New HHMI efforts to help young scientists highlight ongoing diversity challenge

first_imgIn a bid to move the needle, HHMI next year will select 15 inaugural Gray fellows. (Applications are due 15 February.) Each will receive $80,000 a year for up to 4 years as a postdoc, and then $270,000 a year for up to 4 years after they are hired into a tenure-track academic position. Candidates must be part of a group underrepresented in the biomedical sciences, a definition that includes those who are economically disadvantaged. (HHMI has committed up to $20 million for the first cohort of Gray fellows, and holds open the possibility of additional cohorts.)If all goes well, a decade from now those selected as Gray fellows might be well positioned to compete for NIH grants and other awards. But the list of HHMI’s 84 new faculty scholars—each of whom has been an independent investigator for less than a decade, and will get up to $1.5 million over 5 years to pursue their research dreams—is a reminder of how hard it is now for scientists from underrepresented groups, or less prestigious institutions, to rise above the pack. Only one of the scholars is black, and four have Latino backgrounds. And although the scholars come from 43 institutions, a majority (44) work at just nine schools—led by Harvard University, with a whopping 10 winners. Four other research powerhouses—Stanford, Princeton, and Yale universities and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center—each boast five winners, and both the University of California, San Francisco, and The Rockefeller University are home to four scholars. None of the scholars come from institutions that educate large numbers of minority students.None of that is surprising, given that diversity was not a factor in selecting the winners—as is often the case in prestigious scientific fellowships. “The primary criteria were the quality of the proposal and whether the researchers could benefit from this additional money,” says HHMI’s Janet Shaw, who runs the Faculty Scholars Program. The scholars already have “terrific jobs” based on “their brilliant work as postdocs,” she adds, and HHMI hopes that its funding will let them take one more step up the ladder toward a “transformative career in biomedical research.”HHMI expects to spend $83 million on the first of what it hopes will be three cohorts of faculty scholars. (Some are jointly funded with the Bill & Melinda Gates and Simons foundations.) In fact, the quality of the first round of applicants—some 1400 from more than 200 institutions—led it to expand its initial plan to select just 70 winners.HHMI eliminated some 90% of the proposals after a vetting by outside experts, and researchers still in the running submitted a 15-minute narrated slide show that was judged without any additional input. “It was really challenging to present your vision of science” in that format, says one of the winners, plant biologist José Dinneny, who will receive $1.25 million.Dinneny’s lab at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, studies the novel mechanisms that plants use to obtain water to cope with environmental stresses like drought and salinity. He says the HHMI funding gives him “the freedom to pursue ideas at the leading edge.” Federal agencies “are extremely conservative,” he adds, “and the project has to be nearly complete by the time you submit a proposal.”Dinneny grew up in central California, and entered UC Berkeley 1 year after the state eliminated affirmative action in higher education. Although Dinneny believes that funding agencies need to do more to broaden participation in academic research, he says HHMI has “a tough balancing act. Their first goal is to fund the best ideas.” And minority scientists sometimes shy away from competitive programs like the faculty scholars, he adds, because they feel they won’t be successful. “As a Hispanic, I know there is a lot of self-selection,” he notes.At the same time, Dinneny is pleased that HHMI is starting a program for postdocs aimed explicitly at increasing diversity. “There simply aren’t enough minorities going into research careers,” he says. Last week the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), one of the nation’s largest biomedical research charities, offered news about two programs intended to help early-career scientists. One press release announced a new effort to create a more diverse biomedical research workforce through fellowships to postdoctoral students who are black, Latino, or from other underrepresented groups. The other named 84 young faculty members who had just won a prestigious grant aimed at bolstering the next generation of scientific superstars.The timing of the two statements from the Bethesda, Maryland, nonprofit was coincidental. Put side-by-side, however, they unintentionally highlighted the continuing difficulties that the biomedical research community faces in diversifying—both its demographic makeup and also the mix of institutions that tend to win a lion’s share of prestigious awards.  The new Gray fellows effort, named after longtime HHMI trustee Hanna Gray, targets increasing the diversity of postdocs planning academic careers. It’s far from the first attempt by public and private research funders to improve the chronic paucity of blacks, Latinos, and other underrepresented groups in the academic biomedical workforce. But those programs have had remarkably little impact on the demographics of those who receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Watch these sluggish basking sharks break through the water as quickly as great whites

first_imgWatch these sluggish basking sharks break through the water as quickly as great whites Don’t be fooled by the big-mouthed basking shark’s sluggish demeanor, because it possesses one mighty trick. This mammoth fish, the second largest in the sea, can breach entirely out of the water at speeds comparable to those of great white sharks, according to a new study.A team of international scientists used video analysis and a shark-mounted data logger to measure the vertical velocity of basking sharks as they tore through the water off the coast of Ireland. These typically slow, plankton-guzzling fish breached at approximately 5 meters per second, they report today in Biology Letters. That’s as fast as predatory great white sharks in South Africa, which clock in at 4.8 meters per second.An accelerometer mounted onto a male basking shark showed that in just 10 beats of its tail, the fish propelled itself from a depth of 28 meters to break the water’s surface in 9 seconds, accelerating at an astonishing speed of 5 meters per second.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)This spectacle requires quite a bit of energy. In fact, scientists estimate that a single basking shark breach costs some 50% more, in terms of calories, than a comparable move by their similarly sized great white cousins. So, exactly why do they do it?Great white sharks are notorious for their rapid breaches, which they use to hunt prey lingering near the ocean’s surface. But filter-feeding basking sharks wouldn’t need such a move to feed. It could be that they are ridding themselves of parasites, warding off predators, or perhaps even using their stunning acrobatics to attract mates. Regardless of the reason, researchers say these new data should shift our perspectives of other supposedly slow creatures—and shed a light onto the mysterious ways of the ocean’s gentle giants. By Courtney MiceliSep. 11, 2018 , 7:01 PMlast_img read more

Sensationalism: 24-hour TV channels redefine news to cater to new viewing preferences

