Analysis: Does Obama’s claim to have rescued science hold up?

first_imgThis week, John Holdren became the longest-serving presidential science adviser in U.S. history. He marked the occasion by issuing a list of 100 things that President Barack Obama has done to fulfill his inaugural pledge to “restore science in its rightful place.”Such exercises in legacy building are common for veterans of departing administrations, and Holdren joined this one in its earliest days. But Holdren’s list is also a telling reminder of the limits of power for any occupant of the White House.That conclusion is based on the 10 items that Holdren’s office chose to highlight in a White House blog, arguably what he sees as the administration’s greatest scientific accomplishments since taking office in January 2009. However, several of those policies have been disrupted by political, economic, and societal forces beyond the president’s control.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) For starters, only three of the 10 achievements fall mainly within the purview of the executive branch—attracting top scientific talent, sharing data, and promoting renewable energy while curbing fossil fuel emissions. The first claim—that the White House has attracted the best and the brightest technical personnel to government—is somewhat undermined by the fact that three of the four assistant directorships within Holdren’s own Office of Science and Technology Policy have been vacant for months and are unlikely to be filled before Obama leaves office. And although the White House has certainly been an advocate for clean energy—the third item on the list—the Republican majority in Congress has been able to blunt the Obama administration’s attempts to do even more to combat climate change. A bigger step toward restoring the luster of science is probably the second item on Holdren’s list, that is, what the administration has done to increase transparency and public access to scientific data.Three items on Holdren’s top 10 are intimately bound up with the budget process and, thus, fall under the control of Congress. One is arguably the administration’s biggest gift to U.S. science: The $18 billion research bonanza that was part of the administration’s $800 billion stimulus package to dig out from the 2008 Great Recession. That budgetary high point was reached just 6 weeks after the administration took office, however. Since then, the payoff from the president’s annual budget requests to boost science spending has been mixed; in some years, Congress has even exceeded those requests. Holdren’s second item, increasing public access to broadband internet services, is also largely tied to the stimulus package. And the third accomplishment, the administration’s proposed network of advanced manufacturing institutes, has become an annual tug of war with Congress, although this week the White house announced funding for the ninth such manufacturing hub.The four remaining items on the list are more about the administration serving as a cheerleader for efforts by the private sector rather than being a direct instigator of change. Holdren assigns the president credit for the country’s growing tech-savvy workforce, but many education analysts attribute the soaring number of college students majoring in engineering to factors unrelated to the administration’s policies. Likewise, a presidential target of training an additional 10,000 secondary school math and science teachers every year has turned out to be a low bar that has proven relatively easy to clear.The push for more entrepreneurship, another listed accomplishment, flies in the face of a decadelong decline in the number of startup companies that has also meant a slump in new, well-paid high-tech jobs. And whereas Holdren is correct in saying that the commercial space sector is flourishing, Republicans would dispute his assertion that the administration deserves credit for its rosy prospects. A more credible claim is the administration’s role in fostering innovation in health care through its promotion of such high-profile projects as the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative and precision medicine.Holdren certainly knows that science advances incrementally and in ways that don’t necessarily correspond to 4-year presidential cycles. He also knows that claiming credit for events involving myriad factors playing out on a global scale is a risky enterprise. But legacies must be built on something, so such lists have become a staple of political life. There’s also this: How many of us would wager that Obama’s successor will be able to compile anywhere near as impressive a list of scientific accomplishments?last_img read more

World Cup 2018: Umtiti’s celebratory moves go viral as France reach final

first_imgSamuel Umtiti became the third defender to score for France in the World Cup 2018 as the Les Bleus beat Belgium 1-0 to enter the final where they will either face England or Croatia on July 15.Umtiti scored in the 51st minute through a header from a corner-kick taken by Antoine Griezmann to put France ahead.The goal proved enough to take France through to their third World Cup final after 1998 and 2006.Umtiti marked the occasion with a special dance move as French players jumped over him to celebrate on the sidelines of the Belgium box.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEIt was the strut walk that Umtiti did and Pogba alongside him, was party to the unique celebration.#FRA #FRA #FRASamuel Umtiti heads @FrenchTeam into the #WorldCup FinalTV listings World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 10, 2018The 24-year-old became the third defender after Rafael Varane and Benjamin Pavard to score a goal in this edition.In an enthralling tactical match, it was once again a set-piece that proved decisive with Umtiti’s near-post header from an Antoine Griezmann corner settling matters.Belgium took early control of midfield with France content to sit deep and eliminate the threat of counter-attacks from Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne.MATCH REPORT | HIGHLIGHTSBut it was by no means a purely negative approach as the French offered their own danger on the break, perfectly illustrated when Paul Pogba’s delivery sent Kylian Mbappe racing towards goal and Belgium were thankful their keeper Thibaut Courtois was alert to snuff out the danger.advertisementThe first real opening came in the 16th minute when De Bruyne hooked the ball into the path of Hazard whose shot was just wide of Huge Lloris’s far post.Also read – France reach 3rd World Cup final, Belgium’s unbeaten streak ends: Key statsHazard was dangerous again moments later when he cut in from the left and unleashed a rasping drive which clipped off the back of Raphael Varane and just over the bar.From a Belgium corner, Toby Alderweireld tested Lloris with a smart shot on the turn but as the half progressed France began to create more.Olivier Giroud flashed a header just wide and Mbappe set up Benjamin Pavard whose low shot was kept out by the outstretched leg of Courtois.Also read- World Cup 2018: Samuel Umtiti proud of Les Bleus as France storm into finalIt was a fascinating first half and all that was missing was a goal but one came soon after the break.From Griezmann’s corner, Umtiti beat Marouane Fellaini at the near post and powered a header home to put France ahead.Also read – World Cup 2018: Belgium coach Roberto Martinez ready to accept heartbreakFellaini flashed a header just wide and Axel Witsel forced a good save out of Lloris as Belgium pushed forward for an equaliser and France hung on in six minutes of stoppage time to book their place in the final.You see that celebration dance/walk by umtiti? yeah thats Africa right there ..Mwamba (@Mwamba1000) July 10, 2018Umtiti but leave the dancing to the Colombians lol what kinda drag queen dance was thatJames FC (@TheCoIombian) July 10, 2018That dance Umtiti just did . Mood for the rest of the yearP E K E (@WhitneySheehama) July 10, 2018Umtiti celebration dance is going to be on my Music Video #francevsbelgiumFlickertee. (@tkchikumbu) July 10, 2018Umtitis lil celebration dance though #WorldCup2018stacey karuhanga (@StaaceeyK) July 10, 2018(With Reuters inputs)last_img read more

