A Million Slumdogs Now

first_imgSlumdog Millionaire arouses questions, admiration, disgust, repulsion, awards, debate, discussion, and widespread popular and journalist-critic reaction. Director Danny Boyle hit a jackpot with the film, which is generating attention as riveting as the film itself. And we are not quite done yet.After a sleepy start in just six major U.S. cities, the film caught the imagination of audiences in this country, expanded to 600 theaters by Christmas, swept four Golden Globes and 10 Oscar nominations, including one for best picture. Virtually every major newspaper in the country is buzzing with articles, reviews and commentaries. The film is worth seeing. It may not leave you teary eyed or particularly elated, but, for better or for worse, it will provoke.It is a brilliant, vile film that puts the pornography of poverty at the center of its universe. Its realism appeals to the sensibilities of audiences weaned on Sally Struthers commercials for starving children and those wedded to a vision of India as a giant call center that will somehow transform into a superpower over the next few decades.It demonstrates what complete control over the film making process and narrative can make possible while also drawing from the clichés and improbable fate in Bollywood films. It is produced by a director who studied Bollywood cinema to deliver its best kernels to Western audiences. He reversed what Bollywood has been doing — imitating Western narratives and turning them into palatable stories.Slumdog Millionaire represents a new style of film making. The money and control belongs to one country, while the narrative, motifs and imagery belong to another. It is a new form of cinema that transcends national cinema — transnational cinema that crosses boundaries.The production standards of Slumdog Millionaire are superb. The film presents the realism of the locales, slums and all. It is based on the story of a young slum dweller, Jamal, who loses his mother to the brutal violence of anti-Muslim mobs (a clear reference to real events). His brother turns out to be a thug, but he grows older with love in his heart for his childhood friend and English (presumably learned at the Taj Mahal during a stint as “tourist guide”). Jamal jumps at the opportunity to take part in the TV program Kaun Banega Krorepati, popularly known to Westerners as Who Wants to be a Millionaire. He goes on to win the top awards, because the questions asked of him seem to match his own experience in the slums. The film is constructed as a series of flashbacks, moving back and forth in his life, concluding in a melodramatic fashion with Jamal, the slumdog, getting the girl. The film concludes with a Bollywood style dance at the Mumbai train station. An almost all-English crew of director, scriptwriter, cinematographer use an almost all Indian (U. K. born, but Indian) cast, including Bollywood stars Irfan Khan and Anil Kapoor. The music is composed by A. R. Rahman, who became the first Indian to win a Golden Globe award (and whose name was mercilessly butchered in pronunciation by everyone on stage, including those who attempted to correct it). All is well that ends well and the film, despite its graphic depiction of poverty and brutality of circumstances and villains, leaves a good taste. A poor fella wins and visions of Horatio Alger begin to flash (see a particularly naïve piece by Anand Giridhardas in The New York Times).The film has struck a chord in the imagination of writers, who see it as a feel good film for the times. Columnist Frank Rich echoed a popular sentiment that the film was a perfect feel good parable on the failure of banks, the $54 billion Madoff scandal and the reality of the current depressing times. The film is a serious contender for the Oscars; the Academy loves films that end well, even if the protagonists are survivors of horrid tragedies, personal shortcomings or tragic circumstances. The feel good story about the miserable poor beating the odds, winning over life’s curses to prevail in the end is surely uplifting. Never mind that winning over the ills of poverty is not the same as overcoming the corruption brought about by greed and excess. When someone else’s suffering is worse than yours, the spectacle is worth watching.The film evokes images and stories from a world that is familiar, although not known, to Western audiences. The film is a fantasy in its content. Who wouldn’t want to believe that a slum kid could win millions by beating the system at a TV game? But it is also a fantasy for its Western audiences — it affirms the world the West lives. India has two distinct elements; poverty and call centers. There is the underworld of crime in between, but that is not entirely unrelated to the other two elements. The film’s narrative does not move between these two scenarios.And yet, the film is steeped in realism. Amitabh Bachchan fired a salvo on his blog that the film “projects India as a third world, dirty, underbelly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky underbelly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations.” The retort from The Guardian was sharp: “It must hurt him to be so monumentally upstaged by white folk on his home turf.” The Guardian goes on to accuse Bollywood of ignoring “a third of the world’s poorest who are Indian” in its films, which the paper complains, appeal to and depict the fantasies of the middle class. Once the realism of reality hits the screen, Bollywood squirms. There is a gritty truth in this comeback against Amitabh Bachchan. Slumdog Millionaire is doggedly realistic, even if it exaggerates and often misleads (torture at the police station by cops who are friendly one minute and gouging eyes out for begging, both practices, which, if they exist, have been missed by human rights groups). There is also the logic of improbability, which Bollywood loves (chance and fate bring narrative characters and elements together), but it is deployed in a cloak of clean, fast and tightly edited sequences, all features that both absorb and leave Bollywood’s mainstream cinema behind.That this realism is “poverty porn” (characterized by an even sharper critique of the film by Alice Walker in London’s The Times) should come as no surprise. Just as only an outsider, a Westerner, could have made a film like Slumdog Millionaire, only a Westerner looking at poverty in India (even though the story is adapted from the novel Q&A by an Indian, Vikas Swarup) could show the worst poverty in the best light, vetting the appetite for more. The Mumbai Mirror dubs it “slum chic,” but there is a tradition in Hollywood to recognize and salute such films (City of God from Brazil’s favelas e.g.). We want people to win in such circumstances, because we cannot stomach the pain any longer and before it attacks our conscience. What pulls the viewer of Slumdog Millionaire out of its pornographic disposition is its fast moving and slick narrative, a story with a sheer desire to reach a good ending.We will see a lot of films like Slumdog Millionaire in the coming years and decades. The façade of making films with strictly national context, with culture specific motifs, themes, etc. is already disappearing from world cinema. In fact, Bollywood itself has set some trends in this area, making films that cross boundaries. Vast networks of immigrant cultures around the world finance such films and support their circulation. As a result, we have seen immigrant characters and themes in Bollywood narratives. Besides, Bollywood has never shied from moving the visual drama to various continents around the world, thus turning film making and watching into intensely international experiences. The trouble with Slumdog Millionaire for many people is the fact that it was produced by Britishers, with “foreign” money, employing Indian actors and set in India. This kind of film making breaks the traditional concepts of national films, national cinemas and stories that belong to one people. It is an increasingly popular trend around the world and Danny Boyle’s intervention with Slumdog Millionaire may just launch that trend on the Indian sub-continent. Chandni Chowk to China, the first Hindi film venture by Warner Brothers Pictures, is now hitting U.S. theaters. There is a spate of other films being produced in India and the marriage of Dreamworks/Spielberg and Reliance/Ambani is expected to speed up the process. If Slumdog Millionaire wins the Oscar and builds on its success, it will only increase the appetite to not only “outsource” film making to India, but also produce similar films that defy the traditional definitions of “Indian” cinema.Therein lies the rub. Slumdog Millionaire is an “Indian” film in the sense that it borrows the narrative and aesthetic elements of Bollywood. It is set in India; it is more about Indians than some Bollywood films (which become more hybrid every year) and it makes us think of India. It raises problems that are “Indian.” And, the film, shot mostly in Hindi, has Indian actors (who are paraded at award ceremonies instead of its crew members to emphasize this point). But in a traditional sense, this is an abomination. The film about Mumbai was only released in India on Jan 23, a day after it was nominated for the Oscars. Indians had not seen it and the “foreign press” has not stopped wondering what Indians, particularly native slum dwellers, think of it. This gives new meaning to Indian-ness in Indian films. There will no doubt be a clamor for claiming genuine Indian-ness. The new age has arrived and Slumdog Millionaire seems to have knocked down the door more than Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi did some two decades ago.Yet, for Western audiences, the film has “foreignness” associated with it. If it is winning hearts in this country, it is principally because it appeals to the taste for “foreign” movies. The film critic A. O. Scott wrote in 2004 in The New York Times (“What is a Foreign Movie Now?”) that there are two kinds of foreign movies that win acceptance in the United States; the humanist type (mostly about the natives, set in the realist mode) and the modernist type (about middle class, city dwellers, reflecting on existential situations).Granted Slumdog is not exactly a “foreign” movie. The Academy prefers “foreign language film,” an entirely dubious nomenclature. For the British Academy the category is more illustrative: “film made in language other than English.” Nevertheless, it bears all the marks of a film made about another culture, and one that pretends to be “native” in its stylistic and narrative claims. Slumdog Millionaire is neither a humanist nor a modernist film, but it is a film that revives a “colonialist” approach to the other. Like all Sally Struthers commercials, the film is intended to make you feel good in the end. The good will triumph; the villains will be punished and the poor have a chance of making it on to the sunlit stage of wealth. Why would such a film fail?Finally, the film holds a potent political lesson for our times. Perhaps Danny Boyle and Co. have unleashed a series of insights on how to understand poverty and its relationship to success as we define it. What is “written” for the Slumdog is not his fate. That would be the liberal solution to the problems of bad times and recession; just wait for the tide to turn and get rid of the culprits who spoil the broth.  Danny BoyleWhen we leave the task of fighting poverty to mere providence (a mark of most “Bollywood” narratives), we ignore what else is “written” in that scenario. There are hints in Danny Boyle’s work, but in the form of narrative commitment. Each of the victories of Slumdog is “written” on his history, the history of his body. We learned that this is where power leaves its lasting marks. The “solution” for this is not to wait for the luck of the draw or by seeking a lifeline or asking audiences for a bailout. The solution is a steady re-writing of that history. The pain on the body has to be re-written. One cannot wait for the answers to match fortuitously to the questions posed. One has to re-write the history written on the bodies by poverty and one has to, of course, force a re-phrasing of the questions.These are the issues re-opened by Slumdog Millionaire and such is the challenge for cinema made across borders.   Related Itemslast_img read more

