An affordable price tag for saving Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest

first_imgSaving biodiversity is a noble goal, but how much will it cost? And where should the money be spent? These are difficult questions for policymakers. An innovative analysis, published in this week’s issue of Science, lays out a plan for Brazil’s diverse and endangered Atlantic Forest.“The most important message is that restoration can be targeted in a way that minimizes costs and has a greater likelihood of delivering lasting environmental benefits,” says Toby Gardner, an ecologist at the Stockholm Environment Institute, who was not involved in the new research.South America’s Atlantic rainforest is a good case study for the challenges of conservation policy. With a great variety of environmental conditions, life has evolved into incredible diversity. But farming, ranching, and urban development have destroyed much of the forest. Less than 8% remains of its original 1.43 million square kilometers that spanned Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. Over the years, conservationists have made mostly small-scale attempts to restore the forest.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)A group of researchers wanted to figure out how much forest is needed to maintain the integrity of biological communities and their ecological functions. They studied the abundances of 43 species of mammals, 140 species of birds, and 29 species of amphibians in 79 landscapes that ranged from nearly deforested to fully intact.The team identified an important ecological threshold. When the amount of forest drops below 28.5% of the landscape, the communities started to change. For example, generalist species, such as the opossum Micoreus paraguayanus, which prefer disturbed environments, begin to take over from forest specialists. “It’s a very strong conclusion,” Gardner says. The threshold for maintaining existing community integrity is likely to be different in other places, the authors say. It is likely to be higher in the Amazon and lower in Europe and other developed landscapes where sensitive species have already disappeared.The researchers say it won’t be feasible to restore all 88% of the 143 million hectares of the Atlantic Forest that has been deforested below the threshold; that goal would require 32 million hectares of replanting, most of it on private land.The smart approach, they say, would be to focus on restoring landscapes that are still at least 20% forested. Working in landscapes with any less forest cover would become prohibitively expensive and risky, involving translocation of endangered species. But planting trees on 424,000 priority hectares would ensure community integrity in 37,000 landscapes throughout the Atlantic Forest, providing ecosystems services such as pollination of nearby crops and pest control. The amount of land with at least 30% forest cover would increase by 46%. Preventing extinction of species such as the jaguar will require larger protected areas, they note.By extrapolating from existing forest restoration projects in Brazil, the researchers estimated that restoration of these priority areas would cost about $198 million a year for 3 years. The cost would then decline, as less watering and other work is required. “We can make farmers happy and preserve biodiversity all within a reasonable budget,” says Cristina Banks-Leite, an ecologist at Imperial College London, Silwood Park. Gardner suspects the cost would end up lower, given economies of scale.“The results are very exciting,” says Bernardo Strassburg, an economist and environmental scientist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, who was not involved in the research. “This is one of the first papers to narrow down the effort to the most effective regions and show where they are.”  Banks-Leite and Strassburg both say there’s political will to boost restoration. An existing effort by more than 250 nongovernmental organizations, companies, and government agencies has a target of 15 million hectares restored by 2050. And the federal government is expected to launch a national restoration strategy in a few months.  Pedro Brancalion, a restoration ecologist at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, says it will be important to make sure that turning pasture back to forest doesn’t encourage cattle ranchers to cut down forest elsewhere. “We have to integrate agricultural intensification,” he says. “If we have minimum input of technology, we could save millions of hectares.”See here for more on conservation science.last_img read more

NU, Adamson eye title berths

first_imgFire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Jaja Santiago (No. 3) is expected to be NU’s tower of power as the Lady Bulldogs try to close out Arellano. —SHERWIN VARDELEONAdamson and National University, polar opposites in last year’s UAAP, are in a collision course for the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference crown.Victories today against their respective rivals will pit them against each other in a best-of-five title series.ADVERTISEMENT With the most dominant player in the active scene, Jaja Santiago, NU presents Arellano with more than just an uphill battle for survival.The 21-year-old Santiago said the Lady Bulldogs have set their sights on the title. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. FEU, Adamson battle for solo third; a win, finally, for either UE or UST Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight But closing out their semifinal foes is easier said than done. Especially on the part of the Lady Falcons.Adamson, which was never in the title agenda the previous season, is taking on UAAP heavyweight Far Eastern U in Saturday’s Game 2 of their semifinal duel at Filoil Flying V Centre.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe powerhouse Tamaraws are expected to pose an intense challenge to the Lady Falcons, who even trailed after three sets before clawing their way to victory in the last two frames, 21-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-14, 15-8, in Game 1.National U should have an easier path to the finals. LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary LATEST STORIEScenter_img View comments MOST READ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Read Next Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMClast_img read more

PH chess team eyes 7 golds or more in 2017 ASEAN Para Games

first_imgPH chess player Menandro Redor. Photo by Randolph B. LeongsonHoping to pick up where they left off, the Philippines chess para athletes are loooling to surpass their six-gold medal haul in 2015 and aiming for seven this time in Kuala Lumpur.But Menandro Redor, one of the country’s leading para athlete in chess, thinks that with the chess team’s stringent preparation it could even exceed its target in the 2017 ASEAN Para Games this month.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo PH targets 27 golds in 2017 ASEAN Para Games “We may get more than just seven golds because we had intense training for this. We joined different local and international tournaments just to prepare,” said Redor in Filipino. “Our coaches have been taking care of us and we’re so prepared that we’re sure of what we can accomplish.”Redor, who will also serve as the Philippines’ flagbearer for the opening ceremonies, ha four-gold haul for the visually impaired 2 division, which is for partially blind participants, in the last staging of the biennial games in Singapore.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingThe PH chess team will also lean on wheelchair-bound FIDE Master Sander Severino and Henry Lopez as they gun to sweep the individual and team events of standard and rapid.“We’ve already swept our category, so our goal now is to do that in the other categories. It also helps that we’ve got a women’s team now so it’s really possible that we can get the top spot this time,” Redor said. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side View comments LATEST STORIES The 32-year-old woodpusher isn’t discounting the capacity of the opposition with Indonesia posing the biggest threat to the Philippines’ quest for gold.But Redor is confident with what the chess team can deliver for the delegation, saying, “In chess, we’re sure that we’ll bring home golds.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’last_img read more

