OECD 50th Anniversary Video Competition

first_img January 31, 2011 Published by Site Default Pocket YOUNG LEADERS – 2021 EDITION World Forum for Democracy 2020: Call for Initiatives Share 0 LinkedIn 0 Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment. ← Stereotypical Stereotype Breaker Deadline: 1 March 2011 (midnight, Paris time)Open to: young people (18-25 years)Award: the winner will be invited to the OECD Forum in May 2011, with travel cost, hotel accommodation and daily allowance paidTo commemorate its 50th anniversary, OECD launched a video competition to young people all around the world.EligibilityYoung people (18-25 years) in every country worldwide.ApplicationSubmit your video by responding to the OECD competition video on YouTube (the video above), do not forget to complete and submit the online registration form by the deadline.Your video must complete the title: ” Progress is…”Video Requirements– less than 3 minutes in length– either be in English or French– can not contain violence, profanity, sex or direct attacks on individuals or organizations– must be your own original creation – no copyrighted music, video, or images may be usedSelectionAfter the competition closes on 1 March 2011, a shortlist of 20 finalists will be chosen by an OECD jury. These finalists will be announced in April and notified by e-mail, and the shortlisted videos will be showcased on the competition website.Subsequently, three winning videos will be selected by public voting on the OECD video competition on the Youtube Channel. The winners will be announced on 5 April 2011 and notified by e-mail, as well as published on the competition website.AwardThe video author (or nominated representative, if a team creation) of each winning video will be invited to Paris to attend the OECD 50th Anniversary Forum in May 2011. Travel costs to and from Paris, hotel accommodation and a living allowance will be provided for the duration of the [email protected] Webpagecenter_img OECD 50th Anniversary Video Competition Similar Stories European Blind Union full time Project Coordinator. Reddit +1 Tweet Active Participation at Local Level: Mobility and Activation of Youth, Greece →last_img read more

