Uttar Pradesh has no industry or entertainment except politics, say cynics

first_imgSTRANGE SAMAJWADIS: Bhatia is a man of law andCow-belt India is the Silicon Valley of politics, albeit as low-tech as they come. Uttar Pradesh, cynics say, has no industry except politics, no entertainment except politics, no raison d’etre except politics.Former princelings, current criminals, teachers, everybody has joined the election bandwagon.,STRANGE SAMAJWADIS: Bhatia is a man of law andCow-belt India is the Silicon Valley of politics, albeit as low-tech as they come. Uttar Pradesh, cynics say, has no industry except politics, no entertainment except politics, no raison d’etre except politics.Former princelings, current criminals, teachers, everybody has joined the election bandwagon. Four IAS officers, secretaries to the state Government no less, have pushed their wives into fighting the election.Rashmi Pathak, a Brahmin college lecturer, is contesting the Kalyanpur constituency in Kanpur on a BSP ticket. At a recent public meeting, she even touched Dalit queen Mayawati’s feet, upsetting those who take their caste hierarchies seriously.Rumour has it Pathak “invested heavily” in a BSP ticket. How did she get the money? “I’ve put all my savings into this election,” she says. A friend admits Pathak and her husband sold their family property to enter the political bazaar.In Kunda, Pratapgarh, constituency of the notoriously famous Sports Minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh, aka Raja Bhaiyya, politics is literally a bazaar issue. Raja Bhaiyya is an independent whose poll symbol is, well, a chair.Moulded plastic chairs are the rage in the town-widely reputed as having the worst roads in Uttar Pradesh. Chairs can be found everywhere, hanging from roof tops, strung onto power poles. Enterprising shopkeepers have specially brought in miniature chairs.These, Raja Bhaiyya informs you, “are being sold for anything between Re 1 and Rs 7. They are even being sold in the black market”.Raja Bhaiyya is no angel. You can’t find a single poster of an opponent in the town. Mr Poker Face insists, “The opposition can’t even find polling agents.” His chief rival, Mohammed Shami (SP), accuses him of terror tactics. Raja Bhaiyya retorts by calling Shami “truck hold-up ka sartaj” (king of truck hold-ups).Crime and politics have an old relationship in Uttar Pradesh. This time too 965 candidates-17 per cent of the total of 5,539-have criminal records. Abhey Pratap Singh, aka Lalla Bhaiyya, is an MLA close to Rajnath and defending the Karnailganj seat for the ruling alliance.advertisementSome months ago his driver, Satish Chandra, asked him for three days’ leave. Lalla Bhaiyya refused. On being pressed, he pulled out a gun and shot the driver. A case was registered in Lucknow’s Gomti Nagar police station. Officially Lalla Bhaiyya is “wanted” and “untraceable”. Meanwhile he’s happily campaigning.Virendra Bhatia, SP nominee in Lucknow (West), is a well-known criminal lawyer who hopes to displace Lalji Tandon, urban affairs minister and BJP veteran. Tandon accuses Bhatia, whose clients range from gangster Babloo Shrivastava to Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, of defending criminals. Bhatia retorts, “But 13 or 14 of Tandon’s cabinet colleagues are my clients.”Feel free to draw conclusions. Else move to the bizarre and consider O.P. Sharma “Jadugar”. Magician Sharma, who lives in house called Bhoot Bangla (Haunted Bungalow) is the SP candidate from Govind Nagar, Kanpur. His meetings usually begin with people exclaiming, “Jaadu dikhao, jaadu dikhao (show us magic).”Since he’s not a good orator, Sharma has a local SP functionary delivering his campaign speech for him. As it ends, the proxy points to Sharma and says, “Ab hamare pratyashi item dikhayenge. (Now our candidate will present an item).”STRANGE SAMAJWADIS: Sharma of magicSharma duly stuffs flags of the Congress, BJP, BSP and SP into a bag and seals it. Then he reopens it and, voila, all the flags are the SP’s. Sharma is a serious candidate. Fellow Brahmins are backing him in large numbers.If you ignore the minor idiosyncrasy called governance, you could actually celebrate Uttar Pradesh’s elections as a near perfect example of grassroots democracy, of fervid coalition building.Communities that were foes till the other day-or election- join hands thanks to an immediate material gain. In western Uttar Pradesh, the Vaishs, till now the BJP’s captive voters, are looking for alternatives, even considering Mayawati’s “subaltern” BSP.Says Baghpat foundry owner Pradyumna Jain: “We’ve got a bad deal from the Government. Electricity charges have been hiked. Mayawati has helped us more than the BJP.”The search for new friends is infectious. As chief of the Loktantrik Congress and power minister, Naresh Agarwal was the principal beneficiary of the BJP-led coalition Government till Rajnath sacked him in late 2001. Now the very SP that charged him with corruption is backing Agarwal in Hardoi.Amarmani Tripathi was removed from the ministry and jailed when implicated in a kidnapping case. The former BJP ally has filed his nomination from Laxmipur. He’s still behind bars-but the BSP is his new refuge.In the western Jat belt, Om Prakash Chautala, Haryana chief minister and president of the Indian National Lok Dal, has been getting his party to campaign against the candidates of Ajit Singh, Union agriculture minister, president of the Rashtriya Lok Dal and sworn enemy of Chautala, even if both back the BJP in Delhi.advertisementWhen two of Chautala’s men landed up in Saurpur Kalan village, Baghpat, a week ago, they told a bunch of hookah smokers, “Do you know you are poor because eastern Uttar Pradesh is taking away all your wealth? Vote for us. We will make you as rich as Haryana.”School teacher Satyavir Singh refused to let the insult go unanswered. “We are poor,” he thundered, “because we are a big state.” When you master that logic, you’ll understand Uttar Pradesh’s politics. – with Subhash Mishralast_img read more