Ind vs Eng: India thump Sussex by 6 wickets, record their first win of tour

first_imgVirat Kohli and Rohit Sharma cracked half-centuries as India recorded their maiden win of the England tour with a six-wicket thumping of Sussex in a rain-affected practice game here on Thursday. India have already lost the Test series 0-4.The two talented youngsters put on 104 runs for the third wicket in impressive style as Indians chased down the 235-run target with 4.1 overs to spare after the game was reduced to 45-over-a side affair due to two rain interruptions.Put into bat, Sussex were 236 all out with seamer R P Singh snaring four wickets but the Indians needed 235 to win due to the revised target under Duckworth-Lewis system.The Indians looked in control even though Sachin Tendulkar (21) did not last long as the other opener Parthiv Patel (55), Kohli (71) and Sharma (61 not out) played around with an average home attack.Kohli’s knock came from 83 balls and included six fours and a six. Sharma’s unbeaten 61 came from 65 balls and studded with eight fours and a six.Tendullkar played some gorgeous strokes before he spooned up a catch at mid-off against left-arm paceman Chris Liddle.As many as four fours were hit by Tendulkar in his brief 17-ball knock.Patel was similarly aggressive, relying a great deal on chipped shots behind square before he played back to off-spinner Chris Nash and missed the line completely. He made his 55 runs from 65 balls and slammed nine fours.But Kohli and Sharma then took over and literally toyed with the home side attack, running their singles crisply and hitting big shots at will.advertisementSharma was effortless in his drives through the off-side and a driven six over mid-off was as exciting as it come. He hit the winning runs off Luke Wells.Much welcomed as the Indians’ win was, it still would bother the tourists that the bowling attack was not looking up to a scratch and that Suresh Raina failed once again.Left-hander Raina, a miserable presence at the crease during the Tests, came into bat with only token runs required by the visitors for a win. He survived a near-catch at the square leg ropes and was bowled off the next ball for a personal score of 12.Earlier, RP Singh took four for 44 but two of his wickets came in the final over when batsmen were attempting to slog and the first two when the conditions were overtly favourable to swing bowling under overcast conditions.Munaf Patel was disappointing and conceded 52 runs from his seven overs for a wicket and generally was slogged around the park.Praveen Kumar was a heartening return to bowling crease after his ankle injury which made him miss out the final Test at the Oval last week. He bowled his eight overs for 28 runs and picked up a wicket.The two spinners, leg-spinner Amit Mishra and off-spinner Ravichandra Ashwin bowled economically without appearing threatening at any stage.- With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

Goa becoming a big draw during monsoons for tourists: Min

first_imgKolkata, Jul 9 (PTI) Goa tourism minister Manohar Ajgaonkar today said both domestic and foreign travellers are taking interest in touring the state during monsoons to make the most of the rain-drenched beaches.”Domestic and foreign tourists are arriving in Goa during the monsoons to make the most of the rain-drenched beaches and other natural beauties in the state,” Ajgaonkar said while addressing the valedictory session of Travel and Tourism Fair organised here.He said adventure tourism is slowly becoming a big draw with water rafting and other water sports being initiated at different beaches in the state.”Beaches are being made more tourist-friendly with toilets and changing rooms in proximity,” he said.Stating that the Goa government is promoting tourism with all earnest, Ajgaonkar said “no state wants to miss Kolkata, as response from travellers here is the best among the domestic travellers.”At least 400 travel and tour operators participated in the three-day event held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here, which recorded more than 50,000 footfalls during the period, Sanjiv Agarwal of organisers Fairfest Media Limited, said.Twelve countries, including Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh and Nepal participated in the fair, which also saw eight states of the country promoting their destinations, he said. PTI AMR DKBlast_img read more

Virat Kohli, James Anderson involved in heated exchange during Oval Test

first_imgJames Anderson was involved in a heated exchange with umpire Kumar Dharmasena and India captain Virat Kohli on Day 2 of the fifth Test at The Oval.The incident took place after Dharmasena gave Kohli not out after an appeal for leg-before by the English team off Anderson’s bowling during India’s first innings.In the 29th over, Anderson hit Kohli on his pads and immediately appealed for a wicket. But Dharmasena declined the appeal after which the decision was reviewed. While the replays showed that the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps, Kohli was saved by the fact that review turned out to be umpire’s call as the ball hit Kohli just outside the line of off stump.England vs India, Day 2, The Oval Test: Live UpdatesHere’s a recap of the appeal and review:28.3 overs: J. ANDERSON TO V. KOHLINot Out! Kohli hangs on to his life and so frustrating for Anderson. He has bowled 254 balls to Kohli as of now and he is yet to get the Indian skipper out in this series. This one looked out though. Anderson bowled a full ball coming in with the swing after pitching. Kohli plays all over it and fails to connect. The English team cries out in an appeal but the umpire, after a lot of thinking, declines the request. Jimmy is convinced and so is his captain. They take the review. The replays roll in. The impact is umpire’s call and that is what saved him else it would have been curtains for Kohli. England does not lose their review but Anderson has a go at the umpire for no reason. He desperately wants to get one up on Kohli for sure. The match referee might request his presence soon!advertisement Anderson was frustrated with Dharmasena’s decision and that led to a exchange of words between the umpire and the bowler and later between Anderson and Kohli.READ – KL Rahul’s diving catch helps him set new fielding record in EnglandAnderson, who dismissed Kohli four times during India’s tour of England in 2014, is yet to dismiss the India captain in the series. Something which could have led to the unruly behaviour on the part of Anderson.Including the delivery on which the appeal was made, Anderson had bowled 254 deliveries to Kohli in the series without dismissing him even once.Meanwhile, Kohli who scored a mere 134 runs in the 10 innings in the 2014, has improved his record in the country drastically.In the four matches of the ongoing series ahead of The Oval Test, Kohli had scored 544 runs at an average of 68.Anderson, however, took two wickets immediately after failing to dismiss the India captain. He removed Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya in the space of two overs. Anderson is now heading the list of bowlers with most wickets against India in Test cricket. He went past Muttiah Muralitharan (105 wickets) after picking Pujara’s wicket.At the time of publishing this article, India were 109/4, 223 runs behind England’s 1st innings total of 332.last_img read more

