The Bombay High Court recently directed the State government to file an affidavit on steps taken to provide safety and security in asharam shalas all over Maharashtra.A Division Bench of Justices Ranjit More and M.S. Karnik was hearing a criminal public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Ravindra Talpe in 2013 alleging that proper arrangements have not been made to ensure basic public utilities, which are normally given in such ashram shalas across the State. The PIL states there is no proper toilet and WC facility in the ashram schools. There have been cases of death of children due to snake bite if they go out to answer nature’s call, the PIL said. There are nearly 500 government-run ashram schools, which were opened in remote areas of the State for the education of children from tribal families.According to the PIL, there are no proper building facility for the students, and no underground water tank which deprives them of suitable drinking water. The PIL also mentions there are no proper kitchen, dining and storage rooms on account of lack of proper kitchen and dining facilities, and a number of children have died of food poisoning. There are no proper beds for children, more particularly, to girl students, personal hygiene of the girl students is not maintained and first aid boxes are not there, the PIL states.Based on the PIL, the high court had in June 18, 2014 had asked Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to look into the ground reality at the ashram schools. The report, submitted in June 2017, covered both government-run and government-aided private ashram schools, and listed deficiencies by the government in ensuring safety and security in these schools.The two-judge Bench noted that 100% compliance has not been reported and directed the State to file a fresh affidavit detailing compliance with the TISS report. The high court also sought to know what steps had been taken to comply with the other lapses listed in the report. The matter will next be heard on December 11.
LATEST STORIES MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Geje Eustaquio, Filipinos banner ONE: Hero’s Ascent in Manila Duterte to announce names of ‘ninja cops’ soon — Go PLAY LIST 01:31Duterte to announce names of ‘ninja cops’ soon — Go01:42Cayetano asks Robredo, opposition to stop ‘politicizing’ drug war00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Ular had a double-double performance 19 points and 15 rebounds. He capped his brilliance with the winning jumper in the last two seconds of the match as the Shoemasters improved to 7-10 (win-loss).But Marikina has been in a roll and head coach Elvis Tolentino is beginning to like the character shown by his rising team that came back from 17 points down in turning back the Strikers (8-9), who now have lost four in a row.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño View comments Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion IMUS—Remember his name: Renato Ular, who hardly registered a blip when walking in to try out for a roster spot, is making his mark in the MPBL Datu Cup.Late Friday night, the hardworking frontliner hit the biggest shot of his budding career in the Marikina Shoemasters’ thrilling 87-85 victory over the Bacoor Strikers at Imus Sports Complex.ADVERTISEMENT
Having squeezed into the Euro 2016 knockout stages after three contrasting group stage draws, Portugal are ready to move up a gear when they face Croatia in their mouth-watering last-16 clash in Lens on Saturday, coach Fernando Santos said. (Full Euro 2016 Coverage)While the Croatians romped into the tournament’s business end with a 2-1 win over holders Spain, the Portuguese came from behind three times in Wednesday’s rip-roaring 3-3 draw against Hungary at Parc OL.Their talismanic forward Cristiano Ronaldo, subdued in the 1-1 tie with Iceland and a goalless stalemate against Austria, rediscovered his scoring touch with two fine second-half goals which saved Portugal from an early exit.Santos was confident that Ronaldo, who became the first player to score in four European championships, would thrive as Portugal aim to win “a series of finals” on the road to what would be their maiden title.”Ronaldo is a scorer and a winner, he plays up front and feeds on goals,” Santos said after the Real Madrid hitman was voted man of the match against the Hungarians.”I am sure this performance will boost his confidence in our bid to win the competition.”Everything is different now because every game that follows is like a final, there is no room for error. We want to come out on top in all of them and go all the way.””We have to strike the right balance between defence and attack because when we come forward we leave too many gaps at the back, as our group stage results show.”advertisementThe Croatians, who came from behind to beat Spain with a makeshift team, left their coach Ante Cacic spoilt for choice after reserve striker Nikola Kalinic and several other fringe players shone.Kalinic enjoyed a rare start instead of the towering Mario Mandzukic and repaid the faith with a sublime equaliser before Ivan Perisic netted a late winner.”We could have done with easier opposition than Portugal in the last 16 but if we play like we did in the group stage, we have a great chance of progressing,” Kalinic told a news conference at Croatia’s Deauville base.”We are one of the best teams here and if our midfield wins the battle in the centre of the pitch, we should win.””This is the present generation’s chance of a lifetime and we will only be remembered if we do something big here.”
Andrea Pirlo Italy legend Andrea Pirlo announces retirement Goal Last updated 2 years ago 15:32 10/8/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(13) Vincent Carchietta New York City MLS Serie A The 38-year-old is out of contract at the end of the year and believes the time is right to bring an end to his playing career Andrea Pirlo has announced he will retire from professional football when his contract at New York City FC expires in December.The former AC Milan, Juventus and Italy star has won six Serie A titles and two Champions Leagues at club level and played a crucial role as the national team lifted the 2006 World Cup in a successful career.Italy 11/2 to beat Albania 2-0 Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. However, Pirlo has played just 15 of NYCFC’s 32 MLS games this season and, with the 38-year-old out of contract after December 31, he says the time has come to bring an end to his playing days.”You realise that the time has come,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Every day you have physical problems, you cannot train as you want because you always have some problem.“At my age, that’s enough. It’s not that you can go on forever until the age of 50. I’ll do something else.”At 38, it’s just right to give young players room. I’m not angry. Instead, I will give a hand to team-mates and to the coach.”COULD PIRLO GO TO CONTE’S CHELSEA? There have been suggestions Pirlo could reunite with former coach Antonio Conte at Chelsea to work as his assistant, but he insists he has not made a decision on what his future hold.”I’ll do something else, I’ll be back in Italy in December,” he said. “Work with Conte? They say things, I have some ideas, but give me time to decide.”PIRLO’S IMPRESSIVE CAREER The 116-time Italy international came through the Brescia youth system and spent three years at Inter before joining city rivals AC Milan, where he made 400 apperances over a 10-year spell.Pirlo won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, where he was man of the match in three of their matches including the memorable final against France.He then went on to enjoy a successful spell at Juve, winning the league four times in a row before moving to the United States.At Euro 2012, the veteran midfielder was instrumental in the Azzurri reaching the final where they lost to Spain.Pirlo played a pivotal role for NYCFC last season, making 33 appearances as they reached the quarter-finals of the MLS playoffs before having his role cut this term.
