The state government would buy the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage for $32.5 million, under a recommendation made Thursday night by the Legislative Council.Download AudioThe sign outside the Anchorage Legislative Information Office, March 4, 2016. (Photo by Megan Ahleman)But it’s not a done deal. The council’s final offer is more than a million dollars less than what building’s owners 716 West Fourth Avenue LLC have said they’d accept.Council Chairman Kodiak Republican Senator Gary Stevens says the offer is similar to the cost to move the office to the state-owned Atwood Building.“The council said 32.5 is the fair price, and we won’t go any higher than that, so it’s really now in the owner’s hands and he has to make that decision. Either he accepts that price or he doesn’t. That’s where we are.”The council voted 13 to one for the recommendation. It’s the midpoint of two estimates that a consulting group prepared for the state. Big Lake Republican Representative Mark Neuman was the only no vote.Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake, was the only no vote on the recommendation to buy the LIO building. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)LIO co-owner Mark Pfeffer says the building cost nearly 37 million. But he adds the owners would accept three million less.Before the council met privately for two hours, Pfeffer said the owners have accommodated the state.“Every time we have those requests, we try to solve the problem. And so far, we think we have every time. So, if we can help achieve savings, we’re willing to do it. “The owners recently turned down an offer similar to the council’s final recommendation. But ownership representative Amy Slinker says they’re glad the council came to a decision.Slinker said in a statement: “Now we have something to talk about. We are going to analyze it and get back to them soon.”A Superior Court judge recently ruled the state lease for the building is illegal, because the state didn’t open it up to competitive bidding.Under the lease terms, the state would have paid twice as much for the LIO over the next 20 years as it would for the Atwood Building space.Stevens says that if the owners don’t accept the recommended offer, the state would move to Atwood. But he says buying the LIO would save the cost of moving. And it would end the litigation.“This could wind up as very long, long litigation. And they’re to appeal the decision of the Superior Court, and that could really wind up being quite costly for all of us.”The state will pay through July based on the terms of the invalidated lease.
UpdateThe board of directors of Mindtree have recommended bonus shares in the ratio of 1:1, subject to requisite approvals from regulatory authorities and shareholders.This will be the second bonus issue in two years.However, the stock ended with a loss of 4.51% on Monday at Rs 1,469.60 on the BSE. The directors at their meeting on 18 January to review the third quarter results, also recommended an interim dividend of 40% for the quarter ended 31 December, 2015.Mindtree reported a 2.3% growth in its dollar revenues on a sequential basis at $184.4 million for the third quarter ended December 2015. However, net profit declined 3% q-o-q to $22.8 million, the company said in a regulatory filing on Monday.The company said it has acquired Magnet 360, a salesforce platinum consulting partner, to increase its presence in the cloud-based services market.The company also announced changes at the top. The current CEO & MD Krishnakumar Natarajan has been elevated to the post of Executive Chairman to replace Subroto Bagchi, who has stepped down from his position.Rostow Ravanan will be the new MD& CEO.”This is the culmination of a year-long succession planning exercise that the Board had undertaken after carefully considering several candidates. All the changes announced today will be effective April 1, 2016,” said Apurva Purohit, independent director and chairperson of the nomination and remuneration committee of the company’s board of directors.Original storyThe shares of mid-category IT services company Mindtree were trading with a loss of 2% on Monday afternoon, ahead of the company’s board deciding on a bonus issue of shares along with its third quarter results.On 13 January, the company had informed the BSE that it will be considering a bonus issue on 18 January. The company’s previous bonus issue was in June 2014 in the ratio of 1:1.The stock was trading at Rs 1504.90 at about 1 pm, down 2.22%.For the quarter ended 30 September, 2015, Mindtree had reported revenues of $180 million, 22.6% growth on year-on-year (YoY) basis and net profit of $24.3 million, up 6.8% YoY.For the second quarter, Mindtree had declared an interim dividend of 40% or Rs 4 per share.Earlier in the day, Wipro declared its third quarter results, missing its IT revenue guidance marginally. The revenues were $1,838.1 million, as against the guidance of $1,841 million to $1,878 million. For the fourth quarter, the Bangalore-based company issued a guidance range of $1,875 million to $1,912 million, an increase of 2 to 4% over its third quarter IT revenues.The S&P BSE Sensex was trading with a loss of 100 points at 24,355. BHEL, Tata Steel, Axis Bank and GAIL (India) were gaining, while Bajaj Auto, Bharti Airtel, ONGC and Reliance Industries were dragging the Sensex down.