Uddhav Thackeray faces acid test as he charts new course for Shiv Sena

first_imgWith the Maharashtra governor inviting the Shiv Sena to stake claim, Party chief Uddhav Thackeray now faces the biggest test of his political life to form a Sena-led government in the State, if the Congress and the NCP decide to support him. Mr. Thackeray, 59, a regional leader, stood up and held his ground against a national party (BJP) over a tussle for sharing power, a political analyst said on condition of anonymity. Now, he will have to prove his credentials as a leader who can navigate a new political path with parties like the Congress and the NCP, which are ideologically different, he said. “The tie-up will be with a national party and it remains to be seen how he will convince [Congress president] Sonia Gandhi to support him. Will he soften the fiery Hindutva stand, which the Shiv Sena espouses, or will that be an obstacle, the coming days will tell,” the analyst said. Another challenge for Mr. Thackeray will be whether to accept the post of Chief Minister, though there has been a clamour from some segments to project first time MLA and his son Aaditya as the Party’s Chief Ministerial face. “There could be a crisis in the Party if someone else is made (CM). There could be differences if another leader is appointed the Chief Minister,” the analyst said. While Mr. Thackeray has shown political sagacity and maturity, the BJP will not sit quiet and may try to topple a Sena-led government, he claimed. “Uddhav will have to keep his flock of MLAs together,” he said. Twenty years ago, Mr. Thackeray was seen as a reluctant politician, living a cosy life with his wife Rashmi and sons Aaditya and Tejas. The Sena leader, for whom photography is a passion, had set up an advertising agency called ‘Chaurang’. Like Rajiv Gandhi, who started out in politics by helping his mother Indira Gandhi, Uddhav Thackeray began assisting his father Bal Thackeray at a time when the firebrand Sena patriarch was aging and the party’s sphere was expanding, the analyst said. Amid new developments in the State’s political arena after the recent Assembly polls, Mr. Thackeray’s ability to lead his Party with its traditional street-fighter aggression would now face an acid test, he added.last_img read more

Guiao, NLEX brace for Paul Lee: ‘He’s the biggest problem’