Portugal not just about me, says Cristiano Ronaldo

first_imgCristiano Ronaldo said he is not obsessed by breaking records and believes Portugal have reached the Euro 2016 final thanks to a team effort after they beat Wales in the last four on Wednesday.(Ronaldo, Nani send Portugal into Euro 2016 final)Ronaldo, Portugal’s all-time leading scorer and most-capped international, equalled Frenchman Michel Platini’s record of nine goals in European Championship finals after scoring his teams’s first in the 2-0 win over the Welsh. (Full Euro 2016 Coverage)”Records are nice. I have broken many records and I continue to do so, with the club and the national team as well, but I’m not obsessed with them because they happen as a matter of course,” Ronaldo told reporters.”The most important thing was that the team believed we could get to the final,” added the 31-year-old.”Nobody thought Portugal could get to the final and but we are there, that makes me proud and happy.”The three-times world player of the year has been criticised for hogging free kicks and penalties and for remonstrating with team mates when their passes fail to reach him.”The national team is everything. I want to help the national team as much as I can, not only with goals but also by running and coming back to defend,” he said.”I have given everything and the team work has been excellent.”Ronaldo remembered that Portugal had started the tournament poorly with a draw against Iceland.”This is a marathon, not a sprint. It has been shown not only by me but also by Renato (Sanches), by Nani, both other players who have scored goals such as (Ricardo Quaresma) that national team is about everyone and not just about me.”advertisementRonaldo was also playing when Portugal reached their only previous European championship final on home soil in 2004, but lost 1-0 to Greece.”It was different, last time I was 19, it was my first final, my debut,” he said.”Twelve years on and I’m in another final. This makes me proud, I always dreamed about winning something for Portugal and I hope it will be this time,” the Real Madrid forward added.”I’m very confident, I deserve it, the players as well and the supporters. Portugal deserves it.”last_img read more

Liverpool F.C. reject second FC Barcelona bid for Philippe Coutinho: reports

first_imgLiverpool have rejected a second bid worth 100 million euros ($117.29 million) for midfielder Philippe Coutinho from Spain’s Barcelona, according to British and Spanish media reports.Barcelona are keen to sign the Brazilian playmaker, who joined Liverpool from Inter Milan for 8.5 million pounds ($11.03 million) in 2013, and have already had an initial bid worth 80 million euros rejected by Liverpool last month.The 24-time Spanish league champions increased the offer to 85 million euros plus 15 million in add-ons but Liverpool have rejected the second bid, maintaining their stance that the player is not for sale.Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has repeatedly said that the 25-year-old, who was a key player for the Anfield outfit last campaign, would not be sold and the club’s position is boosted by Coutinho’s signing of a new five-year contract last season.Media reports indicate that Barcelona are targeting Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele as replacements for Brazil forward Neymar, who joined Paris St Germain last week for a world record transfer fee of 222 million euros.While Spanish media have suggested that a deal for Coutinho’s move to Barcelona was close to completion, British media say Liverpool have not and will not make any plans to discuss the player’s future with the Catalan club.($1 = 0.8526 euros, 0.7708 pounds)last_img read more

Priyanka and Nick to recreate their first date for pre-wedding function?