PM Sheikh Hasina speaks in parliament on Wednesday. Photo: PIDParliament on Wednesday unanimously adopted a resolution to take proper legal steps against the declaration of the 16th constitutional amendment as ‘ultra vires’ and cancelling unconstitutional, objectionable and irrelevant observations of the chief justice in the Appellate Division verdict.Jasod lawmaker Moin Uddin Khan Badal placed the resolution in the House under the provision 147 (1) of the Rules of Procedure around 6:00pm when speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury was in the chair.The resolution was adopted by a voice vote following a marathon general discussion over it, which lasted for more than five hours.The resolution reads, “Appropriate legal steps should be taken for cancelling the declaration of the 16th constitution amendment as ‘ultra vires’ and scrapping unconstitutional, objectionable and irrelevant observations of the chief justice over Parliament and other important issues in the verdict of the 16th amendment case.”Joining the discussion, MPs across the board harshly criticised chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha for his various remarks in the Supreme Court verdict that upheld the High Court judgment declaring ‘ultra vires’ the 16th amendment to the constitution – that is, in violation of it.Participating in the discussion, prime minister Sheikh Hasina said the judgment was full of contradictions which is not acceptable.”There are so many contradictions even self-contradictions in this judgment. This is not acceptable to us. Who wrote this judgment from where?” she said.The prime minister also said that the constitution did not provide the apex court with the authority to amend the constitution.She said the CJ’s remarks regarding Bangabadhu are similar with that of anti-liberation people. “He (CJ) dishonoured the role of father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.”Sheikh Hasina said three organs of the country are complementary to each other. None shall undermine another. Everyone should run following the laws. Everybody should have accountability, she added.About the Supreme Judicial Council formulated during the martial law she said this whole judiciary has been put under his sole authority with the introduction of the council. “If the CJ becomes angry with anyone, he can remove him from his post,” she added.The prime minister said the CJ also undermined the president in this verdict.Noting that the CJ claimed the Supreme Judicial Council became aligned with the basic structures of the constitution, Sheikh Hasina questioned the motive of such claim.”This verdict did not get any acceptability from anyone of the country,” she said adding that only BNP became cheerful without going through the whole text of the verdict properly as the supreme judicial council was restored.Law minister Anisul Huq categorically said this judgment will not go without final legal challenge. “We’ve already start working in this regard.”He said the judgment was not delivered based on logics rather it was emotional and came out of hatred. “The verdict tarnished image of not only the judiciary, but also the whole country.”Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed said the chief justice termed MPs ‘immature’ in the verdict. “The justices appointed by the president, who is elected by us (MPs), are mature, but we are immature!” he said.He said the CJ tried to make BNP cheerful through this judgment in a time when the country was marching forward under the leadership of the Prime Minister.Noting that the CJ asked the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) not to conduct investigation against a judge, Tofail said, “The ACC can investigate graft charges of you (PM), me and all, but not justices. What a surprise!”Talking about the Supreme Judiciary Council introduced in 1977, the AL leader said The Council did not investigate charge even against a single justice in the last 40 years.Liberation war affairs minister AKM Mozzamel Huq said there are many corruption allegations against the incumbent chief justice and now the people fear whether they will get justice in graft allegations against the chief justice if he will remain in the post.It is not possible to get justice over the corrupt charges keeping SK Sinha in the post. So, it is essential to investigate the graft charges relieving him from the post, he said.Noting that the chief justice made many unnecessary and irrelevant remarks over Bangabandhu in the verdict the minister said, “It is natural that he does not know about Bangabandhu as he is self-declared peace committee member.”AL MP Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim said the sedition charge can be brought against the chief justice for violating several articles including 27, 94 and 116 of the constitution.”You broke your oath. The chief justice, you worked against parliament, people, MPs and the constitution. You [CJ] are hatching conspiracy against the country. So, you can be brought to the book on sedition charge.””It is you [CJ] who will have to cancel the judgment that delivered by yourself against the state and the constitution. If you don’t cancel it, please wait for what steps to be taken,” he warned.Selim urged the chief justice to seek apology to the nation confessing mistakes. “Admit that I [CJ] did mistake and say that I myself am correcting it. I’ll not do such mistake anymore… If you do exaggeration, please be prepared. You are not mightier than this parliament,” the AL MP said.Jatiya Party MP Fakhrul Imam said the president, the prime minister, ministers and justices take oath to protect the constitution, but there is no word ‘to protect the constitution’ in oath content for MPs as the lawmakers are creators of the constitution.In the resolution, Badal said chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha termed Members of Parliament ‘immature’ alongside making unnecessary and unwanted remarks regarding many irrelevant issues in his observation in the verdict of the 16th amendment case. So, huge discussions and remours continue over it, which is not expected for the whole nation, he added.”This parliament wants end of the situation following massive discussion so that efforts of any evil and anti-people force to catch fish in trouble water would be thwarted,” he said.On 17 September 2014, the Jatiya Sangsad passed the 16th amendment to the constitution empowering parliament to remove justices of the Supreme Court on ground of incapacity and misbehaviour.On 3 July 2017, the Appellate Division passed down the verdict upholding the judgment of the High Court. And the full-text of the verdict was released on 1 August last.
