SA launches Green Campus Initiative

first_img23 April 2012 Universities and colleges that tackle the “green” challenge will better serve their students while helping Africa take leadership on climate change, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said at the launch of the African Green Campus Initiative. Speaking at the University of Cape Town (UCT) on Saturday, Nzimande called on the country’s university and college leaders to sign the Climate Change Commitment Pledge, and so help build on the legacy of the COP 17 climate change summit held in Durban in December.Helping colleges, universities to ‘go green’ Colleges and universities, he said, could help provide students with the skills needed to address climate change and allow them to benefit from the economic opportunities that arose from the solutions they helped develop. The Department of Higher Education and Training will be supporting the initiative by reducing energy consumption at colleges and universities through recycling, encouraging students to use bicycles and buses, and conducting consumption audits. It would also look at structuring curricula to include more focus on sustainability, at retro-fitting and creating energy-efficient buildings, and at encouraging universities to procure more “green” products and services. Nzimande said environmental education was very important, adding that the department was looking at introducing a foundation programme through Further Education and Training (FET) colleges to help students with poor maths and science marks, and that this should also include environmental studies. The minister said environmental science as an academic discipline also needed to be strengthened.Car-pooling to reduce carbon emissions Some universities have already embarked on the initiative – UCT started its own Green Campus Initiative in 2007. Nzimande said the UCT initiative was started in the university’s botany department but soon grew to a campus-wide one, with projects in recycling including waste at residences, the organisation’s first UCT Green Week, and the use of car-pooling to cut down on carbon emissions. “This initiative at UCT is an example of what can be done when there is energetic leadership and commitment.” He conceded that initiatives such as energy-efficient buildings were more difficult to attain, but said his department was currently looking at proposals for infrastructure funding at universities for the current and coming financial years, and that “green” building was one of the key criteria in the approval of new projects. The African Green Campus Initiative was created and is being funded by the Southern Africa chapter of the Association of College and University Housing Officers International (Acuho-I-Sac) in collaboration with African Compass and PD Naidoo and Associates. The Department of Higher Education and Training, as well as the Department of Environmental Affairs, are both supporting the initiative.Students ‘genuinely interested’ African Green Campus Initiative ambassodor Richard Parker said that, while students were often more concerned with passing their courses – or with where the next party was – than with going green, there was in fact genuine support and interest in green initiatives among them. African Green Campus Initiative national committee member Sammy Ellie, from the the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), said students had indicated in a survey conducted at the university that they would participate more in green initiatives if there were incentives and competitions in place. NMMU students had been running various green initiatives on waste management and had also signed a green pledge, Ellie said. The university had also helped Eastern Cape farmers to grow Spekboom which, once planted, could be traded for carbon credits. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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Intra-African trade: going beyond political commitments

first_img27 August 2014Among Africa’s policy wonks, under-performing trade across the continent within the region is a favoured subject. To unravel the puzzle, they reel off facts and figures at conferences and workshops, pinpoint trade hurdles to overcome and point to the vast opportunities that lie ahead if only African countries could integrate their economies. It’s an interesting debate but with little to show for it until now.The problem is partly the mismatch between the high political ambitions African leaders hold and the harsh economic realities they face.Case in point: they have set up no less than 14 trading blocs to pursue regional integration. Yet they have shown “a distinct reluctance to empower these institutions, citing loss of sovereignty and policy space as key concerns,” says Trudi Hartzenberg, executive director at the Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa (Tralac), an organisation that trains people on trade issues. As a result of this reluctance, she