His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will leave for Bahrain today leading a Kuwaiti official delegation to attend the 37th Summit of the GCC Supreme Council and GCC leaders’ meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The summit is held amid quite significant regional challenges, affirmed Abdullatif Al-Zayani, the GCC Secretary General. These political, security and economic challenges warrant solidarity and cooperation among all the GCC member states and relentless action to attain merger among them, Zayani said in an interview broadcast by the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) yesterday.
He indicated that agenda of the GCC summit, due on Tuesday, includes various files related to political, economic, security and social cooperation, as well as examining reports filed by the Ministerial Council, committees and the General Secretariat.
Current economic conditions constitute some of the major challenges facing the GCC states, he said. The GCC countries had already taken steps at this level, endorsing the joint economic treaty, setting up the common market and the customs union.
Elaborating, Zayani re-affirmed the GCC states’ resolve to face security threats. “They will not hesitate to take all necessary measures to safeguard their security, stability and defend their sovereignty and interests,” he stressed.
The GCC countries have taken an unwavering approach for upgrading their security and military potentials for defense purposes and safeguarding achievements that have been made throughout the years, Al-Zayani added.
He rejected, anew, foreign intervention in the regional countries’ affairs for such meddling contradicts with international laws and threatens the Gulf security and stability, noting the UN prime role in this regard.
On the Syrian refugees’ plight, he underscored the GCC countries’ efforts at the public and private levels to help them, noting that the GCC states along with other countries had pledged more than $7 billion to aid the Syrians. Kuwait had hosted three international conferences grouping countries pledging support for the Syrians affected by the war. A fourth one was held in London.
Regarding Yemen, Al-Zayani said the GCC countries had given substantial financial support for the legitimate government to help it deliver relief supplies to those in need in the war-stricken nation. For its part, Saudi Arabia had established King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid to coordinate humanitarian operations in Yemen, with a special budget estimated at one billion Saudi riyals.
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifah yesterday expressed confidence that the summit will come up with resolutions to promote the pan-GCC integration, and joint action. These will be topped with carrying on with implementation of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s ‘Vision 2030’ for accelerating the pace of cooperation among the member states, and enhancing the bloc’s joint action, Sheikh Khalid Al Khalifah said in a press statement.
He noted that the GCC Ministerial Council in 2016 approved measures for the completion of the Monarch’s wise vision, and the leaders endorsed the formation of a joint commission to reactivate economic and development.
The Bahraini chief diplomat pointed to the pivotal role the GCC member states play on the regional and international scenes. The 37th Summit will be a good chance to consolidate this role, and further boost security and stability in the region, to maintain unity, development, and prosperity in the region.
Concluding the statement, Sheikh Khalid Al Khalifah praised the Saudi King’s presidency of the 36th Summit held in Riyadh in December 2015, which has helped achieve remarkable steps for the GCC march, to continue with strong resolute in the Manama summit till the bloc realizes the aspired integration and unity.
In the meantime, MPs of the Bahraini Council of Representatives have affirmed the importance of the upcoming GCC Summit in facing the rising political, security and economic tension in the region. The MPs agreed in various statements that the current unstable conditions in the Arab World, mainly the escalation of terrorism and the economic situation in the Gulf countries due to the drop in oil prices, require the GCC states to unite.
Creating unity between the GCC countries will prevent any outer intervention in the Gulf’s own issues, said MP Nasser Al-Qaseer. The Gulf states have the ability to become one of the top economic powers, as they possess huge financial abilities, strong infrastructure and opportunities for attracting foreign investments, he added.
MP Mohammad Al-Amadi said meanwhile that the GCC citizens are looking forward for the outcome of the 37th summit, hoping the leaders would take measures to create a Gulf union to face the growing challenges and threats in the region. Sharing one language is a key factor to create a strong economic union, he said.
On this matter, he mentioned the successful experience of the European Union (EU), despite countries of different languages and backgrounds. Meanwhile, MP Jamal Dawoud noted the importance of discussing means of resolving the unemployment issues among youth through executing joint-GCC economic projects.
