Darjeeling unrest halts heritage train

first_imgAmong the numerous casualties of the violent statehood agitation that has swept the Darjeeling hills over the past 10 days has been the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) — an engineering marvel and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999.The services of the DHR from New Jalpaiguri station to Darjeeling along the 87 km route was suspended for an indefinite period from June 12. Officials of DHR said the pro-Gorkhaland supporters were not allowing station masters to function. However, shutting down services has not protected the heritage railway. “On June 15, miscreants tried to burn the Gayabari Station but the locals saved the heritage property from any major damage,” Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Chief Public Relation Officer of the North East Frontier Railway said. Two days later Ghum Station turned into a battle ground between the security forces and GJM supporters.last_img read more

PM should answer if Rafale deal was meant to strengthen IAF or an industrialist: Shiv Sena

first_imgThe Shiv Sena on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should answer whether the Rafale deal was meant to strengthen the Air Force or a financially-troubled industrialist. The party’s remarks came after a report in The Hindu on Friday claimed that the Defence Ministry had raised strong objections to “parallel discussions” conducted by the PMO during the negotiations over the ₹59,000 crore Rafale deal between India and France. The Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana said Mr. Modi gave a speech on “patriotism” in Parliament on Thursday and defended the deal. “But the very next day, the ‘black page’ (document) came out, which silenced those raising patriotic slogans and thumping benches in the House,” it said. Without naming anyone, the Shiv Sena said that Mr. Modi was expected to answer if the deal was finalised to strengthen the Air Force or a financially-troubled industrialist. Referring to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s constant criticism of the government on the Rafale issue, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party also asked why the opposition should be blamed for it. “The opponents may perish (politically), but truth will stay alive,” it said.“The prime minister made the oft-repeated allegation (in Parliament) that the Congress does not want strengthening of the defence services. And the next day, documents surface, showing how extreme Modi’s personal interest in the deal was. What to make out of it?” the Sena asked.“Modi was directly ‘dealing’ in the Rafale transactions. Key people like defence minister, defence secretary were kept away from it. Modi himself took decisions on issues like prices of Rafale (planes) and who would get its contract. Hence, he will have to face allegations and criticism,” it claimed.“How does seeking explanations on issues of national security become criticism of the country,” the party asked. Mr. Modi had Thursday said in Parliament that the opposition could criticise him and the BJP, but not the nation over the issue. The Sena on Saturday further alleged that the definitions of nationalism and patriotism stood “changed” under the current BJP-led regime. “Those who sing paeans of Rafale deal are patriots, while those raising questions about its pricing are being labelled as traitors now,” it claimed. The BJP’s warring ally added that people of the country would keep asking questions till they get a satisfactory answer on why a plane costing ₹500 crore was bought at ₹1,600 crore. It also said that Mr. Modi had ruled the country single-handedly for the past four-and-half years. “Yet, blaming the Congress for issues such as price rise and corruption is akin to shrouding own (the government’s) failures,” it said.last_img read more