Review: Bontrager Rain Protection Three ways, MTB, Road, and Compact

first_imgNothing ruins a ride like rain. That is, until you ride in the rain and realize, hey, this isn’t so bad! Sure, you have to pay a little more attention to your tires to prevent yourself from skidding into a ditch, but with the right equipment wet rides offer sights, sounds, and smells you would miss otherwise. While there are a lot of options out there to keep you dry, Bontrager sent over three of their latest options for us to tempt the skies – the Convertible Windshell, Packable Stormshell, and the mountain bike oriented Rhythm Stormshell Jacket.So far our season has offered plenty of wet weather testing, see how they all fared after the break! Compared to the other jackets in the test, the cut of the Windshell isn’t as sleek, offering more wind noise with the sleeves installed, but the vest portion actually fits very well. Bontrager mentions to consider sizing up if you prefer a roomier fit, but while I would agree on the Packable Stormshell, the Windshell seems to run a little big.Like many of the other designs the back of the vest is mesh which is then covered by the sleeve portion with a big vent in the back for ventilation. In addition to the three pockets on the front, there is a side access pocket in the rear that works very well to stash the sleeves if you take them off mid ride.Even though the design might not be ground breaking, there is no denying the versatility of a piece like the Convertible Windshell. At $99.99, the price is reasonable enough and offers full YKK zippers, reflective accents, and DWR coating. Compared to other convertible jackets I have used the Bontrager may be slightly more water resistant, but other that there really isn’t anything that jumps out at you. It’s simply a solid piece that works as advertised. Like the Packable Stormshell, the Windshell is also available in Hi Vis Yellow, and in XS-XXL.If you’re considering jackets because you ride in the rain and cold, you owe it to yourself to check out Bontrager’s warmers and Race Thermal Bibs as well. We’ve reviewed the warmers before, but the Thermal shorts are great in the rain as they keep you warm even when wet. They are definitely not waterproof, but I’ve found that as long as my core, arms, and head are warm, the Thermal bibs are plenty to keep the lower half warm, especially with knee warmers. Not to mention that even if they weren’t thermal, the cut, fabric, grippers, and chamois on the shorts are brilliant. At $119.99, these shorts may be just the ticket for the upcoming cross season – you know, if you aren’t repping a team. When not in use, the hood is a bit bulky since there is no way to stow or remove it. If that bothers you, it’s about the only flaw in an otherwise stellar piece of gear.Not only does the jacket work flawlessly in heavy downpours, it also makes for a great winter shell with the right layering underneath. On the day of the ride pictured above, the snow was very heavy and wet which weighed down the trees blocking our path. If I wasn’t wearing some sort of waterproof layer I would have been soaked halfway through the ride.Make no mistake, at $219.99, the Rhythm Stormshell is an expensive piece of kit. However, it works extremely well and if your riding involves a lot of rain you know how important a great rain jacket can be.Finally, the Bontrager Convertible Windshell is a fairly ubiquitous design, but is still a nice jacket none the less. With a base layer wind vest, the jacket has sleeves that zipper on to create a wind shell that is water resistant. This is the jacket you want for chilly days where full waterproofing isn’t necessary, but the chill in the air requires extra layers. The jacket will still shrug off light shower, just don’t expect to stay dry for long in a downpour. Perhaps the most surprising in the test was the Packable Stormshell. After using a jacket like this you will wonder how you ever got along without it. Bontrager sells a few different packable jackets from the $69.99 Sport Packable Wind Jacket to the premium $219.99 eVent Packable Stormshell, but for half the price at $109.99 the Packable Stormshell is a winner.The Small jacket tested here offered a nice slim fit with elastic cuffs and hem that didn’t turn into a sail when riding into a stiff wind. It offers a no-nonsense design with one rear side pocket that doubles as a stow sack, and a drop tail to keep your backside dry. Fully taped seams ensure that the water stays out, even at full speed. On rides that start off dry but threaten to be a washout, the Stormshell fits neatly into a jersey pocket in its stowed form and as mentioned is easily unfurled while riding. If you need to take off the jacket while still riding, it can be tucked into a jersey pocket without packing it back up. Finally at 165g, it’s hardly an inconvenience if you bring it along and you’re graced with dry weather all the way home.The Packable Stormshell is offered in Hi Vis Yellow for those opposed to black, though the black at least offers reflective accents, and both are sold in XS-XXL. Bontrager isn’t the only company to make packable jackets, but with the Packable Stormshell they have made quite a good one. If you don’t have a jacket of this type, it’s almost guaranteed to change your perception of “rideable” weather. Next up is Bontrager’s top of the line mountain bike rain jacket, the Rhythm Stormshell. A lot of thought has gone into making wet weather mountain biking as comfortable as possible, especially with the chest vents. While many rain jackets offer pit zips for additional ventilation, they’re not ideal when you’re hunched over on a mountain bike wearing a hydration pack. The zippered chest vents pucker a bit when zipped up and not riding, but out on the trail they make a lot of sense when unzipped.Built with a relaxed fit, shock corded waist with a 2″ drop tail, 3 pockets, and velcro wrist closures, the Rhythm has many of the feature you’d expect from high end threads. Both sleeves are equipped with large pull tabs that make it easy to take the jacket on or off while riding even with gloves, and help to make sure the sleeves don’t turn inside out. The Stormshell isn’t quite as breathable as the high end eVent model with 8,000 g/m2/24 hr verses 13,000 g/m2/24hr breathability and double the waterproofing for the eVent, but for all but the longest, most drenched rides it is perfectly adequate. On everything except extremely humid summer rain storms, breathability was enough to keep comfortable and mostly dry on the inside.In the early Spring we have a lot of cold, wet days, and the Stormshell was just roomy enough to layer up underneath to keep warm. After probably no less than 100  stuffs into the pocket, removing, wearing, splashing, and abusing the jacket it has proven to be nicely durable. Combined, the three jackets couldn’t be more different in their intended uses – one is for big mountain off road epics, one is a completely waterproof packable shell, and the last is a vest that doubles as a wind proof/water resistant jacket. Compared with the Stormshell on the left, the Profila Stormshell 2.5 layer fabric on the right looks similar but there is no mistaking the increased protection from the elements. Boasting 10,000mm Waterproof/10,000g/m2/24hr breathability and fully taped seams and waterproof YKK zippers the Rhythm is a fortress against the elements.The Jacket also features a helmet compatible, mesh lined hood with a shock cord to keep it tight. When using the hood without a helmet like before or after a ride you have to pull the draw string very tight, but it does work.last_img read more

