J&K withdraws order to buy Gita, Ramayana

first_imgJ&K Chief Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam on Tuesday withdrew an order issued by the Education Department “to procure in bulk Urdu and Kashmiri versions of the Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana in all educational institutions and libraries of Jammu and Kashmir”.The order was issued on October 4 and came under criticism from political parties and civil society groups after it was circulated online on Monday.Former Chief Minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah had questioned the move. “Why just the Gita and Ramayana? If religious texts are to be placed in schools, colleges and government libraries (and I’m not convinced that they need/should be) then why is it being done selectively? Why are other religions being ignored?” he had said.The order, which was issued after a meeting president of Governor Satya Pal Malik’s advisor B.B. Vyas, evoked a huge response on social media too.“Now Kashmiri Muslim students will have to read Ramayana and Bhagwad Gita but no mention of Quran. Why this religious divide? In spite of Muslims being in a majority, the local governments never in the past enforced teaching of Quran for minorities in Kashmir. We will resists these ugly designs,” said Raja Muzaffar, a RTI activist.MLA Engineer Rasheed termed the withdrawal “a confession of guilt.” The government should explain why it issued a “communally-designed order”, he said.last_img read more

Peter Karlsson says Ankita Das and Soumyajit Ghosh can create upsets

first_imgPeter Karlsson has been working with Indian paddlers for some time now. It is at the academy of the five-time world champion that Soumyajit Ghosh honed his skills for two years. Ankita Das, too, trained for a short duration.The two teenagers have qualified for the Olympics and Karlsson feels that it augurs well for the future of table tennis in the country.The Swede, who was here for a three-day coaching clinic for the Manav Rachna Sports Academy, said the two players have it in them to register a few upsets in London.”It is absolutely fantastic that two young Indian players will compete at the Olympics. They deserved their places. They have not been picked, they have qualified. They have a lot more potential and if they continue to work hard they will achieve more success.””They can surprise a few at the Olympics, but if that does not happen there is no reason to feel disappointed.”Soumyajit and Ankita left senior players like Sharath Kamal, Anthony Amalraj, Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das in the shade as they booked their berths for the London Games.Karlsson has guided Ghosh for most of the last two years as part of an ITTF scholarship programme. “He is a talented player. At the moment, Ghosh’s game is dominated by his tactical and mental ability. He needs to improve on the technical aspect and also physically.”Ankita was also selected for the scholarship, but she could not go, though she attended short-term coaching clinics under Karlsson.advertisement”The two players are just 19 and they have a bright future. It is definitely not their peak. As I can see, playing the Olympics at young age can only be positive. Olympics is totally different. They cannot imagine how it will be. When an athlete is competing at his first Olympics at his peak, maybe it’s not so good. But when you compete at a young age, you collect experience. They may have at least two, may be three, more Olympics in their career.”The Swede was a World Champion in men’s doubles in 1991 and also helped his team win on four other occasions.”There is a risk that being part of a big event can lead to emptiness thinking that they have achieved something big. But I don’t see that happening with Ghosh. He is an intelligent boy.”Karlsson said that he will have a chat with Ghosh.”He should not be satisfied with what he has done. You can be happy and proud. But don’t stop working.”Karlsson said that though Sharath Kamal has not qualified, he is an inspiration for the youngsters.”What Sharath has done is extremely good. The way he has performed over the years is great. I often tell the young Indian players that Sharath has shown what you can achieve. They need to respect and admire him for what he has done.”last_img read more

