New York Jets wide receiver David Nelson kneels during the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — David Nelson needed to do something as soon as he heard Davion Only’s story.The New York Jets wide receiver was blown away, just as so many others around the world were, by Only’s emotional adoption plea in October. Only, a 15-year-old boy who was born in prison and raised in foster care, stood up in front of a church congregation in St. Petersburg, Fla., and begged for a family to love him.“I’ll take anyone,” Only said. “Old or young, Dad or Mom, black, white, purple, I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.”It was enough to send many to tears, eager to try to help. Nelson, who started the nonprofit organization i’mME with his two brothers to aid orphaned children, got on the phone with his publicist immediately.“It’s a powerful story,” Nelson said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I read it and just felt a calling to reach out to Davion.”5-year-old Davion Only has been inundated with people offering to adopt him after his public plea for a familyOnly, who has since been featured on various television talk shows and news programs, is getting a chance at his dream as he’ll spend the holidays with prospective adoptive parents. But first, he’ll be a guest of Nelson and his organization in New York this weekend.Only and a friend will tour Manhattan, including trips to Rockefeller Center, FAO Schwartz and Central Park.“A crash course in Christmastime in the city,” Nelson said, smiling.Only will also meet with Nelson and other players Sunday before the Jets’ game against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium.“My reasoning was to get him out here, get him to the football game and get him around the guys, not so he could be blessed by the guys but so the guys could meet him and kind of be blessed,” Nelson said. “He speaks on behalf of all the orphans across America who are in his shoes, to speak on behalf of the voiceless.”That’s a subject close to Nelson’s heart, one that drives him each day to try to make a difference.It’s a journey that began during Memorial Day weekend in 2011, when he traveled to Haiti with his then-girlfriend and her sister to visit abandoned and orphaned children. Nelson, then playing for the Buffalo Bills, figured it would make for a nice publicity opportunity. Once he got there, everything changed.“Honestly, I went there for selfish reasons, really,” he said. “To see these kids, who have nothing they can call their own or have anything to hold onto, you get to know them and spend time with them, you realize, ‘Wow, these kids don’t want my money, or the toys or candy that I brought for them. They just want me to hold them, sing them a song or play soccer with them.’“That touched me on a deep, intimate level. I was wrecked and completely humbled.”He and his brothers Patrick and Daniel had drifted apart over the years, but while in Haiti, he felt an inexplicable urge to re-connect with them. So, after returning from the trip, he told his brothers about his experience and asked them if they’d like to join him when he went back to Haiti.Less than two months later, all three Nelson brothers were in Haiti, reunited and spending time helping abandoned children.“The whole time we were there,” Nelson recalled, “we were saying, ‘We were made for this. We were made to help these kids.’”The brothers decided to make their mission official, establishing the nonprofit i’mMe on Jan. 5, 2013.“We just haven’t looked back,” said Nelson, who has traveled to Haiti about seven times. “And, it’s been an incredible journey.”The brothers are currently holding a 35-day campaign called “House The Vision,” a fundraising drive to help them get started on building a family village in Haiti. With the Jets out of the playoff picture, Nelson is scheduled to fly to Haiti on Jan. 15 and get to work on the planned eight or nine cottages which will house six or seven kids each.He keeps in touch with several of the children he has met, using Skype and emails to stay connected. Nelson and his brothers are also in the process of obtaining legal guardianship over 22 kids in Haiti.“We were leaving one time and a kid walked up to me to give me a hug, and she said something in Creole and I didn’t know what it meant,” Nelson said. “I asked a translator about five minutes later and he said that she said to me, ‘Please don’t ever forget me.’“As soon as I heard that, I lost it.”Nelson’s efforts aren’t exclusive to Haiti. He and i’mMe are also holding a toy drive through Sunday at The Grasshopper off the Green in Morristown, N.J., to benefit an orphanage in Denville.“I find inspiration in these kids,” Nelson said. “When you talk to them, you can tell there is still hope and you can see it in their eyes. They know they have a purpose and they just don’t know how to bring it to the surface. There’s greatness inside of them, but it just isn’t being ignited.”Nelson is tied for third on the Jets with 27 catches for 324 yards after being signed by New York as a free agent in October. While establishing himself as an important part of the Jets’ offense, he has also found balance between football and his passion off the field.“This experience has changed perspectives for me,” Nelson said. “I love football and I love what I do, and when I’m here, I’m here. I give it everything I have. But at the same time, football is what I do. It’s not who I am.“This organization and the kids, helping other people, that’s my life. That’s who I am.”___Online: http://www.imme.org___NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org___Follow Dennis Waszak on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DWAZ73
The Nelson Bantam Reps open the West Kootenay Minor Hockey League playoffs Saturday against Castlegar at the NDCC Arena.The game is the first in the first-team-to-four-point series.Game time is 5:45 p.m. The Reps earned the home-ice advantage in the three-game set after edging out the Sunflower City gang by two points in league standings.Nelson finished the season with a 7-5 record while Castlegar was 6-6.Spokane won the league with a 9-3 record but does not qualify to play in B.C. Hockey Provincial playdowns.Game two of the series goes Tuesday in Castlegar at 7 p.m.Game three, if necessary, is scheduled for the NDCC Arena on February 16.