Round Three of the New South Wales Touch Association’s (NSWTA) 32nd Annual Vawdon Cup was played at the Tempe and Bankstown venues on Friday 3 August 2007.There were some hard fought victories and some impressive performances across the board as teams clicked into gear and looked to establish some good early season form.In the 7.50pm Men’s Premier League clash at Bankstown the Parramatta Eels recorded their first victory of the season when they held off Manly 6-5 in a tight struggle. Parramatta, in need of a confidence boosting win, got away to a flyer and in the first ten minutes played error free touch to lead the Sea Eagles 3-1, with Adam Lollback dotting down for a double for the Eels in quick time. The Eagles hit back as the half wore, but the Eels still went to the break 4-2 the better.The Manly coaching staff replaced the H2O with magic water at half time and the Eagles came out full of running to dominate for much of the second stanza.The Sea Eagles, with Putatou Berryman and Jamie Chan leading the charge, took the game right up to Parramatta, pressing the scoreline on numerous occasions and getting back on level terms at 5-5.Parramatta composed themselves to regain control of the game and held on to record a narrow 6-5 victory.In the sold out match-up of the round, 2006 Vawdon Cup Grand Finalists Canterbury Bulldogs prevailed 3-2 over 2006 NSWTA State Cup champions Wests Magpies in a high quality encounter at 7.50pm at Tempe.The highly anticipated clash featuring two of the competition’s most passionate clubs didn’t disappoint with both outfits going hammer and tong to secure the premiership points. The game was a replay of last year’s NSWTA State Cup Grand Final, though both teams were vastly altered from the line-ups that met in that epic final, with several big guns forced out of the game through various work/injury reasons.Australia Men’s Open representatives Garry Sonda (Canterbury), and Wests trio Jason Stanton, Scott Mitchell, and Anthony Ziade were all unavailable.Despite the missing super stars, the punters weren’t asking for their money back, with both teams producing a quality game.The game, as expected, was end to end, with both teams keen to get on a roll early and set the platform for a winning night at the office.It was Wests who bounced out of the barriers best, with the calm leadership of Australian Men’s Open playmaker Daniel Rushworth, and the cool hand of West’s veteran Michael “Bear” Farhat, laying on two early touchdowns for the Magpies, allowing Wests some early breathing space.The Dogs were out of sorts for the majority of the first half, finding it difficult to attain field position and looking disorganised. The tide started to turn through powerhouse driving displays by Matt Bird and 2006 New South Wales Mixed Open representative Stuart Brierty, and improved team defence on the score line. This heightened composure in attack and defence frameworked the Dogs first touchdown.Canterbury’s 2006 New South Wales Mixed Open representative Daniel Walsh pulled the trigger on a long ball that was brilliantly picked up centimeters from the turf by the money man Matt Prowse who showed great balance to scoop the ball up and beat a diving Aceya Bishara to score. 2-1 to Wests at the break, with both sides entitled to think that the game was there for the taking.The second half was vastly different from the first, with the Maggies failing to get out of their own half and the Dogs mounting pressure to slowly gain the ascendancy as the half wore on.Stuart Brierty, 2007 Australian Mixed Open star Steve Roberts, and Paul Dwyer drove strongly to bankroll the Dogs second half performance. During the onslaught from the Dogs, The Wests defence held admirably with Michael Jacono and Cameron Nicolls in particular showing their growing maturity in this company.Wests used up a lot of petrol trying to repel the rampant Dogs attack and then when the footy was back in Magpie hands, found the Dogs kill defence overwhelming with the Dogs commitment and drive pressuring Wests into costly turnovers. Eventually the weight of possession told and the Dogs got the equalizer to make it 2-2.Paul Dwyer then worked a set piece close to the scoreline with the Quicksilver Steve Roberts to slide over and exploit a tired Magpies defence to put the Bulldogs into the lead 3-2 for the first time in the game.Despite throwing the kitchen sink and everything in it at the Doggies line to bridge the deficit in the final 5 minutes, time conspired against the Magpies and Canterbury held strong to secure the win 3-2.At Bankstown at 8.40pm Hornsby Lions continued on their winning way with an enterprising 9-5 victory over the Cronulla Sharks.The Hornsby boys had racked up 5 touchdowns in the first 11 minutes of the game to signify what could have been a long night at the office for the Shire lads who had to dig deep to stem the Lions remarkable roll on.The Sharkies worked feverishly to get back into the contest and at one stage got the score back to 7- 4, but with Dave Roberts directing traffic better than Tom Croyden at peak hour in his hey day at Mount Thomas, and the irrepressible Dylan Hennessey’s feet declaring happy hour on the Sharks defence, the Hornsby combination went on with job to record a 9-5 victory that rocketed them to the top of the competition standings.Shaun Street and the Tope brothers, Mitch and Matt, never stopped trying for Cronulla, whilst Rhys “The Claw” Bevan produced a spectacular play for the Sharkies when he plucked a ball at high speed from mid air one handed, whilst on the dive to plant it for an opportunistic touchdown.Danny Hamilton, Jon Palau, Heath Cooper, and the fleet footed Maurice Kennedy all played dominant roles for the winners and the Hornsby team’s impressive early season form has set a high benchmark for other teams to chase. In the late 9.30m timeslot at Tempe, defending Vawdon Cup champions, the Penrith Panthers got home 7-5 over a spirited Easts Roosters combination.Both teams needed a win as much as the Broncos need a backline for the business end of the NRL season, and effort level was not a problem in a very willing contest.Penrith were on top for most of the game, despite the Roosters drawing level in the first half.The experienced Chris Benfield was Penrith’s standout performer