first_imgGurugram: The Gurugram municipal corporation has begun the ambitious target of making sure that lakhs of properties residential and commercial will now have an identity.The survey for the process has already started. If implemented well this will streamline the process of homeowners and shopowners to avail all the government services online. It is also expected to curtail the corrupt practices where a large number of residential units after getting the occupation certificate were converting into commercial units and inturn causing losses to the government exchequer. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderFor the implementation of the process, the Municipal Corporation has begun the process of giving the circulars to the employees wherein it has urged the citizens to provide the relevant information pertaining to their properties. The process has been outsourced to the agency that will be taking the information from the residents. There will be no fee that will be levied in the process of gathering the information. “There is a requirement of transparency and the greater penetration of the internet and technology has made our lives easier in achieving this outcome. It will now be easy for the residents to track all the detail relating to their properties once this project is implemented fully,” said a senior official from MCG. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsThe project of giving each property in the city identification is seen as an extension of the process where every family in Haryana will also be given an I -card by the state government. Providing the detail of the project District Commissioner Amit Khatri said that a first of its project that is going to be implemented in any state Gurugram will be taking a lead. The senior public official highlighted that by issuing this I-card the government will be able to not only identify its residents better but it will also aid them in the dispensation of public services more effectively. Once implemented the official site that it will enable them to reduce pilferage in providing government services and also help them in getting to know the citizen needs and provide the services to them. The project which is just in its initial stages will contain more detail locally than what actually is provided in other forms of registration like the Aadhar. A pilot project has kickstarted with the participation and registration of public officials. “There is still a lot of corruption and problems of service delivery in government services. The state I card will be an effective medium in allowing us to know the citizens and thereby providing the services. These services will be for the use of the state government,” said a senior public official.last_img read more

first_imgOTTAWA – A member of the Canadian Forces has been charged with sexually assaulting another soldier during a training exercise in New Brunswick.National Defence says Cpl. George MacLeod of 36 Combat Engineer Regiment reserve unit in Sydney, N.S., was charged in relation to an alleged incident at Base Gagetown in August.The National Investigation Service offered no other details, saying only that the incident involved another member of the Armed Forces.MacLeod faces one count of sexual assault under the Criminal Code.The investigation service says the charge could go before a military court martial.last_img read more

first_imgGOOSE BAY, N.L. – Once frightened, lonely children who lost their culture and innocence rose in a standing ovation Friday as the prime minister at last said it for all Canadians: It was wrong, and we are sorry.“I humbly stand before you to offer a long-overdue apology,” Justin Trudeau said through tears. “To all of you, we are sorry.”Many of the 300 people gathered for the ceremony in Goose Bay bowed their heads and cried. Others tried to comfort those who sobbed openly.Trudeau offered the apology for beatings, sexual abuse, neglect and loss of Innu and Inuit language and culture at residential schools in the province. They were located in North West River, Makkovik, Cartwright and Nain — all in Labrador — and one in St. Anthony in northern Newfoundland.The International Grenfell Association ran three of the schools, while the Germany-based Moravian missionaries ran the other two.Trudeau said parents were promised their children would be cared for and would be safe.Instead, kids as young as five were isolated from their families and stripped of their identity. They were made to feel “irrelevant and inferior” and taught to be “ashamed of who they were and where they were from.”“The kind of thinking that led to the establishment of the residential school system and left deep scars for so many has no place in our society,” Trudeau said. “It was unacceptable then and it is unacceptable now.”The former students were left out of a compensation package and national apology in 2008 by former prime minister Stephen Harper. His Conservative government argued that Ottawa didn’t oversee those schools, but the Liberal government offered last year to settle a class-action lawsuit for $50 million.Toby Obed accepted the prime minister’s apology on behalf of former students.Approaching the stage, his arms raised in triumph, Obed yelled: “We got it!”“Because I come from a patient and forgiving culture I think it is proper for us to accept an apology from the Government of Canada,” he said.Obed led the almost decade-long legal fight for recognition. He was among 29 former students who were the only ones in Canada forced to testify in open court about what happened to them.“This apology is an important part of the healing,” Obed said, stopping at times to collect himself. “Today … we can finally feel a part of the community of survivors nationwide across Canada.”“And it’s in person, it was not on the news. We didn’t have to go out to them, they came to us,” he said to cheers from the crowd.Not everyone was ready to accept the gesture.Innu Nation leaders boycotted the event.“I’m not satisfied that Canada understands yet what it has done to Innu and what it is still doing,” Grand Chief Gregory Rich said in a statement late Thursday.It says Innu children were abused in Roman Catholic schools and in the homes of teachers and missionaries in Sheshatshiu and Davis Inlet. And it calls on Ottawa to be full participants in a provincial inquiry into how child welfare systems continue to split Innu families.Trudeau was also asked Friday about Indigenous residents who’ve faced arrest and jail time for peacefully protesting how the Muskrat Falls hydro dam under construction in the region could contaminate crucial wild foods.The prime minister said the apology is a sincere gesture toward lasting reconciliation but conceded there’s more work to be done.Miriam Saunders of Goose Bay, whose daughter Loretta was murdered in Halifax in 2014 by a man she had sublet her apartment to, said the scope of the class-action settlement caused deep hurt because of those it left out.She said her father and others who attended the schools before 1949 suffered too.“He was beaten,” she said, and later refused to teach her Inuktitut to spare her a similar fate.The $50-million class-action settlement reached with Ottawa last year did not include students who attended before Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949. Before then, it was a separate dominion.“The British government should be apologizing,” Saunders said.Memorial candles were also lit in honour of more than 120 former students who died waiting for a resolution.They glowed in front of a striking stage backdrop depicting a broken red heart rising to a whole heart on a silver grey seal skin. It is a piece called The Healing by Rigolet artist Inez Shiwak.Inuk elder Sarah Anala recalled crying into her pillow as a child in her dorm bed, mouth open so no one would hear her.She told of a prophesy that the deep troubles of her people would ease when once-outlawed drums were heard again.“The drum is back,” she said. “And who brought it back? Our youth.”Follow @suebailey on Twitter.last_img read more

