safe place for us to live thanks to the brave men and woman of our police and fire departments who work tirelessly day and night to keep us safe.For years Wilmington has taken a very fiscally conservative approach to budgeting which has resulted in a consistently strong bond rating, a healthy reserve in our rainy day accounts and we continue to be a great position when it comes to borrowing. Unlike most of the surrounding towns we have been able to offer many services to residents without additional fees such as free all day kindergarten, no fees for trash and recycling, no school transportation fees, no athletic user fees, top notch veteran, DPW and senior services in addition to a strong public school system.The current challenges we face are clear and I believe we have a plan to confront each one going forward. There are many areas in which we can improve on, and by working together and continuing to take proactive approaches to challenges, I’m confidant that we will keep moving forward successfully.Selectman Greg BendelKevin CairaYes, I believe the Town is headed in the right direction. I believe that everyone can agree that Wilmington is a great community in which to live and raise a family. The reason for this, in large measure, is that residents have readily volunteered their time and resources for the betterment of our community. We have been able to provide a wide range of quality programs and services without the imposition of burdensome fees. The Town continues to receive high marks both for its affordability and fiscal responsibility. The Town’s bond rating remains at its highest level, our tax rate is comparable and in some cases, lower than similar communities, and we have built a substantial operational and capital reserve to enable the Town to meet future needs without having to rely on prop 2 ½ overrides. Additionally, we have a low debt burden and we are among a small number of communities addressing long term liability issues such as employee retirement and other post employee benefits (OPEB).The town continues to improve on its provision of services in every facet of government including public safety, education and public works. We have been recognized on numerous occasions for the quality services provided by our library, veterans’ services, recreation, building maintenance and elderly services departments. An examination of the new fiscal year budget testifies to the Town’s solid financial footing and supports an expansion of important municipal services.Like all communities, the Town has many issues to deal with, but unlike many communities, the Town is well prepared to tackle these issues and to do so in the best interests of all Wilmington residents.Selectman Kevin CairaRob FasuloWilmington is a great community, if I did not believe that I would not have remained here my entire life nor would I have decided to raise three kids here. While the community is great our local government has issues that need to be addressed. Over the past year and a half we watched while the town was adamant on putting a detox in the middle of a neighborhood, only feet from a school bus stop and residential neighborhood that they were willing to violate Public Records laws to keep residents from seeing the true process that was taken. We have an $83 million dollar high school that was built with less capacity than its predecessor, our elementary school buildings are so out of date that they cannot put air conditioning units into classroom windows for our children. The town’s OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) account is more than $112 million in the red and the unfunded pension liability is approximately $78 million.Are we on the “right track”? These are real dollars that all of us homeowners are going to have to pay at one point or another. Eventually these bills will come due and how is the town going to pay them? With that said, developers are pocket zoning large parcels of land and the town hall knows this. Town officials are also negotiating with the developers on other projects outside of the public eye as we speak. 