Former Punjab Minister fails to surrender in rape case

first_imgShiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Sucha Singh Langah, who was booked for allegedly raping a woman since 2009, is yet to surrender before the court even though he had promised to do so on Saturday.The Gurdaspur police on Friday lastfiled a case under Sections 376 (rape), 384 (extortion), 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC against the former Minister, following a complaint by a woman, who alleged that the Akali leader had repeatedly raped her on several occasions since 2009.Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police Jatinder Singh Mand told The Hindu that Mr. Langah had not yet surrendered. Investigation was under way and police teams were looking for the accused. The police said the victim had provided them a video of Mr. Langah allegedly raping her.Political vendettaAsserting that the allegation against him was a “classic case of political vendetta”, Mr. Langah had on Friday said that he has faith in judiciary and would surrender before the court on Saturday.Following the FIR, Mr. Langah, a member of SAD’s core committee, resigned from all party posts. Later, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal accepted his resignation.He also quit the membership of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).Mr. Langah hit out at the Congress party, alleging the case against him was a classic example of political vendetta perpetuated at the most political opportune moment when the byelection of the Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency is just round the corner.“The political witchhunt has started with the announcement of Gurdaspur byelection. I, along with my party colleagues, have met Punjab Director General of Police in August and complained against police officials who had registered false cases against Akali workers and leaders. Since then the State machinery and particularly the district police is hell bent on framing me in false cases in order to please their political bosses,” he said in a statement.“This episode shows the vendetta politics of unknown proportions that the Congress party believes in,” he added.last_img read more

HJM tells schools not to celebrate Christmas

first_imgHindu Jagran Manch has asked schools in Aligarh not to celebrate Christmas. Sonu Savita, president of the Aligarh unit of HJM, said the celebration by Christian schools was “essentially a ploy to lure and convert Hindu children.” “I want to clarify here that we are not against Christians celebrating Christmas. But we do have a problem when a Christian festival is forced on Hindu children,” Mr. Savita told The Hindu. “This is completely unacceptable.”He said these schools survived only because of Hindu students. “No school has a majority of Christian students. So why do these schools where Hindu students are in majority celebrate Christmas?” The State secretary of HJM Sanju Bajaj confirmed the diktat. He said HJM volunteers were running an “awareness campaign” among the parents whose children studied in Christian schools. He said the HJM and other Hindutva groups would hold protests outside the schools if they “forced” Hindu children to celebrate Christmas. Pramod Singh of the Christian Legal Association told The Hindu that threats like these were an attempt to make minorities second class citizens. Many Aligarh based civil society group like Muslim Forum have approached SSP of Aligarh Rajesh Pandey against the HJM’s diktat. The SSP, however, said the police were not aware of such a threat, but would take action against elements who take the law into their own hands.last_img read more

Maharashtra industries’ body to hit the streets against high power bills

first_imgDemanding a rollback of the hike in power tariff for industrial use, the Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (MACCIA), the apex industries’ body in the State, has called on its representatives across the State to protest in front of the respective district collector’s office on February 12.Santosh Mandlecha, the president of MACCIA, said on Wednesday, “We demand that the hike in power tariff announced for industries from September 2018 should be cancelled and electricity rates for industrial use should be kept constant till March 2020 as per the decision of November 2016.” Mr. Mandlecha said the government would have to pay ₹3,400 crore to the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited to compensate for the change in tariff for the period from September 2018 to March 2020.According to industry representatives, even though the power tariff announced by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission is 3% to 6%, the lack of a power factor incentive and a penalty applied has caused electricity bills of industrial units to go up by 20% to 25%.According to Pratap Hogade, president, Maharashtra Electricity Consumer Organisation, the increase in power tariff is directly affecting the industrial and economic growth of the State. “Ideally, the rise in electricity use from 2011-12 to present should have been 40%, but it stands at around only 10%. This also reflects that industrial growth hasn’t been very encouraging,” Mr. Hogade said.The MACCIA representatives from across the State will meet district-wise MLAs, MPs and other elected representatives to submit the memorandum of demands. A detailed letter will be sent to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the Energy Minister Chandrashekar Bawankule. “We will burn copies of the power bills in front of the collector’s office on February 12,” Mr. Mandlecha said.last_img read more

NHRC Special Rapporteur to probe farmer deaths

first_imgThe National Human Rights Commission has directed its East Zone Special Rapporteur to conduct a detail enquiry into incidents of farmers taking their own lives in Odisha.Retired IPS officer B.B. Mishra, Special Rapporteur for West Bengal, Odisha and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, has been asked to submit a report by next month. Rights activist Pradip Pradhan had filed a complaint alleging that 30 debt-ridden farmers in 12 districts of Odisha had taken their lives in 2015 due to crop failure. He said that a civil society group had visited the victims’ families to investigate the deaths and their socio-economic condition. They had also met a cross-section of people, including government officials.last_img

NBA launches official online store in PH

first_imgPagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR went live last May 19.This comes nearly 3 years after the first NBA store in the Philippines, the largest outside the United States, opened.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“ gives us an exciting new platform to engage our fans and provides them with another touchpoint to our players and teams,” said NBA Philippines Managing Director Carlo Singson. Adjusting to the Filipinos’ purchasing habits, offers cash-on-delivery on top of the credit card, online banking and over-the-counter bank deposit options. Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games This venture is the league’s 14th international online store with a third of the league’s merchandise sales coming from outside the US. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Authentic NBA gear is now just a click away for Filipino fans.The league has launched its first official online NBA store in the country where items ranging from jerseys and shirts to collectibles from all 30 teams are available for shipping right at one’s doorstep.ADVERTISEMENT Rhodes lifts San Miguel to top 2 seed Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV MOST READ LATEST STORIES BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds View commentslast_img read more

Round 11: Horn trying to preserve energy

first_imgHorn connects with a straight.Pacquiao grazes with the left hook.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games MOST READ Round 10: Pacquiao puts Horn on the backfoot View comments LATEST STORIES Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ What ‘missteps’? Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Jeff Horn, top, of Australia and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines fight during their WBO World welterweight title bout in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, July 2, 2017. APJeff Horn trying to clinch to preserve that energy, and probably, his lead on the scorecards.And Manny Pacquiao connects with a body shot.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Gameslast_img read more

Floyd Mayweather says Floyd vs Manny 2 is on!

