Kellogg Appointed VP at Golden Eagle

first_imgDouglas Kellogg has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Marketing and Sales at the Golden Eagle Resort in Stowe.Kellogg has been at the Golden Eagle since 2004, prior to which he worked in sales at Sugarbush Resort. He is a graduate of Johnson State College with a degree in business.last_img

Mobile security in today’s mobile world

first_img 64SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Dancu John Dancu has served as President and CEO of IDology since 2005 and is recognized for his leading edge innovations in both the identity and fraud spaces. John has a … Web: https://www.idology.com Details Let’s face it – mobile is here to stay. From 2014 to 2015, there has been a 33 percent increase in people using mobile banking applications, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. It has become very clear – mobile technology, particularly in the financial services sector, is not going away. However, with the growth of mobile technology comes unique challenges.With more customers turning to mobile applications, having proper customer authentication and security methods in place is mission critical. We know fraudsters constantly evolve with new and emerging technology. With mobile, it’s no different.And, because of many data breaches that have occurred in recent years, cybercriminals are buying and selling breached personal information on black markets like the Dark Web for pennies on the dollar. Consequently, fraudsters can easily get their hands on enough personally identifiable information to open or access financial accounts.So the challenge credit unions face is to make sure the customer attempting to access or open an account on a mobile device is truly who they say they are and not a criminal trying to commit fraud. And, to accomplish this without adding friction into the authentication process. While this is certainly a challenge, it’s one that can be easily handled with a robust mobile fraud prevention platform.A mobile-specific fraud solution is an important addition to your existing fraud prevention platform. The solution should allow a credit union to verify an identity on a mobile device by creating a persistent mobile identifier that is composed of multiple mobile-specific and identity attributes. This identifier, or rather mobile identity, creates a high level of trust for mobile transactions and significantly reduces friction for legitimate customers.The mobile identity needs to be persistent, moving with an individual in order to deliver continuous and secure customer interactions. This is important because there are many types of life cycle events such as device replacements, phone number changes, lost or stolen phones, number porting, SIM changes, information updates and more.Once the mobile identity is created, it should be resistant to evolving fraud tactics such as being forged, cloned, spoofed or hacked as well as to hijacking, malware and social engineering so credit unions can gain increased confidence with each transaction.Ultimately, with a robust and on-demand mobile solution to existing fraud prevention platforms, credit unions can help drive revenue by eliminating friction in account opening, access existing accounts quicker and secure mobile interactions.Legitimate customers in. Fraudsters out.last_img read more

Governor Wolf Announces $25 Million Federal Investment in Pennsylvania’s Rural Health System

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Governor Wolf Announces $25 Million Federal Investment in Pennsylvania’s Rural Health System Healthcare,  Human Services,  Press Release,  Public Health,  Results Harrisburg, PA –  As in other states across the nation, providing access to quality health care for Pennsylvanians residing in rural communities has become increasing challenging. Since 1990, health outcomes in rural communities across America have deteriorated. While people living in urban areas have seen better health outcomes and an improved access to care, those in rural areas face much starker health challenges.For the past 18 months, the Wolf administration has been developing a plan to transform rural health across Pennsylvania.  Earlier this year Pennsylvania submitted a plan to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to implement a Rural Health Transformation Initiative. The federal government reviewed Pennsylvania’s proposal and today announced that they would grant Pennsylvania a $25 million grant to put this model into place.“Today, I am proud to announce that the federal government has awarded Pennsylvania a $25 million grant to enact our initiative to transform rural health,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “The Pennsylvania Rural Health Transformation Initiative is designed to address the challenges faced by rural hospitals and promote a transition to higher quality, integrated and value-based care through several changes to the current model. This will improve health outcomes in rural areas, which face significant challenges and have been especially hard hit by the opioid and heroin epidemic. Rural hospitals are the economic engines of many of these communities and the success of health care in our rural communities impacts every Pennsylvanian.”The goals of this new rural health model are to improve population health and quality of care that is delivered locally and to enable rural hospitals to move toward greater financial sustainability through an all-payer global budget model.‘Shortly after Governor Wolf took office and we assessed the state, it became clear to us that our rural hospitals, like those across the nation, were challenged,” said Secretary Karen Murphy. “It also quickly became clear that all health outcomes – particularly opioid and heroin addiction   – were significantly worse in rural communities. We believe that the Pennsylvania Rural Health Transformation Initiative will help the incredibly committed, rural health-care leaders and health-care workers improve the overall health of their communities.”“CMS looks forward to teaming with Pennsylvania health officials on the Pennsylvania Rural Health Model.  We believe it represents a historic opportunity for rural hospitals, which through the model will be able to improve the quality of care they provide to their patients and help address the underlying health needs in their communities,” said Patrick Conway, M.D., CMS principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer. “Also, the model will help rural hospitals remain financially viable and continue to provide essential services to the people in their communities.”“The Pennsylvania Rural Health Transformation is an incredibly innovative payment model that will strengthen hospitals across the Commonwealth by creating a path to sustainability for struggling rural hospitals,” said Geisinger CEO David Feinberg. “We at Geisinger applaud State Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy and her leadership in transforming health care delivery models to better meet the needs of our patients.”Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolfcenter_img January 12, 2017last_img read more