says, “Regional institutions remain weak, performing mainly administrative functions.”Trade flourishes when countries produce what their trading partners are eager to buy. With a few exceptions, this is not yet the case with Africa. It produces what it doesn’t consume and consumes what it doesn’t produce.It’s a weakness that often frustrates policy makers; it complicates regional integration and is a primary reason for the low intra-regional trade, which is between 10% and 12% of Africa’s total trade. Comparable figures are 40% in North America and roughly 60% in Western Europe.Over 80% of Africa’s exports are shipped overseas, mainly to the European Union (EU), China and the US. If you throw into the mix complex and often conflicting trade rules, cross-border restrictions and poor transport networks, it’s hardly surprising that the level of intra-Africa trade has barely moved the needle over the past few decades.Not everybody agrees intra-Africa trade is that low. Some experts argue that a big chunk of the continent’s trade is conducted informally and at times across porous borders. Most borders, they point out, are often poorly managed or informal trade statistics are simply not included in the official flows recorded by customs officials.“We don’t have a way of capturing these types of activities because they’re informal,” said Carlos Lopes, the head of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in an interview with Africa Renewal. The ECA, he explained, is planning to plug this information gap with a more precise picture of economic activities in Africa and give economic planners a better data set with which to work.Regional economic blocsTo accelerate regional integration, the World Bank is advising African leaders to expand access to trade finance and reduce behind-the-border trade restrictions such as excessive regulations and weak legal systems.Nevertheless, saddled with weak economies, small domestic markets and 16 landlocked countries, governments believe they can achieve economic integration by starting at the regional level and working their way up, merging all the regional trading blocs into an African Free Trade Area.But with 14 different trading blocs, critics say that’s just too many. Some blocs have overlapping members and many countries belong to multiple blocs.Yet, the challenge is not simply the number of trading blocs, experts say, but their track record. Governments need to implement their trade agreements. On this score, African countries perform poorly despite their strong political commitment to regional integration, notes Hartzenberg in her report, “Regional Integration in Africa”, published by the World Trade Organization, a global body on trade rules.“In some cases, the challenge is that there may still not be a clear commitment to rules-based governance in African integration; [not] taking obligations that are undertaken in international agreements seriously,” Hartzenberg said in an e-mail responding to questions from Africa Renewal. “Some argue that [African governments] need policy space to address the development challenges they face – but this does appear inconsistent with the signing of many regional agreements.” Lack of capacity to implement their obligations, she adds, is also to blame.The African Development Bank (AfDB) shares this view. Its analysis of regional integration and intra-trade in Africa imputed slow progress to “a complex architecture of regional economic communities”. While this arrangement has yielded positive steps towards common regional targets, says the bank, “progress has been disappointing”.Hartzenberg gave the example of the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC), a regional economic group, which launched a Free Trade Area in 2008. Despite the SADC’s decision to remove trade restrictions, she says, some countries have not eliminated tariffs as stipulated by the agreement. Worse still, in some cases countries that removed the tariffs have since reinstated them.To be fair, the SADC Trade Protocol has a provision that allows exemptions from phasing out tariffs. Some countries have applied for such exemptions, the Tralac executive director said, but others have simply reintroduced the tariffs or alternative instruments such as domestic taxes. “This can be argued to demonstrate a lack of political will to implement agreed obligations. It could well be that some member states recognise belatedly the implications of the agreement they have signed and no longer want to be bound by these obligations.”Poor infrastructureLack of progress in implementing agreement along with the absence of reliable transport, energy and information and technology infrastructure make the journey towards regional integration long and arduous. “Road freight moves incredibly slowly, while major ports are choked for lack of capacity,” observes the AfDB.Even with the current gains Africa is making in upgrading regional infrastructure, Ibrahim Mayaki, the head