23 Oct

Belships Eyes Fleet Growth as It Gets New Loan

first_imgzoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: PxHere under CC0 Creative Commons license Norway-based bulk ship operator Belships Group has secured a USD 140 million loan facility that will enable the company to add further Ultramaxes and Supramaxes to its fleet. As informed, the new loan replaces the group’s current senior debt of USD 105 million.The new loan will be available in two tranches. An initial tranche of USD 110 million will replace Belships existing loan and strengthen the group’s working capital.An accordion tranche of USD 30 million will be available for fleet expansion, Belships said.Following the merger with Lighthouse Group in December 2018, Belships currently owns twelve Supramax and Ultramax dry bulk vessels. In addition, the group operates three Ultramaxes on time and bareboat charter with purchase options.An Ultramax newbuilding being delivered next year will bring the fleet to a total of sixteen vessels.What is more, Belships said it is actively pursuing an expansion strategy and expects to acquire additional Supramax and/or Ultramax vessels going forward.last_img read more

22 Oct

Amendments to Improve Traffic Safety and Efficiency

first_imgTRANSPORTATION/PUBLIC WORKS–Amendments to Improve Traffic Safetyand Efficiency Improving highway safety and promoting public transit are two keyamendments to the Motor Vehicle Act introduced today, Sept. 23,by Transportation and Public Works Minister Ron Russell. With the changes, more commuters will be encouraged to use publictransit. “We are changing the Motor Vehicle Act to support HalifaxRegional Municipality’s bus rapid transit project,” said Mr.Russell. Cole Harbour and Sackville have been identified as two prioritytransit corridors to and from downtown Halifax. New signaldisplays will be installed and special lanes designated to givebuses top priority along specific routes and intersections. Mr. Russell said that giving buses priority lanes andintersections will make public transit faster and more efficient,as well as help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The province is also proposing news rules of the road which willsee traditional rotaries become modern roundabouts. The amendmentmakes it clear how roundabouts will operate in the future. “Roundabouts are safe, economical and save drivers’ time,” Mr.Russell said. “As we tackle new highway projects, roundaboutswill be considered where and when it makes sense.” The Motor Vehicle Act currently states that drivers entering arotary must merge one-on-one with traffic. In the future, driverswill have to yield and wait for a gap in traffic before enteringa roundabout. Several administrative amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act willhelp make Nova Scotia roads safer by targeting unsafe drivers.These include ensuring that pending suspensions of drivers inother provinces are recognized in Nova Scotia, and allowing theRegistrar of Motor Vehicles to suspend the driver’s licence of anindividual who has received a conditional or absolute dischargefor specific criminal offences. These offences include dangerousoperation of a motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer,failing to stop at the scene of an accident, and criminalnegligence causing death or bodily harm. Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is responsible foradministering and enforcing the Motor Vehicle Act as it relatesto drivers and vehicles. Transportation and Public Works isresponsible for establishing highway safety rules under the MotorVehicle Act. Mr. Russell also introduced an amendment to the Highway 104Western Alignment Act to enhance accountability. The Highway 104Western Alignment Corporation’s current practice of producing anannual report and sending it to the minister of transportationand public works will now become mandatory.last_img read more

22 Oct

Four Nova Scotians Receive Medal of Bravery

first_imgPremier Darrell Dexter awarded four Nova Scotians with the medal of bravery today, Nov. 17, for putting their lives at risk to help others. “Today’s recipients are heroes in the eyes of their families, their friends, and all Nova Scotians,” said Premier Dexter. “When someone was in need, these brave Nova Scotians didn’t hesitate to risk their own lives to save someone else’s. Such a selfless act deserves our recognition and respect, which is why I am pleased to award this prestigious honour.” This year’s Nova Scotia Medal of Bravery recipients are: — Daniel Blinkhorn, Barrington: In June 2009, 15-year-old Daniel Blinkhorn escaped from his burning home, then returned to rescue his mother. Mr. Blinkhorn acted quickly and was able to get his mother out safely. — Colin Brownell, Pugwash: In May 2009, Mr. Brownell was travelling along Highway 6 in Linden, when he saw a vehicle off the road and on fire. Through his rearview mirror, Mr. Brownell noticed a hand pressing on the windshield from inside the car and stopped to help. He righted the vehicle and pulled the occupant to safety, before the vehicle burst into flames. — Jerome Tracey, Port Hawkesbury: In November 2009, Mr. Tracey was awoken by his son, who saw flames coming from a house across the street. Mr. Tracey ran into the burning home to wake his neighbours and get them to safety. He then realized the house next door was also on fire. Without hesitation, he ran to the second home and began banging on the door to wake up the family of five. They were able to escape and, within minutes, both homes were fully engulfed. — Steven Wilton, New Waterford: Twenty-one-year old Steven Wilton was travelling home in January on an Acadian Lines bus when it crashed through a bridge guardrail on Highway 104, falling almost eight metres into the icy Tracadie River. Only the front of the bus remained above water. Mr. Wilton swam to the front of the bus, escaped, and ran up a snowy embankment where he flagged down passing motorists, who called 911. Thanks to Mr. Wilton’s quick thinking, emergency personnel were able to rescue five passengers from the submerged bus. This is the third year for Nova Scotia’s Medal of Bravery. Recipients were selected by an advisory panel chaired by Constance Glube, former Chief Justice of Nova Scotia. The committee also includes the deputy minister of Justice, the provincial fire marshal, president of the Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association, the director of operations from the Emergency Management Office, the commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic, former Member of the Legislative Assembly Wayne Adams, and member-at-large Mr. John Cody.last_img read more