Bruce: Ref got it wrong

first_img Press Association “I think we have a blatant call for two penalties, for me the referee has got them wrong,” he said. “I can’t say too much as I had a 10 grand fine six weeks ago, but the one where their full-back clatters Nikica Jelavic was bad ebough. Then the one on Shane Long by Danny Gabbidon – it’s beyond me that the ref doesn’t give it.” Bruce certainly had a point about the second penalty shout after Long, making his Hull debut, was sent sprawling by Gabbidon’s clumsy challenge. But referee East saw nothing untoward and Bruce’s mood worsened moments later when Puncheon, whose goal last weekend sank Stoke, struck what proved to be the winner. There was more than an element of fortune about the goal as well. Yannick Bolasie reached the byline and his cross – at the second attempt – reached Puncheon, whose initial header was flying well wide. However, it hit the back of team-mate Marouane Chamakh and fell perfectly for Puncheon to crash high into the net. Hull attempted to hit back after the break but Jake Livermore blazed a good chance over and Liam Rosenior prodded wide from all of two yards. Jason Puncheon’s 16th-minute strike secured back-to-back wins for Palace and moved them level on points with the Tigers, who have now lost four on the trot. But Bruce felt his side were denied two clear penalties by referee Roger East, who then infuriated the City boss further by sending off his goalkeeper Allan McGregor in stoppage time. Steve Bruce was left fuming over three refereeing decisions after the 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace sucked Hull back into the relegation battle. And Bruce’s misery was compounded when McGregor reacted angrily to a late challenge from Stuart O’Keefe and was shown a red card. “(The ref) told me he’s kicked him, but the challenge on him is horrific,” said Bruce. “McGregor tried to restrain himself – he’s thought abut kicking him and had every right to do so – but then restrained himself to make it innocuous.” Eagles boss Tony Pulis will now spend the rest of the week trying to add to his squad, although his current players are doing their best to prove he need not bother. While Hull paraded a new £14million strikeforce in Long and Jelavic, Pulis has yet to bring in anyone so far this month. “We are hoping and praying the next couple of days will see us bring a few in,” he said. “We need to. Everyone is working hard behind the scenes. But you can’t criticise what players have done, they’ve been wonderful. “We need another 17 points. There’s 15 games to go and we still need more than a point a game, and in the Premier League that’s tough. “Its a massive ask, so we wont get carried away – we can’t afford too. We are pleased with the points we have so far but we can’t take our foot off the pedal.” last_img read more

