Salman Khan’s Passion

first_imgSo what is Bollywood heartthrob Salman Khan’s favorite midnight passion?Hmm, it isn’t what you think. Seems Salman likes to spin around Mumbai in an auto rickshaw. It is quite the buzz among auto rickshaw drivers in his neighborhood. Next time you are in Mumbai….  Related Itemslast_img

Fecal Art

first_imgA Spanish artist Santiago Sierra has filled a London art gallery with 21 big blocks of human excrement to shock visitors on wretched labor of India’s lowest castes. The human waste used in the exhibit was gathered in India, then left to sit for three years before being mixed with plastic and molded into man-sized blocks. Sierra seeks to incite disgust or outrage with his works.  Related Itemslast_img

Rambo’s Bollywood Roll

first_imgRambo star Sylvester Stallone and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are set to play alongside Ashkay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor in the movie, Incredible Love, the story of an Indian stuntman who takes Hollywood by storm.The $20 million film by Sajid Nadiadwala, producer of the super hits Heyy Babyy, Jaan-e-Mann and Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega and Andolan, will be shot in Hollywood’s Universal Studio.  Related Itemslast_img

Sam Manekhaw’s Fine Line

first_imgThe former Indian Army Chief Sam Hormusji Framji “Sam Bahadur” Jamshedji Manekshaw, who died in late June, once related the “very thin line between being dismissed and becoming a Field Marshal.”As refugees streamed from East Pakistan into West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. Manekshaw said he was summoned by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to a cabinet meeting in April 1971.“She then turned around to me and said, ‘What are you doing about it?’ And I said, ‘Nothing, it’s got nothing to do with me. You didn’t consult me when you allowed the BSF, the CRP and RAW to encourage the Pakistanis to revolt. Now that you are in trouble, you come to me. I have a long nose. I know what’s happening.’ She said, ‘I want you to enter Pakistan. And I responded, That means war!’She said, ‘I do not mind if it is war.’I said ‘Are you prepared? I am certainly not. This is the end of April. The Himalayan passes are opening and there can be an attack from China.’I turned around to the Prime Minister and said that the rains were about to start in East Pakistan and when it rains there, it pours and the whole countryside is flooded. The snows are melting, the rivers would become like oceans. All my movement would be confined to roads.”After the cabinet meeting ended, Manekshaw recalled: “I turned around and said, ‘Prime Minister, before you open your mouth, may I send you my resignation on grounds of health, mental or physical?’She said, ‘Everything you told me is true.’‘Yes! It is my job to tell you the truth,’ I responded. ‘And it is my job to fight, it is my job to fight to win and I have to tell you the truth.’She smiled at me and said, ‘All right Sam, you know what I want?’ I said, ‘Yes, I know what you want!’”Gandhi heeded Manekshaw’s advice and waited until November to launch the Bangladesh war.  Related Itemslast_img read more

