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Newcastle beat Bournemouth 4-1 in Premier League – football

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Newcastle beat Bournemouth 4-1 in Premier League – football

Bournemouth stayed in the Premier League relegation zone after a 4-1 loss to Newcastle on Wednesday extended the team’s winless run to seven games. First-half strikes from Dwight Gayle and Sean Longstaff were followed up by substitutes Miguel Almiron and Valentino Lazaro, handing Bournemouth a club-record 19th loss in a top-division season. Dan Gosling claimed an added-time consolation — the hosts’ first goal since the league resumed following the three-month coronavirus pandemic break.

The south-coast side is looking unlikely to extend its Premier League stay to a sixth season. The next four fixtures are against Manchester United, Tottenham, Leicester and Manchester City.

But Newcastle is 13th and seems sure of avoiding the drop.

Bournemouth fell behind inside five minutes. Jefferson Lerma was carelessly dispossessed on the edge of his own box by Longstaff and Gayle was sent clear by Allan Saint-Maximin to clinically find the bottom left corner.

The porous home defense was exposed for a second time with half an hour played.

Saint-Maximin was once again the provider, easily tricking his way past Adam Smith on the left and pulling the ball back for Longstaff to strike into the roof of the net from 10 yards (meters) for his first goal of the campaign.

Bournemouth failed to produce an attempt on target in the first half and was denied a flying start to the second by an offside flag.

Joshua King headed in after Dominic Solanke’s deflected strike came back off the left post but the effort was correctly ruled out.

Newcastle then further extended its lead in the 57th.

Almiron, who came on when Longstaff limped off injured shortly after scoring, collected Saint-Maximin’s pass and worked space on the edge of the box before stylishly finding the top left corner with a curling effort.

Lazaro converted in the 77th minute after being played through by Jonjo Shelvey.

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US Supreme Court tosses rulings blocking Indiana abortion curbs – world news

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US Supreme Court tosses rulings blocking Indiana abortion curbs – world news

The US Supreme Court on Thursday gave Indiana a second chance to revive two restrictive abortion laws – one imposing an ultrasound requirement and the other expanding parental notification when minors seek abortions – by throwing out a lower court’s rulings blocking them.

The justices directed the Chicago-based 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider both cases in light of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on Monday invalidating a Louisiana law that imposed restrictions on doctors who perform abortions.

Indiana will now get another shot at arguing for the legality of its two Republican-backed laws that the 7th Circuit had prevented from going into effect.

The ultrasound measure would require women to undergo an ultrasound procedure at least 18 hours before terminating a pregnancy. The second law would require that parents be notified when a girl under 18 is seeking an abortion even in situations in which she has asked a court to provide consent instead of her parents, as was allowed under existing law.

The ultrasound measure was passed by the state legislature in 2016 and signed by Vice President Mike Pence when he was Indiana’s governor before Donald Trump selected him as his running mate.

Abortion rights proponents have said that for most women seeking an abortion, an ultrasound is not medically necessary, and that the requirement is an attempt by anti-abortion politicians to make obtaining an abortion more difficult.

Republicans at the state level have pursued a variety of abortion restrictions.

In a third Indiana case on Thursday, the court left in place a ruling in favor of an abortion clinic seeking a license to open a clinic in South Bend. The state appealed when the 7th Circuit ruled in 2019 that abortion provider Whole Woman’s Health could get a provisional license while the litigation over the matter continued.

The Supreme Court on Thursday in two other abortion-related cases left in place policies in Chicago and Pennsylvania’s capital Harrisburg that place limits on anti-abortion activists gathered outside clinics.

The Chicago policy bars activists from coming within eight feet (2.4 meters) of someone within 50 feet (15 meters) of any healthcare facility without their consent if they intend to protest, offer counseling or hand out leaflets. The Harrisburg measure bars people from congregating or demonstrating within 20 feet (6 meters) of a healthcare facility’s entrance or exit.

In Monday’s ruling on Louisiana’s law, conservative Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the four liberal justices in the majority on the basis that the law was almost identical to a measure from Texas that the court struck down in 2016.

