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Suspects held after Pakistan alcohol poisoning kills 34

Author: 
AFP
Thu, 2016-12-29
ID: 
1482969226991863800

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani police on Wednesday caught three men accused of preparing home-made liquor mixed with aftershave that killed 34 people including a fourth suspect after they consumed the toxic brew on Christmas Eve.
More than a hundred people were also sickened in the incident, one of the country’s deadliest cases of mass alcohol poisoning, which happened in a Christian neighborhood in the town of Toba Tek Singh some 340 kilometers (211 miles) south of Islamabad.
“Four people have been identified who prepared and distributed the toxic liquor,” senior police official Atif Imran, who is investigating the case, told AFP, adding the group had also consumed the alcohol themselves.
“One of them died because of the liquor, two others are in critical condition while the fourth is in police custody,” he added.
The suspect in police custody had confessed to preparing the brew by mixing it with 20 liters of aftershave and other chemicals.
The development was confirmed by another senior police official Usman Akram Gondal.
Though legal breweries exist in Pakistan, alcohol sales and consumption are banned for Muslims and tightly regulated for minorities and foreigners.
While wealthy Pakistanis buy foreign alcohol on the black market at heavily inflated prices, the poor often consume home brews that can contain methanol, commonly used in anti-freeze and fuel.
Eleven Christians died in October after consuming toxic liquor at a party in Punjab province. In October 2014, 29 drinkers were killed after consuming methanol-tainted liquor over the Eid holidays.

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Indian train derails injuring 61

Author: 
Reuters
Thu, 2016-12-29
ID: 
1482969226851863300

NEW DELHI: A train derailed in India on Wednesday injuring 61 people, police and rail officials said, the third significant accident in recent months that have raised concern about the safety of the aging rail network.
The train came off the tracks and crashed near the northern city of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh state early in the morning.
“Our latest assessment is that 61 people got injured in the accident and two sustained grievous injuries,” said Anil Kumar Saxena, spokesman for Indian Railways.
The train had just pulled out of the station and its speed was “rather slow,” he said.
Television footage from the scene showed mangled, toppled carriages. Two coaches had fallen off a bridge into a small canal while some passengers were seen picking up their luggage from near the tracks.
India’s creaking railway system is the world’s fourth largest. It runs 11,000 trains a day, including 7,000 passenger trains carrying more than 20 million people.
But it has a poor safety record, with thousands of people dying every year in derailments, collisions and other accidents.
This was the third accident significant in recent months.
On Nov. 20, at least 146 people were killed when a train derailed near the same city.
A train rammed into a van taking children to school at a level crossing in north India in July, killing eight of them.
Railways minister Suresh Prabhu has promised to replace old tracks and upgrade safety systems. The government spends more than 90 percent of the railways’ revenues on operational costs, leaving little for upgrades of the colonial-era system.
Some analysts estimate the railways need 20 trillion rupees ($293.21 billion) of investment by 2020, and India is turning to partnerships with private companies and seeking loans from other countries to upgrade the network.

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Notorious prison escapee dies in S. Africa

Author: 
AFP
Thu, 2016-12-29
ID: 
1482969226961863600

JOHANNESBURG: A prisoner who escaped twice from high-security jails in South Africa died while being treated for an illness that guards reportedly at first suspected was part of another escape plot, officials said Wednesday.
Convicted murderer, rapist and armed burglar Ananias Mathe, from Mozambique, was renowned from his many audacious attempts to break out of prison.
He died in hospital in Durban on Tuesday “due to complications with digestive issues,” correctional services spokesman Thulani Mdluli Kwazulu told the SABC state broadcaster.
“We have been giving Ananias Mathe (the) medical attention he deserves for the past three months,” he said.
In 2006, Mathe achieved notoriety when he became the first person to ever escape from the maximum high-security C-Max Penitentiary in Pretoria. He was reported to have smeared himself in petroleum jelly, squeezed through a tiny window, broken down a wall and used a steel bed bar for a hook to hold a rope made from bed linen and clothes.
However, it was also suspected that he had inside help, and six prison wardens were dismissed over his escape.

After two weeks on the run, Mathe — dubbed by police as “the ultimate criminal” — was tracked down and captured when he was cornered in a house and stabbed a security guard in the eye with a screwdriver.
He was shot three times in the leg in that incident.
Mathe also escaped from Johannesburg Central police station’s high-risk detention facility in 2005, as well as making various failed escape attempts that included sawing though bars and chiselling holes in walls.
He died after being taken to hospital from Kokstad high-security prison in KwaZulu-Natal province.
“I think it was a genuine sickness,” an unnamed prison official told the Times Live website.
“Not so long ago he was caught trying to escape’ and when this happened we thought it was another attempt’ especially because it is the festive season.”
Mathe, aged about 39, was said to have had extensive military training in Mozambique.