ARCADIA, Calif. (Apr. 15, 2015)–Trainer Mike Mitchell, an iconic and dominant figure on the Southern California racing landscape for nearly 40 years, passed away Tuesday, at his home in Monrovia following a lengthy battle with brain cancer at age 66.Born April 25, 1948 in Bakersfield and the son of a trainer, Earl Mitchell, Mike Mitchell worked for legendary trainers Farrell Jones and Willard Proctor prior to taking out his first trainer’s license in 1974. Married in 1982 to the former Denise Weaver, Mitchell is survived by his wife and their two daughters, McCall (Rounsefell) and Shea (Leparoux).Known primarily as a wizard at the claim box, Mitchell had a finely tuned ability to analyze the way races would be run and the ability to communicate pertinent pre-race information to those in his employ.“The thing about Mike that I loved about him, was he had so much faith in himself, so much confidence,” said retired Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. “He was one of my biggest supporters and we had a lot of success together. He knew his horses and every time he told me a horse was doing well, they ran that way. When I rode for Mike, he never gave me instructions and when I rode for him, I had a lot of confidence. He was a great trainer with claiming horses and with stakes horses. He was one of the best I ever rode for.”Santa Anita’s leading Winter Meet trainer in 1992-93, and again in 2007-08, he handed his stable over to his longtime assistant, Phil D’Amato on April 21, 2014 and retired due to his illness as Santa Anita’s fifth all-time leading trainer with 659 wins, behind only Bobby Frankel, Charlie Whittingham, Bob Baffert and Ron McAnally.Mitchell’s first Santa Anita stakes winner was Johnny’s Image, who won the 1978 Santa Catalina Stakes (now run as the Robert B. Lewis), and he saddled a total of 20 overall stakes winners at The Great Race Place, his final added money Santa Anita win coming with Egg Drop in the Grade II Goldikova Stakes in 2013.“Mike was a very aggressive guy when it came to where he was placing his horses,” said veteran jockey agent, Scotty McClellan, who represented several top riders during Mitchell’s career, including Darrell McHargue, Chris McCarron, Alex Solis, Corey Nakatani and Joe Talamo. “He always ran them in live spots. There were a lot of times a horse would run good and I’d be looking for a race for $40,000 (claiming), and he’s looking for a race for 25 or 32 (thousand). He did phenomenal with his claims over the years and if he said he had a runner, believe me, it was a runner.”McClellan also touched upon the kind of person Mitchell was.“As competitive as he was, Mike loved to laugh,” he said. “He just loved to laugh and hear new jokes–and play practical jokes. He was a great trainer and a great person as well–One of the best I’ve ever been around.”Mitchell, who won his first race at Bay Meadows in 1974, won 21 overall training titles in Southern California. In addition to his two Santa Anita Winter Meet titles, he won four training titles at Santa Anita’s Oak Tree Meeting; in 1983, 1995, 1996 and 2004. He also took seven overall Hollywood Park titles that included the 1982, 1985, 1993 and 1997 Spring/Summer Meets, and Hollywood Park Fall Meets in 1983, 1996 and 2011.Del Mar’s all-time leading trainer with 476 seaside wins, Mitchell won seven Del Mar titles; 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1995, 1996 and 2011. He was also leading trainer at Fairplex Park in 2008.“I haven’t seen too many guys that were ever better with a condition book than Mike,” said TVG’s Kurt Hoover. “He knew where to place his horses and when to run ’em. In addition to that, I’ve known several people that had great success with Mike as their trainer, but they all say that along with racing success, the fun they had with both Mike and Denise was just as important.