zoom The car carrier sector has seen an increase in scrapping and almost no new orders in 2016 as vessel owners are trying to combat a decline in global seaborne car trade, according to Clarksons Research.Given the strong link between economic growth, consumer demand and car sales, the car carrier sector has been highly exposed to sluggish world economic performance in recent years, and global seaborne car trade has still not yet returned to its 2008 peak of 21.3 million cars, with average annual growth of just 1.4% in 2013-15. This year has seen further pressure on seaborne volumes, with car trade projected to have dropped 4% to 19.8m cars.The key driver of this fall has been considerably lower imports into developing economies following the commodity price downturn. Car sales in these countries have dropped sharply, and seaborne car imports into the Middle East, Africa and South America are set to drop by more than 10% this year, according to Clarksons Research.While imports into North America and Europe, still the two largest markets for imported vehicles, have grown moderately (by 2% and 4% respectively), this has not been enough to offset declines elsewhere. Other factors have also dented volumes, with expansion of car output closer to demand centres leading to a disconnect between global car sales, which have continued to expand, and seaborne trade volumes.Largely as a result of the downturn in demand, car carrier market conditions have deteriorated further this year, according to Clarksons Research. Most car carriers still operate under long-term agreements, but guideline charter rates have fallen back to subdued levels, with the one year rate for a 6,500 ceu Pure Car Truck Carrier (PCTC) falling to USD 16,000/day in recent weeks, down 30% from the start of the year.Vessel idling has risen, utilisation of active capacity is under pressure, and waiting time between fixtures has increased, whilst a trend towards shorter-term and spot fixtures has also been apparent, Clarksons Research said.In response to these pressures, owners have stepped up supply-side action. Scrapping has increased, and is projected to reach 0.2m car equivalent capacity this year, over four times the 2015 level and the highest since 2009, with fleet capacity projected to have declined by 0.3% in full year 2016. Meanwhile, only two ships have been ordered this year, after 42 contracts were placed in 2015.Yet the road ahead still seems far from clear for the car carrier sector, with demand seeming unlikely to shift up a few gears in the short-term, according to Clarksons Research.
zoom Nasdaq-listed dry bulk shipping company Golden Ocean Group Limited has entered into agreements to acquire 16 dry bulk vessels.The acquisition will take the form of an all-share transaction where the company will issue in aggregate 17.8 million consideration shares and assume debt of USD 285.2 million, GOGL said.Of the 16 vessels to be acquired, 14 will be acquired from subsidiaries of Quintana Shipping, and two ice class Panamax vessels will be acquired from subsidiaries of Seatankers, an affiliate of Hemen Holding, the company’s largest shareholder.“The acquisition will add significant scale to Golden Ocean’s operating fleet and contribute to reducing cash breakeven levels,” the company said.Based on the closing price of the Golden Ocean share on the Oslo Stock Exchange on March 14, 2017 of NOK 61.50, equal to USD 7.14 per share, the transaction value stands at USD 412.4 million.“The acquired vessels, averaging 4 years of age, which matches the age profile of our existing fleet, will further enhance our already significant commercial scale and increase our operational leverage to a potential dry bulk market recovery. Combined with attractive bank financing which includes no fixed debt amortization and soft covenants through June 2019, the transaction should be accretive also in terms of cash breakeven levels,” Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal, CEO of Golden Ocean Management AS, commented.As part of the deal Golden Ocean will acquire Quintana’s 14 vessel fleet and assume the fleet’s corresponding debt of USD 262.7 million in consideration for 14.5 million shares of Golden Ocean.In addition, Golden Ocean has agreed to a USD 17.4 million down payment of the debt associated with the fleet in order to obtain no fixed debt repayments and soft covenants through June 2019. A cash sweep mechanism will be in place for excess cash generated by the fleet. The fleet consists of 6 Capesize vessels and 8 Kamsarmax/Panamax vessels, mainly built in Japan and Korea.The two 2017-built ice class Panamax vessels owned by Hemen’s affiliates will be bought in consideration for 3.3 million GOGL shares to fund the equity portion of the acquisition. Hemen will issue a seller credit of USD 22.5 million that matures in June 2019, with no fixed amortization.All the said ships will be owned by a non-recourse subsidiary to Golden Ocean.GOGL added that the completion of the acquisition is subject to the execution of definitive loan documents, raising of sufficient new equity to satisfy certain loan conditions, customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Closing is expected in the second quarter of 2017 and on a vessel-by-vessel basis.Separately, the company said that it has commenced an equity offering for issue of new shares for gross proceeds of approximately USD 60 million.The net proceeds of this offering are to be used to partially pre-pay debt under the new loan agreements related to the acquisition of fourteen vessels from Quintana Shipping, in an amount of approximately USD 17.4 million, and to use the balance for general corporate purposes.The subscription price and number of shares issued in the offering will be determined through an accelerated bookbuilding process, the company explained. The bookbuilding period will start March 14, 2017 with expected closure at March 15, 2017 at 3:00 am EST and 08:00 am CET.On a fully-delivered basis, Golden Ocean’s fleet will have an aggregate carrying capacity of approximately 11 million dwt and an average age of less than 5 years on a DWT basis.
