Call centre abruptly closes in Cape Breton leaving hundreds without work

first_imgSYDNEY, N.S. — More than 600 people have lost their jobs after a call centre in Cape Breton abruptly closed, leaving employees without work weeks before Christmas.ServiCom officials gathered workers at the operation in Sydney on Thursday to announce that it was shuttering the facility.Cecil Clarke, mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said in a statement Thursday evening that the sudden closure “came as a shock,” despite financial troubles on the part of ServiCom’s parent company. He says company representatives have indicated they are in the process of arranging the sale of the Sydney operation and “are hoping to have this situation resolved in next couple of days.”Clarke suggested it may be up and running again under new ownership.There were reports nearly 700 employees left the site Thursday with no pay, as police vehicles were parked outside.(CTV Atlantic, The Canadian Press)The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Four killed on Alberta Peace roads in less than 12 hours

first_imgPEACE RIVER, A.B. – Four people were killed and three seriously injured on roads in the Alberta Peace after four crashes occurred in the span of less than 12 hours – three of which happened less than two hours apart.At 3:43 on Tuesday afternoon, members of the Spirit River RCMP were dispatched to crash on Highway 2 at Township Road 763.A pickup truck travelling west on Township Road 763 collided with an unloaded semi-truck travelling south on Highway 2. Then on Wednesday morning, two more people were killed in a two-vehicle crash that occurred near Peace River.The crash happened just after 1:00 a.m. on Highway 2 near Range Road 252 and involved two SUV’s.The two occupants of one of the SUV’s, a man and a woman, were pronounced dead at the scene.RCMP Corporal Laurel Scott said that the identities of the two deceased have not yet been positively confirmed.Meanwhile, the two female passengers of the other SUV were airlifted to an Edmonton hospital with serious injuries.Highway 2 was closed for over six hours while the RCMP’s collision analyst investigated the scene, and the road reopened shortly before 7:30 this morning.Cpl. Scott added that at this point, it’s not known what caused the collision. At around 5:30, members of the High Prairie RCMP were called out to a single-vehicle rollover collision on Alberta Highway 750 in the community of Grouard, approximately 30 kilometres northeast of High Prairie.Police say that a northbound car crossed the highway’s centre line and went into the ditch on the opposite side of the road before it rolled onto its roof.The lone occupant, a 48-year-old man from McLennan, Alberta was pronounced dead at the scene.The RCMP say that their investigation is ongoing, and are asking anyone who witnessed the crash to contact High Prairie Detachment.center_img The 84-year-old driver of the pickup was airlifted by STARS to an Edmonton hospital in serious condition, while the driver of the semi was unscathed.An hour later, police responded to a two-vehicle collision on Highway 49 and Range Road 110.Police say that according to the preliminary investigation, a tractor-trailer unit travelling westbound on Highway 49 was attempting to pass a tractor, which was hauling hay.At the intersection of Range Road 110, the tractor initiated a left turn, and the two vehicles collided.The 74-year-old male driver of the tractor was declared dead at the scene, while the driver of the semi was uninjured.The Spirit River RCMP saw that both collisions remain under investigation.last_img read more

Xi Jinping’s BRI faces criticism during China’s political sessions

first_imgBeijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping’s much-touted Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has come under criticism at the annual political sessions of the country, a rare dissent in China’s one party political system, according to a media report Wednesday. The annual sessions of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Conference (NPC) began on March 3 and due to end on March 15. The CPPCC consisting of over 2,000 delegates is a national advisory body with nominated representatives from various walks of life. the NPC which also has over 2,000 legislators is often regarded as rubber stamp parliament for its routine endorsement of laws and policies formulated by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC). Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi JinpingWhile dissent and disagreements are a rarity in China, murmurs of criticism that too against Xi’s BRI, which reportedly carries over trillion USD investment budget, surfaced during the discussions at the two sessions, Hong Kong based South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday. While the two sessions are being held in the backdrop of increasing apprehensions over the adverse impact of the ongoing trade war with the US and continued slowdown of the China’s economy, a former Chinese diplomat Ye Dabo has questioned whether it was accurate for Premier Li Keqiang to say in his government work report that the BRI had made “important progress” last year. Li presented the work report to the NPC on March 5 for adoption. “I think this evaluation may be a bit excessive,” Ye said at the panel discussion which was open to foreign journalists.last_img read more

