The chair of the equality watchdog has faced criti

first_imgThe chair of the equality watchdog has faced criticism from MPs after admitting that a disabled commissioner appointed six months ago is still refusing to attend its board meetings.Tory peer Lord [Kevin] Shinkwin has been boycotting meetings at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) since April because of its refusal to appoint him to the post of disability commissioner.He is refusing to attend meetings until the commission reinstates that role, and allows him to chair its new disability advisory committee.He had applied last year for the post of disability commissioner but was told months later – just 36 hours before his first board meeting – that the role had been made redundant and that he had instead been appointed as a general commissioner and would not lead on disability issues.David Isaac, EHRC’s chair, told MPs on the Commons women and equalities committee yesterday (Wednesday) that Lord Shinkwin was still not attending board meetings, and that the continuing stand-off was having “an adverse impact on our ability to mainstream disability and to do our work in the disability arena”.Isaac (pictured giving evidence) told the committee that EHRC did not believe there was a need for a disability commissioner because of the decision to “mainstream” disability into its work.He admitted that some of the members of the commission’s disability committee – which was scrapped earlier this year – “initially were unhappy” with the decision to scrap the disability commissioner role.But he said they had showed in subsequent meetings that they “understand the commission’s approach and they approve of mainstreaming”.Isaac claimed that all those applying to be members of the commission’s new, non-statutory disability advisory committee had accepted the decision to scrap the role of disability commissioner.He said: “We have now made people comfortable that disability is mainstreamed and there is no longer a disability commissioner.”But Tory MP Philip Davies told him: “It is not unreasonable for somebody to apply for a position, to be appointed to it, and to expect that position to be in place.“You apply for a particular post, you are appointed to a particular post, and then you are told subsequently that that post… doesn’t exist anymore.”Isaac blamed the length of time between the interviews last December and the decision to appoint Lord Shinkwin in April, an appointment made by the minister.During that gap of several months, the statutory disability committee had “expired” and the board had decided that the post of disability commissioner should also be scrapped.But the Conservative chair of the committee, Maria Miller, said it was “extraordinary” that the potential candidates for the post – including Lord Shinkwin – had not been told the role had changed since they applied for it.She said: “There would be very few people who would not find that somewhat odd.”She added later: “Why is your process so lacking in transparency?”And she said: “I think the world will take a view on the fact that the EHRC has decided to abolish the role of a disability commissioner in a way which is clearly out of step with the disability committee.”Davies said it was “quite clear” from minutes of a meeting on 27 March – which Isaac attended – that Greening had been appointing Lord Shinkwin to be the disability commissioner and not just a general commissioner.But Rebecca Hilsenrath, EHRC’s chief executive, said it was “a matter of fact” that Greening had appointed him as a general commissioner and not a disability commissioner.Isaac said he had done “everything I reasonably can” to negotiate a solution with Lord Shinkwin, including making approaches to Greening, the Government Equalities Office, and Tory peers.He said: “I am keen to talk to him and would ask him to abandon the conditions he has attached to engagement.”When Miller said she was “hugely disappointed” that the commission had still not found a solution, Isaac promised to contact Lord Shinkwin again, but he added: “I am very, very keen that he takes up his position as commissioner, but you can only be involved in dialogue if both parties agree to discuss the matter with each other.“I believe we have done all we reasonably can to ensure that that dialogue happens.”Lord Shinkwin told DNS in August that he would continue to boycott board meetings until the post of disability commissioner was reinstated.He said in August: “My understanding from what I have been told is that I have to accept the abolition of the disability commissioner post and that I will not be chairing the disability advisory committee. I cannot accept either of those.“I think it is absolutely essential that disabled people have a very strong voice as disabled people.“We have equality needs the other protected characteristic groups do not have, and they need to be championed.”last_img read more

