RSS-affiliated schools bloom across Bengal

first_imgThough West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been at loggerheads with the BJP-led NDA government over demonetisation and the crackdown on MPs over the chit fund scams, the State government has ensured that more than a dozen Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-controlled schools have been granted affiliation in the last year. These schools are run by the Vivekananda Vidyavikash Parishad (VVP) with a declared agenda of instilling “Hindu mindset” among the pupils. The VVP is the Bengal chapter of the Vidya Bharti Akhil Bhartiya Siksha Sansthan, an RSS-affiliated organisation. The organisation’s website clearly states that its primary objective is to establish an education system which will create a generation of “youths with a Hindu mindset.” “Our aim is to develop an ideal education system which will create a generation of youths who will have Hindu mindset along with well developed spiritual outlook,” states the website of VVP. Speaking to The Hindu, the organisational secretary of the VPP, Tarak Das Sarkar, an RSS pracharak, said, “All of our schools received State government affiliation after 2011 (when TMC came to power in Bengal).”Mr Sarkar was quick to stress that, “We have followed due procedures to get the affiliations. There is no politics behind it.” In 2016 while eight schools (upto class VIII) and two schools (upto class X) run by the VVP have been given permanent affiliation by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE), 15 primary schools were issued provisional affiliation by the West Bengal Board of Primary Education. As a result these schools will now be able to receive the grants under the Centre’s Sarva Siksha Abhiyan scheme as well as facilities such as free text books and mid day meal from the WBBSE. They would also be eligible for no objection certificates from the State’s Education Department for being upgraded to Secondary Schools under the WBBSE. However, as per the provisions of the affiliation these schools will not get any financial aid from the State government.According to VVP authorities, the organisation currently runs 326 schools in Bengal up from 314 in 2015. As on December 2016, the number of students at these schools stood at 74,996, an increase of 23.87 % since 2015, VPP authorities said. They also said the schools which recently got government affiliation are located in the districts of Paschim Medinipur, Murshidabad, Jalpaiguri, Murshidabad, North Dinajpur and Cooch Behar. Even as State BJP president Dilip Ghosh criticised the TMC government for “failing to create proper education infrastructure” in Bengal, he welcomed the development as a “positive step.”“I think they (TMC government) have taken a positive step in giving affiliation to these schools. Since the State government has failed to improve the standard of education in Bengal, they are left with no choice but to give affiliation to these schools,” Mr. Ghosh said.last_img read more

U.P. to build 221-metre Ram statue on the banks of Saryu

first_imgWhile a show of strength is on in Ayodhya by the VHP for the Ram Mandir, the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has cleared a 221-metre-tall statue of Lord Ram, to come up on the banks of the Saryu in the temple town.While the government did not reveal the details of cost, funding, or exact location, it announced the expected size of the statue, which seems to outdo the 182-metre Sardar Patel statue in Gujarat.The Lord Ram statue would consist of a 151-metre statue, a 20-metre umbrella overhead, and a 50-metre pedestal; the total being 221 metre, a government spokesperson said.The pedestal would hold a “grand and ultra-modern museum” showcasing history of Ayodhya, legendary Ishvaku dynasty and Raja Manu, and the Ram Janmabhooomi.After shortlisting five statues, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath approved one, made of bronze.The Yogi Adityanath government had last year announced that it would construct a Ram statue in Ayodhya as part of the “Navya Ayodhya” scheme of the UP Tourism Department to develop the town as a tourist hub.This is not the only Ram statue the BJP government is planning in UP. The government has also announced that it would build a statue of Lord Ram at Shringverpur, a site near Allahabad revered by Nishads. They are a riverine Most-Backward Caste.Next to that Lord Ram statue would come up a statue of Nishadraj, the caste icon and boatman who, as per Hindu beliefs, helped Lord Ram along with his wife and brother cross the Ganga during exile. Mr. Adityanath had in September said ₹ 34 crore would be allocated for the project.last_img read more

Hidilyn Diaz says all her focus is on representing Philippines amid inclusion in ouster matrix

first_imgSEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte LATEST STORIES “Ano’ng matrix? Ano po ‘yun? Di ko po alam kung ano ‘yung sinasabi nilang matrix. Di ko po maisip kung pa’no napunta do’n ang pangalan ko.”READ: Olympic medalist Hidilyn Diaz shocked over inclusion in oust-Duterte matrixFEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsDiaz she doesn’t have time to be part of any political uprisings as she’s focused on her weightlifting career. She is preparing for the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian Games and qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.“Busy po ako lagi sa kaka-training, lalo na ngayon malapit na ang Olympics,” said Diaz in the Facebook post. “Ang pangarap ko lang, manalo at makapagbigay ng medalya sa bansa.” Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Warriors star Kevin Durant injures right calf in Game 5 win Hidilyn Diaz of Philippines celebrate at the podium during the victory ceremony for the women’s 53kg weightlifting event during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MONEY SHARMAMANILA, Philippines—After being tagged in a matrix that illustrates an alleged plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, Olympian Hidilyn Diaz stressed that all her time and focus is dedicated to training for several international competitions where she will carry the country’s colors.Diaz first expressed shock over her inclusion in the matrix on Wednesday when the news first came out and continued to deny any knowledge of the said destabilization plot by releasing a video statement on her Facebook page the day after.ADVERTISEMENT PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew “Halos lahat ng oras ko nasa training para mairepresenta ang Pilipinas sa SEA Games at Olympics Qualifying. Mahabang paghahanda, marami pa akong kailangang gawin sa training, sa pagpapabuti ng technique, sa pagkokondisyon ng katawan at isip. Tutok po talaga ako para sa pangarap ko, para sa pamilya ko, para sa mga Pilipino.”READ: Lacson on Hidilyn, Gretchen in matrix: ‘Bikoy’ infiltrated NSA?Diaz, who won a silver medal in Rio 2016, said that she initially laughed off the accusation but has started to fear for the safety of her family.“Noong unang nakarating sa akin ang balita na nadawit ang pangalan ko, natawa lang ako, akala ko biro,” said Diaz. “Pero nang nakapag-isip ako, may takot na rin ako, hindi dahil sa totoo ang balita kundi dahil sa seguridad ko at ng pamilya ko.”“Hindi na alam ng mga tao ngayon kung ano ang totoo at hindi. Pero ako, alam ko kung ano ang totoo sa isyung ito—na wala akong kinalaman dito.”ADVERTISEMENT Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hasslescenter_img Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated MOST READ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue View commentslast_img read more

