Winter’s been around too long

first_imgAnother month of winter, and then it’s over. I’ve shivered enough this year and can’t wait for summer to come. We all have our individual relationships with seasons; I’ve always been more of a summer person.With winter my relationship is adversarial. We are old foes forever trying to outfox each other. When my geyser conked out last week, I took it personally. I didn’t see it as an electrical fault to be fixed. No.Winter had thrown one more punch at me and I wasn’t going to let it get me down. So I took a cold shower. And almost died. I didn’t give up. Now I cold shower once every two days and it serves me just fine. Middle-class Indians tend to take too many baths. You don’t need to bathe every day in winter. Come what may, you can’t let winter win.Summer is different. He’s an ally-albeit a difficult one, someone I can do business with. We like to spar with each other but it’s a sporting contest, marked by bonhomie and mutual respect. Summer gets me out of my comfort zone, brings out the best in me.EnglandThe monsoon frightens me. I’ve never found rain romantic. What we get here are tropical downpours. It’s all sound and fury. And it’s a very visible fury, lashing streets, bending proud trees, making old statesman- like rivers overflow their banks. The monsoon is about excess. Maybe I’m uncomfortable with it because it reminds me of myself.For someone who loves the sun, England can be a terrible place, as I discovered there as a student. I couldn’t really figure out the difference between seasons. It seemed liked one continuous winter across all twelve months of the year. The summer is so brief and wet, I couldn’t see what the excitement was about.advertisementIt’s more that for two months every year, the cold lessens slightly in intensity. In fact, the year I arrived in Oxford, I was told that summer had decided to give the Isles a miss. People looked morose as they complained, ” We didn’t have any summer at all.” Weeks of grey took their toll on me. I felt unmotivated. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. Having grown up in the tropics, I found it hard to adjust to the lack of natural light. For in India, winter days are often bright and sunny. You can step out and get your dose of vitamin D. On local radio, I heard that several people in the UK suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. It made sense. Even the music coming out of the UK made sense.The stand- up comic Henry Rollins has this gag: ” When I came to England, I realised why Morrissey happened.” It’s not just Morrissey. From Syd Barrett to Radiohead, Britain has a long tradition of brooding melancholic pop music, music made by bands deprived of sunshine. The Brits also have this thing about shutting off the heating at night. In my hall of residence, it would be switched off at 2 AM sharp. Being a night bird, I found it hard. As a student, I did most of my reading and writing at night.I liked to burn the midnight oil. I found it easier to concentrate at night, when there are fewer distractions. I lodged a protest with the authorities. They looked at my case with objectivity. There’s this student from India on a modest scholarship. He says he can’t study because he finds our country too cold. Having explained to me that it was not possible to rejig the college’s central heating mechanism for just one person, they decided to present me with a small blower. I could use the blower provided I paid extra for it. My scholarship was just about enough for me to get by. I could do without the extra electricity bills. I hardly used the blower, except in short little bursts.NightmareBut my worst winter nights ever have been at railway stations. Once I was stranded at Birmingham station after a Pulp concert at the NEC. I’d missed the last train home and the next one would leave only at dawn. The waiting room turned out to be an unheated glass box.It was cold inside that box. Very cold. I had a copy of Hanif Kureishi’s The Black Album with me, which I tried to distract myself with when I wasn’t shivering. I had a similar night at the station in Allahabad, waiting for the Prayagraj Express to Delhi. The fog rolled in at will, cold white smoke that enveloped everything in sight. Both times I sat and cursed Winter, my old adversary. There was no doubt he had won this round. I wished I was one of those Buddhist monks who can sit bare- chested in snow and raise their body temperature at will. I consoled myself by taunting Winter, ” If you have balls, then go and fight those monks, my friend. I’m easy prey.” But summer’s coming now. Lohri’s gone, and soon Holi will be here. Gopal da, my Maths teacher, never took off his cap and jacket until Holi. He, like me, was terrified of the cold. When we’d all be in tees, he’d still be well mufflered. He’d warn us kids, ” Don’t underestimate the cold. It’ll come back for one last assault.” Gopal da- a firm believer in the ‘ last cold wave of the season’ concept, didn’t ever want to be caught unawares.advertisementSeasonsCall me perverse but I love high summer, especially May and early June, the months of crackling dry heat, mosquitoes and mangoes. It’s the time when murder rates go up and road rage incidents register a sharp increase, when lovers lose their patience and throw pots and pans at each other. I love summer because it needs so little to survive it: two buckets of water, a desert cooler and a pair of shorts. During winter, we struggle with layers of clothing, gloves, caps, mufflers, and need to call on an army of mercenary heaters to fight the battle on our behalf. During the rains, we watch helplessly as our roofs and walls develop wet patches. We know that no matter what we do, the roof will leak again the next monsoon, so when the rains end, we get the walls whitewashed and get on with our lives. No point trying to plug the leak.Come to think of it, in India we are constantly scurrying from one season to another, from heat wave to cold wave to flood. In winter we wait for summer, in summer we wait for rain, and in August we yearn for sunny dry October- the only decent month in Delhi. Just yesterday, I read in the papers about a new report released by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune. It says that our summers will get hotter, monsoons wetter and the winters colder. I felt it this past year. Each season left its mark. Taking a leaf out of Winter’s Book of Extremes, Summer too turned on the heat, and Monsoon the tap. I am now seriously contemplating strapping on my spacesuit and setting off on an exploratory trip to find more hospitable climes. If I stumble upon an alternative, trust me, you dear reader, will be the first to know.(The writer is the author of Eunuch Park)last_img read more