22 Oct

Collaborative Emergency Centre Will Provide Better Care for Western Annapolis

first_imgThe province’s fifth Collaborative Emergency Centre will open in Annapolis Royal, Health and Wellness ministerial assistant Gary Ramey announced today, Nov. 18. People living in the community and surrounding areas will soon have access to same-day, or next-day medical appointments and 24/7 emergency care. Creating the Collaborative Emergency Centres fulfills a key commitment of Better Care Sooner, government’s response to Dr. John Ross’s report. The centres help address issues of emergency department overcrowding and long waits to see family doctors. They will keep emergency departments open, reduce patient wait times and provide a team-based approach that offers continuity of care. “Residents of western Annapolis County were concerned about the care available to them in their communities. Today’s announcement will bring them peace of mind because CECs ensure faster and consistent health care,” said Mr. Ramey. “And more than anything else, Nova Scotians want peace of mind with regard to our health care. “We made a commitment to ensure better health care for Nova Scotians and their families, and by announcing our fifth collaborative emergency centre, we are fulfilling that commitment.” Services at the centre include access to primary health care by a team of professionals, including doctors and nurse practitioners, for 12 hours per day, seven days per week, while providing emergency care 24/7. “Annapolis Valley Health is committed to working with our community and the Department of Health and Wellness to develop the best centre for the area,” said Janet Knox, president and CEO of Annapolis Valley Health. “We want to create the best support for our citizens.” Nova Scotia’s first Collaborative Emergency Centre opened in Parrsboro in July. For more information on the province’s Better Care Sooner plan, visit www.gov.ns.ca/health/bettercaresooner .last_img read more

20 Oct

Brazil have 3 goals disallowed in draw with Venezuela

first_imgSalvador (Brazil): Brazil were held to a 0-0 draw against Venezuela in the Copa America as a late strike from Philippe Coutinho was disallowed after a controversial VAR decision. Coutinho thought he had fired Brazil into the quarter-finals in the 87th minute when he bundled home a finish from Everton Soares’ driving run down the left wing at Salvador’s Arena Fonte Nova on Tuesday. But for the second time in the match, Chilean referee Julio Bascunan ruled out the Brazilian goal after being alerted to an infringement by the video assistant referee. Also Read – Djokovic heaps praise on ‘very complete’ MedvedevThe goal appeared to have been disallowed due to a touch by Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino, although it was not clear that Firmino had been offside as the ball grazed him on the way into the net. Brazil left the field to boos but remain top of Group A with four points from two games, and one game to play. Venezuela have two points from two games and will fancy their chances of advancing with their final game coming against Bolivia, who suffered their second straight defeat earlier Tuesday in a 3-1 loss to Peru. Also Read – Mary Kom enters quarterfinals, Saweety Boora bows out of World C’shipsBrazil, who had made hard work of beating Bolivia in their opener, once again struggled to find a creative spark against well-organized opponents. Firmino was kept quiet by Venezuela’s defense with Yordan Osorio and Mikel Villanueva neutralizing the Liverpool striker. The tale of the first half lay in the statistics from the opening 45 minutes, with Brazil recording only one shot on target despite enjoying 75 percent possession. In fact, the best chance of the half fell to Venezuela, when Salomon Rondon headed Yangel Herrera’s cross just inches wide with Alisson beaten. Firmino did get the ball in the Venezuela net in the 38th minute but the goal was disallowed after Bascunan ruled Villanueva had been fouled in the build-up. Brazil left the field to loud boos and whistling, and manager Tite wasted no time in making a change at half-time, bringing on Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus for Richarlison. Jesus made an instant impact looking lively down the left flank and curling a shot just wide of the post on 57 minutes. Moments later Jesus looked to have fired Brazil into the lead.last_img read more