of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), the African Union’s development arm, finds the continent still faces serious infrastructure shortcomings across all sectors, both in terms of access and quality. Nepad has just completed a 30-year plan that focuses on regional trans-border projects like the 4 500 kilometre highway from Algiers in Algeria to Lagos, Nigeria.Africa requires huge investments to develop, upgrade and maintain its infrastructure. The AfDB estimates the region would need to spend an additional US$40-billion a year on infrastructure to address not only current weaknesses but also to keep pace with economic growth.Sophisticated protectionism versus EPAsMany of the trade deals Africa signs with its partners ignore the continent’s efforts to promote intra-Africa trade, according to trade analysts.Nick Dearden, a former director of the Jubilee Debt Campaign and now with World Development Movement, a global advocacy group on poverty, accuses the West of pushing for free trade models that benefit their interests, not Africa’s. He complains that many African countries are “locked into trade agreements which keep them dependent on one or two commodities”.Writing on his blog hosted by The Guardian, Dearden says the EU is attempting to foist Economic Partnership Agreements [EPAs] on African countries. EPAs require EU trading partners to lower their tariffs on imports and exports on a reciprocal basis.Dearden warns that EPAs thwart Africa’s integration efforts, and he instead advises African leaders to follow South Korea’s example of using a “range of government interventions” to boost trade. These include, among others, protecting industries, controlling food production and banking, and passing strong regulations to ensure people benefit from trade and investment.Carlos Lopes of the ECA makes the same point. “Protection is not a bad word,” he asserts. He favours what he calls “sophisticated protectionism”, but cautions African leaders to “do it with sophistication, which means you need to strike the right balance”.The ECA boss views sophisticated or smart protectionism not as a choice between state and market, as if they “were two opposites”. His argument is that there cannot be industrialisation without some form of smart protectionism; and without industrialisation, Africa’s efforts to integrate its economies and increase intra-region trade are less likely to succeed.Free trade enthusiasts, however, argue that protectionist policies could shrink the size of the global economy, create few winners and leave everybody worse off.Beyond commitmentsThere is much that African countries need to do to increase intra-regional trade. For instance, they need to reduce dependence on commodities by expanding the services sector, including telecommunications, transport, educational and financial. They need to increase investments in infrastructure. And they need to eliminate or significantly reduce non-tariff barriers that are major roadblocks to intra-African trade.The list of non-tariff barriers is as long as it is comprehensive, ranging from prohibitive transaction costs to complex immigration procedures, limited capacity of border officials and costly import and export licensing procedures.For this to happen, it will take much more than political commitments; it will require practical steps on the ground, even if they come with some costs.This article was first published in Africa Renewal – produced by the Africa Section of the United Nations Department of Public Information, Africa Renewal provides up-to-date information and analysis of the major economic and development challenges facing Africa today.last_img read more

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Innovation Prize for Africa recognises Lakheni

first_imgA South African initiative that uses group buying power to lower food prices for needy communities, using a mobile app, has been nominated for the continental prize.Lakheni founders Nokwethu Khojane and Lauren Drake. (Image: Lakheni)Sulaiman PhilipNokwethu Khojane and her business partner, Lauren Drake, saw a need and found a solution: their social enterprise, Lakheni, uses the buying power of whole communities to lower the price of staple food. It also provides a means for day care centres to generate income.A poverty tax is imposed on people who live a long way from grocery stores. The added cost of travel eats into money that poor families should spend on groceries. In response, Khojane and Drake founded Lakheni, a group buying club that combines orders from a community, and uses the buying power of the group to get better prices.