With a new name, Kitty Hawk Krash is set to release its first album

first_imgBob Bean, Skeet Sirmons and Jim Bales make up the band Kitty Hawk Krash Bandby Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — Just one month from the release of their first album, a three-man Wellington band hit a snag. The band consisting of Jim Bales, Skeet Sirmons and Bob Bean called itself “Three Way Stop.” Not bad. But there was a problem.“Another band in New Jersey released an album with the same exact band name,” Bales sighed.So suddenly, “Three Way Stop” wasn’t such a great name for a band after all. Not wanting to be confused with another band, they decided to delay their CD release until they came up with a new name.“We even used an online race horse naming program,” Bales said. “And we still couldn’t come up with anything that we liked.”Then one Sunday, Bales said, there was a documentary on TV about the Wright Brothers and Kitty Hawk.“We wanted something original,” Bales said. “We saw a piece on the Wright Brothers and Kitty Hawk, and how they kept crashing until they succeeded, and thought if a band fails, then get up and go again. Kitty Hawk Krash works pretty good for us.”Bales performs vocals, bass and acoustic guitar and harmonica; Sirmons performs vocals, lead guitar and banjo; Bean sings vocals and plays guitar, and all are from Wellington.“We have all played music for years,” Bales said of his band members.Bales has been a musician since the 1970’s, and has been in a few rock groups. In the early 1980’s, Bales was a member of Magnum, which opened for Pat Travers in the early 1980’s.The Groove Gypsies, a band from Ark City, was another group that Bales was once a member of.“We opened for the Moon Dance Jam in Minnesota,” Bales said.He said that Sammy Hagar, Alice Cooper, and Rick Springfield, among others, were featured bands of the festival.“It was kinda cool to play on the same stage as them,” Bales said.Sirmons has also been a musician for awhile and been a member of other bands.“I played with Skeet in the band Back Roads in Wichita,” Bales said. “Then we got together with Bob. Our personalities matched, and we started playing together.”Last summer, Kitty Hawk Krash released their first album “Don’t Look Away.” Their Americana style of music includes 11 originally written tracks on their CD. All were group written while sitting around a table, except for three individually written ones. “‘Those Words” was written by Sirmons, “Low Down” was written by Bean, and “Quiet Times” was written by Bales, and features Shelby McNamara, of Wellington, playing the flute.The group has also done remakes from old gospel to Beatles, Rolling Stones, George Jones, Elvis, and Bob Dylan, and has been together for about three years.“We’re an eclectic mix of music,” Bales said. “We wanted to do some music that people were familiar with.”The group performs lives once or twice a month at bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and also books private parties. Many of you have seen their act at Barefoot Jerry’s in Wellington.“We’re not a dance band, we’re a sit and listen band,” Bales said. “It’s a good outlet for our creativity.”Check out the band’s Facebook page, Kitty Hawk Krash, their website, www.kittyhawkkrash.com. You can order a downloadable CD on iTunes, CDBaby or Amazon.Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comment (1) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +1 Vote up Vote down Guitar Making School 60p · 159 weeks ago I have had two instrument instructors in my lifetime, each who used a different strategy to educate me. One of them simply demonstrated how to try out music – this was fun. The other demonstrated machines notes, and enhance methods – this was useful but tedious as terrible. Report Reply 0 replies · active 159 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img read more