Schumer: Feds Will Pay For WH Water Cleanup

first_imgThe briefing was important enough for Senator Chuck Schumer to leave John McCain’s wake in Washington and fly into Gabreski Airport on Friday, August 31, and then return in time for the funeral early the next morning.Leaving the momentous occasion of his friend’s passing underscored the seriousness of the business at hand, Schumer said.“I care about this a lot,” he told a half-dozen county and state officials gathered at the Westhampton National Guard base. He was referring to a bill that would make the U.S. Air Force responsible for the costs of cleaning up drinking water in Westhampton.The Independent, the first local newspaper to report that U.S. Air Force and National Guard bases have polluted civilian drinking water supplies, was invited to attend the gathering by the senator.Senators Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand earlier in the week shepherded an amendment to a Senate Appropriations Bill — fittingly called “The McCain Defense Authorization Act — through the Senate. If the amendment is added to the McCain Act, it will reimburse states, counties, and water authorities that have allocated funds to clean drinking water contaminated with PFOA/PFOS, chemicals commonly used at U.S. Air Force and National Guard bases.There are three bases identified so far in New York including Gabreski, in Westhampton Beach, home of the 106th National Guard, and Stewart Air National Guard Base (Newburgh), home to the 105th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard, a state Superfund site.For years, the bases used a type of foam for aircraft emergencies and training purposes that contained PFOS, or perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, which has been linked to cancer and other medical problems. The Independent learned the chemicals routinely leaked to drinking wells near the facilities, but adopted a policy of not being proactive — waiting until municipalities identified a problem before starting an investigation into the possible causes.“We endeavored to force the Air Force to pay and they resisted,” Schumer related. “We forced them to admit it.”There will be $45 million made available nationally for cleanups in communities surrounding affected bases, including $4.8 for the Westhampton site, the senator said.Schumer, visibly moved by his experience in Washington earlier in the day, strayed from his prepared briefing to offer insights into his relationship with McCain, his fellow Senator.“He was one of my closest friends. We spent the day together the day he voted against their health care plan.” Schumer said McCain traced his lineage all the way back to Scottish kings in the Middle Ages — the McCains were always fighters. “His father and grandfather were both admirals,” Schumer noted.He assured County Legislator Bridget Fleming that he would get an additional $300,000 to reimburse the county for its share of the cleanup costs.The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, where Schumer said there has been some resistance. Congressman Lee Zeldin’s take on the matter accompanies this article.There are other sites contaminated with PFOS/PFOA in Suffolk including Hampton Bays, Yaphank, and Wainscott, but the bill McCain is championing will cover only the federal sites, he stressed. The former Plattsburgh Air Force Base has also been identified as a source of the chemicals.The worst case is Newburgh. “Unfortunately, it’s gotten to the lake,” the senator pointed out referring to Lake Washington.Since discovering the contaminants in wells primarily south of the airport, county and state officials have expanded the test area and put affected homeowners on public water.All of the affected homes are located south of the railroad tracks in Westhampton Beach, and between Beaverdam Creek in Westhampton and Quantuck Creek on the Quogue Village border. Since 2016, the chemicals have been detected in more than 100 private wells and early in 2018, the testing area was widened.“Suffolk County and its Water Authority deserves to be repaid for the actions they took to respond to the contamination of their water supplies and private wells due to toxic PFOS contamination that originated at Gabreski,” Schumer said.The state Department of Environmental Conservation added the 89-acre defense facility to the state Superfund list in September 2016. In 2017, Mark Kinkade, a U.S. Air Force spokesman told The Independent, “The Air Force is evaluating a Suffolk County Department of Health Services report on possible sources of perfluorinated compound contamination in local drinking wells. If our review validates the data and report findings, we will work with local regulators to address the issue.”[email protected] Sharelast_img read more

