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What Saints’ shocking loss to Falcons means for NFC playoff picture, Super Bowl chances

first_imgBut Atlanta learned it could squeeze Brees without much worry of being burned deep. Time of possession is critical for New Orleans. The Saints went into the game third in the league in that category, at 33:18, right behind two other Super Bowl contenders, the 49ers and Ravens. Yet the Falcons had the ball for more than 33 minutes Sunday. The Saints lost their offensive identity, and that was timed poorly with the Falcons finding their defensive identity.With the heart of November here, December around the corner and January not far behind, the Saints needed a little wake-up call for the stretch run. They certainly got it.The 49ers and Packers have proved to be difficult to throw against, but there are strong hints that top running games give both teams a lot more trouble. The Saints are designed to beat both teams, but to get to the Super Bowl, they need to execute what they do best, and do it cleanly. WATCH: Full Saints vs. Falcons highlightsHere are the ripple effects of the Saints’ second loss of the season, which ended their six-game winning streak and came after a bye.The Saints still need to sweat it out a little in the NFC South.New Orleans missed a chance to go up three games on Carolina (5-4) in the division after the Panthers lost at Green Bay later in the day. That’s somewhat significant because the teams haven’t played each other yet.So the Panthers have two cracks at the Saints, in Weeks 12 and 17. The other remaining games on the schedule are more in the Panthers’ favor.The Saints remain the Big Easy favorites to take a third consecutive division title, but now they need to do some work to try to pull away again.MORE: Updated NFL playoff picture after Week 10The Saints are now behind both the 49ers and Packers in the NFC.The 49ers (8-0), should they beat the Seahawks (7-2) on Monday, would have a two-game lead for home-field advantage with seven games left to play. The Packers (8-2) go into their Week 11 bye with a half-game lead over the Saints and a superior 5-1 conference record.The Saints will play the 49ers in Week 14 at home, but they might do only limited damage in trying to catch up should the 49ers continue to have that extra cushion.The Saints do not play the Packers, so that’s where that extra conference loss can loom large in the race for at least getting the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye.MORE: What we learned from Saints vs. FalconsThe Saints’ Super Bowl-worthy strengths are now more obvious . . .There are two things that didn’t cost the Saints against the Falcons: the defense and the running game. These were the main elements that allowed them to go 5-0 without Drew Brees and with Teddy Bridgewater. Those remain intact after Sunday.Don’t be fooled by the numbers against the Falcons. The Saints gave up 143 yards rushing, but the Falcons needed 34 attempts to get that done. Also, a chunk of the production came late when running out the clock on a significant lead, and 17 came on one attempt by wide receiver Calvin Ridley.Top cornerback Marshon Lattimore had to leave the game with a thigh injury, but Matt Ryan (5.1 yards per attempt) and his receivers struggled to be effective on intermediate passes for most of the game, with the production inflated by a 54-yard connection with Julio Jones, who was mostly quiet otherwise.Because of the flipped game script, the Saints were forced out of rushing as well as they can. Through just 11 carries between Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray, Taysom Hill and Ted Ginn Jr., they gained a healthy 51 yards. The Saints have a good offensive line, but it still is better at operating downhill regularly than being called upon to pass protect in high volume for Brees.MORE: Brees explains Saints’ loss in 40 seconds. . . and so is the Saints’ Super Bowl-unworthy weakness.Brees ended up dropping back 51 times and was sacked six times. Going into the game, the Saints had given up only 12 sacks all season. The Saints were also undisciplined, with 12 penalties for 90 yards, and inefficient in going 3 for 15 combined on third and fourth downs.Although those were anomalous developments, there is a takeaway there: The Saints are not at their best when they throw the ball too often.They’re down to being a three-target team, with nothing daunting at wide receiver beyond Michael Thomas. Jared Cook is a good tight end but not really a field-stretcher down the seam, and Kamara, who’s going through an injury-riddled season, hasn’t been the same open-field threat on shorter passes.Brees is an all-time great, but there was no reason to suddenly deviate from what was rolling with Bridgewater and try to invoke the prolific downfield passing of the past that isn’t there in the present. Sure, Brees was able to pick apart the Cardinals in Week 9 in his first game back from a thumb injury, and there was temptation to do the same to a Falcons team that was giving up a ton of big pass plays before Week 10. Before Week 10, the Saints were looking like they were marching toward the top seed in the NFC playoffs for a second consecutive season. After Sunday’s stunning 26-9 home loss to the last-place NFC South rival Falcons, it’s time to try to make sense of what it means.At first glance, it was New Orleans (7-2) simply getting beat up by an inspired Atlanta team (2-7) finally living up to defensive expectations for its beleaguered but beloved head coach, Dan Quinn. On second thought, even one bad game can have lasting repercussions.last_img read more