first_imgSASKATOON — A Saskatchewan scientist is telling a three bears story of a different kind.Doug Clark of the University of Saskatchewan says he’s got the first recorded proof of grizzly, black and polar bears all using the same habitat.Clark says the three kinds of bears are in Wapusk National Park in northern Manitoba and there’s no evidence they are confronting each other.He says his team has video of all three species wandering through the same part of the park, sometimes within a few hours of each other.Clark suggests the situation is a result of grizzlies moving in from the North.He says it’s hard to know just exactly what’s driving the change and what its consequences are, but it’s likely to make a big difference in how bears are managed in the area. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The $12.7-billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam in Labrador is finally nearing completion, billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.But as the public is offered a final say at inquiry hearings Tuesday night in St. John’s and Aug. 8 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the province is still answering for a missed deadline on work intended to lessen the impact of methylmercury pollution on crucial food sources for downstream communities.The Newfoundland and Labrador government’s slow response to concerns over methylmercury is the latest in a string of disappointments for those who have been calling for action on the issue for years.“It’s not only a slap in the face, it makes you feel unwelcome in your own home,” Roberta Benefiel said of the missed deadline from Happy Valley-Goose Bay last week.Benefiel has represented the group Grand Riverkeeper Labrador at a provincial inquiry into the dam’s cost and schedule overruns. She’s one of many Labradorians who resent that the massive hydro dam on the Lower Churchill River, planned by political leaders hundreds of kilometres away, could restrict residents’ access to food.Methylmercury forms as vegetation rots underwater. Research has indicated that flooding the uncleared reservoir near the dam, scheduled to be complete by the fall, could cause an increase in levels of methylmercury in wild food sources used by local Indigenous communities.After revealing in June that his government had missed a deadline for “capping” to mitigate the effects of methylmercury after flooding, Liberal Premier Dwight Ball announced on July 23 that the $30 million set aside for the work would instead be paid out to three Indigenous governments in Labrador to improve “social and health benefits.”Capping involves covering vegetation and soil with a thick layer of material such as sandy clay to prevent the release of carbon that could contribute to a spike in methylmercury levels.Innu Nation and the NunatuKavut Community Council, representing about 6,000 southern Inuit in Labrador, recently signed deals with Nalcor Energy, the Crown corporation overseeing the project, to receive $10 million each.But the Nunatsiavut Government, which represents five Labrador Inuit communities, has not accepted the $10-million offer, maintaining through a spokesperson Monday that “compensation is not a form of mitigation.”Nunatsiavut’s firm stance was articulated in a July 22 release from its president, Johannes Lampe, calling on Premier Ball “in the spirit of reconciliation” to halt the flooding or impoundment, currently scheduled to begin Aug. 7, until the issue has been addressed.“We are extremely disappointed with how the premier has handled the whole Muskrat Falls fiasco,” Lampe’s statement read. “He has repeatedly betrayed our trust by refusing to address our concerns, opting instead to place the health, culture and way of life of Labrador Inuit at risk.”However, Innu Nation Grand Chief Gregory Rich questioned Nunatsiavut’s research.“Innu Nation has closely examined all the science, including Nunatsiavut Government’s own studies,” Rich said in a statement. “They have been found lacking and other scientists have proven them wrong — it’s time to accept that.”The NunatuKavut Community Council, which in 2016 had echoed Nunatsiavut’s concerns about the methylmercury risk, last week posted a special update on its website along with the text of a July 17 agreement signed with Nalcor executives.“While this agreement was unexpected, NCC will ensure that the funds are used in a tangible way to address the needs and priorities of our people and communities,” the update read.Long-held fears over methylmercury contamination from Muskrat Falls have sparked protests and more than a dozen arrests. As tensions mounted at the dam site in October 2016, a meeting between Ball and Indigenous leaders ended with the establishment of an independent expert advisory committee to monitor the project.In April 2018, all four voting members of that committee recommended that Nalcor cap the wetlands before impoundment.But despite the premier’s declared intentions to follow through on capping, it never happened. The public learned during the Muskrat Falls inquiry last month that experts had informed the government last winter that carrying out the work would further delay the project.Nalcor now says impoundment will begin on Aug. 7, with a target of raising water levels to 39 metres from the current 24.5 metres by the end of September.Ball, who is also minister for intergovernmental and Indigenous affairs, has maintained that while he wanted the capping done, the process would have had little impact on methylmercury levels. He has also cited regular surveys of water and sediment that indicate methylmercury levels remain safe after the flooding that has happened so far.Progressive Conservative member Lela Evans of Labrador has criticized Ball for breaking her constituents’ trust and putting their food at risk of poisoning.“A government is supposed to protect its people, its lands and its wildlife,” Evans said in the House of Assembly on July 23. “Due to the incompetence of this Liberal government, all three are now at risk.”In response, Minister of Environment Lisa Dempster addressed the “extreme messaging” around methylmercury. Dempster said in the House of Assembly that the idea people will be poisoned is “absolutely false.”Dempster said monitoring of methylmercury levels will continue, suggesting food advisories might be issued if levels become too high.Ryan Calder, a scholar of human health and resource development at Duke University, co-authored the 2016 Harvard University study that focused attention on the issue of methylmercury at Muskrat Falls.Calder said in an e-mail to The Canadian Press that the effects of consuming methylmercury, such as hyperactivity and neuro-developmental impairment in children and cardiovascular health risks in adults, are highly individualized, and some people will be more sensitive than others.A 2018 follow-up study Calder co-authored concluded that reducing consumption of traditional foods rich in nutrients and vitamins could increase other health risks, including cardiovascular mortality. That means there is a “risks tradeoff” if food advisories steer people away from traditional foods like trout and seal because of the methylmercury risk.“People’s responses to these advisories are very unpredictable,” he said. “Even focused advisories have resulted in overall reduction of fish consumption.”Benefiel, for her part, questions why the promoters of a project that has seen one delay after another could not budge on the deadline for wetland capping.“Have you ever seen them meet a hard deadline yet?” she asked.She said the capping work would have shown Labradorians their health is worth a little extra time.“If you at least do the capping and take some of the soil out, that means people in Rigolet and people downstream will rest easier,” Benefiel said.“It might repair some of the feelings that people have about these people who run our province.”Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

first_imgToday, one half of the Hairy Bikers Dave Myers helps launch Oxfam’s new good enough to eat report, fresh from his trip to Cambodia where he visited the charities projects to help boost food security.On his first trip with the charity, Myers visited a rural village where Oxfam has been training local farmers to use a new method of rice cultivation. This method uses less seed and labour but produces more rice. Oxfam has been working closely with women associations in Cambodia to provide new skills and opportunities to inspire business start-ups. Myers visited one particular project where the charity has given women leaders mobile phones to access and share free information on market prices and weather conditions so they know when to plant and harvest their crops. The biker spoke to a woman who has used this method to initiate her own mushroom business with other women in the local community.Myers said: “During this trip I was able to see for myself how the simplest of solutions can have a positive ripple effect to individuals, their communities and beyond. I spoke to a farmer, using traditional methods all his life, now so convinced by the positive results of these new ways that he is spreading the word to others. I spoke to inspirational women, who with the help they have received have been able to grow their own businesses. They are now ambitious to expand and feel empowered in their local communities. All of the people I spoke to told me how far-reaching this support has been, with this extra income enabling them to send their children to school, opening up their future life choices.”One in three people in Cambodia drink dirty water, with an average family spending up to half of their income on medicines. On the last day of his trip, Myers visited one of Oxfam’s water and sanitation projects in Kratie province. Here the charity has been supporting women entrepreneurs to produce affordable clean water and improve hygiene practices, which has helped raise the status of women, reduce poverty and the spread of water born diseases.Myers continued: “I’ve been really inspired by what I have seen on this trip. It is amazing to be able to witness firsthand how far my donation goes with Oxfam, providing people with the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty and change their lives for good.”The Cambodia trip was organised as part of the Good Enough to Eat index, launching today. It is the first of its kind, comparing data from 125 countries to create a global snapshot of the different challenges people face in getting the food they need to eat. The index comes at a time when one in eight people in the world go hungry despite there being enough to feed everyone, and highlights how distribution and prices are important factors. It brings together data on whether people have enough to eat, can afford to eat, the quality of food and the health outcomes of people’s diet.Overall The Netherlands, followed by France and Switzerland in joint second are the best places for people to eat in the index, while Chad is the worst followed by Angola then Ethiopia. The UK is among the worst performers in Western Europe on whether citizens can afford to eat, sharing 21st position with Cyprus and with only Austrians and Icelanders fairing worse.In Cambodia, ranked 89th lowest overall on the index, Myers saw how Oxfam is working worldwide to provide long-term solutions that will help people grow enough food to eat and make a living.This trip and the Good Enough to Eat index follows the launch of Oxfam’s new fundraising campaign Lift Lives for Good, which aims to show how simple solutions on the ground can bring lasting change to individuals and in turn their communities and beyond. The campaign is also calling for action on two major challenges that can exacerbate food poverty – inequality and climate change.Oxfam is calling on UK public support – however small – to help it lift lives for good. To donate £4 text LIFT to 70064 or click here for more information.Source:Oxfam.org.uklast_img read more