India’s Software Industry Reboots

first_imgOver the years, Indian IT service companies have established themselves firmly on the global stage. More than two-thirds of Fortune 500 firms turn to them for part of their IT and business process outsourcing needs. Some, such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys Technologies and Wipro Technologies, have become global brands, competing head-to-head with multinational IT service providers.The software products story, however, is different. To be sure, many global companies, including SAP, Microsoft and Oracle, leverage India for product development either through their subsidiaries or by outsourcing to Indian technology service providers. And a few Indian firms have developed their own products and are commercializing them through the licensing model. But homegrown successes are limited when it comes to full-fledged software product companies – those that develop and own software, and sell it themselves or through partners. The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) estimates that of India’s total software and services revenue of $52 billion in fiscal 2008, the software product segment accounted for a mere $1.4 billion, with the top 10 companies taking in more than 80%.This could well change in coming years. Software products form the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. $1.3 trillion global IT industry. According to a recent study by Nasscom and Bangalore-based management consulting firm Zinnov Management Consulting, sales of software products are expected to increase from $294 billion at present to $537 billion by 2015. The study estimates that by 2015 the addressable market for Indian software products could be $290 billion to $315 billion.Som Mittal, president of Nasscom, is bullish about India’s prospects. “We believe that the Indian software product industry is at an inflexion point and has the potential to grow to $9.5 billion to $12 billion by 2015,” he says. Subash Menon, chairman of the Nasscom Product Forum and founder-chairman, managing director and chief executive officer of Subex Ltd., agrees: “Recent market indicators suggest that this segment is undergoing rapid transformation and is approaching a new phase of accelerated growth.”The optimism is not unfounded. Since 2001, India has produced 371 product start-ups. Two-thirds of these were formed in the last three years, 100 in the last year alone. While most of the early players in the Indian software product space focused primarily on the financial and accounting segments, the newer companies are looking at areas such as business intelligence, security and content.In the last three years, total venture capital investment in India grew at a compound annual rate of 42%, reaching $543 million in 2007. Funds invested in the software product segment grew slightly faster – by 43% – to $156 million. Says Sudhir Sethi, chairman and managing director of IDG Ventures India: “We are extremely bullish about software product firms from India.” IDG Ventures India is a $150 million venture fund that has made eight investments in the last 18 months, five of them in the software product space. Soon it will fund another software product firm. “Of our total investment of $50 million until now, $38 million has been in software product firms. We have put our money where our mouth is,” says Sethi. According to S. Sadagopan, director of the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, “It is just a matter of time before software products from India will explode.”Reasons for OptimismTo understand where the optimism stems from requires a look back in time. India’s software products business dates back to the early 1980s, when companies such as HCL, Softek, Wipro and TCS launched Unix-based compilers and office applications in the domestic market. According to the Nasscom-Zinnov study, from 1985 to 1990, India was home to some 350 software product companies.These companies faced the inherent challenges of the software product business: gestation periods of three to five years and the need for deep pockets. Lack of a domestic market and a dearth of professionals with relevant experience added to their woes. Over time, some of these companies shut down. Most others morphed into services firms. “This was the time that the services business had started to grow and it was a much easier alternative,” notes Bharat Goenka, cofounder and managing director of Tally Solutions. Goenka was one of the few who stuck it out. Today, Tally is among India’s top 10 software product companies by revenue.While many of the challenges continue, a confluence of factors including a strong and growing domestic market, disruptions in technology and business models, a growing talent base, a now-well-established “India” brand, and increased venture capital funding is expected to boost the segment in coming years.Take the domestic market. When it lacked strength, Indian players were compelled to build software products for other markets, such as the United States. Capturing the nuances of customer requirements was tough, and marketing the product was expensive. In recent years, however, a thriving economy has fueled the growth of domestic technology demand. Nasscom estimates that the total domestic IT market (comprising hardware, software, services, business process outsourcing, etc.) has jumped from $8 billion in 2004 to $23.1 billion in 2008. Over the next few years, India is expected to be the world’s fastest-growing IT market, according to the Nasscom-Zinnov study.The domestic market accounts for $500 million of the Indian software product segment’s $1.4 billion in revenue. The Nasscom-Zinnov study anticipates that, in line with Indian companies’ increased technology spending, revenue from the domestic market will grow to $4 billion to $5 billion by 2015. Sharad Sharma, co-chair of the Nasscom Product Forum and chief executive officer of Yahoo! R&D India, notes that software products are typically formed in the shadow of early adopters and friendly, sophisticated companies. Until