Wellington High School students make community a better place to live during Service Day

first_imgFollow us on Twitter. Sumner Newscow report — Today was Service Day and 409 Wellington High School students canvassed the community making the world a better place to live.  The Service Day under the guise of the Karla Defore Leadership Class was held for the fifth year.  For all the pictures click here. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comment (1) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. 0 Vote up Vote down Joe Jacobs · 225 weeks ago Karla Defore rocks. She is awesome and Wellington is fortunate to have her as a teacher! Report Reply 0 replies · active 225 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img read more

Good Samaritans lauded following Range Rover sinking

first_imgAdditionally, someone who hasn’t been identified also helped out. “Another unidentified male entered the water from the shoreline to assist the distressed family,” he wrote. “While we do not know who this person is, we would like [to] identify him to recognize his effort also.” A replacement warning sign reading “Unauthorized Motor Vehicles Prohibited Beyond This Point” has been affixed to a post at the intersection of North Road and Boathouse Road by the Galley, according to Klaren and town administrator Tim Carroll. The sign guards the entrance to Boathouse Road, which leads to the drive-on dock and West Dock. Klaren said it seems to have vanished over the winter, and was found missing in May.  Two such signs were ordered, Klaren said, and Chilmark Police had the highway department install one in its former spot on August 5. It’s unclear if the other sign has been put up yet. The sign by the Galley was absent when Robert Drew of Andover drove past with his family on the evening of July 28, and soon after plunged into the channel. It’s unclear if the lack of a sign played any role in the accident. Other signs, such as one posted at the beginning of the drive-on dock that warns the area is permit parking only, remained in place at the time of Drew’s accident. Klaren described the area around the Galley and Boathouse Road as an ongoing challenge for vehicles and pedestrians to navigate, given the limited space to maneuver. Drew was given a written warning for failure to use care when stopping, backing, or turning, a finalized police report shows. Information previously released by Chilmark Police stated Drew was cited, but didn’t indicate the citation was a warning. Drew told police trouble with the Range Rover’s dial shifter seems to have triggered the plunge. A two-person dive team aided and a piece of excavation equipment worked to salvage the submerged Range Rover on July 29. The Range Rover was ultimately hoisted onto Boathouse Road. “Once on dry land, an inspection of the vehicle showed that the transmission dial appeared to have been turned all the way to the left, beyond designated ‘slot’ for the ‘park’ option,” a finalized report states. “Robert Drew stated he thinks when the vehicle wasn’t going backward like he thought it should be, he turned the dial all the way counterclockwise past the ‘park’ slot. He thinks he turned it so hard the dial went past where it should have. Drew thinks the car was in drive, but at the time thought it was in reverse. When the car rolled forward he gave it more gas, thinking it would send the car backward but instead sent it through the railing of the fence. The steering wheel was bent forward toward the dashboard. Drew stated that he remembers locking out his arms, bracing for when the vehicle went nose-down into the water.” In a letter to Chilmark selectmen, Chilmark Police Chief Jonathan Klaren praised the efforts of two good Samaritans to aid three people who toppled from the Menemsha drive-on dock into the Menemsha Channel inside a Range Rover. “As you are aware, a vehicle unintentionally drove off the filled dock last Tuesday evening [July 28]. I am pleased to report that all of the occupants were able to escape from the sinking vehicle and made their way safely to shore,” Klaren wrote. “While escaping from a submerging vehicle was a daunting task for this family, they were not entirely out of danger. The outgoing tide was running strong, and there are not many options for coming ashore safely along that section of the channel.”Klaren went on to write, “I would like to recognize the efforts of Solon Oliver and Heidi Blau. Solon had been tubing in his boat nearby with Mrs. Blau and her children, just prior to the accident. Unsolicited, they made their way over to the submerging vehicle, and were able to assist the family safely to shore from the outgoing tide of Menemsha Creek. There is no doubt that the efforts of Solon and Heidi enabled this family to walk away physically unscathed.”last_img read more