Americans generally do not have enough saved for retirement and Congress is considering a number of measures to address that.There are a few retirement-related bills of note making their way through Congress. One in particular, the Secure Act, gained significant traction this week. The House voted to approve it Thursday and it is widely expected to move forward in the Senate. Some experts are saying it is one the most important potential changes to retirement rules seen in years.___WHAT IS IT?The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act, known as Secure Act, is designed to help more people save more for retirement.Its highlights include a provision to make it easier for small businesses to band together to offer retirement plans to employees. It also opens the door for long-term part-time employees to gain access to workplace retirement plans. It would raise the age that Americans must start drawing from retirement savings, known as the required minimum distribution age, from 70 1/2 to 72, as people are living and working longer. It also provides more years for people to contribute to individual retirement accounts, for the same reason.Additionally, it creates new rules that could expand lifetime-income options within workplace plans, such as annuities, to help people establish reliable stream of income in retirement. It would also make it easier for employees to transfer retirement plan assets when they change jobs.There are other notable components, such as allowing employees to withdraw savings penalty free for the birth or adoption of a child. And it would fix a component of the 2017 tax overhaul that raised taxes on benefits received by family members of deceased military veterans, as well as taxes on some students and members of Native American tribes.___WHY DOES IT MATTER?Americans are facing a major retirement savings crisis.Almost half of U.S. households led by someone 55 or older had not set aside savings for retirement, according to a report released in March by the Government Accountability Office. About 20% of households did have access to a pension or other defined benefit plan. But 29% of older Americans had neither a pension nor assets in another retirement account.It’s a complex problem, driven in part by a shift away from traditional pensions toward a do-it-yourself savings system.Research has shown one of the most effective ways to get people to save is through access to a workplace retirement plan. But millions of Americans do not have access to such plans, particularly at small businesses where the cost and complexity hinders some companies from establishing one.So this legislation is important because it removes some of those barriers, said Phil Waldeck, president of Prudential Retirement. The legislation would eliminate other hurdles that keep other people from saving in other settings.It’s not a cure all but experts say it’s a step in the right direction.Rhian Horgan, founder and CEO of Kindur, a startup that aims to help people navigate retirement, said she thinks it is “the most meaningful piece of retirement-focused legislation we’ve seen in decades.”___WHAT’S NEXT?The bill was approved in the House with a 417-3 vote and now goes to the Senate. Given the overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress and among industry leaders, it’s likely to move forward, said Elizabeth Kelly, senior vice-president of operations at United Income, who once worked as the special assistant to the president on the National Economic Council under the Obama administration.There is a similar Senate bill, known as the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act, but the Secure Act has many of the same provisions. But even the backers of the Senate bill spoke out in favour of the Secure act Thursday, suggesting its passage is likely. The bill would then head to the president.Sarah Skidmore Sell, The Associated Press read more

4 June 2010Fighting continues to wrack the Somali capital with another 17,000 residents displaced in just the past two months, United Nations humanitarian agencies reported today, voicing concern that children are particularly suffering from the ongoing violence. A quarter of the nearly 1400 casualties recorded by three of the main hospitals in Mogadishu between late March and late last month were children under the age of five, UN World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Paul Garwood told journalists in Geneva.Many of the other casualties are women, and at least 31 people have died from their injuries, Mr. Garwood said.“The fact that children account for so many of the weapon-related injuries remains a key concern,” he added.Somalia has not had a functioning national government in two decades and the current Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is involved in fighting with Islamist rebels and related insurgent groups. Mogadishu, the capital, remains one of the areas hardest hit by the violence.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that an estimated 17,100 residents have been displaced since the start of April. About 6,900 have fled the city entirely while the other 10,200 have moved to relatively calmer neighbourhoods.The continued fighting has led to outbreaks of cholera and acute watery diarrhoea, and Mr. Garwood said WHO was working with partner organizations to try to control the outbreaks through the use of medicines. The agency is also training local surgeons in trauma care.Last month Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told an international conference on Somalia, held in the Turkish city of Istanbul, that the international community must act quickly to end the crisis in the Horn of Africa nation or the violence may expand to the country’s neighbours and beyond. read more

first_imgTHE EMBATTLED CEO of the Limerick City of Culture programme has resigned.Patricia Ryan, who was once a €150,000 a year adviser to former Health Minister Mary Harney, announced her resignation today, just days after the project’s artistic director stepped down.Ryan, who had also been an adviser to Pat Cox, the chairman of the board of Limerick City of Culture, was appointed in October.The appointment became the subject of scrutiny after it emerged the position had not been advertised.Ryan said that the speculation had ‘undermined her authority’.“The speculation and commentary surrounding the events of recent days has regrettably compromised my authority and capacity to continue leading this project,” she said.“It is important that a suitable successor is appointed to lead out on the next important phase and ensure the delivery of the programme and the project which is so vital to the rebranding of Limerick. I would like to pay particular tribute to the exceptionally hard working team of people in City of Culture that I have worked alongside on this project. Their dedication, diligence and commitment will ensure the continued success of this project.“I wish the Limerick National City of Culture 2014 project every success and as a proud Limerick woman will continue to offer it my support.”Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan praised Ryan’s work and said it was important to ‘move on in a calm and measured way’.Read: Arts Minister read about Limerick City of Culture resignation ‘in the paper’last_img read more

first_imgWhenever a new smartphone or tablet gets launched, one of the key selling points is always how thin it is. So focused are we on such devices getting thinner that there was some surprise when the new iPad turned out to be slightly thicker than the iPad 2.Japanese company NanoOpto has developed a new touchscreen solution that could potentially lead to a record being set for how thin a phone, tablet, or any display-carrying device can be for that matter. Typically a touchscreen is made up of three parts: the cover glass, touch panel, and LCD panel. What NanoOpto has managed to do is integrate the touch panel directly into the cover glass, therefore removing the thickness of one layer. That translates into a touchscreen 0.5mm thinner, and some 40% lighter than a typical 3-layer solution.0.5mm isn’t a huge saving, but when you consider its use could cut the thickness of a phone like the Droid Razr to below 7mm (6.7mm in fact), you see the potential for such a screen to create a new breed of super-slim handsets.NanoOpto managed to integrate the touch panel by developing a new “sheet process” when manufacturing the glass substrate. The company used a chemical strengthening process that leaves the glass covered in “external patterns and sensor electrodes.” They are calling the new displays the All-in-one Touch Panel.The touchscreen glass has a yield ratio above 90% and a strength rating of 800MPa. NanoOpto has been experimenting with the creation of 4.3-inch displays using this new technique and hopes to start volume production by August this year. That means we could see the thinner displays inside new smartphones and tablets before the end of the year.Read more at Tech-On!last_img read more

