Sukma, where Maoist insurgency and ancient myths dominate

first_imgOn the southernmost part of Chhattisgarh sliced by both river Shabari and National Highway 30, Sukma borders Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Sukma, part of the Dandakaranya region, was given the status of a district in January 2012.This tribal-dominated district is where ancient myths, modern state, several tribes and security forces and a violent ideology are all trying, and often fighting, to shape its future.What happened?On April 24, at noon, a group of CRPF jawans, who were settling down for lunch, came under attack from about 300 Maoists for almost three hours. All together, 25 CRPF personnel and an unidentified number of Maoists were killed in the latest violence to rock this central Indian remote region.According to survivors, the attack began around 12.40 pm in Burkapal village of south Sukma in Chattisgarh. About 35 CRPF personnel, in two groups, were beginning their lunch when the attack began.That Monday morning a company of the 74th battalion of Central Reserve Police Force was deployed in two different groups to provide protection for a road construction work underway in Sukma. The road under construction is to be a major highway into the backward region. Maoists used AK-47 and other weapons during the attack.The automatic weapons used had been snatched from security forces on March 11 when they mounted the last big attack on CRPF, in which a dozen men were killed in the same district.Why was it targeted?Bastar region has been the hotbed of Maoist insurgency for various reasons. These range from inefficient and corrupt state apparatus to grievances of locals. Among the key factors feeding Maoist activity in the region could also be the fact that a large number of the present Maoist leaders come from nearby regions, especially the state of TelanganaIs a fightback possible?Officially, the Centre maintains that the attack was a show of “frustration” by Maoists because of the successful fightback by security forces in recent months. The Centre claimed 2016 has been the most successful year in anti-Maoist operations. Compared to an average of 30 Maoits killed in a year, 135 insurgents were neutralised in 2016. Even in 2017, the Centre claimed, 32 Maoists have been killed so far. The Centre claims that its “policy has been very helpful and has substantially brought down the violence figures in the State. There has been 7% decline in overall violence incidents since 2013.”However, the fact remains that Maoists have been successful in mounting repeated attacks. The CRPF has repeatedly failed to ensure safety of its troops with innovative SOPs and effective intelligence. The local police are almost absent in most parts of the district, letting Maoists have a free run.What happens to the villagers?Sukma is a tribal district, where members of Gond, Muriya, Dorla, Halba and Mahara communities dominate the population. The ordinary villagers are caught between the two armed entities: The security forces of the State and the Maoists. Both sides unleash various tactics, and often end up violating the human rights of ordinary residents. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that many local tribals have joined the Maoist movement, but majority of them are hapless victims of this endless violence.According to some locals, before the April 24 attack, residents of Burkapal were forced to vacate their village and the Maoists launched an attack from within the village too.What next?There is no indication that the attacks would cease anytime in the immediate future. Many experts have pointed out that the CRPF and the State police are not good enough for a fightback against Maoists. They also point out that the Modi government has a poor track record in handling internal security issues in central India. For peace to return to the heart of India, a determined political initiative is the only way out.last_img read more

UP recommends capital punishment for hooch death convicts

first_imgThe Uttar Pradesh government has recommended capital punishment for those found guilty of causing deaths due to consumption of illicit liquor.The BJP-ruled State Cabinet approved changes to the existing laws to incorporate the extreme punishment in cases of hooch deaths.Cabinet approvalIn a meeting headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the UP Cabinet approved changes to the UP Excise Act, 1910 and incorporated the harsher punishment, a government spokesperson said on Wednesday.With the addition of Section 60A into the Act, those guilty of causing death or permanent disability due to illicit liquor could face a life sentence, a fine of Rs 10 lakh or both, or death sentence.The BJP government said since the provisions of the UP Excise Act, 1910, were old, it felt that if it brought in harsher punitive clauses, there can be “effective control” on trafficking and manufacturing of illicit liquor.The government argued the prevalence of illicit liquor not only caused harm to life but also dented the State’s excise revenue.The government has been failing to meet its target revenue over recent years and a major reason for it was the trafficking of illegal liquor from neighbouring states, in particular Haryana, a spokesperson said.In 2016-17 UP earned a revenue of Rs 14, 272 crore from excise.The measure would act as a deterrent, UP Excise Minister Jai Pratap Singh said.After Delhi and Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh will become the third state where bootleggers may be sent to the gallows if consumption of spurious liquor leads to loss of life.“Since the state legislature is not in session, an ordinance will be brought and when the House meets, a bill can be passed,” Mr Singh said.Through ordinanceHe explained that to curb the manufacture of spurious liquor, provisions of life imprisonment and death penalty will be incorporated in the existing law through the ordinance.The death penalty provision will be applied depending upon the intensity of the case, he said.The minister also said a new state excise policy was on the drawing board and would be ready in the next six months.Incidentally, on Wednesday, the state police apprehended a truck in Etah district and seized 350 cartons of liquor supplied from outside UP. The liquor was worth Rs 12 lakh.A 315 bore country pistol and two live cartridges were recovered from the truck driver, identified as Kalyan Singh, a police spokesperson said.Hooch tragedies take a heavy toll every year in Uttar Pradesh.In July, 17 people died in Azamgarh after they consumed spurious liquor. Earlier 28 people died in a similar tragedy in the Malihabad area of Lucknow in 2015.The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had taken cognisance of hooch deaths in Etah and Farrukhabad districts last year and issued notices to the State chief secretary and the director general of police.The NHRC intervened after over 30 people lost their lives in hooch tragedies in the districts.last_img read more

Nod to place amendments to Haryana Police Act-2007 in Assembly

first_imgThe Haryana Cabinet on Friday approved a proposal to place amendments to the Haryana Police Act, 2007, for consideration and deliberation in the State Assembly. The decision was taken at a meeting held here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.“The amendments are related to selection of Director General of Police and procedures related to removal of the DGP. A committee is proposed to be constituted under the Chief Secretary with the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) and Director General of Police, Haryana, as its members and Special Secretary (Home) as its Member Secretary,” said an official statement.The Cabinet also decided to constitute the State Social Security Board for the socio-economic development of unorganised workers in the State, which would be constituted under the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008.“The Board will recommend to the State government suitable schemes for unorganised sector workers and monitor such social welfare schemes. Besides, it would review and monitor the functions performed at the district level as well as the progress of registration and issue of cards to unorganised sector workers,” said the statement.last_img read more