Big sisters are there to help

first_imgSince 2009, 753 high school girls have benefited from the services of 18twenty8.(Image: 18twenty8) Big sister to many, Refiloe Seseane.(Image: Cadine Pillay) The women-led team at 18twenty8.(Image: 18twenty8)MEDIA CONTACTS • Refiloe Seseane+2711 431 3440 Cadine PillayHow would the lives of many adult women in South Africa have turned out if they had been guided and mentored by older professional women during their school years?This ideology is what drives the team at non-profit organisation 18twenty8 to empower young women from disadvantaged backgrounds, giving them the opportunity to explore different life and career choices despite their circumstances.The call to helpFounded in 2008, 18twenty8 is the brainchild of leading South African actress and philanthropist, Refiloe Seseane, who created the organisation as a result of her own personal struggles growing up.Seseane found herself, at age 28, working as an investment analyst in Cape Town – unfulfilled and conflicted with her life choices. She made a life changing decision to move back to Johannesburg and review the decisions of the last ten years of her life – hence the name 18twenty8 – and so began her work in acting.She has since graced television screens across the country, appearing in popular soap opera Generations and more recently The Wild, among other productions.A separate calling however, that of helping others who may be in the same situation as she was when she was younger, was beginning to manifest itself in her everyday life.This led to her decision to focus on young women who needed guidance towards their ideal careers.“I had a willingness to give back to the community, and wanted to make a difference with my life,” she says.After she was honoured with the Youth in Philanthropy Award by the Inyathelo – South African Institute for Advancement in 2010, Seseane was chosen a year later as a member of the Young African Women Leaders’ Forum, hosted by US First Lady Michelle Obama.She is now a member of President Barack Obama’s 2012 Young African Leaders Initiative and was named one of 60 changemakers by Spark International, an Australian initiative for social entrepreneurs.Providing guidance18twently8’s financial assistance programme provides beneficiaries with a variety of tools like study loans and bursaries, as well as help during the job application process.The organisation also runs various workshops where young women are enlightened on self-empowerment, career development and education issues. Another workshop, called Green Girls, focuses on environmental awareness and conservation.However, the programme that Seseane is most proud of is the Big Sister Network, in which a team of older, more experienced professional women provide all-round mentorship for the young girls who join.“I always thought that if I had guidance and advice when I was a young girl, my life would have turned out differently and consequently so would my life choices,” says Seseane.“Parents sometimes cannot relate to what their children are going through, so they are not able to give the assurance or guidance that is needed.”The big sisters, of which Seseane is one, encourage the young women, who are mostly between the ages of 18 and 28, to view higher education as an attractive and necessary tool for their empowerment.To be considered for sponsorship or financial assistance, participants have to be enrolled in an academic institution and demonstrate leadership qualities, with a willingness to give back to their communities.“Through 18twenty8, we aim to groom successful generations of women, thereby continuing our collective dream,” says Seseane. “I would like to think that, in its own small way, 18twenty8 is closing the skills, gender and race differentials in South Africa.”Since 2009, 753 high school pupils have benefited from the services of the organisation, with 22 of them going through the Big Sister Network.Realising a dreamPalesa Phora (19) is one of three participants whose education is being sponsored by Deutsche Bank. She is currently in her first year of a bachelor’s degree in law and international Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.Recalling the events of the day she received the good news, Phora says she was so shocked, she cried.“My mother was relieved as she had been stressing about the financial burden of putting me through university.“I have no excuse to not pass as I have been given the tools I need to get through university. I still feel a great sense of joy when I think about it. I am so blessed!”Phora lived in Soweto with her grandparents for the first 10 years of her life, before moving to Benoni on the East Rand to stay with her mom, a single parent, and two younger sisters.“They really look up to me and in a way, they are my mentees,” she says, referring to her siblings.Despite her youth, Phora is already showing signs of determination. Through her education, which will later involve specialising in international law and foreign policy, she plans to use her degree to strengthen relations between South Africa and the rest of the world.“I want to be in Parliament one day, and I want to play a role in getting the youth active in politics and educating our citizens about their constitutional rights,” she asserts.“I just want to be very involved in getting South Africa to flourish because we do have the potential to be a great nation.”Phora started off with many goals and dreams for her future, but much like Seseane, she was not without uncertainty. In high school, her career thoughts ranged from journalism to business and later politics.“When I turned 16, my view of the world changed. I had dreams of being a very powerful and revolutionary woman and hoped to spread my influence throughout the world,” she says.Her hopes of fighting for women’s rights and representing the ‘universal woman’ have remained to this day.When she joined 18twenty8 in 2010, Phora suffered from a low self-esteem and a fear to venture out of her comfort zone. Through the organisation she received a mentor and attended events and workshops that helped her focus her ideas.“It exposed me to various women who had faced similar challenges as me but still managed to make a success of their lives, and that gave me hope,” says Phora.Mentoring is essentialPhora believes that South Africa’s education system pressures pupils into making big career decisions by choosing their matric subjects in grade 8. However, it does not necessarily expose them to the various options available to them beyond matric, nor does it equip them for the real world.For this reason, she says, mentors are a great help, because a mentor is usually someone who has travelled that path and is willing to guide you through it but still allows you to make your own decisions and learn your own lessons.“My mentor gives me invaluable advice regarding my degree and shows me how I will apply my skills in a work environment,” says Phora.“Our relationship is personal and well-rounded. She is someone I can call at any time of the day and can speak to about anything and everything.”The Big Sister Network has made a huge difference to how she carries herself and has made a positive impact on the decisions she makes on a daily basis, Phora says.She has advice of her own for girls in difficult situations: “Education is important. If you know better, you do better.”This is echoed by Seseane, who says young women should go to school and stay in school, as education is the key to everything that matters in life.“Stay focused and connect with one another, don’t doubt yourself,” she maintains.The team at 18twenty8 hope that one day the organisation becomes a national asset where people can share their views on education and mentorship.last_img read more

