SOCU’s embattled Head will not return – Minister

first_img…probe into allegations of mismanagement still ongoing…delayed due to James’ illnessEmbattled Head of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), Sydney James, who is currently on administrative leave amidst allegations of mismanagement of funds at the unit will not be returning to his post.Sydney JamesThis is according to Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, who told reporters on Friday that James’ contract has not expired and that he is still on administrative leave.“Some else named Ms Althea Padmore has taken on his functions. So, he is not going to come back to the job,” Ramjattan stated.Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Leslie James, also on Friday, told reporters that the probe into James’ operations at SOCU is still in progress but that his illness has resulted in a delay of its closure.“What I can tell you about Mr James, I understand that he has fallen ill recently and we are following up on that. It is dependent on how soon he recovers from his illness, then we will continue speaking with Mr James. But as you know, there has been a designated Head of SOCU in the person of Ms Althea Padmore and there is a handover that is currently in progress but Mr James is currently sick,” the Top Cop stated.The decision to send James on leave came months after a special audit had unearthed several instances of mismanagement of funds and falsification of documents at the entity. The audit had also found some unaccounted-for expenditure which could not be verified by a paper trail.The audit was ordered by the Police Commissioner in February. Although the Top Cop has not commented on the findings of that audit, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan had described the revelations as “damning”.The probe into the operations of the white-collar crime-fighting Unit was triggered after the former British adviser, Dr Sam Sittlington, had made a number of allegations against the Unit.Following those allegations, James was questioned over allegations of improper spending. This was in light of the ongoing investigation and audit which was conducted after the termination of the British adviser’s services.The Public Security Minister had confirmed that an investigation was ongoing into the matter and he had noted that there were allegations of monies not being spent properly and had said it is now within the jurisdiction of the investigators to understand the spending procedures at SOCU.After being fired amidst a conflict of interest scandal, Sittlington had revealed that SOCU had not been operating in the manner in which it should and he had said there are instances of improper spending.The parliamentary Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has maintained that SOCU, which was set up to fight money-laundering and other white-collar crimes, has become a political Unit under the APNU/AFC regime.The PPP had said that Sittlington was going beyond his advisory role and was taking on executive functions. It was pointed out that Sittlington was going on operations such as raids and arrests.Questions were previously raised about the police investigating James and whether there could be any bias involved; however, the Public Security Minister had assured that the investigation was perfectly normal and that in addition to the police’s own internal audits ongoing at SOCU, the Auditor General could come in and take control of the proceedings.He had said the police auditors were seeking to better understand the systems which had been in place for spending at the agency.last_img read more

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Survey reveals contaminants in most wells