Keeping it real

first_imgTwo of 2016’s biggest hits, Airlift and Neerja, had one thing in common: they were based on true events. For his biopic on the fearless flight attendant Neerja Bhanot, director Ram Madhvani was certain that he didn’t want the 250 passengers on the PanAm flight to be seen as mere,Two of 2016’s biggest hits, Airlift and Neerja, had one thing in common: they were based on true events. For his biopic on the fearless flight attendant Neerja Bhanot, director Ram Madhvani was certain that he didn’t want the 250 passengers on the PanAm flight to be seen as mere extras. “They are not my background, but my foreground. That’s where the eye will go,” said Madhvani. “I have no shallow focus as a human being.” So, his casting director Kanika Berry tested over a thousand actors to get the most compelling faces to reflect panic. His associate director Vinod Rawat held workshops and even assigned backstories to a few of the passengers. To bring out germane performances, the passengers were made to board the plane, built in Borivali, a suburb in Mumbai, with passports and tickets. On the first few days of shooting, Madhvani invited Boman Irani on the set to encourage the cast. “There are no small parts, only small actors,” said Irani. Once in the plane, set designer Aparna Sud ensured everything was functional, from the bathroom and intercom to the drinking water machine. “This is not a set,” said Madhvani, “this is the real thing. If it is not, you can’t feel it.”Adhering to the tiniest of details is one of the many reasons why Neerja, made on a budget of Rs 21 crore including publicity and advertising, collected over Rs 75 crore at the box office and ran for over a month in cinemas. The success of Neerja and Raja Krishna Menon’s Airlift, which centred on the evacuation of over a lakh Indians from Kuwait during Iraq’s invasion and is still the only 2016 release to cross the Rs 100-crore mark, is proof that reality not only bites, it also sells.advertisementIt’s an encouraging sign that audiences have widened their expectations and no longer see cinema simply as a means of escapism and keep-your-brains-at-home entertainment. They are willing to see reel heroes, and even heroines, be real. If the action on the screen is gritty and manages to draw a few tears or rouse the patriot in you, the better it is.Sushant Singh Rajput in MS Dhoni: The untold storyBollywood is going all out to tell stories that it hopes will resonate with an evolving audience as filmmakers shine a light on fascinating figures and their uplifting stories. Filmmakers aren’t restricting themselves just to politicians as has been the trend so far. One look at the line-up for 2016 and 2017 and you see a mix of sporting heroes and figures mired in controversies in the biopics. Omung Kumar’s Sarbjit and Tony D’Souza’s Azhar hit cinemas in May, followed by Rustom (August), M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (September) and Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal (December).Anurag Kashyap’s RR 2.0 (May) is said to have Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a contemporary avatar of serial killer Raman Raghav, who terrorised Bombay in the 1960s. Even Rahul Dholakia’s Raees starring Shah Rukh Khan reportedly bears resemblance to the life of Gujarat-based don Abdul Latif; Dholakia, though, has denied the similarities and said the Eid release is a “work of fiction and not based on any real life person”.Consent is keyBiopics are largely made with the endorsement of the subject that is the inspiration, or at least with the cooperation and support of his or her family. This was the case with Neerja and the upcoming Sarbjit. Director Omung Kumar knows his way around a biopic; his first depicted how Mary Kom overcame many hurdles to become an Olympic medal-winning pugilist. For his next, he met and recorded conversations with Dalbir Kaur, sister of Indian farmer Sarabjit Singh, who was caught in Pakistan, accused of being a spy and spent his life on death row until his murder in 2013. Kumar was drawn to Kaur’s resilience which saw her fight an often solitary battle for her brother’s release. “Gaining trust of the subject or his kin is the main thing,” said Kumar, who has roped in Randeep Hooda as Singh and Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan as Kaur. Kumar feels a filmmaker’s responsibility increases while making a biopic. “You have to be extra cautious,” he says, as “it is somebody’s life that you are working with.”A still from AzharTweaking reality is but a natural process during the scripting stage but it is important to keep the subjects in the loop with the cinematic liberties a writer takes and also be emotionally accurate in one’s quest to be interesting and entertaining. “You have to ensure that they don’t take offence,” says Kumar, who involved Kaur in the scripting stage and even hosted her on the sets during the Punjab schedule of the film. Filmmakers also have to be conscious that they cannot take audiences for granted. “You cannot sell a lie” to the audience, says Kumar.Power of truthPrabhat Choudhary of Spice PR, who successfully handled promotions for films such as Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013), Talvar (2015), and more recently Neerja, knows that viewers with easier access to information are more discerning than ever. It implies that biopics and films rooted in reality are scrutinised more than purely fictional retellings. Choudhary, one of the most sought-after agents, says that the strength of such films lies in their recognising the “power of reality and truth”. Fact has the capacity to be greater than fiction if presented with sincerity and without over-the-top theatrics.advertisementAamir Khan with Mahavir Phogat, who he’s portraying in DangalBut it is also important to note that biopics are not documentaries. “Though I am interested in biographical and historical truth, I am also interested in psychological and emotional truth,” says Madhvani. “One way to do it is that this is what the character did or the character felt or thought.” The trick, says Madhvani, is to move audiences but “without manipulation and dishonesty”. “You are coming to laugh, cry and feel,” he says. “You are not coming to say it is a well-researched but very bad film.” With films like Neerja and Sarbjit, filmmakers are left to imagine or trust the words of the kin in what the titular protagonists of the films went through. That’s not the case with films on very much-alive cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Mohammad Azharuddin.Unearthing the mystery in the familiarMaking a film on a popular personality can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is easier to market a film on Dhoni and Azharuddin than say on Manjhi (2015), the man who broke through a mountain, or Shahid (2014), the lawyer who took on cases for the wrongly accused. While the makers of Azhar and MS Dhoni: The Untold Story have more familiar heroes, they are also posed with a challenge: tell stories about their heroes that have not made it to newspapers and television or are relatively lesser known. Rajat Arora, writer of Emraan Hashmi-starrer Azhar, acknowledges the task.A self-proclaimed fanboy of Azhar, he says it is important that a writer doesn’t get “swayed by the aura” and “look for the person behind the personality”. Arora met Azharuddin not “to ask him about the treatment, but to understand his motivations”. With every subsequent meeting, his story took shape, as Arora discovered the “many complexities packed” in the former captain. That’s what made the process engrossing.The genre doesn’t rest entirely in the writer’s hands. Actors don’t just have to look the part, they also have to embody its spirit. When it came to essaying Dhoni, Sushant Singh Rajput underwent 11 months of training, including acing the helicopter shot. Rana Daggubati took underwater training to play a naval officer in Ghazi, a Telugu-Hindi bilingual on the sinking of a Pakistani submarine and also the members of the Indian naval ship S21, who were stranded for 18 days during the India-Pakistan war of 1971.advertisementThe resurgence of reality in Bollywood is not just a fad. Kangana Ranaut is linked to a Rani Laxmibai project to be directed by Ketan Mehta. Javed Akhtar is developing a script on how the Indian hockey team swon Olympic gold in the aftermath of Partition. Bollywood, too often associated with its larger-than-life fare, is growing up and getting real. Follow the writer on Twitter @suhani84last_img read more