Bookies and The Bathwater

first_imgWould you be outraged if someone whispered that Mahendra Singh Dhoni had wagered Rs 1 crore on an Indian victory in the World Cup? The sententious answer is yes; the honest answer is no. Dhoni would have bet on India’s side; he would have put money where his heart was, just as millions of other Indians did-in fact, those who bet on form must be kicking themselves now. We do not object to betting, even if it is illegal. We object to the unethical.Betting and cheating do not share an umbilical cord. The silly moaning about bookies is as ludicrous a bit of humbug as any devised in the long and often hypocritical history of commerce. Cheats are dishonest because they are cheats, not because they are gamblers. The best solution to illegal gambling is to legalise it. India, instead, is double-faced. Why should horse racing be permitted as a gambling sport, but not cricket? Has any government prevented anyone from gambling during Diwali? It is perfectly legal to bet on the outcome of any aspect of a cricket Test in England: has that corrupted English cricketers? No. In fact, it may be more valid to say that illegal gambling induces corruption since those in charge of the business have to, perforce, either belong to or work with the underworld.You might get a bizarre incident or two, but no systematic crime. The most famous case in my memory is that of an Australian fast bowler (still alive, honourably retired, but shall remain nameless in this column) during what has come to be known as the Botham series, thanks to the incredible feats Ian Botham engineered with both bat and ball. In one Test, England were in such a hopeless position that the odds on their victory climbed to 50-1. Our Australian pacer thought that they were too good to ignore, and placed a modest sum on Australia losing. Then Botham arrived and led England to a fairy tale win. The Australian collected from his bookie. Some eyebrows were raised, and a moustache or two possibly quivered, but no one accused the bowler of selling out.advertisementMoney and sport are natural partners, even though Victorian and post-Victorian England sponsored the classy fiction that honour was more, well, honourable, than cash. Cricket was unlawful in England till after the accession of Queen Victoria since the despotic Henry VIII banned all sport through an Act of Parliament in order to protect archery. The game survived because no law can ban anything which the people consider legitimate. Gambling was part of the fun, except when it reached ruinous proportions, or when it was hijacked by syndicates. The splendidly named and decorated Englishman, R. S. Rait Kerr CBE, DSO, MC, notes in The Laws of Cricket: Their History and Growth that stakes and gambling were “an essential factor in the development of cricket”, and that the highest royalty offered rewards as high as 1,000 guineas for an important match long before 1750.Where there is money, there will always arrive a pompous journalist, particularly if he can’t get his hands on any. The Chelmsford Chronicle intoned in 1774: “This sport has too long been perverted from diversion and innocent pastime to excessive gaming and public dissipation. Cricket matches are now degenerated into business of importance. The increasing evil our magistracy ought to suppress in the Artillery Ground. It is confidently said that a set of idle fellows, or more properly, a gang of dextrous gamblers, are hired and maintained by a most noble lord, at so little expense as 1,000 pounds a year.”Noble lord, of course. Professional bookmakers did try and steal matches, then as now, but instead of sending them underground British legislators did the necessary spadework overground. In 1774, laws were introduced to regulate and clean up betting. The British refused to throw the baby out with the bathwater. MCC removed bookmakers from Lord’s in 1820, and gradually both the sport and the flutter surrounding it found its true, and acceptable, levels.Our present legislators, across party lines, believe that if they close their eyes, there will be no bathwater. It is the sort of bogus moral pose that pretends that prohibition is necessary in Gujarat because Mahatma Gandhi was born there. Every Gandhian value is abandoned, but we cultivate his most irrelevant dictum. If Gandhi were alive, the present state of corruption would probably have turned him into a despairing alcoholic.Gandhi succeeded in mixing idealism and pragmatism in equal proportions. I daresay he would have approved legalised betting in 2011, with the provision that all its tax revenues be kept for poverty alleviation programmes. They could always be called the Mahendra Dhoni Garibi Hatao Yojana.advertisementlast_img read more


first_imgNebraska state Senator Bob Krist is leaving the Republican Party and launching an independent bid for governor.Krist kicked off his campaign today (Wednesday), saying he’ll find nonpartisan ways to reduce property taxes while providing adequate funding for public education.He is officially changing his party registration to nonpartisan, saying he’s becoming an independent to try to restore a nonpartisan attitude in state government and promote more debate on issues.Krist also says he’ll work to fix problems in the Department of Correctional Services.He was appointed to the Legislature in 2009 by then-Governor Dave Heineman, elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.Krist is challenging incumbent Republican Governor Pete Ricketts in the 2018 election.last_img