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Vidyut Jammwal and Shruti Haasan’s Yaara gets direct-to-digital release on Zee5. See motion poster – bollywood

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Vidyut Jammwal and Shruti Haasan’s Yaara gets direct-to-digital release on Zee5. See motion poster – bollywood

With theatres across India remaining closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many films are looking at an OTT release. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s next, Yaara, is also heading the direct-to-digital way and will soon be out on streaming platform Zee5. The film stars Vidyut Jammwal, Amit Sadh, Shruti Haasan, Vijay Varma, and Sanjay Mishra.

Yaara, an official adaptation of the French film A Gang Story, revolves around the friendship of four notorious criminals. According to the synopsis, it is “a fun, stimulating and thrilling tale that will take you back in time in Uttar Pradesh to witness the rise and fall of the ‘chaukdi gang’ of four friends rustling operations across the Nepal-India border.”

Zee5 released the motion poster on Twitter. While the brief clip shows glimpses of Vidyut, Amit, Vijay and Sanjay, Shruti’s look has been kept under wraps. “Get ready to witness an epic tale of a friendship that will fight all the odds & break all the rules. But will it pass the ultimate test of time?,” the tweet revealing the first look read.

 

Also read | Himanshi Khurana doesn’t want to be addressed as Asim Riaz’s girlfriend: ‘Why is it always about a man?’

“Yaara is an homage to honour friendship between four friends, a riveting take on any crime narrative that we have seen so far. I think another highlight of the film is the casting. It is a unique, talented mix of actors who have done a phenomenal job on each of their characters. All of them have their own indigenous style to express their lines and emotions. It is great that the film will premiere on ZEE5, a platform that always backs meaningful content,” director Tigmanshu Dhulia said.

Produced by Sunir Kheterpal for Azure Entertainment, Yaara is the latest addition to Zee5’s list of original films. Recently, the streaming platform saw the release of Bamfaad, Ghoomketu and Chintu Ka Birthday.

Follow @htshowbiz for more



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Covid-19: What you need to know today

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Covid-19: What you need to know today

The pandemic seems to be killing fewer people even as it continues to rage through the world.

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Behind the top-secret Russian military intelligence unit accused of paying insurgents to kill Americans in Afghanistan

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Behind the top-secret Russian military intelligence unit accused of paying insurgents to kill Americans in Afghanistan

Some call it “Putin’s assassination squad.” Some say, “Russian killing squad.”

In any case, there is a Russian clandestine military intelligence unit known as the 29155, and it is believed to behind a string of scandals – most recently, a reported scheme to pay bounties to Afghan insurgents to kill U.S. troops.

So what exactly is the shadowy assemblage?

“There’s no real U.S. analog. It’s like a mix of CIA and special forces,” Matthew Schmidt, associate professor of national security at the University of New Haven, told Fox News. “It’s trained to make mayhem. The overall goal is to destabilize targeted political systems, including in Europe, to attack the political will to maintain NATO, with other missions as opportunity allows, including the killing of traitors.”

Ultimately, experts and analysts define it as something of an elite squad tasked with sabotage and targeted assassinations.

In this June 16, 2018 file photo, Taliban fighters gather with residents to celebrate a three-day cease fire marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, in Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan.  (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

In this June 16, 2018 file photo, Taliban fighters gather with residents to celebrate a three-day cease fire marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, in Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan.  (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

Unit 29155 operates under Russia’s umbrella intelligence agency the GRU, officially termed the Main Directorate of the General Staff, which formed after the folding of the Soviet-era KGB. This specialized outfit is believed to have been birthed around 2008, two years after Russian President Putin legalized targeted killings on foreign soil and in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Georgia that same year.

WHY US IS TRYING TO CURTAIL ICC INVESTIGATION OVER ‘WAR CRIMES’ IN AFGHANISTAN

While it is unclear exactly how many operatives make up the unit, reports indicate that some involved have decades of experiences beneath their belt – dating back to the ultimately failed Soviet incursion into Afghanistan in the 1980s.

While it is unclear exactly when in recent years 29155 came onto the radar of Western intelligence, the Russian Defense Ministry is said to have lavished bonuses and praise on the team in 2012, and the Unit commander Maj. Gen Andrei Vladimirovich Averyanov – a veteran of the Chechen wars, starting in 1994 and 1999 respectively – was awarded the esteemed Hero of Russia medal in 2015, according to Business Insider.