zoom Greek tanker owner and operator Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited (TEN) reported that its net income plunged to USD 55.7 million for the full year of 2016 from USD 158.2 million seen a year earlier.Although the tanker markets experienced a “promising improvement” during the fourth quarter of the year, the company’s net income for the three-month period ended December 31 dropped at USD 11.9 million from a net income of USD 39.6 million recorded in the same period in 2015.TEN’s revenues, net of voyage expenses for the fourth quarter were at USD 99.1 million, more than in the third quarter of the year due to the delivery of three vessels, the new charters of the two LNG carriers and a high utilization rate of 98%, according to the company.In October and November 2016, TEN took delivery of the aframax newbuildings Leontios H and Parthenon TS, both employed under long-term charters. In addition, in October 2016, the LNG carrier Maria Energy was delivered and placed on a time-charter with escalating options until mid-2018, when it is expected that higher rates may be available.Subsequent to the year end, the company took delivery of the VLCC Hercules I from South Korean Hyundai Heavy Industries and reached a charter agreement for the vessel, thereby securing work for its entire 15 newbuilding fleet.“The industrial nature of our recent charters fits in well with the company’s strategy in building and operating vessels to accommodate the long-term needs of international oil concerns,” Nikolas P. Tsakos, President and CEO of TEN and current Chairman of INTERTANKO, said.“With our entire newbuilding program chartered on long-term accretive employment to first class end-users, TEN’s new phase will be in full force within 2017. The long-term business further solidifies our balance-sheet, ensures TEN’s continued profitability and dividend distribution. This should ultimately be reflected in our share’s true valuation,” Tsakos added.TEN informed that it remains optimistic for 2017 due to the continued low price of crude oil, abundant alternative sources of oil supply and growing consumer demand.“These positive fundamentals are expected to become more apparent as any pressure from excess fleet supply gradually diminishes as we move later into 2017,” TEN said.
Image Courtesy: ZIMIsraeli shipping company ZIM recently marked the milestone – the 3 millionth container was brought onboard a company’s vessel to DaChan Bay Modern Container Terminal in China. The 4,253 TEU ZIM Sao Paolo arrived at the terminal as part of the ZIM Med-Pacific Service (ZMP).”ZIM takes pride in achieving this milestone, a testimony to our … cooperation with DaChan Bay terminal, ZIM’s main hub port in South China,” Nissim Yochai, VP Trans Pacific, commented.As explained, DaChan Bay Modern terminal serves all of ZIM’s trades and functions as the central hub in the region of south China and Pearl River Delta.ZIM’s lines calling Da Chan Bay are ZIM Seven Star Express (Z7S) and ZMP, with the following port rotations:Z7S: Da Chan Bay – Yantian – Cai Mep – Port Klang – Colombo – New York – Norfolk – Savannah – Port Kelang – Da Chan Bay;ZMP: Port Kelang – Cai Mep – Da Chan Bay – Yantian – Xiamen – Ningbo – Shanghai – Pusan – Vancouver –Pusan – Qingdao – Shanghai – Ningbo – Da Chan Bay – Port Kelang – Ashdod – Haifa –Istanbul – Novorossiysk – Odessa- Istanbul – Haifa – Port Kelang.
