first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi, which goes to polls on Sunday, continues to have only one air quality monitoring station, despite being ranked as among the top 3 most polluted cities in the world three years ago, a Right to Information request has found.Zero ‘good-air’ daysThe Central Pollution Control Board’s 2015 dataset (made public in 2016) found Varanasi’s air quality to be among the most toxic in the country and that it had only one air quality monitor capable of measuring particulate matter 2.5 and particulate matter 10 levels. Out of 227 days measured in 2015, the city had zero ‘good-air’ days and this was attributed to the heavy levels of industrial pollution. Biomass burning, vehicular emissions, brick kilns and diesel generator sets were also major contributors.  Let Me Breathe, a portal that investigates how people cope with poor air quality, queried the city’s civic officials and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board with Right to Information requests to check what progress the city had made in improving its air quality.While the average air quality for PM 2.5 from 2017-2019 had improved to 104 from 206 in 2016, the maximum PM levels breached continued to be above 200, or in the “very poor” category.‘Most polluted’“Varanasi is one of the most polluted cities on the planet. Still there is only one monitoring station. While in the last few years the government has done amazing work on the beautification of the city and solar, it’s time to make air pollution a serious priority as well,” Tamseel Hussain, Founder, Let Me Breathe, said.While Varanasi’s municipal bodies had taken steps to address road dust and curb road-side burning of garbage, no data was provided on the number of violations and the steps taken to reprimand offenders, the RTI queries revealed.Varanasi is one of the cities that is part of the National Clean Air Campaign, an initiative by the Union Environment Ministry to improve air quality in 100 cities by 20% at least by 2024. One of the commitments under this is to improve air quality monitoring.In February, a study by IIT Kanpur and the Shakti Foundation showed Varanasi suffered from poor air quality for 70% of the days between October and November 2018 with PM 2.5 levels crossing 170 micrograms per cubic metre against the national average of 60 and the WHO average of 25.last_img read more

first_imgA drive for good nutrition among pregnant women and children in a southern Assam district has been given a gooseberry candy twist. This follows a report that the targeted groups find the prescribed iron-folic acid tablets repulsive.According to the 2015 National Family Health Survey, 47.2% of the women of reproductive age in Hailakandi were anaemic. The district, thus, has the most anaemic children below 5 years, adolescents and women of reproductive age in Assam.But mothers, pregnant women and children in the district, data reveal, consume only 24.3% of the total iron-folic acid tablets that the district receives and distributes. “The tablets given to these groups are often not consumed as they feel nauseated or have constipation issues. There are also myths that these tablets will kill them or make them incapable of conceiving,” District Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli told The Hindu. Amla, jaggery comboTo get around the problem while launching Poshan Maah, or nutrition month, a few days ago, the district administration decided to produce roundish amla-gur candies with a dose of salt. Nutritionists involved in the campaign said amla, or gooseberry, is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, while gur, or jaggery, is rich in iron, vital vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system.“The gooseberry candy is a home-made recipe, and is provided alongside iron-folic acid tablets as behavioural change in nutritious eating is a slow process. If women and children avoid the tablet, they can get the required vitamin and mineral inputs through the improvised delicacy of which ingredients are available locally,” Ms. Jalli said. The candy is cost-effective too, she said. Anganwadi workers, supervisors and mothers have been engaged to prepare and distribute the ‘laddoos’ with the ingredients given by the district authorities.“This is a novel initiative that should go a long way in checking anaemia that increases the risk during pregnancy and at childbirth, besides resulting in low birth weight and malnourished children,” Anganwadi worker Labiba Begum Barlaskar said.About 32.5% of the children aged below five in Hailakandi are underweight. The average figure for Assam is 30%.last_img read more