with some impressive long balls that were jut too good for the Easts outside defenders. Scott “Jack” Buckley and the Springfield brothers were full of running to give Easts little respite for the entire game. Easts had captain/coach Chris Hill returning and Jarrat Wood back from injury, but the Roosters were far from their best in a performance cruelled by ill-discipline and handling errors. Christian Frost was outstanding for Easts, whilst Jonathon Rooke put in a “workaholic” performance in his last match before surgery, that will rule him out of action for the Roosters for the next four-six weeks.The Roosters will look to improve their cohesion in coming weeks, whilst the Panthers will gear up this Friday for the replay of last year’s Vawdon Cup Grand Final against Canterbury.In the Women’s Premier Division, 2006 Vawdon Cup Grand Finalists Canterbury Bulldogs recorded a 5-3 win over the Wests Magpies in a high quality contest at 7.00pm at Tempe.The Doggies were up 2-0 at half-time with 2007 Australian Women’s Open World Cup stars sisters Louise and Claire Winchester dictating the play and proving to be the most influential players on the paddock.Wests are a dangerous outfit who have the players to give the premiership a real shake in 2007, and it didn’t surprise to see the Magpies bridge the gap to 4-3 mid way through the second half, thanks to some quality attack led by Wests gun Nola Campbell who has started the Vawdon season in outstanding form.The Doggies were controlled and played percentage touch in the clinch exchanges. They have the ability to dig in and pay the price to secure victory, or be more adventurous on cue, and it did not surprise to see them nail a late touchdown to close the game out 5-3.Australian 20 Years Youth squad members Nicole Mc Hugh and Nicky Albury played well for the Magpies, whilst Kate Fitzsimmons was again prominent for a committed Canterbury outfit that is playing well within itself with equal parts skill and tenacity.Cronulla Sharks secured a 5-3 win over the Central Coast Dolphins at Bankstown in the 7.50pm timeslot.Cronulla got off to a good start with winger Susan Smith scoring early off a great long ball from Kath Fitzgerald. Central Coast hit back straight away with 2007 Australian Women’s Open World Cup representative Kylie Hilder setting up a touchdown in the corner. The Dolphins played aggressively and unsettled the Sharkies who struggled to find rhythm in the first half.Cronulla Captain Jo Nelson composed her troops at half time and helped them to deliver a dominant second half performance.Nelson weighed in with some quality driving as well as setting up a touchdown and scoring one herself off a great gap hit.Rebecca Howe was a constant threat to the Dolphins defence and Jenna “Squirt” Cell made a miraculous pick-up to nab a vital touchdown late in the game.Star turn Kylie Hilder was outstanding for the Central Coast who battled hard for the duration, but failed to finish off their opportunities when it mattered most.Young guns, the Woolongong Devils, who have had a tough initiation to Premier League facing the competition’s big guns Easts and Canterbury in the opening two rounds, had an easier night last Friday recording a confidence boosting 4-0 victory over the Manly Sea Eagles in the 8.40pm game at Bankstown. Manly, by their own admission failed to control the ball early and gifted the “Young Divas” a mountain of possession, which they gratefully utilized. Bianca Mounsey, Ash “Dobbie” Dobbins, and Jess McCall, with two touchdowns, were the Devils scorers.Dobbin’s Touchdown featured more dummies than the total in a childrens’ crèche, and Jess Mc Call’s double involved some great vision and a turn of speed that left the opposition grasping at thin air. Kobi Ruzzene was also a key figure for Woolongong, producing a strong defensive game and being a driving force in the battle for field position. The “Young Divas”, whilst happy with their first win of the season; have identified room for improvement in coming weeks in the effectiveness of their rucking, and the fluidity of their line attack.Premiers Easts Roosters “schooled up” the young Penrith Panthers combination, delivering a comprehensive 8-2 lesson at 8.40pm at Tempe.The Roosters scored in the fourth minute and continued to pepper the dogged Penrith line until a well-timed long ball put the Roosters 2-0 up.To their credit, Penrith hit back through a touchdown to veteran Vicki Wheatley.The touchdown stung the premiers into action and they notched two quick touchdowns to go 4-1 up before some great lead up work from Penrith’s Lisa Clark and Ally Tairi gift-wrapped a touchdown for Brook Began.At 4-2 up at the break, the Roosters came out on resumption to post four unanswered touchdowns to record a comfortable 8-2 scoreline.Easts Megan Smee produced a dominant performance, whilst the Roosters new recruits in 2007 Pepita Macalister-Knight and Megan Campbell stood up well and are finding their feet in the star studded line-up.Vicki Wheatley and Rachael Foster gave their all for Penrith, and with some defensive adjustments the Panthers will continue to improve as the season unfolds.Round Four of the Vawdon Cup will be played at the Bankstown and Tempe venues on Friday 10 August 2007 and will feature some great clashes in both the Men’s and Women’s Premier divisions.In the Men’s draw, Canterbury Bulldogs and Penrith Panthers meet at 7.50pm at Bankstown in the 2006 Vawdon Cup Grand Final replay that is sure to produce a high quality encounter. Reserve seating has been sold out, but there are a handful of general admission tickets still floating around for the highly anticipated clash.Easts and Cronulla square off at Tempe at 7.50pm, whilst at Bankstown at 8.40pm, the Parramatta Eels will confront a white hot Hornsby Lions side, currently sitting atop the premiership ladder.At Tempe Wests will be looking to consolidate their position on the ladder against Manly in the 8.40pm timeslot.In the Women’s premier division, at 7.00 pm, State Cup champions Canterbury will take on Penrith at Bankstown, whilst defending Vawdon Cup champions Easts Roosters play Cronulla at Tempe.In the late timeslot at 9.30pm, Woolongong Devils will be looking for back-to-back victories when they meet the Central Coast Dolphins at Bankstown, and the Manly Sea Eagles will battle the Wests Magpies at Tempe.Action continues in the 2007 NSWTA Vawdon Cup Division 1 and 2 Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed, as well as Men’s Seniors and Masters grades.This weeks “Blackest Cat” for the Men’s Premier League Player of the Round goes to cool and collected Doggies winger Matty Prowse who has better hands than a Swedish masseuse.This week’s “Go to Girl” for the Women’s Premier League Player of the Round goes to Canterbury’s Claire “Bear” Winchester for her dominant drive in the middle and her superior defence, not even light is allowed through on her watch!Thanks to all coaches and players for their contribution to the wrap.Good luck to all.When in doubt, throw the flick pass.For the full draw, results, and all the latest information about the Vawdon Cup please visit the NSWTA web-site: www.nswtouch.com.au
zoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: PxHere under CCO license /Public Domain The High Court of Hong Kong has sanctioned the proposed privatization of Hong Kong-based shipping company Sinotrans Shipping Limited.The company said that its capital reduction was also confirmed by the court and that the scheme of arrangement for its privatization is expected to become effective on Friday, January 11, 2019.As a result, the listing of the Sinotrans’ shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is expected to be withdrawn at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, January 14, 2019.The privatization plans emerged in September this year when Sinotrans Shipping Holdings Limited proposed a scheme of arrangement and withdrawal of the company’s listing.Under the scheme of arrangement, Sinotrans Shipping Holdings is interested in 2,600,000,000 shares,representing approximately 65.13% of the issued shares. The amount of cash required for the sale is approximately HKD 3.37 billion (USD 430 million).The key driver behind the company’s decision was poor performance of the company’s shares as a result of trade tensions between the US and China as well as severe challenges in the global shipping industry such as slow revival of world economy and fleet overcapacity.Sinotrans Shipping Holdings Limited informed earlier that following the privatization it plans to continue the core business of the company in shipping and chartering businesses, working at the same time on expanding its client base and business in the future. The privatization is not expected to result in any layoffs.The holding company is also looking at various strategic alternatives post privatization, including potential restructuring of the privatized assets with its other subsidiaries and/or associated companies.
BEIRUT– A Lebanese security source confirmed to Anadolu Agency that Sunday’s shooting across the Lebanon-Israel border had left one Israeli soldier dead and a Lebanese soldier missing.The UN International Force in Lebanon is hosting a Monday morning meeting that will bring together senior officers from both the Lebanese and Israeli armies to discuss Sunday’s deadly cross-border shooting that left one Israeli soldier dead.A Lebanese security source confirmed to Anadolu Agency that Sunday’s shooting across the Lebanon-Israel border had left one Israeli soldier dead and a Lebanese soldier missing.The shooting took place in the Ras al-Naqoura border area, the source added.UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti told AA that the international force was working with both countries to contain the situation and avoid escalations.The Israeli government has lodged a complaint over Sunday’s shooting with both UNIFIL and the Lebanese government.Israeli troops along the border with Lebanon, meanwhile, have been put on high alert since the shooting.“We will not tolerate aggression against the State of Israel and maintain the right to exercise self-defense against perpetrators of attacks against Israel and its civilians,” Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner was quoted as saying by the Israeli daily Haaretz.
By Sana ElouaziRabat – The death toll from the attack on a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai has risen to 305, including 27 children, and 128 wounded, according to the latest record provided on Saturday by the country’s chief prosecutor, Nabil Sadeq. The attack occurred during the Friday prayer in the mosque Al-Rawda Bir al-Abd, located roughly 40 km west of Al-Arich, capital of North Sinai Governorate. The masked terrorists unleashed a suicide bomb before opening fire during the Friday prayer on the worshipers, among whom were army conscripts.A leader of a Bedouin group fighting ISIS told AFP that the mosque was known as a gathering place for Sufis, followers of a mystical stream of Islam considered heretical by the jihadist group.The Egyptian prosecutor said in a statement that about 30 armed men carrying the black banner of the group jihadist Islamic State (ISIS) took part in the massacre.Following this attack, one of the bloodiest in the country’s modern history, Egypt began this Saturday a national three-day mourning.President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has called on the armed forces to build a memorial to those killed at the mosque, reports state media.“The armed forces and the police will avenge our martyrs and restore security and stability with the utmost force,” said Al-Sisi in a televised statement.Few hours later, Egypt’s air force launched airstrikes against suspected terrorists in the attack zone in eastern Sinai, where security forces are fighting ISIS’ Egyptian branch.According to the Independent, the airstrikes had destroyed vehicles linked to the attackers, who used machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades to mow down worshippers during the Friday prayer.This attack on the mosque, an extremely rare occurrance in Egypt, left the country in shock.The grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the premier religious authority in Egypt, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, himself a Sufi scholar, condemned in the strongest terms “the barbaric terrorist attack.”“The shedding of blood, the violation of the sacred houses of God, and the terrorizing of worshippers are acts of corruption on the earth,” he said.