A try from Adam Swift after just 45 seconds alongs

first_imgA try from Adam Swift after just 45 seconds alongside Ryan Morgan’s fifth of the year, coupled with three from the boot of Tommy Makinson, built a healthy advantage before the half hour mark.But Warrington bagged two in the final stages of the first half and went on to cross a further four times as the momentum swung before Dominique Peyroux’s late score.Even then, Ryan Atkins grabbed his second at the death to draw the Wolves level with Saints in the Betfred Super League table.After such a promising opening the three-man interim coaching staff were left scratching their heads at what their charges produced.For 25 minutes, Saints dominated and it came after some upheaval in the warm-up.Jon Wilkin pulled out with a hamstring issue and that meant Morgan Knowles moving into the second row with Peyroux replacing him on the bench.It didn’t seem to affect the visitors one iota either as within 45 seconds they were in front.Luke Douglas tipped back Tommy Makinson’s kick off and following a couple of superb offloads Swift crossed in the corner.Makinson adding the extras from the touchline.Saints then forced two drop outs after slick Matty Smith kicks – but once Warrington were caught offside in front of their own posts, Makinson took the opportunity to slot over a penalty.After being so dominant, the defence were then called on to stand firm as the home side got into the game.And they did just that; Warrington being held up over the line on 20 minutes before the video referee took an eon to correctly rule out a Tom Lineham effort a minute later.Swift with a quality tackle to stop the try.Saints then turned that heroic defence into attack.After the Wolves were penalised for a high shot on Fages, he linked with Smith to put Ryan Morgan over from 20 yards out.The centre backing himself to crash through his marker.Saints more than deserved their lead but errors began to creep in and as a result the Wolves took the game to Saints.Benjamin Jullien pulled one back on the half hour mark before Mike Cooper dove under the posts with five remaining.That made it a two-point game at half time but Saints were a complete contrast to their first half efforts on the restart.Adam Walker lost the ball in the first tackle, and that set the stall for the remainder of the game.An error handed the ball to Harvey Livett on 45 minutes and five later, Rhys Evans took a short pass on the last to make it 22-14.Tom Lineham pounced on another error shortly afterwards for Warrington’s fifth try and then Ryan Atkins scored after a tremendous break.In reality, that was the game at the hour mark but Saints steadied the ship and did get over when Peyroux crossed for his sixth in the red vee.They arguably could have had more too if execution would have been shipshape.But Atkins crashed over at the death to cap a miserable night for the Saints who must pick themselves up for their biggest game of the season when they travel to Castleford in the cup.Match Summary:Wolves:Tries: Jullien, Cooper, Livett, Evans, Lineham, Atkins (2)Goals: Livett (6 from 7)Saints:Tries: Swift, Morgan, PeyrouxGoals: Makinson (3 from 4)Penalties Awarded:Wolves: 8Saints: 8HT: 12-14FT: 40-18REF: Phil BenthamATT: 11,681Teams:Wolves:7. Kurt Gidley; 5. Matthew Russell, 3. Rhys Evans, 4. Ryan Atkins, 2. Tom Lineham; 22. Declan Patton, 28. Harvey Livett; 14. Mike Cooper, 15. Brad Dwyer, 10. Ashton Sims, 24. Benjamin Jullien, 12. Jack Hughes, 34. Ben Westwood.Subs: 16. George King, 17. Dominic Crosby, 23. Joe Philbin, 27. Morgan Smith.Saints:2. Tommy Makinson; 5. Adam Swift, 26. Jake Spedding, 3. Ryan Morgan, 28. Regan Grace: 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith; 10. Kyle Amor, 17. Tommy Lee, 14. Luke Douglas, 36. Zeb Taia, 20. Morgan Knowles, 16. Luke Thompson.Subs: 9. James Roby, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15. Adam Walker, 18. Dominique Peyroux.last_img read more

Fire in Rabat residence

first_imgA fire that broke in residence in Rabat was brought under control by members of the Civil Protection Department, on Friday morning.A police spokesperson told that the incident happened around 10.45am in Triq Għar Barka.No injuries were reported.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Trumps former lawyer Cohen to report to prison for hush payments