Jitan Ram Manjhi says party will go it alone in 2020 election

first_imgFormer Bihar Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) president Jitan Ram Manjhi said here on Friday that the party would contest the next Assembly election on its own. Mr. Manjhi alleged that the NDA and the grand alliance had let down his party during the previous elections. The next Assembly election in Bihar is due in November 2020.“Both the NDA and the grand alliance had cheated us in elections… so my party men have suggested that we contest the next Assembly polls in the State on our own,” Mr. Manjhi told presspersons soon after launching the party’s membership drive in Patna. “Whatever seats we win would be our own and on our strength,” he said. Out of the State’s 40 Lok Sabha seats, Mr. Manjhi’s party contested three — as a member of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) — and drawn a blank. “My party was given three seats in last parliamentary elections but only I, from Gaya (reserved) seat, was contesting as our party candidate as the other two seats had Congress and RJD candidates,” Mr. Manjhi said. “This decision had angered my party leaders and workers.” “Now, they [party leaders and workers] have suggested to contest the Assembly poll in 2020 on our own strength.”“Mr. Manjhi had not said that his party would come out of Mahagathbandhan… he has only said that his party would contest the next Assembly poll on its own,” an RJD leader said, declining to be identified.However, a leader of the ruling JD(U) took a dig at Mr. Manjhi’s statement. “RJD-led Mahagathbandhan is a sinking ship and it’s natural that its constituent parties would like to abandon this ship in next Assembly poll,” the leader asserted, speaking on condition of anonymity.last_img read more

Spotlight on Parks, NCAA stars as rookie hopefuls get tested

first_imgThe lesser known names aced test after test during Wednesday’s PBA Draft combine, but the spotlight was mostly on the three rookies expected to crowd the early picks: many-time Gilas Pilipinas member Ray Parks Jr., Lyceum star CJ Perez and San Beda standout Robert Bolick.Bong Ramos, whose Blackwater picks second in the Draft on Sunday and will have a shot at picking one of the three players, was all praises for Parks, but he isn’t taking his eyes off the two NCAA products either.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting ‘Suzuki Cup experience will make Azkals better’ LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Among those who topped the anthropometry tests were John Ragasa of Victoria Sports, who topped the shuttle run in 21.97 seconds and Joe Trinidad of FEU who ran the 3/4 court sprint in 3.25 seconds.Faundo logged the highest vertical leap with 33.29 inches, while Ateneo forward Dan Wong logged a jump height of 39.19 inches.Mapua guard CJ Isit recorded the fastest time in lane agility (11.2 seconds) and had an 84-percent result in the reaction test.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Lacson: 2019 budget delay due to P75-B House ‘insertion’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. center_img Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening “He’s a veteran,” said the Blackwater coach. “He has been playing as a professional. He’s had multiple stints (in different leagues) prior to Alab, too.”Parks had long deferred his entry to the PBA, putting him in a class that includes Bolick and Perez, who have dueled for the NCAA crown for the last two years.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chief“Robert has been a proven winner. He’s helped San Beda win multiple championships,” said Ramos. “CJ is very versatile as well.”Those outside of the top three picks, meanwhile, will look to fill an immediate need in their rosters. SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion MOST READ SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion “We’re looking for a really stable, reliable, legitimate point guard,” noted Louie Alas, whose Phoenix squad will pick twice in the first round (4th and 12th).Columbian will pick first during the Draft, which has in its pool the likes of Javee Mocon of San Beda, JP Calvo and Bong Quinto of Letran, Michael Calisaan of San Sebastian, Rob Manalang of Adamson, Adrian Wong of Ateneo,  Abu Tratter of La Salle, Paul Desiderio of UP, Jayjay Alejandro and Matt Salem of NU, Ron Dennison of FEU, and Jeepy Faundo of UST.Trevis Jackson, a Filipino-American out of Sacramento State, is looking to join the fray.NorthPort will make the third selection in event slated at Robinsons Manila. Meralco rounds out the top five.“I’m excited to see where I’m going, excited to see which teams want me and excited to play at this level,” said Parks, who has logged tours of duty with the national team, in the NBA D-League, and in the Asean Basketball League.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

PSG striker Neymar handed 3-match ban after clash with fan

first_imgNeymar won’t play again at the Parc des Princes this season. The Paris Saint-Germain striker was given a three-game ban on Friday for lashing out at a fan following a loss in the French Cup final last month, a punishment that capped another disappointing season for the Brazilian.The French soccer federation’s disciplinary commission added a suspended two-match ban to its punishment.PSG said in a statement it finds the sanction “severe” and has decided with Neymar to appeal the decision.After Rennes beat PSG 6-5 on penalties following a 2-2 draw in the final at the Stade de France, Neymar reacted angrily to a fan who was filming and verbally goading players as they walked up the stairs to collect their runner-up medals. Neymar exchanged a few words with the supporter then raised his hand to him. It was unclear if Neymar made physical contact with him.Other PSG players, including Gianluigi Buffon and Marco Verratti, were verbally abused by the same person and ignored him.PSG coach Thomas Tuchel criticized Neymar for the spat and the Brazilian player later apologized.The ban starts Monday, ruling Neymar out of PSG’s last two league games. He can, however, play with the French champions at Angers on Saturday.The Brazil forward will also miss the Champions Trophy between the French champions and the French Cup winners on Aug. 3.Neymar has also been suspended for three games by UEFA for insulting the video review officials who awarded Manchester United’s stoppage-time penalty when PSG was eliminated from the Champions League in the last 16.advertisementNeymar became the most expensive player in the world when he moved from Barcelona to PSG for 222 million euros (about $250 million) in 2017. But his two seasons with the French champions have been quite disappointing in comparison with the huge expectations.Neymar, who is in the second year of a five-year deal with PSG, has missed large chunks of both seasons because of a right foot injury that ruled him out of big games. He has scored 50 goals in his 57 matches with PSG but was unable to help the club in its goal to win the Champions League, the main reason behind his arrival in Paris.Neymar injured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot last year and missed the return leg of his club’s last 16 Champions League game against Real Madrid. He was also absent for both matches against United because of a recurrence of the injury.PSG has lost at that stage of the tournament in three straight seasons.Also Read | Eden Hazard nets winning penalty as Chelsea reach Europa finalAlso Read | David Beckham handed 6-month driving ban for using phone at wheellast_img read more

