BAGHDAD, Iraq – Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki on Tuesday fired the judge overseeing the second phase of the trial of Saddam Hussein, accusing the judge of pro-Saddam bias. Aides to Maliki said pressure had been building from Kurds and others to oust the judge who, in open court, told the deposed ruler that he was not a dictator. Saddam thanked him. The firing was immediately condemned by human-rights advocates as improper political interference by Maliki’s government, which is dominated by Shiites and Kurds persecuted during Saddam’s regime. Human Rights Watch issued a statement that the firing “sends a chilling message to all judges: Toe the line or risk removal.” The decision was made early Tuesday evening, said Bassam al-Husseini, a Maliki aide. He said the Iraqi High Tribunal was asked to remove the judge – Abdullah al-Amiri, a Shiite who had also served as a judge under the Saddam government – and the tribunal agreed to do so. Husseini said the new chief judge will be Amiri’s assistant, Muhammad al-Uraibi, also a Shiite Arab. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possible“The government is taking into regard the feelings of the Iraqi people,” he said. “When the judge told Saddam, `You are not a dictator,’ he hurt the feelings of the Iraqi people.” But international human-rights groups said the firing seriously undermines the tribunal’s credibility and could influence other judges to favor the prosecution. Critics also questioned whether the tribunal’s procedures for handling allegations of judicial bias and misconduct were followed. “This shows the court is not immune from political interference and may be open to being manipulated by public opinion or politicians,” said Hanny Megally, director of the Middle East and North Africa program for the International Center for Transitional Justice, which is an observer in the tribunal. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Partick Thistle boss Alan Archibald was delighted by his side’s spirited second-half showing as they clung on for a point against Rangers.The Jags fought back in the second half to overturn Alfredo Morelos’ early strike for Rangers, with Blair Spittal and Chris Erskine hitting the back of the net.Erskine saw red soon after to hand Rangers back the initiative and midfielder Graham Dorrans equalised for Pedro Caixinha’s men. The visitors pressed in search of a winner but ten-man Thistle produced a backs-to-the-wall defensive showing to keep the visitors at bay. Archibald insists such a tenacious display can breathe new life into his team, having watched his side pick up just one point from a possible 15 before Friday’s fixture . He told BT Sport: “When you get a man sent off against a team like Rangers and they are pushing I’m delighted with a point, mentally it’s good for us to hang on.“I think he (Erskine) realises he threw himself into a tackle he shouldn’t. We were really careless in possession in the first half but got a reaction in the second half.“We had a bit of luck with the goal but good confidence to come back and take the lead.” Partick Thistle host Rangers once again at Firhill on Tuesday in the League Cup quarter final.read more
Of course, not everyone is even washing them regularly. The study found 18% of men and 10.5% of women wear underwear multiple times without washing them. According to a new study, you should throw away your underwear every YEAR . . . or it becomes a health risk. When do you throw out a pair of underwear? If your answer is, “Only when it has too many holes for me to count” or “Wait, people throw away underwear?” . . . then listen up. Even though you’re washing them after you wear them . . . hopefully . . . old underwear can still develop a buildup of bacteria like E. coli. That can lead to you getting infections down there. And NO ONE wants those infections. And one more thing: The researchers also say you probably shouldn’t wear underwear when you SLEEP . . . nude is better.read more
Perth Airport accounted for almost four in 10 charter passengers in May. Australia’s competition regulator remains worried that limited regulation of the nation’s four big monopoly airports results in big profits that push up airfares.The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission annual review of Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney airports found that all significantly boosted operating profits from aeronautical activities in 2016-17 to a combined $A757.6 million.That was up 9.9 percent in real terms from 2015-16, with Sydney Airport alone earning $360.8 million, the commission said.Sydney Airport earned $18.30 per passenger in aeronautical revenue (up 4.4 percent) while revenue per passenger at Perth Airport grew by 7.2 percent to $15.80.Profit margins for aeronautical services ranged from 34.9 percent in Perth to 46.8 percent in Brisbane.Even with alternatives such as online booking, profit margins for parking also remained high and ranged from 52.4 percent for Perth Airport to 71.9 percent at Sydney Airport in 2016-17.“It is not surprising that the airports are so profitable, given that they face little competitive pressure and no price regulation,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said. “Profits per passenger have also risen at each of the four airports and travelers are paying for this through higher ticket prices.