first_imgLos Angeles’ industrial, farming and development history has left traces of contamination in the groundwater throughout the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, according to a new statewide water survey now under way. Unveiling some of the survey’s first findings, state scientists said Wednesday that they detected very low levels of chemicals in almost all of the 35 groundwater wells they tested throughout the region. The results were no surprise to water regulators, who regularly test the aquifer and then filter, treat or dilute groundwater to ensure it’s safe for people to drink from the tap. But the state survey is unique because it measured contaminants at very low levels – smaller than 1part per billion, similar to a single drop in a swimming pool – and found a wide range of new and known contaminants showing up in groundwater. Sampling began in 2004, and scientists are looking for an array of chemical solvents, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and radioactive isotopes. Officials from the U.S. Geological Survey presented preliminary results for the L.A. groundwater basin to water-quality officials Wednesday. They sampled 12 groundwater wells, approximately one every 10square miles in the eastern San Fernando Valley, Eagle Rock and communities at the base of the Verdugo Mountains – where groundwater is pumped. Twenty-three wells were tested in the San Gabriel Valley. The samples were conducted on water straight from the ground. Water is typically filtered, treated or diluted before it’s delivered to customers. Scientists found volatile organic compounds in 33 of the 35 wells tested. The most commonly detected solvent was tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, a chemical once routinely used in dry cleaning and manufacturing; PCE was found in 83percent of wells tested. A handful of wells showed volatile organic compounds above pollution limits. But water from those wells is treated or diluted before being served. Researchers also found very low levels of pesticides in 31 of the 35 wells. Results on whether pharmaceuticals were detected in drinking-water wells are not available yet. “This is not water that people get out of the tap in Los Angeles. If any well becomes an issue, we take it offline and don’t use it,” L.A. Department of Water and Power spokesman Joe Ramallo said. DWP officials weren’t surprised by the range of contaminants found in the region’s groundwater. They have seen the same trend, and it’s an issue they have struggled with for years, Ramallo said. “There is no doubt that groundwater as a viable resource in Los Angeles is threatened. That’s why we’ve taken an aggressive stand against polluters.” The San Fernando Valley basin provides about 15percent of L.A.’s drinking water. Over the years, however, pollution has jeopardized that crucial supply. The DWP and neighboring cities have been trying to clean up a legacy of contamination started in the 1940s when heavy industry, defense contractors and aerospace businesses set up shop along the rail lines in Glendale, Burbank and the eastern San Fernando Valley and spilled chemicals on the ground that seeped into the aquifer below. The U.S. Geological Survey will publish a full report on the sampling results later this year. The group is beginning water-well testing in the Santa Clara River groundwater basin next month. kerry.cavanaugh@dailynews.com (213) 978-0390 Information Survey results are not available online yet, but more information on the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring Assessment program is available at www.waterboards.ca.gov/gama. “This data can be used to characterize water quality long before problems arise,” said Kenneth Belitz, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “It provides early awareness of constituents of concern.” Belitz said the survey is not an indicator of what people are actually drinking, but rather an assessment of the aquifer that supplies drinking water. The work is part of a 10-year, $50million study being conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and sponsored by the California State Water Resources Control Board. Legislators ordered the analysis with the Groundwater Quality Monitoring Act of 2001, which sought to understand what is in California’s drinking water and how to address emerging pollution problems. last_img read more

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Datebook

first_imgArts & Crafts Spring Show, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today and Sunday, Moorpark Park, Moorpark Street and Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Studio City. Call (818) 775-3877. Mail Datebook entries – including time, date, location and phone number – to Daily News City Desk, P.O. Box 4200, Woodland Hills, CA 91365; fax (818) 713-0058; e-mail dnmetro@dailynews.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SATURDAY Poodle Obedience Club dog show, 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Gabrieleno Park, 11127 Orcas St., Lake View Terrace. Call (818) 899-8087. YMCA/Burbank Fire Department pancake breakfast, 7:30-10 a.m., Fire Department headquarters, 311 E. Orange Grove Ave. Cost: $4. Call (818) 845-8551, Ext. 236. 5K Race/Walk-a-thon, 8 a.m., Central Park, 27250 Bouquet Canyon Road, Santa Clarita. On-site and online registration fees: $20 students K-12, $30 adults. Call (818) 535-5060. Revlon 5K Run/Walk for Women, 8:45 a.m., Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum/Exposition Park. On-site registration ($30) begins at 7 a.m. Only guide dogs allowed. Parking at USC and adjacent lots. Car-pooling encouraged. Call (310) 322-3344. L.A. River Cleanup Day, 9 a.m.-noon. San Fernando Valley cleanup sites are the Tujunga Wash and the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area. Call (323) 223-0585. Councilman Greig Smith’s Chatsworth equestrian neighborhood ride-along, 9:30 a.m., Stoney Point Ranch, 10861 Andora Ave. Call (818) 464-3511. Centennial Fire Service Day, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Glendale Fire Station No. 21, 421 Oak St. Pancake breakfast, 9 a.m-noon. Donations accepted. Call (818) 548-6404. Southern California Garden Club Standard Flower Show, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sepulveda Garden Center, 16633 Magnolia Blvd., Encino. Call (818) 781-4537. last_img read more