first_imgKilling Osama(Pakistan) armed Forces and ISI are to blame for the incident (“Terroristan: Pak trapped in a web of deceit,” May 16) and there should be an accountability process for them as well. the Accountability never weakens an organisation but it only helps to indicate the flaws and weaknesses within,Killing Osama(Pakistan) armed Forces and ISI are to blame for the incident (“Terroristan: Pak trapped in a web of deceit,” May 16) and there should be an accountability process for them as well. the Accountability never weakens an organisation but it only helps to indicate the flaws and weaknesses within institutions. So one could say that it would only strengthen them.Anwer Abbas, Pakistan, via email I won’t be surprised if Osama has been captured alive, and is in the custody of the Americans. Only time will reveal the truth.Ravi Bedi, via email Imperialists have been after Pakistan for some time. They know (and we also know) very well that their ends cannot be achieved unless they weaken our strong, brave armed forces and isi. They have overcome our democratic set up, they have weakened us economically and they have divided us ethnically. This time- and perhaps this is the final chapter-they managed to land a final blow to the very existence of isi and the Pakistani armed forces.Nadeem Choudhry, Pakistan, via email The more America piles up lie after lie in the media, itself confused about how to respond to the challenges from different sections of the world, the crime of 9/11 gets more and more fuzzy, raising doubts about whether it was not an inside job, most audaciously imposed on Osama, al Qaeda and the rest of the Muslim world.Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai Most leaders lead from the front, by example. The al Qaeda may have thought that their ascetic leader, Osama bin Laden, was running between caves, dodging drone attacks, braving bullets for their cause; in reality, he was well insulated from their mountainous tribulations. The rank and file of the al Qaeda must be dejected, now that they have a clear picture of the lifestyle of their leader over the past five-six years in Pakistan.Raju Aneja, Dubaiadvertisement Domestic travelInstead of travelling to Dubai or other international cities (“Hi, Dubai,” May 16) our high-flying politicians should visit places in India itself and promote tourism in our country, as well as boost the economy.R.K. Singh, DelhiSmart ChangeK.V. Kamath, with his vast experience, will be an able chairman of Infosys (“Infy Starts a New Chapter,” May 16). Though he may not deal much with operations, he will be an asset.Ravi Singh, via www.intoday.inSports Sans PoliticsApropos “Keep politicians out of sports”, May 16, finally someone of Kapil Dev’s stature has rightly observed the drawbacks in our sports administration. The standards of Indian sports could have been much higher if it was free of political influence. These politicians know nothing about sports, yet are put at the helm of sports affairs resulting in pathetic standards.Lt Col (Retd) Ranjit Sinha, Kolkata Politicians should be kept out of sports. Every important sports federation has a politician at its head. Only when we change the system will the sporting culture in our country improve.H. Hamid, via www.intoday.in Politicians have too much control over things that are important in our country. How would they feel if Sachin Tendulkar wanted to be the prime minister or Vijender Singh wanted to be chief minister of Haryana? It’s high time the system is changed.S.N. Pathak, New Delhi Control Price HikeIt looks like there is a need for another mass uprising under Anna Hazare to draw the Government’s attention to the phenomenal rise in the price of jowar, which is a staple food for the poorer sections of Maharashtra (“After Onions, it’s Jowar”, May 16). Government should take corrective measures to control the price of Jowar immediately.Ranjit Sinha, Kolkata Whenever there is a hike in prices of essential commodities, it is the common man who suffers. Politicians, who make all sorts of promises during elections, should be hauled up for the hardship that people have to endure.Subhash Arora, Delhi End of an Era”Just not my type”, May 16, touched just the right key of my heart. The article and the typewriter are just my type. I read india today for articles like this, which portray the common man’s struggle to eke out a living, rather than the Osamas and Obamas. Like all good things, the good old days of typewriters have come to an end. Let’s hope future generations get to see some well-preserved typewriters in museums.Bhushan Jindal, Jalandhar Forced conversionsYour article (“Freelancers of God”, May 9) establishes a direct relation between the foreign funds pouring into the country and the rate of conversions. Hindus, Muslims and mainstream Christians must unite to throw these “poachers” and “business” evangelists out of the country and stop their flow of funds.Atul Marathe, via emailadvertisementNo hope for Air IndiaThe present set-up does not raise any hope for this company (“Sell Air India while there is still a buyer,” May 16). The people running (read many in management and Board) the organisation have no business being there. Most of them are either openly corrupt, or are involved in it indirectly through their cohorts.Parvat Nanda, via email The recent pilots’ strike has once again brought into focus the state of our public sector enterprises. An Air India board member has suggested the patient is already suffering from cancer. With cancer only surgery works, not homeopathy or aruyveda. It may even be better to shut down the airline during the time it takes for such a surgical solution rather than incur a loss of Rs 57 crore every day. Dr Rajiv Kumar, Delhilast_img read more

first_imgFormer India leg-spinner Subhash Gupte found himself in the news again, not once but twice. First, the BCCI honoured him with its prestigious C.K. Nayudu Award for 2000.Timed almost in sync, West Indian legend Gary Sobers then declared that the greatest leg-spinner ever was not Aussie Shane Warne but the,Former India leg-spinner Subhash Gupte found himself in the news again, not once but twice. First, the BCCI honoured him with its prestigious C.K. Nayudu Award for 2000.Timed almost in sync, West Indian legend Gary Sobers then declared that the greatest leg-spinner ever was not Aussie Shane Warne but the Indian who, now 72, lives in Trinidad.Gupte played for India from 1951 to 1962 and bamboozled the world’s best batsmen. Sobers revealed that unlike most leggies, he could bowl two googlies.Gupte was a man with an independent spirit and a fierce temper, who kowtowed to no one and so played fewer Tests than he should have. They say when the cricket ball left his hand, you could hear it whizzing through the air.Tests36Wickets149Best9/102Avg.29.55Econ rate2.34Strike rate75.75W/I1210W/M1last_img read more

