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first_imgIn a debate on Sunday night, the Republican Party candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America, Donald Trump, declared that should he be elected President, he would lock up Hillary Clinton, his Democratic Party opponent. He wants to be America’s first ever “tin pot” tyrant. Many Americans were horrified by the declaration, likening the threat to what happens in certain “banana” republics and dictatorships. Locking up political opponents is a lamentable act, but not rare where despots and tyrants reign. Trump threatened to take America down the “third world” realm of dictators and tyrants.Just recently, before the May 2015 elections, APNU/AFC leaders constantly threatened that should they win they will lock up former President Bharat Jagdeo, President Donald Ramotar and many of their cabinet members, including me, Roger Luncheon, Ashni Singh, Anil Nandlall and Irfaan Ally. Those threats were made in Parliament many times and became a staple of virtually every speech made by APNU/AFC leaders during the election campaign. They claimed they had the evidence and given an electoral mandate, APNU/AFC would exercise unfettered power to lock up their political opponents and in their own words “throw away the key”. While some of their supporters reacted with glee, most Guyanese were appalled, just as most Americans are horrified by Trump’s threats.Unfortunately, locking up political opponents is part of our colonial political heritage and part of the modus operandi of dictators and tyrants. Cheddi Jagan and many of the political leaders of the People’s Progressive Party were locked up by the British Government in Guyana. While Burnham, their hand-picked dictator, did not lock up Cheddi Jagan, the People’s National Congress did lock up several leaders of the People’s Progressive Party during the PNC-led dictatorship after Independence. Today, the APNU/AFC is using several different strategies to intimidate their political opponents. The point is that countries like Guyana and too many others around the world with fledgling democracies or still fighting for democracy too often endure the despicable reality that political opponents are imprisoned and intimidated.The ‘tin pot” dictators who threaten and lock up their opponents are not people that leaders in democratic countries emulate. But Donald Trump, the candidate for President of America, has gone there. He wants to be America’s first “tin pot” dictator. After my initial shock that a candidate for the Presidency of America could make such a public threat to lock up his opponent, I realised that Trump is deep down a dictator. The people he admires are all “tin pot” tyrants – Kim Jong-un of Korea, Putin of Russia. He does not seem to recognise that jailing your political opponent takes America to a dangerous, chilling place it has never been, far from making America great. Trump, with his anti-immigration policies, does not recognise that most Americans ancestries are linked to escaping tyrants.Trump places American foreign policy and diplomats in a lamentable place. When “tin pot” tyrants threaten, intimidate and jail their political opponents, America and its diplomats are expected to stand up and reject such violation of democratic principles. For more than 240 years, America has rejected the practice of locking up political opponents and has even gone to war to defend citizens against such dastardly violations of human rights and democratic principles. Electing Trump threatens political leaders around the world because tyrants and dictators will quote Trump that this is the spoils of winning an election.These are present and recent examples of the people he wants to be like: former Ukrainian President Viktor Fedorovych; the military Junta in Myanmar that locked up Aung San Suu Kyi, the present Prime Minister, for almost two decades; Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak; Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni; Zambian President Edgar Lungu; Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe; Congolese President Joseph Kabila; Cambodian President Hun Sen; Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso; President Maduro of Venezuela; in addition to Putin and Kim Un Jung.Trump speaks with relish about locking up his political opponent, he boasts about sexual assault of women because his wealth and fame provides him with entitlements. His claim of making America great again is really dog whistle for bringing dictatorship to America. His mission is to return America to a monarchy, but worse to install a despot as the head of America and the free world. This is what America must resist. But there are lessons for Guyana. We get what we wish for sometimes.   (Please send comments to doc_ram@hotmail.com)last_img read more

