Arsenic contamination in paddy is rising in Bengal, says study

first_imgA recent publication by researchers at the School of Environmental Studies (SOES), Jadavpur University, reveals not only rise in arsenic contamination of paddy plants from ground water in West Bengal, but also that concentration of ‘arsenic accumulation’ depends on the variety of paddy and its stage in the crop cycle. The study titled ‘Arsenic accumulation in paddy plants at different phases of pre-monsoon cultivation’, published earlier this year in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Chemosphere, highlights the processes and dependencies of arsenic trans-location in rice from contaminated irrigation water. Samples for the study were taken from the Deganga block in the State’s North 24 Parganas district, an area that’s worst affected by ground water arsenic contamination. The study found that arsenic contamination in paddy was higher than in previous studies.The study shows that arsenic uptake in the paddy plant reduces from root to grain, and that its concentration is related to the variety of the rice cultivated. The study was carried out on two commonly consumed rice varieties — Minikit and Jaya — and the latter was found to be more resistant to arsenic.“The highest concentration was observed in the initial or vegetative state in the first 28 days. It reduced during the reproductive stage (29-56 days) and again increased in the ripening stage,” Tarit Roychowdhury, Director, SOES, and corresponding author of the publication told The Hindu. Professor Roychowdhury said the uptake of arsenic is faster in young roots in a vegetative state than in older tissues with a higher concentrations of iron in root soil in the reproductive phase. The authors have also raised concerns over the disposal of the contaminated rice straw which is used as animal fodder or burnt or sometimes left in the field itself to serve as fertiliser.last_img read more

Selectors did discuss about removing MS Dhoni from captaincy: Sandeep Patil

first_imgFormer chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil revealed on Wednesday that during his tenure they had discussed about removing Mahendra Singh Dhoni from captaincy but his retirement from Tests came as a “shocker” for them. (MSK Prasad replaces Sandeep Patil as Indian cricket’s chairman of selectors)Patil also clarified that there was no truth to the perception that Dhoni was instrumental in getting rid of Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and some of the other senior players from the Indian team. (Dhoni named captain of Wisden’s all-time India Test XI)”Of course, we had a brief discussion about it (removing Dhoni from captaincy) on a few occasions. We wanted to experiment by handing the baton (to somebody) but we thought the time was not right with World Cup (2015) round the corner,” Patil told ABP News on Wednesday. (BCCI refuses to comply with Lodha recommendations)”We felt that new captain should be given some time to set things right. Keeping that in mind in the World Cup, we had gone with Dhoni. I believe Virat got the captaincy at the right time. Virat can lead the team in shorter formats as well but that decision rests with the new selection committee,” said Patil, who completed his term only nine days back.Patil termed Dhoni’s decision to retire from Tests as “shocking” as the team was having a tough Test series Down Under. (Also read: Kumble’s Perfect-10 to Sehwag’s Multan-triple: Iconic performances in India’s 500-Test history)”It was a very tough series. I won’t say Dhoni was captain of a sinking ship but things quite didn’t move in our favour. And in this backdrop, one of your senior players decides to retire. That was shocking but at the end of the day, it was his (Dhoni’s) personal decision,” he said. (Also read: ICC chairman Shashank Manohar congratulates BCCI for India’s 500th Test)advertisement’DHONI AND KOHLI ARE POLES APART’Asked to compare the captaincy of Dhoni and Kohli, the former Mumbai stalwart said that they are poles apart.”North Pole and South Pole. Every captain has a desire to create his own team and knows the ability of his players.Virat is known as the ‘Angry Young Man’ but it’s a controlled aggression. Dhoni keep calm but always spoke his mind. I feel disappointed when I read reports about Dhoni’s relation with Gambhir and Yuvraj. Dhoni never opposed their selection,” said Patil.”It was completely the selectors’ decision to drop them and Dhoni did not have any say in dropping Gambhir and Yuvraj.Both the captains never opposed any player.”last_img read more

iJ-K Govt launches “100 dreams” project  in Rajouri

first_imgJammu, Aug 20 (PTI) The Rajouri district administration has initiated a project to provide education and skill development opportunities to children of safai karamcharis working for the local municipal committee.They would also be provided career guidance under the Project 100 Dreams.Under it 112 children of safai karamcharis (sanitation workers) of the Rajouri Municipal Committee will be provided educational assistance, financial support and all pre- requisites for career development, District Development Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said in a press note here this evening.Employment avenues will also be explored under the project, he said, adding that the administration is concentrating on career development of marginalised sections.A number of initiatives have been taken in this regard for students of Nari Niketan, Bal Asharam, Pahari and Tribal Girls hostels, the officer said.The district administration has shortlisted the 112 children, including 57 girls, aged between 4 to 18 years, for the project, he said.Of the total 23 children are in nursery and kindergarten, 14 in class 1, 11 in class 2, 13 in class 3, 10 in class 4, four in in class 5, five in in class 6, four in in class 7, six each in classes 8 and 9, eight in in class 10 and one each in in classes 11 and 12, and six are drop-outs, the officer said.These children would be provided scholarships, tuition for various subjects, insurance cover, pension for their parents, training in self-defence, uniform, school bags, sports material, books, stationery and other items, Choudhary said.Specialised skill development courses, computer certificate courses, vocational training, career counselling and specially designed courses, including spoken English would be provided as part of the project, he said.advertisementThe officer said special focus is laid on girl students and that additional facilities will be provided to them.The project also includes exposure visits, distance education, interaction through video-conference, extra- curricular activities among other components.It also includes a special module of health care and fitness, he said.Choudhary said a committee headed by deputy district commissioner would implement the project which is beginning next month and will be an annual scheme.PTI TAS AB ANBlast_img read more

