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Another video for Indigenous Dance Academy

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first_imgJarrel Mathebula, shooting scenes for the music video to Little Simz’ for the single Gratitude. (Image and Videos: Redbull Amaphiko)Indigenous Dance Academy has had a wonderful year, and as it draws to a close, the Tembisa crew is taking the world by storm, one video at a time.In the latest move, dancer and academy founder Jarrel Mathebula made a cameo appearance in the video for the single Gratitude, by 21-year-old British rapper Little Simz.And he brought along skater Rayne Moses for the ride. Moses’ Nebula Skate is nurturing a whole new generation of black skaters – and smart ones too: his skaters have to complete their homework before they can get on their boards.Indigenous Dance Academy offers young people an opportunity to literally dance their way out of poverty. The crew have appeared in music videos and advertisements, including the acclaimed video for Sons of Kemet’s In the Castle of My Skin.Simz spoke to Redbull Amaphiko about her show in Khayelitsha, in Cape Town; Mathebula and Moses are Redbull Amaphiko social innovators.“It was sick,” Simz said. “It was crazy to see how many people came out to see me… Where I performed was quite far out so people made a journey to see me, which was cool.“Even though I rap fast, luckily they could all understand me. There was a local band that I watched for a while, jazz-influenced and rhythmic. The people were fly. It was cool to see how my music had migrated across the planet.”SHOOTING THE VIDEOShot in Khayelitsha, the video gave Simz an opportunity to soak up the atmosphere and learn more about South Africa’s second largest township.“I haven’t really digested it,” she said. “I’m still feeling high from it. Shooting a video out there was incredible; there was so much for me to take in, and I’m excited about it. I learned a lot from the DOP [director of photography] who was a local guy who broke down to me what was going on in Cape Town, in terms of politics and culture and that was cool.“The shooting was good. We captured a lot of exciting people.”She was aware of township culture, but seeing how people were really living “was crazy… It opened my eyes a lot. I was aware of it from being younger, but I’d never seen them first hand. My family are from Lagos, Nigeria, so the culture was different to what I’d seen before.”On giving opportunities to a local project – specifically Indigenous Dance Academy and Nebula Skate – Simz said: “I believe in presenting opportunities and shedding light. Why not? There was a natural link to what I was doing. I knew I wanted dancers in the video and it just fell into place naturally. Jarrel and those guys were really good.”TAKING ON THE WORLDMathebula and Moses were both stoked to be in the video. “I was super amped when I heard the track,” Moses said. “I could really relate to it and being in the video means we can share our story and inspire.”Mathebula appreciated the fact that it showed to the youth that everything was possible.“The experience was out of this world and humbling, having been a follower of Little Simz’ music,” he said. “I really enjoyed myself, showcasing my talent to the rest of the world.“This is a great way to show the underprivileged youth from my community that you can achieve anything by believing in your dreams and working on sharpening your craft. There is a lot of negative influences that happen in South African townships and dance is our way of escaping the clutches of drugs and alcohol abuse, while growing as professional street dancers.”last_img read more

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From wet to too dry Between the Rows

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first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest We could use some rain. The northern part of the county got a pretty good soaking but you can seeScott Metzger, Pickaway Co.some beans getting dry down here on some of the gravel ground. You can see it in the double-crop beans here too. We’ve had three or four tenths so far this month. They are calling for some rain Wednesday or Thursday I believe.You couldn’t have had an irrigation pivot in July and gotten better rains than we had. The beans are all unusually tall this year. We are starting to see a little bit of frogeye showing up in them but we are passed the time to spray. At this point you’ve got what you’ve got. I have never been a fan of tall beans. It seems like they spend more time growing than putting on pods. Until we get in them we won’t know how they will do. Tall beans in our black ground are not unusual but tall beans in our lighter ground — that’s when you get nervous.The double-crop beans look pretty good and they are coming along. Everything is clean. We’ve had some fields with a good bit of Japanese beetle feeding and some with hardly any at all. I don’t know the reason behind that.We’ve seen a little brown spot but for the most part things are clean. We even have a couple varieties that are more susceptible to frogeye than others and they are actually pretty clean.We only sprayed one field of beans for test strips. We did end up spraying all of the corn minus one field where we had sweet corn around the edges. We mostly had gray leaf spot in our corn. We had one field that is corn after corn and we had northern corn leaf blight in that one and found some rust too. Overall I think the corn is looking pretty good and we should have pretty good corn yields.For the rest of this weeks reports, click here.last_img read more