Newbie turkey hunters wanted

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio showI love this idea: adults interested in learning how to hunt turkeys are invited to apply for a mentored hunt in northwest Ohio this spring. The opportunity is targeted to adults who want to learn how to pursue gobblers with hands-on help from an experienced hunter, who will determine the time and place of the hunt and accompany the newbie through the process. If only this type of program were available when I decided to set my sights on gobblers a few decades ago!You can apply for the hunt by calling Andrea Altman at 419-429-8321 by 4 p.m. Friday, March 15. You must be at least 18 years old and must have eave never previously held a turkey tag in Ohio or have held a turkey tag in Ohio but were unsuccessful at harvesting a turkey.All applicants will need to provide a customer identification number, telephone number and/or email address. Hunters must possess a valid Ohio hunting license or apprentice license to apply. Participants will be selected through a random drawing. Prior to hunting, participants will be required to attend a one-day workshop on April 6 in Wyandot County. The workshop will cover turkey hunting equipment, identification, firearms, and hunting techniques. Successful applicants will be notified with additional information on the time and location of the workshop. At the conclusion of the workshop participants will be paired with a turkey hunting mentor, who will determine the exact date and location of the hunt. All hunts will be held during the spring turkey season which runs from April 22 to May 19. To learn more about Ohio’s wild turkeys and hunting opportunities, visit wildohio.gov.If fact, the outdoor news this issue is dominated by opportunities to learn how to better enjoy Ohio’s wild resources, so read on! Youth Hunts at Lake La Su An offeredSpeaking of turkey hunting opportunities, a special drawing will be held Saturday, March 23, at the Lake La Su An Wildlife Area headquarters for youths age 17 and younger interested in turkey hunting there this spring. The Lake La Su An Wildlife Area headquarters is located at 9455 County Road R, Pioneer and registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and will continue until the drawing at 10 a.m. Youth hunters must possess a valid 2019-2020 hunting license but are not required to be present to register; adults may register a youth by presenting the youth’s hunting license. Successful applicants will select an available section of their choice for a three, four, or five day permit for the youth and spring wild turkey seasons. There are 56 spots (date/ section combinations) available. For more information, contact the Lake La Su An Wildlife Area headquarters at 419-485-9092, or the Division of Wildlife District Two Office at 419-424-5000 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fishing instructor programs offeredAny adult, group, or conservation club who has an interest in taking kids fishing should consider becoming a certified Passport to Fishing instructor via courses offered statewide throughout the year. Passport to Fishing is a one-day instructor training program that qualifies individuals to become ODNR Division of Wildlife certified fishing instructors, similar to a hunter education instructor.A certification course is being offered on Wednesday, March 20 at the ODNR Division of Wildlife District Two Office, located at 952 Lima Ave, Findlay 45840 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants are encouraged to bring a packed lunch and dress for the weather. It is free of charge, but preregistration is required by March 15, as space is limited. Interested individuals can register by calling Andrea Altman at 419-429-8321. Participants will be required to complete a background check prior to registering.Passport to Fishing was developed by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and utilized by state agencies like ODNR Division of Wildlife. Workshops teach volunteers the basics of fishing and how to run a four-station program within a fishing event. These instructors then go back to their communities, with a written curriculum and training aids, to teach kids and beginning anglers the basics of fishing. Resources available include grants, equipment, publications and brochures, and training. For more information on additional educational opportunities available through the ODNR Division of Wildlife, visit wildohio.gov. Landowner deer management workshopA deer management workshop is being offered to landowners and wildlife enthusiasts who want to manage land and deer successfully. The workshop is sponsored by Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) Twin Creek Branch and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife and will be held Saturday, March 23, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Miami Valley Career Center, Adult Education Building located at 6801 Hoke Rd., Clayton, 45315.Matt Dye, owner and operator of Land & Legacy wildlife consultation will present the keynote on food plots and edge habitat. Division of Wildlife Deer Program Manager, Mike Tonkovich, will share information on Ohio’s statewide deer management plan. Also on the agenda are deer biologist Clint McCoy, state forester Pat Migliozzi and private lands biologist Caleb Shields. They will discuss tracking deer movement, blending timber and wildlife management, and establishing native grasses and forbs. The workshop is free, and pizza will be provided. Seating is limited and pre-registration is required. To register call 937-347-0926 by March 21. For more information on habitat management visit wildohio.gov, qdma.com or landandlegacy.tv/. Outdoor Life Field & Stream ExpoFormerly known as the Ohio Deer & Turkey Expo, the Outdoor Life Field & Stream Expo will be held March 15 through 17 at The Ohio Expo Center. The event offers a multitude of exhibits and seminars, a trick shot show, and a 3D archery tournament and the display of record whitetail trophies, including some of the largest and most impressive white-tailed deer ever taken, along with many unusual non-typical sets of antlers. There will also be an extensive display of some of intriguing trail camera photos, as well as a contest that allows hunters to bring their mounted trophies to the expo to be judged. The expo offers hunters throughout the region the opportunity to speak with representatives from the top gear and equipment companies, and see the latest products on the market. There are also special sales associated with the expo and plenty of tips and advice from some of the most knowledgeable people in the hunting field. The Expo is open from 2-9 p.m. on March 15, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 16, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 17. For more information, visit fieldandstreamexpo.com/outdoor-life-field-stream-expo-r-oh.last_img read more