first_imgJamshedpur, May 8 (PTI) Following the success of IPL, ISL and IBL, a professional rollball league for both men and women will begin in Mumbai next month, to give this discipline a professional shape in the country. Rollball Federation of India would launch “Maha Rollball League” from June 3 at Andheri Sports Complex, the Federations vice-president Manoj Yadav said here today. India have won Rollball World Cup three times in the mens section and twice in the womens section. Rollball players wear skates and their main objective is to score maximum goals with their hands. Each team consists of 12 players – 6 on the field and as many in reserve. In the league, Yadav said, eight teams in the mens section and six teams in the womens section would vie for top honours during the three-day event. The aim was to give this game a professional shape in the country, Yadav said. The teams would be owned by stars of Marathi film industry and other renowned personalities, he said adding that owners of six teams have already been decided. However, he refused to disclose their names. “The federation is making efforts to rope in big sports personalities like cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli to own teams,” said Yadav, an executive committee member of Asian Rollball Federation. Registration of players for the event have already started and auction of the players will take place later this month. Maha Rollball league would be organised ahead of the first World Rollball league, which was under consideration of the world body, he added. Apart from the Maha-league, the maiden Federation Cup championship will be organised by its Punjab unit in June. PTI BS NN ATKadvertisementlast_img read more

first_imgNEW YORK — After a sensational start, the New York Mets made four errors April 26 and reverted back to the shoddy brand of baseball that’s led to six straight losing seasons.That it came in prime time on national television under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium only made it more embarrassing.Alex Rodriguez hit his 659th home run to move within one of Willie Mays for fourth place on baseball’s career list, and the New York Yankees took advantage of several blunders by the suddenly sloppy Mets in a 6-4 victory.“Today wasn’t pretty. It was, obviously, the worst game by far that we’ve played,” outfielder Michael Cuddyer said. “When you make as many mistakes as we did today, you’re not going to beat good teams.”Curtis Granderson hit a leadoff homer for the Mets, and slumping Daniel Murphy had a pair of RBI doubles off starter Nathan Eovaldi.But an error by Murphy at second base set up the Yankees’ sixth run, and Rodriguez was handed an RBI on the next play when shortstop Wilmer Flores fired high into the photographer’s well behind first base, squandering what should have been a simple double play.In the next inning, Eric Campbell forgot how many outs there were and was easily doubled off first base on a routine fly to right.“Bonehead play,” he said. “It’s not on any coach. You’ve always got to know the number of outs. I just made a mistake.”Campbell also committed an error at third base, and Cuddyer made one in left field that cost the Mets a run. It was an uncharacteristic performance this season by a surprising team that owns the best record in the majors at 14-5.“In a game like this, you can’t make those mistakes,” Manager Terry Collins said. “Just a bad night for us.”After falling behind early, the Yankees scored four times in the second and took two of three in the first Subway Series of the season. The crosstown rivals meet again at Citi Field in September.“We’re going to bounce back from this,” Mets starter Jonathon Niese said. “You can’t look into it too deeply.”Rodriguez connected in the first inning. He drove a 2-2 curve from Niese (2-1) to right-center, with the ball bouncing off the top of the fence and over for an opposite-field solo shot.It was the fifth homer of the season for A-Rod, who sat out last year while serving a drug suspension.“Willie was my father’s favorite player. I remember hearing about Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle all the time. He’s one of my heroes,” Rodriguez said.A-Rod’s first chance to match Mays came in the second inning, when the three-time MVP doubled. He also grounded into a forceout and lined out to left field.“The buzz was incredible,” Rodriguez said. “I just felt a lot of energy in the building, and it was fun.”The Yankees have won eight of 10 after a 3-6 start.Five relievers combined to throw 4 2-3 hitless innings for the Yankees. Chasen Shreve (1-0) earned his first major league win by getting Cuddyer to ground into an inning-ending double play with two on in the fifth.Dellin Betances struck out three in the eighth, and Andrew Miller closed for his seventh save.Niese allowed six runs — four earned — and eight hits in five innings. He had yielded no more than two earned runs in seven consecutive starts dating to last season.“He didn’t locate anything in that second inning, and they made him pay,” Collins said.(MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