first_imgIt sounded like an innocuous question from a TV reporter – “It will be your brother’s birthday three days from now, how do you plan to celebrate it?” Except it was at the funeral of the boy in question, Abhishek Mishra.A final-year student of the Birla Institute of Technology, Mishra,It sounded like an innocuous question from a TV reporter – “It will be your brother’s birthday three days from now, how do you plan to celebrate it?” Except it was at the funeral of the boy in question, Abhishek Mishra.A final-year student of the Birla Institute of Technology, Mishra had drowned in a waterfall near Ranchi, a death instantly propelled into the spotlight because he was accompanied to the excursion by Railways Minister Lalu Prasad’s daughter Ragini.Welcome to the loud, weird world of 24-hour news television with its parallel universe of breathless and sometimes heartless anchors, the unlikely stars and specials with cheesy B-movie titles. It’s a mad mix of news and nonsense, causes and circuses, fundamental issues and feel-good frivolity. It is often grisly, sometimes ghoulish and usually plain voyeuristic.Sensationalism is taking over Indian mediaClick here to EnlargeFrom the public visit to Varanasi of a very private couple (Abhishek Ki Ash) to the private spat between a very public couple (Rahul Ne Shweta Ko Rulaya), every episode is designed for maximum impact and minimum illumination. Want a quick scroll?Try this. Nagin Ka Khauf, the saga of a 12-year old boy pursued by a snake; Prem Tapasya, the tale of a yogi living in with his disciple; Gharwali Baharwali, the story of a man’s extramarital affair; or Maut ka Drama, wherein Kunjilal, a 75-year-old astrologer from Betul, Madhya Pradesh, had the country holding its collective breath after claiming he would die between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on October 20 last year.advertisementIt’s the kind of shrill in-your-face coverage that had Naresh Gupta, Adobe India CEO, bowing before the media and beseeching them to stop the saturation coverage of his four-year old son Anant because the kidnappers could have harmed him.”In the new global economy viewers look for titillation in news which is why we show a lot of cinema, lots of cricket and plenty of crime.”LAXMI NARAIN GOEL,  DIRECTOR – NEWS GROUP, ZEE NEWS It’s also the kind of relentless campaigning that can force Priyadarshini Mattoo (see box) to get justice seven years after she was murdered.In this chaos and cacophony, it is easy to miss the real megastar-the medium itself: Twenty-four-hour news TV, which reaches out to 50 million cable homes in a dozen languages. At nearly 20 per cent per annum, it’s growing full throttle. With 38 news channels at last count, more than in any nation on the planet, news TV is growing faster than any other genre in India.From just two channels six years ago, one new news channel joins the race every four months now. As a genre, television news viewership ranks fifth, below  entertainment, regional, sports and children’s channels.”Viewership ratings are a critical element because we depend on advertising revenue and clients go by research findings.” G . KRISHNAN , CEO , TV TODAY From a nation that first tasted satellite TV thanks to a news event, the 1991 Gulf War, India now binges on news TV. A study by public relations firm Edelman shows that 49 per cent of Indians tune in to TV first for trustworthy news and information, compared to just 31 per cent in Asia Pacific-TV has clearly beaten newspapers as the medium of first contact with news.When a five-year-old boy spends 52 Truman Show-like hours in a 60-ft well, the entire nation watches and prays even if it means listening to: “Dharti mata ki god mein pachaas ghante bitane ke baad, ab apni ma ki god mein hai Prince (after spending 50 hours in the lap of the earth, Prince is now in his mother’s lap).””Sensationalism in place of substance, trivia in place of content, exaggeration instead of moderation and living for the instant and not even the hour have become the greed of contemporary visual media,” says Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, himself no stranger to the siren-like allure of the cameras.A 61-hour songathon by Aakansha Jachak of Indore created a world recordClick here to EnlargeFrom political parties to business houses, everyone courts news channels, timing their announcements around prime time and judging the importance of a news event by the presence of OB vans. It’s also raking in the cash.Six years back, news television had less than a 2 per cent share of the total TV advertising market. It now stands at nearly 12 per cent or Rs 650 crore of the annual Rs 5,500 crore TV ad spend. “It’s a demand-and-supply combination, because there is a certain male audience for products like automobiles, banking and finance which TV news brings in,” says Shekhar Swamy, president of R.K. Swamy BBDO Advertising.advertisement”As the fastest growing genre of television, news has in fact been eating into the primetime viewing of popular soaps.”L.V. KRISHNAN, CEO, TAM MEDIA RESEARCH The growth of news television has also been fuelled by lower launch costs. Aaj Tak, a 24-hour news channel which is part of the India Today Group, was launched at a cost of Rs 40 crore in December 2000. Today, however, it costs only Rs 3 crore to launch a small news channel.Bandwidth costs on satellites have dropped from approximately $3500 (Rs 1.5 lakh) per Mhz per month to $2000 (Rs 90,000) per Mhz per month for regional beam and $6500 (Rs 2.9 lakh) per Mhz per month for wide beam to $5000 (Rs 2.2 lakh) per Mhz per month.This growth is now beginning to bite at the heels of TV’s prime locomotive, the soap. Two years ago Delhi housewife Nancy Hajela, 42, cut down on watching Ekta Kapoor serials because they were getting increasingly predictable.News TV is mutating, changing the audienceClick here to EnlargeShe watches over four hours of news every day now. “It’s much more interesting,” she says. Now, Harish Tomar driving a car from the passenger seat triggers more public debate than Parvati’s travails in Kahani Ghar Ghar Kii.This broadening of the audience has led to a change in the profile of the TV news advertiser. The usual profile of the TV advertiser-a mix of corporates and financial services-is now slowly giving way to FMCG firms and consumer durables. “News TV has managed to broad-base itself to a mass audience,” says Television Audience Measurement (TAM) CEO L.V. Krishnan.Very hyped Prince case and ghost running a carClick here to EnlargeTelevision news, which would have completely ignored nobodies like Kunjilal even two years ago, has now begun chasing them. The interest is often mutual. So when retired government employee Chedi Lal, borrowing from Lage Raho Munnabhai’s Gandhigiri, stripped down to his briefs in Lucknow in October to demand a revision in pension, he remembered to bring a TV camera crew along.If the definition of news has changed, so has the coverage-with well-groomed anchors, anchors, designer clothes and colloquial Hindi. “TV covers everything from a funeral to a Friday cricket match with the same sense of breathless urgency. If everything is important and nothing is trivial, then what is news,” asks sociologist Shiv Visvanathan.Well, how about rival ghosts battling over a village belle and women claiming to be reincarnated snakes- Zee News even runs a half-hour weekly show, Kaal Kapaal Mahakaal, devoted to the paranormal. Critics say the channels that blur the distinctions between news and entertainment run the risk of diluting their brand character.TV’S BODY LINEEven gestures, a lack thereof, make headlines and multiple action replaysSALMAN’S HUG: All his Salaam-e-Ishq co-stars got a hug onstage at a fashion show, except John AbrahamCHAPPELL’S MIDDLE FINGER: The coach showed it to Ganguly supporters at Eden GardensadvertisementPONTING’S PUSH: The Aussie captain and his mates shoved Sharad Pawar off the frameUMA’S TEARS: Her tearful allegations of a murder plot at a press meet got her ratings “The day you become entertainment, you lose your credibility as a news channel,” says Channel V head Amar K. Deb, who has launched the show Well Done, a spoof on the TV news genre, with fake anchors like Charkha Bahar. MTV veejay Cyrus Broacha, who anchors another news spoof on CNN-IBN, is on his knees: “We were always the most shallow form of television and we looked up to news TV. Now, after stories of milk adulteration and casting couches, we bow to them. They are the originals.”Sometimes news TV crosses the line altogether-media persons who handed 30-year-old Manoj Mishra diesel and a matchbox in Patna to set himself on fire on August 15, now stand charged with homicide and abetment of suicide.Sometimes, it gets taken for a ride-TV crews in Delhi were shocked to discover that the ‘special police officer’ they were interviewing over a Belgian diplomat’s murder in September, was actually a local resident who did a Borat on the channels.TV reporters from the “aap ko kaisa lagta hain (how do you feel)” school of journalism routinely quiz their subjects with this line. When asked how he felt when his older brother Shammi was in the ICU, actor Shashi Kapoor retorted that he felt like dancing. Another bright-eyed reporter asked Naresh Gupta’s distraught wife if she felt like crying because her son had been kidnapped. “Vultures aren’t becoming extinct,” rues a senior TV journalist, “they are joining TV.””There are competitive pressures and we cannot be oblivious to the market. The challenge is to avoid getting into the sandpit.” RAJ DEEP SARDESAI , EDITOR – IN – CHIEF, CNN – IBN Channel heads, however, say trivial TV is the exception and not the rule, and point to the larger crisis of content that all media faces. “There are competitive pressures and we cannot be oblivious to the market; the challenge is to avoid getting into the sandpit,” says Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief, CNN-IBN. The sandpit is the mayhem called primetime which has Hindi language channels battling to the death with stories of shock and awe.”In an average of 500 hours of fresh programming beamed every day, such incidents don’t take up even five hours or just 1 per cent of programming,” says Star News CEO Uday Shankar. Yet, it is these exceptions which supply the rocket fuel for channel ratings in an age when channel heads say the ordinary simply doesn’t sell.Matuk Nath, Julie case in Patna and Maut ka drama in MPClick here to EnlargeThe problem is no one knows what will sell. “How can we explain that even in a mature market like Delhi, the viewership of Mumbai blasts was a lot lower than that of the small boy who miraculously survived a 60-ft fall?” asks G. Krishnan, CEO, TV Today, which broadcasts Aaj Tak and Headlines Today (both sister concerns of INDIA TODAY).On December 12, 2005, Aaj Tak exposed 11 corrupt MPs accepting cash on camera in return for asking questions in Parliament, a moral victory for the traditional tenets of journalism. “Yet, when we showcased a car being driven without anyone on the driver’s seat, it drove our viewership through the roof. The car story got a channel share of 41 per cent, while Operation Duryodhan got just 35 per cent,” says Krishnan.Sameer Manchanda, joint managing director, CNN-IBN, says the media is at an evolutionary cusp which channels looking for their own evolutionary positioning. “It’s not always a numbers game-a loyal audience gets a bigger premium than a mass audience.”Indian media has turned the spotlight on the corrupt and crimesClick here to EnlargeWith channels engaged in a bloody war for ratings based on TAM, channel heads privately rue what they call the TAM-ification of news TV. “If you don’t have high ratings, you don’t have ads and if you don’t have ads, you are dead in the water as TV has no secondary revenue source,” says a channel head.Is this race sustainable? Sociologists predict the end of tamasha news. “Indian viewers are gradually learning to discern the difference between news and trivia and they are now much more critical. I only expect it to get sharper over the years,” says sociologist Ashis Nandy. Until then, it’s going to be snake chases, ghost sightings, reincarnation dramas and driverless cars.last_img read more

