In pictures: Kaziranga submerged

first_imgAs the floodwater rises in Assam’s famed Kaziranga National Park (KNP), the animals are slowly being deprived of higher ground. Nearly 75% of Kaziranga, a World Heritage Site, has been inundated, leading to the drowning of two female hog deer and one male swamp deer in the northern range of the park on Wednesday.According to the Eastern Assam Wildlife Division, the animals, including rhinos, have been forced to take shelter at the highlands and at the Karbi Anglong hills across National Highway 37, which passes through the park.The mighty Brahmaputra river and its tributaries have submerged 2,500 villages, destroyed 1.06 lakh hectares of crop-land, damaged infrastructure by breaching the embankments and overrunning roads and bridges, thereby disrupting surface communication, said the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA).The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), along with the authorities and police, have so far rescued 7,814 people, who were marooned in 16 districts, the ASDMA bulletin said. (Text by PTI)last_img read more

Why it’s OK to swear on social media—and other tips for tweeting disasters

first_imgSAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA—When Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern United States in 2012, the disaster inspired at least 22 million original tweets. Social media isn’t always accurate—Reddit’s targeting of the wrong suspect in the 2013 Boston bombings is one cautionary example—but the barrage of data produced by Twitter and Facebook can be immensely useful to emergency responders and researchers studying crises, and point to innovative crisis management. So said Leysia Palen, a computer and information scientist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, at a session here yesterday at the annual meeting of AAAS (which publishes Science). Based on her studies of disasters such as the Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, and the devastating Colorado floods in 2013, Palen has several tips for using Twitter and other social media platforms to help others respond to a crisis.1. Be specificPeople new to Twitter and Facebook often say things like, “it’s very smoky here,” when describing a fire, Palen says. “But we don’t know where ‘here’ is.” People need to communicate where they are and what the experience is like, she says: “Is it smoky in a way that feels unhealthy; is it smoky in a way that suddenly changed because the wind changed?”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)A “perfect” tweet or Facebook post might include a photograph of local conditions, a description explaining exactly what the image shows and where and when it was taken, she says. Although much of that information can be found in metadata, descriptive information about how, when, and where a post was created, “not everyone knows that that metadata exists,” or how to find it, she says. Palen and other researchers are developing apps that can automatically format such detail during crises and insert it into maps with layers and time scales.There are situations when providing such detail doesn’t make sense, Palen notes. If you want to keep your location or other personal information private—during a violent political conflict, for example—it’s a good idea to avoid using easy-to-find hashtags or tagging your location.2. Be yourselfCold hard facts are vital to disaster response, but the importance of emotion and personal experience shouldn’t be discounted, Palen says. In her lab’s analyses of social media responses to disaster, “we used to throw out tweets that had swear words in them—not because we were sensitive, but because we thought they were less likely to contain valuable information,” she says. Eventually, however, she realized that swearing can actually be a key signal of how serious things are on the ground. “People use swear words all the time to convey worry and excitement and fear,” she says. The algorithms she and her colleagues use to analyze the flood of social media responses are actually particularly good at detecting sentiments like anxiety, she says, so she wouldn’t want people experiencing disasters to flatten their responses in an attempt to be more objective, she says. “I sort of want people to be as they are.”3. Engage from afarIt’s unrealistic to expect people in the midst of a hurricane to stop and carefully compose a self-contained 140-character tweet, but people who are monitoring a disaster out of harm’s way can help fill in information gaps, Palen says. One helpful way to engage on social media during a disaster is to ask those on the ground for more detail, she says. Another is to become an information gatherer or check others’ facts—roles which are much easier for people in relative  safety to perform than those who are in the midst of fleeing their homes, she says. Based on her research of the social media response to the Colorado floods, Palen says one indication that a Twitter user is a valuable source is that they collect large numbers of followers in a short amount of time and are responsive to corrections from their audience, Palen says. “They’re more likely to be reliable if they say, ‘Ah, I was wrong, this is the correct information at this point in time.’ ” Other new social media platforms, such as programs that allow volunteers to produce more detailed maps of disaster zones using donated satellite imagery or to match photos of lost pets to older images provided by their owners, also provide opportunities for people to help without putting themselves in harm’s way, she says.Check out our full coverage of the AAAS annual meeting.What message would you send into space? Tell us on Twitter and Vine with #msgtospace!last_img read more

Injured Greek Soccer Fan Dies

first_imgA soccer fan who was hospitalized after crowd trouble in Crete earlier this month died on Sept. 29th and three men have been charged with attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm.Costas Katsoulis, 47, was taken to the hospital in Iraklio after fighting broke out in the stands at a third division game between local side Irodotos and Ethnikos of Piraeus.Katsoulis, an Ethnikos supporter, was initially diagnosed as suffering a brain hemorrhage after suffering an aneurism. A four suspect has been released on bail.The Ministry of Culture and Sports announced that all team sports scheduled to take place over the weekend of Oct. 4-5 were being suspended as a sign of respect.This will affect the Super League and third division matches in soccer, the basketball cup, the A1 division in men’s handball and the League Cup in men’s volleyball.The 46-year-old Ethnikos fan was repeatedly hit on the head as home fans attacked the visiting supporters during the match between Irodotos and Ethnikos at Nea Alikarnassos, in Crete, two weeks ago.Originally pronounced clinically dead and later ascertained to be in a coma, Katsoulis was taken from Crete to the 401 military hospital in Athens in an effort to keep him alive. TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Quiz: it’s all about that (World Cup training) base

