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Found 19 results

  1. Women walk at a market in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 13, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser/Files GENEVA: A UN rights watchdog called on Saudi Arabia on Monday to end discriminatory practices against women, including its pervasive system of male guardianship, and give them full access to justice. After reviewing the deeply conservative kingdom?s record, the independent experts welcomed recent decisions to allow women to launch their own businesses and to lift a de facto ban on them driving a car, set for June. Saudi Arabia is still one of the most restrictive countries for women in the world. It has no women ministers and retains a guardianship system requiring women to have a male relative?s approval for important decisions. In its conclusions, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) urged the Saudi government to ?abolish practices of male guardianship?. It should enforce a recent order that would entitle all women to obtain a passport, travel or study abroad, choose their residency, and access health care ?without having to seek their guardian?s consent?. ?We asked for the abolition of the system because even though they said they had passed a law, we realized that in practice the system still continued,? Hilary Gbedemah, a panel member, told Reuters. A Saudi delegation told the panel last month that it had implemented rules and laws tailored to traditions and religious values that allowed women more independence as they played a growing economic role. Laws concerning justice and child protection had been strengthened. But experts said Saudi Arabia should implement a comprehensive strategy to ?eliminate patriarchal attitudes and stereotypes that discriminate against women?. Rape and all forms of violence against women should be made crimes under Saudi law, they said. Child marriages, forced marriages, and the compulsory dress code for women should be ended, it said. Women should have the right to choose their dress and not face violence or threats by the religious police and their male guardian. Discussion of the guardianship issue had been ?very wide? with the delegation, Gbedemah said. ?We saw it where women were deemed to be disobedient to their guardians, where they needed their consent to marry, where the guardians could enforce dress codes, and in the area of domestic violence,? she said. ?So in a nutshell, these are the four important areas that we asked for follow-up on, within two years,? she said. Gbedemeh, asked about the planned lifting of the ban on driving, said: ?Even if it is symbolic, it is a positive step. ?Because for so long it was taken for granted that women could not and would not drive,? she said. ?I am positive that once this is done, it will open the gates for leverage for removal of other restrictions?.
  2. The people who are grow the food we eat work in trying conditions. Cultivating a crop is not child's play and our farmers deserve all the respect they can get. In a country like India, where the sun scorches the earth for most of the year, you automatically learn to do the best with the resources you have, and our farmers have been toiling it out commendably. Armed with demands and marching in discipline.#KisanMarch #KisanLongMarch #CPIM #RedSalute pic.twitter.com/levWc7pEwm — vijesh krishnankutty (@vijeshpk) March 12, 2018 A case in point is Lakshman Bhasre who has marched from Nasik to Mumbai along with his fellow farmers. Walking for a straight 7 days in the sweltering heat, with feet bleeding from walking too much, the farmers made our hearts cry with their plight and perseverance. While they had stocked up on food and other necessary amenities for the way, one major challenge was the lack of electricity and plug points to charge phones. Phones are no longer a luxury but a necessity today. Lakshman Bhasire, who hails from Tryumbakeshwar Taluka, just taught everyone a lesson in jugaad. The man has been walking with a small solar panel propped on his head. The hours of walking in the sun keep the panel charged. He has not only been charging his phone but also provides charging for other people's phones. Favourite photo from #KisanLongMarch this afternoon -- Farmers have no access to electricity so Lakshman Bhasre from Tryumbakeshwar Taluka has been marching for 6 days with a tiny solar panel on his head. He uses it to charge his phone and help other marchers charge theirs. pic.twitter.com/3He32abd4z — Pragya Tiwari (@PragyaTiwari) March 12, 2018 As we sit in the comfort of our air-conditioned homes and offices and whine about having to sit in our air-conditioned cars in traffic jams, our farmers are fighting in the worst possible conditions and yet fighting ways to keep afloat.