Kings zap Bolts, seize 3-2 edge

first_imgSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges View comments Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games BOCAUE—Facing a very determined foe in a battle of attrition where neither side was willing to budge an inch, Barangay Ginebra was efficient in the stretch, and just like that, swung the pendulum of momentum its way in the PBA Governors’ Cup title series.The Gin Kings bounced back after losing the previous two games, shutting down Meralco when it mattered to pull off an 85-74 victory and take a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series before an all-time Finals record of more than 36,000 fans at Philippine Arena here.ADVERTISEMENT Palace: Robredo back to ‘groping with a blind vision’ No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors Slaughter challenged every shot inside and fought hard for every rebound he could get involved in, while Tenorio came back from a scoreless Game 4 to jumpstart the Ginebra offense with nine first quarter points that got off the Kings on the right foot.Ginebra built an 18-point lead but found itself in a dogfight in the third quarter with the Bolts, who connected from afar to even take the lead a couple of times.But when the going was at its toughest, Tenorio and Slaughter got all the help they needed as the Kings held Meralco to two Allen Durham free throws for more than five minutes near the end of the contest to pull away.“We just didn’t battle, we went to war,” Cone said.GINEBRA 85 – MERALCO 74GINEBRA 85—Brownlee 20, Slaughter 17, Tenorio 17, Devance 12, Aguilar 8, Thompson 5, Caguioa 4, Ferrer 2.MERALCO 74—Durham 27, Lanete 11, Hugnatan 8, Caram 7, Hodge 6, Dillinger 6, Newsome 5, Amer 4, Tolomia 0, Faundo 0.Quarters: 21-15, 42-35, 66-62, 85-74ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans Greg Slaughter and LA Tenorio, missing entities for the Kings in the last game, came out and asserted their identities early as Ginebra built an 18-point lead in the first half before finishing off the Bolts with a flurry in the endgame.But coach Tim Cone said that, at this point, they would like to think of playing just one more game.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“It doesn’t win us anything, but in a best-of-three series, it’s important for us to win the first game.” Cone said. “You got to go out for a win [in this game] so you can dictate the next two games.“But our mentality right now is we want to play just one more game,” added the league’s winningest coach of all-time. “We’ll worry about Game 6 in an hour. Right now, we just want to enjoy this one.” Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups Ceres, Kaya fortify bids LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

When the Ax-Man Cometh: What to cut out of your budget

first_imgJeff Brooks is not only one of my favorite bloggers and fundraising experts, he’s my personal hero for giving his time today to speak on our Network for Good Nonprofit 911 call on the topic of where to cut if you’ve got to cut your budget. He is still talking (this is live blogging, folks) and I’m happy to say he is wise, helpful, insightful and provocative, my favorite combination in a speaker. You can see his slides here and access the MP3 file at this same link in another day or so.Here are some gems from his talk:1.) DO NOT CUT net-positive donor cultivation programs. To be wise enough to keep those programs, though, you have to know which are NET positive (not gross positive). How much did you NET from your gala (as opposed to raise)? Figure out net present value of a donor: what money do you expect in projected lifetime giving from that donor (take their first gift and multiply by ten), then subtract the cost of acquisition and the ongoing cultivation cost. Measuring net present value can tell you where you’re spending too much and where you can spend more to get more. 2.) KEEP ACQUIRING DONORS. Cutting donor acquisition is the quick path to long-term pain. Donors are worth more every year (he suggested two times the second year and exponential growth from there, for example) so if you get far fewer donors this year, you’re going to feel bad pain next year and far worse pain the following year.3.) CUT WHAT’S UNCLEAR. If you’ve got less money to spend, don’t spend it on things that have unmeasurable or questionable impact. In hard times, stick to things that have demonstrable impact, not things like your warm fuzzy brand awareness effort. Direct response fundraising is a better investment now than general “branding” campaigns. PR and media relations are a relative bargain – positive impact for very few dollars – but non-response advertising (with no measurable response vehicle) is not. Kill the “we exist and we’re really cool” ads if you’re short on dough. Leave that to people who can do it on a scale where it’s effective – like Coca-Cola.I completely agree with the last point. And it’s going to make some people nuts. Really nuts. I like how Jeff put it —What would you rather do with your limited budget:• Move 100 people 10% of the way toward giving?• Move 10 people 100% of the way toward giving?He added a positive note that I’d also like to second: In hard times, innovation doesn’t happen because people are afraid of risk. New ideas often don’t work out, but you can’t let these times cut off innovation or let fear rule you. Be wise, but also be bold.last_img read more

