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Frank Cali, Of New York’s Gambino Family, Is Shot Dead In New York

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Frank Cali

The reputed head of New York’s Gambino crime family, Frank Cali, has been killed outside his home, the city’s police have told US media.

Cali, 53, was shot several times in the Todt Hill district of Staten Island on Wednesday evening and died later in hospital.

The unidentified killer fled the scene in a blue car, witnesses said.

New York media say it is the first targeted killing of a mob boss in the city since 1985.

The Gambino operation is said to be one of the five historic Italian-US mafia families in New York.

Witnesses said Cali’s killer shot him at least six times and then ran him over before fleeing the scene. Family members were seen to rush into the street and sit crying next to his body.

Police said the motive was not known.

“There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing,” a statement said.

New York media say it is the first killing of a family boss in the city since the Gambino family’s Paul Castellano was shot dead outside a restaurant in 1985.

Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali is said to have taken over the running of the organisation from Domenico Cefalu in 2015.

It is believed he only had one criminal conviction, for conspiring to extort money in 2008 for which he served 16 months in prison.

Perhaps the most notorious head of the Gambino family was John Gotti, who was convicted in 1992 of 13 murders and a litany of other offences. He died in 2002.

Staten Island’s affluent Todt Hill neighbourhood is renowned for its crime connections. It was used as the location for fictional crime boss Don Corleone’s compound in the 1972 film The Godfather. Paul Castellano also owned a home there.

The Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese, Colombo and Bonanno mafia families are believed to have controlled organised crime in New York for decades.

Last week, Carmine Persico, the 85-year-old former boss of the Colombo organisation, died after serving 33 years of a 139-year prison sentence.

On Wednesday, two heads of the Bonanno family, Joseph Cammarano Jr and John Zancocchio, were acquitted in a Manhattan court of racketeering and conspiracy to commit extortion.

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Canadian Government Pledges $15M in Federal Music Funding

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The Canadian government will allocate 20 million Canadian dollars ($14.96 million at current rates) to the Canadian Music Fund (CMF) over two years, it announced Tuesday with its 2019 federal budget.

“With the growing importance of digital media today, Canadian artists—especially musicians and music entrepreneurs (e.g., producers, agents)—now face the challenge of marketing their content internationally and across all platforms, while also putting a greater emphasis on touring and live performances,” the budget report reads.

The CA$20 million increase is intended “to address some of the challenges faced by Canadian musicians in the digital era” so that “the Fund can enhance its support for the production, promotion and distribution of Canadian music.”

The passage adds: “For musical artists, these investments will create greater opportunities to innovate and experiment on a wider range of digital and non-digital platforms. This, combined with enhanced support for promotion—including more touring and more modern marketing approaches—will ensure that Canadian music reaches more audiences at home and abroad.”

Representatives of national music associations were swift in their praise — a contrast to last year, when the federal budget failed to mention any support for the Canada Music Fund. In 2016, the government committed CA$4.2 million ($3.14 million) to the music sector over two years. Now, with this new allotment, according to the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA), adds to the momentum of that 2016 investment, supporting a program that has been “underfunded and over-subscribed for the past decade.”

“We are incredibly grateful to the Federal government and specifically our dedicated advocate, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, for showing their support of our industry,” said CIMA president Stuart Johnston in a statement. “We are keen to continue to work closely with government to ensure that these dollars are invested in the most impactful way, such as providing additional support for sound recording, international export opportunities, promotion, marketing, touring and showcasing, and the domestic development of our great artists.”

The Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) called the announcement “good news” in its press release, noting other increases to the arts in the budget, such as CA$16 million ($11.97 million) over two years to the Canada Arts Presentation Fund (CAPF) and $CA24 million ($17.96 million) over two years to the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program and the Celebration and Commemoration Program.

The CAPF program, according to the CLMA, “may positively impact” many of the association’s not-for-profit members. “Thanks to the program, our members ensure ‘homegrown talent’ can be discovered, in our own backyards. Export strategies rely on that career growth that comes from domestic touring and local audience development. The touring landscape in Canada is, among many things, an important breeding ground for the creation (and ultimately, global dissemination) of Canadian content,” said CLMA president and CEO Erin Benjamin.