  3. Photo: PSL A star-studded commentators? line-up, bigger and better than before, will grace the third edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) starting in Dubai from February 22. PSL household names Ramiz Raja, Danny Morrison, Alan Wilkins and Bazid Khan would be joined by Australian stars Michael Slater and Damien Fleming. Former West Indian Test opener Daren Ganga would also be making his PSL commentating debut. Slater and Fleming were stars of Australia?s champion Test and ODI teams of the late 1990s. Since retirement, the duo has travelled around the world lending their voice to leading cricket tournaments including ICC events. Ganga, who played 48 Tests, 35 ODIs and a solitary T20I for his team, has established himself in the commentator?s box with his excellent delivery and cricketing expertise. PSL 2018 commentators: Ramiz Raja, Bazid Khan, Michael Slater, Danny Morrison, Damien Fleming, Daren Ganga, and Alan Wilkins
  4. Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon speaks during a campaign event for the Republican candidate for US Senate Judge Roy Moore in Fairhope, Alabama, US, December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman/Files WASHINGTON: Steve Bannon ? a former top White House strategist and a former chief campaign aide to US President Donald Trump ? has been asked to testify before the US House of Representatives intelligence panel next month, Bloomberg News reported. Corey Lewandowski, Trump?s former campaign manager, was also asked to testify in early January, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing an official familiar with the committee?s schedule. Representatives for the committee did not immediately respond to inquiries for comment. The panel is probing alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
  5. WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump?s eldest son and a former business associate of the president are due to testify to the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee this week, as it continues its investigation of possible Russian involvement in the 2016 election, a source familiar with the schedule said. Donald Trump Jr. is due to appear before the committee on Wednesday and Felix Sater, a Russian-American who was a former Trump business associate who claimed deep ties to Moscow, on Thursday, the source said. Neither session will be public. CNN had reported previously, citing multiple sources, that Donald Trump Jr. was due to appear on Wednesday. His attorney declined a request for comment. An attorney for Sater, Robert Wolf, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Committee aides did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. It is the Intelligence Committee?s policy not to comment on the schedule for closed meetings. The panel is one of the three main congressional committees, as well as Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller, investigating Russia and the 2016 US presidential election, and the possibility of collusion between Trump associates and Moscow. The Russian government has denied any effort to affect the election and Trump has dismissed talk of collusion. A range of Trump associates has been called to testify during the investigation. Last week, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke to the House panel behind closed doors, as did Erik Prince, who founded the military contractor Blackwater and was a supporter of Trump?s campaign. A transcript of Prince?s testimony could be released as soon as Monday. There are no plans to release Sessions? testimony. Among other people with ties to Trump who are expected to appear in Congress are Jared Kushner, the president?s close adviser and son-in-law, who had testified to the House committee behind closed doors in July. Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House panel, said last week that it would ?very likely? be necessary for Kushner to testify again.
  6. NEW DELHI: India's competition watchdog on Thursday fined the country's powerful cricket governing body $8 million over a multi-billion dollar broadcasting deal for the Indian Premier League. The Competition Commission ruled that the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the world's wealthiest national cricket body, abused its position by agreeing to broadcasters' demands that it would not allow a rival to the IPL. The commission ordered the BCCI to pay 520 million INR ($8 million) within 60 days. Sony Pictures Networks has held the rights since the IPL started in 2008. But in a major coup, Rupert Murdoch's Star India channel in September bought the rights for 2018-22 for $2.55 billion -- a 150 percent increase on the previous deal -- confirming the league as one of the world´s hottest sports properties. The anti-trust commission made an initial ruling in 2013 that the BCCI's deal with Sony was illegal because of a clause which prevented the BCCI from allowing any other 20-over league to compete with the IPL. The cricket body won a court order forcing a review of the case. But the commission's new ruling came to the same conclusion and ordered the same fine. The BCCI had pleaded that bidders for the television deal had insisted on the no-competition clause. "BCCI has not provided any justification as to how this self-imposed restriction of not organising, sanctioning, approving or supporting another T20 cricket event that will be competing with IPL, is connected to the interest of cricket," the competition commission said. The commission said that "in the absence of any plausible explanation" it had found that the clause was intended to "enhance the commercial interest of the bidders of broadcasting rights" and the revenues received by BCCI. In addition to the fine, the commission said the BCCI must not place any "blanket restriction" on the organisation of professional leagues to rival the IPL. The BCCI made no immediate comment on the fine. But the ruling is a new blow to the body that has been managed by a panel appointed by the Supreme Court in 2016 to reform it. The BCCI has in recent years been riven by infighting and allegations of shady dealings.
