Construction

People attend a prayer meet to pay tribute to the victims of a fire that broke out in a commercial building in the western city of Surat on Friday, inside a library in Ahmedabad
FILE PHOTO: People attend a prayer meet to pay tribute to the victims of a fire that broke out in a commercial building in the western city of Surat on Friday, inside a library in Ahmedabad, India, May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave

May 26, 2019

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Indian authorities said on Sunday two fire department officials had been suspended over a fire at a coaching center that killed 21 students and one teacher in the western Gujarat state, renewing questions about building safety standards.

Surat Commissioner of Police Satish Sharma said the owners of the Takshashila Arcade building, where the shoddy coaching center was built on the four-storey building’s terrace, were absconding.

The coaching center was made of combustible material like Styrofoam and tires were used as seats for students prepping for architecture or commerce exams, according to Sharma.

The manager of the coaching center, Bhargav Bhutani, has been arrested.

“We are examining … whether any proper permission was taken for construction. And, if permissions were not given, who was responsible for this,” Sharma told Reuters, adding preliminary investigations suggest a short-circuit caused the blaze.

Amid criticism from victims’ relatives that fire officials took up to 45 minutes to arrive on the scene on Friday, deputy chief fire officer S.K. Acharya and fire officer Kirti Mod were suspended, chief fire officer for Surat, B.K. Pareek told Reuters.

Pareek, who said he was not aware of the precise reason behind their suspensions, added that a fire brigade was on site within minutes though it took roughly 15 minutes for a hydraulic platform to arrive because there are only three of them in Surat.

An official at the Surat Municipal Corporation said no one was available for comment on the suspensions of the fire officials.

Television footage showed students desperately trying to escape by jumping off the building as smoke billowed from the top floor.

Footage also showed a man, identified by the Indian Express as 22 year-old Ketan Chodvadiya, perched on the facade of the burning building helping children jump down.

“When I reached there, I saw smoke and fire. Around 300 people had gathered there but the fire brigade was yet to arrive,” Chodvadiya told the Indian Express.

Chodvadiya, who said he was used to scaling buildings to escape his father’s 10:30 pm curfew, used a ladder to pull down students, estimating he had helped save up to 10 of them.

“One student fell down. I couldn’t catch her,” he said

“I could see her lying dead and I can’t forget the sight. I will always regret that I couldn’t save her.”

(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer in Mumbai)

Source: OANN

President Donald Trump pledged to make an expedited appeal of a ruling by a federal judge in California that blocks him from building sections of his long-sought border wall with money secured under his declaration of a national emergency.

Trump, who is visiting Japan, tweeted Saturday: “Another activist Obama appointed judge has just ruled against us on a section of the Southern Wall that is already under construction. This is a ruling against Border Security and in favor of crime, drugs and human trafficking. We are asking for an expedited appeal!”

U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. on Friday immediately halted the administration’s efforts to redirect military-designated funds to build sections of wall on the Mexican border. His order applies to two planned projects to add 51 miles of fence in two areas.

Gilliam issued the ruling after hearing arguments last week in two cases. California and 19 other states brought one lawsuit; the Sierra Club and a coalition of communities along the border brought the other.

At stake is billions of dollars that would allow Trump to make progress on a signature campaign promise heading into his campaign for a second term.

Source: NewsMax Politics

A view shows the nuclear-powered icebreaker
A view shows the nuclear-powered icebreaker “Ural” during the float out ceremony at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

May 25, 2019

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) – Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday, part of an ambitious program to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.

The ship, dubbed the Ural and which was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg, is one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.

Russia is building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as, amid warmer climate cycles, it readies for more traffic via what it calls the Northern Sea Route (NSR) which it envisages being navigable year-round.

The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

“The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity,” Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s chief executive, was quoted saying.

President Vladimir Putin said in April Russia was stepping up construction of icebreakers with the aim of significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast.

The drive is part of a push to strengthen Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States and Norway, as well as newcomer China.

By 2035, Putin said Russia’s Arctic fleet would operate at least 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, nine of which would be powered by nuclear reactors.

The Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates.

Moscow hopes the route which runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska could take off as it cuts sea transport times from Asia to Europe.

Designed to be crewed by 75 people, the Ural will be able to slice through ice up to around 3 meters thick.