first_imgI know that many patients believe cannabis should be a treatment option for their medical condition.“However, cannabis is not currently an authorised medicine and has not gone through the normal regulatory procedures for medicines which are designed to protect patients and ensure treatments are supported by good evidence of their effectiveness.”Cannabis for medical purposes is available in a number of countries, such as the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Canada, Australia, Malta, Croatia and certain states in the United States, but is currently strictly controlled in Ireland.With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha.Read: “If we don’t get the legislation, we mightn’t have Ava for much longer”: A mother’s 150-mile protestRead: No movement in teachers’ pay discussions ahead of next week’s strike 99 Comments Image: Shutterstock/Oxana Davydenko Share3985 Tweet Email2 HEALTH MINISTER SIMON Harris has announced a review of Ireland’s policy on medicinal cannabis, which is currently strictly controlled.The announcement comes a day after mother Vera Twomey began a 150-mile protest from Cork to Dublin to try to persuade the government to legalise cannabis for medical purposes.Vera’s six-year-old daughter Ava has Dravets syndrome, an extremely rare, drug-resistant form of epilepsy which at its worst, causes up to 20 seizures in a day.Vera says that medicinal marijuana in liquid form has the potential to save her daughter’s life, as it reduces the frequency of Ava’s seizures – she says by about 80%.Having been frustrated by continuous efforts to contact the Department of Health, and after her daughter had a particularly violent seizure, Vera set off on a 150-mile protest to try and get the government’s attention.Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime tonight, Vera said that she and other people who had joined her had walked 20 miles and arrived in Mallow at about six o’clock when Minister Simon Harris rang her.“He said well Vera I’m not comfortable that you are doing this, that you are walking all the ways up to Dublin; you don’t have to do this.” Review of medicinal cannabis begins after mother’s protest march yesterday Simon Harris will seek expert scientific advice on the issue, he said today. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article http://jrnl.ie/3061260 23,844 Views Nov 3rd 2016, 7:24 PM Short URL I said to Simon I’m not comfortable having to walk 20 miles either but what am I going to do? What are you going to do?”A formal meeting was arranged between Harris and Vera and the minister later released a statement regarding the medicinal cannabis.In the statement, Harris says that he has asked the Health Products Regulatory Authority (formerly the Irish Medicines Board) to provide him with their expert scientific advice on the issue.“This is not a discussion about decriminalising cannabis in any way shape or form, it is about reviewing our current policy and seeking to inform ourselves of the latest medical and scientific evidence on the potential medical benefits of cannabis for some people with certain medical conditions”, the Minister said.Minister Harris continued, “I met with Vera Twomey in June and I understand the very difficult situation the family are in. I look forward to meeting with Vera again in the coming days. Image: Shutterstock/Oxana Davydenko By Daragh Brophy Thursday 3 Nov 2016, 7:24 PMlast_img read more

first_img 45 Comments Image: David Whitaker Image: David Whitaker IF I TOLD you that one of the most important figures in charting the course of independent Ireland turns 100 today, would you know who I am talking about? Well, if you don’t know the name TK Whitaker, you should do and here’s why.Dr TK Whitaker came on board as the Secretary of the Department of Finance at a time of economic crisis during the 1950s. The situation he faced as he took on this role at the young age of 39 was a country with high emigration (400,000 people left Ireland between 1951 and 1961), high unemployment and a highly-protected economy. Compounding these economic problems were international isolation and a lack of any real engagement with Northern Ireland.It is easy in 2016 to be dismissive of just how dire the situation was in Ireland at that time. The country’s population had fallen below 3 million for first time in its history, and media publications and government officials were questioning the viability of the state as an independent entity. After nearly 40 years of self-government, Ireland’s independence experiment looked like it was going to end in failure.Luckily for Ireland, TK Whitaker was not prepared to simply sit back and manage the orderly decline of the state and its people. One of the key people in the making of modern Ireland turns 100 today TK Whitaker was just 39 when he took on the challenge of leading a dark and depressed 1950s Ireland into a brighter future. http://jrnl.ie/3125894 644 Views Thursday 8 Dec 2016, 6:20 AM Short URL By Dr David McCann Share1322 Tweet Email6 Dr TK Whitaker marking the 50th anniversary of the ESRI, which he helped to found. Source: Leon Farrell via RollingNews.ieWhitaker immediately began exploring ways in which the economy could be improved and set about convincing his political masters that the protectionist policies that had been pursued for the last decade were hurting growth and that a more free trade-orientated approach would help create jobs and improve living standards.What was remarkable about all of this was that Whitaker led this without any major involvement from the government of the day. The documents that followed from this work helped lead Ireland out of the economic mire and into an era of prosperity. He was successful in persuading politicians such as Seán Lemass that this was the way forward and that those in the government and the civil service who were sceptical had to be faced down.The end result of this new departure in Irish economic thinking was staggering. Ireland enjoyed a growth rate of around 4 per cent annually, emigration fell, and there was a steady fall in unemployment. The turnaround in the Irish economy was so rapid that even international publications such as TIME Magazine in July 1963 published profiles lauding the country as a success story. This was a world away from the Dublin Opinion depiction of Ireland in 1957 as a beggar nation questioning the very future of its independence.Ireland in 1966 could remember the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising with pride in its past, but also a confidence in the future.Whitaker validated the argument that decisions made in Ireland by Irish men and women would ultimately lead to better days.You might think after this achievement in turning around the economy, he would be happy to sit back and enjoy his success. However, there was another sacred cow that he wanted to slay and that was the Irish government’s approach towards Northern Ireland. Born in Rostrevor, Co Down, he always kept strong links with the North, even after he moved to Drogheda as a child.For years, Whitaker had enjoyed a friendly relationship with the Unionist Prime Minister Terence O’Neill and some of his advisors. Behind the scenes, he was instrumental in putting together the ground-breaking summit between Lemass and O’Neill in January 1965. Terence O’Neill visiting Dublin and Taoiseach Sean Lemass (External Affairs Minister Frank Aiken is in the background) in 1965. TK Whitaker had brokered the groundbreaking first meeting between them at Stormont earlier that year. Source: PA Archive/PA ImagesThis was the first time since 1925 that two heads of government on the island met one another, with agreements on cooperation in trade, electricity and tourism following from the meeting. Whitaker was the conduit to bring them together and played a central role in setting the agenda for the summit.His influence over Northern Ireland policy continued under the administration of Jack Lynch. As the Troubles broke out in August 1969, he was the man whom Lynch turned to for advice when his Cabinet were deeply divided over how to respond to the escalating violence in the North.Whitaker’s advice to Lynch to remain calm and not indulge those within his government who wanted direct military intervention was critical in ensuring that a bad situation was not made worse. He continued as an informal advisor on Northern Ireland to Lynch in those first months of the Troubles, continuously reinforcing the moderate instincts of the Taoiseach.One column cannot do justice to a man who has devoted his life to public service. The founding fathers of the Irish state made huge sacrifices to get Irish independence, but it was men like TK Whitaker who showed us what we could do with it to improve the lot of every citizen.In a cool, calm and methodical way, Whitaker used his position to advance the Irish nation at home and abroad. He showed us that Irish independence could work and that this country could stand on its own two feet.As he turns 100, we should pause for a moment and recognise a decent man, who helped advance the interests of the nation he served so diligently for more than four decades.Dr David McCann is a Lecturer in Politics and Government at Ulster University. Dec 8th 2016, 6:20 AM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

