Duke NBA Draft PicksThe NBA has been good to Duke’s men’s basketball program. Or maybe we should say: the Blue Devils have been good to the NBA. Since Mike Krzyzewski took over the program, Duke has produced 54 NBA Draft picks. That’s really, really impressive. With the 2015 NBA Draft taking place last week, and three former Dukies getting selected, the Blue Devils have released a cool “Duke in the NBA” video, celebrating Coach K’s draft picks.
HC orders holding of court at AIIMS for recording of victims statementHC orders holding of court at AIIMS for recording of victims statement
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Friday approved recording of statement of the Unnao rape survivor at the trauma centre of All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS).A notification to this effect was issued by the Delhi High Court from the administrative side late in the evening. It said special judge Dharmesh Sharma, who is conducting trial of the cases, shall record her testimony. The notification said that Chief Justice D N Patel and judges of the high court ordered that “Special Judge Dharmesh Sharma shall hold court for recording the testimony of the victim in the premises/building of trauma centre of AIIMS in addition to the Tiz Hazari District Court Complex during trial of the cases”. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The rape survivor is admitted at AIIMS after she sustained injuries during a road accident in which MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who was expelled from BJP, is an accused. She was air-lifted from a Lucknow hospital to Delhi on the orders of the Supreme Court. The notification came after the Supreme Court during the day asked the Delhi High Court to expeditiously decide on the request of a special judge for setting up a temporary court at the AIIMS hospital to record the statements of the Unnao rape survivor. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe special judge Dharmesh Sharma, who is holding trial in the cases related to the Unnao incident, had recently written a letter to the Delhi High Court seeking permission to hold in-camera proceedings at AIIMS for recording of the statement of the woman after doctors said it was “not advisable” to bring her to the court premises. Sharma has informed the Registrar General of the high court that the CBI, the woman and her family have “no objection” to such deposition. A bench of justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose also directed the CBI to complete within two weeks its probe and file the charge sheet in the road accident case, in which the rape survivor was injured. It also indicated that if the special judge needed more than 45 days to complete the proceedings, then it may consider the request. While transferring the cases related to Unnao incident to Delhi, the apex court had fixed a time limit of 45 days for the trial court to complete the proceedings. The apex court had earlier said it wanted “fair and speedy trial” in the cases arising out of the rape of the woman, when she was a minor, allegedly by now-expelled BJP legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar in Unnao in 2017.
Nunavut says number of polar bears in the region going up –Nunavut says number of polar bears in the region going up –
Kent Driscoll APTN NewsA major polar bear region says it is looking to increase the polar bear hunting quota for 2018.This despite a video that was released in December showing a starving polar bear that garnered international attention as the animal struggled to find food at an old campsite.It was held up as an example of the negative effects of climate change.But Nunavut and Greenland say the polar population isn’t just fine – it’s [email protected] @kentdriscoll
Medical examiner identifies Wisconsin workplace shooterMedical examiner identifies Wisconsin workplace shooter
MADISON, Wis. – A Wisconsin software worker who opened fire on his fellow employees in their suburban Madison office had worked for the company for almost 18 months and had no criminal history in the state, authorities said Thursday.Police killed the gunman in a shoot-out Wednesday morning inside WTS Paradigm’s Middleton offices while responding to reports of an active shooter. The Dane County medical examiner identified the shooter Thursday as 43-year-old Anthony Tong.Police said three people were seriously wounded in the attack and remained hospitalized Thursday. A fourth person was grazed but a bullet.Middleton Police Chief Chuck Foulke said the gunman had worked at WTS Paradigm since April 2017. Foulke said he had no criminal history in Wisconsin and lived alone. Officers searched Tong’s house in nearby Verona Wednesday evening, but Foulke didn’t say what they found.The chief said investigators still don’t know what prompted the attack .