UP-PEON 2 LAST

first_imgThe opposition parties have raised questions over SPs The opposition parties have raised questions over SPs claims of creating jobs in the state. “It puts a question mark on the development claims of the SP government. What happened to SPs promise of providing jobs, when highly qualified people are applying for the post of peon and unemployment rate is so high,” Congress alleged in a statement issued here. It alleged high-level corruption and nepotism in the recruitments done so far during four years of SP regime. State BJP chief Laxmi Kant Bajpai said that situation was serious as a large number of posts were vacant in different departments. He alleged that while the SP government failed to give unemployment allowance, it also failed to provide employment opportunities. “It is anti-unemployed government,” he alleged. PTI AVA SHSlast_img read more

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Serena Williams, coach don’t discuss ’22’ at Wimbledon

first_imgLeave all the chatter about Serena Williams’ pursuit of her 22nd major singles trophy to others.Williams and her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, do not discuss that number.”We don’t talk about it all. Zero,” Mouratoglou said Tuesday at Wimbledon after watching Williams win her first-round match.Why is that?”Because there is nothing to talk about. We have a Grand Slam (title) to win, and that’s what’s most important. We don’t talk about the reward,” he said. “We talk about the work we have to do.” (Serena intent on defending Olympic title she loves)That is going to include some extra time spent fine-tuning the top-seeded Williams’ serve after she delivered five double-faults, including three in one game, and faced five break points during an uneven 6-2, 6-4 victory over Amra Sadikovic, a Swiss qualifier ranked 148th and making her Grand Slam debut.”It’s very rare that everything works perfectly the first round. It’s one of the things that were not good today, so we’re going to work on it,” Mouratoglou said. “But it’s not a big deal. I don’t think it’s a big deal.”Didn’t take long for the first rain of this year’s tournament, which cut short action in the early evening and limited play to the main stadium, the only venue with a roof at the All England Club. In all, 14 matches were suspended in progress and 16 were postponed altogether.ZERO SEEDED PLAYERS LOSTOf the matches that did conclude, zero seeded players lost.Winners included No. 2 Andy Murray, the 2013 champion, in the first all-British men’s match at Wimbledon since 2001; No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, who eliminated 18-year-old American Taylor Fritz and now faces 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, participating in his first Grand Slam tournament in 2 years after three operations on his left wrist; No. 7 Richard Gasquet, No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 15 Nick Kyrgios.advertisementAmong the top women, No. 6 Roberta Vinci – who stunned Williams at the U.S. Open last year, ending the American’s bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam – beat Alison Riske of the U.S. 6-2, 5-7, 6-3; No. 13 Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated unseeded Caroline Wozniacki, a former No. 1 who hasn’t won a match at a major in 2016; and No. 27 CoCo Vandeweghe of the U.S. had little trouble getting past Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2, 7-6 (3) under the roof in the day’s last match.Since earning her sixth Wimbledon championship and 21st Grand Slam title a year ago, Williams has gone 18-3 at majors, with the losses coming in the U.S. Open semifinals, the Australian Open final and the French Open final.That led some to surmise that Williams has been beset by nerves as she seeks No. 22, which would equal Steffi Graf’s Open-era record (Margaret Court holds the all-time mark of 24).’NO MENTAL BLOCK’Williams dismissed the notion of a mental stumbling block.”I think more or less about winning Australia. I think about winning the French Open. Didn’t happen. I think about winning Wimbledon,” she said. “I don’t necessarily think about winning ’22.'”Then, in what sounded like a reference to various health issues that have put her in the hospital and kept her off the tour for months – blood clots on her lungs in 2010, for example – Williams continued: “Mentally I’ve been further down than anyone can be. Well, maybe not anyone, but I’ve been pretty low. There’s nothing … mentally too hard for me.”With her mother sitting in Centre Court’s Royal Box, Williams trailed 15-40 in Tuesday’s opening game, then won 13 consecutive points and grabbed a 3-0 lead. In the second set, Williams made four unforced errors in one game to get broken and fall behind 2-1. But she broke right back.When the players met at the net after Williams’ return winner ended the match, they embraced like old friends.Turns out that was Sadikovic’s idea. She was a bit awe-struck by the occasion – and rightly so.Sadikovic quit playing tennis two years ago, because she wasn’t enjoying life on tour and had financial problems. After more than a year off, giving tennis lessons, she returned. So while Sadikovic knew she’d have a better chance to win against pretty much any other opponent, she was thrilled to play Williams.”I always looked up to Serena, because she’s like a beast, but in a positive way,” Sadikovic said. “I always asked myself the question: How does it feel … to play the best player in the world?”Now she knows.”I just wanted to hug her, to be honest,” Sadikovic said. “And I asked her. She was like, ‘Yeah, sure!'”advertisementlast_img read more

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Mohali Test: Parthiv Patel’s frenetic fifty delivers huge win, India take 2-0 series lead

first_imgJoe Root’s determination and Haseem Hameed’s grit were not enough for England as India won the third Test by eight wickets inside four days to go 2-0 up in the five-match series on Tuesday. Scorecard | Key highlights Playing his first Test in eight years, Parthiv Patel smashed an unbeaten 67 off 54 balls and the hosts chased down their 103-run victory target for the loss of Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara.After conceding a 134-run first-innings lead, England had their backs firmly against the wall and Monday’s top-order collapse left them with an impossible task to save the game.Root’s composed 78 helped erased the deficit and an unbeaten 59 by Hameed, batting down the order after breaking his finger, ensured India had a three-figure target to chase after bowling out England for 236 in the afternoon session.Resuming on 78/4, England suffered early setbacks. Nightwatchman Gareth Batty failed to trouble the scorers, trapped lbw by Ravindra Jadeja in the second over of the day. (Virat Kohli lauds lower order contributions after Mohali win)Jos Buttler, arriving at the crease with his team reeling on 78/5, clobbered Jadeja over his head for six and smacked a boundary to bring up England’s 100. But he fell for a run-a-ball 18 trying to hit Jayant Yadav over mid-on, Jadeja taking a stooping catch at midwicket. Root survived two leg-before appeals in one Jadeja over but otherwise looked rock solid as he brought up his 25th Test fifty with an elegant boundary, raising his bat in muted celebration.His brave 179-ball battle ended in a rather soft dismissal when he pushed at a Jadeja delivery and Ajinkya Rahane took a sharp one-handed catch at slip.advertisementHameed refused to give up, however, defying the Indian bowlers with solid defence alongside Chris Woakes who made a fluent 30.Paceman Mohammed Shami then struck twice in an over with the new ball to all but end England’s resistance, bouncing out Woakes and inducing Adil Rashid into an awkward pull that was caught on the boundary.Hameed was left stranded when James Anderson was run out for five. The 19-year-old remained unbeaten after nearly three hours at the crease to enhance his burgeoning reputation.last_img read more