18 Oct

Jadavpur University professor assaulted by former student

first_imgKolkata: A Jadavpur University professor was allegedly assaulted by a former student near the varsity main gate here, officials said on Saturday. Professor Abdul Kafi of the Bengali department was having tea near the university main gate on Friday afternoon when a former student, identified as Rajesh Santra, hit him repeatedly, the officials said. As Kafi fell to the ground, he was rescued by students and by-standers and Santra was detained by varsity employees and taken to the main administrative building Aurobindo Bhavan, they said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja Santra, who had passed in 2015, told the university authorities afterwards that Kafi had allegedly “discriminated” against him when he was a student of the department, the sources said. Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association general secretary Partha Pratim Roy said on Saturday, “we want strict action against Santra who had been stalking Prof Kafi for a long time and finally carried on such an audacious attack.” Vice Chancellor Prof Suranjan Das said “the university informed the police after the attack on the teacher” and would always take a stern view about such incidents. Santra, a resident of Arambagh in Hooghly district, was arrested, an officer of Jadavpur police station said.last_img read more

18 Oct

Modi and Putins predestination

first_imgWith Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Vladivostok, Russia, the wheel of history seems to be making positive corrections in India’s vision for a New World Order. The current ruling dispensation has realised that keeping all eggs in one basket can never be a wise proposition and the perception of India sitting on America’s lap must go sooner than later. Modi, in his second tenure, wants to follow the path of Jawahar Lal Nehru’s Non-Alignment—a time tested policy. Also Read – A special kind of bondModi is the first Indian prime minister to visit the Russian Far East region, where he participated in the 20th India-Russia annual summit and the 5th meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF). His visit has surely given a new direction, energy and impetus to relations between the two countries. In the summit-level meeting between Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, 25 pacts were signed. They cover areas ranging from oil and gas, deep-sea exploration, energy, space, connectivity and minerals. Modi’s presence at the time of signing these agreements between the two nations underscores the importance of beginning a new era. Also Read – Insider threat managementRussian Far East is a gargantuan landmass with very rich natural resources. But it is an area with very less population and hugely lagging in development. Putin has timely sensed the shifting of global economics to Asia and made a diversified plan for the evolution essentially because of China’s apparent dominance in the Far East. For more than three years, Russia has been specifically focussing on the development of this region. An Indian delegation that included representatives of 140 companies and the chief ministers of various states had visited Vladivostok last month. After Modi’s visit, doors for a maritime route between Chennai and Vladivostok have been opened which will give an astounding boost to business activities. The route will bypass Europe and cargo transfers will take almost half the time – 24 days instead of current 40. Bilateral trade between India and Russia is around $10 billion at the moment. Indian energy companies are now investing in Russia’s upstream sector. They have already acquired stakes in hydrocarbon assets. A consortium of oil companies has plans to pick up sizable stakes in eastern cluster oil fields in Russia. India’s decision to go ahead with the purchase of S-400 missile defence system is an important step. Despite the threat of US sanctions, this $5 billion contract is significant of the emphasis India has given to defence engagement with Russia. Modi is keen for Russian assistance in manufacturing defence equipment in India that can be sold to other countries. The Agreement on Reciprocal Logistics Support (ARLS) will facilitate access to each other’s military facilities. Russia’s recent gesture that ‘India’s decision on Kashmir is a sovereign decision which is as per its constitution’ and that ‘Moscow follows a policy of non-interference in domestic affairs of countries’ is a reconfirmation that it finds Modi 2.0 a different person and is keen to revive the cordiality it had with India during the happy days of Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Putin had initially ignored India on Afghanistan, but now he has made a course correction and feels that India’s involvement remains necessary for the long-term stability in war-torn Afghanistan. It is a good sign that the top leadership of both countries has recognised the challenges of new global trends and is taking corrective measures. When major powers are redefining their ties, India and Russia cannot remain aloof. Modi’s recent visit has certainly created a favourable momentum but would require a sink with contemporary realities, mutual trust and regular outreach. Most will depend on how India deals with western pressures in times to come. It was Vladivostok from where the Soviet Union had dispatched its nuclear-armed warship in support of India during the 1971 war with Pakistan that gave birth to Bangladesh. Almost five decades from now, when US and British Navies tried threatening India, USSR’s Pacific Fleet lost no time to respond in Indira Gandhi’s favour. India’s willingness to work with the US for the idea of an ‘Indo-Pacific region’ is still a cause of concern for Russia. But Putin is matured enough to understand that it is important for India to counter China’s emphatic maritime rise. But at the same time, India is careful that its foreign policy choices are not influenced. During Sochi informal summit last year, Modi could convince Putin that Indo-Pacific is not aimed at anything else than stability and inclusiveness. At the Shangri-La dialogue, Modi made it clear that “Indo-Pacific is not a club of limited members and India wants to have engagement with all the relevant stakeholders”. These efforts helped in removing the unnecessary clouds of apprehensions for Putin. Russia also does not want China to become a hegemon in the Eurasian region. For that, it needs cooperation from India, Vietnam and Indonesia. Apart from India, 17 other countries have already invested in the Far East. The land is going to create many opportunities for Indian professionals, especially, doctors, engineers and teachers. Indian manpower can also occupy huge space there in the near future. Modi feels that his para-diplomacy can also play a significant role to improve his chemistry with Putin. He has directed states such as UP, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana and Goa to collaborate with various Russian provinces to increase trade and investments. Financial experts have different views on this. But a vast section in the government corridors is of the opinion that when the US is trying for deglobalisation and China is aggressively pushing for globalisation with Chinese characteristics, India and Russia must explore everything possible to make their ties stronger. Though most foreign affair experts believe that foreign policy is a matter of costs and benefits, I trust that it is theology that also plays a major role in international relations. The nations indulge in natural hatred and natural fondness because of unexplained historical reasons. The Nation, prompted by deep ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels its government to war, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. A great deal has to do with classical circumstances, historical sentiments and perception of people. People of India perceive USSR-Russia as a believable buddy. No other superpower has that place in Indian minds. Similarly, Russians see Indians as superbly trustworthy than any other folks around. It is a priceless asset of goodwill both countries possess. Therefore, India and Russia are destined to take the future journey in the global arena with hands in hands closely held. This predestination, more than any other mundane intent, is stimulating Modi and Putin to walk in the required direction together. (The author is Editor and CEO of News Views India and a national office bearer of the Congress party. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

