17 Jan

Dataram’s ex-wife, 3 others to stand trial

first_imgWest Demerara drug bustThe ex-wife of self-confessed drug baron Barry Dataram and three other persons are to stand trial starting August 3, 2016 for the 76.9kg of cannabis found in their possession earlier this month.This ruling was handed down by Magistrate Christel Lambert on Friday at the Vreed-en-Hoop Magistrate’s Court.Sheleza Khan, Dataram’s ex-wife, was charged along with Balkhrison “Johnny” Ramdass, Felicia Laundry and Andrea Karan for trafficking in narcotics.Ramdass was the lone accused who appeared in court on Friday.According to the prosecution, between June 7 and 9, 2016 at 54 Almond Avenue, Roraima Housing Scheme, West Bank Demerara, they were in possession of 76. 910kg of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking.Ramdass was also slapped with a second charge which stated that he solicited persons to traffic narcotics.According to the prosecution, Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) officers, acting on information received from a source, swooped down on the house where the drug was found.On June 13, the four defendants appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts and were all remanded, while the matter was transferred to the Vreed-en-Hoop Magistrate’s Court.It is believed that at the time of the raid, the marijuana was being prepared to be shipped abroad as most of it was in sealed plastic packages.In court on Friday, Attorney-at-Law Mark Waldron made an unsuccessful bail application for his clients, Khan, Laundry and Karan, on the grounds that they were not in control of the cannabis at the time of their arrest.Ramdass’ Attorney, Gordon Gilhuys, also unsuccessfully made a bail application.The CANU Prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that the Unit was in possession of video footage which showed the defendants all handling the narcotics.The Prosecutor also disclosed that after the raid, it was discovered that the house had equipment like sealing machines, etc, which indicated that there was a huge operation ongoing.Bail was denied and the defendants are to return to court on July 8 for statements and then on August 3 when the trial will commence.last_img read more

