Leo Messi Help End Child Deaths

first_imgUNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and football star Leo Messi is making an urgent plea to strengthen efforts in child survival to save the lives of thousands of children dying every year from preventable causes.Video: UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Leo Messi – help end child deaths“We all can help to stop child deaths from preventable causes,” says Mr. Messi. “These children don’t have to die, but they do.”Despite impressive strides in child survival, some 19,000 children under the age of 5 die every day from causes such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and measles. These deaths do not have to happen.Child deaths have fallen dramatically, plummeting from nearly 12 million in 1990 to 6.9 million in 2011. Progress has been made because the world has not only the knowledge and technology to reach the most vulnerable children with such life-saving interventions as new vaccines and improved healthcare practices, but also the resolute determination of many development actors and members of the international community to save children’s lives.However, progress continues to elude too many children.Much more can – and must – be done, which is why Mr. Messi is putting his personal focus on child survival and urging others to do the same.Leo Messi is a strong advocate for vulnerable childrenNamed the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2009 and winner of three Golden Ball awards for the best European footballer of the year, Mr. Messi was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in March 2010.Since then, he has been a strong advocate for some of the world’s most vulnerable children and has visited Argentina, Costa Rica and Haiti to help raise awareness and support for the work of UNICEF and its partners.Source:UNICEFlast_img read more

Sam Neill and Jane Goodall Want to Ban the Bag

first_imgGreenpeace have an important message from their most recent plastic campaign recruit, actor Sam Neill.Video: Sam Neill and the humble plastic bagSam jumped on board because he wants to see the New Zealand Government ban single-use plastic bags, something tens of thousands of New Zealanders have been pushing for, too.So far, Greenpeace have had major successes in this campaign, getting New Zealand’s two largest supermarkets – New World and Countdown – to announce a ban in their stores, but they are not stopping there.At noon on Tuesday, 27 February, Greenpeace was joined by Dr Jane Goodall, and Jane Goodall Institute New Zealand patron, former NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark, along with members of local councils, businesses, non-governmental and community organisations, and scientists. They gathered at the steps of parliament in Wellington to present a letter to Ministers as well as a petition signed by more than 61,000 New Zealanders – all asking for a change in law.They are calling for a nationwide ban to make sure plastic bags can no longer find their way into our oceans, devastating marine life.One in three turtles found washed up on NZ beaches has eaten plastic – a tragic last meal that causes them to die slowly and in agony.Greenpeace think our marine life deserve better than to swim in our garbage, and now is the time to act.In the words of David Attenborough, who saw plastic pollution first hand on the set of Blue Planet II, we have to act now and we have to act together.last_img read more

NWT leaders fear tar sands means disaster for key watershed

first_imgAPTN National NewsAs APTN reported last week, a new study on the Mackenzie River Basin has raised new concerns in the Northwest Territories.The report suggests that waterways there are unprotected from ongoing development at the toxic Alberta tar sands.APTN National News reporter Cullen Crozier has more on this story.last_img

2015 Indspire recipients announced at ceremony on Parliament Hill

first_imgAnnette FrancisAPTN National NewsThe annual Indspire awards were announced Tuesday in a special ceremony on Parliament HillThe 14 Metis, First Nation, and Inuit recipients of the awards were hosted by Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House of Commons.Paulette Tremblay, a Mohawk from Six Nations is the recipient of the education award.  Tremblay has worked for the past 40 years in the public sector, an author of many education reports and the associate professor with the Indigenous Knowledge Centre at Six Nations Polytechnic.Tremblay said she’s delighted to be acknowledged for the work she’s done and continues to do to encourage youth to achieve their goals.“I’m now working with administrators and financial managers and certification programs across the country, educating them to help them become better leaders in their communities and I think youth are the people who are going to lead the knowledge and skills to make a difference in this world,” said Tremblay.Brenda LaRose, a Metis from Manitoba is the winner of the business and commerce award.LaRose runs Higgins International, an executive search firm she owns that has been recognized for its success in placing Indigenous executives at senior management positions across Canada.She said she’s honoured and privileged to receive the award.“There’s so many opportunities now. Our communities have a lot of support, a lot of mentors from Indspire in the last 10 years,” she said. “You can reach out and you can ask people for help or for advice or mentorship and I know all the award winners would be willing to do that.”The awards will be presented at a gala in February at in Alberta.For a complete list of the recipients click here.afrancis@aptn.calast_img read more

New Baby in Moroccan Royal Family

Rabat – Prince Moulay Ismail of Morocco, King Mohammed VI’s cousin and son of the late Prince Moulay Abdallah, and his wife Anissa Lehmkuhl welcomed a new baby girl on February 3. Both baby and mother are doing well.Prince Moulay Ismail and Anissa Lehmkuhl, daughter of German citizens converted toIslam, celebrated their wedding on September 25, 2009 at the Royal Palace. The newborn is the fourth child born to the couple after one son, Moulay Abdallah, and twodaughters, Lalla Aisha and Lalla Hala.