first_imgLast Saturday 8 August witnessed the unveiling of the first memorial erected in Australia commemorating Lemnos’ role in Australia’s Anzac story – 100 years to the day since Australia’s nurses arrived on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign.The unveiling was attended by over 400 people, including many dignitaries and descendents of diggers and nurses who served on Lemnos in 1915. The event commenced with a re-enactment of the arrival of the nurses, to the sound of the bagpipes of Warrant Officer Archibald Monk – played by Piper Alan Leggett, with Faye Theyfall and her nurse and digger re-enactors.The launch was accompanied by the release of a commemorative booklet detailing the Lemnos link to Anzac and Port Philip and the story of the creation of the memorial.The new memorial is the work of the Melbourne-based Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc. The committee was formed in 2011 to promote awareness of Lemnos’ link to Anzac as well as Greece’s link to Anzac across both the First and Second World Wars. Mr Lee Tarlamis, president of the committee, said it was one of the proudest moments of his life:“Our committee has worked over the past four years to build awareness of Lemnos and its role in Anzac. Our priority project was to create a lasting legacy for the future. The unveiling of the memorial has been our signature achievement, building on our Lemnos Gallipoli Photographic Exhibition. As both a son of a Lemnian and a descendent of a digger who served, this is a very proud moment for me and my family.”Lee’s father was born on Lemnos and migrated to Australia in 1968. His mother is descended from Private Edward Tozer, an Anzac who served on Lemnos in 1915.The MC for the event was Mr Ross Alatsas, acting chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission and general manager of the Greek Media Group. The Royal Australian Navy Band performed the Greek and Australian national anthems for the unveiling. The memorial is designed and created by Mr Peter Corlett, OAM, one of Australia’s most well-respected commemorative sculptors. Committee secretary and historian Mr Jim Claven shared with Peter the results of his research into the Lemnos link to Anzac, the role of Australia’s nurses and their hospitals during the Gallipoli campaign, documented in the hundreds of photographs and writings of the Anzacs themselves.Peter was able to combine these key features of Lemnos’ Anzac link with his appreciation of Classical Greek sculpture and mythology, and produce a memorial that speaks of this vital Hellenic connection to Australia’s Gallipoli story. And as the sculpture’s green hue echoes Classical sculpture, so is the memorial’s stone plinth a reminder of the stones of Lemnos’ ancient amphitheatre at Hephaestia. Describing his creation, Peter spoke of the memorial’s debt to women:“A key aspect of the Lemnos story is the story of women – the nurses who served here in war and healed the sick and injured diggers, and Lemnos’ mythic Queen Hypsipyle and real warrior Princess Maroula.”The memorial was financially supported by many organisations and individuals as well as by all levels of government, including the City of Port Phillip, which has generously allowed the memorial to be erected in Albert Park, not far from Princes Pier where the Anzacs departed for Lemnos and Gallipoli.Cr Amanda Stevens, mayor of Port Phillip, said that the city was proud to support the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial, given its strong links to the local community:“Nearly 5,000 diggers and nurses who served in the First World War came from Port Phillip. Many of these served at Gallipoli and would have known Lemnos, such as Albert Park’s Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Mitchell Wilson and Elwood’s Nurse Clarice Daley, who both served at the 3rd Australian General Hospital. And of course, Matron Grace Wilson, who returned from the war to be matron of our local hospital, the Alfred. This new memorial commemorates the service of nurses and soldiers such as these.”The committee’s secretary, historian Mr Jim Claven, addressed the crowd, explaining the historical link between Lemnos, Anzac and the local Port Phillip community. He pointed to the great archive of photographs and words written by the Anzacs themselves which lie in museums and libraries across Australia and overseas, which provided the inspiration for the committee’s work. He pointed to the small selection featured in the special commemorative booklet he prepared for the event as an example of the richness of this archive. Mr Claven bemoaned the way that Lemnos has often been left out of the Anzac story and expressed his desire that the memorial will go a long way to expanding awareness of Lemnos’ part in the experience of the Anzacs 100 years ago.The Hon Michael Danby, MP for Melbourne Ports, said that the memorial was one of the most important funded under the federal government’s Anzac Centenary Community Grants Program, and one that he was proud to support.The event was addressed by the Hon. Gavin Jennings MP, Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council, representing the premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, and Ms Christina Simantiraki, consul-general of Greece. Ms Simantiraki said that the memorial was a symbol of the long history of the connection between Greece and Australia and one that deserved to be commemorated with its own dedicated sculptures.The committee read out a message of congratulations from Brigadier General Kaperonis Panagiotis, director of Athens War Museum, who announced the museum’s decision to mount a permanent section of the museum dedicated to telling the Lemnos Gallipoli story and that he looked forward to working with the committee on future commemorative activities. During the Anzac Centenary commemorations in Greece, the committee gifted a copy of its photographic exhibition to the Athens War Museum.One of the highlights of the event was the participation of many descendents of the actual diggers and nurses who served on Lemnos, with many attending the event from interstate. Dr David Weedon, a descendent of Matron Grace Wilson, addressed the event and shared some personal memories of Grace, who was well respected by the nurses she served with. Dr Weedon was a major financial supporter of the project.Dr Weedon concluded his address by assisting the president of the committee, Mr Lee Tarlamis, in pulling the cord to unveil the new memorial.The unveiling was followed by a special cultural and commemorative event, combining Greek refreshments, traditional Greek music and dance and reminiscences by the descendents of the nurses and diggers who served on Lemnos and others.These included speeches by Ms Judith Gunnarson, the daughter of Nurse Evelyn Hutt, who served with Grace Wilson at the 3rd Australian General Hospital on Lemnos, Ms Helen O’Connor, a descendent of St Kilda’s Trooper Albert Bent, Nick Dwyer, a descendent of Grace Wilson, and the Reverend Richard Hall, who addressed the assembly on behalf of the families of Nurse Clarice Daley and Sergeant Ernest Lawrence, who were famously married on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign.Former Victorian Anzac Student Prize winner Mr Michael Manoussakis recounted the story of how he visited the grave of Private Peter Rados, a Hellenic Anzac from Asia Minor, who was one of the 12 Anzacs of Greek birth or background who served at Gallipoli. Two students from Albert Park College also addressed the crowd, recounting the stories of Corporal Albert Jacka VC, who would return to be mayor of St Kilda, and that of Albert Park’s Corporal George Finlay Knight, who is buried in Lemnos’ East Mudros Military Cemetery.The memorial also honours those ordinary men and women who served – such as Elwood’s Nurse Clarice Daley, St Kilda builder’s labourer Trooper Albert Bent and electrician Corporal George Knight. This is one of the reasons that three trade unions – the Electrical Trade Union, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation have been strong financial supporters of the creation of this memorial.A feature of the cultural event were performances by three dance groups – the Hellenic Cultural Association of Melbourne (A Periklis) Dance Group, the Cretan Brotherhood Dance Group and the Pontiaki Estia Melbourne Victoria Dance Group. These traditional performances were in honour of the Greek contribution to Anzac – by the Lemnians who supported the Anzacs on Lemnos, by the Cretan and Asia Minor volunteers – as well as Private Peter Rados – who fought alongside their Anzac allies all those years ago.The event concluded with a special performance by renowned Melbourne mezzo soprano Karen van Spall singing the Grace Wilson aria, written by Mr Kevin O’Flaherty and accompanied by composer Mr David Kram.Mr Tarlamis said that the unveiling of the memorial was a tribute to the work of the many members and supporters of the committee. “The memorial builds on the work of our committee in raising awareness of Lemnos’ role in Anzac both in Australia and in Greece over the past four years and our landmark Lemnos Gallipoli Photographic Exhibition, which has been launched in Athens and Melbourne and will soon tour Australia.”He looked forward to the realisation of the next project in the New Year – the publication of a major new authoritative publication telling the Lemnos Anzac story, featuring many of the photographs taken by the Anzacs themselves and the words of the Anzacs from their diaries, letters and memoirs telling of their experience of Lemnos. This will be another major achievement for the committee and a legacy for future generations.Mr Tarlamis and Mr Claven thanked all the participants who contributed to the success of the event. They believe that the new memorial will be a place of commemoration for future generations, a pointer for further learning and appreciation of the service of these thousands of young Australians, those who remain in its war graves and the Lemnians and other Hellenes who supported them. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