“At the bottom of the pyramid, distribution is very inefficient because of the small amounts that individuals buy. But there’s value when you start aggregating that demand, because the numbers are there — they’re just fragmented,” Khojane told Fast Company magazine.How it worksLakheni takes bulk orders for staples such as maize, sugar and oil every month through local day care centres. Customers deposit their payments into a bank account that Lakheni uses to order in bulk from suppliers.The Lakheni model allows creches like Mzamo Educare to make extra money by administering group buying in their area. (Image: Lakheni)Orders are delivered to the day care centres, which earn a fee for processing the communities’ orders, or to spaza shops, which also benefit from Lakheni’s bulk ordering. Using the system saves customers about 30%, including the savings on transport.When they began, Khojane, Drake and the centres they signed up took orders using a pencil and notepad. Now they have developed a mobile app that can be used to take orders and handle payments.Innovation Prize for AfricaNokwethu’s innovation — using a mobile app to increase the buying power of families in poorer communities — earned her a nomination for the Innovation Prize for Africa. While Lakheni has concentrated on groceries, the prize money would help it to develop the app further. The partners are looking at ways to include financial services as well.For the past five years, the Africa Innovation Foundation (AIF) has supported African innovators through the Innovation Prize for Africa. This year, Khojane and the Lakheni app have been nominated alongside nine other African innovators.They were whittled down from 2,530 innovators in 48 African countries. Nominees include innovators from Zimbabwe, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Kenya. The nominated innovations show that Africa can drive its own growth and prosperity.Walter Fust, chairman of the AIF board, said: “Given the instrumental role African women play in transforming Africa, it is thrilling to see more women among the 10 nominees with game-changing innovations. By providing platforms to recognise innovation excellence in Africa and mobilising for African innovators, we continue to live up to our credo of engaging, inspiring and transforming.”Over the five years of its existence, the Innovation Prize for Africa has generated $22-million in investment to previous winners and nominees. Pauline Mujawarmariya, the competition director, said: “[The Innovation Prize for Africa] has been growing stronger each year and not only the number of applicants continues to increase, but the quality of applications too.”This was “a strong indication of the creative potential that exists in Africa”.Other shortlisted nomineesPeris Bosire, Kenya: FarmDriveThe Kenyan financial technology company developed a mobile app that collects data and provides an alternative risk assessment model for small farmers.Omolabake Adenle, Nigeria: Voice Recognition and Speech Synthesis Software for African LanguagesAdenle’s software understands and digitises spoken African languages, presenting them as a text. It allows Africans to interact more easily with hardware and call centres, using their local languages.Nzola Swasisa, Democratic Republic of Congo: LokoleLokole creates a shareable local network that makes it up to 1,000 times cheaper to access emails and social media by sharing the costs.Badr Idriss, Morocco: Atlan SpaceAtlan Space software is used to manage drones that are, for now, used to monitor illegal fishing and deep sea dumping off the coast of Africa.Aly El-Shafei, Egypt: Smart Electro-Mechanical Actuator Journal Integrated BearingThe patented Smart Electro-Mechanical Actuator Journal Integrated Bearing, or SEMAJIB, is an oil filled bearing that allows it to change characteristics as it operates. The SEMAJIB enables one bearing to be used across multiple systems.Dougbeh-Chris Nyan, Liberia: New Technology for Rapid Detection of Many Infections Using Only One TestNyan developed one simple test to detect seven different infections from one sample within 40 minutes. The diagnostic tool is simple to use and inexpensive to produce.Olanisun Olufemi Adewole, Nigeria: Sweat TB TestThe Sweat TB Test is a non-invasive rapid diagnostic skin test to detect tuberculosis. It is simple enough to use in rural areas where the largest number of new infections occur. It tests for specific markers in saliva and produces results within 10 minutes.Gift Gana, Zimbabwe: Dr. CADxDesigned for use in areas with poor internet connectivity and intermittent power, the Dr CADx is a software solution that helps doctors and healthcare workers read medical images more accurately.Philippa Ngaju Makobore, Uganda: Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed Infusion SetThe Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed Infusion Set, or ECGF, is a medical device designed to accurately administer intravenous fluids and drugs by controlling the rate of fluid flow based on feedback from a drop sensor.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? 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Ohio Ag Weather and Forecast October 19, 2018