It is also suspected that 29155 played a pivotal part in Russia’s 2014 takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region, both through propaganda and media efforts and in the notion of “little green men” – as described to Fox News by locals – that mysteriously popped up in the peninsula ahead of the highly controversial annexation.

In this file photo taken on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, watches the Victory Day military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the Nazi defeat in Moscow. Russian authorities seem to be pulling out all the stops to get people to vote on a series of constitutional amendments that would enable President Vladimir Putin to stay in office until 2036 by resetting the clock on his term limits. (Sergei Guneyev, Host Photo Agency via AP, file)

In this file photo taken on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, watches the Victory Day military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the Nazi defeat in Moscow. Russian authorities seem to be pulling out all the stops to get people to vote on a series of constitutional amendments that would enable President Vladimir Putin to stay in office until 2036 by resetting the clock on his term limits. (Sergei Guneyev, Host Photo Agency via AP, file)

However, 29155 has spread its wings well beyond Eastern Europe in recent times.

The division is alleged to have been behind two 2015 attempts to assassinate Emilian Gebrev, a Bulgarian arms manufacturer, through poisoning. The following year, the unit was implicated for having likely orchestrated a botched coup in Montenegro, which entailed taking out Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.

And in 2018, U.K. officials pointed fingers at unit members as having carried out an assassination pursuit – using a nerve agent – on defected Russian spy Sergei V. Skirpal.

In 2019, French officials reportedly unearthed a clandestine GRU base in the Alps, used to execute regional missions, on the heels of media reports that the Unit was videoed giving a retired military leader a wad of cash in Serbia.

Spanish officials have also blamed the 29155 of rousing the Catalan independence push, which started in 2010 and gained momentum following a referendum in November 2014. German leaders are also wary of foul play by the group on their soil – and subsequently expelled two Russian diplomats late last year over the audacious murder of a Georgian man in Berlin.

GANG OF EIGHT BRIEFED BY INTELLIGENCE CHIEFS ON RUSSIA BOUNTY ALLEGATIONS

The unit is assumed to sometimes operate under diplomatic cover abroad.

But in regards to Afghanistan, U.S. intelligence is still trying to piece together the extent to which the assumed bounty operations were conducted. But according to multiple defense sources who spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity, there is some skepticism and questions as to whether it is being blown out of proportion.

“It’s being portrayed that the Russians paid the Taliban to hit coalition forces, especially Americans. But whenever you have an operation using proxies, money is going to be involved,” said one insider. “And it definitely shows that there are people in the intelligence community that are willing to leak information even if it is unverified. Clearly, that was done for political purposes.”

U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar province, Afghanistan August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani - RC1D8EB3A110

U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar province, Afghanistan August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani – RC1D8EB3A110

A former Afghan military official also told Fox News that mercenary-type activities are nothing unprecedented into the bloodied nation, although this unit in-particular has ostensibly gone under the radar for some time.

Indeed, Russian meddling in U.S. interests inside the country is also hardly new, with evidence surfacing in 2017 that Moscow was arming the Taliban. The Kremlin has openly advocated its support of any group fighting ISIS – which the Taliban has done – but denied any weapons transfers.

The Trump administration has mostly rebuffed the story as not being credible, with national security advisor Robert O’Brien telling Fox News on Wednesday that “the president’s career CIA briefer decided not to brief him because it was unverified intelligence.”

So what is Putin’s play in Russia all about?

“The goal is simple: They want us out of Afghanistan. They want us out of their backyard,” noted one U.S. defense source. “The same way we would view the situation if Russia suddenly brought troops to Mexico. Afghanistan is mineral-rich and has an incredible amount of precious metals; it has always been Russia’s policy to [dominate] that.”

According to the New York Times, an individual by the name of Rahmatullah Azizi – a businessman who wants to take advantage of the U.S. contractor cash flow into the beleaguered nation – was the “middle man” figure behind alleged efforts to launder money from Russia into Afghanistan to pay off militants, and presumably fled to Russia before the funds were located in one of his properties.