Miss Nut back to form with win at Emerald

first_imgThe skies were very dark and we resumed our game after a thirty minute stoppage, but still no sign of any rain, and we all came in after 18 holes with threatening clouds throughout the round but no rain, amazing!There were two 35’s in today with Colin James recording one of them to win division 1.  Welcome back to Takashi Hakozaki, still playing off 10, who came in second with 34 and Billy Fitzgerald was third on 33.Andy Oz was the winner in division 2 on the other 35, with ‘Count back’ Burnie in second place three points behind and Glenn King took third with 31.Colin James birdied C2 to take the ‘2’s pot in the second division while a rollover ensued to the Emerald in division 1.Wednesday, June 5, The Emerald – StablefordYet again there was heavy rain overnight here in Jomtien and bursts of showers early morning and there were seven cancellations, so only 5 groups made the trip.  There were a few slight showers before we teed off but we went out on time.A cut of 8-17 today in division 1 and Jerry Sweetnam returned a score of 36 to take first place ahead of Curtis Hessler the Welsh wizard in second one point behind, and Terry Madsen was third after beating Pete Sumner 17/17 and 11/11 and 6/4 on count back on the last three holes, both on 31.Miss Nut, now playing off the white tees with a handicap of 23, returned her best score for many months to win division 2 with 36 points.  Neil gamble came in second, beating Lee Casey on a 17/15 back nine count back after they both scored 33 points.Miss Nut.There were no ‘2’s today so a rollover in both divisions to Treasure Hills on Monday.It was also time to say Bon Voyage to Pete Sumner and his lovely wife; we will all see you in three months.Friday, June 7, Eastern Star – Rainbow StablefordEvery couple of months we have a fun game courtesy of the rollover kitty.  Today was a two divisional comp with each player selecting six red, six white and six blues to tee off from.  This is a game of logic for the individual player and some of the remarks afterwards were, “I played all the par threes off the reds because I had a better chance of winning nearest the pins,” or “I played all the par threes off the blues because I can hit my driver straighter than a medium iron shot,” etc. and this went on and on with many other interesting ideas and solutions.There were seven groups out with the cut at 5-17 in division 1 and Ted Gardner won that flight with 36 points.  Lindsay Phillips came in second three points behind Ted and Martin Grimoldby took third with 32, beating Marty Rock on a 12/10 back six count back.Thirty-six was also the winning score in division 2 for Iain Walsh while the organiser claimed second on 35 after some remarkable tee shots never been seen before, and Pepo Frick was third with 32 points.Everybody enjoyed the format, it made a nice change and the weather was brilliant today.  It was also great to see Harry Riley back in the fold.Near pins went to Paul Butler (2), Jerry Sweetnam, Neil Gamble, Ian Hart, Harry Riley and Burnie Sinclair.Other technical prizes were claimed by Martin Grimoldby and Ian Hart (Nearest pin in two shots #Hole 2), Ted Gardner and Harry Riley (Nearest pin in three shots #Hole 8), Lindsay Phillips and Colin James (Straightest Drives #Hole 9), Martin Grimoldby and Neil Gamble (Nearest pin in two shots #Hole 12), and Ted Gardner and Rod Howett (Nearest pin in three shots #Hole 16).There were no ‘2’s in the top flight but Glyn Evans birdied both the 13th and 17th with 8ft and 25ft putts respectively to clean up the pot in division 2 (never been seen before and probably never will again!) Jomtien golf with the IPGCMonday, June 3, Pattana – StablefordThe wet season is here again and as we drove up the 331 it did not look promising, with some very dark and rolling clouds as we approached the course.  It was deserted here and with the A course shut we were allocated the B and C nines today.  It was still very gloomy as we teed off and this stayed the same for the next nine holes with a few spots of rain.   No problems so far but the thunder and lightning started as the last group was halfway down the 10th fairway and the marshall called them in to a safe place and also all the groups in front had been taken off course as well.Jerry Sweetnam.last_img read more

Biosphere expert visits

first_imgWestern Port Biosphere Reserve Chairman Duncan Malcolm and executive officer Cecelia Witton are pleased to have hosted a visit this…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

TFA National Participation Survey

first_imgTouch Football Australia (TFA) is currently implementing a comprehensive Market Research Program (MRP) through the TFA Business Development and Marketing portfolio. The purpose is to conduct research programs/projects through regular surveys and data gathering initiatives to provide critical evidence-based findings. These results will shape the vision and future direction of the sport and inform the development of the new 2015-2020 Strategic and Participation Plans.As communicated in a memorandum to our membership in June 2015 (see attached), TFA and the University of Canberra will be undertaking the first critical phase of this research program: the National Participation Survey in the coming weeks. This body of research will analyse national participation for 2014/15 with the overall intent to develop an in-depth understanding of current participation demographics, the key drivers of participation, and participant behaviour which will be tracked over time.Individuals that have registered in a TFA affiliated competition via Touch Football Online (TFO) and have opted in to communication from TFA in the last 12 months will shortly receive an email from the University of Canberra regarding this survey.TFA assures members that this research complies with the TFA Privacy Policy (2014)  and at no time will member’s personal information be used for any means other than to collect anonymous participation data about our sport.The survey is optional however we encourage all members to complete the survey as the findings/evidence from this research will help improve our competitions and product delivery.The amended table below highlights the key timings/dates of the participation survey, as follows. On behalf of Touch Football Australia, thank you for your cooperation in this critical process. If you have any questions contact Tim Wyld at: [email protected] or 02 6212 2800. Related Filesnational_participation_survey_memo-pdfRelated LinksParticipation Surveylast_img read more