first_imgUnited States 3 Bolivia 0: PSG’s Weah scores first USA goal Sacha Pisani 08:50 5/29/18 WalkerZimmerman-cropped Getty Images It was a day of firsts in Pennsylvania, where trio Timothy Weah, Josh Sargent and Walker Zimmerman scored their maiden USA goals. Timothy Weah scored his first United States goal, while Josh Sargent and Walker Zimmerman also opened their international accounts in Monday’s 3-0 victory over Bolivia.It was one-way traffic in Pennsylvania, where Paris Saint-Germain youngster Weah – the 18-year-old son of legendary AC Milan striker and now Liberia president George – celebrated his maiden USA goal in just his second appearance.Weah got in on the action at Talen Energy Stadium after USA defender Zimmerman broke the deadlock in the 37th minute and debutant and Werder Bremen teenager Sargent doubled the lead seven minutes into the second half. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now The international friendly was a battle between two nations who failed to qualify for next month’s World Cup in Russia.Turn the 0-2 to the 0-3.@TimWeah becomes the fourth youngest #USMNT goal scorer all-time! pic.twitter.com/k6Q2ch8FaL— U.S. Soccer MNT (@ussoccer_mnt) May 29, 2018USA – absent from the showpiece tournament for the first time since 1986 – were headlined by Borussia Dortmund sensation Christian Pulisic as the Americans fielded a youthful and inexperienced line-up.Goalkeeper Alex Bono, Erik Palmer-Brown, Antonee Robinson and Sargent all made their debuts in a starting XI, which included eight starters aged 24 years or younger.Bolivia, who have not qualified for the World Cup since 1994, also named an inexperienced XI – Carlos Anez, Oscar Baldomar and Juan Ribera making their international bows for the South American visitors.USA dominated proceedings from the outset and they were unfortunate not to open the scoring in the 10th minute when Weah shot straight at Guillermo Vizcarra.The hosts eventually made the breakthrough eight minutes before half-time thanks to an unlikely source, defender Zimmerman.Get in, @thewalkerzim! 25-year-old rises up for his first #USMNT goal! pic.twitter.com/pvmdIk5AdG— U.S. Soccer MNT (@ussoccer_mnt) May 28, 2018The Los Angeles FC centre-back rose highest from a Joe Corona corner and steered his header past Vizcarra.USA were unstoppable in the second half as Bolivia were helpless to stop the onslaught, Sargent and Weah scoring within seven minutes.Sargent doubled the lead seven minutes into the second half after controlling the ball as Bolivia substitute keeper Carlos Lampe attempted to loop a backpass over his head before finishing coolly.Something out of nothing! Allow @joshsargent to introduce himself! pic.twitter.com/tR9jO6gYgq— U.S. Soccer MNT (@ussoccer_mnt) May 29, 2018It was 3-0 approaching the hour-mark when Weah side-footed past Lampe inside the six-yard box, having drifted into the area unmarked between two defenders. read morelast_img read more

ST. LOUIS — With the Trump administration again taking aim at the Affordable Care Act, Centene will spend more than $15 billion on rival WellCare Health Plans, both big players in the ACA market.The deal Wednesday comes two days day after the administration attacked the ACA in court, saying that former President Barack Obama’s health care law should be declared unconstitutional after Congress repealed one part of it — unpopular fines on people who remain uninsured.The deal would create a powerhouse medical provider in Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act marketplace with about 22 million members in the U.S. It will have more than 12 million Medicaid and approximately 5 million Medicare members, including the Medicare prescription drug plan.The transaction includes 3.38 shares of Centene stock and $120 in cash for each share of WellCare stock, or $305.39 per WellCare share. That’s about a 32 per cent premium to WellCare’s Tuesday closing stock price. The companies put the deal’s value at $17.3 billion.Shares of WellCare jumped more than 14 per cent before the market open on Wednesday. Centene’s stock declined 5.5 per cent.Centene Corp. shareholders will own about 71 per cent of the business, with WellCare shareholders owning approximately 29 per cent.The combined company’s board will have 11 members, with nine from Centene’s board and two from WellCare’s board. Centene Chairman and CEO Michael Neidorff will serve in those roles after the combination.The combined business will be based in St. Louis, where Centene is headquartered. It will continue to support WellCare’s operations in Florida. WellCare is based in Tampa.The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2020. It still needs approval from Centene and Wellcare Health Plans Inc. shareholders.The Associated Press read more

TORONTO — Kerr’s Candy social media team is defending the company’s Molasses Kisses treats on Twitter after a newspaper derided it as “the worst Halloween candy.”Kerr’s, which was founded in 1895, promotes the kisses on its website as “traditional Halloween taffy” and says the candies contain 10 per cent real molasses. The company’s used the same recipe to make them for more than 70 years.“They get stuck to the wrapper, they get stuck to your teeth and it’s got this weird earthy taste that’s disgusting to almost everyone under the age of 65,” said Tristin Hopper, a National Post reporter, in a video originally published two years ago.The Post republished the video Thursday with an article by Hopper reasserting his claim and lamenting that the kisses have yet to meet their demise.Twitter users took to Kerr’s Candy social media feed with their take on the article, and whoever is running the account is responding brazenly.“This Halloween don’t scare kids with that wretched Kerr’s molasses candy that you hated as a kid,” wrote one user who goes by Terry, linking to the article.Instead of ignoring the insult, Kerr’s responded with its own dose of sass.“You’re right, Terry, you should keep Molasses Kisses all to yourself. Don’t let the kids have the good candy!” the candy company’s account tweeted back.The response seemed to catch Terry off guard who said he “must respect (Kerr’s) persistence.”The company’s social media team is also doling out love to the candy’s supporters, sharing a GIF of Winnie the Pooh eagerly tying a napkin around his neck as he prepares to chow down on one.Kerr’s appears to be among the few companies who’ve found their voice on Twitter and attracted a following with a more personalized approach.Burger chain Wendy’s, for example, is well-known for roasting people (and competing fast food outlets) on Twitter.When one user recently asked the chain’s Twitter account what they should order at McDonald’s, the company answered “McNothing” and to another who asked the same question, “better at picking places to eat.”But, that approach doesn’t always work and can fall flat if companies try to insert themselves into a broader, serious conversation just to promote their product.In 2014, the hashtag WhyIStayed was trending as people explained the reasons why they remained with abusers.The DiGiorno Pizza account tweeted: “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.”The single tweet infuriated many who felt the company shouldn’t have tried to capitalize on the hashtag. The company deleted the offending tweet shortly afterward and explained they were not aware of the context behind the hashtag.More recently, Hudson’s Bay drew the ire of Twitter users in the wake of Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie’s death after posting a tweet that struck many as insensitive.“Here’s to the King of the Canadian Tuxedo. #RIPGordDownie,” the department store tweeted, along with an image of three denim jackets with brand labels prominently displayed, including one with a lining that featured HBC’s distinctive multi-coloured stripes.The tweet was removed a short time later.With files from Cassandra Szklarski read more

North America’s Environment: A Thirty-Year State of the Environment and Policy Retrospective documents the region’s success in protecting the ozone layer by reducing the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), and in controlling acid-rain causing emissions, which declined in the United States by 31 per cent between 1981 and 2000. North America has also succeeded in protecting between 11 and 13 per cent of its land area while slowing wetland losses considerably. At the same time, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which produced the report, warns that North America has more work to do to protect its resources. “While Canada and the United States have had notable success in resolving a lot of environmental problems, progress has slowed largely due to increasing consumption by its growing population,” said Brennan Van Dyke, Regional Director of UNEP’s Regional Office for North America.The region’s energy consumption grew by 31 per cent between 1972 and 1997, while progress in fuel efficiency has been offset by increases in the number of automobiles and the total number of kilometres travelled, and by a trend since 1984 toward heavier and less fuel-efficient passenger vehicles.”A consumer lifestyle based on the desire for mobility, convenience and product disposability has undercut the further advancement of resource efficiency and waste reduction,” UNEP said. With about 5 per cent of the world’s population, North America accounted for 25.8 per cent of global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 1998. The region’s per capita annual gasoline consumption for motor vehicles was nine times the world average.The report asserts that effective reforms are possible, and calls on North America to implement substantial changes in automobile use, adopt more fuel-efficient technologies, and carry out urban development strategies that curb sprawl. read more

ATHENS, Greece – Greece’s government on Monday launched complex bailout negotiations with creditors, but faced rebuke following revelations that former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, formed a secret committee to plan for the possible conversion of euros into drachmas “at a drop of a hat.”Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said late Monday that meetings in Athens had begun between Greek officials and negotiating teams representing creditors, with talks to intensify Tuesday, paving the way for higher level discussions possibly by the end of the week.Before the talks started in Athens, a recording of Varoufakis discussing a parallel currency plan was made public.Opposition parties have criticized Varoufakis and have urged Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to explain to lawmakers what he knew of his former finance minister’s actions.In the recording of a telephone briefing for investors on July 16 in the wake of his resignation days earlier, Varoufakis claimed he and a childhood friend who was a computer expert hacked into his ministry’s computer systems as a first step to creating “a parallel banking system” in the event Greek banks were shuttered.The Greek banks were closed on June 29 to avoid a bank run amid fears that Greece was heading for a euro exit. In theory, a parallel system formed from the effective cloning of tax accounts would have allowed the finance ministry to continue payments in the form of so-called IOUs.Varoufakis said he had been authorized by Tsipras to undertake the planning prior to the general election in January when the radical left Syriza party swept to power. And he insisted that his actions were legal, in the public interest and aimed at keeping the country in the 19-country eurozone.In essence, the plan, which Tsipras ultimately blocked, would have created a “functioning parallel system” to give the government “some breathing space.”“It would be euro-denominated but at the drop of a hat it could be developed to a new drachma,” Varoufakis said.Varoufakis confirmed the authenticity of the recording, which was released by the briefing organizers, London-based Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum.The revelation that Varoufakis was working on a Plan B over Greece’s future was one of many in a wide-ranging discussion on the Greek crisis. He also said that German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble wanted Greece to leave the euro but that his boss, Chancellor Angela Merkel, was against so-called Grexit.The recording prompted an outcry among opposition parties.The main conservative opposition, New Democracy, accused Varoufakis of “dark methods that threaten democracy” and summoned Tsipras to brief parliament.Tsipras, who is already facing a revolt within his radical left Syriza over a raft of austerity measures required by creditors for the talks to actually begin, is under pressure to call early elections once the bailout discussions are completed.The technical discussions on a wide array of issues such as pensions and labour market reforms are designed to clear the path for high-level discussions between Greek ministers and senior European Union and International Monetary Fund officials later this week.After passing a series of reforms demanded by creditors, such as steep sales tax hikes, the Greek government is hoping negotiations will be completed by Aug. 20 when the country has a big debt repayment of around 3.2 billion euros ($3.5 billion) to make to the European Central Bank.Without the money from the expected three-year bailout totalling around 85 billion euros, Greece would be unable to make that payment — a development that would likely trigger fresh fears over the country’s future in the euro.But the reforms have come at a price for Tsipras. One in four of his lawmakers refused to back them in two votes in parliament, arguing that they flew in the face of Syriza’s anti-austerity platform in January’s election.The laws were passed with solid backing from pro-European opposition parties, but left Tsipras without an effective parliamentary majority. That has stoked talk of early elections, just six months into Tsipras’ four-year mandate.“We must seal the (bailout) agreement and immediately afterwards launch an electoral process,” said senior Syriza official Dimitris Vitsas, who is the deputy defence minister. “After that (there will be) a new government with a fresh mandate.Mina Andreeva, a spokeswoman at the European Commission, said teams from the institutions are “now already on the ground in Athens and work is starting immediately.”She added that, while Athens has already delivered “in a timely and overall satisfactory manner” the reforms demanded for the talks to start, more will be required to secure a swift rescue loan disbursement.“And this is also what is being discussed right now.”Greece has relied on bailout funds for a little more than five years after being locked out of international bond markets. In return for around 240 billion euros worth of rescue money, successive Greek governments have had to enact a series of income cuts, tax hikes and economic reforms.Though the measures drastically contained budget overspending, they hit economic activity hard and drove unemployment to record peacetime highs. And because the Greek economy is around 25 per cent smaller than it was, the country’s debt burden has increased to around 170 per cent of Greece’s annual GDP.Some sort of debt relief for Greece is up for negotiation though a direct cut in the amount owed is off the agenda. The IMF has said Greece needs big relief and has advocated delaying Greek debt repayments to European creditors for many years.ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure said in an interview published Monday that Greek debt relief “is no longer a matter of debate” but must come alongside measures to turn the Greek economy around.“In truth, the question is not whether Greek debt should be restructured, but how to do it so it really benefits the country’s economy,” he told French daily Le Monde.___Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, Raf Casert in Brussels and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed. by Nicholas Paphitis And Menelaos Hadjicostis, The Associated Press Posted Jul 27, 2015 7:24 am MDT Last Updated Jul 27, 2015 at 3:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Greek bailout talks start as government reels from Varoufakis’ ‘Plan B’ confirmation Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives at Syriza party headquarters for a meeting with senior party officials in Athens, Monday, July 27, 2015. After passing a series of reforms demanded by creditors, the Greek government is hoping that negotiations on the bailout will be completed by Aug. 20 when the country has a big debt repayment of around 3.2 billion euros ($3.5 billion) to make to the European Central Bank. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) read more

