Maine Smart Meter Case Is Back in Court

first_img RELATED ARTICLES The Smart Meter: Friend or Foe?EMFs and Human HealthOntario to Yank Some Smart MetersIn Nevada, Calls for a Smart Meter ProbeWhen Customers Challenge the Wisdom of Smart MetersFinding the Smartest Use for Smart MetersSmart Meter SmackdownThe Smart Meter’s Contentious OpponentsThe New ‘Smart’ Grid CMP originally won PUC approval for its $200 million conversion program in 2009. Critics took the PUC to court, and in 2012 the Maine Supreme Court ordered the PUC to revisit the issue. A PUC staff report delivered in March 2014 said that there were no credible studies linking the meters to ill health, and six months later commissioners voted to accept the staff report.The coalition appealed, first with written arguments and then the brief oral arguments on November 2. Just what are the threats?The safety of smart meters in Maine and elsewhere is part of a larger debate over the possible health effects of exposure to the many wireless devices people routinely come in contact with — microwave ovens, cell phones, and wireless routers as well as smart meters — and the radio frequency (RF) radiation they produce.Ed Friedman, the lead complainant in the Maine case, says that wireless technology represents “a public health and security emergency the likes of which we have never seen.” The coalition’s website refers to a half-dozen publications or reports dealing with the risks of radio frequency exposure.“In every state and country where smart meters have been or may be installed, there is continued opposition from citizen groups concerned with 24/7 radiation emissions deemed by the World Health Organization to be a possible human carcinogen, invasion of privacy for the electronic records the meters record, theft of personal data, infringement of several constitutional rights and compromising of personal and grid cybersecurity,” the Maine coalition says.Others consider these claims overblown.Writing at the Huffington Post scientists David Bailey and Jonathan Borwein said that claims that wireless radiation causes problem such as dizziness or memory loss are “absurd.” They said that a 2010 study commissioned by the World Health Organization found only a “very minimal and partially contradictory link” between cell phone use and brain cancer.“It is also instructive to compare the radiation levels of smart meters with those of other wireless devices,” they wrote. “Smart meters only transmit data for roughly 1.4 seconds per day, at very low wattage. And even if one stands less than one meter (3 feet) from a smart meter when it broadcasts its data, the resulting microwave exposure is 550 times less than standing in front of an active microwave oven, and 1100 times less than holding an active cell phone to one’s ear.”The American Cancer Society says at its website that it is “very unlikely” that smart meters increase the risk of cancer.No decision in the Maine case is expected for several months.center_img A Maine group protesting the deployment of some 600,000 smart meters took its case back to the state supreme court, arguing the Public Utilities Commission erred when it found the wireless devices were not a threat to public health.The Maine Coalition to Stop Smart Meters is appealing a ruling by the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) last fall, which found no established connection between smart meters and health problems. The coalition claims that the meters can cause a number of health problems, including headaches, fatigue, loss of sleep and, potentially, cancer.Central Maine Power Company (CMP), owned by the Spanish energy conglomerate Iberdrola, says that the radio waves emitted by the devices are well below standards set by the Federal Communications Commission, according to an article in The Portland Press Herald.The hearing on November 2 was the most recent skirmish in a long-running dispute over the safety of the electronic devices that have largely replaced analog electric meters in Maine and elsewhere. Wireless smart meters allow utilities to track the distribution of electricity across the grid in real time and, at least in theory, give both consumers and utilities new ways of managing power consumption.last_img read more