Dutee gets lifeline, likely to take part in World Cships

first_imgNew Delhi, Jul 28 (PTI) Odisha sprinter Dutee Chand is likely to take part in next months World Athletics Championships as she has received an invitation from the International Association of Athletics Federation despite failing to touch the original qualification standard. Dutee, who missed the original entry standard of 11.26 seconds, got an invite from the IAAF as the target number of 56 athletes for womens 100m event was yet to be reached for the August 4-13 World Championships in London. Dutees best of 11.30 seconds, which she clocked during the Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi on May 15, during the qualifying period gives her a global ranking of 100. “We have got an invite from the IAAF offering a quota entry for Dutee Chand in the womens 100m race. Its because the targeted number of athletes in that event (womens 100m) has not been reached,” Athletics Federation of India President Adille Sumariwalla told PTI. “We have been told to reply yes or no within 12 hours and we are accepting it,” he added. Dutees coach Nagpuri Ramesh said that she currently has a United Kingdom visa and she would be ready to take part in the World Championships. “Dutee has a UK visa. The AFI applied for visa for all those athletes whose timings are very close to qualifying standards so that they have their visas ready in case of such invitations. She is ready for the World Championships,” he said. After participating in the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar earlier this month, where she claimed a bronze clocking 11.52 secs, Dutee took a break from competition. She missed the National Inter-State Athletics Championships held at Guntur from July 15-18. Dutees future was also under a cloud after the IAAF recently decided to submit fresh evidence at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland in support of its policy of barring female athletes who produced natural testosterone (male hormones) above permissible range from taking part in competitions. Dutee got a ban imposed on her by Athletics Federation of India overturned in 2015 as the CAS partially upheld her appeal. The worlds top sports tribunal, however, had given time of two years to the IAAF to produce conclusive evidence that female athletes with high levels of naturally producing testosterone have an unfair advantage over their peers. PTI PDS PDSadvertisementlast_img read more

Fernandinho did not join Brazil team due to insults against family after World Cup: Tite

first_imgManchester City midfielder Fernandinho refused to rejoin the Brazilian national football team because of the threats and insults made against his family on social media following his disappointing performance at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the squad’s coach, Adenor Leonardo “Tite” Bacchi, said in an interview this weekend.Tite told Sport TV that he contacted Fernandinho after the World Cup to discuss his role on the projected roster for upcoming matches, but the 33-year-old Man City player said he had promised his family that he would not return to the national team, reports Efe news.”The first player that I wanted to call up (after the World Cup) was Fernandinho. The number one. He’s an extraordinary player, he gives you everything he’s got,” the national team coach said.Fernandinho, whose name is Fernando Luiz Roza, was on the field when Germany blew out Brazil 7-1 in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup and had an own goal against Belgium in the World Cup quarterfinals in Russia last summer.Belgium edged Brazil 2-1, eliminating the South American squad from the tournament and leaving Brazilian fans dejected.After the World Cup, Fernandinho was criticised endlessly by fans and found himself the target, along with his family, of attacks on social media.”I went to speak with him in person because the Brazilian team is very proud to have a player with his dignity and professionalism. I’m not dumb enough to call up a bad player. I hope he sees the light, I’m going to support him a lot,” Tite said.advertisementlast_img read more

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro 6GB RAM, 128GB storage model goes on sale in India for first time

first_imgTwo variants of the Redmi Note 7 Pro were launched in India but only the base model with 4GB RAM was available for buying so far. Today, for the first time the top-end model of the Redmi Note 7 Pro with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage will go on sale in India. The 6GB RAM and 128GB storage model of the Redmi Note 7 Pro will go on sale in the country at 12noon today on Mi.com, Flipkart, and Mi Home store. Alongside the 6GB RAM model, the base 4GB RAM model of the Redmi phone will also be available for grabs.It is worth noting that the only difference between the two variants of the Redmi Note 7 Pro is in RAM and storage. Of course the pricing is also different. The Redmi Note 7 Pro 6GB RAM + 128GB storage comes for Rs 16,999 while the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage model comes for Rs 13,999. Both the variants of the Redmi Note 7 Pro will be available in all three colours — Neptune Blue, Space Black and Nebula Red.As far as the specs are concerned, the Redmi Note 7 Pro comes packed with a 6.3-inch IPS LCD full HD+ display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio and screen resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels. The Redmi phone sports gradient finish which gives a premium touch to the smartphone. The dot drop notch display on the front which equips a selife camera.On the hardware front, the Redmi Note 7 Pro is powered by Snapdragon 675 2.0 GHz octa-core processor and Adreno 612 graphics paired with up to 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. As noted earlier in the article, the Redmi Note 7 Pro comes in two variants — 4GB RAM/64GB storage and 6GB RAM/128GB storage. The phone comes with a hybrid SIM slot and also supports a microSD card.advertisementOn the camera front, the Redmi Note 7 Pro comes bundled with AI-based dual camera setup on the back and single sensor on the back. On the rear panel, the phone includes a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 as the main camera and 5-megapixel secondary sensor. On the front, the Redmi Note 7 Pro comes packed with a 13-megapixel camera for clicking selfies. The phone includes a 4,000mAh battery with 18W fast charging support. The phone also supports USB-C and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.Notably, alongside the Redmi Note 7 Pro, the Redmi Note 7 also goes on sale in India today at 12noon. Both the variants of the Redmi Note 7 — 3GB RAM/32GB storage for Rs 9,999 and 4GB RAM/64GB storage for Rs 11,999 — will be available during today’s sale. The phone will be available on Flipkart, Mi.com and Mi Home.ALSO READ | Oppo Reno set to launch today: Specs, expected price, how to watch livestreamALSO READ | Samsung Galaxy A90 expected to launch today at A Galaxy Event: What we know so far and how to watchALSO READ | OnePlus 7 Pro hands-on photos and full specs sheet leak, may come to India soonlast_img read more

