NGO points out ‘exclusion errors’ in PDS

first_imgAs Odisha is set to roll out its own food security scheme from October 2, Rupayaan, a non-government organisation working on food and nutrition issues, has written to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the exclusion and inclusion errors in the public distribution system and suggested measures to strengthen the programme in the State.Congratulating Mr. Patnaik for the decision to start the scheme for an additional 34.44 lakh people, Rajkishor Mishra, director of Rupayaan and former State advisor to the Commissioners of Supreme Court on Right to Food case, said he hoped that it will pave the way for universalising PDS in the State.On the process of identification and selection of beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act, Mr. Mishra said that fixing the number of beneficiaries on the basis of 2011 census has been a major reason for large-scale exclusion error in the underdeveloped districts of Odisha.Ignored factorsThe other major reasons for exclusion of beneficiaries have been the intra-State allotment made following the simple rule of aggregate ST and SC population and ignoring multiple deprivation factors such as migration at the district level. This has created a paradox where districts like Balasore, Boudh, Jajpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada come in the same bracket of 100% (i.e. 77% of total population), Mr. Mishra said.Nuapada district has more OBC population compared to ST and SC combined, and they are equally poor and have been migrating seasonally. However, while allocating the quota, these districts are being kept on par with Jajpur and Balasore. This has created problems at both the districts – exclusion error in Nuapada and probably inclusion error in Balasore and Jajpur, he pointed out.Mr. Mishra further said that there was no clear-cut guideline for intra-district allotment. In Kalahandi, tribal-dominated blocks of Thuamul Rampur and Lanjigarh were treated on par with irrigated blocks of Junagarh and Jaipatna, which put tribal regions in a disadvantaged position.District Collectors should be given a free hand for reallocating the quota based on development criteria set by the State government to further minimise exclusion and inclusion error at district and sub-district level, he added.Stating that food availability has decreased at the household level with transition from family entitlement to individual entitlement under the NFSA, Mr. Mishra suggested that the government should follow positive discrimination at the State, district and sub-district-level while making allotment, and underdeveloped areas be given utmost priority.Mr. Mishra said the government should also consider diversification of PDS and include dal, salt, edible oil and millet for ensuring nutrition security.last_img read more

Ex-CM Buddhadeb confined to home

first_imgIt was a daily routine of former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to visit the State headquarters of the Communist Party of India-Marxist in the afternoon. But things have changed in the last couple of years with his deteriorating health and fading eyesight. The veteran CPI(M) leader has remained confined to his small apartment on Palm Avenue for the last six months due to health issues.“Since he suffers from acute chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, doctors have advised him to not to walk and talk too much. So he doesn’t go out of his home and has not been at the party office in the last six months,” said senior CPI(M) leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya.Party leaders close to Mr. Bhattacharjee, known to be an avid reader, revealed that his reading habit has also been hampered. Since he suffers from dry eyes, he cannot bear much light and always keeps the light in his room very dim, said senior CPI(M) leader Rabin Deb, known to be close to the former Chief Minister.Sources close to Mr. Bhattacharjee also revealed that his left eye has been “damaged” for a long time and his right eye has also developed problems over the last few months.Financial help However, the CPI(M) leadership denied reports that Mr. Bhattacharjee has turned down financial help from the party for treatment and said that his medical expenditure is being borne by the party.“We are in regular contact with Mr. Bhattacharjee and his medical expenditure is being borne by the party,” said Mr. Deb. In October last year Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had called on Mr. Bhattacharjee to inquire about his health. Mr. Bhattacharjee stepped down from the CPI(M) State committee in March due to health issues despite being urged by senior party leaders to continue as a committee member. He had also stepped down from the party’s Central Committee and Polit Bureau earlier.last_img read more

Srinivasa Ramanujan: The mathematical genius who credited his 3900 formulae to visions from Goddess Mahalakshmi

