Phasepardhis and the lesser florican (commentary)

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Mike Gaworecki Birds, Commentary, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Editorials, Environment, Grasslands, Researcher Perspective Series, Wildlife Conservation center_img Across India, grasslands are highly degraded and mismanaged ecosystems. Often considered wastelands, they face the constant threats of being turned into tree plantations by the Forest Department, devoured by urban expansion and industrial development, or converted for cultivation of agricultural crops.At the root of these practices are pre-independence colonial policies. Such policies have continued in post-independence times, severely impacting the habitat and consequently populations of birds like the lesser florican and the great Indian bustard.Phasepardi people face a fate similar to their habitat, the grasslands, and their co-inhabitants, the grassland birds. Together with Phasepardhi youth, non-profit organization Samvedana has initiated a process towards conservation of the lesser florican, re-generation of degraded grasslands, and strengthening livelihoods and dignity for the Phasepardhis.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. Himmatrao Kanjra Pawar stood in the grassland and whistled different bird calls, starting with a female rain quail. Soon, we saw a male running towards Himmatrao.“How many bird calls can you make?”Himmatrao’s smile was answer enough to tell us that he could convincingly imitate numerous species. Then, looking toward the horizon and the setting sun, he said: “Kaustubh, take out your binoculars.”We looked in the direction that he was pointing and could see nothing, eyes blinded by the sun.“Yes… Yes, I think that is it!” said Kaustubh, looking through his binoculars.A rush of excitement went through our veins. We were visiting parts of Washim and Akola districts in Maharashtra to witness the much-celebrated mating display of the male lesser florican — a threatened grassland bird inhabiting a mosaic ecosystem of grasslands, farms, and scrub forests. We had heard of the rare sighting of the florican here in 1998 by India’s Forest Department with the help of the Phasepardhis. We had also heard about the role that the nomadic hunting community and their traditional knowledge had played in protecting and monitoring the bird together with Kaustubh Pandharipande. We were here to understand this relationship between the florican, the grasslands, and the Phasepardhis.Kaustubh Pandharipande, a Nagpur-based birdwatcher and conservationist, came to Washim in 1997, while working on a project to determine the status of the lesser florican in Vidarbha. Kaustubh and his team had found British records mentioning the abundance of the lesser florican and the great Indian bustard in this area and acknowledging Phasepardhis’ help in spotting these birds. This led Kaustubh to Himmatrao of Masa village in Akola. Through Himmatrao, Kaustubh was introduced to other members of the community. These interactions helped the young conservationist understand the deeply interlinked relationship between the social, political, and cultural issues of the Phasepardhis, the florican, and their habitat.Together with Phasepardhi youth, Kaustubh started a non-profit organization — Samvedana — and initiated a process towards conservation of the lesser florican, re-generation of degraded grasslands, and strengthening livelihoods and dignity for the Phasepardhis.Youth group of Wadala village with their harvest fodder from the conserved area. Photo Credit: Kuldip Rathod/Samvedana.Grasslands, an exploited ecosystemAcross India, grasslands are highly degraded and mismanaged ecosystems. Often considered to be wastelands, they face the constant threats of being turned into tree plantations by the Forest Department, devoured by urban expansion and industrial development, or converted for cultivation of agricultural crops. A similar fate has befallen dry land agriculture because of misjudged interventions like promoting chemically intensive farming practices and mono-cropping instead of the diverse and locally suited, traditionally grown dry land crops. Lack of meaningful support for farmers has led to distress land sales or shift to commercial crops like Bt cotton and soy beans.At the root of these practices are pre-independence colonial policies. The black soil of Western Vidharba was important for the British for growing cotton to be sent to Manchester’s cotton mills. Large swaths of pastureland were converted into cotton fields, which resulted in the destruction of livelihoods based on the interdependence of dry land agriculture, livestock, and grasslands. Such policies have continued in post-independence times, severely impacting the habitat and consequently populations of birds like the lesser florican and the great Indian bustard.Phasepardis, a socially, economically and politically marginalized peoplePhasepardi people face a fate similar to their habitat, the grasslands, and their co-inhabitants, the grassland birds. They have faced a long history of social discrimination, with the British labeling them a “criminal tribe.” Post-independence this designation was rescinded, but, as Kuldeep Rathod of Wadala village in Akola said, “That hasn’t changed the public perception.”Phasepardhi tribe member with his trained cow, which is used to hunt. Photo Credit: Kaustubh Pandharipande/Samvedana.A number of other factors have contributed to the continued marginalization of the Phaseardhis: the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, which banned hunting without a license; their nomadic lifestyles, which are not recognized as a means of livelihood in government policies and practice; their lack of accumulated wealth, owing to their traditional way of being; and their lack of access or ownership rights over their lands and surrounding forests and grasslands. Due to the discrimination and criminalization they face because of social stigmas associated with nomadism and hunting, and the fact that they continue to “illegally” pursue the only means of living that they have ever known, bird hunting, the Phasepardhis spend much of their time escaping Forest Department authorities and the police.“Our work with Samvedana began with the need to change the narrative around us and gain social dignity,” said Kuldeep. “There have been so many misconceptions about us and our hunting practices. Being traditional hunters is not equivalent to being criminals! Unlike hunting in general, we have elaborate system of rules and taboos to be followed while hunting and Phasepardhis in our area still follow these systems and taboos.”Co-generation of knowledge towards a holistic transformationAs Kaustubh’s friendship with the Phasepardhis deepened, they collectively undertook a number of exploratory studies towards co-generation of knowledge between 2001 and 2005. The first among these was the preparation of a People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR). This included biodiversity surveys and documentation of local knowledge systems. The project provided a minor honorarium for some youth, which made it possible for them to participate. The research methodology included regular and intense discussions within the team based on the survey results — which they call the abhyas gats (study circles).The first of these discussions was about Phasepardhis’ relationship with the most hunted species of birds, those birds’ current population dynamics, and likely future scenarios. This was an important discussion, as it helped the youth to understand the sustainability of hunting-based livelihoods. Data and discussions revealed that bird populations were indeed dwindling, making the future of hunting for a living bleak. Reasons for this decline were largely external and beyond their control. The youth began to explore possibilities of diversifying livelihoods for themselves and future generations, while also attempting to restore the bird population. Over a period of time, these discussion also helped the youth understand and articulate their own local traditions and knowledge systems, including traditional systems of monitoring bird populations.Exposure visit of Forest Department staff during a regional workshop to Wadala community conserved grassland. Photo Credit: Sahebrao Rathod/Samvedana.The next discussion was aimed at understanding reasons for social discrimination against the