Virat Kohli’s DRS blunders: India captain has not got reviews right as Test batsman in 2 years

first_img Next view more view less graphs commentary Virat Kohli’s DRS blunders: India captain has not got reviews right as Test batsman in 2 yearsIndia vs South Africa, 3rd Test: Virat Kohli was out for 12 on Day 1 after an unsuccessful attempt at overturning the on-field umpire’s call on LBW. Anrich Nortje became only the 4th bowler to get Virat Kohli as his maiden wicket in Test cricket. scorecard advertisement India Today Web Desk RanchiOctober 19, 2019UPDATED: October 19, 2019 12:03 IST India vs South Africa, 3rd Test: Virat Kohli was out for 12 on Day 1 (PTI Photo)HIGHLIGHTSVirat Kohli was out for 12 in the 1st innings on SaturdayKohli reviewed the umpire’s call but the on-field decision stayedAs batsman, Kohli hasn’t got a DRS call right since November 2017 in TestsVirat Kohli’s struggles to get the Decision Review System (DRS) call right as batsman in Test cricket continues as the India captain failed to make good use of the review in the ongoing 3rd Test between India and South Africa in Ranchi on Saturday.As batsman in Tests, Virat Kohli got the DRS call wrong for the 9th successive time. The last time Kohli got a decision overturned as batsman in Tests was during India’s drawn Test against Sri Lanka in November 2017.Virat Kohli was given out for 12 after the India captain was trapped in front in the 16th over on Day 1. Anrich Nortje got the ball to tail into Kohli after the India captain leaned forward with very little foot movement.Inida vs South Africa, 3rd Test Day 1: Live updatesUmpire Nigel Llong did not take a lot of time before giving it out. However, Virat Kohli was seemingly convinced that the ball would have missed the leg-stump as the skipper went for the review immediately.However, the replays showed the ball would have gone on to clip the leg-stump. The decision stayed as umpire’s call and Kohli had to walk back for 12. India though did not lose the review, considering the replays did not show 3 reds.Meanwhile, Anrich Nortje, who went wicketkless in his maiden Test in Pune, became only the 4th bowler to get Virat Kohli as his 1st-ever Test wicket. Only South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada, Senuran Muthusamy and West Indies’ Alzarri Joseph have done so.South Africa, who are fighting to save a series whitewash, came out all guns blazing with pacer Kagiso Rabada leading the show. Rabada struck early for the visitors by removing double centurion and opener Mayank Agarwal for 10. He then came up with a gem of a delivery to get Cheteshwar Pujara out for 0.advertisementFormer captain Graeme Smith slammed South Africa for sending a proxy captain in Temba Bavuma for the toss in Ranchi on Saturday, saying the decision showcased the dip in body language of the team.”It was a quirky moment but for me it was a little bit pathetic,” Graeme Smith told Star Sports.”It just shows the mindset of the South African side. I didn’t enjoy seeing that. I would rather see the South Africa captain stand there, own his position.”You know, they are looking at the wrong places for the reasons they have lost the game. Unfortunately, they haven’t played well enough. Yes, winning the toss in the sub-continent is a nice thing to do but if you play well enough, you can still compete.”However, the way in which Kagiso Rabada led the new-ball show would have given the former South Africa captain a lot of joy.India were in a spot of bother as they headed to lunch at 71 for 3. Newly-promoted opener Rohit Sharma, who was unbeaten on 38, holds the key as India look to post a competitive 1st innings total on what has been a difficult wicket to bat on.Also Read | Didn’t enjoy seeing that: Graeme Smith slams South Africa for using proxy captain at toss in RanchiAlso See:For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAkshay Ramesh Tags :Follow Virat KohliFollow Anrich NortjeFollow India vs South AfricaFollow Rohit SharmaFollow Kagiso RabadaFollow Ranchi TestFollow India national cricket team No data available!last_img read more

BMT to Expand Presence in Australia

first_imgzoom BMT JFA Consultants, a subsidiary of BMT Group, has announced plans for new offices in both Perth, Western Australia and Brisbane, Queensland in order to better support its clients’ requirements and provide space for expansion.The new Perth office will combine BMT’s strategic ports and harbours and machinery consultancy expertise into a single location in Perth by bringing BMT JFA Consultants and BMT WBM into the one office. This will improve its overall service offerings to local government, mining and private sector clients in Western Australia. BebbCart, a specialist ports and harbours cartographic consultancy, will also be co-located with BMT JFA Consultants in its new offices.BMT has appointed Steven Della Mattea as Manager, Queensland to support the expansion. With over 18 years’ experience in civil and structural engineering, oil and gas and port infrastructure projects, his most recent experience includes the development of port infrastructure for a major LNG project in Gladstone. Steven has also been responsible for the delivery of infrastructure projects at various locations across Queensland and he has extensive design and contracts management experience.BMT JFA Consultants’ new Brisbane office will see it co-locate with BMT WBM in order to help build on the success of a number of recent projects and allow the company to respond more efficiently to an increasing number of business requests on the East Coast. The 2013 saw increased demand for additional design works and studies to assist with overall redevelopment plans of ports.Tim Green, Managing Director of BMT JFA Consultants comments: “Historically, demand for our services has focussed specifically on dredging consultancy, but we’re now seeing an increased drive in demand, both locally and more widely in Asia Pacific, towards integrated consultancy services – from concept through to implementation planning, infrastructure design, ports operations optimisation, and dredging reclamation and maintenance services.”Press Release, May 09, 2014last_img read more