Former Elite WR Recruit Announces Transfer Destination

first_imgmiami wide receiver jeff thomasARLINGTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 02: Jeff Thomas #4 of the Miami Hurricanes tries to pull down a pass against Terrence Alexander #11 of the LSU Tigers and Jonathan Baker #25 of the LSU Tigers in the second quarter of The AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium on September 2, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)The 2018 college football season for Mark Richt and the Miami Hurricanes can be summed up in one word: rocky. Richt and company finished the season with a 7-5 record and a near mutiny as the team lost several top recruits and a few players that were already on the roster.One such player that left the program – though not of his own accord – was star wide receiver Jeff Thomas. The former four-star wide receiver recruit was dismissed from the program as he was leading the team in receiving.After his dismissal from the program in late November, Thomas became one of the hottest names on the transfer market.It didn’t take long for him to find his new home. On Friday night, Thomas announced he’s furthering his collegiate career at Illinois.I would like to thank The University of Miami, my teammates, coaches for their amazing support the past 2 years. With that being said, I would like to thank Coach Lovie smith for this opportunity to further my education and football career at the University of Illinois.— Jeff Thomas (@theregoes4) December 22, 2018It’s a huge addition to the program for head coach Lovie Smith.Thomas was the No. 5 wide receiver recruit in the 2017 class.last_img read more

India vs New Zealand World Cup semi-final Reserve Day: What it means for India

first_imgIndia vs New Zealand World Cup semi-final Reserve Day: What it means for IndiaICC Cricket World Cup 2019: With forecast for Wednesday better than Tuesday in Manchester, India are expected to have their full quota of 50 overs to chase New Zealand’s total on the reserve day of the 1st semi-final at Old Trafford.advertisement India Today Web Desk ManchesterJuly 10, 2019UPDATED: July 10, 2019 13:45 IST World Cup 2019: India and New Zealand will resume proceedings in semi-final on reserve day in Manchester (Getty Images)HIGHLIGHTSWorld Cup 2019 semi-final 1 moved into reserve day after rain played spoilsport on TuesdayNew Zealand likely to resume innings on reserve day in ManchesterAakash Chopra and Harbhajan Singh say India have upper hand on reserve dayIndia and New Zealand will resume proceedings in the 1st semi-final of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 on Wednesday after rain played spoilsport at Old Trafford in Manchester on Tuesday.With the International Cricket Council (ICC) allocating reserve days for the knockout stages of World Cup 2019, the semi-final between India and New Zealand was not abandoned even as it drizzled continuously on Tuesday in Manchester.The game was not curtailed as well as there was no resumption in play after rain interrupted proceedings when New Zealand were batting on 211 for 5 after 46.1 overs.If New Zealand hadn’t batted again on Tuesday and a curtailed game had resumed, India would have had to chase 148 in 20 overs, 172 in 25 overs, 192 in 30 overs, 209 in 35 overs, 223 in 40 overs and 237 in 46 overs according to DLS method.However, on Wednesday (the reserve day), New Zealand will resume their innings from the 47th over if there is no rain that delays the start of play in Manchester. Weather forecast for the reserve day is certainly better as the chances of rain have come down by 40 percent.It is likely that India will get their full quota of 50 overs to chase whatever New Zealand set after resuming their innings. Notably, Kane Williamson had won the toss and opted to bat after which Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar put the brakes on the Black Caps’ scoring rate.World Cup 2019 semi-final 1, India vs New Zealand: What reserve day means for IndiaFormer India batsman Aakash Chopra, speaking to India Today, said India will be the happier of the two sides due to the fact that they are likely to get a 50-over innings on the reserve day.advertisement”Without a doubt, India would be happier that they didn’t end up having a 20-over game [on Tuesday]. Had that been the case, New Zealand would have been the happier of the two sides. Now, we have got a full game and India’s good work hasn’t gone waste,” Aakash Chopra said.”You have maintained control over the game for 46 overs and you don’t want a gamble of sorts where it becomes a T20 shootout. If you lose a couple of wickets… two new balls… you don’t know which side the game will title. In a 50-over game India is definitely ahead,” Chopra added.World Cup-winning off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said India have got the game in their hands on the reserve day.”I think India have got the game in their hands. Anything can happen in cricket but from whatever I have seen of them in this World Cup, they have got this game in their hands. They have got a full game [on Wednesday] not the T20 over where New Zealand could have sniffed a chance. A full game tomorrow and India will be very happy chasing 230-240 whatever they could,” Harbhajan Singh said.Slow and steady wins the raceOvercast conditions are expected throughout Wednesday in Manchester and there could be some assistance for New Zealand’s new ball bowlers at Old Trafford.Former England spinner Monty Panesar and Aakash Chopra have stressed that India should approach their chase cautiously on the reserve day.”There is not enough runs on the board for New Zelaand. If say, India are 120 for 1, then the game starts moving swiftly towards India. Start slowly, start steadily and you will win the race,” Aakash Chopra said.Panesar, speaking to ANI news agency, opined: “But this target of 220, there are some overs left, it is a chaseable target. If India plays measurable cricket, assess the conditions tomorrow, they do not need to play any high-risk shots.”Also Read | India vs New Zealand semi-final 1st ever World Cup knock-out match to move into reserve dayAlso Read | India vs New Zealand World Cup 2019 1st Semi-final: What happens on reserve dayAlso See:For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAkshay Ramesh Tags :Follow India vs New ZealandFollow World Cup 2019Follow ManchesterFollow Old TraffordFollow World Cup semi-final reserve day Nextlast_img read more

