21 Dec

Chelsea ‘ready to gazump Arsenal and Liverpool to snatch Barca striker’

first_imgChelsea are ready to gazump Arsenal and Liverpool to snatch Barcelona striker David Villa, the Daily Mirror say.It is claimed interim manager Rafael Benitez is planning a £12m raid for his fellow Spaniard.The Daily Mail say Bayer Leverkusen striker Andre Schurrle remains a serious target but Villa is available, possibly on loan until the end of the season, which means he would not interfere with Chelsea’s long-term pursuit of Radamel Falcao.Frank Lampard has been told his Chelsea career is over and that he can find a new club in January, according to The Sun.A source is quoted as saying: “Frank is absolutely distraught. He wants to keep playing for Chelsea but they’ve told him to find another club in the January transfer window.“He can’t believe it. All he wants to do is play for Chelsea. This club means everything to him.”The Daily Star say John Terry’s contract will not be renewed because club owner Roman Abamovch has not forgiven the captain and Lampard for failing to back former boss Andre Villas-Boas.Meanwhile, QPR chairman Tony Fernandes is determined to deliver the signing of Newcastle striker Demba Ba for manager Harry Redknapp, the Mirror reports.It is claimed Fernandes is prepared to include a clause in any deal allowing Ba to leave for a minimal fee if he joins Rangers and they are subsequently relegated.This page is regularly updated. 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

18 Dec

Public-private partnerships in national parks to boost tourism

first_imgSix million people visited our 19 national parks last year. This presented a huge opportunity for private investors, delegates were told at the inaugural South African National Parks Tourism Investment Summit held in Johannesburg this week.Opportunities in the Sanparks public-private partnership programme include accommodation, bottled water, wellness centres and adventure activities. (Image: South African Tourism, Flickr)Melissa JavanMore than 50 public-private partnership (PPP) opportunities are available for investors in South African National Parks.This emerged at the inaugural Sanparks Tourism Investment Summit in Johannesburg on Tuesday 4 April 2017. Sanparks, which falls under the Department Environmental Affairs, manages South Africa’s 19 national parks – from the massive Kruger Park in the east to the tiny Bontebok National Park in the west.The summit showcased a range of opportunities available to private investors in 10 of these public-owned parks. The opportunities include the development of tented camps, lodges and boutique hotels, activities such as helicopter and hot air balloon trips, zip-lining and hiking activities, and retail kiosks.Business and conservationIn 2016, over 10-million foreign tourists arrived in South Africa. According to Sanparks, 6-million people visited its parks in the past financial year. The country’s tourism sector accounts for some 730 000 jobs – 4.5% of total employment.In her keynote address at the summit, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said partnerships between the government and private sector could only increase tourism’s contribution to employment.The Sanparks summit, she said, would help public officials and private businesspeople working in the tourism sector to engage and network with each other.“The national parks don’t only play a conservation role,” she said. “We cannot just rely on the fiscus and say, please government, give us money.”There are currently 45 PPPs in operation in South Africa’s national parks. These give private partners access to state property for a certain period, allowing them to conduct business there.This model transfers risk to the private sector and allows Sanparks to focus on its core function: wildlife conservation. According to Molewa, seven national parks are currently being used for PPPs. She said there was a possibility to include all 19 parks in these partnerships, nationally.“In 2016, over 10 million tourist arrivals were recorded in #SouthAfrica, a 13% increase from 2015″ – Minister BEE Molewa#InvestSanparks— Sanparks (@Sanparks) April 4, 2017Through our PPP programme, R57 million per annum is spent on SMME and a total of 1946 direct jobs have been created.#InvestSanparks pic.twitter.com/2nZc7CnReV— Sanparks (@Sanparks) April 4, 2017There are 4 major categories of opportunities, these are:Accommodation, Restaurants, Retail and Activities#InvestSanparks— Sanparks (@Sanparks) April 4, 2017Return on investmentTokozile Xasa, South Africa’s new minister of tourism, said at the conference that many of today’s investors want more than just profit. “They want to make a contribution in the lives of people.”Tourism investment would help reduce poverty and inequality. “Tourism is the one sector all over the world that countries can look at to turn around the economy.”Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa at the inaugural Sanparks Tourism Investment Summit in Johannesburg. (Image: Melissa Javan)Xasa said those who did invest in South Africa’s tourism industry would get value. Her department provides skills training to entrepreneurs to ensure tourism businesses survive and thrive.She added that PPP opportunities would encourage local and international businesspeople to visit Sanparks’ attractions. “We are hoping to attract more business events to our parks. The businesspeople can then be exposed to what else South Africa has to offer.”Private party operators interested in any of these opportunities should register their interest by email toannemi.vanjaarsveld@sanparks.org https://t.co/xLtbfsH5iw— Sanparks (@Sanparks) April 4, 2017Boosting domestic travelSisa Ntshona, head of South African Tourism, said that although international tourists were flocking to the country, domestic tourism was weak.If each South African could link their economic well-being and prosperity to tourism, he said, it would help grow the domestic sector. “We need to cultivate a travel culture into South Africans, especially the youth. We should look at how we can inform and educate our children to increase domestic travel.”Ntshona said the country needed more tour guides, especially those able to share the stories and experiences of historical sites. “We need more young people, but they need to be knowledgeable. We’ve got to make tourism everybody’s business.”It was also important for small businesses to build networks in the communities in which they operate, he said. “If you are not plugged in, you will not make it. Look at how you can become visible, and who the tourism operators are within the community.”Discussing opportunities and challenges in South African tourism at the Sanparks summit. From left: moderator and former talk show host John Robbie, Sisa Ntshona of South African Tourism, Hannelie du Toit of South African Tourism Services Association and Blacky Komani of Tourvest Holdings. (Image: Melissa Javan)Bringing black South Africans into tourismAn important issue raised at the summit was the lack of black people taking part in South Africa’s tourism sector.Hannelie du Toit of the South African Tourism Services Association said more local heroes were needed need to promote tourism. “We need our black entrepreneurs to be involved and say that they want to get involved in the tourism industry.”Rob Cilliers of Sun International said specific products should be created for specific markets. The Cape Town International Jazz Festival, for example, was well supported by the black market.“Put on the product to bring the people. We cater for the full community of South Africa.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa materiallast_img read more