With these new funding commitments, the total support to the Canadian music industry by the Government of Canada is CA$40.7 million ($30.44 million).

“Music Canada welcomes the Government of Canada’s increased funding to the Canada Music Fund and Canada Arts Presentation Fund as part of today’s budget announcement, but there remains much work to be done to address the Value Gap hurting the music sector,” said Graham Henderson, president and CEO of Music Canada, in a statement. “For labels and artists to be competitive and financially successful, they need a sustainable business framework.”

He continued, “Recently the United States and the European Union have taken steps to address the Value Gap. Canada has an opportunity to join the community of nations in protecting and fostering the careers of creators. During the Copyright Act review, the creative community was virtually unanimous in urging the government to repeal decades-old subsidies through which individual creators enrich billion dollar technology and broadcasting platforms. We sincerely look forward to working with the government to seize this opportunity while concluding the review of the Copyright Act.”

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More Than 70 Passengers Dead In Tamale-Kintampo Accident This Dawn

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More than 70 passengers on board two buses that collided head-on in the early hours of Friday, March 22, 2019, on the Tamale-Kintampo Highway have died instantly, we can confirm.

The accident occurred at Amoma Nkwanta, a village near Kintampo in the Kintampo North Municipality of the Bono East Region, along the main Kintampo-Tamale Highway.

It is has been confirmed that a VVIP Kia bus with registration number GT 3915- 17 from Garu in the Upper East Region heading towards Kumasi collided with a Grandbird bus with registration number GT 5694-18 from Accra which was heading towards Bolgantaga also in the Upper East Region.

It is unclear what might have caused the collision but it is speculated that one of the drivers might have been dozing off and run into the lane of the other from the opposite direction.

All passengers, including that onboard one of the buses which was en route from Garu and bound for Kumasi, have been burnt beyond recognition when the vehicle went up in flames soon after the crash

The other bus branded VVIP and painted red, veered into a ditch after the collision, killing dozens on board.

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Passengers Life At Risk As Unhealthy “Trotro” Cars Hits Osu, Mamobi, Nima Etc Roads

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Passengers Life At Risk As Unhealthy “Trotro” Cars Hits Osu, Mamobi, Nima Etc Roads

The life of a traveler is always in the hands of a driver even though God is the ultimate controller. The probability of getting stuck on the road when joining some passenger (trotro) Ghana Accra is high due to the state of the vehicles.

Research conducted by our source shows that vehicles used by some drivers are not healthy enough to be on the road but how did they get clearance from GPRTU? A trip to Osu, Mamobi, Nima and few to mention were notable places in the capital where these vehicles are seen as normal vehicles to be used in conveying passengers.

Our first encounter started from the Madina to Nungua station where a driver has to join 2 cables before sparking his car. This got our reporter wondering why should it be so? Prior to this, an incident happened on Circle- Botwe (UPSA curve) road where due to illegal connection, the front headlight stopped working and all of a sudden smokes filled the car in less than 1 minute. Our reporter who happened to sit in front that evening has to jump through the window to save his own life. The unapologetic conductor and his driver always seem to be comfortable and shout back at passengers wherever these claims are made.

The GPRTU which is a general union looking after these issues seems to be unconcerned with these claims. The leaders are not ready and will not entertain any question on these issues. Interesting, the police are also not too concerned about this.

Our second encounter was fun even though it was risky. The vehicle stopped in the middle of the road almost 5 times before we reached our destination (Mamobi). Furious passengers got down and joined different cars as we the strong hearted continued the journey until we finally arrived at the lorry park. Upon arrival, we went straight to the station masters office only to be told he is not around. Caretaker upon seeing our facial looks hinted his boss that there was a fire in the mountain. We waited till we could see we are tired. Any attempt to trap him was not working as he was directed not to answer any question.

Over the past few years, statistics show that accident rates are always increasing instead of finding measures to help decrease it. In 2017,2,527 accidents were recorded while it increased to 2,970 in 2018 signifying a 17% increase. I urge the government to prompt these unions and security services to take the challenge and stop some vehicles from operating as a commercial transport. Let’s join hands in doing this as citizens but not because of our stomach.

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