Delhi BJP says enrolled 9 lakh new members

first_imgNew Delhi: The Delhi BJP has enrolled over nine lakh new members even before the official month-long membership campaign concludes on August 11, party leaders said on Saturday. The nationwide drive has received great success and Delhi BJP is a frontrunner, said Kuljeet Chahal, Delhi BJP general secretary and in-charge of the campaign in the city. “We have enlisted over nine lakh new members so far and we will easily achieve the target of making 10 lakh new members in view of assembly polls in Delhi,” Chahal said. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder The membership campaign was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi on the birth anniversary of party ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee, on June 6. In Delhi, the campaign was launched with fanfare at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium by senior party leader and national in-charge of the campaign Shivraj Singh Chauhan on June 7. The month-long campaign in Delhi will conclude on August 11. The party will hold special drives next week to enrol more members by setting up desks at malls, educational institutions and temples in the city, said Delhi’s co in-charge of the campaign Harsh Malhotra. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings “On Monday evening our Mahila Morcha will carry out the campaign at malls in the city. Our SC Morcha workers will set up desks outside prominent temples on Tuesday morning and the youth wing activists will enrol new members outside colleges in the city on Wednesday,” he said. Delhi BJP leaders hoped to boost the party’s membership by 57 per cent as people were showing “much interest”. Former national general secretary (organisation) Ramlal had urged Delhi unit leaders to boost membership by 57 per cent, the vote share of party in the city in Lok Sabha elections. Currently, Delhi BJP has around 26 lakh registered members out of which over 14 lakh are duly verified, party leaders said.last_img read more

Energy financials and industrials weigh on TSX US stocks also lower

first_imgCompanies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index was lower in late-morning trading, weighed down by losses in the influential energy, financial and industrials sectors.The S&P/TSX composite index was down 38.33 points at 15,236.65.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 204.57 points at 25,621.86. The S&P 500 index was down 22.27 points at 2,768.10, while the Nasdaq composite was down 66.15 points at 7,375.36.The Canadian dollar traded down at 75.72 cents US compared with an average of 75.81 cents US on Monday.The January crude contract was up 25 cents at US$53.20 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was up 20.6 cents at US$4.54 per mmBTU.The February gold contract was up US$4.20 at US$1,243.80 an ounce and the March copper contract was down 3.3 cents at US$2.78 a pound. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Video: Cristiano Ronaldo Junior Displays His Football Skills

Rabat – Following Real Madrid’s Champions League celebration, Cristiano Ronaldo’s son, Cristiano Junior, showed his own football dribbling skills, Sunday at the Bernabeu stadium.Real Madrid beat, its Italian opponent, Juventus, with a 4-1 victory on Saturday. Real Madrid star, Ronaldo, secured the lead as he guided his team to a win for the title.Following the game, the Los Blancos went back home with their 12th precious European trophy. On Sunday, Real Madrid supporters honored Zinedine Zidane along with his squad at the ceremony.During the event a few children, who were wearing Real Madrid jerseys were given a few moments to show off their football skills in front of thousands of spectators.Cristiano Jr was among them and performed some spectacular moves. The 6-year-old child impressed the crowds with his remarkable skills.Could Cristiano Jr follow in his father’s footsteps? Only time will tell the tale. read more

Newsmaker Staffan de Mistura face of the UN in Iraq no stranger

So it was with pride and satisfaction that Staffan de Mistura, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Iraq, observed this weekend’s provincial elections taking place largely in peace, a far cry from the suicide bombers, fiery explosions and deadly gunfights that marked an earlier tour in the strife-torn country four years ago.But it was a violent, senseless death that first brought Mr. de Mistura to work at the UN when he was a volunteer accompanying a World Food Programme (WFP) official in Cyprus in the late Sixties.”I was just a young student, but on that occasion, as a young volunteer just carrying his backpack, I saw in front of my eyes, for the first time in my life, someone die,” he told the UN News Centre in a Newsmaker interview. It was a young kid, killed by a sniper. It was on the Green Line, the line separating the two groups, the two entities.”I could not understand why a young boy, a civilian, should be the victim of a conflict between two different ideas or two different political convictions. It produced in me a very strong level of calm outrage that then convinced me I would like to dedicate my life to make it difficult for war to take place and to affect civilians. That was the main motivation for me to join the UN.” Mr. de Mistura has now been with the UN nearly 40 years, and nearly always in conflict situations, in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Lebanon – and in Iraq four times – blood-soaked stations that mark the modern geography of war, violence, genocide and repression.”What certainly did have an impact on me was the period in Somalia during the worst time, 1991, the siege of Sarajevo, the siege of Dubrovnik, the first period in Kosovo, the airdrops of food aid in Sudan, the hunger in Ethiopia in 1984 – each of them had an impact on my professional and emotional life and at the same time it taught me how we could try to improve in order to make sure that we could get the best out of the UN wherever we were,” he said. Of his first tour in Iraq, when Saddam Hussein was still in charge, there was a humanitarian crisis, whereas now it is much less evident, Mr. de Mistura stressed. “What I always noticed, at that time and even now, was that the Iraqi people have a unique resilience,” he said.”They believe in their country; they are very, very creative intellectually. The engineers and doctors were the best in the Middle East. They’re able to rebuild their bridges. The challenge this time was not to build bridges but to build bridges between them.” And what of a realistic best-case scenario for Iraq in the next five years?”I would not speculate,” Mr. de Mistura said. “I could only tell you my hope – that Iraq will be finally what it always deserved to be: a much respected country in the region, a peaceful country, and will finally enjoy and share its wealth.” 2 February 2009The top United Nations man in Baghdad knows death and violence up close. read more

