Pakistan: In the shadow of soldiers

first_imgSupporters at a rally held by Imran Khan in Islamabad. ReutersAlmost 15 years ago, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted in a dramatic military coup. In the vicious cycle of dj vu politics the country has become notorious for, that fear has returned to haunt Sharif. The generals, it,Supporters at a rally held by Imran Khan in Islamabad. ReutersAlmost 15 years ago, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted in a dramatic military coup. In the vicious cycle of dj vu politics the country has become notorious for, that fear has returned to haunt Sharif. The generals, it seems, are in the process of destabilising a thrice-elected prime minister, if not stage yet another coup and grab power.But this time around, their nefarious designs are not being executed by the men in uniform. Instead, it is being done through the muftis widely believed to be sponsored by General Headquarters (GHQ), Rawalpindi. Over the last few weeks, two groups of protesters have been camping out in the capital Islamabad demanding that Sharif should step down. Since August 14-Pakistan’s 68th independence day- tens of thousands of people, most of them youngsters, have descended on Islamabad to listen to the daily calls of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan for Sharif to resign.”You must get rid of these oppressors, otherwise they will keep humiliating you as slaves,” Khan, the former playboy who led Pakistan to its only cricket World Cup victory in 1992, appeals to his supporters gathered in front of Parliament House. As Khan takes a pause, the jubilant girls and boys shout, “Go Nawaz go”, and sing and dance to the tune of patriotic and Sufi songs. Shortly afterwards, and just a few yards away, firebrand cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri stands on a bullet-and-bomb-proof container to address a separate crowd. “We will not go home till these corrupt rulers step down,” he tells the crowd made up of followers of the Sufi branch of Islam.advertisementNawaz Sharif during a meeting with army chief General Raheel Sharif.To intensify pressure on him, the two opponents of Sharif have now merged their rallies and address the protesters from the same rostrum. This came after the parliament threw its weight behind Sharif and urged him to defy calls from Khan and Qadri. Khan has been complaining of massive vote rigging in last year’s elections in which his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf stood third behind Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League and Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party. But he hardened his position recently and started demanding the resignation of Sharif after his government failed to order a probe into the rigging allegations.Separately, Qadri has been demanding drastic reform of election rules to end what he says is the monopoly of a handful of families, including Sharif’s, on politics. He now also wants Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz, the chief minister of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province and political nerve centre, to be shown the door after 14 of his supporters were killed in clashes with police in Lahore in June, just days before he returned from his adopted country, Canada. The crisis has paralysed the government. Since the unrest erupted, the embattled Sharif and his ministers have been running from pillar to post to save their 14-month government.Political stability is a rare commodity in Pakistan and the military has been in power for most of its 67-year history. Even when the generals were not in power, they meddled in policies to undermine civilian governments and maintain their sway on key security and foreign policies.Nawaz Sharif during a meeting with army chief General Raheel Sharif.This time too the army is the usual suspect and many Pakistanis believe the generals are manoeuvring the protesting leaders to check Sharif’s increasing efforts to assert civilian authority. Such doubts were reinforced when the estranged President of Tehreek-e-Insaaf, Javed Hashmi, revealed that Khan has been telling his top aides that the army and its powerful spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), are supporting him in his standoff with Sharif. “I don’t know who planned this (protest). Only the planners would know but the names of the army and ISI are being brought into disrepute,” Hashmi said on August 31. The army has denied the claim.The government initially asked the military to act as a facilitator to end the crisis but the army apparently backed off after the opposition slammed the government that such a role would once again formalise a role in politics for the generals. “We respect the army but we don’t like it to interfere in politics. It’s not their job,” said Zahid Khan, a lawmaker from the ethnic Pashtun nationalist Awami National Party.Despite the army’s denials, the criticism over its perceived role continues. “They could not have done it without the support of the (military) establishment,” says retired general Talat Masood. Moreover, the military’s reluctance to stop the protesters from provocative advances towards key government installations such as parliament and the prime minister’s house, has also raised questions about its impartiality in the crisis.advertisementThe latter march sparked clashes in which three people were killed and scores injured. In a further provocation on September 1, the protesters stormed the state broadcaster, PTV, and forced it off air for nearly an hour. They voluntarily vacated the buildings and started shouting “long live Pak army” when troops moved in. The incident was an eerie replay of the takeover of PTV by the troops on October 12, 1999, when the military toppled Sharif and General Pervez Musharraf took power.Instead of denouncing provocations by the protesters, the army warned the government against using force, drawing scathing criticism from the media. “It is as if the army is unaware- rather, unwilling-to acknowledge the constitutional scheme of things: it is the government that is supposed to give orders to the army, not the other way around,” Dawn said in a hard-hitting editorial on September 2. “Would the army allow even a handful of peaceful protesters to gather outside GHQ for a few hours?” the newspaper questioned.Observers say Sharif’s attempts to assert authority annoyed the generals, who orchestrated the crisis to check the expanding civilian clout. Sharif, who had crossed swords with army chiefs in his earlier stints in power as well, had handpicked General Raheel Sharif-no relation-as army chief in November. But friction developed within months.Sharif’s decision to put Musharraf on trial for treason didn’t go down well with the army chief, who wanted the former president, who toppled Sharif’s first government in 1999, to be let off after his indictment by a lower court. The military was also angered by Sharif’s efforts to assert his authority in the formulation of major foreign policy matters, which it has traditionally handled- Sharif visited India for Narendra Modi’s inauguration against the army’s advice-as well as his delay in approving a military offensive against the Taliban. Sharif’s government also upset the army by siding with Geo in its tiff with ISI chief Lt-General Zaheer-ul-Islam, who was accused by the media group in April of trying to get its main anchor, Hamid Mir, killed.Analysts say the crisis may fizzle out in the wake of parliament’s backing for Sharif and waning support for the protests. But it is certain to undermine the government. There are reports that the army had asked it to stop meddling in key security-related policies after the latter sought its help to wriggle out of this crisis.Sharif is on a weak wicket also because of his government’s poor performance. He won the elections after promising to overturn an economic meltdown and fix chronic energy crisis. His government got a $6.6 billion loan from the IMF to avert a balance of payments crisis but has so far been reluctant to introduce much-needed structural reforms such as broadening of the tax base to include big landlords. Sharif had promised to mitigate the acute power shortages but many areas still face 8-10 hour cuts daily, badly hurting the economy. His opponents also accuse him of promoting nepotism as at least 18 members of his extended family hold government positions in Punjab and at the Centre.advertisementThe government dismissed reports of the military pressuring it on security policies. “No such arrangement is being discussed,” Sharif’s close aide and minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said. Even if Sharif survives this round, analysts say he may face more such turmoil. “He is considerably weakened and its impact will be seen in all spheres. He can reclaim lost ground if he survives but let’s see if he can complete his term,” says Masood.To read more, get your copy of India Today here.last_img read more