In the meantime, Bahraini Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sheikh Humoud bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are heading towards a level of unity and further development. He further stressed the importance of the 37th GCC Summit to be held in Riyadh tomorrow, amidst the rising political, economic and security tension in the region. The ambassador hoped the summit will result in establishing the sought and the long-awaited Gulf union to face the challenges and threats and boost economy among the GCC states. – KUNA
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that even the Congress should be ‘Congress-mukt’ (free of Congress), that is, free of a culture that propagates ills like casteism, dynasty, and corruption.
“When I say Congress-free India, it’s not related to election outcomes. I would want that even the Congress party on its own should free itself of the Congress culture. It would be in the country’s interest,” PM Modi said in an interview to Times Now editor-in-chief Rahul Shivshankar and managing editor Navika Kumar.
The PM noted that this is “necessary” for a healthy democracy.
He clarified that he was “not talking about a particular group or party here” but about that type of culture.
PM Modi contrasted the Congress’s culture during the freedom struggle, and later, after Independence.
“The Congress at the time of freedom struggle had a culture which inspired the youth to sacrifice their lives for the country. But the culture of the Congress that emerged after independence has started appealing to other political parties. They feel that taking a certain path will prove to be successful – casteism, dynasty, corruption and exploitation, treachery and keeping complete control over power,” he said.
Police in Portugal and Spain said they seized hundreds of kilograms of cocaine hidden inside fresh fruit earlier this week.
The seizure by authorities was part of an ongoing joint investigation from both countries into drug trafficking from South America via shipping containers. The investigation started in April 2017, police reported on Wednesday.
Reuters reports that 745kg (1,642 pounds) of the drug were seized alongside the arrests of nine gang members. A laboratory for cutting the drug was also dismantled by authorities.
The drugs had been hidden inside fresh fruit transported by shipping containers, in cylinders of yellow wax covered by fresh pineapple hide.
Portuguese investigators said in a statement:
This organised international group had repeatedly brought large quantities of cocaine to the European continent.
Police records reportedly showed that two hydraulic presses, three packaging machines and over 400,000 euros in cash were seized in the raids.
RTE reports the gang members, led by two Colombian brothers, had laboratories in the Spanish municipalities of Pinto and Nuevo Baztan, near Madrid.
Police officers from the Capital Security Command arrested four Asians for gambling in a yard behind a commercial complex along Fahad Al-Salem Street with gambling tools and KD 800 in their possession. According to the police report, the officers received information from the Operations Room about the suspicious gathering of Asians behind a commercial complex along Fahad Al-Salem Street. Upon their arrival, they found four Asians playing a card game which is considered gambling. The Asians were referred to the concerned authorities where necessary measures were against them.
A Bangladeshi expatriate sustained injuries when he was attacked by a Syrian expatriate during an argument between them in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh area. He lodged a complaint against the Syrian at Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh Police Station and presented a medical report to indicate the injuries he sustained. He explained that the Syrian stays near his building. The argument broke out between them when the Syrian ordered him in a rude manner to move his vehicle. During the argument, the Syrian pulled him from his vehicle and hit him on his shoulder
Private investigators believe a prominent billionaire couple found dead in their Toronto mansion last month were murdered by multiple people two days before their bodies were discovered, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday, citing a source “with direct knowledge of the parallel probe” into the deaths of Honey and Barry Sherman.
The private investigation – which contained graphic details of the alleged ways the Shermans had been killed – at times contradicted early reports about an ongoing investigation by Toronto police, who have remained tight-lipped about the case over the past month.
The bodies of the Shermans were discovered Dec. 15 in the lowest level of their $7 million home, reportedly by a real estate agent who was preparing the mansion for an open house.
The Shermans had been strangled, and were found with their bodies dangling from the railing around their basement lap pool, Toronto police said. A coroner later determined the cause of death to be “ligature neck compression,” a form of strangulation in which a cord or rope is used to exert fatal pressure on a person’s neck, according to police, who labeled the death “suspicious.”