South Sudan will need strong partnerships to tackle challenges ahead – Ban

7 July 2011South Sudan, which is just days away from becoming the world’s newest country, will need to develop a broad set of partnerships – with the North, with its neighbours and its own people – to tackle the “daunting” challenges it faces, says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. On 9 July, Mr. Ban and a host of foreign dignitaries will converge on Juba, the capital of the soon-to-be Republic of South Sudan, to watch the new nation raise its flag and inaugurate its first president, Salva Kiir. South Sudan’s independence follows a referendum held in January in line with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement – the 2005 accord that ended the decades-long North-South civil war in Sudan. “For the more than eight million citizens of South Sudan, it will be a momentous and emotional day,” the Secretary-General wrote in an op-ed published today in The New York Times ahead of Saturday’s independence ceremony. “Yet, nationhood has come at steep cost,” he added. “When the assembled presidents and prime ministers board their official planes to return home, the challenges that remain will be daunting indeed.”On the day of its birth, Mr. Ban noted, South Sudan will rank near the bottom of all recognized human development indices, including the world’s highest maternal mortality rate and a female illiteracy rate of over 80 per cent. “Critical issues of poverty, insecurity and lack of infrastructure must all be addressed by a relatively new government with little experience and only embryonic institutions,” said Mr. Ban, adding that the risk of increased violence, harm to civilian populations and further humanitarian suffering is “very real.”At the same time, he noted, South Sudan has remarkable potential, given its substantial oil reserves, huge amounts of arable land and the Nile River flowing through its centre. “Alone, South Sudan cannot meet these challenges nor realize its potential. Doing so will require partnership – a full (and ongoing) engagement with the international community and, most especially, South Sudan’s neighbours.” Mr. Ban highlighted the need for the country’s new leaders, first and foremost, to reach out to their counterparts in the Government of Sudan, stressing that strong, peaceful relations with the North are essential. “A priority for both countries is agreement on their common border, sustainable relations to ensure both States can benefit from the oil revenues in the region, and cross-border arrangements to continue their strong historical, economic and cultural ties,” he stated.He noted that recent instability in Southern Kordofan and Abyei have strained North-South relations and heightened political rhetoric. “Now is the time for both the North and the South to think of the long-term benefits of working together, not short-term political gains at the other’s expense,” he said.South Sudan must also reach out to its other neighbours, both in Africa and across the globe, the Secretary-General stated. It must also reach out to its own people. “It must find strength in diversity and build institutions that represent the full constellation of its broad geographic and ethnic communities.”Speaking to reporters in Geneva, where he is on an official visit, Mr. Ban commended the leadership of both North and South for the progress they have made to date. “And let us emphasize that the path of prosperity and stability lies in peace and partnership – cemented at the negotiating table and supported by the entire international community.”UN officials have highlighted the grave humanitarian impact of the fighting between northern and southern forces in Southern Kordofan that has displaced an estimated 73,000 people since it began a few weeks ago.Haile Menkerios, the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan (UNMIS) that is due to end on 9 July, urged both sides to “display the same leadership that allowed the end of the North-South war,” to rapidly end this new confrontation, cease hostilities and resolve all pending disputes through dialogue. “As in the past, the United Nations stands ready to assist the parties in resolving their differences and implementing new agreements they now must find,” he told a news conference.According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the security situation in Southern Kordofan remains tense and volatile, with fighting reported near the main town of Kadugli every day over the past week. While humanitarian agencies have access to Kadugli town, access to locations outside of Kadugli for aid activities is still being denied, it added. UN agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are continuing to provide assistance where possible. read more

Thailand should amend defamation laws to comply with freedom of speech –

A United Nations human rights expert today called on Thailand to amend laws that impose jail terms of three to 15 years on “whoever defames, insults or threatens” top members of the country’s royal family, stressing that their vagueness contravened international treaties.“The recent spike in lèse majesté cases pursued by the police and the courts shows the urgency to amend them,” Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression Frank La Rue said, using the legal term for offences or crimes against a State’s rulers or affronts to their dignity.Mr. La Rue cited section 112 of the Thai penal code, which states that “whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir to the throne or the Regent shall be punished with imprisonment of three to 15 years,” and the Computer Crimes Act, which can impose jail terms of up to five years for any views on the monarchy made on the Internet that are deemed to threaten national security.He stressed that Thailand has been a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) since 1996, which contains legally binding human rights obligations, including the obligation to fully guarantee the right of all individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds.“The threat of a long prison sentence and vagueness of what kinds of expression constitute defamation, insult, or threat to the monarchy, encourage self-censorship and stifle important debates on matters of public interest, thus putting in jeopardy the right to freedom of opinion and expression,” he said. “This is exacerbated by the fact that the charges can be brought by private individuals and trials are often closed to the public.”While acknowledging that freedom of expression carries with it special responsibilities and that under certain exceptional circumstances it may be limited, including to protect the reputation of individuals and national security, he emphasized that laws limiting such freedom must be clear, unambiguous as to the specific type of banned expression, and proven to be necessary and proportionate, so as to prevent abuse for purposes beyond their intended purpose.“The Thai penal code and the Computer Crimes Act do not meet these criteria,” said Mr. La Rue, who acts in an independent, unpaid capacity and reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council. “The laws are vague and overly broad, and the harsh criminal sanctions are neither necessary nor proportionate to protect the monarchy or national security.”He voiced concern that the Computer Crimes Act had been used by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, in cooperation with the army, to reportedly block hundreds of thousands of websites containing commentary on the Thai monarchy, and noted that countries had also raised concerns during the Council’s universal periodic review of Thailand on Friday.“In this regard, I am willing to engage constructively with the Government of Thailand, as well as the Law Reform Commission, whose task is, among other things, to propose reforms to harmonize Thailand’s national laws with international human rights standards,” he said. 10 October 2011A United Nations human rights expert today called on Thailand to amend laws that impose jail terms of three to 15 years on “whoever defames, insults or threatens” top members of the country’s royal family, stressing that their vagueness contravened international treaties. read more