UNbacked gathering examining future of the fight against drugs in sport gets

26 October 2009A United Nations-backed conference tasked with identifying ways to eliminate drug cheats from sport kicked off in Paris today, focusing on the use of a $2.2 million donation to help national or international anti-doping projects. The three-day gathering of around 250 government representatives at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Headquarters will discuss the future of the fight against doping in sport with respect to an international anti-doping treaty.The 2005 International Convention against Doping in Sport, which promotes no advance notice, out-of-competition and in-competition testing, was adopted unanimously by UNESCO’s General Conference in October 2005.Ratified by 127 countries to date, it is the first worldwide binding legal instrument that imposes uniform rules, tests and sanctions against using performance-enhancing substances and methods.The Conference of States Parties to the Convention will examine the administration of the $2.2 million UNESCO-created Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sport, which since 2008 has helped seven projects in Africa (Mali, Mozambique and Seychelles), the Americas (Barbados, Jamaica and Uruguay) and Europe (Albania). In addition, it is also slated to adopt a list of substances and methods banned in sport by 1 January 2010. It will also as examine the electronic system set up by UNESCO to monitor the implementation of the Convention. A report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) about the implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code will also be presented at the conference. The Code stipulates that any government which shall omit to ratify the Convention by 1 January 2010, or which shall subsequently not comply with it, shall no longer be admissible as a candidate for organizing sports events. read more

Former Crimes OIC of Narahenpita police remanded till May 5

The former Crimes Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Narahenpita police Sumith Perera was tiday remanded till May 5.He was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) yesterday in connection to the case over the murder of former Sri Lanka National rugger player Wasim Thajudeen. The police said that Sumith Perera was arrested for allegedly concealing evidence related to the murder.Thajudeen was found dead inside his car in Kirulapone on May 17, 2012. (Colombo Gazette)

Four killed 8 injured in Puttalam accident

The van was travelling to Colombo from Jaffna when it crashed into the truck travelling on the opposite direction.The driver of the van was among those killed. The Police said that the driver of the truck was arrested over the accident. (Colombo Gazette) Four people were killed and eight others sustained injuries following an accident in Puttalam today.The accident involved a van and a truck along the Puttalam – Colombo main road.

Ranil telephones Maldives President to congratulate him on polls win

Concluding the call, the President wished both the Prime Minister and President of Sri Lanka a Happy Sinhala and Tamil New Year in advance. (Colombo Gazette) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, spoke on the telephone with Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to congratulate him on his party’s strong electoral performance in the recently held Maldives Majlis elections of 2019, which witnessed the Maldives’ Democratic Party secure 65 out of a possible 87 seats in Parliament, the Maldives President’s office said.President Solih accepted the Prime Minister’s congratulations and thanked him for his call. President Solih expressed that he felt humbled by the strong level of support that the citizens of the Maldives have shown in the Government and reiterated his commitment to delivering on their pledges to the Maldivian people. The Prime Minister and President then spoke with respect to the longstanding and friendly relations between the Maldives and Sri Lanka and expressed their mutual eagerness to cooperate on a range of bilateral issues, especially in the spheres of tourism, increasing bilateral and regional trade and private sector collaboration. read more

Sackler family member ordered to testify in opioid case

COVENTRY, R.I. — A Connecticut court has ordered a member of the family that owns Purdue Pharma to testify in Rhode Island’s lawsuit against the drug maker over its role in the national opioid epidemic.The Providence Journal reports the Connecticut Superior Court ruled this week that Jonathan Sackler must testify in a suit filed last year by Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha.A Rhode Island judge earlier this month rejected a motion to dismiss the lawsuit that was filed by the Connecticut-based company, its Coventry-based subsidiary Rhodes Pharmaceuticals and other companies named in the suit.Sackler, a Connecticut resident, was served with a subpoena to testify in May and sought a protective order from his state’s court. Representatives for the family and company didn’t comment.___Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.providencejournal.comThe Associated Press read more