first_img Unmarried couples Ice hockey AK Bars, the Snow Leopards, won their league title this season. Colombia are staying in Kazan and training at the Sviyaga shooting range, which hosted the 2010 trapshooting European Championships. They’ll also: Bor Bor actually means “pine wood” in Russian. You got… Spain Sleypy Around 800 miles Just outside the European places Reuse this content Russian Open golf championship Won in 2014 by Colin Montgomerie. Winner, winner, chicken dinner Senegal are staying in the Royal hotel in Kaluga, a building that has which unusual feature? World Cup 2018 Aussie Rules While most teams have based themselves in plush woodland, historic city hotels or at state-of-the-art training bases, Peru have done what? Champions League level Water polo Share on Facebook Based themselves in the hotel of Moscow’s equivalent to Alton Towers Russian Open tennis championship Uruguay’s home town for the tournament is one for fans of nominative determinism. Where are they based? Travel at least 500 miles north for every match Share via Email Around 1,450 miles Although several teams have to make round trips of over 2,000 miles for a single game. Share on Facebook Russian Open chess championship Share on Pinterest Brazil Around 600 miles Snuz Football features A bobsleigh track runs through the foyer Not great Several teams will prepare for games at the training grounds of Russian clubs, but who has bagged CSKA Moscow’s facilities? Germany Russia share Dinamo Moscow’s training facilities with Mexico, Saudi Arabia have Zenit St Petersburg’s while Japan’s HQ is usually the home of Rubin Kazan. Saudi Arabia are stopping in the plush Belmond Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg, which has a bevy of suites named in honour of various famous figures, including one with a World Cup connection. It’s called: The Baddiel & Skinner suite Europa League level Vegetarians Topics World Cup IOUs Mid-table safety Belgium are staying at the lavish Moscow Country Club – the home of which sporting event since 1993? Below average The Domingo suite Challenge your friends Booked a series of Airbnbs in an attempt to save money Share on Twitter Share on Messenger Denmark are in Anapa on the Black Sea coast, a popular holiday destination. Which is nice, but it also means their shortest round trip for a group game is how far? Portugal’s team base, the FC Saturn Training Centre, has a 25m swimming pool, two Finnish saunas and a Turkish hammam but, according to the Fifa website, does not accept what? Improvement required The pool can be converted into an ice rink So close! Argentina Rented an entire village in which to stay Australia are using the training facilities of AK Bars in Kazan? Which sport do they play? Pretty poor Travel at least 500 miles south for every match Based themselves right next Sheremetyevo International Airport Which may be a less interesting than most but will at least be handy for getting around. Share on Twitter Travel further than anyone else in the group stages Share via Email Submit answers Yawn Credit cards Though, in fairness, it does seem to be more of a sports complex than a hotel. Travel less than anyone else in the group stages La Tricolor travel less than 750 miles in total in the group stage. The hotel is in the shape of a curling stone Russian Open figure skating championships Share on LinkedIn The Carreras suite Useless A downhill ski run starts on its roof Complete with cable cars to the top. Share on WhatsApp Around 1,000 miles The Pavarotti suite Also available: the Dostoevky Suite, the Faberge suite and the Rossi suite (named after Italian architect Carlo rather than Italian striker Paolo) last_img read more

Stolt-Nielsen Off to a Good Start in Q1

first_imgzoom Oslo-listed Stolt-Nielsen Limited today reported USD 30.4 million in net profit for the first quarter ended February 29, 2016 with revenue of USD 464 million, up from USD 21.4 million posted in the fourth quarter of 2015.Fewer ships brought the company’s tanker division Stolt Tankers to an operating profit of USD 31.2 million, against USD 35.4 million, reflecting the impact of fewer operating days in the first quarter.“Stolt Tankers had another good quarter, helped by a continued strong spot market and low bunker costs. This was despite the impact of fewer operating days, as two of our deep-sea ships were out of service and two more were recycled during the period,” Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Stolt-Nielsen Limited, said.Stolthaven Terminals reported an operating profit of USD 10.5 million, up from USD 2.6 million in the previous quarter when results were held down by write-downs of certain assets, accelerated depreciation and settlements of customer claims.According to the company’s CEO, Stolthaven Terminals is on the road to recovery, and the group expects to see small, gradual quarterly improvements this year. However, ongoing actions to increase utilisation and enhance both profitability and operational performance are not expected to fully impact results until 2017.Increased competition saw Stolt Tank Containers’ operating profit drop to USD 11.8 million from USD 13.1 million, as downward pressure on pricing continued.Stolt Sea Farm reported an operating profit of USD 5.5 million, bouncing back from an operating loss of USD 2.5 million.“Looking forward, at Stolt Tankers we expect the second quarter and possibly the third to look much like the first quarter, though with fewer lost operating days. The longer term outlook for tankers hinges on how long the spot market holds up. Thanks to lower feedstock costs, chemical exports out of the US Gulf have been good-one of the few bright spots in an otherwise lacklustre global market. We remain concerned about the impact of the orderbook, though delays and cancellations seem increasingly likely,” Stolt-Nielsen went on to say.last_img read more

Danaos Moves Back to Profitability

first_imgzoom Danaos Corporation has become the latest containership owner to announce a return to profit as it benefited from a high charter contract coverage in 4Q 2017. The company recorded a net income of USD 22.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to a loss of USD 446.6 million seen in the corresponding quarter a year earlier.What is more, operating revenues increased by 1.9 percent to USD 114.2 million in the three months ended December 31, 2017, from USD 112.1 million reported in the same period of 2016.“Our earnings for the fourth quarter of 2017 improved markedly when compared to the earnings of the fourth quarter of 2016 which had been negatively impacted in the aftermath of the Hanjin bankruptcy,” John Coustas, Danaos’ CEO, explained.“This is mainly the result of our high charter contract coverage which remains at 86% for the next 12 months based on current operating revenues and 69% in terms of contracted operating days,” he added.Net income for 2017 stood at USD 83.9 million, against a net loss of USD 366.2 million posted in 2016, while operating revenues amounted to USD 451.7 million in 2017, compared to USD 498.332 million in 2016.As previously reported, Danaos is in breach of certain financial covenants as a result of the Hanjin bankruptcy.“We are currently engaged in discussions with our lenders regarding restructuring our debt, substantially all of which matures on December 31, 2018. In the meantime, we continue to generate positive cash flows from our operations and currently have sufficient liquidity to service all our operational obligations as well as all scheduled principal amortization and interest payments,” Coustas said.Although the charter market has stabilized “at slightly better levels” compared to the lows of 2016, Danaos’ CEO said the company does not expect a material improvement in the market environment this year given the large number of scheduled vessel deliveries.“During this extended period of market weakness which has presented many challenges, we remain focused on taking necessary actions to preserve the value of our company,” Coustas concluded.Danaos’ fleet currently comprises 59 vessels ranging from 2,200 to 13,100 TEU.last_img read more