first_imgSrinivasa Iyengar Ramanujan– born on December 22, 1887 as the son of a sari shop clerk, the man who gave us mathematical equations that are solving cosmic problems even now, was certainly much, much ahead of his time. A self-taught mathematician, it is astonishing how much the man achieved, turning into one of the most significant groundbreakers in history, much like Newton and Einstein.Ramanujan’s houseWhen a constable was appointed to force him to attend schoolRamanujan was one of several siblings in a Tamil Brahmin family in Madras. But he lost all of them to a small pox epidemic in 1889. The young genius didn’t like attending school and a constable was enlisted to make sure he did. His mind worked differently from his peers. He didn’t have friends as few could understand him. Leaving aside sports, Ramanujan picked up Maths and lost himself in the numbers. With parents; Source: athreya-kavithakidambi.blogspotThe unquenchable thirst for knowledge: Working on theorems since 13At the age of 11, he came across two college students who lodged at his home for a period of time and he took the opportunity to learn all he could from them. Later, when he was 12, he got a tougher book from a senior school student— S.L. Linney’s Plane Trigonometry. By the time he was 13, the young genius had mastered this book completely and was already working on his own sophisticated theorems. He had even calculated the length of the earth’s equator. It was no surprise that he completed his Maths exams in half the time and was also securing a number of merit certificates and academic awards by the age of 14.advertisementRamanujan’s handwriting; Source: Two years later, 16-year-old Ramanujan came across another book, a library loaned copy from his friend, a collection of 5000 theorems, called A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics by G. S. Carr. It is this book that is said to have truly awakened his seer-like genius.Ramanujan was offered a scholarship to study at the Government Arts College, but the young mathematician was far too interested in the subject of Maths to focus on any other. He ended up losing his scholarship.Ramanujan with Janaki In 1909, Ramanujan was married to 9-year-old child bride S. Janaki Ammal.Paper – the unaffordable commodityAs he worked on his theorems, Ramanujan couldn’t use paper as it was quite expensive. He worked on his derivations on slate, choosing to note down only the important results and summaries in his notebooks. Despite his unemployment and abject poverty, he had filled an entire notebook by the age of 23.Making contact with Cambridge and being labelled a fraudA few years later, he found himself quite inspired by a book ‘Orders of Infinity’, and in January 1913, with the help of his office colleagues, Ramanujan wrote to the writer– G H Hardy at Cambridge University and sent him some of his own work. The renowned mathematician took a look at Ramanujan’s work and ticked them off as “fraud”. After all, Ramanujan was a lowly Indian clerk’s son, barely educated. It was astonishing to even consider that the likes of him could have produced work that showed such intricate hold on Advanced Mathematics.G H Hardy; Source: Cultural holdbacks from crossing the seaIn February, 1913, flummoxed by the incredible findings of Ramanujan, Hardy wrote back to him, inviting him to Cambridge. However, having been strictly brought up as a Brahmin, Ramanujan considered the culinary and cultural differences he would face; and combined with the vehement objections from his mother, Ramanujan refused to go.Ramanujan’s mother It was only later, when his mother spoke of her vivid dream in which their family goddess Namagiri ordered her ‘to stand no longer between her son and the fulfilment of his life’s purpose’, that he agreed to go to Cambridge.England: The strangeness of a foreign countryIn England, Ramanujan struggled to adjust with the culture and cuisine. The English weather was not quite suitable, and he also faced mild racism from his peers. However, at Cambridge, he was quickly hailed as the most remarkable mathematician of his time.The man soon realised that he was very detached from the Western findings already carried out in Mathematics. Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku said: “Working in total isolation from the main currents of his field, Ramanujan was able to re-derive 100 years’ worth of Western mathematics on his own. The tragedy of his life is that much of his work was wasted rediscovering known mathematics.”Mahalakshmi of Namakkal: The goddess behind Ramanujan’s workRamanujan frequently said, “An equation for me has no meaning, unless it represents a thought of God.”-and he wasn’t kidding. Like ancient Indian mathematicians, Ramanujan only noted the results and summaries of his works; no proof was worked out for the formulae he came up with. He straightaway credited his work to the divine providence of Mahalakshmi of Namakkal, a family goddess whom he looked to for inspiration. The mathematician said that he dreamed of the Goddess’ male consort Narasimha, who is denoted by droplets of blood, after which, scrolls of complex mathematical work unfolded in front of his eyes. advertisementRamanujan (centre) at Trinity College; Source: colorlibrary.blogspot.inIn 1916, Ramanujan earned a PhD for his work on highly composite numbers. In 1918, the 31-year-old became the second Indian Fellow of the Royal Society and the youngest in history. The same year, he became the first Indian to be elected as a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.Ramanujan’s untimely death and the questions surrounding itRamanujan’s insufficient diet in England during the time of war, while trying to maintain his staunch Brahmin eating habits, combined with his long hours of study and research gradually broke down his health. He was admitted to a Cambridge nursing home and it was a year before he showed some signs of improvement. After the war ended, he headed back to his familiar Indian climate in 1919. But his illness relapsed and he lasted for only a year after that, passing away on April 26, 1920.Hardy’s personal letter to friend and colleague Sir Joseph Thomson revealed that though Ramanujan had been diagnosed with tuberculosis, he didn’t show all the usual symptoms. Apparently, the doctor running the institute was also sceptical about the diagnosis. It was much later after his death that Ramanujan’s demise was credited to hepatic amoebiasis instead of tuberculosis, a “tropical disease” that the English specialists had little knowledge of at the time.Ramanujan’s treasure troveAfter his early and untimely death, Ramanujan left behind a treasure that was more priceless than the largest diamond on earth— his three notebooks and a few scraps of paper covering around 3900 equations, summaries and results. However, there was no proof with them. And even now, after almost 100 years, scientists and scholars are still working on research papers based on his work. More and more scientists are coming forward with their top findings only to discover that Ramanujan has already been there before.Ramanujan’s three notebooks; Source: The genius whose work is inspiring research even nowSrinivasa Ramanujan had a sort of child-like simplicity and with his penetrative intuition, he was a seer in mathematics. Except for the classical number theory, there is hardly a field of Maths that the genius did not add to. His birthday is celebrated as the National Mathematics Day and he even has a prime number named after him-the Ramanujan Prime.The findings he gave all those years ago are now being used in fundamental problems and challenges of science that the world is facing now-things that he could not have known about-computer science algorithms, the “superstring theory” of cosmology, and the complicated molecular systems in statistical machines are to name a few.advertisementIt is truly not often when you find such a simple mannered, unassuming man who breaks all stereotypes despite little formal education and no such exposure to advanced mathematics. Here’s hoping that Srinivasa Ramanujan gets due credit for what he was—- the greatest mathematician in the world of his time.Interested in General Knowledge and Current Affairs? Click here to stay informed and know what is happening around the world with our G.K. and Current Affairs section.To get more updates on Current Affairs, send in your query by mail to education.intoday@gmail.comlast_img read more