Abrosimoff, Soukeroff spark Mount Sentinel Wildcats to Consolation Title

first_imgAaron Abrosimoff poured in 17 points and teammate Brandon Soukeroff added 15 to lead the Mount Sentinel Wildcats to a 71-55 victory over Nakusp Cougars in the Consolation Final of the Kootenay High School A Boy’s Basketball Championships Saturday at the Mount Sentinel Gymnasium.A 9-0 run in the fourth period sealed the deal for the Wildcats.Braden McLean scored 23 points to lead the Cougars while Ben Gardener added added 18 points, including five three point conversions.Sparwood defeated Fernie Falcons 73-41 to capture the zone title and a berth in the BC High School A Boy’s Basketball Championship next month in Langley.Sparwood put 27 points in the second quarter to grab a 41-26 lead en route to the zone title.Cale Hughes led the victors with 18 points, including a pair of baskets from downtown in the fourth period.Austin Molley added 16 points for Sparwood.Sparwood advanced to the final by stopping the host school 88-67 in Friday’s Semi Final round.Fernie bounced Nakusp 89-45 in the other Semi Final contest. Cats coach Kris Hryniw was pleased with this team’s showing against the zone champs, despite losing by double digits.“I was so impressed with my Grade 10 point guard, Kie Miller, who really didn’t make any mistakes, and was the team’s high scorer with 17 points,” Hryniw said.Abrosimoff with 15 points and Soukeroff with 14 also were high scorers for Mount Sentinel against Sparwood.Hryniw said finishing third in the zone was a major accomplishment for a Cats team without any senior leadership.“We did not have one Grade 12 player step on the court for us,” Hryniw said.“Our team consists of 6 Grade 11 boys, 3 Grade 10 boys and even one boy who’s in Grade 9.”“All of the younger boys stepped up and made great contributions off the bench in both games,” Hryniw added.This tournament concludes the season for the Wildcats varsity team.However, the Junior Wildcats travel to Castlegar this weekend to compete in the West Kootenay Junior Boy’s Basketball Championships host by the Rockers at Stanley Humphries.Top seeded Grand Forks Wolves meet Boundary Central of Midway in one Semi Final while host Stanley Humphries meets J. Lloyd Crowe of Trail in the other Semi.The two winners meet for the West Kootenay crown Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.Other teams entered include the L.V. Rogers Bombers and Salmo Falcons.last_img read more