Solskjaer confident Paul Pogba will stay at Manchester United

first_imgManchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is expecting to name Paul Pogba in the line-up for the first game of the new Premier League campaign against Chelsea next weekend, despite the Frenchman’s overtures to leave the club in the close season.Pogba said in June that he could seek a new challenge after three years at United, while his agent told The Times last month that the 26-year-old intends to leave the club amid reports linking him to Juventus and Real Madrid.However, with a transfer having not materialised the midfielder, who joined United from Juventus in 2016 for a then-world record fee of 89.3 million pounds, could be around Old Trafford for a little while longer.”Paul will probably be back early next week in training. It’s not an injury, just some pain. He’s not injured but I wasn’t going to risk anything this weekend,” Solskjaer told a news conference after his side’s penalty shootout win over AC Milan in Cardiff.”He should be okay (for Chelsea). I would hope so, anyway. I wasn’t expecting Paul (at the airport). I spoke to him after training and he didn’t feel right.”Pogba has endured a turbulent time at United, notably falling out with Solskjaer’s predecessor Jose Mourinho.However, he may be convinced by the ambition shown by the club to improve on a disappointing sixth place finish in the Premier League last season, 32 points behind champions Manchester City.Following the acquisitions of full back Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace and young winger Daniel James from Swansea City, United are close to sealing a record 80-million pound deal for Leicester City defender Harry Maguire.advertisement”Hopefully, the last little details will be in place and we can announce something very soon,” the Norwegian coach said of the England centre back.”Let’s get the details over the line but he’s played a few games over the summer so we’ll just have to assess him, if and when (he is available for the Chelsea match).”Solskjaer also said that Ashley Young would be the new club captain, taking over from Antonio Valencia who left after 10 years in Manchester to join LDU Quito in his native Ecuador last month.Also See:last_img read more

Sports Illustrated Names The “Frontrunner” For QB Jalen Hurts

first_imgJalen Hurts of the Alabama Crimson Tide passes the ball against the Washington Huskies during the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome.ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 31: Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide passes the ball against the Washington Huskies during the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)A new “frontrunner” has been named for Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, whose name has been entered into the NCAA’s transfer portal.According to the betting odds, Houston is the favorite to land Hurts, who’s a native of Texas.Sports Illustrated, though, sees another program as the leading contender for the Crimson Tide quarterback.That program: Oklahoma.The Sooners are expected to lose quarterback Kyler Murray and, while they have some major talent behind Murray, none of it is experienced.Jalen Hurts is officially in the transfer portal—where might he play in 2019? https://t.co/LRNAO2VXhE— SI College Football (@si_ncaafb) January 9, 2019From SI.com:This seems like an obvious choice. Oklahoma is used to grooming transfer QBs into Heisman Trophy winners and College Football Playoff contenders after all. All Lincoln Riley needs to do if Hurts is skeptical is have him get on the phone with Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Hurts may not be as explosive in the downfield passing game like Tagovailoa, or have as quick of a release as Murray, but he’s a running threat who doesn’t make mistakes. Riley is a proven offensive guru who garnered NFL interest. The Sooners have led the country in total offense and offensive efficiency in the two years he’s been head coach. Snagging Hurts—and assuming he beats out former four-star Austin Kendall for the starting job—would essentially guarantee OU to have a lethal scoring offense again next year. It could also mean Hurts ends up competing against Tagovailoa again next season: be it for the Heisman or in the playoff.Hurts still hasn’t officially decided to transfer from Alabama, though, so all options seem to be on the table. It’s probably too soon to project where Hurts will actually end up.last_img read more

Hardik Pandya’s 91 against KKR is the best IPL innings I have ever seen: Yuvraj Singh

first_img Press Trust of India MumbaiMay 3, 2019UPDATED: May 3, 2019 18:43 IST Yuvraj hopes that Pandya extends his explosive run to the 2019 Cricket World Cup (Twitter: @hardikpandya7)HIGHLIGHTSHardik Pandya has been in remarkable form this IPL season with the batYuvraj Singh said that Pandya’s 91 against Kolkata Knight Riders was the best IPL innings he has seenYuvraj hopes that Pandya extends his explosive run to the 2019 Cricket World CupYuvraj Singh, the hero of India’s victorious campaign in the 2011 World Cup, is expecting “special performances” from all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the 2019 edition, beginning May 30 in the UK.Pandya is back to his best, at least with the bat, following testing times which saw him serve an interim suspension for making sexist comments on a popular chat show.The 25-year-old has been in remarkable form this IPL and his Mumbai Indians teammate Yuvraj hopes that he extends his explosive run to the 50-over mega event.”I was actually having this conversation with him (Hardik) yesterday where I told him that ‘you have a great chance of performing really well with the ball and bat’, the kind of form he is in at the moment.”Definitely, the way he is batting at the moment, it is phenomenal and I hope he carries that form (into the World Cup). He has been bowling well in patches but as I said it is all about how you handle the pressure,” said Yuvraj.The veteran left-handed batsman was speaking after launching a marketing campaign for MoneyGram ahead of the ICC World Cup.Pandya has been in the form of his life and Yuvraj said that his 91 against the Kolkata Knight Riders was the best IPL innings he has seen.”It is probably the best shape as a batsman to get in. I have been watching since the practice games, he was hitting the ball really well. I had told him ‘it is going to be a special tournament for you, the way you are hitting the ball’,” said the southpaw.advertisement”Over the years, as an experienced player you know if someone is hitting the ball well, he is in great shape. He got 91 from 34 balls against KKR, probably that is the best innings I have seen in the IPL just because he hit four quality bowlers he was batting against.”When you are doing that, you know that someone is batting very well,” added Yuvraj, who is known for hitting six sixes in the 2007 edition of WorldT20 in South Africa.Chief selector MSK Prasad, during the World Cup squad announcement, stated that Vijay Shankar would bat at number 4. But there is still no clarity about who will bat at four and asked about it, Yuvraj gave a guarded reply.”That question you need to ask the selectors, not me. All I can say is that No 4 is a very important position and I am sure they have selected the team thinking about the whole competition. We have to find who is batting at No 4, I am sure there are a couple of options, we just have to wait and watch.”The thing for me is that when you go back, you need experience for whatever number you are batting. All five positions are very important. The conditions are going to be different, so I think it’s how you manage yourself under pressure. You will be put under pressure because the best teams in the world are playing. How the guys handle pressure in crunch situations is actually going to show the character of the team.”When asked whether the likes of Ricky Ponting be allowed to coach in the IPL as it could expose Indian players in a World Cup while someone like a Sanjay Bangar, who is the Indian team’s assistant coach, was not allowed to be part of the Kings XI Punjab set up due to conflict of interest, Yuvraj did not say much.”I am not in the Board. You are asking me an administrative question. My opinion is, first of all, it is not my call. I cannot not be saying who should coach or not. I think Ricky Ponting is a legend. It is great for young guys to benefit from him. You learn so much.”If Sanjay has worked with the Indian team for such a long time. He has got great work ethics. I am actually not in a position to say, who should be coaching where and who should be not coaching where. It is a great opportunity for everyone to learn with people who have the experience,” said Yuvraj.Also Read | Best way to bowl to Hardik Pandya, don’t bowl to him at all: Jasprit BumrahAlso Read | IPL 2019: Hardik Pandya will do great things for Indian cricket, feels Kieron PollardFor sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAjay Tiwari Tags :Follow IPL 2019Follow Hardik PandyaFollow Yuvraj Singh Hardik Pandya’s 91 against KKR is the best IPL innings I have ever seen: Yuvraj SinghIPL 2019: Hardik Pandya is back to his best, at least with the bat, following testing times which saw him serve an interim suspension for making sexist comments on a popular chat showadvertisementlast_img read more