now it had been hard to find these in India. Now the possibility exists in both the corporate and consumer sides. Citing the example of Bharti Airtel, India’s largest mobile services provider, known for its innovative business model, Sharma says: “Close proximity to such companies gives Indian firms a new product-friendly environment to work in.”Much of the growth in the domestic market, however, will be fueled by demand from the small and medium business (SMB) segment. There are two key reasons for this. First, the Nasscom-Zinnov study estimates, the SMB share of domestic IT spending will increase from 38% at present to 50% by 2015. Second, SMBs’ requirements and buying patterns open a door for domestic providers.According to Pari Natarajan, chief executive officer of Zinnov, “Multinationals find it easy to sell to large Indian enterprises because their buying patterns are similar to that of large enterprises elsewhere in the world. But SMBs have very different and localized needs. This makes it difficult for multinationals to address them and presents a huge opportunity for Indian players.”Working closely with Indian SMB customers will also help Indian companies make their products both “enterprise-ready” and suitable for other markets, especially emerging markets, Subex’s Menon says. “The domestic market is a great place to make mistakes and learn, and that too at the lowest cost. It is also a great place for building references.”Delivery-model DisruptionsRecent disruptions in delivery models as well as advances in technology may also work in favor of Indian software companies. Take Software as a Service (SaaS), for instance. Under this delivery model, the ownership of the deployment, integration and maintenance of the IT infrastructure moves from the customer to the vendor. This shift could make it financially more viable for Indian customers, particularly those in the SMB segment, to opt for software products.The SaaS model has another advantage. Typically, vendors spend huge amounts on supporting multiple platforms for different customers. With an SaaS model, this money can be spent on driving innovation more quickly.Zinnov’s Natarajan, meanwhile, is betting on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). With its loosely coupled architecture and ease of integration, he says, SOA will help Indian companies sell their products globally, even in companies well-penetrated by IT. “SOA allows different vendors to act independently of each other. Large global companies are therefore now willing to look at niche solutions from smaller players.” Yahoo!’s Sharma is optimistic about cloud computing. He sees it as having the potential to change the software product landscape the way merchant foundries did with chip design in the late 1980s. The emergence of merchant foundries such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which manufactured other companies’ chips, separated chip design from the expensive activity of chip manufacturing. This led to a spurt of companies engaged only in chip design, fostering innovation. “To my mind, the same analogy works with cloud computing,” Sharma says. “It is a great leveler for Indian companies.”An Easing Talent CrunchThe challenge from a talent crunch continues, especially in the area of product management. But a growing pool of professionals with expertise in software products gives cause for cheer even here. An estimated 170,000 product R&D professionals (including 30,000 expatriates with global experience) work with multinationals’ subsidiaries, Indian technology service providers and Indian software product companies.According to Haragopal Mangipudi, vice president and business head of Finacle, the banking product from Infosys Technologies, “Earlier, when we looked for people for product management, product alliances or product marketing, we could not find people with the relevant experience. While the challenge does remain, it is far easier now.”Software products being designed and developed from the ground up at multinationals’ subsidiaries in India are expected to produce more experienced people. Since March, Yahoo! India has been launching a fully “made in India” product every month. Symantec’s India center works on a complete ownership model for products including Security 2.0, Information 2.0 and File System Analyzer. Google Map Maker is one of the most recent products from Google India. All of these are global products. Says Vinay Goel, head of products at Google India: “Professionals are now able to get the relevant product experience without having to move outside India.”This pool of professionals is expected not only to add value to the current players, but also to spawn start-ups – especially with the Indian software service industry no longer providing easy pickings. “The market has changed,” says Zinnov’s Natarajan. “Unless one is in a very niche segment, one can no longer be a small service player from India and survive. It therefore does not make sense for wannabe entrepreneurs to set up services companies.”This is not to say that every new software product start-up from India will find the going easy. One of the biggest constraints at present is angel funding. In Silicon Valley, angels play a critical role in identifying and supporting a start-up and building it to a size where it catches the interest of venture capitalists.Natarajan estimates that the United States has 225,000 such angels, among which many support software product start-ups. India, he says, has about 225 angels, of which very few fund software product firms. Sharma of Yahoo! cites this factor as the “weakest link in the chain.”Investors need to be far more knowledgeable, patient and comfortable with funding product start-ups, adds IDG Ventures’ Sethi. “Given the nature of the software product business, the failures are higher than in the services business. But even failures will have a positive spin-off. The experience that comes from these will add strength to the product ecosystem.”Reprinted from knowledge@wharton Related Itemslast_img read more