South Korea to Consider Merging HMM and Hanjin Shipping

first_imgzoom South Korean shipping company Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) and its compatriot Hanjin Shipping could be merged if they succeed in normalizing their management, The Korea Times cited Financial Services Commission (FSC) Chairman Yim Jong-yong.The South Korea’s government said that if the companies manage to achieve the goal, it would consider a number of possibilities, one of which would be merging the cash-strapped firms.The potential merger was mentioned a couple of times before, as last November the government formed a multi-ministry consultative body for restructuring the shippers.The announcement comes a week after HMM reached a deal with containership owners on 20 percent charter rate cuts and with bulk carrier owners for a 25 percent charter rate reductions. The company initially sought a 27 percent rate decrease.The cuts are expected to come into force over the next three and a half years, according to HMM.HMM’s creditor group agreed on the company’s debt restructuring proposal on condition that the shipping firm successfully concludes its negotiations with bond holders and shipowners.HMM has already gained bond holders’ approval for its debt restructuring proposal, as the company faces a USD 4.48 billion wall of debt.Additionally, the normalization of the company’s business would pave the way for the struggling firm to join the new global shipping alliance.Hanjin Shipping also initiated discussions with 22 shipowners on charter rates and plans to meet with bond holders to restructure its debt.Hanjin is required to make its self-rescue efforts to secure liquidity as HMM did.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

Richmond County Communities Receive Infrastructure Funding

first_img Hundreds of Richmond County residents will soon enjoy saferdrinking water and a cleaner environment. Improvements to Arichat and Petit-de-Grat’s water treatmentplant, and a sewage treatment plant upgrade for the Village ofSt. Peter’s have been approved under the Canada-Nova ScotiaInfrastructure Program. The projects are valued at a total of$371,960. Joint federal and provincial funding of $221,732 was announcedtoday, March 5, by Barry Barnet, Minister of Service Nova Scotiaand Municipal Relations and Member of Parliament Rodger Cuzner.The Village of St. Peter’s and the Municipality of the County ofRichmond will fund the balance of their projects upon formalacceptance of the agreement. “Whether providing a community with a safer sewage system ordrinking water, the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program isworking to improve our environment, and the safety of ourcommunities,” said Mr. Barnet. One of the first priorities of the program is green municipalinfrastructure that ensures effective wastewater management andsafe drinking water. To date, the majority of the federal andprovincial funding announced has been directed towards greenprojects. “The Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program is one of the wayswe are investing in green projects like these sewage and watertreatment plant upgrades, designed to improve our environment andprovide safe, high quality water systems,” said Mr. Cuzner.”Building strong communities and improving quality of life is apriority for the government of Canada.” The Village of St. Peter’s Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrade projectincludes the installation of aluminium tank covers at thefacility, preventing foreign objects from entering the treatmentprocess, improving the look of the building, and helping containodours. “Two years ago, the infrastructure program helped us build thisimportant facility,” said Esther McDonnell, chair of the Villageof St. Peter’s. “Now the partnership is helping us make it evenbetter.” Phase two of the Arichat/Petit-de-Grat Water Treatment PlantUpgrade project provides for the design and construction of anupgrade to the water treatment facility that serves 450households in the area. The project is an extension of an earlierphase, also funded under the Canada-Nova Scotia InfrastructureProgram. The new facility will meet the requirements of the NovaScotia Department of Environment and Labour’s Drinking WaterStrategy and will effectively address water quality problems inthe area. “We are delighted to receive the funding to begin the secondphase of this project,” said Gail Johnson, warden of theMunicipality of the County of Richmond. “This project will havesome significant benefits for our community and a real impact onthe quality of life of our citizens.” This is one of a series of approval announcements for projectsunder the program, which has invested more than $167 million in113 projects to date. Additional announcements are expected asprojects undergo environmental assessment and final approval. The $195 million, six-year Canada-Nova Scotia InfrastructureProgram is administered by the Atlantic Canada OpportunitiesAgency and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation is a member of the managementcommittee. The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities is representedon the program’s management committee. SERVICE N.S./MUNICIPAL RELATIONS–Richmond County CommunitiesReceive Infrastructure Fundinglast_img read more

CBDT releases new IT compounding guidelines no relief in criminal black money

first_imgNew Delhi: Indulgence in serious criminal cases of money laundering, terror financing, corruption, possession of benami properties and undisclosed foreign assets will virtually shut a person’s chances of getting relief in an income tax evasion offence beginning Monday, a latest directive issued by the CBDT said. The policy-making body for the tax department has issued a revised 32-page guideline for ‘compounding of offences under direct tax laws, 2019’ which will be executed under the I-T Act, 1961. Also Read – IAF receives its first Rafale fighter jet from France The new directives make it clear that compounding of offences is “not a matter of right” and the department can extend such a relief only in certain cases keeping in view factors like “conduct of the person, the nature and magnitude of the offence on the context of the facts and circumstances of each case.” Compounding in I-T parlance means that the taxman does not file a prosecution case against the offender or tax evader in the court in lieu of payment of due taxes and surcharges and it is dealt under section 279(2). Also Read – Cosmology trio win Nobel Physics Prize The fresh guidelines state certain offences will “generally not be compounded” if the person has been found involved “in any manner, in an anti-national or terrorist activity” or is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (for offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, CBI (IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act), Lokpal, Lokayukta or any other central or state agency like the local police. Offences committed by a person for which he/she was convicted by a court of law under direct taxes laws, cases of a person as main accused where it was proved that he has enabled others in tax evasion through entities used to launder money or generate bogus invoices of sale/purchase without actual business or by providing accommodation entries in any other manner will largely be not compounded, the new guidelines said. Similarly, any offence which has bearing on an offence relating to un-dislcosed foreign bank account or assets in any manner, any offence under the anti-black money law of 2015, the anti-Benami Act of 1988 will also fall under the no compounding category, it said. A senior department official said the new guidelines are aimed to streamline the action against serious cases of black money and criminal tax evasion. Also, offences booked under sections 275A and 275B of the I-T Act (deals with failure to comply with search and seizure action) and 276 (removal, concealment, transfer or delivery of property to thwart tax recovery) “will not be compounded” including under sections 276C (wilful attempt to evade tax), 277A (falsification of books of account or documents among others). Any other offence, which the competent authority considers not fit for compounding “in view of factors such as conduct of the person, nature and magnitude of the offence” will also not be compounded, it said. Also, cases in which the person seeking compounding of an offence under the I-T Act was convicted by a court for two years or more will fall under the no compounding category, it said. It adds that the Union Finance Minister will be sole authority to relax these guidelines in a “deserving case” after obtaining a report from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). The exhaustive guidelines inform the I-T officials in detail about the relaxation of time, competent authority for compounding offences, procedure and charges among other processes for compounding.last_img read more