50 units off Butters Row (confirmed), 77 units (unconfirmed number) at Walpole Woodworkers, 57 units at the intersection of Woburn and Rte. 129 (confirmed). We won’t get into the rumored complexes on Rte. 62 in North Wilmington, Or the bus parking area on Rte. 129 or next to Burger King, or even Phase 3 of the hockey rink that I brought up at a previous selectmen’s meeting. So with all the current debt, after what’s already approved is built, we may now need to somehow make the high school larger, hire more school staff, police officers, fire personnel and apparatus, public works’ staff, and address the other school building needs. I also should mention the dwindling amount of “open space” left in town. When the undeveloped land the town has is gone, it’s gone forever leaving the future needs of the town to be filled by real eminent domain land takings.In the end when all of this is done, our taxes will be so high that they will exclude the possibility of many of our seniors remaining in town and our kids that would like to start their family here will be priced out of the possibility. The direction the town is in it’s growing too fast. When businesses grow too fast they typically fail, Wilmington will be no different and many of our residents that are here now, will not be able to remain. If we care about our seniors staying in town, or our children having the opportunity to remain here with their families we need to act now. Our town government should be advocating sustainable growth and not uncontrolled growth. It also should be working for the residents, not against.Rob FasuloMark MaselliAs a concerned member as this community, I would say no. There are too many empty retail lots and storefronts. Our population is growing fast, and I believe that the town may become overpopulated quickly and we will not be prepared for the consequences of that growth in the near future. There are not enough illuminated parks for the kids to play in after dusk and our youth programs are suffering a great loss in participation. The overall political moral of this town is down. Over the past few elections, voter turnout has been consistently low. We need to come together as a town to make decisions that will benefit all generations currently living here as well as future residents.Mark MaselliSuzanne SullivanI do not believe the Town is heading in the right direction. I think we lack vision and the amount of vacant commercial and industrial spaces is a reflection of that. The town hired a consultant, the Main St. Market Study, which advised that we create walkable outdoor spaces to try and draw people to our commercial property and instead the town proposes to have an affordable housing by-law that will actually eliminate open spaces on commercial mixed use lots opposite to what their own consultant advised. We have bought absolutely NO passive recreation open space since I moved here 30 years ago to preserve some quality of life. Yentiles, as wonderful as it is, is not enough and there is really nothing left. Due to the gentrification of Boston and the surrounding communities Wilmington will feel the crunch of the so called “housing crisis” and our own space will become even more important to the residents but there is no real effort by the Board to provide this benefit to the townspeople. I think we need to do better. I think it is possible to serve ALL the people if we make the commitment and work together toward this common goal. When I read the purpose of the Bylaw I do not see that we are fulfilling that intent.1.2 Purpose: “The purpose of this Bylaw is to implement the zoning powers granted to the Town of Wilmington under the Constitution and Statutes of the Commonwealth and includes, but is not limited to, the following objectives: to lessen congestion in the streets; to conserve health; to secure safety from fire, flood, panic and other dangers; to provide adequate light and air; to prevent overcrowding of land; to avoid undue concentration of population; to encourage housing for persons of all income levels; to facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water, supply, drainage, sewage disposal, schools, parks, open space and other public requirements; to conserve the value of land and buildings, including conservation of natural resources and the prevention of blight and pollution of the environment; to encourage the most appropriate use of all land and water resources throughout the Town including consideration of the recommendations of any special studies and master plans for the Town; to preserve and increase amenities; and to preserve and enhance the development of the natural, scenic and aesthetic qualities of the community.”Suzanne SullivanDan MurphyNo response provided.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedBREAKING NEWS: Bendel & Caira Win Re-Election, O’Mahony Joins The BoardIn “Breaking News”SELECTMEN DEBATE RECAP: Bendel, Caira, Fasulo, Maselli & Sullivan Debate The Issues (with VIDEO)In “Government”VIDEO: Selectwoman Candidate Suzanne Sullivan Discusses Her Campaign With WCTVIn “Videos”