12 Oct

Poor Services for Women and Statistics are Alarming: Fadoua Bakhadda

Rabat – The panel of speakers included Her Royal Highness Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan, Dr Shible Sahbani (regional adviser on reproductive health, United Nations Population Fund), Dr Daniela Ligiero, executive director and CEO of Together for Girls, Ms Berangere Boell-Yousfi, representative UNFPA, Libya, Ms Fadoua Bakhadda, executive director, Moroccan Family Planning Association, and Ms Ayah Al-Oballi, senior officer at Mercy Corps’ Regional Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Girls, Jordan.Each of the speakers delved into the double discrimination that Arab women face in the region on account of both conflict and social conservatism. In fact, such is the plight of many Arab women that things like sexual and reproductive health and rights are well beyond their reach. And the reality of conflict-ridden and conflict-affected states means that many Arab women are constantly living in insecurity and being pushed into power-asymmetry situations. Thus the incidents of child marriage and survival sex being reported from places like Syria and refugee camps in Lebanon and Turkey.In this regard, I spoke with one of the panel speakers, Ms Fadoua Bakhadda of the Moroccan Family Planning Association, on women’s issues in Morocco, including those of migrants to the country. Here are the excerpts: What has been the process since Marrakech hosted the Global Forum on Migration and Development last year?Since the migration forum, Morocco has been hosting more and more migrants. It is welcome that the ministry of migration developed PPP (public-private partnerships) actions to respond to this situation. Investing more on migrants’ inclusion and supporting healthcare system for migrants and refugees are the needs of the hour.What is the overall status of Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in Morocco?Concerning SRHR in Morocco, we do have many challenges. The abortion law is not updated, even if the government launched a reform of it in 2015. The new Gender Based Violence law that just came in at the end of 2018 is not as effective as it should be. Child marriage is still a big challenge. The poor services for women and statistics are alarming. We have a lot of work that remains to be done.The Moudawana was enacted in 2004, what has been the progress and what more needs to be done?Concerning the Moudawana, some good advancements have been made. Now Morocco recognizes the infant of a Moroccan woman as Moroccan, and we are doing fine concerning child rights in the family. However, divorce is still high and many people haven’t understood the Moudawana well, and women are rebelling against everything sometimes.Has the training of female preachers or morchidates contributed to women’s empowerment in Morocco and can they be agents of change for women, especially in rural Morocco?For morchidates, look we do have some ones that are really conservative, but most of them are doing their best to change women’s minds. We still have a lot to do because the education system of those religious leaders is mainly based on religion and some soft skills. They are not well knowledgeable about women’s needs and human rightsWhat are your organization’s future plans?My organization’s future plan is to sustain existing feminist movements in the MENA region to empower women through education, access to SRHR and humanitarian aid. read more