A 67-year-old Nepali woman honoured with one of India’s most prestigious awards for freeing thousands of girls from sexual slavery said on Friday it was the unbearable pain of victims that has motivated her to fight trafficking.Anuradha Koirala, founder of the anti-trafficking charity Maiti Nepal, will be presented the Padma Shri – one of the highest civilian awards – by India’s president at a ceremony in March or April, said a government statement this week.”Rescued and rehabilitated 12,000 sex trafficking victims and prevented over 45,000 from being trafficked,” an infographic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s website read, listing the names and achievements of some of the 89 Padma award winners.The small, frail teacher-turned-activist said she was encouraged by the award, and it would make her work harder to stop girls being bought and sold in the sex trade.”The pain of victims has motivated me to continue my work,” Koirala told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.”When I see their pain – their mental pain as well as physical pain – it is so troubling that I cannot turn myself away. This gives me strength to fight and root this crime out.”South Asia is one of the fastest-growing region for human trafficking in the world, according to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime.Anti-slavery activists say thousands of people mostly from poor villages are trafficked from countries such as Nepal and Bangladesh to India by gangs who sell them into bonded labour or hire them out to unscrupulous employers.Many women and girls are sold into brothels. Others end up as domestic workers or labourers in brick kilns, roadside restaurants or small textile and embroidery workshops.India is home to 40 percent of the world’s 46 million slaves, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, produced by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation.Koirala left her two-decade-long career as a teacher in 1993 and founded Maiti, which means “Mother’s Home” in Nepali, to support victims rescued from sex trafficking who face social stigma and are ostracised by their families and communities.Over the last 24 years, Maiti has established a shelter in Kathmandu, eleven transit homes along the Nepal-India border, three prevention homes where high-risk girls receive counselling and training in skills such as sewing and candle making, two hospitals and a school which teaches around 1,000 children.The organisation also conducts public awareness campaigns on human trafficking, provides legal support to trafficked and victims, and works with police and government officials to rescue victims and apprehend perpetrators.Koirala, affectionately know as “dijju” which means “elder sister” in Nepali, has won numerous awards from across the world for her work, including from the United Nations. In 2010, she was awarded the CNN Heroes Award.”Unless families treat their sons and daughters equally it is very hard to end trafficking and slavery,” she said.The Padma awards recognise achievements from social work and public affairs to medicine and literature. The recipients are announced on Jan. 25, the eve of India’s Republic Day.
Bangladesh Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader. File PhotoRuling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) general secretary Obaidul Quader on Friday said the BNP has sensed that they have no scope to go to power normally.That is why they along with their fundamentalist ally are planning to topple the government, he added, reports BSS.“They (BNP) should keep in mind that it is not 2014, it is 2018. The people of the country will give befitting reply to the BNP if they want to create anarchy centering the forthcoming parliamentary polls,” he told newsmen after attending a mass-contact programme of AL in city’s Gabtoli area.Earlier, Quader, also road transport and bridges minister, distributed leaflets in the area on the fifth day of AL’s week-long mass contact programme for showcasing the development works by the government and highlighting acts of terrorism and violence of the BNP and its ally Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.He said the BNP is pursuing dirty politics over the health issue of its chief Khaleda Zia.Quader also said the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University is the right place for the treatment of Khaleda Zia.The court has also given the directive to this end, he said, adding the government is not doing any dirty politics on Khaleda Zia’s health issue.But, Quader said, the leaders of the BNP are indulged in nasty politics on Begum Zia’s treatment.The ruling party general secretary said, “I didn’t tell any party to make unity with us. I said that the left-leaning parties believe in the spirit of the liberation war and they respect father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.”“I urged them to be united. We want unity against fundamentalist evil forces, against the dirty politics and against the enemies of the liberation war.”About the use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), Quader said his party wants the EVMs to be used in a limited scale in the upcoming national polls. AL also made a demand for using EVM to the election commission (EC), he added.