first_imgPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netnlexFor countless times during their five-year run at Rain or Shine, Yeng Guiao had seen Paul Lee single-handedly take over games and make big shots after another down the stretch no matter if it’s just an elimination round game of the finals.That’s why Guiao expects nothing less from Lee when NLEX and Magnolia meet in a best-of-seven semifinals series starting on Saturday.ADVERTISEMENT The 29-year-old Lee did cause a lot of trouble to the Road Warriors, who had no answers for the fiery guard during their lone encounter in the elimination round two months ago.The former University of the East standout scored 21 points on 8-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-6 from downtown, and had three rebounds and four assists in only 24 minutes to lead the Hotshots to a 105-94 win.Just like how he torched NLEX, Lee seems as if he’s impossible to stop when he’s in the zone.But Road Warriors rookie Kiefer Ravena said their team shouldn’t see Lee as an unstoppable force. Otherwise, they’ll just end up letting him have his way.“We can’t treat him like he’s invincible that we can’t stop him. We’ll have to find ways, we’ll make a game plan to make it easy for us. We’ll find a way. It’s not going to be easty and that’s just how it is,” said Ravena, who may just be as problematic for Magnolia as Lee is for NLEX after he exploded for a career-high 31 points in the loss to the Hotshots.ADVERTISEMENT “I think, [our biggest problem] is controlling Paul. Easily, he can get a double-double with scoring and passing and there’s still rebounds,” Guiao said Wednesday night after steering NLEX to its first ever semifinals appearance.Guiao knows Lee like the back of his hand. He drafted Lee as the second overall pick in the 2011 PBA Draft and guided him in his ascent to stardom.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutLee was the Finals MVP of Rain or Shine’s last championship run in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup. Guiao transferred to NLEX the following season while Lee was traded to the Purefoods franchise a week later.“But that’s why I think he’s the biggest problem because I know him that well. I know him that’s why we’re really going to have a problem with Paul.” Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC MOST READ “We have to pick our poison with Paul. Magnolia is peaking especially after that momentum-changing win over GlobalPort so we have to really brace ourselves.” Cyrus Baguio on Kiefer Ravena: ‘He reminds me of Mark Caguioa’ LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Games John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding LATEST STORIES Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa Read Next View commentslast_img read more

India vs Sri Lanka final: Zaheer Khan starts brilliantly, but loses plot in the end

first_imgHe had almost exorcised the ghost of his faltering start at the 2003 World Cup summit clash with a splendid beginning today against Sri Lanka, but ‘rhythm’ deserted Zaheer Khan in his last spell, which hurt India’s cause quite hard, yet again at the big stage.The complexion of the match and statistics of Zaheer changed drastically in the last five over when Sri Lanka opted for final batting powerplay.Zaheer, who has done exceedingly well in this World Cup, had conceded just 16 in his first seven overs but when he came to bowl at the death, the old follies resurfaced and his bowling was ripped apart.He was slammed for 17 runs in his ninth over by centurion Mahela Jayawardene and Nuwan Kulasekara, who swung the left-arm bowler over mid-wicket for a six before being dismissed off the last ball of the same over.Later, in final over, Zaheer was again carted for 18 runs, mainly by the bludgeoning blade of lower-order batsman Tissara Perera and after a very impressive beginning, the Indian bowling spearhead had to return with poor figures of 2 for 60.As a result, Sri Lanka, which was struggling at 211 for five after 45 overs, went on to score a challenging 274 for six in the end.Eight years ago in the Bull Ring of the Wanderers’ Stadium in South Africa, a nervous Zaheer’s first over cost India 15 runs and Australia never looked back from that flying start provided by the left arm paceman.The first over eight years ago included a spate of no-balls and wides against the great Australian pair of Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden and India’s rivals rode on that disastrous over and captain Ricky Ponting’s pulverising 121-ball knock of 140 to make an imposing 359 for 2. Zaheer ended up with none for 67 in only seven overs.advertisementIndia went on to lose that contest, only their second entry into the tournament’s grand finale till then, by 125 runs.This was in sharp contrast to today’s splendid beginning by the left-arm pace spearhead, who went into the match with 19 wickets under his belt – two less than topper and Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi in the tournament – against Sri Lanka.He not only bowled three maiden overs, but also picked up the wicket of left-handed Lanka opener Upul Tharanga before conceding his first run of the match. His first spell read a superb 5-3-6-1 and he conceded his first run off the 20th ball he delivered.Zaheer was plagued by injuries and even lost his place in the Indian squad after the 2003 final before storming his way back into it after a stint with Worcestershire in the English county circuit.Since then the 32-year-old bowler, who has grabbed an identical 271 wickets in both Tests and ODIs, has been absolutely superb with the ball and the leader of the fast bowling pack.– With PTI inputslast_img read more

Boxing: Manny Pacquiao threatens to sue his long time promoter Bob Arum

first_imgAdvertisement AdvertisementEight-division boxing world champion and reigning WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is taking legal action against former long-time promoter Bob Arum and Top Rank Boxing.According to the 8-division world champion, Top Rank chief Bob Arum has yet to remit the money corresponding to the earnings for live-streaming of his World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title bout against the Argentine in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.Pacquiao had written on Instagram the other day that he seeks to take Top Rank to court for not giving him his share of the revenue for the live streaming of his fight with Matthysse on ESPN plus.“Congratulations and good luck to Top Rank Boxing and ESPN on your 7-year partnership agreement,” Pacquiao wrote in the caption of a photo of him and Matthysse during their fight.“I know both of you have been very busy finalizing the deal. However, I have not received the U.S. rights payment for my July 15 fight against Lucas Matthysse that was broadcast on ESPN plus. Therefore, I am initiating legal proceedings against Top Rank and all other parties based on the non-payment and attempt to restrict my future rights. Thank you,” he added.The unpaid broadcast fees are reportedly worth around $1.7 million, with Pacquiao expected to 85 percent of the revenue for the US rightsPacquiao defeated Matthysse via TKO in the seventh round in Kuala Lumpur to capture the WBA title.The event, dubbed as “Fight of Champions” was a joint promotion between Pacquiao’s MP Promotions outfit and former in-ring rival Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, who handled Matthysse.It was also Pacquiao’s first fight not under the Top Rank Boxing banner since signing with them more than a decade ago.Also Read-Boxing: Amir Khan calls Kell Brook a ‘P@#SY’last_img read more

INS Viraat on its final sail

first_imgNew Delhi, Feb 12 (PTI) Indias aircraft carrier INS Viraat, which will soon be developed into an adventure tourism centre with rooms to stay in, has set sail on its farewell journey as it prepares to get decommissioned.The worlds oldest operational aircraft carrier today reached Paradip port, Odisha for the very first time. It hosted NCC cadets on board.The ship will now move to Kakinada Port and from there to Chennai and finally Mumbai.”The operational cycle of the ship ends in Mumbai,” Navy sources said.Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had recently said there is a proposal by the Defence ministry to develop the aircraft carrier as a tourist centre.Naidu said a joint venture will be set up by Andhra Pradesh government, Indian Navy and a private organisation to take up the tourism-related activities on the warship, which has been in service for almost six decades.These activities would include yachting, sea sports, sailing, gliding and cruising, he said, adding the aircraft carriers 1,500 rooms can be used to house tourists.The ship had first served the British Navy for over 30 years before being bought by India. It was inducted into the Indian Navy in 1987 after undergoing extensive refits.Viraat, which also saw action in the Falklands War and was Indias sole carrier for over a decade, attended the International Fleet Review at Visakhapatnam last week.The Navy has learnt its lesson well after Indias first carrier Vikrant, which was turned into a maritime museum post-retirement in 1997, was broken up after its upkeep became very expensive.advertisementThe move had led to widespread condemnation and many veterans and military historians had expressed their concern.It can carry up to 26 fighter aircraft and helicopters, including 16 Sea Harriers and helicopters such as Sea Kings, and Chetaks. PTI SAP RGlast_img read more