Clemson Responds To Criticism After Star Player Gave Woman Lap Dance At ‘Dabo Swinney Ladies Clinic’

first_imgDabo Swinney speaks on the sideline.ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 22: Head Coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers calls a play against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on September 22, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)The “Dabo Swinney Ladies Clinic” at Clemson did some fantastic work over the weekend, raising over $350,000 for breast cancer research. However, it is a particular video a Christian Wilkins lap dance with a woman during the “dance” portion of the event that is receiving the most attention, and criticism.During the “Dancing with the Tigers” portion of the event, Wilkins essentially gave one woman attending the event a lap dance. According to Clemson’s response to the backlash, it was not planned.Video of the Christian Wilkins lap dance has circulated online:So this is the benefit of being a booster for Clemson…..— Zack (@VZRSportsZack) July 21, 2018The other dances were more standard, per Clemson. One example given was Clelin Farrell dancing with his mother.It sounds like Wilkins tried to have some fun with it, and improvised a bit. From The Post and Courier:But Clemson has an explanation for both the video and the photo. The woman in the video with Wilkins is seen laughing and smiling through the salacious lap dance and even switches places with Wilkins at the end of it to give a dance of her own. In the video, the Littlejohn Coliseum crowd is also roaring with approval in what Clemson Sports Information Director Ross Taylor said was a segment called ‘Dancing With the Tigers.’Taylor explained that the clinic featured several segments with different parts of the football team putting on different demonstrations throughout the day. The offensive coaches spoke about their philosophies, the defensive coaches did the same and so did the nutrition staff. ‘Dancing With The Tigers’ was one of those several segments and Wilkins’ performance was the outlier, Taylor said.“That certainly was not indicative of that portion of the day at all,” Taylor said. “For instance, (defensive lineman) Clelin Ferrell was dancing with his mother … needless to say, (Wilkins’ dance) was something that was not planned.”Another part of the event that drew backlash was a “body-building contest.” That was subbed in for a weight-lifting demonstration, after the event was moved to Littlejohn Coliseum due to the size of the crowd. Weights are not allowed on the arena floor.@USC_Zack how about this photo showing up everywhere now!— Cathie Lynn (@catlynn278) July 23, 2018Ultimately, the event did some very good things with the money raised for breast cancer research, and it sounds like it drew good reviews from those who attended. We’re sure the folks in charge are going to iron out what goes on in some of these activities for next year, though.[The Post and Courier]last_img read more

Ohio State Fans Upset With Team’s Effort After First Quarter vs. FAU

first_img These idiot’s keep saying Florida Atlantic made changes. No they didn’t. Ohio state quit after the 1st quarter— robert miller (@manofsteel98) August 31, 2019That new era of Ohio State being dynamic and explosive on both sides of the ball started and ended during my son’s afternoon nap.— Nate March (@MarchOnMedia) August 31, 2019I’m not concerned long-term with the defense, I’m concerned about effort and complacency. It’s been Ohio State’s achilles every season, and some team is gonna bite us for it. Gotta keep the foot down at all times.— Brett Gibbons (@theBrettGibbons) August 31, 2019Here’s a stat, since the end of the first quarter, FAU 21 OSU 14. If anyone thinks this isn’t a big problem that Ohio State needs to address, you are sadly mistaken! #FAUvsOSU— Loren Blumberg (@BlumbergLoren) August 31, 2019#OhioState has problems on defense. #UpsetAlert next week. #Cincinnati is much better than #FAU— In The RedZone (@RedZoneOKC) August 31, 2019To be fair, many of Ohio State’s backups were playing in the game in the second half. Fields was still in, but that was to be expected given how little time he’s spent with the program thus far.Ohio State wound up winning the contest 45-21. The Buckeyes did not cover the spread in most sports books – it was around 27.5 or 28 points.Ohio State fans should learn a lot more about their team when the Buckeyes take on Cincinnati next Saturday. Justin Fields playing against FAU.COLUMBUS, OH – AUGUST 31: Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes meets with officials before a game against the Florida Atlantic Owls at Ohio Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)Ohio State started its 2019 season with a bang, scoring four touchdowns in just over the first eight minutes of play against FAU. But the Buckeyes were arguably outplayed by the Owls the final three quarters of the contest. That isn’t sitting well with some Ohio State fans.In the second minute of the game, new Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields ran for an electric 51-yard touchdown. He followed that up with touchdown passes to Jeremy Ruckert, Binjimen Victor and Chris Olave in consecutive possessions.FAU came alive in the second half, scoring on a three-yard run by Larry McCammon III and a two-yard touchdown pass from Chris Robison to John Raine.Ohio State fans seem to be unimpressed with the effort the Buckeyes put in after taking an early 28-0 lead.last_img read more