first_imgIt’s a season of weddings in Bollywood. After Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh’s dreamy wedding at Lake Como in Italy, now all eyes are on Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’s grand wedding in Jodhpur. It was in August this year that Priyanka and Nick made their relationship official with a roka ceremony, and the two are set to tie the knot soon.While the couple has remained tight-lipped on wedding, the preparations have already kickstarted in Jodhpur. Buzz has it that the lovebirds will have two wedding ceremonies, but before that they have planned some exciting pre-wedding functions.Apart from the mehendi and sangeet ceremonies, the couple are reportedly planning to recreate their first date for one of the pre-wedding functions.”The duo actually took a bit of time to know each other after they walked the red carpet at last year’s Met Gala. They stayed in touch and their relationship got serious only after they dated for a few months,” a source told the daily.According to a report in a leading daily, the couple wants to recreate their first official date.”Both Priyanka and Nick wanted to start the new journey of their lives with a fond memory. They want it exactly the way it was from the ambience to the food and the setting. While the couple will solemnise their marriage on December 2 in Jodhpur, before one of the other ceremonies (mehendi or sangeet), they will go on a similar date. Nickyanka (as they are popularly known) will also sport the same outfits that they had worn for the occasion,” added the source.advertisementWhile Nick is already on his way to India for the wedding, Priyanka is currently busy wrapping up Sky Is Pink in Delhi. The actress will soon join Nick in Jodhpur wherein the two will begin preparing for their joing performance at their sangeet ceremony.The wedding is expected to take place on December 2 at Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur.ALSO READ | Nick Jonas’s phone wallpaper proves he is smitten with Priyanka ChopraALSO READ | Nick Jonas heads to India for wedding with Priyanka ChopraALSO WATCH | Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas get engaged in Mumbailast_img read more

Roger Federer beats Marton Fucsovics to reach Dubai semi-final

first_imgRoger Federer overcame two rain delays to beat Marton Fucsovics 7-6(6), 6-4 on Thursday and reach the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.After a brief interruption when the players were locked at 5-5 in the opening set, Federer saved two set points in the tiebreak and held firm to gain the upper hand in the contest.The drizzle returned at 4-4 in the second set but Federer switched gears after the restart, sealing a decisive break to go ahead 5-4 and closed out the match in an hour and 56 minutes.The 20-time Grand Slam winner, who is seeking his 100th ATP title, next takes on Borna Coric, who beat Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 4-6, 6-2, 7-6.Gael Monfils continued his fine recent form by rallying past Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis 6-1 6-7(3) 6-2, with the victory set to catapult him back into the top 20 on Monday.The Frenchman, who won his first title of the year in Rotterdam earlier this month, takes on Australian Open semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last-four.Tsitsipas, 20, survived a mid-match wobble to get past Polish qualifier Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(4) 6-7(1) 6-1.”We’re both serving really well. We have similar game style. I’m a bit more aggressive than him, but he’s much faster,” Tsitsipas said of Monfils.The pair have a 1-1 head-to-head record with world number 23 Monfils winning their most recent meeting in Sofia this year.”I’m going to have to… be patient, play with passion as well, wait for the opportunities to break him. I’m going to have to serve well,” Tsitsipas added.advertisementAlso Read | Nick Kyrgios lacks respect for the public, opponent and for himself: Rafael NadalAlso Watch:last_img read more

Willian: No room for mistakes for Brazil

first_imgBrazil Willian: No room for mistakes at World Cup for title hopefuls Brazil Gabriel Pazini Last updated 1 year ago 21:00 5/31/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Willian Brazil Getty Brazil Brazil v Switzerland World Cup Friendlies Willian The Chelsea attacker was part of the squad that crashed out at the semi-finals in 2014 and is determined to go all the way this time Brazil cannot afford to make any mistakes in Russia if they are to win a sixth World Cup trophy this summer, according to Willian.The Selecao are seen as one of the main competitors for the competition and will start their journey in Group E with games against Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.Brazil reached the semi-finals of the tournament last time before they crashed out with a 7-1 defeat to Germany before being forced to settle for fourth place with a loss to Netherlands. 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 This year, however, Willian says they are going all the way for the title, but cannot leave any room for error in the late stages.”My expectation is the best possible,” the Chelsea star Goal. “I think we did a great job in the qualifiers and we have to follow in the same way in the World Cup, because we are on the right track.”I think we will get on well in the World Cup. It’s hard to pinpoint favorites. There are four or five teams, including Brazil, that can reach the same level.”The World Cup is a tournament that practically does not allow errors, especially in the final. From the last World Cup, we’ve learned the good and the bad sides of the tournament, which was the moment we were eliminated. This time my expectation is that we can experience only the good side.”Willian, 29, says it has been a childhood dream of his to represent his country at the World Cup, and is looking forward to a second experience after the humiliation in their homeland in 2014.”When I was a kid, I dreamed of wearing the Selecao shirt in a World Cup,” he added. “Having played in my first World Cup was already a dream come true. Now I will be able to play in a second one, an opportunity few people get.”Of course it’s in my head to win the title. This is my biggest dream, but I know the difficulties we will face in order to achieve this goal.”The World Cup is the ultimate moment for any player. It is the opportunity to defend your country in the biggest tournament in the world and the moment the whole world will watch you play.”Brazil begin their tournament against Switzerland on June 17.last_img read more