12 Jan

All workers should be paid equally – Hinds

first_imgGovt’s “differentiated approach” to wagesGovernment’s proposal to pay public servants based on their performance has been placed under scrutiny, as political commentator Dr David Hinds said the deal might do more harm than good.Dr David HindsHe said Government instead of going that route, should pay every worker a living wage.Government has proposed to the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) that a “differentiated approach” (performance-based salary increase) replace the across-the-board percentage increase usually paid to public servants.“I think it is something worth thinking about. I think they are talking about paying the workers based on performance and I think there are some problems with that. I think all workers should be paid a living wage,” Hinds told Guyana Times.The Arizona University professor said that he was very much sceptical about the proposal, which the GPSU said it was going to consider.Government and the Public Service representative late last week entered into bilateral talks, and several proposals and considerations were made by both parties.The performance-based proposal had sprung from a previous pronouncement made by President David Granger, driving home the message that lazy public servants would receive a lazy person’s pay.But Hinds said this proposal was one that should be carefully considered by Government.“If you’re talking about performance, then that should be on top of workers being paid a living wage. I’m very sceptical about the talk of performance, because people come to the workplace with different challenges. You will have the woman who is a single parent, who has five children to deal with in the morning before she comes to work. She comes to the workplace sometimes with tremendous pressure on her head that could affect her performance on the job and if you’re talking about paying her based on performance and not taking into consideration the social situation, I think you are running into a situation,” he explained.He said while a salary increase based on performance was not in itself a bad thing, he still remained sceptical.“One has to be careful that that approach does not lead to a hierarchy at the workplace that could in the long run defeat the purpose. Further, one has to be careful that it is not being used to discriminate against workers who may be at odds with management or too vocal at the workplace.”He said attention should also be placed on the social circumstances of the individual workers, because workers came from different households and they brought to the workplace their different experiences.“There are kinds of social factors that could influence workers’ performances. Workers from stable households may start with an advantage. The system of evaluation, therefore, has to be fair, just and transparent. Perhaps a compromise could be reached where the bulk of the salary increases are given across the board and the remainder is based on performance,” Dr Hinds stated.He also said he was not negating the fact that there were workers who neglected their work, but that has to be addressed. “But I don’t think that we should lump all workers who do not perform.”Day one of talks between the GPSU and Government on public servants’ wages and salaries for 2016 culminated with the Union agreeing to look at the State’s proposal to replace the across-the-board increase.According to a joint statement issued last Wednesday, following discussions, the two parties entered into the agreement.“GPSU agrees to explore the Government’s proposal for the differentiated approach to replace the across-the-board percentage increase,” the release stated.The parties also agreed that the negotiations were conducted in the spirit and obligations of the Memorandum of Agreement between the GPSU and the Public Service Ministry now Department for the avoidance and settlement of disputes.The bargaining unit is to consist of persons employed under the Department of the Public Service (DPS) and Public Service Commission (PSC), including those on contract, the statement detailed. An agreement also was made for a committee to be initiated to make recommendations to the negotiating team on allowances for public servants as soon as possible.The negotiating team is scheduled to meet again today.Meanwhile, while talks were ongoing, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon sought to respond to complaints by the Union that Government omitted allowance negotiations from the discussions. He explained that the Administration preferred a sequential process when engaging in these discussions.Speaking at the post-Cabinet press briefing on Wednesday, the Minister said the letter from the Union detailing the concern was received after the conclusion of the Cabinet meeting.“We have indicated to the Union upon receipt of the letter which voiced their concerns and we have made known to them that we prefer a sequential process when engaging in these negotiations. We would not lump wages and salaries with allowances, our preference is to take it consecutively,” Harmon said.The Minister of State disclosed that the Government wrote the Union explaining that it had no intention of omitting allowances.“We did say that for over 20 years, the allowances hadn’t been touched and, therefore, we could not now, in our first year in Government, say that we are not going to touch allowances, so we did communicate to the Union that wages, salaries and allowances will be dealt with, but we prefer to deal with them one after the other.”The GPSU on Tuesday, in accepting an invitation from the Ministry of the Presidency to commence negations on public servants’ wages and salaries, noted that it wanted discussions on allowances to be included on the agenda.GPSU President Patrick Yarde had said that the invitation omitted negotiations on allowances, which the Union would not stand for.Minister Harmon stated that the Union’s comments were expected.“I must say that I am not surprised that the Union has started off that way, because usually that is how unions operate, but we know that the atmosphere in which these negotiations take place, it is a friendly atmosphere where there is no antagonism between the Public Service Union and the Government’s side and, therefore, both sides will negotiate and negotiate hard,” Harmon remarked.He noted that Government was optimistic about the negotiations.last_img read more

12 Jan

Mark Pillswort wins Travellers Curling Club Championship

first_imgThe Fort St. John Curling Club hosted the Travellers Curling Club Championship over the weekend which served as a zones tournament for teams in the region. In the men’s final Mark Pillswort’s Grande Prairie team booked their tickets to provincials in October in Calgary with a 6-5 victory.After the victory he said the ice was difficult to navigate which forced the team to stay mentally sharp throughout the finals.“It was challenging. We were on sheet one and there was some spots that would curl lots and some spots that were straight. You had to focus the whole game and any mental slip and you were missing shots.”- Advertisement -Heading into the final end Pillswort was crossing his fingers for an easy shot with his final stone, but wound up not even needing to throw it.“We just had to keep it clean and have an easy open shot and not make it too complicated for my last. The guys ended up playing a pretty good end so I didn’t have to throw my last.”The event was Pillswort’s fifth time competing at zones and the win was his first victory after a few defeats previously in the finalsAdvertisementlast_img read more