Richard Hannon ready to lead charge for Champions Day with Barney Roy

first_imgHorse racing Reuse this content Topics … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Support The Guardian Share on Twitter news Horse racing tips Fortunately for the trainer he can go to Flat racing’s end-of-term show on Saturday with a live chance thanks to the classy Barney Roy, a winner at Royal Ascot in June and now 5-1 third-favourite for the Qipco Champion Stakes. “He is the horse your year is judged on. You can have 600 winners, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t have those Group winners or a Group One horse, then you’re not taking part in races on Champions Day.”All but unknown at the start of the year, Barney Roy came within inches of landing a second top-class prize in the summer, when pipped by Ulysses in the Eclipse. He has earned his berth in the biggest of 200 boxes at Hannon’s yard here in Wiltshire, which the trainer describes as “the honeymoon suite. Two boxes knocked together, with Sky and a mini-bar.“He’ll go to Ascot in great nick having had a break. He’s fresh, he’s a very exciting horse. Ride him a little bit differently and anything can happen.”That difference is necessary because Hannon feels his colt got caught in a scrap too early in his most recent race, at York in August, and helped set up another success for Ulysses, who had raced with more restraint. Barney Roy’s recent work has been aimed at helping him to settle off the pace and his trainer seems satisfied that it has paid off.Hannon exudes something like relief now he has another star on the premises. Memories have started to fade of the brilliant animals that helped launch his career, such as Toronado, Olympic Glory and Sky Lantern. Barney Roy keeps his trainer in the news and helps him continue moving the stable away from its former modus operandi, established by his father, of stockpiling precocious juveniles. Share on WhatsApp Share on Messenger Talking Horses: Relishing a star-filled Champions Day plus Tuesday tipscenter_img “Invariably those quick, sharp two-year-olds, their season is over by July. So you’re looking for those classier horses over a mile, maybe even a mile and a quarter. They’re worth more, they earn more and there’s much more longevity in them as racing prospects. A lot of these sharp two-year-olds, June, July, it’s finished, they’re badly handicapped and you end up longing for the end of the year to come, whereas now the year is stretching out nicely, we’ve still got some nice two-year-olds to run,” he said.Richard Hannon Sr, now four years into semi-retirement, is still involved and turns up in the office most days at 6.30am, his son reports. “And he has a Saturday club, all his mates come up and they sit in there from about half 10, have a drink and whinge about everything in racing, what idiots we all are. He loves it still.“A lot of people, they come up to me now and they go: ‘How’s your dad?’” adds Hannon Jr, putting on a voice of cloying sympathy. “Like he’s sitting in the corner, dribbling in a chair. He’s absolutely bouncing. He is flying, believe me. He’ll be there on Saturday, hopefully.”Wednesday’s tips, by Chris CookNottingham1.30 Msayyan 2.00 Imaginative 2.30 Hadith 3.05 Polar Light (nap) 3.35 Jupiter Light (nb) 4.05 Satisfy 4.40 African Friend 5.15 WotadollLingfield1.50 Puchita 2.20 Baileys Excel 2.55 Yabass 3.25 Dashing Poet 3.55 Stylish Dancer 4.30 Monteamiata 5.05 Logi 5.35 ClementoWetherby2.10 Amadeus Rox 2.45 Minella Aris 3.15 Alfiboy 3.45 Monbeg River 4.20 No Planning 4.55 Little Pop 5.25 UtilityKempton5.45 Cove Beach 6.15 Lady Joanna Vassa 6.45 Fille De Reve 7.15 Beautiful Artist 7.45 Last Voyage 8.15 First Dance 8.45 Soghan 9.15 Chough Read more Read more Share on Pinterest Share via Email Share on LinkedIn If there were any doubt about how much the souped-up Ascot version of Champions Day has come to mean to racing professionals, Richard Hannon killed it stone dead here by raising the memory of last year, when he had no runner on the card. “I went racing anyway and walked round like this with my head down for the whole day. I thought: ‘I hope no one sees me here and asks me what I’m running.’“I basically just went for lunch and it was a little bit embarrassing. But it’s the way it should be; runners on that day should be very special and it should be about the top, top-class horses. If I didn’t have a runner, I’d still be there to watch the race. It will be fantastic, even more fantastic if we win it.” Since you’re here… Share on Facebook The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coveragelast_img read more

Photos: Concession Prices Revealed For Tonight’s National Title Game

first_imgA general view during the first quarter of the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers at Raymond James Stadium.TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 09: A general view during the first quarter of the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)The national championship is finally here, and it appears the concession stands at Levi’s Stadium will take full advantage of the matchup between Alabama and Clemson.Alabama is searching for its second consecutive title, meanwhile Clemson is looking to avenge its loss to the Crimson Tide from last season.Watching these two programs battle this evening should be worth the price of admission. However, it’s hard to defend the prices for food and drinks at the stadium.Football and food go together perfectly, but fans might have to monitor the amount of money they will spend tonight. With prices relatively high for this game, Levi’s Stadium could see an excellent profit in concession sales.Although most fans at football games usually purchase a beer or two, it’ll be hard to cough up $12 for each round.Here are some of the concession prices for tonight:Nothing says ⁦@CFBPlayoff⁩ like $14 draft beers— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) January 7, 2019Even the healthier options come with a hefty price tag.Concession items at tonight’s game. Can’t get more California than the final two items.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 7, 2019With kickoff just around the corner, fans should be filing in at Levi’s Stadium.Hopefully Clemson and Alabama give the football world an entertaining game that comes down to the wire.last_img read more