Police said there were no signs of forced entry at the Shermans’ home and have not arrested anyone in the case.
The gory deaths were a shock to the Shermans’ neighbors in Toronto’s affluent North York neighborhood, who called the couple “lovely people.” Well known in Canada, the Shermans made billions in the pharmaceutical industry, then gave a significant chunk of their fortune away to charity.
Since December, police have released scant new information about the case, though local media outlets have reported seeing officers continuing to guard the Shermans’ home around the clock. The week after his parents’ deaths, grieving son Jonathan Sherman said the family had been trying to navigate “a terrifying maze of non-information.”
The family vehemently rejected an early report by the Toronto Star that said police were investigating the possibility of a murder-suicide.
In late December, attorney Brian Greenspan said the family said they had hired private investigators “to provide a second lens and to ensure that no stone is left unturned.”
The CBC report is the first to release details from the private investigation, including that the couple was seated upright when they were found dead near their basement lap pool:
“The team of private investigators believes that the Shermans were, in fact, killed on Dec. 13, two days before they were found. This conclusion is based on the fact that Honey was wearing the same clothes she was last seen in, on Dec. 13, according to the source.
“Private investigators also believe that Honey struggled with her killer or killers. She had cuts on her lip and nose, and was sitting in a pool of her own blood when she was discovered. However, there was comparatively little blood apparent on her upper-body clothing, suggesting that she had been facedown on the tile, bleeding, for some time before being bound to the handrail in an upright position, the source said.”
The source also told CBC that private investigators believed the couple had been bound together at some point and showed evidence that their necks had been tied to a handrail near the pool with leather belts. The Shermans were, however, limp and not bound together when their bodies were found, the source told the news site.
A Toronto police spokeswoman said Sunday the department had no updates pertaining to the Sherman case. Greenspan, the attorney for the Sherman family, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday morning.
Barry Sherman, 75, was the founder of Canadian pharmaceutical giant Apotex and one of the richest people in the world. Forbes estimated his net worth at $3.2 billion, earning him the 12th spot on the list of the wealthiest Canadians. He’d appeared on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires for 15 years.
The Shermans were known for their largesse, doling out tens of millions of dollars to universities, hospitals and the United Jewish Appeal, according to the Globe and Mail. Honey Sherman was a board member at several institutions: York University, the Baycrest Foundation and Mount Sinai Hospital. She had been chair of the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto and the Holocaust Education Centre.
They are survived by their four children, including one who had just given them a grandchild.
Their deaths brought condolences from the highest rungs of Canadian society and government, including from the organizations they had spent years supporting. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among those expressing grief.
But Barry Sherman’s rise had not been without conflict.
Apotex, according to Sherman’s biography in the Globe and Mail, “revolutionized the pharmaceutical industry in Canada.”
Sherman started the company in 1974 after using his mother’s life savings to buy out a similar business started by his uncle; it manufactures and exports generic drugs to more than 115 countries.
But his gains came at the expense of larger pharmaceutical companies. The Globe and Mail obituary described him as a “ruthless fighter capable of waging as many as many as 100 lawsuits at a time against business rivals.”
“He was the bane of the existence of the branded drug companies in Canada. He was not their favorite person, but he was respected,” Paul Grootendorst, associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
Some of the conflicts over the years were familial.
For more than a decade, Barry Sherman had been involved in an acrimonious legal battle with three cousins and the widow of a fourth – sons of the uncle who instructed him in the generic-drug business that preceded Apotex. That uncle, Louis Winter, died in 1965, 17 days before his wife died.
At the legal fight’s lowest point, Winter’s sons accused their now-billionaire cousin of plotting to kill Winter, according to the Globe and Mail.
They said that he used handouts to silence them, and that they deserved a stake in Apotex.
“Barry’s father died when he was young, and my dad took him under his wing and taught him the family business,” Kerry Winter, one of the cousins, said in filing the lawsuit. “It’s disappointing that we’re fighting this way now.”
The original suit was dismissed in 2015 but reinstated a year later, according to Forbes. A judge ruled in favor of Sherman in September, but the cousins have appealed.