GOVERNOR 2 LAST

first_imgThe Governor said the welfare schemes under the AmmaThe Governor said the welfare schemes under the Amma brand like Amma Cement, Amma Drinking Water and Amma Salt would continue. On the power front, he said ongoing projects would be expedited and in the next five years, new power generation capacity of 13,000 MW of thermal power and 3,000 MW of solar energy would be added to the state grid.Rosaiah said the government would take up implementation of Phase-II of Chennai Metro Rail at the earliest. “Before 2017-end, services will be commenced in the entire metro (Phase-I) network,” he said, adding services between Little Mount to Airport and from Alandur to St Thomas Mount would be inaugurated soon.On the fishermens issue, he said the government would continue to urge the Centre to prevail upon Sri Lanka to work out a lasting solution to the problem and also reiterated the government stance that it would continue to strive for retrieval of Katchatheevu.Similarly, efforts would be made to lift the ban on bull taming sport Jallikattu and get the Mullaiperiyar dam water level raised to 152 feet, i.e the Full Reservoir Level. The government will also strive to get an order from the Supreme Court to constitute Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee, he said.”This government will continue to seek accountability of those who perpetrated genocide on innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka during the civil war,” Rosaiah said. Unlike on previous occasions, the entire Opposition listened to the Governors address with rapt attention. Leader of the Opposition M K Stalin (DMK), his party colleagues and members of his alliance party Congress sat through the 35 minutes address. PTI VGN APR SRYadvertisementlast_img read more

No pulling punches: Boxing stalwarts demand complete revamp

first_imgBy Poonam Mehra New Delhi, Aug 31 (PTI) They are appalled, they are angry and they want accountability to be fixed. Indian boxings biggest names are demanding an all systems reboot to halt the sports decline after a medal-less Olympic campaign in Rio and their roadmap goes beyond having the much-delayed national federation. From the countrys first Olympic medallist in boxing, Vijender Singh, to Commonwealth Games gold-medallists Akhil Kumar and Mohd Ali Qamar to the much-decorated M C Mary Kom, Indian boxing stalwarts stood united in their cry for change. “There has to be some accountability. First there should be a federation and secondly there should be action against officials and coaches who are responsible for the current state of Indian boxing,” Vijender, who now plies his trade in the professional circuit, told PTI from London. “As for the roadmap ahead, the coaching staff should be overhauled. Whats the problem? The schedule in the national camp has not changed for so many years. We need fresh ideas. If we have to move forward, we have to be ruthless and change the system,” he asserted. Only three Indian boxers had qualified for the Rio Games, a sharp decline from the 8 who made the cut four years ago for the London edition. In fact, not a single woman boxer managed to qualify for the Games this time. “Having a Federation is an absolute must. Once it is done, we can have qualified coaches to improve performance. Good foreign coaches can be hired so that there is a new exchange of ideas and the coaches should also maintain discipline in the camp,” said Mary Kom, a five-time world champion and London Olympics bronze-medallist. Boxing is currently being administered by an ad-hoc committee after the national federation was terminated by the International Boxing Association (AIBA). The only foreign coach in the national camp — Cuban B I Fernandes — was suspended for indiscipline during the infamous meltdown of L Sarita Devi in the 2014 Asian Games. Currently the long-serving Gurbax Singh Sandhu is the chief coach, assisted by a handful of home-grown coaches. “I fully agree with Vijender on accountability, besides the coaching staff should also be changed. They have been around for a very long time and I think now it is time to look for something new,” said Akhil, the Beijing Olympics quarter-finalist. “Just as boxers are selected through trials, the coaches should also be able to prove themselves.” Ali Qamar, the countrys first ever Commonwealth Games gold-medallist (2002, Manchester), held a similar view. “The coaching staff needs overhaul. The pattern of training hasnt changed for last many years. Simply going out for training trips is not enough, we need fresh inputs in the national camp. A change in the coaching staff can do that. And if we have to go for a foreign coach, bring someone who is accomplished and has the Olympic experience,” Ali Qamar said. (MORE) PTI PM CM CMadvertisementlast_img read more

DIPP clears Reeboks proposal to set up retail stores in India

first_imgNew Delhi, Oct 24 (PTI) The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion today approved Reebok Indias proposal to set up single brand retail stores in the country. “The proposal to undertake single-brand retail trading of Reebok branded products in India has been approved. It entails foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows of Rs 20 crore,” official sources said.Reebok India had sought governments nod to set up single brand retail stores in the country. The company had submitted its proposal to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). At present, Germanys Adidas AG sells Adidas and Reebok sports shoes and clothes in India. As per the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy, 100 per cent equity investment is allowed in single brand retail trading. FDI of up to 49 per cent is permitted under the automatic route but governments nod is required beyond that limit.Foreign investment is allowed subject to certain conditions, which require products to be of a single brand only and to be sold under the same brand globally. Furthermore, in respect of proposals involving FDI beyond 51 per cent, it is mandatory to source 30 per cent of the value of goods purchased from India, preferably micro small & medium enterprises. PTI RSN MKJlast_img read more