Shop Now: Shinola Opens New Brooklyn Store

first_img How to Thrift Like a Pro: Tips for Making the Most of Secondhand Style The Best New-School Kentucky Distilleries Sleep With the Wolves in Canada’s Parc Omega Walking into any Shinola store is a special experience. Walking into the new Shinola store in Brooklyn takes that experience to a new level. It’s the lauded American company’s first venture into the borough and for lovers of handsome, stylish and timeless goods, it’s a must-visit.The new store opening joins the brand’s other NYC location in Tribeca, and comes as the company expands its presence worldwide — continuing to make stellar watches and leather goods in the process. Other notable shops include locations in downtown L.A. and London, but the Brooklyn location boasts an environment all its own.Shinola stores are more than just an outpost for the brand’s crisply designed watches and handsome accessories  — everything from slim wallets to leather bags have a home in a Shinola shop. It’s this approach that has turned the brand into a lifestyle destination for the style-conscious shopper — and it means the Shinola shop in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood will feature everything from a new Smile To Go cafe location, to the brand’s custom watch bar (the Willard Program). The 360-degree effort reflects the Shinola mindset from the brand’s beginnings, Creative Director Daniel Caudill said.“The stores were meant to show … what our world looked like,” Caudill said in the days leading up to the shop’s mid-April opening. Housed in a beautiful brick building on a cobblestone street, it’s the perfect location for the brand, which strives to incorporate the “same elements, but a slightly different feel” in every shop, Caudill said. To that end, the brand worked with NYC-based Gachot Studios to craft a location that feels refined-yet-accessible — great news if you’re in need of a watch, a journal, a subtly stylish pen or a summer-ready leather bag.To be sure, the Brooklyn shop offers all the goods that a design fan could want. That includes beautiful turntables, head-turning wall clocks made in collaboration with GE, and newer pieces like the historically inspired Jackie Robinson capsule, part of the brand’s Great Americans Series.And the brand isn’t done yet. In keeping with its new “Roll Up Our Sleeves” campaign, Shinola is getting to work and has plans to open stores in locations as varied as NYC’s SoHo neighborhood and Denver this year alone.Shoppers are guaranteed a unique experience — and some very high-quality goods — no matter where they go, Caudill said.“They’ll all feel a little different,” he said. “We’re really diverse in every location.”If you haven’t caught on yet, that means there are plenty more Shinola stores worth visiting — grab your Shinola watch and hit the road. Mountain Hardwear Is Bringing Augmented Reality to the Great Outdoors How to Make a Rum Old Fashioned Editors’ Recommendations last_img read more

Snow Cleats are the Key to Trekking Safely During Icy Conditions

first_img The Absolute Worst Movies to Watch with a Date Editors’ Recommendations The Best Documentaries on Netflix Right Now No matter how athletic you think you are or how great you think your boot traction may be, when winter storms hit and a two-inch layer of ice covers the ground, you’ll want a pair of snow cleats to keep you upright.Sure, a great pair of winter boots will insulate and protect your feet, but nothing compares to snow cleats when you’re looking to stabilize your balance while trekking on ice.For the winter adventurer in all of us, we’ve rounded up a diverse selection of strap-on snow cleats to help you keep your balance secure.Stabilicers Walk – $22Stabilicers offers a plethora of footwear protection in the form of overshoes, spikes, and snow strides to get you through those sub-zero conditions without a slip. For everyday use, we suggest the Stabilicers Walk, a basic design for anyone who wants unbeatable traction on both snow and gravel. The pliable construction slips easily over most shoes.However, depending on your activity, you have the option to upgrade. Whether you need cleats running shoes, hiking, over even the most rugged terrain, Stabilicers has you covered. Do you have a pair of L.L. Bean boots that need extra grip? STABILicers designed a pair of Bean Traxx.See ThemYaktrax Icetrekkers – $42Yaktrax also has a wide array of choices for keeping your behind off the ground, Whether you need casual protection or heavy-duty reinforcement, Yaktrax offers assured safety in icy conditions. Our recommendation for reliability and all-purpose use would be the ICEtrekkers, packed with Yaktrax “diamond grip” technology. These cold weather companions  easily attach to a variety of footwear for enhanced traction on winter explorations.See ThemKahtoola Microspikes – $70Kahtoola is somewhat of a pioneer in the winter traction game. The Microspikes come loaded with stainless steel spikes and welded chains for unrivaled support in icy, outdoor conditions, whether you’re trekking through seemingly impossible backcountry trails or slippery sidewalks. These may be the most reliable on our snow cleats roundup, but they are also the most expensive. Just make sure you take these puppies off when going inside.See ThemDue North Everyday G3 – $14-$32Due North has redesigned their snow cleats for sneakers, which now come packed with a 360-degree spike pattern that provides more lateral grip. So, for your light-intensity activities in the snow — such as shoveling the driveway, a daily commute, or running errands around town — these spikes are a reliable and affordable. Due North also offers all-purpose aid for other winter footwear styles, like boots.See Them Expert Pitmaster Tips on How to Smoke a Brisket at Home The Best Pillows Designed With Stomach Sleepers In Mind 10 Classic Vodka Cocktail Recipes You Can Mix at Home last_img read more

Nova Scotia preprimary classes will be up and running by end of

first_imgHALIFAX – A key campaign promise by Nova Scotia Liberals will be fulfilled when the expansion of pre-primary classes for four-year-olds is up and running by the end of the week, says Education Minister Zach Churchill.Churchill said Monday that a full complement of early childhood educators — 102 — had been hired to teach in all 50 classes in 43 locations across the province. Churchill announced in July that 30 new classes would be added to 20 existing classes.The minister, who made the announcement at a pre-primary class in the Halifax suburb of Lower Sackville, said another two classes would also open within the first two weeks of October, bringing the total number of classes this year to 52.He said 818 children had been enrolled for the play-based pre-primary program.“So I would encourage parents to participate as this program gets expanded because it’s free and it’s going to be positive for their children,” he said in an interview.Churchill said the next step is a consultation process later this fall with the private non-profit sector, during which the groundwork will be laid for phase two of the rollout, which will tentatively see another 70 classes added to the system next September.He says the startup cost for the initial 52 classes is $6.5 million — or about $125,000 per class. The program is to be introduced across the province over the next four years at a cost of $49.9 million a year.First announced in April, the speed of government’s rollout following the May 30 election has been criticized by political foes who have called for a delay and by the early child care sector, which expressed doubts that enough qualified staff would be found.“I know that people were wondering why we were so ambitious with our timeline,” said Churchill. “It’s really that we wanted to make sure that kids in this learning cohort had access to these programs this year.”Churchill said any providers hurt by the government’s program would get help in recruiting workers, although he believes there will be enough to go around. He said there are currently 2,400 early childhood educators who are registered to work in Nova Scotia, with about 1,600 employed by the private and non-profit sector.He said the fully staffed, government-funded pre-primary would need about 500 early childhood educators.“The labour market analysis is telling us there are enough early childhood educators registered here to fill the complete demand, but of course we don’t know if people will choose to enter into the field professionally that they studied in,” said Churchill.Lisa Davies, chair of the Non Profit Directors Association of Nova Scotia, said she’s surprised the government was able to find enough staff so quickly.“I hope that they are all fully trained … so that they can provide the best possible program for the children, especially in light of the quick start. You’re going to have to have some pretty skilled folks that can pick that kind of thing up off the ground and run with it.”Davies said her organization would have a better idea of whether there’s been any adverse impact to its workforce when it meets later this week.last_img read more