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Dry again today. Clouds will push in over the state late this afternoon through tonight, starting just ahead of sunset in NW Ohio, and spreading southeast form there. In this type of cool air mass we find ourselves in does not take very much to wring out a bit of moisture, so we cant rule out a few scattered showers with these clouds this evening and overnight. In particular, there can be some heavier shower potential around the midnight hour in far southeast Ohio, where we can see a tenth or two. However, the best moisture stays south of the river. The clouds linger through Saturday, and we see a second threat of moisture later tomorrow afternoon, overnight and into very early Sunday.  The disturbance we have previously mentioned moving across the great lakes still is holding together in its push of moisture down into Indiana. From there, the action drifts east and southeast tomorrow, and it is enough to keep scattered showers in the forecast for Saturday late afternoon forward. The event will produce a few hundredths to .25” with coverage at 60% of Ohio. This will not be a lot of moisture but will create a bit of a pause in harvest progress. The map at right shows cumulative rain potential through Sunday morning. Fully dry weather is back for Sunday and goes through next Saturday. This will allow for another excellent surge in harvest. Temps will be normal to slightly below, but we should see good drying winds, and low relative humidity. Well organized rains arrive next Saturday and hold through Sunday. Combined rains will be .25”-1” over 90% of the state. This is the same system we have been watching for this time period for almost a week. It is coming and will end the month with some moisture. Behind that system, we go dry for Monday the 29th, and see that dry weather continues through the rest of the extended period, through at least Friday, November 2. Temps for that period should be normal to slightly above normal,last_img read more

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Ind vs WI: Harper rubs Indians the wrong way

first_imgAustralian Daryl Harper, who was at the centre of an umpiring controversy in the first India-West Indies Test in Kingston last month, has drawn criticism for his insensitive remarks about Indian players in a private travelogue-cum-diary.In the diary, he seems to have uncharitably taunted the Indians while admitting some of the errors he made in the June 20-23 match. He has also chided the International Cricket Council (ICC), his employers, for not taking action against India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and other unnamed players, who made disparaging remarks against umpiring decisions after India won by 63 runs.Aussie umpire Daryl Harper has hit back over poor umpiring allegations. APHarper, who was officiating in his 95th Test, gave some debatable decisions and admitted them too in his travelogue, titled ‘Getting The Runs… 21 – A postscript from Philadelphia’. The 59-year-old Aussie, in his 28th year as an umpire, also admitted his mistake of failing to notice leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo’s no-ball, off which he dismissed Dhoni in the second innings.”There was one LBW against Harbhajan Singh that would have been reversed had the Decision Review System (DRS) been available. I also failed to detect a no ball when Bishoo’s back foot touched the side or return crease. It’s about as common as Indians eating beef burgers,” wrote the ever-smiling umpire.Harper admits making a second mistake. “Another decision that was notable involved Virat Kohli. He flashed wide of his body at a short ball that passed well outside his body down the leg side. He clearly gloved the ball and was given out. Replays could not confirm that my decision was right… and they could not confirm that my decision was wrong,” he writes.advertisementOn Friday, Harper himself emailed the travelogue to MAIL TODAY, saying that it was the media publication that he was authorising for use. He had earlier e-mailed it only to his family members and friends.Harper also penalised debutant pacer Praveen Kumar by preventing him from bowling for the rest of the first innings, as per the rules, after he repeatedly ran on to the ‘danger area’ of the pitch.When he asked Dhoni to remove him from the attack, the captain, according to Harper, said: “We’ve had issues with you before, Daryl.””Oh dear, I interpreted that comment as meaning that I should just leave them all alone and mind my own business. So, Dhoni and I didn’t exchange any pleasantries for the duration, although I did enjoy telling him that his over rate was down from time to time,” he disclosed.He pointed out that Praveen had played 52 ODIs before his Test debut, so he ought to have known the rules. “I didn’t have my best game of the year but (ICC) referee Jeff Crowe, who observed every ball, calculated that I had managed to get 94 per cent of all my decisions correct.That analysis was confirmed from HQ in our Dubai office,” he wrote.The Indian players’ criticism of umpiring infuriated