first_imgAdvertisementIt’s been more than three years, ever since the biggest fight in the history of boxing between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao took place and Floyd beat via unanimous decision, the fight didn’t live up to the hype and instead left a bad test in people’s mouth. Many boxing aficionados even argue that it hurt the popularity of boxing, which is later debunked considering we have had so many boxing office hits after that.However, Pacquiao and Mayweather met at an EDM (electronic dance music) concert in Tokyo, Japan Saturday, more than three years after they fought inside the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.Mayweather posted a short video clip of the meeting on Instagram, and in minutes it drew over 140,000 views and has almost 1.4 Million views in two hours. Saturday’s Instagram posting includes a video of Mayweather and Pacquiao talking to each other at an event, although it is difficult to hear what the men are saying. Mayweather included no details about the potential matchup in the post.Floyd Mayweather last fought on 26th August 2017 where he stopped UFC superstar Conor McGregor in the tenth round and made $285 Million and was the highest paid athlete of the year, out-earning the #2 ranked athlete by well over a $100 Million.Whereas, Manny Pacquiao is coming off of an impressive knockout victory over Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Also Read-Boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya Says He’s ‘Very Seriously’ Considering 2020 Presidential Run Advertisementlast_img read more

UN lifts sanctions on India-flagged oil tanker

first_imgNew Delhi, May 13 (PTI) After Indias intervention, United Nations has lifted sanctions on an India-flagged oil tanker, which was carrying 6.5 lakh barrel of oil illegally from eastern Libya, controlled by an unrecognised government.The development follows Director General of Shipping Deepak Shetty asking the vessel to sail back to Libya and discharge oil consignment at Port Zawiya in Libya under the supervision of National Oil Corporation (NOC). “UN has lifted sanctions on MT Distya Ameya within 16 days of imposition of sanction,” Shetty, who heads Indian Flag and Maritime Administration, told PTI. The tanker is owned by Mumbai-based Arya Shipping Charterers, while Elektrans Shipping Private Ltd (Mumbai) is crewing and technical manager of the vessel. The vessel on April 25 left Marsa el-Hariga port in eastern Libya, where the unrecognized government was behind the sale of the crude, to India. However, the tanker was asked by Indian authorities not to move from Malta after it was added to UN sanctions blacklist for illegally carrying crude from Libya on April 26. Libyan UN Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi had written to 15-member sanctions committee for blacklisting the tanker.The vessel was engaged on time and voyage charters by Emerald Tankers, Sharjah, UAE & DSA, Sharjah, UAE for a period of 18 months from March 13, 2016.The vessel on the advice of its foreign charterers had picked up 6.5 lakh barrel of oil of the NOC under the control of the interim government of Libya.Subsequently, it emerged on April 25 that this was in breach of the UN sanctions in as the said interim government of Libya was not recognised by the UN.advertisement”On the advice of the UN, the real/beneficial owner and crewing and technical manager of the vessel, both based in India, on instruction of DG Shipping, the vessel sailed back to Libya and discharged its entire oil consignment at Port of Zawiya under the supervision of NOC, under the control of government of National Accord of Libya, which is recognised by the UN,” a statement said. (MORE) PTI NAM MRlast_img read more

Asian Cadet Judo Championships from tomorrow

first_imgKochi, Sep 7 (PTI) Judokas from countries including Japan, Korea, Taipei and Pakistan are all set to participate in the 10th Asian Cadet Judo Championships 2016 and 17th Asian Junior Judo Championships 2016, which begins here tomorrow. Hundred boys and 64 girls from 22 countries in the Cadet section and 85 men and 53 women from 19 countries in the junior section are participating in the championships, the organisers said. They said the preliminary bouts of four weight categories of Cadet Boys and four Weights of Cadet Girls will start from 10am tomorrow at Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Kadavantra, here. The draws of the Championships were held here today in the presence of Obaid Al-Anzi, president, Judo Union of Asia (JUA) and Mukesh Kumar, President, Judo Federation of India (JFI), and Judo Union of Asia. The grand Opening Ceremony of the Championships will be held at 3pm, followed by the final block of the above 8 weight categories and medal ceremonies. According to JFI officials, this is the official events of Judo Union of Asia, which will be held every year, and it is also one of the ranking events of the International Judo Federation. The events were also approved by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Thirty nine member Countries of JUA will be participating in the event,” JFI said in a release here. PTI TGB RC BS BSlast_img read more

SPB Delivers Propulsion Systems for Project RT18

first_imgzoom SPB Marine supplied marine equipment for the project RT18. This project involves the construction of a series of three tankers by Yaroslavl shipyard JSC.Supplied equipment kit is a complete propulsion system, which includes marine engines Scania DI12, gearboxes and control systems, shafts and screws.RT18 was the last project, which use marine engines` model Scania DI12. This model has worked well in Russia on such projects as TH04 and 10/KIP and fully meets the modern requirements of classification. However, Scania constantly improves engines. Currently, instead of model Scania DI12 a new generation of engines comes. It is Scania DI09M and Scania DI13M (five- and six-cylinder machines, capacity of which is 9 and 13 liters, respectively).Press Release, June 27, 2014last_img

Norway Opens New Test Area for Autonomous Ships

first_imgzoom Norway has opened an autonomous shipping test bed in Horten on the Oslofjord, Kongsberg said.The test bed, officially opened on December 6, is the third of its kind in the country and the fourth such approved area in the world.Established to support the growth in the development of new solutions for autonomous maritime operations, the new area is open to both Norwegian and international organizations. As explained, the area is designed to be “a convenient, safe, non-congested space to trial new technology and vessels.”The area is specially designated for autonomous trials by the Norwegian Maritime Administration and the Norwegian Coastal Administration.The initiative to establish the new test bed was undertaken by maritime technology company Kongsberg, the town of Horten, classification society DNV GL, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and the University College of South East Norway.The introduction of the test bed follows the last year’s opening of the world’s first autonomous shipping test bed located on the Trondheimsfjord. Additionally, Norway reached an agreement in October this year to set up a test area for unmanned vessels in the Sunnmøre region. What is more, a test area for projects related to autonomous ships was opened in Finland in August 2017.The test beds in Trondheim and Horten are said to be an important resource for Kongsberg’s ongoing development of technology for projects such as the Yara Birkeland, the world’s first all-electric, autonomous containership, the Hrönn, an autonomous offshore support vessel, and marine robotics technology.These and other autonomous vessel projects are expected to transform many aspects of shipping and offshore operations, by introducing safer, more environmentally friendly and cost-effective modes of transport and working at sea, according to Kongsberg.“With critical developments in maritime autonomy technology and software taking place at Kongsberg Maritime in Horten, the location of the new test bed will support a number of ground-breaking technology projects,” Egil Haugsdal, President, Kongsberg Maritime, commented. “The move towards greater autonomy at sea has the potential to transform maritime operations and while the technology has now been proven, we look towards the regulations. Establishment of these test beds are an important step, as it shows close co-operation between the people making the technology and vessels and the organisations developing the rules that will allow them to operate,” he added.last_img read more