“I’m dying to know the motive also,” Foulke said during a Thursday news conference. “We just have not found one yet.”One victim was critically wounded but had been upgraded to serious condition by Thursday morning, while the two other victims remained in serious condition at University Hospital, according to a spokeswoman.Foulke said investigators had interviewed two of those victims. He did not say what they divulged but called the conversations “really important interviews.” The victims’ names haven’t been released.WTS Paradigm officials issued a statement Wednesday saying the incident was shocking and heartbreaking, but the company provided no information about the shooting. A company spokesman didn’t reply to emails Thursday.Officers were called to WTS Paradigm in Middleton, a Madison suburb of about 17,440 people, just before 10:30 Wednesday. Foulke said officers arrived within 8 minutes of receiving emergency calls and found a man wielding a semiautomatic pistol. Foulke said the man was carrying extra magazines as well.Two Middleton officers and two Dane County sheriff’s deputies exchanged gunfire with Tong, killing him. The officers and deputies were not hurt, Foulke said.The police chief said he didn’t know if the victims were targeted or shot at random. He added that federal authorities are tracing the history of the pistol to determine how the gunman’s acquired it.WTS Paradigm makes software for the building products industry. A Wisconsin State Journal profile from 2014 listed company employment at about 145 workers and noted the company was looking to move to a larger location at the time.The company has posted You Tube videos depicting a loose atmosphere in an upscale office marked by a breakroom that resembles a bar, a ping-pong table and a shuffleboard table, and workers in jeans and sweatshirts.One video depicts an office Olympics in which workers compete by pedaling themselves around in their chairs and toss garbage in wastebaskets. Another video touts the company’s charity contributions, including donations to the Madison Children’s Museum, the American Diabetes Association and Habitat for Humanity.___Associated Press writer Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee contributed to this report.
BJP fields Pragya from Bhopal; to face Cong’s Digvijaya SinghBJP fields Pragya from Bhopal; to face Cong’s Digvijaya Singh
New Delhi: After a lengthy suspense, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership finalised 2008 Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as the party’s face from the Bhopal constituency of Madhya Pradesh. The Central Election Committee released its 22nd candidate list for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections on Wednesday.The Hindu Sanyasini joined BJP on the same day morning and will take on Congress veteran and former MP chief minister Digvijay Singh from its 30 years-bastion. On the other hand, Bhopal has a sizeable Muslim population and to woo the multi-layered demography, Digvijaya Singh was asked by his party top leadership and even by Chief Minister Kamal Nath to contest from tough seat, where the Congress hasn’t won in years. Challenge accepted, was Digvijaya Singh’s response, and he was named for Bhopal. Sadhvi Pragya is out on bail in the case, in which she was cleared under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) on 27 December, 2017, but faces other charges. Reportedly, the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and BJP veteran and Union Minister, Uma Bharti declined to contest the general elections from the constituency. Chouhan, party general secretary Ramlal, and senior leader Prabhat Jha also held a meeting in the party headquarters in Bhopal. “I have formally joined the BJP, I will contest elections and will definitely win. It won’t be difficult for me,” Sadhvi Pragya told the media persons. She also added, “We all will fight together with all those who are conspiring against the nation and defeat them.” The BJP power corridor further refused to affirm the criminal charges against her and claimed her ‘innocence’ and said that “a woman has been harassed and no charges have been proved against her.” Six persons were killed and 101 were injured when an improvised explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off at Malegaon on September 29, 2008. The incident also promulgated the term “saffron terror”- widely used by the erstwhile Congress-led- UPA government. Sadhvi Pragya has always been known for her mooted comments and provocative speeches. She had been associated with the right-wing all India student organisation affiliated to the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh- Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and ‘Durga Vahini’ or women’s wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Meanwhile, Digvijaya Singh welcomed Sadhvi to Bhopal, tweeting – he hopes she likes the calm, educated and sophisticated ambience of the city. Alok Sanjar of BJP is the incumbent Lok Sabha MP from Bhopal. The party also preferred a secured seat Vidisha for a new candidate Ramakant Bhargava. Union Minister Sushma Swaraj is the incumbent Lok Sabha MP from the constituency. But she refused to contest this election due to her health problem. Bhargava is also a Brahmin face and has a big vote bank. In this seat, Brahmin plays a decisive role. He is also known for his clean image. He is in the state leadership for a decade now. To woo the Yadav voter of Guna Parliamentary seat, BJP also put K P Yadav as its nominee from Guna to take on Jyotiraditya Scindia. Raj Bahadur Singh is going to contest from Sagar constituency. However, the BJP is still delaying in the announcement of its Indore candidate, which is only left in 29 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.