(Reporting by Dmitry Vasilyev; Writing by Andrew Osborn and Polina Devitt; Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN

A view shows the nuclear-powered icebreaker
A view shows the nuclear-powered icebreaker “Ural” during the float out ceremony at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

May 25, 2019

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) – Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday, part of an ambitious program to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.

The ship, dubbed the Ural and which was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg, is one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.

Russia is building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as, amid warmer climate cycles, it readies for more traffic via what it calls the Northern Sea Route (NSR) which it envisages being navigable year-round.

The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

“The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity,” Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s chief executive, was quoted saying.

President Vladimir Putin said in April Russia was stepping up construction of icebreakers with the aim of significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast.

The drive is part of a push to strengthen Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States and Norway, as well as newcomer China.

By 2035, Putin said Russia’s Arctic fleet would operate at least 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, nine of which would be powered by nuclear reactors.

The Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates.

Moscow hopes the route which runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska could take off as it cuts sea transport times from Asia to Europe.

Designed to be crewed by 75 people, the Ural will be able to slice through ice up to around 3 meters thick.

(Reporting by Dmitry Vasilyev; Writing by Andrew Osborn and Polina Devitt; Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN

Workers replace a section of the border fence between U.S. and Mexico, as seen from Tijuana
FILE PHOTO: Workers replace a section of the border fence between U.S. and Mexico, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

May 25, 2019

The Trump administration must temporarily halt the use of some Defense Department funds for a border wall with Mexico, a judge ruled on Friday, because the money was not specifically authorized by Congress for construction of the barrier.

The order blocks the use of $1 billion from the Department of Defense in Arizona and Texas, out of $6.7 billion that Trump administration said it planned to direct toward building the wall.

“The position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds ‘without Congress’ does not square with the fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic,” Haywood Gilliam Jr, a U.S. judge in California, wrote in the order.

Separately, Gilliam denied a preliminary injunction against the border wall sought by a coalition of sixteen states, but said they could move forward with their case.

Spokespeople for the Department of Homeland Security, Pentagon and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump has said the wall is needed to address a crisis of drugs and crime flowing across the border into the United States.

The ruling adds to Trump’s frustrations with federal court orders blocking his initiatives for cutting illegal immigration, a policy area he will focus on in his 2020 re-election bid.

In February, after a protracted political battle and a government shutdown, Congress approved $1.38 billion for construction of “primary pedestrian fencing” along the border in southeastern Texas, well short of Trump’s demands.

To obtain the additional money, Trump declared a national emergency and his administration said it planned to divert $601 million from a Treasury Department forfeiture fund, $2.5 billion earmarked for Department of Defense counternarcotics programs and $3.6 billion from military construction projects.

The House of Representatives, more than a dozen states and two advocacy groups asked U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam in Oakland, California to block the transfer of funds to prevent the wall construction.

They argue the administration cannot use funds Congress has specifically denied and cannot construct a barrier that was not authorized, nor can the administration work outside the geographic area identified by Congress.

“This is a win for our system of checks and balances, the rule of law, and border communities,” the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted.

The wall funding faces another court challenge on Friday, in a case brought by the House of Representatives in a federal court in the District of Columbia. The lawmakers have said the diversion of $6.1 billion in Defense Department funds violates the separation of powers doctrine laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool)

Source: OANN

Workers replace a section of the border fence between U.S. and Mexico, as seen from Tijuana
FILE PHOTO: Workers replace a section of the border fence between U.S. and Mexico, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

May 25, 2019

The Trump administration must temporarily halt the use of some Defense Department funds for a border wall with Mexico, a judge ruled on Friday, because the money was not specifically authorized by Congress for construction of the barrier.

The order blocks the use of $1 billion from the Department of Defense in Arizona and Texas, out of $6.7 billion that Trump administration said it planned to direct toward building the wall.

“The position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds ‘without Congress’ does not square with the fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic,” Haywood Gilliam Jr, a U.S. judge in California, wrote in the order.

Separately, Gilliam denied a preliminary injunction against the border wall sought by a coalition of sixteen states, but said they could move forward with their case.

Spokespeople for the Department of Homeland Security, Pentagon and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump has said the wall is needed to address a crisis of drugs and crime flowing across the border into the United States.