RCB’s first priority is to reach play-offs stage: Kohli

first_imgRoyal Challenges Bangalore (RCB) would first like to reach the IPL 9 play-offs stage on its own strength and strive for the title subsequently, skipper Virat Kohli said on Monday.”We would like to be in a position to first reach the play-offs on our effort than depend on how other teams fare, run rate, and who wins or loses,” Kohli told reporters ahead of RCB’s first league tie against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.Declining to comment on RCB’s prospects of lifting the cup this time with a best combination of players, Kohli said as the tournament was long, it was too early for him to think about the title, given the nature of the format, the intense competition, hectic schedule, travel and rigorous training.”There has been always a feeling that we haven’t been able to lift the title having been runners-up twice (2009 and 2011). But as a team, we have done well to be among the top three and in third place (2010),” Kohli said before entering the stadium for a two-hour gruelling practice session under floodlights.Admitting that Aussie speedster Mitchell Starc would be missed due to an ankle injury, the captain said the team got Shane Watson to make up and West Indian leggie Samuel Badree for a strong bowling attack.RCB bought Watson in the February 6 auction, who was part of the suspended Rajasthan Royals team, for a whopping Rs.9.5 crore with other Aussie pacer Kane Richardson for Rs.2 crore and Badree for Rs.50 lakh among the overseas players.advertisementNoting that the team had many options to play the best eleven, Kohli said Watson would strengthen the middle order while Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and himself would be part of the top order to give momentum to the batting line-up.”We have a strong batting order up to sixth or seventh position. If we play three overseas batters (Gayle, de Villiers and Watson), we have to take the fourth among foreign bowlers. It will be a toss-up between Badree, Kane, David (Wiese) and Adam (Milne) depending up on conditions and against whom we play,” Kohli said.Asked if Indian players got over the dramatic loss to West Indies in the semi-final of the recent ICC World T20, Kohli said personally it was difficult for him to get over the loss after creating such a momentum and reaching the semis by beating Australia and Pakistan in the group.”Everyone had taken time off and prepared for the IPL, which is equally challenging with travel, hectic schedules and summer heat. It will also be an opportunity for those who have not been among runs or wickets. And those who did well in the World Cup, Asia Cup and in the ODI and T20 series in Australia, will be motivated to perform better and make their teams win,” Kohli added.last_img read more

Kroos hits back at Ballack: Maybe he wanted the Germany job

first_imgToni Kroos has suggested Michael Ballack’s criticism of Joachim Low may have been motivated by a personal desire to coach Germany.Speaking to Deutsche Welle on Thursday, Germany great Ballack said he was surprised Low was kept on as head coach after overseeing their first World Cup group-stage exit since 1938.Four years prior to that humiliation, Low had led his country to glory in international football’s showpiece in Brazil, a tournament that included a 7-1 semi-final hammering of the hosts before an extra-time triumph over Argentina. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Real Madrid midfielder Kroos believes Low has earned the right to try to reverse Germany’s fortunes and, perhaps light-heartedly, questioned Ballack’s motives.”There are always different views. Some say that after a big success [it is] the moment to leave,” he said.”Others say you should not go on after a bad moment. But new ideas can sometimes come from the same coach, if he questions himself, and I believe that he has done that.@ToniKroos: “The fixtures are very promising. We are motivated and targeting six points.” #NEDGER #FRAGER #DieMannschaft pic.twitter.com/bBcUV3TxVj— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) October 11, 2018″Michael Ballack thinks there should have been a change. Maybe he wanted to take over.”I’m convinced that we’ll get back on track now with Jogi Low. He proved during several years that he is ready to develop himself again and again. It was always a steady rise with him.”Germany face Netherlands in their second Nations League match on Saturday.last_img read more

IPL 2017: Nitish Rana, Pandya brothers shine as Mumbai Indians snap Sunrisers Hyderabad’s winning run

first_imgMumbai Indians dominated with both bat and ball to defeat Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by four wickets in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Wankhede Stadium here on Wednesday. (Highlights)Choosing to field on winning the toss, Mumbai restricted SRH to 158/8 in 20 overs and then achieved the target in 18.4 overs losing six wickets along the way. (Scorecard)Nitish Rana played a crucial role for Mumbai with a 36-ball 45 which included three boundaries and two sixes.He produced a 48-run partnership along with Krunal Pandya which came off 21 balls. (Basra, daughter cheer Harbhajan from stands)Pandya scored 37 runs off 20 deliveries which included three boundaries and an equal number of sixes.Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the most successful among the SRH bowlers with figures of 3/21 Ashish Nehra, Deepak Hooda and Rashid Khan got a wicket each. (Manjrekar responds to Pollard’s rude tweets: That was a shocker)While Parthiv Patel and Jos Buttler gave Mumbai a good start with a 28-run opening partnership in three overs, Ashish Nehra struck the first blow for the visitors when he bowled Buttler with the first ball of the fourth over.Buttler had come down the track to a slower ball from Nehra but was outfoxed by the change of pace. The English batsman had scored 14 off 111 deliveries with three hits to the fence.Rohit Sharma could score only four runs from as many balls before Rashid Khan trapped him leg before in the next over.Patel was the next to go, caught by Bhuvneshwar while attempting to hit Hooda down the ground.advertisementPatel, who seemed to be in excellent touch, scored 39 runs from 24 deliveries which included seven boundaries.West Indies powerhouse Kieron Pollard did not last long, producing a run-a-ball 11 before pulling a shortish Bhuvneshwar delivery into the hands of Shikhar Dhawan at square leg.However, Pandya joined Rana in the middle and the duo ensured victory with some steady batting.Although Bhuvneshwar dismissed both in the 18th over, it was enough to secure victory for SRH.Earlier, SRH squandered a great start before falling apart to post 158/8.From a comfortable 105/1 after the 13th over, the visitors lost seven wickets within a span of 53 runs to completely lose the track in the slog overs.Put in to bat, Sunrisers were off to a steady start with skipper David Warner (49) and Shikhar Dhawan (48) putting on 81 runs before the Australian fell one short of his half century.Mumbai started well with the experienced Harbhajan Singh and Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga giving away just five runs from the first couple of overs.Warner broke the shackles in the third over with two consecutive boundaries off Harbhajan before milking Malinga for another two after the Sri Lankan changed ends.Dhawan, who by now had faced 16 balls for his seven runs, opened up with two fours and a six off Australian pacer Mitchell McClenagan as Hyderabad crossed the 50-run mark in the eighth over.Coming back for his second spell, Harbhajan’s first ball was powerfully muscled over the third man boundary by a right-handed Warner for a mammoth six before the 36-year-old tweaker came back strongly the very next ball to dismiss the Aussie.Warner, who had faced 34 balls and struck seven boundaries and two sixes by then, got a top-edge while attempting another reverse-sweep as wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel dived full length to complete a stunning catch at short point.Two overs later, Harbhajan returned to bowl his final over and struck first ball with the wicket of Hooda (9), caught by Pollard at long-on.In the very next over, McClenaghan provided the vital breakthrough in the form of a set Dhawan, crashing his leg-stump with a full toss after the southpaw faced 43 balls and sent the ball five times to the fence and once over it.Next in, Yuvraj Singh (5) failed to recreate the magic he produced in the opening match of this IPL against the Royal Challengers Bangalore when he played on a short of length delivery from Hardik Pandya.Aussie all-rounder Ben Cutting (20) struck four boundaries during his brief stay which was ended by a full and dead yorker from medium pacer Jasprit Bumrah before slinger Malinga picked Vijay Shankar (1) to reduce the visitors to 147/6.The final over saw Bumrah getting another couple of wickets — Naman Ojha (9) and Rashid Khan (2) — as Hyderabad failed to seize the momentum in the death overs.last_img read more

