An Australian TV channel has claimed that its crew got past security personnel and entered the Commonwealth Games village with crude explosives bought in New Delhi a few days ago, raising questions over safety at the event venues.Channel 7 journalist Mike Duffy claimed that he walked into one of the Games venues with a case of explosive which could have triggered explosions if fitted with a detonator.The video footage put up in a website called 3news.co.nz showed Duffy secretly filming the purchase of the case from the boot of a car in New Delhi.The video also showed how Duffy was even given a demonstration by the vendors.”If I need to blow up this car, all I need further is a detonator and explosive,” the vendor told Duffy in the video.Duffy claimed that he was easily able to buy the items, including ammonium nitrate and explosives used for mining, in New Delhi, which is scheduled to host the Commonwealth Games from October 3 to 14.”We found that without too much trouble one can purchase these explosives and equipment on the streets of New Delhi. At the mining areas, they sell it almost alongside groceries,” he said in the news footage in the website.On Sunday, two Taiwanese nationals were injured when two motor-cycle borne attackers fired at a bus carrying foreign tourists outside Jama Masjid, raising fresh concerns about security in the wake of the Delhi Games.
APTN National NewsDemonstrations have been on going across the country in support of the anti – fracking protestors in New Brunswick.From British Columbia to the east coast hundreds of Aboriginal and non – Aboriginal activists have been hitting the pavement to show they’re in solidarity with the Mi’kmaq people.As APTN’s Shaneen Robinson reports, it looks like a resurgence of the Idle No More movement.
MONTREAL – Canadian automobile dealers are launching a national recruiting campaign next month after a poll suggested that millennials aren’t keen to pursue careers in a sector that has seen vehicle sales reach a record high.“There’s a lot of young Canadians…(for whom) it’s not even on their radar,” said Catherine Fortin Lefaivre, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association.She said research and anecdotal evidence suggests there’s a perception that auto dealerships is mainly about sales and parts.“The car dealership of 2018 is one that requires a lot more business people, a lot more marketing people, people with a background in innovation increasingly as the way cars are built is changing,” she said in an interview.Opportunities are also available in finance, IT and management roles at more than 3,200 car and truck dealerships across the country that employ 150,000 people.An Abacus Data survey released during the Montreal International Auto Show found that working in an auto dealership isn’t on the radar for 68 per cent of people aged 18 to 37.One quarter of the people surveyed said they have considered working in various capacities in an auto dealership, while seven per cent said they have worked in a dealership.Men were more interested in such careers than women.In addition to millennials, the association plans to target women, immigrants and veterans over the next three years.Light vehicle sales exceeded two million for the first time last year, pushing revenues to above $120 billion. Strong sales are expected to continue.The online survey of 2,000 millennials was conducted Dec. 22 to Jan. 8. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is considered accurate plus or minus 2.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.
Ohio State wrestling coach Tom Ryan addresses his team after the Buckeyes’ practice on Oct. 20. Credit: Jeff Helfrich | Lantern ReporterThe television outside of Tom Ryan’s office is often set to ESPN. Inevitably, he walks by a lot of College Football Playoff talk on the sports network. And every time he hears it, he can only think of one thing — a college wrestling playoff. This idea has been more than a thought in the mind of Ohio State’s wrestling coach. Ryan has pushed for a stand-alone, dual-meet championship tournament in the NCAA, among other things. He’s even a member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force committee, which is dedicated to developing a long-term plan for NCAA wrestling. The Blue Ribbon Task Force includes members such as North Carolina State Athletic Director Debbie Yow, NCAA executive vice president of regulatory affairs Oliver Luck and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. The task force was formed by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. “We’ve got some big dogs involved,” Ryan said. “And they all like the sport and they all see the value in wanting to move in this direction. And because they’re involved now, things can happen.”There is currently a proposal, unanimously approved by the committee, in the works that would change college wrestling to a one-semester sport that starts during December and would end about six weeks later than usual with a dual-meet tournament. The current individual championships would stay in March. The NCAA has yet to sign off on the proposal. Ryan’s reasoning for the change stems from the idea that dual meets are more fan-friendly than longer individual tournaments. He wants to attract more interest in his sport. “I think it’s spectator-friendly,” Ryan said. “An hour and a half, an hour and 45 minutes is way better than three days in a gym, or tournaments two days in a gym. I think it’s substantially more team-oriented. I think team sports are sports that our culture follows. I think it’s important for the sport of wrestling that we value the team aspect as much as the superstar aspect.”Ohio State has experience balancing individual success with team success. The Buckeyes won a team national championship in 2015 and their current roster is home to former individual national champions and an Olympic champion in heavyweight Kyle Snyder. Ryan said the proposed changes would place importance on more wrestlers in his program, due to the fact that dual-meet wins and losses would count more in preparation for a dual-meet tournament. “I think it would add more value to more people,” Ryan said. “Because, right now if you lose a dual meet, it doesn’t hurt your chance to win the national tournament. And because of that, you’re hesitant to put all your guys in when they