first_imgDes récepteurs qui captent la lumière du soleil pour protéger la peauDes scientifiques américains ont découvert que la peau contenait des récepteurs semblables à ceux présents dans notre oeil. Ceux-ci détectent la lumière pour déclencher une réponse rapide dans l’organisme et protéger la peau des rayons. Chaque année, durant l’été, les médecins multiplient les conseils pour rappeler l’importance de se protéger des rayons du soleil. Crèmes solaires ou t-shirts, tous les moyens sont bons pour éviter que notre peau ne subisse l’effet des rayons ultraviolets. Toutefois, il semblerait qu’on ne sache pas tout sur les défenses de notre organisme contre le soleil. En effet, des chercheurs de l’université Brown à Providence aux Etats-Unis ont découvert que la peau possédait son propre système de défense.Pour cela, elle utilise des photorécepteurs tout à fait similaires à ceux présents dans nos yeux. Autrement dit, des capteurs qui détectent les rayons lumineux et enclenchent une réaction rapide aboutissant à la production de mélanine, la substance bien connue pour colorer la peau. Jusqu’ici les scientifiques savaient déjà que l’un des composants des UVB avait la capacité de favoriser la production de mélanine quelques jours après une exposition au soleil, en réponse aux dommages subis par l’ADN des cellules cutanées. Mais un autre composé, cette fois-ci des UVA, a également cette propriété qui se manifeste beaucoup plus rapidement, quelques minutes après l’exposition. Néanmoins, les chercheurs ignoraient jusqu’ici le mécanisme et les molécules responsables de cet effet. Mystère que semble donc avoir résolu aujourd’hui Elena Oancea et ses collègues. Pour arriver à cette conclusion, l’équipe a analysé les gènes exprimés dans les mélanocytes, les cellules responsables de la production de mélanine. Elle a ainsi découvert que celles-ci produisaient également de la rhodopsine, la substance photosensible trouvée dans la rétine. Lorsque les chercheurs ont exposé les mélanocytes à des UVA, ils ont alors constaté un pic de mélanine : en 24 heures, la production s’est avérée cinq fois plus importante, rapporte le New Scientist. Une bonne protection pour la peau ?  À lire aussiL’effrayante maladie de l’homme-arbre dont la peau se change en ”écorce”Ensuite, ils ont désactivé le gène de la rhodopsine et effectué la même expérience : aucune augmentation n’a été observée. D’après Elena Oancea, ce “bronzage” immédiat, même modeste, aiderait en fait à protéger la peau contre les dommages causés à l’ADN. Mais cette hypothèse ne semble pas convaincre tous les spécialistes, tels que Rick Sturm de l’université de Queensland en Australie qui estime que “voir” la lumière n’offre pas une protection si efficace à la peau contre les dommages. “Le bronzage immédiat ne protège pas des coups de soleil dus aux UV ni les dégâts à l’ADN”, explique t-il. (lien non disponible)La découverte de ces photorécepteurs pourrait toutefois permettre de mettre au point des produits encore plus efficaces pour protéger des rayons du soleil.  Le 6 novembre 2011 à 14:51 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

first_img Scientists have developed an advanced wave forecasting system that can run speedy simulations on a Raspberry Pi.Using deep learning, analysts at IBM Research Ireland, Baylor University, and the University of Notre Dame built a system that far outpaces existing prediction models.Costly and sluggish, traditional platforms require a supercomputer to calculate how tides, winds, and the ocean’s varying depths influence the speed and height of waves.The new deep learning-enhanced framework, however, generates forecasts up to 12,000 percent faster than conventional designs, according to IBM Research member Fearghal O’Donncha, who also tipped “a vastly increased” set of data input.“Accurate forecasts of ocean wave heights and directions are a valuable resource for many marine-based industries,” O’Donncha wrote in a blog post. “Many of these industries operate in harsh environments where power and computing facilities are limited.“A solution to provide highly accurate wave condition forecasts at low computational cost is essential for improved decision making,” he said.Even artificial intelligence needs to learn, though.The team put the time-honored Simulating WAves Nearshore (SWAN) model to work—generating training data (four years of forecasts, from April 2013 to July 2017) for their deep learning network.A roaring success, the AI replicated images of more than 3,000 wave heights and periods with fewer errors than SWAN.“Despite the huge reduction in computational expense, the new approach provides comparable levels of accuracy to the traditional physics-based SWAN model,” O’Donncha boasted.Not yet ready for primetime, the surrogate system is vetted only in Monterey Bay, Calif. To expand the model, researchers must repeat their training with new location-specific data—perhaps in collaboration with The Weather Company.As O’Donncha told ZDNet, the forecasting firm could provide information “from a wide variety of locations,” while IBM creates a suite of trained machines set to specific locations across the U.S. coastline.“These models could then be readily provided based on a set of coordinates to enable exceedingly fast forecasts for any region within this location,” he told the tech new blog.The scientists hope their product will one day serve the likes of shipping companies, which can use “highly accurate forecasts” to determine the best route with the least fuel consumption and voyage time.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Lyra Is a Handheld Gaming System Powered by a Raspberry PiRaspberry Pi Used to Steal 500 MB of NASA Data Stay on targetlast_img read more

first_img Alexa Lets You Donate School Supplies to Students in NeedAmazon Alexa Provides NHS Medical Advice in the UK We like to drink here at Geek.com. It’s not quantity that matters, but quality, and as such, we’ve held several fine whisky tastings in the lab over the years. Everything from rare and unique single malts to blended bar staples like Johnnie Walker Black. And the world-renowned scotch distillery tried to get artificial intelligence in on the sophisticated fun by putting out a whisky tasting skill for Amazon Alexa.Yes, if you really want to enjoy your scotch with the power of technology, you can simply install the skill on your Amazon Echo and say, “Alexa, open Johnnie Walker.” And the voice app will open and walk you through a primer to savoring fine whisky. At least, that’s the pitch, and Johnnie Walker sent us bottles of Red, Black, and Green Label to try it out.Jack Daniels might have Gentleman Jack, but Johnnie Walker is the true philosopher-king in my book. Note to other forward-thinking distilleries: It’s not too late to earn our respect, too. A nice 12- or 15-year and you can join the pantheon of virtuous whiskey makers that I just made up. This includes Mr. Daniels, Mr. Beam, and Yamazaki-san.Anyway, about Alexa and drinking. We tried it out twice on two separate evenings. And failed, twice, on two separate evenings. This wasn’t because we drank too much beforehand, but I have a feeling Alexa might have.Here’s the rundown: you say “Alexa, open Johnnie Walker” and the app opens. Alexa will then give a variety of voice prompts, including running a guided tasting. When you ask for a guided tasting, Alexa will then ask if you have any Johnnie Walker, and which label it is. This is where the whole process hit a brick wall.“Do you have a bottle of Johnnie Walker?’“Yes.”“Which label?”“Green.”“I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. Which label?”“Green.”“I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. Which label?”“Green!”“You have selected Johnnie Walker Red Label.” Like out of a sitcom. Yeah, Alexa was no help in our whisky tasting. The main reason is the simply, fundamental problem of using voice assistants like Alexa in a group: Alexa isn’t the best listener. When more than one person is talking at a time, Alexa tries to figure out what not just you’re saying, but what everyone is saying. Which means what you’ll be dealing with a failure to communicate.Of course, when I quieted the group enough to talk to Alexa, she still heard me say the wrong label. The brilliance of technology!But you know what? We’re studied gentlefolk with refined palettes at Geek.com, so the failure of our Amazon Echo and the confused voice inside it didn’t stop us from holding a whisky tasting. So let’s talk about Johnnie Walker as an after-work refreshment.Johnnie comes in varieties identified by different colored labels, which are arranged in a general hierarchy of price and quality. Johnnie Walker Red is the basic, entry-level scotch, a simple blended variety without a specific age. Johnnie Walker Black is the next step up, using only 12-year scotches in its blend. Johnnie Walker Green is a 15-year blend of specifically malted whiskies, giving it a different test from the other varieties. Johnnie Walker Blue is the finest of the “standard” blended whiskies, with Gold and Platinum labels also standing out as the more high-end, expensive, splurge-y varieties that Mr. Walker was not quiet cordial enough to provide us. No complaints here, since Red and Black are stalwarts who are always welcome on my desk.Let’s start with Johnnie Walker Red. It’s a perfectly serviceable scotch. It’s better than bottom-shelf blended scotches you’ve never heard of, but it doesn’t have the sort of body or complexity necessary to really warrant a tasting. Honestly, Red is best used as a mixer. It’s a scotch you serve with cola or ginger ale for an easy drink. Its flavor is a bit smoky and sharp, with a sweet, slightly citrus finish.Johnnie Walker Black is more refined, and really the start of a good scotch tasting. It’s readily available and affordable, but with a complex enough flavor to make it a satisfying drink on its own. If you want to guide your friends through a tasting, a glass of Black can help kick things off with a taste that’s worth taking a few minutes really delving into before you turn towards more expensive, nuanced scotches. It’s also fantastic with black coffee. It’s smokier, smoother, and a little sweeter than Red, with a deeper flavor that contains notes of caramel and oak.Johnnie Walker Green is… difficult. It’s a blend of 15-year scotches, but its flavor profile doesn’t have the depth and complexity that should come with that age. That’s because it’s a blend of only malt whiskies, and the result is a very, very sweet scotch. This is the sweetest whisky I’ve ever tasted outside of those cloyingly sweet honey-infused bourbons from Jack Daniels and Evan Williams (which are excellent in hot toddies, at least). Because it’s so sweet, it’s very smooth, which makes it a dangerously easy to drink whisky. I could imagine some good mixers that make use of it, but it doesn’t compare with Johnnie Walker Black as a “proper” scotch. It’s a unique, niche whisky, and you can look at it as a replacement for honey-infused bourbons if you want a very sweet whisky as a building block for certain cocktails.Putting technology unnecessarily into things is a staple of what we do and what we love, but it hasn’t mixed well with scotch quite yet. Sorry Alexa, but we’re going to have to cut you off. And hog that delicious scotch all to ourselves. Stay on targetlast_img read more