Scottish FA to open talks with Michael O’Neill over vacant manager’s job

first_imgShare on Messenger Share via Email Share on Twitter Any deal to O’Neill himself will show a significant boost to the £500,000 per year terms as given to Strachan but a long way short of the £1m a year salary as speculated from Northern Ireland when Switzerland emerged victorious from a World Cup play-off between the pair. Sunderland duly failed with overtures towards O’Neill before the hiring of Chris Coleman.It is far from certain O’Neill – who lives in Edinburgh – will be coaxed by this alternative international role, meaning the SFA is right to remain cautious. The Irish FA is to offer him a contract running until 2024 with a substantial increase on his current salary. The former Shamrock Rovers manager will need to be convinced by the SFA of the switch being beneficial to his career. There is, however, a lingering sense that O’Neill may have taken Northern Ireland as far as he can; with the possibility of leading different, low-ranked nations to major tournaments inevitably a consideration in terms of reputation. Share on WhatsApp Share on LinkedIn Northern Ireland Scotland newscenter_img Topics The Scottish FA will open talks with its prime managerial target Michael O’Neill after being granted permission by its equivalent in Northern Ireland on Friday, the Guardian understands.The SFA has refused to comment on the situation and still regards the hiring of O’Neill as far from a fait accompli but this development will be seen as significant after weeks of apparent deadlock.Scotland are expected to make O’Neill an offer to become the highest paid manager in their international history, with a four-year contract likely to be on the table. This would include a lucrative bonus for ending a major finals wait which stretches back to 1998.O’Neill has been the SFA’s first choice to succeed Gordon Strachan since October, when it was confirmed back-to-back failed qualification campaigns would trigger dugout change. O’Neill’s current employers insisted the Scots meet certain terms – relating crucially and financially to the notice period within his contract – before they could speak to the 48-year-old. After a lengthy period of legal checks and further due diligence by the SFA, agreement has been reached between the associations. Share on Facebook Reuse this content City ready to walk away from Alexis Sánchez deal amid United interest Share on Pinterest Read morelast_img read more

Van Dijk makes Champions League bow

first_imgLiverpool Liverpool team news: Van Dijk makes Champions League bow Melissa Reddy Liverpool FC Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 02:31 2/15/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Virgil van Dijk Liverpool UEFA Champions League Porto v Liverpool Porto The Reds have made three changes for Wednesday night’s challenge at the Estadio do Dragao Virgil van Dijk will partner Dejan Lovren in the heart of defence on his Champions League debut for Liverpool at Porto in the last-16 tie.The centre-back has previously represented Celtic in the competition, and having joined the Anfield side from Southampton in January, is offered his first chance to line-up under Jurgen Klopp on the continent.Lovren switches in for Joel Matip alongside him in one of three changes to the starting XI. Article continues below Editors’ Picks 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. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player The suspended Emre Can is replaced by captain Jordan Henderson at the base of midfield, while James Milner comes in for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.Joe Gomez returns from a knee issue and is on the bench.Liverpool starting XI: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Salah, Mane, FirminoLiverpool subs: Mignolet, Matip, Moreno, Gomez, Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain, IngsGFX Porto LiverpoolPorto XI: Jose Sa; Ricardo, Reyes, Marcano, Alex Telles, Herrera, Sergio Oliveira, Otavio, Brahimi, Marega e Soares.Porto subs: Casillas, Maxi Pereira, Osorio, Oliver, Corona, Waris e Goncalo Paciencia Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

a month agoMan City boss Guardiola on Liverpool hacking scandal: We’re all bugged

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man City boss Guardiola on Liverpool hacking scandal: We’re all buggedby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City boss Pep Guardiola says everyone is bugged after responding to their hacking scandal.In 2013, City’s online scouting network had been hacked by a rival Premier League club who accessed their database of player targets.The Scout 7 system was password protected – but City believe their network was illegally accessed.It’s emerged in The Times that Liverpool are believed to have made City a £1million payment in a confidential settlement of the data breach.Guardiola said: “Today there are not secrets any more. Look what happened in the big governments in the states and Russia and everywhere everyone knows it.“No secrets anymore. You want to keep a secret? Don’t tell to a friend, on devices or mobile phone, today anything can happen.” last_img read more

Sherbrooke Village Expands Music Camp Programs

first_imgSherbrooke Village music camps are being expanded this coming season because of the positive response from both attendees and instructors last year. The Road to Stanfest Songwriting Camp, produced in partnership with the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, now features six instructors, up from four last year. Instructors Chuck Brodsky, Dave Carroll, Clary Croft, Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart and Valdy will help writers of all levels improve their songwriting skills from June 30 to July 3. Each camp registrant will be able to perform their music on a special stage during the Stan Rogers Folk Festival. From July 7 to July 10, the Sherbrooke Now Fiddle Camp will feature instructors Kimberley and Skip Holmes, and Ivan and Vivian Hicks. This new camp will teach students fiddle, guitar and piano in historic Sherbrooke Village. The final music camp of the season will take place from Oct. 6 to Oct. 9. The Road to Celtic Colours Music Camp provides a spirited lead-in to the Celtic Colours International Festival. A range of workshops in fiddle, piano and guitar will be offered daily with instructors Stan Chapman, Wendy MacIsaac and Patrick Gillis. Informal musical gatherings will be held each evening with camp participants featured as performers. The music camp season will wrap up on Oct. 9 as the Fifth Annual Road to Celtic Colours Ceilidh takes place at the Sherbrooke Courthouse. The concert will feature Celtic Camp instructors and students as the Road to the Isles runs through Sherbrooke. To register or for more information see our website http://sherbrookevillage.ca or call 1-888-743-7845.last_img read more