The Muslims: A community in turmoil

first_imgAs most complex communal controversies do, it started out as a mere trifle. Tucked away in the Byzantine confines of the old, princely city of Indore, there lives a 73-year-old called Shah Bano. Ten years ago when her prosperous lawyer husband divorced her in the traditional Muslim way after 43,As most complex communal controversies do, it started out as a mere trifle. Tucked away in the Byzantine confines of the old, princely city of Indore, there lives a 73-year-old called Shah Bano. Ten years ago when her prosperous lawyer husband  divorced her in the traditional Muslim way after 43 years of marriage, she did a most unusual thing: she went to court seeking a small maintenance to feed herself. Today, she is making history. Her search for a small sustenance has led to an unprecedented Islamic resurgence not seen in the country for decades. It has rendered the Muslims a troubled, tormented community, torn by a serious internal schism between the vocal fundamentalists and the subdued but determined liberal minority. More vitally, it threatens to upset the very electoral equation on which the arithmetic of national political fortunes has been based since Independence.Not since the pork and the beef fat smeared cartridges caused the great upheaval of 1857 has a single non-political act caused so much trauma, fear and indignation among a community. Claiming that the Supreme Court judgement granting Shah Bano Rs 500 a month as maintenance from her husband was a sacrilege because it amounted to interference in the Shariat law, ulemas successfully raised the cry of “Islam in danger”. Charged, Muslims came out in lakhs–as many as half-a-million in one instance in Bombay–across the face of the country chanting the slogan of “Shariat bachao”.Pro-sharia rallies in Calicut”For the Muslims today, the imminent danger is to their culture and identity rather than to their lives and property,” said Maulana Abul Lais, Emir of the Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind, summing up the new fear campaign. And if communal Muslim organisations protested in many parts of the country by burning effigies of former Supreme Court chief justice Y.V. Chandrachud, the main author of the controversial judgement, the zealots of Hindu Mahasabha retaliated by handing out the same treatment to the effigies of Maulana Ziaur Rahman Ansari, Union minister of state for environment, who leads the fundamentalist pressure group within the Congress(I).Nothing else, the recurring tragedy of communal riots, nor the trauma of economic deprivation or the travails brought upon Muslim job-seekers on account of discrimination, had ever caused such turbulence before. From the miserly shikara-owner in Srinagar to the prosperous Gulf-returnee in Mallapuram in north Kerala, from the harried Bengali-speaking immigrant peasant in Assam to the insular Memon in Kutch, the controversy has cut into the innermost core of the Muslim religious identity. In the wellsprings of their minority psyche, it strengthens the community’s feeling of persecution at the hands of a majority which, many of them believe, regards them as ungrateful, unpatriotic, disloyal and bigoted.advertisementPatna: nation-wide conflictComing shortly on the heels of the controversy about a case in Calcutta High Court seeking a ban on the Quran (INDIA TODAY, May 31,1985) the controversy found a sullen, insecure mood which was further exacerbated in August last year with the signing of the Assam accord. Widely considered to be a political concession made at the cost of the immigrant Muslims. Even deep in the country side the controversy has aroused extremely angry sentiments. “No Muslim will tolerate this assault. This case will create feelings within our community like those of Punjab and Assam,” warns 35-year-old Nawab Mian, a petty lumber trader in Badayun in western Uttar Pradesh and adds angrily: “The rumour mill has been so busy after this case that people of our community will even believe that the next the Hindu Ram rath procession will occupy Badayun’s Jama Masjid.”Similar suspicions work even on the minds of many Muslim intellectuals. Says Dr Sharifunnisa Ansari, professor and head of the department of Persian studies at Hyderabad’s Osmania University: “I have travelled to more than 10 countries mainly in the Arab world and discovered that no self-respecting woman receives money from the man who divorced her. The Shariat is clear about this and according to some rumours Shah Bano was taken to court by interested Hindus who want a uniform civil code in the country.” Indignant echoes came also from the countryside. “Once we are divorced and the man has met his obligations of mehr, he becomes ghair (a stranger) for us. We have to observe purdah from him and his money is haram,” says Feroze Jahanara Begum, a schoolteacher of Kasganj in Uttar Pradesh. But even angrier assertion comes from her colleague Rehana Khatun who says: “We will resist this decision even if that means we have to become shaheeds (martyrs).”The feeling is summed up by Dr Taher Mehmood, a faculty member of Delhi University and one of the foremost authorities on Muslim history and law in India. He says: “If you look at it from the eyes of the Muslim he is saying: You have already taken away everything else that was so valuable to my faith. Now I will not let you take away the last of my valuable possessions. My personal law.” Rightly or wrongly, the controversy has lacerated old wounds besides causing a new, all-consuming fury of hurt, fear and aggression, a mix any politician in search of a communal constituency would grab with both hands.advertisementAnd there was no stopping this inevitability with fundamentalist ulemas and politicians merrily orchestrating a campaign that played on insecurities, old and new, and put a majority of the 7.5 crore Muslims, who constitute 11.35 per cent of India’s population, firmly on the route to fundamentalism. The campaign was expectedly stronger in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which have large concentrations of Muslim population. At Lucknow last week, Maulana Obaidullah Khan  the founder of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Conference, threatened to launch an agitation for return to Shariat law. This, he said, would include a satyagraha by 313 of his followers before the Uttar Pradesh Assembly-the figure reminiscent of the hijrat (migration) of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina along with 313 followers. The trend worries some Muslims. “Every small-town maulana has become a leader now with narrow objectives and narrow interest. If the controversy is not resolved quickly these people will take the community behind by two to three decades,” says Shahid Siddiqui. editor of leading Urdu weekly Nai Duniya, underlining the threat of the new spate of fundamentalism.The leaders in the forefront of the campaign are, on the other hand, self-righteous. “Ours is not a communal fight. It only amounts to resisting the inexorable process of assimilation. We want to keep our religious identity at all costs,” says Janata Party Lok Sabha member Syed Shahabuddin, flush with his 70,000-vote victory in the by-election at Kishanganj in north Bihar last month.Exactly a year ago, Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress(I) had won the Kishanganj constituency, which spreads along the Indo Bangladesh border and has a large number of Bengali-speaking Muslim peasants, by a formidable margin of over 1.3 lakh votes. But in their new mood the Muslims had neither the time nor the inclination for the Congress(I) campaigners in spite of the fact that the party’s candidate was the general secretary of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Hind, a religious organisation. Over 200 ulemas brought in by the party from all over the country were physically thrown out of the constituency and its campaigners hooted all over the backward constituency. Said Dr Abdul Moghani, president of the Urdu development organisation, Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Urdu, Bihar: “It was not a vote for Shahabuddin, it was a vote for Shariat.”Shahabuddin himself is effusive: “This petty little election of mine really amounted to breaking a bund. For the first time our people were now saying, we are there with them on equal terms, electing our own people.” To emphasise his point, he adds: “The last round of election shows that the humpty-dumpty of the Congress(I)’s Muslim vote banks has come crashing down and never again can all the king’s horses and all the king’s men put it back there again.”advertisementAcross the country, from Assam in the east to Baroda in the west, Congressmen were complaining bitterly of the loss of their most valued vote banks. The evidence of what lay behind the debacle came out transparently in election results. For example:- In Assam, the newly constituted United Minorities Front (UMF) grabbed 18 Assembly seats. Practically each one of these constituencies has a Muslim majority. All over the state the UMF campaigners made just two points: the threat to immigrant Muslims from the Assam accord and the threat to the Muslim identity all over the country from the Shah Bano case judgement. – In the Sayajiganj assembly election in Baroda, former police commissioner Jaspal Singh defeated the Congress(I) candidate by 8,365 votes. Gujarat Chief Minister Amarsinh Chaudhry attributes defeat entirely to the loss of the sizeable Muslim vote in the constituency. Singh had incidentally resigned from the police force under a cloud with the Muslims of the city accusing him of pro-Hindu communalism.- In Bijnore, which has an estimated 1.6 lakh Muslim vote, Meera Kumar of the Congress(I) just scraped through but failed to get the Muslim vote. Of the 1,22,000 votes of Lok Dal’s Ram Vilas Paswan, a credible estimate has it that around a lakh came from the Muslims.- In Kendrapara in Orissa Chief Minister J.B. Patnaik claimed that the party’s margin of defeat went up because the constituency’s 10 per cent Muslim vote deserted the party.- Even in Bolpur, West Bengal, where Siddhartha Shankar Ray lost to the CPI(M) by 40,000 votes more than the margin of the Congress(I) defeat in December 1984. PCC(I) chief Priya Ranjan Das Munshi claimed that the party got less than half of the Muslim vote it had bagged in December1 1984. Some of this could be exaggeration, a case of the party’s state leaders squealing, trying to camouflage their own failure in winning the elections. But even at the highest levels in the party now there was intense concern I’ at this electoral atrophy and it found an echo at the centenary celebrations in Bombay where Mufti Mohammed Syed, chief of the party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit, went to the extent of saying: “People are saying we have become a party of the north Indian Hindus.”Similar signals were reaching the prime minister from many other sources. Even before the elections Maulana Asad Madani, president of Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Hind and the Congress(I)’s key Muslim campaigner had written a strong letter to the prime minister pointing out how upset the Muslims were with the party.In the elections he campaigned at Kishanganj but invariably described the Congress(I) candidate as the Jamiat nominee. A stream of the Congress(I) Muslim nominees called on him to say how imperative it was for the party to win back its Muslim support and a direct consequence of the pressures was that the Government seemed inclined to appease the fundamentalists. “After Assam and the by-elections, the prime minister is acutely aware of the albatross he carries round his neck in the form of the Muslim Personal Law controversy. The party can hardly afford this kind of erosion,” said a Muslim leader of the Congress(I) shortly after a long meeting with the prime minister. Not surprisingly the controversy has led to serious differences of opinion within-the party with leaders ranging against or behind the judgement. So sharp is the cutting edge of the controversy that it has even caused dissensions within the BJP which has always been identified with the Hindu interest and aspirations. At its Chandigarh session last fortnight the party passed a resolution in favour of the judgement and immediately drew protests from its miniscule section of Muslim representatives. As BJP President Atal Behari Vajpayee admitted: “Muslims from our own party came to me and said why have we passed such a resolution. They want us to support the demand for the amendment to the law so that in future Muslim women cannot approach courts for maintenance. I told them there is no way we can support such an amendment. If they want they can issue a religious edict asking their divorced women not to move courts.” The other political parties were watching the scene in relative quiet, the Janata Party and the Lok Dal in anticipation of the Muslim vote, alienated from the Congress(I) for the moment spilling over to their sides and the Marxists, the only political party to have taken an unambiguous stand in favour of the judgement playing at best from the sidelines. But much more than shaking up the political arithmetic in the country, the controversy has led to an acrimonious debate within the Muslims. The fundamentalists say that in Islam there is no concept of kanyadan or dowry. All that the divorced woman is entitled to get from her husband is her mehr, the dower which is integral part of the Muslim marriage. Thus the moment a woman gets divorced her parents, brothers and sons become responsible for her maintenance.”In Islam marriage is not a sacrament, it is a contract. We have no taking vows round the fire, no business of till-death-do us-part and no kanyadan. The husband’s responsibility ends the moment the contract is terminated by divorce after the payment of mehr,” says Najma Heptullah, deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha and granddaughter of the late Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Justifying the Shariat concept that sustenance for a destitute divorced woman should come from her blood relations. she asks: “Tell me which relation is more important, one that is purely contractual or the one of blood’?” The fundamentalist argument is that doubts are raised regarding Muslim Personal Law only because of the “misconception” that it is loaded against women, making divorce as easy for men as uttering the word talaq thrice. Explains Maulana Mohammed Salim Saheb Qasim, Muhtamim (rector) of Darul llloom, the world famous school of Islamic studies at Deoband near Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh: “For us talaq is the last resort when all other efforts fail. It is a final solution, a breaking of bonds.” Making a similar assertion says Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, head of the Muslim Personal Law Board at Nadwat-ul-Ulema in Lucknow, adding that in our religion, “zehar dena asan hai. talaq na mushkil hai” (it is easier to poison the wife than to divorce her).The liberals do not question this per se. But they argue that the laws given 14 centuries back must change with the times and that, by itself, should amount to no sacrilege or blasphemy. “When a woman is getting married, divorce is about the last thing on her mind. That leaves mehr a mere formality and further, when a woman is divorced and thrown out by her own husband, it is absurd and ludicrous to expect her to fight a legal battle against her own father for maintenance,” reasons Zoya Hassan, a reader in political science in Jawaharlal Nehru University and one of the active campaigners for reform and codification of the Muslim Personal Law. Hassan and a whole bunch of other progressive, educated Muslim women in Delhi point out that it is an erroneous belief that the majority of Muslims,  particularly women. are with the ulemas on the issue of maintenance. It is just that a lot among the vulnerable majority in the villages feel too intimidated speak out. This was also observed by INDIA TODAY correspondents who travelled