zoomImage Courtesy: Janko Hoener / CC-BY-SA-4.0. Croatia’s struggling shipbuilder Uljanik has elected its compatriot Brodosplit as a strategic partner to restructure its operations.Brodosplit would now have an obligation to devise a feasible restructuring plan, in cooperation with Uljanik, the company said in a stock exchange filing.The shipbuilder, which owns two shipyards in the northern Adriatic cities of Pula and Rijeka, added that the strategic partner would be able to enter the ownership structure through a capital boost.Reuters cited Economy Minister Darko Horvat as saying that the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri was also working with Brodosplit on the offer. No further details on the matter were provided.Croatian government last year provided HRK 2.5 billion (USD 382.4 million) on state guarantees to help Uljanik stay afloat.The minister earlier said that Uljanik’s restructuring process would cost about EUR 800 million, with at least half of the amount expected to come from a strategic partner, Reuters informed.An association of tax payers, Lipa, voiced its objections to the Croatian government’s intention to support the shipbuilder’s restructuring process with an additional amount of HRK 3 billion of taxpayer money, adding that the project comes with a number of risks.The government has injected over HRK 30 billion over a period of 25 years only to revive and sell its state-owned shipyards, Brodosplit being one of those.Lipa added that losses related to Uljanik would amount to at least HRK 4.2 billion, meaning that each job in Uljanik cost Croatia’s citizens HRK 1 million.World Maritime News Staff; Image Courtesy: Janko Hoener / CC-BY-SA-4.0.
zoomIllustration, Image Courtesy: LNG Carrier/ Flickr-Kees Torn under CC BY-SA 2.0 license Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Turkey’s floating power plant company Karpower International B.V. (Karpowership) have agreed to collaborate in the LNG-to-Powership business.Under the brand name “KARMOL”, the duo aims to become an LNG-to-Powership solution provider.The parties aim to co-invest in the related assets and jointly market their solution in selected markets around the world.The business will generate power through the Powership by receiving regasified LNG through a floating LNG storage and regasification unit to provide electricity to shore grids and facilities where base load electricity and/or replacements of fuel mode are required to meet the environmental concerns.As explained, the new solution is expected to be cost-competitive, meeting the power demand. What is more, the new solution would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing higher emission fuels with LNG.MOL and Karpowership expect to achieve business synergies by combining their expertise of LNG, FSRU and Powership businesses.The companies plan to launch several projects in the coming years. They have already started to convert an existing LNG carrier into a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) to provide regasified LNG to a Powership.
-30- INVERNESS COUNTY: Frizzle Bridge Frizzle Bridge on Route 252 at Brook Village will be reduced to one lane for repairs, from today, Nov. 29, to Friday, Dec. 1, with a restricted wide load width of three metres. Local Area Office: 902-295-2700 Fax: 902-295-2617
Since opening this past June, nearly 128,000 people have experienced Pirates: Myth and Reality, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic’s dynamic exhibit about pirate fact and fiction. This Sunday, Nov. 4, will mark the exhibit’s final day and the public is encouraged to visit this wildly popular display one last time before it is gone. As a further incentive, visitors will be able to save on the price of admission as the museum’s cheaper off-season rates have recently come into effect. Highlights from the exhibit include an actual skull of a pirate executed in Halifax in 1809; the largest public display ever mounted of Oak Island artifacts; rare and deadly weapons from the golden age of piracy; and a surprising display on modern day piracy featuring a real AK-47. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is located at 1675 Lower Water St., Halifax.