Going Home

first_imgNearly 3 in 4 Indian graduate students in U.S. universities say they plan to return home after their studies. Just 8 percent express a preference to work in the United States or overseas. Another 16 percent said they would take the best job, wherever its location.  An online survey of 998 students conducted by scholars at Rutgers University, Pennsylvania State University and the Tata Institute of Social Science found that roughly half the students would like to get two or three years of U.S. experience before returning home.B. Venkatesh Kumar, a political science professor at the Tata Institute, who co-authored the study Will They Return?, said he was surprised by the findings: “It’s been a significant change in attitude, given the changes in India, its rise as an economic power, and with it, this willingness to go back and help develop it into a knowledge society.”The study found that family considerations and a desire to give back were the strongest motivators for returning to India. The work environment, corruption and red tape were cited as the biggest deterrents to returning.There are an estimated 100,000 Indians at U.S. universities, the single largest foreign student group. Reasons to Pursue US Higher Education(Important and most important reason)High Quality Teaching83%Cutting Edge Research79%Professionalism & work ethic81%Better options after graduation80%Desire to find a job and emigrate to US18%Family reasons16% Desire to ReturnWould like to spend a few years in the US before returning53%Will take the best job regardless of location16%Have decided to go back after by MS/PhD/PostDoc10%Want to return to India – looking for opportunities7%Don’t want to go, but may be forced to if can’t locate a job in US or other countries5%In India or in the process of moving4%Will take any job I can find in the US or other countries to avoid returning3%Other 2%    Related ItemsLeave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *CommentName * Email * Website Bigger India Chetna Kapoor | February 28, 2019Virginia Brewery Apologizes For Beer Sharing Name With Hindu DeityA Virginia brewery has apologized for a beer that shares its name with a Hindu deity. Olde Salem… Chetna Kapoor | February 28, 2019Easier E-visa For Business Trip To IndiaIn a bid to make it easier for foreign nationals to visit India for business trips, the government… Chetna Kapoor | February 28, 2019The Rise Of The NRI, The Influential Non-voterIn 1936, Radhakamal Mukerjee, a famous Lucknow-based social scientist, wrote a book titled Migrant Asia that contained an… Chetna Kapoor | February 28, 2019Why India Refuses To Sign On To US Plans For Overseas Regime ChangeThe India-US embrace today is much tighter than it was in 2001, in the chaotic days after the… Chetna Kapoor | February 28, 2019How The Escalating Crisis Between India And Pakistan Threatens The USAs the world’s largest democracy gears up for a national election, India is facing a dramatic rise in… Featured Darjeeling’s Tea Gardens Limp Back IFFLA: Independence, Longevity, and Community Art Is Taking Young Entrepreneurs Abroad, Journey Of Three Young  Artists Cluster of Harassment Claims in Bollywood and Elsewhere Startles India Hundreds of Cases a Day and a Flair for Drama: India’s Crusading Supreme Court Editors Selection Hundreds of Cases a Day and a Flair for Drama: India’s Crusading Supreme Court Out of Chaos, Trump Reshapes Immigration Jennifer Reeder’s Signature Move Braving Harvey 15 Largest Gifts by Indian Philanthropists in the United States HomeNRIExpatsLifeEntertainmentPoliticsCrimeBusinessTravelMagazineBigger IndiaAdvertisingHomeAbout UsAdvertisingWritersJobsSubscribeContact UsFeedbackArtsBollywoodBooksBusinessCrimeData FileEducationEntertainmentExpatsFoodGo FigureHealthImmigrationiSpyLifeMagazineNRIOpinionPhotographyPoliticsRaceMultimediaReligionScienceSportsTechnologyTravelYouthArchivesApril 2019February 2019January 2019December 2018November 2018See Older Posts…last_img read more