Court OK’s $1B NFL Concussion Plan

first_imgPHILADELPHIA — A Federal appeals court has upheld an estimated $1 billion plan by the NFL to settle thousands of concussion lawsuits filed by former players, potentially ending a troubled chapter in league history.The decision released April 18 comes nearly a year after a district judge approved the revised settlement. If there are no further appeals — either to a full panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia within two weeks, or the Supreme Court within 90 days — former players already diagnosed with brain injuries linked to repeated concussions could begin receiving benefits within 3-4 months, a plaintiffs’ attorney said.“I couldn’t stress enough the urgency of getting this done,” said attorney Christopher Seeger. He conceded the settlement was hardly perfect, but two courts had now judged it fair.Lawyer Steven F. Molo, who argued for several former players opposed to the deal, said his clients were disappointed and considering their options.In a statement, an NFL spokesman called the appeals court decisions “a significant step in implementing the clubs’ commitment to provide compensation to retired players who are experiencing cognitive or neurological issues.”The settlement would cover more than 20,000 NFL retirees for the next 65 years. The league estimates that 6,000 former players, or nearly three in 10, could develop Alzheimer’s disease or moderate dementia.Fewer than 200 of those retirees opted out of the settlement, while 99 percent approved.As part of the settlement, the NFL admitted no fault. A league official speaking to Congress recently acknowledged for the first time a definite link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease found in dozens of former players after their deaths. But the appeals court said that admission was not grounds to overturn the settlement.“This settlement will provide significant and immediate relief to retired players living with the lasting scars of a NFL career … We must hesitate before rejecting that bargain based on an unsupported hope that sending the parties back to the negotiating table would lead to a better deal,” Judge Thomas L. Ambro wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel.The league has been dogged for years by complaints that it hid the risks of repeated concussions in order to return players to the field.The deal avoids the need for a trial and means the NFL may never have to disclose what it knew when about the risks and treatment of repeated concussions.Players’ lawyers who negotiated the deal with the NFL, and stand to split $112 million in fees, say the settlement will help families get needed financial awards or medical testing that might take years if the case went to trial.The ruling comes less than a month after lead plaintiff and former Philadelphia Eagle Kevin Turner died at 46 after battling Lou Gehrig’s disease for several years.“Compensation for players who are coping with these (neurocognitive or neuromuscular) symptoms now is surely preferable to waiting until they die to pay their estates for a CTE diagnosis,” Ambro wrote.Those challenging the deal also complained it does not cover mood and behavioral disorders that some researchers link to CTE. Ambro said that would be an “uphill battle” to prove, but said the agreement calls for reviews “in good faith” by the parties every 10 years to consider new scientific findings.“Mood and behavioral symptoms are common in the general population and have multifactor causation and many other risk factors.Retired players tend to have many of these risk factors, such as sleep apnea, a history of drug and alcohol abuse, a high BMI, chronic pain, and major lifestyle changes,” he wrote.Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody approved the deal last year after twice sending it back to lawyers over concerns the fund might run out.Individual players could receive up to $5 million individually in the case of severe brain trauma, which could put NFL payouts over 65 years, including interest and lawyer fees, expected to be more than $1 billion.(MARYCLAIRE DALE)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more


first_imgThe Touch Football Australia (TFA) Board of Management (BOM) accepted the draft of the reprised Strategic Plan for 2008-2011 at the BOM Meeting conducted in Sydney on Saturday 28 April 2007.This document will reflect minor changes throughout the process, however it will guide the National body throughout the ensuing period.  The feedback received from the TFA Future Directions Workshop conducted in Brisbane last month from key stakeholders, constituents, TFA BOM, and TFA Staff has formed the basis for the adjustment to the four identified Strategic Priority Areas and six linked Objectives of the organisation.   The Four Strategic Priority Areas are:Change ManagementSport ManagementSport DevelopmentOperational ServicesThe Six linked Objectives are:Substantially increase participationThrive at the elite levelProvide quality experiences for everyone involved in Touch FootballGrow the resources available to invest in the sportSubstantially raise the profile of the gameProvide best practice administration at all levelsTouch Football Australia will conduct an Operational Planning process in late May to identify the timeframes for the relevant projects listed, looking to identify the ability to achieve in these areas and the relevant parties responsible for the delivery.If further information is required on this topic, please contact the National Office branch in Brisbane on 07 32471733.last_img read more

Kentucky’s Players Take To Social Media To Thank Fans For Their Support

first_imgDakari Johnson Thank You KentuckyDakari Johnson Thank You KentuckyThursday, seven players from Kentucky’s 2014-2015 squad – Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson and Trey Lyles – all announced their decisions to turn professional this June. After the announcement – which you can see a clip of here – a number of them have taken to social media to thank Wildcats fans for their support during their stays in Lexington.Check out the posts from Booker, Johnson, Lyles and Aaron Harrison.Thank you #BBN— Dakari Johnson (@SafariDakari44) April 9, 2015Thank You!— Trey Lyles (@TreyMambaLyles) April 9, 2015#BBN for life— Aaron Harrison (@AaronICE2) April 9, 2015BBN, it’s been a privilege to put on the UK jersey for you this season. You have made me one of your own and I’ll never forget my time here.— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) April 9, 2015To my brothers and coaches, no one can ever take away what we accomplished this year. Though things didn’t end like we wanted, we made— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) April 9, 2015history. I feel like it’s time for me to take that next step, but know I’ll treasure my time here forever. #BBN, you’re the best. #Reload— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) April 9, 2015If all seven players are taken in June’s NBA Draft, Kentucky will set a record for number of players drafted from one team.last_img read more