From one end of the province to the other, NSBI, and its partners, helped local and international companies deliver competitive and sustainable economic results in 2009-10. NSBI released its eighth annual report today, Sept. 10, which covers the fiscal period from April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2010. “With the support of agencies like NSBI and business development partners across the province, we continue to position our people and businesses to compete successfully, create good jobs in Nova Scotia and contribute to a growing economy,” said Economic and Rural Development Minister Percy Paris. NSBI’s clients in 2009-10 are forecasting they could create as many as 2,633 jobs and retain 746 jobs. When looking at all activity, the agency projects the creation of potential payroll of $135.4 million. “By living and working in communities all over this province, our board of directors see, firsthand, the connection between productive and innovative companies and sustainable economic growth,” said Doug Hall, chair of NSBI’s board of directors. In collaboration with its partners, NSBI’s trade programs and services helped close to 300 companies to advance existing markets and explore new ones. More than 30 companies across the province plan to improve productivity, expand operations and create and retain jobs, with assistance from NSBI. “In spite of uncertain economic times, we remained focused on driving business development, at home, and around the world,” said Stephen Lund, president and CEO of NSBI. “Going forward, NSBI, our clients, and partners need to stay aggressive and proactive so we can continue to see world-class business growth in the province.” The 2009-10 annual report is an accountability document measuring NSBI against goals from its 2009-10 business plan. For more information on NSBI’s results, visit www.novascotiabusiness.com/next . Nova Scotia Business Inc. is Nova Scotia’s private-sector-led business development agency. NSBI helps Nova Scotia companies meet their growth potential through advisory services, trade development, financing and venture capital. The investment attraction agency for the province, NSBI fuels job creation and economic growth. For more information, visit www.nsbi.ca and join the conversation at www.nsbi.ca/connect .
The Halifax 2011 Canada Games will generate an estimated $125 million in economic activity leaving a legacy of new and upgraded recreational facilities, trained volunteers, community, culture, and sport development. The Host Society announced today, Oct. 14, that the Games will create close to 900 jobs in the province, 600 of which are in Halifax Regional Municipality, providing $36 million in wages and salaries. “The Games will be held in HRM, but in fact all Nova Scotians will benefit from this event now, and for decades to come,” said Premier Darrell Dexter. “Not only will the Games help promote Nova Scotia on a national stage, but the resulting facilities, equipment and funding will improve access to sports and help our young athletes prepare for future competitions.” “Hosting sport events such as the Canada Games results in many benefits for all Canadians,” said MP Scott Armstrong, on behalf of Gary Lunn, Minister of State for Sport. “We know this investment will contribute to a legacy of valuable training, competition experience, and sport infrastructure. It will benefit future athletes as they strive to become members of our national teams and compete in international sporting events.” The 13 sport venues will sign a legacy agreement that spells out how each venue will carry on the Games’ legacy of sport development and community access. This will include training access for future Canada Games athletes, free access for the community on various dates, and integrating arts and culture at each venue, either through programming or displays. “The legacy of the Halifax 2011 Canada Games will live on in our facilities, our culture, and most importantly, our people,” said Games co-chair and legacy committee chair, Chuck Bridges. “This is one of the proudest days our city has seen.” Five thousand Nova Scotians will be trained to carry out the Games, leaving them well-equipped to lend their skills to future events. As part of the registration process, volunteers can choose to put their name forward to Events Nova Scotia to be contacted for future opportunities. More than half have done so. “Residents of HRM have really stepped up to the plate in preparation for these Games,” said Mayor Peter Kelly. “In return, we will benefit from a long-lasting legacy, including new and upgraded facilities, trained volunteers and a more engaged community.” As part of the Games legacy, $1.1 million will create the Support4Sport Canada Games Sport Equipment Fund. The fund, which was established with a $1 million contribution from the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation’s Support4Sport Program, will be managed by Sport Nova Scotia and will be used to provide grants to community organizations to buy sport equipment. This is in addition to the $1 million in sport equipment that will be used during