Won’t be disappointed even if India lose New Zealand T20s, focus is on World Cup: Gavaskar

first_img India Today Web Desk New DelhiFebruary 7, 2019UPDATED: February 7, 2019 11:04 IST India lost the first T20 to New Zealand in Wellington (AP Photo)HIGHLIGHTSIndia suffered a crushing 80-run defeat vs New Zealand in the first T20I in WellingtonSunil Gavaskar said he would not be “too disappointed” even if India lost the T20 series”It’s important that chances are given to players like Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant and Krunal Pandya,” Gavaskar saidFormer India skipper Sunil Gavaskar said he would not be “too disappointed” even if India lost the ongoing Twenty20 International series in New Zealand as the focus of the team was on World Cup. India suffered a crushing 80-run defeat in the first game of the three-match series in Wellington on Wednesday.”India need a mix of both [experiment for the World Cup and focus on winning series in New Zealand]. The World Cup is just a few months away. To arrive on a final squad, there needs to be a few experiments. In this T20I series, you could get an idea of who the team can look at [for the World Cup]. The likes of Vijay Shankar can be observed. Even in T20Is, you can figure out if the players will be suited for the 50-over format or not,” Gavaskar told Sports Tak.Gavaskar also said India can experiment with their playing XIs and try out different combinations in the T20 series in New Zealand to get an idea how the players handle pressure.”Yes, you need to win matches in New Zealand. But the T20 World Cup is far away, it’s in October 2020. I won’t be very disappointed even if India lose this T20I series. If the performances are good, then there’s no problem. The team is right now focused on the World Cup. Thus it’s important that chances are given to players like Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant and Krunal Pandya. The way they handle pressure here will give the team an idea of whether they are ready for the World Cup or not,” Gavaskar said.advertisementGavaskar also backed the idea of using Virat Kohli at No.4 during the 2019 ICC World Cup in England and Wales. He said an important player like Kohli needed protection in swing-friendly conditions.”There needs to be flexibility. More the flexibility in the batting line-up, more beneficial to the team. Let’s look at what happened in the Champions Trophy final. Rohit Sharma was dismissed by Mohammed Aamir early. When Virat Kohli came out to bat, the ball was swinging quite a bit. Pakistan were pumped up after having put 300 on the board,” Gavaskar told Aaj Tak on Wednesday.The second T20 between India and New Zealand will be played on February 8 in Auckland.Also Read | Dinesh Karthik could be India’s 3rd opener in World Cup: Sunil GavaskarAlso Read | Sunil Gavaskar on Rishabh Pant’s failure in Wellington: Anybody can fail in one matchAlso Read | Mohammed Shami key to India’s chances at the World Cup: Karsan GhavriAlso Read | Virat Kohli can bat at No.4 depending on conditions in England: Sunil GavaskarFor sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byJepher Nickels Tags :Follow Sunil Gavaskar Won’t be disappointed even if India lose New Zealand T20s, focus is on World Cup: GavaskarIndia vs New Zealand: Sunil Gavaskar said India can experiment with their playing XIs and try out different combinations in the ongoing Twenty20 International series in New Zealand to get an idea how the players handle pressure.advertisementlast_img read more

Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma hit the nets as India gear up for 3-day practice match in Antigua