Elizabeth May staying on as Green leader

first_imgOTTAWA – Elizabeth May will remain Green party leader despite a controversy over the Middle East that divided members and prompted her to consider stepping down.The party will revisit a convention resolution to support a movement to boycott Israel, along with any other recent policy decisions that lacked genuine consensus, May told a news conference Monday.Meantime, May will focus on her work as a member of a parliamentary committee studying options for remodelling Canada’s electoral system before the next national ballot in three years.“This is a decision that I think the party needs as we build our strength, and as I work on electoral reform and we prepare for 2019,” May said.At the party’s recent convention, members voted to express support for the so-called boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel _ a move May opposed and which Jewish groups swiftly denounced.May has blamed the resolution’s passage on the process _ brief statements followed by a majority vote rather than the party’s time-honoured approach of a concerted effort to arrive at consensus.During Monday’s news conference, May called the party’s recent troubles a “teachable moment” and said her belief in consensus decision-making applies to both how the party forms policy and national electoral reform.“Consensus decision-making works better than winner-take-all decision making. It will work better for the electoral system of Canada and it worked better for the Green party of Canada,” she said.“So what I’ve decided is that the reasons for staying are far more compelling.”May spent the last several days pondering her future during a vacation in Cape Breton.She firmly squelched suggestions she was considering joining the NDP or the Liberals. “That was never even a consideration.”May said she was “overwhelmed to read so many letters of support” from Green members, non-members and fellow MPs.Media commentary made her feel like Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, attending her own funeral. “It appears I am much loved _ it’s surprising to find sometimes in politics.”last_img read more