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It also remains to be seen what – if any – impact accusations of Taliban taking Moscow money might have on their peace deal with the United States, which was signed in February following months of negotiations and paves the way for a withdrawal of U.S. troops after almost 19 years of stalemate war.

“This administration is set on a deal in order to get American troops out,” Schmidt added. “Because the cost in lives wasn’t worth it.”

The Russian government and the Taliban have strongly denied the reports on the bounties.

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Prince Andrew’s legal team ‘bewildered’ over claims royal won’t cooperate in Epstein investigation: source

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Prince Andrew’s legal team ‘bewildered’ over claims royal won’t cooperate in Epstein investigation: source

Prince Andrew’s legal team is apparently stunned after prosecutors in New York said they would like the Duke of York to speak to them following the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein’s confidant Ghislaine Maxwell on sex trafficking charges.

The late financier’s former girlfriend and accused madam was taken into custody at 8:30 a.m. in Bradford, N.H., the FBI confirmed to Fox News. The 58-year-old was arrested on charges she allegedly helped recruit three girls – one as young as 14 – to be sexually abused by Epstein, who was accused of assaulting dozens of girls and women over many years.

Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said she “would welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us.”

“We would like to have the benefit of his statement,” said Strauss, adding their doors remain open.

BARR CONFIRMS DOJ WANTS PRINCE ANDREW TO ‘PROVIDE SOME EVIDENCE’ IN EPSTEIN INVESTIGATION

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
(Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

PRINCE ANDREW HAS NEVER BEEN ‘A TARGET’ OF US INVESTIGATIONS CONCERNING JEFFREY EPSTEIN TIES, ATTORNEYS SAY

Sources close to Andrew’s working group insisted to Fox News the British royal has attempted to reach out and offer his assistance.

“The Duke’s team remains bewildered given that we have twice communicated with the DOJ in the last month, and to date, we have no response,” claimed the source.

The 60-year-old’s legal team told Fox News they had no comment regarding Maxwell’s arrest.

Epstein, 66, killed himself in a federal detention center in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

For years, Maxwell, a British socialite, has been accused by many women of recruiting them to give Epstein massages, during which they were pressured to have sex. However those accusations, until now, have never resulted in criminal charges.

PRINCE ANDREW’S DISASTROUS BBC INTERVIEW ABOUT JEFFREY EPSTEIN FRIENDSHIP EARNS BAFTA NOMINATION

Ghislaine Maxwell attends the VIP Evening of Conversation for Women's Brain Health Initiative, Moderated by Tina Brown at Spring Studios on October 18, 2016, in New York City. 

Ghislaine Maxwell attends the VIP Evening of Conversation for Women’s Brain Health Initiative, Moderated by Tina Brown at Spring Studios on October 18, 2016, in New York City. 
(Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S SUICIDE WATCH ‘COMPANION’ SAYS DISGRACED FINANCIER WAS WORRIED ABOUT PRISON LIFE, BUT WASN’T DEPRESSED: DOC

The FBI said they were keeping tabs on Maxwell before her arrest.

“More recently we learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago,” William Sweeney, head of the FBI’s New York office, said in a news conference on Thursday.

The indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, included counts of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and perjury.

Maxwell reportedly introduced Epstein to the Duke of York in 1999, The Telegraph reported.

Andrew has denied ever having sex with one of Epstein’s main accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, after she claimed she had sex with Andrew three times, including when she was 17.

PRINCE ANDREW ACCUSER VIRGINIA ROBERTS GIUFFRE TO STAR IN NETFLIX DOC ABOUT JEFFREY EPSTEIN

Photo from 2001 that was included in court files released last week shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre who says Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince. Andrew has denied the charges. In the background is Epstein's girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. (Florida Southern District Court)

Photo from 2001 that was included in court files released last week shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre who says Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince. Andrew has denied the charges. In the background is Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. (Florida Southern District Court)
(U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals)

PRINCE ANDREW STILL NOT COOPERATING IN JEFFREY EPSTEIN INVESTIGATION, PROSECUTORS SAY

The now-36-year-old has claimed she was introduced to Andrew in Maxwell’s London home in 2001, The Telegraph reported. The now-famous photo of the Duke with the young woman was said to have been taken there. According to the outlet, Andrew is last known to have met with Maxwell at Buckingham Palace in 2019, two weeks after U.S. prosecutors announced they wanted to reopen their investigation into Epstein.