the Games and turned over to community organizations. The Host Society will also provide $50,000 to Citadel High in Halifax to complete construction on Spatz Theatre. Young artists from across the country participating in the Games’ National Artist Program will be the first to perform in two gala shows on Feb. 25-26. Fifteen million dollars in capital upgrades to existing venues for the Games are close to complete in addition to the new $42-million Canada Games Centre. The 2011 Games will aim to be as inclusive as possible, engaging a diverse workforce and reaching out to as many communities as possible through the Games torch and mascot programs. Over 25 per cent of Games sporting events will be free-of-charge for spectators. Long track speed skating, cross-country ski, biathlon, alpine ski, snowboarding, and freestyle ski events, as well as nightly concerts at the Games festivals site in Grand Parade, will be free to encourage as many people as possible to experience the Games. The 2011 Canada Games will hold the most events ever for athletes with disabilities including wheelchair basketball, alpine ski, biathlon, and cross-country. Athletes with intellectual disabilities will compete in figure skating. The 2011 Canada Games will be one of the most environmentally sustainable in history. Environmental stewardship is key to this endeavour, with the Games implementing one of the most modern motor-pool plans, including car pooling, a strict no-idle policy, and giving all Games participants access to Metro Transit. The Host Society is the first to go through an extensive Transfer of Knowledge process, which will provide future host societies with an archive of documented information including templates, budgets, project charters, and planning tools. More information on Games’ legacy can be found online at www.canadagames2011.ca/legacy The 2011 Canada Winter Games will be the largest multi-sport event held in Nova Scotia and Halifax’s first Canada Winter Games. From Feb. 11-27, more than 2,700 athletes will compete in more than 20 sports, attracting thousands of visitors, VIPs, officials and media. Held every two years, alternating between summer and winter, the Canada Games are a key event in the development of Canada’s young athletes, producing the next generation of national, international and Olympic champions.
The Port Hawkesbury Access Nova Scotia office in the Provincial Building on MacSween Street is closed because of weather conditions. The office will re-open tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. For inquiries, call 1-800-670-4357 or access online services at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr . -30-
Focal Technologies, an internationally recognized, Dartmouth-based ocean technology company is expanding its local operation to increase productivity and global competitiveness. Focal Technologies plans to create up to 60 positions over the next five years at its Dartmouth location. The province, through Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), is supporting the company with a five-year payroll rebate to a maximum of $700,000. “Focal Technologies is a home-grown Nova Scotia company that has showed huge success,” said Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Percy Paris. “They will create high-value jobs with competitive salaries; this is in line with the jobsHere plan to grow the economy.” Focal Technologies has been a valued employer in Nova Scotia since 1983, with more than 150 full-time, permanent people jobs in the Burnside facility. During its rapid expansion, the company will look to hire production technologists, product assemblers and engineers. “Having the province’s support will help enable us to increase productivity and remain a strong global competitor,” said Mike Glister, managing director, Focal Technologies. “By hiring additional full-time permanent employees, we will be able to reduce lead times on our major products to our customers.” During the British Petroleum Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, Focal Technologies products were used to transmit images from the ocean floor. The company’s products have also been used in ocean research and were used in the discovery of both the Titanic and the Bismarck. “Ocean-related organizations contribute more than 7 per cent to the provinces annual GDP,” said Stephen Lund, president and CEO, Nova Scotia Business Inc. “There is significant opportunity to grow the sector, and supporting Focal Technologies will help showcase Nova Scotia on the international stage.” Focal Technologies has delivered trusted technology products and services to the global offshore petroleum, oceanographic, seismic and maritime industries for close to 30 years. To learn more about Focal Technologies, visit www.moog.com/marine . Nova Scotia Business Inc. is Nova Scotia’s private-sector-led business development agency. NSBI is the investment attraction arm of the province and helps businesses in Nova Scotia meet growth potential through advisory services, trade development, financing and venture capital. Go to www.novascotiabusiness.com for more details.