NS sees first suspected carfentanil death medical examiner says

first_imgHALIFAX – Nova Scotia has had its first suspected overdose death linked to carfentanil, the province’s chief medical officer of health said Wednesday.Dr. Robert Strang said the potent opiate is suspected of contributing to the death of one person in Halifax, though the formal cause of death has yet to be determined.He said he couldn’t release the name, age or gender of the person who died in March.Strang said if the death is confirmed to be linked to carfentanil — originally developed for veterinarians to sedate elephants and other large animals — it was likely present in one of several street drugs the person involved had taken.“Like in many of the deaths, there were a number of substances that were involved. … But carfentanil has been identified as one of those substances,” he said.“Given the high potency of carfentanil … it’s highly likely it at least contributed to the death in this case.”Strang had announced just under a year ago that the drug was circulating in the province, and he said Wednesday it would be not overly surprising to see it contributing to fatalities.There have also been cases of the drug appearing in the street drug trade in neighbouring New Brunswick.“It’s part of what I call the toxic street drug scene. It’s not surprising we have this first possible death … We’ve been anticipating this,” he said.Strang says it’s a good time for him to remind any users of street drugs of the extreme dangers associated with their use, and he advised people who use the drugs to keep a supply of naloxone, an overdose-reversing drug that can be self administered.The doctor said the province will keep building up harm reduction efforts, such as making naloxone widely available at community pharmacies.The recent provincial budget added $1.4 million to create models for safer consumption of street drugs.Strang said if a person insists on using street drugs it’s better they do so with other people present, a supply of naloxone nearby and that they be prepared to call 911 if there is any risk of overdose.He emphasized that under legislation police will not arrest people who call for emergency help if they are near a person having an overdose.Carfentanil is especially dangerous, as it can be mixed in with other street drugs and therefore is hard to detect visually.It is about 100 times more powerful than the opiate fentanyl.In March of last year, Nova Scotia announced initial steps in its effort to head off a British Columbia-style epidemic of opioid overdose deaths.Funding was provided for about 5,000 free naloxone kits through police, jails and community pharmacies.Three community-based organizations that distribute clean needles and information to drug users are being funded to educate and assist their clients, and have been training clients in the injection of naloxone.— Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter.last_img read more

Penashues election spending under fire

first_imgAPTN National NewsQuestions continue to swirl around Ottawa about Labrador MP Peter Penashue’s spending habits during the last federal election.Opposition parties are accusing Penashue of over spending by $20,000. The Liberals have called for an investigation.NDP MP Charlie Angus joined APTN National News.last_img

Peace Gallery Norths opening night of Harvest Moon Exhibition

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Peace Gallery North has its opening night of their Harvest Moon Exhibition, tonight, Friday, September 6th, 2019 from 7 pm – 9 pm.The exhibition is a preview of original art to be auctioned at the 36th Annual Art Auction held October 5th, 2019.This evening will include entertainment by Intermezzo, as well as refreshments and appetizers by the Cultured Cafe. The Peace Gallery North is located at the North Peace Cultural CentreTo view the FB Event Page; CLICK HERElast_img read more

Czech PM Morocco Could Become Czechs Largest Economic Partner in Africa

Rabat – Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said “Morocco could become the Czech Republic’s largest economic partner” in Africa, on Wednesday, at the launch of the Czech-Moroccan Business Forum in Casablanca.Morocco and the Czech Republic “are currently discussing cooperation in the automobile, aircraft and armaments industries,” reported Czech Radio.Babis described Morocco, where he lived for five years as a Czech company representative in the past, as crossroads between Europe and Africa. Over the past five years, Czech exports to Morocco have doubled and many Czech companies are operating in Morocco, according to Czech Radio.In 2017, trade between Morocco and the Czech Republic totaled $435 million.In this regard, Babis reaffirmed his country’s determination to strengthen trade with Morocco, the Czech Republic’s second largest partner in Africa, reported Maghreb Arab Press.Babis arrived in Rabat on Tuesday leading a delegation of 37 business leaders, in addition to Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Marta Novakova, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Miloslav Stasek, and Czech Ambassador to Morocco Hanane Saadi.The head of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic, Jaroslav Hanak, told Czech Radio that “this was the first time that Prime Minister Babis has travelled with a business delegation outside of Europe.”Read also: Czech PM Visits Morocco with 37 Business LeadersBabis met the president of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), Salaheddine Mezouar. Mezouar said that the meeting with Babis will “give new impetus to cooperation between the business communities of both countries.”Morocco offers ‘great potential’ in aeronautics and automotive industryCzech prime minister also met representatives of different Moroccan investment groups to discuss opportunities in the renewable energy and agricultural sectors. The head of the local CzechTrade mission, Tamer El-Sibai, said that Morocco plans to invest $30 billion in the energy sector to which the North African country gives special attention, in addition to agriculture and construction.Babis affirmed that Morocco offers “great potential” to investors in many sectors, including the aeronautics and automotive industry.“Since Morocco is the largest automobile producer in Africa, Czech companies could try to become subcontractors,” Babis said.Babis said that he also discussed military cooperation between Morocco and the Czech Republic, noting that Morocco spends up to €4 billion on military technology.According to the Czech Confederation of Industry, Morocco showed great interest in the Czech Technical University’s projects which aims to collect water from humidity in the air.The Czech prime minister informed that a delegation of Moroccan industrialists will later visit the Czech Republic to explore business and investment opportunities in the country. read more