Special police probe on murder

(Report by Menaka Indrakumar for Colombo Gazette) Two police teams had been deployed to investigate the murder of a Tamil man in Colombo last night.The police suspect a job agency was behind the murder of the man whose body was found in Bambalapitiya. The 37 year old victim had visited the job agency in Wellawatte last night to seek a reimbursement of the money he had paid to be sent to Britain. A resident of Batticaloa, the victim had gone to the agency on Thursday night but was later found dead near Hindu college in Bambalapitiya with stab wounds.He was temporarily staying in Welempitiya and was going to reunite with his wife in Britain, the police said. Bambalapitiya police inspector Anusha Rupasinghe said that an investigation is now underway on the job agency. He had paid over Rs. 1 million to the agency to be sent to Britain for employment but the agency could not secure him the job. read more

Protest to greet human rights chief in Sri Lanka

A protest is to be staged at Lipton Circus on Saturday against the visit by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka on Saturday for talks and will be in the country till Tuesday. Posters have been pasted at several locations calling for support to protest against Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s Sri Lanka visit.Hussein is being accused of attempting to push for international action against the army over alleged war crimes. (Colombo Gazette)

Exxon Mobil hit by lower production and energy prices in 2Q

NEW YORK, N.Y. – A jump in Exxon Mobil’s net income couldn’t mask broader problems for America’s largest oil company.The Irving, Texas petroleum giant said its second-quarter net income rose 49 per cent to $15.9 billion. But most of the gain came from $7.5 billion in asset sales.Otherwise, it was a challenging quarter. Exxon Mobil produced less oil and natural gas, and it sold both at lower prices. Exxon’s chemical factories also posted weak sales in Asia and Europe, where the economy slowed. All told, Exxon’s operating profit of $8.4 billion was the lowest since the third quarter of 2010, and it fell well short of Wall Street expectations.Shares rose more than 1 per cent Thursday, but that was due to an increase in oil prices for the day.The fortunes of Exxon Mobil and other petroleum companies mostly swing with the price of oil and natural gas. And the second quarter was tough for every one of them. Benchmark U.S. crude prices fell 8.8 per cent in the period while natural gas prices dropped by 46.2 per cent.Declining prices also lowered second-quarter profits at Royal Dutch Shell, Occidental Petroleum Corp. and ConocoPhillips. Chevron Corp. will release its financial results on Friday, and BP will report next week.Exxon said it will press ahead with its aggressive plan to explore for more oil and gas, even though prices are falling. Exxon announced earlier this year that it plans spend $37 billion annually over the next five years to find new energy sources around the world.Exxon and other oil companies expect oil demand to rise, even though the current global economy is sputtering. New sources of oil are tough and expensive to find, and Exxon and others are not letting up on the throttle yet.“Despite global economic uncertainty, we continue to invest throughout the business cycle taking a long-term view of resource development,” Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson said.Exxon expects production to fall in 2012. But output should rise again next year as Exxon’s Kearl oil sands project comes online in Canada, Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov said.In the second quarter, Exxon’s financial results were propped up by a big gain from the sale of its stake in a Japanese fuel and lubricants business. The $3.9 billion deal, announced in January, boosted profits for Exxon’s international refining and chemicals businesses in the second quarter.Overall, Exxon Mobil’s net income amounted to $3.41 per share for the April-June period. A year earlier, Exxon earned $10.7 billion, or $2.18 per share. Revenue increased during the quarter by 1.5 per cent to $127.4 billion.Meanwhile, Exxon’s core oil and natural gas production business suffered. Total production fell by 5.6 per cent, when compared with the same part of 2011.Lower oil and natural gas prices did help some parts of Exxon’s global operation. Its refineries were able to buy cheaper oil, and lower natural gas prices made it less expensive to power some of their equipment. The company also was able to sell gasoline at higher prices in some parts of the U.S.Exxon’s U.S. downstream business, which includes refineries, increased profits by 14 per cent in the period. Profits fell for its U.S. chemical manufacturing business by 21 per cent. Exxon Mobil hit by lower production and energy prices in 2Q by News Staff Posted Jul 26, 2012 7:35 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Economist warns lack of private investment could create problems for Canada