Repenting Samosas

first_imgA New Jersey Indian restaurant can be sued for emotional distress as well as the costs of religious purification ceremonies in Haridwar, by 16 patrons to whom it accidentally served non vegetarian food.A state appellate court reinstated a lawsuit against Moghul Express for breach of express warranty, for mistakenly delivering non vegetarian **samosas** to customers who had ordered vegetarian ones in summer 2009.The plaintiff’s lawsuit claims: “Hindu vegetarians believe that if they eat meat, they become involved in the sinful cycle of inflicting pain, injury and death on God’s creatures, and that it affects the karma and dharma, or purity of the soul. Hindu scriptures teach that the souls of those who eat meat can never go to God after death, which is the ultimate goal for Hindus. The Hindu religion does not excuse accidental consumption of meat products. One who commits the religious violation of eating meat, knowingly or unknowingly, is required to participate in a religious ceremony at a site located along the Ganges River in Haridwar, Uttranchal, India, to purify himself. The damages sought by plaintiffs included compensation for the emotional distress they suffered, as well as economic damages they would incur by virtue of having to participate in the required religious cleansing ceremony in India.” Related Itemslast_img read more

‘Balotelli’s earned Italy call-up’

first_imgItaly ‘Balotelli’s earned Italy call-up’ – Baselli says striker is a ‘really nice guy’ Matt Dorman 01:56 5/27/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Mario Balotelli, Italy, 24052018 Getty Images Italy Mario Balotelli Italy v Saudi Arabia Friendlies The Nice forward is in line to win his first cap in four years when Mancini takes charge of his first game against Saudi Arabia Mario Balotelli’s return to the Italy squad has been welcomed by Torino midfielder Daniele Baselli.New Italy coach Roberto Mancini has included Balotelli in his first squad following the striker’s impressive season at Nice.Balotelli could win his first cap in four years when Italy meet Saudi Arabia on May 28 and Baselli is happy to have the former Manchester City forward in the squad. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now “Mario’s presence is nice and for me he’s earned his call-up,” Baselli said. “He’s a really nice guy and he keeps the atmosphere light-hearted.”Meanwhile, Baselli feels that Mancini’s willingness to invest in youth is exactly what Italy need to usher in a new era following their failure to qualify for the World Cup.Former Inter and Manchester City boss Mancini has freshened up an ageing squad by including the likes of Rolando Mandragora and Mattia Caldara for his first camp at the helm.Baselli, who finished the season with four Serie A goals, is among the mix of relative newcomers which appears to herald a concerted move toward developing a new generation.Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Daniele De Rossi all retired after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup, leaving a group thin on experience to pick up the pieces.”I’ve seen that the atmosphere is calm here and everyone wants to work,” Baselli told reporters.”After the failure to qualify for the World Cup, Mancini has the ability and time to prepare for a new cycle and use young players.”He’s one of the best coaches around and certainly the right person to start again with. We have to make the most of this time and put his instructions into practice.”Personally, I have been waiting for this call-up for a very long time. It’s a great pleasure to be here.”Mancini’s men are also due to face France and Netherlands in early June as part of a busy schedule of friendlies in the absence of a trip to Russia 2018.last_img read more

Shrinking of Ship Supply in Tanker Market Heralded

first_imgzoom The tanker market is entering a period which will see a shrinkage in the supply of ships, therefore an improved balance between supply and demand may be established, Herbjørn Hansson, Executive Chairman at Nordic American Tankers Limited (NAT) said. ” It is many years ago since we had such a position. The recent volatility in the spot market is also indicating a tighter balance between supply and demand,” he continued.As explained by Hansson, the first quarter of 2014 produced very strong results for the company’s suezmax tankers compared with the last quarter of 2013.“During the fourth quarter of 2013 the operating cash flow was $1.9 million. The comparable figure for the first quarter of 2014 was about $27 million, about 14 times up,” he said.“We know that the tanker market is volatile, the first quarter of 2014 is an indication how it can evolve. 2Q2014 will not produce results at the level with 1Q2014 as the market has fallen back. At the time of this message there is an undercurrent in the market which may lead to increased rates again. Time will tell,” he added.According to him, NAT is in excellent position to reap immediate financial benefits when the market turns around, especially having in mind that NAT’s suezmax fleet wil be exfrom 20 to 22 vessels. We shall take delivery of the two new vessels in July and August 2014, respectively.In April 2014, NAT closed a following offering that brought in approximately $113 million. The proceeds are planned to be used to finance the current acquisitions, bringing the fleet to 22 vessels, and for further fleet expansion.World Maritime News Staff, July 8th, 2014last_img read more

