Top official of Import and Export Board arrested for accepting bribe

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The Import and Export Controller of the Import and Export Board was arrested for accepting a bribe.The official had been arrested by the Bribery Commission while accepting a bribe of Rs.200,000. (Colombo Gazette)

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UK Might Suspend Flights to Morocco After Sinai Plane Crash

Rabat – After suspending flights from Egypt, the United Kingdom could make a decision to ban flights from Morocco, a British transport official has warned this Friday, citing security fears.On Wednesday, the UK government issued a suspension on United Kingdom-bound flights from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh Airport, from where a Russian plane departed and crashed in the Sinai Peninsula last Saturday.Friday, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, warned that the same action could be taken against other countries, including Morocco, Turkey and Tunisia, if security is found to be lax. “What this makes clear – not just to the Egyptians but to other airports around the world: if we are concerned about their security we will not hesitate in taking the kind of action we have taken this week for the safety of British passengers,” McLoughlin told BBC Radio.Russian Airbus 321 crashed on Saturday, killing all 224 people on board. British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday that the Russian plane may have been brought down by a bomb.In addition, AFP quoted sources close to the investigation as saying that evidence from the plane’s “black box” flight recorders “strongly favors” the theory that a bomb on board brought it down.One of the black boxes recovered from the crash site shows that the plane suffered “a violent, sudden” end, a source told the agency.

UN political chief urges swift moves to meet Nepals peace process deadline

Last month, the country’s opposing political groups reached the so-called Four-Point Agreement on completing the remaining tasks of the peace process by 14 January 2011, among other issues.In line with that Agreement, the Security Council voted to wind up the UN’s special political mission in Nepal (UNMIN) on 15 January.Despite some important steps having been taken, “no breakthrough has been achieved,” B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Council today. “It is too early to conclude that the parties are on a course” that would see the Four-Point Agreement implemented by the January deadline.Three months after Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal stepped down, the country is still being led by a caretaker Government, with 12 rounds of voting in the Legislature-Parliament failing to produce a new leader.“The prolonged political stalemate in Nepal, most vividly symbolized by the continuing failure to elect a new Prime Minister, is compounded by persistent internal divisions within the main political parties, personal interests and calculations, and regional factors,” Mr. Pascoe underlined.In 2006, the Government and the Maoists signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), ending a decade-long civil war which claimed some 13,000 lives.“Nepal is undergoing a process of significant political and social transformation and consolidation of its democracy,” Mr. Pascoe, who visited the country earlier this month, said today.In spite of the many strides Nepal has made, over time, the unity of the parties – both internally and in working together – “has frayed, eroded by the difference of ideology, perspective and the challenges of balancing the rules of competitive democratic politics with the need for sharing power and maintaining a modicum of political consensus.”Mr. Pascoe pointed out that several key commitments have yet to be completed, chiefly the adoption of a new constitution and addressing the future of the two armies.“If the parties fail to manage their difference in order to complete this common agenda it is they and the people of Nepal that stand to lose,” he warned.UNMIN was set up in 2007 to help Nepal hold elections for the Constituent Assembly, monitor the arms and armies for both the Government and Maoist sides, provide technical assistance to the Election Commission, and assist in monitoring the ceasefire.Intended to have a limited run, the mission was originally established with a one-year mandate, but its presence has been extended seven times at the request of the parties.“Each extension request was accompanied by renewed, and ultimately unfulfilled, commitments by the parties and the Government to expeditiously complete the remaining tasks,” the official underlined.He noted that UNMIN’s continued monitoring and presence are seen as key for stability. But, Mr. Pascoe added, “the mission has found itself subjected to controversies stemming from a deterioration in the political climate, misrepresentations of its mandate and the ensuing mismatch between the parties’ high expectations and the reality of UNMIN’s limited possibilities.”He said that many of the officials he met with during his visit to Nepal pointed to power-sharing as the most pressing concern, with a solution potentially generating progress in all areas of contention.They also told the UN official that although the constitution-making process has slowed down, “differences on the nature and shape of a new constitution were surmountable and could be bridged once the political climate improved.”Dialogue continues along Nepal’s political fault lines, Mr. Pascoe said, with the country’s officials having voiced hope that a breakthrough could be possible early next month.“There is no doubt that the 15 January deadline for UNMIN’s withdrawal has created a new sense of urgency among the parties, and more focused on thinking on how to end the prolonged stasis taking place,” he said.“It is still possible for the parties to meet their targets in time but, as I stressed to all those I met during my visit, it will require translating this new-found sense of urgency into decision-making and concrete action,” the Under-Secretary-General added. “The sooner these decisions are taken the better.” 14 October 2010Swift action to overcome Nepal’s political impasse is required if the Asian nation is to meet the January 2011 deadline to wrap up its stalled peace process, the top United Nations political official cautioned today.

Volkswagen to shed 30000 jobs to cut costs after scandal

Volkswagen to shed 30,000 jobs to cut costs after scandal FRANKFURT – Automaker Volkswagen said Friday it will shed 30,000 jobs to cut costs as it tries to recover from its diesel emissions scandal and invests more in electric-powered vehicles and digital services.Company officials said at a news conference at headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, that 23,000 of the job cuts will come in Germany. It said the measures will save some 3.7 billion euros ($4 billion) a year from 2020.Volkswagen has agreed to pay $15 billion under a settlement with U.S. authorities and owners of some 500,000 vehicles with software that turned off emissions controls. Around 11 million cars worldwide have the deceptive software. The scandal has been a spur for the company to address problems such as excessively top-down management and excessive fixed costs at its manufacturing locations in Germany.The company has said it aims to cut nonessential costs and investments and shift investment toward battery-powered cars and services such as car-sharing and ride-sharing.CEO Matthias Mueller said it was “the biggest reform package in the history of our core brand.” In addition to Volkswagen, the company also makes cars under other brands including Porsche, Audi, SEAT, Skoda and Lamborghini.Herber Diess, head of the core Volkswagen brand, said that Volkswagen had let its costs rise and “lost ground in terms of productivity.”Volkswagen Group, with its multiple brands, has more than 600,000 employees but the cuts will mainly fall on its 120,000-strong German work force.The company cut a deal with its powerful worker representatives under which future investment would be in Germany and the reduction in staff would rely on voluntary departures such as early retirement, with no firings.Top employee representative Bernd Osterloh said that “the next generation of electric vehicles will be made here in Germany, not abroad.”Other job cuts are foreseen in Brazil and Argentina. by David McHugh, The Associated Press Posted Nov 18, 2016 2:34 am MDT Last Updated Nov 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email FILE – In this June 12, 2013, file photo, workers assemble Volkswagen Passat sedans at the German automaker’s plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Volkswagen will announce its future strategy which might include job cuts in a press conference on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig, file)

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