Clerics divided on UP govts order to madrassas to videograph

first_imgI-Day celebrationsLucknow, Aug 13 (PTI) The decision to record Independence Day celebrations in madrassas (Islamic Schools) of Uttar Pradesh for the first time has evoked a mixed response from Muslim clerics.While one section of Muslim clerics is of the view that it will enhance “transparency and trust”, another feels that the “unusual order” questions the patriotism of the minority community.The Uttar Pradesh government recently directed all madrassas to hold celebrations on Independence Day and videograph the event, according to minority welfare minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary.According to an official circular, on Independence Day, flag hoisting and recitation of the national anthem should take place at 8 am. Following this, tributes should be paid to the martyrs of the freedom struggle.Students will sing songs on nationalism and will be told about the history of August 15 and freedom fighters, it said.Besides, cultural programmes will be organised on the theme of national unity, along with sports activities. Sweets will be distributed at the end of the session.The circular asks minority welfare officers to direct all madrassas to ensure that Independence Day is celebrated with zeal and all programmes mentioned in the directive are organised.Reacting to the directive, All India Muslim Personal Law Board member Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahli said the community has been celebrating Independence Day since 1947 in madrassas, hoisting the national flag and singing the national anthem.”What is the intention behind the order?” he wondered.”If you (the UP government) have issued the same order and directives for all the schools, colleges and edcational institutes, then we have no objection. If it is only for madrassas, then it seems to be an unusual order. If it is only in madrassas, does it mean that our patriotism is being suspected?” he told PTI today.advertisementOn the other hand, Yasoob Abbas, the spokesperson of All-India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB), said there should be no objection to videography and photography of Independence Day celebrations in madrassas but suggested that the directive should be for all educational institutions.”There should be no objection in getting the Independence Day photographed or videographed. This will enhance transparency and trust, and also help in removing doubts about Muslims, who are looked upon rather suspiciously.”However, we feel that this directive should be for all educational institutions of other religions also. Madrassas had participated in freedom struggle,” Abbas said.UP BJP leader Romana Siddiqui welcomed the move of the UP government.”August 15 is our Independence Day. When every institute in the country celebrates the day with full patriotic fervour, then why should the madarsas lag behind. If convents and missionary schools celebrate Independence Day by holding a number of events, then why not the madarsas,” she said.UP Minority Welfare minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary said celebrations will inspire students who will learn more about the contribution of freedom fighters.He said children can treasure memories of the event through photographs and videos which will also act as a source of inspiration for others.Chaudharys junior, Baldev Aulakh, the minister of state for minority welfare, even warned of action against madrassas which do not follow the order.”We have asked for videography of all programmes. We can check at random as to which madrassa has celebrated it or not. If any madrassa does not celebrate it, action will be taken against it,” Aulakh said, without elaborating.Madrassas get financial assistance from the state government. At present, around 8,000 madrasas in UP are recognised by the UP Madrassa Shiksha Parishad, a government body. Among these, 560 are fully-aided by the state.Asked if the order did not amount to putting pressure on madrassas, the MoS said, “Students should know about the lives of freedom fighters. Everyone should know the role played by our freedom fighters in ensuring that the country is freed from the yoke of British rule. Their great lives are taught in schools and it should be imparted in madrassas as well.”On whether the circular was tantamount to keeping a watch on them, Aulakh said, “Why this feeling has crept in? Just a circular has been issued. Those who have been celebrating the Day should not have any objection.””This is a national festival. Madrassas take funds and facility from the government. If the government has issued any such circular, then you must enthusiastically participate in the Independence Day celebrations and there should be no objection,” he said.”We have asked for videography of all programmes. Whatever programme is held anywhere should be videographed. We will have the information about madrassas that celebrated the Independence Day. We can also ask any madrassa about the Independence Day celebrations. If there is any anomaly in celebrating the national festival, which symbolises patriotism and love for the nation, naturally, action will be taken,” he added.advertisementTaking a dig at the rival political parties, Chaudhary said, “Unlike previous governments, which indulged in politics of appeasement, we are a government with nationalist bent of mind.”The BJP government led by Yogi Adityanath took over the reins of the state in March. “Every citizen born in India celebrates different festivals ranging from Holi, Diwali, Eid and Lohri. But when it comes to national festivals, they are celebrated by the entire nation. And, madrassas should not exclude themselves from participating in national festivals,” Chaudhary said.The minister said celebrations in madrassas on Independence Day will be videographed and photographed so that good programmes can be encouraged and repeated in future.When asked what prompted the government to issue such a directive to madrassas, Chaudhary said, “Directives were issued as the government recognised that madrassas get funds from the state government and are supposed to celebrate the national festivals, including Independence Day.”Taking a swipe at political rivals, he said, “Those who are trying to impute motives and suspecting the intention of the government, I doubt their nationalist credentials.” PTI NAV KIS BDS KISlast_img read more