Tej Pratap Yadav 5 others injured in road accident in Patna

first_imgPatna: RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav hurt his leg and five others were injured on Friday, when the cars they were travelling in met with an accident here, police said. According to the police, “Tej Pratap Yadav was going from his official residence towards his party office with an aide, when their speeding car collided with another car coming from the opposite direction near the busy Eco Park area.” While the former Bihar Health Minister hurt his leg, his aide was critically injured. Four others, who were sitting in the other car also received minor injuries.last_img read more

Canadian politicians offer sympathies following Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

first_imgOTTAWA – Several Canadian politicians have offered their sympathies following a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemning the attack as anti-Semitic.“Canadians’ hearts are with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh today, as they endured a horrific anti-Semitic attack while at prayer,” Trudeau wrote following the attack, which officials say left multiple people dead at a baby-naming ceremony.“May the families of those murdered be comforted, and may the injured recover quickly and fully,” Trudeau wrote in a post on Twitter.Horrified by the mass shooting at a synagogue in #Pittsburgh today. My heart goes out to all those affected. We must stand together against hatred, intolerance, antisemitism, and violence.— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) October 27, 2018Meanwhile, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he shares “the deep anguish in the Jewish community.“If Canada can help, we will,” he tweeted.Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer wrote that he was praying for those affected.“We must all stand together firmly against anti-Semitism,” he said.On behalf of @FriendsIsrael, we strongly condemn the horrific, anti-Semitic attack on the congregation of The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh this morning. Our prayers are with the victims and their families. We stand united with the Jewish community, always.— Stephen Harper (@stephenharper) October 27, 2018 My heart breaks for the Jewish community in Pittsburgh after the horrific anti-Semitic attack at a synagogue during prayer. Canadians grieve with the families of the murdered and injured. We also stand strong and united against hate and those who promote it.— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) October 27, 2018Some of Canada’s premiers also weighed in, with Ontario’s Doug Ford saying we must work together to “defeat anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its forms,” and newly minted Quebec Premier Francois Legault calling for people to “unite against hatred and racism.”British Columbia’s John Horgan described the incident as a “deep violation of safety and security.”American officials say one person is in custody, and the FBI is investigating the rampage as a hate crime.last_img read more

Alberta police force defends officers who killed injured deer with knife

first_imgMEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A police force in southern Alberta is defending two officers who killed a severely injured deer with a knife to end its suffering.The Medicine Hat Police Service said the officers were called Friday to a residential area, where they found the deer missing a leg. Two of its other legs were badly fractured, likely after being hit by a vehicle.Police said the officers determined they couldn’t shoot the deer because they were too close to homes. They decided that using a knife was the safest way to quickly euthanize the animal.Medicine Hat resident Denis Bagaric said he was driving to work when he saw the injured deer cross a road and curl up near the door of a house.He said he couldn’t believe police used a knife on the animal.Upset, he shot a video of the officers and posted it on social media.“I thought he was going to pick up the deer and take it to a field or let a vet deal with him,” Bagaric said. “But to whip out a knife and start stabbing it? I think that’s disgusting.”Police said they are aware of the video and agree it is disturbing but stand by the officers.“The MHPS supports the actions of the involved officers, who took the matter very seriously and attempted to mitigate the trauma to the injured deer and the public as much as possible,” the police service said in a statement.Police said the officers tried to warn people in the neighbourhood before they killed the deer. (CHAT News Today, CTV Calgary)The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Darfur UN and Sudan sign deal to improve humanitarian operations