first_imgCheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma hit the nets as India gear up for 3-day practice match in AntiguaIndia tour of West Indies 2019: Ahead of their World Test Championships campaign, India take on West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI in a 3-day practice match in Antigua from Saturday. Captain Virat Kohli may be rested following a thumb injury during the 3rd ODI.advertisement India Today Web Desk AntiguaAugust 17, 2019UPDATED: August 17, 2019 09:51 IST Rohit Sharma will be hoping to seal a permanent spot in the Test squad (@BCCI Photo)HIGHLIGHTSIndia will take on West Indies Cricket Board Presiden’t XI in a 3-day practice matchCheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal batted at the nets on FridayR Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah will look to hit peak form ahead of World Test ChampionshipsIndia are all set for some red-ball action as they begin their World Test Championships campaign from August 22 in Antigua. Ahead of the 1st Test against West Indies, the World No. 1 side will take on West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI in a 3-day practice match in Antigua from Saturday, August 17.With India’s red-ball speciallists joining the squad well ahead of the 1st Test, the team will be hoping to continue the good run in the ongoing tour of West Indies. Notably, Virat Kohli’s men have already won the T20I series 3-0 and the ODI series 2-0 against West Indies.On Friday, the India’s Test speciallists hit the nets at Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) posted photos from the training session.Cheteshwar Pujara, who returns to international action after his heroics in Australia earlier this year, was seen batting along with opener Mayank Agarwal who will be looking to cement his place in the side in the absence of Prithvi Shaw who is serving a doping ban.When #TeamIndia hit the nets in Antigua #WIvIND pic.twitter.com/AR6sy6u6qmBCCI (@BCCI) August 16, 2019Rohit Sharma, who has been recalled to the Test side, was also seen sweating it out at the nets. It will be an important series for the limited-overs vice-captain as Rohit would want to translate his white-ball form into Test cricket and seal the elusive permanent spot in the Test set-up.Jasprit Bumrah, who shone in the World Cup, was also seen bowling at the nets. The Mumbai Indians star was rested for the limited-overs leg of the West Indies tour.advertisementAlong with him, off-spinner R Ashwin hit the nets after joining the team following his Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) duties. Ashwin will be raring to have a go at the West Indies batsman. The crafty off-spinner was in fine form in the county championships as he scored 197 runs and picked up 23 wickets in just 3 matches for Nottinghamshire.All eyes will also be on Ajinkya Rahane as the vice-captain will be hoping to gain some crucial match practice ahead of the World Test Championships. Rahane, who had a decent county stint earlier this year, is hoping to put behind the disappointment of World Cup snub and focussing on the job in hand.Meanwhile, captain Virat Kohli may be rested for the 3-day practice match as he is recovering from a thumb injury sustained during 3rd ODI. With the World Test Championships beginning in less than a week, the team management would not want to risk playing Kohli who was in fine form in the ODI series wherein he hit back-to-back hundreds.Also Read | How Ravi Shastri pipped Mike Hesson and Tom Moody for another stint as India head coachAlso Read | Ravi Shastri wants greater say in selection in new inningsAlso See:For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAkshay Ramesh Tags :Follow India tour of West IndiesFollow India vs West Indies Cricket Board Presidents XIFollow Virat KohliFollow Cheteshwar PujaraFollow Mayank AgarwalFollow R AshwinFollow Jasprit BumrahFollow Rohit Sharma Nextlast_img read more

Maersk Earnings Strengthen amid Recovery in Ocean Business

first_imgzoomIllustration; Source: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Danish conglomerate A.P. Moller – Maersk reported “solid progress” in the second quarter of 2019 as its Ocean business witnessed continued recovery.Earnings before interests, tax, depreciation and amortisations (EBITDA) increased by 17% to USD 1.4 billion from USD 1.2 billion reported in the same period a year earlier. The change was attributed to an increase of USD 212 million in Ocean, driven by higher freight rates and volumes as well as strong operational efficiency.Operating profit (EBIT) increased from USD 65 million to USD 416 million, reflecting an improvement in margin to 4.3%, while underlying profit was positive by USD 134 million compared to USD 15 million a year earlier.Revenue grew slightly by USD 59 million and was on par with the second quarter last year at USD 9.6 billion with an increase of USD 198 million in Ocean and USD 110 million in Terminals & Towage, partly offset by revenue decrease in Manufacturing & Others mainly due to the exit from the dry container business and 30% lower revenue in the reefer segment as well as the divestment of bulk activities originally acquired from Hamburg Süd.“Q2 was a quarter of solid progress. EBITDA was up 17% and cash flow improved 86% year on year, driven by continued recovery in Ocean,” Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk, said.“The transformation progressed further with an improved cash return on invested capital of 6.9% and synergies of USD 1bn realised earlier than expected. Growth in revenue and gross profit in Logistics & Services still need to improve as we continue to build capabilities within logistics and services,” Skou noted.A.P. Moller – Maersk reiterated its guidance still expecting earnings before interests, tax, depreciation and amortisations (EBITDA) of around USD 5 billion.The organic volume growth in Ocean is still expected to be in line with the estimated average market growth of 1-3% for 2019.“We reaffirm our guidance for 2019 while the macro environment continues to be subject to considerable uncertainties.”last_img read more