Old Spice Unleashes Beard Care Line with NFL Brothers Travis and Jason Kelce

first_img 10 Best Beard Balms: The Secret to a Tamed and Tangle-Free Beard Sprint Through Airport Security With These TSA-Approved Men’s Grooming Kits Editors’ Recommendations After years of telling men to smell better through hilarious television commercials, Old Spice has finally entered the facial hair grooming world. The only problem with the new Old Spice Beard Collection? That it took the brand so damned long to create it.Teaming up with two beard-sporting, Ohio-born, NFL-playing brothers, Jason Kelce of the Philadelphia Eagles and Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs, Old Spice released the Old Spice Beard Collection just in time for guys “looking to grow out their beards for Octobeard (and Novembeard and Decembeard),” said the brand with its quintessentially zany style.The Kelce brothers aren’t just the faces of the products — they’ve also put their beard philosophy to work by helping Old Spice author a book of poetry focused specifically on beards, entitled The Old Spice Guys’ Grooming Guidance Guide for Guis with Beards & Other Poems. The tome is, as you can imagine, as funny, witty, campy, and slapdash as you’d expect from a company that soared to pop-culture phenomenon after launching the “Smell like a Man, Man” campaign. (Remember that single cut of a man transitioning from a bathroom to a sailboat to riding a horse on a beach?)Along with the beard poetry, there are also very real and very useful beard grooming products on offer. The full lineup includes a beard wash, beard conditioner, beard balm, and beard oil. Don’t want to purchase them all separately? Save time and money by buying the whole set.Beard Wash – $13The beard wash gently washes out dirt, grime, oil, and anything that might have sullied your magnificent face mane.Shop NowBeard Conditioner – $13The beard conditioner smooths and softens coarse facial hair with an option to leave in or rinse out.Shop NowBeard Balm – $13For those days when your beard seems to have a mind of its own, calm it and sculpt it with this long-lasting beard balm.Shop NowBeard Oil – $13The beard oil does what all good beard oils do, moisturize and nourish your facial hair and the skin beneath it all while providing a refreshing, clean scent.Shop Now The Best New Men’s Grooming Brands You Need to Know About Soothe Your Bristles With The Art of Shaving Beard and Stubble Kit How to Shave With a Straight Razorlast_img read more

GTT to Design LNG Tanks for Dynagas New Ships

first_imgzoom Chinese shipyard Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding has hired France-based Gaztransport et Technigaz (GTT) to design liquefied natural gas tanks for two floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs).The contract is related to two dual purpose vessels, which are capable of operating as efficient LNG carriers and FSRUs, which are under construction at Shanghai, China. The vessels are being built for LNG transportation company Dynagas and are scheduled to be delivered in 2021.Under the deal, GTT will design the LNG tanks of both units, each with a capacity of 174,000 m3. The French marine engineering firm said that the membrane cryogenic containment system NO96 GW, with glass wool insulation, will be used for the LNG storage on board. Currently, 14 vessels in operation and 42 on order use this technology.“We are pleased to once again accompany the ship-owner Dynagas in its continued development in the LNG industry and to contribute to the very first FSRUs built by our Chinese partner Hudong-Zhonghua. This new order highlights the trusting relationships GTT maintains with this shipyard, which is part of the biggest shipbuilding group in China,” Philippe Berterottière, Chairman and CEO of GTT, said.last_img read more

ITF Los Angeles Port Incident Takes Life of Longshoreman

first_imgAn International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s longshoreman has lost his life in fatal incident in Los Angeles, U.S.The worker passed on May 15, according to the International Transport Workers’ Federation.The incident occurred at the Fenix Marine Services at Pier 300 in the port, and it also critically injured a second worker.“Any loss of life is one too many and we will continue to dedicate our work to ensure every worker must return home safety and that if deaths are caused by employer or regulatory negligence those responsible need to go to jail,” ITF said.last_img

Services sector activity returns to growth on surging orders PMI

first_imgNew Delhi: The country’s services sector activity in July returned to growth territory driven by new business orders that rose at fastest pace since October 2016, following which job creation picked up, a monthly survey showed on Monday. The IHS Markit India Services Business Activity Index rose to 53.8 in July from 49.6 in June, pointed to the quickest increase in output in one year. In PMI parlance, a print above 50 means expansion, while a score below that denotes contraction. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”PMI data indicated that the strongest upturn in new work for nearly three years led to a rebound in business activity,” said Pollyanna de Lima, Principal Economist at IHS Markit. Survey respondents linked the upturn in business activity to a promising government budget, strengthening demand and new client wins. New businesses have been secured from the public and private sectors, as well as domestic and international markets, they said, adding that new export work rose for the fifth straight month in July. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost”These favourable results from the service sector were accompanied by improved momentum among goods producers, which combined showed the sharpest rise in output for eight months,” Lima said. Meanwhile, the IHS Markit India Composite PMI Output Index, that maps both the manufacturing and services industry, touched an eight-month high of 53.9 in July from 50.8 in June, as aggregate new orders rose to the greatest extent since last November. Moreover, job creation picked up to the strongest since early-2011 in response to strengthening demand conditions and upbeat predictions for the economic outlook. “India’s labour market continues to go from strength-to-strength, with the pace of service sector job creation, the highest in over eight years. Ongoing expansions in the employment base should support household spending and consumer confidence in the near-term,” Lima said. The survey further noted that the July data indicated an improvement in business optimism across the service economy and companies expect advertising efforts and strengthening market conditions to support growth in the coming 12-month period. Experts believe that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will continue with its dovish stance in the policy review meet that kicked off on Monday to boost slowing economic growth. In the June review, RBI had cut key lending rates by 0.25 per cent for the third time this year to spur economic growth.last_img read more