CBDT notifies creation of startups special cell

first_imgNew Delhi: The CBDT notified on Friday creation of a five-member special cell to address grievances of startups with relation to angel tax and other tax-related issues. An order issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said the ‘startup cell’ will be headed by the member (Income Tax and Computerisation) of the board. “The cell will work towards redressal of grievances and mitigate tax-related issues in case of startup entities with respect to administration of Income-tax Act, 1961,” the order, accessed by PTI, said. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalA CBDT spokesperson said, “Startup entities can approach the cell for speedy resolution of their grievances. This initiative is the latest amongst the recent initiatives taken by the CBDT to further ease the compliance issues pertaining to startups.” The order also gave out an email id — startupcell.cbdt@gov.in — and the postal address of the cell. It also provided landline telephone numbers of the members ranging from the member, joint secretary (tax policy and legislation-II), commissioner of I-T (ITA), director (ITA-I) and under secretary (ITA-I). Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostStartups can approach the cell at: Office of Under Secretary, ITA-I, Room No 245A, Noth Block, New Delhi-110001. Phone: 011-23095479; Fax no: 23093070. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had, during a press conference last week, announced creation of such a cell in the CBDT and had declared exempting startups from the so-called angel tax. “To mitigate genuine difficulties of startups and their investors, it has been decided that section 56(2)(viib) of the Income-Tax Act shall not be applicable to a startup registered with DPIIT,” she had said, adding a startup having any income tax issue can approach the cell for quick resolution of the same.last_img read more

Close To 40 Movies To Be Screened In Tetouan Festival Of

first_imgTetouan – A total of 38 short and long movies and documentaries, representing Mediterranean countries, will be screened during the 20th Tetouan festival of Mediterranean movies held in this Moroccan northern city this March 29 through April 5.The Festival opened in the presence of several Arab and Moroccan stars, cinema professionals and intellectuals.The festival jury, chaired by Spanish director, Ismael Martin, will chose among 14 movies from France, Greece, Portugal, Tunisia, Palestine, Italy, Spain, Egypt and Morocco. Some participating movies include:– Quai d’Orsay, a movie directed by Bertrand Tavernier, France, 2013.– Fièvre directed by Hicham Ayouch, Morocco-France, 2013.– Intrepido directed by Gianni Amelio, Italy.– Mavi ring (The Blue Van)  directed by Omer Leventoglu, Turkey, 2013.– TALE3 NEZEL  directed by Mahmoud Hojeij, Libya – Qatar.– BASTARDO directed by Nejib Belkadhi, Tunisia, France, Qatar, 2013.– Chatti ya Dini (Que Vienne la Pluie) directed by Bahij Hojeij, Libya, 2010.– ODET EL FERAN directed Nermeen Salem, Mohamed Zedan, Mohamad El-Hadidi, Mayye Zayed, Hend Bakr, Ahmed Magdy Morsy, Egypt – United Arab Emirates, 2013.– Les impeccables directes by Ramin Matin, Turkey, 2013.– Palestine stereo directed by Rashid Masharawi, Palestine, Tunisia, France, Norway, United Arab Emirates, Italy and Switzerland, 2013.– Septembre directed by Penny Panayotopoulou, Greece, Germany, 2013.– Ecrets d’oreillers directed by Jillali Ferhati, Morocco, 2013.– Miele directed by Valeria Golino, Italy – France.– Il va bientôt pleuvoir directed by Haidar Rashid, Italy, Iraq, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates, 2013.last_img read more