6 Oct

Annan names team to assess needs of expert panel on Somalia sanctions

Ian Anthony, an expert on arms working for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, and Harjit Singh Sandhu, an expert with Interpol investigative experience, will have 30 days to prepare an “action plan detailing the resources and expertise that the [proposed] Panel of Experts would require to be able to generate independent information violations and for improving the enforcement of the weapon and military equipment embargo,” according to a letter from the Secretary-General to the Council President which was made public at UN Headquarters.Under a Council resolution adopted earlier this month, the Panel of Experts would be charged with pursing “any sources that might reveal information related to violations, including relevant States, intergovernmental organizations and international law enforcement cooperation bodies, non-governmental organizations, financial institutions and intermediaries, other brokering agencies, civil aviation companies and authorities, members of the Transitional National Government, local authorities, political and traditional leaders, civil society and the business community.” The Security Council first imposed the arms embargo against Somalia in 1992 with a view to establishing peace and stability in the country. read more

4 Oct

Lawmakers urge delay in control tower furloughs reversal of plan to close

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Jim Abrams, The Associated Press Posted Apr 23, 2013 11:26 am MDT WASHINGTON – As airport delays spread across the country, members of Congress on Tuesday urged the administration to postpone the furloughing of air traffic controllers to give the White House and Congress time to find a less painful way of handling automatic spending cuts.Two senators, Republican Jerry Moran of Kansas and Democrat Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, said putting off the furloughing of air traffic controllers should be combined with a reversal of Federal Aviation Administration plans to close 149 contract air control towers as another way to meet reduced spending goals.And the top two senators on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Democratic Chairman John D. Rockefeller of West Virginia and Republican John Thune of South Dakota, have sent a letter to the administration questioning its approach to the automatic spending cuts and saying that the furloughs and closing of control towers raise “serious safety and operational issues.”FAA officials have said they have no choice but to furlough all 47,000 agency employees, including nearly 15,000 controllers, and close the control towers in order to meet obligations under the sequester, or spending cuts.Republicans have taken issue with that position, charging that the administration is using the furloughs, and the resultant flight delays, to force Republicans to compromise on budget and tax issues.Moran said there was speculation among lawmakers from both parties that “there is an effort afoot to try to demonstrate that the sequester is something that is so painful that it cannot be accomplished without causing dramatic consequences.”Blumenthal said he took the administration at its word that it lacked the authority to find other means to meet the automatic cut requirements. “So we are going to give them that authority if in fact they need it.”The legislation proposed by the two senators and sponsored by 33 others would transfer $50 million in unused FAA research and capital funds to prevent any air traffic control towers from closing.Blumenthal also called for a 30-day delay in the furloughs, which began on Sunday and are already causing backups at airports around the country. He said the two issues are linked because closing contract control towers at smaller airports only puts more of a burden on now-understaffed traffic controllers at other airports.“I would see these issues together,” Moran said. “Both involve the safety of the flying public, inconvenience of those who travel by air, they affect the economy, they affect our national security.”The Rockefeller-Thune letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA administrator Michael Huerta faulted the administration for its handling of the sequestration process. “Many stakeholders argue that you have flexibility within your budget to avoid or minimize air traffic controller furloughs and the closure of the contract control towers,” they wrote. Lawmakers urge delay in control tower furloughs, reversal of plan to close towers read more

3 Oct

United changes policy crew cant displace seated passengers

by The Associated Press Posted Apr 16, 2017 12:04 pm MDT Last Updated Apr 16, 2017 at 5:12 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email United changes policy, crew can’t displace seated passengers United Airlines jets sit at the gates at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago pm Sept. 19, 2014. EPA/KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI CHICAGO – United Airlines is changing a company policy and will no longer allow crew members to displace customers already onboard an airplane.The change comes after a passenger, Dr. David Dao, was dragged from a fully-booked United Express flight in Chicago because he refused to give up his seat to make room for crew members. Cellphone video of the incident sparked widespread outrage and created a public-relations nightmare for United.Under the change outlined in an internal April 14 email, a crew member must make must-ride bookings at least 60 minutes prior to departure. Crews could previously be booked until the time of departure.United spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin said in an email Sunday that the change is an initial step in a review of policies and it’s meant to ensure that situations like Dao’s never happen again. read more

2 Oct

Central African Republic UNbacked humanitarian plan aims to save 22 million lives