Phasepardhis and weaknesses within their community. Initially, the Phasepardhis involved in the discussions identified lack of political representation as a reason for their weak economic and social status. Subsequent discussions concluded that politicians don’t work for people’s benefit and that effective community leadership and the role of women and youth in decision-making are important for self-empowerment.Phasepardhis have a traditional institution called the jati panchayat for conflict resolution. Jati panchayats rarely discuss issues of governance, natural resources, employment, or social discrimination. Constituted of a handful of village elders, there was no involvement of women and youth in their decisions. Over the years, leadership positions had become hereditary and leaders were often drunk, corrupt, and uninspiring. Women faced severe oppression and discrimination. Youth felt the need for a new social structure, keeping in mind the qualities which were traditionally considered important for community leadership: Being just and fair, being wise, being non-corruptible, being generous, and working for the benefit of othersBeginnings of transformationThese studies and discussions led to four important ongoing processes:Community monitoring and protection of the lesser floricanIn response to the severely declining populations of grassland birds and dwindling grasslands, youth from 13 Phasepardhi villages formed a network that was kept informed about all florican sightings. Floricans are difficult to sight except during male mating displays, which occur at the same site year after year. These sites are identified, mapped, protected, and monitored by the youth and Samvedana.Endangered Lesser florican sighted in Vidarbha grasslands. Photo Credit: Kaustubh Pandharipande/Samvedana.“Considering that 60% of the florican habitat is private farmlands owned by non-Pardhis it becomes difficult to ensure long-term security for this land, but we try,” said Kaustubh. Some Phasepardhi villages, like Wadala, have decided to stop hunting threatened birds completely.Community grassland restoration initiativesKanshiwani, Parabhavani, Pimpalgaon, and Wadala villages have also started regenerating and restoring their grassland and forest land. Of the 273 hectares (about 675 acres) of forest in Wadala, 100 hectares is completely protected and the rest is used for subsistence needs. The village has a number of rules and regulations for protection of this forest, such as employing a community livestock-herder to ensure that livestock do not stray into the protected zone, fines for violations, and preventing outsiders from stealing resources. Since this land legally belongs to the Forest Department, the Phasepardhis supported the village initiative under their Joint Forest Management (JFM) scheme. “It was possibly the first time in Maharashtra that a mutually respectful collaboration between the Forest Department and Phasepardhis was initiated,” said Kaustubh.This restoration initiative has resulted in increased grass cover, reduced soil degradation, and increased availability of firewood, wild fruits, and medicinal plants, as well as a significant increase in the availability of diverse and endemic species of fodder. “The Wadala grassland is currently protecting over 47 different varieties of grass, many of which are rare elsewhere and are important for grassland birds including the floricans,” said Kuldeep.Wadala youths and kids preparing herbarium for grass identification. Photo Credit: Kuldip Rathod/Samvedana.School and tribe kids learning to do grass production mapping during an environmental education workshop. Photo Credit: Sahebrao Rathod/Samvedana.With help from the Pani Foundation, soil and moisture conservation activities have also been taken up. Village children have started a nursery of around 20,000 plants of different wild fruits, endemic fodder species, and local medicinal plants. “We read in the newspapers that 13 crores [about $145 million] have been spent in Akola district for plantation activities by the Forest Department. Our plantations are carried out voluntarily without any financial support, yet they are more diverse and successful,” Kuldeep said as he walked us through the regenerating grassland. “Even though we are protecting and regenerating these grasslands, we don’t have any legal rights over them, making our future insecure. We will be filing a claim under the Forest Rights Act of 2006 soon,” he added.Towards socio-economic change“Hunting means social stigma, fear of being caught by the Forest Department or police, we do not want our children to continue hunting,” said Smita (name changed), who we met in the grassland. As an alternative, some have taken to nomadic trade (selling cheap plastic wares during the village markets), some go to cotton fields for picking cotton, some rear livestock, and others farm their small land holdings. “Farming is the least lucrative of all of these, small farmers don’t even recover the cost of labor,” explains Kuldeep. Cotton picking and nomadic trade do earn well, but not everyone has the skills for that.Samvedana and the youth have taken a few steps to supplement livelihoods, particularly for women and youth. Around 18 self-help groups have been formed that provide financial support for activities such as goat and chicken rearing, dairy, and fodder regeneration. Wadala village has supplemented its annual collective income by 200,000 rupees from the sale of regenerated grass and increased milk production.Towards Socio-political changeThrough the discussions within Samvedana, the youth realized that social change is not possible without changing decision-making institutions. Phasepardhis don’t have a traditional village assembly (or a gram sabha), and jati panchayats, as mentioned above, were increasingly corrupt and dysfunctional. The youth from the 13 villages decided to create a conflict resolution institution called tanda panchayat in their hamlet, the general body of which would include all adult members, including women and youth. Each tanda panchayat elects an 11-member executive committee, of which 50 percent are women. These members can be changed any time by the general body if their work is not satisfactory. The rules of the tanda panchayat are a mix of traditional and modern democratic values: “The tradition of oral rules continues, but compulsory participation of women and youth is new,” said Kuldeep.Tanda Panchayat meeting at Wadala. Photo Credit: Sahebrao Rathod/Samvedana.In 2000, youth from Titwa, Masa, Wadala, and Kanadi formed youth groups in their villages. These youth groups have since played a significant role in the studies, discussions, and activities mentioned above. Along with documenting their cultural practices, songs, and stories, they have also played a critical role in empowering the tanda panchayats and youth leadership, as well as addressing domestic violence and discrimination against women. This group is now attempting to connect with the youth from all other 68 Phasepardhi villages in the Vidharba region in order to work together towards mutual learning and empowerment.The efforts of Samvedana and Pardhi youth are slowly gaining recognition. In 2012, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Bombay Natural History Society recognized Phardi’s traditional knowledge and asked them and Samvedana to prepare a State Action Plan for Bustards’ Recovery Programme, which was submitted in 2014. At the 2012 conference of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, Wadala village was awarded a prize by the then-environment minister.For the Phasepardhis and the grassland birds, however, the struggle continues. “Grasslands everywhere are being built over, can these buildings feed us, sustain us? I wonder!” said Himmat when we asked him how he sees the future of grasslands and florican conservation. We do hope that the Pardhis are successful in claiming Community Forest Resource Rights under the Forest Rights Act over the forests and grasslands that they have traditionally used, some of which they now protect and restore, to ensure their long-term survival and that of the lesser florican.A male lesser florican in Rajasthan, India. Photo Credit: Angad Achappa, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.Neema Pathak Broome and Shrishtee Bajpai are members of Kalpavriksh, Pune, India.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Petron claims third title