Navigate Any PR Crisis: 5 Pitfalls for Nonprofits to Avoid

first_imgIn the early 1980s, Johnson & Johnson faced a massive organizational crisis when someone laced Extra-Strength Tylenol caplets with cyanide and returned the bottles to store shelves. When the Tylenol link was discovered, the company sprang into action, spending millions to remove pills from stores, communicating its efforts to consumers via the media, and helping to pioneer tamper-resistant packaging that ultimately reduced similar crimes in the future.What does this story have to do with your nonprofit? It’s a great example of effective organizational crisis management: act quickly and decisively, communicate consistently and honestly, and apply lessons learned to prevent future situations. The key is to be prepared for whatever life throws in your direction. But sometimes our plans go awry amid the chaos. Here are five common pitfalls that can derail your nonprofit’s efforts to guide communications during a PR crisis.Slow or no response. Like an ostrich with its head in the sand, you simply hope the problem will go away on its own. Or your team gets stuck trying to find consensus before taking action. By the time you’re ready to respond, days or weeks have gone by and your organization is in a heap of trouble. Solution: Control the message before someone else does. Be prepared with your crisis communications plan and respond quickly.Ill-prepared spokesperson. You task a key senior executive with handling media outreach, but once she starts getting peppered with hard questions, you find she’s not nearly as prepared for the hot seat as you had assumed. Solution: Take nothing for granted. Test your spokesperson ahead of time. Sit down with that person and fire tough questions at her quickly and relentlessly until she can deliver your organization’s message calmly and consistently. Legal concerns. In the midst of the storm, you have to wait for your legal team before taking action. This slows you down tremendously and potentially derails your entire organization. Solution: Have ample conversations with your legal team during your crisis communications prep. What might they need to do or approve? Where would they need to step in? You’ll avoid disastrous delays if you can agree to operating procedures and best practices in advance.Inconsistency or lack of transparency. Your market doesn’t believe your message or find it credible because they’re hearing different things across channels, which makes your nonprofit seem less than honest. Solution: As the crisis wears on, you’ll continue to get tough questions from every corner, so you need to hunker down and ensure you’re delivering a consistent and honest message, whether it’s on television, in print, or on your website and social media channels.Failure to take responsibility. Do you take responsibility? Do you apologize? Similar to being slow to respond, if you fail to address these questions, you’ll extend the news cycle. Solution: From the beginning, own the problem (or, if you didn’t create it, explain clearly how the problem arose) and communicate how your organization is addressing it. Again, be consistent and honest in your message.A final bit of advice: Fix it yourself first.Some crises will be imposed on you externally, out of the blue, and you’ll need to react with your readymade communications plan. But others you might avoid—if you take action now. If you see anything in your organization that doesn’t seem quite right or could create a bit of drama, talk among your team about how you can fix it yourself before external forces make you fix it. Adapted from the Nonprofit 911 webinar “Crisis Communications for Nonprofits” with Susan Kearney, COO of Network for Good. Download the full webinar.last_img read more

Juli Inkster urges Solheim Cup crowds not to heckle Europe’s Suzann Pettersen

first_imgShare on Pinterest Annika Sorenstam knows 2015 affair lingers as she takes Solheim Cup reins Topics news Share via Email Golf Support The Guardian Share on LinkedIn However, when pressed on the fact Pettersen “hadn’t actually done anything wrong” Inkster suggested her thoughts on the incident remain firm.“I think we might disagree on that a little bit,” the captain added. “If you watched it, there’s not one person that’s standing there staring at Alison, like, ‘Mark it’. Everybody’s walking off the green and it was a good, I want to say, three seconds, three to four seconds before Alison really went over and picked the ball up. It wasn’t like she hit the putt and went and picked it up. She was, like: ‘Oh, I can’t believe I missed that ball’ and then walked around and then she picked it up.“So it’s 2015. I don’t know why we’re talking about it. I would have never said that [what Pettersen did]. But that’s just me personally.”Charley Hull, who partnered Pettersen at the time of the 2015 incident and is also back in the team, said: “If I got booed, it would motivate me even more.”Further evidence of a lingering issue relates to an element of US greens protocol. “I just think you’ve got to have one person in the group, they’re in charge of giving putts,” Inkster said. “And that’s kind of the way I’ve done it with my team. One person takes control of giving the putts and that way we don’t really have any controversy.”The US are firm favourites to retain the cup but had already seen preparations disrupted by the enforced withdrawal of Jessica Korda through injury – Paula Creamer has been added as a replacement – before Lexi Thompson was struck by illness last weekend.“Lexi’s got a virus,” Inkster revealed. “She’s had a sore throat for the last three days. She’s just hitting a few shots out there. She’s been under the weather. I’m a little worried about her. Everybody else seems to be in good shape.”Should Thompson’s problem persist, it seems Angela Stanford would be called up. Stanford was overlooked as Creamer replaced Korda.“It was really between Paula and Angela Stanford,” said Inkster. “I just felt Paula was probably playing a little bit better and has played on more Solheim Cup teams. Her record’s a little better. She’s really good in alternate shot, that I could come and put her in any pod or anything and she would be able to adapt.“I know what I’m getting with Paula. Not that I don’t know what I’m getting with Angela, too, but I just felt like if I asked her to do it, she would do it. It’s not the best situation to be in, because I had to tell Paula I didn’t pick her and I had to let her yell at me for a little bit. Then I told her, ‘But would you …?’ And she said yes.“I just felt like she would be the one to come in, she’s used to kind of being under the microscope and under the pressure and I just thought she could be able to handle it.” Share on Facebook US sportscenter_img Since you’re here… … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on WhatsApp Solheim Cup Read more Juli Inkster, the USA’s Solheim Cup captain, has urged the anticipated record crowds at the event in Iowa this weekend not to abuse Suzann Pettersen. The last meeting of the US and Europe, two years ago in Germany, was hugely overshadowed by a controversy involving Pettersen and Alison Lee.Pettersen was widely castigated after refusing to concede a tap-in putt which Lee had already picked up, technically in error. After insisting she had done nothing wrong in the immediate aftermath of a European defeat, Pettersen issued a lengthy statement of apology the next day. Quite naturally, the Norwegian player will be back in the spotlight when the Solheim Cup begins in Des Moines from Friday.“I really don’t think it’s going to be a big deal,” insisted Inkster, who was also the US captain in 2015. “I know it’s not on our side. If anybody can handle it, it’s Suzann. But I hope they don’t heckle her. I hope they respect her and respect her play. It was two years ago, we’ve moved on and I’m sure she’s moved on too.“I don’t think anything really affects Suzann. I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal one way or the other.” Share on Twitter Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Alpha Institute Gets Laser Engraver from Petrocaribe Fund

