“The court of Additional Sessions Judge M.A. Khan acquitted both the accused of all the charges as the prosecution could not establish any of the charges levelled against them,” advocate M.S. Khan said over phone.Mr. Wani, who was arrested by the Delhi Police in 2001 allegedly with explosives and incriminating material, is a resident of Peeparkari area of Srinagar and is currently lodged in a Lucknow jail.The blast was carried out on Independence Day eve when the train was on its way from Muzaffarpur to Ahmedabad. Nine people were killed in the blast. SC pulls up trial court in Sabarmati train blasts case Former Aligarh Muslim University scholar Gulzar Ahmed Wani was on Saturday acquitted by a Barabanki court of the charge of orchestrating a blast in Sabarmati Express in 2000.According to the counsel for the accused, the court freed Mr. Wani and co-accused Mobin due to lack of evidence.Also Read
Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt claimed that the thousands of pounds of cash discovered by British police at his hotel room during spot-fixing investigation in late August was part of his legitimate tour allowances.Butt and pacemen Mohammad Asif and Mohammed Aamer were provisionally suspended by International Cricket Council following allegations of spot-fixing in a News of the World sting expose.The British tabloid had claimed that the Pakistani trio had conspired with London-based bookie Mazhar Majeed to bowl deliberate no-balls for money during the fourth Test against England at Lord’s in August.There were subsequent accusations that police had discovered USD 24,036 in marked notes in Butt’s hotel room.However, Butt said the wades of money were legitimate as they were tour allowances given to him by the Pakistan Cricket Board.”Well I think everybody knows the Pakistan Cricket Board pays us daily allowances on tours and it was a long tour,” he said in an excerpt of interview at his Lahore home with Sky Sports due to be broadcast later.”About 11,000 pounds of that money was from our daily allowances and being the captain I had an extra entertainment allowance which amounts to about 4,500 pounds from the tour, which I had with me,” said Butt.Butt’s case, and that of Asif and Aamer, will be heard by a three-man panel chaired by English lawyer Michael Beloff, who heads the ICC’s code of conduct commission, at a hearing in Doha, Qatar, next month.Butt said he is determined to resume playing professional cricket and his love for the game has not diminished despite the spot-fixing scandal.advertisement”The love of the game has got me there and that love is bigger than anything. I still remain positive and I know what I’m made of and where I’ve come from, and how I’ve played my cricket. Believe me, it has been a lot of passion all throughout my life,” he said.Asked if he was worried he would never play at the top level again, Butt said “I would certainly not like to think like that.”Butt also spoke about the support he’s received since spot fixing allegations came out in late August.With inputs from PTI
The troubles plaguing the Australian Test team will have little bearing on their one-day side’s performance in the three-match series against New Zealand starting on Sunday, according to Black Caps coach Mike Hesson.Steve Smith’s Test side have been pilloried by fans and their own media after they lost their latest series 2-1 at home to South Africa.That defeat came on the back of a 5-0 one-day series loss in South Africa and a 3-0 Test series defeat in Sri Lanka, leading to plenty of questions being asked about administrators, management and the players. (Glenn Maxwell back on the big stage to push credentials for India)Hesson, however, said Australia’s one-day unit was far more settled than the Test team and his side could not presume such turmoil would be evident at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.”It has been remarkably consistent barring the South African series,” Hesson told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.”They have been very good for a number of years and are currently number one in the world.”I don’t think the unsettled nature of the Test side will carry over to the one-day side.”The timing of the one-dayers, which includes matches in Canberra on December 6 and ends in Melbourne on December 9, has been questioned by some Australian pundits, with it falling between Test series against the Proteas and Pakistan.Smith also told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday it was not “ideal” but his team would just need to adapt, something Hesson agreed with.advertisement”Both teams have been aware about that calendar for the last 18 months so I don’t think it has snuck up on anybody,” Hesson said.”We are all aware that we have to rotate from one form or another on a weekly basis and that’s just part of being an international cricketer.”Hesson added with the international retirements of players like former captain Brendon McCullum, Grant Elliott, Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills, his team were in transition from the one that lost the 2015 World Cup final against Australia.”We are missing some key players. We lost over 1,000 international games (of experience) since the World Cup,” Hesson said. “Replacing that experience is a real challenge, but we have got a few new guys who are unknown.”Lockie (Ferguson) is one of those,” Hesson added of the uncapped fast bowler. “Lockie is capable of bowling at pace and… with Adam Milne missing he gives us that point of difference in our attack.”It’s difficult because it is his first series and there will be some nerves but he’s a confident character.”
The Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation (HZPF) has received a well-needed donation of some $4 million, which will go toward protecting animals that are found only in Jamaica. The funds are being made available under the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, and will go toward the Zoo’s biodiversity project, ‘The Establishment of Sanctuaries for Protected Flora and Fauna and Providing Energy Efficient Transportation for Educational Tours’. The animal species that are being protected are those under threat of extinction. Speaking at the official launch of the project at the Hope Zoo Restaurant Gazebo in St. Andrew on Friday, February 22, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke said the project is quite significant, as it is critical that Jamaica protects and preserves its endemic species. “Not only are we going to develop the zoo, but even more important is the educational aspect of it, which will bring the people here, teach the people that it is in their interest that we must preserve our biodiversity,” he stated, adding, “It is a part of our heritage and it must remain so.” The Minister further congratulated the Kenneth Benjamin-led HZPF on the tremendous work they have done over the past few years in restoring the Hope Zoo, which is considered a national treasure. He noted that the restoration of the Zoo is a perfect example of what private/public sector partnership can achieve. “You have taken this 2030 Vision very seriously, because what you have developed here is a world class facility and this is just the beginning. This place has risen like a phoenix from the ashes and it’s going to soar because of the efforts that you have put in it,” he stated. The key goals of the biodiversity project include: improving the husbandry standards for the key local species; and promoting awareness among Jamaicans about the need to protect their biodiversity. Jamaica ranks fifth in the world for its endemic species, boasting over 8,000 species of plants and animals have been recorded on the island. The country also has more than 6,000 species of flowering plants, including ferns and lichens of which 28 per cent are endemic. The country also has 120 species of butterflies, 19 species of frogs, 113 species of breeding birds, and 100 species of migratory birds. In his remarks Resident Representative, UNDP, Dr. Arun Kashyap, said the project underscores the UNDP’s commitment to working with partners to identify and implement appropriate interventions that meet the development needs of Jamaica. “The project supports our overarching goals of achieving the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and ensuring that there is sustainable development beyond 2015,” he said. “The assistance being given to Jamaica will help to further put the country on a path to realising the Vision 2030 Development Plan,” he stated.“The project supports our overarching goals of achieving the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and ensuring that there is sustainable development beyond 2015,” he said. “The assistance being given to Jamaica will help to further put the country on a path to realising the Vision 2030 Development Plan,” he stated.
The Canadian PressOTTAWA – A panel advising the government on how to overhaul the National Energy Board says the regulator should be dismantled and replaced with two new agencies, all within a more coherent national energy policy.The five-member panel, appointed last fall, presented its report this morning to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.After months of public hearings and talking to stakeholders, the panel says the National Energy Board has been given an impossible task: regulating the growth of the industry and marrying its growth with the government’s climate-change goals.The panel recommends the government create a new national strategy which incorporates Ottawa’s policy vision on energy, the environment, and the economy.And it says the government should take up to a year to itself consider whether any new project proposals align with that vision.It recommends dismantling the board and replacing it with two agencies to separate the functions of regulation and review from the analysis and production of energy-related information.The government is accepting comments online on the panel recommendations until June 14.The review fulfills part of Carr’s ministerial mandate to “modernize the National Energy Board to ensure that its composition reflects regional views and has sufficient expertise in fields such as environmental science, community development and indigenous traditional knowledge.”The former Conservative government passed legislation in 2012 that allowed cabinet to override the board’s rejection decisions. Prior to that change, cabinet only saw projects the board had recommended for approval.The government ought not be able to overturn a National Energy Board decision except through the courts, Lesley Matthews, an energy industry consultant and former Kinder Morgan Canada, wrote in a commentary for the C.D. Howe Institute.“What’s the point of going through this process of having people present evidence and having the decision made on evidence if it can just be made on non-evidence,” Matthews said in an interview.At the same time, the government needs an energy policy framework for the country that would serve as the guidebook to the national regulator as to whether or not a particular project fits Canada’s vision.A perceived conflict of interest derailed the board’s review process for the Energy East pipeline project last year after some of the appointees met privately with former Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who was lobbying on behalf of TransCanada Corp., the company proposing the project.Matthews said the government and its regulator should review whether the board’s headquarters should be in Calgary, where its operates alongside the head offices of many of the companies it is supposed to regulate.Erin Flanagan, program director of federal policy for the Pembina Institute, said the role of performing environmental assessments should be confined to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.As it stands, the National Energy Board and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission are the only two national bodies that still do their own environmental assessments, Flanagan noted.The National Energy Board has a mandate to regulate the construction and operation of fossil fuel pipelines and power lines that cross provincial or international borders, as well as the imports and exports of natural gas, the export of oil and electricity and oil and gas exploration.It is an arm’s length, quasi-judicial tribunal that reports to Parliament via the natural resources minister.