Sam Waterston Our Democracy Needs a WakeUp Call

first_imgActor Sam Waterston (Law & Order, The Newsroom) and Every Voice Center president and CEO Nick Nyhart penned a piece for MNBSC on why they are joining activists on their march from Philadelphia to DC calling for leaders in Washington to fix the broken democracy.Thousands more activists will meet the Democracy Spring marchers in DC for the Democracy Awakening April 16-18. Both efforts will use non-violent civil disobedience to call on Congress to ensure every American’s right to vote is protected, to take on big money in politics, and to consider the Supreme Court nominee.“Everyone knows it: Congress is dysfunctional,” they wrote on MSNBC. “Everyone knows a big part of the reason why is money in politics and the lack of election reform. That’s why we’re joining the Democracy Spring march this week as it passes through Baltimore on its way from Philadelphia to Washington. Please join us for part of the way or the whole trip. The time is now to give our Democracy a wake up call.“As Americans, we take pride in our values of democracy for all and government of, by, and for the people. Throughout the history of our nation, there has always been a struggle to broaden our democracy and form a more perfect union.“As part of the Democracy Spring, hundreds of Americans from all over the country are marching from Philadelphia, through Baltimore, to Washington, D.C., in a people-powered movement to demand change. Thousands more will converge on Washington, D.C., next week as part of the Democracy Awakening. Both efforts will use nonviolent civil disobedience to shake up business as usual on Capitol Hill.“We have the power to fix our system of government — yet we need more Americans to demand action from our leaders.“Together, we can show our political leaders that enough is enough. It’s time to push forward serious solutions that will restore power to everyday people in our democracy.”To read the full MSNBC piece and find out more, click here.last_img read more

Canadian grocers make 3M per year from pennyrounding UBC study

first_imgVANCOUVER – Grocery stores across the country are cashing in on the demise of the penny, according to a young researcher at the University of British Columbia.Third-year economics and mathematics student Christina Cheung has written a paper that says Canadian grocers are making $3.27 million per year from penny-rounding.Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the coin, and as a result, cash purchases are now rounded up or down to the nearest five-cent increment.Cheung wanted to know whether the change was benefiting shoppers or stores.“Penny-rounding always becomes a guessing game,” the 19-year-old explained. “It’s a fun guessing game because it might not hurt in the short run, looking at several cents, but in the long run, I wondered if this actually accumulates.”Curious, she decided to use her spare time outside of class to investigate.First, Cheung enlisted a friend and they spent about a month and a half documenting more than 18,000 prices at grocery stores, taking pictures of price tags and entering the data into a spreadsheet.They found that most prices ended in .99 or .98 — numbers that would result in bill totals being rounded up for cash transactions, if tax is not applied.Cheung took the data and used a computer simulator to create “grocery baskets” with various items. She adjusted different variables such as the numbers of items and amount of taxes, and factored in data from the Bank of Canada on what payment methods consumers are most likely to use.Cheung said her analysis found that grocery stores are profiting from penny-rounding.In the end, Canadian consumers don’t end up paying much extra, but the rounding on cash transactions can mean big money for grocery retailers across the country, with each store standing to collect $157 per year, Cheung said.In October, a paper Cheung wrote on the research won a competition for the best undergraduate student paper at the International Atlantic Economic Society’s conference in Montreal. Her study is slated to be published next June in the Atlantic Economic Journal.The Retail Council of Canada disagrees with Cheung’s findings, said Karl Littler, the group’s vice president of public affairs.The study’s methods don’t reflect real grocery baskets or take into account the impacts of various provincial taxes on bill totals, he said, noting that the average grocery bill is $53 and consists of a larger number of items than Cheung’s simulated baskets included.Littler said the council’s members have reported anecdotally that penny-rounding is about 50-50, with half of the bill totals being rounded up and benefiting stores, and the other half being rounded down and benefiting consumers.“There’s no nefarious plan here to scoop pennies,” he said.Cheung said she isn’t looking to demonize Canada’s grocery industry, and simply wanted to look at an issue that affects most Canadians on a daily basis.Her work on penny-rounding was all done outside of class time as a labour of love, which Cheung said really surprised her professors.“Tying research with application is what I love to do,” she said.— Follow @gkarstenssmith on TwitterNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misspelled Christina Cheung’s last name.last_img read more