Jack Mintz by Jonathan Muma Posted Aug 3, 2017 1:31 pm MDT Last Updated Aug 3, 2017 at 1:33 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Canada’s economy is at risk of sputtering out if private investment doesn’t pick up.That’s according to Jack Mintz, the President’s Fellow of The School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.The economist said the termination of the $36-billion Pacific Northwest Liquefied Natural Gas project is another troubling sign, but added oil and gas is just the tip of the iceberg.“Even in the services sector, we’ve had relatively low investment in the past number of years,” he explained.Mintz said federal and provincial governments need to address it, but they haven’t been helping so far.“Governments have been piling on,” he stated. “They’ve been putting up taxes, especially adding to regulations and making them more costly.”Mintz pointed out the private investment rate relative to GDP between 2010 and 2015 in Canada compared to the OECD was only better than Greece, and if you take out the resource sector, it’s worse. (Stock photo: Pexels.com) Economist warns lack of private investment could create problems for Canada read more

Bullies target physical appearance ethnicity gender or sexual orientation – UN reports

“School violence and bullying is a grave violation of the right to education,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the agency that oversaw the report and co-organized an international symposium on the subject now underway in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The report found that all children and adolescents are at risk of school violence and bullying, but bullies target vulnerable factors, such as poverty or social status associated with ethnicity, linguistic or cultural differences, migration or displacement. Children who were disabled or looked different, such as being overweight or underweight, were also a prime target for bullying. Young people whose sexual orientation, gender identity or expression does not conform to traditional gender norms are also at increased risk of school violence and bullying, the UN agency reported. An estimated 246 million children and adolescents experience school violence and bullying in some form every year harming the physical health and emotional well-being of the child.Among other aspects, the authors looked at where school violence and bullying occurs. For example, physical aggression is more frequent in primary school, whereas cyberbullying takes place more in middle through secondary school.The report was presented at the International Symposium on School Violence and Bullying: From Evidence to Action, co-organized by UNESCO and the Institute of School Violence Prevention at Ewha Womans University.Speaking to UN News, Christopher Castle, the UNESCO focal point for the Symposium, said bullying has been “neglected or overlooked for far too long.” He credits the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for bringing the issue to discussions. A target of Goal 4 is to “provide safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.” “People are now waking up to the fact that when children are in school and in order for them to learn and get a good quality education, they need to have an environment that’s conducive for them to learn which means bullying and school violence is really incredibly unhelpful,” Mr. Castle said. AUDIO: Christopher Castle, UNESCO focal point for International Symposium on School Violence and Bullying.In addition to today’s report, the Symposium is also an opportunity for the 250 participants from 70 countries to discuss the 2016 UN Secretary-General’s report on protecting children from bullying. Read more about the Secretary-General’s report and the work of his envoy on the issue , Marta Santos Pais. read more