11 Jan

Sword-wielding man shot to death by police

first_imgSYLMAR – A sword-wielding man who police believe set fire to two church buildings and stabbed a parishioner was shot dead Wednesday by undercover officers, authorities said. Officers in plainclothes found the man hiding in the underbelly of a freeway overpass near the All Nations Church property about 6:30 p.m., said LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore. “He was found and a confrontation ensued … The suspect was shot and killed,” Moore said. The man died at the scene and he was not immediately identified. The man was hiding in the 210 Freeway overpass where it stretches over the Tujunga Wash. Police said weapons were found in the crawl space where the man was found and shot, roughly 30 yards from church grounds. Police believe it was the same man who on Tuesday wore green military fatigues and carried a 4-foot sword and a dagger when he attacked a man playing the drums inside a building at the church. The assailant also set fire to two office buildings on the property. The sword sliced the drummer’s arm when he tried to block the blow. The victim, whose name was not released, was taken to a hospital, treated and released, police said. The attacker was described as 30 to 40 years old, with tattoos on his face and arms. Officers gave up the hunt about 10 p.m. Tuesday, but searched for the suspect all day Wednesday. Police said fire officials responded to another stabbing report at the church about six months ago and are investigating to see if the cases are linked. The House of Worship Task Force, made up of representatives from the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department and FBI, is investigating the crime. Police knew of no motive for the attacks. After the attack, the suspect fled from the building and police chased him for a short time before he ran into a storm pipe and got away, LAPD Office Jason Lee said. rick.coca@dailynews.com (818) 713-3329160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

6 Jan

Guarin is happy at Inter, insists agent

first_img Fredy Guarin 1 Fredy Guarin’s agent has denied he is angry to still be at Inter Milan.The Colombian was reportedly a man in demand over the summer, with Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Juventus all linked with him.A move failed to materialise, however, and some reports have suggested Guarin was upset not to leave the club.But his agent, Marcelona Ferreyra, says he is happy to be at the San Siro and  will show his best form for Inter as a result.“I want to make it clear Guarin never requested a transfer,” Ferreyra told Calciomercato.com.“Fredy is happy at Inter, always has been and will continue to be. We are absolutely not thinking about the transfer market.“Fredy has everything he wants at Inter and has no need to go elsewhere. From what I hear, the offers were received by Inter.“Walter Mazzarri will get the best out of him, just as he did last year.”last_img read more

3 Jan

Spector judge changes his mind

first_imgBut Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler called jurors in and asked them how the court might help them break the deadlock, which the foreman said is a 7-5 split without indicating which direction the panel was leaning. Several jurors spoke up, citing differences of opinion among them on the evidence and on the concept of reasonable doubt. The judge said outside their presence that he would have to tell the jury that deciding reasonable doubt is “an individual determination” that is part of the deliberation process. However, he later decided to withdraw a jury instruction that seemed to confuse a few jurors. In order to convict Spector of second- degree murder it required them to find that “the defendant must have committed an act that caused the death of Lana Clarkson.” It went on to specify that the act was pointing a gun at her, which resulted in the gun entering her mouth while in Spector’s hand. TRIAL: He says deadlocked jury would be influenced if he let it consider lesser charge. By Linda Deutsch THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The judge in Phil Spector’s trial retracted his idea of giving the deadlocked jury a new instruction Wednesday on a lesser charge than second-degree murder, saying it would be tantamount to telling them to convict the record producer of involuntary manslaughter. “I think some jurors may have a question about whether every element of that instruction must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt,” one juror had said. The judge said that after re-reading the instruction, he decided that it misstates the law and was going to withdraw it. The defense objected, saying he would be sending a message to jurors who relied on the instruction that they had been wrong in their opinions. Fidler offered defense attorneys a chance to present new final arguments on the issue but they declined, saying that would just draw undue attention to it and would allow the prosecution to present a new theory of the case. The defense once more moved for a mistrial, which the judge refused. The possibility of giving the jury a new instruction to consider involuntary manslaughter was raised by the judge after the impasse was revealed, but he ultimately reasoned against it. “We’d all like this case to get resolved and have the jury arrive at a result,” said Fidler, who cited the five-month ordeal for jurors, the defendant and the family of Clarkson, the actress who died of a gunshot in the mouth at Spector’s mansion in 2003. “But at a certain point in deliberations after the jury has arrived at an impasse, to give them a new offense ? is essentially saying to them, `If you can’t find him guilty with what you have, try this,”‘ he said. “It would be inappropriate to instruct the jury at this time on a lesser offense of manslaughter,” he said. The judge rejected strenuous arguments from prosecutor Alan Jackson urging the instruction and accepted equally vigorous statements of law by defense attorney Bradley Brunon, who noted that the prosecution had never asked for an instruction on involuntary manslaughter and would be changing their theory of the case in midstream. Jackson said he wasn’t changing his theory, which could be applied to manslaughter as well as murder. But the judge challenged him: “If the facts are so clear why didn’t you argue them? Why didn’t you ask the court to include lessers?” Jackson said it was “our strategic position at the time.” More than an hour of arguments revolved around interpretations of California Supreme Court precedents, one dating to 1904. Fidler had thrown defense lawyers into a panic Tuesday when jurors reported the deadlock and he suggested that a case he had found might support giving an instruction on a lesser offense. But overnight, he said, he did further research that changed his mind. He said a new instruction would be perceived as telling them what to do. Spector, 67, is charged with murdering Clarkson in his Alhambra mansion on Feb. 3, 2003, a few hours after she met him at her job as a nightclub hostess and went home with him. The defense maintains Clarkson, 40, was depressed and shot herself either on purpose or by accident.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img
3 Jan