extensively through large tracts of Muslim-dominated areas of the country. There was plenty of silent support for Shah Bano but only occasional, open expression such as that of Zaira Khatoon, a village housewife from Manikpur in Badayun district. “It is all very well the mullahs to talk,” she said. “But when a poor girl gets divorced, who is going to feed her, especially if her relatives are themselves poor?”The Liberal point of view is that the Prophet was himself extremely progressive on subjects relating to women but since religious scriptures often provide only the basic framework it becomes necessary for the Government to legislate from time to time.”Religion is always taught in parables and thus it becomes necessary to supplement this with social legislation,” says Union Minister of State for Energy Arif Mohammed Khan (see interview), explaining why modernisation of the personal law is no sacrilege when it does not clash with the basic diktats of the Prophet.They also point out that the Muslim Personal Law is based on more than just the Quran. Islamic scholars point out that there are four known sources of personal law, including the Quran. The others are: sunna (practice and explanation from the Prophet), ijma (consensus of the learned) and qiyas (analogies), the last two not being as sacrosanct as the Quran. Moreover even Ghulam Mahamood Banatwala, general secretary of Indian Union Muslim League, has admitted in the Lok Sabha that there are seven distinct schools of Islamic law, Hanafi, Shafei, Malki, Hambali, Ithna Ashari, Ismaili and Zaidi. These do not interpret Muslim Personal Law uniformly. The consequence is that while it may be indiscreet to even talk in terms of changing what the Quran says the other aspects of Muslim Personal Law could evolve with the times within the basic Islamic framework.The liberals also say that the fundamentalists complain too much and in India they even tend to be too sensitive since Muslim thinkers have accepted change to keep pace with the times all over the world. “Mullahs opposing the judgement on Muslim Personal Law are hypocrites.” says Syed Mohammed Najmuddin, a Patna-based business executive and a former soccer star. He points out that in the 19th century the mullahs had accepted without demur the abolition of the Islamic Personal Law to impose a common penal code all over the country. for all communities. “Did that too not amount to interference in the Shariat?” he asks.This inconvenient fact, of the Muslim law having undergone change through the decades. is not denied even by an extreme right-wing  fundamentalist organisation like Jamaat-e-lslami, which lives in the heady nostalgia of the Mughal period, when Islamic law was the law of the land, and admits as much. It is true that initially even the British judges sought assistance liberally from the Muslim qazis in writing judgements in the Indian courts. but slowly English laws were ushered in and the Indian Penal Code enacted in 1862. At the same time the Muslims were allowed to be governed by their traditional laws on personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and gifts. Even so, this was not made part of the statute book, and the ambiguity frequently led to trouble.Muslim scholars often protested against court judgements and this finally led to the enactment of the Muslim Personal (Shariat) Application Act in 1937. The law said that in cases relatine to marriage, mehr, maintainance, divorce, judicial separation, guardianship, gift, succession and waqf, where contending parties were Muslims, the decisions would be based on the Shariat. Two years later the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act was passed. according to which a Muslim woman seeking divorce can move court.All along the decades, while this change was made in consultation with the ulemas, one problem stood out. While every new law was based on the Shariat, no effort was made to codify this divine Muslim law. In the absence of a firmly stated Shariat law, it was open to various interpretations depending on the predilections of the various schools of thought, causing enormous confusion. This further underlines the need today for codifying Muslim Personal Law, a demand liberals within the community have often made They find it hard to understand why the fundamentalists react so violently to the very suggestion of a change in the light of this history. “Every law needs to keep pace with the times and this applies even more to something like the Muslim Personal Law which, even to begin with, was rather liberal for its times. The Prophet was extremely conscious of the need for the uplift of women,” says Zoya Hassan. Besides, a large number of Islamic countries have already passed Muslim personal laws with certain changes in the eighth century invocations.Says a report of the National Commission on Women: “Most Muslim countries such as Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, Indonesia and Pakistan have introduced reforms of varying degrees to correct the abuse of polygamy but no legislative measures have been taken so far in India to ameliorate the hardship caused to Muslim women by the institution of polygamy.” Pakistan is an important example. For 14 years after Partition, the Pakistan Government followed the laws passed by the British in the ’30s but significant reformist changes were brought about in 1961. These include:The repealing of the Shariat Applications Act of 1937 to be replaced by Muslim Family Laws Ordinance; and.The replacement of the Dissolution of Marriage Act of 1939 by another progressive ordinance.The new Pakistani laws mark a significant departure from the tradition. For example, there is a virtual bar on polygamy with the legal requirement to register each marriage and the need for permission from an official arbitration council for taking a second wife. Contravention of these provisions is a penal offence. Similarly for divorce, the spouses have to approach the arbitration council. Substantial changes were also brought about on the law of succession, making nonsense of the Indian fundamentalists’ claim that the changes abroad have touched just the procedure and not substance of the Shariat.But all this evidence fails to impress a majority of the Indian Muslim scholars and fundamentalist leadership. To begin with, the change in British times is dismissed as coercion. Says Amir-e-Shariat Minatullah Rehmani, head of Imarat Sharia, one of the most significant Islamic institutions in the country: “The British rulers brought about the change in Islamic Personal Law and enforced it with a position of strength after the 1857 revolt when the Muslim morale was shattered.”Similarly in a series of discussions with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Muslim leaders and thinkers have refused to even take cognizance of the changes brought about in the other Islamic countries. “I do not understand what do you mean by that.” says Ahmed Ali Qasmi, general secretary of All-India Muslim Majlis-e-Mashawrat, a quasi-political religious organisation led by Syed Shahabuddin, adding: “We are Indians. How can we draw parallels with the other Islamic countries? Our reference can only be to the Quran and had is and not to what other dictators have done in their countries.” Says Dr Taher Mehmood, whom the prime minister has been consulting often in the recent past: “Mr Gandhi raised the same issue with me. But I told him we should not look at what has happened to Muslim Personal Law in other Muslim countries. We should examine what has been done in Muslim minority countries such as the Philippines and Thailand or what has happened to the law of the minorities such as Jews and Christians in Islamic countries.”Interestingly, however, barring the extremely fundamentalist groups such as Jamaat-e-Islami. hardly any of the Muslims protesting against the Shah Bano judgement takes a selectively fundamentalist line, demanding the application of the Shariat in its most undiluted. unadulterated form on the personal law while keeping it out of criminal law.”These mullahs hate women and twist the Shariatin such a way that itworks totheir advantage. Why don’t they also want the application of Shariat criminal law so men could die for adultery or get their limbs amputated for thefts?” asked a graduate student at Jamia Millia. Adds Faizan Ahmed. 22, editor of Patna-based Urdu daily Azimabad Express: “The mullahs areonly doing business in the name of the faith by seeking a return to roots on the personal law while sticking to the modern criminal law which also, following their own logic, amounts to violation of the Shariat.” Of all the liberal arguments, this is by far the hardest for the fundamentalists to rebut. And they do it speciously. Says Shahabuddin: “The difference is that Islamic criminal law can only be applied by an Islamic state.” Besides the contentious discussion on what really constitutes Islamic personal law and whether it can be modified or changed to keep pace with the times, the Shah Bano case has also brought the role of the judiciary in sharp focus. Much of the Muslim ire has been directed not so much at the decision as at the manner in which the judgement was drafted. “In two cases in the past Justice Krishna lyer granted maintenance to divorced Muslim women without raising so much noise. Here what upset some people was the unnecessary gratuitous advice contained in the judgement.” says Minorities Commission Chairman and former Supreme Court judge Mirza Hameedullah Beg. “The Supreme Court is no judge of expediency,” he says but adds that there was no sacrilege involved in what the court did. The reaction has been so severe because the “thinking process is always suspended whenever an issue concerning three things-Aligarh Muslim University, Urdu and Muslim Personal Law comes up.”In legal circles there is serious concern at the open, no-holds-barred campaign against the judgement and former chief justice Chandrachud who presided over the bench. Chandrachud himself defends the judgement stoutly denying that he meant any disrespect to Islam. He says: “The court has the right to analyse any personal law, and analysis is not sacrilege.”The fundamentalists’ most populistic casus belli is the court’s exhortation to the Government to enact a uniform personal law all over the country as enshrined in Article 44 of the Constitution. Ever since the hoary days of 1946 when the debates of the constituent Assembly began, this article has been the Muslim leaders’ bete noire. They suspect that it will impinge on the Islamic way of life (see box). “This provision for a uniform civil code is the root cause of all the evil and tirade against the Muslims in our country,” says Maulana AbuI Lais of Jamaat-e-Islami echoing the fundamentalist fears due to the judgement. For the ulemas it is easy to play on this fear in spite of the repeated denials by Congress(I) leaders that the party is planning move towards a uniform civil code in a hurry till the country is ready for it and a consensus exists in its favour among all communities.The Prime Minister has been doing a bit of research himself. Over the past month-and-a-half he has met a series of deputations from both the fundamentalists and the liberals, and seems keen to sue for peace. He told a women’s delegation on November 21 that he felt discouraged by the kind of attitude his party’s Muslims, particularly women, have adopted on the issue.He is reported to have told the women’s delegation that they whispered one thing in his ear but said something else publicly. He also cautioned them not to have western perceptions while talking about equality between the sexes. But he disappointed them too, by saying that he was prepared to bring about a change in the law to clear the air.At one stage the prime minister is reported to have even suggested that under the new, codified draft of Muslim Personal Law. the Government could legally make the divorced woman’s blood relations responsible for her maintenance. And where that was not possible, the responsibility could be passed on to Muslim society at large through the waqf boards or even on organisations funded by the Government. This drew firm protests from Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sports and Women. Margaret Alva, who was present at the meeting and promptly asked what. In that case, would the Government do for divorcee women of the other faiths?The prime minister’s defensive approach however, was an indirect admission of the fact that he has been under pressure from his own partymen to make a concession before it was too late and ulemas were able to swing the Muslim electorate away decisively from the Congress(I). The Muslim clergy has been threatening that if its demands are not conceded, it will influence Muslim voters to do a repeat of 1977 when they voted en bloc against the Congress. For the ruling party that is a worrisome scenario. While it is true that in Lok Sabha the Muslim vote can by itself win no more than 50 seats, it is also true that it can tilt the scales decisively in about a hundred more. Besides, in most of the five states, including Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam, no national party canexpect to grab power without a reasonable chunk of the Muslim vote.Congress(I) leaders are wary of this possibility even though at the moment no other political party seems to be in a position to take advantage. There is a distinct possibility that a new Muslim party on the lines of the UMF in Assam may come up at the national level. Another likely contender for the Muslim vote will be a possible Lok Dal-Janata alliance in the post-Charan Singh era. It was due to this realisation last month that Union Law Minister Asoke Sen met many Muslim clergy men and jurists at the house of Najma Heptullah to work out a truce. The clergymen have already submitted their proposals on the kind of amendment they want made to the existing law (see box).At the same time the liberals ore also in the process of submitting their list of proposals and a progressive Muslim organisation in Delhi is collecting signatures from leading Muslim intellectuals on a memorandum seeking a modern interpretation and codification of the Muslim Personal Law. For the liberals. particularly women, the stakes are high. The prime minister has already suggested a debate on the codification of Muslim Personal Law just as the Hindu personal law was put on the statute book as Hindu Code Bill in the ’50s. As in the case of the Hindu Code Bill, the debate on the codification of Muslim Personal Law is bound to be acrimonious with the midway point too far for both fundamentalists and liberals.Codification, in any case, will be a long-drawn process. But on the current controversy it seems likely that the Government will capitulate, going two steps backwards by amending Section 125 of the CRPC and making it virtually impossible for divorced Muslim women to seek succour from the courts. But making concessions under political coercion is not such a good policy. lt will increase the clamour for abrogation of Article44 of the Constitution which lies at the root of the Muslim fundamentalist fear of the very suggestion of a uniform personal law.Even so, the controversy is serving a useful purpose, of generating debate, within the community on the need for change and reform. But the process will be slow and bumpy, particularly in the case of a dogmatic faith where the Prophet’s word is considered an absolute instruction. As Dr Kausar Azam, reader in political science at Osmania University, says: “The absence of a Mahatma Gandhi or a Raja Ram Mohan Roy among the Muslims has slowed social reform in the community and those interested and working on social reform like Hamid Dalwai died young.The solution will have to be found by the Muslims themselves.” As of now, that solution seems hard to find. But if the current debate leads even a few steps closer to that it would be thanks to the toil and tenacity of that 73-year-old divorcee from Indore.-Shekhar Gupta wlth Farzand Ahmed and Inderjit Badhwarlast_img read more