Bayern chairman rules out Messi bid

first_imgBERLIN – Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has ruled out bidding for superstar Lionel Messi, who has a buyout clause worth 250 million euros ($338.5 million) in his Barcelona contract.“We are talking about simply absurd figures, a transfer fee that is even higher than what we spent on Javi Martinez. We won’t go there,” Rummenigge told German Sky Sports.“Barcelona’s president Sandro Rosell is an old friend and I know they would never sell Messi. He is a saint at Barcelona. “And I think it would be in Messi’s best interest to stay at Barcelona. He fits in perfectly there.”Rumours of a Bayern bid for Messi, which would see the Argentinian link up with his former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, have been circulating in Germany.The Bavarians could probably afford the enormous sum. A fortnight ago Bayern revealed they had posted a record 432.8 million euros in sales during last season’s campaign.They became the first German club to claim the treble when they won the Champions League, a 23rd German championship and the DFB Cup.But even Bayern coach Guardiola has said his former protege is at the right club.“Would I sign Messi? No, no! Barcelona is the best place for him,” Guardiola is reported to have said.Bayern won 3-0 at German rivals Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, in a repeat of May’s Champions League final, and are four points clear in the Bundesliga having already reached the knock-out phase in Europe.last_img read more

Opposition says singing anthem in Tamil will not help reconciliation

“National unity will take place only if the entire country sings in one voice,” he said. He said that there will not be National unity if Sri Lankans sing the National anthem in different languages and even the Vedda community sing in their own language. (Colombo Gazette) The joint opposition says singing the National anthem in Tamil will not help the reconciliation process.Joint opposition Parliamentarian Udaya Gammanpila said that the opposition is being accused of being communal minded for opposing the singing of the National anthem in Tamil. However he says singing the National anthem in one language will help unity as opposed to two languages which will promote division.

Sask ergonomics researchers study exoskeletons for farmers

A team of researchers at the University of Saskatchewan hopes technology used in the manufacturing sector could help make farming a less back-breaking profession.Dr. Catherine Trask, a Canada research chair in ergonomics and musculoskeletal health, is working alongside research fellow Ornwipa Thamsuwan to measure the effectiveness of mechanical exoskeletons in farm work.Thamsuwan said the devices they are testing are already commercially available and used in industries such as warehousing and auto manufacturing.While the phrase “mechanical exoskeleton” may conjure images of superhuman cyborg farmers hurling bales, Trask said the devices she and Thamsuwan are looking at don’t use an external power source. Rather, they essentially store the body’s own energy as it bends forward, then provide a boost on the way back up.“It’s kind of like wearing a mousetrap,” Trask said of the roughly three-kilogram harnesses, which use springs to link bars across the wearer’s chest and thighs.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Thamsuwan spent the 2019 growing season visiting farms and livestock operations and having actual producers test the harnesses on day-to-day tasks such as shovelling grain or repairing machinery.She collected data from 15 farmers using sensors that track muscle activity and posture. She also gathered feedback directly from the farmers themselves.Trask said they are now in the process of tabulating the reams of information generated from the study, with early results showing some promise for the harnesses’ ability to help farmers maintain higher productivity at less of a toll on their bodies.“We’re moving at the speed of research,” she chuckled.Thamsuwan said as many as 60 per cent of farmers already experience back pain over the course of a typical year. She said that number is likely to rise as the average farmer’s age continues to increase, meaning more operations might have a business case for using exoskeletons.Trask said the exoskeletons have been used in other industries for as long as a decade, but the technology is likely arriving late to the farming sector due to the lack of worker protections for producers, who tend to be individually employed.“There’s no health and safety office that they can go and talk to about this kind of stuff like you would have at a big auto manufacturer, for example.”While Trask and Thamsuwan said they hope farmers will take an interest in their research, they also plan to make their findings available to exoskeleton designers, in order to help them create products specifically tailored to farm read more

Sierra Leone UNbacked court indicts former rebel leader Bazzy Kamara

The United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone has netted three more suspected war criminals, including former rebel leader Brima “Bazzy” Kamara, who has been indicted for alleged atrocities committed during the country’s decade-long civil war. “The people of Sierra Leone can rest easier knowing that this man will face the Special Court”, Deputy Prosecutor Desmond de Silva said in Freetown today as he announced the indictment against Mr. Kamara, a former senior commander of both the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the “West Side Boys.”Mr. Kamara was taken into custody two days ago and has been indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. “Wearing a military uniform does not give you permission to direct violations of international humanitarian law,” Mr. de Silva said.Two other people, Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa, have been provisionally detained under a court rule that allows suspects to be held for up to 30 days before being formally charged. Both individuals are affiliated with the former Civil Defence Forces. To date, the Court has indicted nine individuals, including Foday Sankoh, Issa Sessay, Sam Bockarie, Morris Kallon, Augustine Gbao, Johnny Paul Koroma, Alex Tamba Brima, Brima ‘Bazzy’ Kamara and Samuel Hinga Norman. Seven of those individuals are in custody. Mr. Bockarie was killed earlier this month in neighbouring Liberia while Mr. Koroma remains at large, purportedly holed up in a small Liberian village. The Court’s Chief of Investigations, Alan White, again called on Liberian President Charles Taylor to deliver the fugitive Mr. Koroma alive to the tribunal. “We’ve got ‘Bazzy’. We want Koroma,” Mr. White said, “the AFRC must answer for what they did to this country.” read more