Batting slots should be decided according to match situation: Kapil Dev

first_imgFormer India captain Kapil Dev feels the concept of slots shouldn’t be there in cricket. Players should play according to the situation and not the batting slots.Former India captain Kapil Dev does not like the debate about who should bat at number four in India’s World Cup team and said that the batting slots should be decided according to match situation.”There is a lot of talk about that No. 4 slot. When we were playing, we fixed numbers, but nowadays, there are no numbers. All the players play at any number, and they are all good. Players should play like a team. Don’t fix numbers. Play according to the situation,” Kapil said on Tuesday.Kapil also said that Rishabh Pant has very long way to go, though he has the ability.”Dhoni has set the standard very high. Yes, Pant has the ability but he has a long way to go,” the 1983 World Cup winning captain said at the unveiling of ‘Britannia Khao World Cup Jao’ advertising campaign.He also picked Mahendra Singh Dhoni as his favourite all-rounder among current cricketers.”Are only bowling all-rounders, and fast bowling all-rounders considered all-rounders? I would consider wicket-keepers also. For me, Dhoni comes in very high,” he said.Kapil further said he considers Ravichandran Ashwin as a good all-rounder in Test cricket. He said Ravindra Jadeja can also become a good all-rounder, considering he had scored two triple tons in first class cricket.”If Jadeja puts his head to it, he can become a very good all-rounder,” Kapil said, adding that Ben Stokes was cut above the rest as an all-rounder.advertisementFormer India opener and national selector Kris Srikkanth said he would select a match-winner like Rishabh Pant for the World Cup.”If I am the captain or chairman of selectors, I would go for a match-winner. A guy who can win matches from no-win situations. Dhoni will be the wicket-keeper, Rishabh Pant is the guy who almost won a Test match for us in England from an amazing no-win situation,” he said.On revisiting the 1992 World Cup format, where every team plays all the other teams, Srikkanth said, “By nine matches, every team has a fair opportunity to qualify. This is definitely a good format because you are playing each other once at least.””From India’s point of view, all the more better for us. You get used to the conditions as the English conditions are going to be different and it’s good time for the team to become set,” he said.Asked about the bowling combination, Roger Binny said he would drop a spinner and go in with an extra pace bowler like Bhuvaneswar Kumar or Umesh Yadav in English conditions.”I would drop a spinner and go in with an extra pace bowler, who can win matches for you. It’s not the spinners who will win matches for you in England. I would go for a person who can seam the ball,” said Binny.”I think it’s very important in England to be have someone who can seam the ball early. Bhuvi is one who can do that. Umesh Yadav could be a good pick because he seams the ball and he’s got pace,” he added.Also Read | West Indies will be a threat to all teams at 2019 World Cup: Dwayne BravoAlso Read | Kapil Dev turns 60: Celebrating the man who changed Indian cricket foreverAlso Watch | Shane Warne picks India and England as the favourites to win 2019 ICC World Cuplast_img read more