United States offers additional assistance to flood affected

The U.S. Government is also continuing with its efforts to provide long-term support and capacity building by working with the Government of Sri Lanka to improve its disaster management system and assisting, through the United Nations, the Sri Lankan Disaster Management Center for improved humanitarian information management and coordination The Embassy is monitoring the situation and continues to work closely with Sri Lankan government disaster relief authorities to identify further needs. (Colombo Gazette) The United States Government will provide an‎ additional 36 million Sri Lankan Rupees (250,000 U.S. dollars) to support flood relief efforts in Sri Lanka, the US Embassy in Colombo said today.This is in addition to the previously announced 7.2 million Sri Lankan Rupees (50,000 U.S. dollars) that is supporting humanitarian assistance activities in the worst affected areas and a three-year program of approximately 144 million Sri Lankan Rupees (U.S. $1 million) designed to provide safe, disaster-resilient, drinking water to populations who are highly vulnerable to flooding and droughts. The total amount of immediate and near-term relief announced by the U.S. Government stands at approximately 187 million Sri Lankan Rupees (U.S. $ 1.3 million). read more

Shooting on Six Nations early Saturday

An early morning shooting Saturday on Six Nations left a 23-year-old man in hospital and police searching for two male suspects.Six Nations police said they responded to a report of gunfire at 6:30 a.m. Saturday on Fourth Line Road where a man was shot in the left leg with a large calibre hunting rifle.A second man, aged 21, told police he and the victim were standing in a residential laneway when a white Chevy Silverado pickup truck, with a male driver and a male passenger, pulled up. After a short exchange of words, the passenger pulled out a rifle and shot the 23 year old. The truck raced away.Police found the truck at a First Line Road home and seized it for forensic examination. They also found some evidence at the scene of the shooting.Police said they believe the suspects and victim are known to each other.Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact police at 519-445-2811 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or read more

UNHCR concerned at reports of stowaways being denied hearing in European ports

A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that according to the ship’s captain, the two men, who are in their early twenties and believed to be Iraqis, seem to want to claim asylum.The generally accepted principle in such maritime cases is that stowaway asylum-seekers should be allowed to disembark at the first port of call after their presence has been discovered by the crew, and be given the opportunity to have their claim determined by the relevant authorities, UNHCR spokesman Rupert Colville said at a press briefing in Geneva.If this turns out to be impossible for some reason, he said, subsequent ports visited by the ship should be prepared to take initial responsibility, even if it is eventually decided that the asylum-seeker can or should be moved elsewhere.”However, it appears that [the two men] may have been prevented from doing so in four different EU countries so far,” Mr. Colville said.The pair apparently boarded the ship on 12 April in Cyprus. Since then, the Panama-registered ship has made calls at ports in Spain, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The supposed asylum-seekers were not permitted to disembark at any of these ports.”UNHCR is concerned that if the two men are indeed trying to claim asylum from persecution, they should have been able to lodge a claim somewhere by now, and fears that if the pattern is continued they will join earlier unfortunate individuals or even families, known as ‘orbit cases,'” Mr. Colville said. The term refers to individuals being bounced from country to country, often with extremely damaging psychological effects.Mr. Colville noted that after its stop in Amsterdam, the ship was bound for Sweden, Germany and Belgium before heading to the Middle East and Asia.”UNHCR urges one of the remaining European ports of call to exercise the collective responsibility to allow asylum-seekers access to the asylum procedure,” he said, pointing out that European Union countries have recourse to the so-called Dublin Treaty, which aims to avoid orbit cases by allowing nations to resolve among themselves which one should take responsibility. read more