According to a press release from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the response plan, with a budget of $399.5 million, covers three strategic objectives: save more lives; strengthen the protection of affected populations; and preserve human dignity by restoring access to basic social services and livelihoods.The security situation has deteriorated markedly, particularly in the second half of 2016, with a growing number of hot spots. This degradation has generated new humanitarian emergencies and exacerbated the vulnerability of more than 70,000 newly displaced people. Dr. Michel N’da Konan Yao, Acting Humanitarian Coordinator, said this situation came at a time of an already unfavourable international economic situation for financing humanitarian action.“New crises arise elsewhere in the world and attract the attention of donors because of their acuity and their dreadful effects on civilian populations,” he said.Against this background, Virginie Baikoua, the Minister for Social Affairs and National Reconciliation of CAR and Mr. Yao called on donors to increase their engagement with the country in order to consolidate the achievements made during previous years and respond to new emergencies.A strong advocacy campaign is also under way to ensure that CAR is not a forgotten or neglected crisis.In 2016, as of December only 36.2 per cent of the Humanitarian Response Plan amounting $531.5 million was not funded. In 2017, $128.5 million will be dedicated to food security. Clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian, plunged the country of 4.5 million people into civil conflict in 2013. Despite significant progress and successful elections, CAR has remained in the grip of instability and sporadic unrest. read more

2 Oct

Tongas flamboyant Olympic flagbearer brings inspiring message of selfbelief to youth at

“The young people are the people who are going to dictate our future,” Mr. Taufatofua said in an interview with UN News during his first visit to the United Nations in New York.The two-time Olympian was one of the main speakers at Tuesday’s United Nations Youth Dialogue event, where the President of the General Assembly and other senior officials joined young people to discuss increasing education and skills training, as well as how to prevent radicalization.“If we can give them ideas and present knowledge in a way that helps them, as they grow up and work through their careers, then that’s going to affect all of us,” he said.The 34-year-old has worked with homeless teenagers on the Pacific island for the past 15 years.He said that seeing their struggles has taught him the importance of listening and encouraging young people, even helping them achieve small victories, so they feel more confident.“You can have a young child go through the most horrendous conditions and come out on top,” said Mr. Taufatofua.Empowering youth also comes through education, he said, but stressed that children need to be taught how to think – not what to think: “When they’re taught to have a dialogue with each other, different points of view, but still be friends after, that’s education.”Interacting with others and remaining focused, is a skill that athletes have to learn, Mr. Taufatofua said, praising the value that sport brings to diplomacy and promoting sustainable development. He pointed to the improved relations between the two Koreas following the Winter OIympics in South Korea earlier this year.“It allows people to interact in a way that can be sports-like conflict according to a set of rules, so you’re in competition, and then you go out and have a coconut together. What other avenues can you compete and then share stories together?”Born in Australia, but raised in Tonga, Mr. Taufatofua built up his strength lifting heavy cassava and potatoes off the ground, under his father’s watchful eye, who wanted him to learn the value of hard work. He went on to get an engineering degree and is now working towards his Master’s degree.Mr. Taufatofua says his heart is always in Tonga, regardless of where he is. This respect for his country and its people is what pushed him to wear a traditional outfit for the opening ceremonies at the Olympics – despite being repeatedly told he should wear a suit and jacket.“The message is that you can be you, you can be unique, you can be a representation of your country but still intermingle and be peaceful with other countries,” he said.“I’m representing thousands of years of voyaging, of being a Polynesian, of going across the sea and not knowing where you’ll stop. I feel that everyone who marches out should represent their nation, the future of their nation, the struggles of their nature.” read more

25 Sep

British families only attend church at Christmas new figures suggest

first_imgOne in 20 Anglican parishes in England now have only four worshippers on a typical Sunday.Yet the Church of England still has an estimated 1.1 million regular worshippers.And despite the ongoing decline in traditional Sunday services, attendances over festivals such as Christmas remain buoyant, according to the figures.Last year attendance on Christmas itself jumped almost five per cent to just over 2.5 million people. It was the festive headcount since 2011.In addition 2.3 million people attended advent services in churches while civic carol services attracted 2.7 million. Although there will be some overlap, the combined attendance at Christmas and advent services adds up to 7.5 million people. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Britain has become a nation of Christmas-only churchgoers, according to new figures showing a boom in attendance at festive services while Sunday congregations slump to an all-time low.Official statistics from the Church of England show just over one per cent of the population of England now attends its services on a typical Sunday, a third of the level in the 1970s.Last year an estimated 810,600 attended a Church of England service on an average Sunday, two per cent lower than the previous year and down seven per cent over five years.The total weekly attendance – which includes a proportion of those joining in mid-week services – slipped to 961,400 last year from 977,800 the previous year. It amounts to a decline of more than 100,000 worshippers – or almost 10 per cent – over five years. Advent procession at Ely Cathedral Christmas and advent services remained popular. Pictured is the advent procession at Ely CathedralCredit: David Rose By contrast 7.2 million people across the UK watched the Queen’s speech last Christmas and 6.6 million saw Downton Abbey.William Nye, the Church of England’s Secretary General, said: “The Church of England is setting out on a journey of renewal and reform, aiming to reverse our numerical decline in attendance so that we become a growing church in every region and for every generation.“The Church of England is open to and for everyone in England, building up the Body of Christ and working for the common good.“For some of those who support our work, weekly attendance at services is part of their discipleship. There will be many others, as we know from the census, who identify with us but who worship on a less regular basis.“These figures represent a realistic assessment of where we start from in terms of weekly attendance.“We are confident in a hopeful future where our love of God and service of neighbour will form the basis for future growth.“Statistics for Mission provides an invaluable foundation for this and demonstrates that the Church, fully aware of where we are yet confident of the future, still has a strong base to work from.” We are confident in a hopeful future where our love of God and service of neighbour will form the basis for future growthWilliam Nye, the Church of England’s Secretary Generallast_img read more