KL Rahul: How India lost and then found their No. 4 for World Cup

first_imgAfter having gone through a dozen or so players in their search for an ideal No. 4 batsman since the last World Cup, Virat Kohli’s India must be breathing a huge sigh of relief after having watched KL Rahul hit a stupendous 108 against Bangladesh in their final warm-up game. Rahul’s knock comes just at the right moment for him and the team as they look to add a 3rd World Cup trophy to their cabinet over the next 6 weeks in England. However, just a day before, things looked pretty muddy as far as the No. 4 spot was concerned for India.In the previous World Cup in 2015, Ajinkya Rahane and Suresh Raina took turns for India at the contentious spot with mixed results. While Rahane was able to hit just a lone half-century, Raina’s discomfort against quality pace bowling meant he was not going to be part of India’s long-term plans.Even Yuvraj Singh who played at No.4 for India in the Champions Trophy 2017 final, was past his best and had India scampering for a better solution to their middle-order puzzle.Since the 2015 World Cup, India have tried 12 players at No.4 including the likes of Dinesh Karthik, Vijay Shankar and Ambati Rayudu. The latter seemed at the forefront of the race till October 2018 when skipper Virat Kohli had said that Rayudu was the ‘right choice’ for the spot going into the World Cup.”Apart from bowlers resting here or there in one-day cricket, we only changed the No. 4 slot because we wanted somebody to cement it. We believe that Rayudu is the right person to capitalize because he’s experienced and he has won many games for his state and in IPL cricket. He has a great one-day record already for India, so I think the batting order is sorted as far as we’re concerned,” Kohli had said after the Asia Cup last year.advertisementIn the 20 innings, since the start of Asia Cup 2018, Rayudu scored 464 runs while batting at No.4 for India, including 2 fifties at an average of 42.18 and a strike-rate of 85.60. Perhaps, the last of these stats kept the Indian team management still making second guesses regarding the crucial position.Vijay Shankar – for all his 3-dimensional attributes – also burst on to the scene at the beginning of this year during the Australia tour. While he showed composure with the bat along with the ability to hit big sixes, his slow-medium pace bowling, on the other hand, failed to inspire enough confidence. During Australia’s limited-overs tour to India in February-March 2019, he failed to tie up one end with the ball in hand and also couldn’t make a big score which could have swept everyone off their feet.All this while, KL Rahul was struggling for form in Tests and it was bleeding over into the shorter versions too. Although he had been a regular Test presence, Rahul had only played 14 ODIs for India and batted at No.4 thrice making 17, 9* and 0. Clearly, his World Cup chances were hanging by a thread.The muddle was only getting muddier. After the 1st ODI on the Australian tour, India ODI vice-captain Rohit Sharma ruffled a few feathers when he backed MS Dhoni for the job. A month later in New Zealand, Kohli took a U-turn on his statement from last year when he said that ‘No. 4 is still something we (Indian team) are looking to solidify’. Phew!Come the Indian Premier League, Rayudu failed to get going with the bat while Rahul finally started finding some form just before the team was to be selected on April 15. Even though Kohli had made it clear that IPL performances wouldn’t impact the selection, Rahul and Shankar found themselves in the team at the expense of Rayudu. The Andhra batsman couldn’t be faulted for being heartbroken.Still, doubts remained as both Shankar and Rahul hadn’t produced the kind of knock that would have confirmed them as a part of the playing XI – till yesterday.Even though it came against Bangladesh who don’t have a great bowling attack, in a warm-up game, Rahul’s 108 was still enough to show us that he is capable of performing the role to perfection. While unleashing a flurry of sweetly-timed strokes, Rahul also judged the situation on its merit and was excellent in rotating the strike with the other centurion of the day – Dhoni.Still, one should keep in mind that the World Cup is a long tournament and it is still early to say that Rahul will be able to repeat his performance on a consistent basis over the next few weeks. Given that Shankar was coming into this match after an injury, this is obviously not the end of the road for him.advertisementOne thing is clear: whether 3D or not, thanks to Rahul, India can now breathe a bit easy for the next few days before they take on South Africa on June 5 in their World Cup opener at the Rose Bowl.Also Read | World Cup 2019: MS Dhoni, KL Rahul and spinners shine as India thrash Bangladesh in final warm-upAlso Read | World Cup 2019: Sourav Ganguly and John Wright reunite in commentary box, bond over banterlast_img read more

McDermott Bags FEED Contract for Sohar LNG Bunkering Project

first_imgzoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: STX/Wartsila US-based McDermott International has received a contract to provide front-end engineering design (FEED) services for the Sohar LNG Bunkering Project in Oman.The project has an aim of establishing Oman as a regional LNG bunkering hub capable of supplying LNG as a fuel to marine vessels.Under the deal, awarded by Total Oman E&P Development B.V. in partnership with Oman Oil Company S.O.A.C., the scope of work during the FEED phase includes fully defining the onshore mid-scale LNG facilities and preparing a competitive tender for the engineering, procurement, supply, construction and commissioning phase.The global LNG bunkering market is entering a rapid growth period driven largely by the International Maritime Organization’s legislation to significantly limit sulphur emissions.Work on the project will begin immediately and the contract award will be reflected in McDermott’s second quarter 2019 backlog.last_img read more

Office of the Ombudsman To Hold Meet and Greets

first_imgNova Scotians in the Amherst, Yarmouth and Sydney areas will have the opportunity to learn more about the Office of the Ombudsman. Representatives from the Ombudsman’s office will be available to talk about the role of the Ombudsman in Nova Scotia. Arrangements can be made for people to meet privately with a representative of the office. “We understand that it’s not always possible for those from around the province who want to use our services to come to our Halifax office,” said Ombudsman Dwight Bishop. “By going out into communities we are offering people easier access to information and our services.” The meet and greets will be held between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The dates and locations are as follows: Friday, Feb. 17Amherst Centre Mall, 142 Albion St., Amherst Monday, Feb. 27Yarmouth Centre Mall, 76 Starrs Rd., Yarmouth Wednesday, Mar. 22Mayflower Mall, 800 Grand Lake Rd., Sydney The Office of the Ombudsman is an independent agency with a mission to promote the principles of fairness, integrity and good governance. Its services are provided free of charge. For more information on the information session call toll-free 1-800-670-1111, e-mail ombudsman@gov.ns.ca or see the website at www.gov.ns.ca/ombu .last_img read more