Sci-Tech NASA’s most clear doubling down on SLS yet came during Bridenstine’s speech Thursday at Florida Institute of Technology, which centered on the announcement of the first contractor to work on the so-called “lunar gateway,” a planned orbiting waypoint around the moon. Maxar, which has also built parts of the International Space Station, will build the power and propulsion unit (basically the main motor) of the lunar gateway. Bridenstine went on to reiterate NASA’s plans to ready a bare-bones version of the gateway and a lunar lander for the 2024 mission. He touted the reusability of both designs, while also acknowledging, a little ironically, that SLS rockets are not reusable, like a Falcon Heavy. NASA unveils its Orion deep-space capsule (pictures) 8 Share your voice NASA is still working on the Space Launch System as part of its moon ambitions. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said Thursday there’s only one way to get the first female astronaut to the moon’s south pole by 2024, and it won’t involve Elon Musk’s help.”I want to be clear about SLS and Orion… SLS and Orion is the only system that gives us any chance of getting there in 2024,” he said. “We’ve looked at everything, we’ve considered everything and SLS and Orion, that is the system. And once it’s developed, we will use it over and over and over again.” NASA’s plan, newly rebranded as “Artemis,” has always been to use SLS (Space Launch System) rockets and its sister Orion crew capsule to return humans to deep space, but the system isn’t ready yet. When the Trump administration moved up the moon mission by four years, Bridenstine and NASA considered alternatives. Bridenstine has previously floated the idea that Orion could be launched atop a commercial rocket like a SpaceX Falcon Heavy, but in recent weeks NASA has returned the focus to getting SLS, which would become the most powerful rocket in existence, up and running. NASA Space SpaceX 6:56 NASA isn’t the only space agency trying to land on the… Now playing: Watch this: Tags 8 Photos “We are trading a little bit of reusability for speed,” he said. The hope is that NASA could launch the mission newly dubbed “Artemis 1” using an SLS and Orion around the moon without a crew about a year from now, followed by Artemis 2, a crewed launch around the moon in 2022, and Artemis 3, the eventual landing in 2024. However some major hurdles, including the project’s legacy of years of delays and cost overruns, stand in the way of keeping that schedule. Just this week additional funding for Artemis hit a roadblock in Congress.Meanwhile, SpaceX continues to plug away at readying its own moon rocket, Starship. But not even Musk’s timeline for getting to the moon is as aggressive as the one NASA is currently pursuing. Comments
Budget airline SpiceJet got temporary reprieve when the government reportedly gave a 10-day extension on a deadline to pay 194 crore to the Airports Authority of India. AAI. The company was supposed to pay the amount by Monday. SpiceJet (Credit: Reuters)ReutersThe cash-strapped airline sought the extension on Monday at a meeting attended by Sanjiv Kapoor, its chief operating officer and SL Narayanan, the chief financial officer of its parent Sun Group, with Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma and aviation regulator. SpiceJet’s executives told the government that the airline could fold “tonight or in 30 days,” unless the Centre allowed the airline to continue flying, without having to pay oil firms and aviation authorities in advance, reported The Times of India.Sharma said, “SpiceJet has requested for relief. We will discuss within the ministry and put whatever decision emerges before seniors in the Government. This will be done in the interest of passengers. No commitment or assurance has been given to SpiceJet.” reported BusinessLine.Recapitalization PlanOn Monday, SpiceJet was to submit a recapitalization plan on how it seeks to continue operations and also a timeline on when the creditors are to be paid.However, the plan submitted to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had no new development. There was also no mention of roping in investors to infuse fresh capital.The beleaguered airline needs 1,400 crore capital infusion immediately, followed by 600 crore later, if it has to continue flying.The airline faced a deadline on Monday to pay the AAI an outstanding sum of 194 crore, else to pay upfront or usage of facilities, starting from Tuesday.On Tuesday, the airline scrip was trading at 11.75, down 1.80 or 13.65% at 10.38 am.