may be banged up or not. So, because of that, it brings less value to your guys in the room.”Ryan said most of the opposition that the proposal faces involves the timing and scheduling of the hypothetical events. He said there also are differing viewpoints on how teams would be chosen for a dual-meet tournament and how many teams would be involved. The ability of wrestlers to maintain their peak performance for an entire season is also up for discussion. Redshirt senior Nathan Tomasello seemed to be all for the proposed changes. He placed value on the ability of dual meets to attract new, casual fans to the sport. “I think it’s important to make it more of a team sport and easier to follow,” Tomasello said. “If you don’t really know wrestling that well, it’s tough to follow how people get points at national tournaments.” Ryan said wrestling is one of the few collegiate sports that actually succeeds as a business model with ticket sales, and that gives the NCAA incentive to retool the sport and maximize profit. A dual meet at the Schottenstein Center between Ohio State and Penn State drew an attendance of 15,338 just last season. Ryan drew a comparison to Ohio State football fans tuning in to Saturday’s game between Penn State and Michigan because of a vested interest in the sport and the outcome of the game. That type of heightened interest is what he desires for the sport of wrestling. “We don’t have that in wrestling,” Ryan said. “And we need it. And until we get it, we’ll continue to be a sport that’s kind of status quo instead of one that’s thriving.”
*The piece originally came up in Prothom Alo print edition is rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir Monirul IslamOn the one-year anniversary of the militant attack on Holey Artisan Bakery, Prothom Alo speaks to the police’s Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit chief, Monirul Islam. He speaks in detail about the government’s anti-militancy programme.Sohrab Hossain and Sheikh Sabiha AlamProthom Alo: How strong is the counter-terrorism unit at present?Monirul Islam: The counter-terrorism unit was launched on February 2016, but actually began functioning from the last week of May. If we make an assessment of the past year, then we are quite ahead of what we had aimed to achieve in this span of time. We did not imagine that the events would take place so rapidly. They Holey Artisan Bakery incident pushed our backs to the wall. That is why, in addition to increasing our efficiency, we are also placing emphasis on operations.Prothom Alo: Where does the capacity of the counter-terrorism unit stand at present, particularly when it comes to training and personnel?Monirul Islam: The capacity of just a counter-terrorism unit is not enough to contain militancy. We have the manpower, more or less. There is training at various levels too. The officers are being trained at home and abroad. As this crime is of a different nature, the relevant persons are being given regular training. The militants use the internet, they deftly utilise cyberspace and our personnel are being trained accordingly. But we do have problems when it comes to the hardware and software required for cyberspace policing. These are being arranged.Prothom Alo: According to the media, the US and the European countries no longer extend cooperation to the Bangladesh government’s anti-militancy programmes because of human rights violations.Monirul Islam: That does not apply to us. The US is extending cooperation to us in the field of capacity building. We have held talks with the UK on this issue too. Australia and Canada have also provided quite a lot of training. Japan has extended cooperation too. We have to keep in mind that these countries will move away if any human rights violation takes place.Prothom Alo: Have you asked for assistance from neighbouring India to tackle militancy?Monirul Islam: We have coordination with India. We have real time intelligence sharing with India. Many of our officials have been trained there. There is an exchange of experiences.Prothom Alo: With which other countries does Bangladesh have real time intelligence sharing?Monirul Islam: Mostly with our neighbour India. None at all with Myanmar. With China, to an extent, but that does not entail intelligence sharing. If the need arises, we will have that with China too.Prothom Alo: The operation at Holey Artisan Bakery was launched 11 hours after the attack. Experts contend that many lives could have been saved if the operation was launched earlier. Was this a mistaken decision, then?Monirul Islam: Taking everything into consideration, I do not think this was a wrong decision. We had never faced such a situation before. This was the first such incident in Bangladesh. When the hostage situation emerged, we had no information at that moment as to how many persons were inside, what strength they had, what their aim was. Later investigations revealed that the killings had taken place before the first team of police reached there. So even if the operation was launched earlier, the people couldn’t have been saved. From the eye-witnesses who were rescued and from the planners of the Holey Artisan attack who were arrested alive, it was confirmed that the militants killed everyone except one within 10 to 15 minutes of entering the place.Prothom Alo: Who was that one?Monirul Islam: He was a Japanese national. He was hiding in the chiller. But later he was killed too.Prothom Alo: At the conference of police heads from various countries held in Dhaka a few months ago, terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna said that IS had carried out the attack on Holey Artisan. What would you say?Monirul Islam: He is an academician. He perhaps drew this conclusion from his academic research. But those who were caught here, some of them saying they were involved in 22 or 23 incidents, did not say they had connection with IS. Even those who are being caught now are not speaking of any IS connections.Prothom Alo: How can you be so sure that the attackers had no connection with IS?Monirul Islam: All the militants killed inside Holey Artisan Bakery were Bangladeshi nationals and none of them had dual citizenship. Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury has dual citizenship. He came from Canada and organised neo-JMB and used these militants for the Holey Artisan killing. Even back in 1992 when Harkatul Jihad was created, they too followed foreign militant outfits.Prothom Alo: So is neo-JMB an organisation that follows IS?Monirul Islam: They accept many interpretations of IS. It can be said that militant organisations of Bangladesh follow IS, Al Qaeda models, they believe in their philosophy. But they do not have direct organisational contact.Prothom Alo: Have anyone else in neo-JMB, like Tamim Chowdhury, come from outside?Monirul Islam: No one of Tamim’s level. After Tamim was killed, a certain Mainul Islam alias Musa reorganised the group. But all their preparations were destroyed in the operations last March and April.Prothom Alo: Is Major (retd) Ziaul Huq under your surveillance?Monirul Islam: Major Zia hasn’t been apprehended as yet. We learnt seven years ago that he was in Bangladesh. We do not have any information regarding him in the past few months. He may have gone abroad. But what we can say is that he is not active at present. We would have received information had he been active.Prothom Alo: Have you noted any change in the militants’ strategy before and after the Holey Artisan attack?Monirul Islam: The militants have changed their strategy. Prior to the Holey Artisan attack, they carried out many individual attacks. They killed many persons in North Bengal and in the southwest. They had a significant supply of arms at the time. After the Holey Artisan incident and our continued operations, their arms supply was disrupted and now they lean more towards put more emphasis on explosives. They are now more concentrated on organising themselves and gathering new members rather than launching attacks.Prothom Alo: Has your strategy undergone any change?Monirul Islam: We have a research cell. The cell reviews everything after each operation, the cell carries out a review and determines the next strategy based on information received from the the arrested militants. We always want to catch the militants alive because this provides us with a storehouse of information.Prothom Alo: The mode of every operation is almost identical, giving rise to doubts in public mind regarding the efficacy of the operations.Monirul Islam: The militants use the same strategy. So when one side uses a certain strategy, is has to be countered accordingly too. They had weapons before, they fought, now they have no weapons, they use explosives. They have been told that death is better than being caught. And if they can take someone along with them when they die, it’s all the better.Prothom Alo: Before the Holey Artisan Bakery attack, the militants had been killing writers and bloggers. At a policymaking level and from the law enforcement agencies, it was laid out what should be written and what shouldn’t. Didn’t that go in favour of the militants?Monirul Islam: In the long run, the law enforcement moves did not go in favour of the militants. After April last year, they couldn’t carry out any more killings. Many of them have been caught over the past one and a half years. The mystery behind many of the killings has been unearthed. Enough evidence has been found to be produced before the court. Even the names of those who haven’t been caught have been revealed. Son their organisation is now shattered.Prothom Alo: There seems to be a lack of coordination is some instances of the anti-militancy drive.Monirul Islam: Coordination is a relative matter. A commission had been formed after the Twin Tower attack. It came up with a 400 or 500-page report. It was evident from the report that one agency had no communication with another agency. We are better than that in a sense. However, there is room for improvement.Prothom Alo: Don’t you feel that any anti-terrorism operation should be conducted under the unit formed to counter terrorism?Monirul Islam: A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is being prepared. The SOP will determine the responsibilities assigned to concerned units.Prothom Alo: A commission was formed after the Twin Tower attack. Why wasn’t any such commission formed in Bangladesh?Monirul Islam: We have the National Committee for Intelligence Coordination (NCIC). They recommended that the SOP be prepared.Prothom Alo: Over the past one year, militant dens were uncovered in Sylhet, Jhenidah, Chittagong, Chapainawabganj, doesn’t that suggest that they have a nationwide network?Monirul Islam: They haven’t spread to a dangerous extent. They built up their hideouts in a few specific districts where they carried out their recruitments. They have had their activities in certain districts in North Bengal such as Bogra, Sirajganj, Gaibandha, Rangpur, Kurigram, Dinajpur (relatively less), Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj. And they had some activities in Chittagong Hill Tracts in December last year, particularly in Naikhangchhari of Bandarban and in the southwest, basically in Jhenidah.Prothom Alo: In many cases though political leaders are not granted bail, militants are often released on bail. Why?Monirul Islam: The matter of bail depends on the strength of the case. Someone may have committed 22 murders or may have been directly involved in the Holey Artisan attack. But someone may have just supported this. That can’t be given the same treatment. Those who have been granted bail recently, had lent their support. Even such support is a crime in the eyes of the law.What we haven’t been able to do so far in this regard, is carry out a de-radicalisation process within the prisons, so that these persons can emerge as normal individuals after they spend six months or a year in jail. And as for those who are released on bail whom we deem important or we apprehend may get involved in militant activities, we try to keep them under surveillance.Prothom Alo: Who are more active in militancy in the country, IS followers or al-Qaeda followers?Monirul Islam: Ansar Al Islam to an extent follow al-Qaeda ideology. They are basically involved in killing bloggers and atheists. They have become inactive since April last year. Neo-JMB, which do not IS follow per se, but accept their interpretations, have displayed the most brutality. After the Holey Artisan Bakery attack, their only successful operation was in Sylhet. That organisation too is now shattered. But there is no room for complacence. The drives against them must continue.