ON STAGE The Lavender Railroad

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Login/Register With: In-The-Moment Theatre presents the Toronto-premiere of The Lavender Railroad(in two parts: Safe House & Ex Cathedra) by Lawrence Aronovitch at The Box Theatre Toronto – 89 Niagara Street Suite 103: June 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18 2017 8:00 p.m. showsSingle Tickets: $20 general admission | $25 at the door  http://www.ITMtheatre.comFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:TORONTO – MAY 10, 2017 – Imagine a world in which homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death. Introducing the Toronto premiere of a multiple Rideau-Award winning production. In-The-Moment Theatre presents The Lavender Railroad, a play by Lawrence Aronovitch, at the Box Toronto Theatre –89 Niagara Street Suite 103 June 8 – 18..Written by playwright Lawrence Aronovitch , The Lavender Railroad is set in a world where homosexuality is a crime punishable by death. In the first part, Safe House , a fugitive named Sebastian ( Tony Babcock ) meets his mysterious rescuer, an older man who calls himself Mother Courage ( Peter Nelson ). In the second part, Ex Cathedra , a nun (Judith Cockman) is called into a meeting with a female security commander (Jennifer Vallance) and is surprised to discover her identity. The link between the two stories is the Lavender Railroad, which brings hope to homosexuals trying to stay alive..Toronto theatre veteran & acting coach Tony Babcock directs the piece. A fan of dystopian, politically charged material, he believes that this story is more relevant than ever. “We find ourselves in an age of ‘fake news’ with a disturbing resurgence of discrimination. I think the Theatre has a unique way of showing us the truth. Lavender brings this truth in spades.” Sadly, there are several organizations reminiscent of the Lavender Railroad that have to do important work in our own world today. Examples include the Rainbow Railroad & the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees (IRQR) ..“The play speaks to anyone who believes naively that rights are a given, that truths are forever and that a wrathful God does not exist,” says Aronovitch. “I believe that covers everybody.” Aronovitch developed the play, inspired in part by Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale , with help from Paula Danckert, the company dramaturge at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and former head of Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal. The play premiered in Ottawa in 2011 at Evolution Theatre. When Aronovitch moved to Toronto in 2016, he had a meeting with Babcock to discuss working together and the Lavender Railroad came up as an idea almost immediately. “As soon as Lawrence mentioned the show to me and brought up the themes and powerful imagery, I knew we had to bring it to Toronto.”.Stage manager for the show is Rae Costin..The Lavender Railroad runs from June 8 – 18 at The Box Theatre Toronto – 89 Niagara St. Suite 103 at 8 p.m Tickets can be purchased online at Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more


first_imgAdvertisement Twitter Advertisement Advertisement Claude Joli-Coeur is seen in a 2014 handout image. The National Film Board of Canada has postponed the release of its next strategic plan amid an ongoing dispute between its commissioner, Joli-Coeur, and a group of directors about the institution’s spending priorities.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-National Film Board, Panneton-Valcourt, *MANDATORY CREDIT* Login/Register With:center_img TORONTO — The National Film Board of Canada has postponed the release of its next strategic plan amid an ongoing dispute between its commissioner, Claude Joli-Coeur, and a group of directors about the institution’s spending priorities.The NFB tells The Canadian Press the strategic plan, which typically outlines its goals for a period of five years, was originally scheduled to be released July 15 but will now likely come out in the fall so the institution “can consult further with stakeholders.” LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment A group of more than 250 freelance directors known as ONF/NFB Creation say they hope this means Joli-Coeur will address the concerns they’ve raised for over two years about the film board’s budget expenditures and workplace culture.“Out of that we hope will come proper representation, a proper exchange and a process of rebuilding the film board, which severely needs it,” Montreal-based filmmaker Philippe Baylaucq, an ONF/NFB Creation spokesman, said in a phone interview.The Canadian Press requested an interview with Joli-Coeur this week but an NFB representative said he “won’t be doing any further interviews at this stage,” noting “his priority for the moment is to re-engage stakeholders in a constructive dialogue.”Last month, when Joli-Coeur was reappointed government film commissioner and chair of the NFB for another three years, ONF/NFB Creation expressed dismay, noting “the National film Board is in crisis.”In a statement, the ONF/NFB Creation alleged the film board’s production funding has decreased since 2002, and that spending on non-filmmaker salaries and institutional, legal and human resources services has increased.The group acknowledges the NFB has faced steep budget cuts from the federal government since the 1990s but argues there’s too much administrative bloat and not enough money being put into filmmaking.ONF/NFB Creation also wants the film board to provide more transparency regarding its expenditures and take more input from creators in its decision-making.The group is also calling for the NFB roles of film commissioner and chair of the board of trustees to be separated so there can be “proper oversight of NFB management.”Joli-Coeur denied the expenditure claims in a recent interview with The Canadian Press, noting the NFB’s number of productions is increasing and insisting he has “a lot of consideration for the creators.”He pointed to its annual report of 2017-2018, which shows that 50 per cent of the approximately $72-million budget went to production last year.Joli-Coeur also said the NFB’s next annual report shows that this year, out of a budget of $67 million, roughly 50 per cent went to production.ONF/NFB Creation claims the NFB numbers Joli-Coeur refers to are enlarged because they include in-house spending.Using documents they say were acquired through an Access to Information request as well as input from producers, the group says “external production” spending — that is, money put toward NFB creators who are freelanced — has actually gone down.ONF/NFB Creation also says the number of productions appears large because it includes many projects that are short in length and don’t require a lot of time to make.The group would like to see more money put into projects that are more in-depth and have a longer production time to allow creators to develop special techniques.“When I see what’s happening, it really hurts me, because I’m passionate about that place,” said Vancouver filmmaker David Fine, a longtime film board collaborator whose 2018 NFB animated short “Animal Behaviour,” made with Alison Snowden, got an Oscar nomination.“It’s not like us filmmakers want to undermine the NFB. We feel a deep passion about what it should be and how it should support filmmaking and artists and how it’s become somewhat top-heavy, and in a lot of ways, run by managers that have little relation to filmmaking experience.”In an interview after his reappointment was announced in late June, Joli-Coeur said he disagrees with the way the ONF/NFB Creation has culled its financial information, noting “at the end of the day we should just use the audited financial reports.”The two sides appeared to have reached an impasse until Tuesday, when Joli-Coeur and upper management held three meetings with NFB staff in Montreal to talk about the dispute, said Baylaucq.“The meeting on Tuesday was an historic meeting,” said Baylaucq, who was at the first two gatherings.“I’ve never heard NFB staff speak so openly and courageously to the people that can terminate their contracts. I was really impressed. Essentially people were saying the workload and the administer bloat has to stop and we need to be more efficient and we need to have creators by our side.”Meanwhile, an inauguration of the NFB’s new Montreal building originally scheduled for November has been pushed to February 2020. The NFB says it’s because the theatre and public space for screenings, activities and special events will not be ready in 2019. However, NFB staff and creators will move to the new building in September as planned.By Victoria Ahearn ~ The Canadian Press Facebooklast_img read more