IPL 2017: Geeta Basra, daughter cheer Harbhajan Singh from stands

first_imgFormer Mumbai Indians captain Harbhajan Singh bowled an impressive spell as he finished with two for 23 in his four overs to keep Sunrisers Hyderabad batsmen under control. (Scorecard)Harbhajan seems to have been motivated by the presence his wife Geeta Basra and daughter Hinaya Heer Plaha, who cheered on from the Wankhede stands during the Mumbai Indians versus Sunrisers Hyderabad clash in the Indian Premier League.Mumbai started well with the experienced Harbhajan and Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga giving away just five runs from the first couple of overs.Warner broke the shackles in the third over with two consecutive boundaries off Harbhajan before milking Malinga for another two after the Lankan changed ends.Coming back for his second spell, Harbhajan’s first ball was powerfully muscled over the third man boundary by a left-handed Warner for a mammoth six before the 36-year-old tweaker came back strongly the very next ball to dismiss the Aussie.Bhajji waves at his wife and daughter during the match. (BCCI Photo)Warner, who had faced 34 balls and struck seven boundaries and two sixes by then, got a top-edge while attempting another reverse-sweep as wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel dived full length to complete a stunning catch at short point.Two overs later, Harbhajan returned to bowl his final over and struck first ball with the wicket of Deepak Hooda (9), caught by Keiron Pollard at long-on.Harbhajan inspired his side’s bowlers to restrict the defending champions to 158/8 in 20 overs.Jasprit Bumrah finished with three for 24 while Lasith Malings, Mitchell McClenaghan and Hardik Pandya chipped in with one wicket apiece.advertisementHarbhajan and Geeta married in 2015 and the duo was blessed with a baby girl in July last year.last_img read more

