Free trade talks point to new African era

first_img7 December 2011An important process that started three years ago will begin to move forward this week as the first round of negotiations to establish a free trade area covering 27 countries in east and southern Africa kicks off in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday.It is envisaged that negotiations for the proposed free trade area (FTA), which promises to be an important instrument for the future of trade and industrialisation in Africa, will be completed in about 36 months.The three trade blocs involved – the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) – decided in Kampala, Uganda in October 2008 to move towards a free trade agreement.Boosting intra-regional trade, industrialisationThe intention is to boost intra-regional trade. Because the market will be much bigger, there will be more investment flows, enhanced competitiveness and the development of cross-regional infrastructure.At the same time, the FTA will act as a spur to industrialisation, as countries move from selling primary products to making goods to sell.Competition with older, established and also bigger emerging economies might be a stumbling block initially, but the huge new market may make it possible for locally manufactured goods to compete with those imported from outside the FTA.With close to 600-million people live within the FTA, and a combined gross domestic product of $1-trillion, the region could find itself competing in the same league as the likes of China, India, Russia, Brazil, the US and the EU.The next economic frontierAnd it is becoming easier to make the world believe this, because the continent is already being touted as the next economic frontier.A glance at some figures confirms this view:Africa’s combined consumer spending was US$860-billion in 2008, and will be an estimated $1.4-trillion in 2020. With 43% of Africans currently under the age of 15, by 2040 there will be 1.1-billion Africans of working age.  Urbanisation enhances growth – Africa already has 52 cities with more than a million inhabitants, more than Europe. By 2030, around fifty percent of Africa’s populationi will be living in cities.  Africa’s returns on foreign direct investment (FDI) are the highest in the world. South Africa well placed to benefitSouth Africa, with its advanced and sophisticated economy, is best suited to exploit the advantages offered by such an expanded market.Already, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has rated South Africa first in the world for the strength of its auditing and reporting standards and for the regulation of its securities exchanges. The soundness of the country’s banks – rated second in the world – is an important asset these days when banks everywhere else are shaky.Add the certainty offered by the government’s recently announced National Development Plan, which sets out the country’s path until 2030, and it is clear that South Africa’s competitiveness will only be enhanced by the establishment of an African FTA.South Africa’s fellow BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – all started their upward economic trend based on huge domestic markets. With the establishment of an FTA, South Africa will have access a market 12 times bigger than the 50-million domestic customers it now has.Tough negotiations expectedHowever, the road to setting up the FTA could be a rocky one. Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has warned that negotiations over industrial policy could be tough. South Africa has just set out to implement its Industrial Policy Action Plan, and talks around the trade in manufactured goods will be of particular concern.But South Africa does have an advantage. As Davies points out, unlike exports to the rest of the world, a high percentage of exports into Africa are already made up of value-added products.Other problems would be the levels of protectionism between African countries, restrictive trade permit needs, and very obvious economic disparities.Additionally, the fact that three existing trade blocs aim to merge into one is a stumbling block as they are at different levels of integration, with different rules and regulations.All of this will be part of the negotiations that start this week.The fact remains that economic growth in all participating countries will be boosted by increased intra-regional trade. For Africa as a whole, intra-regional trade currently stands at only 12% of all cross-border trade, whereas in Asia the figure is rising toward 50%, and in the European Union towards 80%.The FTA would also be an important building block towards achieving the vision of the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 – a continent-wide African Economic Union.The December talks may be the first concrete sign of Africa rising to take its rightful place in the world.Source: Brand South Africalast_img read more

