Grieving the soldier son who became a militant

first_img“We did not want him to join the Army. You know what happened with Ummer Fayaz. We have orchards and I am a government school teacher. If he wanted he could have pursued higher education and taken up any other job, but he insisted. He showed no inclination of joining the militants; we are in deep shock,” said Mr. Meer.Recalling the fateful day his son disappeared, Mr. Meer said, “He accompanied me to a peer baba (shrine) in the morning. I wanted to go there as I have had two surgeries and I don’t keep well. My eyesight is weak that is why I don’t use a mobile phone. But that day, he was continuously speaking to someone on the phone. I did not know what he was talking about. He had to attend a wedding at Budgam in the evening, but he refused to go there, saying he had to join work at the earliest.”Mr. Muzamil said his brother had deleted his Facebook account after he went missing. “Maybe it was all pre-planned. When I saw his pictures on social media, I checked his Facebook profile. It had been deleted. Our house is undergoing construction and before coming home on April 13, he had asked me to send pictures of the renovated kitchen. After that we exchanged no messages on WhatsApp,” said Mr. Muzamil, who is pursuing a Masters in English through distance education from IGNOU. He said Idrees had bought a new phone about a month back.Idrees’ mother Raja Bano sits in a corner and nods her head in approval whenever Mr. Muzamil speaks. “I want my son back,” she says in Kashmiri.Mr. Meer said his son had become interested in the armed forces in 2013. “He couldn’t join the Army that year as we did not have his caste certificate. He asked me to get the certificate so that he could apply afresh. He applied the next year and got through the recruitment,” the grief-stricken father said. Less than 48 hours after he was told that his son, who had enlisted in the Army, had joined the terrorist outfit, Hizbul Mujahideen, 49-year-old Mohammad Sultan Meer was back at work. Meer, who teaches at a government primary school near his house, says getting back to work will help him forget the grief that has struck the family. | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD A picture of Mir Idrees Sultan and, right, his mother Raja Banoo at her home in Shopian .center_img Raja Banoo, Mir Idress Sultan’s mother.  | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD Meer Idrees Sultan, 23, the second of his five children, left home at Safanadari in South Kashmir’s Shopian on April 15, telling his family that he had to rejoin his Army unit. Within hours, however, the Hizb released his photograph on social media, saying he had joined the outfit. Soon the picture went viral. Deployed in Doklam Idrees had joined the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry in 2015. After about a year’s training, he was posted in Bihar’s Katihar district. It was the first time he had travelled outside the Kashmir Valley. Last July, his unit was deployed in Doklam during the tense stand- off between Indian and Chinese troops. With patchy communication lines, Idrees had only once called home from Doklam — on Eid to wish his family.Mr. Meer recalled that when Idrees came home last in January, he had taken him to Chandigarh to see a doctor. He had told the family that he had no plans to come home in April. However, Idrees told his unit in Bihar that he had emergency work at home and applied for 10 days’ leave. “He came home on April 13. After two days he told us that he has been transferred to Khrew near Pulwama. He left home at 3 p.m. on April 15. When we called him at 8 p.m. to check if he had reached, his phone was turned off. We kept calling him every hour. We feared he had been abducted by militants,” said Mr. Meer with tears in his eyes. Less that a year ago, Lt. Ummer Fayaz from nearby Kulgam was allegedly abducted and killed by Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Shopian district when he had gone to attend a wedding. The family said none of the men from the village had joined the militants in the recent past. Yawar Majeed, from a nearby village, who had joined the Hizbul in 2017, was killed on April 1 along with 12 other alleged militants in Shopian when security forces launched multiple operations. Education cut shortMr. Meer said that by 1 p.m. on April 16, Idrees’ photograph was all over social media. “My eldest son Muzamil showed me the picture on his phone. I could not believe my eyes — he had joined the militants. We rushed to a nearby police post to report that he was missing,” said Mr. Meer, who doesn’t use a mobile phone.Ironically, Mr. Meer says Idrees was the first in the family and the village to join the Army. Earlier he had been was pursuing a B.Sc degree at the Government Degree College in Anantnag, around 20 kms away. last_img read more

Podcast: A butterfly controversy, the evolution of human language, and more

first_imgWhy has a plan to save monarch butterflies backfired? When exactly did human language evolve? And what shapes our immune systems? Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science’s Sarah Crespi. Plus, Charles Bishop discusses the “roller-coaster” flight strategy of bar-headed geese as they migrate across the Himalayas between their breeding and wintering grounds.last_img