Tottenham XI: This team presents a “good problem” for Pochettino against Fiorentina

first_img Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has a full squad to pick from It’s the start of a tough couple of weeks for Tottenham, beginning with the Europa League last 32 first leg match against Fiorentina.Thankfully for Spurs fans, manager Mauricio Pochettino has a full strength squad to pick from due to a free weekend following their FA Cup exit.“Everyone is fit – this is important – and now I must pick the players for Thursday night,” Pochettino said.“It’s difficult for me to select the squad but that’s a good problem to have.”Possible Tottenham XI: 1 1 VIDEO: THE FIORENTINA GOAL THAT MADE THOUSANDS OF SPURS FANS SMILEWest Ham visit White Hart Lane after the Italian side, so the manager may save players for the London derby. Nabil Bentaleb, Ben Davies, Mousa Dembele, Erik Lamela – who knows Fiorentina well from his time at Roma – and Federico Fazio are waiting in the wings, but with Mohamed Salah now playing, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker are ideal full-backs to combat the winger’s pace.Up front for Spurs, Nacer Chadli and Andros Townsend’s speed could prove tricky for Micah Richards and Stefan Savic.last_img read more

29 Dec

School lunch system found open to fraud

first_imgLast year, LAUSD sent verification letters to about 8,000 households. Of those, 1,700 didn’t respond, 176 went from the free to the reduced-price category, and only 36 were changed to full-pay status, said Dennis Barrett, director of food services at LAUSD. Those who didn’t respond – nearly 25percent of those sent verification letters – were removed from the program. But Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said the program should have more safeguards to limit potential fraud. “We all know that there’s going to be some level of fraud,” Coupal said. “There should be more significant consequences for defrauding a program like that, and we rarely see that kind of consequences flow from fraud. “The ultimate goal is to make sure that taxpayers aren’t being ripped off while at the same time trying the achieve the objective of the program.” The last time Congress examined how the government verifies the income of families applying for free and reduced-price lunches was in 2004 as lawmakers prepared to reauthorize the program. A number of federal audits found vast discrepancies between the census counts of low-income households and the number of students receiving free and reduced-price lunches. A study five years ago in New York City’s school district, only one larger than the LAUSD, found about $100 million in potential losses. While the Bush administration proposed strict new verification measures, advocates for the poor questioned the veracity of the studies and accused the administration of swiping tater tots out of the fingers of poor children. “The kinds of steps that were being considered were the types of things that would drive a lot of eligible families away,” said Zoe Neuberger, a senior policy analyst at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities think tank in Washington, D.C. Those intent on eliminating government waste, however, argued – and still do – that maintaining a program’s fiscal integrity is critical. “Showing a pay stub shouldn’t be too much to ask,” said Brian Reidl, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank who in 2003 estimated tighter income verification measures could save the program and the country $12 billion over 10 years. He and other conservatives argued that schools either boosted free-lunch participation or turned a blind eye to likely inaccuracies because the numbers act as a measure for poverty rates – which in many cases determines how much a school gets in funding for everything from books to teachers. Neuberger said she doesn’t expect Congress to take another big crack at income verification until the next reauthorization of the program in 2009. But she and others said they don’t expect a severe crackdown. “There are fairness concerns; there are budgetary concerns,” Neuberger said. But, she added, “There is almost agreement across the board that it is important to make the free and reduced-lunch program accessible to kids.” For the latest school news, go to www.insidesocal.com/education.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! While the $8.2 billion national school lunch program is designed to provide meals to needy students, the system is fraught with loopholes that leave it open to rampant fraud. A recent government report said verification remains a problem in the program that provides about 6.6 billion meals to kids each year at a cost of about $10.2 billion. To participate in the program, parents complete applications listing their income. Random verification checks are performed, but from 2005 to 2006, the study found slightly more than one student in five students who applied and got served was actually ineligible – at a cost of $935 million. “Several data sources suggest that a significant number of ineligible children are receiving free or reduced-price meals,” the auditors wrote. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonLos Angeles Unified School District officials, who sought verification for 8,000 applications last year, said they are in full compliance with the law. “Is there a potential to falsify income in any system in which you gather individual data and don’t review 100 percent of the applications? Yes, that risk exists,” said Michael Eugene, LAUSD’s business manager. “(But) since we’re in full compliance, our major focal point is to get meals to those students who need it.” The federal government requires school districts to audit 3percent of applicants from families whose income falls within $100 of the cutoff – those believed to be the most prone to reporting errors. A child from a family of four making $26,845 or less qualifies for the free-lunch program, while $38,203 is the limit for reduced-price lunches. last_img read more