Hybrid Cyber-Ships Fast Approaching

first_imgzoom Hybrid propulsion systems and connected ship solutions are emerging technologies that are gaining ground faster than expected, said Tor E. Svensen, CEO DNV GL – Maritime, while commenting on the update to DNV GL’s ”Shipping 2020” report which was published in 2012.The rise of hybrid vessels was unanticipated in the original ”Shipping 2020” report, Svensen said at the opening day of Nor-Shipping in Oslo. But the substantial drop in battery prices and improved energy storage capacity means that hybrid systems are now becoming a real option for the shipping industry. They are best suited for vessels with large variations in power demand, coastal trades and operations within emission control areas.Global high-speed internet coverage, increased computing power and Big Data solutions turn the vision of the connected ship into reality. Svensen expects that the spread of these technologies will enable the shipping industry to intensify its focus on enhancing operational efficiency.”By bringing together and analysing both data from on-board monitoring systems and from external sources, a comprehensive insight is gained of voyage, engine and hull performance,” he said. ”Voyage management based on shipboard sensors and AIS data, for example, can help to determine the optimal speed in all conditions and thereby reduce fuel bills.”While enhanced safety through sensors and automation on board is another advantage of connected ships, the robustness and reliability of software dependent systems has to be assured. Applying Integrated Software Dependent Systems (ISDS) standards and verifying reliability through Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing is therefore growing in importance.”Originally used for mobile offshore drilling units, we expect that ISDS standards and HIL testing will play a greater role for shipping in the near future – at first in some of the offshore vessel segments as well as for large passenger ships,” Svensen said.Alongside these opportunities new threats are present: ”As ships become more connected, they could fall victim to cyber attacks,” he warned. To mitigate risks, Svensen recommended the development of guidelines and standards together with cybersecurity audits to improve systems protection.LNG as a ship fuel was one of the standouts from the last report, but due to continuing high investment costs and slower development of infrastructure the prediction of up to 1,000 LNG-fuelled vessels by 2020 will most likely not be met. However, as more bunkering options come in place, growth could accelerate, according to the updated report.Scrubbers, on the other hand, were seen as a regulatory compliance option that would not be a significant option until after 2020 and the introduction of tighter global restrictions on sulphur. Today, the scrubber market is developing faster than expected, with more than 200 confirmed projects.”While operational efficiency and emissions reductions are the main motivators behind these developments, the update shows that the future fuel mix will be much more diverse,” Svensen said.last_img read more

Quebec zoo at heart of cruelty allegations ordered closed by workers safety

first_imgST-EDOUARD-DE-MASKINONGE, Que. — The Quebec workers’ safety board has ordered the closure a small zoo at the heart of an animal cruelty investigation and the removal of the animals that remain on site.A relocation of the animals had begun after the Montreal SPCA and its partners descended on the St-Edouard Zoo on May 21 and charged its owner with one count each of criminal animal neglect and criminal animal cruelty.Animal welfare groups had moved to seize over 100 wild and exotic animals including lions, tigers, wolves, deer and dozens of other species from the rural property east of Montreal.But a lawyer for zoo owner Normand Trahan filed a motion seeking a cancellation of the seizure warrants, which put the transfer on hold a few days later.Helene Bruneau, a spokeswoman for the workers’ safety board, says the new order comes after an inspector visited the St-Edouard Zoo on Saturday to investigate a complaint by the Montreal SPCA.The zoo hadn’t reopened since the raid, but the safety board inspection found the site wasn’t safe for the workers who have been caring for the animals.“On site, the inspector saw that the infrastructure did not let the workers provide care in a completely safe manner,” Bruneau said. “There was a risk of contact with the animals.”The criminal case against the Trahan returns to court in Trois-Rivieres, Que., on June 21.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

US challenges China EU and others at WTO over steel tariffs

first_imgWASHINGTON – The Trump administration on Monday brought cases against China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Turkey at the World Trade Organization for retaliating against American tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.The United States has imposed tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum on the grounds that the imported metals pose a threat to U.S. national security. China, the EU, Canada, Mexico and Turkey have counterpunched with taxes on more than $24 billion worth of U.S. exports.U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer said their retaliation violates the rules of the Geneva-based WTO, which mediates trade disputes.“Instead of working with us to address a common problem, some of our trading partners have elected to respond with retaliatory tariffs designed to punish American workers, farmers and companies,” Lighthizer said.If the WTO agrees that the retaliatory duties violate its rules, it would assess the damage and calculate the tariffs that the United States would be entitled to impose in response — retaliation for the retaliation. But WTO proceedings can drag on for years.In taxing imported steel and aluminum from some countries in March and others in June, President Donald Trump deployed a little-used weapon in American trade policy: Under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, presidents are empowered to impose unlimited tariffs on imports that the Commerce Department asserts are threats to America’s national security.The WTO gives countries broad leeway to determine national security interests. But there was long an unwritten agreement that WTO member countries would use the national-security justification only very sparingly to avoid abuses.Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs broke that taboo. Now the Commerce Department is pursuing another, bigger national-security case against auto imports. Hearings on the proposed auto tariffs are set for Thursday and Friday in Washington.Separately, Trump is engaged in a trade war with China over the aggressive tactics Beijing has used to challenge U.S. technological dominance. According to the Trump administration, these include outright cybertheft and forcing U.S. companies to hand over trade secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market.Last week, the administration announced 10 per cent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, which won’t take effect until at least September. On Monday, China said that it filed a WTO challenge against those proposed U.S. tariffs.___This story has been corrected to read that the Trump administration brought the cases at the WTO on Monday, not Tuesday.last_img read more