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Graham Poll blasts referee Michael Oliver for League Cup performance

first_img1 Former Premier League referee Graham Poll has questioned the performance of Michael Oliver during last night’s Capital One Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.The engrossing encounter was riddled with controversial incidents, not least surrounding Blues hitman Diego Costa, as Chelsea edged past the Reds 2-1 on aggregate to reach the final.Oliver came under scrutiny for his display for failing to send Costa off for stamping on Emre Can and Martin Skrtel, but Poll believes Oliver’s failure to dismiss Jordan Henderson for a late handball was his worst decision.“The Henderson decision more than any other is the most simple, straightforward second yellow card you will ever see. It was verging on impartial,” said Poll.The ex-referee hinted that perhaps the occasion got the better of Oliver and that he may have been under instruction to ensure all 22 players remained on the pitch.While Costa was accused of being overly aggressive at times, Chelsea’s top scorer was also denied a penalty after a clash with Skrtel – much to the bemusement of Poll.Poll said: “The penalty was bizarre – he’s either kicked Costa for a penalty or there is no contact and Costa has dived.“I am just grateful at the end of the game that Chelsea got through as it would have been a tragedy.”Poll also jumped to the defence of striker Costa, but admitted that the striker is likely to face retrospective action after a series of distasteful clashes.“If I was working with the FA on this there would definitely be a charge coming for Chelsea,” added Poll.“I feel sorry for the guy though. He’s not getting protected so he feels he has to take it into his own hands. A super player like that could miss the pivotal games of the season.”If Costa is found guilty of misconduct, he could miss the crunch league clash with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.last_img read more

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Whittier council raises fence height for homeowners along Greenway Trail

first_imgWHITTIER – The City Council has agreed to allow homeowners along the Greenway Trail taller fences as a way of providing more privacy and making up for the trees chopped down in some areas 13 months ago. The council voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve the first reading of the ordinance that raises the maximum height from 8 to 10 feet. “This is another opportunity to help residents along the trail,” Councilman Joe Vinatieri said. “We will have people going east and west all times of the day. We will have a lot more looky-loos looking into the back yard than before.” The problem is that the 4.5-mile long trail is at a higher grade than homes in some areas. And to make it worse, trees, which provided privacy for some homeowners near Palm Park, were cut down in September 2006. 165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas Citylast_img read more

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Relief’s ahead for Highway 14 north of Mojave

first_imgMOJAVE – A $44.9 million widening project will turn a 10.2-mile section of Highway 14 north of Mojave into a divided expressway and revamp its troublesome intersection with California City Boulevard. The California Department of Transportation awarded Granite Construction the contract to expand the highway from two lanes to four lanes from the northern edge of Mojave to about five miles north of California City Boulevard. The work is expected to begin this month. The anticipated completion is summer 2008, said Caltrans spokeswoman Gloria Samaniego. Heavily used by skiers headed to Mammoth Lakes and other travelers to the Owens Valley, the highway is mostly two lanes just north of Mojave. The highway widens to four lanes at the intersection with California City Boulevard, where motorists must halt for stop signs. “That intersection will become an interchange with on- and off-ramps,” Samaniego said. “It will be what we call a cloverleaf.” As the intersection is now configured, motorists leaving California City and heading south must stop at a stop sign for the two northbound lanes of Highway 14. After crossing the northbound lanes, vehicles must make a complete stop again in the highway median before turning onto the two southbound lanes. Since 1999, when the center median was added at the intersection, the intersection has had more than 50 crashes. In April 2003, a Rosamond couple was killed and four others injured when their car was struck by a big rig while they were trying to cross the northbound lanes of Highway 14. The intersection’s deadliest crash occurred in 1994, when four Los Angeles-area residents were killed when a car turning onto the highway was struck by a van. Jim Skeen, (661) 267-5743 james.skeen@dailynews.com AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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DD LOCAL – DRUMKEEN TO HOST CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR SENIOR CITIZENS