Ajit Singh campaigns to ‘bury’ BJP in Muzaffarnagar

first_img“Do you recognise me? I fought nine parliamentary elections, with both wins and losses. But why have I come to Muzaffarnagar to contest election, you tell me?”The question is directed at an audience of men and boys gathered around a Ravidas temple, a place of worship for Dalits, in Ladwa, a village in western Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district.There are Dalits, Muslims, Jats, and OBC communities like Kashyaps/Dheevar in the audience, most of whom are seated on neatly arranged red plastic chairs or standing in clusters.Their eyes are locked at the makeshift stage, dressed in banners of three parties — Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal — where a bespectacled man wearing a white kurta-pyjama is standing holding the microphone. “I have come to Muzaffarnagar because you are responsible for bringing the BJP to power. You fought with each other and destroyed the bhaichara [brotherhood]. As a result of that you have to bear Modi today,” he says.New challengeNow 80, RLD chief Ajit Singh has had many ups and downs in his political career, but facing a steep downward curve since 2013, perhaps the stakes have never been higher for his party as they are in the 2019 election. Moving out from his traditional seat of Baghpat, Mr. Singh has played a gamble by deciding to contest from Muzaffarnagar, a constituency which was marred by communal violence in 2013, triggering a communal polarisation which eventually helped the BJP sweep the State. While he has an uphill task to overturn the deficit from 2014, when the BJP’s Sanjeev Balyan secured a massive 6.53 lakh votes (58.98%), his fight is bolstered by the support of the SP and the BSP. Mr. Singh is going from village to village addressing nukkad sabhas to connect with his new electorate in the sugar belt.“You want to bear Modi for five more years,” he asks the crowd at Ladwa. Some of them reply: “No, not any more.” Mr. Singh then says: “Maintain your bhaichara, and Modi will disappear. You did that in Kairana, didn’t the BJP lose?”The 2013 communal violence demolished the RLD’s carefully stitched decades old Jat-Muslim coalition. The results were clear in 2014; Mr. Singh himself stood a humiliating third from his bastion Baghpat.The Hindu followed Mr. Singh through his nukkad sabhas and found most of his attacks targeted at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, backed by his desire to restore the RLD’s lost social coalition. “Just defeating Modi won’t do. You will have to bury him. You will have to uproot him,” he tells the crowd, his fist smacking the air passionately.The audience bursts into claps and shouts of “Chaudhary Ajit Singh zindabad” resonating in the open venue. “Modi, your achhe din are gone, our achhe din are coming,” he declares.The Jat leader also uses witty one-liners to mock Mr. Modi on his persona and track-record, evoking laughter from the rural audience. “Bhaiya, if he [Mr. Modi] goes to Sri Lanka, he would return and say, I killed Ravan.” Another one-liner which generates a louder response from the audience is: “People say Modi lies a lot. He doesn’t lie, he just never speaks the truth.” Local supportAfter the sabha is over, Mr. Singh moves into his SUV and is quickly escorted away to a local supporter’s house where fruits have been laid out for his welcome. Saying no to hospitality is not an option in this part of western Uttar Pradesh, even though Mr. Singh is an hour behind schedule. After a quick interval, the cavalcade drives past sugarcane and wheat fields and reaches the house of a prominent RLD old-timer, a farmer, to pacify him. To secure his win, Mr. Singh would require to revive support of all such disgruntled loyalists and the farmer, despite not being in the best of health, is convinced to address a nukkad sabha for Mr. Singh at the next location, Titavi. Along the way, drum beats, shower of flowers and handshakes welcome the Jat veteran.At Titavi, Mr. Singh once again presses for communal unity among his core constituencies. He also explains to people the economic downfall caused by the riots and how the local steel rod factories are still shut. “I want to bring Muzaffarnagar back to the same position where it was before the riots,” he says.With the SP and BSP in alliance with the RLD, Mr. Singh has ensured consolidation of the Jatavs and Muslims, with the latter itself making up for 41% of the district population. That the combined vote of the SP, BSP and RLD in each of the five Assembly segments of Muzaffarnagar in 2017 polls had crossed 50% also presents a hope for him.However, to ensure a victory and galvanise his party, he faces the challenge of reviving his appeal among the Jats, a section of whom are still inclined towards Mr. Modi and Mr. Balyan, who himself is a local Jat. To woo them, Mr. Singh focuses on issue of cane dues, menace of stray cattle and joblessness, and accuses the BJP of trying to divide the country in the name of the Army, which also recruits from the Jat community. Farmers’ woesThe RLD chief strikes a chord with Virendra Singh, a Jat farmer listening patiently in the crowd. Virendra complains that the rate of milk and cattle have fallen under the BJP rule. Another Jat, Rajendra Singh, hits out at Mr. Modi over the unemployment issue, while farmer Soraj Singh, a traditional RLD voter, regrets voting for the BJP in 2014 due to the riots. “All they did was increase the power tariff. Even if the BJP fields a Jat, we will vote for Chaudhary ji. We won’t just vote, we will make him win,” says Soraj.Raj Kumar, a Jatav, also speaks against the BJP. “We are fed up of BJP. I lost ₹80,000 during demonetisation.” A few kilometres away in Kutba village, the opinion is, however, split, with many Jats still supporting Mr. Modi and happy to see the back of the previous Muslim MPs from Muzaffarnagar. Current MP Sanjeev Balyan hails from Kutba, which along with its adjoining village Kutbi, witnessed eight deaths during the 2013 violence. While young Akshay Kumar praises the sitting MP for building metalled roads, widening the canal track and setting up solar panels, Randheer Singh, a farmer, is happy with the ₹2,000 he received under the PM KISAN scheme. They also praise the Balakot air strikes, with one local comparing Mr. Modi to a patriotic king. As the conversation shifts to the battle between the RLD and the BJP and economic issues, divisions emerge, a sharp contrast from 2013 when Jats rallied heavily behind the BJP amid communal polarisation.Pushpendra Kumar, a farmer, praises the air strike, but is tilted towards the RLD and regrets voting for the BJP in 2014. He is aggrieved by stray cows which are eating his wheat crop and forcing him to spend money on fencing his 23-bigha field. “Ajit Singh is more sympathetic towards the farmers,” says Pushpendra, blaming Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for “letting loose the cows.Parveen Balyan, who works at a local sugar mill, compares the alliance partners to “thieves” ganging up against Mr. Modi. He also questions Mr. Singh for choosing Muzaffarnagar instead of Baghpat. “For 20 years he was a Minister and an MP but what work did he do?” asks Parveen. But he believes that Mr. Singh will give a tough fight this time, and predicts a low victory margin of 20,000 votes for the BJP.Like a section of Jats, OBC groups like Kashyaps, Dheevars and Julahas, and upper castes are also tilted towards the BJP. “We don’t care about the candidate, we want BJP,” says Sonu, a Julaha, in Dhindhawali village. His namesake, Sonu, a Rohilla Rajput, admits Mr. Singh has the arithmetic to back up a strong fight but still expects the BJP to win. “All I want is a strong government, a BJP government,” he says.last_img read more