Tis the Season to Change the World Charitybuzz and Prizeo Offer Gifts

first_imgThis holiday season, Charitybuzz and Prizeo are the go-to sites for incredible experiences that give back, from traveling to the location of your favorite film and remaking your favorite scene, to owning the Fiat Pope Francis drove during his 2015 visit to Philadelphia, to participating in the World’s Biggest Hug.Charitybuzz brings its online community of bidders exclusive experiences, rare memorabilia, luxury travel, unmatched access to leaders across industries and other auction lots, all to benefit its cause partners.For the holiday season this year, Charitybuzz is featuring incredible auction lots such as golf with Graeme McDowell at his home course, supporting youth programs; a private, at-home performance by Academy-Award-nominated composer Philip Glass, benefiting Tibet House; the ultimate Monaco Grand Prix VIP experience – including a yacht party – to provide energy solutions in Africa; and a meeting with legendary hit-maker Clive Davis during which he’ll listen to your music, to support cancer research; and hundreds more.“We’re focused on raising funds for great causes year-round, but the holiday season is always special for Charitybuzz,” said Charitybuzz General Manager Ben Erwin. “During this time of year, we want to offer select opportunities to bidders who care about making meaningful contributions, while also highlighting the amazing work our non-profit partners are doing.”Charitybuzz sister company, Prizeo, is also featuring once-in-a-lifetime experiences this holiday season. Prizeo democratizes giving by offering the chance to win incredible prizes by donating through a sweepstakes format. It’s currently running its 6th campaign in partnership with Lin-Manuel Miranda – for a donation as little as $10, fans are entered to win a trip to London to attend the opening night of Hamilton and meet Lin-Manuel. This Hamilton campaign benefits two organizations working on the front lines of climate change: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and 10:10 in the UK.In addition to the Hamilton London campaign, Prizeo is also offering the ultimate Philadelphia New Year’s Eve experience with Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz, benefiting his foundation; a night out with the legendary Dallas Cowboys ‘Triplets’ to support United Way of Metropolitan Dallas; an all-access VIP experience from the NFL for Super Bowl LII that benefits United Way Worldwide; and the opportunity to get involved with the World’s Biggest Hug.Together as part of Charity Network, Prizeo and Charitybuzz have raised more than a quarter of a billion dollars for 4,000+ nonprofits.Go to CharityBuzz here, or visit Prizeo here.last_img read more

Vancouvers Atomic Cartoons sketches success with Princesses Wear Pants

first_imgVANCOUVER – Jennifer Twiner McCarron remembers when daycare staff took bets on when her daughter would finally stop wearing sparkly princess dresses.So the CEO of Vancouver’s Thunderbird Entertainment and its subsidiary Atomic Cartoons could definitely relate to the co-authors of “Princesses Wear Pants,” NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie and parent educator Allison Oppenheim.Both had young daughters who also went through a princess phase. While they worried about their girls aspiring to be princesses, they also wanted to let them embrace what they enjoyed, Twiner McCarron said.“The moral for the book for them started from: It’s OK to embrace your pink and sparkly side and be feminine, but it’s also more important what you do than what you look like,” she said.“That’s the part about wearing your pants. It’s OK to be a princess, but sometimes you’ve got to put your pants on and get things done.”Atomic Cartoons is now producing a “Princesses Wear Pants” animated series that follows the adventures of courageous go-getter — and occasional trouser-wearer — Princess Penelope Pineapple. Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films is among the executive producers.It’s the latest achievement for Atomic Cartoons, which Twiner McCarron has helmed since 2016 and helped grow to 450 staff from 20. She recently also became CEO of Thunderbird Entertainment, which produced “Blade Runner 2049” and “Kim’s Convenience.”The theme of “Princesses Wear Pants” resonated with her as a female leader in an industry where men still dominate in top positions. She’s an active member of Women in Animation, which aims to increase female representation in the business.She advises young women: “If a new door of responsibility opens, just try and walk through it. What’s the worst thing that could happen? It doesn’t work out? That’s OK, you pick yourself up and you do something else.”Atomic Cartoons is based in a sprawling mural-covered building in east Vancouver. The city is a “hotspot” for visual effects and animation, said Twiner McCarron, sitting in her tiny office adorned with Halloween decorations.Vancouver is a world leader with about 60 visual effects and animation studios. And Netflix and other streaming services have boosted demand for content, helping British Columbia become Canada’s top spot for film and TV production last year, according to figures from the Canadian Media Producers Association.“There’s so much of a need for content because people also consume it so quickly,” said Twiner McCarron. “Before, as it applies to animation, you were vying for those five primetime spots on Saturday morning, so it was much more competitive.”Now, she said, children’s programming has not only become more ubiquitous, it’s also gotten faster-paced. Disney’s “Bambi,” a favourite of hers when she was growing up, nearly put her kids to sleep, she said.“The cutting is a lot faster. We used to do a 22-minute show and 325 shots seemed like a lot. Now we’ll do a 22-minute show with 500 shots,” she said, adding that episodes lasting seven or 11 minutes are becoming common too.While Vancouver’s industry is booming, the city has a well-documented downside: wildly unaffordable housing. Atomic Cartoons is set to open its next office in Ottawa, a more attractive locale to young employees who want to lay down roots and start families.“Where do young people want to be and thrive? Vancouver’s hard, as we all know,” Twiner McCarron said. “It’s an expensive city. Ottawa has art, culture, politics, it’s the capital of Canada, great schools and it’s affordable still.”Looking ahead, the CEO plans to continue to find great books to transform into shows. She often chats with librarians to find out what kids are reading, and recently inked a deal to turn Max Brallier’s “Eerie Elementary” into a live-action show.She aims to create content that makes the world a better place — even in small ways.“What’s the value of my work? We are essentially helping parents cook dinner quietly,” she said with a laugh. “But at least they can put some stuff on that’s quality and … has good values and messaging.”— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.last_img read more

