I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of iconic #Bermudian actor Earl Cameron. I join the Bermuda community in celebrating his long and remarkable life. On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda I express my sincerest condolences to his wife, children and family. pic.twitter.com/J9LBGEJxMJ
Giant Man. His generation’s pioneering shoulders are what my generation of actors stand on. No shoulders were broader than this gentleman with the voice of god and the heart of a kindly prince. RIP Earl Cameron. 🖤 https://t.co/BTonZcm13x
MANILA: Philippine immigration officers falsified records to show ex-Wirecard executive Jan Marsalek briefly visited the country after he was sacked from the collapsed German payments processor, the justice minister said on Saturday (Jul 4).
German and Philippine authorities want to question the former chief operating officer as part of their separate investigations into the Wirecard accounting scandal, but his whereabouts are unclear.
Entries in the Bureau of Immigration database show Marsalek arrived in the Philippines on Jun 23 – the day after he was fired – and left for China on Jun 24.
But CCTV footage, airline manifests and other records prove Marsalek was not in the country on those dates, minister Menardo Guevarra said in a statement.
“The investigation has now turned to the persons who made the false entries in the database, their motives, and their cohorts,” Guevarra said.
The immigration employees have been stood down and face punishment. Investigators were also looking into “possible criminal responsibility” for the fake entries, he said.
Guevarra told reporters last month that immigration records showing Marsalek’s transit through the Philippine city of Cebu could be part of “diversionary tactics to mislead Marsalek’s pursuers”.
Marsalek was responsible for the Asia business that became the focus of accounting irregularities – including a missing €1.9 billion (US$2.1 billion) supposedly banked in the Philippines – that ultimately brought Wirecard down.
CAIRO (AP) — Three key Nile basin countries will continue on Saturday their latest round of talks to resolve a years-long dispute over the operation and filling of Ethiopia’s giant hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile, Egypt’s irrigation ministry said.
Officials from Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia resumed their negotiations through video conference Friday, aiming to bridge the gaps and finalize a deal on the contentious mega-project within two to three weeks, Sudan’s irrigation ministry said.
The current round of talks came after negotiations last month failed to produce a deal, prompting Egypt and Sudan to appeal to the United Nations Security Council to intervene in the dispute.
The Egyptian irrigation ministry said “fundamental technical and legal differences” remained unsolved, and that they would resume their meetings Saturday.
Sticking points in the talks have been how much water Ethiopia will release downstream from the dam if a multiyear drought occurs and how Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan will resolve any future disagreements.
Egypt and Sudan agreed late in June to return to the talks after they said Ethiopia would refrain from filling the dam until the three countries reached a deal.
The Ethiopian prime minister’s office said the filling has been scheduled to begin within the next two weeks, and during that period, the three countries would work to reach an agreement “on a few pending issues.”
The talks are backed by the African Union. The 15-member Security Council expressed support for the AU action in reviving talks.
Egypt, which relies on the Nile for more than 90% of its water supplies and already faces high water stress, fears a devastating impact on its booming population of 100 million.
Ethiopia has hinged its development ambitions on the colossal dam, describing it as a crucial lifeline to bring millions out of poverty.
Sudan meanwhile stands to benefit from Ethiopia’s dam, including having access to cheap electricity and reduced flooding, but it has raised fears over the operation and safety of the Ethiopian project and says it could endanger its own dams.
In the years since a hit-and-run driver left Patricia Anne Peters for dead on a highway north of Whistler, B.C., in the middle of an October night, she has faced plenty of hard choices.
Stay angry at a stranger who left her in a wheelchair or try to be positive. Drink and party like she used to or clean up. Look to the future or stay stuck in the past.
The 39-year-old mother of two celebrated six years of sobriety last week. And to her amazement, she also saw a B.C. Supreme Court judge hold a man responsible for her injuries.
Now Peters faces perhaps her toughest challenge yet: finding a way to forgive logging truck driver Glen Bird.
“I don’t want to hold on to hatred toward him because this is my body, this is my spirit,” said Peters.
“I want to be able to just forgive him and let it go and move forward from here because it’s in the past and there’s nothing I can do about it. But I can move forward and try to make my situation the best I can.”
A red pack of cigarettes
Although Peters won her court battle in February, the written decision finding Bird liable for running over her was only posted this week.
Bird has never been charged criminally, but Justice Lance Bernard found circumstantial evidence convincing enough to level a civil court judgment against Bird and the company he worked for at the time of the hit-and-run. They have been assessed 75 per cent liability for damages caused to Peters.
The dollar amount of the damage has yet to be assessed.
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, which provided coverage for the driver and was also a party to the suit, is appealing the ruling.
Bird could not be reached for comment.