The ruling adds to Trump’s frustrations with federal court orders blocking his initiatives for cutting illegal immigration, a policy area he will focus on in his 2020 re-election bid.

In February, after a protracted political battle and a government shutdown, Congress approved $1.38 billion for construction of “primary pedestrian fencing” along the border in southeastern Texas, well short of Trump’s demands.

To obtain the additional money, Trump declared a national emergency and his administration said it planned to divert $601 million from a Treasury Department forfeiture fund, $2.5 billion earmarked for Department of Defense counternarcotics programs and $3.6 billion from military construction projects.

The House of Representatives, more than a dozen states and two advocacy groups asked U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam in Oakland, California to block the transfer of funds to prevent the wall construction.

They argue the administration cannot use funds Congress has specifically denied and cannot construct a barrier that was not authorized, nor can the administration work outside the geographic area identified by Congress.

“This is a win for our system of checks and balances, the rule of law, and border communities,” the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted.

The wall funding faces another court challenge on Friday, in a case brought by the House of Representatives in a federal court in the District of Columbia. The lawmakers have said the diversion of $6.1 billion in Defense Department funds violates the separation of powers doctrine laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool)

Source: OANN

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A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on Friday, partially blocking President Trump‘s plan to fund a border wall with Mexico using money from the Defense Department.

California U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam, who was appointed by former President Obama, issued the order, which does not fully halt construction, but would limit additional border fencing to specific areas. It would also block the transfer of about $1 billion in Pentagon funds from various projects to pay for the construction of a wall. 

Trump made an emergency declaration earlier this year to circumvent Congress and reallocate funding from the Defense Department to begin work on the wall.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which had asked the judge for the injunction in February on behalf of the Sierra Club and The Southern Border Communities Coalition, celebrated its legal victory Friday. 

Read More:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/445528-federal-judge-partially-blocks-funding-for-trumps-border-wall-report

Image Credit: Getty

Spread the love

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on Friday, partially blocking President Trump‘s plan to fund a border wall with Mexico using money from the Defense Department.

California U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam, who was appointed by former President Obama, issued the order, which does not fully halt construction, but would limit additional border fencing to specific areas. It would also block the transfer of about $1 billion in Pentagon funds from various projects to pay for the construction of a wall. 

Trump made an emergency declaration earlier this year to circumvent Congress and reallocate funding from the Defense Department to begin work on the wall.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which had asked the judge for the injunction in February on behalf of the Sierra Club and The Southern Border Communities Coalition, celebrated its legal victory Friday. 

Read More:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/445528-federal-judge-partially-blocks-funding-for-trumps-border-wall-report

Image Credit: Getty

Workers are seen near the booth of Huawei Technologies Co under construction at the venue of China International Big Data Industry Expo in Guiyang
Workers are seen near the booth of Huawei Technologies Co under construction at the venue of China International Big Data Industry Expo in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China May 22, 2019. Picture taken May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

May 24, 2019

By Sijia Jiang and Josh Horwitz

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s Huawei, hit by crippling U.S. sanctions, could see shipments decline by as much as a quarter this year and faces the possibility that its smartphones will disappear from international markets, analysts said.

Smartphone shipments at Huawei, the world’s second-largest smartphone maker by volume, could tumble between 4% and 24% in 2019 if the ban stays put, according to Fubon Research and Strategy Analytics.

Several experts said they expect Huawei’s shipments to slide over the next six months but declined to give a hard estimate due to uncertainties surrounding the ban.

The U.S. Commerce Department blocked Huawei from buying U.S. goods last week amid its escalating trade spat with China.

The ban applies to goods and services with 25% or more of U.S.-originated technology or materials, and may, therefore, affect non-American firms.

Tech companies including Google and SoftBank Group-owned chip designer ARM have said they will cease supplies and updates to Huawei.

“Huawei may be wiped out of the Western European smartphone market next year if it loses access to Google,” said Linda Sui, director of wireless smartphone strategies at Strategy Analytics.

She predicts Huawei handset shipments will decline another 23% next year but believes the company could survive on the sheer size of the China market.

Fubon Research, which previously forecast Huawei would ship 258 million smartphones in 2019, now expects the company to ship just 200 million in a worst-case scenario.