63 clauses of Motor Vehicle Act to be implemented from Sept 1

first_imgNew Delhi: The government on Wednesday said 63 clauses of Motor Vehicle Act, which includes higher penalties for traffic violation, will be implemented from September 1. “The bill (Motor Vehicles [Amendment] Bill, 2019) was passed (in Parliament). And we have decided to implement 63 clauses (of the act) from September 1,” Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari told reporters here. He was speaking after the launch of the new website of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Ministry. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ “In these 63 clauses we have increased the penalties. In case of drunken driving, over speeding and overloading among others, the fine has been increased,” the minister said. Stating that the all the clauses have been sent to the law ministry for vetting, the minister expressed hopes that “they will come to us in two to four days.” Pointing out that road engineering was primarily responsible for road accidents in the country, the minister said that a Rs 14,000 crore project has been prepared by the government to identify accident black spots and plug gaps in highways to reduce casualties.last_img read more

Mexico leads countries in UN Blue Heart human trafficking campaign

15 April 2010Mexico became the first country today to launch a national version of the United Nations-led “Blue Heart” campaign against human trafficking, which is regarded as one of the most lucrative forms of illegal activity for criminal groups. “I admire Mexico’s leadership in fighting this modern slavery demonstrated through its strong commitment to the ‘Blue Heart’ campaign,” said Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which spearheaded the global campaign.“Since almost everything we consume has been stained by the blood, sweat and tears of trafficking victims, we have a shared responsibility to act,” Mr. Costa added, saying that taking action against human trafficking is not just the responsibility of governments.As part of Mexico’s launch, more than a dozen emblematic buildings were lit up in blue across the capital, Mexico City, in a symbolic act to raise awareness about the Blue Heart campaign. More than 2.4 million people – up to 80 per cent women and girls – are currently being exploited as victims of human trafficking, either for sexual or labour exploitation, the UN has said. Other forms of human trafficking include domestic servitude, the removal of organs and the exploitation of children.“I was blindfolded and forced into a car,” a Guatemalan child told the UN Information Service in Vienna (UNIS).The girl – just six years old at the time – was forcibly removed from her home by a child trafficking ring and taken to a brothel in Cancun. She is now taking refuge in a shelter for human trafficking survivors in Mexico City.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called last week for strengthened global cooperation and more innovation in the battle against organized crime. He also urged governments to ratify and implement the 10-year-old UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three additional Protocols, which aim to suppress trafficking in persons, the smuggling of migrants, and the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms and ammunition. In June, Spain is expected be the next country to join the Blue Heart global awareness campaign. read more

USMexico NAFTA talks minus Canada feds insist theyre encouraged

OTTAWA — Canada’s continental partners are simply trying to work through difficult bilateral sticking points on NAFTA, federal insiders insist, even as the Canadian government appears to have been left out of ongoing talks between the United States and Mexico.A senior government official said Tuesday that the U.S. and Mexico’s return to the table to sort out their differences is a positive sign for the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement — even if Canada wasn’t invited to take part.Top Canadian negotiators are expected to rejoin NAFTA talks by mid-August although no meetings have been scheduled yet, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter in public.U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo will meet again this week in Washington to discuss NAFTA, according to media reports. They also met face to face last week.Trade talks between the two countries have intensified since the recent election win by Mexico’s president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has assigned his own experts to work with officials from the outgoing administration on pursuing an updated NAFTA before he takes office Dec. 1.American optimism about a new NAFTA deal has also been heating up. In recent days, the Trump administration has signalled an agreement could be reached on the pact by the end of August.So far, however, Canadian negotiators have yet to participate in the summertime, high-level push towards an update to the three-country deal.The Canadian official rejected the idea Ottawa has been frozen out of the talks and argued it’s not unusual for two of the NAFTA partners to hold discussions on bilateral issues without the third partner in the room. They said Canada is confident NAFTA will remain a trilateral deal, even though U.S. Donald Trump has threatened in the past to ditch it for one-on-one trade agreements.The official also noted that the U.S. and Mexico have issues to figure out between themselves, such as their differences on labour changes in the auto sector, textiles and seasonal fruits.Another senior Canadian source said Tuesday they’re “not that fazed at all” by the U.S.-Mexican meetings on NAFTA.“I actually feel somewhat, cautiously encouraged by the fact that the Mexicans are able to be back at the table,” the government source said, also on condition of anonymity.“I think the fact they’re able to carve out some space to pick up on the conversation from where it was at, without knowing the outcomes, that at least in and of itself isn’t a bad thing.”NAFTA’s renegotiation has mostly been stalled since May, when the three sides were unable to strike a deal before the Mexican presidential election campaign. Lopez Obrador won the July 1 vote.One of the Canadian officials said Ottawa has seen a meaningful change in approach from the U.S. on NAFTA — externally and internally — over the last seven days.On Monday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he thought there was a good chance American negotiators were on a “pretty rapid track” when it comes to NAFTA talks with Mexico, noting that Washington has fewer issues with Canada in the talks.“Mexico is, intellectually, the more complicated of the two; so if we can solve that, we should be able to fill in with Canada,” Ross said during an appearance at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Indo-Pacific Business Forum.His comments followed other optimistic remarks from senior Trump officials, including Lighthizer.Last week, he told a U.S. Senate panel that an updated NAFTA deal to be concluded by the end of August.“That’s not an unreasonable time frame if everybody wants to get it done,” Lighthizer said.“My hope is that we will before very long have a conclusion with respect to Mexico and that as a result of that, Canada will come in and begin to compromise. I don’t believe that they have compromised in the same way the United States or Mexico has.”Ahead of last week’s NAFTA talks between Lighthizer and Guajardo, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and International Trade Minister Jim Carr met with Lopez Obrador in Mexico City.Following the meeting, Freeland said she was hopeful NAFTA negotiations could hit a higher gear.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter— with a file from Jordan Press read more