Process to decide Kosovos final status could begin this year Security Council

“Those bent on derailing the process may see violence as their only means to do so,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Søren Jessen-Petersen told the Security Council in presenting the latest report on Kosovo, which the UN has run since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) drove out Yugoslav troops amid grave human rights abuses in fighting between Albanians and Serbs in 1999.”The message must be clear: provocations and violence cannot be allowed to stop progress towards a stable, multi-ethnic society,” he added, ruling out partition as “simply not a realistic option” for the province, now legally part of Serbia, where ethnic Albanians outnumber other communities, mainly Serbs, by about 9 to 1.”The society we are trying to build in Kosovo must have space for all communities as a stable, tolerant, multi-ethnic democracy,” said Mr. Jessen-Petersen. “As such, all talk about partition of Kosovo becomes an agenda for those who may be eager to re-ignite the divisions and flames of the past.”He noted that the last three months have been marked by a positive trend but that the challenges ahead are considerable. On the credit side he cited continuing improved security, with rates low for serious crimes and showing no evidence of ethnic bias in policing and judicial processes.Tangible progress has also been made in implementing the so-called Standards, eight goals in areas such as democratic institutions, minority rights and an impartial legal system, but “there is further to go to ensure that the positive processes are translated into action on the ground,” he said.The local Albanian-dominated government has also undertaken reconstruction of almost all properties damaged or destroyed last March when, in the worst violence since the UN took over, an onslaught by Albanians to drive out Serb, Roma and Ashkali communities led to 19 people being killed, nearly 1,000 injured and hundreds of homes and centuries-old Serbian cultural sites razed or burned.On the debit side, Mr. Jessen-Petersen said, the security environment remains fragile, minority communities continue to feel insecure and Serbs are often victims of misinformation disproportional to the facts on the ground, leading to perceptions of insecurity that prevent many of the displaced from returning home.Serbs are “regrettably” still staying outside most political and democratic processes after their boycott of last October’s election and appear to be waiting for more positive signals from Serbia following a 12-month boycott of direct contacts between the Serbian Government and Kosovo, which are now about to resume.”So there is progress, but at the same time problems do remain. Much more has to be done to reassure the minorities that they have a future in Kosovo, to guarantee freedom of movement for the minorities, and to speed up the process of returns of displaced persons,” the envoy declared.”2005 is a key year for Kosovo. There is now broad agreement on a clear way forward and a clear timetable that could lead us to the negotiations on final status in the second half of this year. To defer this process for much longer would only prolong the pain, increase the risks, and delay the day when the region will turn its back to a painful past and move forward on a common European future,” he added.While praising Mr. Jessen-Peterson’s work, Nebosja Covic, head of the Coordination Centre of Serbia and Montenegro for Kosovo and Metohia, said Kosovo’s parliament and government were not truly multi-ethnic, there was no protection for non-Albanian communities from being out-voted, and constant attacks on Serbs and other non-Albanians were not “isolated incidents.”It was therefore unjustifiably optimistic to think there would now be a major turnaround in just a few months, creating conditions for negotiation on the future status of the province, he added, but he stressed that Serbia stood ready to participate, at all levels, but on equal footing from beginning to end, in all processes. Video of Council meeting [2hrs 47mins] read more

Locust breeding is slow but expected to accelerate – UN agency

Locust breeding is slow now but is expected to accelerate in the months ahead, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a new bulletin on the crop-destroying pests issued today.Small swarms were present in India and Pakistan in early December, but adults that escaped control operations reached the spring breeding areas in western Pakistan by mid-month, the agency said.Small-scale breeding continued in western Mauritania and southern Algeria where limited ground control operations were required in both countries. So far, only small-scale breeding has occurred in the Tokar Delta on the Red Sea coast of Sudan, but breeding is expected in the period ahead on both sides of the Red Sea and could commence in northern Mauritania and Western Sahara where good rains fell this month, FAO said.In Yemen, ecological conditions remained favourable in some places along the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden coastal plains where hoppers and adults were present. During the forecast period, small-scale breeding will continue in Sudan’s Tokar Delta and on Yemen’s northern Tihama coast. “Limited breeding could also occur on the Red Sea coast in southeast Egypt where good rains fell in late December and, if more rainfall occurs, on the northern coast in Eritrea and central Tihama coast in Yemen,” the agency predicted. Hordes of locusts can precipitate food crises by devouring crops, as was the case this year in Niger, where the worst infestation in over a decade combined with drought to leave millions of people threatened with hunger and malnutrition. FAO and other partners have helped to fund and carry out locust control operations across the affected countries. read more

UN health agency calls for help with deworming efforts in West Africas

According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), simple de-worming interventions will ensure that people can fully benefit from the food aid distributed.“Humanitarian (agencies) should come out in full force and support de-worming activities in affected countries as malnourished children and adults are very susceptible to contracting these NTDs, transmitted via contaminated water, soil and parasites,” said WHO’s African Regional Director, Dr Luis Gomes Sambo, in a news release.NTDs are a group of poverty-associated chronic infectious diseases – such as bilharzia, roundworms, hookworms and whipworms – that are endemic in poor and rural populations in the developing countries of Africa, America and Asia, according to WHO. The diseases affect over 1.4 billion people worldwide, and cause severe morbidity and mortality, and are transmitted by insect bites, flies, water contact or worms in the soil, and are easily spread in areas of poor sanitation.Dr. Gomes said the flooding created the “ideal breeding ground” for contracting NTDs and worm-like diseases in the Sahel region, which spans Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, amongst other countries. As a consequence, they are now “more at risk of malnutrition,” he added.The Sahel region has been gripped by prolonged drought and internal conflict, with nearly 19 million people currently food insecure, including more than one million severely malnourished children under the age five years.The agency said the number of food insecure people in the region is likely to increase because of the rise in the number of NTD cases, with NTD cases also on the rise because of low quality drinking water and inadequate latrine coverage that coincide with the Sahel flooding.“The full impact of the Sahel crisis will only be felt in the months ahead on people’s livelihoods,” the health agency noted in the news release. “Integrating de-worming activities is… feasible and cost-effective – costing less than 50 cents to treat a person for a year.”It added the low cost was “especially important” because only half of $1.6 billion of an appeal for Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Mauritania and Niger have been received.Cholera outbreaks in several countries of the Sahel have exacerbated the situation, and the problem is extending to Central African countries, such as Chad and Cameroon, WHO noted. read more