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Gold box office collection Day 6: Akshay Kumar film inches towards Rs 100 cr

first_imgAkshay Kumar has struck gold at the box office with his latest release. After stepping into the shoes of Arunachalam Muruganantham for Pad Man, Khiladi Kumar has brought the inspiring story of India’s first Olympic gold win as an independent nation to the big screen with Gold.The sports drama has not only got a thumbs up from critics but has also been lauded by fans. The film, which released on Independence Day, crossed the Rs 70-crore mark within five days of its release, and is still continuing its winning streak at the box office.According to early estimates, Gold has passed the Monday test by collecting Rs 5.5 crore (approx), thus taking the total to Rs 76.8 crore (approx).Directed by Reema Kagti, Gold revolves around independent India’s first Olympic gold win – a feat achieved by the Indian men’s hockey team in 1948 at the 14th London Olympiad. Akshay plays the role of the manager of the team, Tapan Das.It was a clash of the titans this year, as Gold locked horns with the other Independence Day release, John Abraham-starrer Satyameva Jayate, which also opened to a phenomenal response at the box office. The film is facing stiff competition from John Abraham-starrer at the ticket windows.Gold, which marks the debut of television actress Mouni Roy, also starred Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh, Vineet Kumar Singh and Nikita Dutta in pivotal roles.MOVIE REVIEW: GOLDALSO READ: Gold true story – How independent India won its first Olympic goldALSO WATCH: Akshay Kumar is the real ‘Khiladi’ of Bollywoodadvertisementlast_img read more

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LIVE: Brazil vs Spain

first_imgU17 World Cup: Brazil 2-1 Spain: Seleção come from behind to win against La Roja Nisanth Easwar Last updated 2 years ago 20:41 10/7/17 Lincoln Getty The three-time champions prevailed over fellow title aspirants Spain in a sea of yellow at Kochi… Heavyweights Brazil entertained the vibrant Kochi crowd to register a 2-1 over Spain in their opening game in Group D of the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday.Wesley Andrade (5′ OG) was guilty of putting the ball into his own net early on but Lincoln Dos Santos (25′) equalized for the Samba Nation. Paulinho Filho (45+1) ensured that Brazil secured all three points before the half-time break.Brazil skipper Vitao marshalled the defence in a 4-3-3 formation with Lincoln leading the line in the absence of the Real Madrid signing Vinicius Jr. Paulinho. Brenner provided support from the flanks with playmaker Alan slotting into midfield along with Marcos Antonio and Victor Bobsin.Spain’s flexible starting line-up was lead by the in-form FC Barcelona product Abel Ruiz, who is known for scoring goals game after game. Ferran Torres and Carlos Betia were tasked with providing the supply for him, while Jaume Mateu marshalled the defence with Alvaro Fernandez in goal.Spain started the match brightly and it was the European champions who threatened in the first few minutes of the game. Abel Ruiz spurned his shot wide after being put through on goal by a good ball from midfield.They did not have to wait too long to open the scoring though, as Ferran Torres crossed in from the right for Moukhliss, who slotted the ball into the net via a deflection off Wesley to make it 1-0 for his team. Unfortunately for the defender, it was credited as an own goal. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. The opening goal seemed to wake Brazil up, as Alan and co. started bossing the midfield with the majority of the ball possession. The South American team had the perfect chance to equalize through Paulinho when the no.7’s shot deflected off the keeper and into the path of Lincoln but the striker couldn’t control it goalwards.The equalizer came in the 25th minute and it wasn’t against the run of play. Brenner perfectly crossed for Lincoln inside the box, who hit the net on his second attempt.The game became a midfield battle after the equalizer but Brazil had firm control over the game. They were good in possession and that resulted in a second goal just before the break.Marcos Antonio picked out Paulinho inside the box with a deliciously lobbed ball and the right-sided winger made no mistake in hitting the net to make it 2-1 just before the half-time whistle.Once again, it was Spain who came out of the blocks quickly. Their attacking third football, however, left a lot to be desired. Substitute Victor Perea came into play through the right after a clever free-kick allowed him time and space on the ball to put in a cross. Victor Chust couldn’t get ahead of his marker inside the box to slot it in.Alan picked up a needless yellow but he was the midfield maestro for Brazil on the day. Spain kept trying to carve through an opening for their equalizer but to no avail.Both teams continued to test the goalkeeper one by one but in the end, there was a little too much respect on show by both teams. Spain struggled to find an end product and Brazil countered with ease throughout the second half.With Spain hungry for a goal, Brazil hit them on the counter at will. Marcos Antonio took on his marker and beat him for pace on one such opportunity in the final few minutes but his cross for Paulinho in the middle was cut out by the goalkeeper.Brazil, who entered the tournament as the most decorated team in this age-group amongst the ones qualified, stamped their authority as their midfield totally outclassed Spain’s. Brazil face DPR Korea while Spain play Niger next. read morelast_img read more

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‘Not fit for purpose’: MPs hear claims of cheating in Paralympic sport

first_imgShare on Facebook Disability and sport Topics Thank you for your feedback. Share on Twitter Does everyone in a class have the same impairment? No. For example, athletes with paraplegia and double amputees might compete in the same class in athletics because their different impairments have a comparable effect on their wheelchair racing performance. In Paralympic sport, each class is given a code relating to the severity of the impairment and the type of disability Former Paralympic runner Ian Jones said in his submission that he walked away from his sport after becoming disillusioned with the system.“In my experience, classification has always been open to manipulation and has never been fit for purpose,” he wrote. “It needs to be completely overhauled to make it safe and fair.”Kyle Powell, a former Paralympic sprinter, said in his evidence: “When being introduced to the world of para-sport I was amazed and inspired by all of the champions and stories from the team, but after a few years I could see many of the ‘heroes’ seemed as though they were at an unfair advantage gained due to the flaws of the classification system.” As a result of his disenchantment he also quit the sport.Charlie Bethel, a wheelchair basketball classifier, said that while he thought the system was generally well managed he had witnessed some concerning incidents. He said he told a chief executive of a national governing body about “statements within their sport of ‘inappropriate’ behaviour with regard to classification of a Paralympic athlete”. Bethel went on: “I was told, after being told I knew nothing about classification, that ‘everyone was at it’.” Athletes are grouped in classes according to their activity limitation in a certain sport, supposedly allowing for fair competition between those with different types of disability. There are 10 so-called ‘eligible impairments’ but not every sport admits competitors from every one of those Paralympics news Was this helpful? Share on Messenger Show Since you’re here… Quick guide What is para-sport classification? center_img The father of 16-year-old British swimmer Levana Hanson also gave evidence, saying athletes use wheelchairs when they did not need them, deliberately tiring themselves and taking cold showers to stiffen their muscles before classification to get into categories for those with more severe disabilities.Mark Hanson said his daughter, who lost her legs because of meningitis when she was four months old and is in the S8 category, was “competing against swimmers with the use of four working limbs that allow them the advantages of a functional dive and tumble turn, with strong leg kick, whilst my daughter has to fall into the pool from the blocks [with] no leg kick or the ability to tumble turn all of which puts her and other amputees … at a massive disadvantage”. He said he had witnessed one athlete using a wheelchair who did not use one for daily living, “others doing strenuous pool sessions before their classification time slot which is against IPC [International Paralympic Committee] guidelines and swimmers taking cold showers to help stiffen their muscles prior to being examined”.“A number of British para swimmers who have been reclassified into lower classes have gone on to break world records after posting slower times leading up to their classification,” he added.An IPC spokesman said: “The IPC strongly refutes any accusations that the classification system in Paralympic sport is broken and not fit for purpose. It is the foundation of Paralympic sport and the IPC athlete classification code aims to improve standards and procedures across all Paralympic sports.”The statement continued: “What is clear to us after our investigations, and was further underlined at Tuesday’s DCMS hearing, is the need for the IPC to work with our members to refine processes whereby athletes can share their concerns openly regarding classification. “Athletes should not feel threatened or be silenced by their national federations. At the same time it is absolutely not fair for athletes who have been verified to be in the correct class to continually have their integrity questioned by people who have zero expertise in classification, and such pursuit of them could be seen as harassment or even bullying.” Athletes, coaches, parents and officials have shed new light on the depth of their concerns about cheating in Paralympic sport in written submissions to a parliamentary inquiry.After the digital culture media and sport committee heard oral evidence outlining concerns from senior figures such as Lady Tanni Grey-Thompson, an 11-time Paralympic champion, the wide-ranging evidence from those involved with the sport and governing bodies provided more detail on the troubling nature of the claims. How are athletes classified? Each sport trains and certifies individuals to conduct athlete evaluation by classifiers who either have a medical background or are technical experts in their sport. They will conduct a series of tests to decide which class an athlete should compete in, while each sport has a committee to monitor their work. Classifiers will also then monitor athletes in competition.  … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Reuse this content Classification controversy marks terrible coming of age for Paralympic sport Share via Email Share on WhatsApp Share on LinkedIn Support The Guardian Read more Share on Pinterest Hide last_img read more