UN launches decadelong drive to combat desertification

Desertification is defined as the degradation of drylands, which comprise more than 40 per cent of the world’s land surface and are home to 2.1 billion people – one in every three people worldwide.One third of all crops cultivated today have their origins in drylands, which also support half of all livestock.“Continued land degradation – whether from climate change, unsustainable agriculture or poor management of water resources – is a threat to food security, leading to starvation among the most acutely affected communities and robbing the world of productive land,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message to the launch of the Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification in Fortaleza, Brazil.The General Assembly designated 2010-2020 as the Decade in 2007 to heighten public awareness of the threat posed by desertification, land degradation and drought to sustainable development.As the 10-year scheme gets under way, Mr. Ban said, “let us pledge to intensify our efforts to nurture the land we need for achieving the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] and guaranteeing human well-being.”Agreed upon by world leaders, the MDGs are eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline.The Secretary-General pointed out that there are growing social costs resulting from land degradation, with increased competition for resources spurring conflict, while the forced migration of millions of people also heightens the risk of social breakdown.“These are formidable challenges,” he said. “But they are not intractable.”Around the world, efforts to rehabilitate drylands are bearing fruit, Mr. Ban noted. Continued help for local communities can lead to the preservation or recovery of millions of hectares of land, alleviate vulnerability to climate change and reduce hunger and poverty.Some 12 million hectares of land – an area the size of Benin and which could produce 20 million tons of grain annually – are lost every year to degradation, resulting in an annual loss of $42 billion.Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), stressed in Fortaleza today that “the path of business-as-usual will worsen the speed of degradation with devastating impacts on livelihoods families and communities, and will further cause more extinction of life and jeopardize the future of humanity.”He underlined the need for an alternative route that “will embrace and undertake the formidable challenges of sustainability implying that we choose to channel our collective action towards it.”Nearly all of the inhabitants of drylands are in developing countries, and the official issued a call for international cooperation on financial assistance, capacity building and technology transfer.The Decade, he emphasized, must fight lingering misperceptions of drylands as being wastelands, marginal areas or liabilities, as well as the idea that desertification is only a local – not global – concern.“Let us not be the generation that jeopardizes the heritage of future generations by degrading any land,” Mr. Gnacadja said today.Along with the UNCCD, four other UN agencies – the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) – have been mandated by the General Assembly to spearhead activities related to the Decade.Through its work during the last three decades, IFAD said that “it has become clear that to eliminate rural poverty we must also address the issue of how land and natural resources are managed.”The agency pointed to the experience of Bedouin communities in the Badia rangelands, 10 million hectares in central and eastern Syria, known for its poor soils and low rainfall.After years of severe drought and intensive grazing, the Badia has become badly degraded, but vegetation has been restored in one third of the area, with Bedouin herders working with project experts to draft and implement management plans to determine how many animals should graze in a given area at a given time.That scheme, just one of numerous success stories, took a three-pronged approach to rehabilitation: resting, re-seeding and planting.“When governments, UN agencies and other partners work together, we can ensure that experiences like those of the Bedouin communities in the Badia rangelands become the rule – and not the exception,” IFAD said. 16 August 2010The United Nations today unveiled a decade-long push to raise awareness and mobilize action to fight desertification, which threatens the livelihoods of more than 1 billion people in 100 countries. read more

Subramanian Swamys office attacked over Lankan issue

Unidentified miscreants pelted stones on the office of India’s Janata Party president, Subramanian Swamy, in Madurai in protest over the Sri Lankan issue, the Times of India reported today.Police suspect that it could be the handiwork of students of the Government Law College in Madurai, who were staging a protest in the wake of Swamy’s recent meeting with President Mahinda Rajapakse in Colombo. Police said that the name board in the office was damaged. The protesters also lowered the party flag and tore it slamming Swamy for his alleged support to the Sri Lankan government when that country was facing charges of war crime. There was no one at the office when the incident happened and the building was locked. Police said that a group of more than 20 men came to Lal Bahadur Shastri Road raising slogans against Swamy last morning and started pelting stones. They fled the spot as soon as police came. Deputy commissioner, R Thirunavukkarasu, visited the spot and conducted inquiries.A complaint has been lodged by the functionaries of the Janata Party seeking protection to the office. Police said that they are yet to identify or arrest anyone in connection to the case. Police protection has been given to the office after the incident. read more

DR of Congo UN pledges support for peace process in northeast

According to the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Amos Namanga Ngongi, accompanied the diplomatic delegation to Bunia to attend a special session marking the end of the work of the newly created Ituri Pacification Committee (IPC). Mr. Ngongi reiterated the Secretary-General’s continued interest in the situation in Ituri and his firm commitment to the entire process.The IPC – officially inaugurated on 4 April – was tasked with implanting a new local-level administrative authority in that region and creating an acceptable structure to maintain law and order, and ensure the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from the territory.The technical committee charged with laying the groundwork for the emergence of the regional power-sharing body struggled to ensure wide participation of Ituri’s various political and military groups. A local-level ceasefire signed in mid-March ended weeks of spiralling violence and subsequently work to ensure the establishment of the IPC intensified.Notwithstanding the serious differences and procedure-related complications, MONUC reported that the 177 delegates to the IPC approved a series of interim measures to end hostilities and provide a provisional administration in Ituri, highlighted by a power-sharing, 32-member Provisional Assembly. Under the presidency of the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for the DRC, Behrooz Sadry, the IPC also agreed that an 18-member Commission of Prevention and Verification would examine the causes of the conflict and establish measures to prevent any escalation.Today, Mr. Ngongi welcomed the creation of new transition institutions to run Ituri, adding that “MONUC will accompany the pacification effort, and I can assure you that it is committed to working in close collaboration with you.” All the members of the diplomatic delegation, which included representatives of Belgium, the five permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States – and three non-permanent Council members – Angola, Cameroon and Guinea – pledged the international community’s strong support of the Ituri peace process. read more