first_imgDrumkeen Youth ClubYouth Club this Fri 29th Nov from 7:30-9:30 pm. Leaders on duty this week: Lauren Guthrie, Sandra Kennedy, John McLaughlin. We would like to express our gratitude to Airtricity for their generous donation to the youth club.Special thanks to Benny from AB Fitness who gave our members a fun workout last week. The varied exercises and training methods proved very popular with everyone. Club Hoodies now available only €20 and can be paid for in installments. We will have a club outing in the next few weeks, details on Fri night.Senior Citizens Annual Christmas DinnerThe Christmas dinner for our Senior Citizens will take place on Sun 01st Dec 2013 beginning with mass at 6 pm in St. Patrick’s church followed by dinner and music at 7 pm in the local hall. Please contact Matt O’ Kane on 074 9134104 or Michael Mc Namee on 074 9134163. Charlie Daly & H-Block Martyrs Sinn Féin Cumann DrumkeenLotto Results 13th Nov 08, 09, 19, 21. No jackpot winner. 1 winner Laurence Arbuckle, Muff €100 Next weeks jackpot €675. Go raibh maith agat.Debut CD “Ripple”Local musician Simon Mc Cafferty has just released his Debut CD “Ripple” An original instrumental acoustic guitar session. Price of the CD is only €5 and is on sale at Drumkeen Post Office and the Raphoe Café. Simon can be contacted at goofsgaff@gmail.com or check out his Facebook pageSimon Mc Cafferty Music.Irish Conversational Classes Classes continue in St. Patrick’s N.S. From 7-9 pm. and is part funded by Donegal ETB. Go raibh maith agat.Jiving LessonsJiving lessons continues in St. Patrick’s hall every Mon night at 9 pm, everyone welcome.Parish Hall Anyone wishing to book the hall should contact Charlie Quinn on 91/34010 or 087 7728608Drumkeen NotesAnyone wishing to have material included for next weekPlease Email: drumkeennotes@gmail.com or text 086 4083625 (Deadline Fri @ 8pm)DD LOCAL – DRUMKEEN TO HOST CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR SENIOR CITIZENS was last modified: November 23rd, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Drumkeen local newslast_img read more

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Conroy will finally face old Flames

first_img It helps that the Kings (6-2) are coming off two consecutive road wins in which Conroy broke out of an early slump with two goals and five assists. “I’m excited,” Conroy said. “It’s a chance to play your former team, it’s at home and it’s a big game for us because we’d love to go to 7-2. It’s going to be fun to play against those guys.” It’s been a long wait for Craig Conroy, but the Kings’ center will finally take the ice against his former team tonight when Calgary visits Staples Center. Conroy played three seasons with the Flames, helping them reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003-2004 before signing with the Kings as a free agent later that summer. The NHL lockout delayed his reunion with his former mates more than a year, but now that the day is finally here he’s definitely looking forward to it. The Flames hardly resemble the team Conroy played with, returning just 10 players from the club that lost to Tampa Bay in seven games in the finals. That may account for their slow start this year, winning just four of their first eight games before playing at Dallas Saturday. “It’s definitely a different team but the expectations are always high in Calgary,” Conroy said. “We just want to play our game, hopefully get off to a quick start and put them in a position to have to play catch up.” Conroy was surprised to hear there’s been talk in Calgary that the Flames miss their former center, although he doesn’t hold a grudge that the team didn’t bring him back. According to Conroy, it was simply a decision by coach/general manager Darryl Sutter to being in his type of players. “You have to go with guys who you feel comfortable with and I guess that’s what he decided to do,” Conroy said. Cowan returns: Jeff Cowan practiced for the first time Saturday since suffering the groin injury that’s kept the forward out of six games, although it’s uncertain if he’ll play tonight against the Flames. center_img “It’s been a nagging injury and it’s taken it’s time healing but the last couple of days have been good on the ice and it felt great to get out there today with the guys,” Cowan said. Cowan will leave the decision whether he suits up or not to the coaches. Another practice might be helpful just to get back into the swing of things,” Cowan said. “But if it’s not Sunday definitely Tuesday.” Avery uncertain: Sean Avery returned to the ice after suffering an ankle sprain in Wednesday’s win over Colorado. Avery missed Thursday’s win over Dallas and a decision on his status will be made today. “He looked much improved,” Kings coach Andy Murray said. Vincent Bonsignore, (818) 713-3612 vincent.bonsignore@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Pakistani rape victim to get award