first_imgPhivolcs: Slim probability of Taal Volcano caldera eruption Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college View comments The high-flying Rondina failed to make it after playing her final game with University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament best-of-three finals also on Saturday.Still, Pons took care of business, leading the Blaze Spikers to a strong start and an even stronger finish to dominate the Lady Realtors en route to claiming a grand slam.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubs“Sisi told me to defend the title,” said Pons, the former Far Eastern University star who will be reunited with Rondina in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in Boracay later this month. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:14Alyssa Valdez stays positive despite PH loss in volleyball opener02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award03:05Malakanyang bilib sa Phivolcs | Chona Yu Pagadian on tighter security for 100,000 expected at Sto. Niño feast MOST READ LeBron James stretches lead in NBA All-Star Game fan voting LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—Bernadeth Pons proved that she’s still the queen of the sand when she powered Petron XCS to its third straight title in the Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup late Saturday at Capitol Beach Front here.Playing without regular partner Sisi Rondina, Pons teamed up with Dij Rodriguez this time in dominating Jackie Estoquia and Dhannylaine Demontano of Sta. Lucia Santorini, 21-10, 21-14, in the finals to clinch the gold medal.ADVERTISEMENT Eduard Folayang gets new opponent for ONE Manila cardcenter_img The Witcher series prompts over 500,000 reprints of Andrzej Sapkowski’s books Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard Del Monte sets out for repeat LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Solon urges Solgen to reconsider quo warranto petition vs ABS-CBNlast_img read more