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Watching Virat Kohli bat was an eye-opener for young Sam Curran

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first_imgYoung England pacer Sam Curran was on fire on Thursday as he ran through the Indian top-order in the span of two overs but everything changed when he ran onto the Indian captain Virat Kohli.Curran, 20, playing only his second Test match, was unplayable at one point as he got a set Murali Vijay and in-form Lokesh Rahul out in the same over. In his next over, he bowled a fine delivery outside off, drawing Shikhar Dhawan forward and getting a knick, which went straight to Dawid Malan at slips. His three wickets pegged India back from a position of advantage to their back-foot.From 50/0 in reply to England’s first-innings score of 287 to 59/3, India were struggling to deal with the young and vibrant left-arm pacer in Curran. But, then came the resistance from Kohli and it went on and on before finally perishing after another gritty innings in whites.Kohli, who definitely didn’t look solid to begin with, had his fair share of heart in the mouth moments. He knicked a few balls here and there and one off James Anderson, which went straight to Dawid Malan at slips but was dropped. Since then, Kohli only grew in confidence and as wickets kept tumbling from the other end, he took matter into his own hands to salvage a rescue mission for his team.Watch: Anushka Sharma applauds Virat Kohli’s dramatic hundred in EnglandKohli however, kept losing partners from the other end. Hardik Pandya did stay on with for a while but once the 48-run stand for the sixth wicket was broken by Curran…again…England again had a sniff as they removed Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Shami in quick succession.But, Kohli was in no mood to give up and he struck 92 runs along with the last two in Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma to before falling for 149 with India 13 runs short of England’s total. In the 92 runs scored between the last two pairs, Umesh and Ishant only managed 6. That goes to show Kohli’s class, determination and temperament.advertisement Virat Kohli scored his maiden Test hundred in England on Thursday (Reuters Photo)And, young Curran was bowled over by the Indian captain’s match-changing knock.Also read – India vs England 1st Test: Virat Kohli’s 149 leaves series opener wide open”We had them 100 for five, and felt in the game then Virat played really well with their tail and frustrated us a little bit,” Curran said. That’s what Test cricket is about you play against the best players.”I’m only in my second game, but I think it was a little eye-opener for watching the way he bats and how precise you’ve got to be with your lengths,” said Curran, who picked up 4/74 from 17 overs and was England’s pick of the bowlers.However, Curran did add that Kohli’s luck was on his side today and on any other day, it could have been different.Also read – Best batsman on planet: Cricket world pays tribute to Virat Kohli”He did nick a lot of balls outside off-stump that didn’t carry as well. We stuck to our plans very well against him, and on another day they would carry,” Curran said.Curran has been a regular feature for Surrey in country cricket and his impressive display earned him a call-up in the Test squad ahead of much more experienced options. His introduction in the game changed the ball-game completely on Day 2 and he feels that he was actually having a special day with the ball.Also read – Virat Kohli slams 1st Test hundred in England, dedicates it to Anushka Sharma”Coming on and taking a few early wickets, I can’t really remember it. “Personally, it was obviously a pretty special day for me with the ball. You’ve just got to keep learning every day, and keep enjoying it.” Sam Curran picked up 4/74 from 17 overs during the first innings of the first Test (Getty Images)Curran also savoured in the moment as he got the chance to play with his idols and the people he grew up seeing.”It’s obviously a pretty cool feeling for me standing in the field, and you’ve got the likes of my heroes — Jimmy and Broady and Stokesy and everyone, running into bowl, and Kohli — all these boys I’ve grown up watching, and I’ve been thrown in to play against them.””I felt like I was running in at The Oval for Surrey — I forgot about what I’m actually doing, and just stuck to what I’m good at,” he said. “In my first Test a couple of months ago against Pakistan, I was probably a little bit nervous.”advertisementlast_img read more

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Liberal candidate Ouellette takes Winnipeg Centre from longtime NDP MP

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first_imgAPTN National NewsLiberal candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette snatched the Winnipeg Centre riding from long-time MP Pat Martin Monday evening.Ouellette caught the red Liberal wave that washed across the country Monday evening giving leader Justin Trudeau a majority government mandate.Ouellette was in a knife-fight with Martin, who had held the riding since 1997, but in the end won a resounding victory, winning by about 6,000 votes.Ouellette is seen by many as a rising young Indigenous and now he has a seat in the House of Commons.last_img

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AP Investigation Fish billed as local isnt always local