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Jürgen Klopp condemns ‘disgusting’ Mohamed Salah chants by Chelsea fans

first_imgJürgen Klopp has said Chelsea fans who racially abused Mohamed Salah should be banned from football for life and are symptomatic of a wider problem that demands a stronger reaction from the game’s authorities.The Liverpool manager issued a fierce condemnation of a video of a chant, broadcast on social media before Chelsea’s Europa League game at Slavia Prague on Thursday, calling the Egypt international a “bomber”. Klopp reiterated his view that tougher sanctions are required to combat racism in a game that champions diversity in every dressing room around the world. But he believes football collectively needs to use its “strong voice” to make an impact. Share on Messenger Race Reuse this content Share on Twitter Liverpool Share on WhatsApp Jürgen Klopp “It’s disgusting,” said Klopp. “Another example of something which absolutely should not happen. We should not see it as a Chelsea thing or a Liverpool thing. It’s another sign that something is going wrong out there at the moment. It’s still only a few people doing it but the stronger the reaction is from all of us, the more it will help to avoid things like this in the future.“These guys now are football fans and if you do something like that you should not be able to enter a stadium again, in my point of view, in your life. It’s just a complete misunderstanding of how life should be. All kinds of racism are that some people think they are worth more, more valuable than others. That’s the biggest misunderstanding in the world out there.“As a part of the football community, I can say that these people should not be involved. Football is the best example for how different people, different races can work together brilliantly. Go in each dressing room, and you find them all there sitting there together, next to each other and nobody cares about where he’s coming from, who his parents were. It’s never an issue. That’s what I can say. They should not be allowed to be part of the football community again. They did it now, but hopefully we can avoid someone doing something like this again. Football is very public and we have a strong voice, we have to use that strong voice and show that we all think the same. Things like this are not allowed to happen again.”Chelsea have been praised for their swift response. The club, working in conjunction with their away security staff, identified the individuals involved before the game, with three of the six stopped as they attempted to enter the stadium in Prague. They are trying to find the other three and intend to ban all six.Asked what Salah’s reaction to the abuse was, Klopp replied: “It’s nothing to say in public. We don’t give these people more than they deserve. I said what I had to say, for me that’s it. There were official statements from Chelsea, Liverpool, other organisations. A strong reaction is needed.”Meanwhile Olivier Giroud has echoed the disgust at the racial abuse to which Salah was subjected by the small group of fans in Prague, with Chelsea calling on the club’s supporters to respect Liverpool’s commemorations for the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster when the teams meet tomorrow.Chelsea continue to work towards identifying three of the six fans filmed in the incident with a view to imposing life bans from attending the club’s matches. “It’s not acceptable, these guys don’t belong to Chelsea,” said Giroud of the incident before the Europa League win at Slavia. “We are 100% behind Mo Salah. I think he is strong enough to ignore them. We need to move forward and leave these people to one side. But it is a very small minority and we are proud of most of our fans.”Arsenal have also launched an investigation after a video emerged online in which a supporter can be heard racially abusing the Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly during their 2-0 win on Thursday. The forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has admitted the numerous recent cases of racist abuse in football have been “painful” and left him “disappointed”. Chelsea news Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Topics Read more Share on Pinterest From parks to Premier League: the shocking scale of racism in English football Mohamed Salah Share via Emaillast_img read more

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Harvey Gulf Blazes Trail with Industry Firsts

first_imgzoom Harvey Gulf International Marine LLC is on a roll with industry’s firsts as it received today the first ABS Classification Certificate and the first USCG Certificate of Inspection for a vessel powered by LNG. The M/V Harvey Energy is the first LNG powered vessel in service in North America.Last week, Harvey Gulf marked the first truck to vessel transfer of LNG, the first vessel to bunker LNG and was the first U.S. Flagged LNG powered vessel to enter into port while being powered by LNG.The vessel will be based out of Port Fourchon, LA and will immediately begin its long term charter role.The M/V Harvey Energy built at GCSG in Gulfport, MS is based on the Vard Marine 1 311 design and is 310x64x24.5 ft powered by 3 Wartsila 6L34DF dual fuel gensets providing 7.5MW of power fueled by Wartsila’s LNGPac system.last_img read more

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Hassan Diab wages court battle for Canadian citizenship certificate

first_imgOTTAWA — Sociology professor Hassan Diab, who spent a decade fighting allegations of terrorism, is now battling in court for a copy of his Canadian citizenship certificate.The 65-year-old Ottawa academic is asking the Federal Court of Canada to hear his plea for a replacement certificate after waiting 15 months for government officials to issue one.Diab, who was born in Lebanon, argues the government has a public duty to provide the replacement given his status as a Canadian citizen since 1993.His original certificate was seized when the RCMP arrested Diab in 2008 in response to a request from French authorities who suspected his involvement in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue, an accusation he has always denied.Following lengthy court proceedings, Diab was extradited to France where he spent three years behind bars, including time in solitary confinement.In January last year, French judges dismissed the allegations against Diab and ordered his immediate release, but his citizenship certificate was not returned to him.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2019.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Ahead of International Day senior UN official urges support for mine action

Joint efforts by the UN and its partners in demining, mine-risk education and victim assistance have led to a reduction in the number of new casualties from 26,000 in 1997 to about 6,000 in 2006, said Catherine Bragg, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.“We in the UN would want the number of new casualties to be reduced to zero as soon as possible,” she told reporters on the eve of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, observed on 4 April.Ms. Bragg, who is also Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, noted that the number of survivors continues to increase, with an estimated 473,000 people who may need life-long medical care and rehabilitation services. According to the non-governmental Landmine Survivors Network, for each survivor, there are about four or five victims – members of families whose breadwinners may have lost limbs or eyesight. “That adds up to close to two million victims,” she said.In the decade since the landmark international anti-landmine treaty, often referred to as the Ottawa Convention, opened for signature, legal trade in anti-personnel landmines has been halted, tens of millions of stockpiled landmines have been destroyed and land has been cleared and returned to communities.A team of 14 UN agencies, programmes, departments and funds – comprising the UN mine action team – supports and manages programmes in 42 countries and territories. “The UN pledges its support to any State that requests it,” Ms. Bragg said. “But our goal is to put ourselves out of business as soon as possible by eliminating the threat and by equipping national authorities with the technical and human resources they need to address the problems on their own,” she added.The International Day is being observed globally through a number of events, including press conferences, mine-risk education theatre performances, art exhibits and film screenings. 3 April 2008While the number of victims of landmines and explosive remnants of war has dropped significantly in the last decade, continued support is crucial to eliminating the threat posed by these deadly devices and ensuring a mine-free world, a senior United Nations humanitarian official said today. read more

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America is keen to partner with Sri Lanka