Some Fans Of An SEC Team Already Want To See The 3rd String Quarterback

first_imgA general view of Arkansas' football field.FAYETTEVILLE, AR – SEPTEMBER 2: General view during the game between the University of Southern California Trojans and the Arkansas Razorbacks on September 2, 2006 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Southern California won 50-14. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)We all probably should have assumed that Arkansas would have a rebuilding year. Still, Hogs fans are naturally a bit disappointed with a Week 2 loss to Colorado State.CSU had looked disappointing to start the year, with a home loss to Hawaii to start the year, and then a blowout loss at the hands of rival Colorado.Still, they were able to upend Arkansas 34-27 last weekend to pick up their first win of the year. Arkansas beat Eastern Illinois to start the year, and now has another tough Group of Five draw, with explosive North Texas.So far, Ty Storey and Cole Kelley have each started one game, only to be replaced by the other. Neither has grabbed hold of the job.Storey has had a bit more work, completing 17-of-30 throws for 297 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions, good for a strong 9.9 yards per attempt. Kelley’s YPA number is a tad lower (9.24), but he’s been more accurate, completing 71.4-percent of his throws, and is yet to throw a pick, while matching Storey’s touchdown mark.Still, some fans want to see the team’s third quarterback, Connor Noland, get involved in the ongoing QB battle.Saturday Down South writer Trent Shadid laid out the argument for getting Connor Noland some run.Noland, a two-sport star at Arkansas, was a four-star recruit in 2018.Arkansas’ chances at becoming bowl eligible took a major hit with a loss at Colorado State in Week 2. If the Hogs aren’t going to be playing this postseason, they might as well start preparing for the future. Noland is their most talented option in the hope to find a future star.He also argues that if Noland is able to compete for the starting job early on, it may help keep him with the football program, rather than jumping fully into a potential baseball career.Others agree that he should get a look:I for one am ready to see Connor Noland. Its painfully obviously that Story and Kelley are not the answer.— Layne Sanders (@watertech81) September 9, 2018We are playing North Texas I suggest that start Connor Noland or John Stephen Jones— A1vsNino OUT NOW (@KungFuMarc) September 9, 2018Connor Noland for QB ?— Trey Gentry (@trey_gentry) September 9, 2018Should Arkansas start Connor Noland Saturday against North Texas? Storey and Kelley aren’t the answer. I was about 90% sure of this before the season ever started. The last thing we need to do is throw Noland out there against Auburn on the road for his first start.— JP Baugher (@BaugherJp) September 10, 2018Mannnn I hope we see Connor Noland this Saturday— Daniel (@dboone_11) September 11, 2018QB.. Situation… Sad… If we gonna lose…. Get Connor Noland experience.. Start him for the future.. Let these recruits know you will play THE BEST no matter the Class… #WooPig https://t.co/F6WcKFt9Ca— ⛳Hole?️‍♂️Hawg?️‍♂️In?️‍♂️One⛳ (@hogcephus) September 13, 2018For now, it looks like Storey and Kelley will remain the top options. If the season starts to get away from Arkansas though, it wouldn’t be crazy for first-year coach Chad Morris to see what he has in the young QB.last_img read more

Steady Sailing for Scorpio Tankers

first_imgzoom Scorpio Tankers Inc. had a net loss of $0.6 million, or $0.00 basic and diluted loss per share, according to the shipper’s first quarter results. The company’s fleet expanded for 12 vessels, as it took delivery of four vessels (one LR2, two MR, and one ice-class 1A Handymax) in July 2014 and eight vessels (six MR and two ice-class 1A Handymax) during the second quarter of 2014. Builders of these vessels are Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, SPP Shipyard and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries.However, the charter rates of the existing fleet were somewhat lower when compared to those from last year, amounting to $12,733 from $15,444 per day. Overall, nevertheless, the total vessel earnings reached $56.8m growing by $6.7m due to fleet expansion. Charter hire expenses ticked up by $9.5m to $36.2m.Scorpio made a $10.9m gain on a swap deal involving 3,422,665 shares of Dorian LPG for 7,500,000 of its own common shares.The company’s half year results show that the company has made a profit of $52.8m, up by a $51.4m gain from the sale of seven VLCCs in late April.Scorpio made $235.1m of payments for its 43 newbuilds it has outstanding during the quarter.On July 28, 2014, the Board of Directors approved a new stock buyback program with authorization to purchase up to $150 million of shares of the company’s common stock, replacing the one announced in June 2014, which is being terminated.The company said that it expects to “repurchase these shares in the open market, at times and prices that are considered to be appropriate by the company, but is not obligated under the terms of the program to repurchase any shares.” During 2014, Scorpio has purchased an aggregate of $105.9 million of shares in the open market at an average price of $9.35 during 2014.Press release, July 30, 2014; Image: Wikimedialast_img read more

TOURISM CULTURE AND HERITAGE–Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala to Showcase Vibrant Arts

first_imgMembers of the Nova Scotia arts and culture community are invited to mark their calendars for the fifth annual Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala, to be held Oct. 29 at Pier 21 in Halifax. The gala, hosted by the Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership Council, will celebrate and showcase the accomplishments and contributions of artists across Nova Scotia. Winners will be announced for the Prix Grand-Pré, the Community Arts and Culture Recognition Award, the Established Artist Recognition awards, the Portia White Prize and the Portia White Protegé. In addition to these awards, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterwork Arts Award will be presented to one of five finalists. The Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala aims to profile and strengthen the culture sector that contributes more than $1.2 billion annually to the provincial economy and directly employs more than 28,000 Nova Scotians. “Nova Scotia is home to many talented artists and arts organizations who strengthen our communities and help make life better for families,” said Percy Paris, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. “It is important that we recognize their creative excellence and acknowledge that they make our province a better place.” More information on the 2010 Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala can be found by visiting www.creativenovascotia.com , including ticket reservations, award nomination forms and eligibility criteria.last_img read more

Nadda briefs RSS meet on Art 370

first_imgPushkar: BJP working president JP Nadda on Sunday gave a detailed presentation on the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status at the RSS meeting with its affiliates here, while senior party leader Ram Madhav addressed concerns raised over the issue of NRC in Assam, sources said.Leaders of Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP, and its affiliates lauded the government for its landmark move on revoking provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The sources said Nadda also shared details about the government’s various plans for improving the overall condition in the Kashmir Valley. On the other side, Madhav briefed delegates on the issue of the National Register of Citizen’s in Assam and also responded to the concerns raised in the meeting over several genuine citizens being left out of the final list, majority of whom, they claimed, are Hindus. Concerns were raised at the meeting on Saturday during a presentation made by RSS affiliate ‘Seema Jagran Manch’ on the final list of the NRC in Assam, published on August 31, that left out over 1.9 million people, the sources said. The sources said concerns were raised on several genuine citizens being left out, especially those who settled in Assam from neighbouring states, and Madhav addressed those. Over 200 delegates of 35 RSS affiliates are attending the coordination meeting, first such after the Lok Sabha elections.last_img read more

Bill Nighy Supports The Robin Hood Tax

first_imgWith the names of politicians and the rich and famous making the headlines since the Panama Papers scandal, tax avoidance is front and centre on the minds of many, including some with the power to do something about it.In mid-June, a collection of countries are scheduled to introduce a financial transaction tax (FTT) called the Robin Hood Tax. This tax collected on financial transactions is to go towards the protection of public services, and to tackle poverty and climate change.Actor Bill Nighy has appeared on the front page of e-activist petition #TheTimeIsNow, where it says that leaders aren’t saying how much the tax will be because of pressure from banks. Those in favour of the tax are welcome to go to The Time Is Now webpage and fill in the rest of the statement, which begins: “The time is now for an FTT because…” The petition’s goal for 5,000 signatures is over half way there. The best reasons proposed will be sent directly to leaders.“History could be made this year with a tiny tax on transactions,” says Nighy. “They have a chance to make a profound and historic change in the way we order a chronically imbalanced world.”Copyright ©2016Look to the Starslast_img read more

Bell Rogers CBC join group seeking to have CRTC find and block

first_imgTORONTO – Prominent members of Canada’s entertainment industry are calling for a new federal agency to locate and shut down websites that are portals for illegally obtained video and audio content.Bell Canada, Rogers Communications Inc., Quebecor Inc., Cineplex Inc., the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and several other organizations have banded together to create FairPlay Canada.They argue that Canadian jobs are at risk because consumers can get access to TV shows, movies and music from websites that don’t pay for the content that they stream to consumers.They want the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to use its power as a regulator to require Canadian internet service providers to shut down access to the pirated material.They also want the CRTC to set up an independent agency to help locate the pirate websites.The CRTC is in the final weeks of public consultations about the distribution of music, TV and other content via the internet.The agency has set Feb. 13 as a deadline for final comments in order to submit its report to the federal cabinet by June 1.Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE, TSX:RCI.B, TSX:QBR.B, TSX:CGX,last_img read more