Gailey Names Smith Jets’ QB

first_imgFLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets’ quarterback competition appears over before it even got started.It’s Geno Smith’s job — and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey expects it to be that way heading into the season opener in September.“Right now, Geno’s the starter,” Gailey said May 20. “Unless something happens — an injury, or something like that, that you don’t foresee — that’s how we anticipate it going.”Coach Todd Bowles has said throughout the offseason that Smith would head into training camp taking the first-team snaps over veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is recovering from a broken leg.Bowles wouldn’t go so far as to anoint Smith as his quarterback this season, saying it’s too early to make that decision.But Gailey smiled when he was asked point-blank whether Smith would be the starter when the Jets open against Cleveland. “Don’t make me say, you know, ‘yes,’” Gailey said, “but probably.”It was a surprising declaration on what would normally have been a ho-hum day during organized team activities.“He’s done enough good, quality things that he deserves the opportunity to be the guy,” Gailey said.Smith has mostly struggled during his first two NFL seasons, throwing 34 interceptions and turning the ball over 41 times overall.The team also traded for Fitzpatrick, a veteran who worked under Gailey for three seasons in Buffalo and theoretically had a step up on Smith because of his familiarity with the offense.Still, the Jets are opting to head into minicamp and training camp without a quarterback competition on tap. “No, it wasn’t a thought,” Gailey said.That’s because he liked what he had seen on film of Smith from last season, adding that the team decided in March that the 2013 second-round pick was the best option for the Jets to move forward with as the starter.“He can make every throw in the book,” Gailey said. “He can make them all. You don’t find many that can do that, so you try to find a guy who can do that and give him every opportunity to be successful.”Gailey said the Jets told Fitzpatrick, who had a six-touchdown game for Houston before his season-ending injury, that this would be the quarterback scenario when he was brought in.“We didn’t try to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes,” Gailey said. “That’s exactly what we told him.”Last season, the Jets had Michael Vick as Smith’s backup after signing him as a free agent. It was a similar setup, in which then-offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and coach Rex Ryan made it clear to Vick that Smith was the starter — unless the young quarterback had issues on the field.Sure enough, Smith found himself on the sideline after throwing interceptions on three consecutive possessions in the first quarter of a blowout loss to Buffalo. Vick came in and started the next three games — before Smith was reinstalled as the starter.Smith was mostly solid in his final four games, throwing six TD passes and two interceptions, while completing at least 57 percent of his throws in each. He had the best game of his career in the season finale, putting up 358 yards and three TDs while posting a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating at Miami.“I think you see an awful lot of talent there,” Gailey said. “If we can get him to where he puts all of that together, I don’t know how good he can be. He can be pretty good.”Gailey has built a reputation during his long NFL career for adjusting his offense to the talent on the roster, making productive quarterbacks out of the likes of Fitzpatrick, Kordell Stewart, Jay Fiedler and Tyler Thigpen.The Jets also added some playmakers, including trading for Brandon Marshall and drafting speedy wide receiver Devin Smith in the second round.With Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, Jace Amaro and Chris Ivory already on the roster and Gailey potentially sometimes using a spread-type offense, similar to the one Smith worked in at West Virginia, it would appear to be an ideal situation for the young quarterback.“I feel like the system will fit to him,” Gailey said.(DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Farhan Akhtar pens heartfelt note on 6 years of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: It changed my life

first_imgAs the biographical sports drama Bhaag Milkha Bhaag clocked in six years of its release on Thursday, actor Farhan Akhtar, who essayed the title role of Milkha Singh in the film said it changed his life.Farhan tweeted, “Six years since Bhaag Milkha Bhaag came along and changed my life. Heart is filled with gratitude for all the love you have shown and continue to show our film. Big big hug.”6 years since #bhaagmilkhabhaag came along and changed my life.. heart is filled with gratitude for all the love you have shown and continue to show our film. Big big hug. @rakeyshommehra @prasoonjoshi_ @sonamkapoor @divyadutta25 @shankarehsaanloy @samir_jaura @JeevMilkhaSingh pic.twitter.com/NQFtmUGIOcFarhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) July 12, 2019Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, the film was based on the life of Milkha Singh, an Indian athlete who was a national champion runner and an Olympian. It also starred Sonam Kapoor, Divya Dutta, Meesha Shafi, Pavan Malhotra and Art Malik.Farhan is currently busy prepping for his next Toofan, also directed by Mehra. He has joined hands with Mehra after six years for Toofan and will be seen playing a boxer. Other details of the film are still under wraps.The film will be jointly produced by Excel Movies and ROMP Pictures.ALSO READ | Movie review: Bhaag Milkha BhaagALSO READ | Farhan Akhtar packs a punch with world kickboxing champion for Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s ToofanALSO WATCH | Rock On 2’s Farhan-Shraddha in an EXCLUSIVE interviewlast_img read more