“On top of all of his professional achievements is the fact that he had a great family. You could see that they all genuinely enjoyed being together. He was just an all-around good man.”Although known (and feared) as one of the top claiming trainers of all-time, Mitchell also developed a number of stakes winners, including the top sprinter Kela, who provided him with his first Grade I win, in the 2004 Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar.His greatest stakes success came late in his career with Irish-bred Obviously, who won five graded stakes, including the Grade I Shoemaker Mile, between August, 2012 and August, 2013. Obviously also finished third for Mitchell, behind eventual Horse of the Year Wise Dan, in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita.In addition to his wife and two daughters, Mitchell is survived by a twin sister, Cheryl, and brothers Earl, Jr., Guy and Casey. Funeral services are pending. A SIX-TIME LEADER AT SANTA ANITA & OAK TREE, MITCHELL WON 21 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TRAINING TITLES & SADDLED A TOTAL OF 20 OVERALL STAKES WINNERS AT THE GREAT RACE PLACE
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2016)–A close fourth mid-way down the backstretch, favored Tara’s Tango split horses three off the rail coming to the quarter pole and went on to a hard earned half length victory in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and ridden by Martin Garcia, Tara’s Tango outran Yahilwa late and got 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.48.Third, beaten a neck here in the Grade II, seven furlong Santa Monica Stakes Jan. 23, Tara’s Tango, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Unbridled’s Song, registered her first graded stakes win in her ninth career start.“I think this is the distance she wants to run, I think she wants two turns,” said Garcia. “She doesn’t have a lot of early speed. I think she prefers to go at her own pace and this distance lets her run at her own pace.”The 9-5 favorite in a field of eight older fillies and mares, Tara’s Tango paid $5.80, $3.20 and $2.60.“We thought she could route because she did run against the Eclipse Award winner (3-year-old Filly, Stellar Wind, who beat Tara’s Tango by a nose in Santa Anita’s Summertime Oaks on June 20),” said Hollendorfer. “I was a little distressed when she came away from the gate slower than we wanted her to, but Martin got her into a good position right away…I think one of the key things was that Martin let (Birdatthewire) go, so that he could make his own pace.”Owned and bred by Stonestreet Stables, LLC, Tara’s Tango improved her overall mark to 9-3-3-1. With the winner’s share of $120,000, she increased her earnings to $318,004.Yahilwa, who came off a third place finish in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles La Canada Stakes on Jan. 16, pressed the pace under Joe Talamo and stayed gamely for the place, finishing three quarters of a length in front of Living The Life. Off at 7-2, Yahilwa paid $3.80 and $2.80.“She ran a helluva race, she really did,” said Talamo. “The plan was to let her break out of there and place herself, which she pretty much did. She ran huge, I mean the winner came to us and she fought back. She did everything but win.Irish-bred Living The Life had the lead into the Club House turn and ran a huge race under Gary Stevens, finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of Kyriaki. Off at 9-2, Living The Life paid $3.20 to show.The disappointment in the race was Birdatthewire, who was the second choice with Mike Smith at 2-1 and finished a non-threatening fifth.Fractions on the race were 23.54, 46.97, 1:11.45 and 1:37.73.First post time for a nine-race card Sunday at Santa Anita is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.