Delays meant headwinds too great for 36B Pacific NorthWest LNG project exec

first_imgCALGARY – Plentiful cheap natural gas is no guarantee that a Canadian LNG export industry will develop, says an executive with Progress Energy Canada, a division of Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas which cancelled its $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project in July.The decision was difficult to make but “headwinds were too great” for the partnership to green light the West Coast megaproject, said Dennis Lawrence, vice-president of production for Progress, during a panel discussion at the Calgary Energy Roundtable on Wednesday.Lawrence said delays meant the project missed its opportunity to enter the global LNG market when it had a good chance to thrive.“We think it may be a bit of a wake-up call to us as an industry, to governments, to regulators within Canada that time is actually of utmost importance on these projects, that delays and long regulatory timelines can ultimately have an impact on whether projects go ahead or not,” he said.Lawrence said the consortium’s research showed that its northeastern B.C. Montney gas wells would be competitive with natural gas produced in the northeastern U.S. and it is now focused on developing access to those North American markets.Divergent opinions expressed at the conference reflect the uncertain status of Canada’s LNG industry, with nearly two dozen projects proposed and only one — the relatively tiny Woodfibre LNG — approved for construction by its owners.Andy Calitz, CEO of the $40-billion LNG Canada project led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC, said he remains optimistic about the industry’s prospects despite lower global LNG prices and growing competition.He said he believes Canada’s low-cost gas and relatively closer location to Asia makes it competitive with other countries vying to sell liquefied natural gas around the world. But he conceded the higher cost to build liquefaction facilities and pipelines in British Columbia will affect an investment decision expected next year.“The market to import LNG is now growing to 260 million tonnes per year in 38 countries…. There is a market out there,” he said, noting China’s new appetite for gas to replace coal and growing demand from countries such as India, Indonesia and Thailand.Deteriorating world prices blamed by the Pacific NorthWest LNG partners were also cited by developers of the $28-billion Aurora LNG project when it was cancelled in September.“We’re actually very pessimistic,” said panellist Dave Tulk, a partner with consulting company Gas Processing Management Inc., adding neither the industry nor governments are working together to come up with a “master plan” for the industry.“The challenges that (LNG Canada) has to get over in terms of pipelines, to dig a 670-kilometre pipeline, go through two mountain ranges, to get all that in place without the full support of the federal and provincial governments and industry, we just think that’s going to be a difficult challenge,” he said.In a separate presentation, David Hill, executive vice-president of exploration and business development for Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA), said he was surprised at how quickly American competitors were able to establish an LNG exporting industry ahead of Canada.He said Encana, which produces half of its oil and gas in Canada and half in the U.S., is already seeing lower gas prices north of the border due to American shale gas competition but it is hopeful that new demand from the Canadian oilsands and petrochemical industries will support domestic gas markets and Encana investment decisions in future.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.last_img read more

Mawazine 2018: Greek Melodies Enchant Chellah Stage

Rabat- The Greek duo Katerina Fotinaki and Eva Atmatzidou delivered a graceful performance on Friday, the eighth day of Mawazine Festival Rhythms of the World. Their fusion of ancient and modern Greek music found an echo in Rabat’s fascinating archaeological landmark, Chellah. Surrounded by Rabat’s Chellah, a walled fort of Roman ruins and gentle gardens, listening to the silky voices and Greek guitar playing of Fotinaki and Atmatzidou was a charming experience on Friday evening.Performing for the first time together, Fotinaki and Atmatzidou’s bright sense of humour and warm emotions enabled them to connect immediately with their Moroccan audience. With Fotinaki living in France and Atmatzdou in Greece, they finally got to perform for the first time as a duo. “It is thanks to [Mawazine] festival that Eva and I got to perform together,” said Fotinaki.Before introducing each song, Fotinaki briefly explained in French what the Greek lyrics meant.The duo began with a song about “liberty and revolution.” The guitar melodies merging with their serene vocals gave off a feeling of peace and serenity.Afterwards, the singers dedicated a song to Morocco, expressing how they see and feel about the country.Video Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Later, Fotinaki sang a Greek-Turkish folk song about mourning love, and Atmatzidou delivered a solo guitar performance, garnering the audience’s applause.Video Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Towards the end of the concert, Fotinaki sang a song about identity inspired by  T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land.”The  song was dedicated to migrants “who leave their home countries despite the risk.”Fotinaki and Atmatzidou said they were immensely joyful to have performed together in Morocco, and sang one last song requested by one of their fans.Katerina FotinakiKaterina Fotinaki who performed in Mawazine 2015 with her trio band “Tzitzikia” found her way back to the festival in its 17th year.Fotinaki is an author, singer, composer and guitarist. In addition to her distinguished guitar style, she plays harmonica, bouzouki and mandolin. Fotinaki grew up in Greece before she moved to France in 2006, where her songs have been greatly acclaimed by French critics.Eva AtmatzidouEva Atmatzidou composes and writes her own solo guitar songs. She released her first album in 2010, named “Mateo Roz.” Atmatzidou studied jazz guitar improvisation and modern singing, as well as art history.Besides her music studies, Atmatzidou studied psychology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, from which she obtained a degree in “Diagnosis and Rehabilitation of Specific Learning Disabilities” and on “Counseling Children, Parents and Teachers.” read more