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first_imgMONTAUK, N.Y. – Even after winter storms left East Coast harbours thick with ice, some of the country’s top chefs and trendy restaurants were offering sushi-grade tuna supposedly pulled in fresh off the coast of New York.But it was just an illusion. No tuna was landing there. The fish had long since migrated to warmer waters.In a global industry plagued by fraud and deceit, conscientious consumers are increasingly paying top dollar for what they believe is local, sustainably caught seafood. But even in this fast-growing niche market, companies can hide behind murky supply chains that make it difficult to determine where any given fish comes from. That’s where national distributor Sea To Table stepped in, guaranteeing its products were wild and directly traceable to a U.S. dock — and sometimes the very boat that brought it in.However, an Associated Press investigation found the company was linked to some of the same practices it vowed to fight. Preliminary DNA tests suggested some of its yellowfin tuna likely came from the other side of the world, and reporters traced the company’s supply chain to migrant fishermen in foreign waters who described labour abuses, poaching and the slaughter of sharks, whales and dolphins.The New York-based distributor was also offering species in other parts of the country that were illegal to catch, out of season and farmed.Over the years, Sea To Table has become a darling in the sustainable seafood movement, building an impressive list of clientele, including celebrity chef Rick Bayless, Chopt Creative Salad chain, top universities and the makers of home meal kits such as HelloFresh.“It’s sad to me that this is what’s going on,” said Bayless, an award-winning chef who runs eight popular restaurants and hosts a PBS cooking series. He said he loved the idea of being directly tied to fishermen — and the pictures and “wonderful stories” about their catch. “This throws quite a wrench in all of that.”As part of its reporting, the AP staked out America’s largest fish market, followed trucks and interviewed fishermen who worked on three continents. During a bone-chilling week, they set up a camera that shot more than 36,000 time-lapse photos of a Montauk harbour, showing no tuna boats docking. At the same time, AP worked with a chef to order fish supposedly coming from the seaside town. The boat listed on the receipt hadn’t been there in at least two years.Reporters also tracked Sea To Table’s supply chain to fishermen abroad who earn as little as $1.50 a day working 22-hour shifts without proper food and water.“We were treated like slaves,” said Sulistyo, an Indonesian fisherman forced to work on a foreign trawler that delivered fish to a Sea To Table supplier. He asked that only one name be used, fearing retaliation. “They treat us like robots without any conscience.”Sea To Table owner Sean Dimin emphasized his suppliers are strictly prohibited from sending imports to customers and added violators would be terminated.“We take this extremely seriously,” he said.Dimin said he communicated clearly with his customers that some fish labeled as freshly landed at one port was actually caught and trucked in from other states, but some chefs denied this. Federal officials described it as mislabeling.____A century ago, small-scale fisheries dotted America’s coasts and fed the country’s demand for seafood. But as time passed, overfishing, strict government regulations and outsourcing to developing countries changed the industry, making it nearly impossible for local fishermen to compete.The U.S. seafood market is worth $17 billion annually, with imports making up more than 90 per cent of that. Experts say one in five fish is caught illegally worldwide, and a study last year by the University of California, Los Angeles and Loyola Marymount University found nearly half of all sushi samples tested in L.A. didn’t match the fish advertised on the menu.Sea To Table offered a worry-free local solution that arrived from dock to doorstep by connecting chefs directly with more than 60 partners along U.S. coasts. While its mission is clear, scaling up to a national level while naming specific boats and docks is currently unrealistic. Still, the company is predicting rapid growth from $13 million in sales last year to $70 million by 2020, according to a confidential investor report obtained by the AP.As its business expanded, AP found Sea To Table has been saying one thing but selling another.For caterers hosting a ball for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who had successfully pushed through a law to combat seafood mislabeling, knowing where his fish came from was crucial.The Montauk tuna arrived with a Sea To Table leaflet describing the romantic, seaside town and an email from a salesperson saying the fish was caught off North Carolina. But the boxes came from New York and there was no indication it had been landed in another state and driven more than 700 miles to Montauk. A week later the caterer ordered the Montauk tuna again. This time the invoice listed a boat whose owner later told AP he didn’t catch anything for Sea To Table at that time.