Africas development impacted by lack of farm trade reform – UN report

Faltering global talks on farm trade reform and increased United States subsidies for its crop and dairy industries could impede Africa’s efforts to achieve the goals of reducing poverty and hunger set by the United Nations Millennium Summit of 2000, according to the latest report of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).“Medium term prospects for Africa depend to a great extent on external developments,” ECA said today in a press release on the 2003 edition of the “Economic Report on Africa” (ERA 2003), its annual flagship publication to be launched on 30 July. The main theme this year is accelerating the pace of development, which examines how Africa can achieve growth rates necessary to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.“Unfortunately for Africa, the World Trade Organization talks on farm trade reform – by far the most important issue in the Doha (Qatar) development round for Africa – appear to have faltered,” the ECA release added. “The US decision in May 2002 to introduce a six-year $51.7 billion farm bill increasing crop and dairy subsidies by 67 per cent will not help Africa’s prospects.” The report warns that the subsidy will reduce agricultural prices, making it difficult for small African countries to compete.ERA 2003 finds Africa’s economic performance last year lacklustre, with growth slowing to 3.2 per cent in 2002 from an average 4.3 per cent in 2001. The slowdown reflected the weaker global economy, effects of low commodity prices in 2001, droughts in various parts of southern and eastern Africa, and political and armed conflicts, notably in Côte d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and the Central African Republic.But some well-managed reformers with a record of stability and good governance, like Uganda, Rwanda and Mozambique, managed to buck the trend with growth rates of 6.2 per cent, 9.9 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.The report includes in-depth analyses of seven African economies – Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda and Uganda. The purpose of the country-specific chapters is to identify policies that provide the best stimulus for sustained growth and development.The importance of fiscal discipline is demonstrated by Ghana’s economy, hobbled by massive public expenditure hikes during electoral cycles. Mozambique demonstrates the importance of implementing pro-poor policies in order to tackle deep pockets of poverty, since although the economy has grown by more than 10 per cent in the past few years, over 60 per cent of the population still live in poverty.Countries where second generation reforms are entrenched, like Mauritius, have managed steady growth over long periods with lower poverty rates. These economies provide the best opportunities for the private entrepreneurs to flourish, while Egypt shows that public sector reforms need to focus on strengthening the sector’s ability to manage the economy, rather than concentrating on quantitative targets like overall wage bill and staffing levels. read more

165M public fund was significant factor in expanding in Halifax Chorus says

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email $16.5M public fund was ‘significant factor’ in expanding in Halifax, Chorus says by Aly Thomson, The Canadian Press Posted Jul 16, 2012 1:23 pm MDT HALIFAX – A $16.5-million funding package from the Nova Scotia government helped influence Chorus Aviation Inc.’s (TSX:CHR.B) decision to keep its Halifax heavy maintenance base open over its London, Ont., facility, the president of the airline operator said Monday.Joe Randell said Jazz Aviation, a subsidiary of Chorus, was strongly swayed after the provincial government offered financial incentives to expand its heavy maintenance operations in Halifax.“This assistance from the province was a significant factor in making the decision to consolidate our heavy maintenance here,” Randell said following a news conference at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport to announce the funding.The five-year funding deal includes a $12 million interest-bearing repayable loan, a $2.5 million forgivable loan and $2 million to recruit and train new workers. It is expected to create 150 maintenance, management and technical support jobs, Premier Darrell Dexter said.Dexter said the agreement was an example of his government’s commitment to create jobs in his province.“The province everyday competes with other jurisdictions for jobs, for economic investment, and frankly, I like to win,” Dexter said.Randell said Chorus also had discussions with the Ontario government, but concluded that expanding in Nova Scotia was in the company’s best interests.“I’m not going to get into the details of that,” he said. “But clearly we had several alternatives that we had to evaluate and this one for us … was the best one.”But a spokesman for Ontario’s economic development minister said the company did not give officials in that province a chance to find a way to keep the London, Ont., facility operating.“We were aware that Jazz had been conducting a strategic facility review, but Ontario officials were not given an opportunity to engage in this review or offer support to retain the facility in London,” Andrew Block said in an email.“We understand that one significant consideration for Jazz had been physical limitations at their site in London driven by significant fleet changes.”The announcement comes days after Chorus announced it would add six new planes to its fleet, but in doing so will close its London, Ont., site next summer, a move that will affect about 200 workers. Randell said some of them will be offered employment in Halifax.The Canadian Auto Workers union said about 100 unionized employees, which includes aviation maintenance and shop workers, will be offered work in Halifax. But about 50 workers could lose their jobs as a result of the move, said Ron Smith, the CAW’s transportation director.“Closing either base is a hardship on our membership,” Smith said from Toronto, adding that members may also be able to relocate to other facilities across the country.“People are in the part of the country they’re in because that’s where they would like to be … so obviously our members in London are not happy about this issue.”Smith said the union will begin talks Tuesday with Jazz Aviation to look at relocation packages, retention payments and voluntary separation packages.The consolidation will make the Halifax facility Jazz’s only heavy maintenance base and help the company be more efficient, Randell said.In addition to an expansion of its base at the Halifax airport, the government funding will also help Jazz Aviation set up an office in the city, he added. read more