Watch: Senegal, Colombia fans clean up their mess at FIFA World Cup

first_imgSenegal supporters won hearts with their music and dance as their team stunned eighth-ranked Poland 2-1 in their World Cup 2018 opener on Tuesday.Their unique rhythm, tireless singing and dancing made everyone stand up and take notice and their team responded with a splendid show at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow.Even as it was the song and dance that hogged all the limelight, what they did after the match actually gives the entire world a lesson.With the world and especially India, with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, on a drive towards cleanliness, Senegalese fans showed how each person’s little effort could make a difference.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEIn a video that has surfaced on social media, each Senegal supporter can be seen picking up litter from their entire stand and accumulating it at one place so that they leave the stands as clean as they found it.#SEN fans cleaning up their area at the end of their side’s victory over #POL. pic.twitter.com/ODZdoiGkr9Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) June 19, 2018Without any trace of embarrassment over cleaning up the place, the supporters can be seen performing their own cleaning drive.And it turns out they are not the only ones.FIFA WORLD CUP: FIXTURES | POINTS TABLEA video of Japanese fans clearing their stands also went viral on social media. Japan is already known for its love for cleanliness and ethics and their World Cup trip was no different.Pictures have also surfaced that show that even Tunisia fans cleaned up their stands after the country’s 1-2 loss against England.advertisementAlso appears fans of #TUN did similar last night after #ENG clash. ( via @SKhmira) pic.twitter.com/Y7EaQHH1ZmColin Millar (@Millar_Colin) June 19, 2018Even Colombia supporters took the effort of picking up litter from their stands and putting it all at one place.Yet more research shows this is a running theme, as seen in #COL v #JPN today. The #WorldCup really is brilliant. (Pics via @tsunsan) pic.twitter.com/1KXRZAAYL4Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) June 19, 2018Like they say, the World Cup is a beautiful place where fans from all over the world show their spark, culture and identity.And Senegal, Tunisia and Colombia supporters have surely done a world of good to their identity on the world map.The crowd support at the World Cup this year has been brilliant as always. Fans from all over the world have come to Russia to support and cheer for their respective teams.Also read – Senegal bring African colour to Russia with dancing celebrationWhile it was feared that travellers may be subjected to discrimination and violence in Russia, so far it has all looked good.Even though Russian police has been strictly ordered not to leak out any news of an untoward incident, stadiums so far have looked violence-proof.May be it’s a sign that the World Cup has given Russia a platform to show themselves to the world — an identity they will long cherish.last_img read more

Tuchel confirms fresh Verratti injury blow

first_imgParis Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel revealed midfielder Marco Verratti had suffered another injury setback in a blow to the Ligue 1 champions.The Italy international, 26, returned to training on Monday after being sidelined with a sprained ankle sustained last month.AdChoices广告That was a boost to PSG, who are set to be without Neymar until April, ahead of their Champions League last-16 tie against Manchester United beginning next week. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? But after Verratti missed his side’s extra-time win over Villefranche in the Coupe de France on Wednesday, Tuchel revealed the midfielder had suffered a fresh injury.”Marco Verratti could not finish training yesterday [Tuesday]. He had problems,” he said.”I have to wait until tomorrow [Thursday] to decide if he can play against Bordeaux.”His new problem is something else, but I do not know too much.”PSG host Bordeaux on Saturday before making the trip to Old Trafford for the first leg of their tie with United three days later.last_img read more

Bundesliga trio make approaches for Liverpool’s Grujic

first_imgLiverpool have received approaches from Germany and Spain, as well as from the Premier League, for midfielder Marko Grujic.The Serbian international impressed during a season on loan with Hertha Berlin, and Goal understands the Bundesliga outfit are keen to extend that for a second campaign.Grujic would welcome the chance to remain in the German capital, but Hertha will face competition from both Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, who have expressed an interest in signing the 23-year-old. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Frankfurt would welcome a permanent deal for Grujic, and have the funds to secure it having recently sold striker Luka Jovic to Real Madrid.Liverpool believe they will be able to command a fee in excess of £25 million ($32m) for a player who made 23 appearances for Hertha this term.An unnamed Premier League club have also enquired about the possibility of signing Grujic, who has played 14 times for Liverpool’s first team, while Atletico Madrid could make a move if, as expected, Rodri leaves for either Manchester City or Bayern Munich. The Reds will allow Ben Woodburn to leave on loan, with Championship side Wigan Athletic among those interested. Hull City had been favourites to sign the Wales international, but the departure of manager Nigel Adkins has changed the landscape in that regard.Both Herbie Kane and Ovie Ejaria are expected to join Woodburn in the Championship next season, with Brentford and Millwall having enquired about Kane, who spent a productive campaign with Doncaster Rovers in League One. Hibernian are also in the race.Ejaria, meanwhile, is likely to return to Reading, where he spent the second half of last season. The 21-year-old is also interesting Blackburn Rovers.Ovie Ejaria - RangersLiverpool will allow two other youngsters, Taiwo Awoniyi and Anderson Arroyo, to train with Jurgen Klopp’s first-team at Melwood during pre-season. Nigerian striker Awoniyi scored 10 goals at Belgian side Mouscron during the second half of the campaign, following a difficult spell at Gent. He has attracted interest from a host of clubs, notably Schalke.Colombian full-back Arroyo also joined Gent last summer, but failed to make a single senior appearance. The 19-year-old has been at the Under-20 World Cup in Poland recently, helping his country to the quarter-finals, where they were beaten by Ukraine.Finally, goalkeeper Kamil Grabara is set to depart on loan once he is finished with Poland at the European U21 Championships in Italy. The 20-year-old finished the season with Danish side Aarhus, and has interest from Belgium and Germany, among others.last_img read more