2 Defense Witnesses Withdrawn

first_imgDrama unfolded yesterday in the ongoing US$20K counterfeit  case in Criminal Court ‘C,’ involving a former female employee of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) and the bank, when  one  of  her lawyers asked two of her witnesses not to testify on her behalf, a request that   was accepted by presiding Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh.Defendant Margretta Dorbor is on trial for her alleged role in the disappearance of over US$100K from the bank, as well as for being in possession of 200 pieces of counterfeit United States dollars, all in US$100 bills, valued at US$20K.It all started yesterday when everybody, including Judge Gbeneweleh, was seated, waiting for defendant Dorbors’ lawyer,  Atty. P. Jagba Nah, to introduce his two defense witnesses, Ijeoma Okeke and Angeline Leo.Okeke and Leo were both in the employ of the bank and close friends of defendant Dorbor. However, Dorbor alone was accused of being in possession of the US$20K counterfeit banknotes, which the bank alleged were discovered under her desk at its Gardnersville branch, where she served as a new accounts officer.Dorbor is also accused of withdrawing over US$100K from customers’ accounts at the bank, though the bank management admitted that she was a teller but was not authorized to do so.Interestingly, Atty. Nah stood up from his defense seat in the quiet courtroom and informed Judge Gbeneweleh that he had an application to make before his witnesses could take their positions to testify.Judge Gbeneweleh then gave him the opportunity to make his request, and surprisingly Atty. Nah announced that he was no longe interested in the testimony of Okeke and Leo.“They have failed to cooperate with me and I am afraid that their testimony could make the case difficult,” he said.Judge Gbeneweleh again accepted Atty. Nah’s application and disallowed the testimony of defense witnesses Leo and Okeke.Immediately after the court’s action, Okeke and Leo, who should have been the only persons to support defendant Dorbor’s initial testimony, walked out of the courtroom.Their action left their friend and co-worker in total disbelief and shock as she bowed her head.Judge Gbeneweleh also dropped the contempt of court charge that was levied against Okeke and Leo for their initial refusal to appear before the court to testify on behalf of defendant Dorbor after they had been subpoenaed. A subpoena is a court order requiring a person to appear at a legal proceeding, at a place and time designated. If an invited person fails to appear as ordered by the subpoena, he or she may be found in contempt of court and sanctioned with jail time and fines.Besides dropping the contempt charge, the judge again trashed the writ of arrest earlier issued against them.Another curious circumstance in the case is the failure of the prosecution to produce all of the 200 pieces of counterfeit United States dollars all in US$100 notes.Out of the 200 counterfeit notes, prosecution managed to produce only a single US$100 bill and claimed that the remaining 199 pieces were destroyed.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Man with potentially infectious tuberculosis quarantined in U.S.