The success of the 2016 Buckeyes starts with their captains

OSU redshirt junior J.T. Barrett speaks with the media at the 2016 Big Ten Media Days. Credit: Courtesy of Jacob Myers | Assistant Sports EditorCHICAGO — Replacing an Ezekiel Elliott, a Michael Thomas and a Taylor Decker on the offensive unit is not an easy task. It’s even more difficult when projected starting wide receivers redshirt sophomore Noah Brown and sixth-year Corey Smith are coming back from season ending injuries. Redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber and true freshman offensive lineman Michael Jordan will also be new additions to the starting lineup, coach Urban Meyer said at Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday. And that’s just scratching the surface of the young Buckeyes likely to be atop the depth chart.But through all of that, Meyer reaffirmed his enthusiasm for this edition of the Scarlet and Gray.“I can’t recall a time where you’re talking about a very, very talented group of players that have waited their turn and are a very talented group that got there in June,” he said. “My goal is to play every freshman. I know that doesn’t happen, but we want to play the freshmen as soon as we can.”Ohio State’s unprecedented shipment of players to the NFL has given the Buckeye players the opportunity alluded to by Meyer. Where there is instability and questions surrounding the 16 new starters OSU will boast in 2016, Meyer took it upon himself before the spring game in April to announce his captains for the upcoming season. It was the first time he has done this before fall camp as OSU’s coach.Redshirt junior J.T. Barrett, senior Pat Elflein and junior Raekwon McMillan were given those captain honors because Meyer believes success would not be possible without the influence of his core guys.“I can’t imagine going into this without J.T. and without the other guy Pat Elflein,” Meyer said. “And Raekwon—they, all three have incredible leadership skills you want in the middle of your defense.”Meyer added that the level of play is raised by those three on the field.While the Buckeyes may have non-starters last season who had significant contributions, like junior Curtis Samuel and senior Dontre Wilson, there are plenty of players who will have to figure out their roles in fall camp. In fact, 44 of OSU’s scholarship players have yet to play in a game.Barrett said that he’s comfortable around his receiving core this year, despite not having much of any in-game experience with them.“I’m trying to help the young guys to understand how we play here at Ohio State and make sure they understand that we haven’t rebuilt in years,” Barrett said. “That isn’t going to change because they don’t have experience.”A Heisman-like season from Barrett will be needed for the OSU offense to have success moving the ball against blue-collared Big Ten defenses and for the team to have a shot at the College Football Playoff. Elflein, redshirt junior Billy Price and the rest of the young offensive line have the duty to protect Barrett in the passing game and create holes for the litany of running backs expected to line up in the backfield.Meyer mentioned Weber, Samuel, Wilson and a pair of freshman, Demario McCall and Antonio Williams as running backs who could be next to Barrett in 2016. He said that depth is a concern at the running back position. Elflein said it doesn’t matter who’s in the backfield, their job remains the same.“The blocking scheme is what it is and the running backs have to adjust off of the block,” he said. “We’ll block up front and they’ll be fine.”Elflein said that strength coach Mickey Marotti has paired Weber with him in nearly every summer workout. Barrett said the same. Under their watch, Weber has matured and is taking initiative when it comes to eating right and getting his body ready for the season.Elflein and Barrett were viewed as on- and off-the-field leaders in 2015. McMillan is a bit new to the role.The last two seasons, McMillan was molded by linebacker Curtis Grant in 2014, then he started alongside NFL linebackers Darron Lee and Joshua Perry in 2015. Perry was a team captain last season, and McMillan said that he’s trying to pass down the lessons he learned from Perry as a leader on the gridiron and away from football.“Josh became a student of the game. He really brought me in to watch film with him, study a lot and just the preparation for the game,” McMillan said. “He taught me that the things you do on a daily basis, you can’t do by yourself.”McMillan said that Perry would work with him on giving back to the community and becoming a better person as well.“(I just) want to show them that I’m authentic and real. That outside of football I’m a real guy who cares about this program,” he said. “At the end of the day when I leave, I want the program to be better than when I got here.”The Hinesville, Georgia, native made an immediate impact his freshman year in a second-string role at middle linebacker, but truly tapped into his potential in 2015 leading the team with 119 total tackles. He tallied four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, as well.Now, as one of only three returning starters on the “Silver Bullets” defense with redshirt junior Tyquan Lewis and junior Gareon Conley, McMillan could be the next All-American Buckeye linebacker. His first task, however, of pursuing a Big Ten title with a young defense is a challenge that devotes full attention.McMillan said that the talent is there, but the team needs to prove it. Barrett said the same for the offensive side of the ball.“We try to get that experience through reps,” Barrett said. “I feel like, myself, I’m in a good place with some of the young receivers that we have. We’re just trying to keep on getting better.” read more

Chasing the cobalt riches

first_imgCastle Silver Resources has changed its name to Canada Cobalt Works Inc because it is more a cobalt company than a silver company and changing the name will put the company more on the radar of battery tech investors. As Frank Basa, CSR President and CEO, stated: “With Cobalt prices at 10-year highs, and the northern Ontario Cobalt Camp drawing increased attention, we’re entering exciting times for shareholders as we embark on various initiatives to build the ‘Canada Cobalt’ brand.”Anchored by its past producing Castle mine and related infrastructure, plus its proprietary Re-2OX process for cobalt recovery, Canada Cobalt will be a vertically integrated operation designed to serve the broader northern Ontario Cobalt Camp and a rapidly growing battery sector searching for ethically sourced cobalt.The Castle, Beaver and Violet mines are among the most advanced properties in the northern Ontario Cobalt Camp. While they comprise only 2,840 ha they are sources of high-grade cobalt that can quickly be developed into a shovel-ready state. The company also has the Re-2OX process which has been pilot-plant-tested to separate the various metals that comprise the mineralization in the Cobalt Camp vein systems. The company has been to Japan and China to meet with buyers of cobalt-based salts that are used in the lithium battery market. Studies are underway to develop a milling processing facility and leach plant on one of the Castle Silver Resources’ properties.last_img read more