Share Al OrtizHouston police investigate a mass shooting in West University, Houston, on September 26th, 2016.Nathan Desai, the suspect at the active shooter incident in the West University area last month, had no known mental health issues or criminal history, Houston Police Department said on Wednesday on a press release.The HPD also confirmed that Desai, who was pronounced dead at the scene after being felled by police, was wearing a replica of a World War II German SS General’s uniform and that he had a license to carry a handgun. The Department also released the names of the police officers who discharged their weapons during the incident. The list includes five HPD oficers, three Bellaire officers and one West University officer.None of the officers were hurt that morning but nine people were shot or injured by the suspect as he shot at cars driving through the area.
Associated PressMelody Stout and Hannah Payan comfort each other during a vigil for victims of the El Paso shooting.Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas needs to do a better job of addressing its mental health care challenges after a deadly mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart.Speaking at a press conference after the shooting, Abbott said the state has enacted new legislation in the wake of last year’s shooting at Santa Fe High School outside of Houston. The governor held a series of roundtables at the Capitol in 2018 aimed at strengthening student safety.“During that time we did not, as far as I know, evaluate for and plan for an incident like this,” Abbott said. “That said, I can tell you that perhaps the most profound and agreed upon issue that came out of all of those hearings was the need for the state and for society to do a better job of dealing with challenging mental health based issues.”The governor said mental health “is a large contributor to any type of violence or shooting violence.”But researchers and advocates are pushing back against the idea that mass shootings are tied to mental illness. Rosie Phillips Davis, president of the American Psychological Association, said in a statement that blaming gun violence on mental illness is unfounded and can reinforce stigma about these conditions.“Research has shown that only a very small percentage of violent acts are committed by people who are diagnosed with, or in treatment for, mental illness,” she said. “The rates of mental illness are roughly the same around the world, yet other countries are not experiencing these traumatic events as often as we face them. One critical factor is access to, and the lethality of, the weapons that are being used in these crimes. Adding racism, intolerance and bigotry to the mix is a recipe for disaster.”Studies have shown most people living with serious mental illness are never violent.Jeff Temple, a professor with the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, says drawing such associations in the wake of mass shootings could make people hesitant to seek treatment for mental health conditions. Temple co-authored a study which found mental illness is not to blame for gun violence.“When something like El Paso happens, the first thing people jump to is, ‘Man, that guy must have been insane,’” Temple said. “‘He must have had a mental illness.’ Well, maybe not. Maybe it is something else going on. Maybe there’s some hostility. Maybe there’s some anger.”Temple’s study examined mental illness symptoms and personality traits and found people with a hostile demeanor were about three and a half times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun.“What we found was that overall, mental health symptoms were unrelated to both carrying a gun and threatening someone with a gun,” he said.In the end, Temple said the risk of violence comes down to access to firearms. The study found people with access were 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun.“By and large, it seems to be, that person has access to guns,” Temple said, “and that is the common factor in all shootings.” Share
After Gujarat Assembly Speaker, couple of IAS officers, Gujarat University Vice Chancellor, now Gujarat’s Minister of State for Health Shankarbhai Chaudhary has been tested positive. While, Vijay Mishra, a Samajwadi MLA from Gyanpur has also been tested positive for H1N1.