“He is an individual of a deep strategic insight, a fearless tenacity and unrelenting royalty,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal said.“Atul believes in transformational power of engaging directly with a wide range of actors from government officials to civil society, even to Bollywood actor,” Higginbottom said.The top American diplomat praised the role played by Keshap in creating consensus on India US civil nuclear deal while being posted at the US Embassy in New Delhi. Keshap and Verma, the US envoy to India, both trace their origin to Punjab. In his previous capacity as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in South and Central Asian Affairs, Keshap had visited Sri Lanka and Maldives on several occasions.“For me to serve as the Ambassador of the United States of America to Sri Lanka and Maldives gives me great personal joy and a renewed and tremendous sense of dedication and solemn commitment to the values that make our country a beacon of Liberty, a lamp lit beside the golden door. I very much look forward to working with the people of these beautiful and wondrous lands,” he said. “If I have achieved anything in life, it is because of the wisdom my parents imparted and the sacrifices they undertook. I am forever in their debt,” he said.Sri Lankan Ambassador to the US Prasad Kariyawasam and Maldives Deputy UN Permanent Representative Jeff Waheed were present at the swearing in ceremony, attended by a number of Indian-Americans. (Colombo Gazette) Keshap was confirmed by the US Senate as the country’s envoy last week. It would be his first Ambassadorial posting. The new US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Atul Keshap says the American people want to partner with the people of Sri Lanka as they forge a diverse, prosperous, unified, reconciled and democratic nation.He said this after taking oaths yesterday and becoming the second Indian-origin diplomat to be posted to the region after Richard Rahul Verma, the New Indian Express reported. His father, Keshap Chander Sen, who was from Punjab, was a UN development economist working in Nigeria where Keshap was born in June, 1971. His mother, Zoe Calvert, had been in the US Foreign Service when she met and married Sen in London. She had also served at the US embassy in India. Keshap, 44, a former official at the US Embassy in India, was administered the oath of office by Deputy US Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Anne Higginbottom. read more

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He lived the Canadian immigrant dream Memorial for MP Deepak Obhrai

CALGARY — Former prime minister Stephen Harper told a memorial service Monday that former member of Parliament Deepak Obhrai opened doors for new Canadians to become involved in politics.“Deepak lived the Canadian immigrant dream and he led a generation of Conservatives in demonstrating how to build relationships in communities of different backgrounds across the country,” Harper said at the public service held in Calgary.“He reminded us that the strength of free and democratic societies is not in the virtuous narratives and vanity of our leaders, but in the simple aspirations of everyday hard-working families for a better life.”Obhrai, 69, died earlier this month from liver cancer.Born in Tanzania to parents from India, he settled in Calgary with his family in 1977. The businessman became the first Hindu elected to the House of Commons in 1997 when he won the Calgary East riding for the Reform party.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.He was re-elected six times under the banners of the Canadian Alliance and Conservative parties.“He never looked back,” Harper said.“There can be no doubt that, had God been willing, he would have made it eight successful campaigns in a few short weeks from now.”Obhrai was the longest-serving parliamentary secretary to a minister of foreign affairs in Canadian history — from 2006 to 2015 — and was also the longest continuously serving Conservative MP, “as he frequently reminded me,” Harper said.Obhrai’s family said they want to continue his legacy.Aman Obhrai is seeking a federal Conservative nomination in hopes of filling his father’s seat in what is now called Calgary Forest Lawn.Priti Obhrai-Martin said she will continue what was supposed to be her father’s retirement project. The Obhrai Canadian Refuge Opportunity Foundation plans to build centres in refugee camps around the world that will provide Canadian-based education, post-traumatic stress counselling, and training and business skills, she said.“So that when they arrive, it will ensure a higher success rate of making the most of this new opportunity,” she said.Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer told the service that he was working with the Reform party when he met Obhrai in 1999.“Deepak was the one who was building bridges in every community across Canada, not just in the South Asian community,” Scheer said.Obhrai later competed against Scheer in the crowded competition to replace Harper in the 2017 Conservative leadership race. Scheer is now vying to replace Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the federal election in October.Obhrai believed every person on Earth was worthy of dignity, freedom and opportunity, said Scheer, who added that he continues to meet “Deepak fans” everywhere he goes.“Let’s honour Deepak the best way we can by carrying on his fight and his commitment to those core Canadian values.”There was more laughter than tears at the service which lasted over two hours. Former Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay said nobody visited more countries than Obhrai.“More than anything he was a global citizen. And I don’t say a global citizen because he had logged more Air Miles than five Air Canada flight crews and the Rolling Stones and their roadies,” MacKay quipped.“Wherever he went, he brought with him hope from caring Canadians. He was a living symbol of what Canada had to offer.”— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter read more

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American Chess Is Great Again