Given the size of the Indian economy and expectations of future growth, infrastructure remains a crucial area of focus for both financial and strategic investors alike. As capital flow gradually picks up in the sector over the last five years and operational assets are bought out, the obvious question is: What next in terms of infrastructure projects? The last few years have seen a significant focus from a plethora of global infrastructure investors in India, especially in the transportation and energy sectors. The primary strategy has been buying out companies or a portfolio of operational brownfield projects. Sellers of such projects have been motivated by the need to reduce their debt and in some cases carve out non-core assets. Buyers of brownfield assets have been motivated by getting access to assets that are operational, thereby giving them a foothold in the Indian market. Also Read – A special kind of bondHowever, as brownfield assets see more capital pursuing them, we see two trends emerging. Firstly, high-quality brownfield assets for sale are fewer now, given the capital inflow over the last few years. Secondly, given the increased competition, from an investor’s perspective, due to the yield compression in brownfield assets, the returns available may not be in proportion to the underlying risk. Therefore, the need for investors to move beyond brownfield assets is one that needs attention. Also Read – Insider threat managementFor India, focused investors such as pension funds and private equity funds, the requirement to look beyond brownfield infrastructure assets were in the works for a while. Mainly, extending further out on the risk curve is required to deploy more capital to work. Beyond brownfield assets, investors must now consider assets that aren’t necessarily purely greenfield but are under-construction and close to completion. The move towards under-construction projects will allow investors access to a larger pool of assets to choose from. Given the still strained balance sheets in the infrastructure sector, opportunities exist that need to be tapped. The move towards assets that aren’t operational or a portfolio of such assets is a natural progression in the market. The vital question is the valuation of such assets. Fundamentally, for distressed projects and under-construction projects, there is a potential for unlocking value by investors accessing such projects. Acquiring projects suffering from either time and cost overruns, or both for that matter, at attractive valuations is the key. The seller of such assets can unlock much-needed capital, and the users of such assets can hope to access the much-needed infrastructure sooner. In effect, investors will have to be more “hands-on” in approaching under-construction projects. The need for a more operationally intensive plan will require financial investors to team up with operator companies. Such partnerships will take a variety of forms ranging from joint ventures to the utilisation of financial vehicles that allow for partnerships between operators and capital providers. For operational industry players such as integrated energy businesses, an opportunity exists wherein they can potentially utilise their operational expertise to get an edge in the infrastructure market. The recent deal in which Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) monetised a pool of arbitration awards is a variant of this strategy, and a deal that displays how investors can unlock value through moving higher on the risk curve. In this particular case, HCC gets access to much-needed liquidity and the investors, the Blackrock-led consortium, get an opportunity to utilise their long-term capital to generate investment returns. Over the past few years, the investor interest in accessing high-quality brownfield assets to deploy capital has been a natural first step taken by both large and small players entering Indian markets. Given the constrained balance sheets of many Indian businesses especially infrastructure companies has meant that carving out and monetisation of assets to reduce debt was a natural progression in the market. However, in a multi-decade time horizon, given India’s vast infrastructure needs, a move higher on the risk curve towards under-construction projects to be able to deploy more significant amounts of capital is only natural. From an investor perspective, accessing non-brownfield projects implies dealing with three primary issues around land acquisition, construction risk, and an effective infrastructure-linked ecosystem. The immediate investment focus must shift towards projects or portfolios of projects where risk linked to the latter two must be undertaken, while land acquisition issues have primarily been resolved. The capacity of investors and the strategies adopted to deal with non-brownfield projects will lead to increased infrastructure investments and will expedite infrastructure creation. Investors and the government will have to keep a keen eye on any policy changes that might be needed as the market evolves with increasing amounts of capital looking towards incomplete and yet attractive infrastructure assets. (The author heads Development Tracks, an infrastructure advisory firm. Views expressed are strictly personal)