International Criminal Court orders release of Congolese rebel leader

The Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today ordered the release of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, after ruling that the Congolese rebel militia leader accused of recruiting child soldiers could not receive a fair trial. The Court had suspended proceedings against Mr. Lubanga on 16 June, after finding that prosecutors had failed to disclose more than 200 documents to the defence that have the potential to prove his innocence.According to the judges, the release is the “logical consequence” of the stay on the proceedings, “as it is at present impossible to secure a fair trial for the accused.”However, since an appeal may be filed within five days, the order granting release will not be enforced until the expiry of the five day time-limit.Mr. Lubanga, the founder and leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots in the Ituri region of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has been charged with a series of war crimes, including conscripting and enlisting child soldiers into the military wing of his group and then using them to participate in hostilities between September 2002 and August 2003.His trial was due to have been the first to be held by the ICC. 3 July 2008The Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today ordered the release of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, after ruling that the Congolese rebel militia leader accused of recruiting child soldiers could not receive a fair trial. read more

Security Council calls on all sides to ensure peaceful referenda on southern

In a press statement after receiving a briefing from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Alain Le Roy, the 15-member body acknowledged that Sudan is in a critical period as it prepares for the historic referenda, the final stage of a January 2005 peace accord that ended two decades of civil war between the south and the central Government.“The members of the Security Council called for the parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to take urgent action to facilitate peaceful and on-time referenda that reflect the will of the Sudanese people, to respect their results, and to resolve key remaining post-referenda issues,” the statement said.Inhabitants of southern Sudan will vote on 9 January on whether to secede from Sudan or remain united with the rest of the country. On the same day, residents of Abyei area in the centre of the country will vote separately on whether to retain Abyei’s special administrative status in the north or become part of southern Sudan. 15 September 2010The Security Council today called on all parties to take urgent action to ensure that next January’s referenda to determine whether southern Sudan remains part of Africa’s largest country or becomes an independent nation are peaceful and held on time. read more

Most actively traded companies on the TSX

Most actively traded companies on the TSX by The Canadian Press Posted Jul 24, 2017 2:36 pm MDT Last Updated Jul 24, 2017 at 3:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Some of the most active companies traded Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (15,128.69, down 54.44 points):Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Up 14 cents, or 5.41 per cent, to $2.73 on 4.4 million shares.Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA). Oil and gas. Up eight cents, or 0.65 per cent, to $12.42 on 4.2 million shares.Tembec Inc. (TSX:TMB). Forest Products. Oil and gas. Up 40 cents, or 9.39 per cent, to $4.66 on 3.4 million shares.Calfrac Well Services Ltd. (TSX:CFW). Oil and gas. Down two cents, or 0.62 per cent, to $3.19 on 3.22 million shares.Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX). Miner. Down $1.00, or 4.93 per cent, to $19.29 on 3.18 million shares.Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE). Oil and gas. Down two cents, or 0.21 per cent, to $9.32 on 3.03 million shares.Companies reporting major news:Norbord Inc. (TSX:OSB). Forest products. Up 70 cents, or 1.70 per cent, to $41.77 on 107,890 shares. The company says its oriented strand board mill in 100 Mile House, B.C., resumed production over the weekend. Norbord restarted after an evacuation order for 100 Mile House and nearby communities was lifted. read more