17 Dec

Farm to School Programs invest nearly $800 million in local economies

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Schools across the United States purchased $789 million in local foods from farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors and manufacturers in school year 2013 – 2014, according to results from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Census released today. That represents a 105 percent increase over the 2011-2012 school year when the first census was conducted, signifying the deepening commitment of schools nationwide to bring local food into the cafeteria and strengthen their local economies.“An investment in the health of America’s students through farm to school programming is also an investment in the health of local economies,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Nearly half of schools report that they intend to buy even more local foods in future school years, indicating that farm to school programs will continue helping our children and our communities flourish.”Schools report that farm to school programs can increase the number of students purchasing school breakfast and lunch, improve consumption of healthier foods at school, and reduce plate waste. The programs are often also heavily focused on nutrition education, helping teach children where their food comes from and exposing them to lessons about healthy eating. The census data show that school gardens, which can be both teaching tools and a sources of fresh produce, have nearly tripled over the past two years.At the national level, 42 percent of school districts that responded to the census are operating farm to school programs as of the 2014-2015 school year, and another 16 percent – more than 2,000 districts – have plans to start in the future. The census results show that farm to school programs exist in every state in large and small, rural and urban schools alike. These schools are incorporating local foods throughout the day including school lunch, school breakfast, supper programs, and/or snacks.The newly updated Farm to School Census website allows users to find information about farm to school programs in their state and in their particular school or district. The site also names three top school districts in each state that boast higher than average investment in local food purchasing. In addition, users can vote for a school that they believe administers a creative, innovative, and/or exemplary farm to school program for the “One in a Melon” award. Nominations will be accepted through April 15.In order to establish realistic goals with regard to increasing the availability of local foods in schools, USDA conducted the first nationwide Farm to School Census in 2013. USDA conducted a second Farm to School Census in 2015 to measure progress towards reaching this goal. In 2015, USDA surveyed over 18,000 public, private and charter school districts and 12,585 school districts responded for a response rate of approximately 70percent. Data were collected through an online survey and through a printable mail-in questionnaire. To view the full results, visit https://farmtoschoolcensus.fns.usda.gov.Farm to School is part of the Office of Community Food Systems and is one of many initiatives of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) aimed at improving the health of our next generation. FNS administers America’s fifteen nutrition assistance programs, including, but not limited to, the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Together these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net.The Farm to School program is a core element of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates USDA’s work to support local and regional food systems. F2S Census data and F2S grant award information is available on the KYF2 Compass Map, which identifies USDA investments in local foods and is updated regularly to reflect new information.last_img read more