BSJ Signs MOUs to help MSMEs

first_imgIn an effort to improve the island’s Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) sector, the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) has partnered with two entities to assist them with implementing standards and/or quality systems within their organisations. To this end, two Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were signed on January 17, between the BSJ and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA); and the BSJ and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) at the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, in Kingston. The initiative falls under the BSJ partnership programme, which was conceptualised in 2010 and is designed to enhance the competitiveness of MSMEs in using standards. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, said the undertaking signals a demonstration of the commitment of all the parties to improving Jamaica’s ability to trade, through the implementation of standards and quality systems. He said the BSJ will invest its resources in offering technical assistance to MSMEs to train them to implement standards/quality within their organisations. “Quality management system has become a buzz terminology in the business environment as the value of systems and procedures is recognised. The success of any quality system requires the total commitment of management and the entire organisation,” he emphasised. The Minister said it has long been established that MSMEs have been major contributors to economic growth in any developing country. “As Jamaica faces serious challenges in our trade deficit with our international partners, we must strengthen the ability of these MSMEs to engage in international trade. It is therefore fundamental that there is a greater level of partnership between private and public sector entities and increased collaboration within public sector entities,” Mr. Hylton argued. Meanwhile, Executive Director, BSJ, Yvonne Hall, said creating a level of awareness regarding the importance of standards is critical in building the island’s business sector. “We are mindful of the various challenges faced by the business sector and especially the MSMEs. We have committed to embarking on a more collaborative approach to overcoming these many challenges,” she added. For his part, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, JBDC, Harold Davis, said the knowledge and application of international quality standards for MSMEs cannot be overemphasised and is paramount to the success of the sector. “Ultimately, we hope that this MoU and the work that is to ensue from (it) will improve the quality of the offerings from the sector, facilitating increased trade, both locally and internationally, and (will) lead towards a sustained, competitive and growing MSME sector,” he said.  In his remarks, President of the JMA, Brian Pengelley, said both parties have ensured that the two-year agreement is practical and will deliver results. “The JMA is in the process of identifying trainers to be trained from within the industry along with staff members from the JMA, who will deliver training to over 50 manufacturers,” he said. The BSJ is a statutory body established by the Standards Act of 1968 to promote and encourage standardization in relation to commodities, processes and practices. However, over the years, its role has been expanded to include the provision of services in relation to conformity assessment (certification, inspection and testing, and calibration) and metrology. Its main activities include: facilitating the development of standards and other requirements to which particular commodities, services, practices and processes must comply; monitoring for compliance; conducting tests and calibrating instruments; certifying products and management systems; providing industrial training; and promoting research and education in standardization.last_img read more

