first_imgA research report released in Monrovia over the weekend by Natural Resources Women’s Platform (NRWP), the Alliance for Rural Democracy (ARD), and Green Advocates International (GAI) with support from US based Rights and Resources Initiatives (RRI), unearthed how foreign direct investment deprives local women of the land rights that form the basis for their livelihoods and cultures despite promises of shared economic development.Liberian women’s abilities to survive and care for their families are under threat from large scale concessions that deprive them of the traditional lands and forests, according to the three organizations’ reports.Concessions now cover 40 percent of the country, with US$16 billion in Foreign Direct Investment over the past 12 years. Despite promises that concessions would bring employment, improved infrastructure, and medical care to less fortunate communities, the report found that Liberian women typically did not receive these benefits.“Many lost access to the forests, lands, and rivers that form the basis for their livelihoods and sacred sites, but did not receive sufficient jobs or compensation to make up for their loses. While men faced similar problems, these were exacerbated for women, who are primarily responsible for feeding their families, but have fewer tenure rights than men under customary systems,” the report said.According to the research report, the government has failed to defend the rights of these women, shirking their commitments under CEDAW, an international treaty to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.The report under the title, “Women: The Least Secure Tenure: Assessing the impacts of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions on women’s tenure rights in Liberia,” was launched at an event in Monrovia that brought together civil society and community-based organizations.The women described forcible displacements, contaminated drinking water, and even threats, harassments, intimidation coupled with criminal charges ranging from criminal trespasses, economic sabotage, disorderly conducts and imprisonment for defending their customary land and property rights.The report examined 15 counties throughout the country. Where there were no concessions, women still faced challenges, including limited decision-making power, but they typically had access to the lands and forests they needed for their livelihoods. Most relied heavily on the land for sustenance, income, medicines, and cultural activities; over 90 percent were involved in farming of some kind.“These concessions are supposed to reduce poverty in Liberia. Yet these women are losing their very way of life. The human rights violations they face are beyond anything I’ve seen in my 20 years as an activist,” said Cllr. Alfred Brownell, GAI Lead Campaigner.The report found that while companies provided some benefits to local women, these were few and scattered, and generally did not improve their lives.Women, the report highlighted, lost land and forest rights and are struggling to survive and provide for their families. In some cases, forests were cleared or women were denied access, and farming land was taken over by private companies.“They do not allow us to go in the bush any more, and how do they expect us to live,” the report quoted one of the affected woman.“At present, there is a company operating in the area I live and there is no land for farming. No work for me and my husband. We are suffering, our back yards are cleared, and no space for the planting of pepper, and we don’t even know how to live.” — Ma Anna Tue from Sinoe County said in the report.Rivers have been dammed, polluted, or taken over by private companies, depriving women of vital water sources for drinking, fishing, and washing. Water pumps have been provided in some cases, but often failed to work or are inadequate to serve the entire community.“Cultural sites and ancestral graves were destroyed or forcibly removed. All 27 cultural heritage sites in the project area of one concession in the country, for example, were destroyed,” the report noted.The companies failed to consult directly with women to obtain their consent for concessions on their land. Where consultations took place, they were exclusively with men.“When they come into the community, they don’t talk to women.” —Sovine Teah of Chea’s Town community, Butaw DistrictIn some cases, communities were forcibly displaced. Resettlement packages and compensation were promised, but not provided, particularly in the mining and logging sectors. Compensation in one case was promised in 2008 but delayed until 2015.Women working for the companies engage in back-breaking labor with few benefits and can be dismissed without cause or for criticizing the company. Logging and plantation concessions in particular involved long working hours, substandard working conditions, and little or no employee benefits. Unemployment levels remain very high in some areas, with jobs insufficient to replace the lost income from the forests.Clinics, hospitals, and schools promised by the companies were not provided in most cases. In some cases, roads and schools were actually destroyed by concessionaires. One positive note is ArcelorMittal successfully opening a night school after consulting with local women. The school provided much-needed job training.