1 Dec

Uddhav Thackeray arrives in hotel, asks MLAs not to worry

first_imgShiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who spent several hours with party legislators at Hotel Lalit in Andheri on Sunday, reportedly told them not to worry and that a Sena-Congress-NCP government would soon be in place. Senior Sena leaders Subhash Desai and Anil Parab are expected to be in New Delhi on Monday morning for the crucial hearing in the Supreme Court.Sena MLAs, along with Independents and MLCs, have spent two nights in the hotel so far. When details of the hearing in the Supreme Court came in, they were a relieved lot.“We are confident that the Supreme Court will strike all this down, and our government will be formed. We are not worried. Everyone is relaxed and is going about his daily routine,” Bhandup MLA Ramesh Korgaokar said.Senior Shiv Sena leader and MP Anil Desai said, “Uddhavji said there is solidarity among all legislators of the three parties. We are all one. We are speaking to each other and will give a stable government to Maharashtra. Legislators are all firm, no question of anything (defection) now. Shiv Sena is a fort that nobody can breach. All Sena MLAs have complete faith in the leadership. Uddhavji is monitoring developments from the hotel.”The Shiv Sena is also keeping an eye on the NCP and Congress MLAs put up in a Powai and an Andheri hotel, respectively. Sources said the party had delegated responsibility to Shiv Sena divisional chiefs and Yuva Sena members to station karyakartas outside the two hotels to keep a watch.Another Mumbai MLA said, “Uddhavji gave us support and told us not to worry. As Sanjay Raut said, we have 165 MLAs with Congress, NCP. Uddhavji spending time with us in the hotel is an assuring thing. There was some ambiguity among MLAs since the developments in NCP on Sunday but our leader is with us. We are confident.”Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told the media that November 23 was a “black Saturday”, and maintained that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (the Sena, the Congress, the NCP) still had a majority with 165 legislators.Mr. Raut said, “[NCP chief] Sharad Pawar is a national leader. If the BJP is trying to break his party, this will boomerang on it. Even before the Assembly election, there was an attempt to break the NCP when the BJP poached people from it. Poaching Ajit Pawar was their last move which has boomeranged. They were expecting around 25 MLAs to support him. I hope the BJP has come out of that delusion now. Nearly all the NCP MLAs have returned, barely five have stayed. In return for five MLAs, the BJP has given Ajit Pawar Deputy CM position?.”He went on to say that the three parties together still had the numbers. “All Congress-NCP, Sena MLAs are with their respective parties. We now have a majority of 165 MLAs, I had said 170 in the past but now five are missing, some of them will return too. They have been kept somewhere,” said Mr. Raut and added that 49 NCP MLAs were still with Mr. Sharad Pawar.He termed Saturday’s developments “to be worse than Indira Gandhi’s Emergency.” “This is low-level politics. The CM of Maharashtra was sworn in and the State did not know. This is a black day for the country. The BJP has done black-marketing of the Raj Bhavan. Indira Gandhi’s Emergency should not be called black day any more because this act is even worse. If you [BJP] had majority, why did you do swearing-in secretly? Also, if you [BJP] have majority, why wait till November 30? The Governor has used one rule for us and another for the BJP. Narendra Modi’s image has been shattered by his own party. Our MahaVikas Aghadhi will prove majority in Assembly. Even if we are invited by the Governor right now, we can prove majority,” said Mr. Raut.He also criticised Mr. Ajit Pawar saying, “It is not true that Sharad Pawar knew about this. Ajit Pawar took a fake document to the Governor which he accepted and gave him the oath. BJP thought Ajit Pawar will bring 40-50 MLAs, he betrayed his party and BJP betrayed him. This is the worst act of Ajit Pawar’s life by betraying Sharad Pawar.”‘Have faith in leadership’Senior Shiv Sena leader and MP Anil Desai said, “Uddhavji said there is solidarity among all legislators of the three parties. We are all one. We are speaking to each other and will give a stable government to Maharashtra. Legislators are all firm, no question of anything (defection) now. Shiv Sena is a fort that nobody can breach. All Sena MLAs have complete faith in the leadership. Uddhavji is monitoring developments from the hotel.”Independent MLA Bachchu Kadu of Prahar Janshakti Party, who has supported the Shiv Sena, said on Sunday, “I am with the Shiv Sena. There is no doubt about it.Sena, Congress, NCP can still form the government.”last_img read more

28 Nov

Govt should try to develop other sports, says BCCI

first_imgThe Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday asked the government to lay off its cricket turf. BCCI Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Ratnakar Shetty asked Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken to improve the state of other sports and not to interfere in the functioning of the autonomous body. He said that BCCI’s functioning has been praised time and again by various global sporting bodies. “I think the sports ministry will work better in finding out what needs to be done for the development of the other sports. The amount of problems the other federations face, they (government) should be concentrating on that and try to develop other sports rather than concentrating on cricket which is already well established,” Shetty said. Congress MP and BCCI vice president Rajiv Shukla said, “I have not seen the draft bill. Show me the draft bill. How can it be under RTI when it does not take any grant from the government?” Young BJP MP and BCCI member Anurag Thakur opposed the proposal to bring the board under RTI. Thakur told Headlines Today that it could be used to harass the cricket body. “I oppose Sports Bill. RTI is a tool to harass. There is no age limit for politicians and prime minister. First the (sports) ministry should look into Sports Authority of India. It is an attempt to hide Commonwealth Games scam. Politicians are required in sport bodies,” Thakur insisted. “As far as age-limit is concerned, I think that there is no age-limit for the prime minister or ministers. Then why should there be an age-limit for the head of a sports body,” he questioned.advertisementlast_img read more