first_imgThe Alpha Institute is the beneficiary of a Laser Engraver, which was acquired through grant funding of $3.3 million from the PetroCaribe Development Fund.It was officially handed over during a ceremony on the compound of the Alpha Boys’ School, 26 South Camp Road in Kingston, on November 22.The Laser Engraver is a machine that can create designs on materials such as wood, metal and glass.In his address, Chief Executive Officer of the PetroCaribe Development Fund (PCDF), Dr. Wesley Hughes, said the donation is in keeping with the mandate of the Fund to support the development of human capital and to focus on the most vulnerable in the society.“We are assured that the beautiful and practical gift that we are donating will create pieces that will enhance the earning capacity of Alpha. I am happy to have made this donation, and we look forward to this piece of equipment positively impacting the lives of students,” Dr. Hughes said.Administrator, Alpha Institute, Margaret Little Wilson (third right), presents Chief Executive Officer of the PetroCaribe Development Fund (PCDF), Dr. Wesley Hughes (left), with a plaque after he handed over a Laser Engraver to the Institute on the compound of the Alpha Boys’ School, 26 South Camp Road in Kingston on November 22. Sharing the occasion (from second left) are Client Relations Manager, PCDF, Shakierah Cowan; Client Relations Officer, Grants, PCDF, Fabian Lyew; Consultant at the PCDF, Enith Williams; and Development Officer, Sisters of Mercy, Charles Arumaiselvam. For his part, Development Officer, Sisters of Mercy, Charles Arumaiselvam, noted that the use of the old laser engraver earned the Alpha Institute some $1.96 million in 2016.“This machine will be able to increase the income. A lot of the jobs we could not do with the older machine, we can do [now]. So, your contribution not only expands our business capaicty but enables us to do faster and much more efficient business,” Mr. Arumaiselvam said.The PCDF established a grant facility to support projects that would directly improve the welfare of the most vulnerable members of the society.PCDF is a Government of Jamaica body corporate that manages the proceeds of the PetroCaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement, and partners with public-sector entities in funding major infrastructure projects.Registered with the Ministry of Education, Alpha Institute is operated by the Religious Sisters of Mercy, who are committed to helping young men in need of employment and skills training.last_img read more

Budget Creates Jobs Supports Knowledge Infrastructure

first_imgPremier Darrell Dexter visited Acadia University in Wolfville today, April 9, to tour a renovation project at Patterson Hall and to reaffirm his commitment to infrastructure investment and economic growth in the Annapolis Valley and across the province. Earlier this week, government introduced the provincial budget and announced its plan to bring better health care to families, create secure jobs and grow the economy, make life more affordable and live within its means. “I can’t think of a better way to invest in the future of Nova Scotia than renovating and enhancing our world-class universities and community college system,” said Premier Dexter. “Nova Scotia is a learning province and having state-of-the-art facilities for students, faculty and community members is necessary in order to attract the brightest and best to the province.” Patterson Hall will be redesigned to create space where economic, social and environmental challenges can be addressed in a collaborative environment. The Kingstec and Annapolis Valley campuses of Nova Scotia Community College have been renovated to make the them more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Renovations to Acadia University and the NSCC campuses represent a $6.2-million federal/provincial investment under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. The program enhances universities and colleges throughout Nova Scotia. “Investing in projects that upgrade and expand Acadia’s teaching and research capacity will benefit our students and all Nova Scotians,” said Ray Ivany, president and vice-chancellor of Acadia University. “I recognize the importance and value of investing in our communities and institutions during tough economic times,” said Premier Dexter. “As announced in this week’s budget, we will continue to maximize federal infrastructure dollars to help keep communities strong, employ hard-working Nova Scotians and grow the economy.” Premier Dexter noted that several projects in the Annapolis Valley, ranging from roads and highways to sport and recreation facilities, have benefited from stimulus investments in the past year and will continue to benefit in 2010-11. Highway 101 is benefitting from millions of dollars in investment, including re-paving from the Shaw Road underpass to the Annapolis-Digby County Line and adding westbound ramps to the Mary Jane Riley Road Interchange, just to name a few. Sport and recreation facility projects in the Annapolis Valley have also received support through Health Promotion and Protection’s Building Facility Infrastructure Together (B-FIT) program. Since 2007, 11 large-scale projects in the region have benefitted from $6.7 million in funding. These projects include the new track and field facilities at Acadia University, Brigadoon Children’s Camp on Aylesford Lake, the Appledome in Berwick and the rebuilt Windsor Curling Club. “In 2010-11 Nova Scotians can expect to see strategic investments in infrastructure across this province to ensure economic growth and development from one end of the province to the other,” said Premier Dexter. “This government has a solid, four-year plan to get the province’s finances back to balance, live within its means, and make the right decisions that are in the best interests of Nova Scotians.”last_img read more

China may halt French police cooperation over Interpol case

first_imgParis: Chinese officials are threatening to stop all police cooperation with France after it gave political asylum to the wife of the former Interpol chief, a Chinese national now languishing in prison on charges of bribery, a French source close to the matter said Monday. “There hasn’t been any official request to suspend the cooperation but an informal expression of intent,” the source told AFP. French daily Le Monde reported over the weekend that the security attache at France’s embassy in Beijing had been told of the impending move. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USTensions between Paris and Beijing have been fraught since the September 2018 disappearance of Interpol president Meng Hongwei, shortly after he left for China from the international police agency’s headquarters in Lyon, southeast France. After several days with no word on his whereabouts, China disclosed that he had been arrested, and in June a court in northern China revealed that Meng had pleaded guilty to bribery. His wife Grace and their two children, who have remained in France, were given police protection after she expressed concerns about kidnapping attempts, and later applied for asylum, a request that was granted in May. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe French Interior Minister declined to comment to AFP on the asylum decision, which a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman denounced as an “abuse of French legal procedures.” The Chinese court said in June that Meng, a former vice minister of public security, had pleaded guilty to accepting USD 2.1 million in bribes from 2005 to 2017. Critics believe he got caught up in an anti-graft campaign which they accuse President Xi Jinping of using to remove his political enemies. A few weeks after his disappearance, Interpol was forced to accept Meng’s resignation as its first Chinese president.last_img read more

