first_imgOTTAWA – Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is expected to set the stage Wednesday for the Liberals’ much-anticipated defence policy by casting a glaring light on what senior defence sources say is a massive “hole” in military spending.The hole has been caused by years of under-investment in the Canadian Armed Forces, the sources argue, and resulted in little-to-no money for the replacement of essential but aging equipment.That includes new logistical vehicles and construction equipment such as bulldozers for the army, surveillance aircraft for the air force, and satellites for communications in the Arctic.The sources spoke on condition of anonymity.The shortfall, which adds up to tens of billions of dollars, also includes upgrades to the military’s current fleet of search-and-rescue helicopters and training for aircrews.The result is that work that should have already been underway to acquire a long list of equipment and services that the military needs to do its job has been stalled, the sources said, if it has started at all.Training and even support and benefits for military personnel have also failed to keep up.The full extent of the problem hasn’t been well understood outside National Defence even by experts, the sources said, and caught the Liberals by surprise when they took office in November 2015.It has since posed a real challenge as the government has drawn up its new defence policy, which is expected to be unveiled before NATO leaders gather in Belgium later this month.The hole will be Sajjan’s main focus when the minister addresses defence industry representatives and experts at a Conference of Defence Associations Institute luncheon on Wednesday.Sajjan is not expected to reveal how the Liberals plan to address the problem, including whether the government plans to put more money into the military or scrap some planned purchases.Those details will have to wait for the actual defence policy, which the government says will be fully costed.The Liberals ran in the last election on a promise to create a “leaner, more agile” military, but the sources noted the government wants more than the 65 new fighter jets previously promised by the Conservatives.Canada is also facing pressure from the U.S. and NATO to increase its defence spending, which currently sits at around one per cent of GDP — half NATO’s two-per-cent target.The presence of a gap between what the military needs and the money available won’t come as a surprise to some defence analysts who have been warning about such a problem for years.David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute has previously estimated a gap of about $2 billion per year between current funding levels and promised new equipment in the next few years.The Parliamentary Budget Office released its own assessment in March 2015 that said the country’s military structure would become unsustainable over the next decade under existing defence spending levels.A variety of factors have been blamed for the problem, including poor cost estimates during project planning and government’s refusal to add more money when delays result in cost increases from inflation.Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff, told The Canadian Press in an interview in March that he was eager to see the new defence policy, which has promised to put the military on a strong footing.“The here and now is fine, we’re delivering,” Vance said. “But going forward, that’s when the government committed to sustainable, progressive armed forces.”Sajjan has been under intense pressure over the past few days after having to apologize and retract comments he made about his role in Operation Medusa in Afghanistan.last_img

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first_imgzoom State-backed shipping giant China Merchants Energy Shipping (CMES) said it was going to scrap eight more of its elderly ships. CMES will send two Aframax oil tankers and six dry bulk carriers to scrapyard, all operated by its subsidiary Youhua Shipping.Names and age of the ships to be dismantled have not been disclosed.CMES has been very active over the recent period with respect to its fleet modernization plan, which included scrapping of outdated ships and ordering of new units.In January, the company ordered construction of a 319,000 DWT Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) from Dalian Shipbuilding Industry (DSIC), where it has already nine VLCCs on order.Six more are being built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao.World Maritime News Staff; Image: NGO Shipbreaking platformlast_img