“Europe cannot go on responding to this crisis with a piecemeal or incremental approach. No country can do it alone, and no country can refuse to do its part,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said in a statement laying out a set of six guidelines ahead of a key round of emergency EU meetings on the crisis.Mr. Guterres said the biggest influx of refugees into Europe for decades required a “massive common effort” and break with the current fragmented approach, which he said has led Europe overall to fail to find an effective common response.“More than 300,000 people have risked their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea so far this year. Over 2,600 didn’t survive the dangerous crossing, including three-year-old Aylan, whose photo has just stirred the hearts of the world public,” the refugee agency chief said, referring to what UNICEF called a “heart-breaking” incident in which the young Syrian boy’s body washed ashore in Turkey two days ago. Mr. Guterres praised some exemplary and “truly inspiring” examples of generosity and moral leadership on the part of some countries and many private citizens, but reiterated his appeal for a collective strategy including a renewed drive to settle conflicts.“A very preliminary estimate would indicate a potential need to increase relocation opportunities to as many as 200,000 places,” he recommended. “This can only work if it goes hand in hand with adequate reception capacities, especially in Greece. Solidarity cannot be the responsibility of only a few EU member States.”“Europe is facing a moment of truth,” Mr. Guterres said, spelling out five other fundamental principles he said should be borne in mind in all efforts to resolve the issue:This is a primarily refugee crisis, not only a migration phenomenon. The vast majority of those arriving in Greece come from conflict zones like Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan and are simply running for their lives. All people on the move in these tragic circumstances deserve to see their human rights and dignity fully respected, independently of their legal status.Europe cannot go on responding to this crisis with a piecemeal or incremental approach. No country can do it alone, and no country can refuse to do its part. It is no surprise that, when a system is unbalanced and dysfunctional, everything gets blocked when the pressure mounts. This is a defining moment for the European Union, and it now has no other choice but to mobilize full force around this crisis. Concretely, this means taking urgent and courageous measures to stabilize the situation and then finding a way to truly share responsibility in the mid to longer term. The EU must be ready, with the consent and in support of the concerned governments – mainly Greece and Hungary, but also Italy – to put in place immediate and adequate emergency reception, assistance and registration capacity. Those who are found not to be in need of international protection and who cannot benefit from legal migration opportunities should be helped to return quickly to their home countries, in full respect of their human rights.The only ones who benefit from the lack of a common European response are the smugglers and traffickers who are making profit from people’s desperation to reach safety. More effective international cooperation is required to crack down on smugglers. But none of these efforts will be effective without opening up more opportunities for people to come legally to Europe.“This massive flow of people will not stop until the root causes of their plight are addressed,” Mr. Guterres said. “Much more must be done to prevent conflicts and stop the ongoing wars that are driving so many from their homes. The countries neighbouring war zones, which shelter 9 in 10 refugees worldwide, must be supported more strongly, along with the funding required. read more