Nissans Ghosn From auto industry icon to scandal

first_imgPARIS — A trailblazer and visionary in the auto industry, Carlos Ghosn is also a highflyer prone to excesses that may have contributed to his surprise downfall as head of the world’s leading auto group.Ghosn was arrested last week in Japan for allegedly falsifying financial reports and misusing funds at Nissan Motor Co. It was a stunning reversal for the industry icon.Ghosn turned around France’s Renault SA and then Japan’s Nissan Motor Co., eventually linking them in an alliance with Mitsubishi Motor Corp. in their top-selling venture.But while renowned as an industry cost cutter, he spent lavishly on himself. Prosecutors say he is suspected of underreporting his income by $44 million over five years.The Mitsubishi Motors board was meeting Monday to consider whether to dismiss him as chairman.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Moroccos ONMT Gets More Space to Promote Tourism in Berlin

Rabat – Morocco reserved a stand of over 340 square meters for its 27 exhibitors at the Berlin International Tourism Exchange (ITB) event held from March 6 to 10.This year, the Moroccan stand has a larger surface area in response to the growing interest of Moroccan professionals in the ITB. The Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT) added 100 square meters to its stand, allowing more visibility for the various tourist regions in Morocco.Many tour operators, travel agents, booking sites, and hotels are taking part in the event. In 2018, 180,000 visitors and 10,000 exhibitors from 180 countries visited ITB Berlin. As of December 2018, 761,873 German tourists had visited Morocco compared to 2017, a 10 percent increase. The two countries have 45 air connections. Agadir is the main port of entry for German tourists, followed by Marrakech and Nador. read more

Côte dIvoire Peace process needs international support facilitator says

18 May 2007The peace process in Côte d’Ivoire needs international support to succeed, a representative of the key negotiator told the United Nations Security Council today. The UN must “provide its consistent support to the parties and to facilitation – both technically and financially – and do this through the end of the crisis,” Djibrill Y. Bassole, Minister for National Security of Burkina Faso, said on behalf of the country’s President, Blaise Compaoré, the Facilitator of the Ouagadougou Agreement. The Ouagadougou agreement, struck on 4 March, sets out a series of measures to deal with the political divide in Côte d’Ivoire, which has been split between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north since 2002. “The peace process is well underway but it could prove vulnerable given the electoral issues at stake,” said Mr. Bassole, stressing the need for international support to the holding of free, democratic presidential elections. He called the Agreement an “acceptable and balanced way out for the parties” and said it had been welcomed in Ivorian political circles and by the country’s people. “The decision of the two parties to implement their commitments under the Agreement has made a major contribution to relaxing the political environment in Côte d’Ivoire,” he said. “The rationale of confrontation that previously existed has given way to a rationale of useful partnership.” But he cautioned that implementation “is facing a number of challenges inherent in the very nature of the crisis and which are also tied to financing operations.” The Facilitator, Mr. Bassole said, is committed to resolving the crisis. “The parties to the Ouagadougou Agreement will not be able to carry out this process without the assistance of the international community, particularly the UN,” he said, welcoming the role being played by the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and the French Licorne forces. Meanwhile, in Ouagadougou, the Officer-in-Charge of UNOCI, Abou Moussa met with the Facilitator and other officials to exchange views on recent political developments in Côte d’Ivoire. “We acknowledged that there has been significant progress, that there have also been some difficulties, especially operational problems, but that the political will is there,” he said. In a recent report on the peace process in Côte d’Ivoire, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommends that UNOCI not begin to draw down its troop numbers at least until after the zone of confidence has been replaced successfully with a green line. The green line is to be marked by 17 UNOCI observation posts that will be dismantled progressively. read more

Canadas economy gains 9300 jobs beating forecasts

OTTAWA — The unemployment rate stayed at its 43-year low of 5.6 per cent last month as the economy closed out 2018 with the addition of 9,300 net new jobs.For the second straight month, the jobless rate was at its lowest level since Statistics Canada started measuring comparable data in January 1976.Economists had expected the addition of 5,500 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.But even in a tightened job market the latest labour force survey shows wage growth delivered another weak reading in December of 1.49 per cent — which is well below inflation.Year-over-year average hourly wage growth for permanent employees was 1.46 per cent in November — and it has decelerated steadily since its May peak of 3.9 per cent.Looking back at 2018, Statistics Canada says the country gained 163,300 net new jobs for an increase of 0.9 per cent, which was a slower pace of growth compared with 2.3 per cent in 2017 and 1.2 per cent in 2016.Employment growth in 2018 was mostly concentrated in the services sectors, which generated 151,000 positions compared with an increase of just 12,300 in goods-producing industries. read more

American University in Cairo honours UN staffer killed in Baghdad terror attack

The Fund “will honour her legacy by supporting education and opportunity for countless students from her country and the region,” said Nagwa Shoeb, a spokesperson for the University, which hopes to raise $300,000 for the initiative.In another tribute to Ms. Younes, an Egyptian national, the school has designated The Nadia Younes Conference and Meeting Room in the Model United Nations Centre. It will serve as the focal point for the students to prepare for Cairo International Model United Nations, which Ms. Shoeb called the University’s “most sought-after activity.”Ms. Younes, who had taken courses at the American University in Cairo, joined the UN in 1969, eventually working as Deputy Spokeswoman for then Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar. She also headed the UN Information Office in Rome, worked as Chief of Protocol in New York, and led the UN’s communication team in Kosovo. At the time of her death, she was officially posted to a top-level job at the World Health Organization (WHO).In Baghdad, she was on what was supposed to be a four-month posting as a senior aide to Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top UN envoy in Iraq, who was also killed in the blast.The Nadia Younes Annual Lecture will also be created and endowed with the resources to invite accomplished international leaders to address the University. In addition, The Nadia Younes Award for Public and Humanitarian Service will be established, allowing the University to recognize and reward the graduating senior who has exhibited the most commitment to community and humanitarian service. “This award will be an exceptional tribute to Mrs. Younes’ service as well as to the student who has achieved this honour,” Ms. Shoeb explained.Addressing the University last week, Nadia’s brother, Fouad Younes, voiced gratitude for the initiative. “We are convinced that it is the most appropriate manner in which to continue to honour Nadia’s memory so that it may serve as a lasting example to today and tomorrow’s students of what a hard working life dedicated to the United Nations can achieve,” he said.In New York, a spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the Fund’s establishment, saying it was a fitting tribute to an extraordinary staff member who contributed significantly to the cause of peace, even at the cost of her own life. read more

Le typhon Bopha menace à nouveau larchipel des Philippines

first_imgLe typhon Bopha menace à nouveau l’archipel des PhilippinesAlors qu’il a déjà fait plus de 500 victimes dans le sud du pays, le typhon Bopha remet le cap vers les Philippines. Bien qu’affaibli, il constitue toujours une grave menace pour un pays qui peine à panser les plaies de la première visite de la tempête. 200 000 personnes sont déjà sans logis. Après avoir fait plus de 546 morts et 500 disparus dans le sud des Philippines, le typhon Bopha a changé de cap et se dirige à nouveau vers l’archipel. Il s’approche cette fois-ci de la partie nord du pays. Selon l’AFP, l’œil du cyclone n’était ce matin plus qu’à 230 km de la ville de Sinait, située au Nord-Ouest de l’île de Luzon où se trouve Manille, la capitale.Le cyclone a touché les Philippines une première fois dans la nuit de mardi à mercredi. Le bilan humain, d’abord limité, s’est rapidement alourdi alors que les informations commençaient à parvenir des régions les plus isolées. Les rafales de vent ont dépassé les 200 km/h et de vastes territoires ont été balayés par de véritables trombes d’eau. De nombreuses plantations vivrières ont déjà été détruites, ainsi que le quart des exploitations bananières. Les philippines sont le troisième exportateur mondial de bananes et l’impact du cyclone sur sa population déjà pauvre risque d’être considérable même après la fin des intempéries.Un phénomène rareSi le typhon s’est affaibli par rapport à son premier passage, ses vents soufflent tout de même encore jusqu’à 160 km/h. La situation sur place est toujours critique et de nombreux lieux restent encore hors d’accès à cause des routes coupées par les intempéries et les éboulis. 200 000 personnes seraient sans-abri et, dans bien des endroits, les noix de coco sont les dernières sources de nourriture disponibles. L’Organisation internationale des migrations estime que 7 millions de dollars doivent être levés en urgence pour répondre à la crise.Même si le phénomène n’est pas courant, il arrive que des cyclones, et autres fortes tempêtes tropicales, suivent des trajectoires compliquées et reviennent passer au-dessus d’endroits qu’ils avaient déjà dévastés. En janvier 1980, le cyclone Hyacinthe a par exemple touché trois fois l’ile de la Réunion en moins de deux semaines. 25 personnes sont mortes et plusieurs records mondiaux de pluviométrie ont été pulvérisés. Dans certaines régions, il avait plu plus de six mètres d’eau en quinze jours, neuf fois ce qui tombe en un an sur Paris. Le 8 décembre 2012 à 15:02 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