Huawei commands nearly 30% of the global market according to industry tracker IDC, and shipped 208 million phones last year, including half to markets outside China. The company counts Europe as the most important market for its premium smartphones.

WHO WINS?

Huawei has said it has been developing the technology it needs to be self-sufficient for years.

But experts are not buying the company’s claim.

They said key components and intellectual property needed in Huawei’s devices are not available outside the United States.

Huawei would potentially need to lay off thousands of people and “disappear as a global player for some time,” said Stewart Randall, who tracks the chip industry at Shanghai-based consultancy Intralink.

Potential buyers of Huawei’s phones are likely to switch to high-end devices from Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc, and also buy mid-end phones from domestic rivals OPPO and Vivo, analysts said.

“It leaves an amount of share in its wake that can get picked up by competitors, particularly Samsung given its strength in regions like Europe,” said Bryan Ma, who researches the global smartphone market at IDC.

Huawei handsets are already drawing fewer clicks from online shoppers since the United States blacklisted the company, according to PriceSpy, a product comparison site that attracts an average of 14 million visitors per month.

“Over the last four days, Huawei handsets have slumped in popularity – receiving almost half as many clicks as they did last week in the UK and 26% less on the global stage,” PriceSpy said.

The export ban on Huawei could also delay China’s 5G rollout, Jefferies analyst Edison Lee said. Huawei has said it signed 5G contracts with 40 clients around the world.

(Reporting by Sijia Jiang in HONG KONG and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh; editing by Louise Heavens)

Source: OANN

Olympic Evaluation Commission visits Sweden
FILE PHOTO: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Octavian Morariu is pictured during the Olympic Evaluation Commission visit to evaluate the Stockholm-Are candidacy to hold 2026 Winter Games, in Falun Sweden March 14, 2019. Ulf Palm/TT News Agency via REUTERS

May 24, 2019

By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) – The International Olympic Committee on Friday heaped praise on two remaining candidate cities for the 2026 Winter Olympics, with Italy’s Milan/Cortina bid recording stronger local support than Sweden’s Stockholm/Are proposal.

The IOC Evaluation Commission issued its report following inspection visits to both bidders earlier this year.

“Both projects prioritize legacy and sustainability by capitalizing on winter sports tradition and experience, with first-rate, established World Cup venues, knowledgeable and passionate fans, volunteers and event organizers,” said evaluation commission chief Octavian Morariu.

The two bids are the last remaining after Swiss city Sion, Japan’s Sapporo, Austria’s Graz and 1988 hosts Calgary in Canada all withdrew last year, scared off by the cost and size of the Games or strong local opposition to the Olympics.

Turkey’s Erzurum was eliminated from the bidding process by the IOC, which has introduced reforms in recent years to cut bidding costs and organization budgets to make the Games attractive to potential hosts again.

Some 80% of venues in both of the 2026 bids are either existing or temporary structures in an effort to keep construction costs associated with the Games low. The IOC said this had reduced budgets by 20% compared to the 2018 and the 2022 Winter Olympics.

“The two candidates have aligned their concepts with their context and local long-term goals. All of this led to massive cost savings and a more sustainable hosting model that is the new reality for the Games,” Morariu said.

It has not been an easy process for Milan and Stockholm though, with both having to wait until late to receive much-needed government guarantees and support.

The evaluation commission said the City of Stockholm would not be signing the host city contract should it be awarded the Games. Are would do it instead.

In past bid processes, when the Games were still a highly valued asset for cities, such refusals would equal early elimination from the bid process.

The commission, however, noted in its report Sweden’s ability to host global winter sports events.

“The candidature features established and iconic World Cup

and World Championship venues,” it said.

“Sweden is a winter sports country with a long tradition and experience in organizing snow and ice events, and benefits from professional venue operators and a solid network of volunteers and passionate fans, all of which would ensure an unforgettable experience for the athletes.”

But the IOC recorded low support for the Games there, with only 55% in favor across Sweden and 54% in Stockholm.

The figures for the Milan/Cortina bid stood at 83% support in Italy and 87% in Milan, demonstrating what the IOC said was “the public’s enthusiasm for the project.”

The IOC will elect the winning bid at its session on June 24 in Lausanne.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN


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