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first_imgAssassination claim…as businessman denies paying to kill PresidentPolice Commissioner Seelall Persaud has told the Commission of Inquiry into the alleged plot to assassinate President David Granger that he did not order the release of the alleged mastermind; rather, he merely gave the detective his suggestion following an unrequested briefing.“I was making a suggestion; I was giving an opinion. It wasn’t my intention to ensure he [Nizam Khan] go on bail. I had a concern with how the policy of the Force was being implemented,” he told the CoI.On March 29, Andrif Gillard reported to the Police that he was offered $7 million by his neighbour, Nizam Khan, to assassinate the President.Inspector Prem Narine last week testified that he received a call from Commissioner Persaud instructing him to place Nizam, his brother Imran, and Gillard on bail. Imran and Gillard were arrested on the same night allegedly for disorderly behaviour and threatening language respectively. Narine told the Commission that, had it not been for Persaud’s intervention, he would not have sent the Khan brothers away.Commissioner Persaud explained that he had received from Imran Khan a call informing him that he has been placed on $20,000 bail for disorderly behaviour, but he had no money to pay the bail.He said the Guyana Police Force has a policy to not hold anyone for longer than necessary, and not for minor offences like the one Imran was charged for, the Force processes and releases on bail at the earliest time possible.Persaud revealed that, during a cellphone call, he suggested that Imran Khan be sent on his own recognisance and Nizam Khan be placed on bail. However, he said, had that course of action been taken, he would have been breaching a policy of the Force and he would have been disciplined.He said that prior to calling Narine, he tried to calling Crime Chief Wendell Blanum and Head of the Major Crimes Unit, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mitchell Caesar, but those attempts were unsuccessful.“I told him it is wrong to put someone in custody who hasn’t committed any breach of the law; but when a senior rank makes a suggestion, it is the culture of the Force to carry it out. If he takes that as instructions I wouldn’t be surprised, but the expectation was that he would factor that into his own judgement,” Persaud related.Persaud said his friendship with Imran Khan does not extend into any business relations, and for the record, he has no private or joint business ventures with Khan.“It’s not unlike any of the other friendships I have. I’ve known him since 2004, when I was appointed the Divisional Detective Officer in ‘A’ Division,” he said.Persaud later admitted that, as Police Commissioner, he had approved a gun licence upgrade for Khan, from a 9mm handgun to a .45 pistol.CoI Chairman Paul Slowe had questioned the licensing of a .45 calibre handgun, since he said he is unaware that the Police allocate that calibre for civilian use. Persaud also told the Commission that it was rather unfortunate that Assistant Commissioner David Ramnarine had testified that a thorough investigation was not done. “It’s quite contrary to that…I think a thorough investigation was done,” he explained. He said doubts were expressed on the credibility of Gillard’s statement, and evidence was absent in the case. Persaud added that he supports the position that Gillard be charged for providing the Police with false information.$20,000 bailAlleged mastermind of the plot to assassinate President David Granger, Nizam Khan, said he was not on speaking terms with his accuser, Gillard, during the period mid-2014 to 2016, and as such he could not have made the offer Gillard is alleging.Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud testifying at the CoIKhan told the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) that Gillard never approached him to borrow $6M, and that he did not have a face-to-face interaction with his accuser until late 2016. He recalled that in the past he had loaned Gillard $1M and was repaid $500,000, but Gillard had failed to repay the rest. He added that Gillard had asked to be loaned $800,000 to start a taxi service, and had promised to repay him in installments. Khan recounted that on March 29, three officers came to his home, told him about the allegation and requested to search his premises, and he agreed. The search yielded nothing illegal, but Khan was taken into custody and transported to the CID, where he was questioned.Khan related that he gave his statement and observed his brother at the station. He said that after giving his statement, he was placed to sit on bench, and was later told that he was on $20,000 bail. However, the 38-year-old businessman said, he does not know who, when or where bail was posted for him.He also denied allegations of threatening to cripple Gillard, and of stealing two radio sets from him.Back in 2015, Nizam Khan was shot during a robbery, and subsequently shot and killed his robber. He also caused four officers to be kicked out of the Guyana Police Force for professional misconduct. They were all convicted in the Magistrates Courts.The final report of the COI is expected to be handed over to the President on August 18.last_img read more