Central African Republic UN humanitarian appeal for 247 million only 6 per

“We cannot deliver in any way, shape or form, to meet the needs of this population, without the mobilization of the resources that we require,” John Ging, Director of the Operational Division at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told journalists in Geneva following a five-day visit to the impoverished country, which has seen a total collapse of its infrastructure in a year-long conflict. “We understand the reasons that are been given, but we cannot accept them,” he said, noting that over-stretched donors explain that they just do not have the means to meet all the humanitarian appeals across the world, which now total over $12.9 billion. The $247-million Strategic Response Plan (SRP) for the Central African Republic was launched last month.“There have to be solutions found where the global escalation of humanitarian needs is matched with the corresponding increase in funding,” Mr. Ging stressed, calling for donors to move CAR up the priority list. “It has languished at the bottom…for far too long.” Thousands of people in CAR are estimated to have been killed and 2.2 million, about half the population, need humanitarian aid in a conflict which erupted when mainly Muslim Séléka rebels launched attacks a year ago, and has recently taken on increasingly sectarian overtones as mainly Christian militias, known as anti-balaka (anti-machete) take up arms.But Mr. Ging said representing the conflict as “inter-communal with a religious basis” does not reflect the facts. “From what I experienced, what I witnessed, and in the discussions that I had, the communities are not in conflict with each other. There are people from each of the communities who are conducting atrocities against people from the other communities, and they are doing it in the name of their communities; but they are not representing their communities. “Ordinary people from both communities are living in fear, and that fear is being expressed by them having to flee their homes in the face of atrocities being committed and live in these camps for the internally displaced, or flee in the countryside into the forests. Both communities want nothing more than security, peace, and an environment in which they can return home and rebuild their lives. This was the consistent message from everybody that I met.”But he also warned that these embers could be stoked into all-out ethnic or religious violence. “We are all very concerned about the possibility of this conflict, initiated and incited by extremely violent people who have an agenda to try to convert this into an inter-ethnic, inter-religious conflict and are seeking to spark the flames of such a conflict,” he said. “The communities are resisting that but they are in fear. And the incitement is that they need to defend themselves. We have seen that, heard that, in too many previous tragedies and we cannot allow it to happen in this case,” he added, stressing the need for a very large scale international engagement beyond the humanitarian side, which he called “a tragedy – a mega-tragedy” to also include the political, security and development.“What we have today in CAR is a country on a map, territory marked out but we don’t have the infrastructure of a state any longer. Politically the country has collapsed; the public service institutions (health care, education, social services) have collapsed. This results in the first instance in a very tragic situation for the population, in terms of their humanitarian status.“Compounding this is the collapse of the security infrastructure of the State. The army and the police force have also disintegrated. This has left the population with a massive protection crisis.”Last week, transitional President Michel Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye, who came to power after Séléka fighters drove then-President François Bozizé out of the country in March, resigned, and Mr. Ging said this has opened a new opportunity.“But the people, as they communicated to me, want to see action that they can build their confidence around, and so far, they are hopeful, but sceptical,” he added. “It will very much depend on the coming days in terms of the generation of a more positive dynamic among communities who are overtaken by a sense of mortal fear, fear for their lives, as they wait to see who will be appointed in the new leadership position and as to whether there is going to be positive change or not. We must understand that there is first and foremost a dynamic of fear in the population.”He noted that the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has so far “very impressively” mustered basic food for 300,000 people, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has provided shelter for 20,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Bangui, the capital, where there are 500,000 IDPs in, and non-governmental partners are mobilizing medical assistance. “We are only appealing for money for the very basics, to feed people, to provide basic medical care, clean water, the basic for shelter and so on,” he concluded. “That is what the $247 million is to deliver. Yet we have only $15.5 million so far.” read more

Côte dIvoire Ban welcomes successful completion of first round of presidential elections

In statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, he congratulated the Ivorian people and leadership for the peaceful environment in which the elections were held.“As Côte d’Ivoire awaits the final results, the Secretary-General encourages all political leaders and national stakeholders to maintain the peaceful atmosphere that prevailed on election day and to refrain from any statements that may lead to violence or unrest,” the statement added.The UN chief also reiterated his call on national stakeholders to resolve peacefully any disputes that may arise through established legal procedures.

UN agencies relaunch winter aid programme to support vulnerable Syrian children in

“UNICEF’s top priority during the harsh winter months in Jordan is to ensure that vulnerable families are able to keep their children warm, healthy and active, and continue to attend schools and learning programmes,” said the UNICEF Representative, Robert Jenkins in a news release issued by WFP. According to the news release, this is the second year that UNICEF and WFP partner to provide support to vulnerable Syrian children during the winter, which includes a one-time cash grant from UNICEF that will provide 20 Jordanian Dinars each to a total of 51,851 children under the age of 18 in the two camps. The assistance will be delivered through electronic food vouchers (e-cards) provided by WFP to Syrian families to buy food every month and the money can be used to buy winter clothes, such as boots, gloves, trousers, coats and scarves at WFP-contracted supermarkets in the camps until mid-January 2016, said the news release. The UN agencies said that families in the camps being informed through SMS, posters, flyers and awareness sessions with camp community leaders that the UNICEF cash assistance is for the winter needs of their children. “Our partnership with WFP is highly significant, as it enables us to use their cost efficient e-cards to provide support to every child in the two camps this winter,” said Mr. Jenkins speaking about the UNICEF-WFP partnership. Echoing the thoughts, WFP Jordan Country Director Mageed Yahia said that WFP is “very excited to partner with UNICEF again” especially during this crucial time. “This collaboration demonstrates our solid commitment to the wellbeing of the children we support and brings to life WFP’s vision for stronger inter-agency partnership in Jordan,” said Mr. Yahia. UNICEF said that it is reaching over 150,000 vulnerable children this winter in camps and host communities in Jordan with cash assistance and in-kind winter clothing in partnership with UNHCR, WFP and NGO partners. According to WFP, through its e-card programme, the UN agency provides monthly food assistance to 523,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees in camps and communities in Jordan. The 2015-2016 winterization programme has been made possible through the generous support from the governments of Canada, European Commission’s Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States, according to the news release. read more