At academic event UN officials spotlight data and technology as key to

“There have been many calls for a ‘data revolution’ to go hand in hand with the new agenda. Progress needs to be measured. Data for that must be available, be of good quality, and be easily accessed,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark declared in remarks delivered at the opening ceremony of the Skills and Technology Accelerating Rapid Transformation (START) Technology for Sustainable Development Programme earlier this morning in New York. “By harnessing humanity’s knowledge and technology and ensuring access to finance, we can fulfil our destiny of being the first generation able to eradicate poverty and the last generation able to prevent catastrophic climate change,” she added. The event – coordinated in tandem with Amrita University and the UN Academic Impact– is bringing together experts from major international universities and institutes to address the importance of technology and build linkages between researchers, particularly as the UN and the global community barrels towards this year’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline. In September, Member States will adopt a set of sustainable development goals that build on the eight MDGs, which wrap up at the end of this year. The UN is working with governments, civil society and other partners to build on the momentum generated by the MDGs and carry on with an ambitious post-2015 sustainability agenda aimed at eradicating poverty and addressing climate change. In delivering the closing remarks to the event, the UN Special Adviser for Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, similarly declared that technology “can and must serve the needs of the poorest of the poor.” The importance of technology and data in boosting the acceleration of the MDGs has long been highlighted by the UN, which has also noted the growing reach of information and communications technology (ICT) in the developing world. According to the Organization’s data, in fact, six out of every seven people on earth have a mobile phone. Meanwhile, in Africa, mobile broad-band penetration jumped from 2 percent in 2010 to 20 percent in 2014. The result, the UN has added, is that for every 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration in the developing world, gross domestic product (GDP) goes up by almost two percent on average. “The connections we make – between scholarship and society, between technology and the troubled, between science and citizenry – are all in the best spirit of the United Nations and its mission to bring people together in harmony and peace,” Mr. Nambiar continued, adding that achievements must be obtained by “using our inherent skills together with the immense bounty of technology, so that the transformations we seek become both rapid and accelerated.” “That is the mission of START,” he concluded. read more

Womens Basketball Sierra Calhoun and Makayla Waterman to return to Ohio State

Ohio State redshirt junior guard Sierra Calhoun (4) drives to the basket in the fourth quarter of the Buckeyes’ semifinal game against Rutgers on March 2 at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Ohio State beat Rutgers 82-57. Credit: Alyssia Graves | Assistant Sports DirectorNot only will the Ohio State women’s basketball team be without senior guard Kelsey Mitchell next season, but it will also lose four other key contributors to graduation in forwards Stephanie Mavunga and Alexa Hart, and guards Linnae Harper and Asia Doss.Luckily for the Buckeyes, redshirt junior guard Sierra Calhoun and redshirt junior forward Makayla Waterman both said they will be returning to Ohio State for the 2018-19 season. “I’m going to stay here for my fifth year,” Waterman said after her team’s loss to Central Michigan in the NCAA tournament. “I’ve got a lot of things like studying abroad, going on service trips this summer with the university.”Never a primary scorer, Waterman served as a facilitating forward this season. She averaged just 3.5 points and 3.9 rebounds across 18.2 minutes per game in 32 games. Next season, she will be counted on to take a larger offensive role with the loss of Mavunga, the team’s top frontcourt scoring threat.Calhoun also affirmed her intention to return next season after the loss to the Chippewas, answering with a simple “yes” before the question was even completed.Starting in all 34 of the Buckeyes’ games this season, Calhoun scored 11.8 points per game, the fourth-most on the team. She was a primary ball-handler at times, taking the pressure off Mitchell, and often took the role as a sharpshooter. She shot 37.4 percent from the field, while making 35.8 percent of her 3-point attempts this season.Calhoun said she anticipates and is looking forward to becoming more of a scoring threat with Ohio State’s three leading scorers — Mitchell, Mavunga and Harper — leaving the program.Ohio State redshirt junior forward Makayla Waterman defends Central Michigan forward Reyna Frost during the first quarter of the Buckeyes’ 95-78 loss to the Chippewas on March 19 at St. John Arena. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorGiven the youth of next season’s team, Waterman and Calhoun must take larger leadership roles, which Calhoun believes will not be too much different to their roles this season despite the loss of the five seniors.“We will see,” Calhoun said with a laugh. “I feel like we were still leaders this year. I feel like we were one of the older kids this year, so we definitely had to lead by example and talk, things like that. Hopefully that will translate to next year.”Waterman and Calhoun will be joined next season by sophomore guard Jensen Caretti, who averaged 8.7 minutes and 2.4 points in 29 games. A former highly regarded recruit, Caretti will almost assuredly move into a starting role next season despite her lack of experience. Next year, the Buckeyes will add Najah Queenland, a transfer from Pacific who sat out this season and will be in her fourth collegiate season. In 2016-17, her final season at Pacific, she averaged 4.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 22.1 minutes per game. With Harper, Mitchell and Doss graduating, the 5-foot-10 Queenland could fill the role as a primary ball-handler. Ohio State will also add a crop of freshmen. It has three 2018 prospects — four-star guard Janai Crooms, three-star post Aaliyah Patty and four-star Hungarian forward Dorka Juhasz — committed to the program. Despite lacking collegiate experience, the trio could have an impact on the team given the graduations.Redshirt junior guard Chelsea Mitchell, the sister of Kelsey, took the semester off to focus on academics and her status on next season’s team is unclear. Former walk-ons Savitha Jayaraman and Karlie Cronin will return, but neither are expected to have major upticks in their responsibilities.Waterman said she and Calhoun have often looked ahead to next year and thought about being the team’s only seniors with a vastly different roster composition.“We talk about that all the time too,” Waterman said. “It’s going to be weird. We’re going to be the oldest ones on the team.”Not only will it be weird for Waterman, but the Buckeyes will once again be dealing with a smaller-than-usual roster. If Ohio State does not add any transfers or recruits for next season and Chelsea Mitchell returns, it will have just 10 players. And without Kelsey Mitchell, Mavunga, Doss, Harper and Hart, the Buckeyes might be in for a tough rebuilding year. read more