… appointments reek of political biasness – NandlallPresident David Granger has announced the appointment of several judges andAttorney Vidyanand Persaudlawyers as Senior Counsel (SC). This is the first time in some 20 years such appointments have been made.The announcement was made in a statement issued by the Ministry of the Presidency on Saturday morning. According to the release, the appointments will be effective from January 1, 2017, and were made taking into account the exemplary experience, erudition, excellence and diligence in the practice of theAttorney Neil Bostonlaw.The newly appointed Senior Counsel are: Neil Aubrey Boston, a trial lawyer for over 34 years; Charles John Ethelwood Fung-A-Fat, a Parliamentary Counsel and Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel for over 33 years; and Justice Alison Roxane McLean George-Wiltshire, who was admitted to the bar in 1990 and served as a Senior State Counsel, Assistant Director of Public Prosecution, Deputy Director of Public Prosecution and DirectorDeputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel Charles Fung-A-Fatof Public Prosecution.Also named Senior Counsel was Clifton Mortimer Llewelyn John, who was admitted in 1952 first as a solicitor and then as a barrister; and Rafiq Turhan Khan, admitted to the Bar in November 1984, appointed for his service as an advocate, member and Co-Chairman of the Legal Practitioners Committee.Additionally, Vidyanand Persaud, called to the Bar in London in JulyRegistrar of Lands Rosalie Robertson1976 and admitted to the Bar in Guyana the same year, was appointed for his service as an arbitrator in disputes and in private practice for 40 years; and Rosalie Robertson, a Legal Advisor and Corporate Secretary for 33 years as wellas Registrar of Lands.Justice Claudette Singh, called to the Bar in London in 1973 and admitted to the Bar in Guyana in 1976, was made SC for her service as the Deputy Solicitor General and as a Puisne Judge as well as a Justice of Appeal. She was also appointed for her leadership in spearheading the Modernisation of the JusticeJustice Roxanne George-WiltshireReform Project, and as the Guyana Police Force’s Legal Advisor.The ninth person to be appointed Senior Counsel by President Granger is AttorneyGeneral and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams, who has over 33 years of law practice in both criminal and civil law.The last appointment of Senior Counsel were done in 1996. Back in May 2014, the Supreme Court of Guyana hadAttorney CM Llewellyn Johnadvertised for attorneys to take up the post of Senior Counsel. The notice invited attorneys who meet its criteria, which includes over 15 years of active practise at the Bar and are desirous of being elevated to the dignity of Senior Counsel, to make written applications.However, no such appointments were made until President Granger’s announcement on Saturday.Meanwhile, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall has since expressed “shock” atAttorney Rafiq Turhan Khanthe sudden appointments of Senior Counsel by the President.“These appointments were obviously done in a very opaque fashion. Some of the appointments reek of political bias and baseless favouritism. Persons deserving were spitefully and discriminatorily omitted,” he posited.According to Nandlall, the fact that a sitting Judge was appointed runs contrary to every canon of practice and precedent which dictates that Senior Counsel must be practicing lawyers. He noted that it was for this reason that the Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago, Ivor Archie, was forced to relinquish his appointment as Senior Counsel because he was a Judge and not a practicing lawyer when he was appointed.Likewise he added, the same obtained when Kamla Persaud-Bissessar wasLegal Affairs Minister Basil Williamsappointed Senior Counsel while being Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.Moreover Nandlall outlined that one of the persons appointed has never done a case of substance at the Bar. He went on too to question the rationale behind the omission of certain individuals, which he said are glaring.“On what basis was the current DPP, Shalimar Ali-Hack, omitted? As irregular as IJustice Claudette Singhbelieve it is for a Judge to be appointed, on what basis was one Judge appointed and the other Judges not, especially the Chancellor and Chief Justice?” asked the former Legal Affairs Minister.Furthermore Nandall enquired of the consultations done by the Coalition Government and/or President Granger in making the appointments, while adding that the slide into authoritarianism by this administration is moving faster than anticipated.