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first_imgLindo Creek CoI hears– ballistics tests were conducted on Police, Army firearmsThe Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Lindo Creek massacre heard on Tuesday that while the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) conducted an investigation into possible links with Joint Services and the killings, it turned up no evidence implicating them.Taking the witness stand was head of the OPR, retired Assistant Commissioner Heeralall Mackanlall. At the time of the tragedy, Mackanlall was the Deputy Head of the office and he related that back in 2008, he investigated the massacre upon request from late former Police Commissioner Henry Greene.Head of the OPR, retired Assistant Commissioner Heeralall MackanlallMackanlall travelled to the area and met with ranks from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the E (Linden-Kwakwani) and F (Interior locations) Divisions. He informed the Commission that he and his team were unable to find camps in the area that could provide eyewitness accounts.At the end of his two-week investigation, the veteran officer noted that they were ultimately unable to find evidence against the Joint Services. At the same time, it was determined that a Police, Army and Special Forces team was in the general Lindo Creek area; one which was investigated.“If you haven’t got all the names, can you remember any of the names, at all?” Chairman of the Commission, retired Justice Donald Trotman asked. Mackanlall then proceeded to list the names of the commanding officers he did remember from the Joint Services team.“Seenarine, who is now a Superintendent, I think he was in charge of the Police team. Lieutenant Woolford was in charge of the [Guyana Defence Force] GDF team, that’s on the Joint Services. And I think Captain Soovenir was in charge of the GDF special force. I can’t say what their rank is now or if they retired. I think Seenarine is still a serving member.”The officer further related that ballistics samples were taken of the team’s weapons by Jamaican and local experts. However, the Force did not recover spent shells from the scene of the massacre. In addition, time had rendered tests for gunshot residue untenable.The fact that proper records were not maintained by the OPR after investigating the massacre was a sore point with Trotman. While on the stand, Mackanlall admitted that he only made a cursory note of the names of these ranks in a ‘scratch pad’ and did not transfer the data to a more permanent form when he returned.Sometime between June 12, 2008 and June 24, 2008, miners Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres were shot and killed, and their bodies burnt at the Upper Berbice River mining camp, which was being operated by Leonard Arokium.The Lindo Creek CoI is the first of what the coalition Government has said would be a series of inquiries into the hundreds of killings, which occurred during a crime wave that began in 2002. Justice Trotman in a recent televised interview however said the 10-year time lapse is proving to be a disadvantage as the Commission does its work, especially since some of the key persons involved have either died or emigrated. Nevertheless, the public hearings continue on April 4.last_img read more

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first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! School districts have started a second wave of bond measures, returning to voters for another helping of tax money to fix and update school buildings. Seven years ago, local districts began putting bond measures on the ballot to fund modernization. In the East San Gabriel Valley, three school districts have passed two bond measures within five years of one another. For the June 6 election, Rowland Unified will seek a bond of $118 million. Covina-Valley Unified will consider putting a $66 million measure on the ballot. In Monrovia Unified, the school board recently voted not to proceed with a $37 million bond measure. “It’s becoming very common,” said Ann Nock, senior vice president of George K. Baum & Co., an investment banking firm that underwrites school bonds. “The explanation by most districts is: `We got a certain percentage of the way there, and this will get us to the next level.”‘ In 2000, Garvey School District passed a $15 million bond and another $30 million bond in 2004. Voters in El Monte City School District approved a $40million bond in 1999 and a $50 million bond in 2004. Glendora Unified passed a $21 million bond in 2000 and a $41million bond in November 2005. Nock said some school districts don’t seek one large bond amount because survey results showed voters would not support a higher tax rate. Other districts need a second bond because they were hurt by rising construction costs or were set back by unforeseen construction problems, she said. Susan Hume, assistant superintendent of Glendora Unified, said the district’s first construction bid was “way larger” than the estimates, and subsequent bids kept getting larger. In Covina-Valley, Deputy Superintendent Louis Pappas said that for the first bond of $50 million the district had to educate the community on what it was for and why it was important. Rowland Unified school officials knew the district’s first bond of $70 million, passed in 2000, wouldn’t be enough, according to Robert Wertz, assistant superintendent. The district had discussed about $200 million in facilities needs, Wertz said. For the June election, board members originally proposed a $150 million bond, for which property owners would be taxed about $60 annually per $100,000 of assessed value. But survey results found less support for a tax rate over $40, and the board decided to seek a $118 million instead. In a second bond campaign, Nock said, voters are usually receptive and positive, especially if the district managed its first bond money well. Superintendent Jeff Seymour of the El Monte City School District said the district’s positive track record helped pass the second bond in 2004. “\ made them realize that we were well-organized and we meant business. I think it gave them the confidence that we would use the second bond as efficiently,” Seymour said. esther.chou@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2513last_img