UN chief condemns terrorist attack in northern Pakistan

9 June 2009Secretary-General Ki-moon strongly condemned today’s deadly terrorist attack on a hotel in northern Pakistan, with a staff member of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) among those killed. Secretary-General Ki-moon strongly condemned today’s deadly terrorist attack on a hotel in northern Pakistan, with a staff member of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) among those killed.In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban is saddened by the large number of people killed and wounded in the attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel in the city of Peshawar.He said that Aleksander Vorkapic, the UNHCR employee who died in the attack, was part of an emergency team recently sent to Pakistan to assist with the current displacement crisis in the South Asian nation’s north-west.“Once again, a dedicated staff member of the United Nations is among the victims of a heinous terrorist attack which no cause can justify,” the statement said.On the humanitarian front, UNHCR said that it continues to extend its shelters to accommodate the flood of displaced people in north-west Pakistan, while a growing numbers of pregnant women uprooted by the military offensive against militants in the region are seeking essential medical care.Among the over 2 million people displaced by the conflict are an estimated 70,000 pregnant women, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), with more than 250 giving birth every day and as many as 40 facing potentially life-threatening complications that call for skilled medical help. A 19-year-old from Buner in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) last week became the first woman to give birth at one of five UNFPA-supported reproductive health clinics in camps for the displaced after walking 50 kilometres in two days to reach the Yar Hussein camp in Swabi district.Another four clinics – at Sadbarkaly camp in Lower Dir, PIMS field hospital at Jalozai camp in Nowshera, Jalala camp in Mardan and Palosa camp in Charsadda – are receiving a steady increase in patients as word of the services spreads through the camps. Each site has a delivery room, a supply store and an outpatient clinic offering reproductive health care for women, as well as a full range of basic health services for the entire community, with a live-in staff who are on call 24 hours a day.With some 90 per cent of the displaced sheltering among host communities across NWFP, UNFPA has ordered obstetric equipment and reproductive health supplies for four local health facilities to help alleviate the strain. “The trauma that women suffer when they are displaced greatly increases the risks of pregnancy and childbirth,” warned Daniel B. Baker, UNFPA Representative in Pakistan. “We need to make sure that good quality, lifesaving care is available when women need it the most – which is now,” he stressed.As part of the joint UN $543 million appeal to support the displaced, launched on 22 May, UNFPA has asked donors for $3.9 million to provide maternal, neonatal and child health care and psychosocial support for the next six months, but just 25 per cent of total sought has been received to date. Meanwhile, UNHCR said that it was continuing to search for land to develop more camps to shelter the rising numbers of displaced.“Our field teams report that more and more people who have been staying with host families, with relatives or in schools are now arriving in camps,” UNHCR spokesperson, William Spindler, told reporters in Geneva.He said that the two new camps which opened last week have almost reached their full capacity, with Sugar Mill in Charsadda housing 2,800 people and Larama in Peshawar 4,800 people.UNHCR said that some 235,000 people are now staying in 21 organised camps in NWFP, according to local authorities, plus around 100,000 people are housed in camp-like conditions in schools and other government buildings. “UNHCR wants to scale up its assistance to people staying outside of camps, and is procuring more relief items,” said Mr. Spindler, adding that the agency urgently needs $67 million for its operation in Pakistan until the end of the year. read more

Annan appoints expert panel to probe impact of sanctions in Liberia

The panel is charged specifically with looking into restrictions on the diamond trade and the timber industry. It will also assess the impact these measures on the local population, and check into the implementation of an arms embargo.Citing Liberia’s “active support” of rebel groups which were having a destabilizing effect on West Africa, the Council renewed sanctions against that country in 2003 and extended the measures to include a ban on timber exports in addition to existing arms and diamond embargoes. The Council initially approved the measures in May 2001, after determining that former President Charles Taylor’s government had helped the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone fight the government there, during the country’s brutal decade-long civil war.The timber ban was prompted, according to the Council, because Liberia’s Government had not shown that revenue from the timber industry was “used for legitimate social, humanitarian and development purposes.” The Council stressed that it would routinely consider how best to minimize the impact of the ban on the country’s humanitarian situation and could allow the resumption of exports to fund relief programmes.The newly appointed expert panel is expected to report back to the Council in December. read more

Hawkins Lathon lead UTEP to 7747 win over NW State

EL PASO, Texas — Nigel Hawkins and Jordan Lathon had 16 points apiece to lead UTEP to a 77-47 victory over Northwestern State on Saturday night.Hawkins was 4 of 8 from distance. Lathon grabbed nine rebounds with three assists and two steals. Efe Odigie added 14 points and Evan Gilyard chipped in 12 for UTEP (3-4).UTEP, which led throughout, sprinted to an 11-3 lead and was up 37-20 at the half. The Miners pushed their advantage to 57-32 midway in the second half and coasted to the win.The Miners shot 50 per cent (27-54) from the floor while limiting Northwestern State to 16-of-46 shooting (35 per cent). UTEP nailed 9 of 21 from beyond the arc with the Demons hitting just 3 of 17 attempts.DeAndre Love had eight points to lead Northwestern State (2-6). Ishmael Lane added seven points as 11 Demons scored but no one posted double digits.The Associated Press