Andrew was issued his walking papers and ordered to move his offices out of Buckingham Palace in November after a nuclear interview he gave to the BBC in which he defended his friendship with Epstein. It was during that same televised interview that Andrew denied having sex with Giuffre.

In June, attorneys representing Andrew told Fox News the Duke of York has offered to speak with investigators.

“We were given an unequivocal assurance that our discussions and the interview process would remain confidential,” they said at the time. “The Duke of York has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the DOJ. Unfortunately, the DOJ has reacted to the first two offers by breaching their own confidentiality rules and claiming that the Duke has offered zero cooperation. In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered.”

Andrew was not mentioned by name in the indictment, and the charges covered Maxwell’s dealings with Epstein only from 1994 through 1997, a period well before his alleged encounters with Giuffre in 2001.

PRINCE ANDREW’S ALIBI IN VIRGINIA ROBERTS GIUFFRE’S ALLEGATIONS QUESTIONED BY A FORMER ROYAL PROTECTION OFFICER

Britain's Prince Andrew

Britain’s Prince Andrew
(Reuters/Neil Hall)

ROYAL FAMILY POSTS PRINCE ANDREW BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE, SENDS FANS IN UPROAR FOR ‘TONE DEAF’ MOVE

Brad Edwards, an attorney representing Giuffre and several other Epstein victims said his clients were relieved by the charges.

“Today is a very good day,” he said.

At the time the alleged crimes, Maxwell was in an intimate relationship with Epstein and also was paid by him to manage his various properties, according to the indictment.

Strauss promised the investigation was continuing and urged other victims to come forward.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Countries that lost citizens on Flight PS752 assemble to press Iran for ‘full reparations’

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Countries that lost citizens on Flight PS752 assemble to press Iran for ‘full reparations’

Canada and four other countries whose citizens died when the Iranian military mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet are formally joining forces to seek “full reparations” from Tehran, according to a letter sent to the families of the victims on Thursday.

The letter from the coalition of five nations, viewed by Radio Canada International, says that Canada, Afghanistan, Sweden, the U.K. and Ukraine “intend to work together to negotiate with Iran to seek to ensure that they are held accountable and make full reparations for the downing of Ukrainian Airlines Flight PS752, including in the form of compensation for the deaths of your loved ones.”

Fifty-five Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents of Canada were among the 176 people killed when Flight PS752 was shot down by two Iranian missiles shortly after takeoff from Tehran on Jan. 8.

The five countries — members of the so-called PS752 Coordination Group — were to sign a formal memorandum of understanding (MoU) today establishing principles for proceeding with negotiations with Tehran, the letter said. Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne’s office tells CBC that Canada has signed the MoU.

“All five of the Coordination Group members believe that this form of state-to-state negotiation is the most likely way to ensure that we come to an agreement on how to settle this matter fairly,” the letter said.

“However, if talks are not successful, having previously negotiated with Iran in good faith will allow us to be in a position to pursue the matter further.”

A settlement could protect Iran in court

The letter says that while these state-to-state negotiations do not affect the right of victims’ families to seek compensation “from the relevant airlines pursuant to the applicable international civil aviation treaties,” once a settlement agreement with Iranian authorities is reached, it would prevent the families from going after Iran in international courts.

The coordination group has appointed Ukraine to speak for it during negotiations, officials at Global Affairs Canada said in a media statement.

The group has set up an advisory committee with representatives from each member nation that will be present during the negotiations and will support the work of the spokesperson, the statement said.

The five countries also have discussed the planned downloading of the flight recorders in France, compensation from Ukraine International Airlines and the criminal investigation into the tragedy, the statement added.

“The group continues to advocate for accountability, transparency, justice and compensation for the families and loved ones of the victims,” the statement said.