Some baloney in assertion Canadas pension fund has highest ethical standards

first_imgOTTAWA – “We expect the CPPIB, like other Crown corporations, to live up to the highest standards of ethics and behaviour and that is, in fact, exactly what it is doing.” — Finance Minister Bill Morneau during question period Monday in the House of Commons.—The New Democrats challenged Morneau this week to weigh in on new ethical questions surrounding the investment portfolio of the arms-length Canada Pension Plan Investment Board — which manages hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Canadians’ retirement savings.NDP MP Charlie Angus pressed Morneau for his opinion on CPPIB’s holdings in a tobacco company, a military weapons manufacturer and firms that run private American prisons. The prison operators and their facilities are seen as beneficiaries of the Trump administration’s controversial detention of asylum seekers and, in some cases, their children.On Monday, Angus demanded Morneau explain whether he thought CPPIB’s investments in “cigarette companies and privatized prisons” met a “credible standard of corporate investment” for the CPP.Morneau replied that the pension manager, which oversees more than $366 billion of CPP’s net assets, lives up to the “highest standards of ethics and behaviour.”Spoiler alert: The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of “no baloney” to “full of baloney” (complete methodology below).Morneau’s statement on its own earns a rating of “some baloney” — it’s mostly accurate but more information is required. Here’s why.THE FACTSCPPIB’s holdings in private U.S. prison operators CoreCivic Inc. and the GEO Group Inc. grew considerably between August 2017 and August 2018.Over that period, the number of GEO Group shares held by CPPIB increased nearly 13-fold to a value of US$4.2 million, while its shares of CoreCivic more than doubled to a value of US$1.76 million, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. CPPIB’s holdings in the prison companies were made public in a report last week by the Guardian newspaper.CoreCivic and GEO Group are expected to receive major business boosts because of the Trump administration’s approach to dealing with asylum seekers. The policy has led to the U.S. government’s highly contentious detention of parents and their children.Michel Leduc, CPPIB’s global head of public affairs and communications, said the shares in the two prison companies were acquired through an algorithm that captures more than 3,000 companies as a way to diversify the fund’s portfolio.“I want to be crystal clear about this: no CPPIB employee made a decision … to invest in those two companies,” he said in an interview, before noting that many mutual funds and pension plans in Canada likely contain shares in the prison firms as well.He added that CPPIB is an active manager in its major investments in areas like ports, electricity grids, toll roads and shopping centres. But the fund tends to be passive when it comes to its smaller holdings in publicly traded companies.Due to CPPIB’s size — it’s one of the 10 largest retirement funds in the world — the value of the prison company shares make up only 0.001 per cent of its total investments, he said.The organization, Leduc argued, takes pride in its very high standards when it comes to ethical, environmental and social considerations. CPPIB also follows a strict policy of only investing in businesses that would be lawful if they operated in Canada.“The CPP Investment Board is seen around the world as one of the most ethical institutional investors on the planet,” he said.After Morneau defended the CPPIB on Monday in the House of Commons, Angus criticized him the following day: “Could the finance minister explain what is it about privatized American prison camps that he thinks represents any kind of ethical investment standard?”In his response Tuesday, Morneau appeared to tone down his position on the matter.“All Canadian Crown corporations, all Canadian government institutions are expected to live up to the highest standards of ethical behaviour and corporate governance. That includes the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board,” Morneau said.“This is important. We monitor it. We stay on top of it.”WHAT THE EXPERTS SAYMany experts credit CPPIB for having a very strong model when it comes to responsible investing. But they argue it could go even further if it truly wanted to avoid making gains from certain types of businesses.Tim Nash, a financial planner and founder of Good Investing, questions whether the for-profit U.S. prisons comply fully with Canadian laws because of the related concerns around human rights.He recognizes CPPIB is the Canadian leader on sustainable investment policies. But he also argues it’s not the highest ranked globally.“In this specific case, I would argue there is a breach of those policies and that, in fact, they are not living up to those highest standards with the inclusion of these companies within the investment portfolio,” said Nash, who added the controversial nature of these prison operators — and the possibility of lawsuits — raises the risk level of the investment.“As far as I can tell when it comes to CPPIB’s specific investment policy, they should not be owning these companies.”He said CPPIB could easily adjust its approach to omit some types of companies — without sacrificing financial returns.Lisa Kramer, a University of Toronto finance professor, said so-called ESG investing principles, which are followed by CPPIB, are part of an emerging area that’s still not well defined. ESG stands for environmental, social and governance.“Socially responsible investing is often in the eye of the beholder depending on what principles one holds dear to her own heart,” said Kramer, an expert on behavioural finance.“It can be very difficult to adopt an investment strategy that makes everybody happy.”Tessa Hebb, a Carleton University expert on responsible investment, credits CPPIB for having a very good model of responsible investing.But Hebb stressed there’s a difference between responsible investing and ethical investing. Responsible investing makes a business case for investments and helps investors avoid riskier decisions.Ethical standards, on the other hand, are far more subjective, she said.“It’s interesting that Minister Morneau would use the term ethics,” Hebb said. “If he had said that they were one of the top responsible investors — absolutely.”THE VERDICTIn this case, Morneau said CPPIB is living up to the “highest standards of ethics and behaviour” as he responded to a question about its investments in U.S. prison companies.But while experts say CPPIB is viewed in many ways as a leader in responsible investing, they argue determining ethical standards depends on an individual’s views and can vary greatly.For that reason, Morneau’s statement rates “some” baloney.METHODOLOGYThe Baloney Meter is a project of The Canadian Press that examines the level of accuracy in statements made by politicians. Each claim is researched and assigned a rating based on the following scale:No baloney — the statement is completely accurateA little baloney — the statement is mostly accurate but more information is requiredSome baloney — the statement is partly accurate but important details are missingA lot of baloney — the statement is mostly inaccurate but contains elements of truthFull of baloney — the statement is completely inaccuratelast_img read more

UN emphasizes role of blue helmets in combating organized crime

27 August 2008Policing and law enforcement experts from around the world have gathered in Stockholm for today’s start of a two-day conference examining the threats posed by organized crime to United Nations peace operations. “Establishing fair and effective criminal justice systems is essential if the rule of law is to be established in countries affected by violent conflict, in particular in post-conflict situations where UN operations are established,” said Dmitry Titov, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions, ahead of the meeting.He helped open the meeting of the fourth International Policing Advisory Council (IPAC), a group of law enforcement experts brought together by the Police Division of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).The gathering – organized by the UN, the Swedish National Police and the International Peace Institute – will delve into the impact of organized crime on peacekeeping and come up with measures to address the problem. Also taking part are experts from INTERPOL, the European Union, the World Bank, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.“A number of peacekeeping operations are on the front line in the international community’s attempt to combat organized crime in countries recovering from conflict,” said UN Police Adviser Andrew Hughes.Blue helmets have taken part in “gang-clearing” operations in Haiti, and acted against human trafficking and financial crimes in Kosovo, drug trafficking in Afghanistan, and the illicit arms trade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).The UN Police Division is among the fastest-growing within the Organization, with the number of authorized police officers in its ranks swelling from just over 8,000 in January 2006 to nearly 17,000 in January of this year. Currently, over 12,000 UNPOL representing almost 100 nations are deployed in 19 UN peace operations. read more