  7. Most of the evidence collected supported the 'prevailing scenario' that the 'sarin was delivered via an aerial bomb that was dropped by an airplane' UNITED NATIONS: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces were responsible for a deadly sarin gas attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun that killed scores of people, a UN investigative panel said Thursday. The joint UN-Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) panel said in a much-awaited report that most of the evidence collected supported the "prevailing scenario" that the "sarin was delivered via an aerial bomb that was dropped by an airplane." The "panel is confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Sheikhun on 4 April 2017," said the confidential report to the UN Security Council, which was obtained AFP. More than 87 people died in the nerve gas attack on the town in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Horrific images from the immediate aftermath of the attack drew global outrage and prompted the United States to fire cruise missiles at a Syrian air base from which the West says the assault was launched. Syria ally Russia maintains that the sarin attack was most likely caused by a bomb set off directly on the ground, not by a Syrian air strike. But expert analysis of photographs and videos of the site where the sarin was released found a crater caused by a "relatively large bomb" that was "dropped from medium or high altitude", the report said. An in-depth laboratory study of the sarin released in Khan Sheikhun found that it had most likely been made from a precursor from the government's chemical stockpile. Syria's government has maintained it no longer possesses chemical weapons after a 2013 agreement under which it pledged to surrender them. The report also found that Daesh militants used mustard gas in a separate attack on the town of Um Hosh in northern Aleppo region in September 2016. Syrian air base The panel known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) received French and US intelligence that a Syrian air force Su-22 took off from Shayrat airbase and launched up to six attacks on Khan Sheikhun. The expert investigators interviewed a Syrian pilot of an Su-22 who denied using chemical weapons and insisted his mission on April 4 was at least seven kilometers (four miles) away from Khan Sheikhun. The panel said it was unable to confirm that an Su-22 operating from Shayrat air base launched the attack, but said that Syrian aircraft were in the "immediate vicinity" of Khan Sheikhun when it took place. In an interview with AFP in April, Assad had described any suggestion that chemical weapons had been used by his forces as "100 percent fabrication." The report was released two days after Russia vetoed a US-drafted resolution that would have extended by a year the investigation of who is behind chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Russia said it wanted to study the report on Khan Sheikhun before deciding on the extension of the panel that it helped set up in 2015 jointly with the United States. US Ambassador Nikki Haley welcomed the findings and said the Security Council must send a "clear message" that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. "Ignoring the overwhelming amount of evidence in this case shows a purposeful disregard for widely agreed international norms," Haley said in a statement. "The Security Council must send a clear message that the use of chemical weapons by anyone will not be tolerated, and must fully support the work of the impartial investigators." "Countries that fail to do so are no better than the dictators or terrorists who use these terrible weapons," she added. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the report had reached a "clear conclusion" and urged the "international community to unite to hold Assad's regime accountable." "I call on Russia to stop covering up for its abhorrent ally and keep its own commitment to ensure that chemical weapons are never used again," he said. After the panel found that Syrian forces had launched chlorine attacks on opposition villages in 2014 and 2015, the United States, Britain and France pushed for sanctions, but Russia and China vetoed that resolution.