Balancing Political Privilege in Ethnically Diverse Counties

first_imgOur Nimba Correspondent Ishmael Menkor last Wednesday sent in a story of a Mandingo rally in Ganta, during which they called for greater inclusion of their tribesmen and women in the county’s administration.We find this both a realistic and reasonable plea. It is realistic because they know that although they are quite prominent in the county’s business sector, they are a minority ethnic group in Nimba. It is reasonable because being a group with considerable economic power, it makes sense to bring them into governance because that may cause them to feel that they have a greater stake in the county’s success story—in terms, not only of political, but also socioeconomic and cultural relevancy. All of the educational institutions in Nimba should strive to recruit talented, ambitious and progressive students from all ethnic groups, because their success tomorrow in the economic, political or social arena would bring credit to their respective alma maters.That is why in many countries across the globe, schools and institutions of higher learning are proactive in their enrollment. They don’t just sit there and wait for students to apply. Many of the leading institutions, especially of higher learning, go out and scout for talented senior high students who represent the vast diversity of the societies in which these institutions are resident. They seek out students from all races, religions, ethnicities, etc., who show exceptional athletic or leadership potential, and entice them with scholarships and other amenities (conveniences, facilities). The motive is that if tomorrow a student becomes highly successful in business, politics or any other arena, such as engineering, literature, sports, medicine, or science—whatever—such a student would not forget the schools that helped him or her to succeed. We see this among Liberians in the Diaspora, especially the United States, where the alumni associations of several Liberian high schools meet regularly, raise substantial sums of money in order to lend a helping hand to their alma maters back home.Graduates of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) took the lead as early as 1991 when they organized the BWI Alumni Association in North America (BWIAANA). Since that time they have contributed substantially to their school in Kakata, Margibi County. During the civil war, it was primarily the BWIAANA that helped keep the doors of BWI open. Right now there is an ambulance somewhere in Minnesota, purchased by the BWIAANA, waiting to be shipped to BWI in Kakata.Alumni of several other institutions, especially Rick’s Institute, St. Patrick’s High/St., Theresa’s Convent and Bravid W. Harris, are very actively supporting their alma maters here at home.That is as it should be in all of the counties of this republic. A wise politician or administrator in any county would do well to reach out to all ethnic groups in the county, bring them in, and make them to see themselves as an important part of the body politic—a group that truly matters and is to be reckoned with in any county decision making.The Gio is Nimba’s dominant ethnic group, followed by the Mano. The Mandingo come third and maybe the Kpelle, fourth, followed by a tribe that is nearly extinct, the Gbi.The Gios are so numerically powerful that the Manos find the Gio numbers matchless when it comes to elections. That is why a few Mano leaders some time ago were considering the idea of two counties, one Gio, one Mano. But that idea was quickly shot down by even some Mano leaders, who thought the county’s influence nationally could be diminished (weakened) by such a move. As we mentioned in a recent editorial, Nimba is gifted with quite a number of entrepreneurs that have made the county the envy of many others in the country. Many visitors have come from Nimba highly impressed with the county’s progress. The Nimba leaders and people can be sure that should they adopt a philosophy and practice of reaching out to all its people, regardless of ethnicity or religion, the county may soon find itself competing more forcefully with Montserrado, not just in terms of population, but industry, commerce, education, culture and even tourism.We hope that Superintendent Fong Zuagele, Senator Prince Johnson and all the other Nimba leaders would endorse the vision of reaching out to all its people, regardless of ethnicity, giving them unfettered opportunities to excel in every possible area. In so doing, Nimbaians would develop into a creative, dynamic, thriving, prosperous people that would be hard to match anywhere in the republic. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Hissing shouts of shame as pipeline station gets permit