Families want justice before money, says spokesperson

Hamed Esmaeilion, spokesperson for the association representing the families of the Canadians who died on the flight from Tehran to Kyiv, said the families have made it clear to Champagne that accountability and justice matter far more to them than any monetary compensation could.

“We have said to Mr. Champagne that compensation for us is [a] full and independent investigation and then justice,” Esmaeilion told Radio Canada International. “Compensation stands third.”

Hamed Esmaeilion lost his wife, Parisa Eghbalian, and their nine-year-old daughter Reera in the downing of Flight 752. (Supplied)

Iran announced on June 26 that it will send the black boxes from the downed Boeing 737 to France to be deciphered later this month.

In a joint statement, Champagne and Transport Minister Marc Garneau welcomed the announcement.

“We will continue to hold Iran to account and seek accountability, transparency, justice and compensation for the victims of this tragedy, including a thorough, credible and transparent investigation,” said the statement.

After initially denying any responsibility for the crash, Iranian officials were forced to admit that an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps air defence battery mistakenly shot down the airliner minutes after departing Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport amid heightened tensions with U.S. forces in neighbouring Iraq.

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Nestle sells Pure Life bottled water business as changes to Ontario groundwater rules loom

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Nestle sells Pure Life bottled water business as changes to Ontario groundwater rules loom

Nestle Canada Inc. says it is selling its Pure Life bottled water business to Ice River Springs as Ontario prepares to give its municipalities veto power over new water bottling permits.

The sale for an undisclosed price is expected to close in the third quarter and is contingent on regulator approval. The sale includes two factories located in Puslinch, Ont., and Hope, B.C., along with a well in Erin, Ont.

Company president Jeff Hamilton says it began to explore the sale of its water business in late 2019 after deciding to focus on its international brands of San Pellegrino, Perrier and Acqua Panna.

Ice River, a Canadian family-owned bottled water producer, says the acquisition fulfils its ambition to expand beyond its private label business for retailers.

Ice River Springs runs a plastics recycling operation, BMP Recycling, that takes bottles and plastic food packaging collected by municipalities and produces food grade recycled PET plastic.

Canada’s most populous province recently announced new rules for taking groundwater, three years after the former Liberal government enacted a moratorium on new and expanded permits to take water for bottling.

The old rules are set to expire in October.

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U.S. job growth roars back, but COVID-19 resurgence spells trouble ahead

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U.S. job growth roars back, but COVID-19 resurgence spells trouble ahead

WASHINGTON: The U.S. economy created jobs at a record clip in June as more restaurants and bars reopened, but 31.5 million Americans were collecting unemployment checks in the middle of the month, and a resurgence in COVID-19 cases suggested the labor market could suffer a setback in July.

Record spikes in new coronavirus infections in large parts of the country, including the highly-populated states of California, Florida and Texas, have forced several states to scale back or pause reopenings, and send some workers back home.

The flare-up in the respiratory illness, which started in late June and hit bars and restaurants hard, was not captured in the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly employment report published on Thursday because the government surveyed businesses in the middle of the month.

“June may be the calm before the storm,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. “We cannot be sure the labor market recovery will continue at a speed that is sufficient to put the millions and millions of Americans made jobless in this recession back to work.”

Nonfarm payrolls surged by 4.8 million jobs in June, the largest gain since the government started keeping records in 1939. Payrolls rebounded 2.699 million in May after a historic plunge of 20.787 million in April. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls would increase by 3 million jobs in June. Still, employment is 14.7 million jobs below its pre-pandemic level.

President Donald Trump, whose opinion poll numbers have tanked as he struggles to manage the pandemic, economic crisis and protests over racial injustice four months before the Nov. 3 election, hailed the job gains as proof “our economy is roaring back.”

Though the second straight month of strong hiring added to a stream of data, including consumer spending, in suggesting that the recession which started in February was likely over, that is all in the rear-view mirror as COVID-19 cases soar.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell this week said the economic outlook “is extraordinarily uncertain” and would depend on “our success in containing the virus.”

Hiring last month was boosted by the typically low-paying leisure and hospitality industry, which brought back 2.1 million jobs, accounting for about two-fifths of the rise in payrolls. But the return of these workers pushed down average wages 1.2% in June. Companies also cut wages and hours. The average workweek dropped to 34.5 hours from 34.7 hours in May.