  8. The poster for the panel discussion SJ Magazine, Twitter NEW YORK: A panel of men invited by a US magazine to discuss ?Women in Business? has been canceled for lacking that one key ingredient - women. Sponsored by SJ Magazine, a lifestyle publication based in New Jersey, the November event was intended to focus on the male perspective but was scrapped this week after meeting with relentless ridicule on social media. ?As a woman-owned business, women?s empowerment has always been part of our mission. We believe it is helpful when everyone is part of the conversation about women?s empowerment and feminism,? the magazine said in a statement cancelling the event. ?It was never our intention to offend anyone.? The November 6 event was announced on Monday and canceled within hours. The all-male panel was entitled ?Women in Business: A man?s point of view,? and its four contributors were a television sports correspondent, a university president, a healthcare executive and a local politician. The magazine had announced the panel on Twitter, where its tweet went viral and soon met with derision. ?Nothing like a good old ?mansplanation? to ?empower? women...!!? one woman tweeted. ?Wait until you see the African-American panel later that day,? read another tweet. Following the cancellation, one Facebook user remarked on the magazine?s statement that it was a woman-owned business. ?Probably shouldn?t brag about being an all-female outfit,? the Facebook user wrote. ?I mean what?s the point of being women-only if all the women lack the judgment to realize what a colossal screw-up this was.? The magazine had initially defended the panel on Twitter, saying it was one of four in a series on ?Women?s Empowerment,? and that its other events were all female-fronted. The editor of the Maple Shade, NJ-publication could not immediately be reached for comment. The next scheduled event in the series in is entitled: ?Success Stories: Taking charge without wearing a suit and tie.?
  9. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg delivers a speech during a visit to Paris, France, on January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Files WASHINGTON: The leaders of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee?s Russia investigation said Wednesday they intend to publicly release thousands of politically divisive Facebook ads purchased by Russia during last year?s presidential election. Representatives Mike Conaway and Adam Schiff told reporters after meeting with Facebook Inc Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg that they were working with the company to release the ads publicly. ?We?ve asked for Facebook?s help to scrub any personally identifiable information, but it?s our hope that when that concludes we can release them publicly,? Schiff said. Conaway said it was unlikely the ads would be released before Facebook will testify to Congress about Russian interference on November 1. The committee ? one of the main congressional panels investigating allegations of Russian meddling ? recently received more than 3,000 politically divisive ads believed to have been purchased by Russia. The social media company found them on its network and said they appeared in the months before and after the vote. Lawmakers in both parties had previously said they wanted to make the ads public. Officials from Facebook and the committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Sandberg?s meeting in Congress came as the world?s largest social media network ? joined by a growing list of other major Internet firms ? finds itself on the defensive in Washington amid renewed scrutiny about how Moscow sought to use their platforms to influence the 2016 presidential election. Sandberg is in Washington this week meeting with other lawmakers as well. She is expected to give a live interview with the news website Axios on Thursday. In addition to Facebook, Alphabet?s Google and Twitter have recently detected that suspected Russian operatives used their platforms last year to purchase ads and post content that was politically divisive. All three companies have been asked to testify publicly about Russian interference before both the House and Senate intelligence panels on November 1. While Facebook and Twitter have confirmed plans to attend, Google has not. Revelations over the past month about how Russia appears to have leveraged their platforms to spread propaganda have prompted questions from both political parties about whether more federal oversight of their businesses is needed. Some Democrats plan to introduce legislation to require Internet companies to disclose more information about political ad purchases on their platforms.