first_img SharePrint WhatsApp FILE PHOTO: Michael Cohen, the former lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump walks back to his apartment in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Yana Paskova/File PhotoFILE PHOTO: Michael Cohen, the former lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump walks back to his apartment in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Yana Paskova/File Photo Michael Cohen, the lawyer who once vowed to “take a bullet” for President Donald Trump but now calls him a “con man,” on Monday will begin serving a three-year prison sentence for arranging hush payments to two women who said they had sexual encounters with the president and lying to the U.S. Congress.Cohen, Trump’s longtime former personal attorney, must report by 2 p.m. (1800 GMT) to the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York, about 70 miles (110 km) northwest of New York City. He is expected to stay at the prison’s minimum security camp.Cohen’s prison term completes a stunning fall for the 52-year-old native of New York’s Long Island whose career was tethered to Trump as he evolved from wealthy real estate developer to reality TV personality to politician. For more than a decade, Cohen served as Trump’s personal lawyer and self-described “fixer.”The relationship began to sour after FBI agents raided Cohen’s Rockefeller Center office and Park Avenue hotel room in April 2018 as part of an investigation that grew out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. The information gathered in the raids contributed to a series of criminal charges against Cohen that caused his dramatic split with Trump.Cohen publicly broke with Trump in July 2018, telling ABC News he intended to put family and loyalty to his country ahead of the president. Cohen and his wife, Laura Shusterman, 49, have two adult children, Samantha and Jake.‘BLIND LOYALTY’In congressional testimony in February in Washington, Cohen said, “I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a con man. He is a cheat.”During his sentencing in December in New York, Cohen said, “My weakness can be characterized as a blind loyalty to Donald Trump, and I was weak for not having the strength to question and to refuse his demands. I have already spent years living a personal and mental incarceration.”Cohen said during his sentencing he would provide as much information as he could to prosecutors about his former boss.Trump, for this part, has blasted Cohen on Twitter, calling him a “weak person” as well as a “bad lawyer and fraudster.”Cohen pleaded guilty in August 2018 to violating campaign finance law, bank fraud and tax evasion in a case handled by federal prosecutors in New York. Prosecutors said Trump himself directed illegal payments orchestrated by Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal to avert a scandal shortly before the 2016 election. Cohen told the court Trump ordered a $130,000 payment to Daniels and a $150,000 payment to McDougal to keep them quiet.Trump has denied sexual relationships with the women and said he never directed Cohen to do anything illegal.Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump tower project in Russia that was being negotiated at the same time he was running for president.Prosecutors said Cohen provided false statements in closed-door testimony to lawmakers to create the impression the project had ended by the time the state-by-state Republican presidential nomination race began, when in fact talks had continued well beyond that point.U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan sentenced Cohen to three years in prison in both cases.“Each of the crimes involved deception and each appears to have been motivated by personal greed and ambition,” Pauley said at the sentencing hearing.Cohen’s prison time could be reduced by about 15 percent for good behaviour.center_img <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Updated Delia expected to face vote of confidence

first_imgUpdated at 19:30:  Partit Nazzjonalista leader Adrian Delia is expected to face a vote of confidence in front of the party’s General Council as the required number of signatures has been collected in a petition. The signatories are asking Delia to take political responsibility and resign from leader of the party.Signatures are still being collected from Partit Nazzjonalista councillors to force a vote of no confidence on Adrian Delia’s leadership through the General Council, while the PN leader has for some reason skipped the traditional Sunday interview on the party’s radio station NET FM, for the second Sunday in a row.The Nationalist Party councillors signed a petition which calls for a discussion and a secret vote on Delia’s leadership following the electoral defeat at the local council and European Parliament elections held on 25 May.READ: We need to learn why people didn’t vote PN – DeliaDelia has repeatedly said on record that he will not seek a vote of confidence neither from his executive council nor from his parliamentary group. The recent move means, that Delia’s future is expected to hinge on a vote from Nationalist councillors at the General Council. The petition requires some 150 signatures to kick in the process and call for an extraordinary meeting of the General Council.READ: Watch: Will you resign Mr Delia? is informed that a number of people have signed the petition over the weekend, which will be presented to the party’s administration.READ: Watch: PN MPs meeting: “Constructive”; “inconclusive”A party source told that they are are hopeful that the necessary amount of signatures will be collected. Another party source said that the President of the General Council, Kristy Debono, is likely to receive the petition either on Monday or on Tuesday.READ: Watch: ‘I will not be resigning’ – DeliaThe petition is requesting that a general council is held within a week and that a secret vote is taken on the following question:After the results obtained by the PN in the European and local elections of 25 May 2019, should the party leader take political responsibility and resign? Yes/NoPresident of the Executive Council Mark Anthony Sammut was the first to step down following the abysmal performance at the recently held elections.READ: ‘The person with more responsibility than me should do the same’ – resigning Exec PresidentIn his resignation delivered to the media outside PN headquarters, Sammut had explained that the recent result in the European Parliamentary and Local Council Elections, were ‘the worst political result since the war.’ He had added that those with more responsibility than himself, should also follow suit.Sammut’s resignation was followed by PN’s treasurer David Camilleri who had voted in the co-option internal vote between Kevin Cutajar and Jean Pierre Debono, after former PN Administrative Council President and MP David Stellini resigned to resume his former job in Brussels. However later it transpired that Camilleri was among those who should not have had a vote in that internal election.READ: PN Treasurer resigns; Arrigo on the warpathPN’s media chief Pierre Portelli also resigned last Monday following an executive meeting which degenerated when Portelli mentioned slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, with many of those present walking out on Portelli after shouting ensued.READ: Pierre Portelli resigns from Media.LinkRead more: Photos: “Delia is scared of paid-up members”; ‘He will never be a prime minister’ – Trapass“Let Delia do his job” – new posters on PN clubs facadesBanner spread across Dar Ċentrali calling for PN resignations‘No need to ask for a vote of confidence’ – Delia“Ask for a vote of confidence” – Gonzi to DeliaWhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrintlast_img read more