Wilhelm Steinitz was “a fat phlegmatic little man, with a fine forehead and mussed hair and clothes,” according to one newspaper account. He was also the favorite at the inaugural world chess championship, held in 1886, and an émigré to the United States — Steinitz had adopted the U.S. as his own after emigrating from Europe, later changing his first name to William.The championship match was a grand tour of the country, beginning in New York, ending in New Orleans, and stopping in St. Louis in between. With $4,000 on the line, Steinitz struggled in the early games and fell far behind. But by the time they reached New Orleans, he had recovered, and America’s first chess champion was crowned.“It was from Steinitz that the era of modern chess began,” wrote Garry Kasparov, possibly the best player of all time.But American chess was in the midst of a bleak century, only rarely punctuated by triumph. Paul Morphy, the great chess genius and Steinitz’s unofficial predecessor, died of a stroke in the bath at age 47, just a couple of years before Steinitz won. Contemporary reports described him as “insane,” walking the streets “chattering to himself.” Steinitz died, penniless and mentally ill, in a state hospital in 1900. Bobby Fischer, the only modern American world champion, failed to defend his title in 1975, descended into paranoia and anti-Semitism, and later praised the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Since Fischer’s exit, no American has ever been ranked the world No. 1. Only two Americans — Fischer and Gata Kamsky — have played in the world championship finals in the last 100 years.But this string of misfortune may be about to end, thanks to some quintessentially American ideals: mobility and prosperity. A trio of players — both native and immigrant — have found their way to the U.S., and each now ranks in the top seven in the world.1All the world rankings and Elo ratings mentioned in this article are accurate as of the beginning of August’s Sinquefield Cup tournament.Those three, along with the reigning Norwegian world champion, are currently assembled in St. Louis for one of the strongest chess competitions ever held. And that American city has become a lighthouse for the game, featuring top-flight tournaments, world-class venues and varsity chess programs. And fueling it all is an aging multimillionaire who has made the success of American chess his life’s quest after growing up in an orphanage and falling in love with the game as a teenager.Can the American dream be leveraged into chess glory? 4Spain41– RANKPLAYERCOUNTRYWIN PROB. 2Germany55– 3Canada44– 1United States89– On Oct. 10, 2016, at a rally in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, then-candidate Donald Trump was riffing on what he saw as the unfortunate complexity of existing U.S. trade deals. To understand them, he said, “You have to be like a grand chess master — and we don’t have any of them.” At the time, the United States had 90 grandmasters.Rex Sinquefield was listening to that speech, and he wasn’t pleased. He reached for his cell phone, flipped through his contacts, and rang up Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence.“I left a long message. I said, ‘I want to explain to you, first of all, what’s going on in St. Louis.’ I said, ‘There are plenty of grandmasters.’ I said, ‘At any point in time, there are probably 25 grandmasters in St. Louis,’” Sinquefield recalled. “Pence called me back … He said, ‘Rex, I had no idea what was going on in your city.’ He said, ‘This is absolutely amazing.’ He said, ‘I’m going to tell Donald. He said, ‘He will be embarrassed and amused.’” (Sinquefield never heard from Trump.)Sinquefield and I met in St. Louis in April in the midst of the national championship. We sat on the second floor of the well-appointed chess club he founded in 2008. On one side of the room stood chess tables prepared for battle. On the other hung the spoils of the game — gleaming trophies and old photos of American legends, including Fischer. Sinquefield wore a windbreaker over a polo shirt, both emblazoned with the insignia of his club, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.Sinquefield — a multimillionaire or billionaire, depending on your source — is somewhere between a Medici and the Wizard of Oz of American chess. He was raised in Saint Vincent Home for Children, an orphanage just outside the city, and went on to make his money pioneering index funds, after earning an MBA at the University of Chicago. His current home, an 8,000-square-foot mansion on a private street a few blocks from the club, bears some resemblance to a rook.He pours millions a year into this chess hamlet he’s built within the city’s tony Central West End. Within a literal stone’s throw, there’s the three-story club, which has dues-paying members and hosts elite tournaments, a grandmaster-in-residence, and a high-tech production facility; a hall of fame and museum which houses an impressive collection of Fischer artifacts; a chess-themed diner which shows Cardinals baseball games and chess games on side-by-side TVs; and three “chess houses” which are home to a rotation of visiting players. That’s all on one block, and doesn’t begin to mention the sidewalk chess tables and the 14½-foot-tall king that keeps watch over the street.A 2015 New York Times article strongly suggested that Sinquefield footed the bill for Caruana’s transfer to the U.S. It’s a suggestion Sinquefield denies. “He paid that fee entirely himself,” Sinquefield said. “We didn’t pay a penny of it.” In either case, there’s no denying that the cash he has laid out has helped attract Caruana and So, and helped to launch a real bid for the world title. Sinquefield predicts an American world champion by 2020. If an American looks poised to qualify, he insisted he’d do everything he could to negotiate with FIDE to bring the match to St. Louis. He even had a venue picked out.What’s in it for Sinquefield? Is this like some other billionaire owning a baseball team? “This is infinitely more fun than that,” he said, adding that he’d turned down a chance to take an ownership share in the Cardinals.Instead, Sinquefield says the answer is twofold: First, it’s a passion — a retirement hobby for a wealthy Missourian. He learned the game when was 13 from his Uncle Fred. When we spoke, he had 19 chess games in progress online, and he takes a weekly lesson from Shahade, the women’s national champion. He’s on a first-name basis with most of the best players in the world, and he haunts the club during tournaments, keeping a close eye on the games.Second, it’s an investment. Sinquefield is a financier, a public policy wonk, and a fiscal conservative. (Another lifelong passion is the elimination of income tax.) He expects that his privately funded improvement in American chess will yield public returns. These could come, he explained, in the form of educational and health outcomes. His club is working to put chess in local schools and, in an effort to improve community relations, to train cops how to teach kids the game. And he’s keeping a close eye on studies in a local hospital on the potentially ameliorative effects of chess on dementia and Alzheimer’s.“It’s several million a year, easily,” Sinquefield said about what he’s putting into the game. “So far it seems well worth it.”“It’s a dream — this is the Mecca of chess,” Shahade said. “Obviously, the financial contributions are so considerable and so generous. But a lot of the passion to donate that money is that Rex really absolutely loves chess and sees the multifaceted nature of the game. And he really loves history.”Sinquefield is only a year younger than Fischer would be if he were alive. The 1972 world championship, and the historic performance that led up to it, struck a nerve, and Sinquefield has been obsessed with Fischer and the game ever since. He effortlessly rattled off Fischer’s conquests on his way to the world title. “It had an impact on everybody,” Sinquefield said, speaking about the patriotic frenzy around the match. “We were all captured by it.”And we may be again.Graphics by Rachael Dottle.UPDATE (Aug. 8, 5:01 p.m.): This article has been updated with comments from Lotis Key on the timing of events surrounding So’s departure from Webster University. Who might challenge Carlsen?Top players’ chance of winning Candidates Tournament (and challenging Carlsen), based on Elo ratings Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So playing in the London Chess Classic in 2016. Ray Tang / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images 6Mamedyarov🇦🇿10.8 The three best American chess players: Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana. Getty Images More players transfer to the U.S. than to any other countryNations that received the highest number of player transfers, 2000-17 3Caruana🇺🇸19.1 Includes the most highly rated players as of Aug. 1, and the defending world runner-up, Karjakin.Based on data from 2700chess.com 7Bosnia and Herzegovina32– Caruana and So’s transfers did not go unnoticed.Caruana’s transfer required a fee of $61,000, paid to the Italians and FIDE, the game’s international governing body. According to the Italian Chess Federation, Caruana was also offered more than $200,000 a year by the Americans. Some top players, including Carlsen, scoffed at what they saw as a mercenary approach to building an American roster. If the Candidates were held today and all three top Americans qualified, which they would if their official ratings are any guide, the Americans would have a better-than-50 percent chance of sending a challenger to face Carlsen, according to my simulations. (Sergey Karjakin, last year’s challenger, qualifies for the Candidates automatically.) Assuming any American that won the Candidates had a fighting chance against the Norwegian, we arrive at something like the following: There is a 1-in-5 chance that the next world chess champion will represent the United States.Jennifer Shahade, a two-time U.S. women’s chess champion, had a similar outlook, although she hadn’t run any simulations. “I’m also a poker player,” she told me, “and it’s definitely good odds.” She put the chances of an American challenging for the world title in the next two cycles at 55 percent.Last year, Caruana missed a Candidates victory by one devastating game. The world championship was then held in New York City, where Caruana spent some of his early years, and American observers saw it as a missed opportunity for the game in the States. Few think the full-blown 1972 Fischer fever will take hold again in the U.S. — fueled, as it was, by Cold War implications — but everyone seems hopeful that another chance at glory will come.