UN food agency launches push to feed 1 million Afghan schoolchildren

WFP Executive Director Catherine Bertini stressed that well-fed and educated children are key to Afghanistan’s future. “By providing food to the country’s poor students, we can make sure they are well nourished, are able to concentrate on their lessons and, most importantly, are given a new start in life,” she said. The school feeding project is central to WFP’s new nine-month, $285 million operation to provide immediate relief to millions of Afghans and to support longer-term rehabilitation and reconstruction in the country. Under the project, Afghan children will receive fortified bread, which the agency said would be critical in combating malnutrition and scurvy among Afghan children. Based on 40 years of experience feeding students in over 50 countries, the Rome-based agency said school meals serve to entice poor children to attend classes while enhancing performance and providing essential nutrients to help children grow. When school officially begins in Afghanistan later this week, Afghan girls will be allowed to attend for the first time in six years, exercising a right that was denied to them by Taliban edict. Hailing this progress, Ms. Bertini stressed that in order to improve Afghan society as a whole, “we need to involve and educate women, young and old.” read more

Two Brock grad students earn prestigious national scholarship

Two graduate students from Brock University have been recognized for their work with a national scholarship for up-and-coming researchers.Drew Marquardt and Royette Tavernier were recently awarded Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) for their academic achievements, leadership skills and research potential.“We congratulate Drew and Royette on their success at this highly competitive and prestigious national stage of research funding,” says Michael Plyley, Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies.“As winners of Vanier awards, Drew and Royette are recognized as outstanding young researchers,” he says. “They will not only contribute to Canada’s growing reputation around the world for excellence in research and higher learning, but will also lead future discoveries, creativity and innovation to benefit communities everywhere.”Marquardt, who completed his undergraduate degree in chemistry and master’s in physics at Brock, is the recipient of an NSERC Vanier CGS that will support his future PhD work in biophysics at the University.His research program, “Vitamin E’s biological role,” aims to better understand why vitamin E is such an “essential” vitamin for humans, especially for reproduction.“My project is to make a link between the structure of vitamin E and its role in the human cell,” says Marquardt.Marquardt will be looking at whether vitamin E’s location in a cell membrane plays a role in a human cell. He will be using technology that scatters neutrons, which enables scientists to examine the tiniest materials. Part of this research is based on his work at the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre in Chalk River, Ont.Royette Tavernier, who completed her master’s in child and youth studies at Brock, was awarded a SSHRC Vanier CGS. Her award will support her PhD work in psychology at the University, which will examine how students adjust to significant “turning points” in their lives.Her research program is entitled, “Turning Points: The Association Between Positive Meaning-Making and Psychological Well-Being Among Canadian Students.”“This research will increase our understanding of how Canadian students cope with significant life events, and will give counsellors important information about how they can help Canadians deal effectively with the stress of their life events,” says Tavernier.Her research aims to determine whether or not students who created positive meanings from their turning points also experience greater psychological well-being and successes in their academic and social lives.The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship was created to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and to establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. Each of the recipients receives $50,000 a year for three years, to help them as they pursue and complete their doctoral studies. read more