Victoria Azarenka crushes Svetlana Kuznetsova for third Miami Open title

first_imgVictoria Azarenka kept up a banner year when she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-2 to win the Miami Open in Florida on Saturday. Azarenka punished her Russian opponent’s weak serve to wrap up the final in 80 minutes in relentless humidity under a searing sun in the early afternoon encounter on the Key Biscayne hardcourt.The 13th seed finished off Kuznetsova with a powerful backhand groundstroke for the 20th title of her career, and her third of the year, after winning previously in Indian Wells and Brisbane.It is the third Miami title for the 26-year-old from Belarus and the first time she has won the same tournament more than twice. She is also the first woman to win the Indian Wells and Miami tournaments back-to-back since Kim Clijsters in 2005.”This just gives me even more inspiration and motivation to keep working harder,” Azarenka said in a courtside interview.”I’m very happy that all the work that I’ve been putting in is paying off. It’s such a great opportunity to play the whole month so consistent.”Azarenka seems to be returning to the form that took her to the top of the world rankings four years ago, before she was sidetracked by injury and personal problems.She beat Serena Williams in the final at Indian Wells two weeks ago, and on Saturday never gave Kuznetsova a chance. She pounced on Kuznetsova’s second serve, breaking the Russian five times in the first set alone.Azarenka also had her serving problems, however. She was broken three times in the first set but settled down in the second to hold throughout.advertisement”It was pretty tough conditions with being so hot,” she said.”It didn’t seem too windy but it was really difficult to serve because the ball was flying too much. I really took my opportunities, stepped into the net a lot.”A long week perhaps caught up with Kuznetsova in the final, after she battled through three sets in four of the five matches she won to get to the final. Along the way, she beat world number one Serena Williams.But Kuznetsova was outclassed by Azarenka, whose sights will soon turn to the clay court season and the French Open.”I think my game suits pretty well for the clay court season,” said the two-times Australian Open champion.”I’ve been in the semis of the French Open. I’m ready to take that second step.”last_img read more

25 days agoMarko Mitrovic insists no regrets over time with Chelsea

first_imgMarko Mitrovic insists no regrets over time with Chelseaby Paul Vegas25 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveMarko Mitrovic has no regrets over his time with Chelsea.The Swedish striker joined the Blues as a 16 year-old from Malmo and spent five years with the giants before moving onto Brescia.He recalled to Fotbollskanalen: “It was a wonderful period. I scored a lot of goals during my years there and won the FA Youth Cup with the team. It was real elite football, the training sessions were top-notch. “Every session with players like Drogba, Terry and Lampard taught me a lot.”I had a good relationship with coach Carlo Ancelotti, won the reserve league and the FA Youth Cup, and thought I would reach the A team.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Socio-Economic Census Being Planned for Pedro Cays