31 Aug / 2019

Lyrical delight

first_imgGhazal poetry has got the power to relax the mind, body and soul when trivial and unimportant matters take up most of our time. To bring forth the smooth amalgamation of words and music, Mridula Satish Tandon is going to present ‘Soch Se Saaz-o-Aawaz Tak’ in the national capital. One can experience the enchantment of the ghazals of poet Farhat Shahzad and the talented versatility of the popular ghazal singer, Shakeel Ahmed, who will bring fresh and original compositions along with evergreen favourites to delight the audience. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Farhat Shahzad will be giving a tribute to the long association with Ustad Mehdi Hasan and will also announce the soon to be launched book of ghazals by Farhat Shahzad in Devnagri script.The program is presented as an ongoing initiative by SIET to provide visibility to contemporary poets and to give access to the public to a rich and creative literary world.Farhat Shahzad is a name which stands tall in the pantheon of poets. His ghazals create an imagery and a tracery of emotions which speaks to each individual as his ethos seems to arise from the humanity, which is the cultural hall mark of the Ganga Jamni tehzeeb of Indian civilization Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixFarhat Shahzad shot to a meteoric fame and celebrity in 1985 with the release of an album Kehna Usey. The wildly popular new album Kehna Usey, comprised of nine ghazals, sung by ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan, and  all the sensational nine ghazals in the album were  written  by Farhat Shazad. The world of music discovered a new star in him. Shahzad had earned highest respect in the world of music and poetry when he first forayed into this genre. Ustad Mehdi Hassan  did three exclusive albums based on the poetry and ghazals of Shahzad sahib and included his work in many other composite selections.  Ghulam Ali has produced two albums exclusively of his poems. The famous Sufi singer Maqbool Sabri has exclusively used Farhat Sahib’s ghazals in two albums.Farhat Shahzad’s poetry has been sung by and celebrated by all our legendary ghazal singers of contemporary times, Mehdi Hassan, Jagjit Singh and Ghulam Ali. Lata Mangeshkar also sang his ghazal in her album Saadgi. The only duet between Lata Mangeshkar and Mehndi Hasan uses his lyrics Tera Milna Bahut Achha Lage Hai. Shakeel Ahmed is considered a specialist in Ghazal gayaki. His popularity as a composer and singer spans beyond India, to countries like Pakistan, Kuwait, Dubai, Hong Kong etc. He has performed to packed audiences across different countries where his performances have been made memorable by his melodious and soul stirring renditions. Shahzad’s rendition of ghazals is marked by the intricacies of classical notations. He possesses an exceptional voice noted for range and sensitivity. His excellence and finesse in voice control and modulation, ability to deliver emotion convincingly, discernment in projecting the sentiment expressed by the poet, crisp and clear voice coupled with his impeccable diction of both Hindi and Urdu languages have won him accolades of the discerning listener everywhere. Shakeel Ahmed too combines a deep knowledge of Music with a passion and feel for the subject which imbues his rendering of ghazals with an intense but easy understanding of the emotions conveyed by the lyrics.When: December 6 Where: Amaltas Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi RoadTiming: 6.30 pm onwardslast_img read more

first_imgChunky-style sauce, rambutan fruit, sugarless candy and even pet snacks are some of the new exports that Costa Rican producers will begin distributing in Chile in coming months.During recent business trips organized by Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER), local companies signed contracts to sell their products in Chile. Among them, Productos Agropecuarios VISA will begin sending rambután starting in August. Chilean supermarket chains Tottus and Cencosud will begin distributing the spiky oval-shaped fruit there.The Tico company had already made various shipments to South America, but company execs believe the fruit is still little known there. Commercial manager Erick Villalobos said the firm’s first shipments were very small but contracts signed during the business trip to Chile are signs of bigger opportunities.In September, Alimentos Kamuk will begin exporting the first shipments of chunky-style sauces made with mixtures of tropical fruits and hot peppers. The sauce will also be distributed at Tottus supermarkets.Lila Johnson, PROCOMER’s coordinator of Trade Promotion in Chile, said the strategy to diversify exports to that country is based on identifying suitable market niches and marketing channels for Tico products.“Our current strategy has recently managed to attract Chilean buyers of mostly healthy, zero-calorie, gluten-free, organic and environmentally-friendly products from local companies, including Productos Agropecuarios VISA, Alimentos Kamuk, Central Veterinaria, Roma, Sweetwell, Grupo Zapata and Ampo,” Johnson said.Chile is currently the fourth-largest buyer of Tico products in South America behind Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.In 2014 Costa Rica exported a total of $39 million to Chile. In the first five months of this year exporters sold $14 million, according to PROCOMER data.Currently Costa Rican exports to Chile consist mainly of agricultural products, plastic containers and medical equipment components. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica launches catalog of premium food products Costa Rican food producers look for new buyers at international fairs Medical devices top Costa Rica’s export sales in early 2015 Costa Rican exporters look to increase sales at international fairlast_img read more