“I’m kind of in shock right now,” said Brandon LaVielle of Lavish Roots Catering. “We felt like we were supporting smaller fishing villages.”Some of Sea To Table’s partner docks, it turns out, are not docks at all. Their seafood was advertised as “just landed” from wholesalers and retailers like Santa Barbara Fish Market — which also has imports — and Red’s Best in Boston. Both collect seafood at harbours and companies up and down their coasts.Sea To Table also promoted fresh blue crab from Maryland in January, even though the season closed in November. In addition, the company said it never sells farmed seafood, citing concerns about antibiotics and hormones. But red abalone advertised from central California are actually grown in tanks — it’s been illegal to harvest commercially from the ocean since 1997. Rhode Island and Washington state also supply aquacultured seafood, such as oysters and mussels.Dimin said farmed shellfish “is a very small part of our business, but it’s something that we’re open and clear about.” When asked to provide evidence that the company has been transparent about its use of farmed shellfish, he paused and then replied, “There’s nothing to hide there.”However, days later, he said he decided to drop aquaculture from his business because it contradicts his “wild only” guarantee.Private companies that mislead consumers, clients and potential investors could face lawsuits or criminal liability. Both the Food and Drug Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are charged with enforcing laws to prevent fish fraud. Sellers who know, or even should have known, that fish is mislabeled could be found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, mail fraud and wire fraud. The crimes carry potential fines and jail time.Carl Safina, an award-winning author and leading marine conservationist at New York’s Stony Brook University, said companies that prey on consumers’ good intentions “deserve to be out of business immediately.”A half dozen commercial fishermen and dealers in various regions of the country voiced concerns and, in some cases, anger about Sea To Table. Others have lashed out in the past using social media. Most spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern for their safety and their businesses in an industry where relationships often overlap.Eric Hodge, a small-scale fisherman from Santa Barbara, said he considered partnering with Sea To Table a few years ago. He quickly changed his mind after seeing canary rockfish on the distributor’s chef lists when the fish was illegal to catch. He also learned Sea To Table was buying halibut from the fish market, which relies heavily on imports. He said he spoke to the company about his concerns.“Honestly, they know. I just don’t think they care,” Hodge said. “They are making money on every shipment, and they are not going to ask questions. And in seafood, that’s a bad way to go about it because there is so much fraud.”___The idea for Sea To Table began with a family vacation to Trinidad and Tobago more than two decades ago. Following a fishing trip there, Michael Dimin and his son, Sean, eventually started shipping fresh catch from the Caribbean nation to chefs in New York. Later, they shifted their model to work exclusively with small-scale American coastal fishermen.Restaurants and other buyers demanding sustainable products were drawn to the company by a marketing campaign that provided a story not just about where the fish came from, but the romantic image of an American pastime. And they were willing to pay a lot — sometimes more than $20 a pound — for high-end species.The New York Times, National Geographic, Bon Appetit magazine and many others singled out Sea To Table as the good guys in a notoriously bad industry. Larry Olmsted, author of the bestselling book “Real Food, Fake Food,” recommended it as an answer to fraud in a Forbes article.After learning about the problems, Olmsted said he was disappointed, and that it made no difference to him if part of the business was legitimate: “It either is reliable, or it’s not.”Sea To Table partnered with sustainability giants such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Marine Stewardship Council and the James Beard Foundation, which collaborated on events and referred to the distributor as an industry favourite. They expressed concern that suppliers who knowingly mislabel catch will damage the movement.Sea To Table’s products are sold in almost every state, reaching everywhere from Roy’s seafood restaurants to Tacombi taco chain. It can be found at eateries inside the Empire State Building in New York and Chicago’s O’Hare airport, direct to consumers from its own website and even on Amazon for home cooks to order. In addition, more than 50 college campuses such as Yale, Ohio State and the University of Massachusetts have signed up. So have some of the biggest make-it-yourself meal kits, including Home Chef and Sun Basket, a rapidly growing market that Sea To Table says generates a third its revenues.Whether they know it or not, a company spending money at any point in a long chain that begins with an abused fisherman and ends with a diner is inadvertently supporting the problem. Customers who responded to AP said they were frustrated and confused.“Not ok,” Ken Toong, who is responsible for UMass Dining, said of Sea To Table. “We believed them.”____AP’s investigation began with one of Sea To Table’s nearby suppliers. Located on New York’s eastern coast beyond the posh Hamptons, Bob Gosman Company opened in Montauk as a mom-and-pop clam shack more than six decades ago.Now run by cousins Bryan and Asa Gosman, it is a small empire sitting on a multi-million dollar property. Oceanfront restaurants, shops and motels bustle with tourists in the summer. And its fish market, where 70 per cent of the tuna is imported, has become one of the biggest wholesalers in the area.Gosman’s gets most of its tuna along with other species from a place in the state where fish can always be found, regardless of the season: The New Fulton Fish Market. The nine-acre refrigerated warehouse just outside Manhattan is the second-largest facility of its kind, moving millions of pounds of seafood each night, much of it flown in from across the globe.Beautiful maroon slabs of imported high-grade tuna were on display for several nights in December, January and February, as well as other times throughout last year, when AP reporters roamed the market. The frigid building buzzed with workers on forklifts zigzagging across slick concrete floors, stacking orders waiting to be picked up.In the early hours, often between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., boxes of fish bearing foreign shipping labels from all over the world were arranged into piles with “Gosman” scribbled across them in black marker. They were later hoisted onto a waiting