UN war crimes tribunal for Balkans grants temporary release to three men

The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), sitting in The Hague, yesterday ordered that Berislav Pušić be released from its custody, starting from the first feasible date and concluding on 2 May.The reasons for the temporary release of Mr. Pušić, whose original request was granted by the ICTY in February but then stayed following a prosecution appeal, will be detailed later, the tribunal said.Mr. Pušić and five other men – all senior figures in the Bosnian Croat wartime entity known as Herceg-Bosna – are currently jointly on trial in what is known as the ‘Prlic and others’ case, charged with committing war crimes in 1992 and 1993 against Bosnian Muslims and other non-Croats in south-western and central Bosnia and Herzegovina.The many charges include murder rape, unlawful deportation, imprisonment, cruel treatment, unlawful labour, the wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds.Meanwhile, Vladimir Lazarević, a former high-ranking official in the Yugoslav Army during the war in Kosovo in 1999, was today granted provisional release on humanitarian grounds from 25 April to 1 May. He will be in Serbia for the duration of the period under strictly controlled conditions, including 24-hour surveillance.Mr. Lazarević and five others are on trial for an alleged campaign of terror and violence directed against Kosovo Albanians and other non-Serbs living in Kosovo in 1999, with the charges including murder, persecution, deportation and forcible transfer of civilians.Also today, the ICTY appeals chamber granted provisional release to Pavle Strugar, who has filed an appeal against his conviction for attacks on civilians and the destruction or wilful damage of the Old Town of the historic city of Dubrovnik during the war. He is to be released no later than 17 April for a period of no more than six days.Mr. Strugar, a former commander in the Yugoslav Army, is currently serving an eight-year jail term for his role in the military campaign against Dubrovnik. But both he and prosecutors have appealed, and a hearing is scheduled for 23 April. 15 April 2008The United Nations war crimes tribunal set up to deal with the worst crimes committed during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s has granted temporary provisional release to three men either facing trial or mounting an appeal in separate cases. read more

Sagala assures will push for Animal Welfare Bill

Vets had made attempts to save the life of the dog which suffered extensive burn injuries but the animal had died. Animal rights activists said that the Labrador named Charlie was burnt alive in Negombo by trespassers on a private property this week. Minister of Ports and Shipping Sagala Ratnayake assured he will push for the Animal Welfare Bill following an incident in Negombo where a dog was set on fire.Ratnayake condemned the crime and supported calls for justice for the animal which died from the burn injuries it suffered. “I strongly condemn the despicable crime committed on #Charlie. As a lawmaker, I will do everything in my power to enact the Animal Welfare Bill to replace current 1907 law. I urge all MPs to support this and do justice to #Charlie who paid the ultimate price for human cruelty,” Ratnayake tweeted.He also said that he supports a protest to be staged opposite Temple Trees tomorrow (Saturday) demanding justice for the dog. (Colombo Gazette) read more

UN aid officials urge Security Council to push for greater humanitarian access

Children of Aleppo, Syria, carry home hot meals that the World Food Programme (WFP) helps provide to displaced families. Photo: WFP Mr. O’Brien also voiced deep concerns about reports of stockpiled aid in eastern Aleppo since the city’s evacuation, which OCHA is looking into. Such reports highlight the importance of unhindered aid not only for delivery but for monitoring and distribution of aid.The food situation, in particular, is extremely worrying said Amir Mahmoud Abdulla, Deputy Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP).He said some seven million people in Syria are now food insecure and an additional two million are at risk. Food production has hit an all-time now, he said, as widespread insecurity hampers access to land and supplies, fuel is in short supply, and infrastructure is often damaged.“Four in five Syrians now live in poverty with almost 80 per cent of households across the country struggle to cope with food shortages,” said Mr. Abdulla.If nothing changes, Syria could become “a country of subsistence farmers with most of its commercial agriculture base eroded.”Both UN aid officials also used today’s briefing to again call for a political solution to the crisis, underscoring the importance of the 8 February talks in Geneva to be held under UN auspices, and the UN conference with the European Union in the beginning of April.“After a chronicle of missed opportunities, this is the time for the various parties to come together and bring an end to this horrendous chapter in Syria’s history,” Mr. O’Brien said.Speaking by teleconference from Geneva, Peter Salama, Executive Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergencies Programme, said that war has taken a serious toll on civilians and the health workers, hospitals and clinics serving them. Until recent security developments, 30,000 people had sustained war-related injuries every month, he recalled.“The war has gutted the health system,” with more than 100 attacks launched against health centres in 2016 alone, he said, adding that it has led to acute shortages and blocked access to services. Half of all Syrian children were not receiving the required vaccinations and more than 300,000 pregnant women lacked the care they need. Underscoring the importance of the safety of those providing such services, he said WHO is working to ensure access to besieged and hard-to-reach areas, and an end to attacks on health workers, with perpetrators being held accountable. Moving forward, Syria’s health system must be rebuilt, with strong support from the international community, he emphasized. “We continue to be blocked at every turn, by lack of approvals at central and local levels, disagreements on access routes, and by the violation of agreed procedures at checkpoints by parties to the conflict,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien told the Council in a briefing alongside senior officials from the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization. He noted that “if one brave aid worker drives through the checkpoint without the facilitation letter and the command transmitted down the line” the guard or a sniper shoots.“The fault is not at the door of the UN or the [non-governmental organizations] – it is the Syrian Government and the governors,” Mr. O’Brien said. “We need to be allowed to pass – not as a favour but as a right – and safely.”In addition to millions of people living in hard-to-reach areas, an estimated 644,000 people live in 13 areas under siege in the country, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) which Mr. O’Brien heads.While the figure is down from last year, “it should not be mistaken for progress,” the senior UN official stressed. He added that groups use sieges as weapons of war, which “does nothing other than to punish civilians, who already bear the brunt of this terrible conflict.” read more