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan GogoiIANSIn a shocking development, a 35-year-old woman has raised the complaint that the Supreme Court of India Chief Justice, Ranjan Gogoi, sexually harassed her. The woman, a former junior court assistant, wrote a letter to 22 judges of the apex court levelling the charges. She alleged that Gogoi made sexual passes at her twice during October last year. Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Supreme Court of India denied the allegations, saying it was “completely and absolutely false and scurrilous”.”Its is also very possible that there are mischevious forces behind all this, with an intention to malign the institution,” the office said in a email in reply to queries on the issue, the Scroll reported.Narrating her ordeal, the woman says in her complaint that she was transferred from the CJI’s residence office after the sexual harassment incident. In a shocking turn of events, the employee was dismissed from service on December 1 on grounds that she had taken a single-day casual leave without approval. If the statements in the woman’s sworn affidavit are to be believed, the events that ensued after the top judge’s alleged misbehaviour were predatory. After the woman was dismissed, her husband, a head constable with the Delhi police, was suspended from service on December 28. His brother, also a head constable with the Delhi police, was suspended as well, the complaint says. The victim, who worked as a junior court assistant, detailed the harassment in an affidavit sent to all judges of the supreme court on April 19.The supreme court Secretary General’s office, in a written reply to media queries, however, narrated a different account of the happenings. One pertinent paragraph goes thus:”The motive behind these false and scurrilous allegations is obviously mischevious. As referred to in your letter, there is a criminal case pending against her, where very serious allegation have been made, of her having taken a bribe to assure employment in the Supreme Court of India. It has been learnt that there is an application for the cancellation of bail earlier granted to her, which is listed for hearing on 20.04.2019 on acoount of her having made threats to the complainant of the said case.”The victim’s own account, which the 22 judges of the supreme court are reviewing, differs drastically and offers a blow by blow account of the events from her point of view. The woman says her work had earned the praise of the chief justice and she was given invitations to high-profile functions. She says everything changed when she rebuffed the physical advances of Gogoi in October.The Caravan has reported that the woman has also submitted evidence including video recordings as part of her complaint. This pertains to the incident in which a police official accompanied her to the CJI’s residence after she was fired from the service. She says that she was made to apologise to the CJI’s wife at this point. The Secreatry General’s letter says that there have been “complaints made against her by the secretariat of the Chief Justice of India, to the Secretary General on account of her inappropriate behavior,”. It says this resulted in her transfer out of the home office of the CJI. “Apart from the misconduct formally recorded in the complaint by the secretariat, there were other counts of misconduct on her part.”However, the letter doesn’t give details of her alleged misdeeds. “It appears that these false allegations are being made asa pressure tactics to somehow come out of the various proceedings which have been initiated in law, against her and her family, for their on wrong doings. Its is also very possible that there are mischevious forces behind all this, with an intention to malign the institution,” the letter says.The woman says in her complaint that her last resort was writing to the supreme court judges. “It is only when the victimisation has reached unbearable proportions when me and my family were taken into police custody and tortured, and now there is imminent danger to my life that I am compelled to speak the whole truth, in order to save myself and my family,” she says.”I have been victimised for resisting and refusing the unwanted sexual advances of the CJI and my entire family has also been victimised and harassed due to that.”