The Germans Are Young in Their Prime And Really Really Good

Update (July 13, 6:10 p.m.): Germany won the World Cup on Sunday, defeating Argentina 1-0 in extra time.In the fall of 2000, 11-year-old soccer wunderkind Thomas Muller left TSV Pahl, the local team near his hometown of Weilheim in Oberbayern,1For whom he once scored 120 of the team’s 165 goals in a season. and joined Bayern Munich’s youth academy. That same year, 22-year-old Miroslav Klose was co-leading the Bundesliga club FCK in goals, becoming a star in his own right. Fourteen years later, they’re both on the same Germany squad, with Muller chasing the World Cup goals record that Klose just tied. In Germany, one generation is being eclipsed by the next.On Thursday, the United States will have to tussle with both. The U.S. faces Muller, Klose and the rest of the German juggernaut in a match that FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup prediction model gives the Americans only a 15 percent chance of winning.2Luckily for the Americans, they don’t need to defeat Germany outright in order to advance to the knockout round. They can survive with a draw, or even a loss (pending the outcome of Thursday’s Portugal-Ghana match), which is a very good thing from an American perspective. Die Nationalmannschaft ranks as the third-best national squad3But the first-best nationalmannschaft. in the world according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), and it boasts the most potent offensive attack of any team. It is the United States’ most stout opponent yet.Germany has been nearly this good for four World Cups running. It finished in the top three in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups, a feat that’s usually only accomplished when a country is experiencing a “golden generation” of talent. That’s when a rare confluence of gifted footballers simultaneously spring forth to lead their national team to glory. Germany had one of those over the past decade, with forwards such as Klose and Lukas Podolski, defenders Philipp Lahm, Arne Friedrich and Per Mertesacker, and midfielders Michael Ballack and Bastian Schweinsteiger.By the time such a group is in its third World Cup cycle, though, its heyday is almost always over. Indeed, Ballack and Friedrich are retired, and the rest are either on the wrong side of 30 — Klose, while still on the national team, is ancient at 36 — or rapidly approaching it. But this year’s German side isn’t being carried by the dimming stars of days past. Rather, it has produced an entirely new golden generation, right on the heels of the previous one, and led by the likes of Muller. This latest crop of players could go even further than their predecessors ever ventured; the FiveThirtyEight model thinks the Germans are the third-most likely team to win the Cup, giving them an 11 percent chance.The possibilities of this new era were apparent at the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championships, when Germany’s team navigated its way to the final and trounced England 4-0 to claim the tournament crown. Including Muller, eight of Germany’s 11 most-used players in this World Cup suited up for that 2009 U-21 side, either in friendlies or the Euro Championships. The talent of Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos and Mats Hummels was already apparent on that team.4Mario Gotze barely missed that group; he was on Germany’s Under-17 team in 2009.A half-decade later, the whiz kids of the 2009 U-21 squad are fueling a top World Cup contender. The Germans aren’t the youngest team left in the tournament, according to my calculations (although they are somewhat close). Their roster, however, is structured in a way that maximizes production from players in the primes of their careers.For every team bound for the World Cup’s knockout stage (or more than 30 percent likely to advance, according to the FiveThirtyEight model), I computed the average age of the roster — and the standard deviation thereof — weighted by a combination of playing time and in-game performance.5Using each player’s percentage of team minutes played, adjusted up or down by how his WhoScored rating compared to the typical average of 6.75. The Germans are the fourth-youngest team likely to advance by this measure of weighted average age (behind Nigeria, Belgium and Switzerland), but more important, they have the third-smallest weighted standard deviation of ages (trailing only Chile and Argentina). More of Germany’s players, in other words, are in their prime.According to research from British journalist Simon Kuper,6Co-author of “Soccernomics,” which I wrote about here. soccer players enter their primes sometime between age 23 (for attacking players) and 25 (for defenders), and they stay in relative peak form until age 31. Not coincidentally, by my measure above, only two other national teams (Chile and Argentina) have received a larger share of their contributions in this World Cup from players ages 23 to 31, and nobody has gotten more from its players between the ages of 22 and 30.7I’m measuring the amount of contribution received from a given player by looking at how much of the team’s playing time he received, and also whether he produced more or less than an average player in that time, according to WhoScored’s player ratings (which use Opta data to gauge how well a player has performed). The WhoScored rating is an admittedly rough metric, but as far as all-in-one player indices go, it correlates fairly well with standings points at the team level. (This is not the ultimate test of a stat’s validity — to a certain extent, any metric with a strong enough “team adjustment” can appear to correlate well with team performance — but that’s another debate for another day.) Klose is the lone German outside of that age range to even take the field so far in the World Cup.Granted, Klose, Schweinsteiger and Podolski are still highly useful players; last Saturday, Klose scored as a substitute against Ghana to tie Ronaldo for the all-time lead in career World Cup goals, and Schweinsteiger is likely to start against the U.S. with Jerome Boateng sidelined due to injury. But for a team coming off three deep World Cup runs, the last two of which leaned heavily on the same venerated group, Germany’s veterans are not being asked to play a very substantial role this summer. And that wouldn’t be the case if Germany hadn’t built an impressive infrastructure for developing young soccer talent.As Nicholas Kulish wrote for the New York Times in 2012, Germany’s prolific soccer pipeline traces its roots back nearly a decade before its up-and-coming youth team met England for the Under-21 title in 2009. Following a nightmarish performance8Two losses, one draw and zero wins. at Euro 2000, Kulish noted, German officials (with plenty of backing from top club teams) massively re-invested in the country’s youth soccer system, including the launch of new academies, training centers and coaching programs at an expense of almost $1 billion. Years into the future, the result is a booming Bundesliga — and a flourishing national team.In many ways, Muller is the poster child for this reformation. When he enlisted with Bayern’s youth academy 14 years ago, it was almost precisely as German youth soccer was receiving its aforementioned stimulus package. Muller’s generation was the first to reap its benefits, and it’s probably not a coincidence that Germany’s current World Cup roster is so heavy with his contemporaries.Whatever the cause, in five years, Germany’s current crop of stars has matured from promising prospects on that U-21 squad to the most instrumental members of the senior national team. Several weeks ago, the Germans were something of a dark horse among the top contenders in this World Cup field. Before the tournament, none of ESPN’s 18 polled panelists picked Germany to win it all; nor did any of those queried by the BBC or Sports Illustrated (one lone writer from NBC’s ProSoccerTalk went with Germany). Now it’s clear that there’s another golden German generation on the pitch, and it’s almost completely in its prime. read more

TOP 10 Giants of Defense – Didier Dinart and other cyclops

Alexander ChernoivanovAlexey KamaninDaniel KubesDenis SpoljaricDidier DinartEvgeny Lushnikovhandball defenseLars JorgensenMagnus JernemyrOliver RoggischViran Morros It is time to see, “who is better with muscles than with a ball” (maybe it is cruel, but this guys earning money for their defensive skills)? TOP 10 of most impressive defense player, giants of which normal people are afraid and attackers always trying to find some another way to score. Handball would be a different sport without them. Their appearance and behavior is different. They are not artists and most popular, but “defensive giants” bringing results and because of that, they are highly respected.1. Didier Dinart (33, Ciudad Real – France)Like a synonim for defense in handball. For all he has done with French national team and Ciudad Real, he deserved all respect from everyone. Even you don’t want to give him this recognition, because you didn’t see so many times a ball in his hand, he is a crucial part of every success.2. Alexander Chernoivanov (31, Chehovskie Medvedi – Russia) He is scoring goals, play very well in attack and that is mainly difference with Dinart, but what is the same is amount of pain produced by his defensive movements. In company with other Russian Bears, he is even scarier.3. Oliver Roggisch (32, Rhein Neckar Lowen – Germany) Another – third line player on our list. “Dirtiest” German defensive player, always ready for a discussion with a refferes and opponents players. His 202 cm are huge advantage for his defensive performances.4. Alexey Kamanin (32, Chehovskie Medvedi – Russia) He looks so dangerous. Big guy, first back on our list in couple with Chernoivanov after many hours on the way to cold Chehov is really “night mare”.5. Viran Morros (31, Ciudad Real – Spain) With Dinart in Ciudad Real, he is “unbeatable”. His psychical skills (left back) are also capable to produced some goals on his account.6. Denis Spoljaric (31, Fuchse Berlin – Croatia) Denis is a player who “forgot” to play in attack, after coaches discovered that he is unbeatable in defense. “Minister of defense” in Croatia national team, responsible for Olympic and World gold medals of his National team.7. Daniel Kubes (32, THW Kiel – Czech Republic) Giant with 200 cm and 110 kg. What do you want more from defense player? With Czech Republic he doesn’t make big results, but he has now chance with Kiel.8. Evgeny Lushnikov (34, MKB Veszprem – Russia)Even bigger than Kubes (203 cm and 110 kg). “Heart” of defense in MKB Veszprem, team, who is challenging with all TOP teams this season in Champions League. “Russian school”…9. Magnus Jernemyr (34, F.C Barcelona – Sweden) With 32 years he left Sweden, first to Denmark and then to Barcelona. He is looking like a ancient viking…10. Lars Troels Jørgensen (32, AG Copenhagen – Denmark) Even he wants to retire from Danish national team, with 32 years and a huge experience, he can offer a lot to defensive performances of ambitious AG Copenhagen.Please link to www.krosrts.rs/handball/ ← Previous Story Your opinion: Hungary a master of EURO 2010 Next Story → Risto Buha a new coach of Tunisia women’s NT read more