first_imgAgriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, has announced that a socio-economic census is to be conducted on the Pedro Cays to determine, among other things, the number of persons occupying those areas and the extent and status of infrastructure, to which they have access. “It cannot be that we have (for example) a population of one thousand people on the cays, without (adequate) sanitary conveniences and other things. We are (also) going to make sure that those people who are on the cays are (there) legitimately, to deal with fishing,” the Minister said, while addressing Friday’s (Nov. 9) launch of the Caribbean Fish Sanctuary Partnership Initiative (C-FISH) in Bluefields, Westmoreland.  His comments came against the background of recent reports of the prevailing unsanitary conditions at the Pedro Cays, which are situated south of Jamaica. The cays are frequented by fisher-folk, mainly from southern parishes, who make their livelihood from fishing activities in that region. In the wake of the reports, Mr. Clarke announced plans for a major clean-up of the cays, at a cost of $4 million, in collaboration with several government and non government agencies and stakeholders. Meanwhile, the Minister also announced plans to institute a programme of “sustainable management” at the cays, on completion of the clean-up effort.  In underscoring the need for this undertaking, Mr. Clarke contended that it was in the nation’s interest that the current “unregulated” situation there be addressed. In noting that the fisheries industry had sustained damage and dislocation amounting to approximately $90 million, consequent on the recent passage of Hurricane Sandy, Minister Clarke gave the assurance that his Ministry was moving with dispatch to provide relief to the sector’s stakeholders. The Caribbean Fish Sanctuary Partnership Initiative (C-FISH) is a four year £2.1 million ($302 million) project, being funded under United Kingdom-based Department for International Development (DFID). It will facilitate the provision grant funding and technical support to fish sanctuary operations in Jamaica, Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Jamaica is earmarked to receive some US$400,000 ($36 million) in this regard. The project’s implementation across the region is being spearheaded by the Caribbean Climate Change Centre (CCCC).last_img read more

G.C. Foster College and Sprintec Track Club Sign MOU

first_imgRepresentatives of the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport and Sprintec Track Club, which is based at the institution, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalising their partnership forged to facilitate training arrangements for world-class athletes.The MoU, which is expected to span approximately five years, will cover accommodation, nutrition, and basic medical assistance for athletes in training who are resident in Sprintec’s camp; and market the College’s brand and any other track related engagements that the signatories may agree on.The signing took place at the College’s Campus in Angels, St. Catherine, on Friday (August 24).In a message read by State Minister in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Alando Terrelonge, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, noted that the MoU will also enable the College to host athletic competitions that foster the development of fledgling athletes.“They will also partner with the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) in offering scholarships to national/high performance athletes, who are members of Sprintec,” she further stated.Ms. Grange pointed out that the MOU “signals the start of something great” and commended the signatories for having the foresight to establish and develop the relationship.“I hope that this partnership… will continue to grow. I hope that more athletes will emerge from G.C. Foster (College) and become members of Sprintec and, ultimately, represent Jamaica on the global stage,” she stated.Since 2003, Sprintec has been operating from the College’s campus when the current head coach and Acting Principal, Maurice Wilson, guided Jamaica’s Christopher Williams to the silver medal in the men’s 200-metre final at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Paris, France.In his remarks, Mr. Wilson, who outlined the rich history shared by the College and track club, underscored the pivotal role the MOU will have in shaping the development of athletes at Sprintec, and the potential derivable benefits to Jamaica.Other speakers attending the ceremony, who also endorsed the MoU, included: Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) President, Christopher Samuda; and JAA President, Dr. Warren Blake.Sprintec athlete, Sherone Simpson, who spoke with JIS News, described the MoU as a “wonderful” gesture, and welcomed the partnership’s formalisation, noting that “it is good for the school, club and Jamaica.”Other prominent athletes who are members of Sprintec Track Club include 2017 IAAF World Championships women’s 400-metre hurdles bronze medallist, Ristananna Tracey; 2018 Commonwealth Games 400-metre women’s silver medallist, Anastacia Leroy; and 2014 Commonwealth Games, men’s 200-metre gold medallist, Rasheed Dwyer.last_img read more

Evergreen Line Names Its Eighteenth L-Type Vessel

first_imgIn his speech Mr. Raymond Lin, Vice Group Chairman said, “The L-type vessels are a major part of our fleet renewal program. The fuel efficient ships have significantly reduced the carbon footprint of our operation. The newbuildings will continue to replace old ships in our fleet and enable Evergreen Line to provide marine transportation service in the most eco-friendly way.”EVER LOYAL is owned by Evergreen Marine Corp. The new ship is 334.8 meters in length, 45.8 meters wide, with 942 reefer plugs and a draft of 14.2 meters. The vessel can cruise at a speed up to 24.5 knots. After her delivery on 20th March, she will join Evergreen Line’s Far East – Arabian Persian Gulf service, replacing an older vessel.Evergreen Line commenced its fleet renewal program in 2010 at a time when shipbuilding costs reached cost-effective levels. The project entailed ordering of thirty L-type vessels and chartering a further five 8,800 teu units as well as ten of 13,800 teu. Furthermore, in order to meet the tonnage demand of alliance commitments, the carrier has also signed charter agreements for ten 14,000 teu vessels. The delivery of these newbuildings, scheduled between now and 2017, will be balanced by the redelivery of ships currently on charter when these agreements expire.Evergreen Line, March 19, 2014 zoom Evergreen Group yesterday held the naming ceremony for the EVER LOYAL, the eighteenth of the line’s L-type vessels built by Samsung Heavy Industries.last_img read more

Naveen stakes claim for government formation in Odisha

first_imgBhubaneswar: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) President Naveen Patnaik on Sunday met Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal and staked claim to form a government for a fifth consecutive time in the state. Patnaik was on Sunday elected the BJD legislature party leader by the newly elected MLAs at a meeting held at the party headquarters here. “The honourable MLAs have elected me as their leader. I am very grateful to them,” said the Chief Minister, who will be sworn in for a fifth consecutive term on May 29. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoC The swearing-in ceremony will be held at the Exhibition Ground here. It is expected that over 5,000 people would attend the ceremony where Patnaik along with his council of ministers would take the oath of office and secrecy. The BJD won 112 seats in the 147-member House. The Bharatiya Janata Party has become the main opposition party by winning 23 seats. The Congress got only nine seats.last_img read more