Sierra Leone UN mission helps disarm 16000 fighters since January

Speaking at a press briefing at UN Headquarters, UNAMSIL’s Chief of Public Information, Margaret Novicki, said the district-by-district disarmament process, which was expected to be concluded by the end of the year, would lead to a restoration of State authority around the country, the return of refugees and the holding of national elections in the early part of next year. But the path towards peace hasn’t been easy, she said.”Last year we had a rather difficult baptism of fire with the collapse of the peace process, the hostage taking of our peacekeepers and the withdrawal of major troop contributors,” Ms. Novicki said. “This time last year there were very few people who were optimistic about the prospects for peace in Sierra Leone.” However, in spite of the obstacles, the Mission is making steady progress and is now in the midst of a renewed peace process, she said. In addition, the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) was transforming itself into a political party to contest next year’s elections. According to Ms. Novicki, one element that had contributed to the significant changes in Sierra Leone was the Mission leadership’s “patient painstaking diplomacy” – which had been necessary to rebuild confidence among the parties to the conflict – backed by an adequately robust military force, now close to its authorized troop strength of 17,500 soldiers. UNAMSIL’s approach over the last year had “many lessons for other UN peacekeeping missions in an era when there are many complex internal civil conflicts to be addressed,” she said.Another reason for the progress in Sierra Leone was the fact that the Mission had worked very hard to regain public support for and confidence in UNAMSIL and the UN. “I will say from my own perspective that it has not been an easy process,” she added, noting that the country had a very high illiteracy rate – almost 80 per cent – and normal channels of communication were either hard-pressed, non-existent or had simply been destroyed by a decade of civil war.”So we rely primarily on the civilian component of UNAMSIL to work in this setting,” she said. “Our civilian police and our civil affairs section are working very hard to assist in restoring State authority throughout the country. We are helping the police to redeploy, to re-establish the judicial system, and to reinstitute traditional leadership.” read more

Goodbye Dead Puck Era

It could be that the ongoing analytics boom in hockey has affected a change in the old “get the puck to the net however possible” evangelism that once was pre-eminent. It’s true that the puck won’t go into the net unless it’s guided toward the net, but not all shots are created equal: An unimpeded shot from between the dots has a much better chance of hitting the twine than a shot taken from the blue line and directed toward a bunch of traffic in front of the net, for example. If expected goals are any indication, players are taking smarter shots — not more shots — than they did in the past, and that’s leading to more goals.We might expect that slumping goaltending could also provide part of the answer. The average save percentage (.908) across the NHL is the lowest it’s been in a decade. But if we isolate goaltenders who were roughly in their prime (between the ages 25 and 31) in both 2015-16 and 2018-19 — presumably a group whose inherent skills haven’t changed very much even as the NHL’s goals-per-game average has — their average save percentage has dipped by an astounding 12 points over that span.By comparison, the overall league average in save percentage is down by only 7 points, which indicates that goaltenders who were not in the goalie population in 2015-16 are having a better time adjusting to the league than goalies who were already around — even ones still in their primes. It’s fair to conclude, then, that goaltending has gotten demonstrably more difficult in a short period of time, and veteran goalies appear to have had a hard time adapting to shooters who have figured out how to take smarter and more dangerous shots.This is all in sharp contrast to the amount of scoring that occurred in the past decade-plus. In the past, changes to the NHL rulebook have had a bubble effect: Scoring increases immediately but regresses within a season or two. That was certainly the case in 2005-06, which was defined by a spate of rule changes and a cadre of whistle-happy referees. That season, the size of goaltender equipment was reduced; the two-line offsides rule was abolished; the neutral zone was reduced by 4 feet, expanding the space each team had to mount an offensive zone attack; and goaltenders were no longer allowed to play the puck anywhere they wanted behind the goal line, instead restricted to a trapezoid behind their own net. Power-play opportunities skyrocketed to 5.85 per team per game, up by 1.61 from 2003-04.This all meant that scoring jumped from 5.14 goals per game in 2003-04 to 6.16 goals per game in 2005-06. The boost was short-lived, however. Scoring dipped beneath 6 goals per game the following season, and as the decade post-lockout progressed, scoring continued to suffer. Power-play opportunities declined drastically, goaltenders got better, and the average goals scored per game stayed below 6 for a dozen seasons. Until this season.Whether the scoring uptick can be attributed to a culmination of rule changes, smarter shot selection, worse goaltending or evolved tactics — or some combination of all of that — one thing is certain: The NHL is a scorer’s league again, and the 2018-19 iteration is the most entertaining in nearly three decades. Players in the NHL are scoring at a prodigious pace. Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov is on pace to score 125 points, which would be tied for the highest point tally of the new millennium. If they keep up their current clip, Edmonton’s Connor McDavid would score 122 points, Chicago’s Patrick Kane 119 points and Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen 117 points. All of these point totals would smash each player’s previous career high. This makes sense given the climate of the NHL this season — it’s the highest-scoring season since the one that took place immediately after the lockout of 2004-05. There are currently 40 players scoring at least a point per game.1Among players who have played in at least half of their team’s games. If the season ended today, it would be the highest number since 1995-96, when 42 finished the season with a point per game or better. This is excellent news for a league that’s constantly tinkering with its rulebook to increase scoring.For the first time in more than a decade, the average goals scored per NHL game has surpassed 6. But unlike previous spikes in scoring, there weren’t any sweeping changes made to the rulebook before the season,2The league did reduce the size of goaltending equipment again, but whether that meaningfully affects scoring numbers is up for debate. so what exactly is going on?An obvious stat to look at is the average number of power-play opportunities teams are getting each game. More man advantages, it would seem, might lead to more quality scoring opportunities. But power-play opportunities per game have actually decreased steadily since 2005-06, the season after the lockout, and are static when compared with last season, when the average goals scored per game was below 6.Shooters do appear to be taking better shots in five-on-five scenarios. The average for the league in expected goals per 60 minutes per team3Expected goals functions as a proxy for shot quality. is 2.38, according to data from Corsica Hockey — up from 2.19 in 2015-16. And shooters are actually performing better than the expected goals model suggests they should be: The league average goals per 60 minutes per team is 2.49. A 10th of a goal may not seem like a lot, but it translates to about 254 more goals scored per season. Shots against per game have remained fairly stable since the lockout of 2004-05, which makes it somewhat difficult to explain the sudden glut. read more