Australian to be recognised for work with Greek refugees

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The Merimna of Pontian Ladies of Oceania – along with the Central Pontian Association of Melbourne and Victoria ‘Pontiaki Estia’ – is working closely with the City of Ballarat to have a memorial erected by 2017 in honour of George Devine Treloar, who played an active role in resettling Greek refugees from Asia Minor following 1922.Treloar, a Ballarat local born in 1884, volunteered for military service at the outbreak of World War I, while he was living in England, where he served in France before joining the British Mission to the White Russian armies in Constantinople.He went on to command a British camp of Russian refugees – after serving with the Tsarist army – in Tousla on the Sea of Marmara, before becoming a representative to the League of Nations High Commissariat for Refugees in northern Greece.Between 1922-26 he was involved with resettling Greek refugees from Asia Minor, first in Komotini and then in Thessaloniki, handling over 108,000 people. Treloar received many accolades for his efforts with the Greeks, including an appointment to the Order of the Saviour (one of Greece’s highest honours) and having a village near Komotini (‘Thrilorion’) named after him.He died in Dalkeith, west of Perth, in 1980.last_img read more

Election Petition hearing set for March by CJ

first_img Bahamas Police Commissioner Greenslade gone to UK, appointed as High Commissioner Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp TCI Premier blasts Opposition side for “slop” information, sets it straight in HOA Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI, January 12, 2017 – Four weeks is what the three sides of General Election for the Bight constituency petition have to prepare their skeleton arguments; the hearing is set for March 6, 2017.The matter debuted in Supreme Court today and was heard by Chief Justice, Margaret Ramsay-Hale, who in addition to setting dates for the preliminary arguments and the actual hearing, said due to the overwhelming interest in the matter, a larger court space may be secured in time for that hearingBoth George Pratt, (PDM) the complainant and Porsha Smith, (PNP) the Member of Parliament and were in court and represented by attorneys.  Alvin Garland of Garland & Co and Ariel Misick of Misick and Stanbrook respectively appeared on behalf of the Bight district candidates.  Attorney General, Rhondalee Knowles is representing the Elections Office in the petition. Related Items:#FightForTheBight, #MagneticNewsMediacenter_img Recommended for you #MagneticNewsMedia#FightforTheBight Nearly 30 Haitians caught following illegal landing in Nassau, says Defence Forcelast_img read more

Public Hearing Scheduled For Cross Inlet Pipeline Extension Project

first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Harvest Alaska, LLC, submitted two Department of Natural Resources Right-of-Way lease applications associated with the Cross Inlet Pipeline Extension Project in September of 2017. The $75 Million project includes construction of new onshore and offshore pipelines and the conversion of an existing cross inlet pipeline (CIGGS-A) from gas to oil, allowing oil to be transported from the east side of Cook Inlet to the Andeavor Refinery (previously Tesoro) via subsea pipeline. The two applications include; one for a new natural gas pipeline from the Tyonek Platform to Ladd Landing, and one for the conversion of the CIGGS Marine A pipeline from natural gas to oil. You can view the decision at the Division of Oil and Gas website at  http://dog.dnr.alaska.gov/Home/Newsroom. Story as aired: Audio PlayerJennifer-on-Hilcorp-public-comment.mp3VmJennifer-on-Hilcorp-public-comment.mp300:00RPdcenter_img Oral comments will be taken at the hearing, however if you would like to submit a written comment, you must submit them by March 14, for consideration. The Department of Natural Resources has completed the Commissioner’s Analysis and Proposed Decision for the Tyonek application. According to a release from Harvest, the analysis and decision is still under consideration. The Department of Natural Resources will hold a public hearing about the Cross Inlet Pipeline Extension Project in Nikiski at the Community Recreation Center on March 12th. The public is invited to attend an open house from 5:30-6:30 p.m., and the public hearing at 6:30 p.m.last_img read more

State Operating Budget Remains Stalled Into Easter Weekend

first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The apparent deadlock in Juneau on the House of Representatives’ version of the operating budget for the state of Alaska will extend through the Easter weekend with little visible progress to members of the House minority or the Senate majority. Audio PlayerMICCICHE-ON-HOUSE-INABILITY-TO-PASS-BUDGET.mp3VmMICCICHE-ON-HOUSE-INABILITY-TO-PASS-BUDGET.mp300:00RPdMicciche: “It’s a struggle.  We’re (Senate majority) hoping for the best on the House being able to actually get something across the finish line at some point.  This has become Grand Central Station as disenfranchised House majority members, people that are reaching out to me to try to get with their leadership and help  them understand that at some point they have to pass a budget.  They seem to be focused on everything but what they need to be focused on to reach that result.  Not only frustrating for us, we’re ready to go.  My sub-committees are done, we just held-off on the close out meeting to see what their going to do.  We’ve been ready to slap down a budget and and go into final negotiations for three weeks now.” Micciche also questions the full body’s ability to meet the 90-day limit. Rep. Gary Knopp (R-District 30) believes there is a need for give-and-take on the House side to facilitate a budget document. Work on the budget document will continue on Monday, April 2nd with a 90-day session limit looming on April 16, 2018. Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) said that minority members had been invited to negotiate on the budget following the dividend vote on Monday.  However, the House conducted two, brief floor sessions Thursday with no budget discussion and will likely not meet through the Passover and Easter weekend. Audio PlayerKNOPP-2-32918.mp3VmKNOPP-2-32918.mp300:00RPdKnopp: “You know when you talk about working together that’s a little bit of give-and-take and of compromise and we (House minority) are not having that.  They’re (House majority) asking us to support them now and this whole session we have not had one, single amendment put into the budget either in committee or or on the floor.  Maybe two, but they didn’t have a fiscal impact.  When you ask about working together, we’d be glad to but we’re expecting something in return.  We’re not going to just roll over support a budget that would just be out there.” Senator Peter Micciche (R-District O) stated that the Senate is ready for a budget document from the House. Audio PlayerMICCICHE-ON-MAKING-90-DAY-LIMIT.mp3VmMICCICHE-ON-MAKING-90-DAY-LIMIT.mp300:00RPdMicciche: “Politics is a team sport.  I can see them sitting across the table from us and having to negotiate; but they have to negotiate on every, single decision-every day.  Here we are on day 78 and we should have had the budget three weeks ago and we should be doing final negotiations right now and getting out of here in 90 days.  And that’s going to be very difficult.”last_img read more