Gundy Addresses Chris Carsons Injury

first_imgAfter Chris Carson appeared to suffer a minor sprain on Saturday, Mike Gundy said that Chris is expected to practice on Tuesday, and that “I would anticipate him being ready to play.” Carson suffered the injury on the play below and was never able to return to the game.If Carson isn’t able to return by Saturday, Gundy said that “Jeff Carr will get some more reps, and then obviously with Raymond…”I’d be surprised if Carson isn’t able to return by Saturday, but I think Saturday may feature a more committee-like approach with dings to Carson and the need to keep Childs fresh.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img

10 months agoCrystal Palace boss Hodgson defends his tactics for Chelsea defeat

first_imgCrystal Palace boss Hodgson defends his tactics for Chelsea defeatby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveCrystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson defended his tactics for defeat to Chelsea.N’Golo Kante struck the only goal of the game, with Hodgson admitting he wanted to keep things tight to the end.The manager said, “We couldn’t be more adventurous unless we wanted to get beaten 4-0 or 5-0. It wasn’t one of our better days technically so we could have opened ourselves up for 40 minutes and see them exploit the spaces, or we could try and do what we did and keep things tight and the keep the game under some sort of control until 20 minutes from the end and try to take our chances.“That’s what we did but it didn’t work as we didn’t score. It was the sort of game where we could have played better on the ball, and they were very, very good in terms of their organisation and structure, so it was going to be a tight game if we could keep it tight. That’s why we lost the game 1-0 and not by a lot of goals.”Reflecting further on the game, he added: “They were very good, but in the first half our discipline was very focussed and we limited their goalscoring chances, and apart from their offside goal I thought we did quite well.“After they scored the goal we missed two opportunities but we couldn’t get hold of the ball enough as they kept it too well and we weren’t able to get it from them.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Council of Federation Meeting

first_imgPremier Rodney MacDonald will highlight Nova Scotia’s efforts to address the impact of climate change and discuss internal trade regulations when provincial premiers and territorial leaders meet in Vancouver this week. The premiers are having a working meeting of the Council of the Federation today, Jan. 28, followed by a climate change adaptation forum on Tuesday, Jan. 29. Nova Scotia is leading the country with its Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, the premier said. “The act recognizes that a healthy environment contributes to a healthy economy. We are one of the first jurisdictions in the country to set our environmental targets in legislation,” said Premier MacDonald. The premier also intends to raise the profile of the impact of rising sea levels because of climate change. “Rising sea levels are a serious issue for Nova Scotia and other provinces,” said Premier MacDonald. “The destruction of coastal communities and impact on local drinking water are just two of the concerns.” Discussions at the Council of the Federation meeting will also include internal trade. Nova Scotia will continue to advocate a national approach to address internal trade and labour mobility issues. “We have made progress on internal trade discussions and I’m hopeful that the provinces and territories will be able to finalize a mechanism that will better enable us to settle domestic trade disputes,” said Premier MacDonald. The province also supports a national approach to regulatory reform, and has established its own better regulation initiative. The Council of the Federation includes provincial and territorial premiers. Its winter meeting is a working meeting to discuss progress on issues that will be presented at the annual conference in July.last_img read more