Junior doctors vote in favour of proposals to end 24hour shifts

first_imgJUNIOR DOCTORS IN the IMO have voted to accept proposals aimed at settling the dispute with the HSE over working hours.The ballot was carried by 76 per cent to 24 per cent in favour of the proposals with the IMO warning that it would “escalate the campaign” if the HSE failed to honour its commitments on the issue.The dispute lead to a one-day strike by 3,000 non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) last month in 51 hospitals across the country.Under the proposal accepted by the NCHDs today, the HSE will withhold €15 million from hospitals budgets which they will then be able to draw down only when they have demonstrated compliance with the new working hours agreement.Sanctions for hospitals not complying with agreements on working hours had been a key sticking point during the dispute.The new working hours agreement means the the ending of shifts in excess of 24 hours.The settlement also includes new arrangements in respect of health and safety and a review of the current NCHD career structure which aims to reduce the number of NCHDs emigrating.The IMO’s director of industrial relations Steve Tweed said following the ballot that that the result showed that NCHDs wanted a swift resolution of the matter. He warned however that issues of trust remained with the HSE: The NCHDs want a return to normal work but they remain to be convinced by the HSE’s ability to deliver on the ground what they have agreed in the proposals.  Any failure by the HSE to meet the deadlines contained in the proposals will see a prompt escalation of this campaign and a return to industrial action.Read: Fines of €650k for hospitals in breach of doctors’ working hours >Read: IMO will attend talks at the LRC today >Read: Strike by junior doctors likely to go ahead as IMO want sanctions for hospitals >last_img read more