Waiting for disaster? South MCD allows school below high-tension wires

first_imgFlouting all norms of safety, especially where the children are concerned, a private school was allowed to be developed where high tension wires are running alongside the IGNOU Road, Neb Sarai area.Four-floored St. Mary’s Junior School, which accommodates about thousand students from nursery to VII, came up in 2012. This is where a high-tension power line was already running overhead for decades. High-voltage lines are not only considered to be a major accident hazard, in the event of them breaking and falling, but serious casualties may arise if children come in contact with them through sticks, kites or loose strings. Besides, Electromagnetic Field (EMF) radiations are believed to affect the developing brains of children and may cause headaches, tumour, cancer, Alzheimer ‘s disease and depression.After the anomaly was pointed out by nominated member of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and senior advocate BS Joon on Wednesday, SDMC said, “We do not permit any construction in unauthorised colonies (like Neb Sarai). Any construction beneath high-tension power line is not permitted even in approved colonies.”The corporation blamed the Revenue Department of Delhi Government “whose primary duty is to stop the carving out of unauthorized colonies under the DLR Act 1954,” officials said.They also held guilty the electricity regularity authorities in the city -DISCOM and TRANSCO – “for not removing structures along the length of high-tension lines as per sections of the Central Electricity Authority Regulations, 2010.”At the same time, the SDMC ordered an enquiry to identify their own “defaulting officials responsible for the illegal construction.” Joon said, “Corruption and callousness together leads to such illegal developments, which is a disaster waiting to happen like the Mumbai restaurant fire recently.advertisementThe wires are connected to a transmission tower approximately 800-1000 meter away. The only thing that separates the school building and class-rooms from the high voltage lines at the closest point of contact is a tree, just about 15 meters at the crown,” he pointed out.”The children are clearly exposed to the radiation during prayers and sports activities at the playground as the wires run directly overhead. We are risking lives of over 1,000 students by exposing them to harmful radiation every day,” he said.The school authorities said they have been in the area for 30 years now, previously on a different location on IGNOU Road. “We have never been told that radiation from the lines will harm us or our students,” said St. Mary’s administrator, Thomas Alex. “We are operating with all requisite permissions,” he added.Experts like Californiabased EMF test engineer Michael R. Neuert say, “The strongest magnetic fields are usually emitted from high voltage transmission lines – the power lines on the big, tall metal towers.To be sure that you are reducing the exposure levels to 0.5 milligauss (mG) or less, a safety distance of 700 feet may be neededMumbai: Fire in Andheri building kills four peoplelast_img read more

Eintracht Frankfurt ink deal with Chinese women’s football club

first_imgZhengzhou, Dec 20 (IANS) Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt signed a three-year cooperation agreement with Zhengzhou’s Henan Huishang football club on Thursday.”We will send these girls and coaches to Germany to learn advanced skills and play games with Frankfurt, and also learn about their youth system to train our young players,” said Li Lin, the manager of Henan Huishang FC, reports Xinhua news agency.”It’s the first time Frankfurt will be cooperating with a professional women’s football club in China, and we hope it can help the club to improve their skills and spread our soccer culture to China,” said Markus Weidner, the president of Frankfurt’s China branch.Weidner continued to say that Frankfurt are “bullish” about working with the Chinese sports industry. The two clubs will also cooperate in market development and public relations.–IANSgau/sedlast_img read more

Arsenal’s dominance doesn’t pay against Man Utd

first_imgArsenal v Manchester United De Gea shines as Arsenal fail to make outrageous dominance pay against Man Utd Robin Bairner 20:24 12/4/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) David de Gea, Manchester United Laurence Griffiths Arsenal v Manchester United Manchester United Arsenal Premier League Stats A double salvo early on put Jose Mourinho’s men in complete control and they made the most of their advantage largely thanks to their goalkeeper Manchester United’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Saturday was widely hailed as a thrilling fixture that showcased much of the best of what the Premier League has to offer. It was played at a high tempo, offered plenty of excitement and was bursting with quality.Unfortunately for Arsenal, much of that quality came from the man in the Man Utd goal, with David de Gea producing what will go down as one of the performances of his life to keep the Gunners at bay in an encounter they dominated yet somehow ended up losing with a degree of comfort.Certainly, the match was shaped in the opening quarter of an hour, when the visitors struck through Antonio Valencia and then Jesse Lingard, while Shkrodan Mustafi was withdrawn injured for the hosts.  Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player It allowed United to play in the counterpunching style that they thrive upon, and while Arsene Wenger’s men did get one back thanks to Alexandre Lacazette in the second half, Lingard pounced again to effectively kill the match off, even in spite of Pogba’s subsequent red card.In possession, Wenger’s spent an eye-popping 45% of their time in Man Utd’s final third, but somehow failed to make their dominance pay. ARS MAN UTD USThe statistics show just how outrageous Arsenal’s domination of this encounter was, with the shot count especially startling. While their opponents mustered only five shots of any kind, three of which ended as goals, the Gunners had an incredible 21 efforts, of which all but six found the target. Indeed, the shot map displays the startling quality of opportunities that the hosts had and how hard De Gea had to work to keep them out. But virtually all the key matrixes were slanted heavily in the favour of Wenger’s men, who enjoyed 75 per cent of possession, making 656 passes to their opponents’ relatively meagre 222 with far more accuracy to boot. Arsenal won the battle for corners 12-1 and even enjoyed a far higher tackle success rate, despite a supposedly inferior defence. Mourinho has this game sussed, though. He knows that ultimately the only important figure is the number of goals scored, and to that end his team were outrageously efficient, striking ahead early to give them a cushion they were never likely to risk. Man Utd may have been second best, but that certainly did not stop them from coming through first ahead of their big derby with City next week.All stats featured in the article came courtesy of the Goal+ app, exclusive to Samsung devices. Download the most cutting edge football app now!last_img read more