first_imgThey have won 13 Wimbledon titles between them, but there is one other thing this year’s four favourites have in common – they are all over 30. SW19’s old guard have succeeded in defying the physical demands of the grand slam with seven of the final 16 players in the men’s singles aged 30 or above for the first time in generations.Among them are the tournament’s four favourites Roger Federer, 35, Rafael Nadal, 31, and 30-year-olds Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.They are joined by 34-year-old Gilles Muller and 31-year-olds Kevin Anderson and Tomas Berdych. Fitness experts have suggested the sport’s increased pace from the 1980s onwards led to players reaching their peak at a younger age. But evolutions in racket technology and longer points has made the sport more mentally challenging for younger, less experienced players in recent years.When he turned 30 earlier this year, Murray also commented on the increasing average age of players, saying: “When I was starting out, a lot of players would have stopped – or at least started to struggle – at maybe 31, 32. Just before I came on the tour, it was even as early as 28, 29. But now, if your body and your health are fine, there’s no reason why you can’t compete at the top into your early-to-mid-30s.” But Williams, who is competing in her 20th Wimbledon, said: “I guess when you walk on the court, I don’t think either of us is thinking about the age.”You’re thinking, ‘How do I win?'” 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. “There is a bit of that clash right now, the young ones trying to push out, especially the 35-plus guys. “But then there’s a strong, strong team as well around the generation of Rafa and Murray and Djokovic obviously, as well.” Andy Murray  It is not just the men’s tournament which has seen experienced players prevailing in the final stages. Venus Williams, 37, who is the oldest woman to reach the fourth round since 1994, will today face Ana Konjuh, a 19-year-old who born seven months after Williams competed in her first grand slam. The average age of this year’s final 16 is over 28 – higher than the previous ten years, with a 35-year-old featuring for the first time since Tommy Haas in 2013.Despite the younger generation’s attempts to push them out of the field, seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer says they are “still hanging on”.In fact Monday will see ten of the top 16 seeds competing in the fourth round, the most to reach the second week at Wimbledon in a decade.Discussing the experience of this year’s competitors, Federer said: “It’s nice to see them still hanging on, still enjoying the tour, still being tough out there, making it difficult for the youngsters to break through.  ‘There’s no reason why you can’t compete at the top into your early-to-mid-30s,’ Andy Murray has said Credit:Ashley Western/Getty last_img read more

first_imgThe National House Building Council (NHBC) has appointed Carol Davies head of human resources.She joins NHBC from personal lines insurance firm BGL group, where she was associate director, group HR between June 2008 and December 2015.Prior to that, Davies held the role of senior HR business partner at Nationwide Building Society for a total of 26 years.last_img

first_imgBILLERICA, MA — Members and guests of the Middlesex Canal Association are invited to a pleasant walk and talk on the remnants of the Middlesex Canal on Sunday, October 20, 2019.Those planning to join the walk should meet at 1:30pm at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center (71 Faulkner Street, Billerica).The 2.5-hour walk will cover part of the Merrimack River branch of the canal in Billerica and Chelmsford, over about 3-4 miles of generally wooded terrain. Sites visited on the tour will include the recently restored guard lock, the anchor stone for the floating towpath that bridged the Concord River, and many stretches of the watered canal.The walk will be led by Robert Winters and Marlies Henderson.This is a joint walk sponsored by the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Middlesex Canal Association.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedMiddlesex Canal Association To Host Thoreau Lecture On October 27In “Community”Middlesex Canal Association To Hold Bike Tour Of Canal On October 5In “Community”Middlesex Canal Association To Host Fall Walk & Talk On October 30In “Community”last_img read more

first_imgDeepika Padukone (left); Kangana RanautVarinder ChawlaDeepika Padukone may very well replace Kangana Ranaut in Anurag Basu’s next movie Imali.The director recently revealed that Kangana has opted out of the project, and now he is keen to have Deepika on board for the film. Basu said that although Kangana was game for Imali, things could not work out due to date issues.”We were supposed to start in November but we couldn’t because she got busy with ‘Manikarnika’ and ‘Panga’. Even I got busy with my other film. She wanted to be in good space and time to do this film but things did not work out,” DNA quoted Basu as saying.When questioned about rumours of Deepika replacing Kangana for the role, the director said that he has approached her but nothing has been finalised.”I cannot confirm until she (Deepika) confirms anything. I did meet her. She has to confirm it to me and then we can confirm it to others,” he told the publication.Both Deepika and Kangana have an interesting line-up of movies. She has been busy shooting for much-awaited film Chhapaak that will present her as an acid-attack survivor. It is being directed by Meghna Gulzar. Next, she will be seen as Ranveer Singh’s onscreen wife in 83, which is based on India’s first World Cup victory.On the other side, after the success of Manikarnika, Kangana has been shooting for Mental Hai Kya that also features Rajkummar Rao. She has another interesting film Panga, which is based on the sport of Kabaddi.last_img read more