Kirk Herbstreit Names The 5 Teams That Impressed Him Most In Week 3

first_imgA photo of Kirk Herbstreit on ESPN.Another week of college football is in the books and ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit took to Twitter to share his thoughts about the weekend of action. He named his top five performances for teams and players after week three.Herbie couldn’t stick to just five team this week after a slew of upsets rocked the college football world.Here are the six teams that impressed Herbstreit the most:LSUBYUOhio StateOklahoma StateTroySyracuseHere’s the full list.My top PERFORMANCES of WEEK 3Teams 1-@LSUfootball 2-@BYUfootball 3-@OhioStateFB 4-@CowboyFB 5-@TroyTrojansFB 5-@CuseFootball Players 1-Dwayne Haskins Ohio State2-Alan Bowman Texas Tech3-Drew Lock Missouri 4-Jerry Jeudy Alabama5-Grant Delpit LSU— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) September 17, 2018BYU shocked the Wisconsin Badgers with a 24-21 win over the weekend after the Badgers sailed a field goal wide at the end of the game. Meanwhile, Troy put in a memorable performance against Nebraska – a year after taking down LSU.Meanwhile, at Herbstreit’s alma mater, quarterback Dwayne Haskins tossed the rock for 344 yards and two touchdowns in Ohio State’s 40-28 victory over TCU.Herbie’s No. 2 performer of the week was Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman who threw for over 600 yards and five touchdowns.last_img read more

State Minister Spencer Impressed with Hill Top Juvenile Centre’s Rehabilitation Programme

first_img Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, says he is impressed with positive outcomes resulting from the rehabilitation programme being administered for wards at the Hill Top Juvenile Correctional Centre in Bamboo, St. Ann. Story Highlights Mr. Spencer, who visited the facility on April 18, said he was pleased that several of the boys housed there have been getting quality passes in the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC)/Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) external tests, noting that this demonstrates what can be accomplished when persons are fully focused. Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, says he is impressed with positive outcomes resulting from the rehabilitation programme being administered for wards at the Hill Top Juvenile Correctional Centre in Bamboo, St. Ann.Mr. Spencer, who visited the facility on April 18, said he was pleased that several of the boys housed there have been getting quality passes in the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC)/Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) external tests, noting that this demonstrates what can be accomplished when persons are fully focused.“There are 27 wards here in-house (and) a number of them have been involved with the CXC…some passing five subjects…some doing six or seven subjects (which certainly) warms my heart,” he pointed out.The State Minister said everything he has seen at the Centre suggests that the youngsters are making tremendous strides in their quest to be rehabilitated, adding that they are on the right path.Against this background, he said the boys should be supported to ensure they fulfil their true potential, thereby enabling them to become productive citizens of Jamaica.“What I have noticed with them is that they have a strong leaning towards school. (As such) I am very confident that good things will come from these youngsters,” he added.Mr. Spencer said he is also impressed with the Centre’s agricultural activities, and assured that he will be doing everything possible to ensure that the facility gets “all the required help to keep this wonderful (programme) going.”For her part, Superintendent in charge of the facility, Faydene Ferreira, said Hill Top, which has the capacity to house 98 wards, offers several other vocations under the rehabilitation programme.These, she noted, include: auto mechanics, barbering and poultry rearing.“These (youngsters) general do well… (as there is a lot) of potential here. Every child is different… (and) once they get here from the streets, there is a time for reflection. (Thankfully) we have an 80 per cent success rate of getting them rehabilitated and back into society,” she added.The Hill Top Juvenile Correctional Centre, which was built in 1974, provides rehabilitation and training for boys, aged 14 to 17, who are deemed delinquent. “There are 27 wards here in-house (and) a number of them have been involved with the CXC…some passing five subjects…some doing six or seven subjects (which certainly) warms my heart,” he pointed out.last_img read more

Celebrations at BJP headquarters

first_imgNew Delhi: Cheering to the slogans like ‘Modi once again’, ‘Har Har Modi’ and ‘Vande Mataram’, hundreds of BJP supporters burst into celebrations at the party headquarters here on Thursday as the Narendra Modi-led government appeared set to stage a thumping comeback. With the Lok Sabha election trends showing an overwhelming majority for the BJP, the saffron party’s supporters burst firecrackers and blew conch to express their happiness. They danced to drum beats amid intense sloganeering. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal Nagar Despite the Delhi Police barricading both sides of the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg Road where the BJP headquarters is located, enthusiastic supporters thronged the office as the favourable results trickled in. Several of the BJP supporters came from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to be part of the celebrations in the national capital. Most of the supporters were provided T-shirts and caps printed with “chowkidar phir se” and “main bhi chokidar” when they entered at the BJP headquarters. Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot Finance As part of the celebration, the supporters at central BJP headquarters were carrying party flags and wishing each other. “People were saying that Modi wave was not like 2014 elections but the situation is much better than the previous elections. The trends are really surprising. I came here specially to be part of BJP’s victory,” said Nikhil Jaiswal who came from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh. Most of the supporters were glued to the TV screens at the headquarters and would start clapping and shouting slogans whenever trends showed leads in favour of the BJP.last_img read more