The Liminal Builds a Wonderful World out of Love of Fantasy

first_img“1994. As they blast through a California mountain, a road excavation team discovers a strange object embedded in the ground–sealed there when the very earth formed from dust. With it, a new force is born, a force that defies science and explanation, a force that can only be called “magic.” Now, in the modern day, something sinister is going on. People are disappearing. Blood is being shed. Human flesh is both the end-goal and the playing chip in a wicked game to cheat death. Taylor Holt, magical freelancer, spends most of her time solving supernatural mishaps in the city of Ellston, California. She’s just trying to do her part to curb the violence in the city. But it won’t be enough. Not until she’s risked it all.”THE LIMINAL #1 (W,A,L): Dailen OgdenWhen you peep someone’s passion project, it immediately makes you passionate about it with them. It sends you into their gravitational pull and when you read it, it’s some of the best storytelling that you didn’t know was possible. That’s what happened when reading The Liminal #1 by Dailen Ogden. Ogden writes such an epic scale of a fantasy that feels so down to earth and quietly coming of age. The Liminal #1 excels in all the places that storytelling should and stuns you in the level of love and detail put into every piece of this world. She surprises readers with a story that’s unbelievably unique and fresh, yet a mixes fantasy with mystery and some underlining things that are happening just below the surface.via Dailen OgdenOgden hypes you up for more but keeps you grounded with its details. She revolves her narrative in a build-up and anticipation. She tells the story of the world now.  Then, places you at the scene of a crime. Then, introduces you to the title characters and her world. Ogden knows how to write a hell of an intro. You’d think this would disorient the reader, but Ogden does it in such a way that the narrative is progressing and you become invested with what happens next. She gives you a little bit of everything, leaving readers to wonder what happens next and you craving the story that she molds.I love when characters are placed in a story that feels like you want to be best friends with them. The one thing I immediately fell in love with was Ogden’s characters. Ogden creates such down to earth and authentic characters in this setting. Each of their particular skill and asset, but still demands your attention throughout. The one person that you can’t help but fall in love with is our lead, Taylor Holt.via Dailen OgdenTaylor is a woman who is not only badass but survived an accident and has a dope eye on top of it. A woman whose a magical freelance (dream job!?!) and has a cool ghost roommate. Even though you get so little about her in this first issue, you want to travel along with her and see where this all will end up. She’s such a strong entry point to this world. She (and Ogden) leaves you hanging on to who she is and what she can do in this magical world.I can go on and on talking about Ogden’s art, but I will save you the time and condense it down. Ogden’s art is just as mighty as her story if not mightier. She produces such magnificent visuals to match. She carries such an attention to every single aspect of what her story is. You watch her art grow as her story grows in this first issue, which is something of a treat. Her colors are gorgeous as well. She works within a natural palette but isn’t afraid to bring in those burst of surreal, vibrant colors later on. It cements the mood of the piece that is both magical and otherworldly, but also real and dangerous.via Dailen OgdenOgden also has a fantastic way of playing with the light as well. I think that’s one thing that I ended up going “whoa” over. The process that she lays with her shadows and lighting fit so naturally within the story. At the same time, it also does wonders for the setting and characters. With that, she also letters in a way that lets all of her art and colors display in its own way. She places in a way that allows your eyes to move across every panel to soak in the story with her art. She also varies her placements with her vfx, typefaces and more. Ogden becomes a triple threat of the best kind with this and leaves you in awe of her talent.The Liminal #1 is such an astonishing comic from a creator that everyone should know about as soon as possible. The Liminal is a fantasy built from the wonderful stories that we love like Sailor Moon and Jessica Jones. However, it still very grounded in our time and still a mystery that’s building up to blow you away. You can read The Liminal #1 now available on The Liminal – comic series. You can also support her patron for The Liminal and other projects here!Want to support great indie creators, we’ve got 5 Kickstarter campaigns to kick money to. Read our review on FHTAGN & Loathing #1. See what inspired Black Mask’s Devil Within. But as always stay on top of all things graphic novel here.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

An inch of snow likely for Vancouver Clark County on Wednesday night

first_imgSnowfall stopped in time for the Wednesday morning commute, but the accumulation left behind had many of the roads in the Portland-Vancouver area caked with crusty, compact snow and ice. Those conditions prompted closures for numerous Clark County schools.Below freezing temperatures persisted early Wednesday morning, but things warmed up in the Vancouver area by noon and much of the snow that fell overnight began to melt.Yacolt and north Battle Ground got the most snow, with 8 1/2 and 7 inches respectively. Camas was blanketed with a respectable 6 inches of snow.The National Weather Service forecast said there is a 30 percent chance of snow after 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Vancouver area. However, little or no snow accumulation is expected. Vancouver saw about 3 inches, according to weather service measurements.The temperature is expected to climb up to 39 degrees as the day continues. About an inch of snow is expected later tonight as it gets chillier outside.Due to the foul weather conditions, many schools closed for the day. The school districts of Battle Ground, Camas, Evergreen, Green Mountain, Hockinson, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver and Washougal all announced closures. Educational Service District 112 and the Southwest Washington Child Care Consortium have also shut their facilities.last_img read more

Former Sen Mark Begich says he isnt running for office this year

first_imgFormer Sen. Mark Begich addresses the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 3, 2014. (Skip Gray/ Gavel Alaska)Former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich says he will not run for any elected office this year.In an interview with The Associated Press, Begich says he has felt pressure from Alaskans to run but for now wants to focus on building his consulting business and spend time with his family. He says his public policy work is giving him an opportunity to engage in a different way.He did not close the door on a possible run in the future.The two major races in Alaska this year feature U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and U.S. Rep. Don Young. Both Republicans are seeking re-election.Begich, a Democrat, lost his 2014 re-election bid to Republican Dan Sullivan during a hotly contested race.last_img read more

Man killed in reported gunfight with cops

first_imgProthom Alo IllustrationA man was killed in what police called gunfight with them in Gobindaganj upazila of Gaibandha early Friday, reports news agency UNB.The deceased was identified as Chinu Mia, 38, who was wanted in 19 cases, police said.AKM Mehedi Hasan, officer-in-charge of Gobindaganj police station said the law enforcement arrested Chinu on Wednesday night. But his associates snatched handcuffed Chinu from police custody and escaped.Tipped off that a group of criminals including Chinu would gather in the area, a team of police conducted a drive there around 3:30am.Sensing presence of the law enforcers, the criminals opened fire on the policemen forcing them to fire back in self-defence, triggering a gunfight, the OC claimed.At one stage, Chinu was caught in the line of fire and died on the spot, he added.Police arrested two people from the spot.According to the human rights body, Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), at least 421 people were killed in alleged gunfights, crossfires or shootouts with various law enforcement agencies, including police, RAB and BGB, in 2018.In the first six months of 2019, the number of such killing was at least 200, the rights body said on its website.last_img read more