Foster OSU adjusting after initial Big Ten struggles

If the No. 24-ranked Ohio State women’s basketball team (11-6, 2-3) is going to win a seventh straight Big Ten championship, coach Jim Foster knows he’s going to have to make some adjustments. The Buckeyes, who returned all five starters from their 2009-10 Big Ten championship team, have hit an untimely slump as they’ve entered conference play, having lost five of their last eight games. In an attempt to spark the OSU offense, Foster has moved Samantha Prahalis off the ball and away from her customary point guard position, and has given more ball handling duties to sophomore Tayler Hill. “It’s called playing basketball,” Foster said. “We weren’t really shooting the three particularly well, and Sammy right now is probably our best 3-point shooter. So, when you’re off the ball, and you have a penetrator like Tayler in the game and a penetrator like Amber Stokes in the game, we don’t need Sammy to be a penetrator. We need her to be a shooter.” Hill, former OSU men’s point guard P.J. Hill’s sister, is no stranger to the point guard position. When Prahalis was suspended for the first three games of the season for a secondary rules violation, Hill took over the point guard role, playing all 40 minutes of all three games. Hill said the reps she got in those first three games made her more confident in her new role. “The first game, I think I had seven or eight turnovers,” Hill said, “and (my teammates) were still behind me like, ‘You got it. We need you.’” OSU’s leading scorer, Jantel Lavender said there’s a contrast between Hill’s and Prahalis’ styles of play. “Sammy might do something flashy and she can see the open floor,” Lavender said. “Tayler just gets the ball where it needs to go.” Foster agreed. “Tayler’s strength is her strength. She’s a very strong guard that can get into seams and use her strength to get good penetration,” Foster said. “Sammy has got to use deceptiveness and her quickness to get there.” Despite the differences between Hill and Prahalis, Foster insisted his decision to give more point guard duties to Hill is about giving opposing defenses different looks, and is not because of Prahalis’ play. “Prahalis is the best open-floor player in the country, OK?” Foster said. “When we’re in transition, aka the Oklahoma game, what she does is absolutely terrific.” The Buckeyes, who beat Michigan State, 67-53, on Sunday, will look to improve their conference record this week when they take on Illinois at 8 p.m. Thursday in Champaign. Foster said he’s tired of using losses as learning lessons for his team. “The only thing you can learn from them is whether or not your effort was what it needed to be,” he said. “That’s the only byproduct.” read more

EHF Cup Road to Berlin Montpellier and Szeged to 14 finals

1. Pick Szeged4400122:110(12)8 2. Reale Ademar Leon4121114:106(8)4 Group B: 1. Montpellier Agglomeration HB4400124:97(27)8 1. Füchse Berlin4310122:111(11)7 Group C: 2. Chambery Savoie Handball4211112:104(8)5 Four teams have already secured their places at EHF Cup 1/4 finals this season. Hungarian PIK Szeged and French Montpellier booked their tickets for the final stage before F4 tournament in Berlin, with four victories in a row. Close to that stage are also Portuguese Sporting CP and last year finalist HBC Nantes. Sporting beat Danish Skjern 32:25 in their first clash, and Danes have to made a real surprise by beating rival with 8 or more goals in second match in Portugal.In same situation will be Slovakian Tatran Presov. SEHA F4 team will have to beat French HBC Nantes with over than 10 goals (first match 37:27, what is almost impossible) in front of domestic fans.The most interesting situatio is in Group A, where four teams have chances to progress to the next round. Currently the last team is German Hannover, which was the first favorite to win the group before the start…Group A: Group D: 3. TATRAN Presov4103124:135(-11)2 3. Skjern Handbold410397:108(-11)2 4. TSV Hannover-Burgdorf4112113:124(-11)3 1. Lugi HF4211112:109(3)5 4. IFK Kristianstad400499:115(-16)0 4. HC Zomimak-M400491:140(-49)0 3. Csurgói KK4202106:106(0)4 2. HBC Nantes4301116:101(15)6 4. HC Sporta Hlohovec400494:120(-26)0 3. HCM Constanta4121117:110(7)4 2. Sporting CP4301134:101(33)6 EHF CuphandballMontpellierPick Szegedroad to berlin handballSporting Lisbon ← Previous Story Balic will stay in HSG Wetzlar or end career! Next Story → EUPHORIA: Metalurg sold-out tickets for KIF in 17 minutes! read more