first_imgRICHMOND, Va. — A state board in Virginia approved a contentious plan Tuesday to build a natural gas pipeline station in a historic African-American community, prompting angry shouts of “shame” from more than 200 opponents.The State Air Pollution Control Board voted 4-0 in favour of a key permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would run 600 miles (965 kilometres) and carry fracked natural gas from West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina.Some opponents of the project hissed, coughed and shouted during the meeting. Fifteen people were removed by state police, and one woman was charged with trespassing after she laid down on the floor and refused to comply with police verbal commands to leave.The proposed site for the compressor station is in Union Hill, an unincorporated community founded by freed slaves. The community is in rural Buckingham County, about an hour’s drive west of Richmond.Opponents are concerned that exhaust from the 54,000-horsepower compressor station would hurt low-income and elderly residents living nearby. Supporters say it will boost development.The station would be built on 15 acres (6 hectares) of a 70-acre (28-hectare) site, and the rest of the property left undisturbed, according to Dominion Energy, the pipeline’s lead developer. Compressor stations are used to power interstate natural gas pipelines, moving gas through the system.Paul Wilson, pastor of two Baptist churches near the proposed site, said opponents will keep fighting. He didn’t elaborate on whether they would take legal action.“We’re looking at all of our avenues,” he said after the vote. “It’s a long way from over. I think Dominion wants to wear people down. But that’s not going to happen.”Dominion spokesman Karl Neddenien acknowledged in a statement after the vote that it will “have to continue building trust in the community.” He said the project’s backers are making investments in a new community centre and rescue squad “but it will not end there.”Neddenien said most air emissions at the station will be 50 to 80 per cent lower than at any other compressor station in Virginia.The air pollution permit has become a flashpoint in the yearslong fight over the pipeline.Supporters say it’s needed to help boost the supply of natural gas. Opponents say it is an unnecessary fossil fuel infrastructure project that tramples on land rights and hurts the environment.With a current pricetag of $6.5 billion to $7.0 billion, the pipeline has recently suffered significant legal setbacks, including a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last month throwing out a permit for the pipeline to cross two national forests, including parts of the Appalachian Trail. Dominion has suspended all project construction and said it plans to appeal the ruling.John Laury, who lives less than a mile (kilometre) from where the compressor station would be built, said he doesn’t believe assurances from Dominion or state regulators that emissions from the station would not hurt residents’ health or the environment.“I challenge them to come live in the community with us, to breathe this air, drink this water,” said Laury, 74.Mike Dowd, the state Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Director, said the department reviewed compressor station permits from around the country and scrutinized pollution control technology.He said the station will “set a new national standard that all future compressor stations will have to meet across the country.”Gov. Ralph Northam angered environmentalists and minority groups when he replaced two members of the pollution control board after it delayed a scheduled vote in November.Northam, a Democrat, said the move was unrelated to the compressor station vote and that members were replaced because their terms had expired.Two new members didn’t vote Tuesday, nor did a third member who cited a conflict of interest.Board member William Ferguson said at the hearing that there’s a real need for the pipeline, particularly in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region.“The region needs the energy; the state needs the energy,” he said.His comments prompted a woman to shout: “How much is Dominion paying you?”Some opponents held pieces of paper with a blown-up photo of the governor’s face and the words “foul” or “shut it down.”Northam has said he’s agnostic on how the board votes.“As far as the pipeline … there’s not a lot of middle road on that issue,” Northam said in a recent radio interview. “I’ve tried to be as fair as I can.”After the board approved the permit, some of the opponents overturned their chairs.Charles Strickler, a retired dentist, predicted that opponents will not give up their fight.“I think there are going to be people in front of bulldozers for the pipeline getting arrested,” he said.Denise Lavoie, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Local Fort St John man wins 50000000

first_imgVANCOUVER, B.C. – After matching all four Extra numbers on the June 21st, 2019 Lotto Max draw local, Kim Peck plans to purchase new horses.“We were at a graduation dinner, and somebody said someone in Fort St. John had won $500,000, which a friend said is not a lot of money anymore, but I thought ‘It’s better than a kick in the butt,” said PeckAccording to the BCLC, the 66-year-old winner is a hard-working husband, father and grandfather who is excited to use his winnings to retire, invest in some horses and get back into his hobby of rodeo roping. “When I found out I had won, I told my wife and she was pretty happy! She didn’t believe me at first until I showed her my ticket.”“(The win) means the bills will all be paid off and the house is ours,” Peck said. I haven’t done roping for three years now, and I would like to pick that back up. I have been working a lot in the past, so it will be nice to have more time off.”British Columbians have claimed over $96 million in Lotto Max prizes so far in 2019 and the BCLC offers socially responsible gambling entertainment while generating income to benefit British Columbians.The BCLC shares, play for fun, not to make money.Visit GameSense.com.last_img read more