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More Bad News For NYC Real Estate As Luxury Co-Op Contracts Collapse 25%

Luxury real estate broker Olshan Realty, Inc. has some bad news for New York’s hedge fund managers looking to dump their luxury $5 million, 1,500 square foot palaces as the market for luxury New York City real estate just might be on the verge of collapse.  Accroding to a year end report published by Olshan, contracts for luxury co-ops (defined as those with an asking price above $4mm) collapsed 25% in 2016 while the average number of days that apartments sat on the market surged 31% and discounts to original listing price also jumped a point to 6%.

The decline reflects classic price resistance. There was a 2% increase in the average asking price, but a 30% increase in the average days on the market—318 days. You read that right—it took more than two months longer to sell a luxury property in 2016 than in 2015. The average price drop from listing to contract signing was 6%, an increase from 5% in 2015. There was also a 5% decline in contracts signed at $10 million and above.

 

The steepest fall from grace was in co-ops: 25% fewer contracts at $4 million and above from 2015, signaling a continuing market shift in the luxury market to new condos that offer freedom of ownership, new infrastructure, robust amenities, and some hip architecture—particularly seen Downtown.

NYC Condos

 

Of course, this news should come as little surprise to our readers as we’ve frequently written about the unintended consequences of the massive overbuild of luxury apartment inventory over the past several years in Manhattan. 

In fact, a few weeks ago we warned New York City apartment owners to take note of the latest 3Q16 “Elliman Report” that showed the number of apartment closings had plunged 18.6% YoY while apartments sat on the market an average of 8.2% longer.  Inventory also spiked with new development inventory up a massive 27.2%.   

The number of re-sales has fallen year over year in each of the last four quarters at an increasing rate.  Listing inventory reflected significant differences in the rate of growth between re-sale and new development.  Re-sale inventory expanded 8.2% to 5,290 while new development inventory surged 27.2% to 973 respectively from the same period a year ago.

NYC Real Estate

 

Meanwhile, the re-sale market looked even more bleak, on a standalone basis, as the number of closings collapsed over 20% YoY while days on the market increased 7.5%

NYC Real Estate

 

The lesson seems to be that the marginal New York City buyer has been priced out of the market while sellers have not yet accepted that the bubble has burst deciding instead to maintain listing prices while letting their apartments sit on the market longer amid growing inventory levels…that should work out well…

The post More Bad News For NYC Real Estate As Luxury Co-Op Contracts Collapse 25% appeared first on crude-oil.top.



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Female lawyers in Saudi courts: ‘We are equal to male counterparts’

Author: 
AISHA FAREED
Thu, 2016-12-29
ID: 
1482967263631718700

JEDDAH: After years of being prohibited from appearing in court, female lawyers in 2013 achieved a significant victory in being able to practice law and argue their cases in
Saudi courtrooms.
Female lawyers have the right to advocate for issues that are not only women-related, but cover a variety of cases such as commercial, personal and labor affairs.
They were not content to just obtain a license to practice law — they demanded to be included in legal committees and bodies, including the Saudi Bar Association.
On their way to realizing their rights, female lawyers had to overcome many obstacles in law offices and courtrooms to work legally and formally under the Ministry of Justice.
Some did not limit their work to the domestic sphere, undertaking studies and research on legal problems at an international level.
A research paper by lawyer Huda Omar Ba-Shmail, entitled “Investment disputes settlement within the framework of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the Protection of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI),” was published in an American banking trade magazine.
Bayan Zahran, a Jeddah-based attorney who in January 2014 became the first Saudi woman to open a law firm, says women’s presence in courtrooms long predated the granting of licenses.
“I’ve been arguing my cases since opening my law firm officially, but even before the license we used to do the same through attorneyship,” she said.
Women have been authorized lawyers in Saudi courts for three years. They are recognized, and have rights and duties like their male counterparts based on the Saudi legal system.
Zahran said expertise dictated which cases a lawyer could argue: “As long as a lawyer, male or female, has the expertise that qualifies him or her to obtain the law license, they can argue any cases without exceptions.”
Some 90 percent of her clients are women, as women usually prefer someone who can relate to their issues, and Saudi Arabia is a conservative place where they would hesitate to talk freely with male lawyers.
Female lawyers can also get male clients who are willing to hire them. Zahran was recently hired by a group of male doctors to get their rights from a hospital they work at.
Among the obstacles female lawyers have had to deal with is society’s view of such a job for women. Some people did not accept their presence in courtrooms alongside men.
Zahran said ignoring negative feedback was the best approach: “Criticism doesn’t really mean anything to me. What I truly care about is my job, delivering justice and improving work standards in a good and humanitarian manner.”
There are neither specific regulations nor privileges that apply to female lawyers in the Saudi legal system.
Zahran says some fresh graduates have the wrong idea about the nature of their work, whereby female lawyers are treated differently than their male counterparts.
“If women keep in mind that law is all about sticking to the text, and interpreting and using it in a way that serves justice, they can defend their rights as lawyers.”
A number of female lawyers have volunteered to provide legal aid for those unable to hire lawyers in family and labor cases via a charitable initiative organized by the Takamul Investment Company in Jeddah.
The initiative involves training, employment assistance for participating lawyers, and legal services for those who cannot plead for themselves or afford to hire lawyers, says Takamul’s president, lawyer Majed Garoub.
As part of the initiative, graduates from regions throughout the Kingdom have been trained by jurists, judges, academics and members of judicial committees.
Volunteers undergo a training program to provide a thousand hours of voluntary work within five years.
Dima Talal Al-Sharif, a legal consultant at the Health, Food and Medicine Department at The Law Firm of Majed M. Garoub, said Saudi female lawyers were “the pioneers of the human rights renaissance in the Kingdom, where they have added much to the prosperity of this profession.”
Al-Sharif, who is a member of the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA), says practicing law is not a profession or a title, but a passion and a challenge to prove oneself.
“This is what I saw and experienced through the participation of a large number of female lawyers at the Takamul initiative,” she said.
Al-Sharif expressed her wish that her colleagues get the encouragement and trust of Saudi society so they could give more.
“I wish that the voice of female lawyers in Saudi Arabia reaches greater places in the field of human rights in the Middle East and globally, not just in the Kingdom.”