MD Construction reflects on project delivery at Gamsberg

first_imgM&D Construction Group’s Civil Engineering Division played a large role in assisting Vedanta Zinc International (VZI) and its engineer, procure, construct contractor (EPC), ELB Engineering services, to deliver Gamsberg’s concentrator in an extremely short timeframe to ensure the timely supply of a high global demand for zinc.The Gamsberg project is located near Aggeneys and is part of the South African zinc grouping’s Black Mountain Mining (BMM) operations in the Northern Cape. It will exploit one of the largest known, undeveloped orebodies in the world, mining 4 Mt of ore annually from an open pit and producing 250,000 t of zinc-in-concentrate a year at the new concentrator plant during the first phase of operations.The division mobilised to site in October 2017 and completed the civils component of the work scope, including the flotation plant, as well as infrastructure in the milling zone and the thickener area, comprising the tailings, as well as the zinc and lead thickener, at the end of September this year.“We grew our team from only 60 people in the initial phases of the works programme to about 300 when the project peaked to complete the concentrator infrastructure in such a short period. Moreover, we had to extend working hours, which were well within the parameters of the Mine Health & Safety Act, as well as our own strict safety policies and those of VZI and ELB Engineering,” Gawie van der Merwe, Senior Contract Manager of M&D Construction Group, says.A further challenge was closely co-ordinating the civil aspects with the many other construction activities on this multi-disciplinary project. Moreover, the various contractors had to implement additional measures to ensure the health and safety of their staff working in this confined space and to very tight deadlines.He attributes much of the success of the civil works to active participation by both the EPC and client, while noting that their decision to introduce incentives to motivate and boost the morale of the many workers also greatly assisted the Civil Engineering Division meet all milestone dates.Meanwhile, M&D is forging ahead with the various roads that will serve this operation. M&D Construction Group’s Roads & Earthworks Division was awarded the contract to construct the external roads in mid-December and it commenced work on this eight month project in February 2018. The contract was extended in August this year to also include the construction of the internal plant roads and, thereby, increasing its value by 47%. It includes the construction of the access roads and parking from the N14 highway between Pofadder and Aggeneys to the entrance of the mine. This is in addition to various roads and parking areas along the perimeter of and within the plant area.Led by Angelo Veli, the Roads & Earthworks team on site comprises about 60 people, including administrative staff and local labour, as well as those men and women from sub-contracting teams. Head of the division, Chris Porter, says that he is extremely impressed with the progress made by his team, considering the numerous challenges, not least of which is the extreme remoteness of this construction site.“It is located about 1,000 km from our home base and just under 300 km from Upington, the closest major urban centre in the province. Careful logistical planning is, therefore, required to ensure that the project proceeds according to schedule,” Porter says.Meanwhile, the close proximity of the construction works to an environmentally-sensitive area adds another level of complexity to the project. Similar to the concentrator construction programme, close coordination is essential among the many contractors that are all working to tight deadlines on this busy construction site.“The Roads & Earthworks team demonstrated its ability to think on its feet when it was discovered that materials from the various borrow pits for the road layer works did not meet the engineering design specification once construction had commenced. Porter and his team, therefore, proposed a mechanically-blended solution incorporating commercial aggregates, which are sourced from Aroams quarry, located about 7 km from the construction site.”He says that three road surfaces have been specified for this project: a Cape Seal is being used on mostly straight sections and a 200 mm thick fibre-reinforced concrete for the heavy-duty access roadways, while an 80 mm-thick interlocking paving is being deployed in the plant areas. By the time the Roads & Earthworks division has completed the project, it will have undertaken 101,000 m³ of bulk earthworks, and constructed 30,600 m³ of layer works, 12,500 m2 of Cape Seal surfacing, 14,900 m2 of inter-locking paving and 13,500 m of kerbing.In addition 8,850 m³ of concrete roadway is being produced from an M&D Construction Group-owned batch plant on site to ease logistics on this project. It achieved the daily production requirement of up to 200 m³ of 35 MPa concrete, which is transported to the various construction faces using the company’s own three mixer trucks.The teams on site were fully supported by the M&D Plant Division, which is providing most of the plant and equipment needed to complete the works and at a high availability level. Rukesh Raghubir, CEO of M&D Construction Group, says that he is proud of the company’s involvement in a project that has also supported so many local businesses and entrepreneurs in the area during the construction cycle.“BMM/Vedanta’s operations have already created livelihoods for about 1,500 people, while a further 750 people will be directly and indirectly employed by Gamsberg. This is over-and-above the many employment opportunities that have been created during the construction of this state-of-the-art mine. Gamsberg again demonstrates the critical role that this ‘sunrise’ industry has to play in socio-economic upliftment. Certainly, we are very proud to be involved in yet another successful mining-related project. Gamsberg will be BMM/Vedanta’s flagship project as one of the most digitally-advanced mines in Africa that embraces innovative technologies and new methods of working,” Raghubir concludes.last_img read more