Microsoft launches AI labs with 10 colleges in India

first_imgNew Delhi: Software giant Microsoft on Thursday launched Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled digital labs in collaboration with 10 higher educational institutions in India. The programme, ‘Intelligent Cloud Hub’, covers institutes including BITS Pilani, SRM Institute of Science and Technology and Trident Academy of Technology among others. “With the right technology infrastructure, curriculum and training, we can empower today’s students to build the India of tomorrow,” said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India. Also Read – Spotify rolls out Siri support, new Apple TV app As part of the three-year programme, Microsoft would support the selected institutions with best-in-class infrastructure, curriculum and content, access to Cloud, AI services as well as developer support. In addition, the company would also facilitate setting up of core AI infrastructure and Internet of Things (IoT) hub along with providing access to a wide range of Azure AI services like Microsoft Cognitive Services, Azure Machine Learning (ML) and Bot Services. Training programmes designed for faculty would include workshops on Cloud computing, data sciences, AI and IoT. According to a recent Microsoft and International Data Corporation (IDC) Asia-Pacific study, the lack of skills, resources and continuous learning programmes have emerged as top challenges faced by Indian organisations in adopting AI to accelerate their businesses.last_img read more

Kenny Loggins Launches Childrens Ventures

first_imgLegendary singer-songwriter and two-time Grammy Award-winner Kenny Loggins debuted his all new original children’s book Footloose at the BookExpo in Chicago on May 12, 2016.Four days later, on May 16 in New York City, he will be a recipient of the ASCAP Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award at the annual Chapin Awards hosted by WhyHunger. The event honors social movements changing the world and recognizes artist activists making a difference in the fight against hunger and poverty. Other honorees that evening will include rock guitarist and Grammy Award-winner Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave and social movement partner Landless Workers Movement. This summer, Loggins will partner with WhyHunger’s Summer Meals Rock for Kids campaign, which connects millions of children in need to free, nutritious meals all summer long.“I’m honored to have been chosen by ASCAP and WhyHunger as my passion for children’s causes fits perfectly with WhyHunger’s philosophy. I believe this is the start of a fruitful partnership,” said Loggins.For tickets to the Chapin Awards, click here.Loggins may be best known for his ‘80s anthems and deeply personal and introspective tracks, but he has also spent his life creating children’s music that is beloved by kids and their parents alike. Beginning with two LPs, Return to Pooh Corner (1994) – the best-selling children’s album of the last 20 years, with 1.3M albums sold to date – and its follow up, More Songs from Pooh Corner (2000), Loggins is getting ready to release a new project, the book Footloose (Moondance Press, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group USA, October 17, 2016), inspired by his 1985 Oscar nominated and Grammy Award-winning “Song of the Year.” With brand new kid’s lyrics and kid-friendly characters, it follows a zoo full of wolves in top hats and canes, llamas in their tutus, rhinos, snakes, cats, kangaroos, giraffes, cubs, monkeys and more — dressed in their dancing best — all ready to party by the light of the moon after the visitors leave and Mr. DJ Elephant pumps up the music! Also embedded in the book package is a new CD, including the new version of the song, with children’s lyrics written and recorded by Loggins, and a three song-medley of traditional songs.Loggins’ passion for children’s music and causes will be a main focus in the coming years and Footloose is just the start; three new albums of children’s music are planned, including an up-tempo record, a lullaby record, and an undecided third album.Loggins won’t focus entirely on children’s projects though; multiple upcoming TV appearances, a coffee table lyric book, a co-write for Grammy Award-nominated artist Thundercat, and a sophomore album from Blue Sky Riders, Loggins’ country trio with Nashville powerhouse Gary Burr and gifted vocalist and singer-songwriter Georgia Middleman, round out the rest of what is sure to be an extraordinary year.last_img read more

The Canadian Photography Institute is calling for applications for the 2018 Research

first_imgAdvertisement “In 2017, fellowship recipients examined various elements of the collection and we are looking forward to the 2018 proposals with great anticipation,” said CPI Director, Luce Lebart. “This year, priority will be given to research related to the collection on the origins of photography and the collections of the National Film Board and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. Photographic orders and missions will receive special attention as well.”The Fellowship Program includes a full-time residency at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Successful candidates will receive support from the Gallery teams and access to its resources. Each award is worth $10,000 CA, including expenses and stipends. Login/Register With: A review committee made up of specialists will assess each proposal based on a series of criteria, including originality, goals, feasibility, and potential contributions to the field of photography. The successful proposals will also foster enhanced access to the Institute’s collections, and demonstrate their relevance to the research community.More information about the program’s terms and conditions is available at for information and applications, written in English or French (PDF format), must be sent to the following email address: fellowship@gallery.caAbout the Canadian Photography InstituteThe Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada is a creative and innovative centre dedicated to sharing, collecting, and questioning photography in all its forms. It brings people and communities together at the museum, online, and around publications to see, appreciate, and study photography.The Canadian Photography Institute, was established in 2015 and officially launched in October 2016. Its collections build upon the National Gallery’s Photographs Collection. The Institute benefits from the unprecedented support of CPI’s Founding Partner Scotiabank, the Archive of Modern Conflict – the Gallery’s partner, and the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. For more information, visit: and fallow CPI @canadianphotoinstitute.About the National Gallery of CanadaThe National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada’s premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st centuries, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @NatGalleryCan.About the National Gallery of Canada FoundationThe National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to supporting the National Gallery of Canada in fulfilling its mandate. By fostering strong philanthropic partnerships, the Foundation provides the Gallery with the additional financial support required to lead Canada’s visual arts community locally, nationally and internationally. The blend of public support and private philanthropy empowers the Gallery to preserve and interpret Canada’s visual arts heritage. The Foundation welcomes present and deferred gifts for special projects and endowments. To learn more about the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, visit and follow us on Twitter @NGC_Foundation Advertisement Advertisementcenter_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook OTTAWA, Jan. 25, 2018 – The Canadian Photography Institute (CPI) of the National Gallery of Canada is issuing a call for applications in support of advanced research on the history and criticism of photography. Now in its second year, the program is intended for photography specialists: historians, conservators, independent researchers and other professionals working in the visual arts, museology and related disciplines in the social sciences in in Canada and across the world. Applications must be submitted by March 31, 2018. Twitterlast_img read more