Buckeye Brief Slowing down Keita BatesDiop and more notes from Ohio States

Ohio State redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) takes a 3 pointer in the first half of the game against Maryland on Jan. 11 in the Schottenstein Center. Ohio State won 91-69. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorNo. 13 Ohio State (18-4, 9-0 Big Ten) is exactly halfway through its conference schedule with nine games won and nine games remaining. It narrowly edged out Nebraska Monday, 64-59, in its closest conference game of the season. Here are some notes from the postgame press conference. Keita Bates-Diop finding production despite tighter defensive coverageThe cat is out of the bag: redshirt junior Keita Bates-Diop is one of the best players in college basketball. The 6-foot-7 forward averages 19.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from the 3.Earlier in the year, teams played man-to-man against Bates-Diop. It allowed him to easily drive and to shoot high-percentage shots inside or catch wide-open passes from beyond the arc and knock home 3s. But teams have started to press more often in their coverage of him, double-teaming him to prevent him from having those open looks. His current four-game stretch has seen him average his lowest point rate (16.8) since he averaged 15 points per game from Nov. 19-26. The added defensive pressure has made it more challenging for Bates-Diop to find open lanes to drive to the basket. But against Nebraska, he said he was able to stay moving and would eventually find open space without the ball before catching a pass and making a play.“So I started slipping screens and just moving around a little bit more, cutting a little bit more off the ball and all my teammates found me,” Bates-Diop said Monday. “It was mostly just layups to the basket.”He had been off to a slow start, making only 2-of-5 shots from the field and struggling to find open shooting chances given the coverage. Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said he typically does not have to say much to Bates-Diop when he goes into a bit of a lull and that it is always just a matter of time until his star forward starts putting up points.“I just told him I’d like for you to score a lot more and go get 14 really quickly here,” Holtmann joked. “He’s getting a lot of attention. He missed some open shots, but he made some huge plays for us. And I thought our guys did a nice job finding him in the post late too.”Four games in eight daysWhen the Buckeyes went to the locker room after the game Monday night, they finally had a chance to really catch their breath. They had just wrapped up their fourth game in eight days with the first three coming on the road. “I definitely am a little fatigued,” senior forward Jae’Sean Tate said. “I mean you know that’s just the cards we were dealt. Especially this season with the tournament being moved up, it’s a little tougher. But I think as a team, we’re doing a great job. The coaches are focusing more on film and recovery.”Holtmann said the team did not discuss any change in approach to the four-game stretch, but that the players have worked additionally with strength and conditioning coach Quadrian Banks to avoid getting too worn down.He also said he wanted three of his starters — junior guard C.J. Jackson, Bates-Diop and Tate, who played 37, 37 and 33 minutes, respectively — to get more rest given how much they had played during that stretch. However, given how close Monday’s matchup wound up being, he was unable to rest his starters as much as he would have liked.“We’re going to continue to trust and use our bench,” Holtmann said. “We played seven guys over 20 minutes, which is kind of normal. But we need to continue obviously for Thursday. We need to probably utilize our bench even more if we can.”Andre Wesson and Andrew Dakich providing much-needed reliefPart of those bench players who have helped to provide key relief for starters have been sophomore forward Andre Wesson and redshirt senior guard Andrew Dakich. Wesson, who lost time over the summer due to an undisclosed injury, has worked his way back and has taken the role of the top bench forward. Over the past five games, he has averaged 21.8 minutes per game.Though he has only averaged 2.8 points per game over that stretch, the players and coaches have raved about his passing and defense being valuable coming off the bench. “Sometimes you guys may not see things that don’t show up on stat sheets, but he’s being a great defender,” Tate said. “He’s getting his hands on deflections, he’s boxing out his man, making sure they don’t get the ball, but also keeping balls alive.”Like Wesson, Dakich has not been the most productive scoring guard, averaging just 3.8 points per game over his past five games — with an average of 22.4 minutes per game. Unlike Wesson, he lacks the size to guard taller forwards attempting jump shots. He also lacks game-changing speed, but Holtmann said the 6-foot guard makes up for it with his awareness.“What he lacks in athleticism — and let’s be honest, he lacks athleticism — he makes up for it so much in his IQ and his ability to connect his teammates,” Holtmann said. “I did not realize he’d be this solid for us defensively. They tried to ice him tonight and people shot over at times, but he’s hard to get around.”Up NextOhio State will try to extend its unbeaten streak in the Big Ten to 10 games when it hosts Penn State at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Schottenstein Center. read more

Diamond exploration needs new thinking

first_imgAustralia’s gemstone industry has been told that the diamond exploration and mining sector is far from “done and dusted” and would increasingly benefit from global breakthroughs in advanced diamond discovery and identification techniques. Addressing the second day in Perth of the 2008 Paydirt World Diamond Conference, Blina Diamonds’ Exploration Manager, Dr Mark Hutchison, encouraged delegates to “think outside the box”. There is an emerging science in diamond exploration worldwide to swap old concepts for new techniques and new concepts with substantial savings in discovery time and costs,” Hutchison said. “It has traditionally been followed that diamonds will be found in kimberlitic host rocks but the emergence of non-kimberlitic hosts such as the Ellendale field and mine in Western Australia, shows the opportunities available,” he said.“We have even learned how to grow diamonds experimentally in some of these exotic rocks so if we can do that, we should be able to find them in the same circumstances naturally – it just takes a different thinking approach and a desire to experiment with exploration models.“This is generating more contemporary approaches leading to the discovery of primary diamond deposit emplacements in non traditional locations. Such locations include craton-edge and off-craton settings such as around Orrorroo in South Australia’s mid north, or craton-edge diamond bearing fields such as in the Kimberley region of WA.”Hutchison told delegates that emerging technology that was less laborious and less costly was also proving a critical breakthrough in shaping the diamond’s sector future growth. “A key success has been the wider application of Computer Controlled Scanning Electron Micrometry (CCSEM) which is now allowing more rapid identification and chemical quantification of indicator minerals used to determine a diamond discovery. “The technology requires little sample preparation and operator time and is therefore more highly cost effective, allowing rapid in-situ mineral classification. As diamond discovery and identification is a challenging science, CCSEM is proving a useful contributor to modern exploration success. It has a proven track record in the coal industry and I expect it to have growing use in the diamond sector.”This approach is being supported by more modern dating on site of kimberlites and associated rocks, backed by research support from such external agencies as the CSIRO and Melbourne University.last_img read more