Harper, an otherwise friendly soul.Although they didn’t take either umpire’s name, lest they should be penalised by the ICC, their target was clearly Harper, who has officiated in 174 One-day Internationals.The ICC media department informed Harper about the negative reports. “One Indian paper claimed that I had made six errors against India; another claimed it was only five. Someone pulled the race card and someone suggested that I had always had it in for the Indians,” he wrote in his 2,342-word travelogue.”The captain was quoted making a derogatory comment about my efforts and an ‘unnamed player’ was quoted as saying that the whole team wanted me out of the action. This was bizarre stuff. Obviously, I should never have applied the laws of cricket to Indian players.”Harper was to officiate in the third Test too – the first one ever that Dominica would host – but he withdrew after the first Test controversies. His contract with the ICC ended on June 30.In the ongoing the three-Test series, the DRS, which assists on-field umpires in giving certain decisions with help of replays, is not being used as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) doesn’t trust it. Had the DRS been in use, these controversies could have been avoided.Harper also pointed out the low quality cameras that were used and hinted that they contributed to the controversies.He is annoyed with the ICC for ignoring the Indian players’ comments on umpiring.”If someone from the ICC management had shown an ounce of leadership, the referee’s log should have quashed the nonsense immediately,” he said.advertisementA day after the first Test, on June 24, Harper’s became grandfather for the first time when Jack Edward Harper was born to his daughter-in-law Kate and son Tim. That brought a smile to his lips amidst the tension.From the Daryl diaryI failed to detect a no ball when West Indian Bishoo’s back foot touched the side or return crease (in the first Test). It’s about as common as Indians eating beef burgers.Someone pulled the race card and someone suggested that I had always had it in for the Indians.Obviously, I should never have applied the laws of cricket to Indian players.If someone from ICC management had shown an ounce of leadership, the referee’s log should have quashed the nonsense immediately.I correctly answered 96.7 per cent of appeals in the last 10 Tests against India. Of the 10 errors made in those Tests, five went in India’s favour and five went against them.If the ICC was so limp that they couldn’t come to my defence, just as they had never come to my defence on previous issues, then it was time to golast_img read more

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London Olympics: India wins more medals than Beijing 2008

first_imgRINGSIDE VIEWSome setbacks, some triumphs at London Walk the TalkBefore the Olympics, K.T. Irfan, India’s 20-km walker, had to ask Malayalam star Mohanlal to buy him a pair of shoes for the event.Now that he’s finished 10th in a field of 50, he’s become a star. Kerala Sports Minister K.B.,RINGSIDE VIEWSome setbacks, some triumphs at LondonWalk the TalkBefore the Olympics, K.T. Irfan, India’s 20-km walker, had to ask Malayalam star Mohanlal to buy him a pair of shoes for the event.Now that he’s finished 10th in a field of 50, he’s become a star. Kerala Sports Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar met Irfan in London and appears to have agreed to fund his training expenses from now on. But will he walk the talk?No Excess Baggage A group of officials from the Athletics Federation of India reached London but could not enter the Olympic Stadium. They had to watch the games on LED screens in an open area.”Please tell us what happened to (discus thrower) Krishna Poonia,” said one official. Perhaps they ought to have stayed on in India.Bouts of Joy An Olympic medal has changed everything for boxer M.C. Mary Kom.The bronze medallist’s popularity is at an all-time high in London, with journalists at the main press centre,Excel Arena and even in TV commentary booths raving about her performance.End of the Road Tennis has been a huge letdown for India at the Olympics, considering Leander Paes got the nation its first ever singles medal in 1996 at Atlanta. Some retirements are likely. Mahesh Bhupathi will probably be the first to go. But where is the next generation? By S. KannanIn Bhiwani Junction, a lively account of India’s boxing revolution, Vijender Singh talked about his first reactions being at the Olympic Games in Athens, aged 17. “Yeh hota hai world ka sports… main dang reh gaya (So, this is what global sport is about. I was stunned).”In this athletic panorama, unmatched in scale and significance, both dazzling and daunting, where does India stand? How did we do in London 2012?advertisementComparing India’s medals tally to those stacked above us is neither conclusion or consolation. Comparing India’s performance to Games gone by offers a clue but only if studied with dispassionate