Syrian Afghan female journalists receive media awards

first_imgA Syrian photojournalist working for Reuters was one of three women to receive the Courage in Journalism award from the International Women’s Media Foundation on Thursday.Nour Kelze was unable to attend the ceremony in New York, but spoke about her work in a short video.Najiba Ayubi, the director of Afghan news organization The Killid Group, and Bopha Phorn, a Cambodian investigative reporter, also received the Courage in Journalism award. Ayubi “has faced direct threats from many sources. Politicians have sent gunmen to her home, anonymous aggressors have vowed to harm her family, and she has been publicly defamed,” the IWMF said at the ceremony.Phorn, who writes for The Cambodia Daily, “narrowly escaped with her life when the vehicle in which she was traveling came under heavy fire” while she and colleagues were investigating claims of illegal logging, the IWMF said.An activist traveling with Phorn was killed, the Associated Press reported.Past winners of the Courage in Journalism award include Helen Thomas, who covered 10 presidents as a White House reporter and died in July aged 92; Marie Colvin, Britain’s Sunday Times correspondent who was one of 28 journalists killed in Syria in 2012; and Anna Politkovskaya, a Novaya Gazeta reporter who was gunned down in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building in 2006.The IWMF also honored the first black female editor of a newspaper in Zimbabwe, Edna Machirori, with its annual lifetime achievement award.“I began my journalism career as a teenager, and I’ve never done anything else, this is my life,” Machirori told Al Arabiya Television.“When you do something, maybe cover a little story, and it has an impact, that’s very satisfying,” she added.The IWMF said its lifetime achievement award “recognizes a pioneering spirit and determination that has opened doors for women everywhere.”Source: Al Arabiyalast_img read more

Three decades on global AIDS response showing results – UN report

“AIDS at 30: Nations at the crossroads,” released today by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), comes ahead of a three-day high-level event at UN Headquarters next week focusing on efforts to combat the epidemic.“Thirty years ago when scientists first identified AIDS, it was mysterious, deadly and spreading,” Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro told a news conference in New York. “Now three decades on, more and more people have access to treatment, infections are declining and greater numbers of pregnant women living with HIV are keeping their babies free of infection.”She said next week’s high-level meeting is “our chance to chart a new, bold path,” adding that the target is clear – zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. “We have come a long way,” added Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of UNAIDS. Highlighting the report’s findings, he noted that about 6.6 million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy in low- and middle-income countries at the end of 2010, a nearly 22-fold increase since 2001. Also, a record 1.4 million people started life-saving treatment in 2010 – more than any year before – and at least 420,000 children were receiving antiretroviral therapy at the end of 2010, a 50 per cent increase since 2008.Mr. Sidibé said that with access to treatment, “AIDS has moved from what was effectively a death sentence to a chronic disease.” New HIV infections are now declining at a significant rate, by 25 per cent in the last 10 years, he added.According to the report, the rate of new HIV infections fell by more than 50 per cent in India and by more than 35 per cent in South Africa. Both countries have the largest number of people living with HIV on their continents.“Access to treatment will transform the AIDS response in the next decade. We must invest in accelerating access and finding new treatment options,” said the Executive Director. “Antiretroviral therapy is a bigger game-changer than ever before – it not only stops people from dying, but also prevents the transmission of HIV to women, men and children.”At the same time, the report notes that significant challenges remain. The latest estimates from UNAIDS shows that 34 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2010 and nearly 30 million have died from AIDS-related causes over the past 30 years.Despite expanded access to antiretroviral therapy, a major treatment gap remains. At the end of 2010, nine million people who were eligible for treatment did not have access. Treatment access for children is lower than for adults – only 28 per cent of eligible children were receiving antiretroviral therapy in 2009, compared to 36 per cent coverage for people of all ages.While the rate of new HIV infections has declined globally, the total number of HIV infections remains high, at about 7,000 per day. In addition, gender inequalities remain a major barrier to effective HIV responses. HIV is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age, and more than a quarter of all new global HIV infections are among young women between the ages of 15 and 24. According to the report, investments in the HIV response in low- and middle-income countries rose nearly 10-fold between 2001 and 2009, from $1.6 billion to $15.9 billion. However, in 2010, international resources for HIV declined.“I am worried that international investments are falling at a time when the AIDS response is delivering results for people,” said Mr. Sidibé. “If we do not invest now, we will have to pay several times more in the future.” 3 June 2011The global response to AIDS has achieved significant results since the first case was reported 30 years ago, with a record number of people having access to treatment and rates of new HIV infections falling by nearly 25 per cent, the United Nations says in a new report. read more