CHAD Transit, comté de Pictou Colchester Transportation Co-operative Ltd., comté de Colchester Municipality of Chester Transportation Society, Municipalité de Chester Cumberland County Transportation Service, comté de Cumberland East Hants Community Rider, région est du comté de Hants HOPE Dial-A-ride, comté de Yarmouth Kings Point-To-Point Transit, régions du centre et de l’est du comté de Kings MusGo Rider Co-operative Ltd., Jeddore, Musquodoboit Harbour, Chezzetcook et Porters Lake Sou’West Nova Transit Association, comté de Shelburne Strait Area Transit Co-operative Ltd., comtés de Richmond et d’Inverness Trans County Transportation Society, comté d’Annapolis et région ouest du comté de Kings Transport de Clare, comté de Digby West Hants Dial-A-Ride, région ouest du comté de Hants Coopérative de transport de Chéticamp Ltée, Chéticamp Le gouvernement provincial aide les Néo-Écossais à accéder au transport en commun dans les collectivités rurales en offrant une subvention pour les dépenses en capital et les frais d’exploitation. John MacDonell, ministre de Services Nouvelle-Écosse et Relations avec les municipalités, a annoncé aujourd’hui 31 mai, un financement de 300 000 $ de la Stratégie de transport durable pour les 14 organismes de transport en commun des régions rurales de la province. Cette subvention ponctuelle et inconditionnelle sera distribuée de façon équitable. « Nous reconnaissons que l’accès au transport est une nécessité quotidienne pour la plupart des gens, que ce soit pour se rendre au travail, se rendre à l’épicerie, obtenir des services de soins de santé ou participer à des activités communautaires, a dit M. MacDonell. Ce financement aidera les organismes à offrir un service de transport abordable et accessible aux Néo-Écossais à l’échelle de la province. « Le but de la Stratégie de transport durable est de faire en sorte que nos réseaux de transport en commun appuient des collectivités saines en nous aidant à conduire moins souvent et à nous déplacer plus efficacement. » L’Association du transport rural et ses membres offrent des services de transport aux aînés, aux personnes handicapées et aux Néo-Écossais qui font face à des obstacles en matière de transport afin de leur permettre de se rendre à des rendez-vous médicaux, de participer à des programmes d’éducation ainsi que des activités sociales et de loisirs et de faire des courses. « Notre organisme apprécie le soutien continu que nous recevons du gouvernement provincial par le biais du Programme d’aide au transport accessible, qui nous aide à offrir un service de transport en commun communautaire dans les régions rurales de la Nouvelle-Écosse », a dit Kim Aker, présidente de l’Association du transport rural. « Le financement supplémentaire annoncé aujourd’hui permettra à nos organismes d’aborder les demandes croissantes, de contribuer au renforcement de collectivités amies des aînés et d’assurer une qualité de vie supérieure pour nos citoyens. » Les organismes qui recevront la subvention sont les suivants :
Analyze Re is taking advantage of local talent and expanding its Halifax operations after celebrating its first anniversary in Nova Scotia. The company, which provides technical solutions to the reinsurance industry, is headquarted in Halifax with clients in the United States, Europe and Bermuda. “Atlantic Canada has a vibrant tech start-up community which is offering a lot of mentorship, helping companies like Analyze Re succeed,” said Shivam Rajdev, chief operating officer, Analyze Re. Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) has signed a six-year incentive agreement with Analyze Re. The agreement is for up to 50 jobs, which would be more than $10 million in salary and provincial personal income taxes of about $1.15 million. The company would earn up to $792,750 in payroll rebates from NSBI’s Strategic Investment Funds. “There are many reasons why Nova Scotia is a great location for us,” said Adrian Bentley, CEO of Analyze Re. “We have a major client base in Bermuda, which is in the same time zone as Halifax. This, coupled with highly educated and skilled labour force, made perfect sense to us to be located here. It is also a great place to raise a family and there is a strong sense of community, which is something that we have really appreciated since immigrating here.” Funding from Innovacorp supported the company’s research and development, demonstrating how the province’s different agencies and tools work together to support the unique needs of innovative start-up companies. When Flagstone Reinsurance was acquired in 2012, the three founders of Analyze Re turned down several job offers from global firms to start a new company and stay in Nova Scotia. Reinsurance is insurance purchased by insurance companies to help manage risk. “NSBI is delivering on its growth strategies for Nova Scotia’s financial services sector and we have attracted companies in fund administration, reinsurance, captive management, due diligence and insurance,” said Peter MacAskill, vice-president, NSBI. “Analyze Re represents a new opportunity that includes financial services and new technology (IT).” For more information on Analyze Re, visit www.analyzere.com .