first_imgATLANTA – A man with a rare and dangerous form of tuberculosis ignored doctors’ advice and took two trans-Atlantic flights, leading to the first U.S. government-ordered quarantine since 1963, health officials said Tuesday. The man, whom officials did not identify, is at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital in respiratory isolation. He was potentially infectious at the time of the flights, so officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended medical exams for cabin crew members on those flights, as well as passengers sitting in the same rows or within two rows. CDC officials did not release row numbers but said the airlines were working with health officials to contact those passengers. Passengers who should be tested will be contacted by health officials from their home countries. The infected man flew from Atlanta to Paris on May 12 aboard Air France Flight 385. He returned to North America on May 24 aboard Czech Air Flight 0104 from Prague to Montreal. The man then drove into the United States at the Champlain, N.Y., border crossing. The man told health officials he was not coughing during the flights. Tests indicated the amount of TB bacteria in him was low, so passengers are not considered to be at high risk of infection, said Dr. Martin Cetron, director of the CDC’s division of global migration and quarantine. The man had been told by health officials in early May that he had a form of TB that was resistant to first-line antibiotics and was advised not to travel to Europe. Health officials said they don’t know how the Georgia man was infected. A CDC official reached the man by phone in Rome and told him not to take commercial flights, but he flew back to North America anyway. “He was told in no uncertain terms not to take a flight back,” Cetron said. Cetron reached the man once he was back in the United States. At that point, he voluntarily went to a New York hospital, then was flown by the CDC to Atlanta, where he was issued the federal quarantine order. He is not facing prosecution, health officials said. The quarantine order was the first since 1963, when the government quarantined a patient with smallpox, according to the CDC. The man, who went on the trip with his wife, also traveled within Europe, but CDC officials said they did not have information to release about whether the trips were by plane, train or other public transportation. His wife tested negative for TB before the trip and is not considered a public health risk, health officials said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Atletico Madrid sensation plays down links to Chelsea and Manchester United

first_img1 Chelsea and Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann has insisted he is happy at Atletico Madrid.The 24-year-old has been in the fine form this season and already has 22 goals to his name in 38 appearances.The likes of Chelsea and United have been impressed by the French winger and a summer bidding war is expected.However, Griezmann has reiterated that he is happy at Atletico and has no plans to leave the Spanish side.“For the moment, in terms of my career plan, it is to try to go as far as possible in the Champions League and to win the Euros,” Griezmann told RMC.“I am only thinking about that and I do not want to leave [Atletico].” Antoine Griezmann celebrates an Atletico Madrid goal last_img