Trudeau becomes first sitting prime minister to march in Halifax Pride parade

first_imgHALIFAX – Throngs of people lined the streets of downtown Halifax Saturday to see a sitting prime minister walk in the city’s Pride parade for the first time.The rainbow-clad crowd erupted in cheers as Justin Trudeau marched in the procession with his family at his side.Trudeau was dressed casually in a pink shirt and white pants, while wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau wore a wide-brimmed hat to shade herself from the sun.The prime minister waved and yelled “Happy Pride!” to thousands of people along the parade route, stopping periodically to take selfies as members of the crowd called out his name.A couple of drag queens decked in makeup and voluminous wigs wrapped their arms around Trudeau as they posed for a group photo, after which the buxom blonds thanked the prime minister with a hug.“What a pleasure it is to be here,” he told them. “We all are together.”Trudeau walked near the front of the procession, intermittently flanked by marchers carrying a rainbow flag, a group of princesses and a float spouting confetti.As the festivities paused for a moment of silence, Trudeau raised his fist alongside several other members of the crowd.Trudeau became the first sitting prime minister to march in a Pride parade when he did so in Toronto in 2016, then attended the same event last month.He told reporters Friday that he longs for a day when his participation in Pride events won’t be so novel.“I’ll be the first prime minister to walk in the Pride parade in Halifax, but I’m very much looking forward to getting that over with so there won’t be any more ‘firsts’ and that it just be expected that prime ministers, when their schedules allow, march in Pride parades across the country,” he said.“(It’s) not just diversity of backgrounds, but it’s a diversity of everything that makes us different as Canadians and that includes standing up strongly for the rights of the LGBT2Q community.”Sydney Augustine-Bower made the roughly two-hour journey from Antigonish, N.S., to Halifax so she could attend her first Pride parade. Augustine-Bower, who identifies as pansexual, said it was heartening to see the leader of Canada showing his support for the LGBTQ community.“I think it sends a really important message that the prime minister of Canada … is going to dance around with a bunch of people, a part of the community that (was) oppressed for long,” Augustine-Bower said. “I think it’s great that these two groups of people who are very different can come together and have fun.”Upwards of 120,000 people participate in the Halifax Pride parade every summer, organizers said, and they expected an even bigger turnout this year thanks to their “special guest.”Halifax’s police service said in February that it would not participate in this year’s Pride parade amid a “national debate” about police involvement in such events.Pride Toronto members had voted to ostensibly ban official police floats from marches and parades in January, adopting a list of demands put forward by that city’s chapter of Black Lives Matter.Some local groups — including the Queer Arabs of Halifax, the Dalhousie Student Union and the South House Sexual and Gender Resource Centre — have said they are boycotting the parade after a resolution to remove a pro-Israel campaign from the event was defeated at Halifax Pride’s annual general meeting last October.The first Halifax Pride March was held in 1988 with just 75 people. Since then, it has grown to each summer.last_img read more

Virgin joins BA in criticizing long wait times at Heathrow

first_imgLONDON – Virgin Atlantic has joined British Airways in criticizing long waiting times at passport control at Heathrow Airport, releasing figures showing that the Border Force hit its target for processing passengers from outside the European Economic Area on just one day in July.Virgin says passengers are “frustrated” as waits of more than two hours are becoming the norm. The Border Force target is to process 95 per cent of passengers within 45 minutes.Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye has called on the government to allow visitors from low-risk countries such as the United States and Canada to use the same electronic border gates that European Union citizens can access.The Home Office says delays were caused by a computer failure and the arrival of large numbers of vulnerable adults and children.last_img read more

THE DEMOLITION OF BANARAS

first_imgVaranasi, the bastion of BJP supremos that has been wrapped in claims and controversy, will be heading to polls on May 19. Current MP and prime minister, Narendra Modi, filed his nomination for the second on April 26, following a massive 7 km roadshow through Kashi’s famed narrow lanes that were brimming with enthusiastic supporters. Unsurprisingly, BJP is blazing all guns to secure a commendable win here. But, unlike 2014, the sailing hasn’t been remarkably smooth. The saffron corridor is visibly fretted for a number of reasons which its MP must tackle face on. Unlike most towns of India, Varanasi (earlier Banaras) isn’t only contoured in political hues. Its cultural richness has attracted global attention. In fact, American author Mark Twain had said, “Banaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” This overflowing pitcher of culture that differentiated Varanasi from the rest is sadly at stake now. It is believed here that nothing should obstruct Lord Shiva and the sacred river Ganga – the sun’s first rays should reflect off the surface of the river and shine on the summit of the temple. This city of overwhelming historicity is also marked by its labyrinthine lanes that today are witnessing the painful brunt of forced development. Their essence is quickly dissipating as large-scale demolition projects bring down houses and multi-storeyed buildings (about 300) situated at the heart of the city to allow for the construction of the prime minister’s dream Kashi-Vishwanath Corridor. Varanasi, probably, needs no topography. The city has been rising and setting to its stone-slabbed pavements, crude structures and traditional mohallas. More than its current geography, it is imagination and history that make this city so very picturesque. And, once legendary director Satyajit Ray captured Kashi in his classics {Aparajito (1956) and Joi Baba Felunath (1979)}, there was no turning away from the magnetic aura of this ancient city. When these aeons-old buildings were being brought down last year to make way for the corridor, a large number of old temples were found covered in the debris of these houses. Perhaps, the idea of ‘new Varanasi’ created resentment among people. These temples were built in the late-18th and 19th centuries when Varanasi witnessed an unprecedented temple-building spree following the disintegration of the Mughal Empire. The buildings that were brought down belong to the same period. The 45,000 sq. m. area of the religious corridor project has been estimated to cost Rs 600 crore and seeks to create a wide pathway connecting three prominent ghats on Ganga to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, easing access for devotees. Significantly, PM Modi, once an RSS pracharak and propagator of Hindutva, has not even spared the ancient properties of ‘Nirvani Akhara’ and ‘Juna Akhara’, which the priests have refused to allow for demolition. While several ministers have tried to convince them, their resolve has dragged this resistance into a legal battle. A local shopkeeper (desired anonymity) and member of the ‘Dharohar Bachao Samiti, Kashi’ who refused to destroy his house, has been intimidated by project managers; they threaten that they will truncate his access to electricity and water. He took us to a scheduled caste colony near Manikarnika Ghat, where people are frightened to talk. Locals said (refusing to mention their names) that they have been harassed and forced to vacate their ancestral lands. The owners of these demolished houses and shops have of course received some monetary compensation. But Ramakant Misra (70), another owner, explained, “We have received only Rs 23 lakh; with that, we bought land for Rs 14 lakh and the registration cost is Rs. 1.5 lakh. How will we construct our house with the remaining meagre amount?” The land spread between Manikarnika Ghat and Lalita Ghat is being supervised by Ahmedabad-based HCP Design Planning and Management Pvt Ltd. Reportedly, Kashi Vishwanath Mandir Trust is restoring and integrating 43 old temples with the milieu surrounding the ancient Shiva temple. The ethos here, characterised by labyrinthine lanes, flower shops, tea and sweetmeat stalls, shops selling saris, wooden toys and items of religious use, has helped Varanasi acquire its distinctive identity. Incidentally, Modi’s religious corridor project has forsaken communal harmony. In a bid to valorise Vishwanath, the minority community here claims that the administration is conspiring to demolish the centuries-old Gyanvapi Masjid which shares a boundary wall with the famed Kashi Vishwanath temple. Modi’s dream project has not even spared Ved Vyas Peeth. Until August 2017, this was an institute of research. Although the administration claims that enough compensation was paid to the Vyas family – Kedarnath Vyas, the patron of Vyas Peeth, did not get a single paisa as compensation from the government, or even a place to stay. Further, he is now being forced to live in a small four-room rented tenement with his son, Jitendra Vyas, and his family of four. Incidentally, the Vyas progenitors also happen to be owners of both the land of Kashi Viswanath temple and Gyanvapi Masjid. Further, rustic Kashi is also known for its vibrant Banarasi sarees and artisans, besides its religious zeal and tourism. All is not smooth for the saree weavers. The industry is still being buffeted by headwinds: small weavers say their margins have dropped drastically since demonetisation and work has shrunk because of GST, which has increased costs for traders who buy from the weavers. “GST has become a hurdle for us, small traders and bunkars (weavers). Earlier, there was not a single tax in the saree industry. The demand of sarees has dropped by 50 per cent in the last five years,” Sameer, owner of four power looms and a master weaver of Sonarpura said. He also lamented on the lack of education as a big reason for endless suffering. “No government representative ever comes to us. We are not educated enough and it is easy to dupe us. No doubt the government has introduced schemes for us, but we are hardly aware of them,” he mentioned. Some Muslim weavers though are game to give Modi another chance. Sonu Akbar (33), another young Banarasi master weaver and owner of two power looms, feels that five years is not enough to fully implement developmental works, adding, “Modiji should get a second term. I believe the situation will improve.” Wahid Ali, a veteran master weaver, summed up the situation, saying “Work has been undertaken in Varanasi and elsewhere in Uttar Pradesh too – that’s a fact. It is also true that no one can defeat Modi in Varanasi. Who else is there? But when other BJP leaders talk about religious discrimination, it leaves us very worried.” In election speeches or rallies though, the struggling economy of Varanasi doesn’t figure, despite its gnawing problems. If weavers can’t deliver, then the entire trade, which follows an age-old symbiotic structure, suffers. A survey conducted last year shows the decline of Banarasi saree weavers as migration to other cities continues.last_img read more