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UN awards first Nelson Mandela prize

first_img23 June 2015The inaugural winners of the UN Nelson Mandela Prize are from Namibia and Portugal.Dr Helena Ndume of Namibia and Jorge Fernando Branco Sampaio of Portugal were announced the winners by the president of the United Nations General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, yesterday.Established in June 2014, the prize recognises the achievements of those who dedicate their lives to the service of humanity by promoting UN purposes and principles, while honouring Mandela’s extraordinary life and legacy of reconciliation, political transition and social transformation.The entrusted selection committee decided that the inaugural award would be given to two laureates.The Nelson Mandela Prize is an honorary award that will be presented once every five years as a tribute to the outstanding achievements and contributions of two individuals (one female and one male).According to the Assembly, Ndume is an ophthalmologist whose life’s work has been devoted to treating blindness and eye-related illnesses in Namibia and throughout the developing world.Sampaio led the struggle to restore democracy in Portugal – including throughout his tenure as Lisbon’s mayor from 1989 to 1995 and as the 18th president of the republic from 1996 to 2006.Nominations were received from a broad variety of sources – including UN member and observer states, entities and intergovernmental organisations.The award ceremony will take place on 24 July, at UN headquarters in New York, as part of the annual UN commemoration of International Nelson Mandela Day.The day is typically celebrated on the late South African leader’s birthday, 18 July, when the UN joins a call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of their time to helping others.For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity – as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.Source: SAnews.govlast_img read more

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The Current State of the Security Industry