JLR boosts Halewood manufacturing with move to three shifts

Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) Halewood switches to 24-hour manufacturing for the first time in its 50 year history.Extra shift signals global attractiveness of UK-built products like new Evoque.Jaguar Land Rover has introduced a third shift at its thriving Halewood plant, which manufactures the Freelander 2 and Range Rover Evoque models. The plant will now operate around the clock production to cope with rising global demand for its new Evoque model.The move will take production at Halewood to 24 hours for the first time in its history and demonstrates the global appeal of the new Range Rover Evoque, with nearly 88,000 vehicles sold in more than 170 markets.Des Thurlby, HR Director at JLR said, “With 4,500 employees, JLR Halewood has trebled its workforce in just three years – and the size of the workforce is now the highest it has been for 20 years. As well as creating new jobs, our on-going global success means we continue to have a positive economic impact in the North West and throughout the UK supply chain.”Richard Else, Halewood Operations Director, said, “Our new recruits have worked hard during their assessments and extensive induction training. Many have also worked a number of trial night shifts during July, to ensure we get off to a great start today. I am delighted to welcome our new colleagues as they come on-board to help us meet customer demand for the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Freelander.The news follows JLR’s announcement earlier in the year to create over 1,000 new jobs at Halewood, raising skills levels with the recruitment of production operators, supervisors and engineers. The boost in activity at the plant is set to create significant opportunities in the UK automotive supply chain, opening up thousands more jobs in the local economy.To read more about the major opportunities for the UK automotive supply chain, click here. Click through, for a full list of recent investment announcements in UK automotive. read more

Tickets still available for Wind Ensemble concert

The Brock University Wind Ensemble is ready to serve up a feast for the soul.The group will take to the stage at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday, April 4 beginning at 7:30 p.m.Under the baton of conductor Zoltan Kalman, the ensemble features 60 talented musicians from Brock University, local elementary and high schools, and the broader music community.Music for the Soul will also feature musicians from Burlington’s Symphony on the Bay, as well as the Niagara Symphony.“Our concert features a captivating mix of classical, romantic and easy listening works that will highlight the brilliance and versatility of the Brock University Wind Ensemble,” Kalman said.“From the amazing love story of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to the high energy ‘A Weekend in New York’ this evening aims to capture the celebration of love, power and passion.”Tickets for Music for the Soul are $10 for adults and $5 for children 14 and under.Current students of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts may each redeem a complimentary ticket with valid ID.Tickets are available through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Box Office by phone at 905-688-0722, online at firstontariopac.ca or at the door. read more

International Womens Day The Telegraphs Women Mean Business campaign a year on

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. There are many positive stories to tell and having identified this issue which is stopping so many female founded businesses thriving the Telegraph will continued to press for progress – championing hard work and talent where we find it.In this video, released on International Women’s Day 2019, Claire Cohen takes a look back at the successes of the last twelve months as the Government publishes its review. A year ago The Telegraph launched the Women Mean Business campaign to shine a light on the shocking funding gap experienced by British female entrepreneurs as they endeavour to launch their own businesses. Start-ups run by women receive just nine per cent of venture capital funding despite the fact around a third of businesses in the country are female-owned. Just 24 hours after we launched our campaign, the Government announced a serious review into the issue – the Treasury calling it “incredibly important”.  Those findings were published in September and the Government went on to commission an independent review into the challenges facing women in starting and growing their own enterprises, led by Alison Rose, deputy CEO of Natwest. Today, the results of the ‘Rose review’ are published, making the first ever recommendations to Government about what it needs to do to help women entrepreneurs in Britain succeed. Because women are not a minority group – and when they flourish, so do we all. It is estimated that up to £250bn of new value could be added to the UK economy if barriers to success are removed and women start and scale businesses at the same rate as men. read more

Anglo American welcomes human rights report

first_imgAnglo Platinum has welcomed the release of a report by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) that examines the potential human rights impacts of mining on poor communities. The SAHRC has produced some useful recommendations about identifying and mitigating the risks of human rights violations associated with the resettlement of communities.‘While we are pleased that the report makes no findings of violations of the law or human rights, the SAHRC has drawn attention to some of the hidden vulnerabilities of communities and residents around large-scale mining projects,’ says Mary-Jane Morifi, Head of Corporate Affairs at Anglo Platinum. ‘We will give serious consideration to the SAHRC recommendations regarding complaints mechanisms, better community representation, more effective communication with affected communities, human rights impact assessment and the importance of building the knowledge and capacities of all the key players in a resettlement.’‘The SAHRC has made a valuable contribution to current debates around business and human rights in South Africa, and recommended ways that we can better protect the rights of poor and vulnerable people.‘This is an important report that will not only help guide our own business practices, but will serve as a reference for others in the mining industry engaging in similar large-scale projects in the future.’ ‘This is a detailed and far-reaching report that needs to be studied. We shall be engaging the SAHRC, government officials, local communities and other stakeholders in discussing how to move this debate forward.‘Partly because of the length and intensity of consultation with the affected communities, the resettlement was planned over many years and was designed in advance of the publication of some key pieces of international guidance – such as the IFC Performance Standard, which would now form the benchmark for any Anglo American resettlement. Following publication of the Ruggie Report on business and human rights, we also have work under way on designing appropriate grievance mechanisms going forward.’‘We have common ground with the Commission in our belief that mining should enhance the capacities and livelihoods of the communities where we work and we are committed to the goal that resettlement should improve the opportunities available to the affected communities.  We believe that this will prove to be the case at Motlhotlo where the great majority of households have chosen to relocate and now have greatly enhanced housing, schools, health facilities and land. We accept that there is much still to do and we hope that the Commission’s report will help all concerned to resolve outstanding issues.’last_img read more