Fencing Fresh off title MarcAntoine Blais Belanger turns focus to Olympics

Ohio State senior epeeist Marc-Antoine Blais Belanger is hoisted up by his teammates after winning the 2018 NCAA Fencing Championships on March 25 in State College, Pennsylvania. Credit: Ohio State AthleticsTwo years ago, the biggest opportunity of Ohio State fencer Marc-Antoine Blais Belanger’s career was met with disappointment. After reaching the men’s epee finals in the 2016 NCAA Fencing Championships, Blais Belanger fell just short of the title, losing to Jake Hoyle, the top seed from Columbia.On March 25 in State College, Pennsylvania, Blais Belanger once again found himself one victory away from becoming the NCAA men’s epee champion. In the waning moments of overtime, with the hard-fought title bout against Sean White of St. John’s nearing its conclusion, Blais Belanger trailed 14-13. It looked like history was doomed to repeat itself.Then, in the final bout of his career, Blais Belanger turned the tide.With the clock winding down, Blais Belanger scored a touch on White to tie the score. Moments later, Belanger scored the touch with three seconds remaining that clinched his 15-14 victory.Disappointment turned to triumph.“Two years ago I came so close,” Blais Belanger said. ”If I wouldn’t have won [this time] it would have been really hard to swallow.”Blais Belanger’s four-year Ohio State career reached a redemptive conclusion, but he does not plan on letting his fencing career come to an end. With a successful and memorable college tenure now behind him, Blais Belanger has turned his attention to the sport’s greatest competition: the Olympics.Although Blais Belanger’s NCAA eligibility has expired, he plans to remain at Ohio State for one more year to complete his degree in mechanical engineering. He will still spend countless hours honing his skills in the Steelwood Athletic Training Facility to prepare for the final push to qualify and represent Canada in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.“[To qualify] you have to do almost every international competition and try to bank up on international points,” Blais Belanger said. “You have to be amongst the [best] in the Americas.”But Blais Belanger believes his collegiate career, during which he has competed at the NCAA championships all four years, has prepared him for the challenge of qualifying for and competing in the Olympics.“There’s so much pressure [in NCAA competition] because everyone’s [trying to] go out and be the best for their school,” Blais Belanger said. “There’s always so much intensity in every tournament … I think that’s going to help me a lot to handle pressure.”Blais Belanger also has competed for Team Canada at international competitions. Though he said the talent level is higher in international tournaments, they can’t match the intensity of NCAA competitions where team comradery and school pride inspire passion. “During international competition you focus on yourself,” Blais Belanger said. “Obviously if your teammate from your country does well you’re happy, but it’s not the same thing because you don’t depend on each other to win.”There are plenty of great college fencers who fail to reach the Olympics. While experience and preparation are important, a certain degree of natural talent is necessary to compete among the world’s greatest fencers. Ohio State fencing head coach Vladimir Nazlymov has an eye for Olympic talent. His lengthy resume includes three Olympic medals of his own when he competed for the Soviet Union in 1968, 1976 and 1980. He has been a member of the coaching staff of both the United States and Soviet national teams, and was the Soviet national team’s head coach in the 1988 Olympics. Nazlymov said he believes Blais Belanger has what it takes to be an Olympian.“[Blais Belanger has an] unbelievably strong neural system,” Nazlymov said. “He can be patient until last millisecond. It’s not timing. It’s [instincts]. In this case he’s unbelievable talent.”Maybe it was four years of learning to handle intense competition that allowed Blais Belanger to land the winning touch with three seconds remaining in his final college bout. Maybe the final strike was the type of instinctual response that his coach believes makes him a special talent.One thing is certain: as Blais Belanger comes closer to reaching the ultimate goal of his athletic career, he will need to thrive in big moments. If how he fared in the biggest moment of his collegiate career is any indication, he’ll do just fine. read more