  10. White House senior advisor Jared Kushner attends a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, US. WASHINGTON: A US House of Representatives committee asked the White House on Monday for information about a media report that senior officials used private email accounts for government business. The request by the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Oversight Committee follows a Politico report on Sunday that President Donald Trump?s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, and other current and former White House officials used private emails for their government duties. In a letter to the White House counsel, the committee?s chairman, Republican Trey Gowdy, and top Democrat Elijah Cummings said they would examine whether senior Trump administration officials were ?deliberately trying to circumvent (federal) laws by using personal, private, or alias email addresses to conduct official government business.? Politico said the Kushner emails included correspondence about media coverage, event planning and other subjects. Kushner?s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said his client complied with government record-keeping rules by forwarding all the emails to his official account. During Trump?s 2016 election campaign, the Republican attacked Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server for official correspondence when she was secretary of state under President Barack Obama. Some of Clinton?s messages were later determined to contain classified information. Politico said other senior Trump aides had also used private email accounts, including former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon and economic adviser Gary Cohn. The New York Times reported on Monday that private accounts were also used by Trump?s daughter Ivanka after she became a White House adviser and by Stephen Miller, a senior Trump adviser. ?All White House personnel have been instructed to use official email to conduct all government related work. They are further instructed that if they receive work-related communication on personal accounts, they should be forwarded to official email accounts,? White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
  11. A Boeing 777 in KLM livery on the assembly line at the Boeing plant in Everett, Washington, in 2012. Photo: AFP A panel weighing 4.3 kilograms fell from a plane shortly after take-off from a Japanese airport and smashed the window of a car being driven below, news reports and the airline said Sunday. No one was injured but aviation authorities will send safety inspectors to the western city of Osaka to investigate, said national broadcaster NHK. The piece fell on the vehicle shortly after the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777 with 321 passengers on board took off from Kansai International Airport bound for Amsterdam on Saturday. The panel damaged the car's roof and broke its rear window, NHK said. The panel, 0.6 meters (two feet) long and one meter wide, is made of composite materials and fell from the base of the right wing, Kyodo News said. It is believed to have fallen at an altitude of 2,400 metres or higher. KLM said the aircraft landed safely at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport Saturday afternoon. "KLM regrets this incident and has immediately launched an investigation into the causes," it said in a statement, adding that it is in close contact with Japanese aviation authorities and Boeing.
  12. Protesters display placards against US President Donald Trump during a demonstration in front of the US Army Career Centre in Times Square, New York, July 26, 2017. AFP/Jewel Samad/Files WASHINGTON: The Pentagon said on Friday that it had created a panel of senior officials to study how to implement a directive by President Donald Trump to ban transgender individuals serving in the US military. In the meantime, the existing policy would remain in force, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning told reporters. Last month, Trump signed a memorandum that directed the military not to accept transgender men and women as recruits. It also ordered Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to determine in the coming months how to handle transgender individuals currently serving, using criteria including ?military effectiveness and lethality?, budget constraints, and law. Trump?s move appealed to his conservative political base but was heavily condemned by advocates of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. It has also created uncertainty for thousands of transgender service members. The Pentagon has until February to provide an implementation plan to the White House and until then transgender service members can serve. Under Obama last year, the Pentagon ended its ban on transgender people serving openly, calling the prohibition outdated. ?Current transgender service members will continue to serve throughout the military and continue to receive necessary medical treatment as prescribed by their medical provider,? Manning said. Mattis had directed the deputy secretary of defence and vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to develop an implementation plan, Manning said. The panel would include other senior military officials, including outside experts. Separately, four US senators ? including John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee ? introduced legislation that would not allow the Pentagon to remove present service members based on their gender identity. ?When less than 1 percent of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country,? McCain said.