first_imgEDITORS NOTE: Steven C. Millwee, CPP, is president and CEO of SecurTest, Inc., a national crisis management and applicant-screening firm based in Tampa, Florida. He is author of The SecurTest System, which consists of over 220 applicant and employment questionnaires that focus on workplace violence, theft, work performance, criminal history, and current illegal drug use. He is also coauthor with labor attorney John-Edward Alley of The Threat from Within: Workplace Violence.Millwee volunteers much of his time to industry-related activities. He is currently president of ASIS International, formerly the American Society for Industrial Security International. It is from this perspective that Millwee offers his insights into the challenges and opportunities facing the security and loss prevention industry.EDITOR: As president of ASIS, tell us what that organization is all about and what it means to you to be president?- Sponsor – MILLWEE: First, let me say that being president of ASIS International is probably the most humbling experience one could go through. To have your peers in the worlds largest security organization elect you to be their president through the board of directors is an awesome opportunity that gives a volunteer leader the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy.The second aspect of being president is that it really accentuates the absolute necessity of a leader to practice the daily art of collaboration and delegation.Within our headquarters, we have over seventy employees who are extremely well-trained, competent professionals, who know their jobs well. An effective leader doesnt have to micromanage the day-to-day process in his or her organization. He needs to tap into the talents and resources that the staff brings to the table.Also within ASIS we have over 200 chapters around the world with 32,000 members. I have to appoint about 140 volunteer leaders to head up councils, to be regional vice presidents, to serve on the Professional Certification Board Foundation, and other areas of responsibility. By the time its all done, I have an army of about 1,200 volunteer leaders around the world who are willing and able to step up to the plate to serve their members. By utilizing that army of resources, the president has a tremendous opportunity to do those things that have the greatest impact for the security industry.EDITOR: How would you describe the mission of ASIS?MILLWEE: ASIS was originally founded primarily for Department of Defense security managers back in the early 1950s. The core value has continually been to provide educational resources to its members. Since September 11, we have added several additional measures to our mission. The first is to become an advocacy group before Congress and other legislative bodies as well as businesses around the world. This is to allow us to take future-focused, forward-thinking positions on issues that impact a security professional today. Thats very unusual, quite frankly, for ASIS, having primarily been an educational-oriented professional society. But thats so important in the post-9/11 world, because government and industry are looking for true experts in loss prevention, security, and every function related to those areas.EDITOR: As you know, the readership of LossPrevention magazine is primarily the LP professional in the retail, grocery, and convenience store markets. ASIS is a very broad organization. How does ASIS serve those and other vertical segments of the industry?MILLWEE: Within the structure of ASIS, we have over thirty councils that have particular areas of focus or expertise. For instance, we have a retail security council whose mission is to provide educational sessions for the retail loss prevention professional at our annual convention and throughout the year. There are also other disciplines, such as lodging, resort and hospitality, gaming and casinos, and a whole host of other councils.EDITOR: Tell us a little bit about the upcoming annual convention.MILLWEE: Our annual seminars and exhibits are September 10 13 this year in Philadelphia. It is the largest professional, educational event for security in the world today. Between exhibitors and registrants, the average attendance over the past five years is well over 15,000 and has been as high as almost 30,000. A person attending doesnt have to be a member of ASIS to take advantage of over 140 educational sessions along with other general sessions that will help that person go back to his or her constituency and begin to implement some new, innovative processes to help them in the functions of their day-to-day jobs.EDITOR: Apart from the educational sessions, what do you find valuable in attending the annual conference?MILLWEE: The second greatest value to me is that over the years, you develop a whole new network of resources where you can turn to help you in your job. A true professional doesnt have all the answers, but he does know where to find the answers. Whether its in ASIS or other similar organizations, one of the greatest values of being involved is that network of colleagues who give you that broad spectrum of outreach to find those solutions.To me, personally, I get a tremendous amount from the educational seminars, because they are conducted by the best and the brightest in our profession. We have a vetting process where we narrow down some 2,000 submissions to 140 or so sessions. We look for high-caliber speakers, who have proven expertise and new and innovative ideas that will keep the security practitioner fresh.In addition, the exhibit hall gives you an opportunity to see the latest offerings from a huge number of security manufacturers and service providers.EDITOR: Its interesting that your annual seminar this year is in Philadelphia, the birthplace of our country, and coincides with the one-year anniversary of September 11th. Has this drawn any questions or concerns?MILLWEE: Someone early on asked if we shouldnt move the convention to another week. Here was my reply. If ever theres a time for security practitioners and professionals from around the world to band together, its this week. On September 11th some thirty security officers, managers, and professionals were at their posts, doing their jobs at the World Trade Center. They were the true first responders to the acts of terrorism. They stood their ground and led thousands of people to safety while leading firefighters and police officers into all of the various facilities in the World Trade Center complex. It was by no accident that these security professionals shed their blood along with their brothers and sisters who wear uniforms. They did their jobs. They enacted their crisis management plans and as a result, saved thousands of lives that could have made a catastrophic event even worse. This will be a time in Philadelphia not only to pay respect to those who lost their lives, but also to bring a sense of camaraderie within our profession. We are truly the professionals charged with protection of people, places, and information around the globe.EDITOR: When youre not being the president of ASIS, how do you occupy your time?MILLWEE: That is probably the greatest challenge I have, because Im a basketball coach, Sunday school teacher, and chief executive officer for SecurTest,the company I founded 24 years ago. SecurTest is focused on developing biographical questionnaires to help employers screen applicants for work-related issues, such as violence in the workplace, theft, current drug use, work performance, sexual harassment, and a whole host of other bad behaviors. We have over 220 standardized questionnaires, which we also customize for our clients. In addition, I provide security consulting services, primarily in the area of workplace violence intervention or prevention.EDITOR: What is the breadth of your client base?MILLWEE: On the consulting side, we work with every type of industry segment, because workplace violence attacks everybody. A tremendous amount of the training is, of course, in the retail segment, because when you are dealing with customers, you not only have the internal threat of disgruntled employees, you have the external threat from robbery or other types of violent crimes crossing the threshold of your business.Within our testing marketplace, our core clientele falls within three primary groups convenience stores and fast foods, retail, and security officers.EDITOR: Take us back to when you first began your career and how you grew to be the CEO of your present company?MILLWEE: Well, I started out as a farm boy in Oklahoma, driving a tractor at age six. I left it running at age 17 and ran away. I think it took my dad two weeks to realize that I had abandoned the farm. Actually, I went to the FBI as a clerk right out of high school. I was with the FBI for two years before becoming an officer with the sheriff s department in Tampa. I quickly became a detective and eventually head of the unsolved murder unit working the cold-case squad and serial murder investigations.I had a tremendous friend in the sheriff s office, Walter Henrich, who along with my father were two significant mentors of my life. As a result of their encouragement, at the age of 25 I decided to start SecurTest. Initially, the firm was primarily an investigations and polygraph firm. But over the years, effective businesses have to find either a niche market or adapt to the trends in the marketplace, so that you can retool yourself to provide the types of service or products that customers will buy. Theres an old adage that if a customer is not willing to buy what you have to sell, perhaps youre not selling the right product. My father put it this way, Steve, you have to know where people itch in order to know where to scratch them. So, over the years weve evolved from the investigative organization to a more senior-level consulting firm and have carved out a nice niche for our products and testing services.EDITOR: In your view, what has been the impact of September 11 on the security industry?MILLWEE:The biggest impact Ive observed is that the highest levels of organizations, the senior executives and board of directors around the world,have a renewed focus on the security professionals job. When you talk to senior executives and ask them for their top five objectives of the year, safety and security of their employees, customers, and guests are certainly in that top five, if not number one. Those acts of terrorism that day and those ongoing acts of terrorism around the world since then, highlight one of the core needs of mankind, which is safety for ourselves and our families. Successful and effective organizations look at their employees and customers as their extended family. Providing a safe workplace has been accentuated by those acts. Executives today are now paying more attention, giving greater resources, and more opportunities for budgetary considerations to the security and loss prevention professional than, I think, has ever been seen in the history of the security industry. That requires the security professional to truly understand his or her function, and to be able to speak the language of business to maximize that opportunity.EDITOR:What about the effect of the more recent corporate accounting scandals and breaches of ethics?MILLWEE:One thing I see is that it has created the opportunity to have ethics and compliance reside where I think it should have always been, in the hands of the competent security professional. Most security professionals understand the need for a strict compliance to a code of ethics. The function of oversight has to start at the president, CEO, or chairman of an organization, but that person has to have a competent group of individuals to oversee how those ethical standards are going to be implemented down into the grass roots of an organization.We have lived for the past 10 years or so in a me generation, where society was focused on individual needs. I perceive we are now coming back to the moral principles of how we should conduct ourselves individually and as a business. The security professional has the opportunity to become more aware and educated on how to develop ethical compliance and oversight accountability within their organization. By taking on this responsibility, security executives will gain even greater visibility within their organization.EDITOR:How does anLP or security professional balance September 11 and these ethical issues with the current soft economy?MILLWEE: Its critical to know your time, talent, and resources. Within an organization of even a modest size, you have a tremendous amount of talent. The more you know about that talent base, the more you can utilize those people, not only to achieve buy-in for what you are trying to achieve, but to use them as messengers and advocates for your program. Once you have their buy-in, you can create accountability processes among your management team so that they help hold each other accountable.EDITOR: With the changes and opportunities evolving in our industry, what advice would you give young people about preparing themselves for a career in loss prevention or security?MILLWEE:There are two essential answers to that. First is find yourself a mentor. Be selective in who you let mentor you. Ive had three. First was my father. My second mentor, who had a tremendous impact on my law enforcement career, was Walter Henrich. He was very patient and would take the time to explain things to me when I was a relatively immature person in a very responsible position. The third person has had a significant influence in my ASIS leadership development. His name is Raymond Humphrey, CPP. Ray was past president two years ago and a tremendous mentor, not just of me, but to dozens of others in the industry. He possesses not only the skill sets of leadership and understanding human behavior, but he has the ability to cut through the weeds and get to the strategic level.Everybody needs mentors, whether they are coming right out of college or entering the industry as a second career. But theres a responsibility that comes with mentoring. If you are being mentored, that means you are a protge. And at some point, the protge has to take the reins and become someone elses mentor.EDITOR: Whats the second piece of advice?MILLWEE: The second is education, education, education. A true leader is not defined by what he or she knows. The true leader is defined by their desire to be on the continuum of educational development. Real leaders continually seek out educational opportunities to improve what they may already know, or to refresh their memory of what they’ve already learned. To learn new innovative ideas that help them grow. Thats the mark of a leader. If a person right out of college follows that track, they will go far.EDITOR: One of the major educational offerings of ASIS is the certified protection professional (CPP) designation. How did that come about and what does it mean for a loss prevention or security professional?MILLWEE: We have just recently added to the designation of CPP to better explain the meaning of it. We now brand it as CPP, Board Certified in Security Management. What does that mean to the average security professional? One, it demonstrates to themselves and their colleagues that they have a level of experience and proven level of competency to address the general landscape of security questions today. It demonstrates that they have devoted the time and resources to study for a very extensive and exhaustive examination. Thats very important in todays world, because there are more and more people in the marketplace who are holding themselves up as experts in security or loss prevention, but simply do not have the expertise. They are attempting to seize an opportunity because of the growth of security, and they want to jump on the bandwagon.EDITOR: Is CPP the only certification offered by ASIS?MILLWEE:Later this year or early next year, youll see two additional certifications that ASIS will introduce. One is a certification in physical security and the other is a certification in investigations.EDITOR: For those who are unfamiliar with CPP, what does it take to earn this certification?MILLWEE: You can go online to www.ASISonline.org to see the exact requirements, but you have to have a certain number of years experience in the field, which can be reduced by your higher education. Once you have the minimum amount of education and/or experience, you can sit for the exam. The test consists of roughly 200 core questions on a broad range of security and legal issues.EDITOR: Who should consider getting their CPP certification?MILLWEE:When people ask me if they should even try for the CPP, I use myself as an example. I became a member of ASIS in 1979. I did not take the CPP test until 1995. As a CEO of a corporation, I always considered the CPP something for those practitioners who have security as part of their day-to-day job. Then in 1995, I became the chairman of the Tampa ASIS chapter and found myself standing up in front of people promoting the CPP program, and, as my dad would say, You ain’t one. That gave me the motivation to study for the test.What I did was commit six months of my spare time to study the core subject matter. Because the CPP demonstrates that you have a broad understanding of the whole spectrum of security, there were areas I knew well and other not so well. For example, when it came to loss prevention issues, I felt very comfortable with my knowledge. With interviewing and interrogation, I had a good understanding because of my past experience teaching that subject to law enforcement. On the other hand, with physical security, I was clueless. That was not my expertise. So I had to spend more time studying physical security. But at the end of the day, I not only had a new appreciation for those colleagues who are physical security experts, but I was also able to develop a tremendous amount of knowledge and resources to help me when those issues come up. And those issues do come up in the day-to-day lives of a loss prevention professional. If it only gives you the ability to go find the answers, that alone will raise your star in the eyes of the management in your organization.EDITOR: Would you recommend the CPP for the retail loss prevention professional?MILLWEE: Absolutely! The loss prevention manager today really has to be a multifaceted security professional, versus just solely focused on loss prevention. An entry-level or mid-level LP professional may be mainly tasked with the day-to-day preventive aspects of implementing a loss prevention program. But certainly the upper- and senior-level professionals need to be fully versed on every aspect of security, whether it is personnel security for your employees, customers, and guests or understanding the physical security of the entire infrastructure of your organization. At least in my experience, in the boardrooms today, the senior loss prevention executive needs to not only understand the value of the apprehension side of LP, but also have a holistic understanding of securing the entire corporate organization.EDITOR: Any last thoughts before we close?MILLWEE:I just want to emphasize and encourage everyone to give back to their profession. Its easy for someone to sit in the bleachers and watch the game, either to be content with the way the game is being played or to argue with the officials, players, or coaches on the field. I would invite all loss prevention and security professionals to get into the game. We dont need spectators, we need players. We need people who are willing to give up their time, talents, and resources, as well as companies who are willing to support their security and loss prevention professionals in this endeavor. Get involved in helping make our industry better each and every day. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