One Planet Summit: Macron Receives King Mohammed VI and Crown Prince…

Rabat – King Mohammed VI and Prince Moulay El Hassan took part in a luncheon hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron on December 12 in honor of the heads of state and delegations attending the One Planet Summit climate change conference held in Paris.The Sovereign was also greeted by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, and France’s First Lady, Brigitte Macron.The participation of Crown Prince Moulay Hassan in the summit also marks his first steps on the international scene. This move is reminiscent of that of his father who, as Crown Prince, made his first official appearance in an international summit in Rio in 1992 at the Earth Summit. The King recalled the experience in his speech at the COP22 in Marrakech in November 2016. SM Le Roi #MohammedVI, accompagné du Prince héritier #Moulay_El_Hassan, a pris part mardi, au déjeuner offert par le président #Macron en l’honneur des chefs d’Etat et de délégation participant au Sommet mondial sur le #climat “#One_Planet_Summit” à #Paris.#Maroc #MAECI #France pic.twitter.com/Q3yoE6ca09— MAECI Maroc (@MarocDiplomatie) December 12, 2017The summit, which is organized jointly by France, the United Nations, and the World Bank in partnership with non-governmental organizations, will mark the second anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement.Gathering more than 50 heads of state and government in La Seine Musicale, the main focus of the summit, which will revolve around “Climate Change Financing,” is to take further action on the financial front of the objectives of the Paris Agreement.The summit will be mainly devoted to the mobilization of funding to advance concrete projects in all areas of the fight against climate change: renewable energies, clean transport, agriculture, buildings and sustainable cities, and the protection of the population from the impacts of climate change.The goal of the One Planet Summit is to bring together all key players in the world of finance and climate to build the tools, alliances, and initiatives essential to the greening of finance and accelerate the implementation of climate projects on field.The participation of King Mohammed VI at this summit “confirms his strong commitment to the preservation of the environment, a commitment that was also noticeable on the occasion of COP 22,” reported state news agency MAP. read more

UN health agency scales up assistance to flood victims in India Nepal

6 September 2008The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is working to curb the risk of disease outbreaks and help millions affected by deadly floods in India and Nepal. The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is working to curb the risk of disease outbreaks and help millions affected by deadly floods in India and Nepal.The flooding began last month when heavy monsoon rains caused a dam to break, breaching the eastern embankment of the Kosi River, which straddles the border between the two countries.The Sunsari district of Nepal and 16 districts in India’s Bihar state, one of the country’s poorest, have been the areas hit hardest. The Kosi River appears to have altered its course, flooding areas of Bihar not prone to inundation and damaging nearly a quarter of a million houses.Working with the Indian and Nepali Governments, WHO has provided emergency medical supplies and equipment for almost 200,000 people. It is also keeping an eye on the possibility of the spread of communicable diseases, supporting child immunization campaigns and ensuring that there is safe drinking water.In India, 3.4 million people have been affected in close to 2,000 villages, and 285 relief camps and 249 health centres have been set up for the uprooted.WHO is sending emergency medicines and equipment to treat 60,000 people for one month. “The supplies will be able to treat people suffering common diseases and malaria,” said Eric Laroche, Assistant Director-General of the agency.More than 70 WHO staff from the National Polio Surveillance programme are monitoring the health situation in the camps, and the agency is also helping to immunize children between the ages for measles and provide them with oral vitamin A drops.The agency has also supplied 100 chloroscopes to ensure water quality in the camps, and has also given $12,000 to the Indian Red Cross to help deliver relief supplies, including water, tents, bednets and clothing.The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has voiced its commitment to help Bihar’s children.“In any disaster, children and women are most vulnerable to disease and distress. “We heard from the Government that the flood-affected children and women are their top priority,” said UNICEF India Country Representative Karin Hulshoff, in Bihar state’s capital Patna to meet with authorities.In a meeting with Bihar’s top official overseeing relief efforts, she stressed that the agency will continue to work with the Government and other partners in areas hit hard by floods and also assist help with rebuilding. “Our endeavour will be to support the Government to build back better,” she added.UNICEF has dispatched midwifery kits and materials such as medical tents for childbirth, water tanks and bleaching powder to the worst-hit districts. It has also helped transport dozens of doctors and paramedics from areas not affected by the floods to help victims.Across the border in Nepal, flooding has displaced over 70,000 people, and health teams were dispatched to each emergency shelter.WHO, with essential stocks standing by in the event of a disaster, was able to respond promptly, sending drugs and emergency medicines to treat 5,000 severe cases, enough health kits for 120,000 people for one month, malaria kits for 10,000 people for three months and diarrhoeal medications to help over 5,500 patients.The agency is helping Nepalese authorities monitor the health status of the uprooted, and is also helping the Ministry of Health and Population in preparing a massive measles and polio vaccination campaign for children, slated to begin next week.“WHO is monitoring the situation very closely with the Epidemiology and Diseases Control Division of the Ministry of Health, to ensure the health of the affected people,” said Alex Andjaparidze, WHO Representative to Nepal.A joint assessment conducted by WHO, UNICEF and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) found that health services are insufficient to meet the needs of the uprooted in the district of Saptari. Facilities are not equipped to handle the load of patients, and hygiene is very poor.The evaluation also found that infectious diseases, especially diarrhoea, are on the rise. In Kankalni camp, the team said that the number of diarrhoea cases is increasing exponentially.Despite several logistical issues, the distribution of food to those in need has occurred smoothly, and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has committed to distributing supplies for two months.. read more