assessment.The biggest bonus from London 2012 is that for the first time, India’s challenge extended across several disciplines whose athletes travel with optimism as opposed to the cumbersome baggage of hockey and tennis.London was the first time that Indians had qualified well in time and in large numbers-11 shooters, eight boxers, five weightlifters to name just a random lot of competitors-with reasonable financial support and expertise working for them. India had to win more medals than Beijing 2008. This time instead of wailing over bad luck, vegetarianism and unfortunate genes, India had maths on its side. In Rio 2016, the more the contenders, the more the medals. It’s that simple.If every Games must be treated like a staging post to understand where our sport stands, London is proof that a slow tectonic shift has taken place in India’s Olympic sport.In Sydney 2000, medal prospects had largely been centred around hockey, tennis and women’s weightlifting, with Pullela Gopichand-yes, him, Saina Nehwal’s sagely guru-offering an outside chance at the badminton event. The surprise: Boxer Gurcharan Singh coming within 14 seconds of a semi-final spot, beaten on countback, left weeping on the ring.In Athens 2004, India’s hopes floated around hockey, tennis (again), athletics through long jumper Anju Bobby George and shooting. Three Indian shooters made the finals, Rajyavardhan Rathore won the country’s first silver. The first-mover advantage enjoyed by women’s weightlifting had by then been politicked and doped itself out of contention. The surprise: Archer Satyadev Prasad going toe to toe in the quarter-final against the world No.1, defeated by a single arrow.Saina NehwalIn Beijing 2008, the hockey team didn’t qualify and tennis moved offcentre. The contenders now came from shooting, boxing and badminton. Abhinav Bindra’s gold broke a glass ceiling, Vijender Singh’s bronze opened boxing’s floodgates. The surprise in Beijing came from Sushil Kumar’s repechage wrestling bronze. Nehwal hurt so badly after her quarter-final defeat that she swore to return to the Olympics, a better, stronger, tougher competitor. When she won her quarterfinal against Tine Baun in London, no wonder she tossed aside her racket and just pounded the court with her bare hands.Going into the 2012 Games, along with Nehwal, the shooters, boxers and wrestlers had given themselves the best chance. Once again, three shooters made the final-in a dream Games it would have been five-but two won medals. Of eight boxers, the first to make the medal rounds was its lone woman contestant, M.C. Mary Kom, the gumshield-mom. The performance of six of the seven men must sting or boxing will slide.advertisementThe surprises from London come from race walker K.T. Irfan who broke the national record in the 20km walk, shooter Joydeep Karmakar who finished fourth, badminton braveheart Parupalli Kashyap and discus thrower Vikas Gowda, the first Indian man in an Olympic athletics final after Sriram Singh in 1976 and the first in a men’s field event after Henry Rebello in the 1948 triple jump.Mary KomThe sports where the noise ended up louder than the news were hockey, tennis and archery. The archers say they need a mental trainer, hockey will hold on if its young players can find something to fight for in the World Series Hockey and tennis must first rid itself of the Paes-Bhupathi saga that now looms like those Tom and Jerry cartoon shadows.It is the governors of these sports who must now play a role or their sport will slide out of Olympic significance in India. Of the three, archery must have the most agile response to underachievement, because it stands to lose the most. Hockey will lean on history and tennis will always have its niche following.Until now, India’s genuine athletic performers, particularly those without resources, had zero safety nets. Gursharan abandoned the Army for a professional career in the US, Prasad was quickly forgotten. London has shown Indian Olympic sport that the only way to succeed is to change its old-style game.Pistol shooter Vijay Kumar had been shooting only for nine years before he won silver in his sport’s biggest event. It was a medal won through order and method. Neglect that by displacing genuine athletic achievement from the top of the food chain and a sport only reduces its Olympic relevance in India. In real terms, say, if the bosses in Indian archery do not make winning a medal in Rio their only priority, everyone might as well just toss aside their bows and arrows. As Vijender Singh said, yeh hota hai world ka sports.-The author is senior editor at ESPN cricinfo.last_img read more

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Turkey President Erdogan hosts Putin Rouhani for Syria summit