truck with the same name.After a three-hour drive east, the AP watched the loads arrive at the company’s loading dock in Montauk, just as the sun was rising on the tip of Long Island.The tuna, swordfish and other species were then ferried inside Gosman’s warehouse. They came from Blue Ocean in Brazil, Vietnam’s Hong Ngoc Seafood Co., and Land, Ice and Fish in Trinidad and Tobago. Occasionally, boxes showed up from Luen Thai Fishing Venture and Marshall Islands Fishing Venture, part of a Hong Kong-based conglomerate that’s a major supplier of sushi-grade tuna. Despite recent conservation partnerships, Luen Thai has a checkered past, including shark finning and a bribery scandal that resulted in the jailing of a former Cook Islands marine resources minister in 2016.Bryan Gosman said Sea To Table stressed it would not take imports. But with no yellowfin tuna landed in New York during the coldest winter months — which a federal official confirmed — it was impossible to provide high-quality loins from Montauk.“So in the beginning, there were times when we were trying to hustle around fish,” Gosman said. “Buying fish at different places, so it could be a legitimate business plan that they’re trying to follow.”Eventually, with Dimin’s blessing, Gosman said he started getting fish from as far away as North Carolina and trucking it up to New York.They stopped that arrangement in March. Gosman said it wasn’t profitable. Dimin said they wanted to avoid the “complexity of communicating” their sourcing.Meanwhile, in the dead of winter, AP had turned to a chef to order $500 worth of fish on their behalf. Sea To Table provided a receipt and verbal assurances that the seafood — which arrived overnight in a box bearing the company’s name and logo — had been landed in Montauk the day before.The invoice even listed the “Standin Up” as the boat that caught it. But the vessel’s owner said it was in another state at the time, hundreds of miles away.“I know my name is being used,” said Robert Devlin, who was upset by the news. “A lot of people do fraud that way.”The AP also shipped tuna samples supposedly from Montauk to two labs for analysis: Preliminary DNA testing suggested the fish likely came from the Indian Ocean or the Western Central Pacific. There are limitations with the data because using genetic markers to determine the origins of species is still an emerging science, but experts say the promising new research will eventually be used to help fight illegal activity in the industry.Bryan Gosman said they keep Sea To Table’s fish separate, but acknowledged there’s always a chance some imported tuna can slip through with domestic.“Can things get mixed up? It could get mixed up,” he said. “Is it an intentional thing? No, not at all.”___The investigation didn’t end in Montauk. One of the boxes in Gosman’s stack at the Fulton fish market was stamped with a little blue tuna logo above the words “Land, Ice and Fish,” out of Trinidad and Tobago.This is where the AP traced companies in Sea To Table’s supply chain to slave-like working conditions and the destruction of marine life.The global seafood industry is known for providing cheap fish that comes with another price. Unscrupulous foreign companies operate with virtually no oversight in vast swaths of international waters, as AP reported in a series of stories in 2015. Those reports helped free more than 2,000 enslaved fishermen in Indonesia.Though it’s nearly impossible to tell where a specific fish ends up, or what percentage of a company’s seafood is fraudulent, experts say even one bad piece taints the entire supply chain.On learning that Sea To Table’s supply chain could be tracked to businesses engaged in labour and environmental abuses, Dimin said it was “abhorrent and everything we stand against.”He said he was temporarily suspending operations with two partners to conduct an audit.During the investigation, reporters interviewed and obtained written complaints from more than a dozen current and former Indonesian fishermen — including Sulistyo — who were connected to companies in Sea To Table’s supply chain.Sulistyo said his trawler plied waters between Africa and the Caribbean. Occasionally, it stopped in Trinidad and unloaded swordfish, yellowfin and bigeye tuna at Land, Ice and Fish.Some crew members who docked there said they were beaten and forced to work when they were sick or hurt. At times, they said, migrant workers died on board and were tossed in the freezer with their catch while the boat continued to fish.“You are out 500 miles or a thousand miles from shore, he is the law at that point,” John Duberg of Land, Ice and Fish said of individual captains. “And if he feels he has a misbehaving crew member, he may have to take disciplinary actions.”Marine life was treated with even less respect. Some men said they were ordered to pull in as many sharks as they could catch and slice off their fins, which are a delicacy in Asia. The bodies were tossed back into the ocean, a practice banned by many countries.Whales also were killed, their heads sometimes chopped off and their teeth extracted as good luck charms. The workers showed photos and videos of fishermen posing with mutilated sharks and whales. While some men appeared to celebrating, others said it left them feeling sickened.Sulistyo endured the abuse and long hours for a year before jumping to another ship in 2017, demanding to be taken to port. He returned to Indonesia and was classified as a victim of trafficking by the International Organization for Migration.After hearing that just 30 pounds of tuna could be sold in America for more than $600 — the amount Sulistyo earned during his entire year of work — he stared at the ground in disgust.“I want to say to the Americans who eat that fish, please appreciate what we did to catch this fish with our sweat, with our lives,” Sulistyo said. “Please remember that.”____AP journalists Julie Jacobson in New York and Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia contributed to this report.last_img read more