Improved Access to PTSD Benefits Begin Next Week

first_imgBeginning Oct. 26, it will be easier for frontline and emergency response workers with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) to access workers’ compensation benefits. Changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act introduced last year mean those in frontline and emergency response occupations no longer have to prove that a diagnosis of PTSD is work-related. “We all value the work so many Nova Scotians do to keep this province safe, and to care for us when we need it most. Sometimes they need help, too,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Labi Kousoulis. “Making benefits more accessible is an important step in supporting those who have dedicated their lives to making ours safer and better.” Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) of Nova Scotia has taken a leadership role in streamlining access to benefits related to mental health. WCB has established a dedicated team of case workers to better meet the needs of those with psychological workplace injuries, including PTSD. Those case workers receive ongoing education from mental health clinicians. Over the next year, WCB will also develop an evidence-based PTSD prevention program in collaboration with first responders. “By the very nature of their jobs, some workers are exposed to traumatic and violent events, which can have a lasting impact on both their physical and mental health,” said Stuart MacLean, CEO of WCB Nova Scotia. “These changes will help frontline and emergency response workers get the care and support they need quicker and more easily.” The updated regulations clarify who is eligible for presumption and who can diagnose PTSD. Eligible workers are police, paid and volunteer firefighters, paramedics, nurses, correctional officers (including youth workers in a correctional facility), continuing care assistants, emergency-response dispatchers and sheriffs covered by the board. “Frontline and emergency responders are the very people you need by your side in a time of crisis, and I’m pleased to see government take this important step on their behalf,” said Jason MacLean, president, Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union. “I look forward to working with government to ensure more workers have access to this new benefit.” Occupational stress due to traumatic events, including PTSD, has always been covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act, for all workers. This will continue. For the purposes of a claim, PTSD must be diagnosed by a psychiatrist or registered psychologist. Eligible workers with a PTSD diagnosis received on or after Oct. 26, 2013, even if they were denied benefits in the past, can refile a claim. To begin the claim process, or for more information on how to file a claim, call 1-800-870-3331. For more information on the regulations, visit http://www.novascotia.ca/presumptive-ptsd .last_img read more

Bail hearing begins for Jamie Bacon in BC Supreme Court

first_imgVANCOUVER – A bail hearing began Friday in the Supreme Court of British Columbia for a man accused of counselling the murder of an individual.The Crown has said Jamie Bacon’s trial is scheduled to start April 3.The defence has said Bacon pleaded not guilty to the charge and has chosen to be tried by a jury.A publication ban has been placed on details heard during the bail hearing, which is scheduled for two days.On Dec. 1, a judge stayed a murder charge against Bacon at a separate trial stemming from the killing of six people in Surrey, B.C., at a highrise in 2007.A charge of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder were stayed by Justice Kathleen Ker, who sealed most of her reasons for the decision.The Crown has asked the B.C. Court of Appeal to set aside the stay and order a new trial.last_img

Saskatchewan court reserves decision on challenge of school funding ruling

first_imgREGINA — Saskatchewan’s Appeal Court has reserved it decision on the province’s challenge of a ruling that prohibits funding of non-Catholic students attending separate schools.A judge ruled in 2017 that provincial funding for non-minority faith students attending separate schools infringed on equality rights and religious neutrality.The government contends that Catholic and public schools are both part of the education system and religious neutrality should mean providing funding for public education for all.On Wednesday, the Good Spirit School Division argued in support of the 2017 ruling.It says public schools have a mandate to accept and accommodate all students and Catholic schools do not.Lawyers for the government have said legislation that sets out the rights of separate schools doesn’t draw a link between attendance and religion. (CTV Regina, The Canadian Press) The Canadian Presslast_img