Biodiversité quand autour des arbres morts la vie renaît

first_imgBiodiversité : quand autour des arbres morts, la vie renaîtLes intempéries n’épargnent pas les forêts françaises depuis le début de l’année. Des milliers d’arbres se sont effondrés sous le poids du vent et des tempêtes. A priori, un désastre pour l’environnement. Ce que l’on sait moins, c’est que les arbres morts offrent un nouvel écosystème pour la faune et la flore.Gérardmer dans l’oeil de la mini-tornade, c’était la semaine dernière. Quand les rafales de vent arrachaient la charpente du toit du lycée, les habitants tremblaient pour leurs maisons. Maisons sinistrées, coupures de courant, aliments faisandés. Ailleurs, dans les forêts des Vosges, des centaines d’arbres se sont couchés sous le poids de la tempête. Des dizaines d’hectares de forêt ont été abattus par la force des intempéries.Quand mère nature se met à gronder, l’Homme ne peut que constater les dégâts et se prémunir contre une potentielle récidive. Dans la forêt d’arbres morts, la vie a quitté les végétaux, les nids d’oiseaux ont été détruits, les mammifères ont dû fuir leur terrier ou leur abri. Dans ce triste contexte, un espoir renaît : les troncs mis à terre se laissent envahir d’une quantité d’organisme qui se repaissent d’une manne enfin accessible.Les insectes ouvrent la voie aux bactériesLes débris de bois, au sol, sont directement ingérés par une foule d’insectes, d’oiseaux ou de petits mammifères. Leur “taux d’occupation” dépend du type d’arbre tombé (les pins s’effritent plus facilement que les chênes), du lieu de la chute et de la manière dont l’arbre se retrouve au sol.Les troncs dont les branches annexes restent en contact avec la terre, et qui restent ainsi “suspendus”, pourrissent moins vite que ceux qui sont directement en contact avec le sol, là où l’humidité est la plus forte. Face aux arbres tombés dans le sens de la pente, les troncs en parallèle auront tendance à rouler, emportant avec eux des débris et de l’eau, favorisant l’érosion du sol.Une fois figé, le tronc sèche. Il se morcèle et offre des portes d’entrée aux insectes. Les scarabées, les fourmis, les termites s’engouffrent dans le bois, emmenant avec eux des bactéries et des spores fongiques qui contribuent au démantèlement de l’arbre.Un cycle de vie qui se régénère À lire aussiPourquoi certains s’évanouissent-ils à la vue du sang ?L’écorce intérieure de l’arbre et l’aubier, cette partie juste sous l’écorce, tendre et blanchâtre, riches en nutriments, sont les premiers à être exploités. Les insectes contribuent ainsi à fragiliser l’écorce extérieure. Le coeur du bois, la partie la plus dure et la plus pauvre en nutriments est la dernière à se désintégrer. Associés au pourrissement de l’arbre, de petits rongeurs peuvent créer des espaces suffisamment grands pour que des vertébrés puissent y élire domicile.  Durant les étés les plus chauds ou les plus secs, le bois pourri fournit un paradis de fraîcheur et d’humidité pour une kyrielle d’animaux et sert de réservoir aux racines des plantes.À terme, le tronc rend se confond en un humus fertile, spongieux et riche en minéraux. L’origine de sa fertilité tient à la diversité de l’activité biologique qui fournit un dépôt riche en nitrogène, à l’intérieur et autour du tronc effondré. Une pépinière pour de nouveaux arbres a été ainsi créée, grâce à la tempête initiale.Le 9 juillet 2012 à 12:18 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Trump Signs Directive to Establish US Space Force