It was unclear what Sherman’s death would mean for the suit – or for his company.
Sherman stepped down as chief executive in 2014, but he remained chairman, according to Forbes.
Before they died, the couple had been planning to head south to their winter home in Palm Beach, Florida.
Honey was scheduled to arrive the Monday after she was found dead; her husband would follow a week later, according to the Globe and Mail, which talked to some of their Toronto friends slated to attend a dinner party.
“Looking forward to getting together in Florida,” Honey wrote in an email to friends. “Please let me know your dates south ASAP so i can place in my calendar … Looking forward to hearing back ASAP. Xoxo Honey.”
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has an “ego of his prime ministership”, claiming that that was the reason why the prime minister was not responding to his letters.
Mr Hazare was speaking at a public rally in Atpadi tehsil in Maharashtra’s Sangli district on Saturday. “I have written more than 30 letters to Prime Minister Modi in the last three years, but he never replied to them. Modi has an ego of his prime ministership, hence he did not respond to my letters,” Mr Hazare claimed.
Earlier, Mr Hazare had announced that he is planning to stage another round of agitations in New Delhi from March 23. The rally at Atpadi yesterday was the first of three rallies that Mr Hazare will be addressing in an effort to mobilise support for the March 23 agitation.
“It will be a never-seen-before kind of massive agitation that will be a warning to the government,” he said. “I have no intention of garnering votes through my rallies and agitations. The way there was a huge rally for Jan Lokpal, I believe there will be a similar agitation on farmers’ issues,” he said.
Mr Hazare said that his demands included implementation of the Lokpal, appointment of a Lokayukta, a pension of Rs. 5,000 to farmers and higher rates for farm produce.
A rumble in the sky and a loud thud a few seconds later shook villagers in Fazilpur Badli yesterday, leaving them wondering what had happened. Rajbir Yadav was in a wheat field when a “large rock” made its way to the ground, forming a one-foot crater. Was it a missile, a bomb or a meteor?
A terrified, befuddled Mr Yadav sprinted to the village head, another villager, Sukhbir Singh, said. The news spread like wildfire and a few minutes later, a large number of the villagers had circled the frigid “rock”, which later turned out to be human poop.
While the elders wracked their brains to make a good guess, the children brimming with curiosity declared it was a gift by the aliens.
“It is a white, holy stone gifted by the aliens,” a child exclaimed. “Jaadoo” from the film “Koi Mil Gaya” had one, he said. Others conjectured it was a rare mineral or a celestial object, sneaked a few pieces into their homes and stowed them in the fridge, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Pataudi, Vivek Kalia told news agency PTI.
A few people approached the district administration, and a team comprising officials from the Meteorological department and the National Disaster Management Authority was formed under Mr Kalia.
The team found the “celestial gift” the whole village was talking about the entire day was “blue ice”, a term used for frozen toilet waste leaking from aircraft, Mr Kalia said.
“It appears to be human waste disposed off mid-air by an aircraft. The forensic team sent a sample to a lab in Bhondsi to ascertain what it is. The report will be out by Monday,” he added.
Violent protests by members of the Rajput community against the release of Sanjay Leela Bansali’s controversial period drama “Padmaavat” were witnessed across Gujarat on Sunday, with agitators damaging buses and blocking roads. Senior state minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said such protests were “natural” and that the government was looking for a legal opinion following the Supreme Court’s order.
The Supreme Court on January 18 had paved the way for the film’s nationwide release on January 25 by lifting the ban on its screening in BJP-ruled states Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Following incidents of protesters damaging and setting buses on fire, the police issued a stern warning and deployed more personnel in the affected areas. The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation also suspended its services in northern parts of the state.
While lifting the ban, the court had stayed the orders and notifications issued by the Rajasthan and Gujarat governments prohibiting the screening of “Padmaavat”, starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor.
In northern parts of Gujarat, violent mobs set ablaze or damaged as many as eight buses in the past two days.
Protests were held at some places in Gandhinagar, Kheda Banaskantha and Surat by members of the Rajput community, with agitating groups setting on fire a state bus on the Ahmedabad-Kheda highway this afternoon.