27 Dec


first_imgDDTV: The old footballing cliché ‘form is temporary class is permanent’ fits the description of Shay Given perfectly.Given is without doubt one of the finest goalkeepers to ever grace the Premier League, and even at the age of 38 is still capable of producing wonderful saves. Despite only playing thirteen times for Aston Villa in the last three seasons, Given reminded everybody he’s still got the ability to play at the highest level with this superb save.It came during Aston Villa’s FA Cup victory over Leicester City yesterday afternoon, a game which was screened live on the BBC.With new manager Tim Sherwood watching on from the stands, Given’s performance has gave the incoming manager some food for thought with regards his No.1 choice in goals.Simply click play on the video above to watch Given’s stunning acrobatics. DDTV: WATCH SHAY GIVEN ROLL BACK THE YEARS WITH THIS WONDERSAVE IN THE FA CUP was last modified: February 16th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Aston VillaDDTVnewsShay GivensoccerSportWondersavelast_img read more

26 Dec

England U21 star passes medical ahead of £24m Leicester City move

first_img 3 James Maddison is close to joining Leicester City in the Premier League Southampton and Everton have also been linked with an interest in the England Under-21 ace, but it is claimed a move to the King Power Stadium was always Maddison’s preference.The 2015/16 Premier League champions are confident of completing the deal and the player is scheduled to undergo a medical with the club.Maddison scored 15 goals for Norwich last season and is one of the most highly-rated players outside the Premier League.The Championship side have been looking for over £20million for Maddison as the club continues to balance the books having failed to return to the top flight after relegation in 2016.Leicester held an interest in Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, but Maddison has been their first choice and the Villans star is not eager to join them. Leicester City are set to sign 21-year-old midfielder James Maddison from Norwich City after he passed a medical at the Premier League club.According to Press Association Sport, the Foxes have agreed a fee of close to £24million for the Canaries midfielder and are now finalising the deal. Getty The Foxes are preparing to lose Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City and signing Maddison would be part of a squad revamp at the King Power Stadium.They are backing boss Claude Puel despite doubts over his future at the end of last season after the club missed out on European football.Leicester finished ninth in the Premier League and are expected to start phasing out some of their title winners from 2016.Robert Huth is leaving on a free transfer, while Wes Morgan will be 35 at the end of next season and Christian Fuchs will head to America where his family is based in 2019. Maddison in action against Chelsea in last season’s FA Cup, where Norwich lost on penalties after a replay Premier League title-winning captain Wes Morgan is set to leave Leicester this summer 3 3 Maddison’s exit will be a record sale for the Canaries who have already sold Josh Murphy to Cardiff for £11million this month.Coventry City will also be due a slice of the Maddison fee thanks to a sell-on clause in the deal which took him to Carrow Road in 2016.last_img read more