“Large scale land acquisition brings development, I agree. But large scale land acquisition that does not recognize women’s economic, social and cultural rights brings about suffering and should not be allowed to operate in the area,” —Maminah Carr, Head of Secretariat, NRWP.She said government should carry out studies to understand the impact of concessions on women’s rights in the country.The report recommended that there must be appropriate infrastructure to support women’s exercise of their rights, including legal services and mechanisms for monitoring and sanctioning; that women be consulted and their consent obtained for concessions on their land, especially given their increased knowledge of the needs of their families.“Women should be strongly represented at meetings for planning and implementing social impact programs,” it added.It also recommended that the final contents of the agreements made between the government of Liberia and the companies should be simplified and made available at the local level to all leaders of relevant groups, including women.During the launch of the report, three people who claimed to have been victimized by state actors in Butaw District, Sinoe County were inducted into the ‘Women Human Rights Defender Hall of Fame Award.’ They were also provided a grant of US$500 each by the Association of Environmental Lawyers of Liberia (Green Advocates) to at least start petit trade on their own.The ‘brutality victims,’ included Maberlyn Chea, Anna Tue and Beatrice Koon.Maberlyn Chea, a breast feeding mother from Butaw District, beamed with smiles as she was announced a winner of US$500 for her bravery and uncompromising advocacy for land rights in Butaw, Sinoe County.Madam Chea was pregnant when she and other local rights advocates were reportedly arrested by some unnamed officers and subsequently detained.Chea stayed at the filthy and congested Greenville Central Prison with her pregnancy for more than three weeks.The pronouncement follows Chea’s explanation of her ordeal during the May 2015 riot at Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL).Madam Chea, who could not control her emotion, recollected how she was returning from her farm on May 26, 2015, when she was arrested by people she could remember.The local rights campaigner told international and local land rights activists that she was bundled into a waiting van, taken to Greenville Central Prison, where she was detained before the intervention of Chief Justice Francis Korkpoh.She disclosed that Chief Justice Korkpoh secured her release during one of his visits to the prison.She further alleged that after the Chief Justice ordered her release from further detention and left the scene, prison authorities demanded L$20,000 from her and her husband, who was also detained at the facility.Beatrice lauded GAI for affording her the opportunity to meet and interact with land rights activists outside Sinoe.She indicated that she will use the money to start a business. The two other beneficiaries expressed gratitude for the US$500 award and said they will use the money to benefit their families. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgPlans are underway to honour one of Donegal’s finest people with a statue in the town where he was born – Nobel laureate Professor William C Campbell from Ramelton.The bronze statue is being designed with the aim of being erected in Ramelton in time for Prof Campbell’s 90th birthday next June.Prof William C CampbellMr McHugh, Minister for Education and Skills, announced the plans today, saying: “For people who aren’t familiar with Professor Campbell, his life’s work is a truly remarkable story. “We are talking about one of the most inspirational people on the planet. He has arguably done more for humanity than any other Irish person.“When we think of the Irish diaspora, and the mark that our country has left around the world, Professor Campbell is up there with the best of them.“His childhood on the farm in Ramelton, his education and passion for science and his commitment to research, led to hundreds of millions of people being saved from the horrific disease that is River Blindness.”The plan for Professor’s birthday is being developed under the Bill Campbell Legacy Project spearheaded by the Ramelton Town Hall Development Co. Minister McHugh meeting Jean and Brian Winston, Anne Campbell and RCSI’s Professor Cathal Kelly in the Department of Education and Skills in Dublin to discuss the Ramelton Town Hall Development Company’s idea for a statue in honour of Prof Bill Campbell.And it has the backing of leading academic institutions, including the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI), Letterkenny IT and other universities, Donegal County Council and businesses.Minister McHugh said: “I was delighted to row in behind the Ramelton committee, led by Jean Winston, and ftheir idea for a statue and then to facilitate work to galvanise backing for the plan. That has led to great support from Professor Cathal Kelly, head of RCSI, as well as Professor Campbell’s sister-in-law Ann, who lives in Ramelton, and many others.“A meeting in the Dublin earlier this month with Jean and Brian Winston, Anne, Cathal really set the wheels in motion.“The idea builds on the scholarship I developed in Bill Campbell’s name after being appointed Minister for Education and Skills. The first person awarded with the bursary is Syrian refugee Suaad Alshleh, for her medical studies in RCSI.“I want to do more to honour the Professor. I have worked with the Ramelton group for some time, and now we are at the stage where a sculptor is preparing for the statue to coincide with the Professor’s birthday next year. It is great news.” Minister McHugh added that he will confirm further details on the project in coming weeks.New statue to honour Donegal Nobel prize winner in his hometown was last modified: December 17th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:RameltonWilliam C Campbelllast_img read more