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Microsoft reports $23.5 billion in revenue but misses Wall Street expectations

first_img HomeDigital MarketingMicrosoft reports $23.5 billion in revenue but misses Wall Street expectations Microsoft announced quarterly earnings Thursday afternoon, with earnings that beat expectations, while revenues just missed Wall Street consensus estimates.The company reported $23.5 billion in revenue and earnings of $0.73 per share. Financial analysts had expected $23.6 billion in revenue and earnings of $0.70. Shares were down roughly 1.5 percent in after-hours trading.Here are the company’s three business segments and their respective revenues:Productivity & Business Processes — $7.96 billion (up, driven by LinkedIn and Office 365)Intelligent Cloud — $6.76 billion (up)More Personal Computing — $8.84 billion (down)LinkedIn contributed $975 million in revenue to Productivity & Business Processes.More Personal Computing was the source of the revenues miss and was down 7 percent overall. In particular, Surface revenue was off a surprising 26 percent. However, Windows OEM revenue grew 5 percent. Search ad revenue was up 8 percent. More detail, including the earnings slides, available here.From our sponsors: Microsoft reports $23.5 billion in revenue but misses Wall Street expectations Related postsLytics now integrates with Google Marketing Platform to enable customer data-informed campaigns14th December 2019The California Consumer Privacy Act goes live in a few short weeks — Are you ready?14th December 2019ML 2019121313th December 2019Global email benchmark report finds email isn’t dead – it’s essential13th December 20192019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping12th December 2019Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 202012th December 2019 Posted on 28th April 2017Digital Marketing FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share Microsoft reports $23.5 billion in revenue but misses Wall Street expectationsYou are here:last_img read more