BJP to torch symbolic bonfire of Kejriwal govts failures and unfulfilled promises

first_imgNew Delhi: The BJP hit back at the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi over its demand for full statehood to the city, on Tuesday, with Delhi BJP minister saying he will lit a symbolic bonfire of “unfulfilled promises and failures” of the Kejriwal government. Minister slammed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over the issue of full statehood, saying there was “no possibility of statehood owing to antics and drama of Kejriwal.” Earlier Tuesday, Kejriwal charged BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “betraying” people on the issue of full statehood to Delhi. He said he and other senior party leaders will burn the BJP manifesto which promised full statehood to Delhi, at AAP office on Wednesday. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsFormer Delhi BJP president, said, “I will hold Holika Dahan (ritual bonfire before Holi) at Jantar Mantar, and torch a tower made of newspaper advertisements of Kejriwal government. Placards listing unfulfilled promises of Arvind Kejriwal will also be torched.” The minister said Kejriwal government gave so many advertisements on inaugural of development works, adding “What was this government doing for last four years that they have to give newspaper advertisements on inauguration of sewer lines and roads in unauthorised colonies.”last_img read more

Another Arab Spring

first_imgThe Arab Spring that swept much of the Arab countries eight years ago seems to be knocking at the doors of the Arab world once again if one goes by the recent eruption of anti-government protests in Algeria and Sudan. The protesters in these countries are voicing the same sentiments that led to uprisings also known as Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria in 2011. Tens of thousands of people from all sections of society have been demonstrating across Algeria since last month, after the country’s 82-year-old wheelchair-bound ailing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his decision to run for a fifth term in the presidential elections to be held on April 18. Also Read – A special kind of bondThe protestors turned out not just in the capital Algiers and major cities of Oran and Constantine but also in cities and town such as Batna, Blida, Skikda, Borja Bour Arreridj and elsewhere. They had no organisers. Initially, it began online by demonstrating the power and reach of social media, particularly among the youth. Later, people from other generations also actively participated in the demonstrations. The protestors also highlighted corruption and unemployment plaguing the country and demanded an overhaul of a stagnant political system dominated by veterans of the 1954-62 war of independence against France. Also Read – Insider threat managementAfter many days of silence and perhaps sensing the public mood, Bouteflika – who has been in power since 1999 – in a letter read out on the state television on March 11, announced that he would not seek the office for a fifth term but gave no indication of whether he would step down when his mandate expires next month. The Algerian leader, who has barely appeared in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, also postponed the April elections and announced that a new constitution would be put to a referendum. There was no word as to when either would be held. This shows that “he gives in on the presidential but not on power,” independent newspaper El Watan wrote in an editorial titled “Bouteflika’s last trick”. Ali Benflis who worked as Bouteflika’s prime minister from 2000 to 2003 before launching his own party, Talaie El-Hurriyet, and establishing himself as one of the leading opposition figures said in a Facebook post: “The extension of the fourth term is an act of aggression against the constitution by non-constitutional forces (hinting at the shadow advisers surrounding the president, mainly his brother Said).” Continued protests in various cities, even after Bouteflika’s letter, sent a clear message that the demonstrators do not intend to back down. Four of Bouteflika’s long-ruling counterparts – in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya were all ousted following the 2011 Arab uprisings. Although some observers have likened the protests to the 2011 Arab uprisings, many said this comparison is reductive and fails to account for Algeria, whose power structure extends beyond the leadership’s inner circle and whose history or revolutionary fervour and pro-democracy activism that led to a multiparty system in 1988 remain important. However, it is to be noted that young Algerians have no bond with the independence war except through their grandparents. Their priorities are to get employment and better services that the North African country is failing to provide despite its oil and gas wealth. The country’s opposition also remains badly fragmented. Although Algerian analysts have spoken for promoting prominent figures within the political system, it remains to be seen if this would happen. Bouteflika also promised “deep reforms” and an “inclusive and independent national conference” that would lead to a “transformation of our nation state”, and fixed polls. He also removed the “unpopular” Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia and appointed the high-profile 59-year-old interior minister Noureddine Bedouin in his place. However, initiatives by the veteran revolutionary to defuse the situation have failed to satisfy many Algerians who want the power to move to a younger generation with fresh ideas. There is no indication that the demonstrations will come to an end in the near future. Bedouin said his government would rule for “a short period of time” and an independent commission will oversee the next presidential election. He also urged opposition to accept dialogue but lawyers and activists, who protestors have chosen to lead the drive for reforms, are in no mood to compromise and have said that they will not negotiate, at least for now. Albara, a town in northeastern Sudan, last erupted in protest on December 19 against the military dictatorship that has ruled the country for almost three decades following a tripling of bread prices to demand “freedom, peace, justice and the downfall of the regime.” The protests intensified into nationwide demonstrations against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s three-decade regime. Demonstrators set fire to the ruling National Congress Party’s headquarters. On February 22, the government declared a state of emergency and imposed curfew in towns where some of the first protests took place. Several tough measures including a ban on unauthorised rallies and permitting security forces to carry out raids and searches without warrants have been imposed. Schools and universities were closed. National newspapers were censored or shut down. Internet service was disrupted and mobile phone operators restricted access to WhatsApp and other social media sites. At least 31 people have officially died so far in actions by security forces against the protestors. However, the Human Rights Watch has put the death toll at 51. Even on Thursday, scores of protesters rallied in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, as Bashir swore in a new cabinet to tackle the economic crisis that has triggered months of protests against his rule. Possibly, this represented the greatest threat to the regime of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir since he came to power in a military coup in 1989. Observers say that Bashir is unlikely to give in to such protests as during his three decades in power he has never hesitated to unleash violence against his own population. However, it is clear that decades of pent up frustration of the people against the ruling class is slowly finding its release. Sudan has for years been grappling with soaring inflation and an acute shortage of foreign currency, especially since the secession of the South in 2011 that took away the bulk of oil earnings. The sustained popular uprising in both Algeria and Sudan seems to be gathering force, indicating that Arab uprising is resuming but it is too early to predict the outcome. (The author is a former Editor of PTI. He has also served as West Asia Correspondent for PTI, based in Bahrain from 1988 to 1995. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Delhi Cong leaves decision on alliance with AAP up to Rahul