first_img Scientists Discover Possible Interstellar VisitorWater Vapor Detected on Potentially ‘Habitable’ Planet President Trump on Tuesday signed a directive to establish a new branch of the military dedicated to handling threats in space.The United States Space Force will become the sixth division of the U.S. Armed Forces, as a component of the Air Force (like the Marines under the Navy).“This is an important step toward a future military department for space,” according to Space Policy Directive 4, the text of which was published by the White House.A Space Force, as described in the document, would be authorized to “organize, train, and equip military space forces … to ensure unfettered access to, and freedom to operate in, space, and to provide vital capabilities to joint and coalition forces in peacetime and across the spectrum of conflict.”Before anyone can ensure America’s sovereignty among the stars, though, the proposal must be OKed by Congress, where it will be submitted in the “coming weeks,” Reuters reported.Trump in March floated the idea of launching a space force to fight cosmic enemies.The US already boasts an Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force. There’s plenty of room and funding for another division, right?“We’re doing a tremendous amount of work in space,” he said at the time. “I said, ‘Maybe we need a new force. We’ll build a space force.’ And I was not really serious. And then I said, ‘What a great idea. Maybe we’ll have to do that. That could happen. That could be the big breaking story.’”Except, it’s not a novel idea: The House Armed Services Committee in 2017 voted to create a U.S. Space Corps, which would absorb the Air Force’s current celestial missions.If approved, the Space Force would become the nation’s first new military service since 1947.More on Carell to Lead New Netflix Series Inspired by Trump’s Space ForceVote For Your Favorite ‘Space Force’ LogoU.S. Air Force Creates Space Mission Force to Prevent War in Space Stay on targetlast_img read more

Neville – I loved Mourinhos celebration against Juve

Neville – I loved Mourinhos celebration against Juve

first_imgSky Sports pundit Gary Neville says he liked Jose Mourinho’s celebrations after Manchester United beat Juventus in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.manchester United had the perfect preparation for the Manchester derby on Sunday with an unbelievable 2-1 comeback away win at Juventus on Wednesday, a victory that Mourinho celebrated in a perceived controversial manner that angered Juve players and fans.Mourinho cupped his ears to the Juve fans with a huge grin on his face, and Neville has come in support of the Portuguese.“Some people might may not like that but I love that about him,” former United defender Neville told Sky Sports.Jose Mourinho, Lionel MessiMourinho: “Lionel Messi made me a better coach” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho believes the experience of going up against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at Real Madrid made him a greater coach.“I think there should be reaction and passion at the end of a match. I even like his reaction at the end of the game against Newcastle, which the FA have appealed against.“To me, Jose’s best qualities were always that he was impossible when he was losing and impossible when he was winning and it was always enthralling to watch and he always brought everyone along the line.“When I think of him in the press conference after the Juventus game and some of the one-liners he came out with, compared to where he was a few weeks ago, and the day before the Newcastle game, that’s a massive difference. He has hung in there and shown determination.”last_img read more

ASA Urges Support of Tax Extenders Bill

first_imgExtender Letter Dec 18 2017 In a letter to House and Senate leaders, ASA and fellow farm groups urged Congress to approve a “seamless, multi-year extension of the tax extenders before the end of 2017.” Such a package would include the ASA priority of an extension of the important Biodiesel Tax Credit.The full letter can be accessed at the link below:last_img

Strictly business Retailers show us shoppers you care

first_imgThe changing colors of late September always make me thankful to live in a region with pronounced seasons, each with its own weather pattern and set of cultural traditions.And just as I am grateful to see the summer heat give way to the crisp days of fall, retailers are probably even more thankful for the approaching holiday season. I mean, what merchant wouldn’t appreciate the period that generates nearly 40 percent of its yearly sales?I just wish those merchants would show us customers more gratitude for helping them reach those sales goals.Really, all it takes is a “Thank you,” but that’s not what I’m hearing these days.Instead, most retail employees have replaced the traditional “Thank you” at the close of each sale with the much less sincere “Have a nice day,” an expression that almost invites me to get the heck out of that stuffy old mall or big box or boutique store and enjoy the fall weather.In fact, the phrase “Have a nice day” tells me nothing about whether the retailer appreciates my patronage and wants me back. It just plain sounds phony and flat, especially when uttered by a sales associate who cannot make eye contact.And while you might think the phrase “Thank you” is as old as the hills, it’s still more appropriate for a commercial exchange. Sadly, that saying has all but disappeared from face-to-face commerce, from what I’ve observed.last_img read more