Peters has no memory of the accident. She admitted in court to being “pretty intoxicated” after attending a party in Mount Currie, 40 kilometres northeast of Whistler, on the night of Oct. 16, 2013.
She was walking home along Highway 99 to the tiny nearby community of D’Arcy. The unlit road runs a single lane in either direction in that area. Peters blacked out close to midnight and woke up in Vancouver General Hospital with most of the bones on the left side of her body broken.
She remember little from that night. But she did recall what turned out to be one crucial detail: she was smoking cigarettes from a red pack of du Mauriers.
Washing truck ‘like a crazy person’
Almost a year after Peters was struck, a Squamish woman named Patricia Harris called the RCMP to say she had been assaulted by her boyfriend, Glen Bird.
During that interview, Harris said Bird had told her the previous October that he had just run over and killed a man as he was driving his logging truck through the Mount Currie area.
Harris said Bird had told her about the incident through text and telephone calls. She recalled certain details in court.
“That the collision occurred at an intersection, that the man he struck and killed was lying off to the side of the road and sat up just before he ran over him and that the man had a package of du Maurier cigarettes in his pocket,” Bernard wrote.
At the time, Harris testified, she didn’t know what to make of Bird’s admission.
She said she picked him up from work where he was “washing down the truck like a crazy person, under the front and back.” Harris said Bird deleted his text messages from that night, saying it was “bad karma” to keep them.
She searched online news reports, but could find no report of a death.
She and Bird moved to Alberta and back to Squamish. And then, Harris said that on a night in October 2014 when Bird assaulted her, he again mentioned killing a “native man.”
‘I am a good driver’
In his testimony, Bird said that he “absolutely didn’t hit anyone” and that it was not even possible that he might have hit someone and not noticed.
“I am a good driver,” he told the court. “I’ve hit animals, and even hitting a little animal or a bird, you can feel it in a logging truck.”
He described his relationship with Harris as “toxic,” saying “she was like gum on a suit, she wouldn’t go away.”
The 53-year-old said that he did remember the night of the accident, but only because he’s been asked about it so often as a result of Harris’s allegations.
He said he was stopped for a detour at one point and a taxi driver told him a man had been killed that night. Bird said he “imagined” he talked to Harris while he was waiting for traffic to recommence and that was when he told her someone was dead.
In finding that Bird was the driver who hit Peters, the judge relied heavily on Harris’s recollection of what her ex-boyfriend told her.
A “native man” may not have died, but an Indigenous woman nearly did.
And despite the fact she had no other source of information, Harris independently came up with details that matched what happened: a pedestrian was struck in a hit-and-run, it happened near an intersection and that pedestrian “had smoked cigarettes from a red pack earlier that night.”
“Bird’s version of events is that he knew virtually nothing about the hit-and-run,” Bernard wrote.
“It is significant that [his] version of events does not allow for any misunderstanding by Ms. Harris to the effect that Mr. Bird had killed a man and left the scene that night, let alone account for the details Ms. Harris subsequently reported to the police.”
Bernard drew on phone records and inconsistencies in Bird’s testimony to find he was behind the wheel, going more than twice the speed limit in a 30 km/h zone when his lights caught Peters, who was startled by the glare. She didn’t have time to move, and the judge said Bird’s speed would have meant he couldn’t take evasive action.
Peters said she was elated at the verdict.
“I guess the biggest word I could use is just relief,” she said. “It was like finally being able to hold someone accountable for what happened.”
‘Like we’re worthless’
Peters’s lawyer, Jim Hanson, said police investigated and the Crown declined to lay charges. The threshold for criminal prosecution is beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas a civil case requires a balance of probabilities.
Hanson said he bankrolled what amounted to a “civil prosecution,” paying for expert witnesses and reports.
“It was very gratifying for us to privately pursue that justice and have a court say that Mr. Bird was the responsible party,” he said.
Hanson said it may have appeared like it was a needle in a haystack, but the first witnesses on the scene reported having seen a logging truck pass by.
He wonders what might have happened had police more aggressively canvassed the records of all the drivers on that lonely piece of road that night.
Peters is also chilled by the thought of Bird allegedly shrugging off what he believed was the killing of a “native man.”
“It’s like we’re worthless,” she said. “And that’s not true.”
LONDON: Spinner Dom Bess was named in England’s 13-man squad for the first test against West Indies and there was no place for Moeen Ali among nine reserves, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Saturday. All-rounder Ben Stokes will lead England in the match, which will begin at the Ageas Bowl Southampton on Wednesday in a bio-secure environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Moeen announced in September he was taking a break from test cricket after losing out on a central contract for the longest format but he was included in a 30-man training group. But the ECB opted to go with off-spinner Bess, who grabbed his first five-wicket test haul against South Africa in January. Fellow spinner Jack Leach is among the reserves for the opening game of the three-match series. All-rounder Sam Curran, who was cleared to resume training after testing negative for COVID-19, was also placed on stand-by. Regular skipper Joe Root will miss the first test to be at the birth of his second child. The second and third tests will be played in Manchester. England squad: Ben Stokes (captain), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood. Reserves: James Bracey, Sam Curran, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson, Olly Stone.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has been reading German history lately — and appears to have drawn some lessons.