Stones were also hurled at another bus at Unava village near Gandhinagar.
Protesters blocked several roads such as the Ahmedabad-Indore Highway and a road connecting Banaskantha to Rajasthan, police officials said.
In Surat, members of the Rajput Karni Sena and some other groups took to streets in the Katargam, Kapodra and Puna areas, police said.
The state in-charge DGP Pramod Kumar announced deployment of the State Reserve Police (SRP) and the Rapid Action Force (RAF) to tackle the situation, as protests spread, particularly in Surat.
“During the last 48 hours, some people in the garb of holding protests, have tried to disturb peace in the state by engaging in arson, damaging property and by blocking roads. As many as eight buses have been either set ablaze or damaged in north Gujarat during this period,” Mr Kumar told reporters in Gandhinagar.
“In view of the current situation, I have asked police officials to take a stern action against the perpetrators,” he said, adding that several people have been arrested in connection with the protests.
“We will not spare anyone who will break the law. Along with regular police, we have deployed SRP and RAF in affected areas,” the top cop said.
Meanwhile, terming the protests as “natural”, Mr Chudasama said, “If a you distort historical facts and present it in a movie, it is quite natural that people will protest.”
“Though the Supreme Court had stayed our notification banning the release of the movie, the state government is taking legal opinion,” he said.
Surat police commissioner Satish Sharma said that police resorted to baton charge to disperse protesters.
“Some protesters suddenly came on roads in different areas of the city today. As they tried to block roads, we were forced to do a baton charge. At two places, protesters even misbehaved with policemen. The situation is under control now. We have arrested 16 people,” the police commissioner said.
Due to protests, the state bus service suspended bus operations in Mehsana, Patan, Gandhinagar, Sabarkantha and Banaskantha districts till the situation improves, state road transport corporation , Secretary, KD Desai, said.
Buses plying between Ahmedabad and the northern region have been cancelled since last night amid the fear of miscreants making these vehicles their soft target, the official said.
“Owing to the attacks in parts of north Gujarat yesterday, we have temporarily suspended our operations for Gandhinagar, Himmatnagar, Mehsana and Banaskantha. The services to other destinations, such as those in central and south Gujarat, are on as per the schedule,” he said.
Mr Desai said that though they tried to resume the service in Gandhinagar this morning, some people targeted a bus at a village in the district.
Following the bus service’s decision, several passengers were stranded.
Last night, agitators community allegedly set ablaze three buses in different parts of Mehsana. They also damaged the window panes of at least six buses in the region, according to the district police.
The protesters had also tried to block roads by burning tyres in some parts of Banaskantha, Mehsana, Surendranagar and Bhuj in protest against the film.
Thousands of women brandishing swords on Sunday took out a ‘Chetavani Rally’ or a warning march in Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh town to warn the authorities to stop the release of ‘Padmaavat’ or else be prepared for ‘jauhar’ by them.
A total of 1,908 women have already registered for performing ‘jauhar’ (committing suicide by jumping into fire) in Chittorgarh.
The protesters began their march from the Chittorgarh Fort and ended it at the main market in the town where they submitted a memorandum addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to District Collector Indrajeet Singh.
The memorandum said that the march was taken out to ensure that Rani Padmini’s honour was maintained and the screening of the film, which is set for release on January 25, be stopped or else the Rajput women will perform ‘jauhar’ on January 24.
Shri Rajput Karni Sena Spokesperson Vijendra Singh said that the body will approach cinema hall owners across India in the next three days to request them not to screen the Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie.
“On Sunday, we contacted around 100 cinema halls in the National Capital Region and they have given in writing that they will not screen the film.”
However, he warned, in case cinema halls screened the movie, they will be responsible for the consequences.
A few cinema halls in Ahmedabad, Faridabad and Ballabhgarh were engaged in advance booking for the film and hence they had to face the community’s wrath, he added.
He said the organisation had called for a shutdown across the country on January 25 to protest against the film’s screening.