Fist of the North Star Lost Paradise Combines Best Aspects of Two

first_img I’ve played and completed Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise but I still have a hard time believing the game actually exists. A Fist of the North Star game produced by the developers of Yakuza? That’s crazy talk! Yet, the game is very real and very awesome. I’m not sure how this collaboration materialized, but I’m sure glad it did. Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is one of the most pleasantly surprising gaming experiences I’ve had this year. If you’re a fan of Yakuza games or Fist of the North Star, I think you’ll dig it too.Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise has everything you’d expect from a Yakuza game, including a large city to explore, endless thugs to beat on, and a slew of side quests and other distractions. If you’ve played any Yakuza title then you’ll feel right at home here. The developers didn’t tinker with the fundamental formula, which is to the game’s benefit. It’s surprising how well the Yakuza framework functions with this franchise. You would not think some of the goofier Yakuza aspects would gel with the violent nature of FotNS but they miraculously do.AdChoices广告Lost Paradise takes certain liberties with the original source material but still retains most of its core components. The game centers on series protagonist, Kenshiro, as he treks across a post-apocalyptic wasteland in search of his lost love, Yuria. Along the way, he must fight and kill endless hordes of cannon fodder henchmen and their sadistic masters. The big point of divergence is the city of Eden, which is unique to this game. This is also where Kenshiro believes Yuriah resides. As a fan of the anime, it’s fun to see this alternate take on the original story. But even if you’re not familiar with the source material, the plot is easy to follow.Fist of the North Star is one of the most violent franchises in history. Kenshiro doesn’t simply defeat enemies, he makes them explode from the inside out thanks to his deadly Hokuto Shinken martial arts style. The game is equally as gore-tastic. The North American version actually ramps up the blood in comparison to its Japanese counterpart. Players can choose to tone done the violence if they want. As I said in my preview, I left this option alone. The cartoonish violence the series is known for has always been awe-inspiring and I didn’t want to mess with that.Combat is straight-up Yakuza, only much more violent. Kenshiro can attack foes with a flurry of punches and kicks. He can also dodge and counter attacks. Just like the source material, Ken’s attacks are blindingly fast (and loud). After taking enough damage, enemies enter a staggered state, which allows Ken to finish them off in brutal fashion. Players can deal additional damage to staggered foes by correctly pressing the corresponding on-screen buttons. Seeing Kenshiro murdering wasteland thugs never gets old, even if you’ve seen the same animations hundreds of times. The visceral death sequences are a highlight of the game.Kenshiro begins with a nice range of deadly abilities, but he gains more as the game progresses. Defeating enemies and completing missions earns players experience points. When a new level is reached, Kenshiro receives a Star Orb, which is used to unlock new abilities in the skill tree. There are four skill tree branches. Though they all require Star Orbs, some skills are only unlocked with Mind, Skill, Body, and Shining Orbs. These rare orbs mostly drop after finishing side quests or completing story missions. Unlocking new abilities is a straightforward process, provided you have the necessary orbs. It’s also fairly addictive since you want to see what new moves you can learn. And boy, are there a lot of them.In addition to these moves, Kenshiro can unlock Destiny Talisman abilities. These skills are great for finishing off large crowds or letting Ken use different weapons. You can unlock new moves with Star Orbs, but some only come from certain main characters. You can map many Destiny Talisman moves to the d-pad, which makes it easy to quickly access them. However, you’ll have to wait sometime before using them again as there is a considerable cool-down period after use. Each Talisman can be upgraded to make them even more effective. Collecting Talismans is also pretty addictive.Fighting random minions is enjoyable, but the real fun comes with the numerous boss battles. This is where I feel combat truly shines. What I like about boss battles is the fact I only have to concentrate on a single foe. This allows me to better plan out what attacks I want to use and when. Each boss battle climaxes in cinematic flair with a series of over-the-top Quick Time Event sequences. I know some players do not like QTEs, but they do make boss fights feel more epic and grandiose. My only complaint about boss fights is that there’s no mode where I can replay them. They are quite spectacular and do the original manga and anime justice.Lost Paradise features both English and Japanese soundtracks. The Japanese voices, in particular, are interesting since they’re mostly comprised of Yakuza actors. It’s pretty awesome to hear Takaya Kuroda (Kiryu Kazuma) utter the classic line “omae wa mo shindeiru” (you’re already dead). As great as the Japanese voices are, the English voice cast is just as strong. I actually went with the English soundtrack since it reminds me of the Streamline Pictures dub of the Fist of the North Star movie. Whichever language track you go with, you’re getting treated to solid voice work.The city of Eden is this game’s Kamurocho and Sotenbori districts from Yakuza. Like those cities, Eden has different sectors; each filled with various shops to visit and denizens to interact with. The city is large, but not overwhelmingly so. It’ll only take a few hours to become familiar with everything in it. If you do get lost, you can always pull up the map to find your bearings. Eden isn’t exactly pretty, but it is an impressively realized location. The developers did an excellent job of making it feel alive.Eden has many establishments for players to pass the time outside of the main campaign. They can moonlight as a hostess club manager, a bartender, or an amateur physician. Players can also waste all of their money at Eden’s casino. It’s kind of weird seeing the otherwise stoic Kenshiro engaging in such silly activities. However, there’s a certain charm in seeing him put on a tuxedo and mixing drinks for depressed bar flies or seeing him gambling in a casino. Each of the mini-games associated with these side activities are unique and fun in their own way. They do a lot to give the otherwise bleak world a welcome dose of levity.As Kenshiro explores Eden and the wasteland, he’ll run into folks who require his aid. Side missions not only help players experience the everyday struggles of wasteland citizens, but they’re also a great source for experience points, orbs, and materials. Most side quests involve finding and killing bad guys who are making life worse for people. Other quests simply have Ken talking to folks. Though there are a handful of downright ridiculous missions, a fair number are extremely serious. Things don’t always end well, despite Kenshiro’s best efforts. Overall, the side quests are well worth experiencing as they really do flesh out the world.After completing the main story, players can check out Endless Eden mode. Here, users are free to explore the world of Lost Paradise without worrying about the narrative. They can complete any and all side missions they didn’t finish during the main campaign. Players can also try New Game Plus, which lets them relive the adventure with all of their experience points and items carried over. In addition, one can check out every unlocked cutscene in Reminisce mode. Like Yakuza titles, Lost Paradise doesn’t skimp on the extra content.Outside of Eden, there’s a massive wasteland to explore. Unfortunately, doing so is mostly a tedious affair. Besides the random settlement or fuel station/save point, there isn’t much to see or do. It doesn’t help that you constantly hear the same songs played on the radio and that Kenshiro’s jeep handles so poorly. Yes, you can upgrade the vehicle to go faster and have better handling, but this doesn’t help much. Even fighting random bands of thugs is frustrating since you have to face so many at once. Let me not forget to mention how the wasteland graphically looks like a PS2-era game. I consider this a missed opportunity since this vast area could have provided a lot of engaging content. I suppose this is why the Yakuza games have never gone full-on open world.Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is two great tastes in one. It is both a fantastic offshoot of the Yakuza series and a brilliant Fist of the North Star game. Fans of either franchises or both will definitely walk away pleased. My hope is that this strange collaboration continues in the future. The game certainly leaves room for a sequel. I can only imagine how a next-gen Lost Paradise 2 would run on the Yakuza 6 Dragon Engine. We’ll see what the future holds, but for now, we have this lovely game to indulge in. Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is to die for.Revisit Yakuza 0 with the hands-on review on the game’s sixth edition. Check out the Fancy Collector’s Edition on the game too. Read our hands-on review of this creative team’s other game H1Z1: Battle Royale. Stay up to date on all PlayStation 4 games news here.   Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on targetcenter_img PlayStation 4 Becomes Fastest Console to Sell 100 Million‘Death Stranding’ Is Your PlayStation 4 Holiday Exclusive last_img read more