During a recent interview with POLITICO in Brussels, Vučić discussed how modern Germany has come to terms with the loss of territory it used to consider its own, and instead focused on its economic rise and promoting its culture and values.
Is that a template for Serbia, which played a central role in the Balkan wars of the 1990s and faces the prospect of having to recognize that Kosovo is no longer its province as a price of EU membership?
Vučić wouldn’t quite go that far. But, he said, “I would like us to be smart enough and to know that it’s not always the territorial issue that’s the most important. It’s important, no doubt. But it cannot be more important … than the values, than the virtue, than the language and the culture.”
Vučić twice referred to himself as a “small guy from the Balkans” — a jarring description not just because he stands some two meters tall. For the past decade, he has been the dominant political figure in Serbia, the biggest and most populous of the six Western Balkan states seeking EU membership. His party claimed 60 percent of the vote in last month’s Serbian parliamentary election.
He said his success was down to sound management of the economy, big infrastructure projects and the weakness of opposition politicians.
For critics inside and outside Serbia, Vučić is far too dominant. Academics, rights activists, Western diplomats and opposition politicians say he has presided over serious backsliding on democracy, freedom and the rule of law.
Freedom House, the U.S. government-funded NGO, rates Serbia as only “partly free.” The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe declared that while candidates in last month’s election were able to campaign “and fundamental freedoms were respected, voter choice was limited by the governing party’s overwhelming advantage and the promotion of government policies by most major media outlets.”
Vučić dismissed such assessments as “bureaucratic reports.” He described the vote as “the most fair elections we have ever had.”
“I don’t say that it’s an ideal situation,” he said of the election result. But he said his success was down to sound management of the economy, big infrastructure projects and the weakness of his political opponents.
Vučić talked in glowing terms about the new Belgrade Waterfront (a controversial real estate development), new highways and the country’s robust economic growth. According to the national statistics office, the Serbian economy grew in the first quarter by 5 percent — “by far the best in Europe,” Vučić said, adding the country hopes to avoid recession this year despite the coronavirus crisis.
White House talks
Vučić was in Brussels to meet top EU officials on Friday of last week, a day before he had been due to hold talks at the White House with leaders from Kosovo — until news of a war crimes indictment against Kosovan President Hashim Thaçi scuppered that plan.
Kosovo, a predominantly ethnic Albanian territory, declared independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after a war that ended with a NATO bombing campaign. But Serbia continues to regard Kosovo as a rebel province. With the support of its ally Russia, Serbia has prevented Kosovo from joining the United Nations and other international organizations.
In Brussels, the White House talks had not been viewed with great enthusiasm. EU diplomats complained that U.S. special envoy Richard Grenell had cut them out of the process. Grenell has insisted he informed senior French and German officials of his initiative, which he said focuses on economic cooperation. But there has been little sign of coordination with his EU counterpart, Miroslav Lajčak.
Some EU officials were also afraid the U.S. administration could preside over a deal changing the borders of Kosovo and Serbia — although Grenell said he does not favor such a land swap and the EU does not have a common position on the idea.
Vučić didn’t close to the door to future meetings in Washington: “Whenever they invite me, how can one small guy from the Balkans refuse to speak to someone from the White House?” But he also said EU-sponsored talks should resume despite the charges filed against Thaçi and expected them to take place in Brussels in the coming weeks.
EU diplomats complained U.S. special envoy Richard Grenell cut them out of White House talks on Kosovo | Sean Gallup/Getty Images
On borders, Vučić said, “I’m ready to discuss every single issue, ready to discuss all the proposals that might come from anyone.” But he also stressed that “it cannot be the case that we lose everything and they gain everything.”
For Serbia, the Kosovo issue is inextricably linked to its bid for EU membership. The bloc has made clear neither Serbia nor Kosovo can join until they have reached a permanent peace settlement.
But Vučic said the EU would have to offer a guarantee of membership before Serbia signs off on a peace deal: “If you think that Serbs will accept to recognize Kosovo independence to get maybe your membership in the future — hey!”
Serbia has been in EU membership talks since 2014, and Vučic said his aim was to wrap up negotiations in 2024 and become a member in 2026. “We have to accelerate our EU process,” he said.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić at a meeting with European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels in June | Pool photo by Olivier Matthys/AFP via Getty Images
That timeline strikes some EU officials as highly ambitious. It would certainly need Serbia to get more serious on rule of law and other issues, they say.