G20 leaders debate whether to stop flowing money to kidnappers for ransom

first_imgHAMBURG – Whether or not the world’s wealthiest countries should promise not to pay ransoms to terrorist kidnappers formed part of the discussions about international security Friday as G20 meetings got underway in Germany.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged more than a year ago to push other world leaders to stop paying kidnappers after Canadians John Risdel and Robert Hall were killed by a terrorist group in the Philippines in April and June 2016.A Canadian official, speaking on background, said the current draft of the final document outlining what the leaders agreed to at the G20 in Hamburg currently includes the ransom discussions — at Trudeau’s urging.Risdel and Hall were kidnapped in September 2015 along with two other hostages who were later freed. The Norwegian man who was taken with them was freed after Norway paid a ransom of about US$630,000, but Canada refused to pay.Trudeau repeated the oft-heard Canadian claim, including from his predecessor Stephen Harper, that Canada does not pay ransom because it funds terrorist activity and encourages further kidnappings.There has been language about ransom payments in the G20 communiques in both 2015 and 2016, but neither summit resulted in a full pledge not to pay them at all. The 2013 G8 summit made such a pledge, but it was not heeded by all signatories.Canada has long had an unofficial policy against paying ransoms but has done so on some occasions, including in 2009 when it paid $1.1 million to an al-Qaida affiliate in Africa to free diplomats Robert Fowler and Louis Guay.Trudeau also pushed for the language about terrorism to reflect a commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. Officials wouldn’t further explain that component, but it comes as Trump finally gets to impose at least part of his ban on travellers from six mainly Muslim countries in the guise of national security.Trudeau has never publicly criticized Trump for the ban, although he did tweet shortly after it first came to light, promising that Canada would remain open to all refugees regardless of their faith.Trump was at the table during the security discussions, which also focused on combating the threat posed by the militant Islamic State group.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Trudeau at the start of a bilateral meeting Friday that he was very happy to hear Trudeau’s “interventions” in the terrorism discussions and would be backing him all the way.“The wavelength was the same, yours and mine,” Modi told Trudeau in Hindi.Trump was also pushed on his position on climate change and the Paris agreement.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is attending the meeting with Trudeau, said the U.S. position on that issue was no surprise, nor was it expected to change.In May, Trump made good on a campaign promise to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate change agreement. He was already the only non-Paris supporter at the G7 meeting in May, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to construct a 19-to-1 scenario in the communique that will be made public Saturday.As part of her G20 presidency, Merkel produced an energy action plan as an appendix to the communique which could end up calling for everything from an end to fossil fuel subsidies around the world to requiring corporations to take climate change impacts and risks into account during financing decisions.Merkel had a one-on-one with Trudeau early Friday where much of the discussion focused on strategies to get as many countries as possible on board the climate change action train.Whether she will get everyone but Trump on her side may depend on Russian President Vladimir Putin. He met privately with Trump on Friday, a much-anticipated meeting given long-standing allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. election and of collusion with Russia by American officials.That meeting, which lasted more than two hours, included Trump pressing Putin on the election issue, as well as discussions about Russia’s presence in Ukraine and the conflict in Syria.Their meeting came at the same time as the afternoon climate change discussion session, which angered German officials.Russia is one of the countries observers fear may be weakening its resolve on its Paris commitments in the wake of Trump’s decision to withdraw. Russia is not among the 152 countries who have so far ratified the accord.Trudeau also met privately with French President Emmanuel Macron, where the focus was largely on climate change. He will meet Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Saturday before the meeting concludes.Outside the meeting, an estimated 100,000 protesters continued demonstrating against what they consider an offensive gathering of the world’s wealthiest nations, which make all the decisions at the expense of disadvantaged people.Most of the protesters marched peacefully, but violence broke out repeatedly, with cars set ablaze and rocks thrown through storefront windows.The zone around the conference centre where the meeting was being held was tightly guarded by thousands of police who lined the streets with cars and blocked passage with a giant water cannon.Many Hamburg stores chose to stay closed during the summit and those in the vicinity of the protests, including an Ikea, boarded up their windows and doors.— Follow @mrabson on Twitterlast_img read more