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Keep In Touch On NSW State Cup Finals Day

first_imgThere are plenty of ways to keep up-to-date with all of the latest news and information on finals day of the 2011 New South Wales State Cup.The State Cup website will be updated regularly with results and match reports, as will the New South Wales Touch Association (NSWTA) website. These sites can be accessed by clicking on the following links:www.nswtouch.com.auwww.statecup.sportingpulse.net NSWTA’s social media pages will also be updated regularly throughout the event, and you can find out everything you need to know by ‘liking’ or ‘following’ these pages:www.twitter.com/nsw_touch http://www.facebook.com/pages/NSW-Touch-Football-Network/137384052966714 To join the Twitter conversation during the day, please use the hashtag #statecup.  Touch Football Australia’s YouTube Channel will also be updated with highlights through the event, and can be found by clicking on the following link:www.youtube.com/touchfootballauslast_img read more

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9 days agoEverton lose Philippe-Gbamin for three months

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Everton lose Philippe-Gbamin for three monthsby Freddie Taylor9 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveEverton have lost Jean Philippe-Gbamin for up to three months.The summer signing from Mainz underwent thigh surgery in France on Tuesday.Gbamin played against Crystal Palace and Watford in August before getting injured.Everton are currently 18th in the table having won only two of their first eight Premier League matches this season. last_img

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Fire Fighters responding to grass fire near the 271 road

first_imgThe fire is burning part of a field and trees in the area.  The fire is located just off the Alaska Highway.  Right now crews from the Charlie Lake Fire Department are on scene working to fight the fire. There are two homes near the fire.We are waiting for more information from local fire officials and will update this post as more information becomes available.If you have information to share, email news@moosefm.ca. UPDATE as of 7:30 a.m. Thursday – The 271 road is back open in both directions and the fire is out. We should get more information from the Charlie Lake Fire Department today.UPDATE as of 6:30 p.m. – The 271 Road is closed at the Alaska Highway due to the smoke and fire.FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fire crews are responding to a grass fire in a field just off the 271 road.last_img read more

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I would sit alone & cry during rehab, says Mirabai Chanu

first_imgNew Delhi: For Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, the upcoming Asian weightlifting championship starting April 18 will be more than just an international competition. For her, the Ningbo (China) meet will be yet another attempt to break the shackles of pain, which have often come as a speed-breaker in her career. “I have set myself few goals for the Asian championship, the biggest being the attempt to lift 200-kg plus. In the recent past, I have been doing it in training under coach Vijay Sharma in Patiala and there is no reason why I won’t be able to do it in China. That could a turning point in my career,” Mirabai said. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhOriginally a lifter in the 48-kg category, Mirabai shifted to the 49-kg section after the international body decided to rejig the weight categories in both men’s and women’s competition for the Olympics and other world-level meets. The Manipur girl now hopes to win a medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the new category. A world champion in 2017 in Anaheim, USA, the 24-year-old is already a recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award and the Padma Shri. But luck had not been on her side always — an injury in May 2018 saw her being sidelined for eight months. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later”I have fully recovered from that injury, but I vividly remember those depressing days. When I was injured and going through the rehabilitation period, I used to sit alone and cry. Nothing was going right for me, the recovery was slow. I did not know whether I would ever make a comeback. “Sitting in my room, I could hear the sound of other lifters training and my eyes used to be full of tears. Thankfully, my coach Vijay Sharma and my family stood firm behind me. Otherwise, I would not have been lifting again,” said Mirabai. “Disappointments have struck me often but I have always overcome them. In 2016 Rio Olympics, I knew I was good enough to win a medal, but I failed. I won’t commit the same mistake in Tokyo after I qualify for it,” she added. Her personal best in the 48-kg category came in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast when she lifted 196-kg to win the gold. Mirabai thinks the Asian meet will be her next step to achieve the bigger goal. “The China meet will be extremely tough, but I am confident. Due to rearrangement of weight categories, several lifters from 53-kg have also joined the 49-kg category. If you look at the world championship results, you will find that a 200-kg plus lift is must for anyone who is hoping to win a medal. “Given the standard of competition, Asian championship is like a world meet. Lifters from China, Thailand and Korea will be my biggest competitors. But I am not afraid. “The gold medal I won in the EGAT Cup in Thailand a couple of months back has added to my confidence. A good performance and a podium finish will be my aim when I board the flight to China,” said Mirabai.last_img read more