Sounding alarm bells Ban calls for more aid to landlocked poor countries

2 October 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the international community to show the same generosity in helping the world’s 31 landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) overcome their trade-hobbling isolation as it did last week when it pledged significant new funding to help poor States in general achieve development goals. “Today we are sounding alarm bells for the Almaty Programme of Action,” he told a High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly devoted to a mid-term review of the Programme, a 2003 plan setting out specific measures to compensate LLDCs for their geographical handicaps with improved market access and trade facilitation. Although LLDCs represent about 15 per cent of States, their share of world exports has remained well below 1 per cent, according to United Nations figures. Mr. Ban noted that the “alarm bells” he sounded last week at the Assembly’s High-Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the ambitious targets set by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000 to slash poverty, hunger, preventable illness and a host of other socio-economic ills, all by 2015, sparked an “unprecedented commitment” of as much as $16 billion.“I hope for a similarly hope-inspiring response,” he said. “Let us use the success of the High-Level Event on the MDGs as inspiration for this review.”It is vital that landlocked developing countries increase their volume of exports to meet the MDGs, yet the biggest obstacle to this is the very high cost of transport, in some cases exceeding 70 per cent of the export value, Mr. Ban told the opening session of the two-day meeting, calling for more vigorous international cooperation.Despite some encouraging progress since 2003 in improving transit transport policies, much more needs to be done in infrastructure development as roads and railways remain inadequate, and many ports use obsolete cargo handling equipment, he said. Integrated transport networks must be developed and customs operations modernized.Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto also said much more needed to be done to help the LLDCs. “Geographical realities coupled with critical infrastructure deficiencies, as well as cumbersome border crossing procedures, continue to pose daunting impediments to the external trade of landlocked developing countries,” he told the plenary.“Today, high trade transaction costs remain the single most important obstacle to the equitable and competitive access by landlocked countries to global markets.”Citing tangible progress, Cheick Sidi Diarra, the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), told a news conference that official development aid (ODA) to LLDCs grew from $10.1 billion in 2000 to $16.1 billion in 2006. Direct investment more than tripled over the past five years from $3.9 billion to $14 billion.Regional and sub-regional cooperation was also one of the success stories, he said, citing the inter-Asian highway and the strengthening of airports in Africa. The World Bank reported that in 2007, landlocked countries spent an average of 49 days for their exports to reach a seaport, down from 57 days in 2006. The time spent for importing decreased to 56 from 72.But, he added: “It is increasingly recognized that high transportation costs constitute a more important barrier than tariffs.” read more

Earnings gains at UnitedHealth others drive US stocks broadly higher eBay and

by The Associated Press Posted Jul 18, 2013 12:00 pm MDT Earnings gains at UnitedHealth, others drive US stocks broadly higher; eBay and Intel lag AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email NEW YORK, N.Y. – Solid earnings gains at major U.S. companies are driving stocks higher in midday trading on Wall Street.The advance put the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index back into record territory.The Dow was up 106 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 15,576 at noon (1600 GMT) Thursday. The gains were led by IBM and UnitedHealth.The S&P 500 was up 10 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 1,691.The Nasdaq composite rose nine points, or 0.2 per cent, to 3,619. The technology-focused index was held back by declines in Intel and eBay, which reported disappointing results late Wednesday.Financial stocks were among the gainers. Morgan Stanley rose 5 per cent to $27.89 after reporting a surge in revenue from investment banking and wealth management. read more

How Netflix drama The Crown showed Prince Philip as a doting father

first_imgCameras were permitted to film the Queen, her husband and children, at thebreakfast table, at work, and enjoying a barbecue, giving the public an unprecedented and controversial insight into them as a “normal” family. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Matt Smith and Claire Foy in The Crown Matt Smith and Claire Foy in The CrownCredit:Alex Bailey/Netflix Queen Elizabeth Ii, Prince Edward, Princess Anne, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew & Prince Philip  With his family in 1965Credit: Cinetext / Allstar Collectioncenter_img Smith played the Duke as charming and handsome innovator, pushing the Queen into modernising the Royal family by televising her coronation.The Palace have never commented on the drama, with the Duke of Cambridge last month laughing as he told Radio 1 he been asked for his thoughts on it many times. The Duke himself has been the subject of numerous documentaries including the groundbreaking The Royal Family, aired in 1969 and showing the royals at home for the first time. The Duke continued to participate in on-camera interviews until the end of last year, when he undertook several brief interviews in an ITV documentary with Phillip Schofield to commemorate the 60th anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh Award.A comically curmudgeonly final appearance saw the Duke wonder aloud about interviews: “How many more times have we got to do this?” Suzanne Mackie, producer, has said of the series: “I think Philip is someone who is often misunderstood or we only see one dimension to him, and yet theirs is a marriage that has survived.“[People will see he was] incredibly, surprisingly vital, progressive, modernising, energetic; a real alpha-male. Someone who was allegedly very very good at more or less everything he turned his hand to. Really athletic, capable and clever.”In particular, the drama showed his as a caring father to Prince Charles and Princess Anne, playing with them and in one scene worrying the “darling” children will miss their parents while they were away on overseas tour. The reputation of the Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed something of a revamp in the last year, as big-budget Netflix drama put his life as a young man on screen.The series, starring Matt Smith as a young Prince Philip, tracked the early days of the Queen’s marriage, coronation and young family to critical acclaim.Producers said they hoped to show a new generation a different kind of consort, overturning the stereotypes to remind the public about his innovations, passion and role as doting father.last_img read more