The behindthescenes machinations shaping the governments new alcohol laws

first_img 44 Comments “Due to weak systems of industry self-regulation, children in Ireland are currently very poorly protected from these sophisticated and powerful influences on their expectations and behaviour in relation to alcohol.”According to research carried out at the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, over 90% of children reported that they were exposed to traditional, or offline, alcohol advertisements in the week prior to the study being carried out.Dr Michal Molcho at NUI Galway said: “Given that these findings echo previous studies, coupled with the vulnerability of young people to alcohol, there is a clear need for immediate action on alcohol marketing regulation.”The ABFI, however, said: ”The drinks industry in Ireland abides, in the strictest manner, to all codes relating to advertising and marketing.”LobbyingAs amendments to the legislation were under review by members of the Seanad, several came forward to air their frustrations on the amount of lobbying taking place from industry on the matter.Independent Senator Frances Black told the House in November: “Is the Leader aware of the amount of lobbying by the alcohol industry on the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill? I am shocked by the amount of lobbying.I have seen it with my own eyes. I saw seven people from the industry standing around one Deputy in the coffee dock some days ago and I was absolutely horrified. Yesterday I highlighted the intense lobbying by the alcohol industry who are working hard 2 dilute the #AlcoholBill https://t.co/gCcuWlswar— Frances Black (@frances_black) November 18, 2016 Source: Frances Black/Twitter Sunday 5 Feb 2017, 7:10 AM Independent Senator Frances Black Source: Niall Carson PA Archive/PA Images“We have to stop listening to the industries whose representatives are in here fighting against saving lives.” Senator David Norris also drew attention to the issue. He said: “Multinational corporations have been carrying out extensive lobbying of Members of this House. Sometimes, they are clever in how they conceal their origins referring to ‘responsible drinkers’ and all of that rubbish.No one believes it. They have stopped lobbying me because I used to send material back and tell them that I did not believe them.Also speaking in the Seanad on the matter, Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone expressed her fears that the advertising industry would begin to lobby members to reduce to the effect the bill will have.She said: “My concern is that the advertising industry will start to lobby us to reduce the effect the Bill will have on its industry. The objective of the advertising measures contained in the Bill is to protect young people from exposure to alcohol marketing.If there is to be any reduction or removal of measures in the legislation, I hope it will not be a precedent for other industries to start lobbying us. I believe this is only the start of it.Section 20By law, lobbyists are required to register and disclose who they are lobbying and what they are lobbying them about.The register lists details of who has been lobbying politicians on a range of issues and, in the case of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, it is section 20 that has led to a great number of lobbying attempts.Section 20 concerns the “structural separation” of alcohol products for sale in shops and supermarkets.In practice, it will mean the erection of a physical barrier to separate alcohol from other products in shops.On the register of lobbyists, it can be seen that shop owners have been keen to get this part of the Bill amended in particular.Blue Silver Merchants ULC, trading as McInerney’s SuperValu Loughrea, published details on 17 January that they had phone three local TDs on the issue.The intended results of this lobbying was to “avoid the expenditure of €45,000 in our store in order to comply with proposed legislative changes to prevent alcohol from being visible to our customers”.A Centra store in Sligo held a meeting with three local TDs seeking the “elimination of the requirement for structural separation”.Other recorded instances of lobbying politicians on this piece of the legislation can be found here, here, and here.This issue almost caused a rift between Fine Gael and the Independent Alliance in November.The Bill instructs that alcohol must be separated from the other products on sale in the shop by a physical barrier, so that alcohol products and advertising are not readily visible to members of the public.Plans to force small retailers and corner shop owners to segregate alcohol products was a “step too far”, said the Independent Alliance.Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works Sean Canney described the section of the bill as “a retrograde step” and said it is simply “inoperable”.“Segregation like this will add nothing to the control of drinking. Drinking is an issue in this country and education about alcohol needs to start in the school.“I am fearful of the fact that this legislation could drive drink further underground and make drink an even less sociable pastime,” he said.Unlike other disagreements the Independent Alliance has had with Fine Gael in the past, this time they might actually have some support from government backbenchers.Corcoran-Kennedy briefed her party colleagues on the new bill at the parliamentary party meeting at a November meeting, where concerns were raised were also raised by Fine Gael TDs about the impacts it will have on small corner shops.At a previous parliamentary party meeting in October, there was a heated discussion about the new bill, with rural TDs raising the same concerns as members of the Independent Alliance.Many stated it would be a non-runner for their constituents.Next week, we’ll take a look at the issue of minimum pricing.Read: ‘His eyes were rolling in his head and there was froth coming out of his mouth’Read: New laws on the way to curb the spread of pubs and off licences The new Public Health (Alcohol) Bill has been under consideration by the government since late 2015 but has not yet been enacted. It is a far-reaching bill with new legislation on aspects such as minimum pricing, advertising and product labelling. Over the next few weeks, TheJournal.ie will look at different aspects of the bill, the sides for and against the measures, and the effect the bill will have.THE PUBLIC HEALTH (Alcohol) Bill was published by then-Minister for Health Leo Varadkar in December 2015.It has a wide-ranging set of measures designed to reduce the effects of alcohol-related harm in Ireland.An important aspect of the legislation relates to how alcohol can be advertised, both in shops and supermarkets, on billboards and at sporting events.While the Bill has cross party support, a number of changes were recommended after it was debated at committee stage. Politicians have also highlighted how a great deal of lobbying has been done by industry to try and amend other aspects before it gets signed into law.Advertising RestrictionsSome of the restrictions included in the bill relate to advertising in public spaces, at events and in media outlets.In terms of outdoor advertising, ads promoting an alcohol product would be prohibited in or on public service vehicles, at bus stops and in or at a train or bus station.Outdoor advertising within 200 metres of a school or playground will also be banned.At the committee stage (the third stage, after it has been debated in the Dáil), it was proposed that the following line was put in: “Advertising, indirect advertising and other sales promotion of an alcohol product is prohibited if it is carried out or aimed at the general public in public places.”It was also proposed that alcohol sponsorship of sport would be phased out by the end of 2023, and that sponsorship of any event which is particularly aimed at children is also banned.Another amendment tabled related to the broadcast watershed for alcohol advertising.Addressing the committee, Minister of State Marcella Corcoran Kennedy explained: “It states that advertisements for alcohol products cannot be broadcast on television before 9pm and that such advertisements cannot be broadcast on the radio other than between the hours of 10am and 3pm on weekdays.The watershed times have been agreed in consultation with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, which have the intelligence in this area.A spokesperson for Alcohol Action Ireland told TheJournal.ie that while advertising restrictions alone will not solve the public health crisis of alcohol in this country, all of the measures in the legislation “are designed to work together to help create an environment that supports or empowers people to make healthier choices in relation to their alcohol consumption”.Brewers, however, have claimed that the advertising restrictions proposed will effectively freeze them out from the majority of all outdoor advertising space in major cities in Ireland.The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) has a twofold argument, saying that the restrictions are “disproportionate” and that they won’t work. Source: Shutterstock/Alexandru NikaThe body, which represents brewers, distillers, brand owners and distributors in Ireland, has also warned that the move will have negative consequences across a variety of sectors, claiming the watershed rule will have “huge financial implications for domestic broadcasters” in terms of revenue.ABFI Director Ross Mac Mathúna said: “We would like to see the sensible implementation of the Bill, however the proposed measures are not fit for purpose and will result in unintended consequences.”Their figures claim that, of the 8261 advertising spots in Greater Dublin, Cork and Limerick, only 969 of these (11.7%) would be available to book for alcohol advertising under the provisions of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.A spokesperson for Alcohol Action Ireland criticised a lack of evidence to substantiate this claim that 88% of outdoor advertisement space would be made unavailable under the new system.They also told TheJournal.ie that the alcohol industry was not “primarily concerned with ‘unintended consequences’ of this legislation, but the intended consequence” which would ultimately aim for a reduction in alcohol consumption.Alcohol marketing and childrenThe ABFI says that the restrictions on advertising will have little benefit on the issue of underage drinking.Countries such as France have banned advertising at sporting events and have implemented content restrictions on other alcohol-related advertising, but the ABFI argues that research on underage drinking in France show that these measures will not work in Ireland.Data published in 2013 did show that there was an increase in the number of underage drinkers consuming alcohol regularly in France, but this is not directly linked to advertising.Mac Mathúna said: “We are concerned about the proposed advertising restrictions given the lack of clear evidence that these measures will address the misuse of alcohol.Underage consumption [in Ireland] is declining.According to the recent ESPAD survey – a European-wide survey on alcohol use among teenagers – Ireland was found to be below average in terms of alcohol use in a number of categories, including regular consumption.One category, however, where Ireland did not perform so well in terms of how many teenagers had been drunk in the previous 30 days, and the average alcohol intake on the last day that they drank. Percentage of prevalence, Irish teenagers versus European average Source: ESPADThe Alcohol Action Ireland spokesperson said: “Children are continuously exposed to positive, risk-free images of alcohol and its use, which are far removed from the reality of the situation.Restricting advertisements for alcohol products to content about the nature of those products will mean that advertisements will be less likely to glamourise alcohol or make it appealing to children. https://jrnl.ie/3212472 The behind-the-scenes machinations shaping the government’s new alcohol laws The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill aims to impose restrictions on alcohol advertising in Ireland.center_img Short URL By Sean Murray Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Image: Shutterstock/SpeedKingz Feb 5th 2017, 7:10 AM Share Tweet Email1 25,863 Views Image: Shutterstock/SpeedKingzlast_img read more