Small plane makes emergency landing in Sarasota

Small plane makes emergency landing in Sarasota

first_imgSARASOTA, Fla. (WSVN) – A small plane had to make an emergency landing in Sarasota after having technical issues, Friday.Passengers had to endure that rough ride after the back wheels of the plane started sparking the runway. Moments later, the plane swerved into the grass before coming to a halt.The pilot was forced to land when a wheel fell off shortly after leaving Belize in Central America.Emergency crews rushed to help the four passengers inside but no one was hurt.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Myanmar says it terminated US diplomat Richardson

Myanmar says it terminated US diplomat Richardson

first_imgRichardsonMyanmar on Thursday said it made the decision to dump US diplomat Bill Richardson from an advisory panel on the Rohingya crisis, accusing the veteran politician of a “personal attack” on Aung San Suu Kyi in his stinging resignation letter.The war of words has heaped embarrassment on Suu Kyi whose star as a rights defender continues to plummet over her failure to speak out for the Rohingya in the face of overwhelming evidence of the Muslim minority group’s suffering.Suu Kyi’s office said that during discussions in Myanmar’s capital on January 22, “it became evident” that Richardson was not interested in providing advice as one of five international members of a new panel on a crisis that has seen nearly 690,000 Rohingya flee a military crackdown to Bangladesh.”In view of the difference of opinion that developed, the government decided that his continued participation on the board would not be in the best interest of all concerned,” the office said in an English statement posted on Facebook.The Burmese-language version said they decided to “terminate” his participation.Myanmar’s explanation stands in stark contrast to Richardson’s, who after his three-day visit to the country said he could not in “good conscience” sit on a panel he feared would only “whitewash” the causes of the Rohingya crisis.He tore into Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi for an “absence of moral leadership” over the problem, and described her “furious response” to his calls to free two Reuters journalists arrested while covering the crisis.A Myanmar government spokesman hit back earlier on Thursday, accusing the former New Mexico Governor of overstepping the mark.”He should review himself over his personal attack against our State Counsellor,” government spokesman Zaw Htay told AFP, using Suu Kyi’s official title.Urging understanding instead of blame, Zaw Htay said the issue of the arrests was beyond Richardson’s mandate and he should not have brought it up at his meeting with Suu Kyi.The heated discussion left Myanmar’s leader “quivering” with rage, Richardson told the New York Times.- Tepid response -The Reuters journalists, Myanmar nationals Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, face a possible 14 years in prison under the Official Secrets Act for allegedly possessing classified documents that they say were given to them by two policemen.They had been reporting on the crisis in Rakhine state, where Myanmar troops are accused of waging a vicious ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya that has prompted accusations of murder, rape and arson at the hands of troops and vigilante mobs.The military operations started after Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts in August.Though Myanmar says it is ready to start repatriating refugees, many fear returning, and some 300 more families crossed the border in recent days after several houses were burned down in Buthidaung township, said Chris Lewa from the Arakan Project, a monitoring group that closely tracks Rakhine.Suu Kyi’s tepid response to the crisis and failure to openly rebuke the military has punctured her reputation as a rights icon.Myanmar analyst Khin Zaw Win said Richardson’s words could deliver a “much-needed jolt for Aung San Suu Kyi and for the people around her who are not reporting the truth to her.”Aaron L. Connelly from the Lowy Institute for International Policy told AFP that the description of the conversation between Richardson and Suu Kyi should “finally dispel the myth that she privately holds views which she cannot express publicly”.Richardson joined the Myanmar board as a private citizen, but the US State Department said the Washington administration shares many of his concerns.After his trip to Myanmar, the diplomat said he was shocked by the panel members’ disparagement of the media, the UN, human rights groups and the international community.Richardson could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.Fellow members of the advisory board, which included five Myanmar nationals, defended their work on Thursday and denied participating in a whitewashing of the crisis.”Bill Richardson was making his comments too early and it’s very unfortunate from that angle,” South African national and panel member Roelof Petrus Meyer told reporters in Yangon.last_img read more