Points of friction
As he sat down for the interview at Serbia’s diplomatic base in Brussels, Vučić spotted a map on the wall — with Serbia and other Western Balkan countries in gray, surrounded by EU members in yellow. The map, Vučić said, showed not just that Serbia needs the EU but also that the EU needs Serbia.
But the EU still needs some convincing. Last week, six EU members blocked the opening of a new chapter in Serbia’s membership talks, mainly because they were disappointed with the state of reforms, according to diplomats.
Another point of friction with the EU is foreign policy. Not only because of Serbia’s ties to Russia but also due to Vučić’s close cooperation with China.
That did not go down well with EU members. A statement issued as part of a virtual EU summit with Balkan leaders in May declared that “the fact that this [EU] support and cooperation [on coronavirus] goes far beyond what any other partner has provided to the region deserves public acknowledgment.”
Yet Vučic stood by his comments: “Did I lie? Did I say something that you didn’t hear even from in a different way, from Ursula [von der Leyen, the European Commission president], from Italians, from France, from Spanish? But it was easy to find a scapegoat.”
However, he said he also acknowledged “the biggest humanitarian aid we got is from the European Union, the biggest trade turnover we have [is] with the European Union, there are no doubts about it.”
He said alignment with EU foreign policy would come — but not now. “We will do it but that chapter has not been opened yet,” Vučic said.
Vučić, 50, started his political career in Serbia as an ultranationalist. He worked as minister of information under Slobodan Milošević, the former Serbian and Yugoslav president who died in 2006 while on trial before the U.N war crimes tribunal, facing grave charges over the wars of the 1990s in which more than 100,000 people were killed.
These days, Vučić is sometimes compared to Josip Broz Tito, the leader of communist Yugoslavia famous for playing major powers off each other, rather than Milošević.
But he declined to say whether he had a political role model. “I cannot compare different times,” he said, adding it was easy today to criticize Tito, Milošević and others. “Tomorrow, it will be easy criticizing me,” Vučić said.
On Friday evening, President Donald Trump said the destroyers of American statues and monuments will receive a minimum of ten years in federal prison if convicted.
Speaking in front of Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota, Trump said his latest executive order ensures full prosecution under the law for rioters who are convicted of destroying, defacing, or tearing down the nation’s federally-protected monuments.
“That is why I am deploying federal law enforcement to protect the monuments, arrest the rioters, and prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law,” Trump said.
“Under the executive order signed last week pertaining to the Veteran’s Memorial and Recognition Act and other laws, people who damage or deface federal statues will get a minimum of ten years in prison,” Trump said.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says that agriculture will be country’s priority after resolving number of persisting issues and shortcomings affecting it.
Issues such as shortage of water supply and fertilizer for agriculture are being addressed by the government.
Failure to make payments due to suppliers on time has resulted in delay in the importation of fertilizers.
The absence of a proper market and a price for their produce has rendered the farmers helpless. The President stresses that he will address these issues and will take steps to protect the farming community.
President Rajapaksa made these remarks joining the Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna election campaign in Anuradhapura, today (July 03).
The President who visited the Thammannawa Nidahas Uyana village in Thalawa, engaged in a cordial discussion with the residents of the area and inquired into their well-being.
President Rajapaksa also looked into the requirements for improving water supply facilities of Eeriyagama tank.
The president has given instructions to the Resident Manager to take steps to provide solutions for the prevailing issues.
Minister S.M. Chandrasena and former Chief Minister of the Province, S.M. Ranjith were present on this occasion. The President also joined the public gathering organized near Kala Wewa in support of the former Minister Duminda Dissanayake.
President Rajapaksa sought the views of the public regarding the current condition of the road construction activities as well as their agricultural activities.
The President also paid homage to the Kadawara Devalaya near the tank bund.
President Rajapaksa who visited the Kekirawa Town joined a public gathering held in Kumbuk Sevena area. That was organized in support of SLPP candidate Mr. Weerasena Gamage.
The Maha Sangha of the area, other religious leaders and people living in the area were in attendance. The President who was seen engaged in a very cordial discussion with them paid his attention to the issues faced by the farming community particularly the issue of water scarcity.
People in the area who represent a number of ethnic groups informed the President cultural issues they faced.
The Kekirawa Trade Association handed over a set of proposals relating to the development of the area, to President Rajapaksa.
The President also observed construction works of the Ganadevi Kovil.
The President joined in another public gathering held in Galkulama area Mihintale in support of SLPP candidate T.M. R. Siripala.
The President who engaged in a very cordial discussion with the Maha Sangha and the public drew his attention to the issues of area.