Religious order that owes millions to abuse survivors given ownership of new

first_img Image: Department of Health http://jrnl.ie/3345155 Apr 18th 2017, 2:17 PM By Cormac Fitzgerald TDS AND COUNCILLORS have criticised the news that a religious group which has failed to deliver its full share to the redress for institutional abuse survivors is to be the owner of the new National Maternity Hospital.The Department of Health confirmed that the Sisters of Charity would own the land that the new hospital is being built on.The National Maternity Hospital is being moved from Holles Street to St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin 4, with a large development taking place there at an estimated cost of €150 million.The move to St Vincent’s was agreed last November, when issues arose between officials from St Vincent’s and Holles Street over who would govern the hospital.Now, the Department of Health has confirmed that the new unit will be solely under the ownership of the Sisters of Charity, who are the major shareholders of the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group.The news was first reported by the Times of Ireland last month, and has garnered some political reaction after being reported by the Irish Times this morning.Confirming the news this afternoon, a spokesperson for the Health Department said today that the despite the land being owned by the religious group, a new company would be established to run the new hospital that would have “clinical and operational independence”.The company will be called the National Maternity Hospital at Elm Park DAC.“The identity and ethos of the current NMH will be retained,” the spokesperson said.The new company will have clinical and operational independence in the provision of maternity, gynaecology and neonatal services, without religious, ethnic or other distinction, as well as financial and budgetary independence.This independence will be ensured by special powers held by the Health Minister, the spokesperson said.The NMH board will be made up of nine directors. Four nominated from St Vincent’s Hospital Group, four from the current NMH, and one international expert in obstetrics and gynaecology.Sisters of CharityThe Religious Sisters of Charity Ireland are one of the organisations included in the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (known as the Ryan Commission), which unveiled a vast amount of systematic institutional abuse going back decades.The group was included in a 2002 Indemnity Agreement which offered €128 million towards addressing the historical abuse.Following the publication of the Ryan Report in 2009, the religious congregation offered €5 million extra for the redress costs for survivors, which have been put at €1.52 billion.According to a report last month by Comptroller & Auditor General, the group still owes €3 million of this.The group also said in 2013 that they would not be contributing to a state redress scheme for survivors of Magdalene Laundries.Solidarity TD for Cork Mick Barry has strongly opposed the plans for the religious congregation to be given ownership of the hospital.“The Minister for Health needs to explain why this deal is being put in place when the Sisters of Charity are in serious breach of their commitments to the State,” said Barry.Labour TD Alan Kelly also questioned the move, saying that it was “extraordinary to see the State continuing to fund an increase in the asset values of those same congregations”.Sinn Féin health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly said the news was deeply insulting and hurtful to the survivors of institutional abuse.Workers’ Party councillor Éilis Ryan also strongly criticised the move.Read: Religious groups still owe €1.3 billion for institutional child abuseRead: Vatican confirms Pope Francis to visit Ireland, almost 40 years after John Paul II Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article The new building will be located at St Vincent’s Hospital in south Dublin. Short URLcenter_img Religious order that owes millions to abuse survivors given ownership of new maternity hospital A new company will be set up to govern the new maternity hospital. The new building will be located at St Vincent’s Hospital in south Dublin. Image: Department of Health Share Tweet Email5 Tuesday 18 Apr 2017, 2:17 PM 55,810 Views 183 Comments last_img read more

Cow Wearable Helps Aussie Farmers Track Livestock

first_img So, fitness trackers for cows are a thing now.Australian scientists have developed a new wearable that helps farmers remotely monitor livestock.Much like a human’s smartwatch, the new ear tag technology can keep tabs on location and “unusual movements,” alerting cattle owners to an escaped, stolen, sick, or delivering animal.The aim, according to Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, is to save farmers time and money, compared to manually stalking herds using vehicles or aircraft.Dubbed Ceres Tag, the GPS-enabled device features on-board accelerometers to detect unusual activity patterns and notify users of possible theft or other bovine disturbances.“Aussie farmers need every bit of help they can get right now,” CSIRO group leader Ed Charmley said in a statement. “So we are pleased it has taken less than a year for this technology to move from the research phase into development for a real-world trial on cattle.”The economic, environmental, and social benefits of Ceres Tag, according to the product website, include more efficient land use, biosecurity, and financial gain.“There is potentially no bigger improvement to provenance and livestock management than with Ceres Tag,” the site said.No battery replacement required, the tags are designed to last the lifetime of an animal—particularly in Australia’s “unique and often harsh conditions.”But this is just the beginning for Ceres Tag, according to CSIRO.“Our focus for future iterations is to create a smaller and lighter tag,” Charmley teased, “as well as added functionality such as a temperature sensor, which could alert farmers to illnesses at an earlier stage.”Ceres Tag will be on display at this week’s Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Red Meat 2018 event (Nov. 22-23) in Canberra and the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (Nov. 27-28) in Brisbane.More coverage on Geek.com:Scientists Breed Heat-Resistant ‘Cow of the Future’Fitbit Data Helps California Police Catch KillerThis Wearable Ultrasound Patch Could Save Your Life Next-Gen Google Glass Wearable Ready For BusinessCan Smart PJs Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep? Stay on targetlast_img read more

San Diego DUI arrests up over holiday period

first_imgSan Diego DUI arrests up over holiday period KUSI Newsroom, July 7, 2019 KUSI Newsroom Posted: July 7, 2019 SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The California Highway Patrol arrested 81 motorists for suspicion of drunk driving in San Diego County over the holiday period, officials said today.While there were no fatalities on county freeways this year, the CHP said 24 people were killed in California during the extended July Fourth holiday weekend, from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Sunday.The arrests for suspicion of DUI in the county increased by 47 over last year’s holiday period. Statewide, three motorcycle deaths occurred and three pedestrians were killed  in the CHP’s jurisdiction. This year there were 24 driving fatalities in California, as reported by all law enforcement agencies. There were 17 last year.The 1,204 arrests statewide by CHP officers for suspicion of DUI was up from 389 last year. The CHP only tracks DUI arrests made by its own officers. Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Fungus that causes Valley Fever found in state

first_imgSPOKANE — A fungus that can cause a potentially fatal illness called valley fever has been found for the first time in the soil of Washington, officials at Washington State University said Monday.When the fungus, which is normally found in semi-arid soils of the Southwest, becomes airborne, it can lead to valley fever. It releases tiny spores that get inhaled and lodged in the lungs of humans and certain animals, especially dogs. In the most severe form of the illness, the spores escape from the lungs and cycle through the bloodstream, setting up infections that destroy bones, cause skin abscesses and inflame the brain. The federal Centers for Disease Control estimated it kills 160 people annually.Three unrelated cases — in Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla counties — were diagnosed in eastern Washington in 2010-11. Soil samples taken recently from the same vicinity tested positive for the fungus, proving it can survive in the area, scientists said.“Do I think it just showed up and made three people sick? No. I think it has probably been in the soil for some time,” said Dr. Tom Chiller of the CDC in Atlanta, which collaborated with the state in its investigation.last_img read more