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first_imgUp to 20 new jobs are to be created at Donegal County Council.The move has been welcome by the IMPACT Trade Union which represents many council staff.Responding to the announcement, spokesperson for the IMPACT union Richy Carrothers said his is indeed welcome news that Donegal County Council will be seeking to recruit up to twenty staff. “Since 2008 we have seen staff numbers at the Council slashed by some 40%, a staggering figure that represents the greatest reduction of any local authority in Ireland. This had led to major problems for staff trying to deliver services across the county under very difficult circumstances. It will also contribute in a small way to the economy as every job created will result in reinvestment in local businesses and the wider economy,” he said.Furthermore, IMPACT is hopeful in reaching an agreement with Donegal County Council on its workforce planning exercise currently being undertaken between management and the union.“Any agreement will form the basis for the staffing structure for service delivery over the next decade and is an important element in establishing industrial peace and in ensuring the Council is fit for purpose and responsive to the needs of our people (citizens) for the future,” added Mr Carrothers.WELCOME FOR ANNOUNCEMENT OF 20 NEW JOBS AT COUNTY COUNCIL was last modified: November 24th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Donegal County CouncilIMPACTjobsTRADE UNIONlast_img read more

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first_imgTUCSON, Ariz. – President Bush said Monday he wants to crack down on those who enter the country illegally but also give out more visas to foreigners with jobs, a dual plan he hopes will appease the social conservatives and business leaders who are his core supporters.“The American people should not have to choose between a welcoming society and a lawful society,” Bush said from the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base about an hour from the Mexican border. “We can have both at the same time.”The touchy issue of immigration has divided lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said he will bring up the issue early next year. The House hopes to tackle some border security measures before adjourning for the year, but little time remains and it has other issues on its plate.Bush also will pitch his plan today in Arizona and Texas, two border states that are home to GOP senators who have been vocal on the need to change immigration laws but who aren’t entirely sold on Bush’s vision.The idea for temporary worker visas has been especially divisive and is stalled in Congress. Bush said he does not support amnesty for illegal immigrants, but he does want to give workers a way to earn an honest living doing jobs that other Americans are unwilling to do and issue more green cards.“Listen, there’s a lot of opinions on this proposal,” Bush said. “I understand that, but people in this debate must recognize that we will not be able to effectively enforce our immigration laws until we create a temporary worker program.”Bush spoke to a supportive audience that included Border Patrol agents and military troops. He was flanked by two black Customs and Border Protection helicopters and giant green and yellow signs that said “Protecting America’s Borders.”He said he is providing border agents with cutting-edge technology like overhead surveillance drones and infrared cameras, while at the same time constructing simple physical barriers to entry.The president’s push on border security and immigration comes a month after Bush signed a $32 billion homeland security bill for 2006 that contains large increases for border protection, including 1,000 additional Border Patrol agents. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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first_imgBert and Lexie with their younger brother Bill in the centre pictured when the children were growing up in Ramelton Co Donegal. Photo Brian McDaidIT’S a picture from a lifetime ago.Donegal’s Nobel Prize-winning scientist William C Campbell – better known as Bill – is pictured with his two older brothers in the summer of 1939.The snap of Bill and his older brothers Lexie and Bert was taken in a studio in Derry. Bert, now 88, still lives in Ramelton where he runs Ardleen Country House with his wife Anne.“It was taken  just before the outbreak of World War Two,” said Bert.It wasn’t long before Bert and Lexie were getting ready to go to Campbell College to boarding school. Their father ran the shop in The Mall where Whoriskeys now is.“But we didn’t go to Belfast,” said Bert. “War broke out and Campbell College was converted into a military hospital so we ended up going to school at the Northern Counties Hotel in Portrush.