first_imgCapturing people’s natural beauty began as a hobby that would later become a passion for the Costa Rican photographer Roberto Delgado Webb. He seeks to portray people’s personality by getting to know them while photographing them; his unique photographic style is defined by seeking for the best equipment, part of his fascination with the parts of the camera. This fascination stems from his studies of mechanical engineering at the University of Costa Rica (UCR).In addition to his studies, he works at Inventoría San Pedro, an integrated technology, science, design, and entrepreneurship center founded by the UCR Foundation and the Costa Rican Innovation Foundation. Delgado Webb, who is 19 years old, is now working as a professional photographer as well. In February, he launched his brand Delgado Webb; one of the brand’s projects, called Chill the F*ck Out, seeks to portray people’s essence in a relaxed environment.The Tico Times sat down and spoke with Delgado Webb on a chilly night about his life and works. Excerpts follow.Why did you choose photography?Photography chose me. No, I’m kidding. [Laughs.] It’s mostly because I like to have a camera in my hands, look for something to photograph and, later, be able to communicate. It’s almost like the scientific method… When I’m on the bus and listen to a certain song, I always imagine a specific scene, a movie or a story. When I’ve got those ideas, I take the song I was listening to and then see if I’m able to convert it into photographs.For this last session I did for [the brand] Plivertees I was watching a lot of movies and one day began listening to music with a lot of mellow, dark synthesizers. I asked myself how I could create photographs like that. I researched a bit and realized that that style is known as neo noir. [The photographs] are born from a song that you really identify yourself with, with a mood that accompanies you daily; it’s something that if you don’t do it’ll bother you. If something bothers me, I’ve got to do it. Delgado Webb’s Plivertees shoot had a neo noir theme. (Courtesy of Roberto Delgado Webb)How do you combine photography and mechanical engineering?I built most of the home equipment that I use for my personal projects myself. I’ve made some rails and tools to hold the camera together. I don’t only study: I also work at Inventoría San Pedro, which is a prototyped workshop that has 3D printing machines and laser cutting equipment. Those machines allow me to make a lot of different things. I also studied electronic engineering at a technological high school. I’m a geek… That helps me a lot when I choose the lenses, equipment and lights, and helps me make modifications.This year, my brand Delgado Webb was released. Matti Vandersee, a graphic designer from Pupila Studio, worked with me to design the brand… I never would’ve imagined I’d be generating money as a photographer. It has come out really well. Delgado Webb seeks unique angles to make the composition more interesting while reflecting the subject’s personality. (Courtesy of Roberto Delgado Webb)How do you get to know a person through a photographic session?The most important question is what music they like; musical taste says a lot about a person. Afterwards, you ask them what they study, where they come from, and everything flows in a very natural manner. They’ll probably ask me why I like photography, I’ll answer back and from then on lots of questions come out. This will make the photographs way more real because the trust has been built. We’re not strangers anymore. We’re two people who have begun knowing each other, and the best photos are the last ones because they’re the most real. Delgado Webb’s recent photos for Plivertees used classic neon lights in downtown San José to help create vibrant but dark images. (Courtesy of Roberto Delgado Webb) With a Petzval lens, Delgado Webb creates a background composed of distinct figures such as these stars. (Courtesy of Roberto Delgado Webb)Through that confidence and trust, how do you manage to portray the person?It comes out naturally. The smile that people show when speaking about a topic they love says it all. What you’ve got to do in that moment is search for the correct angle. It’s about being able to give the person various angles and make them look interesting, and allow them to talk about something they enjoy… Those are the moments that you use to adjust the photograph without losing the topic, the conversation, the music or that dance that appeared from the song the person loves. Everything happens very organically.How is the camera a tool to demonstrate your vision of the world?The camera can be either a very useful tool or a limitation. Unfortunately, photography is defined by the equipment’s quality… A good photographer will choose a good lens, camera, camera configuration and edition of the photograph. It’s about all of those factors. The lens can be an old lens that makes the background softer or generates stronger shades. The selection of good equipment is what really makes the magic that you want to communicate. The camera can be something that can either helps you create your idea, or not completely communicate what you want to say. It’ll all depend on what you have in your hands. (Courtesy of Roberto Delgado Webb)Our “Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at kstanley@ticotimes.net. Facebook Comments Related posts:5 question for a Costa Rican photographer 5 questions for Costa Rican sculptor José Sancho 5 questions for a Costa Rican designer 5 questions for a Costa Rican painterlast_img read more

first_imgBy Ozay MehmetCATALONIA and Iraqi Kurdistan are the latest cases of attempted Unilateral Declarations of Independence (UDI) that shed light on the old CyProb. Each, in its own unique manner, proves one key fact:  that unilateral secession, however strongly backed by neo-national sentiment, is no remedy for settling ethnic conflict. Only an agreed settlement via dialogue offers a viable solution.These three cases highlight a vital principle: In a democratic space, people’s right of self-determination must be heard, indeed, heeded. Dialogue, a sense of mutual compromise in good faith, should lead to an agreed settlement. A people’s right, especially in a multi-ethnic country, should not be regarded as an unlimited right. Secession cannot be granted unconditionally, nor can it be legitimised by force. Legitimacy requires careful balancing of legal, political and economic consequences for others.Catalonia is a prosperous part of Spain. Its capital Barcelona is a success story in soccer and tourism and the Catalan people are indeed innovative and productive. Pro-secessionist voices may have a democratic argument against an aggressive central government in Madrid. But, can the Spanish constitution be ignored in order to satisfy the aspirations of these Catalans? The answer must be No. Through dialogue and good-faith compromise, with appropriate incentives from the EU, might produce another case of “velvet divorce” as in former Czechoslovakia.The case of attempted Kurdish UDI in Northern Iraq is a case of clear opportunism. Buoyed by American support, the Kurdish leader Mesud Barzani over-played his hand. Under the cover of fighting Isis in the US-led coalition, the Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq extended the geographic boundaries under their effective control. The oil-rich province of Kirkuk, home to Arabs and Turkmen, was to be the economic life-line of an independent Kurdistan following an UDI. The central government in Baghdad, along with powerful neighbours such as Turkey and Iran, joined forces against the Kurdish UDI. When Israel backed Barzani, it looked like a “Second Israel” in the region was only a matter of time. But then, suddenly, Kirkuk was lost to the Iraqi army and Turkey, and Iran threatened economic embargo on the land-locked Kurds. The Kurds’ UDI dreams are dashed, Barzani stepping down as a broken man.The Turkish Cypriot case of UDI was an act of frustration mixed with opportunism. During 1963/4 to 1974, inter-communal violence erupted after Makarios, the Greek Cypriot president of the Cyprus republic, in 1963 singlehandedly nullified Turkish Cypriot rights in the 1960 Constitution. The UN launched both peace-keeping and peace-making. The UNSG early in 1964 began a mission of good offices to restore constitutionality, but numerous mediation efforts failed. After 1974, when Turkish army landed in Cyprus to prevent Enosis, the UNSG resumed his mediation, this time on a bizonal, bicommunal federal (BBF) power-sharing basis, with no success.In 1983, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash declared a UDI. The opportunistic Denktash won approval in Ankara, then under military power, but was condemned by the UN Security Council and the international community. Effectively, the Turkish Cypriot case against the Makarios usurpation of political power in Cyprus has been weakened and the isolation of Turkish Cypriots  has continued ever since. The UNSG’s BBF model failed several times, notably in the referendum of 2004, and in the latest round in July 2017 in Crans-Montana. The Greek Cypriot demands effectively amounted to zero security for TCs.What emerges from these cases of UDI? Fait accompli actions by politicians like Makarios in 1963, or Denktash in 1983, or the Catalan and Kurdish leadership in 2017 provide no legitimacy for popular neo-nationalist aspirations. Only agreed settlement can do that as result of good-faith negotiations.But what if dialogue is impossible or inconclusive? Sadly, negotiation in bad faith is possible. Neither can futile negotiations go on forever. The international community must see to it that peaceful resolution results, if not in “first best”, then in ‘second best” solution. In Spain, Madrid should not be supported if it chooses aggression or if it refuses to begin a process of dialogue with the Catalan leadership. As for the Kurds, dialogue with Baghdad is essential in the short-term, leading to regional cooperation in the long-run to accommodate Kurds’ legitimate rights.In Cyprus, after elections in early 2017, the UNSG might undertake one last attempt to settle the CyProb within an agreed terminal date.  If, however, Greek Cypriot red lines leads to another failure, then the UN must take the lead to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. Ozay Mehmet, Ph.D (Toronto),Senior Fellow, Centre in Modern Turkish Studies,Distinguished Research Professor, International Affairs (Emeritus),Carleton University, Ottawa, Ont., CanadaYou May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoYahoo SearchThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. 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