The measurement of the unemployment rate continued to be biased down by people incorrectly misclassifying themselves as being “employed but absent from work” last month.

The jobless rate fell to 11.1% in June from 13.3% in May. The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which compiles the employment report, said the unemployment rate would have been 12.1% without the misclassification problem. The rate is 7.6 percentage points above its February level.

Stocks on Wall Street rallied, with the Nasdaq hitting an all-time high. The dollar edged up against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices were mixed.

BROAD JOB GAINS

Jobs also returned in the retail, education and health, manufacturing, construction, professional and business services sectors, transportation and warehousing, wholesale trade and financial activities sectors.

Local governments hired teachers and support staff. But state governments, confronting reduced revenues and stressed budgets caused by the pandemic, laid off more workers. There were further job losses in mining.

Economists have attributed the burst in job gains to the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, giving businesses loans that can be partially forgiven if used for wages. Those funds are drying up and many companies, including some not initially impacted by lockdown measures, are struggling with weak demand, forcing them to lay off workers.

Economists and industry watchers say this, together with the exhaustion of the PPP loans, has triggered a new wave of layoffs, that is keeping weekly new applications for unemployment benefits extraordinarily high.

In a separate report on Thursday, the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 55,000 to a seasonally adjusted 1.427 million for the week ended June 27. Including a program funded by the federal government, 2.3 million people applied for benefits last week.

The number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid rose 59,000 to 19.290 million in the week ending June 20. These so-called continued claims, which are reported with a one-week lag.

There were 31.5 million people collecting unemployment checks in mid-June, up 916,722 from the first week of the month.

With the measurement of the unemployment rate continuing to be distorted since March, economists recommend focusing on continuing claims and data on the total number of unemployment checks recipients to get a better view of the labor market.

“The risks to the labor market are clearly tilted to the downside,” said Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. financial economist at Oxford Economics in New York.



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Transgenders in central police forces soon | India News

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Transgenders in central police forces soon | India News

Representative image

NEW DELHI: In a major gender reform, the home ministry is set to allow induction of transgenders as ‘third gender’ into the central armed police forces. The ministry is at the concluding stage of consultations with central paramilitary forces — BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF and SSB — on incorporating transgender, along with male and female, in the rules for the recruitment examination for assistant commandants in central forces, starting this year.
The move follows enactment of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, in December last year. The Act prohibits discrimination against a transgender person in matters like education, employment, healthcare services, accommodation, right to acquire property and other public services and facilities. In a circular on April 20, the department of personnel and training had requested all central ministries and departments to modify examination rules and provide for inclusion of ‘transgender’ as a separate category of gender, in conformity with the Act.
Once formalised, the decision will mark a breakthrough for transgender rights, particularly in the tradition-bound paramilitary. The move can be expected to spur recruitment of transgenders in other areas, including the armed forces and police organisations. Last year, Chhattisgarh had announced that transgenders would be eligible for police jobs.
In a letter to inspectors general (personnel) of BSF, CRPF, ITBP, SSB and CISF a few weeks ago, the home ministry had sought comments regarding the proposed inclusion of ‘third gender’ as an option for applicants for the CAPF (assistant commandants) examination, 2020. While BSF submitted a positive feedback soon after, CRPF, ITBP, SSB and CISF had not responded till June 30.
On Wednesday, the MHA sent a reminder to CRPF, ITBP, SSB and CISF, asking them to respond by 9am on July 2, so that a final view could be reached. The central paramilitary forces have a combined strength of over 10 lakh personnel.
The Modi government has taken several steps for inclusion of the transgender community, for long-denied government jobs as candidates could apply and appear for recruitment exams only in male or female category. As per Clause 9 of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, no establishment shall discriminate against any transgender person in any matter relating to employment, including but not limited to, recruitment, promotion and other related issues.
The first transgender officer to be inducted in the police forces was sub-inspector K Prithika Yashini in Tamil Nadu in 2017. She had applied for the post of sub-inspector but was rejected. She challenged the rejection in Madras HC, which ordered a written test for her.

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