New Brunswick forecasts 391million deficit in final budget before election

New Brunswick forecasts $391-million deficit in final budget before election by Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 4, 2014 11:08 am MDT FREDERICTON – New Brunswick’s Tory government is forecasting its fourth consecutive deficit but trying to reassure the public of an economic turnaround in its final budget before the September election.Finance Minister Blaine Higgs delivered an $8.4-billion fiscal plan Tuesday drenched in red ink, breaking a promise to balance the books by the end of their mandate.A $391.1-million shortfall is projected for the 2014-15 fiscal year, with the debt to rise by $531 million to $12.2 billion.There are no tax increases and few big spending promises, aside from $27 million allocated for the province’s new catastrophic drug plan and a three per cent hike in social assistance rates to take effect in April. The government also released a $555-million capital budget, but only $35 million of that is for new projects while the rest is to maintain existing infrastructure.“This is not a typical election budget,” Higgs told a news conference prior to delivering his budget.“We are staying the course with our capital spending levels as well as continued disciplined approach in our ordinary spending.”The province is anticipating a deficit of $564.1 million for the 2013-14 fiscal year, up from its previous estimate of $538.2 million.But Higgs is banking on a boom to lift the province out of its economic doldrums within three years. He is projecting a surplus of $119 million for 2017-18 based on continued spending cuts and economic growth spurred by natural resources development, including the proposed Energy East Pipeline project.“These are not smoke and mirror opportunities,” Higgs said. “These are real jobs — mining, forestry, the natural gas development and what can come from the pipeline.”Following two years of declining revenues, Higgs is projecting a 4.3 per cent increase in revenues for the upcoming fiscal year. He said that will be the result of the global economic recovery, the full implementation of last year’s tax increases and a $107 million rise in equalization payments — the first increase from Ottawa in four years.He also said a new forestry plan will be released soon that will increase the amount of fibre available to lumber mills, thereby further strengthening the province’s economy.Liberal Opposition Leader Brian Gallant said the government’s estimates were lofty because it has consistently overestimated revenues and underestimated expenses.“I think they’ve lost all credibility when it comes to fiscal management,” Gallant said. “Unfortunately, we see that this is a government that can’t create jobs, that can’t grow the economy.”NDP Leader Dominic Cardy said he was alarmed by the growing debt, which breaks down to $16,136 for every man, woman and child in the province.“We can’t afford to keep adding the hundreds of millions of dollars to the debt each year that we’re continually piling on for future generations to pay back,” Cardy said.Cost-cutting measures in the year ahead include reducing the number of elected members to 49 from 55 and further planned cuts to the size of the public sector.Higgs said the government has reduced its public service by 1,211 positions through attrition, close to its goal of eliminating 1,500 positions.He said the government will also introduce fiscal accountability legislation requiring the auditor general to report on the government’s finances 60 days in advance of each fixed election date. It would also require political parties to release an independent estimate of the costs of their election promises.That’s welcome news to Kevin Lacey, Atlantic director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, who said too often politicians make promises they can’t afford.“That is potentially a significant change and could reduce the election lottery in every election we’ve seen,” he said.The next election is set for Sept. 22. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

BC city loses Trans Mountain court battle ordered to pay companys costs

by Keven Drews, The Canadian Press Posted Nov 23, 2015 4:34 pm MDT Last Updated Nov 24, 2015 at 7:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email VANCOUVER – The City of Burnaby’s bylaw battle against the Trans Mountain pipeline has been shut down by a B.C. Supreme Court judge who has declared that the National Energy Board rules take precedence over the city’s.The Metro Vancouver city has tried to hamper preliminary planning in advance of laying the 1,100-kilometre-long pipeline between Alberta and coastal B.C. through two separate bylaws.But Justice George Macintosh said in a ruling posted online Monday that the National Energy Board has the constitutional power to direct or limit the enforcement of Burnaby’s bylaws.Macintosh said the energy board can take such action when city bylaws interfere with or block the regulation of the pipeline and expansion project, ruling NEB laws are supreme.“Where valid provincial laws conflict with valid federal laws in addressing interprovincial undertakings, paramountcy dictates that the federal legal regime will govern,” said Macintosh.“The provincial law remains valid but becomes inoperative where its application would frustrate the federal undertaking.”Macintosh ruled the city’s bylaws were lawful but constitutionally inoperative and inapplicable.“Burnaby appears from the filed evidence to be using the bylaws to make Trans Mountain’s preliminary work on the expansion project difficult, if not impossible, to undertake,” he added.A spokeswoman for the City of Burnaby said officials received Macintosh’s ruling on Monday and will be reviewing the decision and considering an appeal.Ali Hounsell, with the Trans Mountain expansion project said in an email that the court’s decision simply reaffirms earlier rulings upholding the NEB’s jurisdiction as it relates to the project.Macintosh decided not to rule on a separate constitutional question raised by the city, calling the question “an abuse of process.”In that question, the city asked the court to rule that the energy board did not have the “constitutional jurisdiction” to direct or limit the enforcement of bylaws by the city.Macintosh declined to answer the question, noting the city had failed to win the same argument in earlier hearings before the Federal Court of Appeal and the energy board.The city was ordered to pay the company’s legal costs.The dispute dates back to Dec. 16, 2013, when Trans Mountain asked the energy board for a certificate for the expansion project.Mounties arrested more than 100 people during protests last year on Burnaby Mountain, where Trans Mountain crews were conducting test drilling at two locations.A judge later tossed out civil contempt charges against many of the activists who were arrested for violating a court injunction ordering them to stay away from the drilling areas.The company admitted that it had provided the wrong GPS co-ordinates when it asked for the original court order and the measurements were so inaccurate that the site was outside the area covered by the injunction. B.C. city loses Trans Mountain court battle, ordered to pay company’s costs read more