Sober Ireland Whats it like to not drink in Ireland

first_imgTHIS WEEK, IRELAND will spend €50 million on alcohol.In towns and cities across the country, pubs, clubs and music venues will have queues three and four deep at their bars and, inevitably, people will get drunk.Some of this drinking will put people in hospital. It will lead to fights, possible road accidents and maybe even deaths.Amid all of this, will be the minority. Those who go out at the weekend and don’t drink anything stronger than a Red Bull.But, what is their life like? What’s it like to go out in Ireland and stay sober? How bearable is it?A study from the Health Research Board last week said that 21% of Irish people hadn’t taken a drink in the last year, so there are more teetotallers than many people realise.“You see everything going bad.”“What do you notice most? Everything, that’s the problem.”James* is 29 and hasn’t ever drank alcohol. That doesn’t mean he stays indoors when the weekend comes.I genuinely like Dublin at night, but it’s a bit like Cinderella. Once the clock strikes midnight, something changes.“I actually like the music played in nightclubs and I don’t most of the things that go with it, but once people get too drunk, it’s time to leave.”But, what counts as too drunk?“The falling, shite talking, the obnoxiousness and the general aggro are all signs.“When I think about it, it’s pretty sad that I think that starting fights is the first point that I consider too far.”Spending a night in a club anywhere in the world is eye-opening, as the alcohol levels increase and the inhibitions are completely negated, it is impossible to have a wholly positive view of what experts call “binge drinking”.That is something James finds every time he ventures out.“The problem I have is that you notice everything. You can spot trouble coming your way and everyone around you is blinded to it.“That leads to paranoia. So you’re looking for lads grabbing your girlfriend’s arse or someone trying to start on your mates.”The self-appointed guardian role is tiring James says.“It’s really my own fault. Nobody is saying “James, look after me”, but you hear so much and you see even more, that it’s hard not to be paranoid.” Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland“I dread being asked to go out.”For most college-aged women, going out is as normal as going to classes. For those that don’t drink, it can be more difficult.Lisa* is 21 and goes to college in Galway. She stopped drinking when she was 19, having done so from age 17. Why?“I’d had enough of it.“I didn’t really like being drunk and I didn’t like not being in control of what I was doing.”The treatment of women in clubs and pubs also affects how going out is viewed.“I don’t know a woman who goes out who hasn’t had their arse grabbed or had something said to them. I’m not saying women are angels, but when you’re sober it feels so much more invasive.“It’s gotten to the stage where I dread being asked to go out.”This is part one of a series on sober Ireland. If you have a story you’d like to share, email Next week, we examine the organisations who promote abstinence. Read: We spent €50 million a week on alcohol in 2013 – and 75% of that was binge drinkinglast_img read more

Penshaped ereader concept leads to more questions than answers

first_imgAfter the introduction of the iPad in 2010, focus has shifted away from traditional eReaders. The leading manufacturers in the field — Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo — have all since introduced small tablets that are only e-readers in terms of software. The evolution of the e-ink reader is no longer on the forefront of most tech enthusiast’s minds.But that hasn’t stopped a company called Paperus from trying something new. And by something new, we really mean it. As you can see above, Paperus’s concept video shows a pen-shaped device that lets you read by simply rotating it. It isn’t clear what tech is behind the device, or if it is even going to be manufactured. What we have is a concept video, a notice of “patent pending,” and a German website that promises “the new star will be born.”What we do see in the video is a cylindrical concept device that scrolls through text as you rotate it. The only input methods (aside from twisting it) are touch-sensitive buttons on either side. Tap the left side for menu options, tap the right side to make a selection. The device also plays audio, and has a headphone hack on the left side.What is the display technology? Will it have wireless connectivity? Would anyone want to use this thing? These questions are unknown at the moment. This could be nothing more than an artist’s interpretation of a primitive idea, but if it does come to market, this gadget would likely only have a niche following. Such a tiny screen wouldn’t likely steal many sales away from Kindles or Nooks. Customers who want greater portability in reading can already use their smartphones.We wouldn’t expect to see these in stores anytime soon. If they do make it to the US market, they’ll likely sit on shelves, collecting dust. Still, that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to see a unique idea brought to life by videographers.via The Digital Readerlast_img read more