Hydro had bigger impact than residential school in Misipawistik councillor

first_imgThis is Part 1 of a series on hydro-impacted communities in Treaty 5 territory. Click here to access other stories featured in Power Failure: The impacts of hydro in Northern Manitoba.Justin BrakeAshley BrandsonAPTN NewsRays of sunlight peek through the trees and illuminate two dozen wooden crosses hidden in a small patch of bush surrounded by the desolate rocky landscape of an abandoned quarry.Gerald McKay of Misipawistik Cree Nation examines a necklace someone has appended to a tree. He holds the cross pendant at the end of the chain and says he’d never noticed it before.McKay, 63, is leading a small group on a tour of the land below a large hydroelectric dam just outside the town of Grand Rapids, the community widely regarded as the gateway to northern Manitoba.It’s the first stop on a week-long visit to Cree communities in Treaty 5 territory by members of the Wa Ni Ska Tan hydro alliance.Along the way they’re picking up elders and other members of hydro-impacted communities and bringing them to other communities to bear witness and share stories of how their livelihoods and way of life have been altered by the network of hydro dams on their waterways.Today, the graves they’re visiting belong to the ancestors of McKay’s community.The wooden crosses were erected in 2001, more than three decades after Manitoba Hydro excavated the area to build a dyke for the Grand Rapids generating station, one of the first major dams built in northern Manitoba.McKay says the graves would have been bulldozed had one of the workers not been a local man.“They started to dig up bones and they weren’t going to stop… so the local guy stopped them and they shut the whole job down,” he says, explaining work eventually resumed with the small parcel of land being protected as crews continued to excavate all around it.Now the gravesite exists as a small island of trees surrounded by a desert of blasted rock and a dried up riverbed.The Grand Rapids dam came online in 1968 and was the first hydro facility built in Northern Manitoba to power the provincial electricity system.At the end of the dirt road where McKay lives is a dilapidated playground, and beyond that a small grassy knoll and a steep embankment down to the water.(Gerald McKay along the shores of the once mighty Grand Rapids. Photo: Justin Brake/APTN)From the shoreline you can see the spillway of the 479-megawatt structure embedded in the dyke — gigantic even in the distance and accentuated by countless seagulls and pelicans in the air and on the water below.The group later stands atop that dyke, which runs more than 25 kilometres along the shore of Cedar Lake. They peer out at the lake’s vast waters, the levels of which are now controlled by Manitoba Hydro.Communities along the shores of Cedar Lake were impacted by the flooding. The people of Chemawawin First Nation were forced to relocate to Easterville.And the people of Moose Lake, Cormorant and The Pas all share stories of devastation to their hunting, fishing and trapping economies, and to their way of life.The power now contained in the force of the water against the Grand Rapids dyke is unnatural, human-made — a power once represented by the roaring sound of the rapids, which McKay says you could hear from the community.Below the dyke are the rocks that once belonged to those rapids on the lower Saskatchewan River. About a kilometre downstream the river empties into Lake Winnipeg, the eleventh largest freshwater lake in the world.Now, there’s barely a trickle of the once “grand” rapids, and a scattered pool of still water.“The old rapids is gone,” McKay says, pointing down at the riverbed. He explains that’s how the town of Grand Rapids “lost its name.”“It’s just Grand. There is no more rapids — so even the name was reshaped. Most of the animals are gone, most of the fish are gone, and that’s the new reality I guess.”Residential schools and hydro development a “double whammy” for CreeOne of the researchers along for the trip is Ramona Neckoway, from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation at Nelson House and an assistant professor in Aboriginal and Northern Studies at University College of the North in Thompson, Man.Neckoway has been involved with Wa Ni Ska Tan since its inception in 2015.Hydro development in Treaty 5 is personal for her.(Ramona Neckoway, right, with Gerald McKay. Photo: Ashley Brandson/APTN News)On the drive from Winnipeg to Misipawistik, the Cree mother and grandmother tells APTN News that hydro development in northern Manitoba is more than the consequences of any one specific impact.She says it’s bigger.“For me this is a cultural genocide that’s going on. And I don’t use those words lightly. I say that because I see that there are entire generations of children in our communities that don’t go on the water, that don’t understand the importance of that water to who we are, that have never left the reserve, this cage that they’ve created through colonial policies that have been imposed on us,” she says.“To me, Nisichawayasihk, our territory actually is much bigger than the reserve that they allotted to us. And we were using that territory—my mother’s generation was using that territory, going to camps, going to these different spaces and actively using that land and that water.”Neckoway tells APTN News that over the next week we’re going to see, and grow to understand, the cumulative impacts on her people, their way of life, and on their identity.The violence perpetrated against Indigenous women during the construction of hydro dams is nothing new to the Cree.Sexual abuse of women in Fox Lake Cree Nation in the 1960s recently grabbed national attention, following the release of a report from Manitoba’s Clean Environment Commission.Since that report was released, two separate investigations are underway to look into allegations of assault and sexual abuse by employees of Manitoba Hydro and members of the RCMP in communities in northern Manitoba.Details of the allegations were made public in August when the CEC released a report on the effects of a series of hydro dams on the Nelson, Burntwood, and Churchill river systems.The case was referred to the Independent Investigation Unit (IIU), Manitoba’s police watchdog, and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) by the RCMP.A Sept. 14 release from the RCMP said the IIU will investigate the actions of RCMP officers in the region, while the OPP will investigate allegations against Manitoba Hydro employees and contractors.The investigation is limited to the Gillam region, but Neckoway, who has been interviewing members of hydro-impacted communities since 2004, says she has “heard stories of that nature” from women in other places, though she doesn’t know how prevalent violence against women is as it’s not the focus of her research.“We’re the caregivers, we’re the life givers, and the givers of treaty,” she says, explaining she would like to see Wa Ni Ska Tan host a women’s gathering “to start talking about a lot of the issues that are unique and specific to women.”Neckoway says the disruption to her people’s lives can be seen in the faces of the elders when she speaks to them.“They come alive in those moments when they talk about that connection with the land and the way that it was,” she explains. “And I see that in my grandmother when I hear her talking about it. She acknowledges that it was a hard life, but it was fulfilling and it was good at that time.“She saw these changes in the community and became so far away I think from some of the values that we have as Cree people in this last 40 years.”Neckoway says by comparison “you can just see the sadness when they talk about hydro, and they talk about residential school.”She says the Cree in Northern Manitoba got a “double-whammy” in the mid-20th century.“We got residential schools, and then, boom — the hydro projects.”“You only cried once”At his house in Grand Rapids, McKay fries fresh whitefish from Lake Winnipeg for the group of about eight researchers, artists, activists.Standing at his kitchen stove he seems eager to share his stories as he sprinkles lemon pepper seasoning on the fillets.(Gerald McKay serving fish at his home in Grand Rapids. Photo: Ashley Brandson/APTN News)Every minute or two he flips them with a plastic spatula.At the same time, McKay’s frequent pauses hint at a pain that comes with reliving traumatic experiences.In the 1960s, when McKay was just a child, thousands of workers flooded the community to build the dam.He says it’s the experiences from that time that drive him to continue fighting for justice for his people and community today, a half century later.McKay says the quiet community was turned upside down overnight.There was racism.School buses would pick up white kids but leave Cree and Metis kids standing on the side of the road, he says.“In the wintertime that was the hardest,” he recalls. “And you only cried once, when you were walking from here to the school. You didn’t cry twice, because your eyes would freeze shut.”He recalls a story of a Cree family whose baby boy was sick and needed medical care.“They took him to the hospital up there, then they looked at him and sent him home, and they went back and they sent him home again,” he says. “So they took him the third time and he died. He died in the hospital.”McKay says when the family arrived back at the hospital, their son’s body was given back to them in cardboard box.He describes “perverts” and “peeping toms” roaming the community at night.McKay says at one point his mother, a young woman at the time, caught someone trying to steal McKay’s baby sister right out of a bedroom in their home.