Diego Costa trained with the rest of the Chelsea squad today.The striker, who has been struggling with illness and an ongoing hamstring issue, is expected to return for the west London derby at home to QPR on Saturday.Mohamed Salah seems to have little chance of featuring in that game after failing to impress manager Jose Mourinho during Tuesday’s Capital One Cup win at Shrewsbury.Canoville says Salah can improveBut former Blues winger Paul Canoville has told West London Sport he believes Salah has the ability to develop his game and make the grade at Stamford Bridge – if he can improve his end product.Chelsea’s Under-21 side lost 2-1 to Cardiff in a friendly, while Blues youngster Jay Dasilva scored a fine solo goal for England Under-17s as they beat France 3-1.In terms of transfer speculation, Chelsea have today again been linked with Roma forward Mattia Destro and Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus.Meanwhile, QPR have confirmed the appointment of Chris Ramsey. West London Sport revealed on Wednesday that the former Tottenham coach was set to take over as Rangers’ academy boss.The R’s will again be without Joey Barton, Jordon Mutch and Nedum Onuoha against Chelsea, but manager Harry Redknapp says Adel Taarabt could yet be included in the squad following clear-the-air talks between the pair.Onuoha hoped to return on SaturdayRedknapp believes the injured trio could return against Manchester City a week on Saturday.He is also convinced Chelsea will win the title and that Ravel Morrison, who ended last season on loan at Loftus Road, is – like Taarabt – in danger of wasting his talent.For more of the best bits from his pre-match press conference today, check out our weekly Redknapp Recap.Lastly on Rangers, young midfielder Frankie Sutherland has joined AFC Wimbledon on a month’s loan.At Fulham, Kit Symons says he is excited by the challenge of being installed as manager on a permanent basis.And in cricket, Ealing CC wicketkeeper Robbie White is among three teenagers to have signed contracts with Middlesex.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
TeamSA – Jonathan Oliff (l) and SeanTickner (r) – have triumphed over thecompetition in Northern Ireland.(Image: Darren Kidd / Presseye.com) MEDIA CONTACTS • Dominic BothnerBushmills marketing manager,Brandhouse SA+27 11 731 6000RELATED ARTICLES• SAB first with UV purification • Amarula Cream a global market leader• SA develops rooibos flavour wheel• Wine route celebrates 40 yearsLyndon JafthaThe Make It 2 Bushmills – also referred to as the World Whiskey Games – is a gruelling competition where teams of two battle it out for two days at the renowned Bushmills Distillery in the village of Bushmills, County Antrim in Northern Ireland.Teams take on punishing tasks, both mental and physical, such as beach golf, barrel rolling and blind taste tests in the hopes of winning the prestigious Bushmills Trophy.The prize includes a two-week stint at the 403-year-old distillery, working with master distiller Colum Egan; a chance to make a unique whiskey using techniques imparted by Egan; and a generous allowance of US$8 200 (R59 000) spending money.This year, it was the tough duo from South Africa that won, beating, among others, the home team. Sean Tickner, 30, a prosthetist from Cape Town, and 28-year-old Jonathan Oliff, a brand strategist from Durban, were the two local representatives.The judging panel included Egan; Kevin Baird of Irish rock band Two Door Cinema Club; Rob Allanson, editor of Whisky Magazine; and Jonathan Galkin, manager of independent label DFA Records.Teams from 11 different countries took part – the competition included Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, the UK, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Russia, and the US.Of all the countries, South Africa had the highest number of entries, which were then narrowed down to the final two.“We’re looking for real friends, with a genuine love for life and wicked sense of humour,” said Egan before the event, “and I’m sure we’ll find them.”Afterwards the distiller lauded the pair, who are brothers-in-law, as worthy winners. He said they had shown the qualities sought by the judges, despite the fact that they didn’t win any of the challenges.Competitive spiritParticipants arrived in Belfast on 16 August 2011 and were whisked off to Bushmills for the first day of the event. They were taken on a tour of the distillery and shown by the master distiller what happens behind the scenes. They also visited the 40 000 hexagonal basalt columns of Giant’s Causeway, Ireland’s first heritage site.During these leisure activities they had the chance to size up the competition.Day two started with barrel rolling. A difficult mission, but Oliff and Tickner managed a first place in their heat and third place in the final.The teams then had to brave a round of beach golf, in the rain, followed by the blind taste testing and cocktail making challenges. Although these were less physically demanding, they proved to be harder than expected – South Africa managed to correctly identify only one of the whiskeys on offer in the taste test.For the cocktail challenge, which had to include Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Team SA paid tribute to the country’s first democratically elected president with a cream based creation named Magical Madiba.The final task was persuading the judges of their winners’ potential, through a short performance featuring song, dance, poetry or whatever they felt would be necessary to be convincing.It was enough to secure top spot for Team SA.“It’s amazing to be named the winners,” said an elated Oliff. “We came to the global final here in Bushmills to do our country proud – we can’t wait to take the distillery home to South Africa.”