RBL Bank (formerly Ratnakar Bank Limited) is all set to hit the primary market with its initial public offering (IPO) of equity shares soon, after the capital markets regulator late last month cleared the private lender’s public issue.The bank had filed the draft prospectus with the regulator on June 23, 2015.Kolhapur-based RBL Bank had raised Rs. 488 crore in pre-IPO preferential placement of shares last December. The exercise was in accordance with its IPO document filed with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in June 2015. The shares were placed with international investors, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and CDC Group Plc. The shares were issued at Rs. 195 apiece.”This capital raise was undertaken to augment the tier 1 capital base of the Bank,” Vishwavir Ahuja, MD & CEO, RBL Bank, had said in a statement on Dec. 20, 2015.Here are some facts about RBL Bank, according to information available on its website and the draft prospectus filed with Sebi: The IPO size will be about Rs. 1,100 crore comprising fresh issue of shares, in addition to offer of sale of 17.56 million equity shares by existing investors.The face value of the share is Rs.10 each. The price band will be decided in consultation with global coordinators and book running lead managers (GCBRLMs) to the issue.The shares will be listed on BSE and NSE.The bank earned a net profit of Rs. 292.48 crore on revenues of Rs. 3,234.85 crore for the financial year 2015-16, up from Rs. 208.45 crore and Rs. 2,356.5 crore in the preceding financial year. The diluted EPS was Rs.9.43 for 2015-16 as against Rs. 7 in 2014-15 (Diluted earnings per share reflect the potential dilution that could occur if contracts to issue equity shares were exercised or converted during the period).Deposits and advances stood at Rs. 24,348 crore and Rs. 21,229 crore, respectively, as of March 31, 2016.Net non-performing assets (NPAs) as percentage of total advances rose to 0.59 percent from 0.27 percent at the end of financial year 2014-15.The GCBRLMs to the issue are Kotak, Axis Capital, Citi and Morgan Stanley. The BRLMs are HDFC Bank, ICICI Securities, IDFC Securities, IIFL Holdings and SBI Capital Markets.The bank was incorporated in 1943 as Ratnakar Bank.Over the last five years, global and domestic investors have infused capital of over Rs. 1,500 crore in the bank, taking the TIER 1 capital to Rs. 2,200 crores (approx).As of March 2016, RBL Bank had 197 branches and 362 ATMs across 13 Indian states.The corporate office of RBL Bank is at One Indiabulls Centre, Tower 2B, 6th Floor, Lower Parel (W), Mumbai, while the registered office is at Shahupuri, Kolhapur.
Wikimedia CommonsKerala Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac on Friday, March 3, presented the 68th state budget in the Assembly. The Budget 2017-18 had an anti-climax as the opposition staged a walkout at the end of the budget presentation alleging that the budget papers were leaked.Check live updates and highlights of Kerala Budget 2017-18 here: Budget allotments – HighlightsSmart City mission – Rs 100 crore Karunya scheme- Rs 350 crore Suchitwa Mission – Rs 127 crore Scientific landfills – Rs 50 crore Soil and land conservation – Rs 201 crore Water conservation – Rs 150 crore Drinking water – Rs 1,858 crore Crematorium cleaning – Rs 100 crore Coastal development – Rs 216 crore Vizhinjam port project – Rs 90 crore Fish farm promotions – Rs 500 crore Welfare of differently-abled people – Rs 250 crore Security pensions fixed at Rs 1,100 Ration subsidy – Rs 900 crore Anganwadi teachers’ honorarium – Rs 350 crore Primary milk society – Rs 30 crore Dairy development – Rs 97 crore Pepper and cardamom farming – Rs 10 crore To stabilize rubber base price – Rs 500 crore Mid-day meal scheme – Rs 640 crore rape victims’ rehabilitation – Rs 5 crore KSRTC – Rs 3,000 crore Kudumbashree – Rs 161 crore Transgender pension, relocation – Rs 10 crore12.22 p.m.: It was not the budget documents, highlights prepared for media was circulated on the web, says Isaac.12.20 p.m.: Finance Minster Thomas Isaac meets the press after his eighth budget presentation.11.50 a.m.: Budget speech ends. Opposition demands an explanation from the government.11.45 a.m.: Finance Minster Isaac tables Budget 2017-18 in the assembly.11.44 a.m.: CM Pinarayi Vijayan hands over a note to Speaker.11.43 a.m.: Chennithala reads out budget paper outside the Assembly.11.43 a.m.: Chennithala sys, “budget leaked for the first time in the history of Kerala.”11.42 a.m.: Leader of opposition meets press at the media room.11.41 a.m.: BJP MLA O Raja opal also joins UDF and walks out.11.40 a.m.: TM Thomas Isaac continues budget speech.11.38 a.m.: Opposition resorts to sloganeering in the assembly.11.37 a.m.: BJP MLA O Rajagopal walks out.11.36 a.m.: Poonjar MLA PC George stays in the assembly. 