DR Congo UN rights panel calls for support for sexual violence victims

13 October 2010Victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), especially in remote areas of the vast country, need greater support, a high-level panel convened by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to hear directly from the survivors said today. Victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), especially in remote areas of the vast country, need greater support, a high-level panel convened by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to hear directly from the survivors said today.Between 30 September and 10 October, the panel, tasked by High Commissioner Navi Pillay to look into the adequacy of remedies and reparations available to sexual violence survivors, met with dozens of victims, ranging in age from three to 61 years, in three provinces.In every place the three-member body visited, it also held talks with Government officials, as well as civil society and UN representatives.“As we heard again and again, there is a deep need and a clear call from victims for much more assistance and reparation,” said Kyung-wha Kang, Deputy High Commissioner and chair of the panel.“The lives they knew have been largely destroyed, and they are suffering greatly – physically, psychologically and materially.”Sexual violence has been a serious problem for many years in the DRC, which has been described as the “rape capital of the world” by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, who joined the panel when it visited Bukavu in South Kivu province.Last month, a UN human rights team confirmed that more than 300 civilians were raped between 30 July and 2 August in the Walikale region in the eastern part of the country, while warning that the total number of victims may be even higher.Ms. Kang said today that victims often face stigma from their families and communities. “Their husbands desert them, they are socially ostracized, and often this rejection is compounded for victims who suffer from fistula, victims who become pregnant and bear children as a result of rape, or victims who contract sexually-transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.”Public recognition of the harm suffered by victims and support for the survivors, especially from the highest levels of Government, would help to change the culture that currently shames victims rather than the perpetrators of sexual violence, the panel found.Health care and education for themselves and for their children were among the highest priorities for victims, while peace and security was the first and foremost concern for survivors in the war-ravaged Kivu provinces of eastern DRC.“The women made it clear to us that the destruction must stop before any rebuilding can begin, and the panel is adding its own voice to this desperate plea for peace and security,” Ms. Kang noted.With most victims not able to seek justice through the legal system since they could not identify or locate their perpetrators, the fight against impunity and access to justice are also vital elements, the body said.There are many forms of reparation to fit the varying needs of victims, it said.The panel met a woman who had been infected with HIV as a result of rape and unknowingly infected her husband.“When he died, his family threw her and her children out of her own home,” Ms. Kang said. “For this woman, a house where she and her children can live in peace is what she most needs to rebuild her life.”Even for victims who were able to identify their perpetrators and had the courage to bring their cases to court, the successes have been hollow since perpetrators have escaped from jail and no payments have been made on indemnities awarded to them, the high-level body said.It also met with several male victims of sexual violence who suffer an additional layer of stigmatisation due to their gender.The high-level body, with the support of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), contributed a much-needed boat to help an association of survivors of women victimized by a mass rape in 2003 in Songo Mboyo in Equateur province transport their goods down river to market.Aside from Ms. Kang, the panel comprises Elisabeth Rehn, former Minister of Defense of Finland and currently a board member of the International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims, and Denis Mukwege, Medical Director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, South Kivu.It will a prepare report with recommendations to complement continuing efforts to promote justice for the High Commissioner to present to the DRC Government and others. In a related development, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that the security situation remains volatile in the Beni territory of North Kivu. Cases of extortion, rape and assassination carried out by armed bandits are reported daily. The insecurity limits humanitarian access in several areas of neighbouring South Kivu, OCHA said. The Office said that the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the DRC is at its lowest level since this January, having fallen from 1.98 million to 1.7 million between August and September. The drop is due in large part to a significant decline in the number of IDPs in North Kivu, it said. Meanwhile, in South Kivu, the number of uprooted people has climbed slightly to 676,000 as a result of the activities of armed groups. Aid workers are increasingly concerned by insecurity and the resulting impediments to access in Kahele territory, home to nearly 300,000 IDPs, in northern South Kivu. Last week, six civilians were killed during an attack against their vehicles in broad daylight. read more

US unemployment falls to 7year low but paychecks remain flat and many

US unemployment falls to 7-year low, but paychecks remain flat, and many job-seekers give up by Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press Posted Jul 2, 2015 6:40 am MDT Last Updated Jul 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – U.S. unemployment fell to a seven-year low of 5.3 per cent and employers hired at a solid pace in June, but other gauges of the job market drew a bleaker picture: A wave of people stopped looking for work, and paychecks failed to budge.The figures released Thursday capture the persistently uneven nature of the recovery from the Great Recession.The job market “remains consistent with a two-steps-forward, one-step-back expansion the U.S. economy finds itself in,” said Scott Andersen, chief economist at Bank of the West.The economy gained 223,000 jobs last month, and unemployment edged down from 5.5 per cent in May, the Labor Department reported.That is the lowest jobless rate since April 2008, when it was 5 per cent. It eventually soared to 10 per cent in late 2009 after the recession had done its worst.Yet unemployment dropped this time mainly because many people out of work apparently got discouraged and gave up looking for a job. The government doesn’t count people as unemployed unless they’re actively searching.In fact, the proportion of Americans working or looking for work slipped to a 38-year low.At the same time, wages have stalled, rising just 2 per cent over the past 12 months.The mixed data suggest the Federal Reserve may put off plans to raise short-term interest rates and end the stimulus effort that began in 2008. Most economists had expected the Fed to make its move in September.“After this report, I think it would make sense to wait until December to start that slow rate increase,” said Tara Sinclair, chief economist at the jobs site Indeed and a professor at George Washington University.A Fed increase would lead to higher rates for mortgages, auto loans and other borrowing.The sluggish wage growth suggests that many employers see no need to raise pay to attract or retain workers and that there are more people available for hire than the unemployment rate would indicate.Some quirks of the jobs report might also explain why wages stagnated last month. The government’s survey ended relatively early in the month on June 12. As a result, it might have excluded some twice-monthly paychecks, noted John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo.Another sour note in the report was that construction companies failed to add any jobs in June. Manufacturing gained just 4,000 positions. But health care added 53,000, and retailers 33,000.Still, over the past three months, hiring has averaged a robust 221,000 per month. That shows that some employers are confident about consumer demand for their goods and services in the coming months.Patrick Cimerola, senior vice-president of human resources at Choice Hotels, the corporate parent of such chains as Quality Suites and Comfort Inn, said the company is raising pay and adding perks to hire workers in marketing, information technology and finance.“More people are travelling, because more people have disposable income,” he said. “And we believe that will continue.”Americans are, in fact, spending more than they did earlier this year, when the miserable winter caused the economy to contract. The Conference Board said this week that consumer confidence reached the second-highest level since the recession.Auto sales and home sales have jumped to their highest levels since 2007. And the economy is expected to grow at a 2.5 per cent annual rate in the second quarter.Yet Greece’s debt crisis and a slowdown in China could also weigh on U.S. growth this year.__AP Economics Writer Josh Boak contributed to this report.__Contact Chris Rugaber on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/ChrisRugaber . read more