For Prada black nylon is a safe haven in a storm

first_imgMILAN – With social and political crises unsettling the globe, Milan Fashion Week was all about slogans this season. “Time For Change” has been a particularly dominant catchphrase, one the fashion world can expect to see branded across sweatshirts, waistbands and accessories next fall and winter.The ubiquity of the expression does not necessarily denote consensus around the message it’s designed to convey. For some, it means back to roots. Others intend it as a call for respect.But the overall implication seems to be a rejection of the status quo, which really isn’t surprising in fashion.Naturally, Miuccia Prada is the outlier. Prada eschewed words because they have become empty. Where they appeared on prints in her new looks, words were meaningless.The second day of Milan Fashion Week of mostly menswear previews for Fall-Winter 2018-19 opened with youthful designers focused on urban street wear that tries to capture the zeitgeist of Millennial consumers.Here are some highlights from Sunday’s shows, including Prada, Dirk Bikkembergs, MSGM and DSquared2:___PRADA’S STRANGE PACKAGESIn challenging times, it is not unusual to seek the familiar. For Miuccia Prada, there is comfort in black nylon.The designer generously employs her favoured material in her pieces for the next cold weather season, padding them and applying them in protective layers.The boxy shapes for men and women appear to conceal the wearer in a unisex vein, but it is all for naught: Identity badges suggested a form of surveillance in the runway scenario. That sense of excessive control transforms into a political statement once the garments are on the rack and available to consumers.“I think we are in a moment when these aspects of control are very relevant,” the designer said after the show.Despite the collection’s utilitarian nature creating a sort of uniform of anoraks, jackets, caps, straight trousers and skirts, Prada said she also wanted to convey elegance.Beyond the dystopian looks, she included tourist-grade short-sleeved knits, or wild print short-shirt combos for men, and slit-skirt suits in bright tones paired with open-toe heels and long leather gloves for women.Prada enlisted architects to design new accessories, including a padded front pack that could stand in as a form of body amour, and a utility tool apron. Artists came up with the prints, including burning bananas and meaningless strings of words.“Now they no longer represent concepts, but they are pure decoration,” she said.The runway show was in a newly repurposed industrial building near the Prada Foundation contemporary art space. Unusually shaped and labeled crates were stacked along the walls. Prada promised they concealed strange things “that are preparing for some strange transformation.”The narrow aisles created a sense of disorientation as the fashionistas struggled to find their seats. That seemed an apt metaphor for the state of the world.“We don’t know where we are going, which is of course scary, of course interesting. Because I feel big changes are happening,” the designer said. “Some people say beauty will save the world. I think the world will be saved by intelligence, humanity and generosity. And possibly love. But of course the esthetic can help, a little help, if you can afford it.”___MSGM GOES TO BACK TO BASICSMilan university students served as both models and inspiration for the new MSGM collection. Taking their cue, brand founder Massimo Giorgetti found himself making an unexpected turn toward the dapper with hints of classic Milanese styling.“I studied the attitude of these guys, and it is less street wear than usual without losing modernity,” Giorgetti said. “Some are very, very elegant. The concept of elegant Milan, Italy, needs to be restudied also by a brand like mine. There’s an evolution going on.”The silhouette veered toward the everyday, neither too slim nor oversized. Looks included snazzy suits with zip-up jackets in pink or red worn with ties, as well as plaid trousers paired with cardigans and jumpsuits. Giorgetti collaborated with Eastpak on a series of graphic printed backpacks and travel bags.The designer emblazoned the collection with phrases of graffiti he collected from the desks, tables and restrooms of Milan’s universities. They included “Tempo per cambiare,” Italian for “Time for Change,” along with the Italian phonetic rendering of “I love you” as “hailoveiu.”Here, “Time for Change” clearly meant honouring roots and not looking abroad for validation.“They are very serious, very clever and very positive,” the designer said of the Milan students he worked with. “And they love their country.”___DUTCH MUSINGS AT DIRK BIKKEMBERGSDutch style, painting and design were all reflected in Lee Wood’s latest collection for Belgian label Dirk Bikkembergs.And in keeping with the down-to-earth Dutch nature, the collection was full of necessary items. A rain-resistant technical down coat was worn with tailored pants for an urban look merging sportswear with sartorial tradition.“A man needs to be authentic,” Woods said backstage. “We have a thousand things to do and life goes on. They are not heavy garments. They are basics, things we need.”The dark palette of navy blue, black and grey was inspired by paintings in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and included contrasts of deep cerulean blue, vermillion red and saffron yellow. The mixing of materials, such as in a nylon parka with a wool back panel and knit waistband, drew from a Rotterdam architectural institute. Straps on pockets echoed the ones on leather footwear.Wood said he was drawn to the Netherlands by coincidence. The models he was selecting came from there and the music a DJ played at casting sessions was Dutch.“I said I think I have to go, and visit this world,” he said.___WESTERN DOINGS AT DSQUARED2Model Bella Hadid bookended the runway show for DSquared2, the label of Canadian twins Dean and Dan Caten, opening as a cowgirl in plaid over denim and closing as a chic hippie in a tiered handkerchief gown worn with a big fur coat.DSquared2 adhered to the recent Milan trend of combining the men’s and women’s shows, scheduling theirs during the less hectic January round focusing on menswear.Red plaid emerged as the prevailing print in the Western-themed collection. The mood ranged from a little bit country to a little bit rockabilly to a little bit hippie chic. Oversized knitwear served as tableaus for western scenes.Any classic cowboy would feel at ease in the suede coat with sheepskin linings, while leather vests layered over flowing white peasant shirts for men or dresses for women gave an edge to the usual boho styling.The accessories of the season: big Double-D belt buckles and sequin neck scarves for men, or shiny sequin cuffs for him or her.____MEDITATIVE DESIGNS AT SARTORIAL MONKSabato Russo isn’t your usual designer making his Milan runway debut, supported by the Italian Fashion Chamber. He has decades of experience behind him, first as a model, and then working in the fashion industry in Japan and New York.“I was tired of making money and making clothes,” Russo said backstage. After taking time off to reflect, he returned to the business with his own brand, Sartorial Monk. In keeping with the name, his Milan debut collection can aptly be described as meditative.The looks appear simple to the eye, but are full of detail like Middle Eastern draping, that belie a complexity. The pieces seemed to envelop the models.The show opened in silence, with a model, the actress Violeta Sanchez, walking deliberately in high heels clicking on the runway, wearing a long camel coat over a printed silk velvet dress. The models that followed walked barefoot, giving a Zen sense to the simple flowing pieces: a slate double-breasted jacket over wide, pleated cotton trousers for him, or cropped tailored jackets worn with long clinging skirts for her. While the first half of the collection was more sartorial, the second part was more relaxed and loungey, with long, cozy knitwear and soft velvets.“It is simple, but it is never simple,” Russo said. “I think somebody who has personality can wear this. I don’t try to embellish.”___AMERICAN GOTHIC AT PALM ANGELSThe fashion crowd is this trusting. They filed up a narrow staircase in an apparently abandoned building, then down several levels, past the sort of laser lighting that jewel thieves navigate to their booty, and into a dark barren basement.It was there that Francesco Ragazzi unveiled his latest looks for Palm Angels. And the fashionistas nary batted an eye at the first look: a red plaid shirt with jeans and parka made alarming by the black facemask with nails sticking out. The accessory was calmly described as “studded baclavas” in the notes, but if it is any comfort, they are more likely a runway gimmick than a commercial proposition.Tartan and spikes clashed with Western themes and prints of the Grant Wood painting “American Gothic,” as punk clashed with Middle American values.“Palm Angels takes iconic American tropes and puts them out of context, fertilizes them with unexpected insertions, lets them grow and calls the result Neo Classic America,” the brand said in notes.last_img read more