Weir sees exponential growth in African pump rental business

first_imgAfter experiencing exponential growth since its launch in 2009, the concept store of Weir Minerals Africa’s pump rental business in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, relocated to a brand new 1,200 m2 purpose-built facility adjacent to the company’s Middelburg sales and service centre in Vaalbank. This central office manages pump rentals for customers throughout Africa and maintains a rental presence at Weir Minerals Africa branches in Rustenburg, Phalaborwa, Steelpoort, Mokapane, Wadeville and Zambia. There are currently plans on the table to expand rental fleets in these and other key industrial centres, as well as into Mozambique and Ghana.The new Middelburg premises include a wash bay, shot blasting area, spray booth and compressor section with provision for flammable liquids and gas cylinder storage areas. “Irrespective of the logistics of operating in Africa, Weir Minerals Africa has continued to roll out our strategy of being where our customers need us,” Ian Farquhar, Product Manager Dewatering at Weir Minerals Africa, says. “The rental concept has worked incredibly well and the growth of our rental business has been nothing short of phenomenal. We started out in 2009 with 12 pumps, about ZAR400,000 stock, one bakkie, one delivery vehicle and one diesel set. Within three months we had achieved the ZAR1 million milestone in our annual turnover and by 2010 we started turning over ZAR1 million every month – eventually exceeding ZAR3 million per month in turnover by the end of the first quarter of 2012. This beyond-expectation success can be attributed to the high level of customer service we deliver across the continent as well as to having the appropriate pump stock for customer applications, the ability to come up with solutions to specific customer problems, having the appropriate level of skills and our team’s willingness to go the extra mile in every respect when customers find themselves in crisis situations.”Weir Minerals Africa was the first company in the Weir Minerals Group to introduce a dedicated rental business and this model is already being replicated in other Weir Minerals geographies around the world. Today the rental operation runs a fleet of vehicles including a four ton truck, a 4X4 towing vehicle and six rental service vehicles. The rental fleet currently comprises some 300 units, including submersibles (ANZE, SHW, SJ and high head submersibles); “Water Spider” pontoons and other small pontoons; diesel driven self-primer low head and high head pumps (WSP, DWU, Multiflo CF’s, MF and ME, skid, trailer and pontoon mounted) as well as lighting plants, trolleys for the submersibles, Linatex, HDPE and lay flat hoses; and diaphragm pumps, as well as the associated labour. Rental pump stockholdings differ from region to region and are generally commensurate with customer requirements in each area. Farquhar stresses that pump rental is not a static type of business and stockholding is reviewed on an ongoing basis and developed in accordance with each market’s specific demands. For instance, the Middleburg rental fleet was recently boosted with the inclusion of diesel driven high lift units to meet a specific application.last_img read more

Une nouvelle carte des régions neuronales au cœur de la détection des

first_imgUne nouvelle carte des régions neuronales au cœur de la détection des goûtsDes chercheurs de l’Institut médical Howard Hughes aux Etats-Unis sont parvenus à réaliser une carte cérébrale représentant les différentes zones neuronales, chez les mammifères, répondant aux différents stimuli gustatifs : sucré, salé, aigre et umami.Au sein du cerveau, chaque goût est détecté par un ensemble unique de neurones qui réagissent au stimulus par une réponse spécifique. Cette observation, mise en évidence par l’équipe de chercheurs de l’Institut médical Howard Hughe, a permis de cartographier pour la première fois les régions au sein du cerveau des mammifères correspondant à quatre saveurs primaires (sucré, salé, aigre et umami). Les résultats de ces travaux conséquents, ont fait l’objet d’une publication dans la revue Science. À lire aussiCerveau, Alzheimer et nucléaire, les actus sciences que vous devez connaître ce 26 aoûtJusqu’à présent, la détection des goûts au sein du cerveau, était attribuée par les scientifiques à un regroupement assez vaste de neurones situées dans le cortex et impliquées dans le traitement de toutes les saveurs de façon générale. Partant de cette constatation, le groupe de chercheurs américains dirigé par Charles Zuker ont établi l’hypothèse d’une détection non pas générale, mais organisée en plusieurs régions spécifiques selon les stimuli gustatifs. Pour vérifier leur théorie, les scientifiques se sont appuyés sur des techniques d’imagerie sophistiquées. Leur protocole, employé sur des souris, a ainsi consisté à suivre de façon simultanée l’activité de grands groupes de cellules nerveuses au sein du cortex. L’observation s’est faite en appliquant tour à tour des gouttelettes des quatre saveurs sur la langue des rongeurs.De nouvelles études pour compléter le savoir sur la perception du goûtLes résultats de cette expérience, montrent effectivement quatre régions bien distinctes au sein du cortex que les chercheurs ont pris soin de cartographier. Après une telle performance Charles Zuker et ses collègues envisagent désormais de pousser encore plus loin leurs observations. “Nous étudions à présent comment le goût se combine avec d’autres entrées sensorielles telles que l’odeur, la texture, ou encore l’état interne – comme la faim ou l’attente par exemple – pour créer une chorégraphie complexe du goût, du souvenir des saveurs et du comportement alimentaire”, conclut Charles Zuker. Le 5 septembre 2011 à 13:29 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