New ESRC research examines environmental governance

Experience, process and both social and ecological outcomes are at the heart of new research out of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) on effective environmental governance.The study, funded by the Swedish Research Council, looked at individuals involved with environmental governance in two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Canada and two in Sweden.The subjects came from different backgrounds including government and non-government organizations, private businesses and landowners, but all were active within their local Biosphere Reserve.“We found the experiences that individuals have when they engage in stewardship matter,” says researcher Julia Baird, Assistant Professor in ESRC and Tier 2 Canada Research Chair on Water Resilience.“There’s an important relationship between how engaged they are, their perceptions of the social processes that occur when they participate in stewardship activities and to what extent they believe outcomes — both ecological and social or well-being — are being realized.”By assessing participation, learning and collaboration as factors in how these individual stakeholders viewed the results of their stewardship efforts, the study provides statistical evidence of their importance — something which, as the study authors point out, is “often presumed, but rarely proven.”Co-author Ryan Plummer, Professor and Director of the ESRC, says the study gives rise to several new questions related to both theory and practice of advancing environmental stewardship and resilience.Baird agrees.“We are actively pursuing several research questions as a result of our findings, including transferability to other contexts, the psychological questions around engagement in stewardship, and closer and more nuanced understandings of the key variables that we are interested in,” she says.Transferability to other contexts could have future implications in many different environmental governance contexts, including here at Brock.As Plummer points out, “Brock University is uniquely positioned in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Our research may inform the approach to management and governance of our very own Biosphere Reserve.”Plummer, Baird and Brock post-doctoral fellow Angela Dzyundzyak worked with researchers from Stockholm University and the University of Waterloo to complete the study.Several graduate students associated with the Sustainability Science and Society program, including Alison Feist, Brooke Kapeller, Katrina Krievins and Angela Mallette, were also actively involved throughout the project in data collection, analysis, and reporting.A paper detailing the study, “How do environmental governance processes shape evaluation of outcomes by stakeholders? A causal pathways approach,” appeared in the jounral PLOS ONE earlier this fall. read more

Alex Rodriguez Ready to Challenge MLB in Appeal

Photo by AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarThe New York Yankees failed to make the playoffs, so their season will end on Sunday. Since there are no more games for the Yanks, Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension appeal will start Monday. After being penalized for so many games, the third baseman has been telling reporters he is looking forward to going through due process and will fight the Major League Baseball decision.“Let’s get it on,” said Rodriguez as he talked to reports Saturday. “It starts on Monday. We’ve got to face it head on … I’ll be there every day. I’m fighting for my whole life, my whole legacy. I hope everyone is there.”The appeal process is expected to go on for months, and a decision may not be made until November or December. Frederic Horowitz, who will be a mutual arbitrator, will have the power to uphold, overturn or reduce Rodriguez’s suspension.The league suspended A-Rod for his alleged ties to Biogenesis and an alleged attempt to interfere with its investigation. Biogenesis of America, is a debunked Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs to several MLB players. The company was reportedly responsible for giving 13 MLB players, including Rodriguez, PEDs and masking them to prevent the athletes from failing their drug tests. read more