28 March 2007The United Nations and Sudan signed a joint communiqué today in which the Government pledged to support, protect and facilitate all humanitarian operations in the strife-torn Darfur region, where an estimated 4 million people now depend on outside aid. The communiqué, signed in the capital, Khartoum, commits the Government to rapid and full implementation of all measures relating to humanitarian access contained in a July 2004 communiqué that followed a visit to Darfur by the then UN Secretary-General.Under today’s agreement, both parties recognize that significant progress has been made in tackling the humanitarian situation since 2004, most notably in improving rates of deaths and malnutrition. But more joint efforts are needed to facilitate relief activities, including securing access to affected areas and solving any emerging procedural problems.Sudan has committed, among other measures, to extend the current visas and permits for humanitarian workers through next January, and to issue multiple-entry visas to the directors of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their families. It will also fast-track visa applications and customs procedures for UN staff and NGOs.The communiqué also stipulates that a high-level committee will be set up to monitor and regulate the commitments, and this new grouping will includes representatives of the UN, the Government, NGOs and the international community.The agreement comes as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes arrived in N’Djamena, the capital of neighbouring Chad, for talks with that country’s Government.Mr. Holmes reached N’Djamena after visiting camps for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and aid projects around the eastern Chadian hamlet of Goz Beida, about 100 kilometres from the Sudanese border.Dwindling water resources have become a major problem in Goz Beida, where the population has more than quadrupled in the past three years because of the insecurity in Darfur that has now extended into Chad and also the Central African Republic (CAR).More than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2 million others displaced from their homes in Darfur since rebel groups there took up arms against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militias in 2003.Jan Eliasson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Darfur, also visited Chad today, where he met with Prime Minister Delwa Kassiré Koumakoye and officials from the country’s Foreign Ministry.Mr. Eliasson and his African Union (AU) counterpart Salim Ahmed Salim have been travelling around the region this week to try to re-energize the political negotiation process so that a comprehensive solution can be found to Darfur, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said is home to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.Yesterday Mr. Eliasson told a joint press conference in Khartoum that the path to peace in Darfur needs not only the support and goodwill of the parties involved in the conflict, but broad public support as well before a durable solution can take effect.The UN and the AU would like to deploy a hybrid peacekeeping force inside Darfur, a region roughly the size of France, to end the bloodshed and protect civilians. read more

Mining industry commends Mines Ministers for supporting transparency of mining payments

first_imgThe Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) applaud the joint announcement made this week by Canada’s  Mines Ministers lending their support to enhance the transparency of mining sector payments to governments. The statement was issued on the last day of the 2014 Energy and Mines Ministers Conference, held in Sudbury, Ontario. “We welcome the broad support that federal and provincial Mines Ministers have given to improving the transparency of mining revenues paid to governments at home and abroad, and we look forward to working with all levels of government on this important initiative,” said Pierre Gratton, President and CEO, MAC.  “We are also encouraged to learn that some provinces are considering implementing transparency through their securities regulators, which would bring Canada in line with how similar standards in the US and European Union are structured.”MAC and the PDAC have been actively promoting the need for Canada to adopt such a standard since late 2012 when the two associations joined two NGOs—Publish What You Pay-Canada and the Natural Resources Governance Institute (formerly the Revenue Watch Institute)—in what’s known as the Resource Revenue Transparency Working Group (RRTWG).“The Canadian mineral industry generates significant economic opportunities for communities at home and abroad, ranging from jobs and training to royalty and tax revenues,” noted Rod Thomas, PDAC President.  “Improved transparency on revenues paid will help increase accountability and ensure that the benefits of resource development reach the more than one billion people living in resource-rich countries.”In January 2014, the RRTWG released its final recommendations, which are intended to provide Canada’s federal and provincial governments with a blueprint for a payment reporting framework that will serve the needs of the data’s end-users, such as citizens, governments and investors, but also those of the reporting companies.  In terms of implementation, the recommendations conclude that provincial governments and securities regulators are best placed to create laws and regulations that require all publicly-traded mining companies in Canada to make public the payments they make to governments.  The Government of Canada, through the leadership of Natural Resources Canada, has been developing a federal framework strongly aligned with the RRTWG’s recommendations to address any gaps in provincial coverage as well as ensure inclusion of privately-held companies.The announcement also indicated that the federal government will defer reporting of industry payments to Aboriginal governments and will continue to engage Aboriginal communities. This approach is consistent with the RRTWG’s process, which felt that a separate and meaningful consultation with Aboriginal organizations and communities would be needed before extending the disclosure requirements to these groups.The mining payment transparency movement has been gaining ground in Canada. In the June 2013 run-up to the Summit, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a Canadian government commitment to enhance extractive sector payment transparency. One year later, in the Quebec government’s 2014 budget, Quebec became the first province to publicly support Canada’s implementation of a transparency standard, committing to work with its securities regulator on the initiative.Government implementation of a transparency standard consistent with the RRTWG’s recommendations will provide citizens around the world with valuable information about payments from companies to governments in countries that produce minerals. Increased transparency will allow citizens to hold their governments to account for the revenues generated from mining activities and help to ensure that these revenues contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction.last_img read more