25 Sep

Prince George to start school with mum and dad by his side

first_imgPrince Charles arrives at Cheam School in 1957 with his mother, The Queen, and father Prince Philip Prince William on his first day of school, January 1987 When Prince George starts school on Thursday, he will no doubt be just as nervous as any other four-year-old.But the third-in-line to the throne will have some familiar faces by his side, as Kensington Palace announce both his mother and father will be joining him for the school run.The Duke of Cambridge will be there to hold his son’s hand for his first day at Thomas’ Battersea, as the Cambridge family settles full-time in London to support the Queen in her duties.The decision makes good on a promise made by the Duchess when she met fellow Thomas’ parents earlier this year and told them: “I may see you at the school gates”. Prince William on his first day of school, January 1987 The Duke and Duchess have spoken often of their wish to be hands-on parents, emphasising the importance of encouraging Prince George and Princess Charlotte of speaking about their emotions.The young Prince William was taken to his first day at school, in January 1987 at Wetherby, by his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, while his father was unexpectedly stuck in a snowstorm.Both the Prince and Princess took Prince Harry for his first day, accompanied for photographs by a lively Prince William. The Duke of Edinburgh accompanied the young Prince Charles for his first day at Cheam. Prince George starts nursery Credit:Duchess of Cambridge/PA The school run on Thursday heralds the start of a new era for the Cambridge family, as they base themselves at Kensington Palace full time.center_img The Duchess, who will also be helping Prince George settle into school and Princess Charlotte start nursery, will undertake engagements publicising addiction, family breakdown and the importance of early intervention.Prince George, meanwhile, will be busy at Thomas’s, described by The Good Schools Guide as “busy” and “slightly chaotic”, with 19 different languages spoken in pupils’ homes.The school, where fees cost from £17,604 a year, was reviewed as “a big, busy, slightly chaotic school for cosmopolitan parents who want their children to have the best English education money can buy.That is what they want and, to a large degree, that is what they get”. Prince Charles arrives at Cheam School in 1957 with his mother, The Queen, and father Prince Philip A full programme of engagements through the autumn will see the Duke, along with other senior members of the Royal Family, step up support his grandmother The Queen, and continue his key charitable interests.As well as an overseas trip in November, Kensington Palace said he would focus on initiatives dealing with homelessness, conservation, cyber-bullying. Prince George starts nursery  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

25 Sep

Rape victims only believed by police and courts if they have behaved

It meant their personal lives were trawled over for any apparent misdemeanor and disclosed in trials in a way that was disproportionate, emotionally devastating and deterred women from reporting the crimes in the first place, she said. Rape victims are only believed by police and courts if they have behaved like saints, the victims’ commissioner has warned. In her final report and an article for The Daily Telegraph, Baroness Newlove said women who alleged rape or sexual assault were being treated by police as “complainants” rather than victims and were not believed until the court finally reached a verdict. Four out of five sex assault victims did not report the crimes to police partly over fears… read more