Africa’s World Bank candidate backed

first_img12 April 2012A group of 39 former World Bank managers and economists – including Francois Bourguignon, the development lender’s chief economist from 2003 to 2007 – have endorsed Africa’s candidate to lead the institution, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.In an open letter published on Wednesday, the group called on the Bank’s executive board to make their decision on merit, when the board for the first time considers more than one candidate for the job.“We believe that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala has outstanding qualifications across the full range of relevant criteria,” they said.Competition for US nomineeOkonjo-Iweala, a former World Bank managing director, and Jose Antonio Ocampo, a former finance minister of Colombia, are competing with the US nominee Jim Yong Kim, a public health expert and president of Dartmouth College.Under a tacit agreement, the US picks the World Bank president, always an American, and Europe puts a European at the helm of the International Monetary Fund, the Bank’s sister institution.Writing in their personal capacity ahead of the candidate interviews next week, the ex-Bank officials said “we care too much for the institution and for its historic development mission not to speak up.”The letter was signed by a number of Europeans, including Bourguignon, as well as Barbara Kafka, an American who served over 33 years at the Bank in a range of posts.Candidate ‘the times call for’Tunisia’s central bank chief, Mustapha Nabli, a former head of the Bank’s Middle East and North Africa region, also signed. His country has not endorsed a candidate.Okonjo-Iweala “would bring the combination of her experience as finance and foreign minister of a large and complex African country with her wide experience of working at all levels of the Bank’s hierarchy in different parts of the world, from agricultural economist to managing director.”While the other two candidates also have strong qualifications, “she would be the outstanding World Bank president the times call for.”The World Bank plans to select the successor to outgoing president Robert Zoellick by 20 April, the start of its spring meetings with the IMF.South Africa’s backingNigeria, South Africa and Angola jointly announced Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination in Pretoria on 23 March, ahead of a World Bank constituency meeting between the three countries.“We are very proud as Africa and certainly this constituency to confirm that the Minister of Finance of Nigeria is going to be a candidate for the president of the World Bank,” Gordhan said.“She would be a candidate of choice not just on the African continent but well beyond as well.Gordhan added that the G20 had made a decision that future processes for the selection of heads of international finance institutions like the World Bank needed to be open, transparent, democratic and merit-based.“We believe that the candidature of Minister Okonjo-Iweala enables those that are going to make this decision in Washington to have before them an eminently qualified individual who can balance the needs of both developed and, importantly, developing countries,” Gordhan said.Okonjo-Iweala would also “provide a new vision and sense of mission to the World Bank and its relevance, particularly to developing countries across the globe”.Sapa, with additional reporting by SAinfolast_img read more

Are U.K. Users Burning Out on Social Networking?

first_img sarah perez According to yesterday’s article in the Guardian, the three largest social networks in the U.K., MySpace, Facebook, and Bebo, all experienced large drops in membership between December, 2007 and January, 2008. Is this one month of falling numbers a fluke or have the networks reached a plateau? Says, Alex Burmaster, Nielsen Online analyst, “One month of falling audiences doesn’t spell the decline of Facebook or social networking. However, most of the leading social networks are less popular in the U.K. than they were a year ago.”Losses By the NumbersAccording to the article, Facebook saw a 5% drop between December, 2007 and January, 2008, but still had 8.5 million users in January. This keeps Facebook in the number one position as the most popular social network in the U.K. However, after 17 straight months of growth, this drop of 400,000 users, is the first on record for Facebook in the U.K. MySpace also lost 5% drop in traffic between December and January. They are still the number two social network in the U.K. with 5 million unique users.Bebo only saw a 2% drop, and ranked third with a total of 4.1 million users. Growth Rates at an End?These drops in growth, if anything, point to the fact that the massive growth rates the networks were experiencing could not be maintained indefinitely. For example, Facebook’s audience is 712% bigger than it was in January of 2007 and Bebo saw a 53% increase in the same period. I would argue that these numbers point to the networks being more popular, not less, than they were a year ago, so I’m not sure what Burmaster meant in that earlier statement unless he was solely referring to growth rates.However, Facebook and Bebo’s growth may have come from MySpace’s loss. The News Corp. giant actually saw its number of unique users fall by 9% since January, 2007. Says Burmaster, “Growth among the big players looks to be more about getting people from their competitors, not attracting new people to social networking.”Does these findings foretell a saturation point for social networks? Or are the networks just not that cool anymore now that everyone uses them? In a BBC News article on the subject, Nic Howell, deputy editor of industry magazine New Media Age claimed, “Social networking is as much about who isn’t on the site as who is – when Tory MPs and major corporations start profiles on Facebook, its brand is devalued, driving its core user base into the arms of newer and more credible alternatives.”Interestingly enough, the exodus from the larger networks may have had an impact on some of the smaller networking sites that grew during the month of January. Less trafficked social networking sites like Windows Live Spaces, which just launched a refreshed version with some Facebook-like features, saw a rise in number of users at this same time. Other U.K.-oriented sites like BBC Communities and Friends Reunited also saw growth in January.Update: A Facebook spokesperson contacted me this afternoon with the following: “The number of users for Facebook continues to climb in the UK. Our internal monthly active user numbers rose between December and January in the UK and are now at more than 8.3 million. Facebook tracks active monthly users, rather than registered user or unique visitors. Active users reflect those who have used the site in the past 30 days.”In other words, “you’re measuring the wrong thing.” The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Related Posts center_img Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Tags:#Facebook#international#social networks#Trends#web last_img read more