“That will be the final sealing of the deal, to say U.S. chess is the best chess in the world, which is the goal,” Ashley told me as he was being miked up to broadcast the next round at the nationals. “That’s how we roll. That’s essential: to be the best.”Only So himself struck a melancholy note at the whole prospect. “I sometimes feel sorry for [Carlsen] because the pressure is terrible,” he told me over email. “If he even draws a game, people are disappointed. People think they have a right to every bit of his life. I don’t want to live like that.”But a world championship is the goal. And it’s being pursued with that most American of fuels: money. “A world championship would be spectacular,” said Walters, the U.S. Chess president. “And there are forces here in St. Louis who would put that very near the top of the list.” 5Russia36– Wilhelm Steinitz, right, was a chess great who adopted the U.S. as his own after emigrating from Europe. Getty Images 2So🇺🇸25.2% In April, two American grandmasters stood over the shoulder of a third, watching him struggle through a winnable tournament. Hikaru Nakamura (current world No. 7), stood with his arms crossed beneath his floppy dark hair and sideburns. Fabiano Caruana (world No. 3), sparrowlike and wearing a white dress shirt, stood next to him, squinting, with his arms gathered leisurely behind his back. They are two of the three best chess players in the country, and all were vying for the title of national champion. Seated in front of them was the other, commanding a black wooden army of pieces, Wesley So.As the tournament, which stretched from March 29 to April 9, reached its crescendo, So sat at the board bundled in an eggplant-colored sweater while tied for first place. Tied? He should’ve been crushing this field, and he knew it. He’s the next great hope, after all — the top-rated American and the world No. 2. He still found his way through the remaining games, and held on to win the national championship a couple of days later — his first.So has an acutely poised approach to a game of chess. His arms hang at his sides. He clasps his hands, left fingers over right, on the table in front of him. He hovers over the wooden battle unfolding on the board, like the figurehead on the prow of a ship. The USS So. Occasionally, if the position is difficult, the USS So takes a hard turn starboard, and the grandmaster stares at the wall and ponders. Every so often, if that doesn’t work, the ship turns port, toward the spectators. Rarer still, he stares right at you.So is a recent addition to an elite American lineup that now boasts three of the world’s top seven players. The three found themselves in St. Louis on that sunny spring day — and playing under the American flag — in very American ways. Nakamura wasn’t born here (he was born in Japan), but he moved here when he was 2 years old. Caruana was born here (in Florida), but moved away (Spain, Hungary, Switzerland) to train. So wasn’t born here either (Philippines), but moved here (Missouri) to attend college.It’s not easy to describe what makes So’s game unique — or Caruana’s or Nakamura’s, for that matter. The difficulty arises not only from chess’s vastness, but also from the creeping influence of computers. Chess is a more homogenized game than it once was. “It’s harder to differentiate the thinking of the different players because they’re all using the same programs,” John Donaldson, an international master who captained the U.S. team to a 2016 Olympiad win, said in a phone call.That being said, some differences do remain. Caruana and Nakamura have very aggressive styles, and Donaldson said occasionally they have to remind themselves to temper this aggression. But a more placid temperament comes naturally to So, and it’s precisely this cool on the board that distinguishes him. His play is consistent, calm and highly theoretical. Unlike the world champion, Magnus Carlsen, who is known for not being especially well prepared when it comes to his opening moves, So takes theoretically established lines and adds in his own fresh strategic ideas.The three U.S. players’ journeys to the precipice of a world championship have differed, too, but all have been long and some occasionally scandalous. But all hope they’ll end with a world title. Nakamura, 29, is the old hand. He first clinched the country’s No. 1 spot in 2005, and has suffered the Fischer comparisons for years now. “There are very few people out there who have the ability to, I don’t want to say change the world, but make a very big impact, and with chess I feel like I really have that chance,” Nakamura told the Riverfront Times in 2011. So came next, switching his chess allegiances from the Filipino team to the U.S. in 2014. (At the time, he was No. 14 in the world.) Caruana, 25, followed shortly after, defecting from the Italian squad in 2015. “I think I will be world champion someday,” Caruana told The New Yorker. Amid this chess-world furor, So’s play has remained placid, and he described his adopted family as a supportive team. “They have had a lot of foster kids over the years and because they are Christians they believe in helping others.” So, too, relies heavily on his Christian faith. And it’s precisely his monkish calm and ascetic approach that fuel his game and intimidate his opponents. “I do not go to parties. I do not ‘hang out,’ I do not play games or use the internet,” So said in an email. “I don’t drink alcohol, use drugs or eat junk food. I don’t even have a cell phone.”Maurice Ashley, a grandmaster and chess commentator, described So as “playing the best chess” in the world right now, and others agree that So is on the brink of chess’s highest prize. “It’s like he’s in the high Himalayas climbing, and it’s the last 1,000 feet toward the summit, toward the world championship,” Donaldson said. “He’s in rarefied air.”As I sought to find out more about America’s best chess player, Key got wind of my inquiries. “Why did you try to establish contact with his estranged relatives?” she asked about my having tried to reach his biological family. “Aware that his enemies are always trying to hurt him, we wondered at the curious timing of your trying to locate them in the weeks just before the tournament began.”I never did reach So’s birth family, and my efforts to arrange more meaningful time with the grandmaster through his adoptive mother were unsuccessful. Key insisted that all communication be funneled through her. “You probably consider our precautions extraordinary,” she said. “Yet consider that when you want to stop an elite skater you try to break her leg. With a chess player, you must break something else.”The World Chess Championship operates like a fiefdom. The reigning champion, currently the Norwegian Carlsen, is the overlord. He sits in his throne waiting while the rest of the super-grandmasters bloody each other over the course of a grueling two-year cycle. A triumphant performance in several Grand-Prix tournaments, the Chess World Cup or the official world rankings lands a contender in the Candidates Tournament, in which eight survivors battle each other one final time. Exactly one of them wins the right to challenge the defending champion for the title in yet another lengthy series of games. The next Candidates is slated for March 2018 and the next championship match for the following November. Their locations have not yet been announced. The U.S. Chess Federation recognizes its role in building the American roster this way, but is shy with details. “We get involved because a player of So’s stature carries with it some heavy funding requirements,” its president Gary Walters told me. “FIDE has penalties when you cross and change flags … When you’re Wesley So, we’re talking about tens of thousands of euros to make the transfer. That money has to be paid through U.S. Chess … We typically do not make the payments for players, but we will facilitate the payments.” (FIDE lists So’s transfer fee at 5,000 euros.) The federation operates with a total annual revenue of about $3.8 million in 2015, according to its tax documents.Who did pay? “I don’t know who paid the transfer fees,” Walters said. The New York Times reported that the United States Chess Federation had created a charitable fund “to help recruit and pay the fees of foreign players interested in moving to the United States.” So has said he paid the fee out of pocket.Despite their far-flung origins, the American players have, as a group, achieved early success. The U.S. won gold at the Olympiad, the top team chess competition, last year. It was the first time the country had taken gold in 40 years. But the triad aren’t close, and remain professional rivals. At the closing ceremonies after the nationals, as Nakamura nursed a beer at a ballroom table in St. Louis waiting for So to receive his trophy, Nakamura explained to me that his friends generally aren’t top chess players. They’re his competition, after all. I also asked So, over email, if he had good friends in the chess world. “No. This is not a team sport,” he responded. (Although there are occasional team events, such as the Olympiad.) “We respect and admire each other but mostly keep to ourselves because sooner or later we are going to have to play each other and then you might have mental conflict.”U.S. chess’s plan to shift players to its team has worked out beautifully on the surface. Beneath it, though, its top player has wrestled with family strife and the growing pains of a new life under chess’s spotlight.At the end of the 2015 national championship, So posted this message to his Facebook page: “Let me state right at the top of this that I write my own emails and NO ONE controls my communication, or when and how I choose to communicate. I am not cut off, isolated, drugged, in bondage or kidnapped. I do not belong to anyone but God. I am a man who wishes to be let alone to find his own life.” He had been forced to forfeit a crucial game for writing notes to himself on a piece of paper, in violation of tournament rules. The indiscretion came, So has explained, as the result of a bout of stress following an international family dispute.At a dinner party in Minnesota in 2013, So met Lotis Key, a former film actress who has starred in over 75 Asian movies, and Renato “Bambi” Kabigting, a basketball star while in the Philippines. The couple lives in Minnetonka, a leafy Minneapolis suburb. The trio hit it off, and by the end of 2014, So had left college and moved in with them; he began calling Key mom.According to an account Key gave the Star Tribune, the dispute at the tournament occurred when So’s birth mother, Eleanor So — who now lives in Canada — showed up at the tournament, demanding that he return to school and threatening to cut all ties to the family. A minor scuffle — arm grabbing, yelling — ensued outside the chess club. Eleanor So told the paper that, “Since someone is blocking us access to our own son, we had to try and see him in person to help him.”The meeting was orchestrated, Key told the Star Tribune, by Wesley So’s former coach at Webster University, Paul Truong, who was upset at having lost his star player when he dropped out. Truong denied this and told me that So’s scholarship had been revoked, although he said he couldn’t discuss why. “We knew that he was going to go through some rough times, and we just wanted to protect him, so we never bothered correcting what the media said,” Truong said. Key told me that So decided to leave school, and turn pro, weeks before his scholarship was withdrawn. “The simple fact is Wesley left because he was unhappy at Webster and had decided to play chess professionally,” she said in an email. A spokesman for Webster declined to comment on why So left the university.Several years before, Truong, in a separate incident, had been accused of posting obscene messages online under the name of a rival in a campaign to get elected to the U.S. Chess Federation board. (Truong continues to deny those accusations, although they were confirmed by a private investigator hired by U.S. Chess.) He was later ousted from the federation, and the legal dispute was settled.Despite a strained relationship with So, Truong was optimistic about his future. “Out of all the current players in the United States today, I believe that [So] would have the best chance to be the next world champion,” he said. 10Austria29– 12Karjakin🇷🇺3.3 9Turkey31– 5Aronian🇦🇲12.5 7Nakamura🇺🇸8.4 2017 data as of April 11.Source: FIDE COUNTRYNUMBER OF TRANSFERS 8Croatia32– 8Vachier-Lagrave🇫🇷6.2 4Kramnik🇷🇺14.5 6France34– read more