first_imgParis: Flamboyant French businessman Bernard Tapie was on Tuesday acquitted on charges of defrauding the state of more than 400 million euros with a massive 2008 arbitration award that has also ensnared IMF chief Christine Lagarde. In its ruling, the Paris criminal court found “nothing in the case that confirmed” the allegation that the arbitration payout was tainted by “fraud”. The 76-year-old former Socialist minister, who rose from humble beginnings to build up a sporting and media empire, was not in court on health grounds following a resurgence of cancer. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi JinpingTapie was put on trial in March in the latest chapter of a two-decade legal saga that has embroiled a slew of senior officials, including former president Nicolas Sarkozy and Lagarde. “Today the court has delivered a verdict with rare independence that is exceptionally clear and it is … of immense satisfaction for us and a huge relief,” a lawyer for Tapie, Herve Temime, told reporters. The case centres on a payment of 404 million euros (USD 454 million) that was awarded to him in 2008 by a government arbitration panel. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in XinjiangThe panel found he had been the victim of fraud when he sold his stake in the Adidas in 1993 to state-run French bank Credit Lyonnais, which was found to have undervalued the sportswear brand. The amount sent shockwaves through France, but was soon tainted by allegations that the ruling panel had been biased in Tapie’s favour amid questions as to why the dispute was settled in arbitration, rather than in court. Lagarde, who was economy minister at the time, decided not to appeal the ruling — a decision for which she was later found guilty of negligence by a court that rules on cases of ministerial misconduct. Lagarde’s handling of the case sparked suspicion that her former boss Sarkozy, whom Tapie had backed for president in 2007, was favourably disposed towards the businessman — allegations Sarkozy has vehemently denied. In December 2015, a court ordered Tapie to pay back the money after finding the settlement to be fraudulent, with the case going to trial in March this year. In its ruling on Tuesday, the Paris court also acquitted four others of complicity for having referred the case to arbitration, one of whom was Stephane Richard, former chief-of-staff at the economy ministry under Lagarde and now head of French telecoms giant Orange. Tapie made a fortune in the early part of his career by taking over failing companies, and flaunted his wealth by buying a vast Paris townhouse and a 72-metre (236-foot) yacht. He also splashed out on a cycling team, and on the Olympique de Marseille football team which he guided to five successive league triumphs and the 1993 Champions League title. But things began to unravel in the 1990s when he served six months behind bars in 1997 for match-fixing. His business empire later collapsed. He was able to repay his debts after the arbitrators ruled he had been the victim of fraud when he sold Adidas in 1993, and soon bought another yacht, which he named “Reborn”. But the cancellation of the payment in 2015 left him high and dry again.last_img

first_img“It is not smart for all of us to lament the end of the CWHL, while not changing the behaviours that led to its end,” she said.“Today’s top female players obtain a modest stipend ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per year compared to the lowest annual salary in the NHL of roughly $1 million.“Successors to the CWHL must find a way for the best women to earn a full salary.“We therefore urge all hockey associations and levels of government to allocate dollars directly to the women’s game and to ensure that women are at the table when these decisions are made.”Walzak said the board received two offers of less than $20 to buy the league’s assets with no assumption of liabilities, which the CWHL declined.The league has raised $93,000 from an auction of memorabilia that went towards paying debt. Seven of the 10 CWHL trophies that were up for auction are headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame. The merger of those teams the following season reduced that revenue stream, however. A source has also told The Canadian Press that China wanted to renegotiate the licensing fees.“The League announced it was winding down one week after the Clarkson Cup because the League had payments due April first and was forecasting a significant deficit and believed based on response from the corporate marketplace that revenue would not increase materially in the upcoming 2019-2020 season,” Walzak wrote.Walzak wrote that $5 million to $6 million was required to keep the CWHL running, and closer to $10 million was needed for a fully functional pro league.The U.S.-based NWHL that sprung up in 2015 “fragmented the potential sponsorship dollars,” she added.The five-team NWHL continues to operate, but roughly 200 players including the female game’s stars refuse to play in it.Hilary Knight, Brianna Decker, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Marie-Philip Poulin, Brianne Jenner and goaltenders Noora Raty and Shannon Szabados are among those who believe the NWHL isn’t financially sustainable either.Widespread calls for one women’s league while two operated kept potential investors on the sidelines waiting to see what would happen.NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said the men’s league is unwilling to step in as an owner while women’s leagues were already operating.The non-profit CWHL merging with a for-profit entity like the NWHL was not an option and if the CWHL went private, it would lose insurance coverage from Hockey Canada, Walzak added.While the CWHL board of directors supports the players in the collective action for one league, Walzak wrote there needs to be considerable change around attitudes towards women’s hockey.WATCH: NWHL announces interest in Canadian teams TORONTO – The NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames are among contributors helping the defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League settle its debts.The Ontario Women’s Hockey Association, Hockey Canada and other private donations also helped the CWHL clear its books.“The CWHL is in the process of paying everyone and will be able to close in an orderly fashion,” CWHL board chair Laurel Walzak said Tuesday in a letter that called the donations “large and critical.”The letter wrote on behalf of the CWHL board detailed the demise of the league and what a women’s hockey league requires to survive.On behalf of the Board of Directors of the CWHL attached is the final public communication – OPEN LETTER TO FANS, SPONSORS, DONORS, PARTNERS AND HOCKEY INDUSTRY IN CANADA, THE USA, AND CHINA, PLUS THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT— CWHL (@TheCWHL) July 3, 2019The six-team CWHL ran for 12 seasons and gave the stars of women’s hockey a league of their own.The Clarkson Cup — donated by former governor general Adrienne Clarkson — was awarded annually to the winning team.But the league was in “severe financial distress” on April 1, Walzak said.Licensing fees from the addition of two Chinese teams allowed the CWHL to begin paying players between $2,000 and $10,000 in 2017-18.WATCH: Players react as CWHL foldslast_img

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