The Sleepers To Watch In The World Cup Knockout Rounds

The World Cup is not traditionally the tournament for underdogs. The trophy has been lifted by just eight countries — and five of those have won multiple times. But there’s usually enough room for a few Cinderella stories to creep into the knockout phase: Bulgaria (1994), South Korea (2002) and Turkey (2002) were unexpected semifinalists, while Cameroon (1990), Ghana (2010) and Costa Rica (2014) crashed the quarterfinals. At least one country seems to do this every four years.We see three teams that could fit the bill this summer. Before the tournament, each of them had no greater than a 3 percent chance of winning it all, according to FiveThirtyEight’s model, but each has performed well so far and could make a strong run in the knockout rounds.Croatia3 percent chance pre-tournament to win it all, 7 percent nowAs we noted in our preview of Group D, Croatia is blessed with an abundance of central midfield talent, most notably Luka Modric of Real Madrid and Ivan Rakitic of Barcelona. Getting the pair ticking together was the most important challenge for manager Zlatko Dalic coming into Russia.The two started together as a double pivot in Croatia’s opening game against Nigeria, but the risk of playing two aging, attack-minded central midfielders is too great against teams with a potent counterattack — as Germany found out after fielding Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos together against Mexico. Dalic’s solution against better teams seems to be playing the pair in front of Marcelo Brozovic, who is comfortable taking care of the defensive duties, freeing up Modric and Rakitic to focus on the attack.In its second game, Croatia comfortably outclassed Argentina — which employed an extremely high press to avoid playing through Croatia’s midfield. The Argentine press allowed Modric and Rakitic to become the focal point of Croatia’s counterattacks, feeding the ball quickly into their wingers, Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic. Spain5.0 Belgium7.5 Source: Opta Sports Shots3.838 France5.0 Unlike other small teams, the Swiss press high and aggressively rather than waiting for their opposition to come to them: The team ranks second for possession regains in the attacking third of the pitch per game so far in Russia. Brazil7.0 Against Serbia, Switzerland came from behind dramatically to snatch a victory. The Swiss now have a 96 percent chance of making the round of 16, despite a controversy over political celebrations that threatened to embroil the team: Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka, who each scored a goal against Serbia, made eagle gestures referring to their Albanian Kosovar heritage,1Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, and Serbia doesn’t recognize Kosovo as a country. and team captain Stephan Lichtsteiner also made the gesture. Luckily for the Swiss, though, FIFA decided to fine rather than ban them.Switzerland has a style of play that could cause serious problems for bigger teams — and is in the strongest position it has been to reach a quarterfinal for the first time since 1954.Check out our latest World Cup predictions. Among attackers with a minimum of 800 minutesSource: Football Whispers Russia5.5 Goals0.653 Rank Assists0.3014 Argentina8.0 Denmark6.0 Successful dribbles2.3426 Serbia6.0 Offensive statistics per 90 minutes for Mexico’s Hirving Lozano with PSV in the Dutch Eredivisie, 2017-18 The terrifying pace of Lozano, who is rumored to be a target of Barcelona, is complemented well by the positioning and hold-up play of Javier Hernandez, with the two combining for goals against both Germany and South Korea. Carlos Vela, meanwhile, has a relatively free role in the attack, drifting into pockets of space to get the ball and take men on.If Mexico does manage to finish first in the group, it will probably have to play Switzerland, another team that has performed surprisingly well in Russia.Switzerland2 percent chance pre-tournament, 3 percent nowTwenty minutes into the opener against Brazil, when Philippe Coutinho scored a characteristically brilliant long-range goal for the Selecao, many had already written off Switzerland’s chances of getting anything from the game. But the underdogs rallied in the second half, grabbing an equalizer to frustrate the Brazilians and hold out for a crucial point. Switzerland7.5 Both Modric and Rakitic scored in a victory that crystallized Croatia’s position as an underdog to watch this summer. Croatia should get a relatively easy matchup against Denmark in the Round of 16 and would be a tough out for any team after that.MexicoLess than 1 percent chance pre-tournament, 1 percent nowMexico’s chances haven’t risen much, but that’s mainly because of how tight Group F is after Germany’s last-gasp winner against Sweden. Despite winning its first two matches, including beating the defending champions in the opener, El Tri has just a 72 percent of making it through the group right now, with its fate riding on the match with Sweden.If it does make it through, Mexico has a pesky combination of compact defensive structure and electric counterattacking ability that will cause any big opposition real problems. Hirving “Chucky” Lozano is looking like this World Cup’s breakout star, with a goal and an assist in his first two appearances — no surprise to those who saw him help PSV Eindhoven to a title this season in the Dutch Eredivisie. Possessions won per match in the attacking third of the field for 2018 World Cup teams, through June 24 England5.0 Open-play assists1.4523 teamPossessions Won read more