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Britain faces full spectrum of Russian threat for years to come MPs

In a peer-reviewed report for think tank the Henry Jackson Society, the Conservative MP says the covert and overt forms of malign influence used by Moscow should be termed “contemporary Russian conflict”. Britain will face a “full spectrum” Russian threat for “years to come”, a new report has claimed. The Kremlin’s use of hackers, trolls, paid protesters and misinformation are all part of a destabilisation strategy, Tory MP Bob Seely suggests. He suggests the Kremlin considers non-military tools to be potentially more powerful than military tools, with instruments such as information warfare, cultural manipulation and social media hacktivism being used to achieve foreign policy goals without… Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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City Furniture announces modern design for waterbed

first_imgTAMARAC. FLA. (WSVN) – – An iconic piece of furniture is making a comeback in South Florida.Once a staple of the ’70s and ’80s, the waterbed is back, thanks to City Furniture.Called “Afloat,” the company unveiled a new design aimed at both baby boomers and the current generation.The re-imagined bed features an improved comfort and temperature control system.“I understood the importance of comfort, with temperature,” said inventor Charles Hall. “I talked to doctors, physical therapists, and they said a lot of sensations that calm people down — and athletes — get relief from pain are whirlpool bath at body temperatures.”The Afloat will officially launch in South Florida at City Furniture, which originally opened its doors in 1971 as Waterbed City.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

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Bringing Columbia Home Lessons Learned 15 Year After Shuttle Disaster

first_img Share NASASpace shuttle Columbia launches on it’s final mission, STS-107, on Jan. 16, 2003.Mike Leinbach is the former NASA space shuttle launch director and oversaw the launch of Columbia on its final mission in 2003, which ended in tragedy upon re-entry.Tomorrow (Feb. 1) is the 15th anniversary of the disaster, and Leinbach is in Houston along with space historian Jonathan Ward to talk about their new book Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew.They talk about the lessons learned from Columbia how Texas played a key role in search-and-recovery efforts.last_img

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The prologue

first_imgIf National Museum (NM) has emerged to become India’s premier repository of artefacts over its 65 years of growth, equally fascinating will be a broad glimpse at its initial struggles to acquire objects which now total over 2.06 lakh. An exhibition of archival photographs of that phase is now on at the very venue.Down Memory Lane, a month-long exhibition of 57 images, got off to a start in the famed rotunda of NM on its foundation day today. It features visuals from 1945, which was the year that saw the first move to establish the institution, to momentous occasions up till 1970. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’NM Director-General Venu V said the exhibition has been mounted on the special occasion of the foundation day of the 1949-started institution. ‘It throws light on its many of its inception-related and growth stories – through archival and rare photographs’, he noted. ‘We gathered from government institutions and private donors’.The exhibition opened hours after writer-historian-curator William Dalrymple  addressed a gathering at the museum. In his hour-long talk on Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi 1707-1857 at the NM monthly lecture series on Sunday evening, the 49-year-old British Indologist explained with pictorial examples the paradox of art flourishing amid a weakening economy and polity that was typical of Northern India during the decline of the dynasty tracing its roots to Central Asia. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAs for the Down Memory Lane exhibition, Venu noted it ‘portrays a very interesting history’ of National Museum, which typically unveils stories through its exquisite collection of paintings, sculptures, manuscripts and ethnographic objects spanning over 5,000 years of heritage.For instance, in 1946, the idea of building a national museum for India was proposed by a committee headed by Sir Mourice Gwyer, the First Chief Justice of the then Federal Court. NM was designed by the architect Ganesh Bikaji Deolalikar and the foundation stone was laid by Pandit Nehru on May 12, 1955. Once the building was ready, the new museum was inaugurated by Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Vice-President of India, on 18 December, 1960. The ongoing exhibition has photos of all such historic occasions and more.Today, NM has ten important collections including pre-historic archaeology, archaeology, numismatics and epigraphy, miniature paintings, manuscripts, decorative arts and textiles, anthropology and so much more. WHERE: National MuseumWHEN: On till 12 Junelast_img read more

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Health education infrastructure receives impetus

first_imgKolkata: The Health and Family Welfare Department of West Bengal, under the ministership of the Chief Minister herself, has brought about a lot of improvement in the state of health education in the state. Combined MBBS and BDS seats have increased from 2,205 to 3,750, according to a party statement here today.Postgraduate medical seats (MD course) have increased from 880 to 1,297.Eighty students are pursuing higher specialisation courses for Diplomate of National Board (DNB) degree. Postdoctoral seats have increased to 147 from 107 in 2011. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIn 2017, 93 tutor-demonstrators were appointed by the department, bringing the total number of such appointments since 2012 to 2,095.As part of West Bengal Dental Education Service (WBDES), 72 clinical tutors have been recruited.The Bengal Government has set up partnerships with the UK Government with regard to nursing skilling and re-skilling. Two have been signed between WBIPH Knowledge Partnership between Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (IPGMER), Kolkata and The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and between Health and Family Department and The Health Education England (HEE). Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedAnother one, where Bengal is a beneficiary and HEE is a partner, involves the Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry and United Kingdom-India Education Research Institute (UKIERI).Rs 56.58 crore was allotted for financial year 2017-18 for the development of nursing education. During FY 2017-18, 52 students were admitted to M Sc (Nursing), 444 to B Sc (Nursing) and 2,175 to General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) course. Five new GNM courses were started on September 22, 2017, with 60 seats in each, at the Jhargram and Basirhat District Hospitals, Ghatal and Jangipur Subdivisional Hospitals, and College of Medicine & Sagore Dutta Hospital. The total number of GNM seats has been increased from 1,215 to 2,175.Read more at http://www.uniindia.com/health-education-infrastructure-receives-impetus/states/news/1192025.html#k9WAxwY7efm9JIoE.99last_img read more