“We remain concerned that the current regulatory regime, which is limited to monitoring the covered airports, doesn’t constrain the market power of four of Australia’s major airports.“Unconstrained monopolies often have an incentive and ability to charge excessive prices while lacking strong incentives to improve services.”READ: Changi Airport fees to produce fare rises of up to 25 percent, says Jetstar CEO.Sims’ comments come as the federal government is expected to ask the Productivity Commission to review the economic regulation of airports for the first time since 2011.Airlines have already beefed up their lobbying efforts with a trans-Tasman industry group, Airlines for Australia and New Zealand, and are expected to call for greater regulation.The competition watchdog, which has raised concerns about airports’ market power in the past, will also put in a submission. It believes a key issue will be the cost and benefit of regulations to constrain the airports’ marketing power in aeronautical and car parking services.But airports will fight to retain the light-handed regulatory approach adopted by the Howard Government and supported by successive governments.The Australian Airports Association hit back at the claim profits were boosting airfares, describing the observation as “peculiar” and noting the ACCC report contained no data on the fares.AAA chief economist Warren Mundy said the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia recently reported that international airfares fell in real terms by about 40 percent while government statistics showed domestic airfares declined in real terms for a decade until last year.“These facts are consistent with the 2011 finding of the Productivity Commission, namely that even if increases in airport charges are passed on to passengers they are unlikely to significantly impact on ticket prices paid by customers,” Mundy said.“Airport charges have risen to fund investment and these charges, along with the investments, have been determined by negotiation between airports and airlines.“These investments have created the infrastructure capacity necessary for Australian airlines to grow and international carriers to enter the market. That’s why ticket prices have fallen, not increased as suggested by Mr Sims.”Mundy also noted that the preferred profit measure used by the Productivity Commission, return on assets, was shown in the ACCC report to be lower now than in 2013 at each of the big four airports.Despite the ACCC’s concerns, service quality at the four airports was rated either satisfactory or good in a combined score that used passenger and airline feedback as well as objective indicators.Passenger tended to rate the airports more highly than airlines, with all four airports categorized as good. Perth was the only airport ranked as good by the airlines.Perth overtook Brisbane to record the highest quality overall rating for the four airports while Sydney and Melbourne were in the top end of the satisfactory range. The ACCC rates airports as very poor, poor, satisfactory, good or excellent.The report noted Perth Airport’s significant improvement in the quality of service ratings from passengers and airlines over the past three years had coincided with a substantial investment program.It said the satisfactory ratings at Sydney or Melbourne had remained relatively unchanged over the past few years, sitting slightly below the threshold for good, while Brisbane had maintained its good overall rating.A snaphot of Australia’s four biggest airports. Source: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.Overall passenger numbers at the four airports grew by 2.7 percent to 115.2 million in 2016-17, with a 6.7 percent rise in international growth the driving force.The competition commission was pleased the airports appeared to be handling the issue of congestion with on-time performance apparently improving.Watch a low visibility Cat IIIA landing from the cockpit.“The four airports are handling 30 million passengers a year more today than they did a decade ago,” Sims said. “But we are pleased the monitored airports appear to be dealing with the challenge of congestion, and three of the four airports are in the process of either constructing or planning a new runway.”The $A1.3 billion runway at Brisbane Airport is the first new runway to be built and is expected to be operational in 2020 but Melbourne and Perth are also planning projects and a new airport is being developed in Western Sydney.The ACCC also pointed to investments such as the Terminal 4 Precinct in Melbourne and Perth Airport’s Terminal 1 Domestic Pier.“With demand for air traffic projected to grow further over the next 10 to 15 years, continued investment in airport infrastructure is needed to expand capacity to meet increasing demand,’’ the competition watchdog said.Also important was a regular federal government review of the curfew and movement restrictions at Sydney Airport to ensure the benefits did not outweigh the costs.This included looking at external factors such as technological improvements in aircraft as well as demand growth and infrastructure investment, the commission said.The ACCC also argued it was vital that the new $A5.3 billion Western Sydney Airport was not hampered by similar restrictions to those imposed in Sydney Airport.“It is important that the benefits of this planning are fully realized by an airport that can operate at all hours of the day, and that this operational freedom is not jeopardized in future by insufficient protection from urban development,’’ it said.“The airport itself should also be designed to minimize environmental and noise impacts.”Disclosure: Steve Creedy also contributes to The Airport Professional published by the Australian Airports Association.read more