Column Will Ireland see a new political party

first_img‘The ‘right’ gap in the market’The assumption is widespread but where is this gap? Many who talk about the gap in the political market point to some prime real estate to the right of Fine Gael on the political spectrum? Fine Gael however is a very different party to the one Garret Fitzgerald led. The 2011intake led by a younger generation of TDs such as Brendan Griffen, Sean Conlan and Eoghan Murphy have contributed to remaking Fine Gael as a fiscally conservative party. Lucinda Creighton and the other rebels from Fine Gael that formed the Reform Alliance group have sparked talk of a new party but who would they appeal to?Fine Gael voters? Why would traditional Fine Gael voters support a Reform Alliance Party if they are largely echoing what Fine Gael is saying? Indeed, Junior Minister Brian Hayes recently talked about easing the burden of taxation on working people and we are likely to see the Government introduce tax cuts in the run up the next general election. Just last week Eoghan Murphy reiterated his call for bigger cutbacks in public expenditure and has spoken before of his desire to see fiscal consolidation continue. Restraining public expenditure and cutting taxes are among the first principles of fiscal conservatism. It is therefore hard to understand those who argue that a gap exists to the right of a fiscally conservative Fine Gael party who are already espousing these values. Fine Gael would undoubtedly lose some voters to any new party of the right but it is hard to see it haemorrhaging voters to any new right wing party.Fianna Fáil voters would run a mile from a new Reform Alliance party fearing that any party led by Lucinda Creighton or Declan Ganley would always put Fine Gael in Government should it ever hold the balance of power. People of a centre left/left wing persuasion would for obvious policy reasons be unimpressed by any new party of the right.Room on the left?So if political space on the right is currently crowded is there room for a new party of the left? The prospects for a new party of the left are not much better. Fianna Fáil under Micheál Martin’s leadership has taken a step to the left. The party’s pre budget submissions included an increase in the universal social charge for those earning over €100,000 and a tax on sugary foods. These are all measures designed to curry favour with disillusioned Labour voters. Fianna Fáil’s electoral recovery means that the path to winning seats is even more crowded for any new centre left/left wing party. Labour while sinking rapidly in the polls is a well-established party of the left that will not disappear entirely from the political landscape.Perhaps the greatest barrier to any new party of the left is Sinn Fein. The party is actively promoting younger candidates such as Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire who are untainted by ‘the troubles’ to run in the local elections in 2014. The party is building a solid support bases amongst those who are deeply dissatisfied with politics. Indeed, a post Gerry Adams Sinn Fein would also be more appealing to socially liberal middle class voters that currently find it difficult to vote for a party led by Gerry Adams. When you consider all these factors and you add Joe Higgins, People before Profit and independent left-wing candidates into the mix then it becomes clear that any new party of the left is unrealistic.While a new party of either ideological hue is unlikely, the established parties would do well to listen to the large number of people who are dissatisfied with the political process. Fail to do so and the space for a new party may widen and the cry for new politics may become too loud for those currently sitting on the side-lines to ignore.Mark Beegan is a Public Relations Consultant and Fianna Fáil activist. He specialises in political communication and media relations. Follow him on Twitter at @poliireland.Read: Direct Democracy Ireland appeal for a no vote in Court of Appeal referendumRead: EU referendum would be a “good idea” says would-be political party A POPULAR TOPIC of conversation amongst those working in politics and the media is whether or not Irish politics is about to witness the birth of a new political party. The perceived wisdom is that Irish politics is ripe for a new party to shake up the old order parties of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein. Those who advocate for a new party point to the high percentage of ‘don’t knows’ cited in opinion polls as a sign that the public want a new political party.The polls illustrate that there is a large section of the electorate that is either undecided when it comes to which party to vote for or already of a mind not to vote for any of the parties currently on offer. While public dissatisfaction offers fertile ground for any new party it does not mean that one will be created or guarantee any new party longevity or success. If any new party new is to succeed it would need substantial financial backing and a large amount of high profile candidates. It would also need serious policy proposals and a gap in the electorate to target. One of the most widespread assumptions is that there is a ‘gap in the market’ which is just waiting to be filled. Does such a gap exist and if so where on the political spectrum does it exist?last_img read more

Tomorrows UK newspapers may spoil the Scottish independence party

first_imgTomorrow’s UK newspapers may spoil the Scottish independence party New polls show that Scots aren’t yet sold on independence. 24,019 Views Read: One step closer: Theresa May gets green light to start Brexit process >Poll: Should Scotland hold another referendum on independence from the UK? > Tuesday 14 Mar 2017, 11:02 PM By Rónán Duffy Mar 14th 2017, 11:02 PM Share Tweet Email Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Source: The Times of London/Twitter Short URL Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon meeting in Edinburgh last year. Source: PA Wire/PA ImagesScottish First Minister Sturgeon yesterday confirmed that she intends to pursue another referendum on independence before the UK leaves the EU.Any such referendum would need the backing of the UK government at Westminster for it to be binding.It is belived that Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is preparing to reject Sturgeon’s timeline for a new referendum.As well as The Times, other UK newspapers have also have front pages that may worry Scottish nationalists.The Telegraph claims for example that another poll also suggests that Scots are growing more Eurosceptic and many not risk leaving the union to stay in the EU.The Guardian meanwhile reports that a “compromise deal” may yet avert another referendum. Tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph front page: Sturgeon abandons bit to stay in the EU #TomorrowsPapersToday— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 14, 2017 Source: The Telegraph/Twitter 51 Comments A POLL CONDUCTED for The Times newspaper in the UK has found that 57% of Scots want to stay in the UK.The poll was conducted by YouGov and found a 57:43 lead in favour of staying in the union when ‘don’t knows’ were excluded.It suggests that Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party has some ground to make up if it is to realise its stated goal of leaving the UK.Even though the 14-point gap may be significant, it is less than the 24-point gap that existed when the 2014 referendum was announced. Tomorrow’s front: Scots want to remain in UK, new poll reveals #TomorrowsPapersToday— The Times of London (@thetimes) March 14, 2017last_img read more