Ohio State cycling team gets a second wind

Jen Malik, a second-year graduate student in biomedical engineering, pedals during a competition as a member of the Ohio State cycling team.Credit: Courtesy of Jen MalikThe Ohio State cycling team is looking to build upon last year’s success, when it saw two of its riders qualify for and compete in nationals.Riders Frankie Gonzalez and Jen Malik powered the club after reforming following a nonexistent season. Now the team is trying to grow the club and climb to greater heights. Gonzalez said he is hoping the team can accomplish even more than last year.“I was happy to be able to get top five in a few of the races and be able to score enough points, along with Jen, to get the team to qualify,” Gonzalez said. “I’m definitely happy for that to happen, happy to participate in nationals, but I think the club has a lot (of room) to grow. There are a lot of aspects that we could do better as a club.”Gonzalez, a second-year in mechanical engineering, has a strong cycling background in Florida, where he is from. He told The Lantern that he competed in the U.S. Junior National Championships the past four years and was the Florida state champion in the junior ranks in 2014. He said he picked up cycling at the age of 13 with his father as a way to stay in shape.Now he is helping to bring back the OSU cycling club from the dead.Malik, a second-year graduate student in biomedical engineering, is still relatively new to the sport, as she picked up competitive cycling in August 2014. Malik said she hopes the team can continue to add members, while staying competitive.“I really want to grow the cycling community and cycling team at OSU,” Malik said. “We only have three competing members on the team right now. Helping people become more confident in racing and basically giving them the opportunities that I was afforded from people helping me race (are my goals).”Malik said the team has worked hard to get to this point — earning sponsorships to pay for bikes, travel expenses and lodging — and even overcame some tough injuries. During one competition, Malik was tangled up in a crash.“It was probably my worst wreck to date,” Malik said. “We were going downhill, and someone got a little nervous in the group and overlapped wheels and then went down. Five of us ended up going down. I was out for about a month. I hit my head pretty hard and got a pretty severe concussion.”During the time she was injured, she said she was thankful to her professors and to OSU for allowing her to fully recover, as she had to miss a stretch of classes from severe headaches.Now that the team has a full season under its belt, the members are moving toward the next step: finding a coach to help guide them.Both Gonzalez and Malik said not having a coach has an impact on their team cohesion and focus, but it will not stop them from competing next year.“Not having a coach makes it an environment that isn’t very disciplined,” Gonzalez said. “It makes the club feel very casual. I personally have a coach, that’s what keeps me disciplined. If the club does go the route that we’re going down, which is becoming more focused, I think that the club would need a coach.”More riders would be a plus as well, Malik said, as she said that ideally she would like to see OSU bring eight riders to nationals.“I would love to bring a full team to nationals. This year we only had two of us go, but it would be really nice to see four girls and four guys competing at nationals,” Malik said. “Our school is huge — there is no reason that we only have three people showing up. Really, it would be nice if we could just increase our presence.”Malik said anyone who thinks they can help the team compete, or just has an overall interest in competitive cycling, should look into the club.“Although it may seem intimidating, just show up and try it, everyone is really nice,” Malik said. “It’s a great ways to meet new friends.”She said that OSU students who may be interested in joining the club can contact her at or visit the club’s table at the upcoming Student Involvement Fair on August 23.Malik said there are different levels of competition, and new riders are rarely thrown into the fire against experienced riders. However, OSU does compete in the MidWest Collegiate Cycling Conference, which pits OSU against stiff competition on a regular basis.“Our conference is one of the hardest conferences (to compete in),” she said. “Marian (University) is the national champion consistently. It’s actually really nice, because we are exposed to some of the most intense competition.”Malik totaled 310 total points last season in Cyclo-cross for OSU, which was second highest in Women’s A’s, according to statistics on the MWCCC website.She said Cyclo-cross takes place in the fall and is a hybrid between mountain biking and road biking, where riders compete off-terrain for 40 to 60 minutes, completing laps around a 1.5- to two-mile course. She competed in road races, too, last year.Malik has another two or three years of competition left at OSU, during which she hopes to earn a pro contract for Cyclo-cross, which she said could happen soon. For now, however, she is focused on improving race results.“I would really like, within the next year or two, to place in the top five at collegiate nationals for Cyclo-cross, and then have two top 10 finishes at collegiate nationals for road,” Malik said.Gonzalez competes in several cycling events, too, but specializes in road races, which are typically longer, testing a rider’s endurance. He said that he has his sights set on continuing his cycling career as long as possible.“My ultimate goal would be to ride in the European races, possibly the Tour de France, the highest level of the sport, but I know that being a cyclist and being in the world of cycling is definitely a road that is very challenging to go down,” Gonzalez said. “(I’m) going to school and getting a great education and having a good time at Ohio State, but I definitely want to see if I can push as far as I can go in the sport.”Gonzalez has been training and competing over the summer in Florida, as he waits for road season to pick back up in the spring. He said he is hoping to build on last year and is looking to pick up a few wins for OSU.“Personally, I want to qualify for nationals again, possibly win a race or two leading up to nationals and be a little more focused on the bike,” he said. “(I want to) be focused on training and also balance school — just, overall improvement and growing the club, for sure.” read more