Scientists using AI to decipher bad handwriting of Isambard Kingdom Brunel in

A page from Isambard Kingdom Brunel's notes showing his famously scrawly handwriting “As a British icon, he is known as being quite ruthless and really hardworking, but we know there was anxiety that he felt about projects he worked on. We are always trying to find out who the guy was behind the top hat.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. He may have been one of Britain’s most prolific engineers, but Isambard Kingdom Brunel had notoriously terrible handwriting. Now researchers are hoping a transcription software will help decode his “almost impossible to read” handwriting, and uncover hidden secrets about the man behind the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge. The SS Great Britain Trust has tens of thousands of pages from Brunel’s diaries and letters, but his script is barely legible and reading them is an incredibly laborious process, researchers say. The team has now designed a computer program that scans Brunel’s documents and learns to decipher his handwriting, in the hope they’ll reveal more about the Victorian engineer’s personality. The AI software ‘Transkribus’ was developed by the University of Innsbruck in partnership with University College London, and it can now read Brunel’s handwriting with 65% accuracy.Dominic Rowe, PR and marketing manager for the SS Great Britain Trust, said the handwritten artefacts could “deepen our understanding of the way he thought, who he was, and the way he worked”.He said: “There are things we would like to know more about him as a person… in the tone in which he responds to things around him, or how he felt when he was working on projects. Transkribus learns to recognise an individual’s handwriting by sourcing examples that have already been correctly transcribed. The software needs at least 15,000 words of Brunel’s handwriting to make sense of it. The SS Great Britain Trust has a large collection of Brunel’s artefacts, totalling 65,000 objects, including many letters. Handwritten artefacts go through a time-consuming process of transcription by at least two volunteers; if there are any disagreements over accuracy, a third individual will decide which interpretation is more likely. Nick Booth, head of collections at the Trust, told the BBC the Transkribus program has “hugely sped up the process and we’re learning new bits about his life; there’s so much potential to unlock.”Booth said the team was currently testing the software on one of Brunel’s diaries. “We’re only just starting to experiment as to what this software can achieve and what secrets this could unlock,” he said.  A page from Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s notes showing his famously scrawly handwriting read more

Former Ireland international Tony Grealish dies aged 56

first_imgUpdated 12.45TONY GREALISH, an Irish international footballer in the 1970s and 1980s, has died following a battle with cancer. He was 56.Eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland through his late father Packie, a native of Athenry, the London-born midfielder made his debut under Johnny Giles in 1976. He went on to make 45 international appearances in green and scored eight goals.At club level, Grealish made a long career for himself spanning almost 20 seasons in the English lower leagues. Following spells at Leyton Orient and Luton Town, he famously moved to Brighton and Hove Albion and captained them in the 1983 FA Cup Final where they were beaten in a replay by Manchester United.“The occasion stands as a highlight in the club’s history and will forever be remembered by the Albion faithful,” Brighton said as they paid tribute this morning.Grealish also had stints at West Brom, Manchester City, Rotherham and Walsall before finishing his career at non-league Bromsgrove Rovers.“Tony Grealish was one of my footballing heroes when I was a child,” FAI Chief Executive John Delaney said today, “and I always remembered him as a great competitor who always gave his all for Ireland.“He will be missed by Irish football.”FAI President Paddy McCaul said that Grealish “will be remembered as a great servant of Irish football who was part of the international set-up under John Giles and Eoin Hand that came so close to qualifying for major tournaments and helped change Ireland’s fortunes at that level of the game.”Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course. The FAI will stage a tribute ahead of the home international against Georgia next month.Grealish with Brighton manager Jimmy Melia after Brighton beat Sheffield Wednesday in the 1983 FA Cup semi-final (S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)Celebrating a goal against Switzerland in the 1986 World Cup qualifying campaign (©INPHO/Billy Stickland)5 matches that won the league for Manchester Unitedlast_img read more

Lunchtime Fix 5 things you need to know

first_imgWHAT’S THE STORY?1. FIGHTING continues in Gaza today with losses on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has defended Ireland’s abstention on Wednesday’s UN vote. A woman weeps as she watches Palestinians mourners carry the body of Mohammed al-Araj during his funeral. Al-Araj died after he was shot during clashes with Israeli troops on Thursday. Source: AP/Press Association Images2. RICHARD Bruton has defended Ireland’s tax regime AGAIN, saying ‘tax inversion’ practices are “not the product of any features of our system“. 3. JOHN Brown, the brother of Rosemary ‘Dana’ Scallon, has been cleared of two charges of historic sexual abuse, BBC News reports. The jury is still deliberating on three charges.4. THERE was a scary incident in Dublin today and it was lucky that nobody was injured when a manhole cover exploded on Baggot Street. Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube5. An ex-Anglo worker has received a suspended sentence in court for defrauding the now defunct bank of €200,000, reports RTÉ News. Source: ShutterstockRead the rest of today’s news>last_img read more