Officials Break Ground On New Segment Of The Bayou Greenways 2020 project

first_imgListen Al OrtizLocal elected officials, including District K Houston City Council Member Larry Green (center) broke ground for the Sims Bayou Greenway.Local officials broke ground this week on a segment of the Sims Bayou Greenway, which is part of the Bayou Greenways 2020 project.The Sims Bayou Greenway will be 1.8 miles long and will connect Heatherbrook Drive, in southwest Houston, with Hillcroft Avenue.Al OrtizOfficials estimate the Sims Bayou segment will be completed next summer and the projected cost of the project is three million dollars.The greenway is located in District K, which City Council Member Larry Green represents.Green says the project also entails beautifying the area around the greenway.“Not only will you see hike and bike trails and trees and beautiful landscape, but they will be covered with beautiful wildflowers as well,” Green noted at the groundbreaking ceremony.Al OrtizThe Sims Bayou Greenway will be 1.8 miles long and will connect Heatherbrook Drive, in southwest Houston, with Hillcroft Avenue.The Houston Parks Board and the other agencies involved in the Bayou Greenways 2020 project have already completed some segments in White Oak Bayou and are currently working on areas close to the Brays and Halls bayous.Charles Place, managing director of Capital Programs for the Parks Board, explains they think of the developing network of greenways as not just hike and bike trails, but “linear parks” throughout Houston’s major waterways.Officials estimate the Sims Bayou segment will be completed next summer and the projected cost of the project is three million dollars. 00:00 /01:08 X Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:last_img read more

Federal Government Approves Texas Plan For LongTerm Harvey Recovery Funds

first_img Share Randa Langerud/Photo via The Texas Tribune Randa Langerud’s Wharton home being demolished due to damage sustained from Hurricane Harvey. Langerud’s home was the first of 10 to be torn down in her neighborhood.Ten months after Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast, a $5 billion federal block grant plan for disaster relief has been approved for the state. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Monday approved the Texas General Land Office’s State Action Plan, clearing the way for Texans affected by the storm to begin applying for funds for housing recovery and infrastructure repairs, among other things. The federal approval comes roughly two months after the public comment period ended on the plan, which GLO spokesperson Brittany Eck said is extraordinarily fast for a grant of this size.“The GLO is committed to its mission to expedite federal housing recovery assistance as quickly as possible to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey,” Land Commissioner George P. Bush said in a written statement. “Due to the GLO’s pre-planning and preparation, these federal recovery funds will be in the hands of Texans faster than in previous disasters.”The State Action Plan is made up of two parts: $2.7 billion in funding for disaster areas other than Houston and Harris County that the land office is administering and the remaining $2.3 billion for direct allocation by the remaining two entities.“A lot of our communities that were affected don’t have the staff full-time to handle allocations, so that’s why the GLO is there to assist,” Eck said.Now that the money is approved, Eck said the General Land Office will create the funding application forms, which will be distributed by a vendor in the coming weeks.The funding for direct allocation for Houston and Harris County is reflected in the approved State Action Plan, but each still needs to submit an individual plan for the funding as an amendment to the state plan. Following the submission of each entity’s local action plan for the funds, the land office will then oversee the distribution of the remaining money.A draft of Houston’s local action plan was posted this month and is on the agenda for approval by the city council on Tuesday. Harris County’s plan will be posted online for public comment by Wednesday, county spokesperson Cindy Gabriel said.The disaster aid has been a big point of contention between Bush and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. For months, the two publicly sparred over whether Houston was being included in drafting the action plan. Eventually, the agencies involved decided for the plan to include direct allocations for both Harris County and Houston.The plan allocates the $5 billion to eight different programs that the land office will administer and oversee. The largest allocation of $1.4 billion will go to the Single Family Homeowner Assistance program, which aims to help homeowners with rehabilitation and reconstruction after Harvey.The other programs are:Buyouts and Acquisitions ($275 million): Eligible homeowners may sell their home to a local government at a pre-storm or post-storm fair market value.Homeowner Reimbursement ($100 million): Homeowners may be reimbursed for certain out-of-pocket expenses incurred for home repairs, including reconstruction, rehabilitation or mitigation, up to $50,000.Homelessness Prevention ($50 million): Provides assistance such as short-term mortgage, utility payment and tenant-based rental assistance.Affordable Rental ($250 million): Provides funding for rehabilitation, reconstruction and new construction of affordable multi-family housing projects.Local Infrastructure ($413 million): Pays for infrastructure repairs and enhancements for local communities as part of a comprehensive long-term recovery program.Economic Revitalization ($100 million): Offers interim assistance to small businesses through loans in exchange for job creation or retention.Local, Regional and State Planning ($137 million): The GLO will conduct planning studies on disaster mitigation in the impacted areas to promote sound long-term recovery.Disclosure: The Texas General Land Office has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.last_img read more