Three reasons Canadas jobs data today might be extraordinarily misleading

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada unveiled its monthly jobs numbers Friday at a time when the federal government’s labour data is under heightened scrutiny.[np_storybar title=”Statscan jobs data fails to provide full picture for policymakers and job seekers, auditor-general says” link=””%5DThis blind spot has added fuel to a raging political debate over the growing use of temporary foreign workers to fill jobs that employers say Canadians aren’t available for. Read more [/np_storybar]The Labour Force Survey comes just days after the auditor general’s spring report found Statcan’s job-vacancy survey too vague, concluding the figures provided little value to governments and other users.And it comes with the Conservative government under sustained fire over alleged abuses of its temporary foreign workers program, which was created to fill labour shortages in certain sectors.Statistics Canada’s survey presents the number of jobs created or lost for the given month, as well as the unemployment rate.[np_storybar title=”Garbage designer, Robot counsellor, Nostalgist are among 9 futuristic jobs Canadians could see by 2030″ link=””%5DCanadian study looks at macro and micro trends and consults industry to imagine what careers will look like 20 years from now. Take a look [/np_storybar]Don Drummond, an economist who wrote a report for the government five years ago on how to improve the country’s labour-market data, said the concerns over the Labour Force Survey lie in the limitations of the figures available.The measurements don’t even address the most interesting information, because they zero in on the net numbers of the labour force, rather than the “real action” of the gross data, Drummond said.For example, the announcement might say that 20,000 jobs were created for a given month, “but that’s actually dead wrong,” said Drummond, who believes a more detailed picture would give Canadians a better grasp of the situation.“All it says is that employment went up by 20,000. But that 20,000 number might reflect the creation of 300,000 jobs and a loss of 280,000 jobs.” The second potential pitfall is hidden beneath the sampling variability of the data, which could mean the figure provided is way off the mark, Drummond added.The two- or three-month trends give a much more reliable account of the situation, he said. And the regional and occupational statistics use sample sizes that are too small, resulting in data that Drummond warned can be “extraordinarily misleading.”Increasing those sample sizes would help, although that would also hike costs, he said.“Or we could have a more realistic perspective of diminishing the importance and reliability we tend to attach to any given month’s result. To a large degree, it’s just kind of white noise.”Rather than focusing on unemployment, Drummond said the priority should be building a better job-vacancy survey. He recommended basing it on larger samples and providing information such as the job skills needed for the positions.“Certainly, if I was unemployed, I would rather know where there’s a job vacancy than how many other people are unemployed along with me,” he said. On Tuesday, the auditor general said the government’s survey of employment, payrolls and hours doesn’t provide specifics on the precise location of job vacancies within a province.Other surveys used by Ottawa to take the pulse of employment trends have also been criticized as inaccurate or incomplete. Statcan, meanwhile, has been hit with a $29.3-million funding cut over the last two years. Canadians have frequently heard Finance Minister Joe Oliver — and his predecessor Jim Flaherty — boast about Canada’s economic and job creation performance since the recession, claiming it has outperformed large industrialized nations.Looking to the next federal election, political parties are set to duel over which one has the best employment-creation plan.Angella MacEwen, a senior economist with the Canadian Labour Congress, said more funding is needed for Statistics Canada, so that it can provide a clearer picture for voters.“I think it’s very important for the public to have the right information and to see who’s telling them the truth,” MacEwen said.She said the Canadian Labour Congress has also been calling on the government to take its Labour Force Survey even further. The group says the survey should include stats on Canadians who are no longer looking for work as well as those who are underemployed — people who are seeking more work. By adding those categories, she said the Canadian unemployment figure would more than double, rising to 2.7 million from 1.3 million.MacEwan said the organization has also been urging Ottawa to give StatsCan enough resources to complete its workplace survey, a program that would show how many people have been fired and hired. The program, she said, ran out of money before the analysis could be complete.She also agrees that more funding is needed for the job-vacancy survey, which would help businesses plan for the future. Without it, she added, employers could struggle as the workforce continues to age.“I think it does make it more difficult for potential employers who are trying to plan ahead and figure out, ’OK, what are the skills shortages going to be?’ ” read more

MR wants a peaceful campaign

The September polls will see 56 councilors being elected to the Central Province which consists of Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and the Matale districts, 50 councilors to the North Western Province covering the Kurunegala and Puttalam districts and 36 councilors to the Northern provincial council.The Election Department has accepted 201 nominations from 3,785 candidates in total for the three provinces. The political parties have fielded 2,279 candidates while independent groups have fielded 1,506 candidates. (Colombo Gazette) He also urged candidates to make sure their campaign does not disrupt the advanced level examinations which begin tomorrow. The President also instructed his party members who are contesting the elections to return any government vehicle in their possession as per election rules. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called for a peaceful election campaign to be held ahead of the provincial council elections in September.The President told ruling party candidates contesting the polls in the Central and North Western Province to ensure the image of the party and the government is protected when they campaign for the election, the President’s office said today. read more

Chad UN agencies and EU join forces to tackle malnutrition

In Chad, the European Union has announced its support for the local production of fortified complementary food, which will be implemented by several United Nations agencies (FAO, WHO, WFP, and UNICEF.) Photo: WFP Chad/Nathalie Magnien Given the real challenge to improve infant and young child nutrition in Chad, Philippe Barragne-Bigot, UNICEF Representative in Chad, stressed that “to raise communities’ awareness, especially that of mothers, about the importance of adequate nutrition for infants and young children will be crucial to ensure optimal growth.” Therefore, UNICEF and its partners will support behavioural change communication campaigns and will promote the uptake of locally produced nutritious food, as part of the healthy nutritional practices promotion.As fighting against malnutrition being one of its key priorities, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will together support Chad’s National Nutrition and Food Policy and the National Investment Programme in the Rural Sector. “Through the local production of complementary fortified food, which adheres to quality international standards, we are delighted to improve access, availability and use of highly nutritious food for the most vulnerable, especially for young children,” said Mohamadou Mansour N’Diaye, the FAO Representative in Chad. This new partnership is a complement to the 11th European Development Fund, through which the EU will invest more than 156 million from 2016 until 2021 to improve efforts to combat chronic malnutrition. It will be piloted in Mayo-Kebbi East, Mayo-Kebbi West and Kanem regions. These Chadian regions are affected by chronic hunger, with levels of malnutrition either close to or surpassing World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency threshold of 30 percent, though favourable conditions for good agricultural production exist. “Thanks to the EU’s contribution of €5 million, the participating UN agencies are on the path to reaching Sustainable Development Goal 2 – to achieve zero hunger by 2030,” said Mary-Ellen McGroarty, World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director for Chad. The joint project, “Local production of complementary fortified food” (PRO-FORT), aims at promoting local production of quality food; reinforcing production capacities and marketing of fortified food; encouraging the uptake of better maternal and child nutrition practices; and reducing malnutrition. “We are delighted because this enables us to reinforce our efforts to fight malnutrition and support this initiative, said Denisa-Elena Ionete, the EU Ambassador and head of the European Delegation in Chad, while highlighting that this “will create the first link in a chain of locally-produced fortified complementary food for children.” Chronic malnutrition has serious and sometimes irreversible consequences on children’s cognitive and physical growth, which continues into adulthood and considerably reduces their productivity, with a negative impact on productivity during adulthood. Further, over half of the adult population suffered from stunting during their childhood, according to the Cost of Hunger Study in Chad (October 2016). read more