first_imgA Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) sign is pictured outside its restaurant in Paramus, New Jersey.ReutersKFC is all set to debut a new sandwich – The Zinger – and has spent nearly $80 million to ideate and create the sandwich. The Zinger is said to be the first fried chicken sandwich made by hand, every day, in KFC’s kitchen.The sandwich was first introduced in Trinidad and Tobago and has been a hit with KFC patrons ever since. The chicken in the sandwich is marinated in a cayenne pepper sauce, breaded in different herbs and spices, and fried.Sounds pretty simple right? So you must be wondering what KFC spent $80 million on. “We have been actually working on this for two years, we spent $80 million dollars upgrading our back house equipment and we spent the last six months re-training all of our staff on how to make a fried chicken sandwich fast, because ultimately at lunch, we have to win on speed,” Kevin Hochman, president and chief concept officer for KFC US told FOX Business.Hochman also explained that the chicken used in the sandwich is 100 percent “real” without any antibiotics and will also be free of hormones, food dyes, as well as steroids.When Business Insider asked Hochman how the Zinger was different from what McDonald’s and Burger King have on their menus, he said that the key was frying the chicken in-store, something neither of its competitors do.”The one thing they all have in common is they’re all made in a central factory, they’re frozen, and then they’re refried at stores,” Hochman noted.”You can come to KFC and get a hand-breaded Zinger and a $5 fill up — that is just unbelievable value and a vastly superior sandwich,” he added. “Compared to a factory breaded sandwich, it will always be crunchier, more flavorful, more juicy.”KFC will also reveal a colonel that will represent the Zinger and plans to come up with fun and innovative marketing strategies to make sure the sandwich is a success.The brand new Zinger sandwich goes on sale across the United States on April 24.Meanwhile, KFC seems to be going all out to rival other brands such as Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Burger King, to name a few. In early February, the brand launched Chizza, which technically is a pizza on a fried chicken base. The Chizza was touted as “all chicken and no crust” and KFC even released a video on how it was made. Take a look.last_img read more

first_img 00:00 /01:45 Sen. Ted Cruz addressed the Texas Republican Convention in Dallas over the weekend. It was Cruz’s first major speech since he ended his quest for the presidency.Cruz said he will return to the Senate and focus on advancing conservative principles and upholding the Constitution. He singled out President Barack Obama’s directive protecting transgender rights in schools, an action he described as “politically correct lunacy.”Houston Public Media’s Coverage of Election 2016“This is an embodiment of just how off track we’ve gotten that the President believes he could decree to every public school in America, ‘I, Barack Obama, am in charge of bathroom policies in your elementary school,’” he said.Cruz then said the country needs a strong, conservative president to eliminate the Department of Education. He did not say who that president should be, nor did he endorse – or even mention – the party’s apparent nominee, Donald Trump.Vlad Davidiuk, a delegate from Houston and a Cruz supporter, said he wasn’t surprised.“At this point, Donald Trump does not represent the conservative values or the principles that the majority of the people who are here at this convention hold. So it would not have helped Ted Cruz’s speech to have mentioned the name ‘Donald Trump,’” he said.Delegates wearing stickers saying “Cruz Crew” far outnumbered those wearing pro-Trump stickers, at least on the convention’s last day. That might have been simply a show of support for the senator. But Davidiuk said it reflects a deeper split.“There hasn’t been a lot of infighting. There has not been a lot of confrontation. But I would say the majority of the people I’ve interacted with are very hardcore Cruz supporters and interested in only that aspect of the Republican nomination process. Really don’t want anything to do with Trump,” he said. Davidiuk said that could wind up hurting Trump in November. He said conservative activists are likely to focus on helping Republican candidates in down-ballot races, while ignoring the top of the ticket. X Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen last_img read more

first_img X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen Share – / 2For several months now, we’ve heard that Houston is in recovery from the worst oil downturn since the 1980s.“Certainly, we have turned the corner,” Bill Gilmer, director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at UH’s Bauer College of Business, said during the institute’s biannual economic symposium. “We have seen the rig count begin some really significant and rampant improvements.”As oil prices have moved back up in the $50-a-barrel range, oil and gas companies’ revenue is increasing, they’ve started investing in new operations, and some jobs are coming back.But does that mean Houston’s economy is back on top?Gilmer said that depends on what’s ahead for the price of oil.“We’re not going to get good strong growth based on $48 a barrel, where we were this morning,” he said. “So we’re still waiting for that little bit of help from oil just to push us over the line.”He said besides the national economy, the petrochemical boom of the past few years helped to keep the Houston economy afloat.But that’s winding down now, making oil all the more important. 00:00 /01:02last_img read more

first_imgListen at WEAA Live Stream: http://amber.streamguys.com.4020/live.m3uIs the inflammatory rhetoric of the GOP’s Conservative right wing partly to blame for the recent shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic? We’ll talk national politics with commentators Catalina Byrd and Sean Breeze. Plus, legal analysis of the first day of Officer William Porter’s trial, one of the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, with Sheryl Wood of the Wood Law Firm and Leigh Maddox of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. These stories and more coming up this evening on AFRO’s First Edition with Sean Yoes.last_img read more