Contractor General Report on Spalding Market Tabled in the House

first_img The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) special investigation regarding the award of contract(s) to construct/repair and to rent shops at the Spalding Market in Clarendon was tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 17.Contractor General, Dirk Harrison on April 15, publicly announced that a formal investigation has commenced into the circumstances, surrounding the alleged award of contract(s) to construct/repair and to rent shops at the Spalding Market, owned by the Clarendon Parish Council.The primary aim of the investigation was to ascertain whether there was compliance with provisions of the Contractor General Act and the applicable Government of Jamaica (GoJ) Public Sector Procurement Procedures and the GoJ Public Sector Procurement Regulations (2008), in the award of contract(s) to construct/repair and to rent the shops.The Contractor General, in his report, concluded that the shops were illegally erected.He noted that given the finding that officers of the Clarendon Parish Council were reticent in addressing the issue of the illegally constructed wooden shops, an accountability framework should be created and implemented “to clearly outline the reporting relationships and obligations of officers at the parish councils in order to ensure that there is no recurrence of the lack of action, which has tainted the Clarendon Parish Council.”The report also noted that “given the circumstances, which have surrounded the entire Spalding affair,” the OCG is recommending that a legislative and/or governance framework be established to guide Ministers of Government and Members of Parliament as it concerns their roles, functions, responsibilities and involvement in the decision making processes of public bodies.“The legislative and/or governance framework should detail the appropriate sanctions, which can be adopted should a Minister and/or Member of Parliament overstep his/her authority as it concerns the functions of a public body,” the report said.Mr. Harrison also recommended that the Auditor General undertake a review of the financial operations, and accounting systems and practices of the Clarendon ParishCouncil having regard to the numerous deficiencies, which have been identified herein as  it regards the collection of revenue, loss of revenue and the recovery of monies payable to  the Clarendon Parish Council.The Contractor General also recommended that there be an “absolute separation of the responsibilities of the Members of Parliament in regard to the identification and/or approval of projects which are to be undertaken in their Constituency and the selection and/or approval of contractors to execute the identified works.”“In the event that an absolute separation is not feasible, the CG recommends that the appropriate checks and balances be put in place to ensure that there is no undue political interference,” the report stated. Story Highlights A formal investigation has commenced into the circumstances The OCG is recommending that a legislative and/or governance framework be established The report concluded that the shops were illegally erectedlast_img read more

Restrictions sur les déplacements dans les régions boisées levées à léchelle de

first_imgLes restrictions sur les activités et les déplacements dans les régions boisées annoncées la semaine dernière ont été levées à l’échelle de la Nouvelle-Écosse. Ces mêmes restrictions ont été levées au Cap-Breton le 15 août dernier. « Après tout le travail des pompiers et grâce à la pluie, nous sommes maintenant en mesure de permettre aux gens de se déplacer dans les régions boisées en toute sécurité, affirme Lloyd Hines, ministre des Ressources naturelles. Je remercie encore une fois les Néo-Écossais pour leur coopération et leur compréhension pendant la période de restriction. » « Je sais que cette semaine a été difficile, et nous apprécions grandement la patience et l’attention des gens à l’échelle de la province. » Grâce aux précipitations reçues, les interdictions de brûlage ont également été levées à l’échelle de la province. Il est maintenant possible de faire un feu de camp ou de broussailles en toute sécurité. Toutefois, tous les feux doivent être complètement éteints avant 8 h. Les gens sont maintenant en mesure de profiter des régions boisées et des sentiers, mais on les encourage tout de même à prendre les précautions nécessaires et à consulter la carte des interdictions de brûlage au http://www.novascotia.ca/burnsafe/fr. La section de la route 8 près de Maitland Bridge, dans le comté d’Annapolis, qui est fermée depuis la semaine dernière est maintenant ouverte, mais on demande aux automobilistes de faire preuve de prudence en raison des véhicules d’urgence qui sont toujours sur place. Le gouvernement provincial continuera d’offrir des mises à jour jusqu’à ce que les feux de forêt qui font l’objet de patrouilles soient éteints. Pour les mises à jour : http://www.novascotia.ca/nsfire/fr.last_img read more

JUSTIN BIEBER FREAKS OVER BEING RELATED TO RYAN GOSLING AVRIL LAVIGNE THE

first_imgJUSTIN BIEBER FREAKS OVER BEING RELATED TO RYAN GOSLING & AVRIL LAVIGNE: ‘THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFEAfter doing a search on Ancestry.com, Justin Bieber is claiming he’s related to fellow Canadians Ryan Gosling & Avril Lavigne — posting that the findings seem ‘super legit.’According to Justin Bieber, his family just got bigger! The 25-year-old pop star did a genealogy search on Ancestry.com, and discovered that, apparently, he’s related to fellow Canadians Ryan Gosling and Avril Lavigne. “I also just found out that I’m related to both Ryan gosling and Avril Lavigne this is the best day of my life..,” Justin posted on his Instagram Saturday, August 31. “it seems super legit it’s on ancestry.com.” The website claims to have “world’s largest collection of online records” — which is 20 billion. READ MOREJustin Bieber is seen on Aug. 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo: BG002/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)JUSTIN BIEBER GIVES GOSPEL PERFORMANCE AT CHURCH SERVICEJustin Bieber recently gave a gospel performance at Churchome in Beverly Hills and shared the experience on Instagram. “Sang at church last night,” Bieber wrote. “God is pulling me through a hard season. Having trust in Jesus at your worst times is the absolute hardest. But he is faithful to complete what he started.“I also want to thank my wife for being such a huge support in my life through this season…” the Sorry singer continued. “It says in the bible count it ALL JOY when you face trials of various kinds. READ MORE Advertisement STEPHEN BALDWIN REVEALS WHY DAUGHTER HAILEY AND HER HUSBAND JUSTIN BIEBER WANT A RELIGIOUS WEDDINGStephen Baldwin said he’s very excited for the upcoming “very fun wedding” in South Carolina. The actor, 53, gave updates on the couple’s wedding plans to TMZ, saying: “I just think that as Christians and as believers they understand that if you don’t have the God’s spirit working in your marriage it just makes it more and more difficult to make it work and have peace and find happiness.”Baldwin added, “Weddings and marriage are supposed to be a holy commitment, one onto another.” READ MORE Advertisement Login/Register With:center_img Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Business Highlights