first_imgNEW DELHI: Delhi Congress president Sheila Dikshit and other leaders of the unit on Monday discussed the possibility of an alliance with the AAP for the Lok Sabha polls in the city in a meeting with party chief Rahul Gandhi. The opinion remained divided on the issue and everyone in the meeting was unanimous that Gandhi should take a final call on it in the larger interest of the party, said a participant of the meeting.Sources said four former Delhi Congress presidents — Ajay Maken, Subhash Chopra, Tajdar Babar and Arvinder Singh Lovely favoured an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi. “AICC in-charge of Delhi Congress PC Chacko also handed over signed letters of 12 district Congress presidents, leaders of the party and councilors in three municipal corporation, in favour of the alliance, to Gandhi,” they said. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderFormer Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit has repeatedly voiced her opinion against the alliance, however, she has also said that the final decision will be taken by the party leadership. On the other hand, AAP has announced candidates for all 7 Lok Sabha seats while Rahul Gandhi, too, has said that Congress will fight to win all the seven seats in Delhi. Both the parties have however, continued to send to feelers to each other as leaders of both have time and again come out to say talks are on for an alliance. Earlier it was reported that NCP chief Sharad Pawar is mediating between the two arch-rivals to agree on an alliance in order to defeat the BJP. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsAmid the confusion, Rahul Gandhi’s crucial meeting with the Delhi Congress leaders is expected to come to a final decision before the Lok Sabha elections commence from April 11. “Once Rahul Gandhi takes an ‘in-principle decision’ on allying with AAP, which is expected in next few days and if it’s in favour of alliance, a committee will be constituted to negotiate with AAP for sharing seats in Delhi and Haryana,” they added. Delhi votes for its seven Lok Sabha seats on May 12.last_img read more

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