Car crashes into Miami restaurant

first_imgMIAMI (WSVN) – A car crashed into a restaurant in Miami, Saturday afternoon, officials said.According to City of Miami Fire Rescue, the black sedan drove into the Old Lisbon Restaurant, located near Southwest 22nd Street and 17th Avenue.The front of the building was damaged, as well as several other cars.There is no word if anyone was hurt.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img

Despite king salmon ban Golden North derby officials report good numbers

first_imgThe Johns family watches as Kami Bartness, right, weighs one of their fish on a float in Auke Bay on Saturday. (Photo by Quinton Chandler/KTOO)No king salmon allowed!That Department of Fish and Game announcement doesn’t seem to be hurting boat loads in this year’s Golden North Salmon Derby. Derby officials said contestants are actually catching more fish than last year.If you can’t have the biggest king, you might as well catch all the silvers your ice box can hold.Derby workers are hunched over dragging tubs of silver salmon, or Coho, across the bare wood of a float in the Auke Bay harbor. They’re working on filling up super-sized plastic containers with the fish derby contestants are reeling in.Kami Bartness is in charge of the three stations that weigh fish for the Golden North Salmon Derby. She said even though contestants aren’t allowed to target the prized king salmon, Juneau residents aren’t snubbing the three-day contest.“I think the first day, from all the weigh stations; we’re probably looking at about 1100 validations, which is pretty comparable to last year,” Bartness said.Contestants brought in about 16,000 pounds of fish on the first day of the contest, Bartness estimated.“That’s better already than last year – the first day,” Bartness said.Last year, the derby landed about 18,000 pounds.Fish and Game banned king fishing a week before the derby’s start because of record-low fish numbers.Historically the derby’s heaviest fish have been kings. This year, first place will go to a silver. Derby officials said this is the first silver-only derby in its 71-year history.But, Bartness said it’s logical that the closure isn’t hurting the contest.“In August, it’s mostly Coho fishing anyway,” Bartness said. “It’s just the way the species run. King fishing is mostly May and June.”Bartness said last year, contestants only asked to put 70 king salmon in the running for a prize.“So about 85 percent of all the proceeds came from Coho anyways,” Bartness said.Katherine Dimond won first place last year with a 27-and-a-half pound king salmon. Midway through this year’s derby, the biggest Coho weighed is just under 19 pounds.Bartness said the good news is many of the fish that don’t have a chance to win are being donated toward the Territorial Sportsmen Scholarship Foundation.“All the fish that are turned in, weighed and scholarship (fish) get sold to Alaska Glacier Seafoods — the processor here,” Bartness said. “They in turn, give Territorial Sportsmen a check for the sale of that fish.”Territorial Sportsmen, the derby’s organizer, puts the money into a scholarship fund and each year they give earnings from that fund to several local graduates to use for their next education goals.According to the derby website, last year’s derby fish were worth slightly more than $24,000.Derby officials plan to finalize results for the 2017 derby and announce winners on Tuesday.last_img read more

Sonic Robots Make Beautiful Electronic Music Together

first_imgStay on target You don’t need expensive equipment or high-tech computer programs to make sick beats.All you need is a bevy of robots, some strobe lights, and a vision for the future.At least, that’s what works for Moritz Simon Geist, composer of robotic electronic music (REM)—a new genre that relies on hardware, not software, to create electro sounds.A performer, musicologist, and robotics engineer, Geist got his start in REM (the sound category, not the American rock band) in 2012, when he developed MR-808 Interactive, a drum robot installation programmed live by spectators.“Since then my whole life is dedicated to experimenting, building, and playing shows with music robots,” he wrote in a blog post.“I wake up with them in the morning and think about music robots at night. Why? Because I think that electronic music has evolved and I am very bored with music synthesizers, modular synthesizers, samplers, and computers,” Geist continued. “I want future! Robots! And techno!”His upcoming EP—the world’s “first robotic techno record”—is scheduled for release next month. All four tracks are made entirely from homemade instruments: futuristic kalimba, pneumatic hi-hat with valve system, drone guitar, reclaimed hard drives, and “crazy psychedelic glasses.”The full-length album, The Material Turn, launches in November on vinyl, CD, and digital.Trained on the clarinet, piano, and guitar, Geist started making electronic music in the 1990s, according to Wired. But he quickly became disenchanted with the on-screen interface, and instead built his own tools.Each apparatus is custom-made in his Dresden, Germany-based workshop.As Wired pointed out, mechanized instruments date back to the mid-19th century, with the invention of the autonomous Forneaux Pianista keyboard. Today, similar self-playing brass and string instruments can be found in museums across the world.Last year, musical artist Nigel Stanford debuted the title track from his upcoming Rockets vs. Music album—a futuristic record recorded by robots. With a little help from his friends at bot maker KUKA Systems and audio firm Sennheiser, Stanford holed up in his garage for a month, programming and positioning mechanical arms to play instruments with accuracy down to 0.03mm.The result is astounding.Want to live longer? Go to more concerts. And check out what happened when a neural network tried writing lyrics to Disney songs. (Hint: It’s not pretty.) Keep up to date on all things music here. Robot Dog Astro Can Sit, Lie Down, and Save LivesYou Can’t Squish This Cockroach-Inspired Robot center_img Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

Foreign Policy Soun

Foreign Policy, Sounds like sneak-attack horror you dont even know youre taking part. Lee’s family said.

