14 Apr, 2024
2 mins read

Venezuela’s government and opposition double down on positions about arrest of human rights attorney

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s government and opposition on Wednesday doubled down on their respective defense and condemnation of the detention of a prominent human rights attorney, evidencing once more their vastly different interpretations of an agreement to work on conditions for a free and fair presidential election this year.

The deal, signed in October with the blessing of the United States government, binds both sides to promote a political and social climate favorable to a peaceful election. But while Attorney General Tarek William Saab showed the nation maps, laptops, cellphones and other items he said link attorney Rocio San Miguel to an alleged plot to destabilize the country, the representatives of a faction of the opposition pointed to the arrest as the latest example of escalating repression.

Their assertions came as the Norwegian diplomats guiding the negotiations between the government of President Nicolás Maduro and a US-backed opposition group met with both sides in the capital, Caracas, an unusual step in a years-long process where official meetings have always taken place in neutral territory.

Signed in Barbados, the October deal called on the opposing factions to work toward several conditions ahead of the election, but subsequent government decisions stalled any meaningful progress.

Gerardo Blyde, chief negotiator for the opposition group known as the Unitary Platform, told reporters his faction presented his negotiating counterpart, National Assembly leader Jorge Rodriguez, and Norwegian diplomats two documents listing multiple violations of the agreement and acts of repression.

“They must de-escalate, we repeat, they must de-escalate persecution,” Blyde said. “The procedures that each party followed to choose their candidate must be respected. Conditions that allow a transparent electoral process must be established.”

Blyde said he and his faction cannot make determinations about evidence in the cases against San Miguel and his family because they “are

Read the rest
1 min read

Giant US insurance broker in advanced sale talks

Giant US insurance broker in advanced sale talks | Insurance Business America

Deal valuing broker at $15bn could be announced this week

Giant US insurance broker in advanced sale talks

Mergers & Acquisitions


Photo credit: Citydweller2, used under the Creative Commons license v4.0

With over US$48 billion in premiums, Truist Insurance is the fifth largest broker in the US, seventh largest globally – and this week it looks like it may finalize a majority stake sale to Stone Point Capital and Clayton Dubilier & Rice.

The sale of the stake in Truist could be announced later this week, according to confidential Bloomberg sources. Last April, the company sold a 20% stake to a Stone Point-headed group.

Private equity group Stone Point paid $1.95 billion for the 20% stake, and it is believed that the current valuation is on the same terms as the initial investment, valuing the insurance giant at close to $15 billion – 33% of the total value of the PE firm’s assets under management.

It is still uncertain whether the company’s premium finance business will be included – the original deal excluded that part of the business.

Truist Insurance Holdings employs approximately 9,000 employees, close to 17% of parent company Truist Financial Corp’s 53,000 workforce. The news of a potential sale follows last September’s announcement by the parent company’s CEO Bill Rogers that there would be “sizeable reductions in force” over the coming year.

Truist Insurance companies include a number of important industry brands including:

  • Insurance broker McGriff
  • MGA with wholesale and retail divisions AmRisc
  • Title insurance specialists Kensington Vanguard
  • Wholesale and specialty insurance distributor CRC Group
  • Employee benefits general agency Benefit Mall
  • Life insurance third-party distributor Crump
  • Specialty program manager Starwind


Read the rest
2 mins read

Family court cases: LHC orders govt to operationalize legal aid agency for the needy – Pakistan

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has directed the provincial government to operationalize within three months the Punjab Legal Aid Agency, which is supposed to provide legal services to indigent persons, especially the women, in family matters.

A full bench passed the order, deciding a set of petitions against section 14 of the Family Courts Act, 1964, which does not allow an appeal against a decree for maintenance to a child of an amount of Rs 5000 or less per month.

During the hearing of the petitions, the bench learned that the province of the Punjab, through Act No.XIX of 2018, enacted the Punjab Legal Aid Act, 2018, which provides for the Punjab Legal Aid Agency to be established by the government to provide legal services to an indigent person, inter alia, in family disputes relating to divorce, maintenance, dowry, dower or custody of children.

However, the said agency has not been operationalized until date.

Justice Raheel Kamran Sheikh, who authored the verdict, observed that the adjudication of claims entails physical and psychological harm, incurring of financial resources and a degree of perseverance to succeed for the enforcement of one’s rights.

The judge noted that it is quite an order for a resource-less wife and/or child to invoke the jurisdiction of the family court to claim maintenance when a husband/father fails to perform his obligations in that regard, particularly in the absence of a well -established legal aid system.

To ensure effective enforcement of the right of access to justice and fair trial, as guaranteed under Article 9 and 10A of the Constitution to women and children, the bench directed the government to operationalize the Punjab Legal Aid Agency within a period of three months to provide legal aid services to indigent persons in the family matters.

About the questions posed

Read the rest