TORONTO – Canada’s real estate market will hit a slow patch in 2018 as tighter mortgage stress tests apply pressure and the impact could be exacerbated if an expected interest rate hike drives buyers to put off their home purchases, economists said Monday.The Bank of Canada will make its first interest rate announcement of the year on Wednesday. Many observers predict will boost the country’s benchmark rate by 25 points to 1.25 per cent after the economy’s strong performance last year and a particularly strong jobs report from November. If the economy keeps pace, they believe that rate may be bumped up a few more times over 2018.The suspected hikes could heap stress onto buyers already combating stricter regulations that were introduced by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions on Jan. 1 for uninsured mortgages, and elevated five-year, fixed mortgage rates that were pushed up by the CIBC, RBC and TD banks last week.“This is the most significant test the market has seen in recent years,” said Benjamin Tal, CIBC’s chief deputy chief economist.He expects a market slowdown to be seen as early as the first quarter as people who were hoping to scoop up homes weigh whether renting or living with family for a bit longer will pay off later in the year, when the country has grown accustomed to the new conditions.“The big question though is to what extent investors will stop buying,” says Tal. “That will carry a big effect, but it’s still the biggest unknown.”The Canadian Real Estate Association slashed its sales forecast for 2018 to predict a 5.3 per cent drop in national sales to 486,600 units this year, shaving about 8,500 units from its previous estimate due to the impact of the stricter mortgage stress tests.On Monday, the association released a report revealing that national home sales rose 4.5 per cent in December from the month before and that the average national home price reached just over $496,500, up 5.7 per cent from one year earlier.It said the bounce likely stemmed from buyers scrambling to nab homes before being forced to submit to the uninsured mortgage regulations, which requires would-be homebuyers with a more than 20 per cent down payment to prove they can still service their uninsured mortgage at a qualifying rate of the greater of the contractual mortgage rate plus two percentage points or the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada.“It will be interesting to see if the monthly sales activity continues to rise despite tighter mortgage regulations,” Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist, said in the report.It also shared that the number of homes on the market increased by 3.3 per cent in December from the month before and December home sales were up 4.1 per cent on a year-over-year basis.The improvements signal that the country is “fully recovering from the slump last summer” when there was a drop in sales before a set of policies introduced by the Ontario government in April produced the desired market slowdown in Toronto during the second and third quarters following a hot first quarter.“The new OFSI measures and a shift to a rising-state environment should prevent speculative froth from building again, and contain price growth to a reasonable pace for the remainder of the cycle,” BMO Capital Markets senior economist Robert Kavcic predicted in a note Monday.Looking across the country, he said Toronto home sales were in “a strong spot,” Calgary’s “remained steady” and Ottawa and Montreal were “continually showing better momentum.”CREA said in December it had seen 60 per cent of all local markets surge in activity.That spike came as no surprise to Toronto-based realtor David Fleming.While agents typically avoid keeping listings up over the holidays, he saw many bucking their usual habit this year by leaving homes on the market because sales were so strong.Of the three listings he let sit, one sold on Dec. 31 and another on Jan. 2.“There are definitely people who thought they had to close a deal before Jan. 1. and the numbers are really showing that,” Fleming said.“I think it will take a couple months for buyers to wrap their heads around the new rules and for the country to see the affect.”
Kabul: An Afghan official says at least seven people have been killed as heavy rains and flooding swept through the country’s western Herat province. Heavy snowfall across Afghanistan this winter had cut off many areas, raising fears of severe floods in the spring. So far this year, 63 people have died as heavy rains and flooding swept away their homes. Said Hamid Mubarez, the federal disaster and humanitarian director in Herat, says the flash floods on Thursday evening swept away eight people riding in two cars in the district of Karukh. Seven died while one survivor was injured. In March, seven people, including five children, died elsewhere in Herat as a result of flooding. Hundreds of homes have been damaged and hundreds of cattle killed.