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“And it’s actually not the sweat, which failed to achieve mainstream success, The new measure comes after Riyadh. 29.telling him: “Earlier you were only a bureaucrat; now you are a political bureaucrat An official bureaucrat has certain limitations but as a political bureaucrat you are a free bird and can take as many initiatives as you can and advise the government” What Rao did wasn’t anything new As adviser to late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa retired chief secretary Sheela Balakrishnan was thede factohead of the state’s bureaucracy even over the head of the incumbent chief secretary In Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar did something similar only this month He turned his chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh into an adviser immediately after his retirement Karnataka’s former chief minister Siddaramaiah had a retired IPS officer to advise him on all matters ranging from law and order to election strategies Examples are endless Vijayan forgets his ‘advisers’ The case of Kerala’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan whose CPM is now accusing Modi of subverting bureaucracy by importing outsiders into it is even more fascinating He even forgets how many advisers he has But of course his government’swebsite is there to remind him that he has six This is not to suggest that the choices made by the chief ministers are necessarily wrong Many — or even most perhaps — officers being co-opted back into service indeed have impeccable credentials But the fact that these appointments are based purely on personal choices of politicians in power devoid of any degree of fair-play and equal opportunities is too glaring to ignore Extra-constitutional appointments From late 1960s it became a practice to appoint advisers to aid a governor during president’s rule though it has no mention in either the Constitution or any other statute And it has now become almost a routine for even chief ministers to appoint former bureaucrats as their advisers either for the crooked reasons of rehabilitating favoured officers or get genuine much-needed advice from distinguished men But nobody talks about this rising trend Or is the resistance to the Modi government’s move limited to the hiring of bureaucrats from the private sector That would only leave the critics open to the charge that their objections come from a petty desire to protect the IAS fiefdom from the invading infidels of the private sector That reminds us of what former IAS officer SK Das pointed out in his 1998 bookCivil Service Reform & Structural Adjustment: “As for the civil service in India it has developed resistance to change the age-old attribute of an entrenched bureaucracy to resist adjustment to changing times and hence to new paradigms” Critics of “lateral entry” must remember two things: First off the 10 June move doesn’t attempt to bring in rookies from the private sector into the midst of wise old men of bureaucracy It specifies that they must have experience of at least 15 years just about the length of service a joint secretary puts in Secondly applications are being called not just from the private sector In all this din what has been lost is the fact that even officers currently serving in state and central governments and public sector undertakings are eligible to apply for the posts It won’t be surprising in fact if applications for these posts from serving officers seeking deputation in Delhi outnumber those from the private sector Leave civil services alone The argument that civil services should be left intact is not entirely without merit The IAS especially has its own unique use despite the flak it faces on account of corruption and arrogance But for every one corrupt and arrogantbabu you meet at least two priding themselves in honesty and humility And never forget that bureaucratic corruption is too closely intertwined with political corruption — at least in most cases — to be rebuked in isolation Both the officers who are gentlemen and who aren’t together keep India running even when the political system faces uncertainty or is in transition from one party to another or when elected representatives are either too busy playing political snooker or are too illiterate to read rule-books Governance often has more to do with IAS officers than with political pretenders who look over their shoulders Reinventing a wheel may be a fool’s pastime but shunning anything that gives it a smoother spin is the virtue of a sloth bear The exclusivity of the civil service however should not preclude infusion of outside talent be it from judiciously selected former officers or domain-experts to the extent that it doesn’t tinker with basic structures And as always success depends on execution: In this case on the candidates finally picked So hold your horses Author tweets @sprasadindia Bati Kot: Taliban fighters and Afghan security forces hugged and took selfies with each other in restive eastern Afghanistan on Saturday as an unprecedented ceasefire in the war-torn country held for the second day of Eid Carrying assault weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers members of Afghanistan’s biggest militant group travelled by car and motorbike through the contested district of Bati Kot in Nangarhar province waving Afghan and Taliban flags Afghan forces manning checkpoints offered Eid greetings to the Taliban embracing and posing for photos with the same people they are usually trying to kill — a scene that would have been unthinkable only a few days ago Representational image AP Villagers also flocked around the insurgents hugging them and happily taking selfies with the heavily armed fighters as they celebrated the holiday capping the holy month of Ramadan "I am here to offer greetings to our brothers in the police and army" Taliban commander Baba told AFP "We have held the ceasefire well so far Everyone is tired of war and if our leaders order us to continue the ceasefire we will hold it forever" A Taliban fighter on a motorbike carrying the Afghan and Taliban flags welcomed the ceasefire but said long-lasting peace would only be achieved if US forces left the country "We want an Islamic country and government This cannot happen unless America leaves (Afghanistan)" he told AFP The Taliban announced a ceasefire for the first three days of Eid which started yesterday promising not to attack Afghan security forces for the first time since the 2001 US invasion They said they would continue attacking US-led NATO troops That came after President Ashraf Ghani announced that police and troops would cease operations against the Taliban for eight days starting last Tuesday— though he warned that operations against other militants including the Islamic State group would continue Afghan Deputy Interior Minister Masood Azizi told AFP both sides had so far respected the ceasefire "Luckily it’s going well so far" Azizi said Bati Kot is on the highway connecting the Nangarhar provincial capital of Jalalabad with Torkham one of the major border crossings into Pakistan which has long been accused of supporting the Taliban and providing safe haven to its leaders charges it denies Afghans shared photos on social media purportedly showing Taliban fighters around the country gathering with security forces and locals for the holiday The bizarre images served as powerful propaganda for both sides and have fanned hopes among war-weary Afghans for the ceasefire to continue "Look they are brothers If their leaders come sit and talk just like their soldiers we will have peace tomorrow" Said Hasibullah posted on Facebook under a photo purportedly showing a Taliban fighter and Afghan soldier having a cup of tea together The Taliban had "exploited" the opportunity to show their popularity among ordinary Afghans a Western diplomat in Kabul told AFP "(That’s) no bad thing if they are able to see the benefits of talking not fighting" he said" state information technology minister and Dum Dum MLA Bratya Basu said." 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