What do you do when your business fails You pick up the

first_img‘What do you do when your business fails? You pick up the pieces’ As part of our weekly How My Business Works series, we profile Sligo food firm Good4U. Share9 Tweet Email2 Take me to Fora Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 12 Comments Feb 19th 2017, 11:30 AM Sunday 19 Feb 2017, 11:30 AMcenter_img By Fora Staff One of Good4U’s factoriesAs well as finding partners in the UK, Good4U also built decent links with several large retailers in Ireland, including Supervalu, Spar, Centra, and Costcutter.“We had focused on Ireland but we hadn’t got a return. We had been in the UK since 2007 and we decided that we had to focus on it,” Butler says.This led to the deal with M&S and Butler buying back her old factory in Sligo. Whereas the facility in Cookstown is where the bulk of the seeds are produced, the Sligo complex is mostly focused on making healthy snacks, such as its ‘Super Bite’ energy ball.BrexitButler acknowledges that there is uncertainty in the market with Brexit looming and says that the firm is planning to expand into several new markets, including the US, in the coming years. However, the UK will continue to command most of the company’s attention.She says that the company is a “market leader” in the area of sprouted seed sales, although others such as Wicklow-based firm The Happy Pear provides some competition.An increasing demand for healthy snacks has seen the likes of healthy fast food chain Chopped expand quickly. Butler says that, for now, there is room for a few different players in the sprouted seed market.“The business can only be sustained if you are producing a quality product at the right price and at the moment we’re doing pretty well at that,” she says.“We’re trying to do better by introducing functional ingredients into products and maintaining affordability.” Good4U food bitesAt the moment, the firm employs 45 people between Tyrone and Sligo. Accounts for Good4U show that it had accumulated profits of almost £156,000 (€184,000) as of the end of June 2015, although it made a small loss of about £20,000 during that financial year.However, Butler says that the firm is now profitable and is planning to significantly expand at its Sligo facility.“We are looking to embark on the second phase of our expansion and we are hoping to double our business,” she says. “We are looking at hiring 15 new people by the end of the year.”‘Long road’The company turned over about €5 million last year and Butler hopes for a significant improvement this year, with revenues of about €8 million.“We want to get to €20 million by 2020, we believe that it’s achievable if someone doesn’t push a button somewhere,” she says.Butler, who will be 60 this year, says that it has been a “long road” to get the business to where it is now.“Every so often I say that I am doing the same thing that I was doing 30 years ago, except I haven’t slowed down. I keep forgetting that I’m older,” she says.Age is something that Butler mentions a few times but, while she says that her daughters are “very capable”, she says that she has no plans to retire any time soon.“As long as I have the health to grow and support the business I will do it. I would like to take my foot off the pedal and take it easier at some point, but not for now.”This article is part of our weekly series examining the nuts and bolts of businesses. If you would like to see your company featured please email by Paul O’Donoghue and posted on SHE HAD BEEN gone for more than a decade, but all the memories rushed back to Bernie Butler as she looked around the factory she helped build.“When I walked out the door of the business in 2004 I had no yearning to ever go back, but when I walked in during Christmas 2013, it was uncanny,” she tells Fora.“My youngest daughter Emma opened a drawer in the office and found my diary. It was scary, you said, ‘Where have those years gone?’ It was like we had never left.”Butler, 59, had just bought back her factory after selling it almost a decade ago to one of Ireland’s biggest companies, Kerry Group. Before, she had built a sizeable operation employing 60 people who made a mix of salads and ready meals for retailers.Now, she hopes that the facility will allow her new company, healthy snacks producer Good4U, to reach a similar level.“We had been based in Tyrone until 2013 when we were given the opportunity to produce product for Marks & Spencer, but we didn’t have enough space to do it,” she says.Butler was keen to set up again in Sligo, a county that she had fallen in love with when she visited it for a weekend with her husband in the late 70s. The pair was newly married and young, with Butler in her early 20s and working in the civil service.Move to SligoDespite the fact that she was born and raised in Dublin, her stay in the western county was enough to convince her that she wanted to up sticks at the time.“I was blown away by the scenery and the landscape,” she says. “We came back to Sligo a few years later and opened a restaurant, but it didn’t work out as planned.“We were young and naive and thought that we would easily attract a market.“What do you do when your business fails? You have to pick up the pieces, we had no option but to start again. We had to reinvent ourselves.” Paul and Bernie Butler Source: James ConnollyThe couple worked in food sales for years before managing to cobble together the money to open a factory on the outskirts of the town in 1995. The business was sold to Kerry Group six years later and Butler spent a spell working with the food giant.She says that she had “no intention” of getting back into running a food business herself, but she became enamoured with the idea of selling sprouted seeds as a healthy snack.“When I told my husband I was going to get back in the food industry he said ‘You can’t be serious!’, (but) I was fascinated by the health properties and uniqueness of the product.”UK focusIn 2004 Butler opened a small sprouted seed factory in Cookstown, Tyrone. She started with the help of her husband and four children, all of whom now hold senior roles in the business.In 2007 the company attracted the attention of Sainsbury’s, and a year afterwards “got a break” with Tesco. The company struggled in 2011, when contaminated seeds from Egypt caused an E coli outbreak in Europe that killed dozens of people.Previously the firm had mainly sold seeds to supermarkets, which then sold them on under their own labels. However, after the outbreak the firm began to brand its product as a sign of quality control. Get the top business news from Fora delivered to your inbox: 11,099 Views Short URLlast_img read more

Trump appoints Liveris to head American Manufacturing Council

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Greek Australian Andrew Liveris has been chosen by United States President-elect Donald Trump to head the American Manufacturing Council. Announced on Friday at a rally in Michigan, Mr Trump introduced Mr Liveris as “one of the foremost leaders in manufacturing, one of the foremost leaders in the world of business”, reports the ABC.“Andrew Liveris [is] one of the most respected businessman in the world and I’m asking him to come up and head up our American Manufacturing Council — and he’s agreed to do it,” Mr Trump said.The council is a private sector group responsible for advising the US secretary of commerce, and is being tasked with finding ways to bring industry back to America. Born in Darwin, Mr Liveris studied chemical engineering at the University of Queensland, where he also received his honorary doctorate. A dual US-Australian citizen, the 62-year-old addressed those gathered at the rally, claiming “we’re going to put you all to work” while praising Mr Trump and his policies. “President-elect Trump, I can’t tell you, I tingle with pride listening to you, but to honour me to help you chair American Manufacturing Council to put in place the investments that you talk about, you’re paving the way with your administration, with your policies, to make it easier to do business in this country – not a red-tape country but a red-carpet country for American businesses,” Mr Liveris said.“America first, as you said. That’s what we have to do.”The council, which consists of some 25 private-sector individuals, is expected to be established next week and will be made up of “America’s finest and brightest”.“We need to help all of our citizens, we need to give you hope, we need to find a way back to believe in ourselves again,” Mr Liveris said.“As you rightly said, I may have a funny accent – we Aussies love America a lot – I bleed America and I bleed Michigan, that’s what I do. “Thank you, sir, it’s an honour – let’s make America great again by building great things in America.”last_img read more

Expect slowing on southbound Interstate 5

first_imgWoodland – Delays are expected on southbound Interstate 5 near Woodland due to resurfacing work, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.Beginning Sunday, crews will install a waterproof layer on the North Fork Lewis River Bridge, then a new layer of asphalt on the deck.During construction, daytime traffic will reduce to two lanes and nighttime traffic to a single lane.The $2.3 million project is slated for fall completion, depending on the weather.last_img