first_imgGeorge Groves believes he is on the verge of a world title shot following Saturday’s impressive victory at the O2 Arena.Groves’ fifth-round demolition of Noe Gonzalez maintained the Hammersmith super-middleweight’s unbeaten record in fine style.And it kept him on course for a world title challenge later this year, with IBF champion Carl Froch and WBO title holder Robert Stieglitz among those touted as possible opponents despite Groves’ relative inexperience.“People like Carl Froch are world champions and have been world champions for a long time so I understand why people think that I’m not quite there,” said Groves.“But I’m ranked number one with WBO, number two with WBA, number three with WBC so there aren’t that many guys in front of me and when they do put guys in front of me, I put them asleep.” See also:Booth rules out Groves-Magee encounterDeGale wants Groves clash at Loftus RoadFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

first_imgMeet the Skyscrapers, a Cape Town trio of pre-teen musicians taking South Africa by storm with their catchy pop music.The Skyscrapers are an up-and-coming band from Cape Town that write their own music and play their own instruments. (Image: Bandcamp)CD AndersonFormed two years ago, the Skyscrapers is a gifted band that make catchy but intelligent pop music with touches of jazz and African rhythms. The group comprises vocalist Mila Smith, aged 12, drummer Dan Buchalter and keyboard player Leo Letschert, who are both 11.Based in Cape Town, the band released their first seven-song album in September 2016 on the music purchasing website Bandcamp, to modest but increasing success. Popular songs on the album include original songs Confusion and Megaphone, as well as a knockout version of the jazz standard Summertime, made famous by Ella Fitzgerald and Janis Joplin.Listen to Summertime and purchase the Skyscrapers’ début album on Bandcamp here:<ahref=”http://skyscrapersband.bandcamp.com/album/possibility”>Possibility by Skyscrapers</a>The song highlights the incredible vocal skills of Mila, ably backed by Dan and Leo. Mila has been singing and writing songs since she was seven and is also a burgeoning musical theatre performer. The boys in the band are both currently studying classical and jazz music theory.As the Skyscrapers, the band, with back-up support from friends and family members who are all involved in the Cape Town music scene, perform regularly at local festivals and outdoor markets around the city.The Skyscrapers’ song Megaphone was used as the theme song for a DStv kids pop-up channel in December 2016. Watch the video below:  Georgia Black, the band’s manager and Leo’s mother, makes sure the band keeps grounded in the often tumultuous culture of the music business. Speaking to the Superbalist website about the band, Black, who is also a full time music promoter in her own right, said “I make sure they’re not spoilt. What they earn must go towards [keeping the band going]. It’s come relatively easily to them and it’s important that they understand that they still need to work for it.”In between doing normal things kids do, like school and sport, the band manages to rehearse twice a week, jamming new ideas into workable songs and developing their performance skills.Musician Nathan Woodman, who has worked with South African artists such as Jeremy Loops and Good Luck, is part of the band’s support team, and vocal coach Sadé Ross. Part of their role in nurturing the band is keeping their love of music fresh and varied, introducing the kids to a wide scope of different styles of music: “We try and show them [music] that sounds cool, [but also to] bring it back to where it came from,” Woodman told Superbalist. Ross focuses on developing Mila’s voice, while also trying to maintain its uniqueness as it changes with age, saying “people often discard the natural voice and adopt [a] pop star’s habits. They try emulating others. But I’ve made Mila aware that there’s no longevity in that.”Despite the support, the sound and the success of the band comes down the three performers themselves, who, unlike most pop music performers their age, write their own music and play real instruments.The Skyscrapers are an up-and-coming band from Cape Town that write their own music and play their own instruments. (Image: Bandcamp)Mila writes the lyrics, while the composition of songs is a team effort. Usually Mila and Leo will create the melody together, with Dan adding the song’s backbone with drums. The whole team, including manager, producers and coaches, polish up the final song that fans will eventually hear on the album.Ultimately, the Skyscrapers want to create good music, music that is both catchy and that will endure. As the Superbalist website aptly concludes, “the Skyscrapers have towering talent and multiple stories to tell, so you’d better look up, because they may be small now but are surely destined for big things.”Watch the music video for the Skyscrapers’ song Confusion below:  Brand South Africa reporterSource: The Superbalist Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