19 May 2011Sixteen countries have announced concrete commitments aimed at drastically reducing current levels of maternal, newborn and child mortality, the United Nations reported today. Sixteen countries have announced concrete commitments aimed at drastically reducing current levels of maternal, newborn and child mortality, the United Nations reported today. The commitments, largely in the form of specific budgetary increases for maternity and natal care, and promises of increased medical coverage for mothers and children, were announced as part of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, a $40 billion programme that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched last year. The new commitments bring to 34 the number of countries making such public pledges, with 27 in Africa. Mr. Ban welcomed the announcement, saying the commitments build on recent momentum towards tackling women’s and children’s health problems. “Political and financial support for action on women’s and children’s health is reaching new and encouraging heights,’’ he said. Echoing those remarks, UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said the world is now “on the verge of a tipping point” in the fight against maternal and child mortality. The new pledges were announced by Burundi, Chad, the Central African Republic (CAR), Comoros, Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Tajikistan, Togo, and Viet Nam. The commitments, made with the support of THE Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank, UNFPA and the World Health Organization (WHO), focus on measures proven effective in preventing deaths, such as increased contraceptive use, attended childbirth, improved access to emergency obstetric care, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and greater childhood immunizations. Eight countries promised specific increases in the national budgets for medical care for women and children. Others announced specific goals in increasing the coverage area and numbers for such care. At least 10 countries making new commitments promised to increase the number of midwives. Every year, 358,000 women in the developing world aged 15-49 die of pregnancy and childbirth-related complications, 2.6 million children are stillborn, and a further 8.1 million die before their fifth birthday, including 3.3 million babies in the first month of life. UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said the pledges will also help with efforts to try to attain the social and economic targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which have a deadline of 2015.
Briefing the Council on last week’s landmark peace agreement between the Government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Secretary-General’s Personal Representative in the Himalayan country Ian Martin said it represents “the most promising opportunity for the establishment of lasting peace and far-reaching reform.”“The United Nations’ response should be prompt and effective,” Mr. Martin told the Council, referring to a letter from Secretary-General Kofi Annan in which he recommended deploying an advance group of up to 60 to monitor the management of arms and armed personnel, as well as advice on the 2007 polls.Mr. Annan also proposed in the letter, which was sent to the Council last Wednesday, deployment of a “technical assessment mission” ahead of a full political mission to provide the assistance that both sides have requested, including verifying and monitoring cantonment of the rebel fighters and the confinement to barracks of Government soldiers.In today’s briefing to the Council, Mr. Martin said it was important for the confidence of the political process in Nepal that the UN extend, and be seen to extend, operational support as soon as possible, adding that recent developments in the country represent “an opportunity” to be grasped.Following the discussions, he said he was gratified by the positive reaction of Council members and their recognition of the need for a speedy UN response. In a related development in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour described the recent peace deal in Nepal as a “crucial step towards setting the foundations for democratic transition in which the protection and promotion of the human rights of all Nepalis must be central.”“However, the parties must translate their commitments into meaningful actions to end on-going abuses. As the country moves into this critical transition phase, consolidating the rule of law through professional policing and a strong criminal justice system will be key measures to be taken,” she said at the opening of the third session of the enhanced Human Rights Council.
by The Canadian Press Posted Feb 2, 2017 11:26 am MDT Last Updated Feb 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email A real estate sold sign is shown outside a house in Vancouver, Tuesday, Jan.3, 2017. Home sales in Metro Vancouver last month dropped by almost 40 per cent compared with January 2016 with the sale of detached houses falling hardest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward VANCOUVER – Home sales in Metro Vancouver last month dropped by almost 40 per cent from the year before with the sale of detached houses falling hardest.The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says the townhome and condominium markets are more active than sales for detached homes.Just over 1,500 residential properties sold in January, down 39.5 per cent from about 2,500 sales that were recorded in January 2016.Board president Dan Morrison says it has been a “lukewarm” start to the year.“While we saw near record-breaking sales at this time last year, home buyers and sellers are more reluctant to engage so far in 2017,” he said in a statement.Sales last month were also down about 11 per cent from December, when about 1,700 homes sold.The benchmark price for detached properties was about $1.5 million in January, down 6.6 per cent over the last six months. The board says townhouse and condominium prices have remained steady.The B.C. government brought in a 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers in the Vancouver area last August but some analysts have said the market was already showing signs of softening after months of scorching sales.Last month, provincial government data showed a steep drop in real estate transactions in the Vancouver area after the tax came in.Tax revenues from property transfers in Metro Vancouver indicate there were almost 15,000 transactions in a seven-week period ending Aug. 1, but the number declined to a low of about 4,700 in October.The number of foreign buyers fell from about 1,970 in the period ending Aug. 1, to 60 in the rest of August. In November, about 200 property transfers involved foreigners.The board says the number of new listings for detached, attached and apartment properties also dropped by almost seven per cent last month compared with January 2016. The inventory of homes listed for sale grew by about 14 per cent in January compared to December.Royal LePage recently forecasted an 8.5 per cent price correction in Greater Vancouver this year. Home sales plummet in previously red-hot Vancouver as market softens
In a press statement, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Nicholas Kay, condemned the attack on the Somali Parliament and the many killings claimed by Al-Shabaab’s since the start of the holy month of Ramadan. According to news reports, a car bomb went off earlier today just outside the main gates of Parliament in Mogadishu, killing at least four people. This is the latest in a string of high-profile attacks, including against Parliament itself. Just two days ago, a prominent Member of Parliament, Ahmed Mohamud ‘Hayd’, was shot dead in the city, a murder also claimed by al-Shabaab. That incident was strongly condemned by Mr. Kay and the members of the UN Security Council. While deploring today’s attempted attack on Parliament, Mr. Kay commended the bravery of the security forces that lost their lives ensuring the terrorists were thwarted. “Al-Shabaab have bombed, assassinated and terrorized Somalis in Mogadishu since the start of the holy month of Ramadan, a month dedicated to prayers and peace,” the envoy declared, calling on all Somalis to unite and work with the authorities to prevent further attacks and to bring to justice those behind this murderous campaign. Mr. Kay underscored that the UN is working side by side with the Somali people to build peace and a new, functioning State. “We are working actively with the Federal Government, AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia] and international partners to build strong Somali national security forces to protect and serve all Somali people” he added. Finally, Mr. Kay offered his sincere condolences to the family and friends of those killed, as well as to the Federal Parliament of Somalia, and wished a quick recovery for the injured.