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BSNL Finance Director replaced amid financial crisis

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first_imgNew Delhi: Amidst the acute financial crisis at BSNL, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has handed over the responsibility of the Finance Director at the cash-strapped PSU to current Director Mobile as well as fixed line, Vivek Banzal divesting the charge from Sujata Ray. Official sources said Banzal, who is already holding two key charges, has been given the charge of Finance Director and this was effected by the DoT on February 28. Banzal would now be looking at all the three key wings — fixed line, mobile and finance at BSNL. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in Sep The sources said that the government decides responsibilites and such things were routine and although more realignment of responsibilities were likely to be effected from DoT in BSNL. Ray is slated to retire in April. But it is not clear if any new Finance Director would be appointed shortly or Benzal will be given this post as full time given the poor financial health of the PSU, the post is vital. > Banzal took charge on March first week as Finance Director. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to Customs The reasons for the sudden replacement have not been cited but it was seen in the context of the present cash crunch position of BSNL which is expected to linger on given the low tariff regime and BSNL itself not having full range of services like 4G. Going through its worst financial crisis, BSNL recently failed to pay salaries for the first time in 19 years. With heightened competition unleashed by Jio with low tariffs, BSNL’s revenues have further dried up as it does not have 4G LTE service. Its loss is at Rs 7,999 crore for 2017-18.last_img read more