Last December, Nova Scotians raised concerns about a young man who had court ordered restrictions placed on his freedom. They said the Incompetent Persons Act fails to protect the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities. Upon hearing the concerns, I made the commitment to review the legislation. I also said I would examine what other jurisdictions are doing across the country. Our review is still underway, but it is clear we need to improve the current legislation. People with varying degrees of capacity, provided with a range of supports, can still make decisions for themselves. The current act does not acknowledge this fact. The province has many options, which could include amending the act or repealing and replacing. We will continue to explore all our options. Any changes will ensure we protect the rights of Nova Scotians with intellectual disabilities. All Nova Scotians have a right to self-determination. The law must protect and support their decision-making. This is important legislation that has real impact. It will take time, but it is critical we take the time to consult with Nova Scotians to make sure we get it right. I have also instructed my department not to oppose an upcoming constitutional challenge of the act scheduled for April 29th. Government will protect the rights and freedom of its citizens. We are here to empower our people – that is how we move Nova Scotia forward. -30-
BALURGHAT: A legal awareness service camp was organised by the department of District Legal Services Authority, South Dinajpur unit, in association with Balurghat civic authorities on Monday afternoon.The objective of the camp, in which around 100 people took part, was to provide information on legal services to people. “None should be deprived of getting legal services. People are not informed about various aspects of law. We have organised the camp to help them,” said the secretary of the department of District Legal Services Authority Soumendranath Roy. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaMember of the district child welfare committee Suraj Das, who took part in the camp, said: “We discussed many important topics, including cyber crimes, elderly citizens’ legal aid and complications related to their name enrolment for pension and providing aid to those people, who are attached to agricultural sector.” “Everyone should know about their rights and the legal assistance they are entitled to so that no one can cheat them. We interacted with the participants of the camp through a question-and-answer session,” said a legal assistant Jaya Mondal.
Srinagar: Dozens of migrant Kashmiri Pandits started arriving at the Kheer Bhawani temple on Sunday ahead of the annual festival to be held on Monday. Housing the shrine of Mata Ragnya, the Kheer Bhawani temple in Tullamulla village in north Kashmir’s Ganderbal district is the holiest religious destination for Kashmiri Pandits. The police said dozens of devout Kashmiri Pandits have already arrived at the temple. “We are expecting 6,000 to 10,000 pilgrims to reach here from different parts of the country by Sunday evening. Most pilgrims are arriving in buses which have been provided with security,” police sources said. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoC Scores of devotees are expected to arrive at the temple on Monday for the annual pilgrimage that takes place on Zyestha Ashtami, which falls on June 10 this year. True to the centuries old tradition of brotherhood, local Muslims living near the temple offer milk in small earthen pots to the devotees coming to pray at the Kheer Bhawani shrine each year. Interestingly, the Muslims living around the temple don’t eat or cook mutton on the festival day. This is done in deference to the practice of Kashmiri Pandits who do not enter the temple complex if they have had a non-vegetarian meal before visiting the shrine. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citations Kashmiri Pandits believe that the colour of the holy spring at the temple foretells the events of the next 12 months. “The colour of the spring water on the festival day foretells the events that will unfold in the next 12 months till the next festival. “Black colour of the spring water foretells violence and suffering while milky or light green colour is the harbinger of peace and prosperity,” said Ashok Kumar Koul (60), who comes each year to perform the pilgrimage. Koul lives in Jammu ever since the Kashmiri Pandits migrated from the Valley in 1990. J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik has greeted the people on the eve of the Kheer Bhawani Mela. In his message, the Governor hailed the festival as a shining example of communal harmony and brotherhood, which have been the hallmarks of the glorious pluralistic ethos of Jammu and Kashmir for centuries. He also prayed for peace, harmony, progress and prosperity in the state.