Famine can be a war crime and should be prosecuted says independent

“If the famine comes from deliberate action of the State or other players using food as a weapon of war, it is an international crime,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, told journalists in New York. The expert spoke to the media after presenting her report to the General Assembly committee dealing with social, humanitarian and cultural issues, also known as the Third Committee, where she said an estimated 70 million people in 45 countries need emergency food aid. Those countries include Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, where around 20 million people are hungry or face starvation as a result of man-made conflict. States and other parties involved in conflicts, Ms. Elver said in a press release, need to recognize their own duty to act, and above all, avoid using hunger as a weapon of war. The right to food is an unconditional human right and legal entitlement for all people, not a discretionary option, she added. “It is crucial that the international community understands that it is an international crime to intentionally block access to food, food aid, and to destroy production of food.” She noted that the most serious cases of man-made famine could be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), but said in the press conference that this has never been done. The independent expert urged governments to focus on peace processes and long-term policies that break the cycle of recurring famines. UN Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. UN Special Rapporteurs are in New York this week to present their reports to the General Assembly. Check back to for highlights throughout the week. read more

Ohio State mens basketball hoping for consistent toughness vs Illinois

OSU sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) during a game against Rutgers on Jan. 13 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorSitting at the podium in the bowels of the Schottenstein Center addressing the media Wednesday afternoon, Thad Matta pretended to flip a coin. The Ohio State men’s basketball coach looked upward, watching the imaginary disk rotate, before acting as if he caught it in the palm of his right hand.Completing the action, Matta slapped his right hand onto the backside of his left one, as he then showed the media what the result of the phantom flip was. He grinned. “That’s what it is sometimes,” he said. What spurred Matta to put on the routine was a question about the toughness of his youthful Buckeyes. His response showed just how hit-or-miss his team’s performances have been this season. The effort is there one night then gone the next, with seemingly no rhyme or reason, as if it’s up to chance — like flipping a coin.“That’s got to be where we get that constant,” Matta said of his team’s toughness. “I think we’re making strides in that regard. What I’m trying to avoid the best I can is any setbacks. That’s something that continues to be preached.” Likely prompted by a shift in the starting lineup, the Buckeyes’ toughness was visible Monday night in their 66-46 victory over Penn State. Freshmen A.J. Harris and Daniel Giddens cracked the starting lineup and helped provide OSU (13-8, 5-3) with the edge in the 20-point win. The question now, like it has been all season long, is which team will show up in the next game, which is scheduled to be Thursday night on the road against Illinois (10-10, 2-5).  Will the starting five once again contain Harris and Giddens, meaning freshman guard JaQuan Lyle and redshirt sophomore center Trevor Thompson will come off the bench for the second consecutive night? “It could,” Matta said. “I just want to see guys fight.” That fight he is looking for in his players comes not only during live action but in practice, too. Matta said Harris and Giddens looked “noticeably different” leading up to the Penn State game, which explains the variation in the starting lineup. At the time of Matta speaking to the media, practice had yet to take place for the day, but the coach said he thinks Harris and Giddens understand how important it is for “what they do.” Giddens, who missed practice Tuesday because of illness, insisted that he doesn’t know what the starting lineup will look like against the Fighting Illini. “He just wants five guys to be prepared to go on the floor,” Giddens said. “Consistency has been an issue.” Although still searching for it on a more regular basis, sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop, who had a team-high 22 points against the Nittany Lions, said he felt that the team displayed a performance consistent both offensively and defensively on Monday. Matta agreed, saying that what transpired on the floor was just what he hoped for when he made the move to change the lineups. “That’s what I’m after,” he said. “Give me the constant, in terms of the effort, the toughness we need, both physically and mentally.” As for the result of the pretend coin flip, was it heads or tails? Will the toughness Matta has been searching for — and maybe found with the lineup switch — be there once the ball goes up? “I’ll tell you tomorrow at 9 p.m.,” he said, laughing. “Or 9:02 p.m.” A glimpse at Illinois The Fighting Illini have dropped five of their last seven games, but they head into Thursday’s matchup with a five-point win over Minnesota fresh in their minds. In that game on Saturday in Minneapolis, Illinois got a 28-point performance from junior guard Malcolm Hill to help carry his team to the victory. It was the 10th time this season that Hill led his team in scoring. Overall, he averages a team-leading 18.3 points per contest. The 6-foot-6 guard has good size for a backcourt player, and the Buckeyes know that he can fill it up despite holding him to 4-of-13 shooting and 14 points when the two teams met on Jan. 3. Along with Hill, fellow junior guard Kendrick Nunn has been excelling since returning from an early-season injury to provide coach John Groce with a formidable backcourt duo. The Chicago native averages just over 17 points a game on 45 percent shooting, while also scooping up 5.4 rebounds per contest. Matta acknowledged the recent play of the duo, describing its performance as “high-level.” Building off the strength of these two guards, the Fighting Illini have a tendency to play small, sometimes using four backcourt players at the same time. Typically, this could be a wrinkle in the gameplan for a team that has effective post players, like OSU, but Giddens said he sees “no problems” for the Buckeyes. “As long as we come in focused and ready to go, we’ll be fine,” he said. Up next After Thursday’s game, OSU will return to Columbus to prepare for its shot to avenge a 35-point loss to Maryland earlier in the month. The Buckeyes and the eighth-ranked Terrapins are scheduled to hit the hardwood Sunday. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. read more