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Colombia is again the worlds top coca producer Why thats a blow

first_imgRelated posts:Global drug policy isn’t working. These 100-plus organizations want that to change. US arrests relatives of Venezuela first lady over drug-trafficking allegations Mexico wants to question Sean Penn over meeting with ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Waging peace in Colombia TIERRADENTRO, Colombia – Illegal coca cultivation is surging in Colombia, erasing one of the showcase achievements of U.S. counternarcotics policy and threatening to send a burst of cheap cocaine through the smuggling pipeline to the United States.Just two years after it ceased to be the world’s largest producer, falling behind Peru, Colombia now grows more illegal coca than Peru and third-place Bolivia combined. In 2014, the last year for which statistics are available, Colombians planted 44 percent more coca than in 2013, and U.S. drug agents say this year’s crop is probably even larger.The coca boom comes at an especially sensitive time for the Colombian government, which is in the final stages of peace negotiations with leftist FARC rebels who have long profited from the illegal drug trade. Last month the government halted aerial spraying of the crop, citing concerns that the herbicides used may cause cancer. That program had been a pillar of Plan Colombia, under which the United States has provided more than $9 billion to this country since 2000.Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, a key U.S. ally, said his administration is ready to launch a massive crop substitution campaign if a deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is reached and areas under rebel control become safe enough for government workers. The guerrillas and the government have already agreed in principle on a sweeping new development plan for Colombia’s struggling rural areas, with the FARC pledging to help persuade farmers to rip out their coca in favor of lawful crops.U.S. and Colombian officials say the biggest reason for the current bumper crop is that the FARC, along with other armed groups, has encouraged farmers to plant more coca in anticipation of the peace deal and the new government aid.In an interview with The Washington Post, Santos said his government will seek U.S. support for the huge new crop substitution plan. With the FARC off the battlefield, such a program could succeed where past initiatives have fallen short, he said.“We have a golden opportunity,” Santos said. “But if we don’t give the farmers an alternative, they’re going to keep growing coca.” WikimediaCommons/DEAA new cocaine rushCocaine consumption in the United States fell in the past decade while methamphetamine and heroin use soared. But a glut of cheap product could bring a new cocaine rush. It could also unleash new cycles of violence along trafficking routes through Central America and Mexico.The FARC, whose formidable guerrillas initially “taxed” farmers’ coca production and went on to dominate trafficking in the areas under their control, has vowed to leave the drug trade if the peace deal is reached. But Colombia’s other armed groups – including ELN guerrillas, paramilitary gangs and the rural bands known as “bacrim” – will be looking to muscle into the business in areas where the FARC pulls out.U.S.-funded aerial spraying played a huge role in reducing Colombia’s coca crop from an estimated 400,000 acres in 2000 to fewer than 120,000 acres in 2012. The tactic was bitterly resented in rural communities, though, and it provided diminishing returns as drug growers moved their crops to national parks, indigenous reserves, border areas and other places off-limits to spraying.Two-thirds of the country’s 170,000 acres of coca fields are now in such areas, according to the government, and the new coca boom was well underway before the ban on aerial spraying took effect Oct. 1.‘More coca on the ground’Jorgan Andrews, director of the State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs section at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, said the growth in coca production appears to be linked to the peace talks with the FARC and expectations about the substitution programs that may follow.“The government programs will be in areas where there is coca, so one interpretation is that those who grow the most coca will get the most government benefits,” he said.“And if the peace process with FARC falls apart,” he said, “they’ll already have more coca in the ground.”Andrews said Colombia’s 2015 coca output is projected to go “way up.” Many of the plants added last year have since matured, “so what you’ll see is a big cocaine production spike as those plants come online.”Once the coca leaves are stripped from the plant, they are soaked in solvents such as kerosene to leech out the naturally occurring alkaloids, then processed with sulfuric acid, ammonia and other chemicals to make cocaine base and eventually white powder.Because mature plants yield more of the leaves used to make cocaine hydrochloride, the street-level version of the drug, a 44 percent increase in the amount of land planted with coca translates to a projected 52 percent increase this year in cocaine production, according to U.N. estimates.Even if the Santos government and the FARC agree on a truce by their March 23 deadline, it won’t mean social workers with cacao seeds and fish-farm projects will be able to fan out across Colombia’s jungles and mountains. Some of the country’s coca strongholds are likely to remain no-go zones for years – Colombia has more deaths and injuries from anti-personnel mines than anywhere outside Afghanistan.“What happens if the coca numbers keep going up? It’s going to put a lot of pressure on the government from the international community,” said Bo Mathiasen, the Colombia director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.Recommended: 30-year-old Dutch photos help ID victims in 1985 Colombia Justice Palace siegeStill, he pointed out, coca is not lucrative for small farmers – even if it pays more than traditional crops. “And that’s the good news for us, because it makes it easier to succeed with alternatives,” Mathiasen said. From left, farmers Delvis Argumen, Pedro Montes and Juan Martínez rest on banana trees in Tierradentro, Colombia. U.S. and Colombia officials say the biggest reason for the current bumper crop is that the FARC, along with other armed groups, has encouraged farmers to plant more coca in anticipation of the peace deal and the new government aid. Photo by Dania Maxwell for The Washington PostAs many as 1 million of Colombia’s 50 million citizens are linked to the coca business directly or indirectly, according to Eduardo Díaz, the economist and former health minister in charge of the crop substitution program. Díaz said the government has learned critical lessons over the years about what works and does not.“It can’t be, ‘Here, try these seeds, see you later,’ ” Díaz said. “We have to establish the presence of the state in these conflict zones.”Cash payments to individual families in exchange for voluntary eradication do not work either, Díaz said, because the possibility of earning money simply encourages everyone to grow coca. Instead, the government wants entire communities to opt for crop substitution in the hope it will bring state-building investments in infrastructure, health and education. Holdouts would face forced eradication and criminal penalties.Díaz said asking farmers to gradually phase out coca also does not work. As long as there are illegal crops in the community, there will be armed groups attracted to it, he said, like flies swarming food.Losing patienceHere in Tierradentro, a tiny village at the foothills of the Nudo de Paramillo range in the northern state of Cordoba, a crop substitution program supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development is encouraging former coca growers to try bananas and cacao instead.FARC units remain active farther up the mountain, protecting coca fields in a national park.The area is one of Colombia’s most war-torn, fought over by right-wing paramilitaries and the FARC for the past 20 years. But with a unilateral cease-fire in effect, Tierradentro is quieter now than at any time in recent memory.Farmers here say they are proud to grow food again, returning to a simpler and more innocent era. Sure, they said, the coca brought more money, but also wanton killing, prostitution and benefits that did not last.“Most of the money went to alcohol,” said Darwis Tarifa, 42, who said he lost two brothers to drug deals gone bad.Cacao seemed the most promising alternative for Tierradentro’s farmers, but the trees planted here will take several years to bear fruit. Bananas were the only option in the meantime, and many farmers here confessed they were losing patience, earning as little as $175 a month, well below minimum wage and less than a third of what they made growing coca. Selling bricks of cocaine base was a lot easier than arranging for truckloads of bananas to reach markets several hours away along a rough dirt road.“Today we live in peace,” said Alexis Fernández, 63. “But there’s no coca and no money.”Farther up the mountain and a canoe ride across the muddy San Jorge River, Jacinto Tapia showed off the fields where he grew coca until switching to bananas last year. In the rich alluvial soils, his mature coca plants could be harvested every 40 days, virtually year-round, almost as good as a monthly paycheck.Soldiers arrived last year and ripped them out. Tapia signed up for the crop substitution program.“Once you start getting old, you get tired of having these problems,” said the sun-worn Tapia, 69. “You don’t make as much money, but you sleep better at night.”A few vestigial coca plants poked through the ground between the bananas and empty cans of glyphosate herbicide. Their leaves were a radiant shade of green. Tapia chopped at their roots with his machete but said the only way to finish them off was with heavy doses of the weedkiller.All it takes is a few severed roots left in the ground, he said, and the plant comes roaring back.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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