Katy Perry To Be Honored By Trevor Project

first_imgOn Sunday, December 2, 2012, The Trevor Project will host its annual benefit “Trevor Live” honoring Katy Perry and presented by Audi of America and Wells Fargo.Returning as Special Guest Director is Adam Shankman for this star-filled benefit event for the nation’s leading provider of crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.Trevor Live presented by Audi of America and Wells Fargo is a signature annual event of The Trevor Project, bringing together top entertainers and corporate leaders to support the organization’s life-saving, life-affirming work for LGBTQ youth in crisis. This high-profile event has honored actors, musicians and comedians including Susan Sarandon, Lady Gaga, Daniel Radcliffe, Kathy Griffin, Neil Patrick Harris and Vanessa Williams for their support of LGBTQ youth.The event takes place at The Hollywood Palladium, 6215 W Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028. Tickets are available at TheTrevorProject.org/TrevorLive.The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people under 24. Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its free and confidential lifeline and instant messaging services, in-school workshops, educational materials, online resources and advocacy. Honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change,” The Trevor Project is a leader and innovator in suicide prevention.last_img read more

Chinese actress named UN environment ambassador

Ms. Li, who was designated in the Chinese city of Shanghai yesterday, will help UNEP in its mission to generate awareness and understanding of environmental causes, as well as inspire positive action, the agency said.She has already demonstrated personal environmental commitment through her L.O.V.E Green movement, which promotes an environmentally-friendly, low-carbon lifestyle among her fans in China. She has also worked to mobilize the public to lead greener lifestyles. “I am honored to have this opportunity to work with UNEP on the environment. I am an environmentalist in my personal life and I try to share this passion with my fans and the wider public,” Ms. Li said.“If we are really going to protect the planet, we all need to be accountable for our behaviour, to realize that the natural resources that have been so generously given to us are limited and need protecting if they are going to be shared by future generations,” she added.A graduate of the Shanghai Drama Institute, Ms. Li made her film debut in 1999 with the movie, Seventeen Years. In 2005, she starred in the romantic comedy film Waiting Alone, which received three Chinese Academy Award nominations, including “Best Picture” and “Best Actress.”Ms. Li has sought to build on her work as a popular actress to green the high-profile entertainment industry in China. She is also a Goodwill Ambassador of the Billion Forest Campaign by the Climate Group in the Asia-Pacific region. She was the Earth Hour Global Ambassador last year.Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP”s Executive-Director said: “Li Bingbing is our first Goodwill Ambassador in China and UNEP is delighted to welcome her on board. UNEP commends her personal commitment to a greener lifestyle and her passion to influence the public.””As an actress, she has the ability to reach out and influence large numbers of people to change their behavior and to realize that a sustainable future depends on all of us working together,” he added.In her first action as UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, Ms. Li, together with Mr. Steiner, opened UNEP”s video exhibition by 14 leading international artists at the UN Pavilion in the Shanghai Expo. The installation, entitled the Nature of Cities, was created by Art Works for Change, and examines how cities must find a balance with the natural world to exist in a way that support both people and the planet. 5 July 2010Chinese actress Li Bingbing has been appointed as the first national Goodwill Ambassador in China for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). read more

UN envoy on housing evictions appoints UNHABITAT manager for Zimbabwe

“As UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, the UN agency responsible for housing and urban development, I recognize the need to immediately support the UN country team by appointing a UN-HABITAT programme manager, with immediate effect,” Anna Tibaijuka said as she wound up a nearly two-week-long fact-finding tour of Zimbabwe.The programme managers of UN-HABITAT, officially known as the UN Human Settlements Programme, are urban planning and management experts who work with governments at all levels on “providing adequate shelter for all and developing sustainable settlements in a globalizing world,” Ms. Tibaijuka said.”The reason that UN-HABITAT had not stationed a programme manager in Zimbabwe in the past is that statistics had suggested that urbanization was not yet a critical issue in the country,” she added.Ms. Tibaijuka, who arrived on 26 June to assess the humanitarian aspects of the evictions, also examined the adequacy of the Government’s arrangements for those displaced during the Southern African winter, the official capacity to provide for basic needs and the ability of the UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to respond to humanitarian requirements.After criss-crossing the country, she is scheduled to leave Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, tomorrow for Nairobi, Kenya, where UN-HABITAT is headquartered, and said she would report on her visit to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He would then decide how the international community could “further assist the Government and people of Zimbabwe with the challenges I have seen on the ground,” she said. read more