Youngest ever Microsoft Certified Professional dies aged 16

first_imgIn most cases talented people end up getting highlighted in the press usually for their achievements. When that person is a child, obviously the excitement surrounding their achievements is heightened. That was certainly the case for Arfa Karim Randhawa, who at just 9 years old became the youngest ever Microsoft Certified Professional (although a boy of 8 now holds that crown). Her achievement back in 2005 was amazing, especially considering how tough the MCP program can be, and that before her only a few gifted teenagers had managed to become one. Her certification also earned her a trip to Redmond where she met Bill Gates and asked him why there weren’t more women working there, and why Microsoft didn’t employ anyone of her age. She certainly left an impression and was a talent for the future. Quite probably a future Microsoft employee too.So it’s with sadness that we have to report that late last week Arfa passed away in hospital aged 16. On December 22 last year she suffered an epileptic seizure and cardiac arrest, and then slipped into a coma. At first her prognosis was very poor, but then in early January doctors expressed hope she may recover. Microsoft also got involved, hiring doctors to look at her condition and see if anything could be done beyond the facilities and expertise in the Pakistan hospital where she was recovering. Unfortunately, that hope was short lived and she died on Saturday night in the Combined Military Hospital, Lahore. There was a complication with her tracheotomy tube that lead to bleeding in her throat. She was moved to the emergency room, but did not survive despite the doctor’s best efforts.Although Arfa’s life was cut short, she showed so much potential and achieved more than most children do during the same period of their lives. If nothing else she should be held up as an example of what is possible and how talent and learning should always be encouraged from a very early age.Read more at Digital Lifelast_img read more

Visa shows off NFC payment app at Olympics

first_imgNFC-based payment systems have been slowly sneaking their way onto smartphones around the world for a while now. Google Wallet, having just recently updated their app to support more card types, seemed like a great idea until carriers started blocking it. It wasn’t all that long ago that MasterCard was unveiling their own mobile and web payment system, geared towards offering benefits to the MasterCard customer base. We’ve seen demonstrations on and off from ISIS, but there’s been no real movement on that system for some time now, despite the wealth of support and interest. Now it looks like Visa is getting ready to roll out an NFC-based payment system, joining the increasingly crowded mobile payment space.During one of the “Postcards from London” videos Visa has done in celebration of the London 2012 Olympics, Visa demonstrated contactless payment on a smartphone. Specifically, Visa’s video demonstrated a purchase being made at one of the many locations in the Olympics that accepts payment with a Samsung Galaxy S3. The smartphone is running a special version of the unreleased Visa PayWave app, which works using the PayWave infrastructure Visa already has with keyfobs and contactless cards. During the video, Visa announced that they will be offering the service in the US by the end of this year, pending some agreements with mobile carriers in the states.There’s no telling how far Visa will get with their deployment at this point. Verizon has blocked everything that isn’t the non-existent ISIS service, and AT&T and T-Mobile both have sketchy relationships with Google Wallet. Some phones are allowed to have it and others aren’t, while Sprint includes Google Wallet with everything they can fit the app on to, which might indicate an exclusivity agreement with Google.Over the next year, these payment operators are going to start offering these services more aggressively, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. If it means more of the readers installed at more locations around the world, the user adoption rate would skyrocket.last_img read more