21 Sep

Repurposed welding robot can forge any painting its shown

first_imgIt takes years of practice and intense concentration to master the art of painting, or if you’re a welding robot, just some really good programming. In a studio at the University of Konztanz in Germany just such a robot is dabbing its brush in paint as it works. The robot is called e-David, and it can reproduce any work of art it’s shown.A welding robot is actually a good choice for a makeshift artist. These robot arms have three degrees of freedom in order to precisely aim a torch at bits of metal. It can just as easily be programmed to point a paintbrush at canvases as an arc welder at car doors. Researchers have given e-David a palette of 24 colors to work with, and it does okay for a robot.The process of reproducing a work of art begins with e-David taking a picture. It processes the image and estimates which brushstrokes will be best to recreate the original. The robot makes tiny, almost hesitant lines with the brush, but it’s just the meticulous nature of the approach. Every few minutes, e-David takes a picture of what it has so far. That image is compared to the original, and the program determines which brushstrokes will minimize the difference.There are some limitations to e-David’s reproductions, though. It can only work in acrylic paint right now because it dries quickly, which is essential to the layered, corrective brushstrokes the robot uses. It also needs to have the same amount of paint on the brush at all times for the algorithms to properly estimate what changes to make. As a result, e-David has to make a stroke off to the side each time it dips the brush. That’s the grid of lines you see on the right of the canvas in parts of the video.The team is interested in improving e-David’s programming, especially when it comes to color. Predicting in code how two pigments will mix on a canvas is tough. Maybe one day a welding robot will be showing at an art gallery, but not yet.last_img read more

19 Sep

Inslee state Republicans spar over how to react to Obamacare changes

first_imgOLYMPIA — Legislative Republicans accused Gov. Jay Inslee of trying to scare people with the possible effects of repealing Obamacare. Inslee shot back that they should get fellow Republicans in Washington, D.C., to sign a pledge not to do anything to the law without a guarantee a replacement will be implemented.Inslee is trying to scare the public with a prediction that the state could lose more than $2 billion in federal funding if the law, known more formally as the Affordable Care Act, is repealed, said Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville.The law has not delivered on promises to lower health insurance costs and clearly needs reform, he said. But no one knows yet what Congress will approve to replace the law and the Legislature should wait to see what that entails.“We’re not screaming fire in the theater yet,” Schoesler said at a weekly press conference held by Republicans. “We’re not into scaring people for the sake of scaring them.”Two hours later, Inslee was at a separate press conference for the Washington Community Action Network, and insisted the state could lose up to $2.7 billion, because that’s what the federal government provides for the expansion of Medicaid and other services under the act. Congress could repeal the current law, force some 750,000 state residents off their current plans, then later offer them something much less.last_img read more

18 Sep

Hamsik confirms China offer

first_imgNapoli captain Marek Hamsik has confirmed that he has received an offer from China and that he has told club president Aurelio De Laurentiis about itThe Slovakian midfielder is expected to leave the Stadio San Paolo for this summer’s transfer window after having previously admitted to being tempted by the prospect of a big-money move to China.The arrival of new head coach Carlo Ancelotti does not appear to have improved things for Hamsik, who could break the club record of the most games played at Napoli for next season.Speaking at a charity event in his native Slovakia, the 30-year-old confirmed that he has been in talks in regards to a move to the Chinese Super League.Cristiano Ronaldo, JuventusSerie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….“I’m still a Napoli player, for now nothing has changed,” said Hamsik, via Football-Italia.“It’s true that I told the President [Aurelio De Laurentiis] that there’s this opportunity, but at the moment there’s nothing new.”However, Napoli are reportedly asking around €30m for their captain.A fee of this magnitude would mean that a Chinese club would have to pay €60m due to the 100% tax charge they receive for not using the money towards player development in their own country.last_img read more

9 Sep

As They Leave Kaltag Mushers Say The Real Racing Is Yet To

first_imgIditarod teams are making their way for the Bering Sea Coast, after days of travel along the frozen Yukon River and through the Interior’s boreal forest.Download AudioUp until this point, mushers have been trying to set their teams up for the most competitive part of the race.When Aaron Burmeister arrived in Kaltag, he said he was surprised to be there first, but he was looking forward to the more competitive part of the race.Temperatures of more than 30 below didn’t stop Dallas Seavey from mixing up a concoction of fat, meat and kibble for his team after they reached Kaltag. (Photo by Emily Schwing)“There’s some big names,” he said. “I haven’t been racing them to this point, but from here on, we’re going to see whose schedule shakes out and who’s up there.”Once teams lave Kaltag and the Yukon River behind, they head through the Unalakleet River Valley and out to the Bering Sea coast.  Jeff King says this is the point in the race most teams have been building up to.“Up to here, it’s to a large extent preparation of your team for getting here, how are they when they get here?” King said.Dallas Seavey also believes the real racing is yet to come.“It definitely starts to come to a head now we’re all frost bitten, tired and beat up and now is when you can see the end goal,” Seavey said. “The end is in sight and we gotta just dig in and power through for the last couple of days here.”Teams are still struggling with deep cold – temperatures of 30 below and colder overnight, but the weather is supposed to warm up.  With it may come strong winds and heavy blowing snow. The National Weather Service is calling for two inches of snow and winds up to 30 miles per hour.last_img read more