EC sets up panel to probe whether PM’s address to nation violated poll code

first_imgNew Delhi: The Election Commission Wednesday set up a committee under a deputy election commissioner to examine the matter related to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation “in the light of the Model Code of Conduct” which is in force for Lok Sabha polls.An Election Commission spokesperson said the poll panel has directed a committee of officers to “examine the matter immediately in the light of the model code of conduct”. However, sources in the poll panel said issues related to national security and disaster management do not fall under the ambit of the model code which came into force on March 10 when the ok Sabha election schedule was announced. The seven-phased polls will begin on April 11 and end on May 19. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The sources said the decision was taken after the opposition claimed that the PM’s address violated the model code as he highlighted an “achievement” of the government and the issue was not necessarily related to national security. “The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had met. Decisions taken by it and issues such as disaster management do not fall under the (ambit of)model code of conduct and require no prior nod,” a functionary had said earlier in the day. Though there was no official word on the deadline given to the committee to submit its report, sources said the task will be completed at the earliest. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe panel would go through the video and the transcript of the address. The PM addressed the nation after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security Wednesday morning which was apparently apprised of the development. “The matter related to the address of the Prime Minister to the Nation on electronic media today afternoon has been brought to the notice of the Election Commission of India. The Commission has directed a Committee of Officers to examine the matter immediately in the light of Model Code of Conduct,” the EC spokesperson tweeted Wednesday night. Deputy Election Commissioner in charge of the Model Code of Conduct Division Sandeep Saxena will head the panel. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Commission Wednesday afternoon. In his address, Prime Minister Modi on Wednesday announced that India had demonstrated anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a live satellite, describing it as a rare achievement that puts the country in an exclusive club of space superpowers. Opposition parties alleged that the PM’s address was a violation of the model code of conduct and demanded that EC take action in this regard.last_img read more

Priyanka accuses Irani of distributing shoes to insult Rahul; Union minister hits back

first_imgAmethi (UP): Dubbing the BJP’s Amethi candidate Smriti Irani as an “outsider”, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday accused her of distributing shoes in order to insult Rahul Gandhi and said the people in the Congress chief’s Lok Sabha constituency are not beggars.Interacting with the voters in this key parliamentary constituency, the Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh said the people of Amethi and Rae Bareli have self-respect and they do not beg from anyone. “…if anyone has to beg, it is them (BJP), who will beg for your votes,” a visibly agitated Priyanka told the voters in the presence of reporters at a “nukkad sabha”. She also slammed “outsider” Irani for distributing shoes in Amethi. “She (Irani) thinks she can insult Rahul Gandhi by doing this,” Priyanka said, adding that the Union minister was in fact insulting the people of Amethi. “The people of Amethi are very sensible. You all know who was going to open a food park in Amethi and the fact that it has not been opened till now. The food park would have benefitted five lakh farmers in Amethi and Rae Bareli,” she said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Reacting to the Congress leader’s remarks, actor-turned-politician Irani said, “I have been an actor and it would be better if Priyanka Gandhi does not stage a drama.” Irani, who had lost to Rahul Gandhi in Amethi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, is again hoping to breach the Gandhi family bastion five years later. Talking about the condition of the people of Amethi, she said there were those who could not even afford a pair of shoes. “If she (Priyanka) has even an iota of shame and humanity, she should visit Hariharpur and see the truth for herself. But for going to Hariharpur, she has to first ask the missing MP (Rahul) about its location,” the Union textiles minister added. Lashing out at the BJP, Priyanka also said, “You (public) must have seen that former PM Rajiv Gandhi had gone to various villages of Amethi. You should ask your elders and perhaps there was none whom he had not met.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

EU bans arms sales to Central African Republic

first_imgBRUSSELS – Micopax, MISCA and the French troops already stationed there may continue receiving arms and all kinds of support without any restrictionsThe European Union (EU) on Monday banned the arms exports and the dispatch of mercenaries to the Central African Republic (CAR), which is racked by internal violence.The EU’s ban came after the United Nations (UN) Security Council’s decision on December 5 authorizing both the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA) and the French troops already stationed in the strife-torn nation.CAR, a mineral-rich landlocked country, descended into anarchy in March, when Seleka rebels ousted Christian President François Bozize, who had assumed power in a 2003 coup. The months since have seen the emergence of self-styled “anti-balaka” Christian militias.The EU bans also include financial and technical support to the country. The three exceptions- Micopax, an international organization for the promotion of peace in the region, MISCA and the French troops already stationed there- may receive arms and all kinds of support without any restrictions.last_img read more