11.35 a.m.: Oppositions boycott assembly.11.34 a.m.: Government announces Rs 61 crore for NoRKA.11.32 a.m.: Finance Minister resumes budget presentation.11.31 a.m.: Speaker intervenes, says the allegations to be probed.11.30 a.m.: Chennithala says Thomas Isaac is “a man of social media” and the budget leaked from FM’s office.11.29 a.m.: FM resumes Budget 2017-18 speech in the assembly.11.27 a.m.: Finance Minster Isaac seeks permissions to resume the budget presentation in the assembly.11.25 a.m.: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan responds to the accusation made by the opposition in the assembly.11.24 a.m.: Ruckus in Kerala assembly following the Leader of Opposition’s statement.11.23 a.m.: Sanctity of budget lost. Kerala 2017-18 budgets compromised; secret papers are out in the social media platforms,” says opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.11.17 a.m.: Rs 203 crore announced for farmers’ relief11.16 a.m.: Rs 30 crore for drought relief11.15 a.m.: Government allots Rs 10 crore for transgender pension, relocation11.14 a.m.: Announces taluks, revenue divisions; New taluks in Kunnamkulam and Payyanur11.13 a.m.: New department has been announced for the welfare of women. Rs 161 crore has been allotted for Kudumbashree11.11 a.m.: FM invokes MT Vasudevan Nair’s Randamoozham in the budget before announcing the projects and fund allocations for women safety in the state.11.10 a.m.: ONV memorial to get Rs 5 crore.11.09 a.m.: Isaac announces increase in Pravasi kshema pension.11.06 a.m.: Kochi biennale and film festivals to get permanent venues.11.05 a.m.: Budget avails Rs 724 crore for health service.11.01 a.m.: 10,000 young artists to get Rs 10,000 per month11.00 a.m.: Allotted Rs 265 crore for Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan10.59 a.m.: Announces Rs 3,000 crore for Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC)10.56 a.m.: Education loan repayment support scheme to be formed to give relief to the students. Rs 640 crore for mid-day meal scheme10.55 a.m.: Rs 5 crore allotted for rape victims’ rehabilitation10.54 a.m.: 381 crore for Kerala varsities for different projects. 2 rescue homes to be set up and Pink control rooms to be allotted with Rs 12 crore.10.53 a.m.: Allots Rs 1,858 crore for drinking water.10.52 a.m.: Avail Rs 70 crore for Japan drinking water project.10.51 a.m.: Rs 15 crore allotted for minor irrigation projects.10:50 a.m.: Government allots Rs 600 crore for the construction of check dams and regulators10.49 a.m.: Sabarimala master plan for Rs 25 crore10.47 a.m.: Rs 682 crore credit for metro/transport projects10.45 a.m.: Announces solar and water projects. Solar power project in Kasaragod set to commence its operations this year.10.42 a.m.: Allots Rs 900 crore for power transmission network projects.10.40 a.m.: All street lights in Kerala to be made LED.10:35 a.m.: All districts in the state to set up parks for autistic children.10.34 a.m.: Special investment (chit fund) plans by KSFE for non-resident Keralites.10.29 a.m.: Kerala to invest Rs 3,500 crore for hill-highway project (1,267 km)10.27 a.m.: The Finance Minister foresees Rs 50,000 crore worth road projects in next five years.10.26 a.m.: Government has plans to expand mineral sand mining in public sector 10.25 a.m.: Rs 111 crore for Kinfra.10.24 a.m.: Palakkad to get a life science park.10.24 a.m.: Government allots Rs 482 crore for industries, Rs 51 crore for textile mills.10.23 a.m: Announces Rs 20 crore for tourism marketing projects.10.22 a.m.: The government allots Rs 5 crore to promote boat race (Vallamkali) in Kerala.10.18 a.m.: Government aims to make the state of Kerala an IT hub, announces free Internet for 20 lakh people. 10.13 a.m.: Kerala Beedi employees’ welfare to get Rs 20 crore.10.08 a.m.: Kerala Budget 2017-18 announces Rs 90 crore for Kasaragod project.10.04 a.m.: Budget allots 97 crore for dairy development, 30 crore primary milk society and Rs 150 crore for value-added agro parks.10.00 a.m.: Thomas Isaac announces Rs 2,600 crore for SC welfare and Rs 750 crore for ST welfare.9.57 a.m.: Budget allots Rs 10 crore compensation for endosulfan victims.9.54 a.m.: Thomas Isaac announces Rs 250 crore for the welfare of differently-abled people.9.52 a.m.: Finance minister TM Thomas Isaac promises infrastructure projects worth Rs 25,000 crore worth in 2017-18.9.41 a.m.: CPI (M) office in Kozhikode was set on fire last night after a bomb was hurled at the RSS headquarters.9.40 a.m.: Kerala Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac is presenting his eighth budget.