  13. Donald Trump Jr. speaks at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, US, July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo WASHINGTON: A congressional panel wants to interview President Donald Trump's eldest son, his former campaign chairman and all others who were at a June 2016 meeting with Russian nationals, part of investigations into allegations that Moscow meddled in the US election campaign, senators said on Tuesday. The meeting in Trump Tower in New York has grabbed the spotlight in the saga of possible collusion between Moscow and Trump's campaign as media reports of more participants than originally known have emerged. Russia denies interference in the election, and Trump says there was no collusion. Donald Trump Jr., who runs the Trump Organization family business, released emails last week in which he eagerly agreed to meet a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Democratic election rival Hillary Clinton as part of Moscow's official support for his father's campaign. The meeting appears to be the most tangible evidence of a connection between Trump's campaign and Russia, investigators in Congress have said. "Sure, sure," the US Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Republican Senator Richard Burr, told reporters when asked if he wanted the committee to call in the attendees. "Any intelligence out there that suggests that somebody is of interest to us, we have to pursue it," Burr said. "We've now got an email chain that makes that (the meeting) a very important aspect to get into." Senator Mark Warner, the panel's Democratic vice chairman, said some of the questions he wanted to be answered were, "Why were all those individuals there? What was really the purpose? What was the discussion?" US Special Counsel Robert Mueller and congressional panels are investigating allegations by US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered to help Trump, a Republican, win the presidency. The allegations have dominated Trump's first six months in office. Trump Jr.'s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday. A representative of the Trump Organization also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
  14. WASHINGTON: Six top health advisors have resigned from Donald Trump´s advisory council on HIV/AIDS, complaining that the US president doesn´t really care about combatting the illness. In a letter published Friday in Newsweek, Scott Schoettes said the Trump administration has "no strategy" on AIDS and that he and his five colleagues will be more effective advocating for change from the outside. Schoettes, counsel and HIV project director at Lambda Legal, resigned Tuesday from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, along with Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Ulysses Burley III, Michelle Ogle and Grissel Granados. The council can have up to 25 members. "The Trump administration has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and -- most concerning -- pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease," Schoettes wrote. "If we do not ensure that US leadership at the executive and legislative levels are informed by experience and expertise, real people will be hurt and some will even die," he said. "Because we do not believe the Trump administration is listening to -- or cares -- about the communities we serve as members of PACHA, we have decided it is time to step down." PACHA, which was created in 1995, includes public health officials, researchers, health care providers, faith leavers, HIV advocates and people living with HIV. Its helps inform the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which was last revised in 2015. Schoettes noted that Trump failed to appoint a head of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, a senior advisory position, and took down the Office of National AIDS Policy website the very day he took office -- on January 20 -- and has yet to replace it. He also stressed that changes Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress are seeking to the sweeping health care reform initiated by former president Barack Obama would be "extremely harmful" to people living with HIV or AIDS. Schoettes cited data showing that only 40 percent of people living with HIV in the United States can access life-saving medications.
  15. ISLAMABAD: The Insaf Panel has won the intra-party polls of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). According to the party?s chief election commissioner, Azam Swati, the Insaf Panel received 189,055 votes while the Ehtesab Panel bagged 41,647 votes. The members of the party ? around two million in number ? sent their votes via SMS to select the party?s hierarchy. PTI to hold intra-party elections on June 11 ECP had decided to not allot PTI its election symbol due to its failure to hold intra-party elections The party?s present senior leadership, including PTI Chairman Imran Khan, were all contesting from the Insaf Panel. Others who have been elected by the party members include Shah Mahmood Qureshi as the vice-chairman, Jahangir Tareen as the secretary-general, Aleem Khan as central Punjab president, Arif Alvi as Sindh president, Yar Muhammad Rind as Balochistan president and Ali Amin Gandapur as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (south) president. Holding of intra-party polls is mandatory for all political parties of the country according to the law.
  16. WASHINGTON: Several major US companies, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc, JP Morgan Chase & Co and IBM Corp on Friday said their CEOs will remain in an influential presidential advisory group despite objecting to President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. Citing the need to stay engaged with the administration, business leaders said they would remain in their advisory roles to continue working to influence White House policies. Trump, a Republican, on Thursday said he would pull the United States from the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change, drawing anger and condemnation from world leaders and heads of industry. Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk and Walt Disney Co CEO Robert Iger reacted by leaving White House advisory councils after Trump's move. "Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," Musk said in a Twitter post on Thursday. He was a member of the business advisory group, known as the President?s Strategic and Policy Forum. He also belonged to Trump's manufacturing jobs council. Asked about CEOs' criticism of the US withdrawal, White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Friday said some companies that expressed support for remaining in the agreement raised concerns about the emissions reduction targets. Spicer, speaking to reporters at a daily news conference, added he does not know if Trump will replace Musk and Iger on the business council. A spokesman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the largest US retailer, said on Friday that Chief Executive Doug McMillon will remain on the business council. McMillon said in a Facebook post late on Thursday he was "disappointed in today's news about the Paris Agreement. We think it's important for countries to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." IBM CEO Ginni Rometty will remain on the council, the company said on Friday as it reaffirmed its support for the Paris accord. "IBM believes we can make a constructive contribution by having a direct dialogue with the administration ? as we do with governments around the world," a company spokeswoman said. Cleveland Clinic Chief Executive Toby Cosgrove will also remain on the council, a spokeswoman said. Another prominent chief executive, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co, criticized Trump's decision. The company acknowledged Friday that he would not step down from Trump's business group. "I absolutely disagree with the administration on this issue, but we have a responsibility to engage our elected officials to work constructively and advocate for policies that improve people's lives and protect our environment," Dimon said in a statement. PepsiCo Inc Chief Executive Indra Nooyi is expected to remain on the council. The company said in a statement on Friday that while it is "disappointed with the announcement, we hope there is a way for the accord to move forward with the US at the table." 'LET'S GET A BETTER DEAL' Other chief executives also issued statements criticizing the decision to withdraw from the accord, including the heads of Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc and Goldman Sachs. General Electric Co CEO Jeff Immelt, who is on Trump's manufacturing council, said on Thursday he was disappointed in the decision and added: "Industry must now lead and not depend on government." Immelt will remain on the council, a company spokeswoman said on Friday. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who is also on Trump's manufacturing council, called the withdrawal "a failure of American leadership." A union spokesman said on Friday that Trumka intends to remain on the council to serve "as a voice for working people." Boeing Co Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg also will remain on the manufacturing council, the company said. Trump administration officials pushed back against company criticisms in television interviews on Friday. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn dismissed concerns about potential economic fallout from the climate deal withdrawal, such as the potential of other countries slapping tariffs on American manufacturers. In an interview on CNBC on Friday, Cohn said the move was part of the administration's efforts to boost US economic growth and help companies by increasing demand for US goods, along with other efforts targeting regulations, taxes and infrastructure. "If we can grow our economy, we're going to consume more and more products," he said. "We're going to need more manufacturing in the United States just to deal with domestic consumption." The issue could resurface later this month when, according to an administration spokesman, the White House plans to hold a June 19 meeting with technology leaders. Kellyanne Conway, a White House senior adviser, said on Fox News the deal would have "a statistically insignificant impact on the environment." "If you really cared about that piece, and you're one of these CEOs crowing today, then you would say 'let's get a better deal,'" she said in the interview on Friday, adding that Trump had said he was open to future negotiations. Trump created the business advisory group in December before taking office to assist him in making policy decisions. The council is led by Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive of Blackstone Group LP. Blackrock Inc Chief Executive Larry Fink said on Thursday he would continue to serve on Trump's business forum, despite reservations about the White House climate decision because he believes he can add to policy discussions and be a voice for investors. General Motors Co said Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra also would remain on the presidential advisory panel, while it remained unclear whether Ford Motor Co's new chief executive, James Hackett, would join the group. In February, Uber Technologies Inc CEO Travis Kalanick quit the business advisory council amid internal pressure over Trump's immigration policies.
  17. LONDON: A top international cricket committee on Thursday called for TV referrals to be used in T20 internationals and gave high-level backing to a Test world championship. In addition, umpires will be allowed to send off players for misconduct, bat sizes will be restricted for the first time and run out rules changed from October 1 if the recommendations are approved by the International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executives committee. The ICC cricket committee, headed by outgoing India coach Anil Kumble and several former star players made the recommendations after a two-day meeting at Lord?s in London on Tuesday and Wednesday. The so-called Decision Review System (DRS) -- where a TV umpire makes a call on decisions taken on the field -- is already used in Tests and one-day internationals. Big 3 abolished! India isolated, outvoted in ICC meeting the new proposed constitution of ICC got 9-1 approval on financial model and 8-2 approval on governance change The cricket committee said it should be extended to T20 internationals. The committee said teams will not lose a review, in any game, when an lbw decision comes back from the TV umpire. At the moment, teams can call for one review in each innings in one day games and two for every 80 overs bowled in Test matches. The committee said that if the new lbw measure is applied, the 80 over rule would be ended for Tests. The committee gave strong backing to the five-day game, expressing unanimous support for a Test world championship, and called it "crucial for the future of international cricket". It also reiterated its support for the game getting an Olympic place. Giving more authority to umpires to battle misconduct, the committee said football-style sendings off should be used for serious violence and other offences during play. It recommended the use of instant replays to help umpires signal no balls. The panel suggested introducing restrictions on the thickness and depth of bats and said a batsman will be deemed to have made his or her ground "when a bat bounces after being grounded behind the crease by a running or diving batsman". It also backed a two-year trial of concussion substitutes after Australia urged the ICC to introduce them after opening batsman Matt Renshaw was ruled out of the Pakistan Test in January, suffering twin blows on his helmet while fielding close-in. The panel includes former stars like India?s Rahul Dravid, former England captain Andrew Strauss, Sri Lanka?s Mahela Jayawardene and current Australia coach Darren Lehmann. The meeting was held ahead of the Champions Trophy which begins on June 1 with hosts England taking on Bangladesh in the opener.