UN atomic chief sees no breakthrough at meeting on Irans nuclear programme

“Unfortunately the picture is still hazy as to the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear programme,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters before formally presenting his latest report to the Board. He said IAEA had not seen indications of diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices during its inspections.But he warned that there were still a number of “important uncertainties” that need to be clarified about the programme, which has been a matter of international concern ever since the discovery in 2003 that Iran had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).“I do not expect the Board to adopt a resolution on the Iranian issue unless there is a breakthrough and unless there is a positive agreement,” Mr. ElBaradei said. “As things stand I do not expect the Board to adopt a resolution.” He added that as requested by the Board in February he would transmit his latest report to the Security Council, which has the power to impose economic sanctions. “There is universal recognition that this is an issue of serious implication to international peace and security,” he stressed. “The whole Middle East security is very much at stake.”Iran says its activities are solely for peaceful energy purposes but the United States and other countries insist that it is clandestinely seeking to produce nuclear weapons. In August Iran rescinded its voluntary suspension of nuclear fuel conversion, which can produce the enriched uranium necessary either for nuclear power generation or for nuclear weapons.As he has done repeatedly over the past three years, Mr. ElBaradei called on Iran to provide “maximum transparency,” urging it to again freeze its research and development activities until a solution is found. “Regrettably, however, after three years of intensive verification, there remain uncertainties with regard to both the scope and the nature of Iran’s nuclear programme,” he said in formally presenting the report to the Board.“As I mentioned in my report, this is a matter of concern that continues to give rise to questions about the past and current direction of Iran’s nuclear programme. For confidence to be built in the peaceful nature of Iran’s programme, Iran should do its utmost to provide maximum transparency and build confidence.”But he also warned against confrontation. “The only solution I see is a comprehensive agreement that covers the nuclear issue, the security issue, the economic issue and political issue,” he told reporters. “Confrontation could be counterproductive. It would not provide us with a durable solution.“The earlier that we bring the parties back to the negotiating table the better for everybody. Meantime I call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint in their public statements.” read more

In Kuwait UN chief Guterres lauds countrys humanitarian leadership regional diplomacy

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, on an official visit to Kuwait, expressed gratitude to not only the Gulf country’s leadership in humanitarian action, but the “dialogue […] and promotion of understanding Kuwait has shown in relation to all conflicts in the region.” Speaking to reporters after meetings with the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Mr. Guterres recalled that during his tenure as UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Amir had presided over three conferences to mobilize the international community to support the Syrian people “suffering so much with the war that has been going on and on.” “But it’s not only the humanitarian leadership of Kuwait, it’s the wisdom, the dialogue, the promotion of understanding that Kuwait has shown in relation to all conflicts in the region,” explained Mr. Guterres, adding: “Kuwait has no agenda. The agenda of Kuwait is peace; is understanding.” As for the current crisis in the Gulf, the Secretary-General said “the position of the UN is very simple: we are here to support the Kuwaiti mediation.” Indeed, this visit had been an occasion to express deep appreciation and raise ideas about ways to strengthen the cooperation and dialogue between Kuwait and the UN, “as we believe Kuwait is an extremely reliable partner in our common commitment to peace and security around the world.” Taking questions from reports, Mr. Guterres said that he and the Amir had discussed all the very difficult situations of the region, including Yemen, Syria, “the drama of the Palestinian people,” Libya, and the need to make sure that Iraq is able to come together in unity after defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh). “All of these aspects were discussed in a very detailed way. I had the opportunity once again to express my deep appreciation for all the initiatives that Kuwait has had in the relation to the solution to these crises,” stated the UN chief.Asked about plans to begin negotiations in Kuwait on the crisis in Yemen, the Secretary-General said the UN is doing its best to create the conditions for the present stalemate to be overcome. “Kuwait has been very successful in the first conference that was organized. We will be working very closely with the [parties] to see when and how a new strong initiative will be possible,” he stressed. To a question on getting aid through Saan’a airport or Hodeida port, Mr. Guterres said that his Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, is pushing to create the conditions for both Hodeida and Saan’a to allow for an effective use, for humanitarian purposes, of these two very important infrastructures. “I hope it will be possible for an agreement to be achieved between the parties to allow for Hodeida and Saan’a to be fully operational for the humanitarian needs of the Yemeni people who are suffering in such a terrible way. They deserve our solidarity and our commitment,” he stressed.Prior to the start of his bilateral meetings, the Secretary-General went to UN House to meet with the staff. He thanked them for their hard work and dedication, and encouraged them to continue to strengthen the relationship between the United Nations and Kuwait.While in Kuwait City, Mr. Guterres also had separate meetings with Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Marzouq Al-Ghanim, Speaker of the Parliament, along with other members of the legislative body. The Secretary-General left Kuwait for Israel on Sunday evening. read more