Ive been imagining my dad at the finish line ready to swaddle

first_img Saturday 29 Oct 2016, 7:45 AM By Sarah Geraghty ‘I’ve been imagining my dad at the finish line, ready to swaddle me in a tricolour’ Before telling everyone, you need to be very honest with yourself about why you’re doing a marathon, writes Sarah Geraghty ahead of Sunday’s 26.2 mile run across Dublin city. Sarah Geraghty 377 Views Oct 29th 2016, 7:45 AM Short URL 37 Comments “173 DAYS? THERE’S no way I’d be fit enough. I’m here eating cake.”My cousin knew that cake was no excuse. So I allowed her a few more feeble protests before she surrendered.“Thank you for registering for the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon 2016.”Then we were two.My friend and partner in a Strictly Come Dancing fundraiser was less considered.“No way,” said Niall.He came back a few days later, agreeing we should rise to the challenge.To seal the deal, I – hater of Whatsapp groups and all phone notifications – crossed a line and added them as ‘friends’ on the MapMyRun app.All three of us could now benefit from an enraging alert every time one of us ran, how far we went, and how long it took.I am a runnerRunning was always there, faintly, in the background. Never anything more serious than a 10k. But I definitely had notions of being ‘a runner’.On a flight in January, such notions were tested when I encountered an all-kayaking, all-cycling, ironman of a neighbour who suggested we do “an easy 10 miler” around our native area someday.“Yeah, that’d be great,” I said quite convincingly. What I was thinking was:*Don’t ever come looking for me at my home. I’m a fraud.*Around the same time, my family was adjusting to a savage health diagnosis and what one nurse called the “new normal” in our house.It’s textbook: You search for distraction, for mind and body, something – above all – that will help you sleep. A straight choice between “hitting the hard stuff hard”, as a colleague put it, or sweating it out. We gave the first option a lash, deemed it unhelpful, and examined the second with resignation. Will that glass of red wine last night affect my kidneys? What if I’m still running after 7 hours? Is that twinge in my knee career-ending? Did I do enough long runs? Eight weeks of Strictly came to an end in March, gym membership came up for renewal, the days were getting longer and it was time to start prepping in case that ironman of a neighbour came knocking.By June, I was running… not pushing myself beyond a few kilometres (around 3.5km or so) and just stopping when I felt I’d earned a break.So I set my sights on the marathon. No halves for me; straight to the big-time. Sarah with her dad Pat in the Aviva Stadium.The big-time is a serious undertaking. Before you start telling everyone that you’re doing a marathon – which you will – you need to be very honest with yourself about why.Mine began with the excitement of imagining my dad being there as I crossed the finish line, Jessica Ennis-style, to swaddle me in a tricolour.With a love and respect for all sport (except Formula 1) and the people who play (except Conor McGregor), he takes it seriously.“You had a good puck, could kick a ball, had a good seat on a horse, a decent hand at tennis, you’d have been a handy cross-country runner or basketball player.“If you could only remain as enthusiastic as when you started…..”Therein lies the reason.It was less about the drama and more about declaring that I was embarking on something, sticking with it and getting the job done.With that, I contacted an amateur runner turned performance coach I knew for advice, who said he’d be delighted to share his expertise. For €1,000.Eh, no thanks. I’ll just google “training plan first marathon”.“Mmmmh… This is grand, you just have to stick to the FREE plan,” I declared with the signature enthusiasm that made everyone nervous.Firstly, I underestimated the difference between miles and kilometres.My swagger was under threat during week one when I skipped out to do five miles. And extinct by the time I bounced off to complete that week’s requisite eight miles, not accounting for twilight and a long, straight, lonely, country road. A WhatsApp communication to a friend while on that long, lonely road….“I can’t actually do a marathon,” I squealed, knocking off my MapMyRun notifications.“You have to be patient,” counselled my dad, with what might have been a wince.Then, almost without noticing, you’re not giving yourself permission to stop when Beyonce stops End of Time (3.43 minutes). You don’t really want, or need, to stop. Queen Bey wouldn’t stop, would she?Each week, another previously-unimaginable mile is ticked on the plan and by the time you’re doing 12 miles – MILES! – on a dark, drizzly, Saturday morning, you’re in a new phase. And, while you have your soldiers-in-arms on MapMyRun, you’re a one-woman team.Hello again, old swagger.I never got so cool that I didn’t sprint finish into the kitchen to shriek, “I DID IT, I RAN 14 MILES!” Then lie down for three hours with a hot water bottle hugging my left calf.“Are there any old crutches lying around the house? I don’t think I can walk.”“Did you do a warm-down?”“Course I did, Dad. God.” Quick Google: *what is a warm-down?*By now, you know if your favourite companions are music, podcasts or silence. What food you should not eat two hours beforehand. Bread is not your enemy. You cannot stick to the plan with a hangover and you’ll be really disappointed in yourself if that’s why you’re a week behind. You don’t need glossy running gear. There’s less elation at smashing 18 miles, more just quiet, tired relief. Some drivers hate runners and will slow down to tell you so. Loved ones will do things like drive out ahead of you and leave bottles of water along your route or cycle alongside to get you through the last two miles of 20 – 20 MILES! Or secretly assemble teams of cheerleaders with signs for the day itself. Sarah’s Dad accompanying her on the last stretch of the big 20 miler.Everyone has a marathon story and they’re mostly encouraging – except for the husband of the hairdresser who had an “ab-so-lute disaaaaaster”.He was traumatised if you must know. It might have been his toes; they take a beating.By now you know a lot about patience – with yourself, your body, your advisors, the plan – and what it is to play a long game.The two incidents that threatened a Katie and Pete Taylor-type split between my dad and me sprang from my disregard for these old-fashioned, long-game notions.“It’s not worth it, wait until you’re ready,” he advised when I was insisting on doing a half marathon while injured. (He was right, of course). Completing the longest run – 20 miles – before the big one on Sunday.Now it’s the day before. I’m off to the airport to collect the cousin who thought cake would get her off the hook. You could paper the walls with headlines about hitting The Wall and we’re all afflicted by niggles of doubt.A last-minute splurge on never-before-used energy gels, frantic googling of ‘what to eat before a marathon’, zero ability to visualise the finish-line as advised by Catherina McKiernan and her zen kind, a darting pain through my chest every time someone says where they’ll be gathered (UCD, Ballyfermot – god, it’s a very long route) to roar you on. Share794 Tweet Email1 Then you remember it is meant to be fun. That you’re extraordinarily lucky to have a body that is able to do this. And check this – there’s a 1916 commemorative medal up for grabs.Sarah Geraghty is a writer, a Kildare woman, a dog-owner, a daughter and, from tomorrow, a bona fide runner. You can find her on Twitter @SarahCGeraghtyMore: The runner hoping to break a world record by soloing this weekend’s Dublin Marathon What if my playlist runs out? I might add another three hours onto the playlist, just in case… keeping company with Queen Bey is Le Galaxie, Kanye, Salt ‘n’ Pepa, Technotronic, New Order… Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Conditions in Greek prisons detention centres bleak