Infrastructure bank may bear large portion of risk in projects documents show

Infrastructure bank may bear large portion of risk in projects, documents show by Jordan Press, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 5, 2017 11:38 am MDT Last Updated Jun 5, 2017 at 12:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email OTTAWA – The man appointed to help advise Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on setting up a new infrastructure financing agency was told it could take on a “significant” amount of risk to help projects come to fruition, documents show.The agency would “help bear a significant portion of the risk” in a project if the government took on an equity stake in order to make a project more attractive to private investors, says a confidential briefing package prepared for special adviser Jim Leech.The Feb. 20 briefing document says the bank could take on debt that allows other debtors to be paid first in order to provide a “loss buffer,” or invest on an equal footing “at concessionary terms.”That latter reference could mean giving a private partner exclusive rights to use and receive revenue from a piece of infrastructure like a rail line — like that in place between the U.K., France and the private companies involved in the Channel Tunnel — making the project more attractive to private sector investment.The briefing note, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, says agency officials would look to structure deals that “most effectively crowd-in private sector investment, as well as the expected return on investment” to the government.The government has said that the bank won’t put taxpayer money into projects that are too risky, and that it plans to move as much risk as possible to the private sector.The plan for the next 11 years is to infuse the agency with $15 billion in cash and $20 billion in financing like loans, which officials say wouldn’t hurt the government’s bottom line because the money would be paid back.The bank will not borrow money; rather, its funding will come from the government on a per-project basis as projects are approved for funding, meaning the agency won’t receive all the funding up front in one lump sum.The hope is that the funding lures three or four times that amount from the private sector to build bridges, roads, and energy transmission networks that cross city, provincial and even national borders.The departments overseeing the creation of the bank say funding agreements will include provisions about how revenues that exceed expectations are shared among all involved, and how the pain is spread around if revenues fall short of expectations.During a technical briefing Monday, officials said any losses must be balanced among other factors, such as whether the piece of infrastructure would have ever been built, or would have required much more taxpayer funding to do so.The focus of any funding would be to minimize the amount of public funding required to make the project financially viable, shifting to the private sector any risks from a shortfall in revenues. The rate of return to private investors from any project will be tied to their share of the risk — the bigger the risk, the bigger the payoff — and negotiated on project-by-project basis.The legislation to create the bank is contained within the government’s budget implementation bill, which is nearing Commons approval despite opposition concerns that there hasn’t been enough time to scrutinize the plan.In recent days, the government has sought to cool concerns about the agency. Last week, Trudeau told a national gathering of municipal officials that use of the bank would be optional and that most infrastructure spending would be delivered through grants.Cities and provinces may pitch projects directly to the bank. Others the bank may identify from project lists provinces put forward for funding through traditional funding programs; and yet others may be unsolicited, non-government proposals.There is also a section in the document about federal projects for the agency, but officials have blacked out the contents citing it as advice too sensitive to release publicly. read more