“She was less than a month old and they cut the screen, and they were reaching in to take her, and my mother caught them,” he recalls. “So nothing was ever done about that. There was no investigation, nothing, because there wasn’t enough cops here.”McKay says that after the incident his mother “nailed the windows shut for three years” and often wouldn’t let him and his siblings leave the yard.(The Grand Rapids Hydroelectric dam. Photo: Ashley Brandson/APTN News)Meanwhile, the dam’s impact on the local land-based economy — primarily fishing and trapping — put McKay’s father out of work.“His jobs disappeared — one was flooded, the other one there was no more spawning, so once you caught all the fish it started to drop off,” he explains.“In 1969, I think there was mercury in the fish and hydro denied that it was them and then they shut fishing down and there was no compensation for anybody. We all depended on my dad’s income to eat, and we couldn’t eat the fish anymore. That’s just the way it was and so my generation would remember all that stuff, but there’s kids growing up now that have no idea what was here before.“A lot of people say get over it — like, it’s already happened. Well, just because it already happened doesn’t mean it’s not an injustice.”Money in exchange for a way of lifeIn 1991 Misipawistik Cree Nation — Grand Rapids Cree Nation at the time — signed an agreement with Manitoba Hydro worth just over $5 million.It was one of five settlements reached in the early ‘90s associated with the impacts on Cree and Metis communities. Together they totalled just under $32 million.In 2005, after serving as national chief for the Assembly of First Nations, Ovide Mercredi was elected chief of his home community of Misipawistik.That fall, amid concerns from community members that once the Grand Rapids spillway was opened new brush that had grown downstream would end up in the water, Mercredi and Grand Rapids Mayor Robert Buck camped out on the dried riverbed below the spillway in protest.In 2015, Manitoba Hydro was required to apply for a renewal of its 50-year operating licence for the Grand Rapids dam, a fact that gave Mercredi and Buck’s protest power.As they gained support from their own community and others, people in Winnipeg began paying attention.Manitoba Hydro CEO Bob Brennan paid them a visit — as did then premier Garry Doer.Doer committed to new negotiations with Misipawistik, and in 2012 a settlement agreement was reached — though its details remain secret.APTN requested interviews with Misipawistik Chief Harold Turner—who was also chief at the time of the community’s 1991 agreement with Hydro—and Mercredi. Neither responded by the time of publication.However, APTN obtained a draft of the agreement in which the First Nation’s compensation is contingent on Misipawistik’s “active support” of Manitoba Hydro’s application for the 50-year operating license renewal, and on Hydro’s success in obtaining the renewal.According to the draft agreement, Misipawistik would receive a retroactive payment of $3 million, a $5 million payment on the signing of the deal, $800,000 a year for 50 years indexed to inflation, and a lump sum payment of $10 million in year 50, which would be 2061.But according to Misipawistik councillor Heidi Cook, the agreement will see the band receive a flat payment of $1-million a year for the duration of the contract that Hydro calls a “friendship agreement.”The agreement has not been made public by the band or Manitoba Hydro.McKay says the deal is “not as good as it sounds” and that the people of the community “don’t feel it.”Little has changedWith somewhere between 800 and 1,000 members living on reserve and another 800 off-reserve, Misipawistik Cree Nation is no better off in the long run following the 2012 agreement than it was before, says McKay.He claims community members received a one-time $500 payment after the band signed the agreement, and get about $120 every three years.But the money hasn’t eradicated the racism, or the poverty.McKay drives us through the neighbourhoods, once thriving with a healthy subsistence economy where Cree and Metis coexisted as one community.Since Hydro moved in, however, racism and inequality have taken root, their manifestations visible.On the south side of the water is the Misipawistic reserve, occupied primarily by the descendants of the region’s original Cree inhabitants. Many houses are overcrowded, McKay says, and badly in need of repair.On the north side is what’s now the residential area of the municipality of Grand Rapids, a mix of Metis, non-status Cree and settlers.And then, just a few hundred metres north of Grand Rapids, toward the hydro dam, a small suburban-like neighbourhood of Manitoba Hydro workers — many of them living in homes built by Manitoba Hydro.McKay points out the “hydro houses,” as he calls them, have two metres measuring energy consumption.One, he says, measures the energy used to heat the homes—comprising the bulk of household energy usage, especially in the colder months—and another to measure other electricity usage.“Hydro pays for the heating bill,” McKay says.Meanwhile, many in the community struggle to pay their own hydro bills, he says.The sense of injustice in his community is palpable, McKay explains — but to a shrinking number of people since youth today don’t recognize what their parents and grandparents experienced and lost, he says.(Gerald McKay at the dam in his community. McKay worked for Manitoba Hydro for four years. Photo: Ashley Brandson/APTN News)He says the 1991 and 2012 compensation agreements don’t take into account the loss of his people’s way of life.“An agreement should be fair for both sides, not just one side,” he says.“They should take into account, how many graves were lost? How many people were put out of work with the fishery? We’ve lost our language — how much is that worth?”But the money hasn’t restored his people’s way of life, and McKay fears that way of life may soon be forgotten.Cook agrees.The 38-year-old councillor is also a mother, and someone who grew up not knowing her community’s full history until her 20s.She says hydro development “had a bigger impact” on her people and community than residential schools, because most children would eventually come home from the schools.“But here with the hydro dam our home was destroyed.”Cook says her generation and the one before her have suffered as a consequence.“Our way of life was destroyed,” she says, explaining the influx of thousands of non-Cree workers to the community contributed to the loss of their language and their ability to go out on the land.She says her aunt and other elders in the community talk about what life was like when they could hear the rapids.“The sound of the rapids lots of people describe as being able to be heard from miles around. And to [listen for them to] know your way back to home. As a constant, subconscious thing, a constant in your life, to know where you are.”She says the rapids were “first replaced with explosions and the sound of heavy machinery,” while the dam was being built.“And then with silence.”She says elders have described “having recurring nightmares from the changes that were occurring on the landscapes.”The impacts are inter-generational, she explains.“I felt it myself, personally, that as somebody from Grand Rapids I was robbed of my birthright to know these rapids and to have this beautiful part of my home sing me to sleep at night, and greet me in the morning when I wake up.”Once a Hydro employee himself, McKay returned to fishing about 20 years ago, both to honour his father and ancestors and just to be out on the water.“Basically you’re just fishing to get EI — it’s not a good future,” he says. “My dad told me that a long time ago: there’s no future in fishing. But I wanted to be a fisherman because to me it was exciting — you never know what you’re going to catch.”McKay worked in a Hydro control room in Grand Rapids for four years, “and it was boring,” he says.He’s a certified project manager and has a business diploma, “but I still managed to come back to fishing,” he explains, serving up a new batch of fried fish to his visitors.But the fishing is not what it once was.“Last winter was the first time they ever shut down the commercial fishing season, because there’s no fish,” he says, adding the people of his community.”Cook says a new generation in her community is fighting to get back what she and McKay’s generations lost.“We’re not sitting here crying over what was lost without actively trying to stand up against and move forward from there,” she says adding there are land-based education and language programs in the community.“We didn’t get to where we are overnight, and we won’t get to where we want to be overnight. But we haven’t completely lost sight of where we need to be.”Most of the money from Misipawistik’s “friendship agreement” with Hydro is being used to address social and economic needs, primarily housing, Cook explains.In a statement to APTN, Manitoba Hydro says it will “continue to address the adverse effects of our existing operations on the customs, practices and traditions of Indigenous people integral to their cultural identity.”But it did not say how it is addressing these effects and did not grant APTN’s request for an interview.“As far as their lawyers are concerned, Hydro has met its obligations and is contributing to the community through the relationship agreement,” says Cook.Just a few years after the Grand Rapids dam came online the second wave of hydro development began, and the story of how the Misipawistik people began to lose their way of life would become a common reality throughout Treaty 5.For more, click here: Power Failure: The impacts of hydro in Northern read more