Civmec readies for first shutdown maintenance campaign at Roy Hill iron ore

first_imgAustralia-based Civmec Ltd’s maintenance team is about to mobilise to Roy Hill Holdings’ iron ore operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia as it commences the first shutdown campaign of its long-term services contract with the company.In July, Civmec was awarded a maintenance contract with Roy Hill and the company is now “working collaboratively on planning, drawing experienced personnel from its extensive resource pool to ensure this first phase of a long maintenance campaign is delivered seamlessly”, it said.Civmec said the outcomes of this first phase of work, due to start this month, will dictate the client’s approach to ongoing maintenance.The contract includes providing mechanical, scaffolding, electrical, conveyor and shutdown management services, according to the company.Civmec said this contract, and others recently secured with the likes of Alcoa, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group, was the direct result of investing in dedicated maintenance facilities nationally, together with bolstering its maintenance management team capability, training and recruiting.Patrick Tallon, Civmec’s CEO, said: “We see the commitment towards the continual growth of a maintenance division as a very strategic move to support the significant requirement to maintain the many new plants that have recently been constructed in the minerals and metals and oil and gas sectors across Australia.”Civmec has traditionally been thought of as a multi-disciplinary heavy engineering construction company.Roy Hill is a 55 Mt/y iron ore mining, rail and port operation in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Civmec previously carried out four contracts as part of the build, included heavy engineering and structural, mechanical, piping and electrical instrumentation packages.last_img read more

San Diego soldier dies in noncombat incident in Kosovo

first_img Updated: 9:48 PM SAN MARCOS (KUSI) – A soldier from the San Diego area died as a result of a “non-combat related” incident in Kosovo, the Department of Defense said Friday.U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Conrad Robinson died Thursday at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, according to a Defense Department statement. He was deployed as part of Operation Joint Guardian, a peacekeeping force in Kosovo.Robinson, 36, was a graduate of San Marcos High School, according to his Facebook profile.He was assigned to the 155th Medical Detachment, 261st Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Brigade, out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.Officials offered no further details on the nature of the incident that led to Robinson’s death, other than to say it was under investigation. KUSI Newsroom, San Diego soldier dies in non-combat incident in Kosovo Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwittercenter_img Posted: May 26, 2018 KUSI Newsroom May 26, 2018last_img read more

New Legislation Aims To Reduce Child Abuse And Neglect

first_imgIn a letter from Governor Walker he stated that the bill recognizes the need to provide training to all persons required to report child abuse and neglect. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Governor Bill Walker has introduced legislation that aims to work towards preventing child abuse and establishes stricter requirements for mandatory reporters. ‘The term ‘child abuse and neglect’ means, at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm. Governor Walker: “The issue of child abuse and neglect is difficult to solve, but it is our responsibility to continue to do all we can to protect our children and build a Safer Alaska.” Story as aired: Audio PlayerJennifer-on-child-abuse-bill.mp3VmJennifer-on-child-abuse-bill.mp300:00RPdcenter_img The current state statute only requires State and School district employees receive mandatory reporter training, the bill seeks to require all mandatory reporters complete the training through the Department of Health and Social Services. The bill introduced by Governor Walker on Thursday, February 1,  seeks to address child abuse and neglect, according to Walker the bill takes a number of important actions. Expanding the requirement of mandatory reporter training to all mandatory reporters, not just those who are state and school district employeesExpanding training requirements for parents and teachers relating to sexual abuse of a minor to include identification of grooming behaviorsIncentivizing school districts to provide information on employees with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct towards a childRenaming a portion of Alaska Statutes addressing training for parents and teachers on teen dating violence and healthy relationships “Bree’s Law”last_img read more

Wilmington Cultural Council Has 5K In Grants Available To Wilmington Organizations  Schools

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington Cultural Council has set an October 15, 2019 deadline for organizations, schools and individuals to apply for grants that support cultural activities in the community.According to Council Co-Chair Jean Chang, these grants can support a variety of artistic projects and activities in Wilmington — including exhibits, festivals, field trips, short-term artist residencies or performances in schools, workshops and lectures. Proposals must fall in at least one of the following areas — arts, humanities or science.The Wilmington Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.This year, the Wilmington Cultural Council will distribute approximately $5,000 in grants. Previously funded projects include Museum passes, lectures, painting workshops, and musical performances and plays for seniors and disabled.The application process must be done completely online.  The application form and additional information can be found HERE.Have a question? Contact Jean Chang of the Wilmington Cultural Council at jeanachang[at] Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWilmington Cultural Council Has $4,900 In Grants Available To Wilmington Organizations & SchoolsIn “Community”Wilmington Cultural Council Has $4,900 In Grants Available To Wilmington Organizations & SchoolsIn “Community”Wilmington Cultural Council Has $5,000 In Grants Available To Wilmington Organizations & SchoolsIn “Community”last_img read more