Caterpillar to open facility in Thailand to produce underground mining machines

first_imgCaterpillar plans to open a new manufacturing facility in Thailand. The company will break ground on the new factory in early 2011, with production scheduled to begin in late 2012. It will produce a full range of underground mining articulated trucks and LHDs for hard-rock underground mining applications. “We continue to make strategic investments in our mining business to support our customers,” said Chris Curfman, President of Caterpillar Global Mining. “We are pleased to announce our first manufacturing facility in Thailand, which will increase our capacity for our existing range of underground mining machinery, particularly as we sharpen our focus on meeting long-term customer demand in growth markets.“The 60,000 m2 factory will be located at the Hemaraj Rayong Industrial Land in Rayong Province. The new facility will increase the current production of underground mining products produced by Caterpillar in Australia and Brazil to respond to the growth in demand. Once the facility in Thailand is fully operational and at full capacity, it is expected to employ about 800 people.“The on-going infrastructure development plans for the world’s growth markets combined with a long-term trend toward urbanisation and growing wealth in emerging economies should continue to help drive long-term demand for commodities,” said Steve Wunning, Caterpillar Group President with responsibility for Resource Industries. “This facility will help to position Caterpillar for continued leadership in the mining industry.”last_img read more

Skype vulnerability makes for easy PC hijacking

first_imgA review by security consultant Levent Kayan revealed a new cross-site scripting vulnerability in Skype that could allow a malicious user to remotely change another user’s password and hijack their computer. The user and the attacker have to be friends on Skype for the exploit to work, but if they are, Kayan noted that the process is easily repeatable.Kayan reported his findings on his blog on Wednesday, notified Skype on Thursday, and says that he hasn’t gotten any sort of response from the company. Skype hasn’t issued a statement about the vulnerability either, but it’s likely they’re still looking into duplicating Kayan’s research, or figuring out how to approach the issue.AdChoices广告In order for the exploit to work, Kayan discovered, the attacker can insert JavaScript into the mobile phone field of their profile. Then, when one of their friends comes online and logs in to Skype, the code in that field is executed on the contact’s computer. Depending on the code used, the exploit makes the victim’s computer completely vulnerable and could allow an attacker complete access or control of the victim’s machine.Kayan noted that the Skype client doesn’t automatically load whatever’s in the mobile phone field on every login, but once it does, it repeats the process on each subsequent login. Additionally, he noted that the attacker and victim have to be friends on Skype and connected to each other for the exploit to work.Unfortunately, the vulnerability doesn’t care what operating system you’re running: the exploit affects Skype for Windows and for Mac, but only impacts the latest version, Skype Kayan notes that the fix is simple: Skype just needs to make sure the phone number field only accepts phone numbers, and not any/all text.Read more at Noptrix, via NetworkWorldlast_img read more

Robots Can Now Copy Our Voices Nothing is Safe

first_img Review: ‘Daemon X Machina’ Has Big Robots, Small Fun on Nintendo SwitchThis Robot Is Equal Parts Lawnmower and Snow Blower Robots are scary and terrifying an- oh my god now they can talk like us. We’re doomed.Canadian start-up Lyrebird has some cool new software that uses neural networks and machine learning to mimic… well, anyone. You can listen to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump to explain it all below. While it would be pretty bizarre to hear those three working together on anything, obviously this is all done with computers. And, I’ll be honest, it’s pretty rough. The cadence is awkward and stilted, and that’s just for starters. Even so, the imitation is remarkable.Lyrebird hopes that their software will help us more naturally communicate through and with computers. It’s not curing cancer, but hey, we have CRISPR for that. Jokes aside, I’m sure we’ve all had those moments when text-to-speech mangled words and the room burst into laughter. I know, for example, that Google Maps can never quite get the word “Minnehaha” (a street here in Minneapolis) right. It always says “mini-heh-heh,” and that’s fun for a lark.[soundcloud url=”″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]Thanks to artificial intelligence though, the days of goofy computer-speak coming from our phones are numbered. Lyrebird only needs a few clips from the source voice; then it can figure out that person’s natural speaking patterns and recreate it with added emphases or emotion where needed. But, of course, it doesn’t take long to think of the many, MANY ways this could be abused.I mean… I dunno about you, but I’d use it to call in sick. Or pull pranks. Y’know, something lighthearted and (mostly) harmless. Others, though, could take some more refined recordings and pose as the president or one of their staffers. Plus, when viewed through the broader lens of artificial intelligence and machine learning, it’s likely we’ll soon be in a world where we simply can’t trust any form of evidence.Nvidia has been working on their own tools that can actually do that “enhance” bullshit we see in movies and TV all the time. It’s live now, in fact. And with that, I think I need to lie down and allow myself to be consumed with existential dread. Stay on targetlast_img read more