  18. FBI Director James Comey arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on ''Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation'' on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo Former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by President Donald Trump last week amid an agency probe into alleged Russian meddling in the US election, has agreed to testify before the US Senate Intelligence Committee at a public hearing, the committee said in a statement on Friday. The hearing will be scheduled after the May 29 Memorial Day holiday, the statement said. 18 Russian links On Friday, reports citing current and former US officials familiar with the exchanges disclosed that Flynn and other advisers to Trump?s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race. The previously-undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the US presidential election and contacts between Trump?s campaign and Russia. Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Sergei Kislyak ? Russia's ambassador to the United States ? and Trump advisers, including Flynn, Trump?s first national security adviser, three current and former officials said. Trump under fire In addition, an explosive development Wednesday alleged Trump had asked then-FBI Director Comey to end the agency's investigation into ties between former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia, according to a source who saw a memo written by Comey. This followed a week of tumult at the White House after Trump fired Comey and then discussed sensitive national security information about Daesh with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The 'Comey memo', first reported by the New York Times, caused alarm on Capitol Hill and raised questions about whether the President tried to interfere with a federal investigation. The White House quickly denied the report, saying in a statement it was "not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey". Comey sacked Comey, who had been leading his agency's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential campaign and possible collusion with Trump's campaign, was fired by Trump on May 10 in an abrupt move that sent shock waves throughout the world. Trump said this was a consequence of Comey's handling of an election-year email scandal last year involving the then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Democrats immediately accused Trump of acting out of political motives. The former FBI director had been embroiled in a controversy surrounding his handling of a probe of Clinton's use of a private email server while she was US secretary of state. As recently as Tuesday, the FBI clarified remarks that Comey made on the matter last week. Subsequently, Trump in a letter to Comey released by the White House said, "It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission."
  19. India's chances of participating in the Champions Trophy brightened on Thursday when a court-appointed panel of administrators asked the cricket board (BCCI) to pick the squad for the June 1-18 tournament. Holders India did not submit its squad for the one-day international tournament in England and Wales by the April 25 deadline after BCCI failed to halt a new revenue model to be accepted by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The option of pulling out of the Champions Trophy by revoking the Members Participation Agreement (MPA) between the ICC and the BCCI has been gaining traction within the India board, which will discuss the issue at a special general meeting on Sunday. The four court-appointed administrators, who currently supervise BCCI operations, have instructed the board to ensure that the team continued their preparations to defend their title. "You are aware that the squad representing India at the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 was to be submitted by 25th April 2017 but the squad has not even been selected as yet," the administrators told BCCI joint secretary Amitabh Choudhary in an email. "Please convene a meeting of the selection committee for selecting the squad immediately. The squad can then be submitted to the ICC without prejudice to BCCI's legal rights." The BCCI was outvoted 13-1 last week at the ICC meetings in its bid to stall the new deal which considerably slashes India's share from global events in the 2015-2023 cycle. India is now expected to receive $293 million (£227.4 million), down from the $570 million it would have received under the 2014 arrangement.