SecretaryGeneral confers with advisers diplomats on Georgia

Mr. Ban is also speaking separately with the President of the Security Council, the body’s five permanent members and Irakli Alasania, the Permanent Representative of Georgia to the UN.In a related development, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is responding to an urgent request from the Georgian Government by sending a truckload of food to the town of Gori, which the agency has not been able to reach due to insecurity.“We understand the food situation in Gori has now become desperate,” said Lola Castro, WFP’s Georgia Country Director.The agency is supplying high-energy biscuits (HEBs) and sugar, while the non-governmental organization World Vision International is sending canned meat, buckwheat, pasta and tea.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that close to 115,000 people have been uprooted from their homes since heavy fighting began over one week ago in South Ossetia between Georgian and South Ossetian forces. Russian forces have also become involved there and in the separate region of Abkhazia in north-western Georgia.Some 45,000 people have fled Gori and are heading towards the capital Tbilisi, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Facilities for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Tbilisi and its outskirts are said to be in poor condition, with their residents – many of whom are very poor – are reliant on Government and international help for their survival.Last Wednesday, WFP airlifted 34 metric tons of HEBs – donated by the European Union – from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Brindisi, Italy, and they have already reached some 18,000 people in and around Tbilisi. A further 58 tons of HEBs arrived at the city today.The agency has located bakeries situated close to where internally displace persons (IDPs) have concentrated and is supplying wheat flour to make bread to be distributed to the hungry. WFP, which has so far sent food assistance for 34,000 people forced from their homes, is also providing supplies for soup kitchens to enable people to eat hot food.The agency is leading the coordination of food assistance and plans to offer logistical support to other aid partners. Prior to the start of the conflict, the agency was providing food to over 212,000 people, mainly in poor rural communities, as well as to schoolchildren, tuberculosis patients and people living with HIV/AIDS.Approximately 30,000 South Ossetians – 80 per cent of whom are women and children, according to UNICEF – are believed to have crossed the border into North Ossetia, part of Russia, and WFP is monitoring the situation from its office in the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz. 16 August 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today in New York met with his top advisers regarding the United Nations’ approach to the current situation in Georgia. read more