Come London 2012 all eyes would be on the Indian hockey team as Bharat Chettri and his men would try sealing their passage to London in style with their victory at the Delhi qualifiers recently.While coach Michael Nobbs and his men have erased the shame of Beijing 2008, when India even failed to qualify for it, their quest to end the three-decade wait for a hockey Olympic medal would be tough and difficult.”We now have to work hard. We are now playing the top teams in the world. They are significantly better than us at this stage. We will improve. We will play against the teams which have been preparing for last six years and we have been into this for last six months,” warned a cautious Nobbs.However, team’s crucial player Sardar Singh was delighted at the achievement in the last few months and was hopeful of doing well in the games.”We are delighted at reaching the Olympics. We have performed better and are peaking at the right time,’ he said.Elated and ecstatic after erasing the shame of Beijing 2008, India’s hockey heroes have been celebrating their return to the game’s ultimate stage. Turning in a series of resounding performances, Chettri and his men stormed their way back to the Olympics with a triumphant show at the Delhi qualifiers. However, the team has been aware that its biggest challenge lies ahead.”It is going to be tough from here. We have to improve our game,” player Sandeep Singh admitted recently.advertisementPitted against the best in the business, Indian players would truly be tested in their quest for glory at London 2012. Having failed to make it to the top four since the 1984 Games, the Indians clearly have their task cut out. And it would take some doing for them to even improve from their eighth place finishes at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.But with the countdown to the Olympics entering its final 100-day stretch, the coach and his wards have set their goals at hitting top gear.”We will be here till we move to England which will be a pre-Olympic test. We will move on the 26th (of July). We will also travel to Australia and Germany,” Nobbs said in Pune.For a nation that has sealed Olympic glory a record eight times, London 2012 presents an opportunity for resurrection and redemption. And a billion would be going all out to cheer their favourite heroes to make it count at the game’s biggest stage.- With inputs from Pankaj Khelkar in Puneread more
Rajasthan failed to make the playoffs and finished fifth in the IPL last seasonThe 2008 Indian Premier League champions, Rajasthan Royals, failed to make the playoffs and finished fifth last season. The Royals, under the guidance of coach Paddy Upton, will be looking to improve their last season’s performance in the latest edition of the IPL.During the IPL Auction this year, Rajasthan Royals spent a staggering Rs 1.40 crore on South African cricketer Christopher Morris. The team also added South African bowler Juan Theron alongside Pradeep Sahu and Sagar Trivedi to boost their squad. The Royals will be lead by Australia’s swashbuckling batsman Shane Watson who was pivotal in his country’s triumphant World Cup campaign. Watto will be supported by Ajinkya Rahane at the top-order who has been a consistent performer with the bat for Royals over the years now. In Steven Smith and Sanju Samson they have two seasoned Twenty20 batsmen who can absorb pressure and accelerate the innings.Their bowling department is comprised of James Faulkner, Tim Southee, Kane Richardson and Vikramjeet Malik. Seasoned cricketer Praveen Tambe and Steven Smith will cater to the spin-bowling for the Rajasthan Royals.With new recruits at their disposal, Royals will be eager to end their trophy drought this year.Players Retained(2015): Shane Watson, Abhishek Nayar, Ajinkya Rahane, Ankit Nagendra Sharma, Ben Cutting, Deepak Hooda, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dishant Yagnik, James Faulkner, Kane Richardson, Karun Nair, Pravin Tambe, Rahul Tewatia, Rajat Bhatia, Sanju Samson, Steven Smith, Stuart Binny, Tim Southee, Vikramjeet Malik.Players Bought(2015): Christopher Morris(Rs 1.40 cr), Juan Theron(Rs 30 lakh), Pradeep Sahu(Rs 10 lakh), Dinesh Salunkhe(Rs 10 lakh), B Singh Saran(Rs 10 lakh) and SV Trivedi(Rs 10 lakh).advertisementPlayers Released(2015): Amit Mishra, Ankush Bains, Brad Hodge.Squad: Shane Watson(c), Abhishek Nayar, Ajinkya Rahane, Ankit Nagendra Sharma, Ben Cutting, Deepak Hooda, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dishant Yagnik, James Faulkner, Kane Richardson, Karun Nair, Pravin Tambe, Rahul Tewatia, Rajat Bhatia, Sanju Samson(wk), Steven Smith, Stuart Binny, Tim Southee, Vikramjeet Malik, Chris Morris, Juan Theron, Barinder Singh Saran, Dinesh Salunkhe, Sagar Trivedi, Pardeep Sahuread more