YouTube Gaming Highlights New VR Videos

first_img PewDiePie Pulls $50,000 Pledge to Anti-Hate Group After Fan BacklashYouTube Fined $170M For Alleged Child Privacy Law Violation Stay on target In the world of video game streaming, Twitch may seem impossible to beat. But if any entity can do it, it’s probably the Google-powered, beef-filled, internet video behemoth known as YouTube.Alongside other initiatives like YouTube Red and YouTube Community, for over a year YouTube Gaming has been the platform’s attempt to leverage its sizable amount of gaming content. You can easily search for specific games or personalities and watch live or pre-recorded videos.Meanwhile, virtual reality continues to grow into an important part of the gaming landscape, so YouTube Gaming is trying to get a piece of that. The service recently highlighted its selection of gaming VR videos.YouTube’s been planning VR gaming content for a while. It was something we talked about when I met with the company last year. Many streamers are also pondering how exactly they want to use the technology. YouTube Gaming has been working with creators to develop a variety of videos that can be enjoyed in glorious virtual cyberspace. VR Minecraft Let’s Plays, 360-degree trailers inside the world of Clash of Clans, live-action VR Call of Duty shorts, World of Tanks documentaries, Red v Blue, and VR videos of League of Legends tournaments that put you right in the middle of the eSports action are all available. The lengthy playlist below is just a sample (obviously you’ll need to watch in VR for the full effect).The great thing about these VR YouTube Gaming videos is that you don’t need a pricey, hair-ruining gaming console/PC VR headset to enjoy them. Just pull them up on your phone and use Google Cardboard or Daydream. YouTube is as big as it is because it’s everywhere, not just on niche hardware for enthusiasts. This is why VR on mobile phones everyone already owns is probably the real way the technology will evolve.Just don’t expect to see a VR PewDiePie video anytime soon.last_img read more

ISIS reportedly claims responsibility for Ohio State University attack

first_img Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSVN) — ISIS has reportedly claimed responsibly for the stabbing attack at Ohio State University that injured 11 people.The group said that a 28-year-old Somali-born man identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan was involved in the stabbing and was indeed an ISIS soldier.Officials said he was inspired by ISIS in the Ohio State attack. He allegedly made Facebook postings on Monday that referenced Al-Qaeda, Yemen and ISIS.There is no indication, authorities said, that he made contact with the group, however. Evidence points to the ordeal as a lone wolf attack. Officials are going through his computer and cell phone as well as speaking with his family and associates.Artan was a student who recently transferred to Ohio State. He wrote in a Facebook post that he had grown “sick and tired of seeing fellow Muslims killed and tortured,” according to Federal Law Enforcement officials.Ohio State police officials shot Artan after he failed to obey orders to stop. The shooting killed him and ended the attack.Classes resumed Tuesday at the university. last_img read more

Sandbox VRs new Amber Sky 2088 is great scifi fun

first_img Video Games Comment 1 Do the robot! Sandbox VR Want to save the world as a robot hero alongside your friends? Sandbox VR’s new Amber Sky 2088 is here to make it happen.Working with your buddies in a team of four or six, you’re thrust into a world under attack by aliens as part of a robot squad out to save the planet from destruction. The 30-minute experience is mostly on rails, you’ll still get to roam around and blast aliens attacking from all directions.The game starts in New Hong Kong and has you escorting a package up the “Beanstalk” space elevator. You’re treated to an amazing view as you lift up to a sub-orbital station thanks to the game’s stunning graphics. And as the story progresses, you learn that the Beanstalk you’re on is the only one left.You play as either an attacker or defender. Attackers’ rifles have a special flamethrower secondary ability, while defenders get a shield to deflect attacks — they can toss it like Captain America to kill marauding alien monsters.screenshot-2019-01-22-at-16-43-02Defender robots can toss their shields like Captain America (and it’s super fun to do so). Sandbox VR Like other Sandbox VR games, the haptic vest helps add immersion, and lets you know when you’re being attacked. While you’re mostly standing on a platform in the game, you can move around that small space, helping your team fend off attacks from all directions (including above you). Other environment tricks include using fans to simulate explosion breezes, which helped sell the immersion.There are also epic boss fights that require you to dodge mega lasers or die in one hit. Some monsters attack with plasma orbs that defenders have to block, meanwhile attackers can use flamethrowers to burn eggs that hatch baby aliens. And, similar to the Alien movies, those hatched alien babies like to jump on your chest.img-3284VR games can be a ton of fun with a group of friends.  Aloysius Low/CNET Last time I played a Sandbox VR game, I killed the zombies of Deadwood Mansion alongside experienced gamers. This time around I brought newbies to see if they could do as well. Surprisingly, they did — but not without plenty of deaths. Fortunately you can revive a buddy by touching their shoulder.Still, my team had fun. That was a relief because I wasn’t sure how they’d take to VR, having never tried it before. But the session ended with big smiles and everyone wanted to try more games, so it appears that VR gaming has gained more converts.Sandbox VR’s rep told me that there are plans for more games coming this year, and they should rolling out to official Sandbox VR stores around the world, though franchises may not see the new game any time soon. If you’re keen, you can check out the Sandbox VR stores located around the world in Los Angeles, New York, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. A 30-minute session costs around S$32 (about $23, £20 or AU$35) per person.VR in 2019: Five years in, is it just a dream gathering dust?VR’s missing link: You likely haven’t bought a VR headset yet and it’s beginning to show. center_img Share your voice Tagslast_img read more