Following fifty years of engine production at its East London plant, Ford Dagenham has announced engine manufacturing has reached the milestone of 40 million engines.Ford Dagenham, which has been engineering and manufacturing engines since 1931, now manufactures fuel-efficient diesel engines for Ford’s small, medium, and large car ranges, as well as featuring prominently in Ford’s commercial vehicles. Over 50% of global Ford diesel engine demand is supplied by Dagenham.Dagenham-built engines have powered generations of vehicles including the Ford Escort, Cortina, Capri, Granada, and Transit models. Today, engines from Ford’s largest UK plant power three of the best-selling vehicles in Britain: the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Ford Transit.“Dagenham producing 40 million engines is a significant milestone for Ford’s biggest UK site,” said Joe Greenwell, Ford of Britain Chairman. “Ford Dagenham now produces Ford’s most fuel-efficient engine in the 1.6-litre TDCi unit and exports to 12 countries around the world as part of our global ‘One Ford’ strategy. This site is helping to power the UK’s sustainable economic recovery.”Ford Dagenham’s 1.6-litre TDCi diesel engine powers the latest Ford Fiesta ECOnetic model, which delivers fuel economy of 85.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 87g/km.Production for Ford vehicles accounts for around 70% of Dagenham’s output, with the balance comprising over 270,000 engines per year for Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA Peugeot CitroÃƒ«n and Volvo.Total production of petrol engines from Ford Bridgend in Wales and diesel engines from Ford Dagenham is sufficient to power one-in-three Ford vehicles produced globally. These two plants have a total combined annual UK production capacity of two million engines, of which over 85% are exported.Over the past decade, Ford Dagenham has been at the forefront of the urban and industrial re-generation taking place in the area. Ford has committed to investing £1.5 billion over a five year period across its UK sites to engineer and manufacture low-CO2 vehicles and engines.Find out more about UK automotive manufacturing in SMMT’s handy Motor Industry Facts 2012 publication. To read the latest announcements on investment, manufacturing expansion, new vehicle models and employment within the UK’s automotive sector, go to www.smmt.co.uk/investment. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
WIKILEAKS TODAY PUBLISHED a leaked draft from the largest ever international trade agreement currently being negotiated between twelve prospective member states.The release of the draft from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) comes ahead of a decisive summit of chief negotiators in Utah next week. Contained in the International Property Rights chapter published today are some of the more controversial details which will impact on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents.It also includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all twelve of the prospective member states.60 per cent of global GDPThis agreement precedes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with US-EU negotiations for that deal having started in January of this year. Together these agreements will cover over 60 per cent of global GDP and both of them exclude China.Numerous heads of state involved in the negotiations, including US President Barack Obama, have expressed their intention to sign and ratify the deal by the end of this year, though the negotiations have been kept secret and it was previously revealed that only three individuals in each nation have access to the full text.Today Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange accused the US administration of “aggressively pushing the TPP through the US legislative process on the sly”.The 95-page chapter published today lays out provisions for a regime to change or replace existing laws including agreements on patents, copyright, trademarks and industrial design.Far-reachingWikileaks said today the enforcement measures have “far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons”.Measures include supranational litigation tribunals which national courts would be expected to defer to, but which would have no human rights safeguards. These courts would be permitted to conduct hearings with secret evidence. This chapter also replicates many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions from the shelved SOPA and ACTA treaties.Assange said: If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.Intellectual property law expert Matthew Rimmer told the Sydney Morning Herald that “one could see the TPP as a Christmas wish-list for major corporations”.“Hollywood, the music industry, big IT companies such as Microsoft and the pharmaceutical sector would all be very happy with this,” he said.States currently involved in the negotiations include the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.Read the full chapter released today>Read: The Wikileaks Party got fewer votes than the Australian Sex Party>Read: “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.”>
Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler has risen to Mohamed Salah’s defence over the “hostile” diving debate and suggested he’s being singled out as a foreign player.Due to his apparent willingness to fall to the ground too easily in a challenge, Salah has faced plenty of backlash over the last few weeks.Unlike fellow Reds legend John Aldridge, however, Fowler reckons Salah is within his rights to go down to the ground when touched.“I was never one for diving — if I had a chance to get a shot off, I’d always take it,” Fowler wrote in the Daily Mirror.“Yet, I’ve been shaking my head in disbelief at the criticism aimed at Mohamed Salah in recent weeks for what people have been particularly eager to call cheating.“It’s been sustained and hostile, and I’m wondering why.“Why it’s been much worse than that aimed at Harry Kane this season, for instance, or in the past say Michael Owen or David Beckham (and I’m not singling them out!).“We have to be very careful as football fans. We need to stop and think about whether Salah is being targeted for where he comes from and who he is.“It seems like stereotyping, and possibly because he’s an overseas player.“If that is the case, it’s totally unacceptable.Solskjaer praises Harry Maguire after Man United’s 1-0 win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer singled out Harry Maguire for praise after helping Manchester United keep a clean sheet in their 1-0 win over Leicester City.He added: “Yes, there have been times when Salah has gone over a bit theatrically, sometimes he may have gone down a bit easily.“Two things. One, who doesn’t now? Two, he’s almost always been kicked.“In fact, he has been kicked mercilessly for 18 months. And if he doesn’t go down in a way which lets the ref see he’s been kicked, then will he get the decision? No chance.“Watching the Arsenal-Manchester United game on Friday, Paul Pogba went through early, got hacked from behind, but didn’t go down and then lost the ball. No free-kick.“Soon after, goes through again, gets pulled back slightly. What does he do? Of course, he goes down, because otherwise, he knows if he tries to get a shot off and fails, he gets nothing again. It is not as simple as people are making out.“If Salah was this massive cheat people seem to be trying to portray him as, why was the penalty he converted against Newcastle at the end of December the first awarded for Liverpool at Anfield in 18 months?“In that time, he’s scored almost 50 league goals, and not one until this past Boxing Day was a penalty in a home game.”Fowler is a former striker, who scored 183 goals in 369 games across two separate spells for Liverpool.The 43-year-old won the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup in his time at Anfield and is considered a “god” among the supporters.