SMBNation talks about our new platform “Intel Hybrid Cloud”

first_imgQuote from SMBNation -“There is a tired old management saw that the letter “I” doesn’t exist in the word “team.” But it certainly does exist in the word Intel and as you shall read shortly, it stands for INNOVATION.  First, let me provide the proper context. Economists agree that chip makers and storage companies tend to enter recessions early and recover early. Call it an advance indicator of things to come. Fortunately, this is good news today as Intel is now exceeding investor expectations. But this blog is about a new Intel pilot program that will, trust me, exceed your expectations.”Here is what I have been working on since I left the vPro world.   Now that the word is out you can expect more blogs, video’s and info about this new platform.last_img

Obama Seeks More Money for Master Science Teachers

first_imgSecretary of Education Arne Duncan The Obama Administration wants to give a $20,000 salary bonus to thousands of the best elementary and secondary school science and math teachers in the country. But the idea of creating a Master Teacher Corps program, unveiled today by the White House, stands little chance of winning the necessary funding this year from Congress. Master teachers—an elite group of teachers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields—would mentor other teachers, serve as role models to draw talented students into the profession, and work with community leaders to improve science and math education. The corps was a key recommendation in a September 2010 report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which called it “a sufficient carrot to attract and retain the best [STEM] teachers.” The president’s plan would be to start with 2500 teachers—50 at 50 sites across the country—and add locations over the next 4 years until there were 10,000 teachers in the corps. The teachers, who would serve for 5 years, would be selected by the local districts and deployed as needed. 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I think that school districts are more than ready for this idea.” In a press briefing yesterday, Cecilia Muñoz, head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, emphasized the role that STEM teachers play “in equipping our students with the knowledge they will need to get jobs in the high-growth fields that fund innovation.” Gerry Wheeler, interim executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, praised the Administration’s plan. “We have to give greater attention to STEM education, and the teacher corps is one good way to do that.” Wheeler would like to see the majority of the teachers working at the elementary and middle schools, so that “they can catch students when they are young and give them a sense of the careers that are possible in the STEM fields.” Funding for the master teacher program is contingent on the Department of Education receiving its full request for a broader, $5 billion initiative in its 2013 budget called the RESPECT (Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching) project. But that’s not likely to happen. Although the status of the overall federal budget for next year remains in limbo, the House of Representatives spending panel that funds the department coincidentally marked up its 2013 appropriations bill today. The bill contains no money for the RESPECT project, a collection of several initiatives that include attracting and retaining better STEM teachers. The panel also zeroed out a request for $150 million for a new program that the Administration had proposed as a successor to the department’s Math and Science Partnerships, which gave grants to school districts to improve science and math instruction. The chair of a different House committee, one that oversees education and authorizes new programs, is a fierce opponent of the Administration’s attempt to spend more money on targeted new programs. Instead, Representative John Kline (R-MN), has proposed legislation that would give money to local school authorities to use as they see fit. Asked to comment on the idea of a STEM master teacher corps, his spokesperson cited Kline’s reaction to a report earlier this year that tallied the hundreds of existing federal programs aimed at improving STEM education. “Investing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is a worthwhile endeavor—but pumping billions of dollars into programs that may be duplicative or unproductive is just plain foolish,” Kline said then. U.S. Department of Education last_img read more