first_imgAnkara: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will host his Russian and Iranian counterparts on Monday for their latest summit on Syria, with attention focused on Damascus’s push on the last rebel-held bastion of Idlib. Presidents Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani will join Erdogan in the Turkish capital Ankara for their fifth summit on the conflict since 2017. Iran and Russia have been staunch supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has called for his ouster and backed opposition fighters. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USBut with Assad’s position looking increasingly secure, Turkey’s priority has shifted to preventing a mass influx of refugees from Idlib in Syria’s northwest. Turkey is concerned by the steady advance of Syrian forces into the region, backed by Russian airpower, despite a series of ceasefires. Turkey has 12 observation posts in Idlib to enforce a buffer zone agreement struck a year ago with Russia to prevent a full-scale Syrian offensive. But the posts look increasingly threatened, with one of them cut off from the rest of Idlib when Syrian forces advanced last month. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsRussian air strikes have continued in the region despite the latest ceasefire between Ankara and Moscow on August 31. “A large number of terrorists are still present in this zone… and fighters continue to fire on the positions of government forces,” Kremlin advisor Yuri Ushakov said on Friday. The Turkish presidency said the leaders would discuss the latest developments in Syria as well as “ensuring the necessary conditions for the voluntary return of refugees and discussing the joint step to be taken in the period ahead with the aim of achieving a lasting political solution.” Moscow is keen to see progress on establishing a constitutional committee to oversee the next stage of the political settlement in Syria. That would give Putin a political win to add to its military victories, said Dareen Khalifa, senior Syria analyst at International Crisis Group. But she said expectations should remain low. Even if they could agree on who will form the committee, “this leaves a crux of issues unaddressed for the future of the political process including the regime’s ability and willingness to undertake any kind of political reform,” Khalifa said. All three leaders are expected to hold one-on-one meetings before the summit, the Kremlin said. They will also hold a closing news conference with a view to presenting a joint declaration. Meanwhile, Turkey has other concerns regarding Syria. It has repeatedly threatened to launch a cross-border offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces, whom it sees as allied to Kurdish militants in its own territory.last_img read more

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Morneau unveils principles for Indigenous ownership in Trans Mountain pipeline

first_imgCALGARY – Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the government remains committed to putting the Trans Mountain pipeline and its proposed expansion back in private hands as he unveiled four principles for including Indigenous groups in those discussions.Today, in Calgary, I’m speaking to business leaders about why investing in the middle class means building a better Canada and a stronger Alberta — where more people can find good jobs, own their home and save for retirement. pic.twitter.com/SqKd1oq0z6— Bill Morneau (@Bill_Morneau) March 25, 2019But he says timing and details of the sale of the pipeline depends on when it is “de-risked” and therefore can’t be determined until consultations now underway with affected Indigenous groups are completed.RELATED: Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples key theme in Liberal pre-election budgetThe minister says discussions of potential Indigenous ownership could proceed if the communities would have “meaningful economic participation”, if the deal can proceed in the spirit of reconciliation, and if the resulting entity works to the benefit of all Canadians and on a commercial basis.First question is about Alberta feeling alienated. Morneau says they are focusing on this provide, committed to growing energy industry cleanly. #yyc #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/qE6UDyGLQU— Tom Ross (@Tommy_Slick) March 25, 2019Morneau is in Calgary to promote last week’s federal budget. His next stops are in Vancouver and Edmonton.Chanting and honking horns could be heard from a large gathering of pro-pipeline picketers across the street from the Fairmont Palliser hotel while Morneau spoke to the Economic Club of Canada.A question about the Alberta election now from a colleague. The question is how Morneau feels about Notley not getting a photo of for starting TMX construction. Morneau says it’s not really his position to comment— Tom Ross (@Tommy_Slick) March 25, 2019In his speech, he said Ottawa realizes that resource-dependent provinces like Alberta have different economic challenges than others and vowed to continue to implement measures that encourage confidence and optimism.last_img read more

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