___From corn to Apple: The cases behind the US-China standoffWASHINGTON (AP) — To hear the Americans tell it, the Chinese have gone on a commercial crime spree, pilfering trade secrets from seed corn to electronic brains behind wind turbines. China has stripped the arm off a T-Mobile robot, the U.S. says, and looted trade secrets about robotic cars from Apple. The alleged victims are American companies, whose cases lie behind the U.S. complaints in the current trade talks. Beijing denies the charges and counters that the U.S. is just trying to suppress a rising competitor.___Facebook removes 783 fake pages, accounts tied to IranNEW YORK (AP) — Facebook says it has removed 783 Iran-linked pages, accounts and groups from its service for what it calls “co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour.” That means misrepresenting who is running the accounts with the intent of disrupting politics and elections.___S&P 500 index delivers biggest monthly gain since 2015NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street got its mojo back in January after finishing 2018 with its worst December since 1931. Stocks finished higher Thursday, closing out the month with the best monthly gain for the S&P 500 index since 2015. A series of strong corporate earnings helped power the monthlong rally, which followed a dismal December that nearly brought the benchmark index into a bear market, meaning a decline of 20 per cent from a recent peak.___How will bankrupt utility deal with wildfires from now on?LOS ANGELES (AP) — When California’s Pacific Gas & Electric comes out of bankruptcy, it will face the same danger that put the company in financial peril in the first place: wildfires. The question is: How will it respond to that threat as it reorganizes under Chapter 11 protection?___Natural gas prices slump despite US winter weather blastLOS ANGELES (AP) — Strong production, healthier stockpiles and forecasts calling for milder temperatures next month are keeping natural gas prices from rebounding from a two-month skid even as demand surges as a massive weather system blankets much of the Midwest and Northeast with frigid temperatures.___Trump order asks federal fund recipients to buy US goodsWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed an executive order aimed at encouraging government contractors to “buy American” as part of the administration’s efforts to boost U.S. manufacturing. The new order asks federal agencies to encourage those who receive federal financial assistance for infrastructure projects to use American materials and products. Trump says he wants American roads, bridges and railways to be built with American iron, steel, concrete and hands.___As Wall Street spasmed with fear, 401(k) savers held steadyNEW YORK (AP) — While professional traders scrambled to sell stocks amid a fear-fueled, nearly 20 per cent drop for the S&P 500 late last year, most people at home remained pretty calm when it came to their own retirement savings. So say numbers from Fidelity Investments, which show that the vast majority of 401(k) participants continued to sock savings away in their accounts during the last three months of 2018 and refrained from the perhaps-tempting choice to abandon stocks and hide out in the safety of cash.___Trump casts doubt on US-China trade deal hopesWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is casting doubt on whether the U.S. and China can reach a comprehensive trade deal to keep a steep tariff increase from kicking in against Beijing in March. American and Chinese negotiators are meeting in Washington this week to try to make progress toward a deal by a March deadline. That’s when U.S. tariffs against Chinese goods are scheduled to bump up to 25 per cent from 10 per cent.___Companies hope vests will ease burden for assembly workersFLAT ROCK, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. and other manufacturers want to help their workers take a load off. Or at least make it easier to lift a load up. Ford is among several companies providing wearable technology to elevate and support workers’ arms. Nicholas Gotts wears an EksoVest during his shifts building Mustangs at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant in suburban Detroit. He says the exoskeleton makes his job “a whole lot easier and a lot less strenuous.” The vest provides lift assistance for 5 to 15 pounds per arm.___US wages and benefits up 0.7 per cent in Q4WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. workers saw their annual wages and benefits rise by 0.7 per cent in the final three months of last year, a moderate gain that was down only slightly from the third quarter. The Labor Department says that the seasonally adjusted October-December gain was down from a 0.8 per cent rise in the third quarter.___The S&P 500 index rose 23.05 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 2,704.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 15.19 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 24,999.67. The Nasdaq composite climbed 98.66 points, or 1.4 per cent, to 7,281.74. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 12.48 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 1,499.42.U.S. crude oil fell 0.8 per cent to settle at $53.79 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 0.4 per cent to close at $61.89 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 1.4 per cent to $1.36 a gallon. Heating oil slid 1 per cent to $1.88 a gallon. Natural gas dropped 1.4 per cent to $2.81 per 1,000 cubic feet.The Associated Press read more

Massive scaleup needed in Pakistan flood relief operation says UN

12 August 2010While assistance is being provided to hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis affected by what has been called their country’s worst flooding in living memory, the United Nations humanitarian wing says the relief operation needs to be massively scaled up. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 14 million people – almost one in every 10 Pakistanis – have so far been affected by the flooding, which began late last month in the wake of heavy monsoon rains.More than 1,200 people have been killed, and at least 2 million left homeless, by the disaster which has also destroyed homes, farmland and major infrastructure in large parts of the country, most notably the north-west province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).The monsoon season could last for at least another month, worsening the flooding that has been seen so far, including in parts of country not so far affected. Yesterday in New York, UN aid agencies and their partners requested almost $460 million to help Pakistan address the needs of flood-affected families, including by providing food, clean drinking water, tents and other shelter and non-food items, as well as medical supplies. So far, donors have committed or contributed $47 million to the response activities of the UN and its partners, and a further $99.5 million has been pledged. At least $300 million is, however, still urgently needed. The funds requested under the initial floods emergency response plan will be revised within 30 days to reflect assessed needs as the situation evolves. “We have a huge task in front of us to deliver all that is required as soon as possible,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said during the launch of the emergency response.“The death toll has so far been relatively low compared to other major natural disasters, but the numbers affected are extraordinarily high. If we don’t act fast enough, many more people could die of diseases and food shortages,” Mr. Holmes added. read more

Despite progress worlds poorest countries still being marginalized – UN envoy

“While the least developed countries are being marginalized by the international community, it is heartening that their special needs are gradually being noticed,” Under-Secretary-General Anwarul K. Chowdhury said yesterday, referring to the recent G8 meeting of the world’s most industrialized nations, which adopted a communiqué on trade recognizing the least developed countries (LDCs) and their specific problems.“Their statement reiterated their commitment to the objective of ‘duty-free and quota-free market access for products originating from LDCs,’” said Mr. Chowdhury, who is also the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.Addressing a one-day Workshop at UN Headquarters in New York of National Focal Points from the 50 LDCs on the 2001 Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries, he stressed that the world needed to focus on the LDCs “simply because this most vulnerable group of countries have the least capacity to face the challenges of a globalized world.”Mr. Chowdhury underscored the encouraging developments and a positive step by donor countries in honouring their commitments by increasing the total official development assistance flow to the LDCs to $23.5 billion – a 31 per cent increase in nominal terms in 2003 as compared to the previous year. “This represented the highest one year increase of official development assistance (ODA) to the LDCs.”Referring to the commitment made by donor countries in 2001 at the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries in Brussels, he called on the international community “to expeditiously meet the target of 0.20 per cent of gross national product (GNP) as ODA to the least developed countries.”Concluding the workshop, Mr. Chowdhury called on the LDCs to conduct inclusive, broad-based dialogue with a range of partners, particularly in civil society and the private sector. read more