Vukasin Stojanovic to Borac Banja Luka

← Previous Story Marta Mangue absent from Team Esbjerg Next Story → Ivan Cupic injured again! The man who played for HC Bosna in the past, the left wing of the Bosnia & Herzegovina national team, and in the past few years member of spanish Logrones and Aragon, Vukasin Stojanovic, has decided to join Borac Banja Luka, and the team will begin the preparation stronger than ever. Beside him, the club signed another few quality players.Borac is spending the preparations with 7 days in Teslic, then few games again Nexe, followed by tourney in Slovenia and the tournament “Borik”.The Regional SEHA League begins on 10th of September, and Borac will play Vardar in the first round. read more

Gerry Adams We didnt have enough candidates to capitalise on Sinn Féins

first_imgSource: Hugh O’Connell/YouTubeGERRY ADAMS HAS admitted that Sinn Féin did not have enough candidates to capitalise on the rise in its vote across the country in the local elections.The party president was speaking after dozens of Sinn Féin candidates were elected across the country. The party is now on course to be the biggest on Dublin City Council.However, in some areas despite gaining enough to votes to get three councillors elected they only had two candidates like in Clondalkin where Eoin Ó Broin and teenager Jonathan Graham were elected but the party had a big enough quota to elect another candidate.Adams said the party didn’t have the structure or capacity to cope with its success in some areas, saying at the RDS today: ”We didn’t have the candidates, we didn’t have the structure we didn’t have the capacity in many areas.He added: “If we had been able to run more – and we knew this – we would have got more votes. But it’s a building process.” 2014 Liveblog: Local and European results as they happenWho is your new local councillor? Here’s a list of everyone elected so farlast_img read more

Cornell team figures out how to simulate cloth sounds using physics

first_imgComputer animation continues to develop at a staggering rate to the point where you really can’t tell what’s real or not in movies anymore. But while realistic motion and graphics are now becoming the norm, other areas of simulation still lag behind. One of those areas is audio, and in particular simulating different sound effects of complex objects/materials.In a lot of cases a sound is recorded and matched to an animation after it is created in a process done by hand, but it would be much faster if a computer could simulate the required audio. A team of researchers at Cornell University is tackling one such simulation. They have developed a process that manages to realistically simulate the sound of moving cloth.So how do you simulate cloth sounds? Physics. The team used the friction and crumpling movement of cloth to approximate what sounds are required through a sequence of actions. That data is then broken down into “microsecond chunks” in order to have sound snippets matched to it more precisely.The sounds are produced by hand, first by recording cloth being crumpled, then by spinning a piece of cloth off of a cloth roller. Those sounds are also broken down into chunks allowing them to be matched to the appropriate physics gathered from the animation data using best approximation.The end result, as the video above demonstrates, is pretty realistic cloth sound simulation. There’s still human input required to select the closest type of fabric (cotton, polyester, etc.) to what is being animated, and therefore the right database of sounds to use, but it sure beats doing it by hand every time.The Cornell solution proves the concept works, but is nowhere near ready for use in a real project. For that to happen a much larger database of sounds needs to be compiled and the algorithms used need to be improved and sped up to be as close to real-time as possible.Read more at Cornell ChronicleOnlinelast_img read more