Man stabs elderly father to death

first_imgKolkata: A 74-year-old man was stabbed to death by his son on Wednesday night at Solua near Chinar Park. The accused person, identified as Sabyasachi Mukherjee, was arrested by the officers of Airport police station.The deceased, Suniti Kumar Mukherjee, (74) used reside with his son Sabyasachi in a flat in Solua. On Wednesday, during late night, the building security guard heard someone crying in Room No. 105 of the building. He knocked on the door repeatedly but no one responded. He informed the security in charge who later informed police. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersThe police found Suniti lying in a pool of blood in the drawing room. He was rushed to a private hospital near Haldirams where doctors declared him brought dead. Later, police came to know that Sabyasachi had stabbed him with a knife over some dispute. Sources informed that relation between father and son was not heathy. Sabyasachi used to work as a teacher with a hotel management institute but was jobless at present. When police went to his flat he was found him in drunken state. He will be produced before the Barasat Court on Friday.last_img read more

US Ford to shut three factories stop making passenger cars in Russia

first_imgMoscow: US carmaker Ford will close three of the four factories of its Russian joint venture after deciding to stop making passenger cars in a country where car sales have slumped in recent years, the company said Wednesday. Ford said in a statement that it has signed a preliminary agreement with its local partner Sollers on “a significant restructuring of its… joint venture in Russia, focusing exclusively on growing its commercial vehicle business moving forward.” Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe joint venture “will discontinue its passenger vehicle portfolio in Russia to help deliver a more competitive and sustainably profitable business going forward,” Ford said. Ford, based in the US state of Michigan, said that by the end of June this year it will close its vehicle assembly plants in the northwestern city of Saint Petersburg and the city of Naberezhnye Chelny in Tatarstan, central Russia. It will also close an engine plant in Yelabuga in Tatarstan that opened in 2015. Sollers will have a 51 per cent stake in the restructured joint venture. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostCurrently the factories produce seven models including the Ford Transit van. Ford said that the “Russian passenger vehicle market has been under significant pressure in recent years, with recovery slower than expected and a shift to lower priced passenger vehicle segments.” The carmaker said that this led to “underutilisation” of factories and “inadequate returns on invested capital,” although sales of the Ford Transit continue to grow, with a 15 per cent share of the market segment. Following a period of growth and massive investment by global carmakers, Russia’s car market collapsed between 2013 and 2016, whiplashed by international sanctions over the Ukraine conflict and a crash in global oil prices. New car sales, a key indicator of consumer confidence, fell by more than half during that period. However sales of new cars in Russia rose in 2018 for a second year running, but slowed in February this year. ptilast_img read more

Ban Kimoon condemns massacre of civilians in DR Congo

“This latest atrocity underscores once again the need to resolve the problem of armed Congolese and foreign militia operating in the territory of the DRC,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.He urged “the Government of the DRC and the international community to work together in creating professional security forces capable of defending the security and human rights of the people of the DRC.” According to the UN mission in the country, known as MONUC, during the night of 26-27 May, 19 civilians – including women and children – were killed when the villages of Nyabuluze and Muhungu were subject to unprovoked attacks. The massacre was reportedly perpetrated by machete-wielding members of the Rasta and Forces democratiques de liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) militia.Notes were left on the bodies of their victims, in which the attackers claimed that these atrocities were in reprisals to the operations led against them by the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC), MONUC said.The mission also said that the perpetrators attempted to raid Chihamba, a third village in the same area, a patrol of UN Pakistani peacekeepers opened fire, forcing them to flee into the nearby forests and preventing further deaths.Media reports that a dozen abductees have been killed remain unconfirmed, and the UN said that almost 30 people who were injured in the attacks are hospitalized in the towns of Kaniola and Walungu, where families close to the targeted villages have sought refuge.The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Ross Mountain, also strongly condemned the brutal attacks, declaring that “the entire humanitarian community is appalled and outraged by these brutal murders and condemns all violence committed against civilians by armed groups.”On Monday, a rapid response team – comprising staff from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the non-governmental organization the International Rescue Committee – went to the town of Kaniola.The team investigated the security situation and the magnitude of the population displacement caused by the recent violence, which the mission confirmed has sparked panic among the civilian population. Not just people from the vicinity of the attacks, but also those far from the immediate area have fled their homes, the team noted.“Since Sunday night, we are witnessing new population movements every day,” Mr. Mountain said. He added that ‘night commuting’ is on the rise. “Terrified civilians return to their villages or to their fields on the hills to check on their harvests. Before nightfall, they hurry back to urban centres and spend the night with host families or in community centres,” he said.Mr. Mountain underscored that it is the responsibility of the Government of the DRC to protect all of its citizens.Humanitarian agencies in the region expect long-term displacements of people due to the massacre, and stressed the urgent need for medical supplies to help the injured, according to OCHA. More evaluation missions are required to identify the needs of those displaced. 30 May 2007United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today condemned in the strongest possible terms the recent massacre of civilians in the war-ravaged east in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), calling on those responsible to be brought to justice. read more

SecretaryGeneral welcomes reported release of deposed Mauritanian leader

“He also welcomes the removal of other restrictions imposed on him since he was deposed in a coup d’état on 6 August 2008,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement issued last night.Mr. Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was elected President after multi-party democratic elections last year. The overthrow of his Government received wide condemnation, including from Mr. Ban and the United Nations Security Council.“The Secretary-General reiterates his call for the prompt restoration of constitutional order in Mauritania in the interest of peace and respect for the rule of law in the country,” the statement added. Since August, Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, has been trying to help restore constitutional order in the country. 22 December 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the reported release from house arrest of the President of Mauritania, Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, who was overthrown by the country’s military in August, and called for the restoration of constitutional order as soon as possible. read more