Trump threatens obliteration Iran calls White House mentally retarded

first_imgREUTERS/Carlos BarriaREUTERS/Carlos Barria U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday to obliterate parts of Iran if it attacked “anything American,” in a new war of words with Iran which condemned the latest U.S. sanctions on Tehran and called White House actions “mentally retarded.”Trump on Monday signed an executive order imposing largely symbolic economic sanctions against Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior figures, with punitive measures against Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expected later this week.Iran shot down a U.S. drone last week and Trump said he had called off a retaliatory air strike with minutes to spare, saying too many people would have been killed. It would have been the first time the United States had bombed the Islamic Republic in four decades of mutual hostility.In rhetoric similar to the kind of harsh words he used to aim at North Korea, Trump tweeted: “Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.”In a televised address on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the new sanctions against Khamenei would have no practical impact because the top cleric had no assets abroad.Rouhani, a pragmatist who won two elections on promises to open Iran up to the world, said the White House’s actions were “mentally retarded” – an insult that other Iranian officials have used in the past about Trump, but a departure from Rouhani’s own comparatively measured tone over the years.“Tehran’s strategic patience does not mean we have fear,” said Rouhani, who with his cabinet runs Iran’s day-to-day affairs while Khamenei, in power since 1989, is the country’s ultimate authority.ESCALATING U.S. SANCTIONSThe United States has imposed crippling financial sanctions against Iran since last year when Trump withdrew from a 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers under which Iran curbed its nuclear programme.Tension has escalated sharply since last month when the Trump administration tightened its sanctions noose, ordering all countries to halt purchases of Iranian oil.That has effectively starved the Iranian economy of the main source of revenue Tehran uses to import food for its 81 million people, and left the pragmatic wing of Iran’s leadership, led by Rouhani, with no benefits to show for its nuclear agreement.Trump says the accord reached under his predecessor Barack Obama was a failure because its terms were not permanent and did not cover security issues beyond the nuclear programme, such as missiles and role in various Middle East conflicts.The downing of the U.S. drone – which Iran says was over its air space and the United States says was in international skies – followed weeks of rising tensions that had begun to take on a military dimension.Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, visiting Israel, repeated earlier offers to hold talks, as long as Iran was willing to go beyond the terms of the 2015 deal.“The president has held the door open to real negotiations to completely and verifiably eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, its pursuit of ballistic missile delivery systems, its support for international terrorism and other malign behaviour worldwide,” Bolton said in Jerusalem. “All that Iran needs to do is to walk through that open door.”Iran says there is no point negotiating with Washington when it has abandoned a deal that was already reached.Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said imposing “useless sanctions” on Khamenei and Zarif would mark “the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy.”Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that the situation surrounding Iran was developing towards a dangerous scenario, the RIA news agency reported on Tuesday.The United States and some regional allies have blamed Iran for explosions that damaged tankers in the Gulf, which Tehran denies. Washington’s European allies have repeatedly warned both sides of the danger that a small mistake could lead to war.Tehran has given European signatories until July 8 to find a way to shield its economy from U.S. sanctions, or else it will enrich uranium to higher levels banned under the deal to help ensure no development of a nuclear weapon results.Acting U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper said he hoped to recruit support from NATO allies in Brussels this week for U.S. efforts to deter conflict with Iran and “open the door to diplomacy,” as he made his first trip as Pentagon chief.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more