Main category: 

No Picture

Female lawyers in Saudi courts: ‘We are equal to male counterparts’

Author: 
AISHA FAREED
Thu, 2016-12-29
ID: 
1482967263631718700

JEDDAH: After years of being prohibited from appearing in court, female lawyers in 2013 achieved a significant victory in being able to practice law and argue their cases in
Saudi courtrooms.
Female lawyers have the right to advocate for issues that are not only women-related, but cover a variety of cases such as commercial, personal and labor affairs.
They were not content to just obtain a license to practice law — they demanded to be included in legal committees and bodies, including the Saudi Bar Association.
On their way to realizing their rights, female lawyers had to overcome many obstacles in law offices and courtrooms to work legally and formally under the Ministry of Justice.
Some did not limit their work to the domestic sphere, undertaking studies and research on legal problems at an international level.
A research paper by lawyer Huda Omar Ba-Shmail, entitled “Investment disputes settlement within the framework of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the Protection of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI),” was published in an American banking trade magazine.
Bayan Zahran, a Jeddah-based attorney who in January 2014 became the first Saudi woman to open a law firm, says women’s presence in courtrooms long predated the granting of licenses.
“I’ve been arguing my cases since opening my law firm officially, but even before the license we used to do the same through attorneyship,” she said.
Women have been authorized lawyers in Saudi courts for three years. They are recognized, and have rights and duties like their male counterparts based on the Saudi legal system.
Zahran said expertise dictated which cases a lawyer could argue: “As long as a lawyer, male or female, has the expertise that qualifies him or her to obtain the law license, they can argue any cases without exceptions.”
Some 90 percent of her clients are women, as women usually prefer someone who can relate to their issues, and Saudi Arabia is a conservative place where they would hesitate to talk freely with male lawyers.
Female lawyers can also get male clients who are willing to hire them. Zahran was recently hired by a group of male doctors to get their rights from a hospital they work at.
Among the obstacles female lawyers have had to deal with is society’s view of such a job for women. Some people did not accept their presence in courtrooms alongside men.
Zahran said ignoring negative feedback was the best approach: “Criticism doesn’t really mean anything to me. What I truly care about is my job, delivering justice and improving work standards in a good and humanitarian manner.”
There are neither specific regulations nor privileges that apply to female lawyers in the Saudi legal system.
Zahran says some fresh graduates have the wrong idea about the nature of their work, whereby female lawyers are treated differently than their male counterparts.
“If women keep in mind that law is all about sticking to the text, and interpreting and using it in a way that serves justice, they can defend their rights as lawyers.”
A number of female lawyers have volunteered to provide legal aid for those unable to hire lawyers in family and labor cases via a charitable initiative organized by the Takamul Investment Company in Jeddah.
The initiative involves training, employment assistance for participating lawyers, and legal services for those who cannot plead for themselves or afford to hire lawyers, says Takamul’s president, lawyer Majed Garoub.
As part of the initiative, graduates from regions throughout the Kingdom have been trained by jurists, judges, academics and members of judicial committees.
Volunteers undergo a training program to provide a thousand hours of voluntary work within five years.
Dima Talal Al-Sharif, a legal consultant at the Health, Food and Medicine Department at The Law Firm of Majed M. Garoub, said Saudi female lawyers were “the pioneers of the human rights renaissance in the Kingdom, where they have added much to the prosperity of this profession.”
Al-Sharif, who is a member of the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA), says practicing law is not a profession or a title, but a passion and a challenge to prove oneself.
“This is what I saw and experienced through the participation of a large number of female lawyers at the Takamul initiative,” she said.
Al-Sharif expressed her wish that her colleagues get the encouragement and trust of Saudi society so they could give more.
“I wish that the voice of female lawyers in Saudi Arabia reaches greater places in the field of human rights in the Middle East and globally, not just in the Kingdom.”

Main category: