Wall of shame

By on December 25, 2019

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake That, in turn, would free up law enforcement to focus its energies on criminals, gang members and terrorists. As a matter of national security, it’s simply unacceptable to perpetuate the current system in which millions of people live anonymous lives in the shadows, a system that rewards coyotes and leads to rampant exploitation. The House bill also fails to deal squarely with the key problem that bedevils local and state governments: What to do with the 10 million or so illegal immigrants living here who are intricately intertwined with their communities and the nation’s economy? It’s simply not realistic to think that the government can round up and deport these people, many of whom have children who are American citizens. Real immigration reform must include a way to bring them out of the shadows. We need to know who is living in our country, and the only way to do that is to provide a road to legitimacy. Yet the House steadfastly refused to consider including a guest-worker program, which has been endorsed by President George W. Bush, in its bill. Hopefully, when the U.S. Senate takes up the bill in January, it will have the wisdom that the House lacked to understand that it will take more than a wall of shame to reform America’s shameful and negligent immigration policies. The Republican-controlled United States House of Representatives last week took one of the most important debates of the nation’s future domestic policy, and came up with the most inadequate solution it could: Build a really big wall. The bill, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, calls for erecting a 698-mile border fence and harsher punishments for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. It also includes pages of legislation that would tighten enforcement of border security and close loopholes allowing illegal immigrants and alien gang members to enter and stay in the United States. All of which would be fine, even necessary, as part of a comprehensive solution to the country’s immigration problems. But this is a plan that’s all stick with no carrot, and America needs both. It’s fallacy to think that enforcement alone can end illegal immigration, not when massive economic pressures will continue to lure millions of immigrants seeking a better life across the border. For immigration reform to work, it must seek to reduce illegal entries not only through stricter enforcement, but by creating sufficient opportunities for legal entry and earned citizenship. last_img read more

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Half-time: Augsburg 2 QPR 1

By on December 21, 2019

first_imgSummer signing Ryan Nelsen was given his debut for QPR’s second pre-season friendly in Germany, where Alejandro Faurlin is among the substitutes.Augsburg went ahead courtesy of a penalty by Aristide Bance, who scored from the spot after a free-kick appeared to strike Kieron Dyer’s hand.The free-kick was awarded after keeper Robert Green’s misjudgement led to him handling the ball outside of his area.Rangers levelled with a fine strike from Djibril Cisse, but Anton Ferdinand’s own goal meant the home side led at the interval.New Zealand captain Nelsen, who was recently involved in the Olympics, lined up at centre-back alongside Ferdinand.Faurlin, out since January with a knee injury, is expected to feature in the second half.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

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The hunter-gatherer GPS

By on December 19, 2019

first_imgLouis Liebenberg and a colleague usingthe CyberTracker to record evidence ofan animal’s passage through the bush.(Image: CyberTracker) CyberTracker allows San Bushmen to gainprofessional qualifications recognisingtheir tracking skills – even if they can’tread or write.(Image: CyberTracker)Jennifer SternGood ideas take on a life of their own, soon spawning a host of others. That’s what happened to South African Louis Liebenberg’s CyberTracker – a remarkable combination of 21st century technology and hunter-gatherer bushcraft.An anthropologist, Liebenberg spent years roaming the harsh Kalahari Desert with San Bushman hunter gatherers, learning to track wildlife, and became friends with the Xö community from Lone Tree. Chatting round the campfire one night, some of the older hunters said they were worried about the younger generation. They could no longer survive by hunting and gathering and needed jobs. But they had no marketable skills. The only thing they could do – and do really well – was tracking. But they were totally illiterate, so they had no way of selling that skill.So Liebenberg teamed up with Justin Steventon, an IT student at the University of Cape Town. Together they developed an icon-based, hand-held electronic device that enabled trackers to accurately record the nature and position of their findings. The original CyberTracker was based on the Apple Newton, grafted onto a GPS so that observations could be recorded while the exact location and time was automatically attached to each piece of data. The data, once downloaded onto a desktop, could be analysed in a number of ways.A range of usesWhile CyberTracker was initially developed only to allow trackers to gain recognition for their skills and knowledge, and to collate the results of their observations and interpretations, the system has been used for a number of other purposes. It has proved invaluable in wildlife management, disaster relief, crime prevention, farming and environmental management both in South Africa and abroad.The real test of the system was a programme of tracking the endangered black rhino in the Karoo National Park near Beaufort West, about 500km from Cape Town. Most of the data were collected by two trackers employed by the park – Karel Benadie and James Minye.In the past, researchers who had used trackers to gather data had considered them merely field assistants – and had worked on the principle that the trackers had just “collected” data. Liebenberg realised that the data – the tracks and signs – were lying out there in the field, and what the trackers provided were not raw data. They were results. The trackers were interpreting the data so that they could be further manipulated. For this reason, he named both trackers as co-authors on the paper they published in the journal Pachyderm. This was proof of Liebenberg’s major thesis – that non-literate trackers can do science.The CyberTracker has produced a number of unexpected advantages. Karel Benadie says it helped him to improve his tracking skills in two ways. First, because he was recording everything he saw, he paid attention to small signs he may have previously ignored. Second, he was inspired to accurately record everything, as he knew his children would one day be able to see his work.And he says it also helped him learn to read. The CyberTracker is icon-based, but the name of the animal is displayed next to the icon on the screen. So, as Benadie clicks on the icon for, for example, a rhino, he also reads the word “rhino” next to it. Think back to how you learned to read: a nice, big colourful book with a picture of a cat and the word c-a-t printed out underneath it.Making tracking a professionThat was just the first step in the process of creating recognition for professional trackers. If trackers were to find jobs in the public and private sectors, they would need to have some kind of certification, and so the CyberTracker Tracker Evaluation System was born.Offering three basic levels of certification and three advanced levels, it is the standard evaluation system for all Field Guide Association of South Africa tracking qualifications, and it is recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority. So trackers can now earn a formal qualification, even if they can’t read or write. And they can use this qualification to get jobs in wildlife conservation and nature reserve guiding.Taking CyberTracker to the worldIn 1998, Liebenberg gave a talk at the annual symposium of the International Society of Professional Trackers in the US. In that country, unlike South Africa, tracking is considered a hobby. It’s something people do instead of golf or bowling, and it consists mostly of track and sign identification, rather than trailing.The difference is important. Identifying track and sign is a useful skill but it is rather static. Trailing, on the other hand, is the art of following a trail through difficult terrain. It necessitates knowledge of track and sign, but also requires a host of other skills.After the symposium, Liebenberg went on a wolf tracking expedition on which he met Mark Elbroch, a zoologist. Elbroch was acutely aware that, in the US, there was no way to assess the credibility of track and sign data that was used for academic research. What this meant was that a vast number of doctorates and masters degrees may have been awarded for research based on rather dodgy data. So it was essential that all academics who wanted to use the results of tracking as data for their research had to be qualified trackers – or at least track and sign specialists.Recognising that the CyberTracker system fulfilled all the necessary criteria, and being loath to reinvent the wheel, Elbroch visited South Africa three times over a period of two years, after which he became the first US citizen to qualify as a tracker. Since then the CyberTracker system has become the norm in the US, where Elbroch is the only qualified CyberTracker evaluator. There are another two qualified Track and Sign evaluators, who can test potential trackers on their ability to identify tracks and signs but not on their trailing skills.So that’s why Adriaan Louw, one of only seven senior tracker evaluators in the world, travels from South Africa to the US regularly to run courses and do evaluations. He will be spending four weeks in that country between late September and late October, running tracking courses on both coasts and at a few venues in between.The tracking software is available for free download on the CyberTracker website.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Related articlesSouth Africa’s national parksHolidays that save the world Taking African bush lore to Oz Rescuing the white rhinoTracking elephants across AfricaUseful linksCyberTracker Field Guide Association of South Africa International Society of Professional Trackers Wildlife Tracking in North Americalast_img read more

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Delta and Korean move to deepen trans-Pac ties

By on December 18, 2019

first_imgDelta Air Lines and Korean Air are the latest carriers to propose a trans-Pacific alliance that will allow them to share costs and revenues as well as coordinate schedules.The airlines have signed a memorandum of understanding to implement a joint venture arrangement that would give their customers have access to a combined network serving more than 290 destinations.They argue that the deal, which is still subject to regulatory approval, would increase travel choices and boost competition between the US and Asia.  The deal would see reciprocal frequent flyer benefits in which customers of both airlines would have the ability to earn and redeem miles on Delta’s Sky Miles and Korean Air’s SKYPASS programs.It would see expanded codesharing, joint growth in the trans-Pacific market and the co-location of services at key hubs. Delta plans to launch a non-stop Atlanta-Seoul service this year to complement Korean’s existing service.”This agreement deepens our longstanding partnership with Korean Air and will provide the global access and seamless service our customers demand,” Delta chief executive Ed Bastian said in a statement. “We look forward to providing customers of both carriers with industry-leading service between the U.S. and Asia.”Korean said it would continue to expand US-Korea network this summer with the introduction of a third return service between Los Angeles and Seoul as well as a second flight between the South Korean capital and San Francisco.“This joint venture will benefit our customers by providing more convenient connection schedules and widen their opportunities in earning mileages,” Korean Air chief executive Yang Ho Cho said. “With this agreement, we will reinforce Incheon airport’s position as a major international hub in North East Asia and support the growth of Korea’s aviation industry.”These kinds of alliances are becoming more common across the Pacific.Delta already has an alliance with Virgin Australia and American Airlines this week agreed to buy a $US200m stake in China Southern Airlines that involves codesharing.American and Qantas are also trying to resurrect a trans-Pacific alliance that was rejected by US regulators.last_img read more

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Amarinder asks officials to check transport cartels

By on December 3, 2019

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday directed administration officials to check formation of transport cartels during the upcoming wheat procurement season. The orders came during a review by the state cabinet of the arrangements made for procurement of wheat during the Rabi season commencing April 1, 2018. While directing the Deputy Commissioners of all districts to ensure that the arrangements are made well in time, the Chief Minister ordered them to strictly enforce the law against the formation of cartels by transporters. The transportation and labour policy formulated by the government for procurement purposes should be strictly followed, he said, warning the DCs and SSPs that no laxity or complicity in this regard should be allowed under any circumstances. The Chief Minister asked the officials to monitor transportation to and from the markets closely to ensure total compliance with the law and complete ban on cartelisation, according to an official spokesperson. Alternate measuresThe State Food & Supplies Department should make alternative arrangements for transportation, if necessary, said Mr. Singh, while asking the department to review all arrangements with the procurement agencies to facilitate smooth and hassle-free procurement, and timely payments to the farmers.last_img read more

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Amid acute poverty, M.P.’s Saharia children battle malnutrition

By on December 1, 2019

first_imgOn July 9, when Akki Adiwasi returned home after working in the fields, she found her 18-month-old son lying unusually quiet, with eyes closed. She nudged him — even shook him — but to no avail. By then, Amir Awadesh, his chest shrivelled and cheeks sunken, had died of hunger.“He didn’t die of hunger. Usse sookhe ki bimari ne cheen liya (the disease of drought snatched him away),” quips Akki, a resident of Tiktoli village in Sheopur district.While her husband is away in Gujarat for three months to work as an agricultural labourer for ₹150 a day, their half-an-acre arid field here lies fallow. Only milk from a few goats, shoring up their one-room ramshackle hut, and wheat given by neighbours, keep Akki, who is pregnant, and her other son, aged three, alive.Loss of livesAcute malnutrition among Saharias, a particularly vulnerable tribal group, due to crushing poverty, delayed breastfeeding, premature pregnancies and seasonal migrations is continuing to take away lives. As a result, every second child under five in the Shivpuri and Sheopur districts of central India is underweight. Even the country, in the 2018 Global Hunger Index, ranked an abysmal 103 out of 119 countries, consistently showing a downward trend on wasting and undernourishment parameters.Mitti Adiwasi, an anganwadi worker in Nonheta Khurd village in the Shivpuri district, breastfed her 10 children, two dead now, for the first time, three days after being delivered of them. Until then, they were fed only jaggery syrup or honey.“The first milk is impure. That’s because it is extracted from breasts after nine long months,” she says.Chipping in, Danmati Adiwasi, wife of a school teacher who earns ₹22,000 a month, says, “Moreover, women become polluted at the time of a delivery. They need to bathe after three days and only then feed newborns, otherwise the milk would only cause them harm.” Right after the birth of her son a few years ago at a hospital, when she was prompted to breastfeed him, she just put his mouth to her breast, and received ₹1,400 in the name of an institutional delivery.According to the National Family Health Survey 2014-2015, just 43.2% of children under three were breastfed within the first hour of their birth in rural parts of Sheopur district.Seasonal migrationAlmost all the 35 families in the village, taking their children along and leaving behind the elderly, migrate to Rajasthan and Agra to harvest wheat and potatoes every year.When families returned in July this year, the anganwadi workers noticed that more number of children had come back weaker. While three boys and four girls out of 83 children were underweight in April, 15 girls and four boys are in the category this month.“Girls are most affected as parents mostly take them along with them to fields where they are neglected, wander under the sun, don’t get food, and contract diseases easily during the monsoon,” says an anganwadi worker.For each bigha of wheat they harvest in Rajasthan, 6-7 labourers get a quintal in return. And each villager manages to bring back at least two quintals. Individual families have no more than two acres each to themselves, mostly arid, and completely dependant on rain.“When we run out of it, we barter PDS (public distribution system) rice,which is unsavoury, in exchange for wheat from a local vendor,” says Parmal Adivasi. Married at 15, he lost two infants who were born weak. In the past fortnight, two meals of chappatis with dry onions or chilli chutney is all he and his wife have been eating.“We don’t have breakfast. A vegetable dish or dal is a luxury. And children don’t get to eat until they start howling out of hunger. Toddlers get only a roti each in a day,” he says. Seven individuals in the village, including children, suffer from tuberculosis (TB). Ajay Yadav, a social worker who has been working in the area for 18 years, believes higher incidence of tuberculosis among Saharias is linked to the high malnutrition level among them and vice versa. An Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study revealed that, among Saharias, TB prevalence is an alarming 1,995 per 1,00,000 persons.last_img read more

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Haryana asks for 200 companies of paramilitary forces

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first_imgHaryana Chief Electoral Officer Anurag Agarwal on Saturday said the Election Commission of India and Union Ministry of Home Affairs have been requested to provide 200 companies of paramilitary forces for smooth conducting of Assembly polls in the State, slated for October 21. Mr. Agarwal said that with the announcement of election programme by the EC, the model code of conduct has come into effect. “After the second revision of electoral list on August 27, 2019, the final voter list has been published. As per the list, 1.83 crore voters including 1.07 lakh service voters would exercise their right to franchise.” He said that as the process for updating the electoral roll is in progress, the number of voters is expected to be increased further.“As many as 3.64 lakh voters of age group between 18 and 19 years are eligible to cast their votes in the Assembly elections this time,” he said. Mr. Agarwal said 19,442 voting centres have been established in the State including 5,511 in urban areas and 13,931 in rural areas. “There are 10,288 polling locations in the State,” he said. Request have been made to the EC for converting polling stations, where the number of voters is more than 1500, into auxiliary ones. The number of such polling stations in the State is 136. “There are 26,329 control units and 40,615 ballot units. Besides, an arrangement of 27,996 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines has been made,” he added.last_img read more

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Fly ash leak from Madhya Pradesh’s NTPC plant spread to farmlands, claim villagers

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first_imgA dyke of a fly ash pond at a power plant of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh breached on Sunday evening, causing spillage in several acres of land.Although it had led to environmental damage, there was no damage to human life, cattle and farms  as the spillage occurred within the NTPC compound in Shahpur, said district Collector K.V.S. Choudary. Preliminary assessment tells us that the breach may have been caused following excess rain, he said. “It has been raining for three-four days continuously. At this point, it’s difficult to give an estimate of the volume of the spilled fly ash.”A team of the Pollution Control Board is visiting the site and collecting samples. It will impose a fine on the plant for environmental damage, he added. All the plants in the district, including the three with the NTPC which have six dykes, had been asked strengthen dykes by the district administration. “In the past, we met officials of plants and the Pollution Control Board to discuss the stability of dykes. We’ve repeatedly asked plants to check the strength of dykes,” said Mr. Choudary The height of the dyke was being increased when the breach occurred, he added. The extent of the area affected has not been calculated yet, said Avijeet Kumar Ranjan, district Superintendent of Police, and there were no human settlements inside the compound. Moreover, there were no complaints of missing persons or cattle with the police, he said. “Three persons, within the campus at the time of the incident, were rescued,” he added. Two months ago, the Essar Energy had paid ₹50 lakh as compensation to farmers of two villages in the district after tonnes of fly ash discharged from a power plant damaged their crops and some houses following heavy rain on August 7.last_img read more

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