Maptek and Pioneering showcase Vulcan in Chinese at China Mining

first_imgMaptek, global developer of mine technology solutions, has joined Chinese sales partner Pioneering at China Mining Congress and Expo in Tianjing this week. New developments in mining science and technology are expected to be strong drawcards at the annual exhibition. Among them will be the first look at Maptek’s geological modelling and mine planning software in Chinese.Vulcan 10, due for release in March 2016, will feature comprehensive modelling and design tools available in Chinese as well as other languages.Maptek provides highly regarded software and services across the mining execution value chain. Vulcan and Eureka streamline tasks in mine evaluation, planning and design. I-Site technology targets 3D laser scanning, survey and imaging applications. The spatial data collected can be used for geotechnical analysis, stockpile measurement, design conformance and movement tracking.“Maptek offers a broad range of technology products that help companies from the commencement of mining projects,” said Maptek Managing Director Peter Johnson. “Built in workflows and ease of use are hallmarks of our solutions. This makes them easy to implement, and the quick uptake means operations can start benefiting sooner.“In terms of development focus, we have closely examined how processes, and the technology which collects data around those processes, can be harnessed and integrated. This has helped us to capture workflows in our solutions to deliver increased productivity in very aggressive market conditions,” Johnson continued.“There is no denying that the market is experiencing difficult times. At China Mining, Maptek is keen to showcase ways our solutions create opportunities to achieve systemic, sustainable productivity gains.“As well as embracing new technologies, miners can make more effective use of existing technologies to maintain their competitive advantage,” added Johnson. “A consistent way to do this is to exploit the information being gathered during execution of the mine plan to add value and improve business outcomes.“Given the huge investment and scale of resources in mining, even a very small fraction of a percent increase in productivity can be worth millions of dollars. So it makes sense to invest in technology that gathers, records, analyses, optimises and reports on virtually any data source available,” he concluded.Johnson presents a paper in the technology supplier stream today between 2 and 5.30 pm.last_img read more

Ivano Balic – coordinator for mens handball in Croatia from June

German city of Frankfurt was the place of meeting of the Croatian Handball Federation leaders with legendary national player Ivano Balic. Current playmaker of HSG Wetzlar decided to decline extension of contract with DKB Bundesliga team and to ended his career next summer, when he will take the new handball responsibility as coordinator of men’s handball in Croatia:– We agreed that Ivano overtake that position. Our visions about some future appointment in the men’s national teams are almost equal – said CHF president Sandi Sola.Croatia is currently without NT head-coach since Slavko Goluza resigned last week. The first pick for the new leader of national team is Zvonimir Noka Serdarusic, who has also offer to overtake PSG Handball. His assistant in the Croatian NT could be another legendary player from Balic’s era, Petar Metlicic. ← Previous Story Jakobsen and Rhein Neckar Lowen – together until 2017 Next Story → Baltic Handball League: SKA and Serviti secured places in Final Four Ivano Balic read more

Will a black box fitted into cars help improve road safety

first_imgTHE FIRST MAJOR Irish study into telematics technology, the electronic equipment used in cars, and road safety has been launched at Trinity College Dublin (TCD).The study, which looks at whether telematics devices could help improve driver behaviour and improve road safety, will monitor 50 young and inexperienced drivers by fitting a ‘black box’ device into their car.The device will send information gathered from the car, such as speed, acceleration, deceleration levels and location, back to a central computer which will then be analysed.The device then scores driving performance based on the frequency and severity incidents related to risky driving behaviour.The drivers, the majority of whom reside in border counties, will be provided with feedback detailing how they can improve their driving performance and reduce the number of risky incidents that may occur.The university’s School of Engineering and the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering have partnered with accident management company, CRASH services, to carry out the study.In a statement, Martin McRandal of CRASH said the company had been working with TCD’s academic team for the past twelve months to get the study up and running. This is the first academic study of its type to be conducted in Ireland. Currently, there is no tangible evidence to prove or disprove the effectiveness of this technology in reducing road risk. The results… will be of benefit to everyone with an interest in road safety, including government and government agencies, fleet operators and insurance providers.The findings of the study will be published in August.Read: Dublin City Council plans to open new bike lane on North Quays >Read: Two men arrested after kicking in window on Dublin bus >last_img read more

Statements by Varadkar and Harris misled abortion referendum voters High Court told