Syrians walk past the rubble of destroyed buildings in the rebel-held town of Douma that witnessed government raids for continue despite the United Nations confirmation a few days earlier that Moscow formally asked its ally Damascus to stop launching strikes during the Geneva negotiations, which began earlier in the week. Photo: AFPRussia and China on Tuesday vetoed a Western-backed UN resolution that would have imposed sanctions on Syria over chemical weapons use, in the first clash at the Security Council since US President Donald Trump took office.The twin vetoes came as peace talks in Geneva showed no signs of progress on ending the nearly six-year war in Syria.It was the seventh time that Russia, Syria’s top military ally, has used its veto power to shield the Damascus regime. China has backed Moscow by using its veto six times on Syria.Russian President Vladimir Putin warned ahead of the vote that imposing sanctions on Syria was “completely inappropriate” while talks were ongoing in Geneva on ending the war.US Ambassador Nikki Haley shot back: “This resolution is very appropriate.”“It is a sad day on the Security Council when members start making excuses for other member states killing their own people.”“The world is definitely a more dangerous place,” she told the council after the measure was rejected.The resolution drafted by Britain, France and the United States won nine votes in favor, while three countries opposed it—Bolivia, China and Russia. Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan abstained.UN resolutions require nine positive votes and no veto to be adopted.‘Moment of truth’The resolution would have put 11 Syrians, mainly military commanders, and 10 entities linked to chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015 on a UN sanctions blacklist.It included a ban on the sale of helicopters and of chemical agents to the Syrian armed forces or the government.A UN-led investigation concluded in October that the Syrian air force had dropped chlorine barrel-bombs from helicopters on three opposition-held villages in 2014 and 2015.French Ambassador Francois Delattre said the vote was a “moment of truth” for the council, arguing that chemical weapons use was a “negation of all civilization.”In Paris, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault took aim at Russia, saying it bore a “heavy responsibility toward the Syrian people and humanity as a whole.”British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson called China and Russia’s veto “deeply disappointing.”“The Security Council’s own investigation has found attacks were committed by the Syrian regime and Daesh on the Syrian people. Despite support from the majority of the Security Council, Russia, along with China, has chosen to prevent action,” Johnson said in a statement.The joint panel by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) also found that Islamic State jihadists used mustard gas in an attack in 2015.US joins Britain, France at UNThe vote marked the first major council action by the new Trump administration, which is seeking warmer ties with Russia.The United States has backed rebel groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and leads a military coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.Britain and France had circulated the proposed measure in December and the new US administration joined as a co-sponsor of the draft resolution this month, indicating that it was ready to confront Russia on Syria.Russian Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov echoed Putin’s view that imposing sanctions would have undermined peace talks and described the draft resolution as a “provocation” by the Western “troika”.Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi argued that sanctions were premature and that the UN-OPCW panel should be allowed to complete its investigations.“At present, investigations are still ongoing and therefore it is too early to reach a final conclusion,” Liu told the council.Aside from China and Russia, Britain, France and the United States are the other veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council.The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons in the war that has killed 310,000 people since March 2011.UN-brokered talks that opened on Thursday in Geneva ran into hurdles after Russia insisted that counter-terrorism be added to the agenda—putting pressure on opposition groups with ties to Islamist fighters.Putin—whose military intervention in Syria helped turn the tables in favor of Assad—lamented that the negotiations in Switzerland are “not going as smoothly as hoped.”