Fulham owner backs manager Slavisa Jokanovic

first_imgFulham owner Shahid Khan has come out in support of Slavisa Jokanovic despite their poor start to the Premier League season.Following speculation over the future of Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic, Khan issued a public defense and rubbished reports that his job is under threat.However, losing 3-0 at home to Bournemouth has increased pressure on the manager, with Fulham stuck in the Premier League relegation zone.Khan exclusively told Sky Sports News: “I think Slav’s our guy.“It was not a good day for us yesterday after playing Bournemouth but I spent quite a bit of time with him and I have all the confidence in Slav.“I’m optimistic and I have faith in the players and Slav to keep us up.Official: Tottenham sign Fulham youngster Ryan Sessegnon Andrew Smyth – August 8, 2019 Tottenham have sealed another transfer deadline day deal to sign the highly-rated Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham.“We knew it was going to be tough and that’s why we wanted to add to the squad.“We did and we had a great transfer window. We have to come up with the team that moves us forward but I’m very optimistic.“I want the fans to remember that last year we were at the bottom of the Championship table, not too many people had hope for us to get promoted.”last_img read more

Applicants Being Sought for Young Leader Program

first_imgThe American Soybean Association (ASA) and Pioneer, a DuPont Company are seeking applicants for the 2005 Young Leader Program. The Young Leader Program is recognized throughout agriculture for its longstanding tradition of identifying and cultivating the producer leaders who are shaping the U.S. soybean industry.The Young Leader Program began over 20 years ago as a way to seek out and develop new or “young” leaders to promote agriculture and guide our industry. Whether you are 26 or 66, if you have the desire and drive to help guide the direction of agriculture, this program is for you!“The Young Leader Program is an exceptional leadership training program,” said Neal Bredehoeft, ASA President. “The instructors and program content are of the highest quality. This program provides information that the participant can start using immediately, not only in business but personally as well.”Cary Tomlinson, Director of Key Accounts, Pioneer Hi-Bred International said, “Applicants selected as Young Leaders have an excellent opportunity to learn the key leadership skills necessary for high profile roles within agriculture. They do this through interactive training that utilizes instructors and materials that have been very successful in the real world. Participants can also learn from each other and through the use of case studies of topics that are ‘front-burner’ and pivotal to the future of agriculture. If anyone is interested in making a difference in agriculture, this program is for you.”The 2005 class of Young Leaders and their spouses will participate in a challenging and educational leadership experience February 22-26, 2005 in Austin, Texas, coinciding with the Commodity Classic Conference and Trade Show. This seminar offers the opportunity for participants to enhance their leadership skills as well as meet and learn from other Young Leaders from around the country. The second phase of training will take place at Pioneer’s Headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, in early December 2005.Application forms for the 2004 Young Leader Program, sponsored by Pioneer, a DuPont Company, are being mailed to all ASA members. Forms may also be obtained by calling ASA at (800) 688-7692, contacting your state soybean office, or on the web at Soybean producers are encouraged to apply or nominate another producer who would be an excellent candidate for the program. Nominations should be returned to ASA by Friday, Nlast_img read more

Facing cuts Clark County health department seeks to educate public

first_imgClark County Public Health keeps the behind-the-scenes work of community health behind the scenes.Currently facing a funding crisis due to across-the-board state cuts, Director John Wiesman was asked this week by county commissioners to help the public understand what the department does in order to justify its budget request.Wiesman’s department faces a $750,000 shortfall in the proposed 2011-12 budget.Wiesman said he knows that a downside of keeping quiet about disease outbreaks (only contacting people who may be affected instead of issuing news releases) has been that the public doesn’t know what type of work goes on to control outbreaks, one of the department’s many responsibilities. Wiesman said he’ll make a “day in the life of public health” presentation in early December. Commissioners will hold four days of public hearings on the 2011-12 budget. The hearings are scheduled to start Dec. 6. Wiesman headed into the budget process nearly $4 million short. He has cut $2 million from his budget by eliminating or reducing outreach services and cutting staff positions. When he met with county commissioners last month, they seemed supportive of filling his request. But while the county’s proposed $890 million two-year budget includes an addition of nearly $1 million for public health, Wiesman remains $754,000 short.Wiesman said Wednesday his presentation will include how he has downsized the department by shifting work to non-profit agencies and how he’s seeking ways to be more efficient such as by letting people take a food handler test online. To help backfill what the state has cut, commissioners could raise fees or increase the property tax levy by 1 percent.In an Aug. 25 letter to county commissioners (who also serve as the Board of Health), Renate Atkins, chair of the Public Health Advisory Council, wrote that cuts to the communicable disease unit puts the community at risk.last_img read more

Police warn residents to guard against burglaries auto prowls

first_imgA woman returned from a workout last week to find one of her vehicle’s windows smashed; a purse described as “expensive,” a watch and two cell phones were missing. The best protection against auto prowls, according to Kim Kapp of the Vancouver Police Department, “is not to leave valuables in your vehicle. We just cannot get the information out enough.”Auto prowls and residential burglaries tend to peak during summer, an alarming trend given the crimes locally were also up this spring when the weather remained wet and cool. On the year, burglaries, both residential and commercial, are up 10 percent over 2010, Kapp said Friday. In April, they were up 23 percent over the same month last year. Auto prowls are on the rise too.In west Vancouver, the primary problem has been vehicle prowls, while burglaries are down. In the eastern half of the city, the equation flips — burglaries are up, auto prowls down.last_img read more