Stedman nine others face no election challenges

first_imgA fifth of Alaska legislators running for re-election this year face no opposition. That begs the question: Why, in such a politically active state, does anyone run unopposed.Listen nowSen. Bert Stedman reacts to testimony at a 2014 Senate Labor Committee meeting. The Sitka Republican is one of 10 lawmakers running unopposed this year. (Photo by Skip Gray, Gavel Alaska)One is Sitka Sen. Bert Stedman, who faces no contest – for the second time.It’s only July, but the race is pretty much over for Stedman. He has no opponent in the August Republican primary or the November general election.So, why does he think nobody’s running?“Well, I think I’d be a tough competitor. I’ve got a good background in Southeast and I think we’ve done a good job, at least I’d like to think that, representing a district with all its diverse viewpoints,” he said.“I just don’t think there’s a lot of excitement out there for wanting to be a member of the House or the Senate right now,” said his 2012 opponent, Sen. AlbertKookesh, an Angoon Democrat.And did he think about challenging Stedman again?Former Sen. Albert Kookesh was Bert Stedman’s last election opponent, in 2012. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News)“Absolutely not. I was in the House and the Senate when there was money. And I know what it’s like to be in the minority and not have any kind of influence. And it’s not something I want to do anymore,” he said.Stedman began his political career in Sitka, where he spent a combined dozen years on the assembly and planning commission. He first came to the Senate in 2003, when he was appointed by then-Gov. Frank Murkowski.Political analyst Christopher Clark, who’s worked as a journalist and a legislative aide, said Stedman is among incumbents able to run on their records.“I think the constituents are saying, ‘We’re happy with you guys and we like the work you’re doing.’ Especially when you’re Bert Stedman and you were Finance [Committee] co-chair for several years. And back at a time when we were wealthy, Bert Stedman brought the bacon home to Ketchikan, Sitka, Petersburg and people remember that,” he said.Two other state senators and seven state representatives also face no election challengers. That totals 10 of the 50 seats up for grabs this year. And the list doesn’t include one more lawmaker who only faces a declared write-in candidate.Clark said the reasons vary from district to district. But in most cases, unchallenged candidates follow the saying that all politics is local.“I think the one thing you’ll find in common that they all have … the ability to connect with their constituents, work with their constituents, listen to their constituents and make their constituents feel listened to and when constituents need help, help them,” he said.Stedman won his first legislative election in 2004, defeating a Ketchikan Democrat by about a 3-2 margin. He ran unopposed in 2008, and beat Kookesh almost 2-1 in 2012, after reapportionment put both in the same district.Despite the lack of opposition, he still plans to campaign for himself — and his allies.“I’ll be working to try to get a Republican agenda moved forward through the polls and supporting the two challengers for the House District seats,” he said.That’s because one of the representatives in the district is a Democrat, Sitka’s Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins. The other, Daniel Ortiz, is independent who caucuses with Democrats.Stedman said his job is to be a centrist, though his personal politics are more to the right.“You’re elected to represent the people, not run off on ideological bandwagons, in my opinion,” he said.Democrat Kookesh said he liked working with Stedman – and he’s OK with his political agenda. Both pushed for hydropower development, ferry system improvements and a stable budget.“We served in the Senate together and we served in the majority. And we had almost the same kind of rationale and thinking and I don’t have any problems with his rationale or his thinking,” he said.In addition to Ketchikan, Sitka and Petersburg, Stedman’s district also includes Wrangell, Metlakatla, Craig, Klawock and Hoonah.last_img read more

AL irritated BNP comforted by Tarique leadership

first_img.Ruling Awami League and a few other quarters have reacted to the BNP’s decision of amending the party constituion and making party senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman acting chairman ahead and after BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s jailing in a graft case on 8 February.Ten days ahead of the verdict on the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, the principal opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party BNP submitted to the election commission the amended version of its constitution after revoking its section-7.The section said if a person is convicted as per 1972 presidential order, declared bankrupt, proved unbalanced, known as corrupt or notorious in society, he or she is disqualified from being member of the national council, the national executive committee, the standing committee or member of executive committee at any level. The person will also be disqualified from being nominated by the party to contest in the national elections.BNP leaders said the party had revoked the section-7 of its constitution working out a strategy to tackle the evolving situation in which its top leadership was implicated in what is called false cases.”The constitution of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party has been changed through discussion with the party’s senior leaders,” BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman told Prothom Alo.He pointed out that the BNP leaders are being implicated in false cases and punished as well. “What could the party do [in such circumstances?” the BNP leader said about the plot to convict the party leaders.According to rules, a registered political party can amend its constitution after holding its council session and submit it to the EC. The EC has nothing to do if the party constitution is not conflicting with the Representation of People Order (RPO).However, the BNP side said nothing about whether any discussion was held for amendment of the party constitution. The BNP held the national council session two years ago.The AL camp and some others criticised the BNP’s move, calling it undemocratic.The AL, especially its general secreraty Obaidul Quader,  termed this step bizarre, and blasted the BNP for making Tarique Rahman acting chairman of the party despite being convicted in absentia in a corruption case. Quader alleged that the BNP amended the constitution “out of fear of cases”.Tarique Rahman was sentenced to 10 years in jail in the same graft case in which Khaleda Zia was awarded with five years of imprisonment.Secretary of Shujan or ‘Citizens for Good Governance’, Badiul Alam Majumdar told Prothom Alo that the BNP could have given the party responsibility to someone who is not convicted in any corruption case.About amendment of the party constitution, he said this indicates that the BNP is not willing to allow the party leadership to someone outside the Zia family.BNP leaders argue the party grassroots leaders and activists will not accept the party’s leadership from outside the Zia family.The BNP’s policymakers alleged that the government has planned to keep the family of Khaleda Zia out of politics. They said they had information that the government might try to split the BNP or establish alternate leadership, taking advantage of the situation.While scrapping section 7, the BNP leaders also kept in mind the the AL’s possible criticism that the BNP keeps someone convicted in corruption case at the helm of the party.The BNP leaders candidly said it was just obvious that BNP senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman would be picked for the position of acting chairman in absence of Khaleda Zia. Section-8 of the party constitution provides this scope.However, the BNP leaders did not make a direct reply as to whether the party constitution was amended through the council session held in 2016.Speaking to Prothom Alo, political scientist and former Dhaka University vice chancellor Emajuddin Ahamed said the imprisonment of Khaleda Zia is a conspiracy against the country’s stability and the next parliamentary polls.Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has withdrawn 15 cases filed against her during the military-controlled government, he pointed out.”Attempt is made to push the leader, who once took position against minus-2 (a plot to exclude Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina from party leadership), out from politics,” he added.BNP leaders claimed that there is no discomfort in the party with the leadership of Tarique Rahman as acting chairman, who, they said, was talking to senior leaders over phone.BNP standing committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury said the BNP is completely comfortable with Tarique Rahman as the party’s acting chairman. “Why is the Awami League so uncomfortable with the BNP’s leadership?”last_img read more