first_imgEurope’s leading human rights body slammed conditions in Greek prisons and migrant detention centres, saying no improvements have been made despite recommendations made two years ago.The report was based on visits in April 2013 to 25 border and police stations, seven prisons and eight immigration and coast guard detention facilities by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, or CPT.The CPT also released the Greek government’s response to its reproach, in which authorities detail measures being taken to tackle the problems and reject criticism about understaffing in penitentiaries.The CPT noted increasing mistreatment of suspects by police during the arrest procedure, chronic overcrowding in prisons and migrant detention centres and a severe staffing shortage of prison guards.The Associated Press revealed the dire conditions of Greek prisons in a December 2013 report.In its previous visit to Greece, the CPT said it had “expressed its serious concern” over the same issues.“The findings of the 2013 visit demonstrate clearly that the situation … remains dire,” the report says.It noted most penitentiaries were at double or triple capacity, with inmates sharing beds or sleeping on mattresses on the floor. In the men’s section of the country’s largest prison, Korydallos, there were two prison officers on staff for a wing of 400 inmates during the day.With prisons beyond capacity, hundreds of suspects in remand or newly convicted are held for months in police stations, where cells “are all totally unsuitable” to house people for more than 24 hours.CPT described one such cell of 12 square meters (130 square feet) that held eight people, with detainees sleeping sitting on a chair, a table or on cardboard on the floor.Conditions are also dire for migrants caught entering the country illegally. The report said that in one station, “two or more women were held for months in a dark, moldy and dilapidated basement cell of a mere 5 square meters (54 square feet) with no access to outdoor exercise or hygiene products.” Source: AP Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Les pesticides tuent un agriculteur français

first_imgLes pesticides tuent un agriculteur françaisUn viticulteur est mort d’une leucémie le week-end dernier après avoir été exposé de nombreuses fois aux pesticides. Sa maladie avait été reconnue comme maladie professionnelle.Yannick Chenet, 43 ans, est mort samedi dernier, à Ruffec (Charente), d’une leucémie qu’il a contractée à la suite d’expositions répétées aux pesticides. L’agriculteur se battait pour interdire ces produits nocifs mais n’a pas eu le temps de gagner ce combat. La leucémie l’avait empêché de poursuivre l’exploitation de ses terres. Selon l’AFP, l’homme avait obtenu de la Mutualité sociale agricole la reconnaissance de maladie professionnelle pour son cancer du sang, en 2006.Aucun produit n’a été montré du doigt par la Mutualité sociale agricole, mais Sud Ouest précise que les soupçons se sont portés sur le benzène, qui est “fréquemment utilisé comme solvant ou diluant”. Le journal indique qu’ “une première jurisprudence en 2003, concernant un agriculteur de la Meuse” lui avait permis d’obtenir satisfaction.Sorti en France en novembre dernier, un film de Jean-Paul Jaud, intitulé Severn, racontait le combat de Yannick Chenet contre l’utilisation des pesticides. Monsanto, qui fabrique les pesticides qui l’ont empoisonné, a été vivement critiqué. Nadine Lauverjat, porte-parole de l’association Générations Futures, a déclaré auprès de l’AFP :  “Nous avons la conviction très forte qu’au vu de cette nouvelle, le combat doit se poursuivre en mémoire de toutes celles et ceux qui, comme Yannick, voient leur vie s’arrêter parce qu’ils ont utilisé des produits auxquels ils n’auraient pas du être exposés”.Le 20 janvier 2011 à 10:25 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Another Record Year For Shop With A Firefighter

first_imgThompson thanked the firefighters who shopped with the kids along with those who covered the station, Fred Meyer staff, and the volunteers who helped wrap presents. The money for the event is donated by the crews at CES, as well as community partners who donate each year. The “Shop with a Firefighter” program helps local children in need pick out presents for themselves and their families while accompanied by first responders. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享18 children in the community shopped with local Central Emergency Services over the weekend, participating in the annual “Shop with a Firefighter” event. The event was once again spearheaded by Josh Thompson with CES who says this year went off without a hitch.last_img read more