first_imgLAHORE, Pakistan – A Pakistani woman who won international fame but irked the government for speaking out about her gang rape left for the United States on Saturday to receive an award for her courage. Mukhtar Mai, 36, has been declared Woman of the Year 2005 by Glamour, an American women’s magazine. She’s due to receive the award with a $20,000 cash prize on Nov. 2 in New York. Past winners include U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Mai braved social stigma by going public over her June 2002 assault, which was ordered by a village council in retaliation for her brother’s alleged affair with a woman from a higher-caste family. “I am a born Pakistani and prefer to live in my own country … I am going to America to receive my award and will get back soon after,” she said. Mai said she will use the trip to collect donations for victims of this month’s monster earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people in Pakistan. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Her case attracted international attention, and using donations from well-wishers, she has since set up a school for girls in her rural community. The legal case against her alleged attackers is still being heard in Pakistan’s Supreme Court. In June, Pakistan’s President Gen. Pervez Musharraf barred Mai from traveling to the United States at the invitation of a rights group, fearing it would bring bad publicity to Pakistan, but later backtracked after Washington protested. Last month, the Pakistani leader also got tangled in a controversy for reportedly telling a newspaper that many Pakistanis regard rape as a way for the victim to make money and get a visa to leave the country. Musharraf later denied saying that. Mai left Saturday for the United States on a flight from the eastern city of Lahore. She said she had no plans to stay in America. last_img read more

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Visa issues threaten Huntington garden

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SAN MARINO – For the construction of its new 12-acre Chinese Garden, The Huntington Library is importing key materials from China, including hand-crafted lattice windows, roof tiles and sculptural rocks. But operating in a post-9/11 world, it is now in the midst of a struggle to obtain another key element: Chinese craftsmen skilled at stone-carving.The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has denied applications for temporary exchange visas for 11 Suzhou artisans.Originally scheduled to arrive this month, the stone-carvers are needed to create bridges for the garden.“There is a lot of training and apprenticeships involved. It’s an expertise and craftsmanship you can’t find here,” said Laurie Sowd, operations director for The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. “We really wanted that authentic feel for the garden.” Sowd said she received a standard letter of notification and is appealing the decision.The update was announced as part of a San Marino City Council meeting Friday with overseers and senior staff from The Huntington. The joint meeting marked the first time the library’s master plan was presented publicly. Officials said applications for a temporary cultural exchange visa for the craftsmen were submitted in the spring.According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Web site, the “Q” visa is for “the purpose of providing practical training and employment, and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of the participant’s home country in the United States.”Created in 2003, the USCIS is part of the Department of Homeland Security. The agency performs some functions formerly done by the now-defunct U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, which was part of the Department of Justice.The visa application is complicated by the fact that the artisans would technically be employees of contractors, though sponsored by The Huntington, an educational and research institute. The craftsmen would stay for about 2 1/2 months to design and install the stonework. It is important to have the work done on-site so other design elements, such as vistas, could be incorporated, Sowd said.Later, when work on pavilions was done, more artisans would be brought in for a longer period of time. The Portland Classical Chinese Garden in Oregon has had similar visa troubles. Two years ago, a group of musicians was denied visas and unable to perform at the garden, said Gloria Lee, executive director of the Portland garden, which was constructed in 1999. Lee said she had noticed a marked difference in the handling of visa applications since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, construction continues with other aspects of The Huntington’s Chinese Garden.Phase one consists of a three-acre Summer Garden. So far, the outline of a one-acre lake has been dug out and footing for a tea house and bridges have been put in.“It looks simply like dirt has been moved around, but it’s so much more than that,” said Huntington spokeswoman Susan Turner-Lowe.The infrastructure for the garden is especially complicated because traditional Chinese architecture has to be adapted for a seismically active area. An “unbelievable amount of engineering” has also gone into water management in the form of retaining walls and pumps for the lake, Turner-Lowe said. Water will stream to the existing Japanese Garden and back.To date, $10 million has been raised for the Summer Garden. Construction on pavilions will begin after another $5 million has been raised. The garden will open temporarily after the lake area is completed; the entire garden is scheduled for completion around 2008.“It’s a complicated project and there are things that come up to make it more complicated,” Turner-Lowe said.“It is the most ambitious project in the last 10 years. We hope it will be a center for the Chinese diaspora.” patricia.ho@sgvn.com(626) 578-6300, Ext. 4586last_img read more

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