Lilac Fire finally 100 contained after 10 days of battling

first_img Posted: December 16, 2017 Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Lilac Fire finally 100% contained after 10 days of battling SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — After 10 days of destruction, the Lilac Fire was 100 percent contained Saturday, fire officials announced.”A big thank you to our local, state and federal cooperators,” Cal Fire San Diego tweeted around 6 a.m. “We couldn’t do it without our great partnerships and teamwork.”In total, 1,659 firefighters and other personnel helped battle the blaze.The Lilac Fire destroyed 157 structures — many of them dwellings in the Rancho Monserate Country Club mobile home park in Fallbrook — and damaged 64 more. No human deaths were reported, but at least 46 horses died, many of them stabled at the San Luis Rey Downs Training Center in Bonsall.The Santa Ana winds that fueled the massive blaze returned earlier this week and were set to return again Sunday, though weaker than they were when the fire started.A fire weather watch was issued for San Diego County on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties will be under a red flag warning during the same time period.Locally, fire agencies are bracing for any new fires, while in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, fire crews are continuing to battle the even-larger Thomas Fire.That blaze, which broke out 12 days ago and is still only 40 percent contained, has now grown to the third-largest in California’s history at more than 259,000 acres burned. Full containment is not expected until early January.The 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego County still holds the record as the state’s largest wildfire at 273,246 acres, while the 2007 Witch Fire and 1970 Laguna Fire, both in San Diego County, are also among the 10 largest in California history.center_img , December 16, 2017last_img read more

Week In Review 312316

first_imgWednesday 3/14Audio PlayerJennifer-wednesday-0314.mp3VmJennifer-wednesday-0314.mp300:00RPd20-Year-Old Killed In Head On Collision On Sterling Highway, Alaska Students Rally On Capitol Steps For School Safety, Ninilchik Traditional Council Launches Kenai To Homer Bus Service Monday 3/12Audio PlayerJennifer-monday-0312.mp3VmJennifer-monday-0312.mp300:00RPdPublic Open House On Cooper Landing Bypass Final EIS, Smoke-Free Workplace Bill At A Stand Still, BOF Meeting To Be Held On Kenai Peninsula In 2020 Tuesday 3/13Audio Player03-16-2018-THIS-WEEK-TUESDAY-FINAL.mp3Vm03-16-2018-THIS-WEEK-TUESDAY-FINAL.mp300:00RPdPremera Plans To Invest $50 Million Into Alaska Insurance Market, FERC Schedules Final EIS For Alaska LNG Project, UCI Northern District Closures Announced For Commercial Salmon Fishing With Set Gillnets, Fire Does Major Damage To Home Off Funny River Road, No Injuries, CES Reports One Fatality In Sterling Highway Collision Friday 3/16Audio PlayerJennifer-Fridya-.mp3VmJennifer-Fridya-.mp300:00RPdTroopers Increasing Patrols For St. Patrick’s Day, Homer City Council Votes Against Marijuana Establishments On The Spit, Alaska LNG Kenai Spur Highway Public Comment Period Extended, Sen. Murkowski Backs Bill To Allow Pot Business Bankingcenter_img Thursday 3/15Audio Player03-16-2018-THIS-WEEK-THURSDAY-FINAL.mp3Vm03-16-2018-THIS-WEEK-THURSDAY-FINAL.mp300:00RPdSoldotna City Council Member Submits Resignation, State Senator Seeks Public Input On SB91, Candidates Named In Upcoming HEA Board Of Directors’ Election, Kenaitze Indian Tribe Hosting Suicide Prevention Courses Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The KSRM News Department compiled some of the top stories from this past week.last_img read more

Chris Ferrells Endeavor Business Media Begins Its Expansion

first_img“These publications have been in their respective markets for decades and have loyal readership due to the comprehensive coverage in their fields,” said Ferrell in a statement announcing the NP and KSR acquisitions. “Endeavor is committed to maintaining the high level of service and quality they currently deliver.”In the announcement, Endeavor assured that it’s “committed to ensuring the smooth transition of these titles and will keep current publication staff in place,” adding that the acquired titles will remain based in Sarasota, Florida.“The Endeavor organization and their professional teams offered some substantial support opportunities for the future growth of these respected journals,” said Kristine Russell, CEO of NP Communications and owner of KSR Publishing. “I have known Chris Ferrell for a number of years and I was honored that he invited my organizations to join his team at Endeavor.”Gallo Business Media, which specializes in hosted-buyer events serving markets like transportation and public works, among others, was founded in 2012 by IQPC and Eaton Hall Exhibitions alum Michael Gallo, who said the entire Gallo team is “thrilled to be on the ground floor of what Chris is developing.”“Michael Gallo and his team have done a great job building a buyer conference model that is extremely valuable for both the sponsors and attendees, “added Ferrell. “We look forward to replicating the Gallo model for the benefit of our current advertisers and readers.”Nashville-based Resolute Capital Partners financed the NP and KSR deal, while Nick Curci’s Westport, CT-based M&A firm Corporate Solutions represented Gallo Business Media in its deal. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.The Gallo deal offers Endeavor “a great opportunity to expand the business by entering into new markets and leveraging other existing media assets with this hosted buyer business model,” said Curci in a statement. “Michael Gallo has built a great team and valuable assets that Chris Ferrell and his newly formed organization will develop and grow even further.” The five-month-old company that says its ready to take “B2B media to new heights” has marked its first major expansion.Endeavor Business Media announced Monday a trio of acquisitions that more than double its portfolio of media brands and significantly expand its events business: NP Communications, the Florida-based publisher of Evaluation Engineering and three titles serving the medical industry; KSR Publishing, the related publisher of Healthcare Purchasing News; and Gallo Business Media, which produces about a dozen trade shows and hosted-buyer events around the country.Founded by Chris Ferrell a month after stepping down as CEO of SouthComm Communications last November, Endeavor Business Media first made its presence known in January with the acquisition of Grand View Media’s Process Flow Network.Monday’s announcement comes weeks after former SouthComm VP Scott Bieda joined the company, reuniting with former colleagues Ferrell and Endeavor COO Patrick Rains. At the time, Ferrell said Bieda was arriving as the Nashville-based company prepared for its next round of acquisitions.last_img read more