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Injured Suarez to miss China Cup for Uruguay

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first_imgBarcelona: Barcelona forward Luis Suarez has been ruled out of playing in the China Cup with Uruguay after spraining his ankle for his club at the weekend. Suarez, 32, is expected to miss between 10 and 15 days after limping off late in Sunday’s 4-1 win at Real Betis in La Liga. “He will… undertake his recovery with the FC Barcelona medical team, having been withdrawn from the Uruguayan national team squad,” the club said in a statement Monday. Suarez’s absence adds to that of Edinson Cavani for Uruguay after the Paris Saint-Germain striker failed to shake off a thigh injury for the trip to China. Oscar Tabarez’s squad travel to Nanning to take on take on Uzbekistan on March 21, with the winner meeting China or Thailand in the final four days later. Suarez scored his 18th league goal of the season at Betis to draw level with Diego Forlan for the most goals scored by a Uruguayan in Spain’s top flight with 128.last_img read more

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Synthetic peptide may help treat Alzheimers disease

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first_imgWashington: Scientists have developed synthetic peptides that target and inhibit build up of small, toxic proteins which trigger Alzheimer’s disease. The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may be pave the way for treating the neurodegenerative disorder at an early stage. Alzheimer’s is a disease of aggregation. Neurons in the human brain make a protein called amyloid beta. Such proteins on their own, called monomers of amyloid beta, perform important tasks for neurons. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USHowever, in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid beta monomers have abandoned their jobs and joined together. First, they form oligomers — small clumps of up to a dozen proteins — then longer strands and finally large deposits called plaques. For years, scientists believed that the plaques triggered the cognitive impairments characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. However, newer research implicates the smaller aggregates of amyloid beta as the toxic elements of this disease. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsResearchers at the University of Washington in the US have developed synthetic peptides — which are designed to fold into a structure known as an alpha sheet — can block amyloid beta aggregation at the early and most toxic stage when oligomers form. The team showed that the synthetic alpha sheet’s blocking activity reduced amyloid beta-triggered toxicity in human neural cells grown in culture, and inhibited amyloid beta oligomers in two laboratory animal models for Alzheimer’s. These findings add evidence to the growing consensus that amyloid beta oligomers — not plaques — are the toxic agents behind Alzheimer’s disease. The results also indicate that synthetic alpha sheets could form the basis of therapeutics to clear toxic oligomers in people, according to Valerie Daggett, a professor at University of Washington. “This is about targeting a specific structure of amyloid beta formed by the toxic oligomers,” said Daggett. “What we’ve shown here is that we can design and build synthetic alpha sheets with complementary structures to inhibit aggregation and toxicity of amyloid beta, while leaving the biologically active monomers intact,” she said. The peptides protected laboratory animals from toxic oligomer damage. In brain tissue samples from mice, the team observed an up to 82 per cent drop in amyloid beta oligomer levels after treatment with a synthetic alpha sheet peptide. Administering a synthetic alpha sheet to living mice triggered a 40 per cent drop in amyloid beta oligomer levels after 24 hours. In the common laboratory worm Caenorhabditis elegans, another model for Alzheimer’s disease, treatment with synthetic alpha sheets delayed the onset of amyloid beta-induced paralysis. Daggett’s team is continuing experiments with synthetic alpha sheets to engineer compounds that are even better at clearing amyloid beta oligomers. “What we’re really after are potential therapeutics against amyloid beta and diagnostic measures to detect toxic oligomers in people,” said Daggett.last_img read more

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Embattled Tunisia leaders face rising social discontent

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first_imgby Antoine LAMBROSCHINITUNIS – Tunisia’s sluggish economic recovery is spurring a growing number of strikes and protests, with the discontent compounding the ruling Islamist party’s woes amid a political crisis and growing insecurity.Public offices, businesses and entire regions have since the summer been staging walkouts and demanding pay rises, extra staff, hospitals and development projects — adding to a sense of growing turmoil in the birthplace of the 2011 Arab Spring. The number of working hours lost through strikes rose by 71 percent in October compared with September, according to the social affairs ministry.In November, the situation appears to have gotten even worse. On Wednesday alone, workers unions and civil society groups called general strikes in three regions — Siliana, Gabes and Gafsa.“Clearly the economic situation today is very difficult and cannot support this level of strikes,” said Ezzedine Saidane, an independent economist.He attributed the economic difficulties primarily to the political crisis, which has dragged on for months in the absence of any agreement between the ruling Islamist party Ennahda and its secular opponents on the formation of a non-partisan transitional government.Saidane argues that the current 3.0 percent growth rate is insufficient to bring down unemployment significantly or to launch major development projects, two pressing issues for young Tunisians.Joblessness and regional inequality were driving factors behind the popular uprising that unseated former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, inspiring protests across the Middle East and North Africa that toppledleaders in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.Meanwhile, the lack of functioning state institutions and a rise in attacks by Islamist militants continue to deter investors.For two years now, Ennahda has repeated promises of public spending and recruitment to meet the country’s social demands, constantly resorting to loans to fulfil its commitments, an option that is becoming increasingly difficult.On Monday, international ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Tunisia’s sovereign debt rating one notch, while maintaining a negative outlook.Moody’s cited the ongoing political uncertainty as the main factor, as well as increased external funding challenges, exacerbated by delayed economic reforms and the persistently large deficits in the country’s fiscal and external accounts.Saidane said the government’s policies had left it without any room for manoeuver next year.“When you look at the draft budget, you can see that 40 percent is allocated to salaries, 40 percent to debts and subsidies (on essential goods) and just 20 percent on social and economic development.”Union blames government ‘nonchalance’For the powerful UGTT workers union, which plays a key role in organising the strikes, the authorities who have been calling for months for a “social truce” are solely responsible for the current situation.In a statement this week, it slammed “the nonchalance of the government in implementing certain agreements, concluded but still not applied after nearly a year and a half,” saying that was why social movements were signing up for the strikes.Some reject this argument, however, like Nejib Mrabet, who heads the Gafsa Phosphate Company (CPG).The state-run producer of the valuable mineral, which represented 10 percent of the budget in 2010, the year before Ben Ali’s ouster, is the main employer in the neglected central Gafsa region.Mrabet said that despite the company hiring 2,600 people since the revolution, it was paralysed by the disruptions that the social movements agitated for and was running at only 30 percent of capacity.“The company cannot afford another year of uncertainty and deficit,” he was quoted as saying by the official TAP news agency, adding that if the situation continued, managers and employees might have to take forced leave in 2014.Even Ennahda itself has not been immune to the growing social mistrust plaguing Tunisia, with some party members criticising certain government decisions, such as where to locate five new university-linked hospitals.That decision has provoked anger in Gafsa and Gabes.Lotfi Zitoune, who was an advisor to former Islamist prime minister Hamadi Jebali, called the failure to invest in those regions a “clear example of the dubious work of the government … in the context of political instability and difficult economic circumstances.”“It will revive accusations of nepotism and regional favouritism,” he wrote in a scathing article posted on his Facebook page.last_img read more