Bloody Sunday police finish quizzing soldiers for possible prosecutions

first_imgShe said: “It’s good news, although we have faced delay after delay in the matter. “We want to see them all in court, local politicians, police, army, and that includes the officers, not just ordinary soldiers. “We will see them all in court, and we don’t care what age they are.”  DCI Ian Harrison, leading the investigation, said: “Police have concluded interviews with former military personnel and are in the process of compiling a report for the Public Prosecution Service. The families have been informed of this and we will continue to keep them updated in relation to developments.” The £191 million, 12-year-long Saville Inquiry concluded in 2010 the killings had been “unjustified and unjustifiable” and David Cameron said he was “deeply sorry”.Critics of prosecutions have argued a line should be drawn under the events of the Troubles and have said paratroopers are being unfairly pursued, while IRA crimes are not being investigated.Eamonn McCann, a Northern Ireland assembly member who has campaigned for the families, said: “This is a significant development, another turning point in our long and winding road.”We who are still campaigning are certain there should be a resolution of this, because after all, Saville said our loved ones were killed and there has to be a judicial outcome from that.“It cannot be the case that people can be shot down by the State and there be no accounting for the killings.“Many of the families and their now extended relatives, which amounts to many, many relatives, want to see and must see prosecutions, and in the end, convictions, even if those involved and convicted don’t spend a day in jail.”Kate Nash, whose brother Jim was one of those shot dead that day, said, “Our immediate reaction is relief, that this part of the matter is finished, so it seems.  But sources said only between 15 and 20 soldiers who opened fire on the day have been quizzed.All the men apart from one were interviewed at police stations in mainland Britain after they won a High Court battle against being interviewed in Northern Ireland, where they said their lives were at risk.Lawyers for the paratroopers had said earlier that they were likely to either refuse to comment during their police interviews, or refer detectives to statements they had given earlier.Soldiers of the Parachute Regiment shot dead 13 civilians during on January 30, 1972, while another died five months later from injuries sustained on the day. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Up to 20 former soldiers have been quizzed by police over possible prosecutions for the Bloody Sunday shootings it has been disclosed, as detectives said they had finished their interviews and were drawing up a report for prosecutors.Campaigners for the families of the 14 people who died when troops opened fire at a 1972 civil rights march in Londonderry welcomed the decision as a “significant development” in their campaign to have troops put on trial.The Ministry of Defence has warned scores of former paratroopers now in their 60s and 70s that they could called in for questioning after the controversial decision to begin a criminal investigation into the shootings.last_img read more

Tesco pulls foxhunting costume from sale as hunt saboteurs complain

first_imgRiders and their hounds embarking on a New Year's Day hunt in Ryedale this year. It's a tradition stretching back more than 200 years. Lee Moon, a spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “This appears to be remarkably poor judgement form Tesco.”Fox hunting is an illegal, archaic pastime that’s abhorred by the majority of the population. Campaigners protesting against the killing of animals for sport reach Whitehall, London, on the first day of the grouse shooting season last August “Why Tesco would think it’s an appropriate fancy dress costume for children is quite beyond us. We look forward to seeing their badger baiting or dog fighting outfit in the near future.”Outraged opponents posted comments on social media threatening to boycott the company.They said the costume was encouraging children to carry out illegal behaviour.One compared the costume to a “Harold Shipman” costume “for those who want to be the wrong kind of doctor”. Another said: “Next they’ll have a Gary Glitter outfit.” Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs posted on Facebook: “This is just disgusting! Every little hurts. Encouraging children to become animal abusers!”Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance said: “Tesco needs to think carefully about bowing to intimidation from animal rights activists.  “From the hundreds of pubs named for huntsmen, hounds and foxes to the ‘whips’ in the House of Commons it is simply impossible to eradicate hunting from British life.“There will be hundreds of children out hunting this Saturday as many hunts come to the end of their season. They will not have brought their coats from Tesco, but they will be taking part in a thriving, legal pastime which is indelibly written into British culture and its countryside.” Campaigners protesting against the killing of animals for sport reach Whitehall, London, on the first day of the grouse shooting season last AugustCredit:John Stillwell /PA Riders and their hounds embarking on a New Year’s Day hunt in Ryedale this year. It’s a tradition stretching back more than 200 years.Credit:Charlotte Graham  Fox hunting with dogs has been illegal in the UK since a law was passed in 2004 by the Labour government. Anyone who breaks the law can be fined up to £5,000.  Tesco have removed a fox hunter fancy dress costume for children from sale after hunt saboteurs complained.Shoppers complained to the supermarket last night on Tuesday evening after spotting the outfit, described as a “red fox hunter jacket”, for children aged 7 and older on the supermarket’s website.Anti-hunt campaigners said it was “encouraging children to become animal abusers” and was not an appropriate costume for children to dress up in. But the Countryside Alliance said the supermarket had “bowed to intimidation” from activists. The fancy dress costume appeared online as a Red Foxhunter Jacket Children’s Fancy Dress Costume with a young boy pictured modelling the clothes available for £10.41.On the site, it states: “This costume includes a long sleeved red tailcoat style jacket with a single black button at the front. Fantastic for World Book Day, school shows or just dressing up fun. Please note White T-shirt, Trousers & Shoes not included.”Hunt saboteur groups also attacked the supermarket for selling the “disgusting” costume and branded it “poor judgement”. Hunts are allowed to go ahead in some circumstances, for example if hunters follow a scent instead of a live fox. Huntsmen are also allowed to shoot a fox instead of letting a dog kill it. The red hunting jacket is traditionally worn by hunt staff or longstanding hunters who have been awarded a “hunt button” in recognition of their experience, skill and helpfulness in the field. It is normally only worn by men, with women continuing to wear a dark coloured coat once awarded their button. Tesco quickly pulled the costume following the outrage and said it had been placed on the site by a third party vendor.Responding to outrage online the company said the costume was “from one of our partners that use our website to sell their products, but I can advise the costume has now been removed”.A spokesman for Tesco added: “We’ve listened to customers and have immediately removed this product from sale.”last_img read more