Bodies of MH17 victims keep arriving in the Netherlands

first_imgDOZENS MORE BODIES from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 are set to arrive in the Netherlands as the EU prepares to hit Russia with fresh sanctions.Foreign ministers from the 28-nation bloc said they would meet in Brussels on Thursday to draw up a new list of Russian individuals and entities to be slapped with sanctions over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.The European Union agreed to speed up the imposition of wider sanctions and examine tougher measures after the Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down in strife-torn eastern Ukraine, allegedly by separatist rebels backed by neighbouring Russia.The first bodies from the crash site arrived in the Netherlands yesterday, bringing the grief-stricken nation to a standstill as it mourned the 298 passengers and crew who left the country on the ill-fated journey a week ago.An overwhelming 193 of the victims were Dutch and the country has been united in grief and anger because of delays in getting bodies home and over the way pro-Russian separatists have treated the site, the victims’ remains and personal possessions.In a poignant and sombre ceremony, uniformed Dutch military personnel hoisted 40 wooden coffins from two planes and placed them in individual hearses at Eindhoven airport in the south of the country.Tears flowed as a trumpeter played the Last Post at a gathering of around 1,000 bereaved relatives, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima and representatives of the other mourning nations met the planes. Dutch King Willem Alexander, third left, and his wife Queen Maxima watch on as the bodies are removed. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesOfficials from the Netherlands who are leading the investigation on the ground in Ukraine say they have received 200 bodies from the rebels.Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has warned it could take months for the bodies to be identified.Dutch police have been visiting the bereaved to retrieve DNA samples from items such as hairbrushes and from details of tattoos and fingerprints, as well as consulting medical and dental records to help with the identification.Two warplanes shot down Ukrainian government troops are pushing on with their offensive to wrest control of east Ukraine’s industrial heartland from the pro-Moscow separatists.In a dramatic development in the conflict hampering the MH17 recovery and investigation effort, Kiev said missiles fired from Russia took down two of its warplanes in the rebel-controlled area of the crash.“According to preliminary information, the rockets were launched from Russian territory,” Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council said.A spokesman for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic told AFP its fighters shot down the two aircraft.Both pilots managed to parachute out of the Su-25 jets, which came down some 45 kilometres (25 miles) south-east of the MH17 crash site towards the Russian border.The incident came as the International Committee of the Red Cross said it considered Ukraine to be in a state of civil war, and warned both sides to abide by the Geneva Conventions.Putin is staring down fresh European sanctions just a week after the latest set was unveiled over its role in the Ukraine crisis, which has chilled East-West tensions to the lowest point in years. Malaysia’s flag bearer wears a black armband during the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games 2014. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesEU weighs tighter sanctionsMinisters will decide on a list of “entities and persons, including from the Russian Federation,” for providing “material or financial support” to those responsible for the March annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea territory and destabilising the east of the country, where MH17 came down, the EU said Tuesday.The EU “remains ready to introduce without delay a package of further significant restrictive measures” if Russia does not reverse course and cut the flow of fighters and material across the border into eastern Ukraine, a statement said.US intelligence officials have said they believe the rebels mistakenly shot down the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with a surface-to-air missile.The plane’s black boxes have been delivered to Britain for expert analysis, and Dutch analysts said that they had successfully downloaded the data from the cockpit voice recorder and there was no evidence it had been tampered with.© – AFP 2014Read: Valid data downloaded from flight MH17 black box >last_img read more

Kindle Fire HD 2 images leaked

first_imgAmazon has carved out a nice segment of the tablet market with its Kindle Fire tablets. The company is expected to be unveiling a new version of the Fire HD later this month, but some images of the 7-inch slate appear to have leaked out. The images show a device with rearranged components, a landscape Amazon logo, and a beveled edge along the back.From the orientation of the logo, camera location, and speaker placement, it seems Amazon intends this version of the device to be held in landscape. The back slopes down in a rather extreme beveled edge. This makes the large power and volume button easy to get at. The stereo speakers are at the top of the unit.The Kindle Fire HD 2 is expected to have a 1920 x 1200 screen, the same resolution as the new Nexus 7. The rumored internals include a quad-core Snapdragon 800 ARM chip and 2GB of RAM. The 8.9-inch model, which is not in any of the leaked pics, will reportedly have the same internals, but a higher resolution of 2560 x 1600. That matches the Nexus 10, but will have a higher pixel density because it’s slightly smaller.There is no word on pricing yet, but it will probably be in-line with the current Fire pricing of $199 for the 7-inch and $269 for the 8.9-inch model. The upcoming Kindle tablet will again run Amazon’s special version of Android, which does not include Google services. Instead users get the Amazon equivalents.If you’re in the market, you can check BGR for a few more images.last_img read more

Greek grandmother receives Nobel Peace Prize nomination

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Do you recall a photo of three grandmothers sitting on a bench on the island of Lesvos, bottle feeding a child to assist a Syrian refugee mother? It’s likely you do considering it went viral earlier this year in February.The baby was in the hands of Emilia Kamvysi. And while the 86-year-old may be a conventionally significant figure, she has since become a symbol of Greek generosity. As a result the grandmother has received two nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize by academics and lawmakers, amongst others, for her effort towards refugees, reports USA Today.Owner of a bed and breakfast on the island, Roula Kyparisi is hopeful the local will win it.“It’s so strange that your neighbour is a candidate for a Nobel Prize,” said Ms Kyparisi. “It’s good for the island and good for the grandmas.” Ms Kamvysi will find out whether she is an official laureate on Friday, joined by big name hopefuls President Obama, Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev.“I wish that Greece wins this prize, not just me,” said Ms Kamvysi. She has also pledged that if she goes on to win a share of the US$1.2 million prize, she will donate the full amount to the Greek healthcare system, stating that she is content living off her US$360 pension each month.“What am I going to do with it anyway? There are many people that helped the refugees – the fishermen, the volunteers. It wasn’t just us. Those poor babies, escaping war and drowning in the waters. It’s such a shame. We’re all crying in the village whenever there’s a shipwreck,” Ms Kamvysi said, demonstrating yet again why she is a worthy candidate.Also in the photo were Ms Kamvysi’s cousins, sisters Maritsa, 85, and 89-year-old Efstathia Mavrapidou, who don’t really understand the hype around the photo, given they were acting out of the kindness of their hearts.“Concerning the photo that people talk about, we didn’t do really anything,” Ms Mavrapidou said. “The mother came out of the boat, soaking wet. We held and fed her baby while she was changing. I have 16 grandchildren. Our hearts break to see so many children on the refugee boats.”For Ms Kamvysi, each refugee that arrives on the shores of Greece is representative of her parents. They were also refugees, forced to flee their home on the island of Moshonisi (now known as Cunda) during the Greek-Turkish war in 1922.“My mom was born in Turkey,” she reveals.“She left persecuted and arrived here when she was only 17 years old. They came with hurt souls. It’s exactly how I see the refugees are today. When they arrived in Greece, the locals didn’t want them and saw them as foreigners.”last_img read more