“By the time Bill was ready to go, the war was over so he was able to go to the school in Belfast.”Professor Bill won his Nobel Prize for his work on medications to fight viruses affecting millions of people particularly in developing countries.“I always think of Ramelton,” said Bill.“I’ll always be from there; I show a picture of The Mall at the start of all my lectures to show students where I’m from. I’m a proud Donegal man and proud to be from Ramelton.” Bert and Anne Cambell in Ramelton Co. Donegal last night as they celebrate the news that Bert’s younger brother, Bill was the joint winner of Nobel Prize for his work as a scientist in America. Photo Cristeph/Brian McDaidREVEALED: INCREDIBLE BOYHOOD PICTURE OF DONEGAL NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING SCIENTIST was last modified: October 8th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Nobel PrizeProfessor Bill Campbelllast_img read more

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first_imgSome of the recent transfer speculation involving Chelsea…Embed from Getty ImagesChelsea and Manchester United are both keen to sign Genoa’s teenage striker Pietro Pellegri, The Sun reckon.The newspaper has been linking Chelsea with Pellegri, 16, and say United are now also looking to snap him up.The Sun also say they have been told that Genoa Enrico Preziosi wants at least £40m for the player.Blues boss Antonio Conte is reported to be a fan of Pellegri and keen for him to move to Stamford Bridge. Conte’s former club Juventus are also said to be interested. Wahi also linkedThe Sun have also picked up on reports in France claiming that Chelsea are among English clubs chasing 14-year-old forward Elye Wahi.It comes after Le Parisien claimed that the Blues, Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City and Southampton are all interested in the youngster, who is currently with Caen.The Sun declare that Wahi, who has impressed for Caen’s Under-17 side, is a “goalscoring version of N’Golo Kante” because he comes from the same Paris suburb as the Chelsea midfielder and both players were with amatuer side JS Suresnes.It is claimed that Italian side Juventus are also showing an interest in the player.He would not be able to join a club outside France until the age of 16. Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

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first_img(Visited 177 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 It’s not that monkeys don’t have the vocal apparatus to talk like humans. They just don’t have the mind for it.Andy Coghlan is perplexed. “Monkeys should be able to talk just like us – so why don’t they?” he asks at New Scientist. Studies of macaques at Princeton show that the primates can make the five basic vowel sounds. They could make sounds that humans would recognize.“No one can say now that there’s a vocal anatomy problem with monkey speech,” says Asif Ghazanfar at Princeton University, and co-leader of the study team. “They have a speech-ready vocal anatomy, but not a speech-ready brain. Now we need to find out why the human but not the monkey brain can produce language.”Did Coghlan ever consider that monkeys just don’t know anything to say? To say things, you need to be able to form concepts in the mind. Your vocal cords, tongue, lips and teeth are just tools for uttering sounds that other beings can recognize as concepts, according to a language convention. Animals clearly signal one another with their screeches, chirps, burps and grunts, but only humans have conceptual language and all it entails: grammar, syntax, and (especially) semantics, which entails symbols, abstraction, and recursion.Science Daily takes the discussion beyond mere language to intelligence.Our brains have a basic algorithm that enables us to not just recognize a traditional Thanksgiving meal, but the intelligence to ponder the broader implications of a bountiful harvest as well as good family and friends….“A relatively simple mathematical logic underlies our complex brain computations,” said Dr. Joe Z. Tsien, neuroscientist at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, co-director of the Augusta University Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Cognitive and Systems Neurobiology.And yet Tsien limits himself to neurons. He presents a reductionist view of intelligence that makes no distinctions between humans and animals. He works upward from neurons to networks to algorithms, and assumes conceptual knowledge will arise from those foundations.“You know an office is an office whether it’s at your house or the White House,” Tsien said of the ability to conceptualize knowledge, one of many things that distinguishes us from computers….Neuroscientists as well as computer experts have long been curious about how the brain is able to not only hold specific information, like a computer, but — unlike even the most sophisticated technology — to also categorize and generalize the information into abstract knowledge and concepts.