reading • New Apple iMac update for 2019 has better graphics and eight-core Intel i9 processor Apple This week’s new iPad Air and iPad Mini are not the last word in Apple hardware before the company’s expected video streaming service debut at an event on March 25. The iMac line of all-in-one desktops is getting a series of internal upgrades, with more powerful CPUs and better graphics.While the new iPad Air and last year’s MacBook Air got big physical makeovers in their latest incarnations, the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs are unchanged on the outside. Inside, however, it’s a different story. $1,599 $1,799 More coresMost of the iMacs are jumping from seventh-gen Intel processors to newer eighth-gen ones. For the 21.5-inch iMacs, that means either quad-core or, for the first time, six-core CPU options.Graphics go from Radeon Pro 555 and 560 GPUs to the newer Radeon Pro Vega 20. These changes only affect the $1,299 (£1,249, AU$1,999) and $1,499 base model 21.5-inch iMacs. The entry level $1,099 model, with a dual-core seventh-gen Intel Core i5, remains unchanged.More interesting is what’s happening to the 27-inch iMac. That model still starts at $1,799 (£1,749, AU$2,799) and comes with a standard 5K display, but the Intel CPUs start at eighth-gen six-core chips, and can go all the way up to the eight-core Intel Core i9, something usually only seen in high-end gaming systems or creative workstations. This could double performance speed in some applications, according to Apple.Graphics here go up to Radeon Pro Vega 48 from the older Radeon Pro 560/570/580, which Apple says is 50-percent faster. Reordering the Mac lineupWith these updates, nearly every Mac computer has been recently updated or redesigned. Fall 2018 brought us a new MacBook Air and even a new Mac Mini (a system many had assumed was on its way out), while earlier in 2018 saw a notable processor jump in the MacBook Pro. Apple may be feeling the pressure to keep up to date with CPUs in systems, or risk losing creatives to Windows PCs with the latest and greatest components. These new iMacs, especially the 27-inch 6-core and 8-core versions, finally offer a pro-level alternative to the very expensive iMac Pro, which is a highly specialized product out of reach for most. Of course, none of this answers our burning questions about the future of the Mac Pro desktop, which Apple has promised to unveil sometime this year. The new 21.5 and 27-inch iMacs are available to order now, and should be in stores next week. See the buying link below, and note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.See new iMacs at Apple See All $1,599 Share your voice $1,799 See It 16 See It Preview • New iMacs promise 1 billion colors, plus USB-C 1:20 Adorama See it Best Buy Intel Apple CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Apple’s iMac line gets spruced up a bit Review • For the 2017 iMac 27, Apple doesn’t mess with success Apple iMac Mentioned Above Apple iMac (27-inch, 2017) Apple Event Walmart Aug 30 • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11R and 11 Max: Price, specs and features we expect on Sept. 10 Tags • Comments Aug 30 • Apple will launch iPhone 11 on Sept. 10 in Cupertino Now playing: Watch this: See It Aug 26 • Every Apple TV Plus show announced so far Apple Event Desktops Computers Aug 29 • New iPhones, Apple Watch and more: Apple’s September event preview
Natalie Norris, then Natalie Jubin, from the cover of This Week magazine in December of 1945. Photo via Histoire des courses mythiques et des grands mushers)A pioneer of Alaska mushing passed away earlier this week. Natalie Norris moved to Alaska in the 40s, and along with her husband, Earl, helped establish the oldest kennel for Siberian Huskies in the world.Listen nowBreeding and mushing Siberian Huskies has stayed part of the Norris family itself. The kennel is now run by Norris’s son, J.P., and her granddaughter, Lisbet, has finished the Iditarod the last three years.Natalie Norris grew up in Lake Placid, New York in the 20s, when it was still common to see people driving dog teams. She began collecting dogs at a young age, eventually competing in sled-dog races across New England.In 1946, Norris made the rare, bold move to Alaska as a young, unmarried woman, taking with her nine dogs.“Shortly before her move, Grandma was featured on the cover of this national magazine,” recalled granddaughter Lisbet Norris by phone. “It was a picture of her, in her parka with one of her big beautiful Malamutes. And somebody mailed that magazine to my grandfather.”“He was already in Alaska. And when he read that she was planning on moving out there — soon as possible — he immediately wrote to her and offered to help in any way that he could. I think he was quite smitten by her photo,” Norris said with a slight laugh.So smitten, in fact, that he met her at the dock, and not long after they married.From the beginning, Norris’s life in Alaska was an inseparable mix of family, dogs, and the outdoors. The young couple established their Anadyr Siberian Husky kennel the same year they wed. They raised their three children on a homestead in Anchorage before moving to Willow in 1967, where the kennel has remained ever since. Throughout, Natalie continued racing dogs.“She was one of the earliest competitors of the Fur Rondy race in Anchorage,” Lisbet Norris said. Decades later, in the 1970s, Natlie won the Women’s Open North American. “That was kind of the culmination of her racing career.”But Norris’s real focus and passion was on Siberian Huskies as a breed. She traveled the world judging competitions and lecturing on the line’s traits.That dedication to sled-dogs survives in her children and grandchildren.“They’re athletes,” Lisbet said of the family’s huskies, “and we believe that training and conditioning them for racing is the best benchmark for the breed.”Lisbet Norris was extremely close with her grandmother, living in the same house with her for several years until just a few months ago. It was her grandmother’s character, more than accomplishments, that have had the greatest influence on her.“She was really the epitome of a pioneer woman. She was so gracious and kind to everybody that walked into that house. And she was a mentor to so many, including myself,” Norris said through tears. “I take a lot of comfort in knowing that I’m following in her footsteps today.”Instead of holding a formal service, the family is planning a picnic this spring, “accessible by dog team, skis, or snowmachines,” along the nearby trails named for Natalie and Earl Norris.“Well Grandma was never a fan of big stuffy gatherings,” Norris said.Natalie Norris was 94-years-old when she passed, “peacefully & in the presence of family,” according to a social media post on the Anadyr Siberians Facebook page.