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NFL week 11 guide to fantasy football

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Play ‘em Shaun Hill (Detroit): Quarterback Matthew Stafford is hurt once again, which opens up the window of opportunity for Hill. Last week, Hill threw for 323 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Hill has now thrown for 300 yards or more yards in three games this season. Throw in the fact that Hill plays the Cowboys (21st-ranked pass defense), and Hill should be considered a starter, especially for teams fighting for a playoff spot or in need quarterback help. Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh): Roethlisberger is coming off his best game statistically, last week against New England, when he had 387 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Granted, the Steelers had to play catch up, but it was still impressive. Potentially losing Hines Ward to a head injury could decrease Big Ben’s value, but Mike Wallace is emerging as a solid wide receiver. Although Roethlisberger faces the second-best pass defense of Oakland, he had relative success against the Black Hole last year, throwing for 278 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Peyton Hillis (Cleveland): Hillis had a slight setback in Week 10 against the Jets, with 82 rushing yards, one touchdown and a lost fumble. With that touchdown, Hillis has now found the end zone in all but one of the Browns’ nine games. Expect Hillis to get back on track against a Jacksonville defense that surrenders 115 rushing yards per game. Jamaal Charles (Kansas City): The Broncos did a nice job bottling up Charles last week, holding him to 14 carries for 41 yards. However, Charles managed 80 yards receiving with a touchdown. Going forward, Charles will continue to split carries with Thomas Jones but will be the focal point in the Chiefs’ offense. Consider Charles a No. 1 fantasy running back this week against Arizona, which allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and is coming off a 91-yard, touchdown performance by the Bucs’ LaGarrette Blount. Dez Bryant (Dallas): One player benefiting from Tony Romo’s injury has been Bryant. Last week, Bryant had 104 yards and a touchdown. As long as Jon Kitna is the starting quarterback, Bryant will remain a better option than Miles Austin. This week, Bryant faces a Lions defense that allows 233 passing yards per game. Bryant makes a solid No. 2 fantasy wide receiver option this week. Marques Colston (New Orleans): After a slow start to the 2010 season, Colston is starting to produce. In Week 9 against Carolina, Colston caught eight passes for 65 yards. Expect Colston to find the end zone against Seattle, which allows the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Bench ‘em Matt Schaub (Houston): Schaub received treatment on his knee that forced a trip to the hospital this week. Last week, Schaub threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns against Jacksonville. Don’t expect a repeat performance against the Jets. Jay Cutler (Chicago): Cutler has potential to be a quality fantasy quarterback because of the Bears’ offense, but has not shown it yet. Last week against Minnesota, Cutler threw for 237 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Interceptions continue to be Cutler’s problem; he’s thrown nine. Until the Bears get a go-to receiver, Cutler will struggle. Matt Forte (Chicago): Forte continues to get a lot of touches but is unable to pile up the yardage. Last week, Forte had 21 carries for 69 yards. Forte is losing goal-line carries to Chester Taylor and has yet to score a touchdown since Week 6 against Seattle. Forte is too inconsistent to start each week. Brandon Jackson (Green Bay): Jackson showed some versatility in Week 9 against Dallas, with 42 rushing yards, 26 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Jackson won’t put up big numbers against a Vikings defense that allows 100 rushing yards per game and hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown in two straight games. Mike Williams (Seattle): Williams had a broken pinkie but still had 145 receiving yards last week. Like Forte, Williams’ problem is inconsistency, with three double-digit receiving games versus four games with fewer than two catches. Williams’ production will dip if Matt Hasselbeck is not starting. This week, Williams faces a Saints defense that allows the fewest amount of fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (9). Chad Ochocinco (Cincinnati): Ocho is battling a shoulder injury but regardless of health, Ocho is a bench player. In his last game against Buffalo, he had three receptions for 48 yards. Also, the Bills have a surprisingly stout pass defense, allowing just 207 yards per game. Expect Terrell Owens to get the majority of the looks against his former team. read more

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