Hong Kong: Protesters in Hong Kong ended their overnight siege of police headquarters peacefully Saturday, disappointed that their demands for the territory’s leader to formally withdraw a contentious extradition bill and police to apologize for heavy handed tactics have gone unmet. By daybreak, police had cleared the streets of barriers set up by protesters to snarl traffic in the Asian financial center, and only a few groups in the mostly youthful crowd remained. Many slept outside the legislature. Traffic was again smooth on a major thoroughfare through the government’s central complex as the protest movement regrouped to consider next moves. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: LondonPolice said nine female and four male staffers were hospitalized “with considerable delay” during the blockade. The police statement did not say whether they were injured in clashes or had otherwise become unwell. Around police headquarters, masked and helmeted protesters covered surveillance cameras with masking tape and lashed barriers together with nylon cable ties. They threw eggs at the building and drew graffiti on the walls. Protesters also “splashed oil” and targeted police officers’ eyes with laser pointers, according to the police. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassadorHong Kong has been rocked by major protests for the past two weeks over legislative proposals that many view as eroding the territory’s judicial independence and, more broadly, as a sign of Chinese government efforts to chip away at the city’s freedoms. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam indefinitely suspended debate on the bills a week ago, making it likely they would die. But protesters are demanding that she formally withdraw the proposed changes to the extradition laws, which would expand the scope of criminal suspect transfers to include mainland China, Taiwan and Macau. Some also want Lam to resign. Legal and business groups in Hong Kong oppose the legislation, saying critics of China’s ruling Communist Party would be at risk of torture and unfair trials on the mainland and that it further erode the “one country, two systems” framework under which Hong Kong has been governed since the handover from British rule in 1997. The peaceful ending to Friday’s protests drew a sigh of relief in the city of 7.4 million people, after police unleashed tear gas and rubber bullets last week in violent clashes that left dozens injured on both sides. Police were previously criticized for their use of force but this time waited out the protesters. Police did issue a statement at 4:50 a.m. condemning them for blocking key streets and seriously disrupting work at police headquarters. “Police have shown the greatest tolerance to the protesters who assembled outside PHQ, but their means of expressing views have become illegal, irrational and unreasonable,” the statement said in part. Activist Joshua Wong called on police to answer demands over heavy handed tactics used during a mass protest on June 12, including the firing of 150 rounds of tear gas, rubber bullets and beanbag rounds, and the beating of unarmed protesters by police with truncheons. “We…urge police to apologize to the people” over the use of such tactics and their labeling of the gathering as a riot, Wong said. The auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong’s Catholic Diocese, the Rev. Joseph Ha, appealed to the protesters to avoid violence. He warned that public opinion could turn against them. “You have already been on the roads for a long time,” he said on Cable TV Hong Kong. “You’ve already done a lot. You have already expressed very clearly your hopes and wishes. But I am really worried about your personal safety…Please, absolutely, do not use violence.”
NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is on a two-day visit to Delhi, today said the US and India should “stand up for religious freedom”. The comment is likely to raise eyebrows, coming on the heels of a US State Department report on the matter that was critical of India on that score. In his India policy speech at the India International Centre, Mr Pompeo said: “India is the birthplace of four major world religions. Let’s stand up and defend religious freedom for all. Let’s speak up strongly together in favour of those rights. For whenever we do compromise those rights, the world is worse off.” Also Read – Rajnath Singh arrives for Rafale handover ceremony in France The “Report on International Religious Freedom 2018”, available on the website of the US State Department, alleged that the “authorities often failed to prosecute perpetrators of ‘cow vigilante’ attacks, which included killings, mob violence, and intimidation”, a charge that the government denied. Foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Sunday that India sees no credibility in a “foreign entity or government” pronouncing “on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights”. Also Read – Cosmology trio win Nobel Physics Prize “India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion,” Mr Kumar said. The Constitution, he added, “guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens, including its minority communities”. The BJP has said the US report is “biased” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. “The basic presumption in this report that there is some grand design behind anti-minority violence is simply false,” BJP media cell chief and parliamentarian Anil Baluni said in a statement. India has deep-rooted democratic institutions, including fiercely independent and pro-active judiciary. “Unfortunately, this fact is completely ignored in this report,” he said.(With Inputs from NDTV.com)