Murkowskis oil export effort gains traction yet fate uncertain

first_imgPhoto: Liz RuskinSen. Lisa Murkowski is making progress on ending the U.S. ban on crude oil exports. It’s one of her biggest goals as chairman of the Senate Energy Committee. But powerful interests are fighting to keep the ban in place.Download AudioYou may not hear them in Alaska, but as efforts to end the 40-year-old ban get closer to the finish line, industry groups have begun airing TV spots to press the issue.“Who loves the ban on U.S. crude oil exports? Iran and Russia. Not exactly our best friends,” says one ad from the American Petroleum Institued that began airing last week in a dozen states and the District of Columbia. “Lifting the ban would increase domestic oil production and that strengthens our national security. With America’s energy boom, our allies don’t have to rely on energy from Iran and Russia.”A bill to end the export ban cleared a House subcommittee last week, and a prominent Republican on the House Energy Committee predicts the ban may be dead in a matter of months. That would be quite a coup for champions of oil exports, like Sen. Murkowski, who has already moved an export bill through her own committee, despite substantial Democratic opposition.“I am not discounting the opportunity to advance it this year,” she said in an interview. “There are some who have suggested it’s not possible to advance it before the end of 2015. I think most have been quite surprised at how readily we’ve been able to move the discussion on this issue.”Murkowski was the first lawmaker in years to take aim at the ban, around the start of last year. But those who want to keep the ban in place are ramping up, too. The issue splits the oil industry. Oil producers say the ban makes no sense anymore. It was adopted in the 1970s, at a time of scarcity after the Arab oil embargo. The ban does not apply to refined products, and it doesn’t apply to Alaskan crude, which is sometimes shipped overseas.Oil refiners are big defenders of the ban. They say if crude can be shipped overseas, many of their refineries would have to close. A recent government report says ending the ban would cut into refiners’ profits. The United Steelworkers union wants to keep the ban, too. It represents some 30,000 refinery employees. A few environmental and consumer groups oppose exports, too. In Congress, the divide is largely along party lines, in part because oil producing states are more Republican, and refining states are more often represented by Democrats. Here’s part of the voiceover in an ad sponsored by a group called Allied Progress  that targets Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., for allegedly wavering:“Now, he might break his word by letting big oil ship crude overseas. Lifting the crude oil ban could raise gas prices, cost U.S. jobs and help grow China’s economy while putting our energy future at greater risk from terrorists like ISIS.”(The ad ran for about a week. Allied Progress took it down after Menendez clarified that he still supports the export ban.)Many studies show that allowing exports would not hike prices at the pump, but ban defenders aren’t buying it. Recent polling in two Senate battleground states shows voters are confused about that question, but the research suggests voters are inclined to punish lawmakers who press to allow exports. At least, that’s what pollsters found in Illinois and Pennsylvania, home to some of the nation’s larger refineries.In any case, lawmakers may see the issue as too politically risky to take up before the 2016 elections, so its passage in Congress is hardly a sure bet.last_img read more

Long road ahead for MeToo in Nepal

first_imgIn this file photo taken on March 8, 2018, women shout slogans during an International Women`s Day rally in Kathmandu. Photo: AFPThe rape and murder of a teenager provoked unprecedented protests in conservative Nepal, but activists say a #MeToo reckoning like that unfolding in neighbouring India remains a distant prospect.Thousands poured onto the streets after 13-year-old Nirmala Pant’s body was discovered in July angered by allegations the police were protecting the perpetrators.Two hashtags — #RageAgainstRape and #JusticeForNirmala — have become the rallying cries for protesters fed up with Nepal’s woeful record of prosecuting cases of violence against women.But #MeToo has been largely absent from the ongoing debate. Those fighting for change say women still struggle to speak out against their abusers in Nepal.”I would love a society where you can say #MeToo,” said women’s rights activist Hima Bista.In recent weeks the #MeToo movement in neighbouring India has gathered pace, a year after the hashtag first went viral.The public allegations by Bollywood star Tanushree Dutta against a fellow actor emboldened a wave of women in India to tell their own stories.A government minister, M.J. Akbar, resigned this month after at least 20 women accused him of sexual harassment. A prominent Bollywood director was also sacked over similar allegations.The shockwaves have not gone unnoticed in Nepal, which shares strong cultural and religious ties with its influential neighbour, as well as a 1,850-kilometre (1,150-mile) open border.”You see a slight breeze come through,” Bista said of the ripple effect from India.In the last two weeks, a handful of women have gone public with #MeToo stories in Nepal, including two accusing the former mayor of Kathmandu, Keshav Sthapit, of abusing his power.”Nepal also has serial predators who have been misusing their powers and positions,” wrote Rashmila Prajapati, who says she lost her job in Sthapit’s office 15 years ago after she rejected his sexual advances.”(It) is high time to reveal them.”Sthapit has denied the allegations, describing them as “a rape of men’s rights” in an recent interview with the Kathmandu Post newspaper.’Fight for justice’But for most women in Nepal, particularly those in conservative rural communities, speaking out is not an option, says Mohna Ansari of the National Human Rights Commission.She is supporting two rape victims who brought their cases to court — a rare achievement in itself.But the women have been driven from their communities by gossip, a byproduct of speaking out about sexual violence.”They are now both hiding in a shelter. The stigma and victim blaming is still too strong in our society,” said Ansari.Bista is concerned that Nepal may not be ready for #MeToo, pointing out that so far only professional women in Kathmandu have felt able to speak out.”And the reaction has been very divided for and against (them),” she added.A change needs to come from the top, but the government’s response to Pant’s killing, the botched investigation and the ensuing protests has invoked outrage and derision.Parliament passed a ban on pornography saying it would curb violence against women, while the home minister blamed rape on capitalism. He also described the #RageAgainstRape protest movement as a conspiracy aimed at toppling Nepal’s communist-led government.There have been small signs of progress: official figures show 479 complaints of rape and attempted rape were made from July to September this year — more than the total number of cases filed between 2008 and 2009 — suggesting the protests have encouraged some to speak up.In 2016 to 2017, 1,131 rapes were reported to the police, but only a tiny fraction ended up in court.Sexual violence is making news too. An acid attack on two sisters by a jilted suitor in late September, and the gang rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl, dominated headlines for days.But activists say the sensationalist coverage and gratuitous detail paints women as weak victims with no agency — undermining their ability to call out their abusers.”Once we address the culture, then you have space for #MeToo,” said Bista.Pant’s killers meanwhile remain at large.”I don’t have any hope of justice, because the investigations have come up with nothing despite public pressure,” her father, Yagya Raj Pant, told AFP by phone.”But we still continue our fight for justice.”last_img