first_img9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… markhachman The Power of KinectAlthough Kinect began life as a gaming peripheral for the Xbox, it has quickly become a platform in itself. Microsoft released Kinect for Windows last November as a way for businesses and researchers to tap into the power of the peripheral. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer has claimed that some 200 businesses have begun working with it.At Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, an R&D-focused contest in Australia, two-thirds of the education-focused projects utilized Microsoft Kinect in a variety of different ways, including interactive therapy for stroke victims, an automated cart to help make solo trips to crowded public places manageable for the disabled and an application to help dyslexic children learn the alphabet, Microsoft said. The company has even debuted an Accelerator program for startups developing products and businesses around Kinect.Meanwhile, Microsoft’s own researchers continue to push the motion sensing technology ahead. Technically, Kinect can now read facial expressions and even respond to voice commands.Last year, Microsoft showed off “KinectFusion,” which essentially maps a room with Kinect as “radar,” creating a virtual space. Now, with KinÊtre, Microsoft has taken another step forward. How KinÊtre WorksAfter the user scans the object, the virtual object is then combined with the image that Kinect captures of the user’s body.When the user walks to the center of the room and says the magic word, “Possess!” Kinect then places the user’s virtual skeleton in the “costume” of the object, deforming it in real time in response to the user’s gestures or actions. (Technically, Kinect causes realistic deformations on the static input mesh it creates.) See Microsoft’s video describing the project for more (embedded above).KinÊtre appears to “understand” a bit about the human body and the input object, too: a chair “walks” with its hind legs, while a bookcase sways itself in time to the user’s movements. A lamp hops as the user does.Microsoft originally thought KinÊtre was headed down a different path.“When we started this, we were thinking of using it as a more effective way of doing set dressing and prop placement in movies for a preview,” Chen said. “Studios have large collections of shapes, and it’s pretty tedious to move them into place exactly. We wanted to be able to quickly walk around and grab things and twist them around. Then we realized we can do many more fun things.”And that’s exactly what KinÊtre looks like: fun. In fact, it would not be surprising if someone – possibly Microsoft itself – made this into a Kinect game. Consider the licensing possibilities: a home version of Fantasia, for example, or a Harry Potter-styled interactive adventure. While it’s great to see Microsoft turning Kinect into a tool for business and research, it’s nice to remember the original purpose of Kinect: games. 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Tags:#gaming#Microsoft#web Related Posts 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Have you ever wanted to dance a waltz as an animatronic chair? A surprisingly fun Microsoft research project released last week allows you to do just that – and lots of other aninmated tricks. Designed for computer graphics amateurs, KinÊtre taps into Microsoft’s Kinect technology to make the magic happen.KinÊtre, a Microsoft Research project that debuted at the SIGgraph graphics show last week, uses the Kinect sensor to “map” an object, such as a chair. Holding the Kinect sensor wand, the user walks around the object, capturing images of the object at a multitude of different angles. Kinect then stitches the composite together into a 3D image. You can even scan yourself, and then try on the body of a friend!“The idea is that we want to let you bring the world around you to life,” according to Jiawen Chen, the post-doc researcher in charge of the project. “We want to let you use Kinect for Windows and a PC and take arbitrary household objects and make them move like a cartoon character.”last_img read more

first_imgMumbai, Dec 11 (PTI) Sunil Gavaskar was today conferred with the Golden Jubilee Lifetime Achievement Award by the Sports Journalists Association of Mumbai (SJAM) here. The award was presented by former India captain Ajit Wadekar and former India player Madhav Apte at the Cricket Club of India here. Gavaskar was presented with a citatation and a certificate which has details of all his 34 centuries. Gavaskar narrated incidents how West Indies great Gary Sobers touched him for luck. “My first innings in Test cricket, Gary Sobers dropped a simple catch, when I was barely on 12. The second Test, which was my second Test, again he dropped me very early and then I went on to get hundred. “In those days, the dressing rooms were not far away from each other and at the end of the days play both the teams would come together, have a beer, and Lance Gibbs and Gary Sobers started teasing me. Lance started asking me what do you eat for breakfast,” because Gary had dropped me. “The leg-pulling went on to an extend, till Gary Sobers said “From tomorrow onwards, I am going to touch you for luck,” Gavaskar fondly recalled. Gavaskar said a similar thing happened in the next Test. “Come next Test and Gary would come in, it was West Indies turn to bat, he touched me for luck and this was in Barbados, he smashed a 178. We come to the last Test, which was a 6-day Test. So, he comes and touches me for luck and he has got another 100?130. Ajit (Wadekar) was getting very upset about it and he is saying what are you doing, when he comes. Where can I hid,” he chuckled. “On the final day, he is coming, you go and hide. No, Ajit has forcibliy taken me and taken to a toilet,” he said. Gavaskar recalled when Sobers was gone, Ajit said he does not want to take a chance. He said that in that innings Abid Ali got Gary out for a duck and said when he got back to the dressing room, Ajit Wadekar is the first one to say I didnt allow him (to touch). Wadekar, Apte, his son Rohan Gavaskar, close friend and former Mumbai captain Milind Rege narrated their experiences about the legend. Indian coach Anil Kumble was present at the event. PTI NRB KHS KHSadvertisementlast_img read more