The Haters Are Losing The War On Kickers

Over time, athletes get stronger and faster, come from a broader talent pool, are better trained, and benefit from ever-growing institutional knowledge of their chosen art. This is most readily apparent with such individual skills as swimming, running and jumping — or kicking a football.One of the biggest stories of the 2016 NFL wild-card round is how the Minnesota Vikings almost toppled the two-time defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks, only to see their hopes dashed when kicker Blair Walsh shanked an easy 27-yard field-goal attempt that would have given the Vikings the lead with 22 seconds left in the game. The aftermath was dramatic, and once again, the NFL kicking game was thrust into the spotlight for pretty much the only reason it ever is: A kicker screwed up. Perhaps lost in the hubbub is that this was the only field goal missed all weekend.1Kickers made 24 of 26 attempts, including extra points (which are no longer gimmes). Such is the plight of the NFL kicker: They do their jobs remarkably well week in and week out, but get attention for it only when something goes horribly wrong.But not at FiveThirtyEight! We will acknowledge greatness in its many forms.Last year around this time, we published “Kickers Are Forever,” my ode to NFL kickers and the eerily steady progress they have made over the past 80-plus years. In that article, I showed how the kicking improvement has been reliable and has changed things like the fourth-down math. In the offseason, the NFL decided to make kickers’ jobs harder by moving the extra point back from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line.Predictably, this led to some missed extra points. This combined with a down week or two early in the season, and the notion started to emerge that kickers were having a bad year, sucking in some prominent commentators. We debunked the idea of a “Kick-pocalypse” at the time, but given my interest in everything kickers, I’ve once again taken a dive into the numbers to see if the kicking train has actually been in reverse, or stopped, or even slowed.Spoiler: It has not. Indeed, not only was field-goal kicking in the 2015 regular season almost exactly as good as we said it would be, but kickers were the best they’ve ever been at kicking off and punting — with dramatic effects on the game.2These are not as athletically “pure” as field-goal attempts — meaning the results of a kickoff or punt will also depend on a number of factors not in the kicker’s control (such as special teams units). One thing that I mentioned in my previous article is that — with no natural offset like defense to offense — the improvement in kicking has played a central role in the offensive increase we’ve seen over the past decades. However, it seems like the natural offsets are actually kickoffs and punts, which have somewhat counterbalanced the improvement in kickoffs by giving offenses longer fields. I’ve also identified the best players at the different aspects of the kicking game, and I have some awards to hand out to the best of the best.Field-goal kickers have improved almost exactly as predictedYes, field-goal kickers missed 71 extra points this season, after missing only eight last season. This 94.2 percent is the lowest since 1979. No, this is in no way bad or unexpected. Historically, it is quite high for 33-yard attempts — though for kicking, “historical” is not always a good frame for comparison. So to be clear, it is perfectly in line with projections for 2015 kickers.Kickers also made 84.5 percent of their non-extra-point kick attempts — essentially tied for the second-best all time.3This season finishes a hair behind 2008, when kickers made 84.5 percent exactly; in 2015 they made 84.4985 percent — about 1/100th of a single made kick behind. This, despite the fact that they attempted longer kicks than ever. Here’s a plot of field-goal percentage vs. attempt distance over the past 14 seasons: By this metric, kickers had their second-best season of all time (trailing only their miraculous 2013 campaign) and were within a fraction of a percentage point of their projections — well within the margin of error.Using our field goal expected value model, we can see what kickers scored the most and fewest points relative to expectation. I’ve included the results for all players below. Our champion for 2015 was the New England Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski, who ran 12.2 points above expectation by making 33 of 36 field-goal tries (for 9.2 points above expectation) and all 52 extra points (for 3.0 points above expectation). Under the new rules this year, 30 NFL kickers missed extra points; Gostkowski still hasn’t missed one since 2006 — his rookie season.The worst kicker was Tampa Bay rookie Kyle Brindza, who missed six of 12 field-goal attempts and two of eight extra points before being cut in October. He ran 12.0 points below expectation on just 20 kicks overall.Touchbacks are the new blackAnother area where kickers can provide significant value, and where we also see creepily constant improvement, is in kickoffs. Of course, kickoff results depend somewhat on special teams kick coverage (though hang time and location matter as well), but one mostly objective metric we can track is frequency of touchbacks (note that the large shift from 2010 to 2011 is a result of the NFL moving the kickoff spot up to the 35): In a big surprise to me — and a big loss for those of us who despise the punting game — punters and kickers seem to affect the game similarly. They each claim five of the 10 players with the highest value added this season,9Gay has been both a punter and kicker (and is identified as both by but handles only kickoffs in the NFL. with punters taking four of the top five spots. Although most coaches are probably costing their teams points by punting too much instead of going for it, the ones with better punters are costing their teams less.That doesn’t mean punters have quite caught up to their place-kicking counterparts, at least at the very top. Johnny Hekker — the league’s most valuable punter, as well as a guy who admits he’s more comfortable with his Pokémon deck than he is tackling people — falls 3.3 points short of Gostkowski as the most valuable overall. Therefore Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots is our 2015 NFL Football Player10Who actually uses his feet. of the Year.Finally, here, for your perusal, is a sortable table of value added by all punters and kickers this season: The average attempt distance has seen a steady increase, which might logically result in a decrease in efficiency, but the continued improvement of kickers has outpaced the increase in distance.This includes them making 65 percent of their kicks from 50+ yards — second only to the 2013 kickers — despite taking a record 160 such attempts. Here’s how they performed over each distance category:The 2015 kickers struggled a little bit from middle distances of 40 to 50 yards. And by “struggled,” I mean they had top-five all-time seasons but didn’t set records.From 55 to 59 yards, they made 13 of 19 attempts, or 68 percent — the best rate of all time for that range. In the four seasons from 2002 through 2005 (the first four years of the data shown above) they made 13 of 42 such attempts, or 31 percent.To better compare seasons, I’ve created an adjusted field-goal percentage that accounts for the distances of each kick and gives us that season’s expected make percentage for a baseline kick from the 30-yard line (about a 48-yard attempt):4The average kick is much shorter than that, but that’s about the sweet spot for a distance with lots of attempts where performance over time varies the most. It’s also a spot that requires both distance and accuracy and is around the area of the field where kicker improvement has the biggest impact on fourth-down decisions. The differences here are pretty depressingly drastic for punt haters. In the 2002 and 2003 seasons, the average punt from 60 to 90 yards out (the part of the field where end zone locations don’t come into play) netted 37.3 yards, while in the 2014 and 2015 seasons those punts netted an average of 42.7 yards. That’s a 5-plus-yard difference on every punt!So perhaps punt coverage has gotten worse? Nope. If you look at raw punt distance, punts have gotten 4.7 yards longer on average (47.8 vs. 43.1). Although 2015 punters set records at virtually every distance, the absolute margins are smaller when you get closer to the goal. For kicks 30 to 60 yards from the end zone, the gain has been 2.4 yards — but those yards may mean more if they help trap an opponent in dangerous territory. (The value of a single yard only really spikes at both end zones and the outer reaches of field-goal range.)Note that I have not fully modeled punting improvement’s impact on fourth-down decisions as I have with kicking8Mostly because it’s more complicated. When you’re at the 40, the difference between 30 net yards and 32 net yards is greater because trapping an opponent close to its goal line is valuable (which, of course, is yet another reason why kicking a field goal and fourth and goal at the 1 is one of the worst plays in sports). Expected points models may help clear this up, but in some ways using the current models begs the question, since these models make assumptions about punting. — yet — but it’s bound to be significant. Factoring in 10 years of kicking improvement was enough to swing many borderline fourth-down decisions in favor of kicking. Of the 40 situations I looked at, 11 had differences of less than two-tenths of a point — which is probably about the amount that midfield punts have improved. If a fourth-down model doesn’t adequately account for these highly predictable improvements, it could be getting many “go or no” calls wrong.The punting expectation curve is relatively easy to model with a polynomial linear regression, which means we can find the expected distance of each punt and then compare a punter’s results with that expectation.The punter of the year isn’t even a close call. The 6-foot-5, 236-pound Johnny Hekker of the St. Louis Rams led the league with a 47.9-yard average punt and netted his team 271 yards relative to expectation in the process.On the other end of the spectrum, the Jets’ Ryan Quigley averaged 43.8 yards per kick and lost his team 297 yards relative to expectation.Football player of the year (who actually uses feet)If we convert those punting yards into points as we did with kickoffs above, we can get down to business and calculate each kicker’s complete value added from kicks.Note that some punters also kick off and some kickers kick off, but there are (presently) no kickers who also punt. So for this chart I’ve plotted value gained from kickoffs vs. value gained from punting and kicking combined. Bubble sizes correspond to the total value the player added or cost his team, in expected points: The rate of touchbacks has been increasing pretty steadily, both before and after the rule change, reaching an all-time high of 57.4 percent in 2015 (not counting onside kick attempts). The average starting field position has clearly flattened, as we would expect, though 2015 still set a record: The average opponent starting position was 21.7 yards from the team’s own end zone, beating last season’s previous best of 22.0.Still, those couple of yards here and there on kickoffs add up. For example, the Colts��� Pat McAfee (aka “The Boomstick”) had touchbacks on 67 of 74 (non-onside kick) kickoffs (91 percent). That’s close to 25 more touchbacks than we would expect from an average kicker. As a rule of thumb, a typical touchback is worth about 4 yards,5This season, the average non-touchback return came out to the 24-yard line. meaning McAfee’s touchbacks alone were likely worth in the neighborhood of 100 yards, or the equivalent of 6 to 8 points over the season. That may not sound like much, but any player (especially a non-QB) who can get his team half a point or so above average per game is doing great.To get a clearer picture of which kickers are most valuable, we can compare each kickoff to league expectation to find total yards saved and then convert those yards saved to point equivalents.6Using a rough conversion of 15 yards per point. (The full results are in the table below.) If you combine kickoff value with field-goal value, Gostkowski’s lead as place-kicking champion widens: Add in the 11.6 points the Patriots earned on kickoffs (not counting onside attempts, which would help Gostkowski even more as the Patriots recovered both of their attempts this season), and Gostkowski earned 23.8 points for them above expectation. Second place is Buffalo kickoff specialist Jordan Gay with 10.8 points above expectation (all from kickoffs).Don’t look now, but punters are also changing the gameFinally, let’s turn to the most reviled of all football plays: the punt. Why teams voluntarily give up possession all the time instead of fighting tooth and nail to keep the ball — particularly with good field position — is an ongoing mystery. But they are getting better at it. Indeed, in recent years, the improvement in punting is perhaps even more marked and consistent than it has been with kicking.7Unlike with field-goal kicking, this rate of improvement seems to be more recent. The average yards per punt appears to have hovered around 40 from the ’50s through the ’80s. Source: ESPNCORRECTION (Jan. 13, 7 p.m.): The original version of this post contained several points that were based on a critical calculation error discovered by a reader, Jason Hahn. In determining the best kickers of 2015, we attempted to exclude onside kicks, but because of an error in how we filtered our data, onside kick recoveries by the kicking team were treated as a touchdown instead of being ignored. After a recalculation, Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots becomes the most valuable kicker, not Johnny Hekker of the Rams, who moves to second place. In earning kickoff points above expectation, Jordan Gay of the Bills takes second place, not Mike Nugent of the Bengals. The touchbacks kicked by Pat McAfee of the Colts were worth 6 to 8 points over the season, not 8 to 10 points. The rate of all touchbacks reached a high of 57.4 percent in 2015, not 56 percent. The Patriots earned 11.6 points on kickoffs, not 7.7 points. These and other smaller errors have been corrected in the text of the article and in the charts and tables. read more