Ontario business groups raise concerns about provinces planned labour reforms

TORONTO — The Ontario government’s plan for major labour reforms would have significant side effects that would put 185,000 jobs at risk, a coalition of business groups said Monday in releasing part of its analysis on the proposed legislation.The economic analysis commissioned by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition found that Ontario businesses stand to take a $23-billion hit within two years of the implementation of Bill 148, largely due to a minimum wage increase.The coalition, which includes groups such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Council of Canada, said the changes proposed in the bill would force employers to find creative ways to cut costs, such as hiring less and increasing automation.“The changes presented in Bill 148 will have dramatic unintended consequences that include putting close to 200,000 jobs at risk and seeing everyday consumer goods and services increase by thousands of dollars for each and every family in Ontario,” said Karl Baldauf, a spokesman for the coalition.He said the reforms are “too much, too soon,” echoing concerns expressed by business groups since the minimum wage increase was announced.Key figures of the analysis were made public Monday and more findings are expected to be released in the weeks and months to come, the group said.The proposed legislation would, among other things, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, require equal pay for part-time workers and expand personal emergency leave.The bill would boost the minimum wage, which is currently set to rise with inflation from $11.40 an hour to $11.60 in October, up to $14 on Jan. 1, 2018, and $15 the following year.“Making $15 an hour is great but only if you have a job,” Baldauf said.Ontario’s Ministry of Labour said it was reviewing the findings, but noted the study is one among many.“Many businesses across the province have come out in support of our plan because it helps them attract employees, reduces their labour turnover and encourages employees to become more invested in the business,” Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said in a statement.The government is committed to working with the business community and recognizes it has concerns, the minister said.“That being said, we will not back down from our plan to bring fairness to Ontarians,” he said. “We will remain in the corner of those families who are counting on these supports.”Premier Kathleen Wynne has said she is working on ideas to support Ontario businesses through major labour reforms, but has yet to say exactly what form this relief would take. Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid has also suggested the province was looking at reducing other costs for businesses to help them cope with the labour changes.The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a national think tank, said the numbers released Monday represent a worst-case scenario that research suggests is unlikely to pan out.David Macdonald, the centre’s senior economist, said similar predictions have been made in other jurisdictions ahead of minimum-wage hikes but there has in fact been “little impact on employment.”He also said the analysis doesn’t reflect that employees earning more will also spend more, or that businesses will see gains in productivity and save on training costs by better retaining their staff.“Those pieces balance themselves out,” he said.The Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis conducted the study, which examines the impact of six key areas of reform, namely changes to the minimum wage, equal pay provisions, vacation, scheduling, personal emergency leave and unionization.The centre said both current and potential new jobs would be at risk in the first two years of the plan. It projects the number of jobs will be 2.4 per cent lower under the proposed legislation.Small business owners will be more affected, as will women, who are more likely to hold lower-paying jobs, said Paul Smetanin, the organization’s president.The coalition said labour reforms should be introduced more gradually but did not recommend a particular timeline.It also renewed its calls for the government to conduct an economic analysis of its own. read more

Bonn UN conference closes with renewed urgency for greater ambition to tackle

COP23: Concrete Climate Action Commitments As the UN Climate Change Conference comes down to the last day and governments work to complete the final negotiation decisions, it’s good to be reminded of the new wave of climate action that has been announced during COP23 from countries, cities, states, regions, business and civil society Read more »Businesses and other non-government partners have in turn made commitments to focus on powering their operations without coal. The 19 Member countries of the ‘Biofuture Platform,’ including Brazil, China, Egypt, France, India, Morocco, Mozambique, also announced on Thursday formal agreement on the development of targets for biofuels and to construct an action plan to achieve them. “Sustainable biofuels can provide solutions to the energy transport nexus. This partnership offers us that chance,”said Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and CEO, Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All). Among other initiatives announced during the Conference, a global initiative was launched Tuesday with the aim of providing insurance to hundreds of millions of vulnerable people by 2020 and to increase the resilience of developing countries against the impacts of climate change. The ‘InsuResilience’ Global Partnership is a major scaling-up of an initiative started by the G7 in 2015 under the German Presidency. The Conference took place one year after the entry into force of the Paris Agreement. The Agreement, which was adopted by the 196 Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015, calls on countries to combat climate change by limiting the rise of global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius and strive not to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius. Today, 170 Parties have ratified the treaty. The Conference, which was attended by some 27.000, took place in a sobering context of alarming scientific reports of climatic changes. A week before the opening of the Conference, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere surged at “record-breaking speed” to new highs in 2016. COP23 will be followed by a series of summits and conferences on climate change which are scheduled ahead of the UN Climate Summit in September 2019, including the ‘One Planet summit’ to be convened by France next month and focusing on financing, a gathering in California, bringing together non-State actors, and the COP24 in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018. Brazil has offered to host COP25 in 2019. The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) wrapped up on Friday in Bonn, Germany, with delegations expressing a renewed sense of urgency and a need for greater ambition to tackle climate change. Participants focused on how to maintain momentum two years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change in the context of the recent announcement by the United States of its decision to withdraw from the accord. At COP23, cities and local governments, including American cities and states, intensified their push to achieve the goals set out in Paris. The Conference, which ran from 6 to 17 November, was chaired by Fiji, an island State particularly affected by the impacts of climate change. The Fiji Presidency announced an agreement on a Gender Action Plan, highlighting the role of women in climate action. Apart from negotiations among Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), several new climate action initiatives, commitments and partnerships were announced by States and non-State actors in the areas of energy, water, agriculture, oceans and coastal areas, human settlements, transportation, industry, and forests. Climate finance and climate resilience were also at the center of the discussions at the conference. More than 20 countries, including the Canada, Finland, France, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, launched a new global coal alliance aimed at achieving the rapid phase-out of existing traditional coal power and at placing a moratorium on any new traditional coal power stations without operational carbon capture and storage. read more