Charlie Whiting, who was the Race Director for FIA Formula 1, has passed away at the age of 66. He suffered a pulmonary embolism on Thursday morning in Melbourne where he was on duty to officiate this weekend’s season-opening Australian GP. He was the official race starter and was the main man who oversaw all rules matters in F1. Jean Todt, the FIA president, called Whiting “a central and inimitable figure who embodied the ethics and spirit” of F1. Todt added: “Formula 1 has lost a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador in Charlie.”Ross Brawn, F1’s managing director, said: “I have known Charlie for all of my racing life. We worked as mechanics together, became friends and spent so much time together at race tracks across the world.”I was filled with immense sadness when I heard the tragic news. I’m devastated. It is a great loss not only for me personally but also the entire Formula 1 family, the FIA and motorsport as a whole. All our thoughts go out to his family,” he added. Charlie WhitingGetty ImagesWhiting was previously associated with former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham team as the chief mechanic and then as a chief engineer. The team won world championships in 1981 and 1983.He began his sojourn with F1 back in 1977 with the Hesketh team before shifting to Brabham for 1978. He stayed put there before hopping across and joining FIA where he was a central part of the organisation’s running of F1 ever since.The F1 family was filled with remorse and offered their condolences:Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, who has been closely associated with Whiting since starting out in F1 in 2007, told BBC Sport he was “incredibly shocked to hear the sad news”.”What he did for this sport, his commitment, he really was a pillar. Such an iconic figure and he contributed so much.”Sebastian Vettel recalled that he had spoken with him on Wednesday and that it was extremely difficult to believe what has happened: “I walked the track for the first couple of corners with him. It is difficult to grasp when someone is just not there any more.”He has been our man, the drivers’ man. There’s the regulation and then us, and he was the middle man. Any time his door was always open. He was a racer, just a very nice guy.”
Sri Lanka explosion at Hotel Shangri-LatwitterThe National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested several people in Kerala and Tamil Nadu citing that they were ISIS sympathisers and in constant touch with Zahran Hashim, the mastermind of Sri Lanka bombing which claimed the lives of 250 people.The suspects have been identified as Mohammed Ashiq, Ismail, Samsudeen, Jafar Sadik Ali and Shahul Hameed. According to The Times of India, they were directly in touch with Hashim for over three years.However, Ashiq, who is from Tamil Nadu, claims he is being framed by the NIA. He says he has given his Facebook details to the agency to complete the probe. The NIA claims that Ashiq was in contact with several National Thowheed Jamaath leaders. He is also suspected to have plotted the murder of several Hindutva leaders in India. He and five others were accused of planning to assassinate Arjun Sampath of the Hindu Makkal Katchi in Tamil Nadu.”The NIA registered a fake case against innocent Muslims and tried to create a story that Muslims are terrorists. But the NIA won’t bother about the real culprits. The case against us in connection with plotting to murder Hindutva leaders is also a false one. We came out on bail because the NIA doesn’t have any valid evidence against us,” Ashiq told The Times of India.He added, “I had not heard about ISIS earlier. I came to know about ISIS on after my arrest. I have never contacted NTJ leader Zahran Hashim. I haven’t chatted with him. I gave my Facebook details to the NIA for investigation. But I don’t know about the others whether they were in touch with NTJ leader.”According to the NIA, they had prior intel of the Sri Lanka bombings through the conversation that allegedly transpired between the six men and Hashim. The NIA then alerted the Sri Lankan government through the intelligence agency. Ashiq added that the NIA is biased against Muslims and is trying to prove that Muslims are terrorists on the global front.The Sri Lankan police authorities have accepted that they sent out an alert on April 11 post-India’s warning that ISIS may be planning a terror attack on its soil. But until then, the involvement of Hashim was not speculated since he had not orchestrated a big terror activity in the country. IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:01/3:08Loaded: 0%0:01Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-3:07?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … Close Sri Lanka Attacks: What We Know So Far
ClearTax is buoyed by the increasing popularity of electronic filing of income tax returns by individuals and the push given by the government. The website is one of the most popular tax preparation and e-filing platforms in India, along with the Income Tax Department’s website. It was used by 1 million individuals to file their income tax returns in financial year 2015-16.The five-year-old portal founded by Arpit Gupta claims to have a user base of 1.5 million and plans to scale it up to 5 million in two years. ClearTax is also used by about 10,000 chartered accountants.The government’s efforts to push e-filing of income tax returns is expected to give a fillip to the portal’s plans. There has been a three-fold increase in the number of individuals opting for online filing of their annual income tax returns in financial year 2015-16 (assessment year 2016-17).Interestingly, the government is ClearTax’s biggest competitor.”As on 5th August 2016, over 226.98 lakh e-returns had been filed in F.Y. 2016-17 as compared to 70.97 lakh for the same period in FY 2015-16,” the finance ministry had said early this month.”The facility of e-verification of IT returns has been used by over 75.3 lakh taxpayers till 5th August, 2016 as compared to 32.95 lakh taxpayers last year till 7th September 2015,” the ministry statement added.ClearTax had raised $12 million in Series A funding from SAIF Partners in June this year, taking the total amount invested in the portal to $15.3 million. A month ago to the June funding, the portal had raised $2 million from Sequoia Capital India, and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund Angel.The portal, owned by Defmacro Software Pvt. Ltd., charges anywhere from Rs. 499 to Rs. 1,799 under various plans to enable individuals file their returns electronically.Other portals that enable filing of e-returns include Taxsmile and Taxspanner.