first_img 25,283 Views Share198 Tweet Email No Comments Statements by Varadkar and Harris ‘misled’ abortion referendum voters, High Court told The High Court also heard that the Referendum Commission “omitted objective statements” on Eighth Amendment referendum. Jun 26th 2018, 1:11 PM Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images By Gráinne Ní Aodha THE HIGH COURT has heard that statements made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris on abortion were “misleading” and could have had an effect on the result of the Eighth Amendment referendum.The role of the government in seeking to amend or remove the constitutional right to life in the context of a referendum was questioned, an action that was described as possibly having “far-reaching consequences”.The court also heard that the Referendum Commission “omitted objective statements” and shirked its obligations to give out “complete” impartial information on the Eighth Amendment referendum.Three separate applications to have a petition put forward against the Eighth Amendment referendum result had been actioned and were due to be heard today. One of the three applications, by Mr Ciarán Tracey, was withdrawn.A second applicant, Mr Charles Byrne, was taking a case based on what he alleged was incomplete information given by the Referendum Commission through its website and booklets.Joanne Jordan is the third applicant for petition against the result of the Eighth Amendment referendum. Jordan delayed the enactment of the Children’s Referendum by nearly three years through litigation which ultimately was not successful.Byrne submitted to the court that statements made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to the media “misled people and questioned the credibility of those who took a different view and were in favour of a ‘No’ vote”.Quoting a number of interviews, Byrne’s legal team told the High Court that Varadkar had written that “some women’s lives have been lost” and that the “Eighth Amendment has not saved lives, it has failed lives”.He also took issue with Varadkar’s statement that if a ‘Yes’ vote didn’t prevail, women could face a 14-year jail term; and another statement which compared the UK laws on abortion with what the government’s draft legislation had provided for.He also claimed that the Minister for Health Simon Harris “wrongly claimed” that it was wrong to make an issue of Down Syndrome in the context of the legalisation of abortion.The court was told that if members of the government were entitled to give false statements then people would be voting on the basis of incorrect information given to them, which would “affect the fundamental law in the country”.When asked whether Byrne’s counsel was arguing that the public had been “duped” because of the misleading statements given, it was stated that there was a “reasonable” chance that those statements had an impact on the outcome of the referendum as a whole.Separate to that, it was put to the High Court that as the government of the day, Varadkar and Harris should not have expressed any opinion or stance in the context of the Eighth Amendment referendum.It was argued that since the Eighth Amendment was still law before the vote on 25 May, government campaigning for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment could be viewed as an infringement of the right to life that’s already established in the Constitution.“So any comment made [by the Taoiseach or the Health Minister] about the Eighth Amendment, that was itself wrongdoing on their part?” the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly asked.When the second applicant’s legal team agreed, Kelly responded:“That’s of extraordinary far-reaching consequences, isn’t it?”Alleged voter fraud Mr Justice Peter Kelly was also told by the legal team representing Byrne that there wasn’t enough information from the Referendum Commission on the legal effect a ‘Yes’ vote would have; that the statement that the electorate was not asked to vote on a particular law was misleading; and that the term ‘abortion’ instead of ‘termination of pregnancy’ should have been used as termination of pregnancy doesn’t always result in ending the life of the unborn.The second applicant also took issue with a section on the European Convention on Human Rights, as it failed to mention “the ABC case and its associated implications”.Counsel for Byrne also said that it was possible voter fraud occurred, and fielded a number of questions from the judge on how substantial those claims were.The allegations included reports of half a million people who were registered that shouldn’t have been, and “multiple cases of people being sent two polling cards”.The Eighth Amendment referendum saw 66.4% vote in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment, and paved the way for it to be replaced with legislation allowing for terminations up to 12 weeks without restriction.In total, 1,429,981 voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment and 723,632 voted to retain it.The court was told that there were “numerous persons living abroad and returned to Ireland to vote, who somehow admitted to voting illegally”.“We have a sworn affidavit of people who will give that evidence,” counsel for Mr Byrne told the court.Acknowledging that the court needed stronger evidence of voter fraud, the counsel for Mr Byrne then asked the court for more time to bring more concrete evidence forward that showed voter fraud had occurred, pointing out that it had only been four weeks since the referendum result.The hearing continues tomorrow at 11am. Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images Tuesday 26 Jun 2018, 1:11 PM Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Coal India FY2016 output rises 86 but falls short of target

first_imgState-run Coal India Ltd (CIL) ended financial year 2015-16 with an output of 536.5 million tonnes, 8.6 percent higher than the preceding year’s 494.23 million tones. However, the output was short of the targeted 550 million tonnes for financial year 2015-16.The mining company informed stock exchanges about its financial year 2015-16 provisional output data Friday.CIL produces about 81 percent of India’s coal requirement from its 430 mines, of which 227 are underground, 175 open-cast and 28 mixed ones.Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) more than doubled its profit to Rs. 1,020 crore in 2015-16 from Rs. 490 crore the company earned in the preceding financial year.Its revenues stood at Rs. 16,516 crore during the financial year ended March 2016, up 17.3 percent from Rs. 14,078 crore in financial year 2014-15, while output rose 15 percent to 60.43 million tonnes from 52.54 million tonnes in financial year 2014-15, reported the BusinessLine.The company was on course to sustain the growth momentum in the next five years, according to its Chairman and Managing Director N Sridhar. “The company has programmed to sustain this growth over the next five years and expects to grow at double digit year-on-year.””We are targeting total output of 100 mt during 2020 up from 60 mt this year. This will be achieved by opening 25 new mines, seven of them this year, entailing a total investment outlay of ₹20,000 crore,” he added.SCCL, jointly owned by the government of India and the Telangana government, has planned capital expenditure of Rs. 4,000 crore and output of 66 million tonnes for the current financial year.SCCL will be setting up 10 coal washeries during the year, entailing an investment in the range of Rs. 60 crore to Rs. 100 crore, the daily said.CIL plans to set up 15 washeries with an aggregate capacity of 112.60 million tonnes per year, according to its annual report for 2014-15.It also has a five-year, Rs 57,000-crore investment plan to double output to 1 billion tonnes by 2019-2020. The investment is also aimed at curbing import of coal, which has shown a declining trend in the first seven months of 2015-16 over the corresponding period of financial year 2014-15.The CIL stock closed at Rs. 287.80 Friday on the BSE, down 1.44 percent from its previous close.last_img read more