Amazon Brings Kindle Fire HD Tablets and EReader to India

first_imgAmazon has made another stride in the Indian market by listing the Kindle Fire HD tablets on its website. The retail giant will start rolling out the tablets and e-readers in India from 27 June onwards.The website which made its debut in India last week, initially offered books, film and television titles. And now, the popular Kindle Fire HD tablets and Paperwhite e-reader are up for grabs.Both the 7-inch and 8.9-inch display tablets come with Android 4.0.3 OS, dual-band Wi-Fi, Dolby Audio with dual stereo speakers, and are available in 16GB and 32GB variants. Instead of Google Play apps, the tablet will feature Amazon’s own app store that has over 1.9 million apps and games along with the world’s largest collections of eBooks. “Not only does Kindle Fire feature advanced hardware, it’s also a service,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “The combination of the leading apps, the largest book selection, great email and browsing and top rated customer service, we hope our customers in India will agree that Kindle Fire HD is the best tablet for a great price.”The high-end Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch and Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tablets are priced at ₹21,999 and ₹15,999, respectively.The 6-inch, sleek e-reader is available for ₹5,999, while the Kindle Paperwhite – a 3G enabled e-reader with high resolution screen, is priced at ₹13, 999.Starting 27 June, Kindle Fire HD will also be available at over a hundred retail outlets including Croma, Reliance Digital, E-Zone and Vijay Sales stores located in various cities across the country.With its own app store, higher-end processors and similar prices, Amazon is placing a defensive foot against its rivals Samsung and Apple to cash in on the burgeoning Indian market.According to research firm IDC, the overall tablet market in India has reached approximately 2.66 million units in 2012. Samsung is India’s top tablet vendor with 15.76 per cent share, followed by Micromax at 13.33 per cent and Apple at 9.92 per cent.last_img read more

Jessore BNP leader dies in prison

first_imgA local leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) died in police custody at Jessore Central Jail on Monday night, reports UNB.The deceased was Badiur Rahman, 46, BNP vice-president of Bagharpara municipality unit and son of late Abdul Goni Shikdar, a resident of Bagharpara upazila headquarters.Medical officer of Jessore General Hospital, Kajal Mallik, told UNB that the jail authorities rushed Badiur to the hospital around 11:30pm where an on-duty Physicians declared him dead.However, jailer of Jessore Central Jail Abu Taleb claimed that the BNP leader died of “a massive heart attack” while undergoing treatment at Jessore General Hospital on Monday night.In a press conference at Jessore Press Club on Tuesday afternoon Syed Saberul Haque Sabu, general secretary of Jessore district unit BNP alleged that Badiur died “due to negligence of jail authorities”.Countering the jail authorities’ narrative, he questioned why no one had informed Badiur’s family that he had fallen sick.Three BNP leaders have died at Jessore Central Jail during the incumbent Awami League rule, he noted.Earlier on 25 August, law enforcers arrested Badiur from his business outlet at Bagharpara in connection with a violence case filed against him and 45 others of the BNP district unit.last_img read more

Playing the devils advocate

first_imgPerhaps the typical first question – why the pseudonym/pen-name? Why not just be co-authors?We like to keep our fiction separate from our non-fiction. We weren’t originally intending that anyone should know who Alex Rutherford is. Also, we understand that publishers prefer a single name on the cover but you’d better ask them. We’ve now got very used to ‘Alex’ who’s a real person to us.What inspired you to write Empire of the Moghul series? Our travels in India first sparked our interest in the Moghuls as well as the country’s other cultures and dynasties. We’ve spent over 18 months of our lives in India at different times. It inspired us, among many other things, to start reading the Moghul chronicles and then to write a non-fiction book on the Taj Mahal (under our real joint names!) before embarking on the Empire of the Moghul series. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Since it is history you are dealing with – whose side are you on? The victors as always or do you have some sympathy for the losers as well (in this case the rest of India that the Moghuls conquered)?It’s true that history favours the victor because that’s who generally writes the history. Victory often goes to the strong, not to the best or nicest people, so, of course, we have sympathy for those who do not win and have to live with consequences and still preserve their culture, which the Indian people did magnificently. Even within the Moghul hierarchy, there are winners and losers. We have great sympathy for Dara and Jahanara for example. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixWho is your favourite Moghul and why? Gosh, that’s a hard one. We liked Babur for his determination to succeed in the face of all the odds and for writing such frank memoirs, even though Baburnama now only exists in parts. We also have huge admiration for Akbar for trying to make his empire inclusive of all peoples and all religions – something very rare for his time anywhere in the world, especially when different sects of the Christian religion (Protestants and Catholics) were killing each other in Europe and fighting cruel wars. Why write about the Moghuls and not go further back in time and write about the Guptas? Or Ashoka? (Alternately – would you ever write about another dynasty?) We are currently thinking of going back further – with the encouragement of Hachette India – perhaps to Ashoka, but first we still have one more Moghul book to write, about Aurangzeb.Does the fact that the dynasty had Islam as its religion give it a more global appeal than writing about a Hindu dynasty or one Hindu ruler with a glorious career?That wasn’t a factor in our choice. We chose the Moghul dynasty for its richly-textured story. We hope the books are about characters and universal themes, such as love and ambition.From a publisher’s point-of-view, how feasible is historical fiction? We think historical fiction is still very popular and we’re very grateful to people in India for reading our works and hopefully enjoying them. The question about how marketable historical fiction is really should be aimed at the publishers.Is it harder to write historical fiction than a mythological one?Never having tried to write a story based on mythology, so this is hard to answer. But perhaps historical fiction imposes more constraints, particularly where there are detailed chronicles and other sources to which the writer has to have access.In The Serpent’s Tooth, your sympathies tend to lie with Shah Jahan and not with Aurangzeb. Will the loyalties shift by the next book to Aurangzeb?Aurangzeb is a complex character who had problems in his personal life – imprisoning and fighting several of his children as well as killing some of his brothers. In his public life, he alienated by his actions the majority of his subjects. We will try to understand what in his character and early experiences led him to do these things. For example, in a letter he wrote that his father never loved him. Perhaps, there lies a clue.There have been problems with revisiting Mughal history, as there is a rise in Hindu nationalism at present in India. Does that bother you?We always try to be true to what happened. We try to look at people’s characters and hopefully to cause offence to no one. We want people to enjoy our books and not be offended by them.last_img read more