Bahrain seeks to boost bilateral cooperation with Sri Lanka

Bahrain is keen to boost the bilateral cooperation with Sri Lanka, the Bahrain News Agency reported.The Health Minister of Bahrain Faeqa bint Saeed Al Saleh has expressed this view when she received the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Kingdom of Bahrain, A S U Mendis. She expressed the intention to boost the bilateral cooperation through the exchange of Sri Lankan medical expertise and field visits by consultant physicians specialized in micro medical disciplines. The minister welcomed the recently-appointed ambassador, praising the advanced level of bilateral relations between Bahrain and Sri Lanka and wishing him success in further developing and consolidating the friendship and cooperation ties between the two countries and peoples. The ambassador commended the historic bilateral ties, expressing desire to extend new horizons of fruitful cooperation in the health sector between both sides. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Typhoon Haiyan wakeup call to speed up climate control efforts – Ban

“Everybody now knows that climate change is happening and approaching much faster than we might have thought,” Mr. Ban said at a joint press conference with President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania in Vilnius.“Therefore, it is imperative that Member States redouble their efforts to raise the level of ambition and there should be a strong political leadership role,” he added, noting that this is why he is going to Warsaw later today to meet with leaders attending the UN climate change conference. “I will be meeting many world leaders and ministers to ask them to raise their political awareness and political leadership role and mobilize all necessary means, particularly financial support, for developing countries so that they will be able to mitigate and adapt to this changing situation.”Meanwhile, efforts are continuing to reach those affected by Haiyan. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) quoted the authorities as reporting that while more debris has been cleared and public services are being restored those affected are still facing power outages and fuel shortages.Last week, the UN and its partners launched an appeal for $301 million to provide humanitarian assistance. As of Saturday, the appeal is 26 per cent funded.Nearly half of the health facilities in four affected regions remain closed. UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos has arrived in the Philippines for a follow-up visit and is expected to visit affected areas in the coming days.The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that at least 200,000 people in Tacloban, one of the worst hit cities, and six surrounding districts are now receiving clean water, with the first water treatment plant having come back to full operating capacity last night.UNICEF, the Philippines armed forces and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) took part in negotiations resulting in an initial emergency fuel supply to run the plant for four days.In the past 48 hours, UNICEF has been trucking and airlifting water and sanitation supplies to Tacloban and other affected areas to restore clean water supplies and reduce the threat of diseases caused by poor sanitation and contaminated water. read more

When Will NY Giants Victor Cruz Come Back From

“Why does everybody look so sad?” New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz asked media representatives as he wobbled to the podium on crutches and a walking boot.This past Sunday night, Cruz suffered a bruised heel injury in the team’s preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts. But the star player is in good spirits and insists that he will play in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 8.“Hopefully I can be back before then,” said Cruz. “But I do envision myself being on the practice field getting ready for that Cowboys game and getting ready to go down to Texas to play those guys.”Cruz boot and crutches are for precautionary measures, he escaped with no serious issues.“The MRI just showed some blood in there, in the area where the swelling is, and that was about it. No tear — nothing wrong with the bone — everything’s fine, which is a good sign, which is what I was worried about,” he said.The Giants still want to be a 100 percent sure about the receiver’s health. The organization has reportedly sent the results of Cruz’s MRI to a specialist for a second opinion, to confirm the team’s preliminary diagnosis of a bruised heel.New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said the injury might look worse than it really is, but it was a bit worrisome to see Cruz in a walking boot and on crutches.“Hopefully it is not going to be a long time,” Coughlin said after practice Tuesday. “Who knows? He feels better from one day to the next. Now if you look at him, you say, ‘Oh my God, he’s got crutches and boot.’ So they are doing all kinds of stuff to make sure he doesn’t put any pressure on it. But he did a feel a little bit better today.” read more

Vlad Jr Is Here Its About Time

We wrote earlier this spring that the sons of majors leaguers have an advantage over the general population in reaching the major leagues. While some of that advantage is tied to genetic gifts and financial means, mimicking elite athletic movement patterns from a young age is also thought to be crucial.The debut earlier this year of Fernando Tatis Jr. — son of former major leaguer Fernando Tatis — set a record for the number of sons to debut in a decade (45), according to Baseball-Reference.com data analyzed by FiveThirtyEight. Guerrero Jr. makes it 46, and his former Triple-A teammates Cavan Biggio (son of Craig) and Bo Bichette (son of Dante) could soon increase the number.While Guerrero hits like his dad, he isn’t built like his dad. Vlad Sr. debuted as a lanky and athletic wunderkind, while his son’s weight is already a concern: He was measured this spring at 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds. Perhaps that will push Guerrero Jr. off of third base, but wherever he plays, the expectation is that he’ll hit for years to come.Check out our latest MLB predictions. Like father, like sonCareer minor league batting statistics before their major league debuts for Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and his son, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Games playedAt-batBatting AverageOn-base percentageSlugging percentageOPS Even their swings are similar. In 61 games at Double-A New Hampshire last season, at age 19, Guerrero posted a 203 wRC+. Since 2010, Guerrero Jr. is one of only six minor leaguers with at least 200 plate appearances to reach a 200 wRC+ in the upper minor leagues, and he was the only player to do so as a teenager. Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton posted a 204 mark in Double-A in 2010 as a 20-year-old, and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant posted a 220 mark at age 22 in 2014 in Double-A.What’s also remarkable about Guerrero as a hitter is how much his minor-league track record resembles his father’s. Widely considered the best prospect in baseball, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — the son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero — is expected to make his debut for the Blue Jays on Friday in Toronto against Oakland. The event will, at least for the moment, end talk of the Blue Jays suppressing his service time and turn attention to the arrival of one of the most precocious hitting talents of this century. An oblique strain this spring slowed his major league debut, but it was likely to be delayed anyway, given the way MLB clubs have been controlling players’ service time.1A player cannot become a major league free agent until he accrues six full years of service time. Counting off days and game days, there are generally 187 days on a major league calendar. A player needs to spend 172 days of those days on a major league roster to gain a year of service. Even after last season, when Guerrero Jr. became the first player to hit .400 or better at the Double-A or Triple-A level in more than a decade, the Blue Jays claimed this spring that he wasn’t ready for the major leagues.Guerrero’s .367/.424./.700 slash line in eight games this season in Triple-A seemed to give the Blue Jays a change of a heart, along with the fact that they control his bat through the 2025 season.2Fellow top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr., who broke camp with San Diego, is controlled through the 2024 season if he sticks in the majors. Now healthy and in the majors, the 20-year-old has superstar potential with an offensive profile that Baseball America claims is in the “mold of Manny Ramirez,” and the magazine says “it’s not out of the question that Guerrero could develop into an 80 hitter with 80 power.” An “80” scouting grade is rare, residing at the top of the 20-to-80 scouting scale.It’s not hyperbole to suggest that Guerrero Jr. is an incredibly rare talent. Since 2010, no teenager — and few players of any age, for that matter — did what he did in the upper levels of the minor leagues last season. The slugger had one of the highest marks ever in weighted runs created plus (wRC+) — a metric that measures offensive efficiency and accounts for a league’s run-scoring environment and ballparks. Guerrero Jr.2881,075.331.413.531.944 Source: The Baseball CUBE Guerrero Sr.2851,055.343.404.581.985 read more