Multiple Explosions Hit Nigeria's Maiduguri

Multiple Explosions Hit Nigeria's Maiduguri
A former Philippine provincial governor and his brother, who are among the country's most-wanted crime suspects for the 2011 murder of a radio anchor and prominent environmentalist, have been arrested in Thailand, officials said Monday.

Former Gov. Joel Reyes of western Palawan island province and his brother Mario Reyes, an ex-municipal mayor, were arrested Sunday by Thai police on the southern island of Phuket, said Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. She said Thai immigration authorities were processing the brothers' deportation papers.

The Philippine government has offered a 2 million peso ($43,000) reward each for information leading to the arrest of the brothers, who fled the Philippines after being implicated in the murder of Gerardo Ortega.

Thitirat Nongharnpitak, deputy chief of Thailand's Central Investigation Bureau, said one of the brothers was arrested for illegal immigration. The other came to Thailand legally but was arrested on the charge of overstaying his visa, he said, adding that both would be deported.

Ortega's family said Ortega may have been silenced for accusing officials including the Reyes brothers of alleged corruption involving funds from a natural gas project. He had also been a staunch critic of mining on Palawan, which is famous for its pristine beaches and virgin forests.

Ortega was brazenly shot on Jan. 24, 2011, at a used clothing store in downtown Puerto Princesa city, Palawan's provincial capital, by a self-confessed hit man who implicated the Reyes brothers and a former provincial administrator.

The brothers have denied the accusation, saying their political opponents were behind the charges.

“The arrest of the long-wanted Reyes brothers provides an opportunity for pursuing the ends of justice,” presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma said. “We acknowledge the efforts of Interpol and Thai authorities in making this possible.”

Mika Ortega, the slain environmentalist's daughter, also welcomed the arrests. But she told DZMM radio that there is a long fight ahead to make sure that the masterminds of the crime are convicted.


India Tries to Drum Up Investment

From the financial hubs of East Asia to Silicon Valley in the United States, India is pushing to drum up investment, pointing out that unlike other emerging economies its growth momentum has not slackened.

On a four-day visit to Singapore and Hong Kong that wrapped up Monday, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, said that many global trends such as falling commodity prices and declining exports would impact India less than the rest of the world.

“Our parameters are fairly stable, our fiscal discipline has been restored, comparatively our currency has been more stable than currencies elsewhere in the world. We have opened up most sectors of the economy.”

Charming investors

Despite attempts to woo global businesses by the 15-month old government, investment has not picked up, as investors fret about the slow pace of reforms.

But hoping the slowdown in several emerging economies will put India on the map as an investment destination, its leaders are pointing to several forecasts that say it will be the fastest-growing major economy during the next two years. Jaitley told foreign investors in Hong Kong that growth this year will top last year’s 7.3 percent.

The Singapore-based managing director of Frontier Strategy Group, a research firm that advises multinational companies, Bhavya Sehgal, said many global firms are expanding their portfolios in India, attracted not just by the growing economy, but also the rapid urbanization in the country of 1.2 billion people.

“If I am comparing India with let’s say Brazil, or Russia, or China, or Indonesia or anything else in Africa, India will continue to be the fastest growing country, with a reasonably large GDP base as well,” Sehgal said. “Which obviously is putting a lot of pressure on heads of APAC [Asia Pacific]. From [that] standpoint, why are we not investing more?”

Hub for digital industry

While Finance Minister Jaitley focused on winning investment in East Asia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will try to position India as a new hub for the digital industry when he visits California later this week.

Modi hopes to capitalize on the close connections between India and Silicon Valley, which is home to many Indian techies and where Indian-origin executives have risen to prominence.

The Indian prime minister will attend a town-hall style event with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg. Among others, he will meet the CEO of Apple and three Indian-born CEOs of tech companies: Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen.

Officials say Modi hopes to take his pro-business message to technology firms that want to invest in India for a campaign he has launched called “Digital India”.

It aims to expand Internet access, boost electronic manufacturing and develop apps to improve delivery of government services. He also wants U.S. technology hardware firms to invest more in manufacturing facilities in India.

Modi will be the first Indian prime minister to visit Silicon Valley in more than three decades.


Report: Pollution Still a Threat to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

There's more disturbing news for one of Australia's most iconic natural treasures - the Great Barrier Reef.  Efforts to curb pollution are moving too slowly, according to a report released by the Queensland state government. 

The report shows the health of the waters surrounding the Great Barrier Reef remains poor, and that efforts to prevent the stain of pollution in the reef’s inshore waters are moving too slowly.

Research has shown that between 2009 and 2014 the amount of sediments, nutrients and pesticides from farmland fell, although not enough to reach environmental targets.

Sediment and chemicals can destabilize the coral, restricting its ability to feed and grow.

Queensland’s environment minister, Steven Miles, said the research shows the reef needs more protection.

“Over that 5-year period we did see some progress towards our targets.  Sediment is down 12 per cent and pesticides loads are down 30 per cent, but what is most disturbing is these results are far from our targets.  Progress towards these targets flat-lined in the period 2013 to 2014.  If one of my kids came home with a report card like this I would be a bit disappointed.  There is more bad news here than good news,” said Miles.    

The report found that less than a third of Queensland’s sugar plantations were using recommended techniques to reduce the use of pesticides.  

Only 28% of land managers known as graziers were managing their land properly and reducing harmful water runoff to safeguard the health of the reef.  The official target for all these practices is a 90% reduction in pesticide use within three years.

Farmers’ organizations, however, insist that their members were trying to make the transition to more sustainable practices as soon as possible.

In July, UNESCO withdrew its threat to list the reef as a World Heritage area in danger, but has demanded Australia do more to protect the series of coral reefs that snakes down its north-eastern coastline.

The reef is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations and lies at the core of an industry that provides tens of thousands of jobs.

The wondrous 2,300 kilometer stretch of coral faces myriad threats, including climate change, industrialization, illegal fishing and outbreaks of crown of thorns starfish that prey on the coral.
Multiple Explosions Hit Nigeria's Maiduguri Multiple Explosions Hit Nigeria's Maiduguri Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 7:15 PM Rating: 5

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