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Priyanka is 4th Gandhi clan seeking Mahakal blessings before final polls

first_imgNew Delhi: As the campaigning for the Lok Sabha election has reached in its last spell, Congress general secretary Priyanka Vadra Gandhi sought the blessing of Mahakal (Lord Shiva) at Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain to secure the victory of his party candidates at most of the remaining seats.The Congress general secretary offered her prayers at the Shiva temple along with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. As per Nath, Priyanka Gandhi offered pooja archana and sought the blessings of Baba Mahakal for happiness and prosperity of the region. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe tradition of paying obeisance to Mahakal (the supreme form of Lord Shiva) is not new for the leaders of the Gandhi family. Earlier Indira Gandhi, the grandmother of Priyanka had visited the Mahakaleshwar Temple in December 1979 and came to power with an absolute majority by winning 353 seats in the Lok Sabha elections of 1980. Following the footsteps of her mother-in-law, Sonia Gandhi had also visited the Mahakaleshwar Temple in December in 2008 and won the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 and secured 206 seats. However, the Congress failed to win the Madhya Pradesh assembly poll which was held in 2008. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadHoping a similar miracle, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had also visited the prominent Shiva temple in October 2018, just a few months ahead of the announcement of dates for the national elections of 2019. Priyanka is the fourth member of the Gandhi clan who sought the blessings of Lord Shiva prior to the polling for the last of the seven-phased general election. The last phase of polling is scheduled on May 19 and counting of votes will be done on May 23.last_img read more

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Egypt Brotherhood charities may impact referendum: experts

first_imgCAIRO- A crackdown by Egypt’s authorities on the Muslim Brotherhood has left hundreds of Islamic charities struggling for funds, with experts warning the move could impact this week’s referendum on a new constitution.The Tuesday-Wednesday vote has been billed as the first step in Egypt’s democratic transition after the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July following huge protests against his one-year rule.The government installed by the military after Morsi’s ouster has seized assets, bank accounts, hospitals, schools and institutions run by Islamic charities as part of its crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement. Analysts say Morsi’s supporters, who have been clamouring for his reinstatement, are likely to find backing for their call for a boycott of the referendum among grassroots Egyptians who are dependent on the charities.“These charities will definitely have an impact on the referendum. The turnout will be much less this time,” analyst Osama Diab of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights told AFP.“The focus of the Muslim Brotherhood is to ensure a low turnout and the Islamic charities can influence people for that. They can mobilise people through these charities to guarantee a low turnout,” said Diab.Mustafa Kamel al-Sayyed, professor of political science at Cairo University, agreed.“The Muslim Brotherhood could use charity networks for mobilising people to boycott the referendum or elections, given their influence on the people,” he said.“These charities do offer services that aid people and the government’s measures (against them) could backfire,” he said.According to experts, however, the boycott is not likely to be extensive enough to affect the final outcome of the vote.The charities say they aid millions of impoverished people in Egypt.  They are also seen by many as providing the Brotherhood with a solid social platform that helped it dominate all elections since the fall of president Hosni Mubarak in the 2011 uprising.Experts say the authorities suspect that some of the funds are used by the Brotherhood to mobilise anti-government protesters or even for funding militant activities.last_img read more

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