Sensex Closes Lower on FIIs Selling Pressure WPI Inflation Rates Ease to

first_imgCompucom Software LtdCMPU11.38-1.55-11.99 Sudal Industries LtdSDAL19.95+2.90+17.01 Vikas Granites LtdVIKS15.85+2.64+19.98 Top losers from BSE:NameNameSymbolSymbolLast traded in RupeesLast traded in RupeesChange in rupeesChange in rupeesChange in %Change in %NameAce Edutrend LtdSymbolACELLast traded in Rupees35.25Change in rupees-8.80Change in %-19.98NameCompucom Software LtdSymbolCMPULast traded in Rupees11.38Change in rupees-1.55Change in %-11.99NameKallam Spinning Mills LtdSymbolKALSLast traded in Rupees54.65Change in rupees-6.60Change in %-10.78NameSanofi India LtdSymbolSANOLast traded in Rupees2900Change in rupees-330Change in %-10.22NameR R Financial ConsultantsSymbolRRFCLast traded in Rupees11.34Change in rupees-1.26Change in %-10 Advani Hotels and resorts IndiaADHO51.60+8.60+20 Mobile Telecommunications LtdMOBI3.35+0.45+15.52 Ace Edutrend LtdACEL35.25-8.80-19.98 NameSymbolLast traded in RupeesChange in rupeesChange in % Kallam Spinning Mills LtdKALS54.65-6.60-10.78 Sanofi India LtdSANO2900-330-10.22 BSE Sensex closed lower on Monday, after falling for previous four sessions as overseas investors turned sellers. The Sensex closed 17.37 points or 0.07 percent lower at 25006.98 points, whereas the Nifty ended 0.07 percent lower after falling 5.45 points at 7454.15 points.Foreign investors sold shares worth Rs. 7.23 billion ($120.6 million) on Friday, after purchasing $1.6 billion worth stocks for six sessions.According to analysts, Narendra Modi’s budget lacked enough details about how to tackle fiscal deficit rates.”The budget euphoria is over. And we have seen a meaningful correction, which is giving an opportunity to add quality stocks to the portfolio. There could be some minor corrections, but the undercurrent is still positive,” Reuters quoted Deven Choksey, managing Director, KR Choksey Securities.On the other hand, the rupee weakened by 17 paise at 60.10 per dollar versus its previous close of 59.93 a dollar on Friday, due to demand for dollars from oil marketing companies and concerns for wholesale price inflation that was found above expectations.After the BJP-led government curbed farm exports, India’s wholesale price inflation eased to a four-month low in June at 5.43 percent.”We continue to remain cautious on the (inflation) trajectory given the scanty rainfalls witnessed across different parts of the country,” Reuters quoted Upasna Bhardwaj, an economist at ING Vysya Bank in Mumbai.”At the same time, pick-up in demand is further likely to keep the core prices under pressure leaving no room for RBI to ease monetary policy at least through this year.”RBI Governor had raised interest rates three times since taking charge in September 2013. In the policy meeting last month, interest rate was fixed at eight percent.Indian Stock IndicesAmong 12 indices, 50 percent surged while the rest plunged. Apart from Sensex and Nifty that closed lower on Monday, BSE IT, FMCG, Realty and healthcare stocks also ended lower by 119.11 points, 27.45 points, 14.87 points and 61.99 points.Moreover, among Blue chips, Hindustan Unilever lost 2.94 percent, ICICI Bank fell 0.91 percent lower and Bharti Airtel ended one percent down. Other losers were Infosys, Sun Pharmaceuticals Limited and Titan.While metal stocks were among the gainers, Hindalco, Tata Steel and JSW Steel ended higher by 3.99 percent, 2.3 percent and 1.02 percent.Top gainers from BSE:NameNameSymbolSymbolLast traded in RupeesLast traded in RupeesChange in rupeesChange in rupeesChange in %Change in %NameAdvani Hotels and resorts IndiaSymbolADHOLast traded in Rupees51.60Change in rupees+8.60Change in %+20NameVikas Granites LtdSymbolVIKSLast traded in Rupees15.85Change in rupees+2.64Change in %+19.98NameSudal Industries LtdSymbolSDALLast traded in Rupees19.95Change in rupees+2.90Change in %+17.01NameMobile Telecommunications LtdSymbolMOBILast traded in Rupees3.35Change in rupees+0.45Change in %+15.52NameMeuse kara & Sungrace MafatlalSymbolMEUSLast traded in Rupees11Change in rupees+1.37Change in %+14.23 NameSymbolLast traded in RupeesChange in rupeesChange in % R R Financial ConsultantsRRFC11.34-1.26-10 Meuse kara & Sungrace MafatlalMEUS11+1.37+14.23 On the other hand, the top gainers from NSE were Advani Hotels and Resorts, JK Tyre & Industries, Delta Corp, IVP Limited and Raj Rayon Industries, whereas the top losers were Birla Cotsyn India, Antarctica Ltd, VKS Projects, Compucom Software and Pan India Corporation Limited.last_img read more

Nach Baliye 9 Madhurima reacts to Govindas shocking statement on her and

first_imgMadhurima Tuli, Vishal Singh; Govinda with Raveena Tandon in Nach Baliye 9instagramSenior actor Govinda and his wife Sunita recently graced an episode of Nach Baliye 9. While the episode will be aired soon, a sneak peak was shared by the channel Star Plus where Govinda made a rather shocking statement on ex-couple Madhurima Tuli and Vishal Aditya Singh’s relationship.As soon as the short clip was shared online, fans of the couple started posting hate comments to the Raja Babu star.And now, Madhurima has reacted to Govinda’s comment. Surprisingly, she had a different take on his comment. “I think Govinda ji didn’t comment on us, he just gave a statement that he doesn’t like those kind of people jo 36 jagah muh maarte hain. And if someone has to understand, that person will understand,” she told SpotboyE.Well, it could be that Govinda’s statement in the promo was edited in a manner so as to create a drama and hype around that particular upcoming episode. One needs to watch the episode to know the truth.For those who came in late, in the promo, judge Ahmed Khan is seen comparing Madhurima and Vishal’s relationship to that of Kabir Singh. However, it was Govinda’s comment that left everyone shocked including the contestants. The senior actor said that he differs with Ahmed’s statement and went on to add that people shouldn’t be forced to stay in a relationship. Talking about infidelity, he said that being in a relationship with multiple partners and calling it love is not love for him and that he hates such people.There is no second thought that Madhurima and Vishal have been the most talked about ex-couple on Nach Baliye 9. Their animosity has been visible from the premiere episode itself. In the opening episode, Vishal used harsh words for his former ladylove in front of producer Salman Khan, who sternly told him to be respectful towards Madhurima on the show.And in the latest episode, they had a major showdown when Madhurima had revealed that Vishal had told her that he would slap her and she reciprocated by saying that she would slap him twice. Nach Baliye 9 couple – Madhurima Tuli and Vishal Aditya Singhinstagramlast_img read more