Suspected acid attack on two teenagers in Bethnal Green east London

first_imgAcid attack scene Scotland Yard said the incident was being treated as a “suspected noxious substance attack”. No arrests have been made.Paramedics were called and the men were taken to hospital for treatment. Their injuries are not life-threatening. Acid attack  A video of the incident posted on Twitter by Chris Lennon appears to show a topless man pouring water over his face and torso as paramedics tend to him. Credit:Charlotte Elsom/Rex acid attack Another man is seen sitting on the pavement, also receiving medical attention.Photos show what is believed to be one of men’s jackets, with holes melted through the fabric. Credit:Twitter / @lennon8t2 Credit:Twitter/@thelazyones Two men have been subjected to a suspected acid attack in east London.The victims, believed to be in their late teens, had an “unknown liquid” thrown at them, police said.Officers were flagged down on Roman Road in Bethnal Green at 7pm on Tuesday evening. 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.last_img read more

Number of pupils getting top GCSE grades will be same as previous

The reformed GCSEs are now on a par with “the best education systems in the world,” Damian Hinds says 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. The number of pupils getting the highest GCSE grades will be the same as previous years, the Education Secretary has said, despite the introduction of tougher exams.Damian Hinds moved to reassure parents that even if children found the new exams particularly difficult, they will not be “disadvantaged” for being the guinea pigs of the new system.Around 590,000 pupils will travel to their schools on Thursday to pick up their GCSE results. They are the first year group to take the new GCSEs in a range of subjects, created by former Education Secretary Michael Gove as part an attempt to inject rigour into the qualifications and bring the UK in line with top performing countries in the Far East. Many courses have had coursework elements reduced or removed altogether in favour of exams, and the curricula has been beefed up to include a broader range of topics.  –– ADVERTISEMENT ––But grading will be especially lenient to compensate for the fact that exams are harder. The exams watchdog is likely to lower grade boundaries to ensure that roughly the same proportion of students get top grades as in previous years.Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Hinds says that despite the changes, “this year’s results will be fair to the young people who worked hard for their exams”.   “It is extraordinary, really – you bring in new standards and then they are so hard you have to water them down,” he said.”If you are going to toughen up the exams and then change the boundaries why are you toughening up the exams? That is a fudge.”  Mr Hinds said that the reforms came about after “years of employers saying that the old GCSEs didn’t provide young people with the skills they needed”. The reformed GCSEs are now on a par with “the best education systems in the world,” he said.Mr Hinds explained that the new grading system, where 9 to 1 replaces A* to G, will act as a “clear signpost for employers, universities and colleges whether someone has taken one of the new, more rigorous GCSEs”.Sally Collier, the head of Ofqual, said: “Many years in the making, these new GCSEs are more challenging and will better prepare students for further study or employment.  “Students picking up their results on Thursday can be confident they have achieved the grades their performance deserves.” “This ensures that broadly the same proportion of pupils will pass, and reach the equivalent of an A grade as in previous years, assuming the ability profile of the pupils is the same.”The same “comparable outcomes” system is in place for A-levels, and last week it emerged that students can get almost half of the questions wrong and still get an A.Just 55 per cent was enough to achieve an A grade in the new OCR Advanced Biology A-level, while 59 per cent secures an A in Biology.  Earlier this week, it emerged that pupils who failed the new tougher science GCSE exam have been handed a free pass by the watchdog after it moved the boundaries.  Ofqual took the highly unusual step of intervening to save science students from failure, following warning from exam boards that a number of students would be given a U, standing for “unclassified”.   He writes: “To make sure that pupils who take the new GCSEs are not at a disadvantage when compared to those who went before, the independent qualifications regulator Ofqual uses a statistical method called ‘comparable outcomes’. The reformed GCSEs are now on a par with "the best education systems in the world,” Damian Hinds says Experts have warned that artificially lowering the pass marks to ensure consistency between different cohorts creates an illusion that students are doing better than they actually are.Lord Baker, who introduced GCSEs when he served as education secretary under Margaret Thatcher in the Eighties, has said that lowering grade boundaries is a “fudge”. read more

KTIPlersch installs major cooling system at Harmony Phakisa

first_imgGermany’s KTI-Plersch was recently selected by Harmony Gold Mining to supply and install an ice cooling system at the Phakisa gold mine in South Africa. Phakisa gold mine has been using underground water chillers for bulk air cooling, as well as a 2,000 t/d surface ice plant for cooling of underground service water and for localised coolers closer to the working areas. However, Harmony required additional cooling capacity and chose KTI to supply a modular system of containerised ice makers. Two KTI ice plants with a capacity of 200 t/d each, were pre-fabricated at the KTI factory in Balzheim and cargo shipped from Hamburg to Cape Town.Underground mines with depths reaching more than 2,400 m below the surface require extensive cooling to reduce the rock temperatures to less than 28°C. Adequately cooled air is essential for compliance with health and safety regulations, which also increases the productivity rate and reduces the injury rate. The KTI 400 t/d ice factory was erected in just ten days. The structural steel for the walkways and container supports was pre-manufactured and delivered to site ahead of time.KTI says it has “made meaningful progress in demonstrating their ability to quickly and easily install massive ice systems.” The KTI plants at Harmony’s Phakisa gold mine have been operating almost without fault on a 24/7 basis since December 2013. Once the process was perfected, the nominal performance was exceeded by 10%, “showing that the system is reliable and economical.”KTI believes it has introduced a “paradigm shift” in the application of surface ice making for deep-mine refrigeration and cooling, with each plant producing 220 t of ice with a 27°C water in-feed. The capital cost of an ice plant is below ZAR9000 per kilowatt, which is lower than alternative cooling means. The system installed at Phakisa is described as a breakthrough in terms of modular containerised ice making systems. As cooling demand underground increases, the system ensures swift installation and easy expansion. In addition, should it be required, these units can easily be moved to another location.last_img read more

Court orders Samsung to turn over prototype phones tablets to Apple

first_imgAs part of the on-going patent infringement lawsuit between Apple and Samsung, a court has ruled that Samsung must comply with Apple’s request for prototypes of its new and unreleased mobile devices to review. Apple wants their lawyers to review the devices to determine whether or not their patents have been infringed upon in the new models.Among some of the devices Apple will get a chance to examine are the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 8.9 tablets, and the Samsung Galaxy S2, Infuse 4G, and Droid Charge smartphones. Under most circumstances, a company would be allowed a waiting period before turning over the devices in order to make sure any real trade secrets have been removed or obfuscated.AdChoices广告This time however, the judge in the case, the Honorable Lucy Koh, pointed out Samsung’s marketing campaigns for all four devices have been pretty open about their capabilities, so there shouldn’t be a delay in turning them over to Apple for review. Apple backed that ruling, pointing out that Samsung can’t rely on secrecy when they gave away over 5,000 Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets to the attendees of Google I/O earlier this month.Apple’s claim is that a number of its patents and its “trade dress” were violated in the Samsung Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets. Apple claims the the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Tab both bear enough resemblance to the iPhone and iPad to warrant a lawsuit. Samsung responded to the charges by countersuing Apple for over 10 different patents.Samsung doesn’t have to worry too much that its trade secrets are going to wind up in the hands of Apple engineers working on the next generation of Apple products. The prototypes will only be reviewed by Apple’s legal team and used only for the case – not even Apple’s engineers in Cupertino will have the opportunity to see the devices.Read more at Courthouse News via CNET and TUAWlast_img read more

LInternet japonais a bien résisté au séisme

first_imgL’Internet japonais a bien résisté au séismeLe réseau de l’archipel nippon a bien résisté au tremblement de terre, contrairement à la téléphonie fixe et mobile.Contrairement au réseau téléphonique, qui a grandement souffert du terrible séisme qu’a subi le Japon, Internet a bien résisté dans l’archipel nippon. Google a notamment publié des statistiques d’utilisation de son site qui prouvent que le trafic en provenance du pays n’a pas baissé significativement à la suite du tremblement de terre. “Des opérateurs ont signalé des problèmes de trafic dus aux effets immédiats du tremblement de terre, mais malgré de terribles incendies, des inondations et des coupures électriques, le trafic se maintient : c’est remarquable”, a noté la société Renesys.Un maintien d’Internet dû aux infrastructures extrêmement modernes et variées du réseau japonais ainsi qu’à la résistance des câbles sous-marins desservant le Japon. Surtout, Internet ne dépend pas totalement d’une structure centralisée, contrairement aux systèmes basés sur des émetteurs ou des serveurs centraux comme la téléphonie. Car le réseau, conçu par l’armée américaine, était prévu à la base pour résister à des attaques nucléaires, et ainsi maintenir des communications dans des conditions extrêmes. Lorsqu’un noeud de raccordement est mis hors service, la connexion entre deux postes peut donc se faire automatiquement, via un autre chemin réseau. Une architecture qui a donc permis à l’Internet nippon de se maintenir.   Le 16 mars 2011 à 12:31 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more