“Many people have long speculated that there has to be a basic design principle from which intelligence originates and the brain evolves, like how the double helix of DNA and genetic codes are universal for every organism,” Tsien said. “We present evidence that the brain may operate on an amazingly simple mathematical logic.”If this were the whole explanation, then Tsien’s own theory would implode. He would not be in control of what his neurons do, any more than he is in control of his DNA. One thing is certain: we don’t see computers or animals communicating abstract knowledge and concepts.To illustrate this, consider the case of an ALS patient who is unable to move or speak. Lacking the use of her vocal apparatus, Science Daily reports, she has regained the ability to communicate thanks to a new technology that bypasses her physical body altogether.At UMC Utrecht, a brain implant has been placed in a patient enabling her to operate a speech computer with her mind. The researchers and the patient worked intensively to get the settings right. She can now communicate at home with her family and caregivers via the implant. That a patient can use this technique at home is unique in the world. Once the patient learned how to control the speech computer, she could focus her mind on it like a computer user uses a mouse or keyboard, and get it to respond to her commands. But the speech computer is not just responding to neural activity in her physical brain, else it would have started uttering gibberish the moment the implant was turned on and never stop. Instead, the patient knows what she wants to say, activates the proper computer controls, and communicates from her concepts to the computer’s speech processor, which emits sound waves that the researchers can understand. This implies an immaterial mind that activates her neurons under her control.Update 12/13/16: At Evolution News & Views, David Klinghoffer discussed this issue, noting that “evolving the sophisticated equipment specially required for a skill your species will never develop seems a bit puzzling.”The brain is a tool of the mind, fearfully and wonderfully made. All animals are well designed. Many animals have ways of uttering sounds that their conspecifics recognize. Some have high degrees of intelligence, emotion and social ability. But only humans have a soul created in the image of God that goes beyond all this. Only the human mind can ponder abstract realities like mathematics, musical forms, and philosophical systems. Only the human mind ponders ultimate questions. Only the human mind hungers to know its Creator. Only the human mind senses guilt. Only the human mind turns away from its nature into all kinds of evil. You were made for communication. Your brain will die, but your soul will continue beyond the grave. You will communicate with your Creator. Be ready to meet your Maker, by confessing and repenting of your sin, and taking the pardon he offers through his son, Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate this month.last_img read more

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first_imgUttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and four other BJP ministers will contest the by-poll elections to the Legislative Council to seal their membership in the government.Mr. Adityanath and four other ministers are required to get elected as MLA or MLC by September 19, as none is a member of any House. They took oath on March 19. The BJP central election committee on Wednesday announced five candidates for the upcoming MLC by-polls. Apart from the CM, the other four are deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, Transport Minister Swatantra Dev Singh and Waqf and Haj Minister Mohsin Raza.They are expected to have a smooth sailing even if a contest is necessitated given the unassailable majority the BJP has in the Assembly. Along with its two allies, Apna Dal and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, the ruling BJP has 324 out of 403 seats. The figure was reduced by one after BJP MLA Mathura Prasad Pal died in July after a prolonged illness.The schedule for the by-polls released by the Election Commission has also provided relief to the BJP clearing the way for the entry of all five of its candidates. State Chief Election Officer Amrita Soni had on August 24 announced by-polls for four MLC seats that were vacated after the sudden resignation of SP leaders Yashwant Singh, Bukkal Nawab, Sarojini Agarwal and Ashok Bajpai. The tenure of Mr. Nawab and Mr. Singh would have ended in 2022, while that of Ms. Agarwal and Mr. Bajpai in 2021. All four joined the BJP a few days later.The EC had issued vacancies for only four spots even as the total number of MLC posts needed to be filled was six. However, the EC had refused to hold elections for the remaining two seats, vacated by BSP MLC Thakur Jaiveer Singh and SP MLC (who joined the BSP) Ambika Chaudhary saying they had less than a year remaining in their tenure.If this situation had continued, only four out of the five BJP Ministers would get elected as MLCs and the speculation doing the rounds was that Mohsin Raza, the lone Muslim Minister in the Yogi Council, would be sacrificed. However, the EC on Tuesday issued another schedule announcing that a by-poll would also be held for the seat vacated by Thakur Jaiveer Singh, taking the number of by-poll seats to five. Mr. Jaiveer Singh had also joined the BJP. The EC has not announced a by-poll for the seat vacated by Ambika Chaudhary even as his tenure as that of Mr. Jaiveer Singh both end next May.last_img read more

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