first_imgExpressing concern over the military assistance provided to Pakistan by the US, India conveyed its message to Washington over the rising military cooperation and resumption of military supplies. The State Department of the US approved a military assistance package of $125 million for the continued support of the F-16 programme. The Pentagon asserted that the military sales would result in the monitoring of the F-16 fighter jets in Pakistan’s inventory and not alter the basic military balance in the region. Pentagon’s decision comes after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s US visit that, as per his view, was successful in amending US-Pakistan ties. No matter how much cover the US provides for its decisions, the decision to aid Pakistan does not go down well within the Indian corridors. Just as Indo-US bilateral relations are brimming to be at their personal best, signs of reconciliation with Pakistan pose a serious threat to it. America should take cognisance of the fact that it is the very same F-16s that Pakistan deployed against India in February when the Balakot Airstrike happened and one of our pilots had crash-landed on Pakistan soil. Though the US maintains that proposed sale does not indicate any change in the US policy of maintaining a freeze in military assistance to Pakistan, there lies a suspicious perception towards the same. At a time when the US is leading the charge at the FATF’s meetings to see that Pakistan curbs terror funding and narrows down on terror outfits to avoid getting blacklisted, facilitating a $125 million military sales does not fit in the picture. Somewhere, it denotes America’s double standards. Recently, US President Trump had stated that he was offered an opportunity to mediate the Kashmir issue by Indian Prime Minister which was clearly denied by India. Citing the Lahore Declaration and Shimla Agreement as the norms as per which the issue is to be bilaterally resolved, India maintained a no-third-party interference policy. In fact, India looks up to the US as a strategic ally who can push Pakistan to a corner, like it has when FATF strictures are concerned and live up to its commitment to eradicate terrorism and terror funding in the wake of several terror instances in past times. But its military sales do not keep its commitments of cornering Pakistan in high regard. There may be another ambition that the US is pursuing with regard to its South Asia policy but clearly, that is not sitting well with India who sees US aid to Pakistan as highly concerning. There are concerns whether this military sale would result in an upgrade for Pakistan’s F-16s, further strengthening them. These concerns are not irrational for India who looks at US’s aid to Pakistan as a detrimental sign. To this effect, and given the shaky trade relations, the United States has a lot to clarify and rectify, if wrong, when US deputy secretary of state John Sullivan visits New Delhi in August. It is strange that at the G20 summit in Osaka, Trump’s attitude with Prime Minister Modi and their discussions suggested smoother cooperation between India and the US but back home, there have been turbulences that certainly do not augur well for the bilateral relations. It is to this concern that the United States must allay any underlying concerns of India and ensure it of their commitment. The pseudo-aid provided by US to Pakistan gives the latter a stronger and bold outlook towards state of affairs when in reality Pakistan should be carrying out crackdowns on terror outfits to redeem these. If the US provides aid, of any kind, to it then there is less motivation to do what is necessary–eradicate terrorism from its soil. US must realise that its actions have dire consequences which may not affect it but will affect India who has been at the receiving end of such terrorism emanating from Pakistan soil for years. US, with its CAATSA policy and the entire episode of cornering Iran, must realise that it is not the best portrayal of its policies when it aims to solidify relations with India while acknowledging the terror threat that Pakistan holds.last_img read more

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 17 Dec 2015 – The Turks and Caicos is now among the six countries in the Greater Caribbean with the ‘Don’t Pack a Pest’ program activated. The Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services joined by partners from the Florida Department of Agriculture, the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority and the TCI Customs Department rolled out, at the Provo International Airport, the initiative which will encourage travelers to be careful of what they are packing so that harmful pests are not moving about and causing damage to the flora or fauna of the various nations. The ‘Don’t Pack a Pest’ initiative is another feather in the cap for the TCI as executives in the Ministry and the TCIAA were commended for swift action on providing the requisite information so that the program could be implemented. Work on the ‘Don’t pack a Pest’ started as a concept in 2011, but more vigorously as a standard of safety in the TCI earlier this year. It is said the outreach initiative was established in record time. Former Premier says PNP left plan for Salt Cay airport, but there is no evidence of the claim Airports Authority commanded to protect South Caicos airport by airline Recommended for you Related Items:agriculture dePARTMENT, customs department, dont pack a pest, Tciaa Airports Authority reveals sabotage at South Caicos Airport Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more